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The first question to ask about our war with Syria has nothing to do with Syria

28 August 2013

Summary:  It’s a script. Trumped up crisis, heated rhetoric from US leaders, vague plan, violent actions, long-term regrets. Change the names and our wars sound the same. Here are valuable resources explaining the Syrian situation, and the far more important question about the nature of these wars: why do we repeat the same mistakes?

Bombs for Peace

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Contents

  1. What we have here is a failure to learn
  2. Analysis of our pending war with Syria
  3. The futility of analysis if it doesn’t lead to public action
  4. For More Information about Syria & our mad wars

(1)  What we have here is a failure to learn.

Yet again it appears we go off to war, in pursuit of vague goals, following the advice of people wrong in the past, repeating tactics that have repeatedly failed us. Even if the merits of a war with Syria, the overall situation should make us pause. And, like our previous adventures, the situation is far from clear.

There is no need to grind over the details. Others have done so better than I (see the links below). It’s the opposite of on the edge of the known, and so not in our ambit. But there is a question: why do we repeat the same mistakes? We have done these mad interventions so many times, with almost uniformly bad results. The bloodletting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya continues as your read this. Before each of these wise experts accurately foretold the result. We did not listen.  We did not learn. Despite repeated failures.

This is an important question, affecting the prosperity and perhaps even survival of America. I draw three conclusions (prelude to an answer):

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  • It is not a lack of good advice. After so many cycles, the good analysis and advice flows rapidly but to no effect.
  • These mad interventions, taken against growing public opposition, are teachable moments. They prove that the government has slipped its reins, evolved beyond our control. The consequences of failure to reassert our control will be horrific. It’s a political problem. A domestic political problem.
  • While our wars result largely from domestic dysfuncationality, these repeated interventions in the Middle East are the equivalent of playing with nitroglycerin. Eventually there will be an explosion.

Please post your ideas in the comments.
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Adomanis Tweet Foreign Policy

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(2)  Analysis of our pending war with Syria

I strongly recommend these as among the best analysis of this situation. Note the two from The Onion; unfortunately they are straight news reporting. Nothing shows our dysfunctionality as fact also being black humor.

  1. Results of our previous intervention: “‘Violent chaos’: Libya in deep crisis 2 years since rebels took over“, RT, 26 August 2013
  2. Questions for President Obama — Before He Pulls the Trigger on Syria“, Andrew Bacevich, “Bill Moyers & CO”, 26 August 2013
  3. Experts Point To Long, Glorious History Of Successful U.S. Bombing Campaigns“, The Onion, 27 August 2013
  4. Obama Weighing His Syria Option“, The Onion, 27 August 2013
  5. They’re Baaack: Neocons Launch Push for Regime Change“, Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, AntiWar Blog, 27 August 2013
  6. As usual, a crazy historical precedent given for our new mad war: “The Kosovo Precedent: Syria in the Crosshairs“, Franklin “Chuck” Spinney, CounterPunch, 27 August 2013
  7. Asking the questions that Obama will not answer (and probably does not have answer): “Making War In Syria“, Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 27 August 2013
  8. Dissecting the usual nonsense in the Weekly Standard: “‘Experts’ Who Are Always Wrong About Everything Want to Bomb Syria“, Scott Lemieux (Prof History & Pol Sci, College of St Rose), 27 August 2013
  9. How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely“, Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 28 August 2013 — “The pressure on President Obama to intervene in Syria is hyped, and the pressure to stay out of the conflict is unjustly ignored.” In DC only hawks are considered legitimate experts.

(3)  The futility of analysis if it doesn’t lead to public action

Twitter: entertainment

Flaming Peace

Peace is possible

(4)  For More Information

Posts about Syria

A guide to our mad wars:

  1. A guide to our Middle East Wars – change you cannot see, 31 March 2009
  2. Is America a destabilizing force in the world?, 23 January 2009
  3. “War without end”, a great article by George Wilson, 27 June 2009
  4. Every day brings new advocacy for war. That’s our America.,
    1 November 2010
  5. A look back at the madness that led us into our wars. How does this advice read 6 years later?, 26 June 2010
  6. About the violent mobs in the Middle East. And in America, 16 September 2012

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61 Comments leave one →
  1. gretagrain permalink
    28 August 2013 12:27 pm

    what you are looking for is related to the decline of the big other.

