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Ron Paul Hysteria

2012 January 3
by Ian Welsh

So, I’m noticing a ton of attacks on Ron Paul from progressives.  The reason is simple enough, Ron Paul is great on some key things the left cares about, and horrible on others.  His last ad in Iowa says he’d ban abortion, for example.  On the other hand, he wants to withdraw all troops from foreign wars and bring back the troops from America’s far flung military bases.  And he’s the only candidate to unequivocally state that he would never order the assassination of Americans.

Paul’s economic policies are straight up insane, and would throw the world into a full catastrophic Great Depression, even worse than the one we’re in now and worse than the one in the 30s.

But the problem is that current policies by more “mainstream” candidates just get to the same place more slowly.  And maybe not even that much more slowly.  Numerian thinks this could be the year of the big crash, for example, one where even the first world has food shortages and so on.

We’re going to get there.  There is a consensus for austerity amongst the transnational developed world elites which is breathtaking in its unanimity, imperviousness to argument and lack of regard for democratic niceties.  There is no consensus on how to deal with the oil bottleneck, no plan for actually dealing with the leveraged debt overhang, no understanding of how to create real growth, as opposed to bubbles.  If they do manage to hang on, what will happen is a huge non-conventional oil boom (read Fracking) and that will devastate ground water and turn large areas into wastelands.  Nor will it last all that long or feel all that good (it’ll be better than now, but probably not even as good as the best Bush years.)

After that I see no scenario in which things don’t crack up, completely.

So Ron Paul will cause a crack up, possibly a little bit ahead of schedule.  That sucks for old people who might have died before the world went to hell, but for young people, you might as well get it done.

But Ron Paul also might do some real damage to the military industrial complex.  There is no route forward for the US which does not require taking that misallocated effort, and using it for other things.  So this is necessary.

Also the movement of manufacturing and other expertise overseas means that the US labor force is a wasting asset.  The longer the decline goes on the fewer people there will be with the skills to bootstrap back up, the less of an industrial base other than defense there will be, and so on.  Infrastructure will be more degraded, not less, and so on.  So from that point of view, cracking up sooner, rather than later, is preferable because it leaves a clearer path to the future.

But let’s move back to the title.  The reason Ron Paul causes hysterics is he pits interest group against interest group, morality vs. morality. He’s a different kind of lesser evil.  If Afghans got to vote in the US election, who would they vote for?  How important is Habeas Corpus to you really?  What about pot legalization?  Etc…  Ron Paul is awful on some issues, and very good on others.  Are abortion rights more important than dead Afghans and Pakistanis at weddings?  (I don’t claim they are, or aren’t, I simply note Paul forces you to make that choice.)  And Paul would end all bank bailouts.  Hate the banksters?  Think they’re the key problem?  Paul’s your man.

Obama is objectively awful.  Paul is objectively awful.  But unlike Romney, Paul is objectively awful in different ways than Obama.  Romney would just be Obama, but slightly worse.  If you’re going to choose a lesser evil, you might as well choose Obama.  But when it comes to Paul vs. Obama the equation changes.

And that’s why many progressives are attacking any other progressive who says anything good about Paul, because Paul threatens to split the left, and because Paul makes progressives decide what they value most.

170 Responses
  1. groo permalink
    January 9, 2012

    …hopey change from the right…
    what do You mean?

    I thought it was the deluded left?

    But maybe somewhere both meet where the circle closes.

  2. Kyle Michel Sullivan permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Okay, Ian, let’s put aside the fact that I think you’re wrong to want to get the coming collapse over with and you think that I’m wrong to want to keep fighting it. What evidence do you have that things will begin to get better instead of worse after Ron Paul’s destroyed civilization as we know it (and that is what he will do with his so-called “Libertarian” principles)? How will your prescription make us better off and keep those unemployed husbands from beating their wives? How will things be better for our children? What exactly do you mean by “a clearer path to the future”? How will economic collapse end the military-industrial complex? To my mind, it would make saving that vile set-up even more likely simply because of the chaos that would begin surrounding us. After all, chaos is scary and we have to protect ourselves from those who are not like us, right? And when people are afraid, they seek out someone who will protect them. How will letting this go on prevent the rise of a dozen Hitlers and not lead to the complete reversal of at least attempts to grow Democracy around the world? What would keep the whole planet from crashing into another 500 years of The Dark Ages, as happened after the collapse of Rome? Wars did not end, they just got smaller and nastier. Suffering did not end, it just became ingrained in a new religion known as Christianity. What would make this time so different from that one that it’s worth having now and not trying to avoid?

  3. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 9, 2012

    There are no guarantees. Odds are it will be worse. But the odds of it not being worse are better than if we keep putting it off.

    ie. we buy years of lousy now at the cost of increased odds of not getting a good result on the other end.

    There are NO good solutions available anymore. It’s done. It’s over. We failed.

    We are now in triage.

    Everything you fear is likely to happen anyway. It is baked into the cake. People are going to seek demagogues and find them, there are going to be wars. There will probably be a world war IV. That’s the baseline scenario you get from supporting the lesser evil all the way down the line (vote Obama, or equivalent.)

    You are arguing for a few more years, and only a few, in my opinion. The current system will collapse. Everything it does is designed to cause collapse. It will happen.

    The question is how bad it is, and what comes out the other end. Collapse doesn’t mean the end of humanity (well, it could) or the end of civilization (well, it could). The WWI to WWII period was a collapse of an older older, for example.

    Now, of course, could be I’m wrong about this. But, obviously, I don’t think so.

    However, I will go further, the current political and institutional system must be destroyed, root and branch and recreated. This is necessary. Because the current system is causing collapse, and the longer it goes on the worse the collapse will be. If they keep it together another 30 years, you could lose all but 2 billion of the world’s population over the 30 years following that, because if they keep it together that long they will do so by widespread use of non-conventional hydrocarbons. We will be so fucked it’s not even funny. Now, given my age and health, I probably won’t see most of that, I might not see any of it.

    But I am not willing to put my comfort, now, over that prospect.

    It would be another thing if our elites were moving forward to a new system, but they aren’t. They refuse to. They are just doubling down again and again. The longer it goes on, the worse the catastrophe.

