Skip to content

Assassination Works Only Under Two Circumstances

2017 November 19

For years, decades even, the US has had a policy of assassination. Americans believe that if you kill the leaders, you kill an organization.

This is delusional. It only works when it almost isn’t necessary. How many times has the US killed the #2 man of the Taliban? Did killing Osama stop Al-Qaeda? Assassinating Yamamoto in WWII was not just meaningless, it was a bad idea (he wasn’t a great admiral, but he did oppose war with both the US and China.)

Assassination ONLY works when the organization is unhealthy OR when much of it doesn’t agree with the current leader but is following them anyway.

In a healthy organization, someone else just steps up and leads, and they’re about as good as whoever was there before. It’s not that leadership doesn’t matter, it’s that healthy organizations create lots of people who are capable of leading. Very few leaders are actually genius leaders; most of what looks like genius is leading a good organization, and know-how. Sometimes, someone is the first person to really figure out how to lead an organization, but if they’re good, they train successors, or people learn from watching them.

The second time it works is if there is a genuine disagreement in organization. Perhaps some are willing to make peace, and some aren’t, and if you kill a few of the key leaders who don’t want to make peace, you can get peace.

The problem with all this, however, is that it’s often hard to tell who is actually a genius leader and which people actually believe in the organization. A lower ranking leader, gunning for the first spot, is often not public about disagreeing with #1, and if he is, may be lying to get followers. It’s just hard to tell. As for genius: It’s rare, and people are good at faking it–until crunch time. Who was America’s last genius general put in real command? I am not aware of one from the last 20 years (Petraeus certainly wasn’t.)

Hannibals, Caesars, and Subotais are truly, genuinely, rare. Genius political leaders are truly rare as well. And genius politicians often are terrible leaders (not the same thing). You may want them in charge.

But the bottom line is simple: A good organization produces a surfeit of good leaders who agree with the organization’s mission. Decapitation only works on unhealthy organizations.

Managers in the US (the US doesn’t have many leaders) lead unhealthy organizations rife with disillusionment, designed to promote time serving managers who don’t take risks, who actively work to harm the rank and file of the organization, and who believe in nothing but themselves.

Such managers find it difficult to get anything done. They have to use fear, coercion, and lies to get the rank and file to follow orders, because their orders are usually both evil and against the rank and file’s self interest.

They know that managing organizations is difficult from their own experience, and they think that all organizations are like that.

But organizations like the Taliban or Hezbollah (not to conflate, I don’t regard Hezbollah as equivalent in many ways) actually believe in what they are doing. People join because they believe in the mission. Even large drug cartels have a belief in a mission and a winnowing of fools and poltroons that often (though not as often as belief organizations) allows them to replace leadership.

When real leadership meets real mission, people fall over themselves to join. They want to belong. They believe. They will work for virtually nothing. They will beg to be part of something bigger than them.

Most Americans have NEVER experienced this. They cannot understand it at a gut level. It is alien to them.

Assassination works only when organizations are unhealthy, and run by managers, not leaders, or during the early stages of a charismatic cult. (A healthy charismatic cult, like the early disciples of Jesus, will quickly create enough leaders to survive a decapitation strike.)


The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

 

37 Responses leave one →
  1. Herman permalink
    November 19, 2017

    I think assassinations give the government good press and so they have propaganda utility. The American people have been brought up on action movies, video games and ultra-patriotism and love hearing about how the military killed another bad guy. Drones are seen as “cool” and assassinations by Special Forces are even better because Americans love to fantasize about how cool it would be to be a Special Forces soldier killing bad guys like in an action movie or a video game. Most Americans don’t even begin to think about whether assassinations make any actual difference in weakening organizations like the Taliban. It is good enough that we bagged some bad guys and showed that we are tough.

    I suspect that the government knows this and so they promote assassinations to prove to the people that they are doing *something* about the bad guys. When Osama bin Laden was killed under Obama it was seen as a big victory for him. It showed that the Democrats weren’t weak on security policy as often thought. I remember Democrats gloating about this victory for years, rubbing it in the face of Republicans who normally present themselves as macho tough guys and the Democrats as weenies. Of course killing bin Laden did nothing to weaken Islamist jihadism but it was seen as a propaganda victory for the Obama Administration.

  2. different clue permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Killing Dr. Martin Luther King delayed-onset decapitated the Civil Rights Revolution Movement, and certainly aborted its extension in Poor People Rights and Poor People Power.

