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Iranian Nuclear Threat More Real Than Ever

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The irony would be rich, were the subject any less serious. After years of the the left and international critics accusing the Bush administration of fearmongering and sabre-rattling about Iran's nuclear weapons program, it turns out that Bush was dead on — Iran will have a working nuclear weapon within the year.

Critics of the Bush administration like Paul Craig Roberts accused Bush of trying to use bogus claims of nuclear weapons in Iran to promote an imperialistic agenda. Two years ago Roberts spoke for many on the radical left and the isolationist right when he wrote:

"A truthful statement, which no one any longer expects from any member of the Bush Regime, would be that the weapons inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency have pored over Iran's nuclear program and have found no evidence of a weapons program. A number of experts, such as Gordon Prather, have fiercely disputed the propagandistic claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons program…Any expert or knowledgeable person who examines these statements sees nothing but unsupported assertions, paranoid speculations, fear- mongering and blatant lies. It is on this basis, and this basis alone, that the Bush Regime will initiate war with Iran…Iran is being set up by the identical propaganda machine that set up Iraq with fearful imagery of "mushroom clouds over American cities" and nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction."

In trying to counter the Bush claims about Iranian nuclear aspirations, critics like Justin Raimando, of AntiWar.com, pointed to the CIA's National Intelligence Estimate to show that even our own experts disagreed with the Bush administration's assessment of Iran's nuclear potential. Raimondo wrote:

"Leaving the realm of speculation, and entering the region of hard facts: our own National Intelligence Estimate on Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program shows that the Iranians had a weapons program that they abandoned: 'We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.' While keeping the option open, the Iranian regime has not restarted its nuclear program, according to our spooks, and probably could not iron out all the technical problems and hoarding of nuclear materials until at least 2015 – and even then there is no evidence Tehran has any such intention."

Apparently leftist ideology and anti-Israeli fanaticism aren't enough to turn Iran into the heroic and peace loving fantasyland people like Roberts and Raimondo would like it to be. Even the CIA, in its eagerness to show up the administration with which it often clashed, ended up committing the same sin for which the Bush administration was condemned when it launched the Iraq War on speculation and suspicion. All of them put too much trust in Iran and ignored the reality that Iran always intended to develop nuclear weapons and never even paused in its pursuit of them despite its protestations to the contrary.

It has now become overwhelmingly clear that not only did Iran not stop their nuclear program as claimed, the program has been moving forward with great success; in addition to already having the needed bomb technology and missile delivery systems, they will likely have enough weapon-grade plutonium to build their first nuclear weapon within a matter of months, according to a new report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The findings in this report bear out information which has been surfacing for the last couple of years which indicates that the nuclear facility at Natanz has enormously more gas centrifuges than originally believed, and that they may even already have enough fissionables to build a working nuclear bomb. If anything, the IISS report underestimates Iran's nuclear capacity, as other recent reports suggest they are even closer to having a working bomb. In fact, there have been reports for years of Iran possessing surplus Russian warheads purchased from Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The left slandered Bush, Ahmedinejad played the persecuted innocent, the international community dithered, and Iran has just kept on producing plutonium. The IAEA was supposed to monitor Iran's supposedly peaceful and energy-oriented nuclear development, but over the last two years their inspectors have had their activities restricted; have been misdirected, and late last year Iran started blocking all their attempts to investigate, right at the time when many experts believe Iran had reached the point where their ability to fuel a bomb was inevitable. The IAEA's increasingly alarmed announcements of Iran's impending nuclear capabilities have largely been ignored.

Throughout this entire farce, the one constant has been the repeated underestimating of Iran's determination to become a nuclear power and their ability to produce the needed technology and fissionable materials. Only a couple of years ago everyone who was convinced Iran wasn't even trying to build nukes was certain that they could not possibly have a nuclear weapon in less than 10 years. Now, that has proven to be disastrously naive and there is every reason to believe that even these new assessments underestimate Iran's nuclear potential.

On Tuesday President Obama said that he was willing to "extend the hand of peace" to Iran, but it may be a bit late for diplomacy, when Iran has its nuclear goals in hand and remains determined to use every resource it has to destroy its enemies, most notably Israel. UN Ambassador Susan Rice has promised negotiations with Iran if it stops its enrichment program, but the chances of that happening at this point are laughably small, even if we were foolish enough to believe any of their claims. Not surprisingly, the latest bellicose statements from Iran suggest that they believe they are negotiating from a position of strength. Understandable, now that their nuclear destiny appears to be at hand.

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://unequal-time.blogspot.com Bryan Myrick

    Dave,

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of Blogcritics readers. This is not an idle program and it is one that the Iranian government is taking steps to protect. With the help of the Russian Federation they have been installing a permiter SAM defense of Russian S-300 batteries – possibly the most advanced system in the world and one that can only be breached, in theory, by advanced aircraft like the F-35 that is yet to be made operational.

    This is serious. Will President Obama take it seriously? The door may have closed on the military option. If it hasn’t it is certainly closing due to Russian designs to rebuild its military forces and regain its prestige as a world power. The factor of Russian involvement (and existing defense pacts between the Iran and Russia) places a disturbing set of outcomes in front of U.S. military planners when considering active options.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    NU? davíd gilá amérika! Dave discovered America!

    Good morning, Dave! I hope all the rest of you fools out there pay attention to Dave Nalle, if you won’t pay attention to me….

    Three years ago, I wrote about the Iranian missle threat to Israel – emphasizing the non-chalant Israeli response even to the mortal threat of nuclear missiles from Iran. I wrote about the possible weaknesses in the Islamic Republic. I also wrote about the messianic politics of Ahmadinejad and his intent to re-establish a Persian empire in this section of the world – and his success in doing so, even though the Iranian flag does not fly in its colonies, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

    The intent of the Iranians to re-establish the Persian empire of 1,400 years ago has been bolstered by the desire of the Russians to re-establish their empire that fell apart in 1990. Ahmadinejad has managed to accomplished – with the help of a traditional enemy, Russia – what the shahinshah, the king of kings of CIA puppets, couldn’t accomplish with the help of a so-called “friend” – America.

    Unless Obama is willing to go to war – including nuclear war – to protect America’s position in the world, the day may well come when he is flying in Air Force One over a country that has been attacked by nuclear weapons proclaiming to his ashen-faced staff, “I didn’t sign on for this!”

    Only the nation that is willing to fight with no limit survives in a world of wolves and murderers. If Obama does not have that kind of steel, you Americans may not survive the next four to eight years.

    Mazel tov, boys and girls!

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, always such a source of good cheer.

    But keep in mind that Iran will bomb Israel first, and may not even attempt to bomb the US. Israel they can take out with a few bombs and a preemptive strike. Nothing they can do would be able to stop the US from retaliating.

    Having the 300+ nukes Israel reportedly has isn’t much use when your country is so small that you can’t really hide them.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Excuse me, Dave, your hyperbole is showing.

    I went to your links. Neither the CFR nor the IISS reports indicate that Iran will have a bomb this year. The firmest predictions see them having amassed enough enriched uranium – not exactly the same as having a working bomb. 2010-2015 is seen as a more realistic timeframe.

    That’s not to say the situation is any less cause for concern purely because of the timeframe. Unfortunately, as Bryan so astutely notes in comment 1, an effective military response by the US may no longer be an option.

    Bush, through his unnecessary invasion of Iraq, may not only have stretched US forces far too thinly but also have deflated the nation’s stomach for yet another war. Not to mention that a weak Iraq has made room for a stronger Iran.

    Ruvy is, as usual, also flashing his hyperbole. Even if Iran does speed up the timeframe, it’s unlikely in the short term that she will have enough nuclear material for more than one or two low-yield weapons. Hardly enough for the picture of Armageddon he conjures up.

  • Hope and Change?

    Oh Ye of Little Faith…there is nothing to worry about! King Barry will simply read a prewritten speech from a teleprompter…the AAAAAAAAAAArabs and Jews will fall on their knees. pray to King Barry and er..um…you know.

    You non believers underestimate the power of our savior! Who cares that the Moooooooooslims want to kill all non-Moooooooooslims it doesnt matter to our King! He needs to restore our reputation around the world!! It is obvious he wants to restore our standing back to the Carter years!

    PS – Can someone tell the King that the election is over, he won and he can stop campaigning. It is very disturbing hearing him day after to day talking about “what he wants to do and how bad Bush was”. It is time to stop talking and start doing!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’m glad I could bring cheer to your day, Dave. Just holler anytime you’re feeling down, and I come to your rescue – with more downers!

    But keep in mind that Iran will bomb Israel first, and may not even attempt to bomb the US. Israel they can take out with a few bombs and a preemptive strike. Nothing they can do would be able to stop the US from retaliating.

    My own sources tell me that if this kind of move is made, it won’t be made by Iran acting alone – it will be made by Russia and Iran acting in concert. The news story in all of this, even a point which you fail to emphasize sufficiently, if the real Russian effort to re-establish itself as a major power. The Russians regard us as penny-ante cowards and will leave us to th4e tender mercies of the Iranians and their allies.

    You in America, on the other hand, are a whole different kettle of fish. The intelligent thing to do would be to attack you first – preventing any losses from Americans striking back.

    Ruvy is, as usual, also flashing his hyperbole.

    I don’t have to conjur up Armageddon. It’s a real place, with an air base and everything – Har Megiddo. And the war I imagine would involve a massive non-nuclear missile (not rocket) strike by Syria, HizbAllah, and if they are in any shape to do it, by Hamas as well. Only after the Iranians are assured of Russian sea and air-power in the southeast Mediterranean, would the Iranians bother to use the nukes they may have built.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The intelligent thing to do would be to attack you first – preventing any losses from Americans striking back.

    Yes, right, that’s the intelligent thing to do – attack a nation which, even if it is too thinly-stretched to commit troops on the ground, can still turn all your major cities into mirrors with the turn of a key.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Yes, right, that’s the intelligent thing to do – attack a nation which, even if it is too thinly-stretched to commit troops on the ground, can still turn all your major cities into mirrors with the turn of a key.

    DD, The Iranians wouldn’t attack the States (they might have some decoy to fool the States, though) – the Russians would. And frankly, that would not surprise me at all – not with the kind of leaders they have these days. I’ve read some of their older scenarios – with a bit of updating, they could easily take America out before it had tine to think of how to respond.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ain’t going to happen, Ruvy – not with the kind of multi-billion-dollar interests Russian business has in the US and the West these days.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hope and whatever….

    Don’t fool yourselves about us, dude. We know what kind of shit is sitting in your White House these days, and only the cowards on the left (in the government) are as gullible as American Jews are.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Even the Russians don’t have the ability to take out hardened ground emplacements, airborne strategic bombers and nuclear armed submarines all at the same time, Ruvy. There would be retaliation, no matter what. This is why the Russians won’t nuke the US. And don’t forget that they’re Russians. All machinery in Russia is broken 80% of the time, including their nuclear weapons.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    Dr. D is the only one on this thread who hasn’t had his brain turned to mush.

    Bryan says:

    “With the help of the Russian Federation they have been installing a permiter SAM defense of Russian S-300 batteries – possibly the most advanced system in the world and one that can only be breached, in theory, by advanced aircraft like the F-35 that is yet to be made operational.”

    Think about the ironic stupidity of that statement.

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, it always interests me how closely your reading of prophecy mirrors that of evangelical Christians. A great army of Russia and Iran rising against Israel, nuclear war – only I think you’ll be surprised at the identity of the Messiah leading Israel to victory. Well, here’s hoping that things don’t turn so ugly so soon.

  • Brunelleschi

    Not to worry.

    Iran turns Israel into a glass parking lot, and we can at last STFU about this! Sheesh already.

    We are covered here in America. Messiah will bring us back to life and we will live in peace and harmony.

    It is written.

    :)

  • Baronius

    Dave, you got me thinking about all the things Bush was blamed for, including things that never happened. The war against Iran, instituting a theocracy, the devastation of bird flu…. I remember my personal favorite: that Bush (who stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, after all) wasn’t going to relinquish power. The 2008 election wouldn’t happen, or there would be a coup, or a declaration of emergency, or “another” fake terrorist attack. Cheney would take over.

    I mocked the people who said such things. I promised them that I’d apologize if I were wrong, but I expected an apology if they were wrong. It turns out that they were wrong; they slandered two good and decent public servants. They owe Bush and Cheney an apology, and I wouldn’t mind one either.

  • Hope and Change?

    Ruvy….Amen! Can someone explain why American Jews are some of the BIGGEST antisemites?

    They knew King Barry was going to shit in Israel…yet the still gave hime money and voted for him!

    The US is pathetic…every burp or fart from King Barry is reported by the media as being some sort of devine intervention…

    Hope and a change…er um…of underwear!

  • Brunelleschi

    Love it or leave it!

    It’s Obama time.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    They owe Bush and Cheney an apology, and I wouldn’t mind one either.

    Fat chance, Baronius.

    Dave

  • http://unequal-time.blogspot.com Bryan Myrick

    Les:

    Think about the ironic stupidity of that statement.

    I re-read what I wrote and failed to find what you call ironic stupidity. The Russian are arming the Iranians with first-tier defensive hardware that even first-tier hardware may not be able to overcome. If you read my comment throughly you will see that I am making the point that we may have allowed a number of options to expire by letting so much time pass.

    I’m not sure if insinuating that my mind has turned to much is much of a debating point. Why don’t you step out onto the stage and make a real argument.

  • Cindy D

    Re #14

    lol

  • Baronius

    Dave – Yeah, I know, fat chance. But you can’t let all of the errors, attacks, and indecencies slip by unnoticed. Maybe someone will consider his own track record and reconsider his beliefs. Maybe Bruno, for example, will remember that he said he didn’t care if Franken gets into the Senate via campaign fraud, and what that does to his credibility.

  • Cindy D

    everything i try to type here is an insult

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    No one owes Bush or Cheney anything. Their administration was non-stop cluster fuck of the country from day one. They deserved their record low approval rating.

    What is REALLY stupid is how about everyone here is lambasting Obama BEFORE the fact. You all just assume that he will fuck up. You all obviously HOPE he fucks up.

    To remain a Bush/Cheney apologist is mind numbingly dumb. Most of you are gleefully jumping on the Limbaugh bandwagon planning your beer bashes for when your hotly anticipated fall of Obama occurs. Considering the dire nature of most of the issues facing Obama, left to him by Butthead in Chief Bush, should he fail, I suspect Ruvy’s direst predictions may well come to fruition.

    So, in the event of an Obama failure, you will perhaps have a few fleeting moments to revel in your “victory” before your own butts go down in flame along with everybody eleses.

    This place is rank with stupid political bullshit. It’s all a fucking game to most of you. One-upmanship and cynicism are all you have to bring to the table.

    B

  • http://unequal-time.blogspot.com Bryan Myrick

    Baritone,

    It’s not a game to me and I agree with you on your complaint about rampant one-upsmanship and cynicism. Too much defense of ideology and not enough conversation. Unfortunately, that’s what I see on most web sites; Blogcritics can’t redefine what passes as “debate” on the web, people need to make their own choices to take things seriously or move the playground antics elsewhere.

    Blogcritics has the potential of being a kind of Algonquin Round Table in cyberspace, at some point in the future. There are some excellent writers sneaking around this place; it is one the things that attracted me to the site.

    (OMG am I ever going to get firebombed for this comment, but it will serve to prove my point better than simply stating it ever could.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Baritone,

    I don’t even bother. Turn on “the ignore switch.”

  • Cindy D

    Too much defense of ideology and not enough conversation.

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  • Les Slater

    Bryan,

    “If you read my comment throughly you will see that I am making the point that we may have allowed a number of options to expire by letting so much time pass.”

    I did read you comment thoroughly. That is what prompted my #12.

    It’s your perspective. You have been so brainwashed that you don’t even recognize that with all the threats against Iran it would be pure stupidity for them not to set up the best defense they can muster.

    You outlook is the moral equivalent of defending cops confiscating video cameras after one of their cold blooded murders.

    Les

  • Baronius

    Bar, rather than reacting to what you expect to happen, you should look around and see what’s actually happening, THEN react. I’m hoping like crazy that Obama succeeds.

    There isn’t much in his social agenda that I agree with, but on topics like education reform, the country has a chance to do great things. As for his economic agenda, I can only hope that the economy succeeds in spite of his actions. This article is about international affairs – and that’s a subject where we all hope for nearly the exact same results, by nearly the exact same methods. There’s no one hoping that our President fails beyond the water’s edge. At least, no one sane.

    I will continue to defend Bush and Cheney, as I have before. I can live with the fact that you think it’s dumb.

  • Les Slater

    You have internalized the imperialist mindset.

  • Les Slater

    29 was for Bryan but it applies to Dave as well.

  • Cindy D

    You have internalized the imperialist mindset.

    That bears repeating.

  • http://unequal-time.blogspot.com Bryan Myrick

    Les,

    You are adding a layer of meaning to what I wrote that doesn’t exist, and I can’t make sense of your train of logic. I didn’t state or imply that the Iranian response was stupid.

    It isn’t just that Iran is taking steps to defend itself; every nation has that right. It is that fact the Russians are handing them first-tier technology, not another shipload of rusting SA-8s, and that has strategic implications beyond Iran, particularly in light of the increase of Russian activity in nearly every quarter of the globe.

    Would you please bring up evidence instead of just attacking what I said? I’m not brainwashed and it’s a weak way to debate your point to make a PERSONAL ATTACK like that.

    Oh, yeah, throw in another kitchen sink tangent to the conversation by referencing dirty cops as a part of your “argument”? Your analogy doesn’t even make a logical circuit with this topic. What do the cameras represent? Who are the cops?

    This is just pointless street-fighting passing for debate.

    The entire intelligence and defense establishment is looking at this situation with apolitical concern. Are you going to be a cynical stone-thrower while other people grapple with the process of finding real solutions to real problems?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I do remember reading many predictions like that about Bush and Cheney somehow finding a way to stay in power – but not on Blogcritics – except by Ruvy, who had his own reasons for making such forecasts.

    I’m sure there were similar ones coming from the Rabid Right towards the end of Clinton’s second term. You really don’t want to pay too much attention to nutcases. (Leave that to Dave, for whom it appears to be a hobby.)

    As far as Bush and Cheney being owed an apology – nah, and they wouldn’t expect one. As public figures, being accused of every heinous crime in the book comes as standard. They’ll survive.

    Speaking of not paying attention to nutcases, has anyone heard from ‘Hope & Change’ recently? Anyone?

  • Les Slater

    “The entire intelligence and defense establishment is looking at this situation with apolitical concern.”

    Apolitical? ‘War is a continuation of politics by other means. …’.

  • http://unequal-time.blogspot.com Bryan Myrick

    Les,

    Man, do you like to pick nits when you run out of arguments.

    I shouldn’t have to sit down and open the dictionary every time I write a sentence. Apolitical was used in the context that, despite what Democrat and GOP leadership may feel about our foreign policy, the overall idea that Iran’s nuclear ambition is something that is real and will need to be dealt with crosses party lines.

    I take it you’re ignoring every other point I have made. It takes a solid intellect to admit when someone else makes a good opposing argument.

  • Baronius

    Dread, I’m as rabid a righty as you’ll find, and there was no such talk in 2000. Sure, Gore tried every legal maneuver he could think of, but when the Court sent him packing, he literally went home and packed.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I don’t believe I wrote off Obama in the article, so don’t lay that at my door.

    Bryan had the key point earlier on in the thread. For whatever reason, be it Bush’s loss of credibility or the foolish naivete of the left, or a combination of the two, we wrote off the Iranian threat and delayed dealing with it for too long, so that now President Obama is faced with a much more troubling situation than he should have had to deal with. The options are fewer and the stakes are higher than they would have been if we hadn’t listened to “experts” like those I cite in the article who common sense told us were dead wrong, no matter how sincere or qualified they may have been.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “You have internalized the imperialist mindset.”

    Yes, it bears repeating. What was the song of not too recent past – Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Girls have picked them every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Taken husbands every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young men gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young men gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the young men gone?
    Gone for soldiers every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Covered with flowers every one
    When will we ever learn?
    When will we ever learn?

    But I guess lots of commentators here were still kids then, and so they still think like ones.

    When will they ever learn?

    I suppose a nice, crispy nuclear exchange, plenty casualties on both sides, would be a good start. Let’s pray for one, then, or get this stupid pretense of a discussion over with.

    I’m sure glad some of you guys can only talk. The world would be in a real sad shape if you had the power to pull the trigger. But then again, talk is cheap!

  • Baronius

    Roger, if you left-click the X at the upper right hand corner of your screen, this stupid pretense of a discussion would be over for you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Here you go again, Baronius. Taking offense because you think your shit doesn’t stink. I said what I wanted to say, and if you can’t take the irony, piss off!

  • Elrgonaut

    You are absolutely correct. Iran has thus far amassed more than 700 kilos of low enriched U235 (the fissionable Uranium Isotope U235 that is, the only other Uranium fissionable Isotope being U233. By the end of this April (the very latest), the Mullahs will have enough low enriched U235 to proceed with the next stage of their catastrophically sinister plans (the acquisition of the “bomb”), the further enrichment of U235, to a Weapons Grade level of around 90% (from the present 4%). The technique for higher enrichment is the same and fully mastered by the Iranians. It’s strongly theorised by many that the Mullahs, in parallel to the Natanz enrichment Plant, have also built another, more advanced, Uranium Enrichment Plant (not far from their already known and under IAEA surveillance, Plant at Natanz) ready to be used as soon as the 850 kilos of Low enriched U235 are amassed (expected to take place in April).
    In Parallel to the U235 enrichment side of things, the Iranian demonocracy is working feverishly to improve their Shahab 3, ballistic missiles (so they can be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead), and perfect their knowledge of the conversion of high enriched U235 to a hemispheric metal shape nuclear bomb. IF NOT STOPPED NOW, the Mullahs will have achieved all the above by August-September of this year (2009), and one morning the World will wake up to the most frightening ever announcement made to mankind: The Islamic republic of Iran is in possession of the Nuclear Bomb!!!
    By then, it will be to late and the apocalyptically demonised plans for a Worldwide Mehdian holocaust, of the Iranian Mullahs will start to unfold, with perhaps -initially- an enforced, total hegemony of Iran over the Islamic Middle East, followed by an attack on Israel and the beginning of a worldwide Nuclear holocaust.
    Frightening, scary, BUT very-very plausible scenario. IF we do not stop the paranoically disturbed Islamist minds of the Mullahs NOW, in a few months, not only it will be to late just for Israel and the Middle East, It will be to late for the entire Planet Earth.

