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

Open Thread

Use for topics unrelated to recent posts. No vax/anti-vax in this thread.


The Labor Shortage And the New Criminalization


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 15, 2021


  1. bruce wilder

    crime fighting caped crusader comes out!

    Robin is officially bi and his civilian alter ego accepted a date with a twink.

    the kids are alright.

    Batman will be totally cool with his sidekick’s revelation about his sexuality, Fitzmartin added, noting how their relationship has always been akin to that of a father and son.

    “I think Batman is incredibly open” she said. “He’s going to be very receptive of a Robin.

    “Ultimately there is a lot of love that he has for Tim and that will shine through.”

    Batman is not going to be jealous?

  2. Ché Pasa

    Re: Afghanistan “falling” to the Taliban. Taliban “seizing” yet another regional capital…

    Is that really what’s going on? I’ve seen a little of the news coverage (BBC, PBS, primarily), and it’s… as if all this was in a time warp. 1975, the Fall of Saigon, for example. Somehow, every single commentator I’ve seen on the Fall of Afghanistan (whut?) invokes some primal duty of the United States of America, LLC, to “intervene on behalf of the Afghan People”, as if 20 years of direct intervention and 20 years of indirect intervention before that hadn’t produced exactly the mess playing out now.

    From what I can tell at a far distance, “the Afghan People” hate and despise their imposed puppet “government” (much as the Vietnamese People hated and despised their imposed puppet “government” in Saigon), and the sooner rid of it, the better.

    Basically, what I hear the media commentators declaring is that it doesn’t matter a whit what “the Afghan People” — mere savages — believe or want. What matters is what The Established Order (ie: they themselves and the Foreign Policy Establishment) want and need, which is to dominate and prevail over the savages of Afghanistan, Taliban and all, with the able assistance of the US and NATO militaries and rafts and rafts of mercenaries to do the Wet Work.

    This is intervention the way it is supposed to be. The Taliban seem rational and reasonable by comparison — as they did in 2001, when the Bush-Cheney regime was ramping up their revenge invasion and perpetual occupation.

    You know the same thing will happen When Baghdad Falls.

    When people condemn the Foreign Policy Establishment for this kind of crap, they’re right. But the Taliban is murdering journalists!!!!!1 And the Imperial Forces have long been murdering entire wedding parties, wiping out entire family compounds and random white clad men standing beside the roads and children in school and babes in arms.

    There is no good in this, but there is very much bad.

  3. Plague Species


    What then was the REAL purpose for America invading Afghanistan? Hell if I know. Hell if anyone knows. I’ve read a million reasons why America invaded and none of them stand up to scrutiny. Every single one of them is flawed. I believe it was purely a projection of power — a reason to justify a bloated and ever increasing defense budget and there’s no better way to do that I suppose than pick on a country that could never existentially harm America in any way.

    The NeoCons, Dubya and Cheney and Rumsfeld and PNAC and the MIC needed a war for which 9/11 served as the pretext, and Afghanistan was available so they made it fit from a PR perspective and used that invasion to cut their teeth for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. America was back and new and improved, or at least that’s how they played it from a PR perspective. The truth and reality of it was and is quite the opposite. It was a last gasp and Syria and Libya were and are dead cat bounces.

  4. Plague Species

    This is intervention the way it is supposed to be. The Taliban seem rational and reasonable by comparison — as they did in 2001, when the Bush-Cheney regime was ramping up their revenge invasion and perpetual occupation.

    No, the Taliban is not rational and reasonable and in no way can be compared to the North Vietnamese communists. Just because America is rotten to the core and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been a 20 year long war crime, doesn’t make the Taliban legitimate or honorable or look good compared to America in any way.

  5. bruce wilder

    I think there must be a temptation among some journalists to write up the story of why and how the U.S. military managed a 20-year war in such a way as to lose to such as are the Taliban.

    After 20 years of American journalism, the characters in this drama have less authentic character and depth in the public mind than Batman and Robin.

    There is little information to work with here that can be believed or understood, beyond the mayhem and destruction all around.

  6. cynthia

    There is little information to work with here that can be believed or understood, beyond the mayhem and destruction all around.

    Everything is going according to plan:

    “Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves. They’ll only be able to parrot the information they’ve been given on the previous night’s news.”

    “The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

    “Technology will make available to the leaders of major nations, techniques for conducting secret warfare, of which only a bare minimum of the security forces need be appraised…..techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm.”

    “Our world is integrated to an unprecedented degree, while the global political awakening is injecting into interstate relations an intense amount of tension, emotion, even irrationality, which could cumulatively produce circumstances that preclude an effective and genuinely shared universal response to new global problems.”

    “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. I encouraged the Thailand|Thai to help the Khmer Rouge. The question was how to help the Cambodian people. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him. But China could.

    “This regionalization is in keeping with the Tri-Lateral Plan which calls for a gradual convergence of East and West, ultimately leading toward the goal of one world government. National sovereignty is no longer a viable concept.”

  7. Trinity

    I’m with JMG on a slow collapse occurring over time. However, collapse will also accelerate over time, in a cascading effect, as the collapse of one subsystem takes out other systems that depended on it. The opposite of these dependencies is where the concepts of resilience and sustainability lie.

    Here’s a link to an interview about a paper focused on ecological concepts applied to social collapse, using the “classic notion of predator vs. prey, sometimes referred to as the “balance of nature.” When a deer population grows, the wolves that feed on those deer reproduce more successfully, too, and so the wolf population grows. Everything is fine until the wolves become too numerous and overreach, eating so many deer that there isn’t enough venison to go around. Then, as the number of deer plunges, the wolf population drops due to famine, until equilibrium is reestablished and the cycle begins anew. ”

    “The researchers used the HANDY model to analyze three different social scenarios: an egalitarian society with no elite class; an equitable society with workers and non-workers (students, retirees, disabled persons); and an unequal society with a robust class of elites.