    The Big Other Doesn’t Exist“, Slavoj Zizek, Journal of European Psychoanalysis, Spring – Fall 1997 — Opening:

    “Why did Freud supplement the Oedipal myth with the mythical narrative of the “primordial father” in Totem and Taboo (T&T)? The lesson of this second myth is the exact obverse of the Oedipus: far from having to deal with the father who, intervening as the Third, prevents direct contact with the incestuous object (thus sustaining the illusion that his annihilation would give us free access to this object), it is the killing of the father, i.e., the very realization of the Oedipal wish, which gives rise to symbolic prohibition (the dead father returns as his Name). And today’s much-decried “decline of Oedipus” (of the paternal symbolic authority) is precisely the return of figures which function according to the logic of the “primordial father” from “totalitarian” political leaders to the paternal sexual harasser. But why?”

    Like

    • 28 August 2013 1:10 pm

      Gretagrain,

      Your comment was a bit enigmatic. People will not click on it without a bit of context!

      So I added the full citation to the link you gave, plus the opening paragraph.

      Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 1:17 pm

      everything I do it premeditated

      sometimes a typo

      Like

  2. 28 August 2013 1:07 pm

    “This is an important question, affecting the prosperity and perhaps even survival of America. I draw three conclusions (prelude to an answer):”

    So very accurate in my view, also, FM. And Nitro is an apt metaphor. America continues to blunder along, oh so arrogantly, in a rapidly changing and shrinking world.

    Add this: “They prove that the government has slipped its reins, evolved beyond our control.” And mostly or completely yes, this is a “Domestic” problem.

    This is another very alarming Sign; we will find again we are no longer living in a Republic nor are the democratic levers working anymore. I called the DC number for two Senators and one Rep.yesterday. Speaking with the young attendants and delivering the message, I was struck by the drop off in their voice tone after I delivered my message — Stay out!

    Later
    Breton

    Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 1:17 pm

      do not take the easy road and interpret the other’s behavior as arrogant. respect the other’s fantasy. this is more related to the A Country Doctor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Country_Doctor_(short_story)

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 1:19 pm

      Gretagrain,

      You raise an important — even vital point! Failure to understand one’s opponent is a frequent cause of defeat. It’s an orientation failure, a mistake at the beginning that often dooms the project.

      Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 1:24 pm

      you can only recognize the fall in retrospect before that is pure animalism. contrary to popular belief you ONLY choose when not to fight. you only regret inaction everything else is a mistake.

      Like

  3. merocaine permalink
    28 August 2013 1:37 pm

    “I called the DC number for two Senators and one Rep.yesterday.
    Speaking with the young attendants and delivering the message, I was struck by the drop off in their voice tone after I delivered my message–Stay out!”

    You do realize you just won a background check.

    Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 1:52 pm

      precisely the inverse…society is based on ENVY not greed. the subject of analysis is the cartesian subject. when humans are completely identified they will move to the partial object and it will be impossible to be a man. http://tinyurl.com/ndyd2b9

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 3:13 pm

      LAUGHING….No problem but thx for the reminder!

      Breton

      Like

  4. Demeter permalink
    28 August 2013 2:36 pm

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Need I say more?

    Like

    • 28 August 2013 2:43 pm

      Demeter,

      These issues are like balls of string. Finding an end of the string to grasp is difficult. As you note, cui bono is often the first and most powerful question to ask.

      Like

    • Demeter permalink
      28 August 2013 2:48 pm

      There is no other motivation left in the 1% pantheon but power/money. Not love of country, not concern for fellow citizens, nor mankind in general, nor the earth itself. And more often than not, not even friends and family anymore.

      Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 2:50 pm

      money is simply a symbolic replacement for the direct application of violence

      Like

  5. Duncan Kinder permalink
    28 August 2013 3:15 pm

    Cui bono?

    HInt: Most of the proponents of such ventures remain fat and happy.

    Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      28 August 2013 3:29 pm

      My apologies. I am about somewhat to contradict myself. My prior post suggested a rationale, however cynical, for what is going on.

      But what if, instead, our “policy” is entirely irrational?

      That would suggest that the United States today is some sort of violent death cult that ritually murders foreign leaders as a form of cult sacrifice – much like the Aztecs.