  4. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 9, 2012

    You are way too optimistic.

    Ian, the 1920s are what oncoming collapse looks like. The most important fact, to me, is the size and stability of the US military, and the complacency of the populace in providing the surplus.

    America is not what an empire in collapse looks like, it is what an empire about to expand looks like.

    There will be no collapse. There will be a controlled downsizing.

  5. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Look, that is how you need to adjust your analysis. The Cold War was Rome versus Carthage, and America won, turning itself onto a war machine. Now they must expand, to satisfy the various demands of the tools of Empire.

    I think you are overestimating any resistance foreign elites will give to the rationalizing of their political economies and the downsizing of their populations when America puts the blandishments of suzerainty on the table.

    Your mistake is thinking the leadership is stupid and ignorant, rather than duplicitous liars, genocidal to the core. They know what you know, and they have a plan.

  6. alyosha permalink
    January 9, 2012

    @bob, I fully expect a desperate USA to attempt what you’re saying, esp if a President Teabag gets in, but don’t think it’s going to ultimately work. The “size and stability” of the US military is a mirage – we’re borrowing money to keep it going. It will ultimately be a high stakes stand-off between our creditors and our generals – “America’s Last Stand”. I wouldn’t bet on a bankrupt USA to prevail.

    Saner heads will/are attempting a controlled downsizing.

  7. Jumpjet permalink
    January 9, 2012

    And now I’ve finally found an appropriate fictional analogue.

    You’re all playing psychohistorian.

    Which is terribly unfortunate for me, as I never actually read the Foundation trilogy. I suppose I should. But that’s what this is all about, barring the existence of an exact science, isn’t it?

  8. January 10, 2012

    @bob mcmanus
    “The Cold War was Rome versus Carthage, and America won, turning itself onto a war machine. “

    Yes indeed, and where is that Roman Empire today?

  9. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 10, 2012

    There is no psychohistory. But I predicted the crisis quite well, thanks. Doesn’t mean I’ll be right going forward, but eh, you’ve got to model and then act on the model, or you’re either operating blind or doing nothing.

    Bob: America will try to use its military, and will try and force the oil regions to give it what it wants. As with the Iraq war it will initially look successful, and then it won’t. The problem is that America is no longer the industrial powerhouse in the world, and it never will be again.

    So sure, there may be one more expansion. I might even become an member of an occupied country (I’ve warned my countrymen repeatedly that we need a deterrent.) But it won’t last. This ain’t gonna be a 5 hundred year empire, it won’t make 20. Maybe not even 10.

  10. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Saner heads will/are attempting a controlled downsizing.

    Please elaborate. Who are these saner heads? I mention this because in some of your more recent posts your partisanship is revealing itself. This is no time for partisanship. That delusional, fabricated horse is dead. It was a trick pony. Al Gore wasn’t going to save anything but his own fortune and status, and Clinton was as egregious in his violations as was Dubya. Since Reagan, it’s been a bi-partisan consensus in Washington DC….meaning they play their parts, but they’re all playing for the same team and serve the very same Masters.

    One sign of collapse, in The West at least, will be massive unemployment….not the paltry 20% we are seeing now, but a figure approaching 50-60%, or more, initially. More than half the people you know will be out of work and struggling to put food on the table. The implications of this are numerous. Health will decline and mortality rates will rise. Life expectancies will drop by 20 years, or more in the span of a decade . Infectious diseases will make a strong comeback, and people will be confronted with life-threatening illnesses on a daily basis. Many will go insane because they will be unable to mentally and emotionally cope with their new living conditions and they are ill-equipped to deal with it, yet there will be no help for these tortured creatures and they will act out in the streets….screeching the siren song of the brave new era. Families will be busted and broken. Single mothers will give their children up in hopes that they will have a better life. Most will lose their retirement, including the majority of everyone posting here. Within several years, the crumbs any of you have managed to save will have been vacuumed up by that wealth-concentrating machine you invested in all these years. If you own your home, it will be worthless aside from being a tentative shelter over your head. You will have to guard it against constant attack and break-in because there will no longer be a police force to serve as a deterrent to desperate criminals. People will start banding together in various ad-hoc tribal affiliations in order to offer themselves some modicum of safety and security amidst the deterioration and chaos.

    Alright…enough already, I could go on and on, but that’s one possible permutation. And I do believe there is a psychohistory, but it’s still being written. This psychohistory will have its roots in a couple of generations systematically having their spine and ethical/moral basis removed via mass propaganda and marketing. It’s no longer the parents doing the bulk of abusing. Instead, the parents have deferred that responsibility to interests outside the home. They have offered their children up to an apparatus that molds and shapes them into greatly compromised, mostly homogenized, predictable and dutifully obedient consumer servants. That’s the fertile soil that has sprouted this final act that is now unfloding before our very eyes. Some choose to pluck those eyes from their head and bury what remains in the sand, and others walk around with Eyes Wide Shut. Me….well, I’m keeping them open, foolishly perhaps, but mainly because I’ve always been a sucker for a good drama….and this one promises to please.

  11. alyosha permalink
    January 10, 2012

    @MB – by saner heads attempting a downsizing, I mean policy changes short of going to war. Stuff like gutting social security, medicare, and yes the defense budget. We’re only seeing tiny moves in this direction currently.

    If thinking Al Gore would’ve done better than W makes me a partisan, than so be it. Whatever my misgivings about Obama, he doesn’t have trigger happy Dick Cheney agitating for war, and I definitely sleep better at night since Obama took over. I can’t argue with how my body feels.

    I believe in psychohistory and I guess that’s as good a name as any for what we’re discussing. Another writer, Sara Robinson (used to post at Campaign for America’s Future and elsewhere), actually got an advanced degree in futurism. And so there is a real world discipline and real world employment for people who formally study and apply this stuff. She noted, that the Christian right is intensely interested in this field, and many of her fellow students were of this bent, with the intention of influencing the future. Scary, huh?