    PS. Just a “minor” correction, if I may…..Iran IS NOT producing Plutonium (Pu239) for a Plutonium Bomb as stated in your article-post.
    Although they have a Deuterium Plant in Arak, (Deuterium, OR Heavy Water, is absolutely necessary for Plutonium Producing Nuclear Reactors), they have not built the Reactor needed, as YET.
    They are concentrating (for other, cunning reasons, to fool the World….)on their Uranium bomb, and they are only months away from acquiring it…..
    North Korea, is the other Rogue Country, that has produced enough Plutonium (not exactly of the purity, Pu239 purity that is, required for a Bomb)for a rudimentary, crude Plutonium bomb.

  • Les Slater

    Bryan,

    “…the overall idea that Iran’s nuclear ambition is something that is real and will need to be dealt with crosses party lines.”

    Across party lines? You mean within the confines of those two parties. Do you think that those two parties are the exhaustive domain of allowed thinking? Why must you limit yourself to guidance from the two parties of war and their cohorts in the media and academia?

    It is within the confines of those two parties that the blight on humanity, Israel, has every right to arm, to have a massive nuclear arsenal. This was also true of apartheid South Africa. And then also, who doesn’t have that right.

    Iran isn’t the problem. The problem is the imperial U.S. saying it has the right to do anything it fuckin’ pleases to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Have you noticed that the U.S. doesn’t acknowledge the sovereignty of any other state? Have you noticed that it doesn’t respect elections in other countries unless it supports the regime? For the U.S. a coup, or military intervention, is a perfectly good way to overturn the will of the people. Do you know how the Shaw came to power in 1953? Can you imagine why the Iranian people don’t trust the U.S.?

    The U.S. says Iran is part of the ‘Axis of Evil’. That means they are targets for regime change. All the more reason to arm. And you complain about them adequately defending themselves. Read the last paragraph of your # 1. Your regret is that U.S. and/or Israel may have lost the ability of attacking. You complain that they may have a defense that might actually work. It’s OK for pretend defense, obsolete defense or maybe just bluster. That’s morality of the wolf in the chicken coup.

    The U.S. always wanted to destroy the Soviet Union. All options were on the table, including military. It was them getting nuclear weapons that gave pause to direct military assault. That was good. The U.S. is the only country that ever used nuclear weapons, on civilian population, no less. That was a message intended for the Soviet Union. The fact that the Soviet Union got nuclear weapons was good, very good, and for all the ranting about evil Russia, they never used them at all, much less on civilian populations.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Perfect logic. A nuclear war to prevent all future nuclear wars. I had better review Dr. Strangelove. Perhaps I missed something.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    But Les, with respect to the Soviets, remember, there was a policy of peaceful coexistence, a Soviet concept eventually transfered to the realm of foreign relations; and we reciprocated.

    You must grant, therefore, that it was relatively speaking a stable situation compared to the one developing with Iran and the Middle East. There must be some other means of diffusing the situation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    As an addendum to #44:

    “Khrushchev [himself] promoted the concept beginning in 1961 in an attempt to reduce hostility between the two superpowers, particularly in light of the possibility of nuclear war.”

    How ironic that many BC respondents would be more hawkish than Khrushchev. Live and learn.

  • Les Slater

    Roger,

    Peaceful coexistence was nothing but another name for a policy that the Soviet Union came up with in 1925, ‘socialism in one country’. It was the disavowal of instigating revolution outside the country.

    The problem for both the Stalinists and imperialists alike was that the Kremlin was not able to control the situation. Revolutions happened anyway. The fact that the Soviet Union existed was an objective factor in revolutions unfolding.

    It was also an objective factor for why there were not more revolutions. The U.S. thought that a Soviet Union weakened by WWII would be ripe for overthrow by a nuclear armed imperialism.

    It just took a while to get the American population from seeing the Soviet Union as an ally to seeing it as the evil enemy. The anti-Soviet propaganda was quite heavy, much heavier than anything about Iran of late. The McCarthyte witch hunt scared most people into keeping any doubts to themselves.

    By the time the U.S. population was sufficiently ideologically cowered, the Soviet Union had a deterrent, one that worked.

    In the meantime the U.S. banked on the Kremlin to sell out revolutions. There was just enough threat from imperialism to keep the Kremlin in the business of selling out revolutions.

    The fact that this factor no longer exists or is highly discredited has objectively enhanced the prospect of revolution. This is good.

    Propaganda is much more sophisticated these days. They use things like political ‘science’ miseducation to develop lay propagandists.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, I was only referring to the narrow interpretation characterizing detente. And the context was the optimal foreign policy with respect to Iran. We can talk about the desirability of revolutions at a later time.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Les, it’s always entertaining when you start talking like you live in a completely different universe from the rest of us.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    He only lives in a completely different universe from brainwashed people Dave.

    In fact, he lives in a much more informed universe than most people, including me.

    (of course if you don’t check what he says against actual facts and merely go by your own indoctrinated viewpoint, you’re not likely to discover this)

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I don’t question his facts, Cindy. I just find his interpretation of those facts to be surrealistic. I have this reaction because I’m familiar with the same facts and know that they clearly carry a very different meaning from the one he assigns to them.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    I don’t question his facts…

    His interpretation of those facts is merely against the grain of what you’ve been taught. Of course it’s “surrealistic”.

    There are plenty of scholars who will back him up Dave. I doubt all of them are “surrealistic”.

    So, either it’s surrealism or perhaps you haven’t actually looked at the other side?

  • zingzing

    trust me dave, your interpretation of facts is just as much in your head as les’ are in his. to a large majority of this planet, both of your interpretations are either inscrutable or surreal (largely because most people wouldn’t bother to think about it to begin with), so it’s no surprise that you disagree on what these things mean.

    what you hold to be logical is subject to your individual logic, i guess.

    (and your logic is really messed up, if not messy.)

  • Cindy D

    (largely because most people wouldn’t bother to think about it to begin with)

    About 80% is the best estimate I’ve gotten…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’ve been working and haven’t had the chance to check back with you all.

    First to Hope and Whatever…

    Can someone explain why American Jews are some of the BIGGEST antisemites? They’re not – assimilated British Jews are, followed by the secular assholes in Tel Aviv. But to answer you:

    BY AND LARGE, (all rules have exceptions, sometimes significant ones) Jews in America are running away from being Jews. They want out in the worst way, or have wanted out in the worst way since I was a kid, and at least until the time I moved away from America (I didn’t love it – so I left it).

    That’s part of the origin of all those jokes about there being a Chinese restaurant (which serves pork) in every Jewish neighborhood. That’s the reason for all the intermarriage and assimilation. I was on track to become one of those assimilated, intermarried Jews, too, but – History got in the way. History has a nasty habit of doing that.

    Jews voted Democratic for all these decades because, to be blunt about it, the Republicans were a bunch of Jew-hating bastards in the 1920’s, and Al Smith was smart enough in 1928 (and earlier as governor of New York) to extend the hand of friendship (as only a working man can) to all those Jews struggling to get by who were busting their balls to get out of the slums they lived in all over America. Smith lost, but Jews ran away from the Republicans in 1932 and voted for FDR.

    As the Depression got forgotten, and as guilt from the Holocaust set in, some Jews made good in the Republican Party – Arlen Spector and Rudy Boschwitz come to mind immediately – but the Republican party has always been the “church-goers” party. The Conservative party of New York, which is ideologically where most Republicans are today, was a Catholic party and when I went to one of their meetings out of sheer curiosity, I was asked what a Jew like me was doing there by someone who recognized me from the Jewish Students Union. Getting the picture?

    In the general narrative of things, Jews started out in the slums, voted Socialist, worked their way out of the slums, voted Democratic and wormed their way into the upper class – and still voted Democratic because even though they might have had the same interests as Main Street Republicans, it was the Republicans who had no use for them when they were crawling out of the slums. Personal memories go a long way in politics and count for an awful lot.

    As I said, there were significant exceptions to this. Some of my relatives in New Jersey were active in the Republican Party.

    And then Israel came along to fuck it all up.

    The immigrant generation in America was supposed to be the one making all the sacrifices in Babylon in the West, and kids like me were supposed to exist off the fat of the land (note where that phrase comes from – from Genesis, describing Goshen in Egypt where Israel and his sons settled to be with Joseph, escaping famine in what was to become the Land of Israel). And for a long time, I was just like that. The trouble with Israel is that for most Jews in America, who want to continue living off the fat of the land, going to the best universities, screwing the prettiest Gentile girls, etc., Historic Destiny is just a damned pain in the ass. Who wants to be the “Chosen People” fighting off smelly rag-heads and stinky Persians with their chess boards and games of shesh-besh, when they can enjoy fancy French and Chinese restaurants in mid-Manhattan and then go home to watch American Idol, 24 and Conan O’Brien?! What a fuckin’ drag! I mean, who needs it?!

    That is why, even though Jew-hatred will increase exponentially in the States as the economy goes through “hope and change” – collapsing all the way, most Jews in America will continue to think that America is the place to live off the fat of the land. And they will view Historic Destiny as just a pain in the ass, something to be ignored if at all possible. And they will mouth all the bullshit platitudes of the CFR; “two state solution”, “peace with the Arabs”, the “historic rights of the ‘Palestinian People'” and all the other garbage – because it is easier than facing up to their Historic Destiny; it is easier than taking that leap of faith and paying attention to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who called out to Moses from the burning bush in Midian over three millennia ago.

    And that is why most of the Jews in America will suffer the same fate as did most of the Children of Israel in Egypt. They will go to their graves in blood. And that includes most of my family, by the way. So that is not said with any joy at all.

    That is the simple answer to your question.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Cindy, I was immersed in the “other side” of these issues for 25 years if you count my time living in the Soviet Union and then my time in marxist-dominated academia. I’ve seen everything that perspective has to offer and I found it wanting. It makes for very neat theories, but it is a system which does not work in the real world when dealing with the needs and desires of real people.

    The worldview which Les advocates has had what successes it has had because it offers a guarantee of a minimum quality of life to those who have nothing at all, while at the same time guaranteeing the maximum possible unassailable power to those who are at the top of the system with no accountability whatsoever. It fulfills all the dreams of the two most dangerous classes in any society, the rabble and the tyrants.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave, you see marxists in your underwear.

    but that’s not saying that the ussr had a good idea. well, it was a good idea. just impossible to execute.

    but, yeah, the “marxist-dominated academia?” psh. you couldn’t go to church and not call the congregation communists.

    (really, they’re everywhere, dave. everywhere. they have spies. look at all the anagrams for “austin, texas” and see what you come up with.)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    look at all the anagrams for “austin, texas” and see what you come up with.

    “Six nut state”?

  • zingzing

    WHAT DOES IT MEAN!?

  • zingzing

    wow… “satan exit us.”

  • Cindy D

    It fulfills all the dreams of the two most dangerous classes in any society, the rabble and the tyrants.

    Which is why some Anarchists are trying to meet some Marxists in an agreement that would actually accomplish something.

    Because Anarchists and Marxists (only together) have enough, to accomplish something workable.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Dave,

    You spent time living in the Soviet Union, not Russia. You saw the Slavic character as it was influenced by a despotic do-nothing bullshit regime. So, the Russians you saw lived in a despotic, do-nothing, bullshit society. They come here and they are a whole hell of a lot different. Russia, shed of its communist overlords, is also a different place. And when Slavs have to work together, given real motivation, they work together well. Russians are proud, and await the opportunity to off the arrogant west. They always have, since the days of Peter the Great.

    The Soviets created the Spetsnaz – but the Spetsnaz lived on after the Soviet state died. And the Spetsnaz will figure out a nasty way to do in America; one of their graduates rules Russia today. I don’t like the SOB, but I respect him – as I respect all of my enemies.

    You don’t.

  • Brunelleschi

    Ruvy-

    Where do I start?

    Without Jews, we wouldn’t have much of a left. Why is that?

    Think about Marx, the real, historical Jesus (the guy that said the powers in charge would fall), and modern heavy-hitters like Chomsky. Add your own…..

    Left Jews have defined the terms in which we think and argue.

    A big salute!

    Get with the the program!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    When you live with as many Russians as I do, you get to learn Russian history from their point of view. Stalin had the honest desire to conquer the world, and until he died, he tried to do just that. He also had every intent of murdering off all the Jews in the USSR. His stroke/poisoning on Purim in 1953 was a miracle for us, and his subsequent death removed that threat.

    After he died, his successors felt they wanted to consolidate the country and expand peacefully – and this was the policy or Nikita Khrushchov, and all of his successors until Gorbachov.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Brunelleschi,

    Get with the the program!

    That’s what the pagan Greek pigs told Jews in Modi’im, 2100 years ago. So, some old man tried to “get with the program” – really it is much easier than living by your conscience – but a believing Jew, Matatyahu (Matt for short) Hashmonai ran his sword through the old man and led a rebellion that got rid of the pagan Greek savages. His son made the mistake of seeking the Roman savages for friends, but that’s not the point of the story.

    I live in the spirit of Matatyahu Hashmonai. That’s my program. Keep that in mind.

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave Dave Dave-

    Try and step out of your elementary ideological conditioning for a moment and get smarter. I am offering some insight for you-

    Academia is not “Marxist.” it is critical. It is supposed to be. The Flying Spaghetti Monster gave us brains. He wants us to use them. Relax. Marx was a critic, not the first, and not the last.

    The reason we keep talkin about him speaks to the power of his criticism, not the accuracy of his failed predictions.

    Your “our way is better” dogma reminds me of the college republican freshman that I used to laugh at in college. These wide-eyed optimistic, ideologues would argue for the existing system and its wonders with no backup or knowledge other than the expectation of a bright future in the existing system. They could not even think of criticizing it, because they expected to use it themselves for gain and a good life at the upper levels of the economic totem pole.

    As one becomes educated and aware, you can become critical, or defensive. That is natural and expected.

    Don’t think that you or your ilk have a monopoly on being defensive or in loving the system that you expect to carry you up the food chain.

    Its human nature and happens everywhere.

    Here’s how I shut up those simpletons back in the day, and it still holds-

    The USSR had the exact same people. The Daves. They are identical in terms of what I described above, only their ideology was opposite.

    What the Daves in the US and the Daves in the USSR have in common is the acceptance of the system that they expect to live in to carry them. Criticism is bad. Acceptance is good. Join the party. Our system is better, because I am going to succeed in it.

    The uneducated, uncritical college republicans and the communist party true believers are exactly the same people. They hate each other, but they just hate their counterparts.

    Put a Dave in the USSR, and they will defend the party endlessly, and use the concepts of the system to do so. Put a Communist Party true believer in the US, and they become college republicans.

    You are what you hate.

    Why?

    Human nature. There are always people that want to decide, get ahead, do well. Nothing wrong this that. It is expected.

    Critics of marxism love to say “OK, sounds good in THEORY, but look at practice, it has never worked.”

    Why?

    Human nature.

    Socialist experiments attract Daves too. Put ME in charge of the Party, and I will make it work. Don’t criticize. Believe.

    What if the socialist experiment isn’t perfect? Not to worry, shut up, the other side is worse. Believe.

    It’s all relative.

    The same people screaming the loudest about socialism from the outside are exactly the same people screaming the loudest about capitalism from the outside.

    Don’t be a Dave.

    Even the name of this site is Blog Critics, not blog defenders of bullshit!

  • Clavos

    Left Jews have defined the terms in which we think and argue.

    A big salute!

    Get with the the program!

    You heard the man, Ruvy; get in line like a good little Jew; get in the line with all the other Jews and “Get with the program.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Clavos,

    You heard the man, Ruvy; get in line like a good little Jew; get in the line with all the other Jews and “Get with the program.”

    Which way did Brunelleshi say the gas chamber was again, Clavos? Just a second, let me load the clip in my Tavór, and I’ll be right with you.

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    “I was immersed in the ‘other side’ of these issues for 25 years if you count my time living in the Soviet Union and then my time in marxist-dominated academia.”

    Brunelleschi is correct in that the Communist Party member in the Soviet Union was the twin of the Republican in the U.S., neither thought critically. The only real difference is that ‘Communist’ was a complete fraud. And you went for it, hook, line and sinker.

    I said a few posts earlier (46), “The fact that this factor [Stalinist parties] no longer exists or is highly discredited has objectively enhanced the prospect of revolution. This is good.” One less fraud to help create the perspective that many like Dave still live with.

    Les

  • Brunelleschi

    Les-

    Yeah.

    One thing I left out was the contradictions inherent in taking the concepts from a critic, Marx, and what happens when they get co-opted by believers when they try and put them into practice.

    Something gets lost in translation.

    We have the same thing. Locke and his embrace of private property as a mechanism to enhance the middle class and displace the crown was co-opted by the Founding Fathers, because they wanted to take his place themselves.

    ..and Christians distort the philosophy of Jesus the same way.

    Again, it’s human nature and predictable.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You know what’s fun? Constant fear.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’m getting back to basics here because you are all straying off the point. And if this is something that can kill you – ands nukes in the hands of a hostile power willing to kill you CAN kill you, you ought damned well pay attention.

    So that we’re clear here. I’m not going to worry about me in this comment because OUR job as Israelis is to ditch the traitors and idiots who kiss YOUR government’s ass. That is an entirely separate issue. If we face an attack, it will be from HIzbAllah and Syria, as well as Hamas, with Russian ships slowly moving in on the coast.

    Let’s return to you, because you, as Americans, need to comprehend the threat you are actually under.

    A nuclear threat from Iran is minimal compared to the threat from the Russian Federation. But the threat from Iran would be more on the order of nuclear devices stored on ships docked in or near Venezuela. The ships steam out to sea and the devices get launched high in the atmosphere, blowing up and creating an electro-magnetic pulse. The EMP would cripple a large amount of unshielded computers, but most likely would not damage direct defense capability.

    I’m going on the assumption that your defense capabilities are shielded sufficiently to guard against an EMP. A dangerous assumption to make, but one has to assume that somebody is thinking at the Pentagon.

    So the EMP would create a sense of panic and uncertainty in the population, and the surprise nature of the attack would cripple the will of the American government, not its actual capability to fight. From there, any number of events could happen, but the most intelligent thing for an American enemy to do would be to wait at least a week, to allow a sense of confusion to spread. Meanwhile, if I were the Iranians or the Russians, I’d spread rumors of betrayal of America by France or Germany or even Israel. This would be to confuse the populace even further.

    When the government has relaxed its guard just a bit – that is when they strike. And when they do strike, they strike first at the president, cabinet and congress. They may miss the president and cabinet, but the congress, if in session, can be crippled. First strikes go also at the nuclear facilities in the States. Spetsnaz, the Russian special forces, specialize in taking out enemy nuclear installations, disinformation and other special ops.

    The Uniteed States under Obama, will not be prepared for this. The Anointed One thinks his shrewdness and smile, backed up by his clenched fists (have you noticed those – he clenches them often) will see him through diplomatic encounters.

    Anyway, just some thoughts for you all to chew on. I gotta get back to the business at hand here, which will take me away from the computer.

  • Hope and Change?

    Ruby…thanks

  • Brunelleschi

    The messiah will step in and stop it, the dead will be raised, and we will live happy forever.

    It is written.

    We got the messiah. We have nothing to worry about.

    :)

  • Cindy D

    A real Communist society is an Anarchist society.

  • Cindy D

    So far, I think it looks the same.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Les, in the Soviet Union I got to experience the full breadth of the ideology and I got to see how it contradicted the reality. Then in academia I got to hear it explained by experts who were true believers and idealists, yet could not reconcile their beliefs with contradictory facts which they chose to deny or ignore instead.

    And Cindy, Communism is the Anarchism as Cubicle is to Hammock.

    Communism really IS the dictatorship of the proletariat. The problem is that it’s still a dictatorship and the proletariat is uniquely unqualified for its job.

    Dave

  • http://kidonggamer.blogspot.com watzabatza

    why should it be? why people need it? campaign to stop nuclear weapon is much needed…

  • Cindy D

    Communism really IS the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    I thought that is the transitional stage. The way I read Marx seeing Communism itself, the end stage, it looks like Anarchism to me.

  • Mar(k E)den

    We in the US need to focus on restraining our own political/military/corporate elite and standing down our own nuke arsenal. I am in solidarity with the Iranian people(and Russian and Chinese and North Korean, all our ‘allies’ and all our relations, etc) and against anyone who would attack them.

  • Mark (Ede)n

    Dave, all that you experienced during your time in the Soviet Union was a vulgar and brutal State Capitalism.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Mark,

    You DO know it’s been the standard response that had been in use for God knows how long? You’ve got to be able to do better to me more convincing.
    Saying this just won’t wash.

    Roger

  • (Mar)k Eden

    Rog, do your own washing. Being a standard response does not invalidate a response. Perhaps Dave will contest the idea.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    If you’re willing to stand by a 50-year old response to criticism, fine. I didn’t suggest it in the way you’re taking it. I was hoping for the possibility of constructive discussion. But if you want a dog fight from now on, it’s fine with me!

  • Cindy D

    You didn’t actually argue with it either Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I’m trying to get something out of this – not constant hashing and rehashing of same old position whether from the Left, the Marxist Left, or the Right. I’m not satisfied with that, and if great many intelligent people on this site can do no better than to keep on reasserting what they believe and keep on believing until doomsday, there’s no progress – only self-validation. And so if that’s what you need, go to a psychiatrist and leave the arena of ideas to those who can hack it.