    Killing Robert Kennedy decapitated any hope of unearthing the Deep Nazi Decapitation Squads operating within and around the DC FedRegime . . . and any hope of reversing their long-term project of fascistification of American government and society. The “change within the system” movement was decapitated.

    Perhaps these movements were unhealthy, or overly embryonic.

  3. Troy permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Er, no, different clue, if that indeed is your real name:

    What stopped the poor rights movement was a confluence of many things: the Vietnam war (sending tens of thousands of African-American people off to die in war), mass incarceration (the drug war started under Reagan), and the hollowfication of the industry in the African-American community (started under Clinton with NAFTA, who also began three strikes, which has devastated the African community). It took decades for the US government to even bring the rights movement to the point it is at today, and it must continually incarcerate people to keep it from re-emerging.

    And that second point is wtf are you even talking about? Are you mis-remembering what sort of murdering douche JFK really was? His assassination had no effect on your “Deep Nazi Decapitation Squads” because if there were any, then Kennedy had a hand in creating them.

    “Kennedy is not even worth discussing. The invasion in South Vietnam – Kennedy attacked South Vietnam, outright. In 1961-1962 he sent Air Force to start bombing villages, authorized napalm. Also laid the basis for the huge wave of repression that spread over Latin America with the installation of Neo-Nazi gangsters that were always supported directly by the United States. That went on and in fact picked up under Johnson.” – Noam Chomsky

    Kennedy was a murdering douche, and he was murdered by crazed lone gunman, which the USA seems to have in abundant supply. And even then, his death had no effect on stopping the Vietnam War, or the wars thereafter.

  4. Alex permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Um, Troy, you seem to have confused JFK with RFK in your rather aggressive post countering “different clue”.

  5. Peter permalink
    November 19, 2017

    @Troy

    I agree with most of what you wrote but how does removing career criminals from society devastate the AA community or any community?

  6. Beck permalink
    November 19, 2017

    https://youtu.be/6L1__ooD5-M

  7. Beck permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Micro Assassination Drones Fit In Your Hand

  8. subgenius permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Disciples of Jesus? Where is a legitimate source showing any of this actually existed? As far as I can find there is zero evidence, but a whole lot of later stories by people that were not alive during the purported events, and entirely based on earlier myths.

  9. Troy permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Oh, you’re right Alex. I saw the name Kennedy, and confused one murdering Kennedy bastard for another.

  10. bruce wilder permalink
    November 19, 2017

    The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand “worked” — the Hapsburg Empire was destroyed along with the imperial system in which it was symbiotically embedded with the Ottomans and Romanovs. Yugoslavia emerged.

    The Archduke was no great shakes as a leader, but the system under him was definitely an unhealthy one, but it was the expression of that state of organizational ill health in authoritarian over-reaction that did them in.

  11. Steve permalink
    November 19, 2017

    Your diagnosis of the United States could hardly be more true. I work for a large government department and I can attest that there is no such thing as leadership here – only management. I am pretty low on the ladder, but I can read the newspeak publications put out by my bosses as well as any intelligent citizen of the Soviet Union could.

    Those at the top are fundamentally cowards (and I mean those who hold extremely important positions in the US government). They are incapable of making any decision outside of an extremely narrow consensus that exists only because incumbents are afraid of any change that might, maybe, possibly threaten their status. They do nothing but go to meetings and put out reports with help from their PR departments, and they have no real marketable skills anymore beyond maintaining their status. They do not need to even have those meetings outside of their necessary performative aspect (feeling the participation at you), because the decision is always preordained.

    This trickles down into a very bitter cynicism and apathy among the rank and file, which I can only say is totally justified. I do not like it, though, when people blame “big guvmint” for this type of environment – big business here is every bit as bad.

  12. November 20, 2017

    Let’s see. Twenty years ago we were finding it necessary to kill the headmen of terrorist organizations in two mideast nations. Now we are finding it necessary to do so in no fewer than twelve nations on two continents. Does that suggest that the policy is working?

    What happened to, “If something is not working, stop doing it.”

    Today we have, “If something is not working, doing a lot more if it will make it work.”

  13. Tom permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @Bill H and the end result of all these assassinations is that the WOT has escalated and destabilized more nations, killed millions and still no end in sight.

  14. November 20, 2017

    @Steve. It’s built into the system. For starters, the fact that civil servants get paid less than their industry equivalents encourages the best to go elsewhere. But more importantly, the civil service protection (I.e. “tenure”) drives out true leaders pretty quickly.