    Jumpjet, Foundation is worth a read. I will give away some of it, because it’s relevant to this thread. Psychohistory, as Asimov conceived it, involves predicting the actions of broad masses of people (if you’re old enough to remember, put yourself in the mindset of the 1950s, which was all about masses of people, individuals not so much). It falls apart when a rare individual comes forward and changes history in ways that are outside the statistical norm – which is what happens in Foundation. And so this kind of prognostication definitely has its limits.

  12. someofparts permalink
    January 10, 2012

    You know, considering the prospect of WWIII as a Southerner, what the entire U.S. is doing now reminds me of the Confederacy. Back when the U.S. Civil War happened the South, with an agricultural economy, went into battle against an industrialized enemy. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict the outcome of that match. So fast forward to the present time and here we are, merrily de-industrializing at a breakneck pace and looking for an excuse to start a war at the same time. Eventually we’ll be like that knight in Monty Python – legs and arms cut off, but still jumping up and down screeching at our enemies to come back and fight.

  13. January 10, 2012

    “Whatever my misgivings about Obama, he doesn’t have trigger happy Dick Cheney agitating for war, and I definitely sleep better at night since Obama took over.”

    You have got to be kidding. If not, that’s wishful thinking talking, not acknowledgment of reality.

    Glenn Greenwald has it exactly right:

    . . . how can a GOP candidate invoke this time-tested caricature when Obama has embraced the vast bulk of George Bush’s terrorism policies; waged a war against government whistleblowers as part of a campaign of obsessive secrecy; led efforts to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs; extinguished the lives not only of accused terrorists but of huge numbers of innocent civilians with cluster bombs and drones in Muslim countries; engineered a covert war against Iran; tried to extend the Iraq war; ignored Congress and the constitution to prosecute an unauthorised war in Libya; adopted the defining Bush/Cheney policy of indefinite detention without trial for accused terrorists; and even claimed and exercised the power to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield and without due process?

    Reflecting this difficulty for the GOP field is the fact that former Bush officials, including Dick Cheney, have taken to lavishing Obama with public praise for continuing his predecessor’s once-controversial terrorism polices.

  14. alyosha permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Lisa, it could well be wishful thinking. It certainly reflects the contexts I was in during the time – up to my eyeballs battling right wingers during the Bush years, wearing out my health and getting old in the process – versus high and dry and unemployed post-Bush/Cheney. I do sleep better, no question about it.

  15. groo permalink
    January 10, 2012


    …I do sleep better…


    As rational/emotional beings which we definitely are, this is a significant statement.

    I just imagine a mode of judgment, where one decides pro Politician A, because he makes one sleep/feel better.

    A functioning society addresses questions by the use of the prefrontal cortex, and not the Amygdala, our fear-center.

    So, any politics of fear adresses our unconscious faculties.
    And this is far below eg Artistotle, who enjoyed the luxury of envoking his rational faculties, in designing the ‘good’ society.

    Where is the ‘progress’?

    No offense intended!

    Just asking.
    Any politics of fear (or other addressing of our unconscious faculties evoked by propaganda and such) is a big step back.

  16. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Gutting social security and medicare are exactly the wrong things to do. That is not sane policy, it is insane policy.

  17. alyosha permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Insane, but down-sizing. That seems to be the goal, regardless of how in/sane it seems.

  18. alyosha permalink
    January 10, 2012

    @groo – it’s my opinion that Obama received the Nobel Prize – deserved or not – because the rest of the world felt that it could sleep better at night, after eight years of the Cheney administration. I breathed a huge sigh of relief after the 2008 election, and further sighs of disappointment as 2009 turned into 2010. Followed by the sobering realization that it really is over for this country, no turning back now.

    I therefore view any discussion of the different kinds of evil each administration represents, and which one is worse, as a bit like arguing over the colors of the deck furniture on the Titanic at this point. I used to see a lot of purity arguments going on at various sites over this. It just doesn’t matter and it wastes energy.

  19. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 11, 2012

    @ groo

    Newly translated to english, E.H. Gombrich “A Little History of The World” is a book the like of which has not been available to the english speaking world. History as told by a storyteller. It is written for children but profound enough to engage the adult, and, rarely enough, honest enough to admit of error. ISBN 978-0-300-14332-4. The narration of history is a subject that has gone missing in public education, in its place propaganda and disinformation have been substituted, no warning is issued nor critical analysis based upon experience allowed, deviation from the herd is met with social exclusion, (and bad has become a form of approbation).

    If you are looking into philosophy for where your tribe went awry, you probably will not find an answer there. You are witnessing another tribe go awry and loose its way. Look instead into what is being substituted for philosophy; ersatz beliefs and obscuring lies, as mentioned at the end of comments two posts below if you hadn’t seen it (comments are closed there). You are witnessing also the voice of opposition being silenced, neutered, eviscerated, gassed and tasered; a dark age is now descending upon the world, people will survive but meanly, what passes for civilization will wither and turn to dust, put your trust where neither moth nor rust can destroy, this too will pass.

  20. dandelion permalink
    January 11, 2012

    We are on the brink of fascism, and by that I mean the complete marriage of corporation and state, the completion of totalitarian control over the individual by the state, and the complete militarization of the economy.

    It would be wonderful if the left in this country could stop it, but they can’t, they’re not large enough, powerful enough or organized enough.

    The liberarians might be able to stop it. Maybe. And no, libertarianism is not fascism, no matter how odious their social justice beliefs are.

    Libertarianism has much stronger and longer roots in American political history than does social democracy or socialism.

    How much of an emergency do you think we’re in? If it’s that close to the brink, the time may be to throw behind the libertarians in order to apply a brake. In order to create space to do what left/liberals have not done for 30 years: try to win over the people who don’t already agree.

  21. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 11, 2012

    @ dandelion

    The error is that you are not on the brink of anything, the country has become a police state, complete with thought control; uneducated but highly propagandized; illiterate incapable of neither rational thought nor able to critically think; politically naïve, opinionated, wedded to the status quo; truly herd animals, actual individualism entirely unknown and unwelcomed.