    The egalitarian and equitable societies could produce a sustainable civilization and avoid collapse, even with a high ratio of non-workers. Social collapse was more likely after people overreached and depleted natural resources. Importantly, even without any social stratification, collapse could occur if a society exhausted its natural resources.

    In the unequal society, however, collapse was almost unavoidable — and these were the HANDY scenarios that mirrored our current globalized society.”

  8. Hugh

    Three quarters of Afghanistan’s population lives in the countryside, and nearly half of it is fourteen or younger. Cities aren’t where the population is at, and the population isn’t what we think it is. And in most of the ways we think about, Afghanistan has never had a functioning national government. The Taliban are tribal medieval religious whackos, but what we don’t get is they reflect the country much better than we or any government we installed in Kabul. It is, of course, not woke or politic to say this.

    The Taliban are dreadful. It is doubtful that they either can or want to run a functioning state. It is likely that Afghanistan will be both repressed and unstable under them. Still about our only strategic interest in the region is to monitor, limit, and exact a cost from the Taliban for their support of groups, like al Qaeda and ISIS, that will use their territory to mount attacks against us. Nor is it like we will be undercutting any friends or allies in the region because we don’t have any. There is a hostile Iran to the west, a duplicitous and equally hostile Pakistan to the east, and Russian satellites to the north. And it being the kind of region that it is, they wanted us mired there but still stabilizing their borders even as they undercut us however they could.

    So do I have any angst about us getting out of Afghanistan? No. Will people get hurt and die as a result? Yes. But that was going to happen anyway, and it is not, nor never was, our responsibility. That belongs to the Afghans themselves and their neighbors.

  9. Joan

    Foremost on the public screens these days is whether there will be an influx of Afghan refugees into Europe.

    Also, Bruce, you read my mind about Batman and Robin! Thanks for the chuckle.

  10. GlassHammer

    Greetings all,

    It’s been awhile, hopefully things are going relatively well.

  11. Summer 2030

    The future’s so bright…

  12. Jason

    Will people get hurt and die as a result? Yes. But that was going to happen anyway, and it is not, nor never was, our responsibility. That belongs to the Afghans themselves and their neighbors.

    My god.

  13. bruce wilder

    That’s right Jason, after 20 years and 2 trillion dollars, it is not — in Hugh’s view — “our responsibility”.

    It is of a piece with the same susceptibility to narrative that leads Hugh to be ever so enthusiastic about “humanitarian” interventions in prospect.

    Cf. “Humanity’s Completely Broken Feedback Systems”

  14. It’s been believed by credentialed individuals, like Chris Martenson, that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was engineered, as it had a number of inserts of evidently man-made agents at “ferin (sp?) cleavage sites”. IIRC, a large number of Indian scientists published a paper on this, early on, which was promptly denied by the Fauci goose-steppers.

    Well! Martenson recently revealed that the delta variant has an additional ‘mutation’ {cough} {cough} at a ferin cleavage site.

    The original strain’s human engineered pedigree said nothing (I think) about whether or not the virus was released deliberately. However, lightning striking twice suggests that creating and releasing this is quite deliberate.

    Although he doesn’t provide solid references in his videos, George Webb recently went through his arguments for why Sars-CoV-2 was engineered in the West, and released by Westerners in China. (“West” apparently means by NATO, not the US defense establishment, proper; not that I’m sure distinguishing between the two is meaningful). I find that he lays out a convincing case, though I don’t want to attempt to fact check him, and don’t know of any thorough fact-checking of him by, well, anybody. (And no, blowing 1 or 2 of his reports doesn’t debunk everything Webb has ever said.)

    The youtube video is: “McDuff and Webb: John interviews George Webb to update his latest reporting, (2021-08-09)”

    As I’ve noted previously, it’s been reported that EcoHealth Alliance get more money from DoD than NIH, which seems of zero interest not only to CNN, but FOX. So FOX will cover the Fauci gain-of-function evidence, but not DoD funding*; while CNN poo poo’s even the Fauci angle.

    Gee, grandma, why would that be? And why is your nose so big? Whatever happened to “follow the money”? Too quaint for our Orwellian age?

    * as far as I know

  15. Astrid

    “(I)t is not, nor never was, our responsibility”

    No doubt Hugh will say the same about women and children to fall victim to US backed “moderate Syrian rebels”, Banderite “pro-westerners”, and ETIM “freedom fighters”. C’mon man! They’re just such backwards people and Americans’decades of funding head choppers and enforcing deadly sanctions does not make it responsible.

    Calling this priest of “woke man’s burden” a racist was probably too kind. These people are the neoliberal equivalent of pyromaniacs who set fire to innocent people’s houses and then say “they had it coming and it was going to burn down anyways”. Except x1,000,000. Maybe x1,000,000,000 considering climate change.

  16. Hugh

    So Jason and bruce trot out their inverted American exceptionalism again. We’re bad for being in Afghanistan and we’re bad for leaving it. The Afghans and their neighbors are/were innocent bystanders. Being non-Western, they have no claim to their own history and screw-ups. I always wonder if Jason and bruce realize how colonial their attitudes are.

  17. Hugh

    And then the anti-Western racist Astrid shows up. Maybe she can enlighten us about how the Chinese would have done it so much better. After all, they backed forward thinking regimes like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, North Korea, and most recently the Myanmar junta.

  18. different clue

    As Colonel Lang might put it . . . ” Well pilgrims, we are done in Afghanistan”.

    Approve? Disapprove? It is what it is.

    Yankee come home.

  19. candi pfizmrna

    Dr. Fauci will join Bill Gates and others to discuss the world’s options going forward, as covid shows no signs of letting up. The conference will take place next month.

