The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Of Course Putin Is A Killer. So Is Biden.

This is hilarious:

Biden made the comment in an ABC News interview broadcast on Wednesday. When asked if he thought the Russian leader, who has been accused of ordering the poisoning of Alexey Navalny and other rivals, is a “killer”, Biden replied: “I do.”

Biden also described Putin as having no soul, and said he would pay a price for alleged Russian meddling in the November 2020 US presidential election, something the Kremlin denies.

Putin on Thursday retorted: “I remember, in my childhood, when we argued in the courtyard, we used to say: ‘It takes one to know one.’ And that’s not a coincidence, not just a children’s saying or joke.

“We always see our own traits in other people and think they are like how we really are. And, as a result, we assess [a person’s] activities and give assessments.

Pretty much.

Now, obviously Putin is a killer. But Biden voted for Iraq and was VP to Obama, who was hardly a pacifist. He’s been a hawk all his career and has a ton of blood on his hands. He isn’t withdrawing from Afghanistan, he bombed in Syria, blah, blah, blah. He’s a red-handed mass murderer who apparently doesn’t even have the self-awareness to know that’s what he is.

Every American President, pretty much, is a mass murdering piece of human garbage. America has certainly destroyed more countries over the past 30 years than Russia, China, or both combined. This isn’t to whitewash those country’s crimes: the Chechen wars, in particular, were very nasty and Russia has targeted hospitals in Syria, among many other war crimes.

Putin’s a stone killer, sure, but the idea that Biden, or Obama, or Clinton or Trump aren’t is laughable.

I think that judging people in power by what they do is important. It is also important to be clear eyed and un-biased by our own tribal loyalties when doing so.

There has been a constant under-estimation of Putin and massive wishful thinking. Navalny is not popular, and Putin’s approval rating is at the low end of his normal range, but still good.

When Putin took over Russia, it was a shambles, after American lead “shock therapy” under the American proxy leader Boris Yeltsin.

(This is why I will always and forever laugh about Americans who whine about foreign election interference.)

Putin’s, overall, done a decent job for Russians. His major mistake was not diversifying the economy, but America’s forced him to change his mind on that with repeated sanctions. His approval ratings, over time, are better than most American Presidents ratings.

Russia continues to be a nuclear super-power, is the largest country in the world geographically, has a potent non nuclear military. They are now a solid Chinese ally, which is one of the biggest geopolitical errors in history from the US point of view (Russia didn’t want to be. They wanted to be Europeans.)

So Biden’s going to slap on more sanctions, and China and Russia are going to continue creating their own financial and trade bloc, which will include much of Africa and Asia, and Cold War 2.0 is going to continue forming.

And stone killer Biden will say nasty things about stone killer Putin and use the supposed Navalny assassination attempt as an excuse for sanctions, while not sanctioning Saudi Arabia over the murder of Kashoggi.

All of this is ridiculous. Even assuming Putin did try to have Navalny killed (why bother, he’s never been a threat), it pales compared to, oh massive Chechen (or Iraq) war crimes or bombing hospitals.

America is an evil empire. So is Russia.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this, from Navalny, the champion of the West.

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Cold War 2.0 Continues To Gather Pace Under Biden


Open Thread


  1. different clue

    Yes. Russia wanted to be accepted into Europe as a respected part of Europe. And Europe rejected Russia’s every attempt. Why? Excuse-making blame-shifting weaklings will say that the Great Satan America MADE them do it. Does any intelligent person accept that? From a region which is bigger than America, has a bigger economy, has more people?

    America didn’t make Europe reject Russia. A euracist antiRussianitic Europe did that all on its own.

    That is a bit tangential to the subject of this post, to be sure.

    Pat Lang has a ” warning, Will Robinson, danger danger” post about this on his blog.

  2. edmondo

    Putin just challenged Biden to a televised debate on one condition – that it be live. LOL


  3. nihil obstet

    The collapse of the Soviet Union left NATO with no reason to exist. A big, well-funded, powerful organization is going to work very hard to continue its existence for its members and its sponsors. The War on Terror auditioned for the part of “justifying NATO” but couldn’t quite rise to credibility as a need for a conventional military force. And so NATO members have resuscitated Russia as the dangerous, evil empire which requires comfy military careers and lucrative hardware.

  4. nihil obstet

    Can anyone provide info on a question I’ve had for a while: how does the percentage of Soviet residents in the gulag in the 1930s compare to the percentage of American residents in prison over the last twenty years or so?

  5. anon

    I don’t consider myself an evil person, but I’ve followed enough politics and true crime to know that evil sociopaths who harm and kill often do not possess self awareness. They justify their actions and dehumanize their victims. Many of them do not show any remorse for the pain they have caused their victims and their families.

    Politicians are not much different from a heartless murderer who picks victims off the street to torture and kill except that politicians have their military and police do the dirty work for them. Joe Biden, the Clintons, and Barack Obama truly do not see themselves to be as evil, let alone more evil, than Putin or Xi.

    Not all of them started off as sociopaths intending to do harm. Watch videos of a young Nancy Pelosi and sometimes she sounded as aspirational as AOC. Just watch this as an example:

    Over time, these people have to find a way to justify to themselves that they are still that same young person with good intentions long after they have sold their souls for power and money. Jimmy Dore is right in that no one changes the Democratic Party, but the Party will change you. It will be interesting to see which members of the growing Squad goes the way of Nancy Pelosi in twenty years.

  6. Willoweed

    A bit ironic that a major reason Putin is in power is because America decided to “shock therapy” Russia. This was accomplished by interfering in Russia’s elections to help a psychopath win. Americas “shock therapy” followed a worse economic depression than the Great Depression and caused Russian life expectancy to fall by around 5 years in the 1990’s. This isn’t surprising since psychiatric shock therapy consist of causing brain damage and claiming the more docile stupored person is “healed”.

    Russian under Putin has done a lot better than Russian under Americas shock therapy, however Putin’s Russia is a oligarchy where wealth and power are held by a select few and the masses suffer. Perhaps if Russia didn’t have the worse depression and life expectancy drop in modern history before Putin gained power his approval wouldn’t be so high among Russian people.

  7. Hugh

    I always thought that if you wanted to understand foreign affairs the Godfather, especially its depiction of the relations between the families, was a great place to start.

    I suppose if I had to choose the three biggest self-induced fiascos in American foreign affairs of the last 30 years or so, the one that gets mentioned least is how Bush I and the US totally blew the end of the USSR and transition of Russia. It was US policy not to help Russians but to keep them weak. The end result was the current kleptocracy ruled over by the thuggish Putin. Putin enjoys an outsized and largely undeserved rep. Yeltsin chose him because he was a semi-competent non-entity. He’s always been an opportunist and he uses that to feed into his reputation but less appreciated is that he is a screwup. Long after Putin is gone, his successors will still be trying to dig themselves out of the situations Putin created. He has managed to turn most of his Western neighbors hostile, gotten lots of sanctions, done his part to poison relations with both the US and Europe, and failed to deliver for ordinary Russians, especially on things like pensions and the coronavirus. But that’s why it is important to understand that he is a thug. It is why he can be effective on occasion but also why he commits so many unforced errors. He’s not a problem solver. He can create a mess, exploit it, but he really doesn’t know how to clean one up. Being a thug means being limited.

    As for some grand Russia-China alliance, don’t hold your breath. Putin and Xi, the Russians and the Chinese, rightly distrust each other too much.

  8. Soredemos


    “The guy who keeps refusing to bend over for NATO is poisoning relations with the West smh.”

  9. Ché Pasa

    Killing sprees that political leaders order or enable (they don’t, after all, commit those killings themselves you know…) are apparently fundamental to the concept of rulership. Show me a political leader/ruler who has not overseen the killing of multiple individuals while in power, and I’ll show you the exception that proves the rule.

    So Putin and Biden exchanging barbs about one another’s killing propensities is absurdist theater, isn’t it? As Ian says, “of course” they are killers. So was Trump, the Clintons, both the Bushes, and so on back through history. Killing — or rather ordering/enabling others to kill — goes with the job of ruling.

    If I had my druthers, it wouldn’t even be considered an essential job requirement. But as time goes by, it grows ever less likely that death and destruction will be decoupled from the job one’s political leaders are expected to do.

    As Hugh points out, organized crime families are seen as type-models for current rulerships, something that was made explicit during the brief Kennedy ascension — and his subsequent unfortunate… removal — and then again when Trump ascended. According to reports, these men were literally mobbed up and they paid a price (in Kennedy’s case, in blood) for it.

    I’d offer an alternative: the continuing soap opera of the British Royal Family, which not unsurprisingly, some of the mob-families seek to emulate at least outwardly. In that case, the pretense, the show is the game being played. The underlying reality is ugly as hell, but the show keeps the focus away from the sewage beneath, at least as long as the smell can be masked.

    Is there a better alternative? There should be. But if there is, it’s certainly well-hidden.

  10. Astrid

    Bernie and Corbyn are leaders who were not willing to make the kill when it was necessary. They’re chumps who lead their followers to the slaughter.

  11. someofparts

    “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” he said. “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”

    “The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long-arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries. It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China.

    “Let me say here that in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.”

  12. Feral Finster

    1. A scary enemy is needed to justify Empire, not to mention sky high military and spy budgets. Why are we constantly invading and attacking and sanctioning countries we don’t like? Is it because scary enemy, or is it because we are glorified robbers?

    2. A scary enemy is necessary to head off calls for domestic reform. (“We don’t have time for education/healthcare/infrastructure/etc. now! What are you, some kind of commie? Don’t you know we gotta fight Saddam/Milosevic/Bin Laden/Saddam again/Putin/Assad/Maduro/Kim/Xi?”)

  13. Hugh

    Soredemos, I expect that you think Putin wasn’t bending over and standing tall when he seized Crimea and sponsored a civil war in eastern Ukraine, you know just like your other hero did in Czechoslovakia in 1938.

  14. bruce wilder

    I like to imagine Napoleon showing up at meetings of the small committee that compiled the Code Napoleon and putting his sword on the table.

    Leaders are always enmeshed in systems — it can be hard to tell from outside sometimes where they actually have power or merely the appearance of power in prominence or formal authority and what skills are applied to effectively exercise that power. Many of the skills for the conduct of great authority involve the enactment of ritual — close examination of such magic tricks will reveal what? Machiavelli was wishing his Prince from a comfortable chair.

    Observing that politics entails violence should hardly be a revelation in itself. Abraham Lincoln “was a killer” would be true, but not politically or ethically informative.

    I am not sure why exactly, but somehow I imagine that Biden was referencing the long series of sometimes famously dramatic exotic poisonings of supposed enemies of the regime, which have become a signature feature of Russia’s relationship with several countries, including the U.K. No one seems to really know what those are about. Putin is often blamed or excused and the narrative of events as it becomes public is incoherent and contradictory. It is very strange.

    In the west political murder is typically quiet and deniable if done unofficially and lethal force is directed officially only at foreign targets. Seth Rich was mugged. Michael Hastings had a car accident. Sean Hoare’s death was not suspicious. Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide.

    But, this weird dance with “novichok” is extremely odd. In the Skirpal case, Putin in evident disgust made the Russian secret agents submit to an interview on national tv with a celebrity interviewer.

  15. bruce wilder

    Hugh’s judgment of Putin’s leadership is absurdly ill-informed.