    You propose libertarianism as an answer and have created some salvation from that source, completely unsupported by facts in evidence. The evidence is that your “libertarianism” is indistinguishable from the camouflage used by the John Birch Society in order to give themselves intellectual legitimacy. There is a fine straw man to follow if you so desire but you will not get far and you will continue to be deluded for there is nothing there but space filler, more of the empty propaganda that already fills and robs you of your life. Do as you will, don’t ask others to follow that dead end.

  22. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 11, 2012

    ^ Yes, no leaders, no heroes, no path forward, no map, no refuge, and no place to rest.
    It is indeed a new world; whether or not it’s a brave one is up to each individual.
    But for the curious, for the adventurer, for the seeker; nothing has really changed, it’s just in your face and there is no mistaking it for other than what it truly is; a reminder if you will, of that which has been forgotten or never learned…

  23. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 11, 2012

    I therefore view any discussion of the different kinds of evil each administration represents, and which one is worse, as a bit like arguing over the colors of the deck furniture on the Titanic at this point. I used to see a lot of purity arguments going on at various sites over this. It just doesn’t matter and it wastes energy.

    This is precisely my point, and it’s why you should jettison your partisan view of history. It took a consensus, a team, to pull off what has been pulled off for nearly half a century now, especially from Reagan onwards. When you retroactively accused the predecessors to Obama, your accusations, to me at least, were one-sided. You were fixated on Dubya, and not one mention of the equally loathsome Clinton(s). What do you call NAFTA and the destruction of Yugoslavia? Do you think the people of Yugoslavia were able to sleep at night while Clinton was in office? I have some Bosnian friends who were there during that time. I can tell you…..they weren’t sleeping well, if at all.

  24. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 11, 2012

    Some more on Fracking. Pretty soon, we’re all going to be enveloped in these foggy Methane Mists mentioned at the latter part of the video considering the increasing ubiquity of this blossoming bubble.

  25. groo permalink
    January 11, 2012

    well friends,
    alyosha, T-bear, MB, alyosha, Lisa …

    I’m not ready to give up.
    The US very much looks like a lost case, but there are some bright spots and energetic people.
    Looking at Europe, there is a large spectrum of responses to the current crisis.
    The Greek maybe the most interesting case, because of their long tradition of resistance against Osman and all sorts of later rule.
    They are probaly the most ‘anarchistic’ of Europeans, in a good and a bad sense.
    The spectrum is extreme, from Finland to Hungary to Greece.
    See China. The inner tensions are near the breaking point.
    California-Lousiana-Utah is probaly less extreme.
    How this plays out?
    Who knows?

    But I think there is a global sense of something epochal happening, which has not quite materialized yet.

    See the demonstrations of students in Chile, how far it goes.
    reading the latest musings of Fidel Castro, i must say, that he definitely belongs to the saner 1% of world leaders.

    see eg

    (part II below)

  26. groo permalink
    January 11, 2012


    Surviving more than 30 attempted assassinations by the US , which put him into the Guiness book, I give him some credit for misbehavior.

    To make the story short:
    WHAT has to be done, seems quite clear to me.
    HOW it is done, not so much.

    As a final food for thinking:
    Some Matt Bruening, of whom I have not heard about until yesterday:
    who had a lively discussion with George Monbiot recently
    and here one of Monbiot.

    This is a fine exchange of thoughts of some fine minds.

    Contrast this to some Mitt Romney, who trys to sell his despicable ‘philosophy’ to the american mind, where even Ayn Rand would roll in her grave.

    He is a true follower of Michael Milken.

    Cant help of thinking of something akin to Dante’s inferno.

  27. January 11, 2012

    Excuse the blog-whoring, but this pertains to the police state in which we live (oops — I mean Noble Democracy Where Freedom Reigns):

    Police taser man at Sacramento TSA checkpoint
    by Lisa Simeone on JANUARY 11, 2012

  28. January 11, 2012

    groo, I’m not giving up yet. That’s why I’m involved with the Occupy movement. No matter what happens in the next 10, 20, however-many years, at least I’m going down fighting.

  29. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 11, 2012

    groo, I’m with you, I’m not giving up either, but my resistance, fight…whatever one wishes to label it, is a bit unorthodox. My current strategy, as I’ve mentioned on previous threads, is to feed the Beast to the least extent possible….to deprive it of its sustenance and nutrition. Part of that strategy is to help the next generation develop in the ways I have already discussed….free to create themselves and develop themselves into truly creative, critically and free-thinking, empathic, rational and compassionate individuals. It’s against all odds, I know, but like Lisa, I can’t just give up….or in, and so I’ve found this third way. I have yet to see a viable way offered up to confront this brutal System head-on. In fact, at this point, that seems to be exactly what this Beast is soliciting…..a Bring It On….Let’s See What You’ve Got attitude. It’s just itching to start implementing all that draconian legislation passed in the last decade. I refuse to play into its hands and feed it even more. Yeah, I’ll probably go down the drain with all the rest, but at least I’ll go with my head held high and my irreverent cheek turned to the provocateurs.

  30. January 11, 2012

    Those Monbiot & Bruenig pieces you linked to, groo, are masterworks of concision and clarity. Thanks, we can all use help in our talking points.

    Lisa, thanks for hanging with occupy. I predict a mighty spring.

    Another grand thread, folks.

  31. January 11, 2012

    Oh, and MB – I agree wholeheartedly with your strategy of disengaging with the Beast. That is the first act of purity before one can proceed further. Bless you all.

  32. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 12, 2012

    Ahh! the herd.
    One neighs some inanity of not giving up, and the others whingingly whinny their agreement.
    And the herd is off, nothing but a cloud of (cheeto?) dust in their wake as evidence of their passing.

    Good luck with that.

    That earlier comment made was of the countries collective characteristics, but those characteristics are flawlessly reflected in its ersatz individuals. It is a country of herds, racing to the slaughterhouse;
    oblivious of themselves,
    oblivious of their options,
    oblivious to their fate,
    and undeterred, undeviating in their heedless, headless flight through their lives.
    Stuff of tradition, stuff of tragedy.
    The ancient Greeks would have loved the story.