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 5:05 pm

      Duncan,

      People being what they are, irrational motives cannot be ruled out of order. But I believe they should be considered only in the absence of other motives.

      My belief is that bloodlust has become an increasingly significant factor in US thinking. I’ve written about this, and can provide links if you’re interested.

      However, I believe that the policies themselves are rational and reflect self-interest of our ruling elites. That’s not to say that their reasoning is correct.

      Re: contradicting yourself

      I do it all the time. Sometimes by mistake. Sometimes by sloppiness. Sometimes I change my mind.

      Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 4:16 pm

      the most dangerous type of insanity is the one where you are sane all the time

      Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      28 August 2013 5:53 pm

      Interesting comments.

      It remains my position that the Aztecs constitute a useful analogy.

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 7:02 pm

      Duncan,

      Please tell us more about the analogy with the Aztecs!

      Like

  6. Brian M permalink
    28 August 2013 3:22 pm

    Fabius: You and Demeter nail it. We are all assuming these repeated policy failures are FAILURES. Not at all. The connected and incestuous network of sociopaths and psychopaths who control America from top to bottom benefit greatly from our various boondoggles. America is literally mentally ill at the moment and arguably has been for decades.

    Like

    • 28 August 2013 4:57 pm

      Brian,

      I generally agree with the theme of your content, but not with one particular.

      “The connected and incestuous network of sociopaths and psychopaths who control America from top to bottom benefit greatly from our various boondoggles.”

      This is the medicalization of politics, defining the desire for money and power as a mental illness. More generally, this is a commonplace in America today — defining one’s opponents as mentally ill. Much like the Left attempts to categorize conservatives as mentally ill.

      Doing so is an orientation failure, and like any break in one’s OODA loop — it drastically increases the odds of failure.

      “America is literally mentally ill at the moment and arguably has been for decades.”

      I disagree. We appear to have lost the willingness to bear the burden of self-government. That means we are weak, perhaps cowardly. But not “mentally ill”.

      Like

  7. merocaine permalink
    28 August 2013 4:57 pm

    “There is no other motivation left in the 1% pantheon but power/money. Not love of country, not concern for fellow citizens, nor mankind in general, nor the earth itself. And more often than not, not even friends and family anymore.”

    Really, what are you basing your analysis on? Lets imagine you were part of the one percent earners in the country, is that how you would act?

    Like

    • Jordan permalink
      28 August 2013 6:23 pm

      I have learned long time ago, from a life experience, that 1% do not care if they cause millions of deaths. They have developed rationalizations that tells them it is not their fault.
      Accumulating more wealth is just a learned habit with which they accumulate more money and power which is just impossible to ever be spent, not even by their grandkids, ever, but they still need more of it.

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 7:08 pm

      Jordan,

      All interesting points. The unending quest for wealth and power by people is fascinating. Acquisition of both des not quench their thirst for more,rather it is like quenching a fire by pouring kerosine on it.

      As for their indifference to the lives of the little people, it was perfectly expressed in this quote — no source, but attributed to Napoleon:

      “A man like me troubles himself little about the lives of a million men.”

      Like

  8. Jordan permalink
    28 August 2013 6:17 pm

    Wolfowitz Doctrine and PNAC are on the schedule.

    Like

    • Jordan permalink
      28 August 2013 6:19 pm

      Nothing to learn from following a succesfully developing plan.

      Like

  9. 28 August 2013 7:26 pm

    I reach the same conclusion regarding the War on Terror as the War on Drugs (over forty years of escalation of the same tactics, yet generally agreed to be “failing”):

    Which is more plausible? That a host of individuals capable of rising to positions of great power are so incompetent, inflexible or just plain stupid that they repeatedly apply costly methods proven by past experience to fail? Or that they are accomplishing exactly what they desire, but find it necessary to lie to us about what that is?

    Like

    • 28 August 2013 7:36 pm

      Coises,

      Nicely stated compelling alternatives.

      I have written many posts about this, anddo not understand why this is not obvious: our leaders are competent. That is one reason they’re winning and we are losing. U tiler see this no reform program has a chance of success.

      Like

    • 28 August 2013 8:44 pm

      “I have written many posts about this, and do not understand why this is not obvious: our leaders are competent.”

