#War

How about this celebratory tide?

zombie contentions – A Modest Alternative Perspective Here, I’m just pointing out that the diversity of our cultural reality is something I enjoy and that sometimes it’s better not to get swept up in a morally questionable celebratory tide. Just

Posted in Miscellany, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Go ahead, make a mistake, you’re human

You’ve probably noticed for yourself that whenever someone says “make no mistake,” there’s a high probability that whatever he or she says next is going to be dubious.  If it was certain or near-certain before the speaker pointed it out,

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Another Day That “Everyone Would Remember”

Transferred from exquisite Kodachrome 16 MM: VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945 from Richard Sullivan on Vimeo.

Posted in US History, War Tagged with:

Major Announcement from Prez

Any moment now. Have heard no rumors. Doesn’t he realize that I’m on a deadline? UPDATE OBL is dead.

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Because peace in the Holy Land and peace on Earth are the same thing

For two reasons, I’ve been hanging fire on replying to Jerome Slater’s essay “The Jewish State Controversy: Can Zionism Be Reconciled With Justice to the Palestinians?”  First, I’ve been expecting the essay or at least a substantial excerpt to appear

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My further brave, brave stance on Libya

At Juan Cole’s joint, the good professor details what the Libya No-Fly Zone has accomplished in just a few days.  He concludes: Pundits who want this whole thing to be over with in 7 days are being frankly silly. Those

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My Stand(s) on the Libyan Atrocity

By the light of my tallow candle, as I push hard on the pedals of my bicycle-powered generator, I bravely lash out at the world oil complex and its malign interference in the internal affairs of Libya.  As for my

Posted in War Tagged with: , , ,

Should Rumsfeld apologize?

Tom Ricks reflects on the American reaction to 9/11 – “Rumsfeld, America, and apologies” – and how his own sense of the world has changed:  “I never expected to live in a country whose government officially embraced torture.”  He points

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Inventing the World

Though information technology now pervades both the most advanced “military estate” via the so-called “Revolution in Military Affairs,” as well as every sphere of political and cultural life, it maintains within itself the same original principles of self-sabotage and self-superannuation.

Posted in Culture & Entertainment, Featured, History, Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, War Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Contention(s) of the Day – Max Boot slanders America

[A]s many people have noted, the War on Terror is not a reflection of an Islam vs. the West clash; it is part of a clash within Islam pitting fanatical Islamists against the vast majority of the world’s 1.2 billion

Posted in International Relations, Religion, War Tagged with: , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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