    Early flyers are circulating:

  20. Plague Species

    Biden is doing the right thing by withdrawing from Afghanistan because invading and occupying was always the wrong thing regardless of whether or not there was any cogent reasoning for it and what has transpired as a result of that invasion and occupation is an abomination that should no longer be enabled and nurtured — a terminally corrupt Narco State.

    Yes, Biden should do everything he can to ensure those who will be slaughtered otherwise, get out of Kabul before the Taliban locusts descend and commence with the blood-letting, but other than that, America must wipe its blood-soaked hands of Afghanistan once and for all. Let China try its hand. Or Russia can have a sequel to their first invasion when it was the Soviet Union. Pakistan best guard those nukes. Imagine the Taliban knuckle draggers with nukes. Russia is within range. So is China. And India of course. What a party it would be.

    Meanwhile, will Biden order the release of all the 9/11 documents that will reveal the Saudi leadership’s complicity in 9/11? Not on your life, or I should say not on Biden’s life. Oh sure, he’ll offer some half-hearted less-than-full measure which is effectively meaningless, but he’ll never acquiesce because he knows he would be assassinated. What does it matter at this point, Joe? If you’re assassinated? You have so few years left and your quality of life is significantly diminished as it is. You claim JFK inspired you and inspires you, well this is the ultimate inspiration. JFK took on the big boys and paid the highest price for his conviction. You can die a hero and a martyr in a year or two, maybe less, when the Saudis and the MIC take you out if you release the documents unredacted, or you can die in five years forever known as a political whore who compromised his integrity his entire career to the highest bidders for power and prestige.

  21. Plague Species

    Hugh, if these folks had their way, we would still be in Vietnam and they would be flogging America every step of the way for its sixty year occupation. It’s clear they never really wanted America to withdraw from Afghanistan as they’ve disingenuously clamored for all these live long years. I clamored for it too and I applaud Biden for taking it on the chin and finally doing it and doing it without negotiating with the feces that is the Taliban. You can’t negotiate with that with which there can be no negotiation. The Taliban are incapable of negotiating. They only know how to rape young women and young boys and murder you if you try to wipe your ass. There’s no rogue they won’t coddle and embrace in their seething hatred of America.

  22. Astrid

    Hugh and PS’s dissociation from reality is so complete that it’s a thing of beauty.

    China hasn’t started been in war with another country in 42 years and lifted the vast majority of its population out of extreme poverty in the same timeframe. WTF has the USA done in the meantime? Destroy a dozen more more countries for shits and giggles and moral boners. Nobody on the “other side” is calling for staying the course. They are pointing out the logical outcome of Hugh’s “humanitarian intervention” and why the USA has no moral right policing anyone, anywhere, ever again.

  23. Astrid

    And dude. A real Chinese person wouldn’t bother with the likes of Hugh and PS. They have a functional government that seems at least occasionally interested in protecting them from bad things. They can live their life without worrying about gun toting neighbors and racist police and unhinged administrations each content to burn up another country or demographic or institution so they can use the chaos to steal all the copper piping.

    Only pathetic USians like myself, who know the lake of shit that I am paddling through, would give a damn. I wish I was Chinese, or Russian, or from somewhere else with a government that doesn’t fill me with shame and guilt and anxiety.

  24. Bridget

    will Biden order the release of all the 9/11 documents that will reveal the Saudi leadership’s complicity in 9/11?

    The Saudis probably called Larry Silverstein and told him not to have breakfast at Windows on the World restaurant, located on the 107th floor of the North Tower, like he did every morning – except on the morning of September 11, 2001. Or maybe it was a lucky coincidence. Larry’s two children, who also worked at the World Trade Center, were absent that day as well.

    Another lucky coincidence for Larry – or maybe the friendly Saudis tipped him off – was his decision in July of 2001 to obtain a 99-year lease on the buildings in the first place. Silverstein ended up receiving an over four and a half billion dollar insurance settlement for the destruction of the towers, as a result of having immediately sued in October of 2001, while the ashes were still hot, over 24 different insurance carriers involved with the WTC.

    Silverstein didn’t stop there, also suing the airlines and airport security for over twelve billion dollars, though he only ended up receiving just under a hundred mil. for those lawsuits. Poor Larry.

  25. different clue

    @candi pfizmrna,

    So Fauci and Gates will share a stage and a venue. Hmmm . . . . is this a case of birds of a feather flocking together?

    I wonder which one of them will be lying down with a dog, and which one of them will be getting up with fleas.

  26. nihil obstet

    This week I saw a news clip from 1971 of protestors in front of the British Parliament, watched by police. The police were wearing uniforms and standing almost at attention. It struck me how long it’s been since I saw a protest like that. Now we have police in all countries wearing full battle gear, manhandling protestors, firing tear gas, shooting “non-lethal” bullets. Why can’t we stop this level of police state control of people?

  27. different clue

    And who made all that money shorting a bunch of airlines just before 9/11? And who told them that “that particular time in particular” would be a good time to short the airlines?

    Oh! and . . . . ciprofloxacin is used against anthrax in particular. How did some of our High Governators like Cheney and Ashcroft and stuff know to start taking cipro starting just before the anthrax attacks? Just a lucky guess on their part? A master comedian’s sense of timing?

  28. different clue

    @nihil obstet,

    As long as we remain at a pre-civil-war level, enough people support the kind of militarized police oppressionism you referrence, that only a minority of people object to it. And that minority doesn’t have the political power to change police behavior.

    If we reach a civil war or civil strife situation, then the police can have their behavior changed if a greater number of people can outnumber the police with more and better armed and better trained citizen action groups who can outshoot and outdominate the police. A series of “kinetic attitude adjustments” would change police behavior if those adjustments could be sucCESSfully applied.