      Human minds/brains evolved as survival machines, not truth-seeking machines. Our mental capacities are finite, and so we instinctively resist learning what is likely to be counterproductive to day-to-day functioning, yet imparts no practical advantage. Most of us can do little of direct personal value with this information, but it is disruptive to be too aware of its implications.

      The fighter pilot who must survive his next battle is well advised not to think too long about why the generals have sent him there.

      Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      28 August 2013 9:31 pm

      @coises time is an illusion. authority is a force that must be ignored. love is a power. if you want to verify that your thoughts are your own simply make sure they cannot be weaponized. your life is ruled largely by unseen laws. intelligence is not a prerequisite for survival.

      Like

  10. merocaine permalink
    28 August 2013 8:28 pm

    “I have learned long time ago, from a life experience, that 1% do not care if they cause millions of deaths. They have developed rationalizations that tells them it is not their fault.
    Accumulating more wealth is just a learned habit with which they accumulate more money and power which is just impossible to ever be spent, not even by their grandkids, ever, but they still need more of it.”

    I’ve learned from my lifetime of experience that very wealthy and powerful people can act in a selfless and altruistic way. Not all but some. Your viewpoint is a bizarre form of monetary determinism.

    Like

    • 28 August 2013 10:33 pm

      Merocaine,

      ” Not all but some. Your viewpoint is a bizarre form of monetary determinism”

      Coises spoke not of individuals but of the group — the 1%, a shorthand. Croises said nothing implying that this applied to each individual in that group. Nor that there was some form of economic determinism involved.

      These are observations of current social dynamics. What is happening in a specific nation Ina specific time. Here, now.

      Yes, some wealthy individuals act differently. Variation among trees does not mean that we should not speak of forests.

      Yes, sometimes wealthy groups act differently. Better, like Athens under Solon. Sometimes worse, like late 19th C Russia. But these historical variations should not blind us to actual events, now.

      Like

  11. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 12:21 am

    Well then we should not resort to short hand. We should treat them as we should be be expected to be treated, as individuals. We can critic policy, but to apply the policy as a whole to a certain group, seems to me to be unfair. in light of certain comments on this topic it makes question an adherents to reality.

    Like

    • 29 August 2013 12:42 am

      Merocaine,

      “We should treat them as we should be be expected to be treated, as individuals.”

      I strongly disagree.

      (1). People are social animals, and function as groups. To pretend otherwise ignores the way people live and act.

      (2). Looking only at individuals is not useful, neither analytically or operationally. Generalizing group behavior is an abstraction, simplification — but a necessary one.

      I practice general semantics — the map is not the territory, the name is not the thing — but while this encourages awareness that what we’re dealing are abstractions, we still can only see the world in terms of them

      Like

  12. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 12:32 am

    Edit, I was replying to Demeter, Coises.

    Like

  13. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 11:42 am

    Where do you stop though, do you apply the same reasoning to black people, or the jews?
    I agree people are social animals, but there is a broad divergence of opinion among the 1% at the top. It is not useful to treat them as a block, as they contain a wide array of political opinion.
    While I strongly agree that the concentration of power and wealth at the top of the income tree is dangerous, and IMHO the biggest challenge we face. I find some of the opinions voiced here unsettling.

    Comments such as

    “There is no other motivation left in the 1% pantheon but power/money. Not love of country, not concern for fellow citizens, nor mankind in general, nor the earth itself. And more often than not, not even friends and family anymore.”

    And

    “I have learned long time ago, from a life experience, that 1% do not care if they cause millions of deaths. They have developed rationalizations that tells them it is not their fault.”

    Are passed over in silence, they go unchallenged. This is a description that could go down well in Nazi Germany, if you substitute Jew with 1%.

    Described in those terms the 1% could fit nicely into Lovecrafts pantheon.

    Like

    • Demeter permalink
      29 August 2013 1:10 pm

      The Scorpion and the Frog

      A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
      scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
      frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
      says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

      The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
      the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
      paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
      but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

      Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

      Aesop’s Fable

      Like

  14. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 1:51 pm

    As I suspected.

    Like

    • Jordan permalink
      29 August 2013 2:40 pm

      Do you have any idea on how to shake them in their ivory towers? I can use language to do that.
      How to reach people that congregate around 1% and form such ivory towers, without one there would be less problems?
      Nazi Germany was not formed by one single person or not by only 10 people but was risen within a population as a reaction to something that happened earlier. It was a reaction that had roots in something from previous period. Population anger was then guided by few leaders at the top, maybe couple of hundred with organizational skill and support of about half of 0.1%.