    I thereby issue a challenge to anyone and everyone(from the Left): are you ready to examine and reexamine your stale views just in case there might be a need for however slight readjustment, to examine or re-examine your basic assumptions and possibly faulty premises. If yes, welcome to the forum. If not, get off the cross; somebody else needs the wood.

  • zingzing

    roger, you’re skin needs to thicken up a bit. i don’t think mark wants a “dog fight.” jeez.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    #84: No, I didn’t argue with it because I’d like to choose my arguments wisely.

  • zingzing

    roger… sigh.

    “are you ready to examine and reexamine your stale views just in case there might be a need for however slight readjustment, to examine or re-examine your basic assumptions and possibly faulty premises. If yes, welcome to the forum. If not, get off the cross; somebody else needs the wood.”

    who the hell is going to say they’re so rigid in their ideas that they’ll never change? and when did you become blogcritics forum president Nowosielski?

    and leave jesus to ruvy.

    and if you think this same stuff hasn’t been written 100 times before, you haven’t been around here long. it’s the nature of the game. what you want is what everyone wants. don’t worry about it.

  • Cindy D

    How do you tell someone they’re wrong, just flat out and ask them to defend their position without actually doing the work of demonstrating that they’re wrong?

    Is that your “teaching instinct”? Just tell your “students” to defend themselves?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Zing, yes I am – if I wasn’t I would not issue the challenge. I have not read though your entire comment lest it’s a personal attach. But anyway, why should you object to my “challenge” in any personal or objective way? Is there anything wrong with it in principle? Answer me that, and perhaps then we can talk.

    As to the following comment – the “challenge” was not to all and everyone alike – thanks for allowing me to clarify it – only to a few select people who I believe know know they are. So no, there’s no teaching involved here: They were being addressed as equals. Any further questions?

  • Cindy D

    lol Roger, you are so pompous…

    really, are you ready to have a look at that?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Spare your advise to those who ask for it!

  • Cindy D

    See, you’ve got the idea!

  • (Mar)k Eden

    Rog, you have issued no challenge. You realize that don’t you?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    There is no conversations left between you and me!

  • zingzing

    roger: “I have not read though your entire comment lest it’s a personal attach.”

    then read the entire comment. it’s not a personal attack. i don’t “object” to your “challenge,” it’s just not really a new challenge. as i said up there, it’s something we all want and desire, and it’s something we all struggle with on here.

    but then you deny mark and more “conversations,” and thereby fail your own challenge.

  • Cindy D

    And of all people, you pick one of the most reasonable ones. Maybe you aren’t up to your own challenge?

  • Mark (Ede)n

    Cindy, I fear that he was talking to you…again. Probably included me as an after thought.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Jordan @ #70:

    Constant fear is the default state of every sentient animal, especially but not exclusively those that make a nice meal. It’s an essential survival mechanism and we’re equipped to deal with it.

    Trying, as has been our wont, to fend off this fear with things that go thud!, slash! and boom! might make us humans feel a bit better in the short term but the fear is still always there in the background.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Mark: By the way – #95 not addressed to you.

    What the f … do you expect? Always being on a defensive, responding to every single word against the Marxist faith as though it was the greatest sin. I didn’t mean, as you can read, my original comment as critical – only challenging you to do some fresher thinking. But you take it as an offense. My original intention, all along, was to find some points of agreement among some of the theoreticians here – people like yourself, Les, Bruni, Pablo, and myself – to form a kind of forum where we could get down to basics and iron some of the differences out. But you’re defensive reaction sort of puts that project on hold, doesn’t it. So you tell me! Make what you will of it. But I’ve told you what my aims were.

    Roger

  • Cindy D

    Oh, in that case, that’s fine then. I could use a break.

  • Cindy D

    Besides, it shows better judgment. I actually could deserve that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Zing, I never denies Mark any conversation. As you’ll read my #101, that’s what I want all along. But him, just as Les, will go to a certain point, and then will stop right when there is a need to go on further. Yes, Mark and Les, too. I don’t know whether it’s inattention, fear, or simply not realizing what’s important and which premises have got to be examined and re-examined in order to make any kind of progress. Yes, I can bring up examples.

    I’m glad that you share this need of coming together and presenting a coherent front. That’s all I’m interested in. I don’t need BC to validate my own thoughts. I do so through my own internal dialogue. So my point really is, Zing, if even the best “minds” on BC are not ready to undertake that project, than, forgive me for saying so, I AM WASTING MY TIME!

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Mark #98,

    You’re wrong Mark, no afterthought and no association!

  • Mark (Ede)n

    Rog, I understand your intention and am open to examining any proposition. Now ya gotta excuse me. I have to go exploit myself so that I can put food on my family.

  • Baronius

    Roger, what a great idea. You could have a forum of like-minded people with the same temperments who pursue the same subjects toward an agreement. That’s a great way to encourage new thinking!

  • zingzing

    roger, they’re willing, i’m sure, but i think you may overestimate the reality of political “discussion.” it invariably gets bogged down in just the sort of muck you’re railing against, especially when two different ideas find themselves incompatible. it’s a problem, but it is reality. fight against it all you like. it’s a good fight. but you’ll just find yourself frustrated. still, it’s not a waste of time.

    most of us here, just because we are here, are going to be pretty hardline about our ideas. it takes some doing to change minds or find spots where we can agree. what you might consider a fact or a truth is going to be nothing but delusion and lies to others, and that’s where you reach the impasse.

    and that’s how it goes.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No, Baronius. They ARE of different temperaments, apparently – not to mention different ideological strains: ranging from Marxism to conspiratorial theories, what have you. I was only addressing the possibility of meeting of the minds.

    Besides, if we all WERE of the same or similar temperament (and mind), wouldn’t it go without saying that we WOULD have been in a pretty much substantial agreement already – like you know: All views eventually lead to ONE (I suppose on analogy with: All roads lead to Rome).
    Thank you.

  • Baronius

    But Roger, that seems to be the ideal you’re striving for: a debate on your topics, on your terms, at your pace, with everyone willing to continue “when there is a need to go on further” toward, I’m guessing, you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Zing,

    But that’s precisely the kind of hurdle that has got to be overcome in order to make any kind of progress. Everyone has to be willing to re-examine their hidden or not so hidden assumption from ground up. What’s incompatible has got to be confronted and the winning idea must win out. If we don’t do this, we’ll be forever stagnated and victims of past thinking (out of habit or mere convenience.) A true mind knows no fear and should accept all challenges – you know that! There is no other way to live!

    The funny thing Zing, is: I see those spots and I’m very sensitive to them – because I’m a uniter, not a divider. (There’s nothing to gain by creating unnecessary divisions.) But what I find is that the most vociferous proponents of their views, when faced with those critical points, those crossroads, they either balk or walk away. So my idea was to get a few of those isolated, one-on-one if you like, so they couldn’t just wiggle out of their position(s) or unwillingness to go further. Like in a good old seminar, University style – seven heads max. Away from the madding crowd, the static and all the outside interference. Anyway, thanks for listening.

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Baronius,

    Someone has got to be the moderator. Do you think you might qualify for the job?

  • zingzing

    roger:”But that’s precisely the kind of hurdle that has got to be overcome in order to make any kind of progress. Everyone has to be willing to re-examine their hidden or not so hidden assumption from ground up. What’s incompatible has got to be confronted and the winning idea must win out.”

    it’s a mile-high hurdle. good luck to you. try not to get frustrated.

  • Cindy D

    Now, that’s a sensible idea. Had you just said it like that you might have gotten volunteers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I can’t help if people react emotionally, which they do because they feel they’re being attacked.
    Any one can look up this thread how this whole spat had started. Mark was being snotty, so I just told him what I think. The rest is part of the record. And no, I wasn’t soliciting for volunteers. It’s not a class in experimental psychology. It was meant as an invitation.

  • Cindy D

    (sigh)

  • zingzing

    roger, what language do you hear in your head?

    sometimes, i get the feeling that either you or everyone else is misunderstanding something,

  • Baronius

    “Baronius, Someone has got to be the moderator. Do you think you might qualify for the job?”

    Well, Roger, I am remarkably pretentious. I condescend to friend and foe alike. There’s a lot of fresh air and beauty in the world, but I’ll never encounter it, because my head is firmly lodged in my own rectum. The thing is, as much as I’d like to enforce my will on a discussion group, I can’t, because everyone has as much right to be here as I do. All I can do is follow my own standards, accept occasional disappointment, and try to enjoy the ride. If you’re interested in forming a cyber think tank, this site is a great place to recruit. We’ve got some amazing, varied minds here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I grant you that, Baronius. BC is a recruiter’s dream. But I don’t have any pretensions to leadership. As to the ride, yes, it is enjoyable,
    however rocky. Still looking though for other minds? That, I’m afraid, I cannot help: the alternative is solipsism.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I must admit that a week into the Obama Administration and I am pleased to see that this President is willing to engage in dialog with Iran. Netanyahu’s speech before the WOrld Economic Forum infuriates me. How he can say that Iran’s nuclear program is more important than the global economy? Yes, the nuclear threat is a problem. But to say that this issue eclipses the economic crisis is beyond reason.

    Ruvy, my friend, I worry for your safety and not by the threat of Muslim terror. The elevation of Netanyahu to Prime Minister will prove disastrous in my opinion. Netanyahu is not a man of peace and engagement. He is no better than Osama bin Laden in my eyes. If we really want to bring peace to the Middle East I have an idea. How about a grudge match in a ring with Bebe Netanyahu and Osama bin Laden? Forget killing any more innocents. Put the two of them in a ring and let them duke it out man to man.

  • Les Slater

    Roger,

    Me, a theoretician? I don’t dismiss theory but try and talk language anyone can understand. There is a tendency in academia to mystify theory. I have observed that sufficient mystification is a convenient way of hiding one’s lack of understanding. If you make your theory sufficiently impregnable who is to say you’re not just full of hot air? The world may not be simple but it is understandable. Obfuscation is a great evil.

    As to clinging to old ideas, Marxism is not a very good tool to defend outmoded ideas. To the extent that some do so only gives rise to a deviation from Marxism in the negative sense.

    The whole concept of the static is absolutely abhorrent to living Marxism. Marxism is not fixed, it grows, refines, corrects errors, deficiencies and discovers the new, but only in the realm of living struggle involving real people. Some of the ‘new’ will be discarded in the light of the struggle.

    All ideas must fight for and justify their right to exist. In the end all ideas have a material base. Understanding that material base is fundamental in determining what is SUFFICIENTLY close to reality, closer than other explanations.

    Marxism is explicitly a tool to understand and effect change. Marxism, following Hegel, looks to the motive forces and the logic of change. Its logic is not static, linear or mechanistic.

    I decided I was a Marxist, a communist and a revolutionary many years ago because only living revolutionary Marxists could explain with confidence and lucidity any question that I raised. I knew at that time I could not do the same. It has taken many years of activity to come to the point where I feel somewhat confident.

    Deep down I always knew that those that I looked to did not always have all the answers, or even the ones that they came up with were necessarily true. I learned to be critical, not just a naive criticism but one that not only I could defend but were respected by those that I was working with AND learning from.

    The hardest part of politics, including revolutionary politics is to understand change, the dynamics of change, especially in critical moments of crisis and upheaval. I find Lenin’s ‘April Thesis’, 1917 and the more theoretical Trotsky’s ‘Lessons of October’, 1924 good reminders that Marxists must understand not only deeply to observe the present but the convulsions of the present and where they CAN lead.

    Les

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I thought that is the transitional stage. The way I read Marx seeing Communism itself, the end stage, it looks like Anarchism to me.

    But Cindy, the scam, as with all religions – and make no mistake, communism is a religion – is that you don’t get to paradise while you’re still on this earth.

    We in the US need to focus on restraining our own political/military/corporate elite and standing down our own nuke arsenal. I am in solidarity with the Iranian people(and Russian and Chinese and North Korean, all our ‘allies’ and all our relations, etc) and against anyone who would attack them.

    So you’re in solidarity with everyone. Presumably if they’re all in solidaritty with you and with each other too, then no one needs to do anything and all those nukes they have are obsolete.

    Dave, all that you experienced during your time in the Soviet Union was a vulgar and brutal State Capitalism.

    If it were even state capitalism it would have worked better than it did. I’ll give you the violent and brutal, though.

    Dave

  • (Mar)k Eden

    So you’re in solidarity with everyone. Presumably if they’re all in solidaritty with you and with each other too, then no one needs to do anything and all those nukes they have are obsolete.

    Now there’s a worthy goal. And we could straighten out some class issues in the process of working toward it. I’ll sure do my part to encourage non-violent resolutions to conflicts of interest.

    Rog, maybe the productive approach would be to look for a consensus view of what we all want the future to look like. I, for one, really am not tied to talking only about the past.

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    But Cindy, the scam, as with all religions – and make no mistake, communism is a religion – is that you don’t get to paradise while you’re still on this earth.

    This from a fellow who reveres Milton Friedman. I’m at work so I can’t get the links that show he was considered a bit of a “stretcher of the truth” where it came to his Libertarian beliefs.

    He also grossly oversimplified. Here’s one I remember off the top of my head. His interviewer uses an example invloving Central Park. The interviewer notes that Friedman’s opponents would say that if Central Park were privately owned it would have been turned into skyscrapers. Friedman says, nonsense, or some such. He says Central Park would be better if it were privately owned because the private owner would take care of it better than the state.

    It all left me wondering then where is the “private” version of Central Park? There is none. It’s all skyscrapers. But this is how he defends his numbskull ideas.

    Which, if you look where they have been applied have mostly destroyed everything they’ve touched.

    And I can’t really read Marx. But I read the Communist Manifesto. And it was brilliant and read like he could see the future.

    I don’t want any party though. When the Zapatistas fought in 1994, Comandante Marcos declined to be the Vanguard. The people expected and wanted the Zapatistas to try and take power. Every year they declined. They are using something like Anarchism and Marxism to create a society that works quite well.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Presumably if they’re all in solidaritty with you and with each other too, then no one needs to do anything and all those nukes they have are obsolete.

    Yay!

  • Cindy D

    wow my whole post to you got lost Dave. well i want to go have dinner and a cherry martini. no time to type it over now.

  • Cindy D

    hrmm i guess it would have been in the wrong thread anyhow.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Silas,

    Thank you for our kind words of concern. They are appreciated. Netanyahu is a fool. He is a faux nationalist, very unlike the man whose shadow he has never filled, that of his late brother Yonatan, who was killed at Entebbe on 4 July 1976.

    I will not waste my time on what fools say, Silas. A failing economy can make your life miserable. A nuclear attack can make you sorry you were even born should you live through it. That is the difference.

    Engaging peacefully with a man playing messianic politics where you are to either be converted to the faith or killed is lunacy. That is the choice that faces you in dealing with Iran.

    But Iran itself is not the danger. The danger is Iran, and its sponsor, the Russian Federation. I outlined in a comment earlier what kind of damage I believe Iran can do. But I believe the Russian Federation, in a sudden first strike on the United States, can do far far more.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Bruni, remarkably condescending back there in #65. If your own mind weren’t so laughably closed and mired in repeating ideological koans which you clearly don’t understand I’d find it insulting rather than just ironic.

    You clearly have no idea where I’m coming on or how experience and research has informed my opinions. You just assume that if someone doesn’t agree with you they must be a dupe or naive or ignorant. The attitude is not uncommon among true believers who have reached a certain point intellectually and then stopped developing – usually out of fear of some sort.

    Like so many you think in terms of labels and categories rather than actually thinking critically or seeing the true shape of things. You have to pigeonhole people in terms of the archetypes in your head or else you might have to actually listen to ideas which don’t fit in your narrow little boxed-in worldview.

    The good news is that typically those with your limitations never actually accomplish anything or pose any real threat to those of us who want to make a better world.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Les & Mark (any comments:120-128:

    I can’t respond right know: I’m out of tobacco and my brain is a mush. So let’s put on hold for a while, shall we?

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave-

    Relax. Someone needs to shake you out of your coma.

    “… so many you think in terms of labels and categories rather than actually thinking critically or seeing the true shape of things….”

    Oh really? I put forth the concept that US foreign policy is basically a private property meme. And I gave an example of how I used it to understand the Iraq war, and predict the outcome, and that this can used used over and over again and it always works.

    I do see the TRUE shape of things. I don’t think you have the ability.

    That is critical thinking. You should try it sometime instead of being a true-believer. You are really boring when you do that.

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave Dave Dave-

    “the scam, as with all religions – and make no mistake, communism is a religion – is that you don’t get to paradise while you’re still on this earth.”

    Where in the world did you pick that up? Off the bathroom wall?

    It’s actually half right. When religions were telling people their suffering would be over when they get to heaven, Marx did say that none of that was true, and that man would evolve into his “species self” once capitalism wore itself out and workers became more aware and evolved. Then, everything will be just niiiiice. Yeah, right. The reason Marx was wrong is that he forgot about the Daves. See my masteroiece #65.

    Like many great minds of history, he just didn’t know when to shut the hell up.

    Marxism is not based on faith, or a higher power, or the supernatural. There are no Marxist churches or prayers, or myths about creation or a higher being. He was influenced by Darwin., science, the knowable, etc.

    Marx simply borrowed a “you will be rewarded later” myth from faith and twisted it to the here and now.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I’ve got a pretty reasonable hope that Iran will not get nuclear weapons – and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. Maybe Ruvy will give me reason to think otherwise, but looks like he’s getting ready to take the election. I don’t think Iran will be getting nukes on HIS watch, however cowardly Obama might be – and however much the rest of the world bitches. Most likely Obama sorta minimally co-operates and makes Israel do the dirty work.

    Even as a non-believer, I can’t help sometimes but think that the Jews really are God’s chosen people. Besides everything else they’ve done for the world, they saved us all from a nuclear Iraq and I pray that they save us from a nuclear Iran.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Oh really? I put forth the concept that US foreign policy is basically a private property meme. And I gave an example of how I used it to understand the Iraq war, and predict the outcome, and that this can used used over and over again and it always works.

    But this is just the same idiotic argument that the anti-war left has been spouting erroneously for years, rephrased. It doesn’t fit the facts of US actions in Iraq unless you make interpretations so broad and simplistic as to be laughable.

    But it does fit with your other arguments, and most of what comes out of the mouths of marxists. It’s a disengagement from the way the real world is. It’s the most fundamental academic fallacy where you start with a conclusion and then try to shape the facts to make it look like they lead up to that conclusion.

    The problem is that you can NEVER be right when that is the kind of pseudologic which you practice.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    Its over your simple head is all.

    That’s why the rest of your bullshit is so weak and elementary.

    I know middle school kids in Canada that understand the world better than you, no kidding.

    Grow up.

  • Les Slater

    I sense an element of defeat in Dave’s remarks. He sees everything else as wrong and evil but he knows it is his world that is crumbling beneath his feet.

  • Brunelleschi

    Yep-

    Red-baiting people you disagree with is juvenile!

    I just tossed a nuclear bomb in the myth that America is just going around the world spreading freedom.

    What happens next is “yer a fool, you are stupid, you don’t know shit….then it ends with, OK, you are right, but every nation acts in its own interest…”

    pppffft!

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Bruni, you’ve been at the namecalling level for quite a while now. Take the blinders off. You have beliefs which are indefensible in the context of the real world and you just keep making ad hominems because you can’t make any real points.

    Bringing out a stock smear like ‘red baiting’ is so typically juvenile. Ooh, I’m the poor communist and you’re persecuting me just like the McCarthyites. Pity me. Just sad.

    Almost as lame as your defensive behavior when challenged over Russia or Cuba. When people who are better informed than you are dispute your claims you either take the cop out that the Soviet Union wasn’t a “real” communist society, or as in the case of Cuba, when assailed by real facts, you just misdirect and tuck tail and run.

    Your hard-core ideological programming makes it impossible to accept that you might be wrong in either case.

    Les is a bit smarter, because he focuses on the potential for marxism in the real world in the future and is wise enough not to try to defend its horrific legacy of failure in the past.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    I write about the real world as it really is.

    You write like a 14 year old trying to please the ROTC drill instructor, just not as intelligent.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Marxism is not based on faith, or a higher power, or the supernatural. There are no Marxist churches or prayers, or myths about creation or a higher being. He was influenced by Darwin., science, the knowable, etc.

    So? What Marxism shares with most religions is that its basic tenets require faith because they are not supported by any real world evidence. It is also like a religion in the way that its adherents cling to it fanatically while not really understanding it.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    Marx was a critic and a philosopher.

    The fact that you bring him up several times a day speaks to the power of his ideas, and your fear of their truths.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Normally I wouldn’t mention Marx at all. He’s no longer relevant. But when people show up and start prattling about his ideas and taking him seriously I don’t see why I have to sit back and ignore it.

    If you were ranting about Hitler and what a great idea eugenics is I’d speak up too. Same if you began promoting the silly theories of the religious right about the US being founded as a Christian nation. I’m just disinclined to give fools a break. Sorry.

    Dave

  • Fresh Meat

    I remember that it was Israel that used a military intervention the last time a Mid-East state got close to a nuclear prgrogramme getting fully underway. The difference this time (and the reason the US is loath to go in, even under Bush)has already been pointed out. Iran has the second most dense Anit-Aircraft defense in the world (after North Korea). These are not second rate weapons such as were in Iraq. The also have an effective top down radar system that can see the stealth bombers (but not fighters).

    Israel only has one option to stop Iran from possessing the bomb, and that is an option that will start a true Jihad from its neighbours.

    This is the key issue today that may tip us into a Third World War and should be taken extremely seriously. It is beyond partisan politics (and amazingly has nothing to do with the communist debate).

    The mistake that wsa made by the US under Bush was that it cried wolf when attacking Iraq. Now its credability is shot, and no one is listening.

