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Off-topic => The rest => Topic started by: JimD on October 23, 2013, 06:13:58 PM

Title: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 23, 2013, 06:13:58 PM
We talk constantly on the Forum about American motivations and intentions.  There is often a big divide between what the non-American posters think is going on here and what those of us from the States think about what motivates Americans and what we intend to do in the future.  Or perhaps it would be better to say what the folks who make the core decisions for America intend to do in the future as I don't think they are listening all that much to what we us peonos have to say.   There is huge frustration on the part of most posters here with the intransigence of American policy and decision making at our leadership levels.  I offer a partial explanation.

I argue all the time that most US actions can be best explained by examining them in the light of what it takes to run and maintain our empire.  Below you will find an example of what I am talking about.  In the lead paragraph an author/historian named Chalmers Johnson is mentioned.  If you find the article interesting and want to learn more about this subject I would suggest (as SH did earlier) that you visit your library and check out a few of his books on this subject.  They are excellent from my perspective of a former cog in the gears turning that empire wheel.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175568/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175568/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 24, 2013, 08:04:02 PM
I argue all the time that most US actions can be best explained by examining them in the light of what it takes to run and maintain our empire.  Below you will find an example of what I am talking about.  In the lead paragraph an author/historian named Chalmers Johnson is mentioned.  If you find the article interesting and want to learn more about this subject I would suggest (as SH did earlier) that you visit your library and check out a few of his books on this subject.  They are excellent from my perspective of a former cog in the gears turning that empire wheel.

I think the US comes in for a lot of attention as not only is it a major carbon dioxide emitter, one of the highest emitters per capita (right at the top if you rule out small nations), a major historic emitter - but also it's currently enjoying the later days of a role as the worlds eminent superpower (much as the country from which I originate did before my lifetime).

I find the US fascinating in many ways - it's a large diverse country, with all sorts of views and opinions. The thing that stands out the most to me though, is not the military strength of the US (which seems rather poor if you consider the cost gone to in order to achieve it), or the territorial control wielded through alliances (if such term applies to much weaker partners like the UK), or the economic strength (which is considerable) - but the brilliance of the American propaganda machine.

So many of the people there believe it is a bastion of freedom and individual rights, and yet it has the highest incarceration rates in the world:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate)

So many Americans believe the role of the US in the world (and hence of all those bases referred to in your link) is to spread freedom and democracy, but yet I'm fairly sure the US is one of the only if not only nation on earth willing to mass kidnap citizens from other nations as a matter of top level policy and imprison them for decades without charge, trial or due process - and to add icing to the cake to torture them to boot (I grant numerous other nations are complicit in the rendition and torture network, and the UK is certainly not exempt from involvement in torture).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wech_Baghtu_wedding_party_airstrike (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wech_Baghtu_wedding_party_airstrike)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/22/uk-support-cia-rendition-flights (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/22/uk-support-cia-rendition-flights)

http://www.policymic.com/articles/23174/guantanamo-bay-detainees-most-are-cleared-for-release-but-remain-in-gitmo (http://www.policymic.com/articles/23174/guantanamo-bay-detainees-most-are-cleared-for-release-but-remain-in-gitmo)

Americans believe they are most of the world, and the rest is just little places that don't matter (though I imagine the people who really run the show know better, or they wouldn't bother with interfering with the rest of the world).

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/stories/9-of-the-stupidest-geography-gaffes-by-politicians (http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/stories/9-of-the-stupidest-geography-gaffes-by-politicians)

They believe they are a leading nation in just about any indicator you care to measure, despite the fact academically other nations are climbing fast - from a position of leadership.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/education/us-students-still-lag-globally-in-math-and-science-tests-show.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/education/us-students-still-lag-globally-in-math-and-science-tests-show.html?_r=0)

Another reflection of the brilliance of US propaganda is the insidious spreading of memes from the nation to the rest of the world. You see this with some people in Russian cities today, who despite living to a standard at least as good as many in America, continue to believe they are poor and deprived and the streets of the US are paved with gold. It's ironic that America spends so much time and effort shouting about it's prosperity (for the few) and values (smoke and mirrors) and then complains when so many people believe it and try to move there!

This same effectiveness of propaganda is seen in the enthusiasm with which other cultures and nations have embraced the American idea of progress - the basic idea of which seems to be the sustainability equivalent of smashing down the door to your childrens room, taking all their things, using what you can and destroying what you can't - then returning to cut their throats for good measure when there's nothing else left (I refer to resource depletion and climate change and the way the attitudes of those who make decisions in every day life really will hurt those in the future or younger).

And there I realise perhaps I've succumbed to the propaganda somewhat myself - because it is really the American idea of progress? Or was it inherited from the British empire - which Gandhi described thus:

Quote
Back in 1928, Gandhi warned about the unsustainability, on a global scale, of western patterns of consumption. "God forbid that India should ever take to industrialisation after the manner of the west," he said. "The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom [UK] is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts."

And just rebranded and claimed by America, as it grew out of the ashes of the British empire?

Regardless, I perceive propaganda as being the unique strength of America (the British empire tended to go in for more slaughter, arguably). The level of development of this technology can also be seen in the ability of so many people there (compared to other nations) to deny basic science (note belief in creationism and climate change denial).

The first thing many people from the country will do when a non American says things that sound critical is to attack their basis for knowing about the nation. I have spent several years of my life (cumulatively) in America. I used to be married to an American. I've taken the time and trouble to examine the constitution somewhat (and various other areas of legislation but mostly specific subject areas) and discuss politics at length with people there. I have friends there (some of whom would even agree with my sentiments above). I've had my fair share of negative dealings with the US, just as with the UK (of which I also hold just as many negative sentiments but voice them less often here as the UK is no longer especially significant globally). After the UK, I can confidently say the US is the country I know the best.

I also would grant that my views have been changed by experience of the US, though perhaps not in stereotypically consistent directions. On gun control I've moved from roughly neutral to firmly pro gun. On healthcare I've moved ever more firmly in favour of public healthcare along European lines (I mean, call yourself the land of opportunity - and can't provide basic universal healthcare?).

If my general views on both nations (US and UK) are becoming more negative, that would be because my ongoing experience of life as influenced by both nations is becoming more negative - as well as the destruction of my future and any expectation of ultimate quality of life as I grow older.

Additionally with the recent spying revelations from the US, I can be pretty confident I'm under surveillance (despite not having exactly done much wrong). Given that innocent until proven guilty is a dying concept in these nations, I feel personally threatened (one is on shaky ground merely being prepared to challenge the status quo).

Anyway, that's the perspective of an outsider, which is all I am anywhere.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 09:16:08 PM
Permit me to take an alternative and perhaps minority point of view and I'll try to keep it as simple as I can!

The American people don't want an empire and they had the sense to know from the first days of their foundation, that the days of empire are gone. Did the Brits know that at that time? It's an illusion that the American people have it so good or have ever had it so good. Our world is just as unkind to us as it is in most of the nations of our world, so enjoy what life you have.

I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

Is that doomsday enough to suit the palate?   

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 25, 2013, 12:54:30 AM
I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

Do you speak many other languages and fluently conserve often with other speakers of those languages? If English is your primary language and almost all you use for discourse, of course you'll mostly hear English speaking perspectives...

Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

The same way?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised)

http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/ (http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 25, 2013, 02:17:16 AM
I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

Do you speak many other languages and fluently conserve often with other speakers of those languages? If English is your primary language and almost all you use for discourse, of course you'll mostly hear English speaking perspectives...

Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

The same way?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised)

http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/ (http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/)

I've only had Latin and Spanish in High School and German in college, because I was a Chemistry major and 4 years of only one language was the requirement. German helps in Chemistry. Latin was removed after my two years. I wish they still had Greek, but it was gone when I went to High Schools offering it. I was a Sputnik child, when our government actually tried to finance education for national security reasons.

English is a major world language and I was pointing to countries and not the language itself.

The snake knows how to speak English fluently. I know because I'm about thirteen sixteenths English and learned the speak the language back to it's German heritage. We are the ones working to deceive our world in terms of language. A blowing viper is a two legged snake blowing smoke up people's asses, just ask anyone from West Virginia and they'll tell you about it.

The media language is definitely English, but I suspect the real power using that media to deceive involves old money interests in Europe and not the US.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 25, 2013, 05:10:47 PM
The ability of an empire to hold position relative to its rivals or to rise in comparison is also affected by what is happening to its allies.  Are they growing in strength or are they in decline.  An interesting article which sheds some light on that sub-issue.

Quote
...If Citigroup is right, the slight rebound in Europe over the summer will not be enough to stop Club Med going from bad to worse, with a string of soft defaults/restructurings....

...If Citigroup is broadly correct, Europe faces a lost decade that is far worse than anything suffered by Japan, which will render the region marginal in coming world affairs, and is likely to have non-linear political consequences. The lesson of the 1930s is that you have to discredit both the moderate Left and Right in turn before voters turn to extreme parties en masse....

