Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Liberal Hawkishness on Russia and Iran

This is one of the best critiques of Maddow I've seen, going deep into the details.

I could not stand to watch Maddow any more than listen to Rush Limbaugh.  Within seconds, they both give me a peculiar pain I can't bear.   I don't watch much TV, except for Democracy Now!  Most commercial TV I also can't stand.  I could watch The Simpsons, and Frontline has been one of my favorite things--except I loathed their hatchet job on Putin, and I hardly ever get around to watching it.  Bill Moyers another of my favorites, and likewise.  But that's about it.  I had long given up on The McGlaughlin Group, and gave up on Buckley in the 80's.  Star Trek was always good when I was unemployed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sea Level Rise

The National Academy of Sciences assessment from 2015.

A key point is that sea level rise doesn't stop when and if we stop emitting excess CO2 and Methane.

CO2 remains in the atmosphere for Millenia, and will continue heating as long as that, and continue causing sea level rise.

To summarize NAS, if we continue emitting excess CO2 until 2100 we will have set into motion an eventual rise (they don't attempt to predict when) of 9.9 meters.  Within the USA that would affect over 20 million people and 21 major cities.

I suspect that last sentence is a BIG understatement, I also think the 9.9 meters is very conservative if it intends to the high water mark after several millennia--I think that level will appear within a few hundred years--2300 would be my guess--with even more to come in the further future.

This PNAS analysis from 2015 was also written before we became aware of the huge Methane spike from fracking.

Demanding Answers on Trump, Russia, and The Election

The mere question sounds a bit funny.  Answers on nouns?  Answers require questions first, and it's not clear we even have a question.

But here's Politt's article, which I'm linking here for my own future reference (I pretty much agree more with her critics, and in this little article, she says hardly anything IMO).

AXEC Economics

I've discovered another econoblogger whose blog goes by the name AXEC.

I like the way he pokes fun at other economists, for example in the sidebar is a permanent quip:

Economics is a failed science.  Economists are Incompetent scientists.
In matters like this, we might agree.

However I haven't been able to understand his fundamental point.  It's about profit.  In effect he says all economists since Adam Smith have misunderstood Profit, and that's why they are WRONG he says.

He only seems to have given minimal explanation of this in the back pages.  I haven't been able to understand it at all.  In fact, going further, I can't even understand why it's particularly important.  Although we live in a world in which profit is pretty important (it's a key part of Capitalism, and in my understanding, it was Marx who understood profit as the motivator of big Capitalists, and Marx spelled it out far more clearly than Adam Smith, however big Capitalists are only a small part of the human population, whose motivations are usually far more complex) it's not everything, or even the key thing, which in my view is the satisfaction of needs and wants, also known as Utility.

Meanwhile, the regular postings merely throw more barbs, without fundamentally showing how this relates to his fundamental critique.

So, while I like many of the things he says, the constant negativity toward all others, combined with tremendous obscurity in making his own points, leads me to believe that basically this guy is little more than a crank.

I could be wrong, which is why I'm noting it here so I can find it later, but I will not be adding this website to my sidebar.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Universal Basic Income

I agree with this article, as far as it goes.

I don't want just a nickel to spend any way I choose.  I want everything to be free.

Only when all is free are we all the same.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Flying the False Flags since 1898

Update: Former Intelligence Professionals weigh in.

Update: Theodore Postol of MIT denounces the White House Report.

The "bombing" of the USS Maine.

The Gulf of Tonkin "incident."

The vial of "yellow cake."

The Sarin Gas bombing of 2014 (proven not to be Assad, in case you haven't read Seymour Hirsch, and is believed to have been supplied from the cache of weapons the US had stockpiled from Libya, routed through a Turkish rat line, and fired by anti-Assad rebels).

Reading down in the comments, the chlorine gas incidents are almost certainly not from Assad either, but they haven't been significant enough to get enough attention for a full debunking from someone like Hirsch (who simply says we do not know who they were from).  He's a reporter, he has to stick to facts to maintain his reputation.

I'm not a reporter, so I can talk about probabilities.  Basically despite all that you've ever heard, there's no real evidence that Assad has ever used chemical weapons, AND there are also very good reasons why he would not do so (he knows the consequences, he's not suicidal, he's almost always including now having the upper hand, and he has lots of blow up bombs and conventional forces that work better militarily) and also to believe the Islamic (Sunni) rebels of any or all stripes would be very strongly motivated to do a false flag operation with chemical weapons to frame Assad, and would even be willing to be martyrs to do it.  There's no reason not to believe this has been true in every single case.  It doesn't matter that you've heard this on every major news source you hear about, that's the way this kind of thing, the justification for war, always goes.  The claims which much later turn out to be baseless, are everywhere, and the questions are nowhere.