  33. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 12, 2012

    ^ Ah-men…

  34. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Seldom does an opinion carry great weight, This one does:

    It should be printed and framed, displayed upon the sacred places you have in your life.
    And, should you have a few coin, the author is in dire health and needful of any generosity you might be able to generate. Follow the proffered links to discover the dimensionality of excellent essay.

  35. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Arthur deconstructs the myth/lie with surgical precision. One of the best I’ve ever read.
    I get a perverse satisfaction in my decision to leave almost 9 years ago.
    I thank the gods I learned the truth more than 40 years ago while a young man in my 20’s facing the draft for Viet Nam.
    Thanks T-bear; not many walking this sometimes lonely path.

  36. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Interesting couple of responses from T-Bear and then Celsius. T-Bear, if I have the implication of his grandiose erudition correct, essentially says the following:

    One neighs some inanity of the futility of resistance, and the others whingingly whinny their agreement.

    So, T-Bear implies that we have no options and might as well shoot ourselves in the head because to believe otherwise, or even try anything to the contrary, merely proves that we are the herd animals we are and always have been and in trots Celsius, not with a mere “whingingly whinny agreement”, but rather a quite explicit and sanctamoni0us “Ah-men…” as though Yahweh had spoken and offered up an endless supply of that famous cheese snack as manna from heaven complete with mushroom clouds of that sublimely artificial zesty flavor the herd has come to love. Blessed be the powdered lactose fall-out.

    You know, T-Bear, you’re right, herds abound. You and Celsius, with your latest round of posts, have quite aptly proven what you heretofore believed you were somehow above.

    So, how do we avoid this dilemma of being a herd animal and being herded? Is it possible? If you answer my question, by T-Bear’s definition, you are engaging in herd animal activity and are thus showing your tragic flaw to be herded. We must never agree….ever….on anything except the formation of one last herd…..a suicide herd, similar to the Jonestown Model, where we use the one option we have to put an end to our herdiness with one last blissful and ceremonial herd rendition. We must all partake of the poisoned Cheetoes (the “e” is in honor of Dan Quayle since its election season) .

    Disclaimer: Celsius, if your remark was sarcasm aimed at the pontificating nature of T-Bear’s post, then disregard my blunt satire aimed across your bow. Maybe it’s not that we’re so much herd animals, as much as we are enmeshed in a network of, for lack of a better term, Vatican Simulacra. Like fractals, the Vatican Model replicates itself infinitely with its Popes pontificating and its brethren “ah-mening”, endlessly cascading and folding into itself into eternity…..because “there are no options, this is hell, so shut the hell up and listen… filthy animal.”

  37. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Robert Fisk at The Independent also has a commentary worth its salt today:

  38. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Talk about a herd, did you see all the comments at T-Bear’s link to Fisk’s article? From one holding pen to another. Jesus, I love this herd stuff. Thanks for bringing it up, T-Bear.

    Myself, I largely ignored the story, and any and all reaction to it. Afterall, why is it a story, at all? Who, or what, got the ball rolling on that latest snapshot of “reality?” Whilst you argue the details surrounding that latest reality snapshot, other snapshots for debate are in development. Meanwhile, the carpet and the floor beneath you have been pulled out, and you’re suspended in that moment just prior to free-fall, oblivious, machinating and contorting over carefully crafted and chosen wall hangings.

    See, two, or more, can play this game.

    Now, for some good news, and some new wall hangings. Bloomberg says Happy Days are Here Again. Cheer up, everybody, The Best is Yet to Come.

  39. groo permalink
    January 13, 2012


    yeah, You remind me on something: helping Arthur Silber.
    I wish I would not have to go through all this Paypal bullshit, to help him out.

    Is there another way in this damned globalized world, to help a person in need 10000 miles away, other than through a gateway like paypal?

    Global solitarity is compromised by the intermediaries.

    How can I donate to Assange, and be sure that the money reaches the addressee?

    Here again the gatekeepers are at work.

    This is my main inhibition, to donate to people of worth on the other side of the globe.

    Is there a system behind?

    This is a quite subtle issue.

    N0thing more to say.

  40. groo permalink
    January 13, 2012

    solidarity = solitarity

    something Freudian going on there.

  41. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 13, 2012

    @ groo

    Arthur Silber uses Paypal still, it is the only reliable method he has to receive assistance. You will have to look in Arthur’s archives for the exact wording, something to the effect “Mailing address for Donations” in the subject line of an e-mail to him. IIRC it was about the time the wikileaks blew up, the release of the helicopter murder video, maybe August, Sept. or sometime that summer. The Swedish thing was coming to light about that time as well. You should find it without much trouble.

    As for Assange, about the only suggestion is to look up the website to see if there are any instructions. Last thing I knew, about the only way was through bank transfer directly into their accounts, maybe a mailing address. CIA got him quite isolated very quickly. Another crime into the ledgers. Best of luck ……

  42. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Wow, Mitt Gingrich is really going after Newt Romney. The gloves are off. They’re going to destroy each other and leave the path clear for Paul. Kabuki can be fun.

    groo, if you would like, I can give you my address and you can send some donations my way. I mean, afterall, you said you liked my posts….well, most of them, and we need money to start the school. Just give me your e-mail address and I will give you my address for you to send the funds.

  43. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    This person works for CNN as a Political Analyst…..and I bet, unlike Lisa, she won’t lose her job over such debased and crass comments. Lisa, maybe if you “drop trou” and urinate on some Taliban, NPR will give you your job back……not that you’d want it.

  44. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 13, 2012

    There’s a whole lot of mooing and bleating going on in America today as the wranglers try to separate their brands. Of course, there are always rogues going their own way.
    My posts pretty much stand by themselves and on occasion, another’s post resonates with me; I don’t feel it necessary to defend or justify that either way.
    I’m not responsible for others perceptions/reactions, now or ever.

  45. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    You don’t have to justify anything, Celsius. Your comments speak for you. You applauded T-Bear’s urination on Lisa, groo, petro and myself, and I responded to it in kind. I don’t blame you or T-Bear. Metaphorically speaking, that’s what the herd that is known as “America” does these days….urinates on everyone….just as T-Bear urinated on some here in the post that so resonated with you. It’s ironical that the very same behavior that is found to be deplorable and loathsome when practiced by the myth that is so often referred to as “America” is embraced and used by its very same critics, in a figurative sense.