  29. Plague Species

    Hey Astrid, if Afghanistan is America’s responsibility in perpetuity, I have an idea. Let’s ship all the Vaccine Refuseniks and Mask Refuseniks to Afghanistan to help the Taliban transform Afghanistan into a prosperous, China-like techno marvel. Let’s start tomorrow.

  30. Bridget

    The Saudis probably pushed billionaire cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder to create the New York State Research Council on Privatization, which pushed New York’s governor at the time, George Pataki, to privatize the WTC. This allowed Frank Lowy and Larry Silverstein to buy the property.

    Lewis Eisenberg was chair of the Port Authority at the time, and Neil Levin was Executive Director. Charles Schumer and Sheldon Silver held prominent positions.

    Silver would later be indicted and successfully prosecuted for corruption which involved referring 9/11 victims to his friend – cancer doctor Robert Taub – in order to keep Silver’s own four billion dollar bribe and kickback scheme alive.

    Silver wrote a 2005 letter directing the State Department of Health to steer $250,000 to a research center run by Dr. Robert Taub. This was done under the guise of helping “residents and workers in Lower Manhattan” who were exposed to “asbestos and other materials released into the air during the attacks of September 11, 2001,”

    Interestingly, the WTC itself had been deemed an asbestos nightmare a few years prior to Silverstein and Lowy buying it. The costs to thoroughly remove, clean and refurbish the building were quite high and would have cost taxpayers – provided the WTC remained a public entity – a bundle.

    Of further interest, the second bidder in the WTC sale was an outfit called Vornado realty, run by billionaire Steven Roth. Given Roth’s connections and history, it’s beyond incredulous to believe anything less sinister would have transpired if he were awarded the WTC lease rather than Silverstein Properties and Westfield Properties. The latter, by the way, is owned by billionaire Frank Lowy, he of the Golani Brigade and Hagganah.

    So the players would have been in place in regardless, bearing in mind they also had to make sure Bush won the election.

    Fast forward to 2016 and Donald Trump, who has over the years been forced by the likes of Steven Roth and other NY bankers – on more than one occasion – to sell large portions of his holdings to the bankers’ preferred investors. This allows Trump to do what he does, and provides him a nice income stream, but ultimately leaves him out of the truly adult decisions.

    So Trump can go before AIPAC and tell them he doesn’t need their money, while receiving huge sums of money from the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Steven Roth. Trump lives for that sort of thing, though his fan base still doesn’t seem to get it.

    Trump may have been trying to maneuver around the vaunted and all-powerful U.S. deep state (maybe), but he had no problem openly operating in the interest of the Jewish Zionist deep state once in office, despite whatever he may have said on the campaign trail.

    Who has the power here?

  31. Bridget


    Jerome Hauer told Cheney and the vassals to take Cipro on the evening of 9/11, a few days before the anthrax scare.

    Hauer was managing director of Kroll Inc, owned by billionaire Jules Kroll and his son Jerome, when they were awarded the security contract for the WTC after the 1993 bombings. Hauer also ran Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s office of emergency management (OEM) from 1996 to 2000. He is the key individual that pushed for this office to be placed in Silverstein and Lowy’s WTC Building 7.

    Building 7, which would have been the tallest building in over the half states in the U.S, also came down that day, though many inside the United States still don’t seem to know this.

    Danny Jowenko was a Dutch expert in controlled demolition recognized and well-regarded around Europe and the world. In September of 2006 a Dutch filmmaker showed Jowenko a video of building 7 collapsing into its own footprint on September 11, 2001.

    The filmmaker didn’t initially tell Jowenko what the building was or when it happened. He asked Jowenko how the building came down. Jowenko said controlled demolition. The filmmaker asked how he knew. Jowenko calmly explained.

    The filmmaker then told Jowenko that the building was part of the WTC complex and it also came down on September 11, 2001.

    Jowenko didn’t believe the filmmaker at first. Upon hearing the evidence provided by the filmmaker, Jowenko’s mouth immediately went agape. He was stunned and mortified.

    Larry Silverstein was questioned in a documentary film about building seven and he said “We made the decision to pull it and we watched the building collapse.”

  32. Eileen


    You forgot to mention that Jerome Hauer’s mother is Rose Muscatine Hauer, the Honorary President of the New York Chapter of Hadassah, the Daughters of Zion movement that is one of the central Zionist organizations involved in the creation and support of the State of Israel.

    Just to mention a couple others in prominent positions:

    Michael Mukasey was the judge who oversaw the litigation between Silverstein and the insurance companies that ultimately awarded him with close to five billion dollars on towers that had been valued at barely a billion when he bought them and immediately decided to invest in a whole lot of “terrorist insurance” on them.

    Mukasey also actively discouraged further inquiry into the events of 9/11, including shutting down inquiry into five individuals who came to be known as “the dancing Israelis: Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Schmuel, Oded Ellner & Omer Marmari.

    These men were some of the most prominent of the over sixty Israelis detained that day, and the one hundred fifty or so Israelis arrested for espionage in the days and weeks leading up to 9/11.

    The dancing Israelis had been spotted in multiple locations around New York City filming and celebrating the attacks. The men were detained by NYPD. The police and FBI field agents found maps of the city with certain places highlighted, box cutters (the same items that the hijackers allegedly used), $4,700 cash stuffed in a sock, and foreign passports.

    Police also told a New Jersey local paper, The Bergen Record, that bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the van and that they reacted as if they had smelled explosives. According to the Jewish Daily Forward the FBI later determined that at least two of the Israelis were Mossad agents and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems was a Mossad front.

    According to ABC News 20/20, after these five Israelis were detained, the driver of the van – Sivan Kurzberg – told the officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”

    President Bush’s fervent support for Israel and its hardline government is well known. He reaffirmed it, for example, in June 2002 in a major speech on the Middle East. In the view of “leading Israeli commentators,” the London Times reported, the address was “so pro-Israel that it might have been written by Israel prime minister Ariel Sharon.”