      Nazi Germany happened with positive feedback from population each segment of hierarcy had their own rationalizations.
      How would you describe what is going on, please do not only criticise?

      I lived through Balkan wars and from that experience i speak about greed as motivation.

      Like

  15. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 3:15 pm

    Using language as you and dementer have only serves to dehumanize people. It is anger, rage boiling over. It will solve nothing, create nothing useful, it only serves to incite hatred.
    Build networks, communities, support politicians who seek a more equable society, enter politics yourself, fund raise for civil rights organisations. There are many ways to change.
    Turning the rich into monsters to haunt our dreams is foolish, it will result in violence and escalation. I’ve seen the results first hand in Northern Ireland.
    Love is wise, hatred is foolish.

    I have relatives who are extremely wealthy, they probably qualify as the 1%. I see nothing in your descriptions which remotely describe them or there behaviors. They are much the same as you and me. The difference is they have more money. Other than that there views are much the same.
    They are self made men, who arrived in America with nothing. I would imagine inherited wealth would produce a different mindset, but I don’t know.

    If this state of affairs continues (the concentration of wealth and power) I see grave consequences for civil discourse, already there is demonization of the poor, the poor are seen as leeches on society There vote has been removed in some states where civil protection is weak. Now as the ranks of the poor are swollen with embittered middleclass refugees I can see violence being turned against the rich. Hard words are the start.

    Our way out lies in the facts, not in beliefs. In patient work building up the structures of civil society.
    In promoting an ideology that values equality over relentless competition.
    We can look to other countries for examples, the Nordic countries being one. They are not perfect but they have avoided the violent discourse which mars american debate.
    They have built societies which value fairness, the promotion of the social good, equal education, social mobility. At each turn they have sought to reduce inequality, they haven’t always got it right, but they have tried.
    America took a different path, the results are plain to see, a widening of the gap between rich and poor, a decline in social mobility, a concentration of power and wealth.

    Like

    • Demeter permalink
      29 August 2013 5:49 pm

      “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”
      — Honore de Balzac

      Like

    • 29 August 2013 7:05 pm

      Merocaine,

      These debates cannot be resolved except operationally, as each individual decides what to support, and so each group decides. Here is my view.

      You are fully correct in a sense, as in this is how politics are done in Heaven.

      Your view is defeat for any practical movement. If I was on an activist Board that spent 20 minutes discussing this, I would quit. It is a futile organization.

      But more important, this is totally theoretical. Like discussing what heavy weapons lab rats should use if they rebel. Or how do we fund firefighters in the post-government libertarian paradise. Americans today appear to have little capacity for collective action, hence the absence of vigorous reform organizations.

      Until that nut is cracked, nothing will happen. I am still thinking about that (so theHow to Reform America are in no logical sequence).

      Tell your rich relatives they are winning.

      Like

  16. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 8:55 pm

    “Americans today appear to have little capacity for collective action, hence the absence of vigorous reform organizations.”

    Some americans do have the capacity for vigour collective action, the 1% as you call them.
    More importantly they had an ideology, free market capitalism with low regulation, which they, overtime, turned into government policy. We are living with the consequences of that victory.

    What is your ideology? That is why your pleas for collective action fall on deaf ears, there is no unifying idea.

    Like

    • 29 August 2013 9:59 pm

      Merocaine,

      (A). “Some americans do have the capacity for vigour collective action, the 1% as you call them.”

      Yes, that is exactly my point. As I have shown at length in so many posts.

      (B). “More importantly they had an ideology, free market capitalism with low regulation”

      I assume you are serious, which is difficult to believe. The core of our system is finance, which is run for private profits, socialized losses — and regulation (including the courts) run to maintain those profits. Have you been asleep since 2005?

      Similar conditions exist in other industries: Ag, military, mining, energy, pharma, etc. Calling this free markets is delusional.

      (C). “which they, overtime, turned into government policy. We are living with the consequences of that victory.”

      Yes, I have and many others have written extensively about this. While controversial several years ago, it is not so today.