    I left when I realized that any manager had to get 100% consensus of his/her team to get anything done. Anyone who objected could foot drag, sabotage, do end runs, etc. and since they couldn’t be fired, there was nothing the manager could do. I don’t know of any leaders who can actually *lead* when they have to have 100% consensus. When I moved to industry, decisions that used to take weeks could be made in five minutes.

    Managers who can get 100% consensus at least some of the times get promoted until they’re just underneath the political appointees. Those appointees serve too short of terms to matter.

    @Herman. The WOT is equivalent to the War on Drugs. Let’s make the military/police side rich with a never ending war (“We’ve always been at war with EastAsia”), do bad things to people we don’t like, and keep the rest of our population in line through fear of the “bad people.” The WOT is not designed to be won.

    Re: assassinations in general. I’m honestly surprised that there haven’t been more attempted assassinations of American political leaders and media figures the past several years. The rage seems to be leaking out into mass shootings instead, especially compared to the equivalent (from a turmoil sense) of the late 60’s and early 70’s. I’m surprised.

    Ian’s analysis does raise one interesting question, though. Are the US political institutions strong enough to survive a decapitation strike? At one time, that would have been an unqualified yes, but I’m no longer sure that’s true.

  15. StewartM permalink
    November 20, 2017

    For years, decades even, America has had a policy of assassination. Americans believe that if you kill the leaders, you kill an organization.

    What do you expect of an elite that buys into the notion that it’s only the John Galts who matter?

    Witness, by contrast, Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky” and the power of people acting en masse. Ever note Hollywood doesn’t produce such movies? (Well, if they do, the masses are always evil and horrible, like orcs, and the lone hero triumphs in the end). Yet the great cultural and historical and scientific transformations in societies happen because of the actions of many individual hands, not the actions of the ‘great few’.

    My favorite anthropologist, Marvin Harris, noted in his college text that art has had historically a conservative bias, and despite current rightwingers screaming about Hollywood, it’s still pretty much true.

  16. Jeff Wegerson permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @Bill H
    Yes we lose money on each sale but we’ll make it up on volume.

  17. StewartM permalink
    November 20, 2017

    Weighing in on the Troy/DC debate:

    a) What derailed the Civil Rights movement, and the movement for bettering the lot of America’s poor, was the dismemberment of the FDR economy. This dismemberment was started by Democrats, by JFK/LBJ, by the 1964 tax cut which reduced the top rate from near-90 % to 70 % (and reducing, over time, the effective top rate from c. 75 % in half by 1980). This untaxed moola gave the righties the funding they needed to both lobby and to create their own rightwing infrastructure/media (ak the Powell Memorandum). John Kenneth Galbreath criticized the 1964 tax cut as “regressive Keynesianism” and he was damned right.

    The dismemberment of the FDR economy also meant after 1968, as Ian notes, white working class wages started their long decline. The historical basis of racial prejudice in the US, dating back to colonial America, was the substitution of Africans for whites in society’s shit work (back then, slavery) and made advances for poor whites dependent on the continued debasement of blacks. The FDR economy, by lifting the incomes of poor whites, reduced this tension which made poor whites more agreeable to advances in the fortunes of blacks. When the incomes of working-class whites started to slide in 1968, and once again faced increasing income insecurity, the US resorted back to its historical norm and the advances in these causes stopped, then reversed.

    b) The reason the decline in the antiwar movement (Vietnam and later) is simpler. Nixon ended the draft, and the US went to an all-volunteer military composed of the sons and daughters of the less fortunate that our betters (despite their proclamations) really don’t care that much about.

  18. Sid Finster permalink
    November 20, 2017

    It is a mistake to assume that the United States wants to win the GWOT. It does not.

    The United States wants the war to continue, as the war is very convenient in many ways. In fact, as we see from Russia, having an enemy is so convenient that if one does not exist, the establishment will have to make an enemy where none existed.

    “We can’t talk about reform now! Can’t you see there’s a war going on?”

    “You don’t like the system? What are you, a terrorist/commie/Russian/whatever?”

    “We gotta restrict your freedoms because scary enemies! Don’t worry, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear!”

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

  19. StewartM permalink
    November 20, 2017

    Ed

    I left when I realized that any manager had to get 100% consensus of his/her team to get anything done. Anyone who objected could foot drag, sabotage, do end runs, etc. and since they couldn’t be fired, there was nothing the manager could do. I don’t know of any leaders who can actually *lead* when they have to have 100% consensus. When I moved to industry, decisions that used to take weeks could be made in five minutes.