The economic tide ebbs as well as flows.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100025913/citi-forecasts-greek-devastation-unstoppable-debt-spirals-in-italy-and-portugal/ (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100025913/citi-forecasts-greek-devastation-unstoppable-debt-spirals-in-italy-and-portugal/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 25, 2013, 08:21:19 PM
The ability of an empire to hold position relative to its rivals or to rise in comparison is also affected by what is happening to its allies.  Are they growing in strength or are they in decline.  An interesting article which sheds some light on that sub-issue.

Quote
...If Citigroup is right, the slight rebound in Europe over the summer will not be enough to stop Club Med going from bad to worse, with a string of soft defaults/restructurings....

...If Citigroup is broadly correct, Europe faces a lost decade that is far worse than anything suffered by Japan, which will render the region marginal in coming world affairs, and is likely to have non-linear political consequences. The lesson of the 1930s is that you have to discredit both the moderate Left and Right in turn before voters turn to extreme parties en masse....

The economic tide ebbs as well as flows.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100025913/citi-forecasts-greek-devastation-unstoppable-debt-spirals-in-italy-and-portugal/ (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100025913/citi-forecasts-greek-devastation-unstoppable-debt-spirals-in-italy-and-portugal/)

Give me a break! The logic goes like this. America is an empire, because they buy our bananas. America is an empire, because they stopped buying our bananas and told us where to put them. Let's ignore the fact that few areas of America are suitable to grow bananas and 317 million people might want a banana once in awhile. America is an empire explains everything. <sarc>

Trade in any commodity is a two way street and empires had citizens who knew they were building empires. Empires require mass effort to build them and can't be accomplished without the masses assisting. Americans don't own the international corporations and the rich own them, some are American and many are not. Just because a corporation started it's business in America doesn't make it American.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 25, 2013, 09:00:12 PM
There is no definition of empire that America does not fit.  Even if one is ignorant of history and political science and holds only the most rudimentary understanding of what an empire is and how it functions it should be glaringly obvious that America more than qualifies.

To ignore one of the major factors influencing American decision making and public opinion is inevitably going to lead one into making unsound judgments about what is going on and what might happen in the future.

You have previously bragged about how you don't do polite.  I won't comment on how that weakens your positions, but I will say that sarcasm should be saved for when you know what you are talking about.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 26, 2013, 12:26:30 AM
Trade in any commodity is a two way street and empires had citizens who knew they were building empires. Empires require mass effort to build them and can't be accomplished without the masses assisting. Americans don't own the international corporations and the rich own them, some are American and many are not. Just because a corporation started it's business in America doesn't make it American.

That's a really odd idea of how empires work. Do you really think during the days of the British empire the average person living in Great Britain actively worked towards and valued the British empire?

The mass effort to build and maintain the American empire comes - quite simply - from taxation. Taxation to fund a disproportionately (and slightly ridiculous in the modern day context) large proportion of global military expenditure.

Imperial ambitions are driven primarily by the few at the top, not by the many lower down. The majority merely passively comply with the whims of those who have the power and influence in their society, in many cases by doing little more than merely adhering to the laws they are constrained by and paying taxes etc - a threat backed up with force by the elites, after all (imprisonment and historically armed force as a mode of tax collection too).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 26, 2013, 01:45:43 AM
There is no definition of empire that America does not fit.  Even if one is ignorant of history and political science and holds only the most rudimentary understanding of what an empire is and how it functions it should be glaringly obvious that America more than qualifies.

To ignore one of the major factors influencing American decision making and public opinion is inevitably going to lead one into making unsound judgments about what is going on and what might happen in the future.

You have previously bragged about how you don't do polite.  I won't comment on how that weakens your positions, but I will say that sarcasm should be saved for when you know what you are talking about.

Quote
You have previously bragged about how you don't do polite.

Then, it shouldn't be hard for you to find, quote and post it, so prove that it exists anymore than your imaginary American empire. Is that polite enough? There is plenty of time to throw a childish tantrum later, after you back up your words.

Oh gee, someone doesn't agree with my particular political views and I can't stand it! <sarc>

I know it isn't going to happen, so I guess posturing means more to some than proof.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 26, 2013, 03:37:58 AM
Trade in any commodity is a two way street and empires had citizens who knew they were building empires. Empires require mass effort to build them and can't be accomplished without the masses assisting. Americans don't own the international corporations and the rich own them, some are American and many are not. Just because a corporation started it's business in America doesn't make it American.

That's a really odd idea of how empires work. Do you really think during the days of the British empire the average person living in Great Britain actively worked towards and valued the British empire?

The mass effort to build and maintain the American empire comes - quite simply - from taxation. Taxation to fund a disproportionately (and slightly ridiculous in the modern day context) large proportion of global military expenditure.

Imperial ambitions are driven primarily by the few at the top, not by the many lower down. The majority merely passively comply with the whims of those who have the power and influence in their society, in many cases by doing little more than merely adhering to the laws they are constrained by and paying taxes etc - a threat backed up with force by the elites, after all (imprisonment and historically armed force as a mode of tax collection too).

Ask Gunga Din! Ask the slave hired to tell a hero of Rome how his glory was only fleeting as he rode through the streets on his chariot!

I don't claim the common man was responsible in any case involving empire, but they weren't hidden from the news or participation in the event.

It's delusional to think the American people want to own or control another area of this world, when they don't even exact that on their own country. Just having the Empire State Building is good enough to suit us. We aren't that picky.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on October 26, 2013, 06:26:08 PM
Jim
Thanks for your observation re. the American Empire. As one who lived for 40+ years in the Excited States I may be able to explain the discomfort many Americans experience when discussing their empire.
The propaganda machine has two conflicting memes. One is that America is good, the other is that Empire is bad. If both are believed it's difficult to reconcile with the fact that the American Empire has been in place for a very long time. American propaganda is amazingly powerful. Even when you are aware that you are being subjected to it the message slips through and takes root.
I think it's important to not blame the victims.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 26, 2013, 07:07:55 PM
I think it's important to not blame the victims.

But who are the victims? I have great trouble recognising a citizen of the nations at fault as a victim in this context - no matter how pervasive and well honed the propaganda - it is the responsibility of each and every citizen how their government and nation conducts itself, is it not?

In my experience of Americans, while there are exceptions, many exhibit a callous indifference to the suffering being caused by Americas foreign policy that in my mind is incompatible with classifying them as a victim. A media that actively suppresses this information, an educational system that never educates people about the wider world - who built or at least passively accepted these?

The real victims are those at the sharp end:

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2000/mar/04/weekend7.weekend9 (http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2000/mar/04/weekend7.weekend9)

And a statement from an international representative of the US:

Madeleine Albright The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmWRlfKy4e4#)

Now, that was all a decade ago - but did anything change since? Not so far as I can see...

http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/shakeraamer/ (http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/shakeraamer/)

http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/iran/index.htm (http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/iran/index.htm)

I grant with the Iran sanctions it isn't clear yet to what extent it is causing death on a massive scale - the Guardian article about the Iraq sanctions suggests even chlorine (for treating drinking water) was under embargo.

And of course the civilian victims of drone attacks - in countries with which the US is not even formally at war (I am forced to classify the behaviour of the US as terrorism, it isn't war).

For as long as America and it's people (and I grant also those of the UK, a nation little better than a lap dog for the US) allow these questions to be swept under the carpet and the empire to flourish (and this empire isn't looking very benevolent, as far as I can see), are we - the citizens of those nations - not responsible for our little share, just as surely as we are for climate change?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: mabs on October 26, 2013, 08:25:09 PM

It is hard to dispute that America is an empire, although the more (politically) correct term is superpower. It is unlikely that if all things stay the same (which they won't) the world would ever see an empire in the classical definition of the term. The difference between an empire and a superpower is that an empire has to somehow physically take over some territory and establish some form of administrative rule over it. Technology and trade has made that unnecessary. You can remotely control territories these days.

Political scientists and some historians also worry that America is a reluctant or accidental empire. While it is hardly plausible that every empire that ever formed took a vote on whether to become an empire or not, it is clear that most of the empires that we (care to) talk about have come about in a far more planned and intentional manner. It's not clear when Rome took a vote to become an empire, but it and the elites saw an opportunity and worked diligently to build an empire. It's not clear when Britain held a vote on building an empire, but it is clear that the British Crown and the elites worked diligently to build and maintain one. In fact their planning was so impeccable that they also realized when it was time to retrench, re-assess and let go.

And that's the great difference between an empire of old and a reluctant empire: the former knows what it is, knows what it needs to do, and its actions are planned and thought out taking into account the special circumstances surrounding its position in the international system. America has trouble even acknowledging it is an empire. There has never been a consensus around becoming an empire or purposefully maintaining one. Of the array of political ideologies that America harbors, even the hawks in American politics have a hard time accepting that when America engages with the international system it is not the same as when any other country engages the same system. Yes, they are likely to admit America is powerful, they might even take pride in it, but they have a problem acknowledging the type of power America wields and therefore they do not fully recognize the implications of wielding such powers. Hence the "go-it-alone" mentality.