Hardly a year goes by without some claimed provocation that turns out to be flat wrong.  Yet, the wrongness is rarely admitted, and never changes the essential narrative, and never ever points the finger back to where it needs to be pointed.

And there's another question.  Why is the US constantly drawing "red lines" and enforcing them?

Who gave us this authority?  For what reason are we doing it anyway?  Do we really care about "the people" of Syria that much???

Well, one thing I learned recently gives me some pause, because I'd never read it in the mainstream media.

Not just the US and Russia have been bombing in Syria.  Israel too--and not in support of Assad.

It would probably be too simple just to say "because Israel" though I have seen that phrase before.

A more nuanced phrase would be "because Israel and Empire!"

There's been a strong bond ever since 1967.

Obama did the right thing in 2014 by demanding a Congressional vote.  The Deep State has been wanting to correct that omission ever since.  And rebels in Syria might think this was worth another chance.

Now what about some other cases such as Osama bin Laden?  Well there are many funny things about that.  First, the Taliban government of Afghanistan offered to turn over bin Laden if we provided evidence he was involved.  We rebuffed this offer, and simply attacked the country, for what appear to have been more like geopolitical reasons (why, wouldn't it be good to have some say in a country right on the border with Russia, and right where you'd want to run various pipelines that the Taliban, in their poor view of the situation, had just turned down) than anything having to do with justice with regards to 9/11.

By the time we were actually attacking Afghanistan, bin Laden and his closest associates had already fled or were quickly fleeing to Pakistan.  They were largely Saudis and Yemenese, not racially or ethnically related to their current hosts, basically it was a country in chaos which in a previous life, then as a Mujahadeen leader backed by the US, he had attacked the up and coming Afghanistan, that turned the Soviet ally into the stone ages...all essentially provoked by the USA in order to weaken the Soviet regime itself, and pursued by bin Laden because he hated secular liberalism.  The Taliban was a different group that moved in (largely from Pakistan) who had some similar religious ideas, but were totally different people and were more wary than anything about their later re-visitors who had just gotten kicked out of one country after another.  Like most even remotely reasonable people, they had no desire to pick a fight with the USA on top of already fighting the Northern Alliance, which had been backed by the USA.

Anyway, back to 2002 we were attacking the camps (and the stragglers, and unfortunate who happened to be there) after the spiritual leader of the operation and his closest circle--the most guilty if any of them there--had fled, very soon to another country.  And that other country did not deliver bin Laden to us for a long time even though they are still our 'ally'--well, actually they did give us the info, when we finally asked, just before he was captured by the US, in a dramatic scene, which was probably unnecessary.  So by what standard could you say this justified war when a few extraditions would have far better brought the guilty to justice?

So that about as free of justification as any of the wars the US has fought since, maybe 1941...but there are some preetty biig issues with that one too.  At minimum, the US was not at all a neutral party, and was in many ways provoking the Japanese to attack.  That's pretty typical in many cases.

Gore Vidal wrote that Charles Beard was our greatest historian.  Charles Beard, an independent historian and co-founder of the The New School, a left social democrat but harsh critic of the Soviet Union after a personal visit, he was a big fan of The New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt too, until Roosevelt began, according to Beard, lying the public into war.  (And I thought the phrase was invented for George W Bush.)  Then he was strongly critical of the war and the national security state which began after the war (and continues to this day).  That cost him his esteemed reputation in many quarters--and he was far less successful selling history books.  It wasn't just paleoconservatives and Nazis who opposed US participation in WWII.  And see you could be a good leftist before the war, but then with the national security state we became anti-communist, so leftists and unions and things like that had to go.

The best left pro WWII I have is from Oliver Stone, in his made-for-cable history of the USA.  Honestly I'd have to see that again to be sure whether I think it was good or bad we participated in World War II.  I remember Stone made a pretty good leftist case for the war.  But that looks to be the only example of a military action by the USA during the 20th century, and 21st century so far, that I might think was necessary.  The rest were just stupid and thuggish imperialism.  Far more stupid and thuggish even than organized crime--which at least takes some care not to make new enemies.

We can only imagine what Charles Beard would say about the bombing of Syria today.

Actually, we'd never stopped bombing Syria, but this is the first time we've bombed a Syrian base, this time the base defending Palmyra, which ISIS once held, and may be open to either ISIS or Al Qaeda now.