    Hmm, I’m not so sure a consensus model wouldn’t work (Quakers decide that way). And many of the teams I have been on or led I try to seek that objective. Nor do I believe that government employees “can’t be fired” as I’m best friends with a government manager who has and does fire them.

    But as someone who hails from private industry (all my life) let me tell you that the speedy dictatorial decision-making model makes a helluva lot of bad and stupid and costly decisions. I’ve seen plenty. Plus that system allows tyrants push really smart and good people out the door because of stupid biases of quirks, and can do long-term damage to the organization.

  20. nihil obstet permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @Ed

    It’s built into the system. For starters, the fact that civil servants get paid less than their industry equivalents encourages the best to go elsewhere. But more importantly, the civil service protection (I.e. “tenure”) drives out true leaders pretty quickly.

    I think the attitude that you express here is a hammer of destructiveness against building good organizations. There’s the proclamation of the self-serving job seeker who cares about and only about more money. A large proportion of working people really do want to do something valuable, and that more often is available in public employment. So, the commitment to public service encourages the best to go into the civil service. When acknowledging that commitment is censored, the organization declines. It denies its mission and that makes it unhealthy.

    And this self-serving worker who maximizes income apparently thinks only about the moment, not about the kind of life and work that can be done when there’s confidence in stability rather than being subject to the whims of a manager. You want good decisions to be made. Sometimes that can be done by a good manager, but the manager is pursuing her own goals, and that doesn’t always lead to good decisions. His bad decision? You pay the price. The best may understand that and prefer a job that gambles less with their lives.

    And you’re just flatly wrong about not being able to fire people. You can. You have to move your butt a little and actually do your own job, but it is your job and you should do it. You use the same process to improve a worker and to fire her. You set goals (yes, you do have to work) and if she meets them, she does a good job. If not, you’ve got the reasons for firing documented. It’s the manager wanting his own way that’s the problem, not the rules for treating people decently. Bad managers claim that their work force is bad and that they are prevented from doing anything about it. It’s like corporations who want no restrictions on their using their power for their own ends, claiming that regulations are inefficient red tape, so deregulate everything.

    Basically, a good manager is going to be good most places, and a bad manager is going to damage his organization whether it’s industry or government. But what you’re building into the system with the emphasis on individual aggrandizement leads to unhealthy organizations.

  21. Willy permalink
    November 20, 2017

    I worked for corrupt managers who were gifted with a situation which demanded a lucrative new product, but managed things so poorly the entire thing was canceled after a significant investment. Being ‘successful’ managers, they got away with it by firing their preselected scapegoats who were merely doing their management’s bidding.

    Be nice if this post was the first in a series that eventually led to ideas about how to replace self-serving managers with more beneficial leaders.

  22. November 20, 2017

    @StewartM

    The agency I worked with always found it easier to transfer non-performers than to fire them. They never went away. So, as someone who got sick of working 50 hour weeks while the non-performers left at 3pm, I bailed myself.

    Where consensus models work well, in my experience, is where there’s a clear penalty for refusing to work for consensus. If there’s no penalty for throwing sand into the works, or if you’re actually rewarded for mucking things up (see Congress), then it just can’t.

    I agree that the speedy bad decisions we see in industry can have their own horrid consequences. But at least a private firm can go bankrupt.

    @nihil
    I know some very dedicated public servants, not motivated by money. But academic studies have shown that if you’re not motivating by money, you have to give people something emotional. The top three are autonomy, personal accomplishment, and a sense of service. An organization that makes it hard to do those things (the balance of which varies from individual to individual) will suffer. How can a low level civil servant feel like they’re being of service when it takes them a week to get simple decision, or every choice they made must be approved by three layers above them?

    As for firing civil servants–my father was a civil servant for forty years and I’ve worked with the Feds for 25 years. I have *never* seen a civil servant fired, and neither has he. Sure, it’s theoretically possible, but the non-performers I worked with certainly knew how to work the system to make that impossible.

    I’ve met very few good managers and leaders in the civil service. I’ve met a lot more in industry. The systems can make or break a good manager.

    I see it like a professional football coach. A great coach may be able to bring out the best in mediocre players, but a coach who has no say in who gets drafted/recruited and isn’t allowed to bench poor performers is going to struggle mightily. Why put up with it when you can go work for a different team?