This reluctance to accept its station comes, in part, from the fact that Americans never intended to become an empire. It was pulled out of its comfy slumber by other nations when other empires failed and none of the existing alternatives appealed to them. America was pulled out of its isolationist position twice to beat back wannabe empires that other countries did not find appealing. During WWI and WWII, Europe, and most of the world did not find a German empire appealing and they looked for a more palatable alternative. America was big enough to serve the purpose. So determined were the victors of WWII not to let America go back to its isolationist ways that they put the UN headquarters in New York, just to make sure that the U.S. does not forget its obligations towards the world as it did after WWI and with the League of Nations. Of course, W. Europe in particular did not find a Soviet empire desirable and did not particularly think a revived Germany is palatable, while Britain was to wiped out by the costs of war to step in. So America it was. Recently, we do not seem to find China, Iran, or Russia as palatable alternatives so, while whining about it, still America it is.

It is easy to blame America for all the evils in the world, but we should probably remember that these evils happened in the world before America was around and will happen long after it will revert to its isolationist ways. There is a difference between blame and causality, though, and I am not sure which way this thread is supposed to go. While casting blame is an interesting topic for discussion and one that is likely to produce quite a high number of impassionate posts, I do not see how blame will help us address the "the future" part of the topic, which I believe is better served by a focus on causality.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 26, 2013, 08:47:55 PM
Ccg, The  strength in an individual voice ,to stand up, to speak with conviction , to speak truth to authority, is very much constrained by the fear that you will somehow be throttled by your boss, your peers, your relatives or by a security structure designed to tunnel into the dissident voice, identify it and snub it out....fear. Most people do not participate in citizen government and those that do so with a dissident voice are even fewer. 
 You mentioned you believe that you may be watched, and since Eco-terrorism will in this country land you somewhere near Theodor Kazinski sp? I would bet even having strong convictions on climate change would elevate any individual to a "suspicious persons level"  although you could probably still board airplanes, etc. My point being just standing up is a difficult decision. If one makes the next step and organizes to smash the weaving machines it will likely get one hung, but the story about how machines were given the rights of people is as much your story as mine. Rest in peace Ned Ludd.
 A while back SKeptical Science got hacked and a bunch of us had to change passwords. I waited and someone in Chicago tried to use it.  Now I may be a bit paranoid but Heartland , or part of it is based in Chicago. We may be watched by organizations not government but right wing government has a history of hiring out it's thuggery.
One last point about government workers, they can't really express their own views freely but when a free man like me stands up there are plenty of them willing to encourage me and push me back up when I get a little weak in the knee's.  I am probably sounding pompous but that's just one more barb thrown and of necessity dodged. I do not believe in exceptionalism but  fearlessness is something in  short supply. I have been a commercial diver 40 years , no health insurance( Pre-existing), I am willing to stand up and yes eventually I will pay the piper.
 I am glad I met you Ccg and plenty others here.       
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 26, 2013, 09:53:27 PM
Quote
But who are the victims?

When I was a child, I'd say JFK, MLK and RFK certainly looked like victims. When I managed to work during summers to pay for college, I'd say these four young students qualified as victims:

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fthedailyrecord.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F05%2Fksuyearbook.jpg&hash=bfa6a4a2fecf7cb31d9588f3a9645df5)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCS-g3HwXdc# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCS-g3HwXdc#)

ohio crosby stills nash and young. The video didn't post.

Recently, I showed that video and music to my Son-in-law and the details of my college days. It was totally news to him and he had no knowledge our National Guard troops shot and killed two young men and two young women.

He asked me why I was so stupid not to get a student deferment and ended up having to drop out of college and join the USMC when my draft number came up 13 during that summer, so I painted the picture for him. I told him how much I hated elitism and how unfair and selfish it was to send another human being to Vietnam to take my place. I took my chances on the lottery and lost. He still seemed to be confused and asked me why I would risk going to Vietnam during those times, when I could have had it easy in college. He understood why when I told him my brother was there.

I also painted a picture of the days when someone could work during the summer and pay for their college tuition, room and board. Times were bad enough then, but I didn't have to sell myself in slavery to get a college education like his generation had to do.

I'd say someone around his age is a victim and this old man refuses to ever be a victim as long as life is left in him. When I think back to times like what happened in Rwanda and Cambodia, it still pisses me off that the world and the US didn't respond. Victims can be created by both improper action and inaction. We owe our fellow human beings more than words and best wishes.

Of course a nation the size of the USA is going to be strong, but if you think the American people have empire in their hearts, you are delusional. The American people won't permit it. They detest empires.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 26, 2013, 11:17:06 PM
Mabs, I think your account is pretty close to what Americans like to tell themselves. The US was born, after all, out of a struggle against the fledgling British Empire.

But the conquest of the West, and adventures in Cuba and the Philippines belie the idea that we were late and reluctant to the game of building empire. Recall that NY has proudly donned the title "Empire State" since at least the beginning of the 1800s. The rail line that goes through the Twin Cities and on out into the West is still called the "Empire Builder." Yes, there have been voices of protest against such adventures and expansionism, as there have in other, earlier empires. But the overwhelming drive to increase power has long been a hallmark of our national ethos, even if it was sometimes checked temporarily by the countervailing 'isolationist' tendencies you mention.

The list of countries where US has militarily 'intervened' in the last century and more is a very long one indeed, averaging about one a year, iirc.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: mabs on October 27, 2013, 12:17:18 AM
Mabs, I think your account is pretty close to what Americans like to tell themselves. The US was born, after all, out of a struggle against the fledgling British Empire.

I don't think this is a matter of perception and I was not simply repeating what "most Americans like to tell themselves." I also don't know that this is what Americans like to tell themselves. As far as I know, Americans don't tell themselves much about this issue. They are generally reluctant to think about an empire that was built at any point, which I argue is a pain.

But the conquest of the West, and adventures in Cuba and the Philippines belie the idea that we were late and reluctant to the game of building empire. Recall that NY has proudly donned the title "Empire State" since at least the beginning of the 1800s. The rail line that goes through the Twin Cities and on out into the West is still called the "Empire Builder." Yes, there have been voices of protest against such adventures and expansionism, as there have in other, earlier empires. But the overwhelming drive to increase power has long been a hallmark of our national ethos, even if it was sometimes checked temporarily by the countervailing 'isolationist' tendencies you mention.

I don't find there is much support for the hypothesis that America pursued an empire from its inception. Quite the opposite, I believe I said that it went through a long period of isolationism, interrupted twice by the two world wars. I'm not aware of any political scientists or historians that dispute this conclusion or what evidence they present to the contrary. America did end up replacing the British empire, but that was long after that empire fell apart and other candidates for the position failed.

U.S. expansion in the 1800 must be taken in the context of colonial politics at the time and the fact that all nations at the time were doing the same thing: bringing more territory under a centralized government's control. That's what France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain etc were doing at the time. The U.S. had an additional incentive to bring these territories under control because it was trying to keep other colonial powers out of its business. The Monroe doctrine was the only foreign affairs doctrine that United States had until WWII; that is this was a country that did not have guiding principals concerning relations with other nations outside of its immediate neighborhood for most of the 19th century. Hardly an empire in the making.

As for the various things named empire, I think that symbolism is just that: symbols, that can be very much in the eye of the beholder. The Empire State Building is named after New York state, which is nicknamed the Empire State. It's unclear why the state was called that way (as in, there are no records of who did it and why), but the nickname did not go into circulation until late in the 19th century. Most likely it had something to do with the state's rivalry with Virginia and the fact the New York became a commercial hub for the Americas. But then again, state nicknames don't always makes sense, for example, New Jersey is known as the Garden State. Also, the Empire State Building was not completed until the middle of the Great Depression.

The Empire Builder railway was similarly completed during the Great Depression and it was named after the American-Canadian James Hill, who built the first transcontinental railroad system in America using nothing but private funding; no federal grants. His nickname was the Empire Builder. Not sure whose empire he was building but it was not federally funded.

Symbols: do not make good evidence.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 27, 2013, 12:28:42 AM
Fashions change under the sun. I never saw the logic for knickers, but must admit I never tried them on.

It will be a cold day in hell before the average American citizen allows his nation to exact an empire. There are too many people like me who detest empires and some of us don't even like the concept of nations. We think of ourselves as just people.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 27, 2013, 01:36:48 AM
Recently, we do not seem to find China, Iran, or Russia as palatable alternatives so, while whining about it, still America it is.

I think an interesting point lies buried here - why do we not find China and Russia palatable alternatives? (I can't really say I regard Iran as wielding the sort of power required for imperial ambition)

Before people rush to answer I would like to reiterate that I perceive the real triumph of America to be propaganda. It is this exact same propaganda I believe that leads to people believing without much question that America is automatically a better choice than Russia or China in terms of world dominion. The question I would ask would be simple - what - if you look past the propaganda - really makes the American empire preferable? Is it actually possible to really come up with any reason other than "well, it's my side, so I suspect I'd have a better deal that way around"?

Just as surely as you can find negatives and evil in Russia (which I don't believe really has imperial aims currently) and China (which clearly does, and needs to) - these examples can be found about the US just as surely. It is easy to assume that the US is the least worst or that the others are necessarily far more evil - but one must question ones perspective if it depends upon the media and opinions of those informed principally by said media. Only by learning from people with good experience of those nations or by having direct experience oneself can one really form a complete independent opinion.