    In an address to pro-Israel activists at the 2004 convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Bush said:

    “The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state.”

    He also told the gathering:

    “By defending the freedom and prosperity and security of Israel, you’re also serving the cause of America.”

    Condoleeza Rice, who served as President Bush’s National Security Advisor, and later, as his Secretary of State, echoed the President’s outlook in a May 2003 interview, but decided to go all the way, saying:

    “The security of Israel is the key to security of the world.”

    Michael Mukasey helped arrange for the dancing Israelis’ release to Israel.

  33. Plague Species

    I’d respond, but every other comment of mine goes to moderation while these huge cut and pastes by others miraculously make it through. Whatever.

    If the Saudis weren’t complicit, why not release the 9/11 documents unredacted? If it’s so obvious the Jews did it, then there clearly is no Saudi leadership connection to hide, right?

  34. Plague Species

    Not cool, Ian.

  35. Plague Species

    I’m guessing Hugh’s being moderated too.

  36. Jason

    We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.

    We are all Palestinians now.

  37. Ché Pasa

    So as we watch Afghanistan implode and collapse (“into its own footprint”) and we question the value of US/NATO intervention into any conflict or crisis anywhere…

    Why do these military, economic, or colonial interventions take place? Almost always they are undertaken on bad if not fraudulent information on behalf of a tiny elite that hope to — and likely will — profit from them whatever the outcome. That’s certainly how the Monroe Doctrine interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, Manifest Destiny, the Mexican American and Spanish American Wars, the Pacific island grabs, and on and on and on worked and we see the same basic patterns employed today, again on behalf of a few elite interests not the People of whatever place is selected for bombing, destruction and slaughter.

    The Afghanistan invasion and occupation has apparently never been thought through by the Powers That Were and Are , and it was a disaster from the outset. Do you remember the series of massacres that opened the conflict? It was a horror-show sponsored and egged on by the United States and NATO essentially for the pleasure of the Bushes and Cheneys in their bunkers. They wanted the blood and misery of the Afghan People. They didn’t care how they got what they wanted. They got it. Double portions of it. Most of it initially the acts of sponsored warlords. They loved every minute of it, even though Afghanistan had nothing to do with the ostensible reason for the bloodletting.

    Mostly Saudis mostly trained and funded in the United States were the responsible agents for the attacks on 9/11/2001. I was in Seattle on that date, but in the ’70s, I worked in a building next to the flight school at the Venice, FL airport, known at that time as a hub for Colombian and other drug runners — flights in and out were constant and they were easy to identify — and it was widely suspected at the time that the entire operation, including the flight school were “CIA”. The lead Saudi hijackers were trained to fly airplanes there — not in Afghanistan. What Osama specifically had to do with it still isn’t known for certain, and until he was silenced, he denied any direct involvement.

    So why was Afghanistan invaded? Not because of bin Laden. Or ISIS — which didn’t exist. Or al Qaeda, which was a fluid thing to say the least.

    Back in those days it was easy to see that there was no military reason to “do” Afghanistan, but there were many pecuniary interests who salivated at ways to profit — even if it was only by reviving and monopolizing the poppy industry that the Taliban (ooou bad!) had destroyed.

    The entire 20 year cock up sickens me.

  38. Synoptocon

    I guess this answers where the missing random socks go when they disappear from the dryer.

  39. Anyone remember those few years when Pirate political parties were the rage in Europe?

    In two nations Pirate political parties have kept government seats and maintained or expanded their support.
    In Iceland the Pirate party won 9% in 2017 and is polling at 12% for the 2021 election.
    In the Czech republic the Pirate alliance won 16% and is polling at slightly over 20% currently.

  40. Jim Harmon

    In related news, the Stormfront site is down.

  41. Bridget

    “On September 15, 2001, at a meeting in Camp David, Paul Wolfowitz advised President George W. Bush to skip Kabul and train American guns on Baghdad. In March 2003, he got his wish. In the process, Wolfowitz became the most influential US deputy defense secretary ever – can you so much as name anyone else who held the post?

    Not that this alone qualifies Wolfowitz as the Jerusalem Post’s Man of the Year. The war in Iraq had many authors: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, George Bush. Wolfowitz may have been an early and vocal advocate, but he was cheering from the second row.

    What’s not in dispute is that Wolfowitz is the principal author of the doctrine of preemption, which framed the war in Iraq and which, when it comes to it, will underpin US action against other rogue states.” – Bret Stephens

    Wolfowitz studied under Albert Wohlstetter, of RAND Corporation fame, along with another protege and venerable human being, the “Prince of Darkness” Richard Perle. Perle was chairman of the Defense Policy Board for 17 years where he was a core Pentagon policy advisor.

    Way back in 1970, Perle was an adviser to Senator Henry Jackson. NNDB reports that “In 1970, a federal wiretap found Perle discussing classified information with staff at the Israeli embassy. There is no indication he was reprimanded. He also may have passed classified documents to the Israeli Embassy, although there isn’t enough evidence to move forward.”

    One may remember that fellow traveler Douglas Feith was dismissed from the Reagan administration in the early years for his involvement with Jonathan Pollard and classified information being transferred to Israel.

    When Pollard’s espionage was exposed, some familiar names were suspected by then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger’s Office of the General Counsel of being Pollard’s co-conspirators:

    Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and John Lehman.

    Lehman worked at the Pentagon as Secretary of the Navy from 1981-1987. Perle worked at the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during the same years. Wolfowitz worked at the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1982-1986. Feith was at the Pentagon from March 1984 to September 1986 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense For Negotiations Policy.

    Pollard’s espionage activities occurred from summer 1984 to 1985, during which he obtained classified material from his workplace in Suitland, Maryland, just a few miles from Washington DC.

    Perle, Lehman, Wolfowitz, and Feith were powerful enough and physically close enough to have assisted Pollard with espionage. And they all hold the same ideological fervor and unassailable commitment to Israel.

    Just to reiterate, Perle was also caught by the FBI passing classified information to the Israeli embassy in 1970.

    Fast forward to 2002, and Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz created a quasi-secret intelligence unit inside the Bush administration known as The Office of Special Plans, which was headed up by Abram Shulsky, a Leo Strauss protege with long-standing ties to Wolfowitz.

    Shulsky had co-authored a book while at The American Enterprise Institute, “Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence” in which he referenced the ideas of the Jewish-American philosopher Leo Strauss, who has been credited with being the father of neoconservatism in the United States. Strauss. In his work, Strauss raised the question of whether good politicians could be truthful yet still achieve the necessary aims of their society.

    In March 2004, George Tenet, the director of the CIA, testified before the House Armed Services Committee:

    “A special intelligence unit at the Pentagon provided private prewar briefings to senior White House officials on alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda without the knowledge of the CIA Director … [and the] disclosure suggests that a controversial Pentagon office played a greater role than previously understood in shaping the administration’s views on Iraq’s alleged ties to the terrorist network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, and that it bypassed usual channels to make a case that conflicted with the conclusions of CIA analysts.”

    At the same time, David Wurmser had become senior advisor to undersecretary of state John Bolton. Wurmser had, in 1996, co-authored a policy paper for Israel’s Likud party urging it to withdraw from the Oslo peace process. The report, titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” which dovetailed seamlessly with Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan’s Project For a New American Century, which they strutted out a year later, in 1997.

    Wurmser’s paper advised the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back” regional threats, help overthrow Saddam Hussein, and strike “Syrian military targets in Lebanon” and possibly in Syria proper. Other contributors to this report included Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.

    Wurmser’s 1998 book “Tyranny’s Ally” was also a blue print for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And In 2000, Wurmser helped draft a document entitled “Ending Syria’s Occupation of Lebanon: the US Role?”, which called for a confrontation with the regime in Damascus. The document said that Syria was developing “weapons of mass destruction.”

    Both the “Clean Break” paper and the PNAC project evolved from a policy paper written in Israel back in 1982:

    In the winter issue of Kivunim, a “A Journal for Judaism and Zionism,” published “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” by Oded Yinon. The paper, published in Hebrew, rejects the idea that Israel should carry through with the Camp David accords and seek peace.

    Instead, Yinon suggests that the Arab States should be destroyed from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions:

    “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track.

    The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon.”

    In 2003, the year of the U.S.-led invasion and destruction of Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, was named Man of the Year by The Jerusalem Post, as glowingly celebrated by Bret Stephens. And many others.

  42. Ché Pasa

    Obsessively focusing on the Jews involved in the many foreign policy disasters of the last several decades is definitionally antisemitism and does not in any way help our understanding of what has been and is going on. It is not simply a matter of da Joooz; it never is.

    Understand this: people (primarily men, but not exclusively) of many different ethnic, religious, class, and ideological backgrounds have been more than eager participants in the multiplicity of horrors inflicted on the rest of the world by the United States and its allies. Ain’t just the Jews, honey. Never was.

    And by no means do all Jews subscribe to the bloodthirsty natterings of the Kagans and Wolfowitzes and so forth. Far from it.

    Much of — or really most of — the pro-Israel -no-matter-what foreign policy establishment is not Jewish at all.

    As I and others have tried to point out, the US’s disastrous foreign policy failures go back a long way, basically to the origins of the nation. The foreign policy establishment did not arise from “the Jews.” It’s been there from the beginning, and its errors, disasters and failures are systemic.

    We would see much the same pattern of wild-eyed misbehavior, bloodlust and rot were there no Jews involved. So get over it.

  43. KT Chong

    I’ve always suspected this is the real motivation behind the anti-vaxxers…

    Tennessee’s Former Vax Chief Says Conservatives Avoiding Vaccine ‘Out of Spite’
    Newsweek, August 21, 2021


    Quotes from the article:

    The former head of Tennessee’s vaccination program says that conservative white men in rural parts of the state are refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 “out of spite” for Democrats…

    “In Tennessee, and I think in a lot of our Southern states… [there] is this ideology that if you get this vaccine, you’re somehow placating the left part of the political spectrum,” Fiscus said. “What we’re actually seeing is our most hesitant population in Tennessee is the white, male, rural conservative. They are stating that they are not going to get the vaccine really out of spite.”

    End quotes.

    Yes, morons are trying to get themselves killed just to own the libs. 🤦‍♂️

  44. KT Chong

    Correction: the Newsweek article was published on August 12, NOT August 21, of 2021.

  45. bruce wilder

    “No vax/anti-vax in this thread.” — You missed that KT Chong? To present some boring narrative that does not explain some of the least vaccinated demographics (blacks, PhDs)

  46. Hugh

    Kabul has surrendered, President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, Taliban pause as the transfer of power is made, and US continues its evacuation.

  47. Plague Species

    As a good will gesture, Hugh, the Taliban is dispensing free burqas for all the women in Kabul. Next Saturday will be the first Book Burning Bonfire followed by a panoply of rollicking stonings and beheadings.

    To where did Ghani flee? Florida? I think Florida is a perfect place for him, or perhaps he can buy Crawford Ranch in Texas and reside there. Maybe he fled to Saudi Arabia. That would be appropriate too, if not Israel. In Israel, he could hide under the name Yinon.

  48. KT Chong

    bruce wilder:
    > “No vax/anti-vax in this thread.” — You missed that KT Chong?

    Actually I did miss it. My apologies.