  23. nihil obstet permalink
    November 20, 2017

    @Ed

    I’ve worked for both industry and government. I’ve seen success and failure in both areas. Our preferences on life and work will influence heavily how we judge and experience organizations based on different principles. I not only prefer government principles of service, despite having some experiences with management so bad it would make your teeth ache, I believe civil service type protections should be extended to all employment. Or else we should have a universal guaranteed income. One’s whole livelihood and that of one’s family should not depend upon being appropriate deferential to an unregulated manager.

    I worked for government for less than 25 years. I fired one worker — that is, I issued the letter stating that his employment was terminated. Two others left before that final step of getting the letter. I spent a lot of time stomping around complaining that morale was just too damned high, but then morale is going to be high when people feel safe and know that what they do is being noticed and accepted and in fact valued. Non-performing workers have a non-performing manager.

    The point of my comments has been basic agreement with Ian’s statement:

    Such managers find it difficult to get anything done. They have to use fear and coercion and lies to get the rank and file to do what they want, because what they want is usually both evil and against the rank and file’s self interest.

    When your assumption is that only powerful managers can get good results because they are able to fire workers, who themselves are just trying to maximize self-interest, you’re supporting the problematic American view of people and organizations.

  24. November 20, 2017

    @nihil

    We’re probably closer in overall opinion than is coming through. For example, I’ve reached the point, in part due to some of Ian’s arguments, for supporting a Universal Basic Income.

    On managers, I agree that a good manager/leader maximizes the enthusiasm and contributions of the people under them. They find a way to increase the productivity and performance. If we were to compare management styles over a beer (and I’ve been managing people for 20+ years), we’d probably agree on 90% of what it takes to be a good manager.

    That 10% that’s left is the impact of under-performers. In my experience, it takes only one truly bad apple to poison the team. A manager who tolerates that bad apple (after making reasonable attempts to correct the behavior) makes it worse. I’ll no longer work in an environment that won’t support me in getting rid of bad apples. I don’t mind reasonable checks and balances on my authority to do so, but I insist on it. If that makes me part of the problem, I don’t know what to say.

  25. jsn permalink
    November 20, 2017

    Troy,
    David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chess Board”, pieced together from Alan Dulles personal papers and calendar among other primary sources, better supports Different Clue’s take on this.

    Until I read this, I always thought the Jim Crow deal with the Southern Democrats was the original sin of the New Deal.

    I now realize Roosevelt’s tolerance of Nazi’s at State before and during the war was a bigger threat to the survival of his policies. Political assassinations all over the world have been the legacy of this blunder.

  26. StewartM permalink
    November 20, 2017

    nihil obstet

    I not only prefer government principles of service, despite having some experiences with management so bad it would make your teeth ache, I believe civil service type protections should be extended to all employment…. One’s whole livelihood and that of one’s family should not depend upon being appropriate deferential to an unregulated manager.

    I’ve not worked for government, but based on my experience in the private sector, I wholeheartedly agree. The worst thing about allowing workplace Stalinism is that it breeds the same behaviors as in the Soviet version– subservient groveling, flatterers and yes-men. I recall meetings headed by bad managers who would start things off with the lamest and un-funniest of jokes, which drew the most forced (and loud) guffaws of laughter. Organizations and people alike are better off honesty is allowed, when they are free to call a bad idea exactly what it is.

    Even if the manager/leader is honest and of good will, having the power to summarily terminate someone erects a wall blocking communication; people are afraid to tell you what they really feel and the manager is always wondering if a compliment is genuine or “is this person just ‘sucking up'”?

    A supervisor long ago said when she was hired in that employees were braver and “more willing to say or do things that risked them being fired”. Well, duh, she hired in the 1960s, where if you lost a good job there was always another which could be had in a month or less; this made it easy to be brave. Our business Stalinist elites want the US to have a good economy (for them at least) but not *that good* for everyone else, because in a truly good economy you have to attract employees, put up with their quirks, and make their workplaces liveable. That’s something they definitely don’t want.

  27. November 20, 2017

    @StewartM

    Amen!

    The absolute top thing the USA needs is for health care to be decoupled from employment. The fear of losing health care (and not being able to get it again because of a pre-existing condition) creates more wage slaves than just about anything I know.

    That’s also why I’ve come around to UBI. The quality of life just has to be better when we don’t have a large fraction of our society terrified about missing the next paycheck. And no, the punitive, bureaucratic, and racist nature of Welfare in the USA doesn’t even come close to UBI.