      (D). “What is your ideology? That is why your pleas for collective action fall on deaf ears, there is no unifying idea.”

      Perhaps the core ideas of America no longer live in Americans’ hearts. I don’t see that, not do polls or social science research show that.

      My guess, emphasis on guess, is that we have lost our love of liberty and willingness to act in its defense. That is expressed as apathy. How to overcome that is an unknown.

      Perhaps their some ideological formula that will spark action, as you suggest. Who can say either way except by demonstration of success.

      Like

  17. merocaine permalink
    29 August 2013 11:53 pm

    “I assume you are serious, which is difficult to believe. The core of our system is finance, which is run for private profits, socialized losses — and regulation (including the courts) run to maintain those profits. Have you been asleep since 2005?”

    Yes buts thats not what was sold to Americans, they were sold free markets, rational actors, low regulation. Thats that regime lead to the financial collapse in 2005/6. Its the idea that was sold to them.

    Sorry for the short reply, but work calls.

    Like

    • 30 August 2013 12:05 am

      Merocaine,

      That is a logical answer, which is why I asked if your were serious.

      When you said “They have a ideology” and “What’s your ideology”, that implied to me something one believes. Not a pitch one sells to the marks.

      So the answers to your previous comment —

      * Yes, the 1% have a pitch which they have successfully sold to the marks.”

      * No, I don’t have a pitch to sell to the marks. Interesting idea, however.

      Like

  18. merocaine permalink
    30 August 2013 12:39 am

    You misunderstand me, I believe that the Freemarkets/low regulation guys really believed that there ideas would lead to greater prosperity. Most of them believe the collapse happened because the markets were not free enough!
    Large segments of the population have excepted there theory unfortunately, leading to some rather confused thinking when it comes to economics (see the tea party).

    Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      30 August 2013 12:47 am

      you do not really believe what you believe. everything is your mind is imaginary. everything in your mind makes sense. anything makes sense simply because everything makes nonsense. if you run a closed rational system long enough it eventually spits out ONLY irrational results

      Like

    • 30 August 2013 1:41 am

      “Most of them believe the collapse happened because the markets were not free enough!”

      That’s a fascinating proposition! A case of repeating your own lies so that you come to believe it.

      “Large segments of the population have accepted their theory”

      Certainly true. Look at Krugman’s articles abuot the efforts of conservative economists to make their defective and prove false theory match reality. Worse, look at the comments.

      Or look at the comments here, esp during 2008 and 2009, about the economy. In 2008 there were fierce denials that that economy was slowing (not under Bush Jr). Thousands of comments sent here by the Instapundit, mostly stone ignorant of Econ 101. Or during 2009, certain that the stimulus packages would not only fail, but induce hyperinflation.

      Two powerful points, merocaine. Worth pondering.

      Like

    • 30 August 2013 1:45 am

      Merocaine,

      Clarification:

      By “repeating your own lies” I referred to the 1% and their minions. As in the nonsense about the GSE’s causing the housing bubble.

      Not to “you” as in “merocaine”.

      Like

  19. merocaine permalink
    30 August 2013 12:51 am

    In other news, British MP’s vote down a British strike on syria.
    Will congress get the chance to vote on Syria?

    Like

    • 30 August 2013 1:36 am

      My guess: no.

      1. Few in Congress want to vote on attacking Syria.
      2. Under the War Powers Act, their prior approval is not necessary.

      Like

  20. merocaine permalink
    30 August 2013 2:14 pm

    Clarification…ect

    Understood.

    Those at the top of the tree betray almost as much confusion when it comes to matters of broader economics as the rest of us. Its my conviction that modern society is partly beset by a mental disorder. I think it relates back to collapse of the intellectual arguments in favour of a divine creator.
    In place of argument, there is belief. Its is a form of revelation. As is the Sky is so beautiful, how can you not believe in a God.
    This kind of philosophy has permeated modern life, and in certain spheres it has come to dominate, economics is one (among laymen that is, the professionals still have to try to provide proofs). Climate science another, foreign policy to a certain degree, the extremes of animal welfare.

    Like

    • gretagrain permalink
      30 August 2013 2:22 pm

      precisely the inverse…approaching complete order…the end state of capitalism is barbarism with no labor…you will NEVER be able to use language to understand the difference between beings that are sexuated as female and beings that are sexuated as male

      Like

    • 30 August 2013 2:38 pm

      Merocaine,

      You are running hot today, with more deep brilliant points.