  16. Hugh

    someofparts, Yang works for a dictator, Xi. Of course, he is going to diss democracy. None of this is surprising. Tiananmen happened back in 1989, 32 years ago. Outsourcing jobs and technology to China in the brainless way our ruling classes did is the second of the three great unforced errors I alluded to above. The Chinese are upset because the US still has more power than China does and Trump’s bungled anti-China policy is being taken over by more competent operators. It’s not important that some of the things they have to say about us are true. It is that this is about power, and the Chinese would be saying these kinds of things about us whether they were true or not. They are now, and for the next couple of years, at the height of their power, –until climate change starts significantly eroding their industrial base and foreign markets. We should be using this time to repatriate and rebuild core industrial capacities here which we so stupidly sent there.

  17. Plague Species

    There are two types of killing and therefore two types of killer. There is Cold Killing which is systemic and systematic killing. Many take part in and contribute to it especially those who sit on top of the machinery and somewhat direct it, i.e. America’s and Russia’s many proxy wars and America’s various wars independent of that during the Cold War and since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Chechnya for Putin and Ukraine as well. Syria too.

    There is also Hot Killing which is personal and in-your-face. Mano-y-Mano. Murdering, or contracting the murder of, one of your opponents or anyone you dislike for that matter. Dissidents, for example, or political opponents or academics or activists or journalists. That or can also be an and, and usually is.

    Per this qualification of killing, Putin is both a Cold Killer and a Hot Killer. Biden is the former but not the latter. If Biden was the ladder, meaning Biden was a Hot Killer, Trump would be dead right now and so too would many of us here and Bernie too. Putin eliminates who he perceives to be his enemies. He has them murdered. As a result, he faces no opposition in Russia. The only way Putin could be deposed is if several oligarchs collaborated to have him assassinated and so long as they are making gobs of dough they have no incentive to do that. The unwashed in Russia, like the unwashed in America but for different reasons, have been paralyzed with fright. Putin has so thoroughly terrorized them, they don’t give a thought to speaking out let alone rebelling.

    Yes, MBS is both a Cold Killer and a Hot Killer too, and yes Biden is a hypocrite for not treating MBS the same as he treats Putin.

    Biden is also correct that Putin doesn’t have a soul. Putin is KGB because once you’re KGB you are always KGB. Intelligence assets are soulless creatures. They have to be to do what they do. Psychopaths, basically. Biden may have a soul, but his soul is so tarnished and blighted, by Catholic standards strictly applied, no amount of atonement could be enough repentance for admission into heaven.

    I’m just happy to have a POTUS who doesn’t suck up to Putin and pretty much blow him in front of the world like McDonald Trump has done and does. McDonald is a Cold Killer and a Hot Killer wannabe, but being a egotistical narcissistic quisling competes with that and therefore he’s never fully realized this ignominious aspiration.

  18. Hugh

    Yes, bruce, my judgment is so ill-informed that I bet even now you are planning to move to Russia and live under Putin’s enlightened rule.

    If progressives want to be credible, they might at least try to apply the same skepticism they have of US policy to that of other countries. Instead we get uncritical caricatures.

  19. Astrid

    Even if I was to take PS’s distinction seriously ( are you less dead if you died as a consequence of a Cold Killer?), I would say personally authorizing drone bombings is pretty hot.

    Hugh and Plague Species – non sequitur and abysmal reading comprehension is apparently the last refuge of the “humanitarian interventionist” eager for the rest of the world to be bathed in the liberties that US/Israel bestowed on Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestinians, and Latin America. Please continue to be odious and I pray you will alienate all whom you come across.

  20. Stirling S Newberry

    This might be your worst post in a long time. Let’s start where we agree: America globed on to Yeltsin and almost the entire area a shambles. No disagreement there.

    We set things up for a man such as Putin. He was an inside man rather than outside in the military.

    We also wanted a foil: an enemy. “Just because the problem goes away, does not mean the people working to solve it do.” So far, so good.

    However, it has been 20 years since that and other plans have emerged particularly how climate change has replaced nuclear weapons. This means that a nominally sane Russia needs to be developed.

    An oligarchy needs to come down and it is the US that must take the lead. This is not a simple task but it has to be done.

  21. Plague Species

    Hugh, outsourcing wasn’t an error. Greed was always the goal and it still is, implications be damned. Saying it was an error gives the perpetrators an out. All that profit and ROI needs to be clawed back from the wealthy elite and used to reconstruct American industry with employee-owned companies.

    It remians to be seen if China is as successful at transitioning to a FIRE economy from an industrial economy as America was. America is at the end of its FIRE economy rope — it’s rung everything out of it it could have. China is peaking industrially as America did by the end of the 1950s so it’s imperative they transition because if they don’t, a massive collapse is in order.

    As Hugh says, the effects of climate chaos will affect ALL outcomes for every player. China will most likely never get a chance to make the transition to a FIRE economy and enjoy another half century of prosperity. The planet’s about to regurgitate us.

    That relationship between Russia and China? Two double-dealing backstabbers squaring off. McDonald is Putin’s quisling and McDonald is anti-Asian as is witnessed by his calling COVFEFE-45 the China Virus or the Kung Flu thus inspiring anti-Asian sentiment among his “base.” What say you Xi? Your partner Putin is pretty much directing McDonald and McDonald is taunting you with childish barbs like the Kung Flu and the China Virus and now defecating insurrectionist Trump-supporting Americans are pogroming Asian folks to include Chinese Americans. What a partner Putin is.

  22. Plague Species

    One major problem for China aside from climate chaos is, China doesn’t have an America like America had a China when America transitioned from an industrial economy to a FIRE economy. Where will China outsource? To Eastern Europe? Africa? North Korea? Also, I believe culturally China is resistant to outsourcing. It’s not that they’re not greedy, it’s that they’re racist and don’t trust that inferior races can accommodate their expectations and standards.

  23. Mark Level

    I’m no fan of Putin, but his “It takes one to know one” dismissal of Biden was to the point. As Ian’s post correctly notes, in the past several decades the US has done many times the damage in terms of numbers of deaths and maimings, of all the countries we constantly point to as “villains”, “dictators”, etc. We invade other countries based on lies, torture people, and run coups in other countries to install murderous right-wing governments, and have for decades.

    Thankfully, we don’t actually “win” wars anymore. (Did Grenada and Panama count under Reagan and Daddy Bush– I would say not, that’s like swatting a fly given our Imperial machine. And as many including Bill Hicks noted at the time Daddy Bush’s Gulf War I was not a “war” either, it was just a massive slaughter from the air.) What we do instead is occupy these countries endlessly and achieve nothing. . . .

    I agree with folks on this site calling out Hugh and the other “humanitarian intervention” Empire supporters. The US has no ground of moral superiority to stand on and pretty much always makes things worse than if it had not interfered. One could make the argument that Kosovo was an exception to this; however since it was the “exception” that allowed dozens of other “humanitarian interventions” (sic– the term itself is a fig leaf, it is about Full Spectrum Dominance, as was once openly admitted, not about “humanitarian” anything) like, oh, let’s say Hillary-Obama’s wonderful coup in Libya that led to the open-air slave markets and rule by 3 local warlords.

    I think the “humanitarian intervention” folks, like their leaders, suffer from the belief in American Exceptionalism (which Trump at least disproved as president, though he did Make America Great as “#1” in Covid spread, deaths, etc.) or racist dismissal of other people’s cultures, aspirations and right to self-determination, since we are (not really, but once appeared to be) “the best”.

    Anyway, as Ian’s post indicates, the Empire will continue its case of violent decline and refusal to admit the facts of its waning power under Biden. That poor old man has always been reactionary, and hasn’t learned anything or had a new idea in decades, so what else could he and dedicated imperialists of the Blinken type do differently than other failing empires have?

    Coincidentally, MoonofAlabama has a pretty good piece on US decline today related to this post, “U.S. Aggressiveness Will Accelerate Its Demise.” As evil as the US Empire has become, it has become equally stupid, & most of the world (& since little Bush’s ’03 Iraq aggression even some Americans) know we are the worldwide bully and villain, the central question is mainly how quick it will fall apart. Euro Elites still seem pretty dedicated to following the Hegemon, but its days are numbered.

    Anyway, MoA link is here for those interested–

  24. Plague Species

    As evil as the US Empire has become, it has become equally stupid, & most of the world (& since little Bush’s ’03 Iraq aggression even some Americans) know we are the worldwide bully and villain.

    It takes one to know one, right? Isn’t that what you and Putin say — that it takes one to know one? So, if the “rest of the world,” whatever that means, asserts America is a “bully and villain,” by your logic and Putin’s logic the “rest of the world” is a “bully and villain” too so who are they or you to judge? Right?

  25. Plague Species

    Anti-war folks, fake progressives and leftists in otherwords, lost all credibility with their support and enabling of McDonald Trump and their Putin apologia. There is no coming back from that.

  26. Willy

    I always thought that if you wanted to understand foreign affairs the Godfather, especially its depiction of the relations between the families, was a great place to start.

    With the exception that settling family business happens so much more efficiently in the Puzi world. In that place, the Dons start thinking twice about starting wars after their own sons get whacked. In our world, the elites may not care about bit players like Mo Gaddafi, but Don Dubya gets to retire quietly at the ranch to paint abstract portraits and hobnob publicly with Ellen DeGeneres at ball games, to the applause of many.

    Jimmy Dore is right in that no one changes the Democratic Party, but the Party will change you.

    It’s not that hard. The disease which successfully ruined the GOP, then turned attentions towards the DNC. Even Jimmy Dore wants to live in an expensive home.

  27. Plague Species

    So, my question is, does Putin have any Mark Levels and Astrids who he hasn’t murdered yet imploring him not to f*ck with America lest he start a nuclear war? Chastising him day and night and getting paid $500,000 per year for it like Glenn Greenwald? I didn’t think so. That difference accounts for something. Maybe not much, but it’s something like the difference between Biden and McDonald Trump.

  28. Willy

    Leftist libertarians need to come to terms with Americas endless wartime economy. Sooner or later , the Mike Flynns of the world will see all that ordinance laying around and want to bomb the crap out of Iran. And then hit the Yemeni people instead.

  29. Astrid

    In Dore’s defense, home ownership in LA is hella expensive. His “compound” has 2,815 square feet and 4 bathrooms, or 15,856 square feet less and 12 fewer bathrooms than home of woke feminist paragon/victim Meghan Markle (at least that’s what Hugh tells me to think).

  30. Astrid

    I am curious what Ian thinks is an appropriate response to Chechen separatists or Uighur separatists, especially once their freedom fighter/ terrorists start targeting civilian populations. We have seen how this gets played out in weaker countries that were unable to fight them off, they become partitioned failed states. Is there an actual choice, other than effective brutality, to dealing with violent separatists?

    This is even if the separatists have absolute moral high ground on their side. Such as with Palestinians and maybe Hong Kongers (though many of them are clearly fueled by xenophobia and jealousy of Mainlanders). I am not at all convinced that the Saudi funded separatist in Uighurstan and Chechnya represent any sort of positive for their respective population.

  31. Willy

    In Dore’s defense, home ownership in LA is hella expensive. His “compound” has 2,815 square feet and 4 bathrooms, or 15,856 square feet less and 12 fewer bathrooms than home of woke feminist paragon/victim Meghan Markle (at least that’s what Hugh tells me to think).

    I think that’s called a “red herring”, with an ad hominem thrown in. Or maybe you just didn’t get my point.

    It isn’t that Meghan Markle or Stefane Zamorano deserve or not deserve the nice house with the whatever square footage. Or that they’ll do more than the rest of us to get that square footage.

    It’s that their kind owns more than just that additional square footage. They own us too. Because we let them.

  32. Astrid

    Plague Species, I don’t worry about the actions of other governments, whose actions do not hurt me and who should rightly be controlled by their own people. There are people (Communists!) in Russia critical of Putin, they certainly are in a better position to criticize Putin than know nothing Americans, who think 70 years of unmitigated failure still entitles USA to call the shots around the world.

    I am concerned about what the USian government does in my name and especially when it engages in actions that hurt me and can destabilize life on earth for everybody.

  33. Astrid

    Willy,. I have seen enough people repeat it in apparent earnestness, that I do want to correct the record. Remember Bernie’s 3 homes? I do not at all begrudge the rather modest level of success attained by Dore, shining on the hypocrisy and venality of Progressives and Democrats. Though it I were him, I would consider moving the show to Canada or Mexico, for safety reasons.

    Still confused why you think a sub- 3,000 square foot house is some special privilege, unless you’re making a statement about most USians being overhoused.

  34. S Brennan

    I posted the interview in the previous thread and remarked that the gross stupidity/arrogance of Biden/Biden handlers is not an artifact of his diminished capacity from alzheimer’s, it’s a lifelong, well..50 years of his political life, attribute, an unbroken chain of self-aggrandizing braggadocio, lies, deceits and vulgar dualities.

    Now, had Trump uttered these words, the “blue no matter who” crowd would be beside themselves. Was Trump suddenly being “presidential” or…was this some unknown part of a sophisticated bromance between two Russian spies or…was this the crudest, most impolitic words ever spoken by a sitting US President? Perhaps some nuanced combination?

    Things are so much simpler now that the body-politic, the one that has failed at every turn for the past 45 years, is back in charge. I think we can all rest easy now that the man who led the charge of turning the Democratic party away from FDR back into the party of that, still well-respected guided-age fascist, Woodrow Wilson. Yes, all means, a little whining here and there is fine…before doing your duty and voting for more of the same. Hey, pretending to “hold someone’s feet to the fire” is good for the psyche, it makes one feel virtuous. But please, let’s not be vulgar and talk of ending our neocolonial policy that culminated in the calamitous regime-change wars of the Clinton/Bush/Obama administration [singular intended].

    On subject of Ian’s response, two points jump out at me, one is tightly wound around morality and esthetics, the other belongs to the visceral body of realpolitik. I dispute one and heartily agree with the other.

    Since esthetics, with one or two notable exceptions, is the bread and butter of this comment section let’s start there. Killers, isn’t a black and white dichotomy in this modern world, it is a spectrum of greys, some shades quite far beyond charcoal, at the other end of the spectrum, they are just a whiter a shade of grey, but let’s be clear, very few deserve a place in the back yard laundry line.

    Did you buy a pair of sneakers from China? You did, well, let’s start there. The container ship that carried the sneakers all the way across the globe to you door burned bunker fuel, the bottom of the refinement barrel, 17 ships alone release more toxins than all the vehicles globally. How many deaths is that every year? And that bunker fuel came from Nigeria, tribes who had the misfortune to live above where the oil was discovered have been KILLED in the tens of thousands to gain access and those left, they are slowly poisoned by the leaching hydrocarbons. But the body count goes on. That factory that made those sneakers gets it’s “cheap” electricity from the un-scrubbed smokestacks of coal burning plants that release mercury and radioactive waste into the atmosphere; both are long term environmental poisons that travel the globe in the atmosphere, so much so that, they are found in Antarctica. And then there is the other trail of bodies, the former workers who can no longer make a living supplying Americans with American made shoes, they are slowly poisoning themselves with cheap poisons made in Afghanistan. That’s quite a body count but let’s be fair, it’s a whiter shade of grey, you do buy organic vegetables and “fair traded” coffee, well, that’s gotta be a carbon offset eh?.

    Did you get drafted? Were your opportunities limited by those who can afford organic vegetables and “fair traded” coffee but not American made sneakers? Were your parents unable/unwilling to pay for your college. So one way or another you were induced into joining the military. If you were smarter you probably got a job that somewhat isolated you from the killing that is required by the neocolonial wars that the body-politic in charge of this country demands. If not, well, you were put in a situation were it was kill or be killed. To bad for you if it damaged your body or psyche. The rumpR’s and neoD’s fought hard to keep the wars going and now, they will gleefully thank you for your service. I think all those who buy organic vegetables and “fair traded” coffee will declare you a darker shade of grey while voting for the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and Mitt Romney, all of whom, through a plausible deniability, gave the orders to kill.

    Okay, that’s little people…what about the nuance of “world leaders”. Is Albert Lebrun, who ordered his troops to kill the invading Nazis as dark as say Bush, the 2nd or Obama who ordered US forces to kill huge swathes of civilians to establish an American colony meant to secure the natural resources of another country at peace with the United States? Is there a difference between a “world leader” who defends their country from enslavement and a “world leader” who attacks another country to steal it’s natural resources or are they the same shade of grey?

    Is the guy who shoots an intruder in his house as dark as the man who broke in? Surely we wouldn’t think Biden charcoal grey if he was to defend Texas from Putin funding/training/arming “insurrectionists” in the lone star state…unsure, how about DC? Well, maybe we would, because we sure call Putin a killer for putting down a set of rebellions in Chechnya and Georgia where the 3-letter agencies, through cutouts, funded/trained/armed “insurrectionists”. But when the shoe was actually on the other foot, when the Soviets placed missiles so close to the US border that we would have to stay on the highest level of alert indefinitely we reacted immediately, we threatened and were willing to carry out nuclear war over the issue.

    This is old territory for me and Ian and I attribute his blind spot to Stirling’s lobbying on behalf of those same 3-letter agencies that have facilitated so much murder and misery. Albert Lebrun is not a mirror of Adolf Hitler, yes both killed but, that in no way makes them the same shade of grey. The broad brush term “killer” is a highly misleading word used by sociopathic dissemblers of all types, great and small.

    I think that dispute will continue but one point Ian brought up and one I heartily agree with is:

    “Russia [is] now a solid Chinese ally, which is one of the biggest geopolitical errors in history from the US point of view (Russia didn’t want to be. They wanted to be Europeans.)”

    Why in the eff the US and the Europeans didn’t bring the Russians in from the cold…why? That one particular historical moment will be a monument to ignorance, arrogance and feeble-mindedness. In future centuries, our Chinese overlords will point to that defining moment to legitimize their hegemony over us and we will be in no position to argue, either morally or physically because our elite, drunk on their power failed to see the obvious.

    The 3-letter agencies claim you only hear of their failures, that’s a lie. You don’t hear of their successes for a good reason and not the one they cite. The reason you don’t hear of their victories is because so often they are of a Phyeric nature. Start listing the 3-letter agencies “victories” and you’ll soon learn that our victories cost far more than our defeats.

    And so it was at the cessation of the cold war, had we only ceased, we would have “won”…but we didn’t, we sought to annihilate Russia as Napoleon’s France, Victoria’s England and Hitler’s Germany did before us. The only thing that saves us from own foolishness is the geography of Asia. There is a natural conflict between Russian and China. But, as I alluded to in the above paragraph, should China chase the Rus over the Urals and gain the natural resources of Northwest Asia…the game is over and our Euro-centrist world will come to an abrupt halt. I know some here cheer that day, but their tune will change should we not pull our collective heads out of our ass in time and we’re colonized, subjects of foreign rule.

    There is still time, but we just signed up for a 12 year tour in November and unless there is a divine intervention, I don’t see anything but darker shades of grey ahead. I hope I am wrong but, this disaster has been a long time coming.

  35. Ché Pasa

    As for the dustup with China in Anchorage, that was pretty amusing too. In fact, I think it was probably a good thing for each of the sides to open with actual and for the most part valid criticism of the other. This kind of honesty is very rare in diplomatic encounters — at least in public.

    China and the United States have many reasons to want good relations with one another and they have many paths toward that objective, but they can’t get there by dancing around issues. The problem at this point is that the issues they have raised in public so far are not the core matters of dispute.

    Of course, it’s all temporary…

  36. Astrid

    Okay, they own us mentally…no, Markle is entertainment and Dore hardly has enough influence to own anything, he’s just a few voices outside of the Blob.

    Sometimes I think the Harry/Meghan situation is entirely engineered by the Firm to make the Queen and Charles look sympathetic, make the Cambridges look amazing by comparison, disappear Andrew down the memory hole, and pocket a fortune from gullible USian media businesses. Meghan and Catherine are the best things to happen to the British Royal Family since WWII.

  37. Willy

    Still confused why you think a sub- 3,000 square foot house is some special privilege, unless you’re making a statement about most USians being overhoused.

    Are we talking about a semi-popular leftist political influencer in LA, or a quiet retiree in rural Pennsylvania? I couldn’t care less about what a person acquires for the security of their own family, up to the point where they become self-serving influencer of (potentially) millions. I’d rather hypocrisy be less of a cultural value.

  38. Willy

    I once saw a video where The Queens butler was ‘given’ to Diana and he butler’d for her right up until she died. He seemed a trustworthy and friendly sort so he said they both confided in him. That butler was able to observed both sides of that royal feud. After watching the whole thing (while doing my household chores) I realized that I care very little about royalty, except that it was confirmed to me once again that even royals are just human beings. I’m still a little fascinated by the end results of all that Habsburg inbreeding though.

    I’m also fascinated by people like Bernie, Corbyn, Allende, Wright Patman, FDR, Teddy R, and others who seem to at least quasi-martyr themselves into championing for the little guy, as opposed to obvious con artists like Huey Long, Adolph Hitler and Trumpty Dumpty.

  39. Soredemos


    Ah, there it is. I do believe you just lost the debate (or whatever this nonsense is). Reductio ad Hitlerum; once you start comparing your opponents to Nazis you demonstrate that you’re really just a clown.

    The annexation of Crimea (with the consent of the overwhelming majority of its population who were quite happy to rejoin Russia) was in order to maintain control over Russia’s Black Sea ports, and was in direct response to the Western backed coup in Kiev.

    As for ‘sponsoring a civil war’, that war started when Kiev’s coup government (filled with actual, literal Nazis by the way, and unlike you I can provide plenty of actual evidence for that assertion) decided to try ethnically cleansing the Donbass region.

    In you mind, apparently, no one in the world is allowed to counterpunch against NATO. Russia is expected to just sit there and get its teeth kicked in, and if it doesn’t, suddenly it’s the aggressor.

  40. Astrid

    Willy: I am really not sure what your trying to say about Dore. I think Dore is entitled to make a good time living exposing the hypocrisy and venality of the so called left and hope there is room for many more like him. Is your problem with his message? the existence of political pundits? That some pundits do well financially?

    That martyr/conmen dichotomy is odd. FDR and TR aren’t martyrs, they knew how to use power and the bully pulpit and use it very effectively. Long as well and he did a lot of good before being martyred by an assassin. I don’t think Allende and other socialists were seeing themselves up for martyrdom. They just got caught in the US cold war machine. Sanders is apparently temperamentally incapable of challenging the establishment. What’s the through line there?

  41. Willy

    once you start comparing your opponents to Nazis you demonstrate that you’re really just a clown.

    On the Hitler Scale I’d put Bernie at one and Trump at seven.
    On the Clown Scale I’d put Bernie at one and Trump at nine.

    Neither was ever a Nazi, although the “alt-right” does have some similarities.

  42. Soredemos


    Oh no, not gonna play this game with you. You’re the one who opened with a personal attack against Dore (“he has an expensive house”). Not only is this the same disingenuous tripe that was deployed against Sanders (DO YOU KNOW HE OWNS THREE HOUSES???!!!one), here’s an actual picture of Dore’s ‘sprawling mansion’: LA housing is ludicrously overpriced.

    Dore doesn’t ‘own’ anyone. He runs a internet show, out of his garage, that is frequently demonetized. Minor celebrities that are worth a few million are not the enemy. The enemy is individuals and institutions far further up the totem pole than that.

  43. Hugh

    Some days I read comments here and I wonder if the commenters are on drugs. Other days, I am sure of it. Mark tells me I am a humanitarian interventionist which sounds as nebulous and derogatory as he no doubt is. And then throws in a link to some whack site like that clinches matters. Soredemos tells me that Ukrainian fascists are bad but Russian fascists are good. QED, end of argument or something. And if Russia invades anywhere, that’s perfectly OK and justifiable. Ditto if it threatens us or our allies because what Russia does it is the victim. Yes, this is all loonie tunes but then this is one of those other days.

  44. Astrid

    Hugh, whatever you’re on, I want a script. Must be really good stuff to let you parse out *that* out of the actual comments. And durable too as it seems to work over months and years that you’ve been on this strawmanning kick.

    Also, damn you to hell for being a groundhog lover, that you obviously are since you’ve never seen you condemn them. Everyone should state in every comment that they hate and oppose the evil destructive obvious Nazi groundhogs. Failure to do so obviously mean they are groundhog supporters.

  45. Feral Finster

    I lived in Ukraine for eight years. I speak Russian and Ukrainian, although I have not a drop of Slavic blood in me, nor am I married to a Russian or a Ukrainian (so I don’t have an ethnic dog in this fight). I know plenty of people who fought and died on both sides of the war there.

    Hugh obviously doesn’t know too many people from Crimea or Donbass. They dropped Ukraine like it was a hot turd.

    For that matter, Zelenskii was elected on a policy of peace and reconciliation with Donbass., over the vocifierous objections of the United States. Pity the Americans won’t let him carry any of that out. The same could have been said for Poroshenko, known as “Bloody Petya” in Ukraine. He was also a relative moderate, until he got into office, when he morphed into a foaming at the mouth warmonger.

  46. Willy

    Dore doesn’t ‘own’ anyone. He runs a internet show, out of his garage, that is frequently demonetized. Minor celebrities that are worth a few million are not the enemy. The enemy is individuals and institutions far further up the totem pole than that.

    Exactly what I said, excepting the Dore part. A very common grift these days is to find a higher up conservative donor and start slamming “the left” for some triviality. Plutocratic machinations are devious. We all remember astroturfing and Cambridge Analytica, do we not? I trust that you’ll keep an eye on Dore and make sure that never happens?

  47. someofparts

    Soredemos – Thanks for your cogency and for being willing to wade in. I keep showing up here because there are several regulars that are always interesting to hear from. I hope you stick around.

  48. Astrid

    S Brennan: thanks for articulating the problems at the heart of the “killer” characterization. Glad I scrolled up and saw that.

  49. Astrid

    Willy: if Dore starts lying, it will not matter who he is doing it on behalf, he will be worthless. I have stopped paying attention to many people that I used to respect when they joined the Blob. But if Dore continues to tell seldom heard truths to millions, he could take money from Punxsutawney Phil and I would still listen to him.

  50. S Brennan

    “On the Hitler Scale I’d put Bernie at [1/10]”

    Nobody who knows Bernie’s actual voting record would say something like this without being either mentally retarded or, a sociopathic liar. Willey, I am throwing you a lifeline here, please tell the audience that you know nothing of Bernie’s actual foreign policy?

  51. Willy

    Bernie hasn’t been in a position of power to do much, so the 1 score. But Trump:

    That’s just a few. Had Trump successfully retained power and then gotten the supported he wanted from our military, I think it’s safe to think it’d be a lot more more.

    Except for whatever you say. It always turns out to be some kind of highly rationalized bust, but when has that ever stopped you?

  52. Chaka

    Haha, arguing about Jimmy Dore’s house. The US is such a stupid society.

  53. Mark Level

    Hi, “Plague Species”. So, your accusations and the (wrong) assumptions behind them fall under the rubrics of both category error and straw man arguments, so I won’t waste much time responding to word salad.

    I will say that I am no friend of Putin and I think that in his brilliant recent 6 part documentary, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, Adam Curtis’s take that Putin “believes in absolutely nothing” is correct, and makes Putin not a great deal different than most of the ruling classes worldwide.

    I could ask you if you have fought in any of the wonderful wars of Liberation (y)our Country endlessly starts to establish your warrior bona fides, but won’t bother debating someone who relies on distortion and misunderstanding, whether based on either lack of intellect or bad faith, in order not to seek truth or understanding, but simply to reinforce one’s own prejudices and self-righteous insecurities.

    Finally, if somebody starts a nuclear war, I don’t think as an anti-imperialist I will bear any responsibility, direct or indirect. Rather the reverse.

  54. Willy

    I agree with Hugh’s assessment of an unusual amount of drug-addled posting lately. And then the unusual amount of obvious sockpuppetry.

    Example: AOC and Bernie come under routine attack from S Brennan, ostensibly for the sake of “tough-love coaching”, or whatever shit. Jimmy Dore does the same thing. I can get doing so to notify whomever about their own political naiveite, mistakes, or blown progressive opportunities. But if AOC and Bernie are insufficient for the cause, then who else is there? Robert Reich? Stephanie Miller? Does S Brennan really want AOC gone and Joe Crowley to come back from his lucrative gig at Squire Patton Boggs?

    Think of the personal risks of being in a position of relative progressive power (such as it is). At the very least, you could have your kid or mother threatened by some nutjob outfit like the Wolverine Watchmen. Or far more powerful worse. Do you really want to make being a public servant progressive even more of a thankless job?

    What’s the point of continuously attacking the few public servants which progressives do have? (Jimmy Dore is obviously political entertainment if you’ve ever seen one of his ‘comedy’ road shows, and doesn’t count.) What’s the point of continuously talking up an obvious malignant narcissist clown coup disgraced ex-POTUS who routinely disparages everything to the left of Joe Manchin? And then, any commenter who sees him that way?

  55. S Brennan

    Wow, Bernie one of the longest stretches in power 1991-2021…but can’t be held accountable for a single day in all his 30 years…just wow.

    Because there may be people who are too young to know the score, Bernie has loudly supported every war/intervention of the Clintons and Obamas and even supported the Iraq Invasion albeit with his own war resolution…singularly, the most gutless hedge the US congress has ever seen in it’s, almost, 250 year history. Indeed that bozo move is how I ID bitch boy Bernie, long before 2016 you could count on Bernie to talk big and fold like a cheap suit when it came time to climb into the ring. Very early in life I learned to ignore what people say, watch what they do.

    Okay, after all your mealy-mouthed double-talk and pussy-footing, I’m gonna go with sociopathic liar, no more lifelines…you’ll just use them to hang yourself.

  56. Willy

    Because there may be people who are too young to know the score, Bernie has loudly supported every war/intervention of the Clintons and Obamas and even supported the Iraq Invasion albeit with his own war resolution…singularly, the most gutless hedge the US congress has ever seen in it’s, almost, 250 year history.

    Proof. Otherwise you’re a liar. When I search up “Bernie + antiwar” I get a lot of supporting links.

  57. Willy

    Here’s an old one from the antiwar libertarians themselves:

    On June 13, President Donald Trump told the graduating class at West Point, “We are ending the era of endless wars.” That is what Trump has promised since 2016, but the “endless” wars have not ended. Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles than George W. Bush or Barack Obama did in their first terms, and there are still roughly as many US bases and troops overseas as when he was elected.

    So not Bernie and not Trump. S Brennan, who’s your guy now?

  58. Willy

    When it comes to debates over the evil of war, well it’s pretty much obvious. War is hellish evil.

    Unfortunately I am pro-war. But only if there are no other alternatives, such as with the American involvement in WW2 and in post 9-11 Afghanistan. The DNC had no choice but to support those actions since pacifism would’ve meant political suicide. Too many Americans wanted it. Sometimes you’ve just gotta fight. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was so obviously unwarranted that I considered it evil and a possible prelude to even more viciously anti-American “blowback”, as Ron Paul once stated.

    So one must pick their battles. Which is why I enjoy my exchanges with S B. It’s like beating up on a small child.

  59. Astrid

    Willy, now accusing people of sock puppetry for disagreeing with you. Nice! The article YOU linked to made clear that Bernie is not antiwar, just putting on a few limp wristed reasons, but still pro “humanitarian intervention” and for US led regime change.

    For something more recent, here’s Sanders’s statement on Venezuela.

  60. Astrid

    No one here ever (not even the right wing Trumpers) said Trump is anti-war. Just that unlike his 4 predecessors, he didn’t start a new war. Maybe it’s incompetence or deep state or even honest intention, the effect is that he didn’t start a new war.

    So unlike his 4 immediate predecessors ( I am willing to give Reagan a pass on Grenada) he didn’t go off to destroy a new country though he did plenty of damage through continuation of existing wars and sanctions and support of right wing coup governments. Not a good president not even a bad president, he’s a terrible one. But still likely to be better than Hillary Clinton presidency based on her track record as a senator and SecState.

  61. Astrid

    Bernie specializes in superficial moral stands that actually support the warmongers gets he purports to be against. He had no problem with spreading false accusations against the targeted governments and as far as I know, never apologized afterwards for the spreading the falsehoods. He shived the anti-war candidates and backed Clinton and Biden.

  62. Willy

    Astrid, have you figured out why they all do that, start wars? I can always speculate. I can say that deep staters from their military-industrial complex division have determined that a couple new invasions per decade is what best keeps most taxpayer sheep docile. And focused on anything but their economic futures. But I’d be speculating.

    Anybody who blurts out something as worthless as “The US is such a stupid society” is a worthless sock puppet to me. But if they have something useful to say which is worth further thought, then they’ll be forgiven and I’ll consider them a useful sock puppet.

    So if not Bernie then who? I’m always open to somebody better. But it can’t be a wasted vote.

  63. Willy

    “However, we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups – as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.” – Bernie Sanders (or his handlers)

    Works for me Astrid. Now if you, me, and poor S Brennan would take our dysfunctional show on the road and persuade other good and decent citizens.

  64. Covergirl

    I don’t often comment on your blog, but really, this Russia did it bullshit has to stop. First, the quote you cite is a mistranslation, so you’re first impression is false. Second, the canard about Russia bombing Syrian hospitals should be obvious to you by now. Third, it’s funny to me how you seek enlightenment on one hand and masturbate with all this western media Russia bullshit on the other. It’s like you’re halfway there but can’t quite get out of the crib.

  65. Mark Pontin

    Astrid wrote: “I am not at all convinced that the Saudi funded separatist in Uighurstan and Chechnya represent any sort of positive for their respective population.”

    Absolutely not.

    Beyond that, the Russians had to seriously worry about ‘nuclear terrorism’ from the Chechens. See forex —

    Most notably, an incident in 1996 where Shamil Basayev — also the mastermind behind Beslan and the Moscow theater siege — planted a quantity of radioactive cesium-137 in Moscow’s Izmailovsky Park.

    So by the Second Chechen War, in August 1999 to April 2009, the Russian military were their usual heavy-handed selves (like the American military) but had learned a lot — were, in fact, starting to get their sh*t together again after the shambles of the Yeltsin years. They were brutal, but they effectively put down the Chechens. Eventually, too, they caught up with and terminated Basayev and other such guerrillas/terrorists.

    And the Russians didn’t have much choice. History is what it is: much as we may deplore it, they and the Chechens have been going at each other for hundreds of years. Leo Tolstoy’s novella, ‘Hadji Murat’ is based on his experience in the mid-19th century in the Russian army at war with the Chechens then.

    To bring this around to the killer theme, Bruce W. as usual is the one getting to the heart of the matter: ‘Observing that politics entails violence should hardly be a revelation in itself. Abraham Lincoln “was a killer” would be true, but not politically or ethically informative.’

    It’s part of the duties of the chief executive of any state-level society to determine when violence is sanctioned against its enemies and they should be terminated with extreme prejudice. That’s the inescapable nature of the gig (I’ve had this debate with Ian hitherto). Yeah, it would be nice if we lived in a world where that wasn’t true. But we don’t.

    In that context, Putin is competent and a grownup. We’ll miss that when he’s gone from the international scene.

  66. Mark Pontin

    Astrid also wrote: “But still likely to be better than Hillary Clinton presidency based on her track record as a senator and SecState.”

    Lest we forget —

    Hillary Clinton “We Came, We Saw, He Died” (Gaddafi)

    Get a load of that incompetent psychopath laughing and clapping herself after the death of Gaddafi via sodomization by bayonet, which was one upshot of her authorizing and instigating regime change in Libya. Another was the death of as many as 25,000 people.

    And for what?

    Principally, for Clinton to build her bona fides as a hawk in preparation for pursuing the presidency again and to gain more campaign money from military-industrial complex donors than any other presidential candidate in history.

    Utter human vermin, and incompetent besides — as Colin Powell admitted, everything she touched always seemed to go to crap. Moreover, the elite of the U.S. — above all, the Democrats — were all in with giving Clinton the presidency. So what does that tell you about them, and their own competence and morality?

  67. Hugh

    “I don’t often comment on your blog, but”

    Why do trolls always use the same intros?

    “And the Russians didn’t have much choice. History is what it is”

    Mark doing his best to prove that he at least can exist in a moral vacuum. That being the case, I don’t get why he would have a problem with the Democrats being moral lepers. I would think he would feel quite at home with them.

  68. bruce wilder

    if AOC and Bernie are insufficient for the cause, then who else is there? . . .

    there is no one.

    S Brennan mentions Tulsi Gabbard, who does seem a remarkably sensible person, but still she hardly makes up the deficit of numbers

    we don’t solve the deficit of numbers by denying that it exists

    the deficit of numbers is down to “the system”, which comes down to politicians (and pundits and operatives and union leaders) not being able to make a career and a living out of integrity with the interest of the commonwealth and the institutions of the republic. Which comes down to the people generally being willing to pay for and reward recognize its heroes and champions. Which comes down to the people generally being enlightened enough to choose general constraints in mutual protection over the promise of freedom to screw their fellows and be screwed.

    Most people — not everyone — can see that they are better off in a society that suppresses violence and fraud. At least on some days, I think so. But, there are always some who see their main chance as being in convincing people that letting some people act as wolves among the sheep is best even for the sheep.

    They are not always entirely wrong. Or rather conceptions of ideal societies, utopias can be singularly impractical and unrealistic. People in the environmental movement sometimes want absolute prohibition on business and industry polluting — as if such an ideal is physically possible. Catholic christianity markets an absolute morality of martyred saints and pure unselfishness and self-denial — it is impossible and in real life Mother Theresa becomes good friends with Papa Doc Duvalier. Russia still suffers in its business and legal culture from the moral instruction of communism, which makes predators of entrepreneurs and leaves little space for ethical business and property relations. Ayn Rand libertarianism has an obvious sophomoric appeal to 14-year-old boys, who are primed to see society as a videogame, but it also contains a sharp critique of the hypocrisy of unselfish socialism. Mainstream economics is a wildly unrealistic theory that nevertheless succeeds as neoliberalism, a political program and ideology so pervasive that many deny it even exists.

    My point, though, is that we create the deficit of numbers of trustworthy voices and leaders together with “the system”. We do it when we abandon, say, Julian Assange to “his fate”. We do it when we insist on getting news for “free” from sources paid for by corporate business advertisers and operated by oligopolist corporate businesses.

    I have been watching Governor Cuomo fight off the hyenas and I have to wonder at why charges of sexual harassment are potent, while years and years of corrupt incompetence as a policymaker have no purchase. The nursing home holocaust? The decrepit state of NYC rail transit? Cynical and open promotion of Republican control of the State Senate? These do not get him into trouble but the sudden discovery that he is a domineering personality who makes passes at women around him is. I will take it, of course, but it is odd.

  69. Astrid

    Hugh and hasbara troll, it takes one to know one.

  70. Joseph E. Kelleam

    I’m neither hasbara nor troll, and you damn well know it. You’re literal poison.

  71. Bridget

    Unfortunately I am pro-war. But only if there are no other alternatives, such as with the American involvement in WW2 and in post 9-11 Afghanistan. The DNC had no choice but to support those actions since pacifism would’ve meant political suicide.</b. Too many Americans wanted it. Sometimes you’ve just gotta fight.

    In fact, you just adopted pro-war talking points (there is no alternative) in order to both maintain some semblance of integrity for your own psychological well-being as well as to satisfy social expectations of consistency of thought and integrity. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two.

    So, you define yourself as “pro-war” – thereby taking on and maintaining a static identity in the interest of warmongers (power).

  72. Bridget

    close bold. apologies.

  73. Astrid

    I don’t inhabit the higher level of the MIC or politics, so I can’t speculate on the actual mental state of Obama, Clintons, Bushes, Cheney, etc. I have to let their public statements and actions stand on their own. From those, I can conclude their all liars and wanton killers, destroying lives on all sides for no reason. They have no conscience and probably all sleep far more soundly than me at night.

    I do know that in my everyday interactions, more often than not with USian PMC of all persuasions, there is uniform and mindless agreement that Russia and China are hostiles and zero examination of US behavior in making these countries hostiles. Some of this is by folks that make and implement US policy at a decision-making level, not just foot soldiers. These people are on this point unreflective and ignorant of history. I am not even sure they thought about their own positions on these points, nevermind trying to understand them from Chinese/Russian/Iranian/Syrian/Venezuelan perspective. I feel like this is the sort of hive mind thinking that people had in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia or Maoist China, where something “must be” and nobody is even questioning the narrative. Maybe some of these folks do question it privately but says nothing for fear of career and social impairment, as I do.

  74. Willy

    Bridget, have you never had a fight forced upon you?

  75. Bridget

    The point I’m attempting to make, using Willy’s words, is that Willy defined himself as something and then used reasoning supplied by TPTB. “The DNC had no choice…it would have been political suicide” tells about the interests of power. It doesn’t tell us why Willy is pro-war, because evidently Willy himself doesn’t fundamentally know why.

  76. Astrid

    Hasbara troll: LOL. Takes one to know one. Nicely confirmation that you know exactly what you are, since you took the bait.

  77. Astrid

    Willy, you’re treating everything dispute in the world as an encounter with a grade school bully. Most of them are not, and even if they were, the US is the bully posse and Biden/Obama/Clinton are the lead bully.

  78. Bridget

    Willy, your question belies the issue by equating individual (or even small group) disputes with nation-state endeavors. Silly. And monstrously lethal.

  79. Joseph E. Kelleam

    It wasn’t bait, it was hate. But that’s who you are, it’s what you do.

  80. Willy

    Wrong Astrid. I know that evil is very good at acquiring power of every possible kind, often hiding behind benign and beneficial masks. I’ve stated so many times here. How do you propose we try and prevent this?

  81. Astrid

    Hasbara troll: do I hate Israel for how it persecutes Palestinians and through its control of the US apparatus, destabilizes the whole world? Do I hate it for slandering and destroying the reputation and careers of many decent people for simply standing up for Palestinians? Absolutely. Do I hate Israel for turning it’s back on its more idealistic beginning and engaging in exactly the same sort of actions that Jews endured in the 1930s, yup.

    I’m a proud hater of the evil state that Israel has become and its self admitted hasbara trolls.

  82. Astrid

    Willy: please use what you said and apply it to the US and DNC. If there is that evil, it currently resides primarily with the US and within the DNC.

    I don’t know if it can be prevented at this point, there’s too much momentum amongst the bellicose echo chamber of the USA. I must resign myself to whatever the fates have in store for me. But I sure as hell am not going to join that echo chamber.

  83. Willy

    There is obviously much evil in the US and the DNC. I believe it’s even worse in the GOP. But I don’t believe that things like complacency, naivete, or idealism are evil, only easy targets for evil.

  84. Hugh

    “do I hate China for how it persecutes Uighurs and Tibetans and destabilizes the whole world? Do I hate it for slandering and destroying the reputation and careers of many decent people for simply standing up for Democracy? Absolutely.”

    Well, you have to give it to Astrid. At least, she’s consistent.

  85. Astrid

    Willy, I would say cheerleading confrontations with nuclear powers is near top of the line evil. Meddling in the lives of people an ocean away and making them suffer through the ravages of sanctions and wars also seems very evil. As do supporting a global finance and IP system that enriches the top 1 percent while literally killing millions through deprivation of access to sanitation, food, and medicine, also seems quite evil. The Uniparty and their supporters are complicit in all this. You can’t support a portion of this uniparty without supporting all the evil that goes with it.

  86. Astrid

    Hugh: Sure, the Chinese are quite brutal in their methods and I don’t approve of them, even if I understand the logic behind them and know Western MSM intentionally run false stories to exaggerate the brutality.

    But unlike the Israelis right-wing government, the Chinese don’t control the US governing apparatus to be extent that it must be considered a part of the US government. Thus, it’s mostly a Chinese internal matter that the US should not “humanitarian intervene” in.

  87. Willy

    You can’t support a portion of this uniparty without supporting all the evil that goes with it.

    Or we can all vote libertarian and the PTB will find new ways to make the less-sociopathic majority miserable.

    I’ve often spoken of sociopathy, psychopathy, and the dark triad. Control those things better, and maybe we can control evil better. But when others who claim to be thoughtful and intelligent throw such terms around so loosely, even at me, just for making the mistake of debating with them, how can we ever hope to conquer actual evil?

    I’ve routinely barked back at conservatives for their ‘love’ of Israel, reminding them of the illegal Jewish land grabs and that the Gaza is little more than a ghetto filled with the losers from those land grabs. But I knew it’d be a matter of time before I’d have native Americans telling me the same thing about me.

  88. Astrid

    Unlike me, who have stated many times about the bad in the Russian and Chinese regimes…

    Notice how Hugh’s Rescue Game obsession just happen to be focused on the enemies of the US/Israel state. He can’t even being himself to say anything for the Palestinians or Yemen or Libyians. Where’s Hugh’s consistency?

  89. Willy

    It seems like yesterday that Hugh was regularly hailed as one of our best commenters. I’d rather focus on Trump. AFAIK, he still hasn’t paid his contractors, or even Rudy, for services rendered just because he doesn’t feel like it. That seems evil to me.

  90. Astrid


    I am in agreement with you on the wanting most of those things. There may be a way to control the dark triad types, even in the earth spanning civilization that we are in, but I’m not sure we will arrive at that solution before destroying ourselves and everything around us. I should say that full control is usual not possible, even relatively stable empires like the Chinese, modulated with Buddhism and Confucianism, still experience regular collapses due to systemic stress and malign influences. I think in the end, we cannot scourge perfect justice for all times, but simply live our best lives with what we’re given.

    I do pay attention to what you write and I do think you want a better path forward. I do wish you would recognize that unlike many here who are earnestly trying to seek better understanding, Hugh and PS are not interested in learning, just in lording their particular narrow hatred over the rest, never engaging or understanding or processing what the others are saying to them. Be careful about reading goodness into what they are saying. I have them benefit of the doubt for a long while, but it’s clear to me now that they do not wish to learn goodness, only to bask in their narrow self righteousness. Any critique of their position will be ridiculed with non sequiturs and ad hominems, when that fails, they bail from one thread and then repeat themselves on the next thread.