As such I have a limited opinion on Russia and no firm opinion on China, excepting that I'd sooner see no single agency with too much power, and hence an emergent superpower or two would at least dilute American influence somewhat, while still being far from ideal.

It is easy to blame America for all the evils in the world, but we should probably remember that these evils happened in the world before America was around and will happen long after it will revert to its isolationist ways.

This is of course true, just as surely as the concentration of power in the hands of the few is both the normal state of play and tends to lead to abuse.

I think personally this sort of discussion has a productive outcome if it merely leads to a few citizens of a nation (in this case America being in focus) questioning their perceptions and where they come from a bit more, and trying to understand (if not find empathy with) the people on the other side of the fence (or at least asking why they're being bombed, kidnapped and tortured). While there is plenty that America and it's people can arguably take rightful pride in - to let myths blind oneself to reality does no one a service in the end.

All too often the sins of nations are swept under the carpet - I can certainly attest that the atrocities of the British empire are not taught in schools there, at least not in my experience. If people had a better understanding of such things perhaps they would be more political active in an informed way - although I appreciate this wouldn't suit their elite classes, who would prefer to have the masses blind and chanting about their greatness then asking questions of what they are doing.

There is a difference between blame and causality, though, and I am not sure which way this thread is supposed to go. While casting blame is an interesting topic for discussion and one that is likely to produce quite a high number of impassionate posts, I do not see how blame will help us address the "the future" part of the topic, which I believe is better served by a focus on causality.

I've neglected the question of the future of the American empire as I think it's fairly clear - the US has peaked and is now in decline. It's struggling to maintain it's influence and it's military force, and increasingly even it's brand (internationally at least). The predication of the society upon unlimited resources and cheap energy is proving awkward economically and the values instilled in the population are such that the sort of changes required to continue to prosper and dominate are unlikely to be viable. The corporations have usurped the government of the people, and as such America is increasingly their cash cow - much as the UK is - where the richest portion at the very top become richer on the backs of the increasingly impoverished masses.

China is already overtaking the US in some metrics - and likely to overtake in more before too long, with tremendous theoretical potential for growth due to the much larger population. While the US is likely to be significant virtually indefinitely, I think it is going to see a surprisingly rapid and painful contraction in terms of both the economy (particularly as the dollar undermines itself as a reserve currency, not to mention the matter of debt and associated confidence) and (almost by implication) in terms of international influence. While I think China would seem to be far more attuned to the challenges of the modern age (population, resource depletion and climate change) than the western nations - I'm skeptical that they will make their mark on world history for very long (it seems the lifespan of modern empires is ever shrinking).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 27, 2013, 01:47:14 AM
I don't find there is much support for the hypothesis that America pursued an empire from its inception. Quite the opposite, I believe I said that it went through a long period of isolationism, interrupted twice by the two world wars. I'm not aware of any political scientists or historians that dispute this conclusion or what evidence they present to the contrary. America did end up replacing the British empire, but that was long after that empire fell apart and other candidates for the position failed.

I think if one looks at the forces that drive the formation of empires, they come down to:

- greed (or need) for resources (in the case of the US, oil is a good example, especially once it passed it's own production peak)
- military strategies (in the case of the US, the cold war comes to mind as a driver for territorial control globally - many US bases were established during this time)
- ideology (I think this applies more to corporate America - capitalism and consumerism, I don't see good evidence for the spreading of "democracy and freedom")

Sometimes resource objectives can be driven by strategies predicated on trying to deny another competing nation or power bloc access.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 27, 2013, 02:04:56 AM
Recently, we do not seem to find China, Iran, or Russia as palatable alternatives so, while whining about it, still America it is.

I think an interesting point lies buried here - why do we not find China and Russia palatable alternatives? (I can't really say I regard Iran as wielding the sort of power required for imperial ambition)

Before people rush to answer I would like to reiterate that I perceive the real triumph of America to be propaganda. It is this exact same propaganda I believe that leads to people believing without much question that America is automatically a better choice than Russia or China in terms of world dominion. The question I would ask would be simple - what - if you look past the propaganda - really makes the American empire preferable? Is it actually possible to really come up with any reason other than "well, it's my side, so I suspect I'd have a better deal that way around"?

Just as surely as you can find negatives and evil in Russia (which I don't believe really has imperial aims currently) and China (which clearly does, and needs to) - these examples can be found about the US just as surely. It is easy to assume that the US is the least worst or that the others are necessarily far more evil - but one must question ones perspective if it depends upon the media and opinions of those informed principally by said media. Only by learning from people with good experience of those nations or by having direct experience oneself can one really form a complete independent opinion.

As such I have a limited opinion on Russia and no firm opinion on China, excepting that I'd sooner see no single agency with too much power, and hence an emergent superpower or two would at least dilute American influence somewhat, while still being far from ideal.

It is easy to blame America for all the evils in the world, but we should probably remember that these evils happened in the world before America was around and will happen long after it will revert to its isolationist ways.

This is of course true, just as surely as the concentration of power in the hands of the few is both the normal state of play and tends to lead to abuse.

I think personally this sort of discussion has a productive outcome if it merely leads to a few citizens of a nation (in this case America being in focus) questioning their perceptions and where they come from a bit more, and trying to understand (if not find empathy with) the people on the other side of the fence (or at least asking why they're being bombed, kidnapped and tortured). While there is plenty that America and it's people can arguably take rightful pride in - to let myths blind oneself to reality does no one a service in the end.

All too often the sins of nations are swept under the carpet - I can certainly attest that the atrocities of the British empire are not taught in schools there, at least not in my experience. If people had a better understanding of such things perhaps they would be more political active in an informed way - although I appreciate this wouldn't suit their elite classes, who would prefer to have the masses blind and chanting about their greatness then asking questions of what they are doing.

There is a difference between blame and causality, though, and I am not sure which way this thread is supposed to go. While casting blame is an interesting topic for discussion and one that is likely to produce quite a high number of impassionate posts, I do not see how blame will help us address the "the future" part of the topic, which I believe is better served by a focus on causality.

I've neglected the question of the future of the American empire as I think it's fairly clear - the US has peaked and is now in decline. It's struggling to maintain it's influence and it's military force, and increasingly even it's brand (internationally at least). The predication of the society upon unlimited resources and cheap energy is proving awkward economically and the values instilled in the population are such that the sort of changes required to continue to prosper and dominate are unlikely to be viable. The corporations have usurped the government of the people, and as such America is increasingly their cash cow - much as the UK is - where the richest portion at the very top become richer on the backs of the increasingly impoverished masses.

China is already overtaking the US in some metrics - and likely to overtake in more before too long, with tremendous theoretical potential for growth due to the much larger population. While the US is likely to be significant virtually indefinitely, I think it is going to see a surprisingly rapid and painful contraction in terms of both the economy (particularly as the dollar undermines itself as a reserve currency, not to mention the matter of debt and associated confidence) and (almost by implication) in terms of international influence. While I think China would seem to be far more attuned to the challenges of the modern age (population, resource depletion and climate change) than the western nations - I'm skeptical that they will make their mark on world history for very long (it seems the lifespan of modern empires is ever shrinking).

Let me try something!

PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART - JACKIE DESHANNON1969. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czNyRgoxZpQ#ws)

One Tin Soldier - The Legend of Billy Jack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qswm7lHp7oY#)

That snake of empire will need a nest and I won't tolerate it being around me or in my world. By a process of elimination, I think it's in Europe and not Russia. I think it's the rich and not nations manipulating people. Only someone thinking in concepts of how to master deception or counter-intelligence has expertise on this subject.

<edit>

Permit me to add this comment while internet connection is still available. My past experience has taught me that the size of an adversary isn't very important. The larger they are, the farther they will fall and it's the collapse that kills them under the gravity of their own weight.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 28, 2013, 04:47:21 PM
Ultimately, of course, it is an issue of semantics what one does or does not want to be considered "empire."

Using the British Empire as the main comparandum kind of skews the discussion, since it is a global empire, with parts of it spread around the earth, unlike most others in history such as the Russian or Chinese contiguous empires. And imperial conquests of history also tend to be reinterpreted as just the way things are.

As the US expanded west, I imagine the nations that were overtaken (Native American/Hawaiian) and that had major portions of them annexed (Mexico/Texas) had experiences that would not have felt much different from the more clearly imperial expansions of the Russian and early Chinese empires. But, perhaps, since we didn't have a figure called "emperor" or (Tsar) at it's head, we don't choose to call US expansionism "empire."

The point about those 'symbols' is that the fact that they were embraced suggests that early in our history the term "empire" was not met with total revulsion.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 28, 2013, 05:37:54 PM
mabs

Quote
I don't find there is much support for the hypothesis that America pursued an empire from its inception. Quite the opposite, I believe I said that it went through a long period of isolationism, interrupted twice by the two world wars. I'm not aware of any political scientists or historians that dispute this conclusion or what evidence they present to the contrary. America did end up replacing the British empire, but that was long after that empire fell apart and other candidates for the position failed.

U.S. expansion in the 1800 must be taken in the context of colonial politics at the time and the fact that all nations at the time were doing the same thing: bringing more territory under a centralized government's control. That's what France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain etc were doing at the time. The U.S. had an additional incentive to bring these territories under control because it was trying to keep other colonial powers out of its business. The Monroe doctrine was the only foreign affairs doctrine that United States had until WWII; that is this was a country that did not have guiding principals concerning relations with other nations outside of its immediate neighborhood for most of the 19th century. Hardly an empire in the making.

On the contrary there are lots and lots of people who would dispute everything you said above.

To start from colonial times.  The core founders of our country were all members of the financial and aristocratic (for want of a better word) elite of the US colonies.  As such there were steeped in the politics and educational norms of such elites from the continent.  All of the major countries of the time were engaged in a often violent competition to determine which country would gain the upper hand in the attempt to build and maintain empire.  The US colonies were a key part of the British empire and all of our founders were fully aware of it and in their attempt to gain independence they played the other major powers off against Britain.  And the French especially used the Americans against the British for their own ends.

So, in the light of this scene, it is not surprising to find that Thomas Jefferson, in the 1790s, awaited the fall of the Spanish empire until “our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece.”  From the very beginnings of our country the elites had in their minds that the way toi survive and prosper in this world required one to emulate as much as possible the geo-political strategies of the great powers.  One looked for opportunity and then they acted.  This is the story of the growth of our empire.  First you establish yourself's as an independent entity and then you slowly climb the stairs towards the top.  While one is on that staircase they are not yet an empire but that is certainly the goal.  We just happened to succeed.

Now it is certainly true to state that the general American public and no interest or knowledge of empire building in the earlyu decades of the country's existence, but their opinion was not valued or sought by the Founders who regarded the common man with great suspicion and held their views on politics with distain. The elites of the US were always interested in more wealth and power and their goals were to eventually obtain it. 

The Monroe Doctrine, which you dismiss for some reason, was one of the most blatant acts of imperialism in history.  And it occurred in 1823 just after the Founders passed from the political scene.  It's purpose was to lay the groundwork for US dominance of the Western Hemisphere.  It was the beginning of the deliberate demolition of the Spanish Empire.  At that time the Spanish and Portugese were slowly losing control of their Latin American colonies and it was an ideal time for the US to start to exert itself.  By this time it was convienent for the British to assist the US as this effort by the US was in line with their competition with the Spanish in other parts of the world.  The Monroe Doctrine specifically stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention.  So we are threatening war over control of about 20 independent countries.  This can only be described as an act of imperialism.  While the verbiage of the Doctrine was intended to appear as if we were protecting the Latin American countries from the Europeans the actual intent was to reserve the Western Hemisphere to US exploitation.  As history has shown it was not done for the benefit of those countries but for the financial benefit of the US.  Empire building.

When the US was negotiating the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 it insisted on the inclusion of Texas.  Texas at the time, of course, was not French territory but Spanish.  The boundary between Spain and the US was set at the Sabine River in 1819.  But the US never intended to honor this agreement and US settlers were encouraged to cross the border and start settling in Texas.  There were several attempts to raise armies to invade the territory of Texas at this time which never came to fruition.  Following the Mexican war of independence from Spain Texas became part of Mexico.  But US intentions never changed and US immigration grew constantly and it was not long before secession from Mexico was in the cards and the inclusion of Texas into the Union was on the table.  As we know this succeeded and Texas became another conquest of the budding American empire.

It is also worth noting that the Louisiana Purchase qualifies as an act of imperialism as we did not expand into unoccupied territory.

The first instance of popularizing US imperialism was by President Polk and the build up to the Mexican-American war in 1846. There having been no proper justification for this war it was clearly an act of imperialism and resulted in the eventual annexation of California and other western territories via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden purchase.  If we ignore the extermination of the native -Americans this and Texas were the first instances of the US taking territory by force.  From this point on in American history the public was at least partially aware of our ambitions to grow into a powerful nation.  At the expense of anyone who got in our way.  The public justifications for such actions are always couched in diplomatic terms to make them seem less harsh and predatory.  But reality is what you do not what you say.

The overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy was an over act of imperialism done at the behest of American Business interests.  Empire building as well.

By far the most openly imperialist American President was Teddy Roosevelt, who long before he became president was openly imperialistic and advocated building a empire.  He openly stated that if a country had the ability to control and manage large swaths of the world and chose not to do so was an act of cowardice.

Quote
Roosevelt's speeches fundamentally transformed popular opinion in the U.S. He equated imperialism with masculinity and ambition while denouncing isolationism as lazy and cowardly. Roosevelt argued that imperialists were not greedy but courageous instead. He claimed that "we do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort." Roosevelt was trying to speak for the American people when he said those words. And owing to his reputation as a war hero and his immense popularity, he succeeded. Americans embraced first his words and then later his policies.

Roosevelt was one of the main instigators of the Spanish-American war of 1898 which was an open act of aggression and was to fulfill the desires of Thomas Jefferson to strip the Spanish of their colonies.  The end result was US control of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  Empire building became mainstream.  "Speak softly and carry a big stick." was not the mantra of a President who was a benign player on the world stage.  They were the words of a man who believed taking advantage of the weak for gain was the manly thing to do.

Over the next 70 years the US acted much the part of the colonial empire builder.  It actively worked to control and/or overthrow dozens of governments in Latin America (some many times over) in order to ensure that the countries were operated in a fashion which ensure profits for US business and access to raw materials.  US maries and soldiers were used on dozens of occasions from across the world during this time for control of various colonial enterprises.  The US took control of the territory of what is now Panama away from Columbia in order to create the state of Panama and have firm control of the location of the future Panama Canal (reminds you of the British and the Suez canal).

The end results of WWI and WWII clearly resulted in vast growth in America's wealth and influence around the world.  The end result of these wars brought additional countries under the sway of US influence and control.  Mostly to the benefit of US financial and business interests.  This was not a bug but a feature.  US dominance of the global financial structure following WWII and the creation of the IMF and World Bank (modern versions of the financial control exerted by the British at the height of their empire) which are controlled by the US and who's methods of financial assistance to the underdeveloped world (those weak countries Teddy thought we should take advantage of) works to keep them in a much lower state of development than is actually possible results in a shifting of their wealth and resources to the industrialized world at low cost.  This is modern colonialism and a further demonstration of the US empire.

I hardly should need to say that the incredibly bloated US military, which is many times the size needed to provide sovereign security, is primarily for the purpose of maintaining and furthering  our empire.  American freedom and security have not been meaningfully threatened since WWII and even then the outcome was not in doubt.  Our overseas garrisons and naval structure are very similar to those of Britain at the height of their power.  We are pouring excess amounts of resources into military power as our hold on our empire is stressing and starting to crumble.  A standard mistake that empires usually make at this stage of existence.

While our empire does not use identical structures or organizations or names for all that it does which match those used by the British it still has all the same functions.  While the elites of the country are once again pursuing their goals of power and wealth, and the public has once again fallen asleep to reality and are ignored and their opinions not sought or valued, we are still on our path of power envisioned by Thomas Jefferson.

It just is what it is and I see no reason to deny it or ignore it.

What I am interested in, and why I started this topic, are the signs of coming impacts on the empire and how it affects events going forward.  Everyone in the world will be impacted by what happens to us and how we deal with it.  A very uncomfortable position to be in for others and potentially for us as well.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 28, 2013, 06:35:09 PM
Thanks, Jim. Much more informative than my random blatherings.  :)

Have you seen any of Orlov's discussion of collapse of empire?

Among other things, he especially notes how hard it is when people in the further flung reaches of the empire are left to twist in the increasingly hostile wind as the system they served collapses without any consideration for their support.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 29, 2013, 01:52:26 AM
What I am interested in, and why I started this topic, are the signs of coming impacts on the empire and how it affects events going forward.  Everyone in the world will be impacted by what happens to us and how we deal with it.  A very uncomfortable position to be in for others and potentially for us as well.

I thought that was a very well presented post, making a clear case over the course of US history.

To me at least - what happens next seems fairly clear with the US - the balance of power is shifting east to China (with assistance from Russia, which I think is going to play an increasingly supporting role much as the UK does with the US currently). America has dug itself into a rather awkward hole in relation to fossil fuel dependence and resource consumption and there have to be limits to what massive military spending can do with respect to this - not to mention increasingly potent competition from China (and others).

My impression is that the US is vulnerable to multiple potential significant economic shocks:
- very high levels of personal debt (current)
- risk of substantial devaluation from loss of reserve currency status (future - next decade?)
- confidence risk (government lunacy combined with a poorly performing economy, there has to be more risk of confidence being lost in the US and it's ability to honour it's obligations)

The elite classes of the US seem aware of the challenges the nation is facing and are implementing widespread surveillance and increasingly strict legislation (verging on a police state) with a view to trying to maintain social stability. This runs contrary to the dogmatically reinforced propaganda message of a great nation with a great life for all willing to work (a dream, at least).

Personally I expect to see one or more major economic shocks hitting the US in coming years - I don't think the most immediate threats are climate change related. These might not be obviously dramatic but might represent a continual sharp squeeze on the quality of living and wealth of the American people. The very richest portion of the population will continue to do well as in the UK (and, I note, in third world countries with despots in charge).

The consequences for the rest of the world strike me as fairly clear - countries that rely upon the US economically will be hit hardest, especially where they struggle to adjust their horizons to encompass a rising China. While currently China exports a lot to the US, I expect they will grow in terms of their internal economy increasingly (this squeezing export opportunities for the rest of the world, and also ramping up pressure on global commodities/resources).

That's all what I think happens by default.

In theory, I think the US is a dynamic enough society that there is an outside chance of an outsider rising politically as disillusionment and anger set in and making substantial changes in the society (if a sufficiently clever and charismatic individual can find the right place and time to do so). Hatred of the status quo opens this chance.

Other events that would substantially change the outlook would include a world war. I think that would actually favour the US (paradoxically perhaps), as strongly focused on being able to fight war as it is (in contrast to the Russian approach of cheap and effective defensive technologies to counter expensive offence, and the current Chinese approach of money and diplomacy over aggression or threat thereof). A big war might rally the people, if they genuinely felt threatened and the need to become more cohesive as a society.

It's hard to see how a world war could now be fought between the strongest nations without a nuclear ending - and hence this would seem to be a fairly unlikely outcome, with a much higher probability of the continuation of what we have now - proxy wars and hostile interference in other nations intended to gain control over resources (the US has no clear advantage here, if anything it's aggression and hostility weaken its hand).

It's hard to see to what extent the success (or lack of failure at least) of the US will help allied/friendly nations as resource depletion bites - I think such nations would be sidelined once their usefulness is worn out. I see the US as liable to withdraw from the world again, shrinking it's sphere of influence as the Chinese one grows and pursing an increasingly isolationist path again.

Add climate change into the mix and I'm not sure it changes the picture that much - except it may tend to harm the US somewhat less than China. I think climate change coupled with the other major problems of our day will be the scythe that levels all nations, albeit with some variation in timing.

All rather speculative stuff, I can't say I know anything about any of this...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 29, 2013, 10:51:23 AM
ccg, well put. Full agreement up till: "I expect to see one or more major economic shocks hitting the US in coming years - I don't think the most immediate threats are climate change related."

I don't totally disagree with this; I'm kind of expecting a pretty total economic meltdown (or something close) any time now. Most of the major problems with the finance system that triggered the last one are still pretty much in place.

But if, as a number of folks around here seem to see happening already, the weather cells are in the process of collapsing, then we will see major redistribution of rain patterns in the northern hemisphere, with consequent like failure of most of the world's major 'bread baskets' to produce adequate grain harvests. That could lead to a rather quick collapse of...well, lots of things.

Also, climate disaster costs are starting to take their toll. For the first time on national MSM, I just heard a commentator talk about how, with inevitably rising seas, we can't afford to keep rebuilding communities along the coast as they keep getting wiped out. But that warning has still not really been heard. How many more mega-fires, Sandy's, Katrina's, nation-wide flash droughts, biblical inundations as we saw in CO...can the nation sustain before its finances crumble?

But, as the last sentence implies, the final collapse, whatever its ultimate causes, will look up close like primarily a financial one.

Hesitant though I am on a personal financial level to see this, and for the sake of all those who will be thrown out of work...a rapid global financial collapse is now about the best we can hope for to slow down at least the rate of increase in annual carbon emissions, as Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Centre on CC Research so eloquently point out:

Cabot Institute Annual Lecture 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RInrvSjW90U#ws)

"an outsider rising politically as disillusionment and anger set in and making substantial changes in the society"

Yes, this is an eternal hope. But so far the main anger being expressed is by the lunatic fringe of the Repug Party--the Tea folks. The Occupation movement seems to have already fizzled.

On the other hand, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the whole system is not really set up to help them, quite the contrary. Last I saw, people in their twenties were about evenly split between thinking capitalism, socialism, or some other system was the system that could work best for them, irrc. By the way, have you heard of this 'art' installation?

http://peoplesworld.org/art-project-asks-is-capitalism-working-for-you/ (http://peoplesworld.org/art-project-asks-is-capitalism-working-for-you/)

I do worry that, in order to solidify the country and undermine dissent, our fearless leaders will lead us into yet another war, perhaps under some false flag or other. People are pretty sick of this, though, and it will be a tougher sell this time, if the recent debate about getting more involved in Syria is any indication.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Andreas T on October 29, 2013, 12:28:45 PM
The point about those 'symbols' is that the fact that they were embraced suggests that early in our history the term "empire" was not met with total revulsion.
This may be a rather tangential point but reminds me of a book I read about the Holy Roman Empire (of medieval Germany extending into Italy)
In it the author set out to destiguish it from a nationalistic empire (e.g. the "Third Reich") and show that it was often seen by "the little people" as a protection against chaos and the arbitrary rule over them by their more local rich and powerful. Appearantly there was a russian saying: "Heaven is high and the Czar far away" expressing their lack of hope for justice in dealings with their immediate overlords.
It also quoted Dante Alleghieri as a big fan of the Empire. Special pleading maybe, the modern Italian angle can be expected to be somewhat different:
http://www.veronatuttintorno.it/area_soci/DANTE_percorsoA4_eng.pdf (http://www.veronatuttintorno.it/area_soci/DANTE_percorsoA4_eng.pdf)
Quote
Dante spent roughly seven years in Verona in all: from 1303 to 1304, guest of Bartolomeo della Scala, Cangrande’s brother,
and from 1312 to 1318 as Cangrande’s own guest.
He effectively spent almost half the years of his exile in Verona. Here, under the shadow of the Scaligeran crest adorned
with the wings of the Imperial eagle, Dante wrote his ‘De Monarchia’, many letters and a good part of ‘Paradise’, the
canticle which the distinguished poet dedicated to Cangrande himself, awarding him a place of honour in the prophesy
of the XVII canto. It was here that his ‘Comedy’ became known; here where he studied the ancient texts conserved in the
cathedral’s Capitular Library; here he contemplated the Roman ruins, dreaming of a new Emperor who would bring peace
and justice. And it was here, in the end where he aided the endeavours of the only prince capable of bringing peace to
northern Italy after the failure of the emperors beyond the Alps.
Imperial Eagle being a common image in Roman and German (and Czarist Russian) Empire.
Oh, and yes I am German, several of my Father's cousins were callied Willi, by the way. I personally am not a fan of either Wilhelm I or II!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 29, 2013, 01:43:51 PM
How about Wilhelm von Humboldt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 29, 2013, 05:02:22 PM
ccg and Wili both hit on why this mess we are in is so morbidly fascinating. There is no end to the possible permutations of the factors dragging us into chaos.  Almost all trends are negative and the few that are not do not appear to have much in the way of prospects of catching up to and passing the downward effects of the negative trends.  We mention periodically that we are watching a train wreck but that is really an inadequate phrase as it is more like watching dozens of plane and train wrecks at the same time and trying to figure out which one gets us first.  Sort of like trying to figure out which machine gun bullet being fired at you is the most important one.

ccg.  I think you can see some of that volatility among the very rich in their hard work over the last decade to further the easy movement of capital around the globe. They rush into and out of countries and markets at increasing speed in what appears to be an act of not running towards more profits but more like running from the creeping disaster to save as much as they can.  One temporary safe haven to the next.  Leaving chaos in their wake each time.  The economic dustup you describe happening could easily come from one of those rapid exits from one market towards another.  Sort of like that children's game where everybody runs around a line of chairs and one gets taken away after each time everyone grabs a chair.  Such movement of money does not seem to help the locals much in any long term sense.  Like you I am convinced there are going to be periods of economic chaos in various places, but I have no idea which place is next or which is the big kahuna that cannot recovered from. While I think the odds are that climate change will be the cause of collapse, in a primary sense that is, it is certainly possible that a financial crises is the first giant event instead of the failure of industrial agriculture being able o feed everyone as is my best guess.

Since everyone gets a cold when the US sneezes the internal dynamics of the US are almost as interesting as climate change in general.  I see potential for political upheaval and some minor outbursts which could ignite real change.  Most public lately have been the Occupy movement and the Libertarians-Tea Party.  Basically the left and right wings of the Anarchist movement.  Though I must admit that statement means I have included the Tea Party as part of the Libertarian Party - there is certainly not total overlap there.  For our non-US readers the US Libertarian Party (a wing of the Republican Party) would be called Anarcho-capitalists outside the US.  This is somewhat disputed by the Occupy type folks on the left (mostly Anarcho-syndicalists) as they feel that since the Libertarians have deviated from anarchist leadership principals they have lost the right to be considered true anarchists.  But policy wise they fit the bill.

I have noticed in my conversations with young folks of all types in the US that attraction to anarchist political philosophy is very strong and growing.  Tea Party members are in general much older than other US anarchists and do not seem to hold true philosophical positions and do not really count in that way as it is their destructive actions towards the current form of government which put them in a more anarchist part of the spectrum.

A great many of these young people openly identify as anarchists and many admit that their views are more in line with other anarchists on the left or right (as the case may be) than they are in line with other liberals or conservatives (as that case may be).  Another way of saying this is that an Anarcho-syndicalist has more in common politically with a Libertarian (Anarcho-capitalist) than with the Democrats.  And vice versa with Libertarians having more in common with the Syndicalists than with the Republicans.

Should these two groups, which make up a large percentage of the Millennial generation find the wherewithal to accommodate each other it would be a sea change in US politics.  A sort of Black Swan if you will.   The US is ripe for political change.  The mainstream Republican and Democratic parties are almost indistinguishable from each other and the Legislative process has just about ground to a halt.  Demographically conservative Republicans are on a slope to permanent minority status and marginalization.  This is big political stress and opens the door to all sorts of change.  So I am on the look out for this possible melding and if the Libertarians, who are attempting to insert traditional leadership principals into the anarchist tradition, get traction interesting change could be afoot.  Their tendency to accommodate behaviors which effect the civil rights of others is a prime impediment to this potential union of course.  But we will see what happens.  At some point the Millennial's are going to upset the political apple cart as there are 70 million of them and they are all voting age now.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Andreas T on October 29, 2013, 05:34:46 PM
How about Wilhelm von Humboldt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt)
I do like "'the ultimate task of our existence is to give the fullest possible content to the concept of humanity in our own person [...] through the impact of actions in our own lives'. This task 'can only be implemented through the links established between ourselves as individuals and the world around us'  "
He probably wasn't thinking of an internet forum though!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on October 29, 2013, 06:48:48 PM
At some point the Millennial's are going to upset the political apple cart as there are 70 million of them and they are all voting age now.

Maybe. But most anarchists don't vote.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 29, 2013, 08:19:31 PM
I can't resist adding two of my favorite anarchist related sayings:

"Anarchy would be hard to enforce."

But,

"There's no government like no government."

You all realize we have now put neven's blog on the NSA watch list. Of course, he has some pretty respectable company, Andrea Merkel being not the least.

Anarchists have the problem of negative associations with the very term. My suggestion is that they follow the following analogy to a new, frienlier-sounding term: Most people feel warm and friendly towards the term "community" even if they have negative associations with the word "communism." So solve for the following analogy and you get your new, friendlier sounding term:

'communism' is to 'community' as 'anarchism' is to _________.

You got it: "anarchity" !! Maybe it could be sponsored by "Hello Kitty" for an even less frightening effect (well, I guess that is frightening in its own rather different way).  :)

https://www.google.com/search?q=hello+kitty&client=firefox-a&hs=g3a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=KApwUtmUEer4yQGqm4HICQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1390&bih=703#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=E4oAtaCzs1AB3M%3A%3BaMWCUoBPKc1CFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages5.fanpop.com%252Fimage%252Fphotos%252F25600000%252FHello-Kitty-Sitting-hello-kitty-25604546-1210-1429.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.fanpop.com%252Fclubs%252Fhello-kitty%252Fimages%252F25604546%252Ftitle%252F%3B1210%3B1429 (https://www.google.com/search?q=hello+kitty&client=firefox-a&hs=g3a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=KApwUtmUEer4yQGqm4HICQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1390&bih=703#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=E4oAtaCzs1AB3M%3A%3BaMWCUoBPKc1CFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages5.fanpop.com%252Fimage%252Fphotos%252F25600000%252FHello-Kitty-Sitting-hello-kitty-25604546-1210-1429.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.fanpop.com%252Fclubs%252Fhello-kitty%252Fimages%252F25604546%252Ftitle%252F%3B1210%3B1429)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 30, 2013, 03:16:22 AM
Apologies for my foray into (my own twisted version of) levity.

This may be a blog people interested in discussions of the future of US power my find worthwhile to follow: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-one-option-left.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-one-option-left.html)

Quote
I plan on devoting several upcoming posts to what we can realistically expect when the US government has to slash its expenditures and default on its debts, the way that Russia, Argentina, and other nations have done in recent decades.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 30, 2013, 04:49:39 AM
ccg.  I think you can see some of that volatility among the very rich in their hard work over the last decade to further the easy movement of capital around the globe. They rush into and out of countries and markets at increasing speed in what appears to be an act of not running towards more profits but more like running from the creeping disaster to save as much as they can.  One temporary safe haven to the next.  Leaving chaos in their wake each time.  The economic dustup you describe happening could easily come from one of those rapid exits from one market towards another.  Sort of like that children's game where everybody runs around a line of chairs and one gets taken away after each time everyone grabs a chair.  Such movement of money does not seem to help the locals much in any long term sense.

I think you're right - the image coming to mind is a large tank filled with fluid with no baffles - the lack of impediments to the flow of fluid mitigating against stability. It doesn't help that you get factors that feed into each other - a strong and strengthening currency can attract more money, just as a weak and weakening one encourages flight (at least until people think the bottom is reached - fear and greed and all). The net result is increasing uncertainty that hurts the real economy (this can be seen in the lack of investment that would create jobs in the western economies currently).

While I think the odds are that climate change will be the cause of collapse, in a primary sense that is, it is certainly possible that a financial crises is the first giant event instead of the failure of industrial agriculture being able o feed everyone as is my best guess.

For final collapse - I'd still tip climate change. It seems to be to be possible that the US will experience a default along the lines of Argentina or Russia (with violence, surge in crime, and rapidly regressing standard of living) that some people might talk about as a collapse. On the whole, I could see the future of the US being defined by such events where in the rest of the world I think the separation between the financial, resource and climate forces will be less well demarcated. Notwithstanding the last 6 years of adverse economic forces (the structural causes of which remain unaddressed and the liabilities magnified, except in Iceland!), I still see the US as a bubble waiting to burst (at least in terms of historic dollar strength as a function of reserve currency status and investor confidence).

Since everyone gets a cold when the US sneezes the internal dynamics of the US are almost as interesting as climate change in general.

I find the US a fascinating (if increasingly distasteful) nation.

I think the phrase about everyone else catching a cold is less true than it once was now - unless I'm mistaken the combined economy of the Euro-zone is larger than the US economy and the Chinese economy is rising meteorically and on track to overtake the US in a matter of years (looking at raw size in both cases, no per capita considerations). Still, the US is a very big player and will be for the foreseeable future (empires don't tend to die overnight).

I have noticed in my conversations with young folks of all types in the US that attraction to anarchist political philosophy is very strong and growing.  Tea Party members are in general much older than other US anarchists and do not seem to hold true philosophical positions and do not really count in that way as it is their destructive actions towards the current form of government which put them in a more anarchist part of the spectrum.

I don't know many young people in the US - which is to say none younger than me. Those around the same age seem generally apathetic, a bit older - and you're into the tea party territory more and more. I get the impression that the same is true as in the UK though where the younger members of the population are disenfranchised, poorly represented (in both policy and voter turnout) and generally ignored. I don't get the feeling there is much revolutionary spirit out there - even as anger increases with social stress factors?

At some point the Millennial's are going to upset the political apple cart as there are 70 million of them and they are all voting age now.

Right now - it's hard to see what will change in the US. Not only is there only two parties, but they are very similar in policy terms. Even if they weren't the same in policy terms, my impression is that the Republicans aren't going to see office for a term or two at the very least, barring an exceptionally charismatic offering (and no signs of that happening while the tea party drags them to the right further and further).

Where are the alternatives to vote for? Is there ever really an alternative to "business as usual"? When I was in the UK I used to vote, just to say I had if anyone told me it should be how one seeks change - but in the end I came away with a few lessons:

1. Politicians will promise anything without intentions of honouring it, the pledges generally evaporate the day they take office (I think they should be contractually bound on pain of losing office if they fail to honour such promises)

2. The real power (money and behind the scenes influence) is largely unchanged by whichever party gets into power, and to a large extent (see media corporations particularly) chooses who gets in power (too many people vote too predictably).

3. First past the post systems mean the power of your vote is determined only by geography, your vote is meaningless in any region with a predictable outcome and a large voter base that leans predominantly one way or the other. If you live in a swing seat/state your vote counts far more (this is reflecting in the electioneering tactics in use).

4. Even though one party may be out of power for multiple terms or even a generation doesn't mean they will change the system that keeps the parties as few as possible. It is in the interests of the politicians to restrict choice as much as they can to give themselves as little competition as possible.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on October 30, 2013, 07:20:48 AM
JimD
While it's refreshing and unexpected to find an American with such a clear understanding of American history I worry that you might forget yourself while relaxing in rural Arizona. Thoughts such as you expressed can be taken as "fightin words" through much of the Southwest, and some of those Hill-Billy's are armed to the teeth.[size=78%]
I lived in Coolidge for a short while and from time to time would forget myself and opine that perhaps Mexicans deserved some small amount of respect or that Reagan might not represent all that is good in America. While I always managed to extract myself from these situations I do fear that others may not always share my luck.
Terry[/size]
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 30, 2013, 04:47:09 PM
Terry

You are certainly correct about the need to be somewhat cautious in such matters.  I have a little devil sitting on my shoulder at times which likes to see a little chaos and I cannot resist at times poking at various ignorance's and prejudices.  But one definitely needs to pick and choose though.  While I tease some of those I know that the Mexicans just want their country BACK, I would refrain from such provocations if I was in the presence of some of our more volatile citizens.  The dilemma, and what makes it somewhat exciting, is figuring out which group one is in the presence of.   I am much better at it now than when  I was younger.  ;D  The internet is so much safer.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 30, 2013, 05:20:05 PM
At some point the Millennial's are going to upset the political apple cart as there are 70 million of them and they are all voting age now.