    In this thread, I’ve advocated being able to kick someone off my team. I would be happy if that didn’t cost them the ability to put food on their table. I don’t want to destroy them–I just don’t want them dragging the rest of the team down.

  28. StewartM permalink
    November 21, 2017

    Ed

    The absolute top thing the USA needs is for health care to be decoupled from employment. The fear of losing health care (and not being able to get it again because of a pre-existing condition) creates more wage slaves than just about anything I know.

    That’s also why I’ve come around to UBI. The quality of life just has to be better when we don’t have a large fraction of our society terrified about missing the next paycheck.

    Wholly agreed on healthcare; not so sure about UBI. For one thing, the monthly payments that I’ve read discussed for UBI ($1000 a month?) are wholly inadequate to cover even just housing in many cities, and is even barely adequate in my more rural locale. For another thing, having known too-many substance abusers, you can’t get away from having someone handle their money for them.

    UBI could be part of the solution, but methinks a better solution would be a permanent WPA, one that not only hired manual labor but also put people to work using their degrees and skills at somewhat below-average or median pay. Anyone who was let go could then get a job making less than he/she was perhaps previously, perhaps, but still sufficient to pay the bills, and would still have incentive to get a private sector job (or–employees in the WPA who had good records could become eligible for permanent government sector jobs, and I also favor making government jobs high-paying, to lessen the revolving door and corruption issues we currently face).

    Obviously, to make this system work you also have to increase the minimum wage ($15 an hour is good) but one advantage is that now labor has much more power…the power to walk away from any bad boss or job and the next day have a new one, guaranteed. We could even throw in benefits like 3 or 4 weeks paid vacation and other benefits into WPA jobs. This sets a true floor for labor compensation, now private business must meet or better this “floor” in order to attract and keep workers, so you end up with a system that benefits everyone.

  29. Synoia permalink
    November 21, 2017

    Assassination Works Only Under Two Circumstances

    It never works. It is just an avoidance of addressing root cause. The better alternative is rule of law, which assumes those imposing the laws have the consent of the governed.

    Assignations increase when there is no consent of the governed, and the people paying the assassins know they will never have the consent of the governed, and have decide to rule only by fear, which does not work.

    In addition friends come & friends go. Enemies accumulate. Assignation and rule by fear ensure accumulation of enemies.

    Sooner of later the people ruled by fear strike back, because rule of fear is truly rule by increasing fear.

    The authorities, those who rule be hear, truly fear those who’s life is so miserable they have nothing to lose.

  30. Hugh permalink
    November 21, 2017

    The world is falling apart. In the wake of this devolution, many local insurgent/jihadist/terrorist/mafia groups are springing up, both in response to and to accelerate this disintegration. Their organizational structure tends to be loose, fluid, based on personal ties. Their armaments are low tech: assault rifles, machine guns, RPGs, light mortars, explosives. They usually come from and live in the local population. They are very hard to eradicate because of this and because there isn’t much in the way of leadership and no army to defeat on a battlefield. Assassination can wear away at them over time, but does not address as Synoia says, the forces which created them, and largely those forces, overpopulation, climate change, etc. are intractable.

  31. November 21, 2017

    It has been said “Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.” No. It is simply the last resort. Incompetence lay in the inability, when it becomes necessary, to engage in violence.

    As Hugh and Synoia point out, this isn’t academic.

  32. November 22, 2017

    JFK, Martin Luther King, RFK. These deaths killed America.

  33. Willy permalink
    November 22, 2017

    JFK, MLK, RFK, were leaders. I wonder if ever since, true leaders are co-opted or “assassinated” before they get into positions of power. From Carter on it seems it’s all been some form of corporate sponsored manager.

  34. realitychecker permalink
    November 22, 2017

    “JFK, Martin Luther King, RFK. These deaths killed America.”

    Hmmm. Seems to me those deaths pretty much served the purposes of those who arranged them.

    Just sayin’ . . .

  35. Willy permalink
    November 22, 2017

    Maybe that should be “from Nixon on”.

  36. Willy permalink
    November 22, 2017

    Proving PTB collusion with a sacrificial nutjob assassin is hard. But proving that South Dakota’s Anti-Corruption Act was nixed by obvious corporate crony power players is easier. I’d think there’d be allies from both teams of the political league after that one. If they just knew about it…

  37. DMC permalink
    November 22, 2017

    Careful you don’t start sounding too much like the Wobblies. If Big Bill Haywood was alive today, they’d have killed him by now.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS