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Neven

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1250 on: October 22, 2019, 10:27:37 AM »
Read and weep, the torture and execution of Julian Assange: Assange in court

Quote
I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.
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TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1251 on: October 22, 2019, 10:09:09 PM »
^^
The destruction of Assange by America and her vassals will be remembered long after Obama, Trump and Hillary's names have been lost in the fog of history.


Whenever I'm inclined to excuse an American politician of either party, recalling Assange's plight snaps me back to reality.
Terry

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1252 on: October 25, 2019, 12:46:29 AM »
Eucador on deck: time for some sweet, sweet liberation

https://caucus99percent.com/content/us-made-color-revolution-seems-be-afoot-bolivia

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1253 on: October 25, 2019, 07:18:48 AM »
Sjursen at truthdig accuses a rogue's gallery of warmongers:

"For years, I’ve published searing critiques of America’s senior generals and admirals for their failure to speak out publicly against U.S. foreign policy and warmongering. "

" in a rather dark bit of irony, the — mostly retired — generals have turned my advice on its head ... Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to do so in the name of continuing perpetual war "

"the hint of deescalation in a single theater of a region-wide endless war has sparked an unparalleled, even hysterical, outcry from former senior military officers intent on maintaining the hyper-interventionist status quo. And why not?  The failed “war on terror” has defined their careers; it’s all they know. It doesn’t hurt the generals’ pocketbooks either to maintain the forever wars — a huge percentage have gone to work on the corporate boards of various defense contractors right after retirement"

Votel: "worried about a potential ethnic cleansing or genocide of those Kurds.  Funny — while he commanded the very pilots and intelligence analysts who abetted and enabled the Saudi terror war on Yemen, he apparently felt no moral compunction to speak out."

Mattis: "yet to win a war or advise a commander-in-chief that a mission was ill-advised and impossible — and morally. Though normally viewed as a man, first and foremost, of integrity, his record demonstrates the opposite ... chose to resign as Trump’s defense secretary not because of his military’s support for a slow-boiling Yemeni genocide, which he defended before Congress, but because the president merely hinted at a modest troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan ... didn’t resign or speak out over the Pentagon’s conduct of undeclared and unsanctioned wars– in Yemen, Syria, Libya and West Africa"

Petraeus: ", a convicted criminal who shared classified information with his mistress whilst serving as CIA chief "

" nearly two-thirds of post-9/11 vets say they believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the military engagement in Syria “were not worth it.” "

"To question generals and oppose endless war is a risky endeavor. Just ask Rep. Tulsi Gabbard"

"despite the veneer of vacuous hyper-adulation of veterans, one’s uniform and combat record won’t save him or her from a smear campaign."

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/suddenly-outspoken-generals-rally-around-the-wrong-cause/

sidd

vox_mundi

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1254 on: October 30, 2019, 07:26:55 AM »
Trump’s Oil Obsession Is a War Crime
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/trump-syria-oil-war-crime.amp

Terrorists say the U.S. wants to steal Arab wealth & oil. The president seems to agree.

... American imperialism is a perennial theme of terrorist recruiters. In 2005, an al-Qaida video said the George W. Bush administration had invaded Iraq “to gain control of the region‘s oil fields.” In 2009, another jihadi video accused the United States of conspiring with friendly Arab governments “to plunder the Muslims’ treasures, especially oil.” In 2015, al-Qaida urged Muslims to rally behind its fighters, who, unlike America, weren’t fighting “for oil or imperial interests.”

Trump has vindicated this indictment. Before he was president, he said the United States should “take the oil” from Iraq and Libya. On Sunday, he extended that argument to Syria. He turned what should have been a triumph—an announcement that American forces had killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS—into a PR disaster. After a brief opening statement, the president spoke off the cuff for nearly 40 minutes about the raid and why U.S. troops were in Syria. In that time, he mentioned terrorism twice. He mentioned oil 22 times.

... The lives of American troops and the money spent by American taxpayers in the Middle East should be repaid, in Trump’s view, through favors to American oil giants. He complained that in Iraq, “Some oil companies from other countries, after all we’ve done, have an advantage” in getting leases. “We go in, we lose thousands of lives, spend trillions of dollars,” he protested, “and our companies don’t even have an advantage in getting the oil leases.”

... The president didn’t just fixate on oil. He also made clear that he doesn’t care about anything else in the region. On Saturday, the Washington Post published a story in which multiple U.S. officials said that in backstage consultations, Trump had rejected almost every argument for keeping troops in Syria: stabilization, protecting our allies, and blocking our adversaries. Only one argument persuaded him: oil. In public, Trump has confirmed this venal portrait of himself. At last week’s Cabinet meeting, he reasoned that protecting the Kurds wasn’t worth the deployment of American troops. “We’ve secured the oil,” he said. “Other than that, there’s no reason for it.”