  49. bruce wilder

    As I read the brief news bits, I am amazed at the sheer number of idiots willing to be quoted saying the withdrawal is “a huge mistake” but by implication never admitting the 20 year civil war international intervention kept burning was a futile exercise by ill-design. As I wrote recently in a different context, “The level of stupid in what passes for “discourse” in the Western world never ceases to amaze.”

    The penchant for conspiracy theories is one by-product of a propaganda state; another is the ability of elite opinionators to keep themselves isolated from the need to seriously consider critical contradiction and moderate or qualify their nonsense. The result is a lot of ill-considered drivel where deliberative thought should be taking place. It is how the U.S. got itself stuck in Afghanistan indefinitely with no plan or purpose. Double ditto, Iraq. Facts on the ground did not matter; the narrative mattered and fixing the “intelligence” around the narrative. Full stop but no end in sight — never any end or achievable objective or sense of responsibility for consequences; no planning or foresight, just superficial good intentions, kick the can down the road.

    It is not that plenty of people did not notice, did not object, but their opinions and knowledge did not matter to those manufacturing consent in the fog generating propaganda machine. No one in power ever had to answer for lies or catastrophes. Whistleblowers, not those exposed, were persecuted and prosecuted. Dogmas and clichés rule. Virtue and vice are alignment with red or blue; we are not even allowed ambivalence, let alone, say, due process or negotiated conflict or a presumption of respect for the complications of others. And, amnesia envelopes all.

  50. bruce wilder

    As Ian wrote recently in a different context, “The level of stupid in what passes for “discourse” in the Western world never ceases to amaze.”

    unchecked autocorrect — i apologize for not catching it

  51. Nancy

    I had a good time when I visited Israel in 2014. I was lucky to be there when Samson-option, nuclear-powered Israel was protecting itself by bombing the almighty native Arabs of Palestine – Christian, Muslim, secular…doesn’t matter. I was told they’re not a part of the plan for Eretz Israel, and they never really existed anyway. But hey, even if they are in fact real, they can go to Jordan or something. It’s not our problem.

    The Jewish Israelis I was with that fateful day were kind enough to put out a lawn chair and share popcorn with me as we watched our poor little Israel protect itself. I felt the same ideological fervor and unassailable commitment to this piece of land that they do. I was a Jewish Israeli for a day. And I was proud.

  52. Eileen

    Ayn Rand dispensed with the silly, violent, backward, terrorists of Palestine on Phil Donahue in 1979:

    In the summer of 2002, after seven years away from television, Donahue returned to host a show on MSNBC. But Donahue’s antiwar sentiments weren’t kosher to the money men who pay him. The show was cancelled in February, 2003.

    The next month, on behalf of Israel, the United States and its own vassals began their destruction of Iraq.

  53. I figured out that makeup works, many years, ago.

    But, this is almost ridiculous:

  54. Nancy

    They’ve gone completely insane. Drunk on themselves:

    The phrase — “Jew, Jew, Jew is just a word” — comes near the start of the opening rap theme song to the German talk show “Freitagnacht Jews” (“Friday Night Jews”), a state-sponsored program aimed at broadening the German public’s understanding of Jews and questions of Jewish identity”

    “Donskoy agrees that the strangeness of Jewish representation in German media is because Jewishness remains attached to the traumatic legacy of the Holocaust. In the first episode, he mentions a study that shows the first four terms that Germans think of when they hear the word “Jew” are “Holocaust,” “antisemitism,” “Hitler,” and “Israel/Palestine.”

    Oh. And how did that come to be?

  55. Mark Pontin

    Bruce W.: ‘The penchant for conspiracy theories is one by-product of a propaganda state; another is the ability of elite opinionators to keep themselves isolated from the need to seriously consider critical contradiction and moderate or qualify their nonsense.’

    It all quite resembles the late-period USSR, yes. Though it’s really not worth getting angry for one moment about the opinionators, who would — believe me — be out of their jobs and replaced by other hacks exactly like them in a second if they weren’t expressing the required idiocies.

    I’d be more concerned about what the the stream of barefaced idiocy they put out there says about the utter intellectual incompetence/indifference of an American PMC and an elite that can’t manage — even if it’s as mere propaganda, persiflage, whatever — anything more coherent and plausible than that.

  56. Jim Harmon

    “We are all Palestinians now.” –Jayson.


  57. Bridget

    Shayna Steinger was the consular official in Jedda who issued the visas to the nineteen hijackers blamed for 9/11, some of whom were found to be alive and well after their fateful attacks and alleged deaths.

    Steinger was a product of International Relations and National Security Studies at Columbia University. She would later become a desk officer at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

    Also appointed to the board at this time was former Ambassador Barbara Bodine, who had recently hampered the FBI’s investigation into the USS Cole bombing in 2000. Bodine and John O’Neill, the FBI’s leading expert on “al Qaeda” at the time, were constantly at odds over Yemen.

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, O’Neill had initially been in the command center that was set up after the North Tower came down, and subsequently headed for the South Tower, to both help evacuate and continue his security and surveillance duties. John O’Neill died when the South Tower collapsed.

    Shayna Steinger and Barbara Bodine work for Israel.

  58. Eileen

    Steinger was a product of International Relations and National Security Studies at Columbia University.

    She studied there, but she’s a product of her own upbringing and canon first and foremost, which is why, as you say: She works for Israel.

    This obviously isn’t true of everyone of that persuasion.

  59. Soredemos

    For once I’m actually in agreement with Hugh on something. We should never have been in Afghanistan in the first place (either in 1979 or in 2001). It should be abundantly clear by now that the entire US ‘nation building’ endeavor couldn’t even be described as hollow. My neighbors have an apparently completely hollow apple tree that is somehow still alive and producing fruit year after year. That hollow tree is more robust than the Afghan state we created with many billions of dollars. Twenty years to build and it collapses in less than two weeks.