  46. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 13, 2012

    ^ Have it your way…

  47. January 13, 2012

    I drift into and out of despair. Despair & depression is probably the most realistic and intelligent assessment of, and response to, the facts.

    I also know that despair is self-fulfilling, whether or not it is come upon rightly. So grabbing at branches floating nearby, even as the falls loom, is still a rational choice.

    I take no offense.

  48. groo permalink
    January 13, 2012

    You’re funny, guys/gals

    nevertheless, I try to funnel some Euros to Arthur Silber and his cats.
    Next is me, trying to make me a home with 5tons of CO2/year max.
    Then some Haitians.
    Then Morocco Bama and his heroic wife, trying to educate some children in the vast diasopra
    of what is called ‘America’.

  49. January 13, 2012

    Funny like a circular firing squad. 🙂

  50. groo permalink
    January 13, 2012

    why on earth there is no spelling-checker?
    Sense-checkers are right around the corner, we’re told.
    Everything will be good then.
    Google will do it for us. What a bunch of good guys they are! Kisses!

    Do’nt be evil!

  51. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Have it your way…

    As a herd animal, I have no way. It’s the way of the herd.

    However, ironically, I don’t even like Cheetos. My favorite cheese snack is Cheese Nips.

  52. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 14, 2012

    Scene Final, Closing Visuals – Staging

    End of golden hour
    Open with wide shot of desolate desert landscape, barren mountains in distance, sun has reached horizon and is half way down, what few paltry clouds in sky brightly illuminated on one side, the other growing dark. In foreground a small plot of worked soil with flowers still in bloom but askew.

    Pan down to wide shot of garden, the soft soil showing prints of a herd of eejits having just passed through, knocking the plants awry but intact.

    Pan back to horizon to telescopic focus, the last of the sun’s disk is slipping beneath, direct sunlight fading, clouds flaming colour.

    Light fading fast, pan again to garden, the remaining flowers have disappeared, a new set of prints in the soil is showing, they are the prints of the leading eejit, distinguished by each print having a ring of self importance about it.

    Focusing in on a small plaque in the garden, a dedication of the garden to intelligence and information, along with the prints of the leading eejit, the plaque is revealed under a large pile of poo.

    Light rapidly fades to dark.

    The FINIS

  53. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 14, 2012

    ^ Beautiful. Nicely done, and very Kubricknesque…although Kubrick is a bit overdone and over the top. I liked his renderings, but his alleged genius got the best of him, and he ended up obfuscating any point he was trying to make….on many occasions. This scene you have painted should rightly be juxtaposed with Kubrick’s The Dawn of Man scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. They go together like a Horse and Carriage.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s productive for you to refer to yourself as an “eejit” crapping on “intelligence and information” (interesting coupling of words there….I’ll have to ponder on it a bit further before I deposit an observation about its selection). I think more highly of you than that, and you shouldn’t be so self-deprecating. Self-deprecation has its place, but it should be used in moderation, otherwise, it becomes a hair shirt.

  54. groo permalink
    January 14, 2012

    I appreciate your poetic statement very much.
    But being a different sort of animal, I would like to tell You a story.

    I once took pictures of winter-flowers -Crocuses- late february in the night.
    Very tender beings.
    Wondering what they were doing.
    What did they do?
    Their wrinkled blooms laying flat on the snow.
    Never thought they would recover from this.
    But they did.

    The sun came out next day, and here they were again, in all their beauty.
    No wrinkles. Following the sun.

    A lasting experience.
    Agreed. This cannot be generalized.
    But is sort of a living metaphor.

  55. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 14, 2012

    @ groo

    Thank you for relating those images, up in the mountains here there is the hermitage of San Romain, set in an ancient oak forrest. You will find wild crocus growing there, miniature gems hidden in the grasses, quite easily overlooked. In Ireland the wild garlic and the snowdrop are some of the first to arrive as winter is still about.

    I used the imagery I did for a purpose, that being in a barren or hostile environment, there were places tended and cultivated, that supported the flowering of knowledge and ideas. That these places were easily trampled underfoot, their carefully tended growth fodder for bravely braying fools.

    A braying fool is what has taken up residence in this garden. Most children have given up the “I’m rubber and you’re glue, what you say bounces off me and sticks to you” by the time they are in second grade; the exception being severely developmentally retarded who may carry on until maybe eleven or twelve, thirteen at most. Not so for MB, they are still at it, after all these years.

    Assessing from the braying fools comments and the carryon they enter into here, what shows is there never was an adult role model in their experience, they came from and remain in a world of childishness, and will stay there for the duration of their life. This MB hasn’t the slightest idea what or how an adult operates, and this MB wants to become teacher to children. That will not end well, who will be the adult role model should that happen. More likely MB will become as much a danger to the development of children as some Roman Catholic Priests ever were.

    MB is at best mentally unstable, judging from their behavior here. Unable to control their anger, lashing out at imagined slights, laying in wait to exact revenge, incapable of judgment, unskilled at critical thinking, education provincial and limited, experience non-existant, and self control not in evidence. There is nothing evident that would lend weight to such a creatures opinions, or their empty but voluminous words. A waste of time and space if ever there was one.

    There is a saying: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool; rather to open ones mouth and remove all doubt”. MB should trace that on the cheeto dust on his walls and read it from time to time, particularly when tempted to share his thoughts.

  56. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 14, 2012

    T-Bear, the amazing thing is, every time you post something slighting and derogatory about anyone here, including me, you only do yourself a disservice, because it is you who is guilty of all you espouse, and it is YOU that you are describing. I’ll make this my last post in reply to anything you say, because I believe you are baiting, and I took the bait and ran it far too long. Life’s too short for such nonsense.

    A couple words in parting, though. I’m not going to stoop to your level and call you insane, childish, provincial, uncritically thinking and so on and so forth… you’ve done to me and others with your recent flurry of posts. That’s counterproductive and futile. The shoe doesn’t fit me, either, so I won’t wear it. You can try it on, if you like. Who knows, it just might fit. It’s worth a try, at least.