This whole scheme is illegal. In fact, it’s a war crime. It violates nearly a dozen international codes and agreements, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. Even under the most opportunistic reading of international law, we’re at war with ISIS, not the Syrian government, so we have no grounds to claim Syria’s oil. And beyond the immorality and illegality, Trump’s idea is commercially insane. We would spend more money—let alone blood—repairing, upgrading, and protecting the oil fields and refineries than we would recoup.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Neven

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1255 on: October 30, 2019, 07:48:33 AM »
Trump is the face of America when the mask goes off.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1256 on: October 30, 2019, 08:05:20 AM »
Not all of America.

He mirrors 40% of the U.S. and, it seems, 40% of Europe (based on the advance of the far-right.)
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1257 on: October 30, 2019, 09:48:19 AM »
Re: [Trump] mirrors 40% of the USA

Thats funny. For decades, close to 100% of the USA was happy with the USA raping the third world to fuel their oligarchy, with some crumbs to the rest. As long as the populace could enjoy some semblance of the American Dream they had little problem with their government's bloody ventures abroad.

Now that the grip of Empire weakens, Empire must eat its own, impoverish its own; those impoverished turn to a demagogue who lays bare the terms of the country's deal with the devil. As neven points out, he ripped the mask off,  and that cannot be forgiven by those who profited for so long from Empire, yet cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that it is founded upon evil, as all Empires are.

I find that the bottom of the income distribution are far more realistic about the relations of the USA and the world, and their own hellish situation, than the top ten percent. Their children die in wars, they lose their jobs when their factory moves abroad, they get kicked off welfare, they pull their own teeth, they hide from ambulances, they kill themselves out of despair. They see the elites sail away in an economic bubble shielded from consequences, consequences they suffer daily.

Things aint working for a lot of people in the USA. So they elected Trump to break things. Unless a candidate can come up with a convincing vision to build something that just might work for them, they'll keep electing Trumps.

Empire as presently constituted cannot stand. But can the USA surrender hegemony as the UK did and resign to a twilight of past power ? Of course the UK did it only after being broken financially and otherwise after two great wars.

We shall see.

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macid

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1258 on: October 30, 2019, 04:08:29 PM »
sidd, your posts are wonderful for their accuracy and depth. Thank you.

I'm going on a bit of a ramble here, it's about how the North sees themselves and their empire.

Over the past few weeks, I've been battling emerging Sinophobia on a popular social media platform. China, China, China.. according to the meta, the most evil dictatorship that would end the world if allowed to continue.

To dampen the echo chamber, first I simply called out the racism. But no-one was convinced it was racism because even though specified nowhere, they claim they're only talking about the governments actions. Sure. 
Next step, compare to the governments of the North. Torture? Yes! Genocide? Yes! unlawful improvement? Yes (Children even!).. That helped.. got a lot of shit for it but it helped.

The last defense was 'but we have free speech'. Well then.. this is where I started pulling the consent manufacturing curtains down. Trump has been helping, I appreciate the honesty! (regarding calls to save Kurds vs america just stealing oil is what they're doing)

But then.. it got quiet in my favorite areas. as if most Americans disappeared. A little later I saw on the outright racist side of the platform memes emerging about how america's 20 Million foreign civilian death toll (one of my key arguments) has done more for climate change than planting 20 million trees. The commentators went outright Nazi (Rookie numbers! etc). And there was a lot of them.. more than I'm used too..

Forgive my self indulgence in believing I changed something, but I believe I did. And I realized this is exactly what happens when you force the North to confront their governments genocides for profit.

After all, people want to useful, productive, and seen as a good person. How can you see yourself as a good person if you know your tax dollars facilitate stealing and genociding for years on end? It invalidates the whole 'but we have it so good, it can't be wrong!'. (which in itself invalidates the critiques of communism, I digress).

So I've come to the conclusion that consent manufacturing is not just necessary to allow governments to do what's against common sense and will of the people, it's also necessary for people to believe they are good, even though they know the death toll, torture and inequality involved. Because, the other option to feel good about these acts, is to become a facist and not care about foreigners.
People just want to feel good.


That's not to say people will always turn either into consent manufactured naivelings or Fascists (3rd option is self-haters like me but the group is small)

Imagine if your government does not use your tax dollars to commit war crimes or treats certain groups unequal, there'd be no need to resort to facism to feel good about yourself! Wouldn't that be amazing?

---
anyhows, in other empire news (it's crumbling)

Chile, Haiti, Ecuador, Iraq (200+ protesters shot dead in past weeks.. no wonder the focus was on China) are protesting heavily against their neo-liberal CIA stooches.

Rosfnet earlier this month switch to euro as their default currency. PVDSA is holding strong even though the sanctions are killing thousands.. end of the petro dollar in sight?

nanning

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1259 on: October 30, 2019, 04:53:48 PM »
^^
Thank you for that macid :). And sidd before that.