    (US intelligence is, rightly, getting raked over the coals right now for its completely absurd timeline estimates of Taliban victories, that it keeps having to shorten. But no one, and I mean absolutely no one, predicted the Afghan government would collapse so quickly. In Vietnam the fake southern puppet state was able hold on for another couple years after the US troops were withdrawn. But in Afghanistan the government has collapsed in literally weeks before the US troops have even fully left. I’d have to do some reading on the history of puppet regimes, but this has to be one of the most precipitous collapses of such a state in human history. I can only thinking of something like the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo collapsing quicker, after the Soviet invasion. In that case it was nine days between the invasion and the dissolution of the regime.)

    The only responsibility the US has to anyone in Afghanistan is that we should have made a much more earnest effort to get our collaborators and the urban intelligentsia who (foolishly) put their trust in us out of the country. Now there’s no time left.

    There are no good options in this scenario. The Taliban are not nice people. But the US created government has no public support or legitimacy outside of a few urban conclaves. The only ‘solution’ the US can offer would be to put troops back in the country and keep the dollar spigot flowing. But at this point even a massive US troop surge probably wouldn’t be enough. The complete emptiness of the Afghan state is now apparent to all. I doubt we could return things to the previous status quo even with a robust, earnest effort. And of course even if somehow we could, there’s no reason to think that we would somehow figure out how to build a legitimate Afghan government that wouldn’t immediately collapse again the second we started to withdraw.

    There are no good options. Just letting the Taliban take over and leaving the Afghans to muddle through their own affairs is the least bad one.

    Hugh is wrong though about how we should still monitor the region and ‘exact a cost’ to keep AQ down. The AQ game has shifted to Syria, Libya, and Yemen (all in large part courtesy of the US government). If you’re really worried about Sunni extremism in Afghanistan, leave it to Iran to worry about. They don’t like it anymore than we do (actually probably substantially less than we do, since we’re perfectly fine with de facto enabling Sunni Islamists when we deem it tactically convenient to do so. And of course we’re still buddy-buddy with all the Gulf States bankrolling the headchopping assholes).

    The best solution would have been to leave the Soviet backed government alone in 1979 and left Afghanistan to figure out its own affairs. But until someone invents a time machine, that isn’t an option. /s

  60. Bridget

    In September 1976 then current Israeli president, and former Chief Scientist for the IDF, Ephraim Katzir – along with Binyamin Netanyahu – created The Jonathan Institute in Israel.

    According to Katzir, the foremost aim of the institute is to “inspire our people with the basic values of Zionism.” He then went on to list three paramount aims:

    The Jonathan Institute intends to make plain, especially to the youth and army of Israel, the essential facts of the world Jewish Problem, the classic Zionist solution, and the indispensability of Israel to the survival of the Jewish people.

    The Institute will advance the idea that Israel’s survival, strength and security are crucial to the survival of the free world.

    The Institute will seek to determine the roots of the terrorism which engulfs the world today…and the ways and means of coping with this danger will be explored.

    In 1977, The American Friends of the Jonathan Institute was created in New York City to pursue the same ends

    The Jonathan Institute would go to convene The Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism (JCIT) in 1979, considered a seminal event in the entire development of the “war on terror.”

    In “Sins of Statecraft: The War on Terror Exposed” activist and journalist Brian Bogart stated plainly the endgame: to prevent any meaningful detente anywhere in the world.

    The JCIT was made up of present and former members of the Israeli and United States governments, new right politicians, high-ranking former United States and Israeli intelligence officers, the anti-détente, pro-Cold War group associated with the policies of Senator Henry M. Jackson – a group of neoconservative journalists and intellectuals – and reactionary British and French politicians and publicists.

    Among prominent individuals who participated were Menachem Begin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, and George Bush Sr. The aforementioned anti-détente, pro-Cold War group associated with the policies of Senator Henry Jackson are well known to be Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Robert Kagan, Charles Horner, and James Woolsey, to name a few.

    Five years after the JCIT, an even larger Washington Conference on International Terrorism was convened, hitting all the same themes.

  61. Hugh

    Afghanistan was a house of cards. Only the US and NATO presence gave it a facsimile of reality. Otherwise it has been a failed state since the Soviet invasion 40 years ago, and it’s not like it was much of one before that. Once the US and NATO left, the lack of any there there simply became apparent.

    I admit it fell even faster than I thought it would. I thought a couple of months simply because of inertia. Even so, I was horrified at the slow motion response of the Pentagon and State Department in setting up an evacuation for themselves and the various Afghans we promised to get out. It was like they were on drugs.

    As for future interventions there, I’m not saying I like it. I just see it as inevitable. The Taliban are gangsters, and there are still plenty of neocons in Washington. So I can see explosions every two to five years. I am also concerned about how Afghans are going to manage basics like food, water, and energy in the coming years.

  62. Eileen

    The Institute will advance the idea that Israel’s survival, strength and security are crucial to the survival of the free world.

    This objective was stated in 1976. At that time, the incessant fellatio of Israel by the U.S. and other nation-states wouldn’t be tolerated by their respective populations. Decades of propaganda later…

  63. Ché Pasa

    It’s even more likely that the blowback will be focused right here in the USofA than that Afghanistan (a non-state now, no?) will become the center of a new phase of The Attack on America.

    We have plenty of domestic forces already poised for much more than a coup, than once again storming the Winter Palace. They’ll be augmented with more returnees, pissed and ready for action. I don’t see a way to ease what’s to come.

  64. Hugh

    Well yes, we have our own Taliban right here. Most countries and religions do. I see it as a reaction to the modern world, a retreat into a past and religions that have all the answers for worlds that don’t exist.

  65. Ché Pasa



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