    The only hope the world has is that this power stays in the hands of moderates, just like it has in Israel, India and Pakistan (yes that is right, this will NOT be the first Islamic bomb).

  • Clavos

    Every thought, every idea is a “meme” nowadays. Ten years ago, you never heard the word, except among pointy-headed academics.

    Now my boat mechanic speaks of “memes” in my diesels…

    “Is there no one who can rid me of this noxious jargon?”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Memes in your dremes…

  • bliffle

    Bruno said:

    “…contradictions inherent in taking the concepts from a critic, Marx, and what happens when they get co-opted by believers when they try and put them into practice.”

    Exactly. Marx was really just a critic, and critics usually make ghastly creators.

    BTW, Bruno, nice dome.

  • zingzing

    dave nalle: “Normally I wouldn’t mention Marx at all.”

    surely you…

    really, dave. you see it in your dreams, your nightmares, your pool, your breakfast, your cabinets, your toilet, your garage, your windshield, your cubicle, your fender-bender, your arguments, your paperwork, your walk home…

    you see “marx” written out on your eyelids. you are mccarthy. seriously. look up your name and such terms as “communist,” “socialist,” “marxist,” “pinko,” “scum,” etc.

    you’ll be there. you don’t not “mention marx,” you breathe marx out. you inhale something vile and exhale”marx.”

    seriously. it’s repugnant. see a doctor.

  • Brunelleschi

    biffle-

    Got ya! All we had were bricks, but look what can be done if you go one brick at a time….

    zing-

    You have Dave pinned!

    Dave-

    You need to open your closed mind, seriously. You debate politics like a child.

    If Marx never lived, the endless debate over public or private control/management over our lives would still exist. It always will. Get used to it.

    Philosophers are critics that think up the concepts we use to argue about our lives, the universe, logic, etc. Sometimes they sound crazy, then again they might not be.

    They just provide directions, but they can suck at road maps.

    Socrates just asked questions over and over-Like Jordon and his “should there be a global minimum wage?” That was classic! People can find a million reasons why that won’t work, but if you stop and think about it, maybe it’s the right question-we just aren’t ready for it.

    Marx went too far and tried to write the future. His ideas were powerful, but not that powerful. What he didn’t realize is what I described above when I said “Don’t be a Dave.” Daves are the people that believe in the system in place because they believe it will carry them to a good life-so they are stuck defending it endlessly, no matter what and can see no further-like Christians “feeling it” in church. They are the ones with blinders on, and it’s the critic’s role to show how blind people can be.

    Daves can’t see contradictions and don’t want to, but they go out of their way to find things wrong with what the other Daves are up to. That’s human nature and something Marx missed. His workers paradise never will happen because of Daves. Repubs in the US and Party hacks in the old USSR are the same Daves.

    Sticking to one ideology for every issue makes one an idealogue. Dave mistakenly thinks I’m like he is, stuck on one thing, one way. Far from it. Dave’s a defender, I’m a critic. If we both were transferred to the old USSR, Dave would be waving the hammer and sickle flag and jumping down everyone’s throat that criticized the party. I would be in trouble.

    Dave thinks I’m a broken record that just wants to put something in place that is opposite of the status quo. That’s wrong. I never pulled a Marx and outlined a roadmap. If I did, someone pull a quote and prove it. I bet you can’t.

    I wouldn’t call for a socialist state. If we had one, I would criticize it too, but we don’t live that way in the US do we? Our system in the US has tunnel vision and it leads us to things that are easy to criticize, like the foreign policy meme I described above that makes us think our imperialism in any form is making people free, for our own selfish reasons. I just don’t buy that bullshit because I know where it leads-endless wars and endless enemies.

    Honestly people, doesn’t it give you the creeps when we send the war machine to blow some place up halfway across the world, seize control of the levers of power, install puppet authorities, crank up the money machine, and brag to the world that we made the victims and ourselves free? That is just retarded, but we see it on the news every day and we are used to it. Nice going, Daves!

    Read Jonathan Kwitney’s “Endless Enemies.” He pretty much laid out the same problems I have been on about, and he was a Wall Street Journal reporter that got around the world and saw how our imperialism works right down to the backroom deals and who makes them and why. He was far from a Marxist. He was a critic because he saw how it works and how its led to an unstable, angry world.

    If I had time to sit down and think up a philosophy of government, it wouldn’t be Marxism. Daves would ruin it by clamoring to control it and perverting the intent-just like they do now in the US.

    I would propose a concept that acknowledges the power of the individual’s initiative, the liberty that Americans like to brag about and opportunity. But it wouldn’t be so blind as to try and use the same hammer for every nail. The foreign policy problem is a good example of how this goes wrong, and so is health care, energy policy, and our inability to come up with a transportation system that makes sense. The logic of money alone is not a roadmap any more than Marxism is.

    An open mind should call it like it is. GOP true believers are right about individual liberty. Get out of the little guy’s way and let him work hard and benefit, watch the innovations that this brings. They are wrong to think this works on a massive scale 100% of the time.

    The founding fathers didn’t predict mega corporations that found a way to take money and avoid personal responsibility. “It’s not MY fault, the board of directors said…our stockholders will leave if we don’t…” etc. This thinking has hijacked our government and foreign policy machinery (the meme I described). This has brought us an angry and unstable world, and we have to be brave enough to call it like it is and not be defensive.

    An open mind would also find the times a unified effort works better than blindness due to money. The rest of the industrialized world knows how to handle health care way better than this. Something is missing here.

    An open mind would accept what works, when it works, and get out of the way. Don’t be a Dave. Don’t be a Marx.

    I just want to see better and more honest debate, not the same old excuses and blindness.

  • bliffle

    Offhand, if I were Iranian I wouldn’t want the government to develop nukes. Too dangerous. An Agent Provocateur could easily provoke a counterattack that would vaporize Iran.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Brother Al writes,

    I’ve got a pretty reasonable hope that Iran will not get nuclear weapons – and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. Maybe Ruvy will give me reason to think otherwise, but looks like he’s getting ready to take the election. I don’t think Iran will be getting nukes on HIS watch, however cowardly Obama might be – and however much the rest of the world bitches. Most likely Obama sorta minimally co-operates and makes Israel do the dirty work.

    Binyamin Netanyahu has made a career out of denouncing terrorism. But in order to understand what Netanyahu really is, you need to understand who underwrote his first conference on terror many years ago, the one that gave an Israeli furniture salesman sudden credibility. The folks who underwrote that first conference were the same folks who manipulated and controlled Sharon, and who attempted to manipulate and control Begin and Shamir, and who now play Olmert and Barak like skin flutes.

    Netanyahu’s trademark is his grim face and determined American-accented English – but, after putting on a great show at defying the Americans, in the end, he always caves.

    As for the cooperation that Israel needs from America to attempt to successfully pull off a strike on Iran, the Georgian airbase they were going to use is gone, courtesy of the Russians, and Bush would not allow Israel the equipment it needs (the ability to refuel while flying) and the codes needed to fly over Kurdistan or whatever. If Bush, who wanted a confrontation with Iran, wasn’t willing to do this, do you think Obama who does not want a confrontation with Iran, will?

    Netanyahu may fool me and try to pull this off anyway. But from I know of him, he is a man easily intimidated. Even Clinton scared the pants off the guy over a decade ago when he tried to get Jonathan Pollard freed. Mobs of Arabs intimidated him over a tunnels controversy at the Western Wall in J-lem, and he handed Hebron over to Arab control – after the Shaba”k stage-managed a massacre there, and framed a Jewish doctor (conveniently killed by Arabs in the mosque/synagogue in the Cave of MaHpela), calling him the murderer.

    He will likely do well in the elctions 11 days from now and eventually be named premier – but he has already said that he would form a government with Kadima and Labor. So what is the point? From him, there is neither hope – nor change.

    ON the other hand, he might just do the right thing, even without intending to. In 1996 he was warned (through his father) by Michael Drosnin that he might be assassinated on a trip to Jordan. He canceled the trip, claiming illness. Drosnin did not get his information from intelligence sources – he got it from the Torah Code.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    You need to open your closed mind, seriously. You debate politics like with a child.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Bruni says some painfully obvious things from his freshman philosophy class…then
    Daves are the people that believe in the system in place because they believe it will carry them to a good life-so they are stuck defending it endlessly, no matter what and can see no further-like Christians “feeling it” in church. They are the ones with blinders on, and it’s the critic’s role to show how blind people can be.

    I love it when people try to tell me what I believe and how I think. I’ve been fighting for the revolution against the status quo for over 30 years, but because the revolution I want to see doesn’t match his expectations I’m a tool of the military industrial complex or some equally trite bullshit.

    Daves can’t see contradictions and don’t want to, but they go out of their way to find things wrong with what the other Daves are up to. That’s human nature and something Marx missed. His workers paradise never will happen because of Daves. Repubs in the US and Party hacks in the old USSR are the same Daves.

    Take out the personal insult here and I might actually agree with you, but you’re not interested in finding common ground. The similarity between the communist party in the old SU and between the entrenched establishment of the bureaucratic left here in America is unavoidable. The similarity between the dogmatic conservatism of establishments everywhere is also pretty obvious.

    If we both were transferred to the old USSR, Dave would be waving the hammer and sickle flag and jumping down everyone’s throat that criticized the party. I would be in trouble.

    Except that I was actually in the old USSR and protested against the establishment there just as I had protested in the US before and after, though more quietly and carefully.

    Dave thinks I’m a broken record that just wants to put something in place that is opposite of the status quo. That’s wrong. I never pulled a Marx and outlined a roadmap. If I did, someone pull a quote and prove it. I bet you can’t.

    But you do dogmatically defend regimes which are obviously as oppressive as anything currently on the planet, presumably on an ideological basis, so how can I do anything but assume that you’re one of the non-thinking true believers of the world? Similarly you irrationally attack anything which smacks of the conservative or free market perspective without considering its possible merits. And most significantly, you tell people what they believe without listening to them and then argue with the strawmen you’ve created instead of what they really think.

    like the foreign policy meme I described above that makes us think our imperialism in any form is making people free, for our own selfish reasons. I just don’t buy that bullshit because I know where it leads-endless wars and endless enemies.

    But you’ve bought into the bullshit of American Imperialism hook line and sinker, so how can we take you seriously?

    Honestly people, doesn’t it give you the creeps when we send the war machine to blow some place up halfway across the world, seize control of the levers of power, install puppet authorities, crank up the money machine, and brag to the world that we made the victims and ourselves free? That is just retarded, but we see it on the news every day and we are used to it. Nice going, Daves!

    Is this where you start marching around with your Pace flag singing the Internationale? You not only can’t think outside the box, you can’t even see the box.

    To prattle childishly about American imperialism is to embrace the establishment and the dominant meme, just like a million other zombies.

    I would propose a concept that acknowledges the power of the individual’s initiative, the liberty that Americans like to brag about and opportunity. But it wouldn’t be so blind as to try and use the same hammer for every nail.

    Some animals are more equal than others. This is where so many systems go wrong, in not applying the same standard of freedom to everyone.

    The founding fathers didn’t predict mega corporations that found a way to take money and avoid personal responsibility.

    I guess it’s easier to be dogmatic when you just ignore history. Ever heard of the Boston Tea Party? The founding fathers were specifically rebelling against monopolistic corporatism which worked hand in hand with a government which granted special favors to priveleged businesses.

    Something is missing here.

    As always, I blame a lack of reason.

    I just want to see better and more honest debate, not the same old excuses and blindness.

    He says, after going on for ages repeating the same old excuses and exposing his blindness.

    Might as well be talking to Pablo.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave.

    I honestly think you say one thing and do the opposite.

    Don’t be a Dave.

    :)

  • Clavos

    Don’t be a Dave.

    Bru got him a new “meme.”

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Savanarola

    I think Brunelleschi just wants to be a mime and misspelled it. I know that when I was in Florence there were a lot of annoying street mimes pretending to be statues and robots and such. Maybe one of them was him.

  • Brunelleschi

    Sav-

    Give me a big hug old buddy!

    You still whipping youself and burning books?

    :)

  • Baronius

    Digression time:

    I think this site has become bimodal. We used to have people from every possible political and philosophical view writing here. We covered the spectrum. Lately, we seem to have exactly two views expressed: an atheistic radical anti-capitalism and a Randian secular libertarianism. It feels like all the moderates, Christian conservatives, mainstream Obamaites, et cetera, have left.

    “Don’t be a Dave” – but there are half a dozen of us who are Daves on most every BC issue. Among our regulars, there are Daves and Cindys, but not many people who make me say, hey, I wouldn’t have expected that. I miss that.

    Digression over.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It feels like all the moderates, Christian conservatives, mainstream Obamaites, et cetera, have left.

    [Coughs politely, raises hand]

  • Baronius

    Excuse me? You, in the third row?

  • Wendy Howard

    #150 — Dave Nalle

    “But you’ve bought into the bullshit of American Imperialism hook line and sinker, so how can we take you seriously?”

    No American Imperialism?

    The US Military in 70 countries? That’s a lot more than the Roman Empire had.

    Dave must also believe the Roman Empire was not imperialistic

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Pardon me, but I’m neither an atheist nor a radical nor an anti-capitalist. I lean toward libertarianism, especially on social issues, but certainly not to the degree the Davester or the Clavster do. I suppose you could say I’m either a moderate or an et cetera.

    I’ve certainly surprised even myself with some of the positions I’ve taken in discussions on BC. I have an infuriating tendency to see the merits of both/all sides of an argument. So if you’re looking for dogma from me – sorry, I’m all out.

  • Baronius

    Wendy, imperialists show up uninvited and unprovoked, stay, and take. We were invited into most all of the places we are today, and Iraq and Afghanistan certainly want us there right now. If you think about it, our entire presence in the Arab world isn’t to exploit them; it’s to help them be better able to exploit us. That’s not the act of an empire.

  • Baronius

    Doc, I appreciate the heck out of your comments on this site. You provide a different viewpoint, intelligently. And really, I’m not a “Dave” on many social issues. It’s just struck me as peculiar that since the election, the boards have fallen into an even stronger Us vs. Them pattern. I wasn’t expecting that.

  • Wendy Duncan

    #160 — Baronius

    “We were invited into most all of the places we are today, and Iraq and Afghanistan certainly want us there right now.”

    In your dreams.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I don’t know about that, Baronius. Certainly at the moment there are four people who are contributing comments far more frequently than anyone else, and they fall into two distinct ideological camps. Not their fault or intent, obviously, but they do tend to drown everyone else out.

    But as for diversity of views, it’s as broad as ever. I don’t think you can really say that there’s been a drop-off since November. Not in commenters and certainly not in writers: after a brief post-election lull, just look at the number of politics articles – many from new authors – that have been published in January.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Lately, we seem to have exactly two views expressed: an atheistic radical anti-capitalism and a Randian secular libertarianism.

    Barbar, I’m actually not either of those. And I’m not sure the two extremes you describe are what are really represented.

    I’m an atheistic, pro-capitalism, anti-randian libertarian.

    And Cindy is some sort of goofy anarchist-collectivist.

    What we’re being plagued by is a lot of socialist-libertarians, some of whom have been here for quite a while.

    Dave

  • Wendy Duncan

    #164 — Savanarola

    “Cindy is some sort of goofy anarchist-collectivist.”

    And unless Savanarola can explain his epithets (he/she/it) is some sort of goofy epithet thrower.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Ethel the Aardvark

    OK, what’s with all the screen name-hopping today?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Bluebottle

    If you don’t stop it I’ll be forced to get strict, you rotten swine.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Mr Boffin

    Now stop all this rubbish and get back to what passes for normal around here.

  • Zozobra

    Wendy, Savanarola is Dave.

    troll

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    And Wendy is our old friend Jack D.

  • Wendy Duncan

    And Dr Dreadful is Cindy.

  • Mar(k E)den

    So, Dreadful, would you say that your non-dogmatic stance is based on something of a creed?

    (just kidding around)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Wrong. Although I do know who shot J.R.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    (that last was in response to the Duncans)

    Mark – yes, the creed of the undecided. (Or possibly not. I don’t know.) We’re usually made fun of for our fence-sitting stance (ouch!), but around election time we suddenly become everyone’s best friends. Very strange.

  • Wendy Duncan

    #132 — Al Barger

    “Even as a non-believer, I can’t help sometimes but think that the Jews really are God’s chosen people.”

    Spoken like a true believer.

    Al should come out of the closet.

  • Wendy Duncan

    #150 — Dave Nalle

    “ I was actually in the old USSR and protested against the establishment there…”

    And it was during his time in the Gulag that Dave lost his mind.

  • zingzing

    dave’s mind IS a gulag. thoughts get trapped and beaten and frozen and executed there. they come out all fucked up and paranoid. then they can’t get over it.

  • Benito Juarez

    thoughts get trapped and beaten and frozen and executed there. they come out all fucked up and paranoid. then they can’t get over it.

    Especially when they’re executed…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Better a Gulag than Gulla Gulla Island.

    And my brief name change was just to twit our Florentine commenter.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    okay who brought the marijuana?

  • zingzing

    “Especially when they’re executed…”

    well, you can’t kill a thought.

  • zingzing

    which one of you assholes gave my daughter the drugs?

    name that tune!

    well, that’s the name of it…

  • Rush Limbaugh

    Who is Wendy? I like Wendy.

  • Cindy D

    chit! I thought I changed that! LOL

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave/Sav-

    Good one!

    All-

    Imperialism has evolved. Planting the flag is old-school.

    Today it’s more manipulation and control. Contemporary imperialism does not happen by invitation and RSVP.

    Yes or no poll question, about one event of many-

    Q: Was the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 imperialism?

    yes or no

    bonus- If no, WHAT was it?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    This is why we need better terms than just throwing imperialism around. The US has a long, long history of involving itself in the affairs of other countries, but for most of that history territorial conquest – the hallmark of imperialism – has not been part of it. In fact, the US was notable for leaving countries much better off than they were before we got involved.

    The cold war, which was primarily anti-imperial, changed the character of US interventions a bit. We were somewhat more desperate and somewhat more ruthless. But in most cases we still tried to leave things better than they would be otherwise.

    And yes, since the days of John Quincy Adams’ Monroe Doctrine there has been an element in our foreign policy of expanding our economic sphere of influence. But what’s bad about that? It’s a two-way street. Client states certainly benefit from the trade which the US brings them.

    As for Arbenz, not exactly a major issue, but a good example of how cold war paranoia provided motivation for US interventions which were much more questionable. Whether all the conspiracy theories about the overthrow of Arbenz have legitimacy I leave for someone else to figure out. But he did two fairly unforgivable things for the time, engaged in radical land redistribution and opened up trade with the soviet bloc. Not acceptable in the cold war environment.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “But he did two fairly unforgivable things for the time, engaged in radical land redistribution and opened up trade with the soviet bloc. Not acceptable in the cold war environment.”

    The imperial arrogance of an imperialism denier has no bounds.

  • Brunelleschi

    The CIA guy that actually gave the order to remove Arbenz in 1954 would take issue with your excuses for it. His name was Phil Roettinger.

    He regretted the whole affair and toured campuses in the mid 1980s when Reagan was repeating the mistakes. He stayed at my house for a week. I took him to numerous speaking appointments and interviewed him myself for a radio station. (Very funny story there too, but I’ll skip it for now).

    I heard the whole story, and verified it with reading since.

    You can’t bullshit me on this one Dave. You have it wrong, very very wrong. It was because of the United Fruit Company. What Guatemala does with it’s land is up to Guatemala. It is not for you to judge.

    ” the US was notable for leaving countries much better off than they were before we got involved.”

    If that is true, why did LaFeber write “Inevitable Revolutions?” Why did Kwittney write “Endless Enemies?”

    You really don’t get it.

    I guess the Romans had people sitting next to the emperor kissing his ass and telling him to keep it up too, killing people and robbing them makes them better off. :)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’ve had some more time to think about the imperialism business and Arbenz as well. What the fuck does it really have to do with anything today? We’re talking about something that happened in the Eisenhower administration. Virtually everyone involved is dead. We’ve gone through 10 changes of government since then. What is the relevance, except to satisfy the desire of some to disparage the US.

    Our current foreign policy and our future foreign policy is a much more meaningful topic of conversation, rather than trading recriminations over events long-past. Bruni, your fellow travellers backed Pol Pot. Do you want to discuss that for a while?

    One thing, though.


    You can’t bullshit me on this one Dave. You have it wrong, very very wrong. It was because of the United Fruit Company. What Guatemala does with it’s land is up to Guatemala. It is not for you to judge.

    I guess you don’t believe in fundamental human rights. The UFC owned property in Guatemala. The government planned to take most of it away. I’m sure you don’t agree, but many people believe that the right to own and be secure in your property is a fundamental human right, even the right that in many ways guarantees the other rights. The US does have a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of its citizens outside of our borders. It’s a well established principle of international law. You may not like it, but protecting the property rights of the UFC wasn’t just some arbitrary pretext for world conquest.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Which brings up the whole debate about whether corporations have human rights.

    Surely the appropriate response would have been to register protests at the diplomatic level, not overthrow the government.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “Which brings up the whole debate about whether corporations have human rights.”

    How do you mean that, Doc? What’s the context?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’d agree that overthrowing the government is extreme, but this is before we had an international court system to sue them in — not that what we have now works all that well. Nonetheless, corporations do things as the agents of their shareholders and those shareholders deserve to have their rights protected.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I understand you’re referring to the latter part of Dave’s response, but I think it’s a very interesting idea which could yield some extra mileage.

  • Brunelleschi

    Look at Dave!

    He is actually arguing that an international corp’s “human right” to land in another nation takes priority over that nation’s will to use it for it’s own people-who were displaced by the big corp moving in!

    Guatemala paid UFC for the land. It just got the price off it’s tax returns, which they cheated on.

    Why bring it up now?