Just a short reaction on this:
Quote
That's not to say people will always turn either into consent manufactured naivelings or Fascists (3rd option is self-haters like me but the group is small)

There's a fourth option: How I live
and a fifth, a sixth etc. ;)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1260 on: October 30, 2019, 07:47:45 PM »
Thanks for the wonderous discussion.
Trump only stated what the American position has been for more decades than most can remember. Democrats and Republicans have wreaked havoc around the world for longer than I can remember - and I was born in the 40s.


Europe will be getting Russian gas by the 1st quarter now that Denmark has dropped her objections to Nord Stream 2.


https://www.dw.com/en/denmark-gives-go-ahead-for-nord-stream-2-russian-pipeline-segment/a-51050205


Those investing in LNG ports will be saddened, the USofA will be pissed, and perhaps some coal generating plants will be shuttered. :)


How the mighty are falling.
Terry

gerontocrat

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1261 on: October 30, 2019, 08:10:37 PM »
Teddy Roosevelt reckoned the US national animal should not be the Golden Eagle (often just a scavenger), but the Grizzly. Retiring, but with an uncertain temper and extremely dangerous when provoked, especially when wounded or threatened.

I am sure that the USA's power and influence in the world will decline (Trump just accelerates the process). But the elites that rule an Empire, that at least subconsciously, know it is waning, will be most dangerous when they feel threatened or wounded.

The Masters of the Universe won't let go without a fight. As Harold McMillan, our PM for part of the 1960's, said when asked what worries him most - " Events, dear boy, events". They often come from left field.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
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vox_mundi

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1262 on: October 30, 2019, 08:25:40 PM »
Veterans Looking for Answers as New Data Shows Rise in Cancers Over Two Decades of War
https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article236413328.html

... Cancer rates among veterans have jumped since 2001, a McClatchy investigation shows. A trio of reporters used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain data on every cancer treatment provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs from fiscal years 2000 to 2018 — during which tens of thousands of service members returned home with chronic illnesses or cancers, questions have been raised about the health effects of their exposure to burn pits, toxic air, cancer-linked firefighting foam or emissions from advanced jets.

From 2000 to 2018, the rate of treatments for

- Urinary cancers (include bladder, kidney and ureter) rose 61 percent.
- Blood cancers ⁠(lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia) rose 18 percent.
- Prostate cancer rose 23 percent.

The rate of treatments for liver and pancreatic cancers more than doubled for both Army and Marine Corps veterans. Within the Marine Corps, there was a 112 percent increase in treatment rates; in the Army there was a 104 percent increase.

And these numbers may not fully capture the extent of the rise in cancers among veterans, because many are not elegible for VA treatment. “If the government acknowledges widespread service-connected links to cancer, it could get prohibitively expensive, very fast,” McClatchy wrote.

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1263 on: October 30, 2019, 08:48:32 PM »
Global Risks 2035 Update: Decline or New Renaissance?
https://atlanticcouncil.org/in-depth-research-reports/global-risks-2035-update/
https://www.axios.com/global-risks-2035-china-trump-inequality-59db3e39-1416-40a0-bd5e-60a3824ce9df.html

- The unipolar world of the 1990s, when the United States was the world's sole superpower, is definitively over and will no longer be a realistic option for any president.

- An absolute United States' decline is not inevitable, but an open conflict with China increases those risks considerably.

- A deep economic reversal in China could trigger a widespread economic meltdown that leads to a worst-case scenario of slower growth and a return to protectionism and political destabilization.


...

The big picture: Most of the worst-case scenarios Burrows envisions are based not on an unexpected event, but on failure to act on entirely foreseeable challenges like struggling middle classes in the West, growing mountains of debt and climate change.

"These things are fixable," he says, but they require leadership and a sense of purpose that eclipses the partisan divide. Burrows doesn't sound particularly optimistic.

The bottom line: "Is there any way to stop the descent?" Burrows writes in the report. "No leader believes he or she has the means to stop it. At home in all the major powers, growing populism, nativism, and jingoism come to the fore, militating against saving the world."
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

nanning

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1264 on: October 31, 2019, 05:51:42 AM »
Thanks vox!

<snip>
At home in all the major powers, growing populism, nativism, and jingoism come to the fore, militating against saving the world."

Very succinct.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
   Simple: minimize your possessions and be free and kind    It's just a mindset.       Refugees welcome

TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1265 on: October 31, 2019, 07:17:05 AM »
Vox
Beware any research by the Atlantic Council. Their purpose is misdirection, not research.