    In regards to my sanity, I consider it a compliment that you consider me mentally unstable. This world is insane, so to judge me as mentally unstable using all the diagnostic skills and definitions of a world that is obviously insane, means the exact opposite of your intent. Yes, I’m insane, and damn happy to be, at that.

    It’s interesting you speak of experience, because that is the very thing I was going to bring up to you. Intelligence isn’t gleaned from education, so if you believe that, and I think you do from what you have said, then your intelligence must be severely lacking. Gathered knowledge, without the psychical and physical experience from which it was derived, does not render one necessarily intelligent. It lacks the most visceral component…..the component of experience. Just as a child must crawl before it walks, so too, must one experience for the full potential of knowledge to be realized as intelligence. Otherwise, you’re just regurgitating, in rote fashion, the words and ideas of others who perhaps realized the experience, and as such, you don’t have the capacity, the neural and synaptical arrangement, to fully comprehend that of which you speak. To that, I will say this about myself. I’m still forming, and I will continue to learn and grow from my knowledge based in experience until the day I die.

    As for your belittling comment about adults and children, as is the case with all your recent insults, they’re tried, true and typical internet insulting techniques. If I’ve seen them once, I’ve seen them a thousand times….leveled by helpless individuals who haven’t a leg to stand on, intellectually. Once again, if you consider me childish, thanks for the compliment. When I look around me, and see what all of the adults like yourself have done to this once beautiful paradise and what you adults are about to do to it further, I thank my lucky stars I’m still a child at heart. Perhaps if more of us were, we could change this tide, but not if you have any say in the matter, that’s for sure. I like Bob Black’s rebuttal to your Madeleine Albright-like boast of the vantages of adulthood.

    Ian, I apologize for letting it get this far. As promised, I will avoid engaging T-Bear, even if an insult is flung my way. It’s not worth the distraction, although there is always something to be gained and learned from any experience, this one included.

  57. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 14, 2012

    Hmm; two posters, both of whom I respect, are possibly forgetting there is a reason we are all here at Ian’s place.
    These are incredibly stressful times; let’s not forget to celebrate our differences while keeping an eye on the horizon.
    Cheers all…

  58. January 14, 2012


  59. groo permalink
    January 15, 2012

    ok, guys,
    for me Ian’s blog is one of several crystallizing points, where likeminded people exchange ideas and ponder judgments about affairs.
    For me as a European it naturally not so easy to decipher the fineprint of US-politics in all its details.
    Nevertheless I hope, it is of interest to You, to consider this angle.

    My other ‘personal’ interests are in the undercurrents:
    –analysis/deconstruction of the reactionary mind,
    –the inner workings/contradictions of Libertarianism
    –slaveholder-mentality and suprematism.
    –the role of narcissism right up to sociopathy.

    Child-rearing and the use of force are definitely important points, to establish authoritarian rule.
    this is an issue, which Ian normally does not address, which is ok, but Morocco Bama seem to be acutely aware.

    Just yesterday Numerian over at the agonist nailed Romney.
    It matches may own -independent- judgment almost to the point.
    except for the reference to Ayn Rand.
    Ayn Rand would have a hard time to justify Romney’s way to his riches.
    For me he is a test-case of angry Americans throwing shoes at this despicable being.
    If they cherish their own hangman against their own interest in favor of someone who abuses them and the land, well, I have some thinking to do. Converting to Islam would not be the worst of options, if I were an American. But then…

    Americans currently make a BIG mistake: they think that their behavior is somehow universally accepted by the rest or the world.
    The opposite is the case.
    This clownesque parade of idiot candidates -including the Orwellian in chief-, is, I suppose, recognized by a global disgust. The rest has to be bought. Money running out.
    Therefore the currency wars.
    But the idiot himself still imagines himself of being in control.

    So I see the group here at Ian’s place as some 30 pairs of eyes, who look into different directions, but basically being on the same ship.

    If we do not keep our ship in working order , and all the diverse characters on it, we , well, have a problem.

    Today we can change virtual ships by the click of a button, which tends to pull our feet from the ground and leaves us freewheeling in the air, if we are not careful.

    (I have a second point, which will be blocked out by Ians blog-machine, so I wait, until another comment arrives. It is about slavery and the early ruminations of the demise of democracy in the 1910’s. Hope that goes through.)

  60. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 15, 2012

    groo, Numerian is referring to the very same video I linked to the very same day he offered his analysis. I offered it up here because I respect the intellect, the lack of partisanship, and for the most part, the objectivity of the audience. I make assumptions when I post things like that, and the one assumption, amongst others, I made was that everyone here for what seems an eternity now knows the evils of which Newt reveals in that video. We all also know that Mitt didn’t seem to care too much about any of that when he was crusading in the 90’s on his way to conservative glory. I considered that obvious and there was no need to insult any of you with the obvious. Therefore, my angle on it was the what,why and when. What prompted Newtgrich to remove the stops? Why did he and his donors decide to do it when they did it? What’s the real strategy behind the move, and what are the potential implications/ramifications…..considering, as has been mentioned, it’s all rather irrelevant, but sometimes mildly entertaining, rough-shod Kabuki. Also, I’m not interested in the “Politico” version of the what, why and when. There take on such matters is establishment nonsense that doesn’t explain anything, and will leave the inquisitor more confused than when he/she started.

  61. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 15, 2012

    ^it should be their instead of there.

  62. groo permalink
    January 15, 2012

    over the weekend I pondered two questions, which took away some of my sleep.
    Both are closely related to the current situation, You hopefully see.

    a) the justifications of slavery.
    slavery is an ancient human relationship.
    what is interesting, is its justification and metamorphosis over the millenia.a good entry is wikipedia.
    It boils down to a power-relationship, which has to be codified by a system of thought, which is mostly incoherent.
    1)Naked power,
    2)a system of ‘rights’,supported by religious beliefs.
    3) todays wage-slavery, property-slavery, debt-slavery are just variations of an ancient pattern.
    The different flavors of e.g Libertarianism are just that:
    Variations of an ancient theme.
    They collapse on the different conceptions of ‘freedom’ –negative and positive–
    as Monbiot and Bruenig and Isaiah Berlin worked out.

    b) the anticipation of the demise of ‘democracy’ in the early 1900s.