    One, I happen to know quite a bit about it, plus I have the benefit of spending a week with the CIA guy that ran the operation-so I know how to use this one as an example and watch people’s reactions-so I know who is full of shit and who isn’t.

    Two, with time, the truth emerges. If you can’t accept proven historical truths because you don’t like the facts, how can you honestly think about the present?

    BTW-Nicaragua took the Reagan admin to world court in the 1980s over the Contra thing and won. Reagan basically told them to fuck off. Are you proud of our concept of justice?

    I would argue that corporations do not have human rights, because one of the reasons to incorporate is for the owners/stakeholders to avoid personal responsibility for its mistakes. A lot of people were killed for UFC and the nation was plunged into decades of hell. No one at UFC ever faced justice over it.

    Your Pol Pot comparison is nonsense. I am not aware of any of Pol Pot’s “friends” running the CIA or the State department and making war decisions on his behalf, which was the case in Guatemala with UFC.

    Get real!

    Don’t be a Dave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Brune,

    As Doc had alluded to a comment or two ago, the idea that corporations have human rights is a kind of misnomer. The very formation of “corporation” as a concept was motivated by the need to create a LEGAL entity, over and above the personal – to perpetuate the myth of what is, in essence, “legal fiction.”

  • Wendy Duncan

    #150 — Dave Nalle [

    “You not only can’t think outside the box, you can’t even see the box.”

    Dave problem is he is in a box and can’t see out of it.

  • Brunelleschi

    We pause this schooling of the simpleton to tell a true and funny story-

    Phil Roettinger was 72 when he toured the US and spoke out against the Reagan wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was a retired Marine Col. as well as a CIA operation leader. It was he who gave Armas clearance to take power after the CIA organized the coup that overthrew Arbenz.

    He was a delightful fellow, full of energy and enthusiasm for his message, but at the same time serious and regretful. I spent a week with him and heard his talk about 6 times, plus I interviewed him myself-which brings us to the fun part-

    The highlight of his week was the radio interview at the campus station at CSU Fresno.

    A quick background- Fresno’s sports program was hugely popular. Fresno does not have professional sports teams. Local business hijacked the campus sports program and organized a highly successful support foundation that was so good, it left students out of the picture.

    Basketball games were packed, but held downtown, off campus. A major sore spot was the small number of student season tickets that were made available, because they could sell them to the highest bidder off campus. Demand far exceeded supply for the students. The program tried different ways to fairly distribute the small number of tickets (maybe 1,500 or so, I don’t remember), but these were an embarrassment. Students would camp out for days in line and miss class to get the coveted tickets, which made the news and pissed off professors.

    They decided to keep the time and place the tickets would go on sale secret. On a Sunday afternoon, they would announce where to get tickets between noon and 1pm over the campus radio station. All one needed to do was wait on campus that Sunday with a Walkman, and run and get in line.

    Picture this-

    That was the Sunday Roettinger began his week in Fresno. It just so happened that I had a one-hour talk show at noon -the hour of the big sale. The campus was crawling with students anxious for the prize, and these were typically the more un-aware types, the Daves, people who loved Reagan and didn’t want to hear anything about what was wrong down south.

    So when the ticket seekers tuned in, they get me interviewing Roettinger about the Guatemalan coup, right from the horses mouth. He made sure they knew he was no radical, but an ex-Marine with a stern warning-this stuff Reagan is doing has happened before, its wrong, and he knows it and you need to know it. Wake the fuck up people….

    The show lasted an hour, and I never did announce the ticket location. I left that to the next guy.

    Roettinger and I laughed our asses off about it the rest of the day.

    All week, when he started his lectures, he would open with the story of his captive audience! We stayed in touch a few times after that and he always said it was one of the highlights of his activism.

    A year or so later I had a job in LA and saw that he was still talking, so I went to listen and didn’t greet him until after he spoke. Even then he was cracking people up with that story.

    He passed in 2002. I miss that guy.

  • Cindy D

    John Stockwell (former CIA Agent): The Third World War: Over a period of 40 years, the CIA engaged in 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor ones, “every one of them illegal, every one of them disruptive of the lives and societies of other people and many of them bloody and gory beyond comprehension…”

    More about John Stockwell.

    More from John Stockwell.

  • Brunelleschi

    Stockwell gives powerful speeches about that.

    Isn’t it remarkable that Daves can’t accept the truth, even from people who do these things and talk about them in detail?

  • Cindy D

    Also see historian William Blum’s Anti-Empire Reports, as well as some other of his essays from his book Killing Hope. His Wikipedia page details his impressive credentials.

    Also, I recommend Frank Dorrel’s video Addicted to War which I’ve just gotten in the mail and watched the beginning so far.

    Bru,

    I think Dave skips over whatever history doesn’t fit his world view.

  • bliffle

    Good thread! Even Bryan was cogent, now that he (seemingly) has dropped the tedious drumroll of Obama Slights.

    Bruno, #65, carries the day.

  • Cindy D

    Bru,

    Would you be able to (and anyone else who cares to), please address Dave’s ideas about this:

    Don’t put gloss on it Dave. You agreed DICTATORS needed to be installed where people were already trying to install Democracies. (Cindy)

    In a society which is still largely tribal or post-colonial if you install direct democracy you end up with tyranny anyway, so you’re better off going through a phase of benevolent dictatorship as the society matures and develops capitalism and an education system which will make it capable of practicing democracy responsibly. (Dave)

    Dave is always saying this stuff. But it seems like a justification. Sometimes he has questioned it while still supporting it as in this post @#12, regarding the U.S. installation of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 where the Greeks wanted a Democracy.

  • Brunelleschi

    That is honestly pathetic, and condescending on a massive scale!

    Anything that fits the meme, right?

    Make us money, make up excuses why its better that way. Private property equals freedom, and long as we make money…

    sounds like…

    “We were invited in.”

    “We support authoritarians, so they don’t get totalitarians..”

    “The indians were better off when we killed their food supply.”

    etc etc

    Memes are a virus, and make people blind..

  • Cindy D

    I have to get a “Don’t be a Dave” bumper sticker. LOL

  • Les Slater

    An unrepentant cheerleader for imperialism while pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s nothing more than that.

  • paulwhoispablo

    DONT BE A DAVE! I LOVE IT

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Les, I’m fully aware taht imperialism exists. We’ve all seen it in its raw and aggressive reality if we’re old enough to remember the cold war. And, of course, the neocons would have liked to build an empire, had they been halfway competent.

    But we really are in post-imperial world. It’s almost laughable to see people like Bruno trying to apply the ideas of the last century or even the century before to a world which has evolved beyond what they can understand.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    The crazy part is this meme still works.

    Thats how they last. They evolve, just like a species….

    Like imperialism isn’t imperialism anymore, etc….

    Presidents still go on TV and say we blew stuff up and took the money/control to make YOU free, and you better appreciate it.

    Something tells me Obama will be very careful to not play that card. I know he wants to ramp up Afghanistan and all, but I’ll wait and see before saying too much. Maybe he really will spool up, deal AQ a blow, and get out.

    Before the election, my thinking was Obama is not as powerful as the meme… But I think he is smart enough to not just lie like that. I hope so at least.. Hope and Change!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dave,

    You may well be right insofar the reality is concerned. The present configuration will not support it anymore – neither from us or the Russians or the Chinese. So in that sense, the epoch is over. But what I believe it is being addressed here are the designs that some still have and entertain (and not that far back, for we don’t have to look any further than our past administration.) There’s still die-hards out there who won’t quit until they’ll come to their grave.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Stares in bafflement at Bruno thinking that going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan is at all meaningful at this point. Let’s get that dastardly Black Hand while we’re at it!

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I agree with you there. The only possible importance to be attached to that I deem to be no more than symbolic.

  • Brunelleschi

    I don’t recall stating my opinion on it that way. I’m just thinking about what O-man is going to do.

    It will be interesting to see how he handles the old rhetoric, or if he tries to tell the story in another way.

    It will also be interesting to see if the tail wags the dog.

    If he acts too different, he’s going to face a lot of opposition, very quickly, which he can do without. If he spools up, gets something concrete done and gets out, he did something.

    If he tries to use the presence there to stay and try and reshape the country per the meme, the end score will be-

    USSR=0
    USA=0
    Afghanistan=2

    One difference is the UN presence as well, we just don’t hear much about it.

    Buy Pomegranates for freedom! :)

  • Les Slater

    Bru: “Q: Was the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 imperialism?”

    Dave: ‘maybe but that was a long time ago.’

    Vietnam

    Cuba, 1961

    Dominican Republic, 1965

    Chile, 1973

    Nicaragua, Contras, ’80s

    U.S. logistical and diplomatic support for Iraq’s war on Iran, 1980 – 1988

    U.S. logistical and diplomatic support for Britain’s attack on the Falklands, 1982

    Lebanon, 1982 -1984

    Grenada, 1983

    Iraq, 1990 – 1991

    Balkans, 1991 – 2001

    Afghanistan, 2001 – present

    Iraq, 2003 – present

    Pakistan –

    Iraq, 2002

    Venezuela coup, 2002

    Continued interference in Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.

    Threats against Iran and North Korea.

  • Benito Juarez

    ^God bless America — Land that I love!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Very useful list, Les. If you go down them and consider the character of the conflicts in chronological order you can clearly see that as we go farther and farther from the cold war the nature of US foreign policy evolves towards less and less long-term involvement and a return to an emphasis on protecting people from tyranny and trying to maintain a certain level of world peace.

    We’re still doing way too much intervention and interference, but it is becoming more altruistic and less self-serving, returning more to the 19th century model.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    Iraq 2002, above, was some sort of slip but in actuality the Iraq war should be labeled as one from 1990 – present. The attacks never ended, continued through Bush 1, the whole eight years of Clinton and continued with the beginning of the Bush 2 administration and now continues with the Obama administration.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Can’t argue with that!

  • Les Slater

    The altruism of an unrepentant imperial bully.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You know, I was always suspect of that term, “altruism,” fishy and phoney. I’d had always reminded me of nothing more than a gesture rather than the real thing – something akin to an atonement for one’s sins.

  • Cindy D

    East Timor: 1975 – (1998?)

    Congress Acts After 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre
    On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops armed with American-made M-16 rifles gunned down more than 270 Timorese civilians in Dili. Since then, a bipartisan effort in Congress and an expanding grassroots movement set out to reverse our government’s mistaken course.

  • Cindy D

    Only 1/3 of the Timorese population was wiped out before the U.S. stopped backing Indonesia.

  • Cindy D

    “The cold war provided the perfect excuse for Western governments to plunder and exploit the Third World in the name of freedom; to rig its elections, bribe its politicians, appoint its tyrants and, by every sophisticated means of persuasion and interference, stunt the emergence of young democracies in the name of democracy.”
    John le Carre’

    Third World Traveler

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave Dave Dave

    I have explained in detail why you have it wrong. US thinking and priorities have not changed. Thats the meme situation. The mind virus is still there, and you are infected.

    My explanation of the US foreign policy meme explains the continuing list of imperial adventures.

    You can not come up with a better explanation, or a theory that explains how we get from this list of abuses to “protecting people from tyranny and trying to maintain a certain level of world peace.”

    Exactly how did this transformation you claim take place? When did it happen? What was the thinking behind it? Where is the evidence that our rhetoric became reality?

    America’s covert actions and wars are well documented. The meme that excused these abuses is real. When did it change and what was the mechanism for that change?

    You have nothing to back up what you say other than a wish. On the other hand, the meme accurately explains the reality, and is useful in predicting America’s behavior. This is a powerful analytical tool.

    As I said before, on the eve of the Iraq war, which I was not even following at the time, I wrote my assessment on the site I was on at the time using the meme without looking up a damn thing. This really, really pissed off a lot of people. Many were close friends. All of them, one by one, returned to admit I was right-as much as they hated it.

    The more you try, the more your readers are seeing that I am exactly right as well.

    Memes are powerful things because they infect how people think as a large group. Its very hard for a lot of people to see the sickness when they are infected with it.

    Lets see you come up with a better explanation. You will have to explain how a foreign policy machinery (executive branch, foreign service, “intelligence” community, military branches, etc) suddenly reversed its behavior and results from bad to good-when at the time, what it said about these abuses was exactly the same as it was since the beginning.

    The chances of you explaining what you are claiming are about as likely as Jesus returning at halftime tomorrow.

    I’m new to this site. It seems you have been bothering people with your shallow excuses for the meme for quite a while. it didn’t take me long to shut your shit down, and I didn’t have to crack open a book to do it!

    This was too easy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    History will take care of all this.

    A food for thought. Why it doesn’t bother us to refer to the ancient Rome as the Imperial Rome? Would the Roman citizens of their day object to this characterization? I doubt it. They were too sensible.

    Why, then, is there so much resistance today to see the facts squarely in the face? One, I should think, obvious reason is that the foundations are crumbling. So you should courage from that, Bruno. The end is near.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bruni needs to get over his “meme” obsession. Or at least look up the definition. Memes are inherited thinking from the past. Some of us are trying to think about the present, or even the future. If you think in terms of memes you’re missing what’s going on in the here and now. You’re making the common mistake of trying to stuff reality into a narrow box defined by an ideological interpretation of the past.

    Bruni, your failure to make any kind of valid argument here is transparent. You can claim ‘victory’ all you want, but so long as you stick with repeating your ‘meme’ you’re not even engaging with the current issues.

    Thanksfully others here like Roger and even Cindy are able to think creatively and make discussion interesting.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    A food for thought. Why it doesn’t bother us to refer to the ancient Rome as the Imperial Rome? Would the Roman citizens of their day object to this characterization? I doubt it. They were too sensible.

    Actually, Roger, there was great outrage at the development of the empire at the time. Read some of what Cicero had to say on the subject. Many felt that an empire was a very unfortunate development from what had previously been a Republic, and there continued to be a movement to try to restore as much republicanism as possible for centuries after Augustus turned it into an empire.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dave,

    Meme is a very powerful concept and awfully intriguing, but there are problems with Dawkins’ application of it: the way Dawkins uses it, it’s a fallacy. Besides, all concepts have their limitations, even the best ones.

    In short, there is no substitute for critical thinking; and we have to keep on being innovative, thinking on the go, because the world constantly changes before our eyes, even as we speak. Old ideas must be abandoned and thrown by the wayside because they’re defunct. It’s an ever-present challenge.

  • Cindy D

    Brun,

    You will have to explain how a foreign policy machinery (executive branch, foreign service, “intelligence” community, military branches, etc) suddenly reversed its behavior and results from bad to good-when at the time, what it said about these abuses was exactly the same as it was since the beginning.

    It seems to me, and I’m judging by East Timor, it only changed when the population could be made aware in order to protest. The media in the U.S. carried nothing of what was going on with the U.S. backing of Indonesia. When the voices of the few informed dissenters grew loud enough, mainstream opposition could be garnered.

    What do you think?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Of course, Dave, but one usual justification was Pax Romana, not to mention civil service which Augustus brought to bear. Of course, it eventually split and then crumbled. But I don’t think it would have been possible to reinstate the Republic past a certain point.

    You’re keen on Marcus Aurelius. How fictional is the account in “The Gladiator” concerning his intent to give Rome back to the Senate? I don’t think it ever happened.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Old ideas must be abandoned and thrown by the wayside because they’re defunct.

    Exactly, Roger. That’s why I think all this talk of empire, especially long past attempts at it, in what is clearly a post-imperial world seems so silly.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dave

    I think is mainly a reaction to what is being perceived as past abuses. As I said earlier on the thread, the configuration of the world had changed so that even if one tried, it would no longer be attainable. But why not let them talk, it doesn’t harm anything. I would pick up my fights more carefully.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    You’re keen on Marcus Aurelius. How fictional is the account in “The Gladiator” concerning his intent to give Rome back to the Senate? I don’t think it ever happened.

    I thin he probably had the inclination. It was just very difficult at that point for an emperor to retire or give up power effectively. The structures of representative government had become too atrophied. Plus he was killed before he could have attempted it. And the truth is that if every emperor had been like Aurelius the people would have been much better off than they ever were under the Republic.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    An argument for the philosopher-king. Long live Plato!

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave-

    Don’t duck the question.

    When did the transformation occur, and what caused it? Who caused it?

    You are saying that I am only talking about the past.

    I am not. I am talking about a continual process that has not changed, but has evolved by something like natural selection-the meme.

    I have used this to explain how I knew the Iraq war was really about changing Iraq’s nationalized oil system to one that is under western, private control-and did that at a time when hysteria over WMD was rampant, and believed by even the largest newspapers. I called bullshit on the whole thing and explained why. I was right. I confidently called it better than the national press.

    It is up to you to explain how the past just stopped and the present is somehow different.

    I maintain that our actions were due the pursuit of private property rights for us, due to the profit motive and competition with a competing philosophy (public property rights), and this has infected the machinery of government so effectively that people actually believe this is making it’s victims free. As proof, I offer the fact that all these abuses over time are explained the same way-we do this to make those people free-and we believe it!

    The explanations are exactly the same over time, but somehow the behavior has reversed itself?

    Who is crazy?

    hahahaha

    I saw this groupthink in Reagan days when Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene” came out, when he introduced the concept of the meme. The application of it to the private property meme was my own. I put it away at the time, satisfied that I understand American behavior well enough to see through the bullshit, and I’ve kept my eye on the news since, waiting for the change you claim.

    I am still waiting.

    Tell me where it is, when it happened, who made it change. Prove that it is more that a wish on your part.

    The private property meme not only explains our adventures that have created enemies and deaths, it explains our real problem with the USSR-the fact that it did not work within a private property system, and therefor it had to be opposed so that our own way of operating could continue.

    Selfish genes-selfish memes.

    Dawkins is a smart guy!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No question Dawkins is a genius. But is Dave REALLY defending the IRAQ issue as a counterexample of “imperialism”?

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    You breathe too deeply in formalisms. The real imperialism today is essentially by proxy. It’s modern role is essentially the same as it has always been, to ensure production of goods, guaranteeing trade routes and markets. It is done quite ruthlessly and without regard for the desires of the peoples subjected. Its ultimate purpose is to maintain profits and the economics system where they come from. It is an imperialism necessary for the survival of capitalism.

    U.S. imperialism does not need nor does it WANT to occupy these countries. It uses persuasion and pressure to nudge regimes into compliance. The specter of force is quite credible. There are sufficient examples of the fate of recalcitrants to make the point quite persuasively. These examples must constantly be renewed lest the subjects get too uppity. This necessity is INCREASING.

    U.S. imperialism PREFERS democracy. It is more stable and less costly. But it doesn’t NEED democracy ANYWHERE, including here in the United States.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    But it does need more or less “liberal” governments abroad to facilitate the opening of the markets and relatively unhampered traffic as regards exchange of goods and services. (Walter Russel Mead, “God and Gold”) Otherwise, the paradigm would be rendered less than functional.

  • Les Slater

    “But it does need more or less ‘liberal’ governments…”

    It doesn’t need, it prefers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Choice of words. The object still is opening up the markets and making everyone a consumer. Dictatorships or totalitarian-run governments are not best suited to those purposes.

  • Les Slater

    And the paradigm IS being rendered less than functional.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    So we DO agree on one point.

  • Les Slater

    “Dictatorships or totalitarian-run governments are not best suited to those purposes.”

    I already said that, “U.S. imperialism PREFERS democracy. It is more stable and less costly.”

    But when a democracy compliant to imperialism can not be imposed, then a dictatorship will do.

  • Les Slater

    I think we have much agreement. You also seem to have a problem with formalisms but it hasn’t rendered you incapable of thinking.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    That has been the pattern. Whether the U.S. (and the industrial West) will be able to do so in the future remains to be seen. So who is engineering this push? International bankers? If so, then all politicians, including Obama, are in their pockets.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    #243: I should hope not. I think our disagreement has mainly to do with how we envisage the future. What you view with extreme horror, I don’t necessarily happen to think it’s the worst possible scenario – provided . . .

  • Les Slater

    Roger,

    My 243 should have ended with ‘fruitful thinking’, not just ‘thinking’. Your 244 reinforces the applicability of the necessity of using ‘fruitful’ in such as my 243.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I happen to think we have reached, to borrow from Fukuyama, “The End of History.” Again, I would argue it’s not the worst possible scenario – considering the alternatives and ALWAYS with a proviso.

  • Les Slater

    Reading your 244 leads me to believe your thinking is closer to mine than you realize. The very end of 245 too.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    There are still ESSENTIAL (I believe) ontological differences, the best I can surmise.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “Metaphysical” would be a better word.

  • Les Slater

    So, our main point of disagreement is that you think history has come to an end and I don’t.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Right, because I can’t think of a way of transcending what has already been done. It may of course be a failure of vision on my part. But be that as it may, I think I’m resigned to accepting the present configuration of the world and try to make the best of it – not just for the Americans but the humanity at large.

  • Les Slater

    I can see your point. The majority of people have similar views. As the crisis deepens, and it will deepen beyond most peoples imagination, many, I believe most, will see that there is a better way. I see no reason for you not to be amongst them, us.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “The majority of people have similar views.”

    I very seriously doubt it. I’d put myself among the top percentile, yourself included.

    Of course if the crisis will deepen beyond any hope of recovery, we’ll enter a new page. And would would happen then is anyone’s guess; like starting back from scratch, I suppose. But I am presuming that it shall not. And if that’s the case, then things will probably go on pretty much as they have – but there’ll have to be some major system readjustments in terms of economic and political management. How shall I say it – a more benign face of capitalism coupled with liberal democracies. That’s the most I can hope for.

  • Brunelleschi

    Good discussion.

    One further point-

    Old school “plant the flag” imperialism was the norm before the rise of the international corporation.

    In these times, you can get the same thing accomplished by private powers and not bother with trying to run the other nation’s government, or replace it entirely. All you need is a Marcos, a Somoza, a Shah, Pinochet, etc etc.

    Then you exploit the meme, the idea that using state power to enforce this private penetration is just and makes the people at home free.

    It borders on religion, but its just a selfish meme.

    Even the Roman Empire knew that running every government in the empire was too difficult. It used local clients, like Harod, etc, and they collected taxes and paid up, or else…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    That’s my greatest concern – the power of corporations. Unless they be curbed, we’re dead ducks. We can no longer think then in terms of polities. This part is unprecedented in human history. One way or another, the State has to reassert itself!

  • Brunelleschi

    Roger

    And this power and its needs have infected the minds and the machinery of state power and thinking, so much so that most people just accept it, even the people doing it.

    Which is really all I have been on about from the beginning.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Exactly! That’s why I am really glad that it’s all coming to a peak. Every crisis is “decision time.” I do hope for good things to come out this this – eventually.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I think what we need is something analogous to Caesar crossing the Rubicon and restoring the power – IF that was his intention – to the Senate.
    Of course, he was assassinated.

    Drastic times call for drastic measures.

  • Les Slater

    “I think what we need is something analogous to Caesar crossing the Rubicon and restoring the power – IF that was his intention – to the Senate.
    Of course, he was assassinated.”

    To the Senate, of course.

    Very dangerous thinking.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Not really the Senate – only to the extent that the Senate truly represented the people.

    Many historian argue (of course it’s impossible to tell) that Caesar was a populist at heart – along the line of the Gracchus brothers.

    Dangerous, yes. It may well happen that some kind of temporary take over of power may be necessary in order to put corporations in their place. The integrity of the State as a political institution has got to be preserved/reinstated at all cost.

  • Les Slater

    Ever since you declared your belief that history has ended much surprising has come out. The last paragraph in 261 sounds more than a little like Hitler’s arguments.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Not really! I think I’m just being realistic as to how this thing might wind down. Not that I condone it, because things will happen regardless of my wishes in the matter. But some kind of showdown, I really believe, is a must.

    Which doesn’t invalidate what I said earlier about “The End of History.” But there will be some turbulences or wrinkles to iron out before things will settle. Yes, temporary state of Fascism is a real possibility. Again, my approval or disapproval has nothing to do with it.

  • Les Slater

    “Yes, temporary state of Fascism is a real possibility.” “But some kind of showdown, I really believe, is a must.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    When I say “it is a must,” I mean it in a conditional sense – if the State is to recover its rightful powers. A benevolent dictatorship – a temporary one – may well be the only way out of this mess.

    Do I have the will or intention to put it into effect? I haven’t asked myself that question. Do I have the power? Definitely not! But you can bet there’ll be plenty of others who wouldn’t bat an eye.

  • Les Slater

    You have said much more than you intended. You have dug yourself a very deep hole.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I am not taking anything back (as of now). And I am still going to argue – on theoretical grounds – that the primacy of the State, as a political institution, must be restored. Just classical political theory. How and when – that’s not up to me to say. I’m not familiar with Hitler’s argument. But I’ll say one thing: to discredit his argument simply on the basis of what ensued later is a logical fallacy.

    I’ll catch you later, Les. Got to get some smokes. And we are having a good conversation. I hope you agree.

    Roger

  • Les Slater

    Roger’s calling for a strong state, the acceptance of Fascism is nothing more than the the natural culmination of a logic of defending capitalism in its death throes.

  • Cindy D

    Very scary. Talking oneself into accepting Fascism without even looking anywhere else?

    Will that become a trend?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Far more ironic than the nonexistent “bitter irony” Dave claims to have found in the “vindication” of the Bush Iran policy is how Bush helped the hardliners consolidate their power in Iran.

    At a time [2002-2003] when moderates had a chance to take back the government [or at least gain ground] in Iran, and in fact offered to help the US fight the Taliban, Bush ignored the overtures – a diplomatic disaster of the first order. It was after this that Ahmadinejad came to office, with the backing of the more-powerful-than-ever hardliners.

    If it is indeed “too late” for diplomacy now, Dave can if he’s honest blame the clumsy lack of diplomacy by the Bush administration a few years ago.

    And it shouldn’t have to be said, but apparently bears repeating that “extending the hand of diplomacy” does not mean surrendering.

    It’s always convenient to leave out the parts of the story that don’t serve the simplistic purposes of your meretricious, propagandistic articles. It’s always “radical leftist” this and “fanatic” that in your utterly one-sided “analysis” of current affairs.

    You’re smart enough to be fairer than you are, but you rarely if ever bother.

  • Les Slater

    Handy,

    Iran is nowhere near as hardline as some would have you believe. They demonstrated such by their blocking those who wanted to volunteer in Gaza.

    The U.S. knows this.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “the acceptance of Fascism is nothing more than the the natural culmination of a logic of defending capitalism in its death throes,”

    You’re twisting my words. Again, my acceptance of it has noting to do with it. It will probably happen anyway, regardless. I can only hope that it will be a temporary phase – “the benevolent dictator” kind of thing.

    As to my defense of capitalism, you’re completely misunderstanding me. The very forces which had made capitalism not only possible but injurious to human life and the very same forces which guarantee you all the freedoms which you apparently enjoy and take for granted. Sorry, can’t have one without the other. It is a necessary evil, to put it mildly. All we can do is to keep in check from causing us harm; and only the State can do that.

    Yes, I’d rather be a citizen of a just state than to be a lackey to a global corporations. Is that the kind of future you envisage?

    If you have a better idea, come forward.

  • Cindy D

    It will probably happen anyway, regardless.

    Let me know, when you think the time is ripe. I’ll be at Dave’s learning how to use a gun.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Why are you attacking me for saying what I think?

  • Cindy D

    Again, my acceptance of it has noting to do with it.

    Now, this is not a personal statement. And I’m not twisting your words. I’m merely trying to get you to see that your acceptance, as well as everyone else’s has everything to do with it.

  • Cindy D

    Is any challenge an attack?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    What is it that I’m not supposed to accept? The eventuality that things might turn that way. The chain of events is something I have no control over. Do I wish it? No! Would I like to see a peaceful resolution? Definitely. But history has a way of asserting itself regardless of wishful thinking. So what are you really blaming me for?

  • Cindy D

    I’m not blaming you. You misunderstood. Perhaps I will reconsider my wording. I’ll be more careful.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    If it is sarcastic or facetious, then it is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    We all should weigh our words. Remember, this is a public record. I learned that from you.

  • Cindy D

    It’s not sarcastic. It’s a concern to me. I’ll try to explain why.

  • Cindy D

    You scared me. The idea that people would simply accept Fascism as if it were just a matter of necessity struck me as likely. I guess that I believe they would.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, but you made remarks about Dave and the gun? I’m not a prophet. I don’t know what the future holds, whether things will happen or when. I was only offering one possible scenario. And yes, it concerns me, too.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I think they would, Cindy. We’re not up for happy times, and I honestly hope that the resolution will not be detrimental to human life and values. But there’s always a rainbow at the other end. I’d like to believe that.

  • Cindy D

    That remark was merely emphatic. It’s the truth.

    I’ll say it a different way.

    Before I would willingly submit to fascism I would become a militant and join with whoever else would fight, even right-wing Libertarians.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OK, I understand the first part. But think about the rest. Right now we’re being in the grip of evil, power hungry men. We’ve got to get out from under their stronghold before we become suffocated. A just state is the only thing I can have my allegiance to – not a global corporation. When I spoke of Fascism, I only thought of a temporary solution – not a way of life.

    Again, I’m not saying I’m condoning it; and I hope for a happier scenario. But if the present crisis continues and deepens, there will be a showdown, because these people are not just going to relinquish their grip on power. The other, equally undesirable alternative, is global government.

    So don’t blame me, please, for saying what I think.

  • Cindy D

    (hands Roger a peace pipe, it’s not tobacco, hope that’s okay :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OF COURSE!

  • Cindy D

    lol

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    By the way, Cindy. Don’t you think that nationalization of banks and some industries (as they have already done in the UK) is a first step, in a way. And what of Obams’s programs which lead to greater control by the State? All of this are the signs. One can only hope that once a semblance of order is restored, that a liberal democracy, such as ours, can begin to function again. And hopefully remake the rest of the world along the lines of justice and fairness for all.
    I hope we’ll all have learned our lesson by then about the resident evil of unhampered capitalism.

  • Cindy D

    I don’t understand things well enough to say anything relevant about nationalizing banks being a sign of any particular thing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, that, I believe, was the first step of Hitler’s plan – nationalization of industries so they would serve the purposes the the Third Reich.
    If I’m wrong about that, please let anyone correct me!

  • Les Slater

    Capitalism was revolutionary in the beginning phases of its history. In its fight for supremacy over, and suppression of, feudalism it revolutionized relations among people. All men were equal under the law and had rights as citizens, at least in theory, with major exceptions of course.

    In the U.S. that progressiveness, its revolutionary character continued through the Civil War and Radical Reconstruction.

    Sinse the defeat of Radical Reconstruction all freedoms, extensions of democratic rights were fought for from outside the government and mostly with opposition from it.

    People went to jail fighting for women to have the right to vote, for workers to have the right to strike and for an end to Jim Crow segregation. The very right to protest and petition were attacked by the government of the capitalist class. The progressive legislation of Johnson and Roe of 1973 were in the wake of a great radicalization. Neither the government nor the capitalist class gave us any of this. They were concurred in struggle.

    Whatever we gain in struggle the capitalist never give up trying to take back. Workers need to take power out of their hands.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I agree with everything you said, Les, except for the last paragraph. I AM going to reply with a paper. That definitely is the issue separating us. So we can hold it, meanwhile, in abeyance, shall we?

    Roger

  • Les Slater

    “That definitely is the issue separating us.”

    Not to mention you supporting Fascism as a solution.

  • Les Slater

    And you don’t agree with everything I said. That 293 was specifically in response to you saying our freedom comes from capitalism.

    “As to my defense of capitalism… The very forces which had made capitalism not only possible but injurious to human life and the very same forces which guarantee you all the freedoms which you apparently enjoy and take for granted. Sorry, can’t have one without the other.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    A TEMPORARY solution, Les – and only to clear the air. And as I said, but I guess I’ll have to say it again, I’m hoping for a less painful resolution to put capitalism back in its place. But I’m not a prophet. Que cera cera.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I didn’t say it does! Are you in the habit of misreading when you can’t find a cogent retort.

    What I said is that the same forces which made capitalism possible are the very same forces which also make possible the freedoms you enjoy and apparently take for granted (without really appreciating what you have). The parenthetical thing is an addition.

    Check it out and tell me that #293 was different from this comment.

  • Brunelleschi

    Roger-

    Good point in your last few posts. I think the term is parastatals, state corporations.

    I guess the danger depends on what you intend do with them.

    Hitler’s agenda was well known.

    I don’t see the same outcome with the current rush to make huge state interventions in the US economy. Not with the current admin. The admin is in panic, not hate mode.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Les,

    I’ll take your response later. I’ve been online for over ten hours and counting, so I’m going to take a break. Take heart in one thing: we share more things in common than what we disagree about. And perhaps even that can be worked out if both you and I are more willing to listen to one another.

    The best,

    Roger

  • Les Slater

    Let’s get one thing straight. You do support capitalism.

    “The very forces which had made capitalism not only possible but injurious to human life and the very same forces which guarantee you all the freedoms…”

    There is NOTHING within capitalism ‘which guarantee all the freedoms…’. That was the point of my 293. If you claim these ‘very forces’ are from outside capitalism, then we don’t need capitalism.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I tend to agree, Bruno. They don’t really know what to do – like a drowning man grasping at straws. But I sure hope someone develops a plan of action to make the transition smoother. Cool and rational heads, that’s what we need.

    But what I am really afraid of, the government may be implicated – even Obama, well-intentioned as he may be. The entire state machinery has been part of the program for at least two decades. How do you clean house when corruption is the order of the day?

    Roger

  • Brunelleschi

    The people that claim that freedom is inherent in capitalism are just living a selfish myth.

    Just think about South Africa under Apartheid not long ago. It was part of the “free world.”

    What defines the free world if that is the case?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Les,

    This is fundamental. It’s got to do with freedom and liberty – the presumed essence of liberal democracies. I do not support capitalism per se; but I cannot deny it because that liberty comes with all other liberties. You can’t pick and choose. Personally, pursuit of wealth is the lowest of the low on my scale of values. But I cannot in good conscience deny that to another human being if he happens to make it his lifelong pursuit. Again, the matter of fairness.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Bruno,

    I’m not saying it’s inherent. All I’m saying is that you can’t rightfully deny it if all other freedoms are important as well. I believe I’m saying this in the preceding comment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    In short, we ARE in a bind – unless you want to opt out completely!

  • Les Slater

    “Take heart in one thing: we share more things in common than what we disagree about.”

    Actually, I see very little in common. You being flushed out as being a Fascist and not seeing any serious response from ANY other poster, and even some attempt to accommodate, to accept, has only confirmed what I have been saying for some time. I’ve used the term ‘leftist’ but that’s not really accurate. It is the real danger that many a middle class radical is destined to be grist for a Fascist movement.

  • Cindy D

    (looks around for anyone who accommodated accepting Fascism)

  • Cindy D

    I sure didn’t and I don’t think Bru did. And we are the only ones here.

    I’m not sure how much more serious one could be than taking up arms.

  • Les Slater

    “When I spoke of Fascism, I only thought of a temporary solution – not a way of life.”

    “(hands Roger a peace pipe, it’s not tobacco, hope that’s okay :-)”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Say what you will. But it looks like you’re being true to your form – resorting to labels and invectives. I have no problem with that, Les. It’s your business. I haven’t called you any name or put a label on you. Nor will I ever. It circumvents thinking.

    As to my, as you say, “being flushed out,” again you’re grossly incorrect. You haven’t done a darn thing to evoke responses from me I would not wish to give. You’re not smart enough. What I said was not by your guile or whatever other resources you may or may not have at your disposal. I said it straight out – and for no other reason, mind you, than to make you understand where I stand.

    I find it kind of ironic that you choose to characterize my honest attempt to communicate by means of a slur.

  • Cindy D

    That was because he thought I was attacking him personally. I don’t need to have him feel I am attacking him to be against fascism.

    It was my wording and I changed it.

  • Cindy D

    I merely removed any possibility of being perceived as sarcastic.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Don’t talk about me in the third person. I’m still here. So you can address me directly.

  • Cindy D

    Oh shut up already!

    I’m talking to Les!

  • Cindy D

    (sigh) sorry.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Yeah, but it’s impolite. If Les is really as smart as he regards himself to be, he should be able to figure it all out by looking up the thread. Does he really need edification?

  • Les Slater

    “Brunelleschi

    “Roger-

    “Good point in your last few posts.”

    He’s been explicitly justifying the reasonableness of Fascism ever since 263. He has even defended Hitler.

    All other is secondary.

  • Cindy D

    Look, I have a kind nature. Not necessarily a sweet one. I hope you can allow for that Roger.

  • Mar(k E)den

    As I’ve expressed before, imo our State is already fascist (with a velvet glove) for its most important purpose – keeping the peace between classes. A US dictator would be ironic icing on the cake.

    Rog, you and I have been over your identifying freedom with capitalism. I suggest that you look at what freedoms real people have; compare those of owners with those of workers.

  • Les Slater

    “You haven’t done a darn thing to evoke responses from me I would not wish to give. You’re not smart enough. What I said was not by your guile or whatever other resources you may or may not have at your disposal.”

    It was not intentional. And I was surprised.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    How can I question your temperament? I’ve told you already you can be a real b … when you’re fighting. Just lets not let it get away from us, OK? Les is a big boy and he can answer for himself. Otherwise, you’re making me feel as though you two were ganging up on me. I’m sure that’s not the impression you want to create.

  • Cindy D

    I don’t actually know what Brunelleschi was saying. Of course. I just found it hard to imagine. I’m sure he’ll be by to tell us.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I don’t doubt it, Les, especially since you’re saying so. But my view of it is – it was simply taking our dialog to its natural conclusion, it’s limits. That’s always how it should be!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    I think he kind of chickened-out. Found me too radical, I suppose. I do hope he comes back and join this all-important discussion on matters of life & death.

  • Cindy D

    Ok Roger. Yes I can be.

    (I was only defending myself to Les though. Not ganging up on you.)

  • Les Slater

    “I find it kind of ironic that you choose to characterize my honest attempt to communicate by means of a slur.”

    I appreciate your honesty. Fascism is not a slur. It is descriptive. You have all but accepted the label.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OK. By you didn’t compromise yourself any, not in his eyes.

    I like this. All of us are getting up close and personal. That’s how it should be.

  • Brunelleschi

    “Friendly Fascism”
    The New Face of Power in America
    by Bertram Gross
    South End Press, 1980

    Good book. Read it back in the day.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I’m glad I’m not the lone ranger. Have you read it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Mark,

    “Rog, you and I have been over your identifying freedom with capitalism. I suggest that you look at what freedoms real people have; compare those of owners with those of workers.”

    No, I am not. My only argument here – capitalism is a natural consequence of freedom. You can’t pick and choose when it comes to rights and liberties. Is it unjust? Definitely. But it is a hopeless case? Not at all. I argued earlier in the thread that major systemic adjustment will be necessary in both economic and political management to make the system work to its best possible potential.

    Is it ideal? Not at all. But I asked Les earlier to provide an alternative model. He hadn’t yet. So now I’m asking you.

  • Brunelleschi

    Yes, but its been a while. You can surf this site for some bits.

    Friendly Facism

  • Les Slater

    “If Les is really as smart as he regards himself to be…”

    And what makes you think I think I’m smart. I try to be as simple as I can. I found you putting yourself, and me, into a high percentile category at one point, quite disturbing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “He’s been explicitly justifying the reasonableness of Fascism ever since 263. He has even defended Hitler.”

    Misrepresentation. All I said that Hitler’s argument – whatever it was – has got to be distinguished from the consequences and the ultimate direction of the Third Reich. To identify the two is a logical fallacy.

    But if you are going to continue mis-characterizing my positions and keep on putting words in my mouth, I will discontinue this dialog – with you!

  • Les Slater

    “But I asked Les earlier to provide an alternative model.”

    I hope you’re not expecting some magic.

    The working class does not need capitalism to produce food, housing, education, material goods, transportation, health care or culture.

    We can decide our own priorities. I have no doubt they will be dramatically different from those of the capitalist class.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “And what makes you think I think I’m smart. I try to be as simple as I can. I found you putting yourself, and me, into a high percentile category at one point, quite disturbing.”

    I don’t believe in false modesty, Les. If you were not, you would not be able to carry this argument with me for as long as you have. Your real problem, I believe, you want reduce everything to a common denominator. So your claiming to be of average intelligence and language skills justify your unreasonable belief in the potential of Joe Six-Pack. It’s a defense mechanism allowing you to hold on to your pet theories.

  • Brunelleschi

    Just saw this on the site I just linked to.

    “Although it is perfectly true, as conservative economists insist, that “there are no free lunches,” there are scores of corporate “free lunchers” who manage to get other people-via government intervention-to pick up all or part of the bill. Although new forms of this fine-tuned intervention are created every year, some of the more conspicuous examples in the United States are:

    * The Federal Reserve system, which supports bankers by maintaining high interest rates and bailing out bank failures.”

    Doh!

    “Privatize gains, socialize losses…”

    I heard that somewhere…..

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “The working class”

    The working class is an illusion. But I’m not going to get into this further. I’ve told you I’m going to respond with a paper. So forget about the model for the time being.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Of course, Bruno,

    It’s been welfare-capitalism for a long, long time, since Reagan to say the least. Except that they don’t need it anymore. They’re about to hijack America and the rest of the world if we let them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dave Nally,

    Issuing SOS, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.

    It’s your thread, for crying out loud. Come in and save me from these brutes.

    Roger

  • Les Slater

    “I don’t believe in false modesty, Les. If you were not, you would not be able to carry this argument with me for as long as you have.”

    That’s assuming you’re pretty smart.

    I’ve been tested. Some of my cognitive abilities are in the lower 10 percentile.

  • Mar(k E)den

    (Rog, I offered an example of an alternative over on the minimum wage thread.)

    Owners do not have the ‘natural right’ to live off workers — they have the power. As I said in our last go ’round about this, when the idea of freedom becomes more important than the actual freedoms that people have, there is something wrong with the analysis.

    I await your article though I’m not sure where we can go from a denial of the working class. What organizing concept do you think will suffice to explain relations? (btw, I think your approach of dangling carrots but holding your cards close is counterproductive.)

  • Lumpy

    I like the way every thred is now an anticapitalist hatefest.

    face it. your marxist idiocy is dead and gone and u can’t bring it back.

    give it up.

  • Mar(k E)den

    Get used to it Lumpy. I’ve a suspicion you’ll be hearing a lot more of it in the coming months.

    btw, “Get in my belly!”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Mark,

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the concept of “surplus value.” I’ll be first to admit there are great injustices. One possible critique of capitalism would be that it’s essentially immoral.

    As to your distinction between the idea of freedom and actual freedoms, I fail to see the kind of significance you seem to attach to it. Ideas and ideals are never actualized – although we should always aim at them. So the gap is neither unusual nor particularly perturbing in the context of the real world. I’m not quite comfortable with this rather fast formulation and I’m sure I should be capable of refining it, but I think that’s it in a nutshell. But to the point you’re making, you can’t discount the idea because of this gap. It’s the only thing we have – like a beacon to lead us to the Promised Land. The only way to discount it would be with another, more powerful idea.

    I have not, by the way, been dangling the carrot; I felt obliged to respond to an aspect of what Les had said, and I did. I’m not using it as any kind of secret weapon.

    Lastly, you speak of “organizing concept.” To what purpose? To address specific injustices? I am going to get into this later. All I want to say that your very thinking you need one makes a hell of a presumption. Do think on that, please!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Do you mean that your between eighty percent and ninety? That’s still pretty good.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Christopher Rose,

    Are you listening? I believe I should get a reward for most comments by a single person on any given day. Am I close to the mark?