Remember the fantasies of Bellingcat?
Terry

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1266 on: October 31, 2019, 07:37:46 AM »
Well, the atlantic council used to be principally NATO propaganda arm, but these days they aint too particular. They will take your money and write what you tell them to. Look at the recent funders, or have a wander down grayzone way.

sidd

johnm33

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1267 on: October 31, 2019, 02:52:39 PM »
"At home in all the major powers, growing populism, nativism, and jingoism come to the fore, militating against saving the world."
At home in all our vassal states, a yearning for some democracy, putting national interests before our corporations interests, active resistance to the all pervading propaganda, militating against globalist dictats. Sorted.

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1268 on: November 04, 2019, 01:14:35 AM »
Fisk is pessimistic on Middle East uprisings:

" they have all made the same mistake that millions of Egyptians made in 2011: they have no leadership, no recognisable faces of integrity. And – the greatest tragedy of all – they don’t seem to be interested in finding any."

"Without leadership, they will be overwhelmed."

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iraq-protests-lebanon-egypt-sisi-middle-east-revolution-a9178991.html

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sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1269 on: November 04, 2019, 01:17:04 AM »
Johnstone on Syria:

"We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because the Syrian government was massacring its people. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria in order to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because Assad used chemical weapons. We were told that the US must occupy Syria to fight ISIS. We were told that the US must continue to occupy Syria to counter Iranian influence. We were told the US must continue to occupy Syria to protect the Kurds. Now the US must continue to occupy Syria because of oil."

" arguing over which narratives are the correct ones rather than whether or not there should be an illegal military occupation of a sovereign nation at all. "

"It is not legitimate for the US empire to occupy Syria for any reason. At all. “Because oil” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Kurds” is not a legitimate reason. “Because ISIS” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Iran” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Russia” is not a legitimate reason. “Because freedom and democracy” is not a legitimate reason. “Because chemical weapons” is not a legitimate reason. And those who are driving this illegal occupation know it, which is why they keep shifting to whatever’s the most convenient narrative in any given moment."

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/03/us-needs-to-occupy-syria-because-of-kurds-or-iran-or-chemical-weapons-or-oil-or-whatever/

sidd

philopek

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1270 on: November 04, 2019, 03:45:49 PM »
Johnstone on Syria:

"We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because the Syrian government was massacring its people. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria in order to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because Assad used chemical weapons. We were told that the US must occupy Syria to fight ISIS. We were told that the US must continue to occupy Syria to counter Iranian influence. We were told the US must continue to occupy Syria to protect the Kurds. Now the US must continue to occupy Syria because of oil."

" arguing over which narratives are the correct ones rather than whether or not there should be an illegal military occupation of a sovereign nation at all. "

"It is not legitimate for the US empire to occupy Syria for any reason. At all. “Because oil” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Kurds” is not a legitimate reason. “Because ISIS” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Iran” is not a legitimate reason. “Because Russia” is not a legitimate reason. “Because freedom and democracy” is not a legitimate reason. “Because chemical weapons” is not a legitimate reason. And those who are driving this illegal occupation know it, which is why they keep shifting to whatever’s the most convenient narrative in any given moment."

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/03/us-needs-to-occupy-syria-because-of-kurds-or-iran-or-chemical-weapons-or-oil-or-whatever/

sidd

Exactly, the only correct and ethical way to see it, great post IMO especially because it became so rare to simply say NO to illegitimate approaches, period, end of discussion, because there is nothing to discuss honestly, all discussions related to use of force under any non-defense circumstances are interest based and hypocrite.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:49:47 PM by philopek »

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1271 on: November 05, 2019, 01:39:59 AM »
Hedges is pessimistic at truthdig:

"Our democracy is not in peril—we do not live in a democracy. The image of our democracy is in peril."

"No one is held accountable. A servile press treats these mandarins with near-religious veneration. Generals and politicians, many of whom should have been cashiered or put on trial, are upon retirement given lucrative seats on the boards of the weapons manufacturers, for whom these wars are immensely profitable. They are called upon by a fawning press to provide analysis to the public of the mess they created. They are held up as exemplars of integrity, selfless service and patriotism."

" This is the role of America’s executive: Personify and humanize the empire. Do so with pomp and dignity. Barack Obama ... excelled at the game."

"The impeachment of Trump, despite the enthusiasm of the liberal elite, is mostly cosmetic. The entire political and governmental system is corrupt."

"We, the American public, are spectators. An audience."
[comment: Trump understands this better than many of his opponents. And he is very good at reading the audience.]

Hedges quotes Wolin: "the much-lauded stability and conservatism of the American system owe nothing to lofty ideals, and everything to the irrefutable fact that it is shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors."

"We will get, with or without Trump, tyranny."

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-enemy-within/

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blumenkraft

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1272 on: November 07, 2019, 05:08:23 PM »
The Dehumanizing Doctrine of Discovery



YOU CANNOT DISCOVER LAND ALREADY INHIBITED.
Refugees welcome

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #1273 on: November 16, 2019, 07:09:04 AM »