    I do take exception to Libertarians. They’re are about hoarding all the license and benefit of civil society (so obsessed with property, which is absolutely a construct of social order) without any of the responsibilities. Being a libertarian after 19 is a sign of intellectual and moral stunting. There are problems with socialism, but Democratic socialism has worked quite well in much of the world for a time, why not try to revive that and make another go at it, even knowing that our time is short and salvation very uncertain.

  91. Astrid

    Willy: I think Trump is a horrible president. My personal belief that Hillary Clinton is likely to be more horrible doesn’t negate any of Trump’s badness. But Trump is not the president anymore, pay attention to the dark triad people currently occupying all three branches of the US federal government and many state governments. Continuing to focus on Trump’s badness distracts from the bad that is happening after Trump voluntarily left the White House.

  92. Astrid

    Willy, There was a time when I thought Markos Moulitsas and Ezra Klein were worth reading and taking seriously too. Hell, I paid for subscriptions to the New Yorker, the Economist, and the New Republic as a poor college student, then dumped them one by one as I realized there agendas behind them. Sometimes, most times, people we learn from are stunted in their development or maybe it was always just a conjunction of interests that hid foundational issues about source of their understanding.

    I think it’s pretty healthy to outgrow my idols, I’ve outgrown many. I have the luxury of more free time than most and an iconoclastic temperament. I sometimes happen upon on a blog where I learn some new stuff and then spot the seams in the argument and realize how limiting the view point is.

    Even though I don’t always agree with Ian, I have never spotted those seams with him. I really appreciate Ian for that and for helping me refine my own thinking over the years.

  93. Hugh

    After some 60 bogus lawsuits were tossed, a recorded conversation of Trump pressuring the Georgia Secretary of State to change the election results, the insurrection of Jan. 6, “Trump voluntarily left the White House” because he would have been carried out if he hadn’t.

  94. bruce wilder

    Hugh did not always strawman everyone trying to have a conversation by restating their argument in absurd black v white morality or some similar extreme. Sometimes he would marshal actual facts.

    Number 1, Willy, I would caution against ill-considered narrative. Narrative tells us who a character is and what a policy or a series of events mean. A lot of politics is contested story-telling, and it is stories put out there by cynical manipulators that flood the public discourse. Not uncommonly, claims are made in such a way as to plant an idea in the minds of readers or listeners, without literally asserting that idea has a factual foundation.

    For what it is worth, I think Trump is a troubled individual. In psychiatric terms, hypomania is rather obvious. In social psychological terms, he has an orientation to social dominance that makes him prone to demagoguery and petty conman ventures in business. That makes him somewhat untrustworthy in some contexts, and he favors a socially destructive political conservatism. It does not make him anymore “evil” than the general run of men, which is hardly an endorsement of his virtue. It does not even make him particularly racist, a false charge that was made constantly to explain his political success in terms that did not embarass the other political Party.

    The idea Trump=Hitler was always ridiculous. The notion that he might hire hookers to mess a bed Obama had slept in was a headline story in a pack of narratives paid for by Hillary Clinton, secular saint, and used irresponsibly to pollute American politics with Russiagate.

    The use of false narratives to attack Trump was always a significant tell against the DNC/Democratic Party efforts to neuter and unseat him without highlighting let alone altering any policy harming the country but near and dear to the donor class.

    What’s the alternative, you ask. Can’t we just pretend the Republicans are worse and forcing the Democrats to be evil? Can’t we pretend that the Democrats would try real hard in an alternate reality?

    There will be no alternative until many more of us walk away from the circus staged to keep us in our moment of false optimism.

    The alternative to being manipulated by propaganda storytelling is to at least try to find some factual truth and moral judgment derived from prudence and good will.

  95. Astrid

    Hugh, I responded to you and asked several questions of you, none of which you responded to. Meanwhile you went off to object to my use of “voluntary”. I take it that you conceded to me on the other points.

    Trump left on his own two feet. He was not dragged out, bombed out, snipered out. He did not illegally seize power or take actions to do so ( no, I don’t consider what happened on January 6 to be a coup attempt, it was a riot that had no chance of turning into anything more substantial). Whatever challenges he made and are making, he is doing so within the establish legal framework and he is within his rights to make them. Whatever his motives for doing so, he is firmly out of power for the moment and did not order the bombing of Syria or prevent the vote on $15 minimum wage or make disparaging remarks about Putin on national TV or fail to lift sanctions on Iran. By talking about Trump, we are not talking about all the things still happening.

    But you know that already, Hugh.

  96. Astrid

    Bruce, I demur on your characterization of Trump as not necessarily worse than the general run of men. I might just be extremely lucky, but I would say vast majority of people I run across appear to be better than Trump.

    General run of politicians, high profile businessmen, reality TV personalities… he seems par for that course.

  97. Hugh

    Astrid, I don’t read that many of your comments anymore. To say that Trump left voluntarily is to willfully ignore a lot of recent political history which Trump instigated during which people died and many others are looking at significant time in federal prison but whatever..

  98. S Brennan

    I took Fri afternoon/evening off and have little to add, I think all the points I would make have been covered by others, specifically, Mr Wilder, Ms Bridget and Mr Astrid.

    1] I think it fair to say, any person running for US Prez has got a screw or two loose* and anybody who is actually going to do something worthwhile better have a “bully” personality. Take my #1 choice** for Prez, Tulsi Gabbard, her annihilation of Kamala Harris at the one debate she was allowed to speak at. That demolition was very unladylike…Tulsi showed no mercy, very nasty, very mean and…an ass-kicking that was very very much needed.

    Kamala is a true sociopath, Willie Brown, who knows a thing or two about Kamala urged black folks not to vote for her…how bad do you have to be to get that “endorsement” out of Mr Brown?

    Any voter who wants somebody “nice” is going to be conned, over and over again. And if by one in a million chance, a really “nice” person is elected, you’ll have a disaster. The capitol of a powerful country is full of untalented, vicious sociopaths and you need to have the will & ability to crush such people…if you are to accomplish anything worthwhile. No candidate, including my favorites, are not “mean” to the bone when they have to be.

    2] If you, like me, think revolution is unlikely and unwise, then voting/not-voting is the only tool in your belt. Dammit, use it like a tool, I have yet to see a carpenter or a surgeon trying to display their virtue when they chisel a mortise or excise a tumor. Try to think what electing candidate[A] over candidate[B] portends 4-8-12 years out. The simplistic, naive and dangerous concept of the “lessor of two weevils” blinds you to the game each party is playing, don’t be suckered into a shell game.

    Generally, do what the two parties want the least and you will be doing the right thing for the American public. Both parties, at this point in time, are domestic enemies of the state and they hold a monopolistic [singular intended] position which, they can strengthen if need be, at a moments notice. Any 3rd party route is a 30 year proposition, if well funded…and if history is any guide, should any 3rd party grow to be a threat, they will immediately be infected with quislings, those willing to sellout the effort for a price.

    3] Regarding Ms Bridget’s point that the Russian did not bomb hospitals in Syria, the charge has been debunked numerous times and each time the story has been changed to avoid contrary facts. At my last count we are six versions in, hard to keep track since previous stories keep being “disappeared”. But since we now know MI-6 was directly involved in the staged “gas attacks” that almost led to US/Russia going to war over Syria any “white helmet” reports should be treated as deceit until proven…beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    *In 1984 the Democratic party choose to loose with Mondale, they could have won with John Glenn…a “nice guy” if you were on the same team, but not if you were on the other side. John Glenn was a populist and boilerplate FDRist and fell prey to the great neoD party purge orchestrated by Al From’s DLC of the ’80s.

    **Yang was my #2

  99. Astrid


    I would not expect anything else from you. Nonetheless, I am certainly justified in saying that based on your observed behavior, your don’t give a damn about the consequences on US wars abroad and Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. Far more justified than your accusations against me, which are untrue simply based on what I’ve written earlier in the thread.

    I do not responded to you for your benefit, as you appear beyond help. But there are others who may still consider your narrative, since it align so closely to the main stream media narrative that they are regularly exposed to. I hope I can reach a few of them.

  100. Willy

    bruce, with all due respect, you simply don’t have the life experience to understand what I’m talking about. Intelligence, education or rationalization is no substitute for wisdom gained from the school of hard knocks, plus as Ian has repeatedly stated, the discipline to force oneself (and I do mean “force”) to make objective sense of painful reality. When you feel a combination of eureka! exhilaration with helpless depression, both at the very same time, you’ll know. It’s sorta like the time you fully understood that the light speed limit is an incontrovertible fact which makes all of your Star Trek dreams a wishful fantasy. Brilliant, yet bummer.

    There can be no such thing as a superman. Extreme personalities were not made by mother evolution to pass on their genes. One way or another, mother evolution shall prevail.

  101. bruce wilder

    point well-taken, Astrid

    though people can be extremely “mixed” between personal and professional conduct in differing contexts and political attitudes.

    some very reactionary people have simply never thought thru politics and its consequences in relation to many issues.

    on the other hand, anyone who has ever had to maintain a public restroom can tell there are a lot of people with issues and destructive impulses running around

  102. Bridget

    For what it is worth, I think Trump is a troubled individual. In psychiatric terms, hypomania is rather obvious. In social psychological terms, he has an orientation to social dominance that makes him prone to demagoguery and petty conman ventures in business. That makes him somewhat untrustworthy in some contexts

    To say the conclusion doesn’t logically follow would be the understatement of all eternity. In fact, it makes him wholly untrustworthy in all contexts except those that personally benefit him and his current circle, which itself is constantly subject to change depending on how it benefits Trump. Trump has no long-term confidants in any area of life because he’s unable to develop relationships that would allow such conversations to take place.*

    It does not make him anymore “evil” than the general run of men, which is hardly an endorsement of his virtue. It does not even make him particularly racist, a false charge that was made constantly to explain his political success in terms that did not embarass the other political Party.

    It makes him relate to any and all issues solely in the context of how the responses make him feel in the immediate moment, firstly, and secondly how the results of the engagements may benefit him in the near-term. There is no evidence of any thought or feeling beyond these two benchmarks in any of Donald Trump’s entire life history of actions, writings, or orations.

    To say these qualities don’t “make him anymore “evil” than the general run of men”is rather insulting to we laypeople who’ve never wanted for anything more than a simple, decent life for ourselves. I’d imagine it’s insulting to yourself. I would hope so.

    More tellingly, its indicative of serious deficiencies in both reasoning as well as the broader intuitive faculties.

    Perhaps what was meant was Trump isn’t more evil than most other people in power. I’m not sure what criteria we’d use to measure degrees of evil other than the common sense one I outlined above. But I’ll indulge here. True, Trump isn’t any more evil. He’s also not any less evil. His single-minded attention to his own personal prestige and power and the relationships said attention has fostered with even greater power over a lifetime might be worth pursuing. But then why waste any more of our precious time on any of these scoundrels?

    We can definitively say that Trump is more unstable. Unstable evil isn’t inherently less evil than stable evil, though it may seem so at first. It’s appealing and energizing because it destabilizes the entrenched, stable evil. It’s appeal also lies in the fact that it’s often seen – not so much rightly or wrongly, but shortsightedly – as the only option to resist the entrenched evil.

    Of course, shortsightedness is an innate feature of the larger society at this point. The shortsighted Trump fits the shortsighted society perfectly.

  103. Willy

    Just because observing the obvious crazy person in great power is reactionary, it doesn’t mean that Biden isn’t just as crazy (though less obviously so). So what does one do when the media narrative controls so many minds (except for mine of course)? You clean their bathrooms. That’s when you’ll know.

    I should be charging for such wisdom.

  104. Bridget

    *I can’t imagine we’ll be learning a lot about the inner workings from Trumps’ diaries once he’s gone. He doesn’t have the breadth to keep diaries. Trump has absolutely nothing to tell us beyond his transactions and his golf game because he’s never been interested in anything else.