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Checking out, guys. Till tomorrow.

  • Cindy D

    Night :-)

  • Brunelleschi

    Lumpy

    You used the term marxist, we didn’t.

    The dichotomy between public and private ownership and control is permanent. It will never go away.

    Get used to it, label it as you will.

  • Cindy D

    Oh and Les,

    Just for the record. My peace offering was a response to this comment.

    So don’t blame me, please, for saying what I think.

    Not the one you thought.

  • Clavos

    @#347:

    The following is written at the top of the commenter leaderboard. You might want to keep it in mind for the future:

    “Quantity is not an indicator of quality, so while the following people have been the most prolific, they may or may not have written interesting things.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    First off, Clavos, the remark was addressed to Christopher. No! I’m neither looking for a reward, nor am I bucking for your job. By the way, we were all waiting for you to come in and make it more interesting. But you didn’t, did you?

    And now you come in at the end when it’s all done and spoil all the fun. Have the last word, bro.

  • Clavos

    First off, Clavos, the remark was addressed to Christopher.

    And?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I have used this to explain how I knew the Iraq war was really about changing Iraq’s nationalized oil system to one that is under western, private control-and did that at a time when hysteria over WMD was rampant, and believed by even the largest newspapers. I called bullshit on the whole thing and explained why. I was right. I confidently called it better than the national press.

    But the problem is that you called it wrong. There’s no evidence that the Iraq war was about this. It’s never been proven and the evidence that exists and reason applied to the situation in Iraq doesn’t support the conclusion. Those who hold this belief start from the assumption that the Iraq war was about US control of Iraqi oil and then work backwards to try to prove it.

    But if you start from the facts then you would never reach that conclusion.

    First, the amount of oil actually produced in Iraq is not large enough to justify this sort of action. They have great reserves, but very limited production capacity. If that were the primary motivation, why not go after the many countries which produce much larger amounts of oil?

    Well, you argue, those countries are already selling it to us. Yes they are, and from nationalized companies which their governments control. And in fact, that’s how Iraq was set up prior to our invasion, and Saddam had expressed willingness to sell oil to us at a competitive rate if we lifted sanctions — exactly what we get from other countries which we did not invade.

    Hence, no rational justification for invading Iraq to get their oil, because we could have had it anyway. What’s more, oil is a fungible resource, so as a nation so long as the oil was getting shipped, it reduced demand thereby increasing the supply generally available to us, so direct control of the oil is irrelevant.

    Then we look at how things actually unfolded. The ultimate agreements which were negotiated entirely at the discretion of the Iraqi government included not just US companies, but also the two largest non-US oil companies. Of course, when Saddam was in control he also had foreign oil companies as partners, because they have the resources to extract, refine and distribute the oil profitably. It’s just more cost effective to be in partnership with the oil companies — everyone benefits.

    The whole theory that the Iraq war was an oil grab just doesn’t make any sense. Why spend billions to steal something you could have cheaper without a war?

    I think there were other, even worse reasons for invading Iraq, but the oil grab theory just doesn’t pass the test of reason.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The real imperialism today is essentially by proxy. It’s modern role is essentially the same as it has always been, to ensure production of goods, guaranteeing trade routes and markets.

    IMO that’s not imperialism, that’s just trade and commerce.

    It is done quite ruthlessly and without regard for the desires of the peoples subjected.

    People subjected to higher wages, more education and more open government? Damn, subject me to some of that.

    Its ultimate purpose is to maintain profits and the economics system where they come from. It is an imperialism necessary for the survival of capitalism.

    And by its nature it benefits both parties involved. But it is NOT imperialism because it does not require territorial or governmental control. There is no conquest required. It can be achieved bloodlessly and often is. There is no tribute or plunder involved.

    U.S. imperialism does not need nor does it WANT to occupy these countries. It uses persuasion and pressure to nudge regimes into compliance. The specter of force is quite credible. There are sufficient examples of the fate of recalcitrants to make the point quite persuasively. These examples must constantly be renewed lest the subjects get too uppity. This necessity is INCREASING.

    Poppycock. The positive examples argue more strongly than any negative examples, and they are all we need. The advancement and increased wealth of the nations with which we have established trading relationships are much more persuasive than any supposed imperialistic oppression.

    U.S. imperialism PREFERS democracy. It is more stable and less costly. But it doesn’t NEED democracy ANYWHERE, including here in the United States.

    What the world economy needs is capitalism. Democracy is irrelevant. But the truth is that capitalism is the best foundation for representative government (NOT the other way around). If capitalism can be established, even under an undemocratic government, then eventually democracy, freedom and prosperity will follow.

    Someone in this too-long thread commented that the US favors democracy because it is stable. But the truth is that in a country without a middle class and without a strong economy democracy is anything but stable and can very quickly develop into oppressive government.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    You lost this argument already.

    Pick your battles wisely.

    :)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You declare victory a lot, Bruni. Reminds me of the government of Mexico after the Mexican War of 1847 declaring victory while in exile in Spain with its entire country occupied by the US.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    “Mission Accomplished!”

    see ya tomorrow!

  • Les Slater

    “Reminds me of the government of Mexico after the Mexican War of 1847 declaring victory while in exile in Spain with its entire country occupied by the US.”

    It was a victory — for progress.

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    My 360 was an opening to you. It’s a hint at some agreement with your 356. I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on it.

    Les

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry, Les. I thought this thread had died a good and noble death.

    Plus #360 was a bit ambiguous. And who can disagree that having their government in exile can only be good for Mexico. It would certainly help them out now if every one of the thieving bastards was chased out of the country.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    I was not looking forward to yet another attempt at refuting your argument about imperialism not existing. I finally decided that it isn’t that important. We seem to agree that there is something going on. We obviously don’t agree on terminology.

    It’s also no consolation that others might think you had no argument at all, e.g. Brunelleschi’s 357.

    Much of your argument about capitalism bringing progress, even in the 21st century, is true.

  • bliffle

    Talking about Iran…

    Is anyone else watching Rick Steves travelogues from Iran on PBS?

    They’re all new and marvelous.

    It’s amazing how happy the Iranians are to talk to him and how many speak english. And the look, in HDTV, is quite beautiful.

    Watch it.

  • Les Slater

    What are they saying.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not really even saying imperialism doesn’t exist. I know that it does. But my argument would be that what the US practices doesn’t fit the traditional definition of imperialism and we need to think in different terms so that we can differentiate pure, classic imperialism from other methods which have similarities but also significant differences. I’m willing to accept the idea that the US practices a sort of economic and cultural imperialism, but that’s a far cry from imperialism of the napoleonic or British Empire variety. It’s kind of like Imperialism II.

    Many years ago when I was a futurist and doing a bang-up job of predicting the end-of-century trends, I predicted the rise of what I called ‘hegemonism’ at that time, and I think the term is better and more accurate than imperialism, as it suggests a sphere of influence rather than direct conquest or domination. What I saw then and still see happening is the emergence of hegemonies focused around particular nations and their eco-political ideologies. Some contemporary analysts are using the term “sphere” similarly, like the Anglosphere, the Sinosphere, the Eurosphere, each of which is a hegemony of like-minded nations and nations which want to be like them or partner with them economically. These take the place of empires in the modern era.

    As for contentions that I have no argument, I consider the source and don’t take them terribly seriously.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Les asks:

    “What are they saying.”

    They’re saying:

    “we’re so happy to meet you”

    “We love America”

    “come to our house for dinner!”

    “Here, have some more food!”

    Look for it on your local PBS station.

    Or see the preview on Ricks website:

    Rick Steves Iran

  • Baronius

    The word “meme” provides no useful information. I remember 25 years ago, when everyone started saying “paradigm”. Same thing. People who say “meme” are the kind of people who talk about “tipping points” and “moving forward”.

    I wonder, is it because Dawkins came up with the idea that everyone uses it? Oh, hey, there’s a word: “idea”. It means pretty much the same thing, too. So does “perspective”, “approach”, and sometimes “school”. Also, “way of thinking”. Any one of those terms is valid, but I guess they’re not as cool.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, ‘meme’ is one of those words that was originally useful – it has a very specific definition which is similar to that of the word ‘paradigm’ but comes from a quite different philosophical perspective. Alas, it has become devalued due to everyone bandying it about because they think it makes them sound clever.

    The way most people use it, it does mean the same thing as ‘paradigm’ or ‘idea’ or ‘school’. (‘Zeitgeist’ is another such word which hasn’t gone entirely out of fashion.) That’s not to say that most people are using it correctly

    This comment has been brought to you by the Campaign for Good English.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Weltanschauung?

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Yes, Dave, that’s another one, but it never really caught on as much. Too hard to spell, probably.

  • Baronius

    I’ve recently been reading an article that was originally written in German. I’d forgotten how differently the human mind works when it’s thinking in German; it shows through even in translation. I was familiar with Dread’s “time-ghost”, but I had to look up Dave’s word online.

    Dread, do you have to be a good Englishman to join your campaign?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    But language is a living organism, and “correct” usage is a highly flexible concept. If people use “meme” enough times in the way that annoys you, it is likely to become the accepted way to use it.

    Sorry, but it’s true.

  • Les Slater

    “I’d forgotten how differently the human mind works when it’s thinking in German…”

    Try Hegel. Even the translator’s notes are quite interesting.

  • Baronius

    Language is a living organism, but it’s also prone to fads, particularly among high-school kids and pseudo-sophisticates. Often, the vogue word is treated as a new concept, as if the user is expressing something unprecedented.

    And there’s another word – “concept” – that also meant what “meme” does before anyone said “meme”. What is the extra shade of meaning expressed by saying “meme” instead of “concept”? My guess is that, if there is any difference, it’s in the supposed air of sophistication granted to the user.

  • Baronius

    I just did a Google search (“define: meme”) and among the definitions was the following. It seems apt:

    “Meme” – Leftist pseudo-intellectualese or linguistic affectation, generally used in the pejorative, employed to designate a commonly held position, thought or expression as worthy of or susceptible to attack or denigration by superior leftist “critical thought” which the employer possesses in abundance.

  • Mar(k E)den

    …I hear that a couple of lines from the Bard in the morning will vaccinate you against the effects of being memed for a whole day.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I love that definition. I believe it’s the one which applies to Bruni’s use. I take it you found it on urban dictionary or some similar site.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My guess is that, if there is any difference, it’s in the supposed air of sophistication granted to the user.

    True, Baronius, in most cases.

    Ironically, though, the sense in which the word was introduced by Brunelleschi on this thread was actually the correct one.

  • Brunelleschi

    A few additions on-

    1) Imperialism-
    Maybe Dave is smart and powerful enough to change the contemporary use of the term “Imperialism” and offer up his own definitions and alternatives, but won’t change scholarship about it. Just look into any college coursebook and you will see that Dave is just wrong. Imperialism as I have described it studied every day, all over the world.

    I took a course on Imperialism over 20 years ago, and it was pretty much about all the stuff I have been on about on here-modern times and modern imperialism. Maybe I need to call my college and have them change my transcript, and tell them Dave says its really ‘hegemonism.’

    Semantics aside, it appears we have a consensus that something is there and its real. You say tomato, and I say tomoto kind of thing.

    Dave’s imperialism is “planting the flag.” Fine. Modern imperialism is what we have been kicking around-using military and economic power to control another place and profit from that control.

    Now go back in time to the Roman Empire (I mentioned them earlier for a reason). Their Imperialism is a lot like modern, but it was driven by emperors – not corporations and governments infected by memes that make them blind and gives bland excuses like freedom, etc.

    Remember that the Romans would take a region and use local governors and make them collect taxes and maintain stability. They did not turn every area they took into another Rome and run it directly with day-by-day occupation. They let people live, think, and worship they way they did, as long as the Emperor got a bone as well. Emperors were not gods or even demi-gods (have deity/half human), but they were just under demi-gods on the totem pole and people were expected to acknowledge and respect that.

    That was easy enough for polytheist cultures. They just added one more to the list. Judea was mono-theistic, and this important difference mattered. In Harod’s Judea, the Jews didn’t like making room for anything but a single god. This created friction and led the Romans to keep an eye on them more carefully. That’s why they sent troops in during passover, because the resentment towards Rome peaked during that week. Jesus got in the middle of it one time, and the result changed history, as we all know.

    Sure the mechanisms have changed in 2,000 years (big surprise huh?), but you could even argue that American Imperialism is more like Rome’s than Dave’s preferred definition that equates to “planting the flag,” and making colonies.

    The US doesn’t want Iraq to speak English, change how it prays, or fly the flag-it just wants the oil system to be compatible with our system of extraction. That sounds a bit Roman to me.

    Maybe it’s Dave’s imperialism that is the anomaly.

    2) Memes

    I can assure you my use of memes is not just an attempt to grab on to a trendy term to get attention.To dismiss it like that is a cop-out. I use the term because it works. It explains a lot of things better than anything else I have run across.

    When I finished my engineering degree, I wasn’t ready to leave school. I wanted to stay until I understood how is it that the US can be saying one thing and doing the other overseas. We were busy overthrowing governments (See any speech by ex-CIA guy John Stockwell), creating enemies, doing covert actions, and everywhere you turn, people would say “shut up, we are doing this for freedom.”

    I knew that was BS. Sometimes imperialism did or could have value for the victims, depending on the political institutions that exist in the targeted society. But sometimes these were total disasters, and there were a lot of them.

    The freedom explanation is clearly false. But it was so widespread and engrained, I wanted to know why.

    I heard everything. We do these things because of the USSR. We do these things out of fear. We do these things out of altruism. We do these things because we just have to, etc.

    None of these explains how the embassies, news outlets, presidents, secret service, military, finance, and corporation all think and speak alike, and they are all very wrong.

    There must be one single explanation that explains our behavior every time that accounts for the discrepancy between our actions and words-and if it is good, it should be useful in predicting future behavior reliably.

    Does anyone have a concept like that handy? If so, what is it?

    I didn’t read Dawkin’s “The Selfish Gene,” (the source of the meme) when I was kicking this around. I just saw a short documentary on it. To be honest, I don’t even remember the word meme. But there was the answer.

    Dawkins sought to explain behavior of every species with one concept, even when individuals might do something that doesn’t seem to make sense.

    Why would a bee kill itself defending the hive? Answer-behavior is explained by each member of a species doing things in such a way as to maximize the chances of its own genes being passed on to the next generation. If you know how a beehive works, this explains it. The behavior is not deliberate or conscious. It has evolved due to natural selection. Its a good explanation because it works every time, and does not require the bee to think it through.

    I translated this to the behavior of all the actors that drive US foreign policy-listed above. They all act in unison. Its predictable. What they say about their behavior has nothing to do with reality, but still they think and say the same things over and over. They are not conscious of what really drives them. They just think they are, and they dismiss the discrepancies.

    Memes explain how a population thinks a certain way, and how that thinking evolves over time, by natural selection. US thinking is inherently selfish, but we don’t see this any more than a bee knows why it’s killing itself to defend the hive.

    So what is it that is behind this meme? What is the one, single thing that drives US behavior even if no one really sees it? It’s the private property meme. We always use state power abroad to expand, solidify, and defend private property on our terms, even if we call it something else and don’t see it.

    That’s why I said Jimmy Carter was wrong when he said “Human rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the meme. What he should have said was “Private property rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the real behavior, just like the bees.

    Selfish genes, selfish memes.

    Thanks to Dawkins, I was satisfied that I understood all the things that didn’t make sense. I went on with my life, satisfied that I don’t have to live the rest of my days sorting out every war and listening to the same garbage.

    Like I said before, when the Iraq stuff started, I knew what it was about without looking up anything. The war was driven by a meme, and sold as freedom.

    I’m still waiting for someone to find a better explanation.

  • Brunelleschi

    haha

    While I was writing that book, you guys were busy posting bullshit.!

  • Cindy DiGeso

    meme (mm)
    n.
    A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

    For me nothing beats The Free Dictionary.

    Try it. It’s so much more than a board of grumpy old anally retentive people making up all the rules.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    If you do “ definition” in google. The free dictionary always comes up. And it has pretty much the usage that “people really mean” as well as a thesaurus right below the definition.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    oooops, that would be “(insert word here) definition”

    no quotes

    like this: meme definition

  • Brunelleschi

    Read some Dawkins. It was his insight and it takes more than a one-liner to understand.

    Most of what I wrote, not the Iraq part, was from a column I wrote in 1985.

    I picked up The Selfish Gene last Nov when I bought The God Delusion. I flipped through it and studied the meme section, and realized I was using it (kinda) all along and didn’t know it.

  • Brunelleschi

    Crickets….

    :)

    Now that people are tired of this debate..

    The question remains. What explains and reliably predicts US behavior better than the private property meme?

    Anyone?

    The more you look, the better it works. Look with an open mind and you will see.

  • Brunelleschi

    Sure got quiet.

    ..crickets..

    :)

  • Cindy DiGeso

    That is because all sensible people are sleeping Bruni. :-)

  • Brunelleschi

    Haha- They sure sleep a lot.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    The Brits are going to start jailing people for taking photographs! Yay, more freedom!

    Jail for photographing police?

    The relationship between photographers and police could worsen next month when new laws are introduced that allow for the arrest – and imprisonment – of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.

    (snip)

    The law is expected to increase the anti-terrorism powers used today by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers, from taking pictures in public places. ‘Who is to say that police officers won’t abuse these powers,’ asks freelance photographer Justin Tallis, who was threatened by an officer last week.

    Tallis, a London-based photographer, was covering the anti-BBC protest on Saturday 24 January when he was approached by a police officer. Tallis had just taken a picture of the officer, who then asked to see the picture. The photographer refused, arguing that, as a press photographer, he had a right to take pictures of police officers.

    According to Tallis, the officer then tried to take the camera away. Before giving up, the officer said that Tallis ‘shouldn’t have taken that photo, you were intimidating me’. The incident was caught on camera by photojournalist Marc Vallee.

  • Brunelleschi

    Funny-

    It works both ways. I spent years as a photographer and I knew many of my colleagues could use a better attitude at times like that.

    When police are busy keeping their eye on a mob, it should be OK to shoot what you see. If they stop you and ask about what you shot and why, its better to not be defensive and argue-unless you have something to hide.

    A less political example-

    I’m at a motorsports event. Someone crashes hard (happens to be a good friend of mine). I run over out of concern for his health because they are going to put him on a backboard. I know his wife is freaking from a distance, I put the camera down and just want to see him move his arms and legs. If I see him move, that’s what you want to see, and I want to wave to his wife or text her that its OK. A couple others keep shooting.

    The event was flagged to stop out of concern for safety until he was moved. The authorities told everyone to move far away and stop shooting. Some ignored them and kept shooting the scene.

    A big fuss occurred between the photogs and the authorities. I know they want no pictures in case a liability issue comes up somehow.

    My colleagues argued back and nearly got tossed outside. I disagreed with them. There are times you need to use judgement.

    Who is right?

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Bruni,

    Look at my article here.

    When this young man was murdered by a policeman, the police tried to collect all the video evidence. A young woman went into the train and refused to give up her camera.

    Using judgment in the case you make above is one thing. If there are laws that jail photographers they can be used to repress people and police crimes.

    Think what could happen at protest demonstrations. How do the citizens protect themselves from brutality?

  • Cindy DiGeso

    You know, I mean suppress police crimes.

  • Brunelleschi

    Good point. I agree.

    If the authorities are misbehaving, its a lot different.

    Ideally you just give them a copy, but that can be really hard to do on scene.

    Police are going to hate it when people start using video or photo storage that goes out wifi to a device nearby.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Police are going to hate it when people start using video or photo storage that goes out wifi to a device nearby.

    It’s happening all the time now. Police crimes are transmitted to youtube for the whole world to see and respond to. In that case of Oscar Grant, it was the youtube videos that outraged the citizens to go out in the streets and protest to demand action.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    There are several models of camera which connect directly to the internet by wifi already and can upload photos or video through a browser.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    Quiet? I’ve been quite busy. Been in debate with local revolutionaries. Have had to re-read several books about Russian revolution and aftermath, up to 1924. Also been to a few meetings. Met Bill Ayers at one of them.

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    “…what the US practices doesn’t fit the traditional definition of imperialism and we need to think in different terms so that we can differentiate pure, classic imperialism from other methods which have similarities but also significant differences. I’m willing to accept the idea that the US practices a sort of economic and cultural imperialism, but that’s a far cry from imperialism of the napoleonic or British Empire variety. It’s kind of like Imperialism II.”

    Correct. This fits within Lenin’s view of modern capitalist imperialism.

    Les

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Met Bill Ayers at one of them.

    wow!

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Les,

    Here’s something that might interest you. It’s a conference call that was leaked.

    Anti-union call between Bank of America, Bernie Marcus, et al. and Rick Berman, 17 Oct 2008

    “Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill”

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Les,

    BTW Bernie Marcus was freaking out. I mean talking about the end of the way of life for the U.S.

    They were very scared. All of them.

  • Les Slater

    Employee Free Choice Act? That act would stymie positive union development. It is the tactic of union ‘leaders’ who refuse to organize workers. It is through the fight of workers to organize a union, including a secret ballot, that gives the workers more power.

    A union, as necessary as it is, is not sufficient. We need class conscious, fighting unions. The Employee Free Choice Act is not the way forward.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Les,

    Yes. That’s it.

    Okay. Thanks. That is important to know.

    But, it is still interesting to hear those guys.

  • Les Slater

    They have reason to be frightened but the Employee Free Choice Act should be the least of their concerns.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That’s why I said Jimmy Carter was wrong when he said “Human rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the meme. What he should have said was “Private property rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the real behavior, just like the bees.

    Your mistake here is in thinking that there is a contradiction between the two statements. Since property rights are among the most fundamental of human rights, Carter’s statement makes perfect sense.

    Dave

  • Cindy DiGeso

    They said it would turn the U.S. into France.

    I’m happy whenever they are worried. What a delight to hear them so scared when they think no one will hear their private conference call.