      Re: economics

      Krugman has shown many examples of Very Serious People, including high political leaders, believing quite daft things about economics. History shows this on an even broader scale, as leaders act on the basis of beliefs which 2 minutes spent with experts would dispel. That is one of the great themes of Th Pentagon Papers, as decision-makers keep those bothersome experts out of the room.

      Even more broadly, the collapse of belief in Christianity has left a void in the intellectual and moral foundations of the West. This is one of the major insights of Nietzsche, and described in clearer form by Allen Bloom in Closing of the American Mind. We continue the same forms, but their roots are gone.

      We are dancing on air, and dare not look down. This perhaps makes us a little crazy.

      Like

  21. Thomas More permalink
    31 August 2013 2:20 am

    Is anyone here aware that the rise of the oppressive Assad family in Syria originally resulted from an ill-advised American intervention in Syria in 1949?

    Adam Curtis has an excellent article on the long disastrous history of American meddling in Syria, “The Baby and the Baath Water,” on the BBC website from 2011.

    “What is happening in Syria feels like one of the last gasps of the age of the military dictators. An old way of running the world is still desperately trying to cling to power, but the underlying feeling in the west is that somehow Assad’s archaic and cruel military rule will inevitably collapse and Syrians will move forward into a democratic age.

    “That may, or may not, happen, but what is extraordinary is that we have been here before. Between 1947 and 1949 an odd group of idealists and hard realists in the American government set out to intervene in Syria. Their aim was to liberate the Syrian people from a corrupt autocratic elite – and allow true democracy to flourish. They did this because they were convinced that “the Syrian people are naturally democratic” and that all that was neccessary was to get rid of the elites – and a new world of “peace and progress” would inevitably emerge.

    “What resulted was a disaster, and the consequences of that disaster then led, through a weird series of bloody twists and turns, to the rise to power of the Assad family and the widescale repression in Syria today.” [Adam Curtis, op. cit.]

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  22. merocaine permalink
    1 September 2013 10:00 am

    Looks like they will have to exercise that right, its going to a vote. Democracy, whats this!

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  23. 1 September 2013 4:44 pm

    re: hierarchy vs. rhizomatic (imperialism vs. tribe)

    perhaps the evolutionary ratchet in the non-industrial world against western imperialism (I.E.D vs B2 bomber) represents the problem with tribal DNA being scaled up to the level of “great civilizations” in an era in which post-industrial culture is emerging, and delegitimizing the values of modernity (rationality, independence, capitalism, SciTech, and so forth).

    specifically, the movement to recreate the “operating system” of culture around integral and holistic values and permaculture seems to be picking up a bit of steam.

    (hopefully FM will forgive a reference to a blog, below, that includes new age, postmodern babble about peak oil, and look beyond that to the other issues raised on the site. apologies if this has been cited previously and I missed it.)

    A Theory of Power“, Chapter 9: Forward, to Rhizome, 1 October 2004 — excerpt:

    The path to stability and sustainability in human society lies in the conscious manipulation of memetic control structures. Learning to weave cultural elements, technologies and political-economic structures to suit the individual requires a detailed understanding of our relationship with the meme. This, in turn, requires the consideration of two key factors: the degree to which we have the ability to use memes freely without creating a dependence on them, and the related power-relationships we must accept in order to utilize selected memes, such as certain technologies. A simple symbolic model suggested by French philosophers Giles Deleuze and Felix Guatari presents a means of harnessing memetic structures without depending on them: the concept of rhizome versus hierarchy.[1] Rhizome provides us with another example of a proven, evolutionarily successful pattern. It acts as the counterpart to, and in many ways is the opposite of, the pattern of hierarchy.

    … [many examples are cited in including the land grant system for retirees from the Roman military...]

    Description of the above blog: This is the business litigation blog of The Law Office of Jeff Vail LLC, which focuses exclusively on Colorado business litigation. As an Air Force intelligence officer I planned over 200 special operations missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now draw on that experience, as well as my passion for innovation, to provide agile and cost-effective litigation solutions to Colorado small and medium-sized businesses. I also write and speak frequently on legal strategy and innovation, systems theory, complexity, and sustainability. …

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