  105. Willy

    What’s really gonna bake your noodle, is the question: “Would Hitler have still been evil had he fallen to his death in some tragic accident back in 1937?”

  106. Bridget

    If the maddeningly smooth stability of a Clinton-Bush-Obama-Biden evil subtly pushes even otherwise intelligent, sensitive people towards a Donald Trump evil, then evil itself has won.

    Personally, the people who won’t or can’t see who Trump is are just as maddening as the people who won’t or can’t see who Obama is.

    On a logical-intellectual level they are maddening. On a sensate-intuitive level they’re just plain lost.

  107. Willy

    Ian has said as much. The end result of very bad economic policy is usually the make-hopey-changey-great-again demagogue taking or being given power by frightened citizens out of a sense of desperation. And I understand a good protest vote. I would’ve voted for Alice Cooper had he run. But if Alice had just behaved like a typical demogogue, or even a lying sack of shit like Trump, I don’t think I would’ve tried to rationalize the obvious behavior as being less than it actually was while scolding others for being too brainwashed for my taste.

    I already mentioned Pinochet and his Chicago Boys. They were all the rage back when Biden was surrounded by equally bad advice. I’m hopeful his advice isn’t quite as bad these days, after more results have come in. It may even be worth keeping democracy around for a bit longer.

  108. Bridget

    Would Hitler have still been evil had he fallen to his death in some tragic accident back in 1937?

    Thoughtful question! That’s why I was reluctant to engage with “evil” as an all-encompassing, static personal identity.

  109. Soredemos


    Hahaha, oh man. You think the US had no alternative but to invade Afghanistan after 9/11?

    Meanwhile we’re on the fourth administration in a row that is defending that actual backers of the 9/11 attacks, Saudi Arabia.

  110. Hugh

    Willy, the speed of light establishes a speed limit for particles moving through space-time. As cosmic inflation, Hubble expansion, and black holes show, however, there is no speed limit on space-time itself. Quantum entanglement is another phenomenon where the speed limit of light does not appear to apply.

  111. Willy


    The US could’ve easily not invaded Afghanistan, but political reality made this a non-option for an overwhelming percentage of voters and thus most politicians. Not to mention the difficulties of gaining access to all the hidey holes there. An unsettled, pissed off and paranoid citizenry mob are more prone to acting out with all the typical bathroom soiling activities (as bruce put it) than one more calmed by and coalesced around some kind of ‘strong leadership’.

    Would I have invaded Saudi Arabia instead, had I been dictator? Probably not, since my cost-benefit analysis would’ve seen this as a far worse alternative than even the disastrous invasion of Iraq. My other remaining option would have included expanding already vast intelligence operations, which as dictator would be easier to do than the expansion which happened under our republican democracy.

    I’m aware that you seem to prefer these little guerilla-style comments without much in the way of supporting substance, but would you be able to detail out your own preferred foreign policy scenario post 9-11? You may use the benefit of 20-20 hindsight if you desire.

  112. Willy

    Hugh, after you’ve gotten your quantum entanglement engines perfected and tested, will you give me a ride? I’d really like to solve the Fermi paradox once and for all.

  113. Bridget

    Even if 9/11 was carried out as the official story said it was – which is impossible according to the laws of physics – but assuming it was, for the sake of argument, the United States still should not have declared war on Afghanistan (or Saudi Arabia, or any country for that matter). You use the intelligence you have to capture and bring to justice whatever elements were involved. You don’t destroy entire populations. And if your intelligence was working even halfway decently to begin with, the event would never have happened in the first place.

    And in fact, the intelligence was there. The old “government can’t do anything right, they couldn’t pull that off” canard serves as excellent cover for those wishing to use evil means for their own selfish ends.

    Many among TPTB are aware, though only a few dare say, that an operation of that magnitude could not have been carried out without the planning and active participation of intel.

  114. Willy

    Bridget, I had a friend who turned out to have just cultivated our friendship so he could use me for his own workplace political gain, at my expense. He’d used the phrase “cut from the same cloth” a few times. My naïve self researched it after he’d taken advantage of me, in the hopes that I’d be less naïve the next time around. It led me to the semi-secret world of innate temperaments, a place where those expert in discerning such can more accurately predict the scope and limits of another’s future behaviors.

    Had Trump actually achieved personal control of the military (yes, a ridiculous assumption given his incompetency) I probably would’ve started hiding all evidence of my “leftism”, since history suggests that leftists are usually the first to go under those circumstances.

  115. Willy

    which is impossible according to the laws of physics

    Too much Occam’s Razor going on with 911. Dubya was incompetent and bin Laden had an engineering background. The towers were built like a house of cards (for economic efficiency) unable to support multiple stories of loading above if half of a given story’s structure was compromised low enough in elevation. That’s why the second tower hit went down first. Mies van der Rohe was an asshole and Yamasaki as well. But they were just doing their masters bidding I suppose.

    It is much more interesting (or suspect) that tower 7 fell. I’ve heard questionable things about 432 Park as well. I’m not suggesting that anybody go after the 1%-ers in that tower, but there it is. I’ve been around engineering just long enough to learn just how janky-batshit some stuff can get. There’s an incompetent PTB operating in much of that world as well, and most grunts just do as they’re told if they want to keep their desk another day.

  116. Bridget

    Meanwhile we’re on the fourth administration in a row that is defending that actual backers of the 9/11 attacks, Saudi Arabia.

    There’s a lot more to the events of 9/11 than “Saudi backers.” Some of the alleged Saudi hijackers were found – alive and well – after the fact.

    Any layperson with reasonable critical faculties who dares take even a cursory look beyond the officially sourced narrative will see that the vast majority of the information pertaining to the events of that day – provided by said officials – has been deceitful.

  117. Bridget

    Imagine the headline: “Dancing Men Seen Celebrating World Trade Center Attacks Traced to Mossad Front in Weehawken”

    True story. They were then released to Israel where they went on a daytime talk show and said they were simply there to film the event.

    I never saw this reported in the mainstream. It would have sold a lot of newspapers. It would have had a hell of a lot of eyeballs glued to screens. It would have been an advertisers’ wet dream. It never happened.

  118. Hugh

    Willy, it’s all early days on all this. For FTL travel, you would want to bend space-time. To transfer information across interstellar distances, quantum entanglement might work. Of course, you would have to get the entangled particles there first. There are Police Boxes too.

  119. Bridget


    The late Danny Jowenko’s interview on building 7 has jolted many out of their media-induced stupor. Bin Laden and the Taliban didn’t have easy access to that building. The building’s security was in the hands of people with direct ties to the highest levers of power in Israel and the United States. Names like Jules Kroll and Jerome Hauer come up again and again when looking into 9/11.

  120. Mr Jones

    Bridget is quite adept at sifting through the bullshit. Indeed, names such as Kristol, Kagan, Sharon, Silverstein, Zakheim, Perle and Abrams, among many others, are more impressive than the “Mohammed Attas” one may encounter. These are just a handful of the more recent names.

  121. Soredemos

    Since she’s come up, AOC is useless. The left keeps criticizing her because she never does anything. All she is is talk and PR. The only future I see with her is a brown Nancy Pelosi who does video game streams to show how hip she is.

    I will give her credit for raising money for Texans, that was actually a good use of her social media platform and her charisma. But she’s in a major government position. She’s a fucking legislator. She has actual power, and yet the most significant thing she could manage was a charity. This mere weeks after a contrived controversy where she and her friends were in a position where they had leverage to do something, and not only did nothing, but the guy who suggested it was attacked as the asshole.

    The insane furor over the force the vote affair was breathtaking to watch. The vichy left (and that includes people like David Sirota) came out of the woodwork to not only excuse the inaction, but to attack Dore and anyone else for even bringing up the suggestion.

    I’m not going to fight for people who won’t fight for me. AOC and the the rest of The Squad™ won’t fucking do anything. And then their supporters will come out of the woodwork to berate anyone who criticizes them for never doing anything.

    AOC is a wonderful case study in Lenin’s point about the difference between bourgeois And proletarian (actual) democracy.

  122. Soredemos


    In the better alternate universe timeline where we weren’t led by warmongering scumbags who exploited the attack to put longstanding dreams of conquest into action:

    1. 9/11 doesn’t happen because at minimum the CIA doesn’t withhold information from the FBI.

    2. If it does happen, we treat it as the crime it was. We don’t dignify the piss-ant perpetrators by launching invasions, we track them down and arrest them like the criminals they are. We drag them into courtrooms and put them on trial, after first interrogating them. And by interrogate I actually mean interrogate, not torture, which objectively doesn’t work in addition to being immoral and the recourse of a scoundrel.

    As part of this effort we start by trying to take the Taliban up on their offer of handing bin Laden over. Maybe they were lying, or maybe they were serious but couldn’t do it in practice. We’ll never know, because Bush never responded (and our media largely ignored the offer). Ideally we drag him into an interrogation room, hand him over to people like Ali Soufan, instead of executing him on sight before dumping his body in the mountains and then lying about the whole operation. Questioning him in short order leads us back to Riyadh, which brings us to point 3.

    3. We don’t bend over backwards to protect the head-chopping Saudi government that bankrolled the attack. We ditch them, and all the other Arab Gulf oil dictatorships that export Wahhabism as part of their foreign policy. (also, since we’re talking about idealized foreign policy not conducted by scumbag morons, we tell Israel to go fuck its own face and make clear that we’re no longer going to let a tiny dipshit parasite state direct our foreign policy). We realign our middle-east policy to center on supporting Iran, not Saudi Arabia, who in our real-world timeline were helping us out in Afghanistan, before Bush made his retarded Axis of Evil speech and slammed the door on any possibility of that relationship.

    And before you say “that’s all very well and good, but politically unfeasible because people were so angry”, no. The American people after 9/11 (as always) could (and were) easily manipulated into anything. All of the above could be very easily sold to the public. The neocons went to war because they desperately wanted to go to war, and 9/11 provided an excuse. Public pressure had zero to do with it, and in fact massive protests (huge even by world historical standards) against the invasion of Iraq were not only ignored, but essentially memory-holed by the media in real-time as they were taking place.


    9/11 ‘truthers’ are a. dumber than dirt and b. lie.

  123. unclevername

    I don’t like to comment but I wanted to chime in since some good stuff on 9/11 has been posted. I have trouble wading into this myself as I have friends and in-laws who are of the Jewish persuasion. It’s very uncomfortable.

    All that said, the names and associations closest to 9/11 are absolutely Jewish-Zionist-Israeli. The World Trade Center and the airports involved were controlled by Jewish Zionists. Prominent names include Larry Silverstein, Frank Lowy, Ronald Lauder and Lewis Eisenberg. The aforementioned Jules (and Jeremy) Kroll and Jerome Hauer were both in prominent positions, as were Ezra Harel and Menachim Atzmon of ICTS International, which provides airport security. All of these men had close personal ties to Israel and its leaders including Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Ehud Barak.

    Douglas Feith also figured prominently and should be mentioned along with the other overwhelmingly Jewish Zionist members of PNAC. Feith was fired from the NSC back in the 70’s for passing classified documents to Israel. Feith, Perle, and Richard Wurmser – all Jewish Zionists – authored the paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” on behalf of Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel in the 1990’s. Feith was then instrumental in creating the “Office of Special Plans” after 9/11 which produced the fake intelligence on Iraqi WMD’s and links to “Al-Qaeda.”

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll find if you choose to investigate these issues.

  124. Willy


    Okay, that works for me.