    I have to learn more. I was only in a union once and I was 15. It didn’t do anything, just forced dues.

  • Les Slater

    I didn’t read the article linked to, but saw the headline, ‘Huge Recession-Fighting Cuts at Panasonic’ from BusinessWeek online.

    It seems to me that instead of fighting recession, such cuts enhance it. Just goes to show individual capitalist perception, and action, is both at odds with reality and the needs of society as a whole.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Les, forcing people to join unions and to give up their rights as a result should certainly be of concern. Have you seen this quote from George McGovern?

    “To my friends supporting EFCA I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.”

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “Since property rights are among the most fundamental of human rights…”

    Many people mistake debt obligations for ownership of property. Read the fine print on your mortgage contract sometime.

  • Les Slater

    George McGovern being correct doesn’t mean his is sincere.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Les,

    The Waterford factory in Ireland has been occupied by 100s of workers. The receiver wants to close it. They’re occupying it only to keep it open so a Capitalist can buy it. I don’t understand why they don’t just take it over themselves? There are 700 workers.

  • Les Slater

    “I don’t understand why they don’t just take it over themselves? There are 700 workers.”

    It is not a direct answer but reading Engels’ ‘Socialism, Utopian and Scientific’ might help.

  • Les Slater

    Mark raised the same question around the Republic Windows and Doors takeover.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Les,

    K. Thanks. I hope I understand Engels better than Marx.

  • Les Slater

    That should be ‘occupation’, not ‘takeover’.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Ah, then Mark will not be able to answer my question either.

  • Les Slater

    “I hope I understand Engels better than Marx.”

    Very easy read.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    right…occupation.

    I wrote to Mark asking the same question as I asked you. Let’s see if he learned something new.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    I’m very disappointed that these people are occupying and not taking over as a collective.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Ah, great it looks very readable.

  • Brunelleschi

    #405 Dave-

    “”That’s why I said Jimmy Carter was wrong when he said “Human rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the meme. What he should have said was “Private property rights are the soul of American foreign policy.” That’s the real behavior, just like the bees.

    Your mistake here is in thinking that there is a contradiction between the two statements. Since property rights are among the most fundamental of human rights, Carter’s statement makes perfect sense.

    Dave””

    I didn’t make a mistake. You just proved exactly what I said in all those mini-novels above. The private property meme predicts you would say exactly what you did.

    The fact that you think that way in terms of property that someone else owns in another nation is the essence of the private property meme.

    Americans are infected by the thinking that private property rights for Americans abroad is essentially a human right for everyone.

    But its FOR THEM. The locals don’t think so, because many of them (with the exception of the local Shah/Pinochet/Marcos/Somoza etc…) lose THEIR property.

    What about their human rights=property rights?

    If 1,000 campesinos are forced off their land, and it’s taken over by a US company that pays a single client dictator for security and access, I can see how you think the US company and the Somoza or whatever just fulfilled a basic human right.

    That leaves 1,000 pissed off campesinos. They lost their property. They lost the most fundamental of human rights.

    Now I hope you can see how I was exactly right about the private property meme. It makes you think that your position is moral, but in reality, you robbed 1,000 people of what you hold dear yourself. It like the bee that does what it does and doesn’t know.

    This is why understanding the private property meme is powerful. It explains why the world is pissed off, and why ex CIA guys come back and try and explain this to people who won’t listen, and why people like you can be so blind.

    Now that you have been destroyed in this argument, would you like to start another?

    :)

  • Hope and Change?

    How can someone have credibility when the state something as absurd as…

    “Carter’s statement makes perfect sense.”

    Jimmy Peanut Carter is a moron anti-semite. Gee next you know who will bestating that “Jeffrey Dahmer, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot made perfect sense”

    Liberalism is a mental diorder…wait whats that…

    King Barry lost another political appointee…oh nooooooooo

  • Brunelleschi

    Haha

    You sure got booksmarts.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    #421

    Perfection! The best one yet.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    lol H&C! lol

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The Waterford factory in Ireland has been occupied by 100s of workers. The receiver wants to close it. They’re occupying it only to keep it open so a Capitalist can buy it. I don’t understand why they don’t just take it over themselves? There are 700 workers.

    At first I didn’t see it either, Cindy. Surely those 100 workers who are occupying it could form a corporation representing the collective interests of all of the workers, and even if they could only sign on half the workers, they ought to be able to get a pretty substantial loan to take over the company.

    Then with a little research I figured out the problem. The company is almost a billion dollars in debt. There’s no way the workers can borrow enough to resolve that. Their best bet would be to let the company fail and shut down and then wait until it’s good and dead and then buy the factory and the trademarks at bankruptcy prices and reopen the factory without having to resolve the debt.

    The problem is that workers tend not to think in these terms, so they are turning to government to help them out instead.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “The problem is that workers tend not to think in these terms…”

    It’s good that they don’t.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Americans are infected by the thinking that private property rights for Americans abroad is essentially a human right for everyone.

    You seem to live in a bizarre vacuum which denies the existence of natural law. The right to own property exists for everyone whether they or you are aware of or chooses to acknowledge it. That’s why it’s a fundamental right.

    If 1,000 campesinos are forced off their land, and it’s taken over by a US company that pays a single client dictator for security and access, I can see how you think the US company and the Somoza or whatever just fulfilled a basic human right.

    I didn’t say anything like that. The campesinos have property rights and if their property is taken from them involuntarily then those rights are being abused.

    That leaves 1,000 pissed off campesinos. They lost their property. They lost the most fundamental of human rights.

    Absolutely. When have I ever supported taking property rights away from them?

    Now that you have been destroyed in this argument, would you like to start another?

    I wouldn’t know. In this one you were just arguing with your own straw man, not me.

    Dave

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Ahhhh! Thank you Dave!!!

    That makes perfect sense.

    Also, yes, I noticed they are waiting for government help.

    I have to learn about this, someone should be helping them. As soon as you said that, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it. I have enough business experience to know that. But, I didn’t think of it.

    I need labor experience or information too.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Why Les?

    If they let it go and then reopened it as a collective wouldn’t it be better?

    (confused now)

  • Cindy DiGeso

    hrmmm…the receiver would take all the assets, even the building and sell them. couldn’t the workers buy everything?

  • Cindy DiGeso

    (volunteers Les to help them) they have included their contact information and e-mail to receive messages of support, i imagine that means ideas too.

  • Brunelleschi

    go back to the top and read everything again.

    Americans blinded by the meme have been making this happen in more places that I can count. I gave examples.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    You can’t blindly defend a meme that makes imperialism sound like freedom and at the same time claim to respect, for example, the rights of those 1,000 displaced campesinos. You can’t be Dave and Che at the same time.

    I am trying to help you understand how our entire system, youself included, can be so blind, and what this means to others, and why it makes us enemies.

    If you would stop being so defensive, you might actually learn
    something!

    Do you even know what the countless revolutions south of us were about, and what they wanted, and what we made sure they did not get? Land. Their land.

    You can not defend the system that takes land, and at the same time say they should have their land.

  • Cindy DiGeso
  • Cindy DiGeso

    BTW Bruni, more effectively…there were 100,000 campesinos that protested. That figure of 100k will only be a fraction. (just a thought)

  • Les Slater

    “If they let it go and then reopened it as a collective wouldn’t it be better?”

    I guess you haven’t read Engels ‘Socialism: Utopian and Scientific’ yet.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    I had to leave for work. It’s on my screen at home.

    okay! good. so i’ll have some answers tonight.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Les, I’ve read Engels. I don’t see how it applies. He misses the fundamental message of Robert Owens experiment which applies here – that collectivism can exist within a capitalist structure and perform competitively.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You can’t have it both ways.

    I haven’t tried to. The two ways we’re dealing with here are my way and your interpretation of my way. I only support one of them, guess which.

    You can’t blindly defend a meme that makes imperialism sound like freedom and at the same time claim to respect, for example, the rights of those 1,000 displaced campesinos. You can’t be Dave and Che at the same time.

    I’ll stick with being Dave. I don’t want to take land away from anyone and give it to anyone else. I don’t want to dispossess the colonial elite OR the campesinos.

    I am trying to help you understand how our entire system, youself included, can be so blind, and what this means to others, and why it makes us enemies.

    Yes, but since you clearly have no idea what I believe, your entire argument apparently exists in your head.

    If you would stop being so defensive, you might actually learn
    something!

    If you would stop telling other people what they think and listen to them instead you might seem like less of a doctrinaire buffoon.

    Do you even know what the countless revolutions south of us were about, and what they wanted, and what we made sure they did not get? Land. Their land.

    Why is it their land? You seem to have confused the right to own property with the right to be given property.

    You can not defend the system that takes land, and at the same time say they should have their land.

    You seem to be confusing the right to keep what you own with the nonexistent right to be given land just because you exist. This is the exact confusion which John Adams was worried about when editing the Declaration of Independence, which is what prompted the change from “Life, Liberty and Property” to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Dave, you’re missing the point! It’s memes!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Fine, it has to be said…

    memes, schmemes.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave-

    Let’s try one more time.

    Say a country exists, and people own land and farm it.

    They grow rice and beans, and eat the rice and beans.

    Someone outside that country, and one person inside it make a deal to use that same land for coffee and bananas for export.

    Fast forward, and somehow all those people are gone, scattered to cities or whatever. No one tells the same story, but the end result is a lot of dead people, accusations, and whatever.

    All you know for sure is those people did not want to leave and they did not get paid.

    The land is now fenced and guarded, used for export crops.

    The foreign company claims to have a long term contract, with one powerful citizen, but no one else.

    Who got screwed?

    Would you defend the company’s “human right to the land if all they had was a contract?”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    All a meme basically is is an inherited value system or way of thinking, passed on between generations and becoming dominant in a population in much the same way that genes are.

    There’s nothing inherently negative or positive about them. They just are.

    I can’t help but think that Baronius and Dave are only having a problem with the notion because this particular meme makes their political philosophy look bad.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Second only to property rights are contract rights.

    And in the scenario you present the screwage is between the “powerful citizen” and the peasants. If he’s a representative of government or a feudal-style landowner who was their overlord, then they’re screwed, but the company isn’t at fault.

    Their grievance is with the “powerful citizen” in question and if he did not have the right to take their land then it ought to be given back to them. Seems obvious.

    Dave

  • Cindy DiGeso

    You seem to live in a bizarre vacuum which denies the existence of natural law. The right to own property exists for everyone whether they or you are aware of or chooses to acknowledge it. That’s why it’s a fundamental right.

    Dave,

    This idea of private property includes personal effects. Not land Dave. Not the world itself. If it did then no one coming after could be entitled to anything. natural law could never dictate that people could own land.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    I hope my two martinis wear off in time to be able to read Engels tonight :-/

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave-

    Good so far.

    Suppose then, it is discovered that in fact, the company bribed the powerful citizen, who used force to clear the land. No brainer, right?

    This makes the news when the displaced people steal some arms from the powerful one, and seek to move back in.
    Violence occurs. Leaders of the former owners are found dead. The outside company gets nervous.

    The outside company’s own government steps in, and goes on record saying the company’s claim to the land is legit, and if necessary, it will use force itself to defend the land and keep the
    people off.

    Whose land is it?

    Is the outside government justified in using force on behalf of the company?

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Dave,

    I would like to supply an exception. It does not include owning land. It is territory. That is the maximum natural law would allow as far as land goes.

    territory is defined as what is in use.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    jeopardy music playing…

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Their grievance is with the “powerful citizen” in question and if he did not have the right to take their land then it ought to be given back to them. Seems obvious.

    Dave, are you sure that that is the law? I mean, the law isn’t always that obvious or even fair. And it has been about 28 years since I took a real estate class which gave property law, but I remember something in the white man’s law that went if an unsuspecting buyer acquired stolen property, blah, blah, blah…

    …something about the rightful original owner was out of luck.

    It was an example that had to do with a stolen horse. But, I can’t remember.

  • Cindy DiGeso

    Dave,

    Here it is. It relates to real property and is called bona fide purchaser for value without notice.

    BFP for Value.

  • Baronius

    Nah, Dread, I’m just bored. Bruno’s argument begs the question. By saying that Dave’s meme is wrong, he says essentially that Dave’s evidence is right, but he’s reading it wrongly. Bruno’s position is therefore unfalsifiable. That’s not all of Bruno’s argument, but the fact that 400+ comments haven’t even moved the conversation in a discernable direction makes me suspicious that there’s any more to it than that.

  • Brunelleschi

    Bar

    Care to translate that into English? You are not making sense!

    A meme, the meme I described a zillion words ago, is a way to see a set of ideas evolve, understand it, and predict thinking/behavior reliably. I explained it that way. Your description sounds nothing like that. The advantage of using this concept is it explains how a large number of people can have the same opinion, but very few of them know why or realize it.

    Right or wrong is not so important. Memes can be truths, myths, or a mix, but they are not static like dogma or faith. They evolve by natural selection. A population drops some parts and picks up others. They are also not developed on purpose. They happen without people realizing it.

    I am very much interested in opinion and where it comes from, how it changes, and why.

    I do see this going in circles, but I have been consistent. I sense that the truths I am bringing out are just opening eyes, or making some people uncomfortable.

  • Baronius

    Bruno, trust me, I get the concept. A meme is a philosophical construct, a mechanism by which we make sense of the world. You are questioning the apparatus by which Dave assimilates information, specifically his understanding of private property, liberty, and the nation-state.

    But by arguing that his meme is incorrect, you’re not arguing the individual points of contention. You’re effectively poisoning the well: you’re arguing that his framework is so obsolete as to make him incapable of understanding you. I see how you could take that position; it may be true. But it makes argumentation pointless.

    Not necessarily though – you could lay out an argument that exposes the errors in Dave’s thinking. In that way, you could refute his meme. I just haven’t noticed you doing that.

    And as for my harping on your use of that particular word, it’s a matter of personal style. For me it dredges up memories of the 1980’s and a hundred pointless discussions about paradigm shifts.

  • Brunelleschi

    I don’t see it that way.

    I didn’t even see the word meme until Nov to be honest.

    But I did get inspired by The Selfish Gene back in the day, just as I was trying to figure out how could everyone be so blind as to not see that the all the foreign policy actors I listed way back when all thought alike, acted alike, and lied the same (The we do it for freedom thing). What motivates them? How can that be? What drives it?

    The one single thing that was always present was this drive for property rights for us, no matter what. That negates all the other excuses for what we do. It explains the competition with the USSR, the covert actions, every low intensity conflict we were in, even the policies of the IMF/World bank (look into it – they use money as a lever to force privatization like its a religion).

    Dave just happens to anchor his ideas on freedom in line with the same meme I saw 20 years ago. Thats all. He’s just a great example of it.

    I’m not going after “Dave’s meme.” I don’t know what that means. Dave just fits the pattern like everyone else and can’t see it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    This idea of private property includes personal effects. Not land Dave. Not the world itself. If it did then no one coming after could be entitled to anything. natural law could never dictate that people could own land.

    I don’t buy it, Cindy. Land ownership is a cornerstone of liberty. It is the most real of real property.

    Here it is. It relates to real property and is called bona fide purchaser for value without notice.

    Interesting, Cindy. For that to come into play you’d have to prove ignorance on the part of the ultimate purchaser, of course.

    But it seems to me that in this scenario there are actually TWO causes of action. The ultimate recipient of the land may have a legitimate title to it, but if he does then the prior owner has a claim for the value of that land against the person who sold it without his authorization. There are essentially two wronged parties, but there is one clear villain.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The one single thing that was always present was this drive for property rights for us, no matter what.

    Who is “us”? The US government? It gained no land or property. Some multinational corporation? How is that us? The people of the US? How do we benefit? Some shadowy cabal of the wealthy elite? Who, how, why?

    Holes you can drive a truck through in this reasoning.

    That negates all the other excuses for what we do. It explains the competition with the USSR, the covert actions, every low intensity conflict we were in, even the policies of the IMF/World bank (look into it – they use money as a lever to force privatization like its a religion).

    But again, what does the US or anyone else GAIN from this? I always look for motive first, and territorial gain as the primary motive for the gold war on the part of the US is totally implausible.

    Dave just happens to anchor his ideas on freedom in line with the same meme I saw 20 years ago. Thats all. He’s just a great example of it.

    Add about 200 years and you might be right.

    Dave

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave, again-

    We are talking about how a group behaves and thinks, not its bank account or land holdings. That is why I used this meme. Its about ideas, not wealth.

    “us” is the foreign policy actors that I listed several times already, the ones that all think and act the same.

    The meme does not even require that “we” benefit. That is not the point and it never was! That is why I used the example of the bees. A bee kills itself defending the hive. Dawkins explained this. I wanted to know why nearly everyone, “the “us,'” thinks the same and says the same things, and can be so damn wrong. Dawkins was the inspiration, the meme is the explanation. Memes can exist even if the way a group thinks and acts is against logic or its own best interest in the long run (example, making it enemies and making the world unstable).

    There is NO shadowy cabal with the powers to control every mind for profit, and I never said there was, so the rest of your question is the wrong question.

    Since you decided to stop playing in the simple example of the many land owners, and the outside company and its local “strongman,” I will just tell you where I was going to take it-

    (First, I will point out that you proved me right already when you said the displaced land owners got screwed).

    -Picking up where we left off, the situation deteriorates. The outside company appeals to its own government for enforcement of its claims to the land.
    -Its embassy staff and the ambassador support the company’s claims.
    -This makes the news, and the major news outlets support the company’s claims. Reporting is biased and ignores the facts of how the conflict started. The displaced landowners are placed in a bad light.
    -Public opinion follows policy. The displaced landowners are considered dangerous and violent. The only place you can find people accurately debating the situation as it really is, is where you find thinkers-universities.
    -The critics at the universities are ignored and dismissed, but are just an interesting sideshow and don’t change much, if anything.
    -The outside government applies all the pressure it can. It uses embargo and every lever of power it has, up to and including direct military intervention, but usually uses local clients first.
    -All this intervention is expensive. This is not about profit, its about behavior.
    -News and opinion outside this conflict understand it more clearly and accurately. The accounts you pick up from them sound nothing like what you get from the big company’s home nation. This does little or nothing to change the situation.
    -If the pressure-economic, diplomatic, and military succeed, all the actors I listed feel good about what was done. They claim the moral high ground in terms familiar to them, and they all, deep down, believe it.
    -Finally, and this is very important, if a similar situation comes up again, the results will be the same. The thinking and behavior are re-enforced, and it all starts again. It can change a little here and there, and the changes spread to all the listed actors. There is no central control for this. It happens on its own, without the actors realizing it.

    We can now summarize:

    We already agree the landowners got screwed. Now we have a lot of people who were not even part of this celebrating the outcome. They are convinced they did the right thing, and describe this in terms of their beliefs.

    Individuals in the outside government did not profit. The reporters did not profit. The embassy staff did not profit. The public did not profit. The military did not profit.

    But they all speak and think the same. Their view backs up the behavior, and explain it in the same way, all of them. They are all wrong. None of them see it. If you show any of them the facts, they just don’t understand how you can be so wrong-even though you are right.

    There is our meme. It is not an individual’s meme. Memes explain how a group thinks and acts, not an individual.

    Wow, memes are powerful things!

    All this is just an example of course, but you know who I am talking about in the real world-the US and it’s thinking and behavior.

    How can we explain this? We can’t. It really does make no sense at all. All we can do it see it as it is and ask what comes next, if we want to predict how the group will behave.

    It is not logical for a large group to celebrate stealing, spending a lot of money, and committing violent acts for a false reason, and then claiming that this was moral.

    No one ever said memes like this are calculated, logical, or even beneficial. They can even be dangerous and costly.

    As I said a zillion words ago, I wanted to understand the gap between America’s actions and excuses and the reality. I wanted to know what these actions had in common, so I don’t have to sit for hours watching the news every time shit hits the fan somewhere listening to fake news, selfish arguments and propaganda. I had already had enough of it during Reagan.

    I submit that America is behaving and thinking based on it’s concept of private property, and it claims this about freedom and security. This comes from Locke, who inspired the founding fathers. It works pretty good at home, but it does not work internationally when other people’s property is taken and their rights are dismissed.

    All the conflicts we argue about can be reduced to a version of the example of the displaced landowners.

    It’s the private property meme.

  • Mark Ed(en)

    Les and Cindy,

    While I would like to see more takes on the Argentine mode, I understand the practical nature of the Irish workers’ call for nationalization if the capitalist approach fails as appears to be the case. For example, if the State take possession of the machines and buildings, that gives the workers a ‘legal’ legitimacy — a problem that the Argentine experiments continue struggling with.

    As an artisan who chose long ago to minimize my participation in the modern capitalist system, I don’t pretend to be in any position to advise the proletariat on its campaign to take State power.

    My interest is in insuring the prompt withering away of whatever State ‘wins’ the struggle this time.

    note on Engels: where he says ‘The time is now’, ‘now’ is pretty damned relativized I guess.

  • Cindy D

    Mark?

    They are calling for nationalization? I don’t understand the articles. I see the union leader saying to the ministers, “don’t be afraid of nationalization.” But, all I see is them waiting for Clarion Capital? (Financial?)–something like that, to buy them. They’re hoping to keep as many workers employed as possible.

    Did I miss something?

    (I’m reading Engels today. Still on the intro in English…hate when he quotes Marx (cannot figure out why I don’t get Marx).

  • Cindy D

    Waterford Factory Latest News

    Unite regional industrial organiser Walter Cullen told The Irish Times that the union was still confident that the Clarion Capital group would be successful in its bid for the plant, in the process securing more than 300 jobs at the plant, including some 200 in manufacturing.

  • Baronius

    “(cannot figure out why I don’t get Marx)”

    Because he was a derivative, second-rate philosopher and an unrankably bad economist?

  • Memelleschi

    Then why do people mention his name and his ideas on this site every day? If he was lousy, he would have been forgotten.

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