    I spare you Robert Michels, who predicted the demise of (German) democracy before it even started (1911).
    There is another character. ‘Brooks Adams’.
    He belonged to the US-American aristocracy, and was highly critical of it.

    an excerpt:

    that I suspect the modern capitalistic class to be weak. The scope of the human intellect is necessarily limited, and modern capitalists appear to have been evolved under the stress of an environment which demanded excessive specialization in the direction of a genius adapted to money-making under highly complex industrial conditions.
    To this money-making attribute all else has been sacrificed, and the modern capitalist not only thinks in terms of money, but he thinks in terms of money more exclusively than the French aristocrat or lawyer ever thought in terms of caste.
    The modern capitalist looks upon life as a financial combat of a very specialized kind, regulated by a code which he understands and has indeed himself concocted, but which is recognized by no one else in the world.
    He conceives sovereign powers to be for sale.
    He may, he thinks, buy them; and if he buys them; he may use them as he pleases.

    now, basically, Adams was anything but a revolutionary, but wanted to make his class alert, to what could happen.

    I urge You to read ch VI. The rest is preparatory to his conclusion.

  63. groo permalink
    January 15, 2012

    Adams asserts, that history is not repeating. The ‘rhyming’ has not yet been invented.
    But he says (1913):

    To this money-making attribute all else has been sacrificed, and the modern capitalist not only thinks in terms of money, but he thinks in terms of money more exclusively than the French aristocrat or lawyer ever thought in terms of caste.
    The modern capitalist looks upon life as a financial combat of a very specialized kind, regulated by a code which he understands and has indeed himself concocted, but which is recognized by no one else in the world.
    He conceives sovereign powers to be for sale.
    He may, he thinks, buy them; and if he buys them; he may use them as he pleases.
    He believes, for instance, that it is the lawful, nay more! in America, that it is the constitutional right of the citizen to buy the national highways, and, having bought them, to use them as a common carrier might use a horse and cart upon a public road.

    He may sell his service to whom he pleases at what price may suit him, and if by doing so he ruins men and cities, it is nothing to him.
    He is not responsible, for he is not a trustee for the public.
    If he be restrained by legislation, that legislation is in his eye an oppression and an outrage, to be annulled or eluded by any means which will not lead to the penitentiary. He knows nothing and cares less, for the relation which highways always have held, and always must hold, to every civilized population, and if he be asked to inform himself on such subjects he resents the suggestion as an insult.
    He is too specialized to comprehend a social relation, even a fundamental one like this, beyond the narrow circle of his private interests.
    He might, had he so chosen, have evolved a system of governmental railway regulation, and have administered the system personally, or by his own agents, but he could never be brought to see the advantage to himself of rational concession to obtain a resultant of forces. He resisted all restraint, especially national restraint, believing that his one weapon–money–would be more effective in obtaining what he… wanted in state legislatures than in Congress. Thus, of necessity, he precipitates a conflict, instead of establishing an adjustment.
    He is, therefore, in essence, a revolutionist without being aware of it.
    The same specialized thinking appears in his reasoning touching actual government.


  64. groo permalink
    January 15, 2012

    another snippet from Adams:

    Then nothing remains but flight. Under what conditions industrial capital would find migration from America possible, must remain for us beyond the bounds even of speculation.

    It might escape with little or no loss. On the other hand, it might fare as hardly as did the southern slaveholders.
    No man can foresee his fate. In the event of adverse fortune, however, the position of capitalists would hardly be improved by the existence of political courts serving a malevolent majority. Whatever may be in store for us, here at least, we reach an intelligible conclusion.
    Should Nature follow such a course as I have suggested, she will settle all our present perplexities as simply and as drastically as she is apt to settle human perturbations, and she will follow logically in the infinitely extended line of her own most impressive precedents.

    Here he presaged globalization and its consequences.

    A wise man indeed.

  65. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 16, 2012

    @ groo

    Brooks Adam’s brother Henry Brooks Adams’ autobiography “The Education of Henry Adams” also contains numerous snippets you may find of interest. That generation of that family shows what a good education can do. Off to take in the Hermitage’s exhibition at El Prado.
    All the best…….

  66. groo permalink
    January 16, 2012

    T-Bear and all.

    I pride myself of having a sharp mind at times.
    But the sharp mind dissects,
    the diffuse (??) mind –it has no name per definition!
    unites, without aiming to.

    I had a long non-discussion with my older sister lately.
    The clan-chief is a non-person.
    The Mother.

    Totally beside the point here.
    But maybe not .

  67. Nick permalink
    January 18, 2012

    God, I am glad I’m not married to any of you…I can just imagine what your dinner table talk is like.

  68. January 18, 2012


    LOL! You win the thread!

  69. groo permalink
    January 18, 2012


    The standard divorce-rate nowadays is 50%.
    Now consider the divorce-rates of of politicians and celebrities:
    N-times divorced. Statistically higher, I guess.
    1st: celebrities
    2nd: politicians and ‘high achievers’.
    3rd: the rest of the lot.

    What does that tell us?

    Maybe something, right?
    Blair, Bush, Clinton, Schroeder, Merkel, Berlusconi, Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin. …

    The common denominator is DEVIANCE from the ‘norm’.

    On a statistical measure, I would say, that ‘leadership’ is strongly correlated to –well- DEVIANCE.
    Whether this is a good thing, I won’t tell right now..
    Somehow it correlates to oscillation between extremes, which tries to make the extreme to the new norm.

    Appreciate You are ‘glad’.

    Basically You’re right, I guess.

    A hypothetical ‘good’ politician is one, who has 1-3 children who are in decent shape.

    Look eg to Chelsea Clinton, married to Investmentbanker Marc Mezvinsky.
    This about tells it all.

  70. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 18, 2012

    I can just imagine what your dinner table talk is like.

    If you don’t mind the magnesium deficit, popping a Prilosec and hiding the knives prior to dinner makes it manageable……oh, and plastic cups….no glass.

Comments are closed.