    When I took a peek inside that better alternate universe, I found that the punishment for gross incompetency at that level wasn’t just getting fired in public disgrace, but also a week spent in stocks at the designated location in the National Mall with a guard standing nearby in case frustrated citizens (R, D, and I) ran out of moldy fruit.

    Sadly, in our current reality timeline not only do we get the leaders we deserve, we get the citizenry we have instead of the citizenry we wish we had. Simple people of the land, the common clay of America. You know, morons.

    I tried talking some sense into the neocon version of morons back in the Iraq invasion day, but Dubya Bush was on such a holy war mission from God they’d curse at me in ASCII symbols. I left blogging until 2015 when I read about the mailman who landed on the DC Capitol lawn in a gyrocopter. I knew that guy from anti-war blogs back in the day. In 2015, he’d hoped to encourage campaign finance reform by delivering 535 letters of protest to 535 members of congress. He said that it was even more of a corrupt/incompetent government than it was back in 2003, usually “selling out to the highest bidder”. Not much came from his adventure, but he did have to do some time.

    So I visited some of my old conservative blogging acquaintances. They were all still there. But they hate Bush now. Maybe because he didn’t like Trump. They gave few details about why. Maybe it’s because “He’s so hot now.” At first (in 2016) they agreed with draining swamps and getting out of Iraq, finally. But as Trump wore on they got big into owning the libs (later the Democrats and socialists and especially antifa and BLM) and currently spend most of their time bitching about transexuals.

    So you say that the simple morons can be easily manipulated into everything. I agree, but how do we manipulate them into wanting more competency and less corruption from our so-called leaders, when all most of them seem to want is to worship their current “He’s so hot now” incompetent and corrupt leaders?

  125. someofparts

    S Brennan – “Why in the eff the US and the Europeans didn’t bring the Russians in from the cold…why?”

    Because communism.

    Dimitri Orlov described conditions in Moscow after little Billy Clinton engineered the collapse of their economy. Public transportation, plus education and healthcare continued to be free. Housing was secure too. As bad as things were, thanks to communism, the public had a safety net of free resources people in the U.S. can not even imagine.

    Keeping people in the U.S. from ever being able to imagine such things is a life or death matter to the vermin that rule us.

    Opposition to justice for the masses is a fight-to-the-death cause for the vermin and always has been. All of us who are their victims don’t stand a chance against them until we become as eternally, implacably opposed to Capital as they are to us – life or death baby.

  126. Bridget

    9/11 ‘truthers’ are a. dumber than dirt and b. lie.

    Oh, I didn’t realize.. Thanks. I’ll turn off the fruitfully inquisitive portion of my mind immediately and join you in your comfortably ignorant state.

  127. S Brennan


    I agree with: “AOC is useless…she never does anything…all talk and PR”

    But as Ian posted, she is the “new Bernie”.

    Some people were starting to get wise to Bernie. After a pretty good run as a conman, leading the flock of pseudo-lefty-ish D’s to the neoD slaughterhouse twice, contriving twice to nominate the most right-wing candidate, Bernie is getting a little long in the tooth.

    The neoD’s need a tool with a little more lamb appeal, AOC auditioned and it looks like she’s got the revival role of judas goat. It’s kinda sick but…because the lefty-ish always put esthetics before all other considerations…and to a great degree, they are always led by charlatans who know that the money is in leading the flock to the abattoir’s door.

  128. S Brennan

    SOP, No meanness intended; and I really don’t have the answer but, I very much doubt your explanation of my question.

  129. anon

    Jeez, the mere mention of Dore brings out total derangement from his critics. The first thing they love to do is attack Dore because the show he hosts from his garage has become a success. He’s done well for himself but he is in no way on the same stratosphere of wealth as the pundits on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News. The next thing that his critics use to attack him is his nice but in no way exorbitantly lavish house in LA. Liberals who hate him make it seem as if he is living on the same street as A-list Hollywood celebrities. It is very nice and would be worth half the price he paid for it where I live. Who doesn’t want to live in a nice house and how does that take away from what he says on his show? Should all progressives and socialists be poor to satisfy the corporatist left and their supporters? It’s the same attacks that were leveled at Bernie Sanders for owning three homes.

  130. Soredemos

    I’m getting the very distinct impression that Hugh doesn’t actually know what a fascist or a Nazi is, and just throws the words around very loosely.

  131. Hugh

    American fascists hate to be called fascist. It hurts their iddle-bitty feelings.

  132. Soredemos


    You aren’t being ‘fruitfully inquisitive’. You aren’t actually engaging in critical thinking, though I’m sure you think you are.

    There are two types of ‘truthers’: the thought (”’thought”’) leaders, who lie habitually. Then there are the much greater number of idiots, who just parrot the leader’s talking points. They do this while lecturing others to ‘do their research’.

    My favorite example is the book ‘Where Did The Towers Go?’, which I assume gets cited mostly because its author is a genuine PhD, and ‘truthers’ are absolutely desperate for any appearance of credibility. Had any of them actually bothered to read it, they would find that one of things it does is systematically debunk a bunch of other 9/11 conspiracy theories, before going off the rails by instead claiming that the towers were brought down by a orbital space laser straight out of a Command & Conquer video game.


    Yes, I know. I’m a Nazi. You caught me. Good job.

  133. Willy

    Jeez, the mere mention of Dore brings out total derangement from his critics

    Dore’s rebel strategy to show the DNC that progressives won’t just vote blue and get yet another shit sandwich, resulted in three conservative supreme court justices and a Trump base which despises “the left” even more than it ever did. The dream of unifying with conservatives to actually Make America Great Again became a helluva lot harder. Things like wealth inequality, racial prejudice and climate change got worse.

    And now we get to have all these “progressive” Trump voters desperately trying to rationalize the “progressive things” which Trump did, not a single one of which is at all unconvincing.

    On the plus, Biden does seems to be just a bit more on the ball when it comes to Americas onrushing failed state status, not to mention the rapid increase in fascist and authoritarian movements, unthinkable in America just a couple short decades ago.

    The “total derangement” black and white thinking schtick has become incredibly lame. It was originally just some Krauthammer sarcasm, which idiot lemming conservatives ran with to try and own the libs.

  134. Hugh

    Soredemos, I don’t know if you’re a Trumper or not. Critical thinking doesn’t seem to be your thing. The fantasies and delusions you buy into don’t interest me much.

  135. someofparts

    S Brennan – I agree with you. My answer was formulaic and not really thought through carefully.

    Opposition to communism is the reason traditionally given for U.S. rejection of cooperation with Russia, but that’s probably just a public relations mask for whatever actual power dynamics are really underway.

    Maybe Clinton’s success in crashing their economy is what the U.S. wants to repeat and perpetuate. Maybe the objective is to dominate them and appropriate their resources on unfavorable terms against their wishes.

    You may disagree with this analysis too. I’m not the brain police, so if you have a different perspective I’ll just listen to you and then think about it.

  136. someofparts

    Chris Hedges explained the compliance from AOC and Bernie in a way that makes sense to me. He says they have been threatened with being ruined the same way Nader was ruined. Even though submitting to being silenced renders them powerless, they rationalize it by deciding that they are still better in the office than anyone who might replace them.

    Hedges said that when he worked at NYT he got an inside look at some of the people in Congress. Based on what he saw, he says that Pelosi and Schumer are extremely vicious and vindictive. Bernie and AOC know this and are right to fear their wrath. Hedges mentioned Cynthia McKinney. Remember her? Yeah. She was one of the people they ruined, and she is just one among many.

  137. someofparts

    “So you say that the simple morons can be easily manipulated into everything. I agree, but how do we manipulate them into wanting more competency and less corruption from our so-called leaders”

    If you hold them in contempt and see them as objects to be manipulated, you should get used to being “mysteriously” rejected. That presumption of being superior to less enlightened humans has a way of extending to a presumption of superiority to the entire natural world and the next thing you know you are destroying your own planet.

    The moron is not a widget. The moron has dreams. The moron loves other morons.

    In my experience, the only approach that ever works is to get to know the other person and then go from there. If it is possible to establish a friendly acquaintance that is a good beginning. Cultivate the friendship and build a history of cordial mutual support. While you’re busy just being a mensch, talk about events of the day will bubble up comfortably. Treat those conversations as a dance, not a military campaign. To be the best kind of dancer, get psyched up about the probability that you are going to learn something from the moron.

  138. Willy


    I was talking about the entire Bernays/Century of the Self thing which has been discussed here before. It’s as much about the enabler as it is the psychopath they follow. Theoretically, and seemingly in Soredemos alternate reality, human nature is such that Genghis Khan never had to conquer and kill anybody. He just went around explaining his vision of peace and open trade under a unified banner and everybody saw the wisdom of that and willfully came on board.

    Khan once said that anybody could walk from one end of his empire to the other with a gold plate on their head, untouched and in total safety. As if the tens of millions killed justified that. Not to mention, the possibility that the famous middle age plagues were a result of his actions.

    I suspect that Chris Hedges is correct. (I try to avoid too much of him since it’s like listening to the Smiths band – doing it too much can make one want to jump off a bridge). I understand criticizing AOC and Bernie. Frustrated citizens think they need to continuously remind those two that there are a lot of people counting on them. But those very same folks appear to have poor street smarts, as does Dore. His strategy was a good one, but his ability to judge character seems poor. However, if somebody could point me to an old video (old!) where Dore accurately predicted that Trump would be a “wake up call” for establishment Dems and possibly even conservatives, but a safe one because of his general incompetency, then I’d certainly like to see it.

    It would be far wiser to criticize bullies like Pelosi and Schumer while offering support to AOC and Bernie. Why don’t people do this instead? My own state’s most famous national senator has all kinds of stuff named after him because he brought home all kinds of pork. But I’ve heard insider stories implying that he was actually an extremely vicious and vindictive SOB who’d ruin careers just to have a handy scapegoat for some mistake he’d made.

    Why do people give the bullies a pass and go after the good and decent folks trying to counter them? Why isn’t it natural for schoolyard kids to support the bullied kid and hammer the bully? I suspect a genetic-survival component, combined with the common culture.

    When you talk about successfully deprogramming the easily brainwashed morons, I think of the “Ticket to Heaven” movie. In that one, the cultist was surrounded by his loved ones (his true friends and family) and they became the emotional support he’d needed. He was then able to dump his sociopathic-kleptocratic cult leader and his brainwashed cult moron “friends and family”.

  139. Howard

    Ian, thanks for the cover of Time with Yeltsin on the front. For a number of years, I have kept both electronic and hard copies of it to show to friends and acquaintances who are up in arms about supposed “Russian interference” in US elections.

  140. Soredemos


    Hahaha, holy shit. You think I’m a Trumper? You really are clueless. I’m an (actual, literal; private ownership of the means of productions shouldn’t exist) communist. I voted for Stein in 2016 and Hawkins in 2020.

    And you’re the one who does nothing but demonstrate a chronic inability to engage in nuance or critical thinking. But hey, keep pr0jecting.

  141. Willy

    Modern Communism is as prone to plutocratic dysfunction as is Milton Friedmanism. This is because population and technology provide too many hiding places for psychopathy. Not to mention those two things can leverage their power to insane levels with all the inevitable ruin.

    I have this theory that back when all humans were communist (pretty much their entire social species evolutionary history up right up until the Pleistocene ended), psychopathic bad seeds (or “evil spirit” whatevers) were dealt with quickly and severely by clans which were so small that everybody knew what everybody else was all about, and life was so brutally tenuous that every clan member had to have a useful purpose. And here we humans are at the top of the food chain. Clans which didn’t handle psychopathy well became dysfunctional and their genes died out. At least that’s my theory anyways.

    In modern history, nobody has ever figured out how to deal with the paradox of power, especially that bit where the least deserving tend to be the very best at achieving power.

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