Maybe. But most anarchists don't vote.

Very true, but I believe that change could happen here.  I am just not sure exactly how.  But having a couple of close relatives who are committed anarchists (party members) and very articulate on the philosophy and its leadership principals I am aware of the potential.  All one has to do is read the history of the older anarchist movements in various countries to see that it can rise to some prominence.  And we can look locally at the relative success of the Libertarian Party here in the US.  Just a little give on how leadership should be conducted and you have a large force on the left just like we have on the right.  A little more compromise and they both jettison the Republicans and Democrats, respectively, join up and they can force change.  I am certain that the current parties will work to keep anything like that happening, but there is huge and growing frustration out there and anything can happen. 

Like Wili I am a longtime reader of the Archdruid Report and highly recommend it.

And Wili, of course, is teasing as he knows that anarchism is not about no government, but rather about making decisions locally, by those directly effected, and via consensus as much as possible.  Almost all forms of anarchism consider large state organizations to be undesirable; i.e. national governments.  Thus large established political organizations are their bitter enemies since anarchists consider them non-essential, and they have pretty successfully painted the anarchists into the corner of firebomb throwers and enemies of civilization.  Which is about as far from the truth as it could be.  Very strong individual rights, a desire for local decision making, and distrust/dislike of central government are strong political forces in the US (especially here in anarchist AZ).  The alliance of these forces with the mainstream Republican Party is unnatural as they hold opposing opinions on who makes decisions, individual rights and the value of the central government.  Such alliances can break (I think).

Another interesting question is whether the rise of political forces oriented towards anarchist principals is more or less likely to move the US towards more intelligent action on climate change.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on October 30, 2013, 09:53:11 PM
Nicely put, again, Jim, and I'm glad you caught the spirit of my jest.

The distinction sometimes made is between utopian anarchists, the rare cases of people who are actually imagining a future with no governmental structures, and activist anarchists who see the main task as constantly countering and challenging concentrations of power, especially as they become more and more oppressive. The spirit of the latter spirit I would say has deep connections with many of the founding principles of the US, especially the constitutional structures that seek to limit government power and balance various parts of gov power against each other.

The left (to the extent that this term has any relevance any more in the US) has long been suspicious of the power of government, particularly when it chooses to wage war, take life (capital punishment), or intrude itself into people's privacy, including decisions about procreation. The left has also long recognized that dangerously concentrated power can exist outside of the halls of government, specifically in corporate board rooms.

The right seems oddly mostly unconcerned about when the gov intrudes in the most intimate areas--when it dictates that we die, or when it tells us when and who to kill, marry or give birth to. They seem to be most concerned about when government is trying to do something that could actually help people--universal health care and other such 'socialist' initiatives--or when it is taking anyone's money, even from the extremely wealthy. They right, even self described libertarian anarchists, also seem oddly blind to the dangers of corporate power.

(But I could doubtless be accused of mis-characterizing the shortcomings of the right, having little sympathy with most of their specific concerns/obsessions.)

I would like to think that these two strains of anarchist sympathies might get together, but I have to say that I am dubious. The mistrust, partly sown from above, seems just too deep.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on October 30, 2013, 11:16:36 PM
Very true, but I believe that change could happen here.  I am just not sure exactly how.

Jim, I was really just having a bit of fun. Should have included a little  ;)

Interesting discussion, though. I'd certainly prefer a little anarchy over where we look to be headed -- toward fascism or a police state. At least it is now confirmed that the NSA spies on everybody and collects everything! I was worried I might not have made the list!  :o
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on October 31, 2013, 04:04:43 PM
Try not to laugh and cry at the same time.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/american-exceptionalism_n_4170683.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/american-exceptionalism_n_4170683.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on October 31, 2013, 05:39:17 PM
Try not to laugh and cry at the same time.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/american-exceptionalism_n_4170683.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/american-exceptionalism_n_4170683.html)

Gosh. All of those things seem so, so... third world. Could it be?

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our infrastructure has certainly attained third world status with a D+ on its 2013 report card.
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/ (http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/)
I'm sure this is in no way indicative of our lack of "exceptionalism" though...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 02, 2013, 04:56:31 PM
An empire which can not find the wherewithal to feed, provide medical care (to the standard of the day), and employment for its citizens is weakening.

Topic of the day.  Food stamps.

Quote
Benefit cuts to food stamp recipients kick in Friday, a move by Congress that will siphon $5 billion off a program that helps one in seven Americans put breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table.

Quote
...Needy Americans who receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are expected to suffer an average loss of $36 a month from a $275.13 per household benefit. There are a near-record 47.6 million Americans, representing 23.1 million households, on the program.....

That's about 15% of the total population on food stamps.  U6 (the real unemployment rate) is about 15% and the percent of the population without health insurance (at least until Obamacare gets working) is about 15%.  Curious the  consistency of the numbers.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/families-brace-billions-food-stamp-cuts-set-8C11505320 (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/families-brace-billions-food-stamp-cuts-set-8C11505320)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/food-stamp-cuts-emergency-providers-brace (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/food-stamp-cuts-emergency-providers-brace)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 02, 2013, 06:31:41 PM
An empire which can not find the wherewithal to feed, provide medical care (to the standard of the day), and employment for its citizens is weakening.

According to a number of Americans I know - and they genuinely believe this - welfare is killing America. Foreign wars, drone strikes, the nuclear fleet, mass espionage, etc all apparently are more important than providing a basic safety net for the population? A safety net that one suspects can actually be fairly cost effective in terms of economy activity (a healthy population should generate more activity than an unhealthy one, presuming that the profiteering were taken out of the existing system and reallocated into a system that looked after everyone to at least some degree).

However, I don't think the US especially exceptional here - similar comments can be made about the UK and current government policy (although the UK assuredly has a better welfare system at the moment) and about nations like India - a new nuclear power with space ambitions, and still not sure about universal polio vaccination or a meaningful engagement with rural poverty...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 02, 2013, 08:35:30 PM
Good points Jim and ccg. It is of course useful for TPTB to encourage the somewhat poor to blame the even-poorer for all their woes. You see this in the hate generated for public welfare, for health insurance, about immigration, and about attempts to right historic wrongs wrt race. Really, a lot of the other things are proxies for race hatreds that are very easily stirred up.

The irony is that the 'reddest' most conservative states are those that actually get the most federal funding of various sorts--are 'on the dole' to the greatest extent, iirc.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 12, 2013, 04:56:30 PM
Below is a link to an excellent post on Saudi/Egyptian/Pakistani/Iranian relations and regional politics.  There has been much in the news recently about the breakdown in US-Saudi relations and the implications thereof.  This article presents a great snapshot of some of the dynamics at play.

Part of the reason for the generation of this topic is that the state and trajectory of the American empire has a direct and dominant influence on US actions in regards to climate change.  Possible or perceived options available to US policy makers are filtered and winnowed based upon their impacts on US wealth and position in the world.  Our influence is in decline as evidenced by the evolving situation in the Middle East.  Our options are changing and this will force our hand at some point in the not to distant future.  What direction will we take and how will it impact the critical need to address climate change?

Egypt marches to a Saudi drummer

Quote
...On the other hand, the Saudis had found the one man who could break the Muslim Brotherhood after which they would be free to focus on the destruction of their other enemy, Iran and the Shia.

There is nothing new in the objective.  It is the continuation of a war that the Saudis have been pursuing for four decades that dates back to the reign of the Shah.  Saudi Arabia had manipulated the oil price on several occasions in order to inflict economic damage upon the Iranians.
Beyond the economic arena, they have battled each other through proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and currently in Syria.  In spite of all of those efforts, the Saudis are still confronting their traditional foe and seeing Iran a more dangerous rival than ever before with the Shia control of Iraq and through the growth of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s asymmetric warfare skills, and penetration by Al-Qud of the Shia communities throughout the Middle East...
..After depending upon the strength of the United States for seventy years, their American protector is no longer a reliable ally...

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/egypt-marches-to-a-saudi-drummer.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/egypt-marches-to-a-saudi-drummer.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 14, 2013, 04:30:58 AM
The surge in US oil production, as I have mentioned earlier, is not likely to last contrary to the general slant of advertising and news/political pundits.  The production figures just don't bear out the hype.

Some support for that position.

Note:  if this opinion is correct it has big implications relating to US power and policy looking out about 10 years. Not only would it put the middle east back in a more prominent role it ensures a big jump in prices and subsequently a big impact on oil prices. 

Quote
..High oil prices will drive further exploration and production of tight oil “but, by the mid-2020s, non-OPEC production starts to fall back and countries from the Middle East provide most of the increase in global supply.”....

Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said that “there is a huge growth in light tight oil, that it will peak around 2020, and then it will plateau....

...An earlier report released by the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration, also suggested that US tight oil production will be high until the end of the decade, and then quickly fall off....

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/IEA-Shale-Boom-is-Only-Temporary-well-Soon-be-Relying-on-Middle-East-Again.html (http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/IEA-Shale-Boom-is-Only-Temporary-well-Soon-be-Relying-on-Middle-East-Again.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on November 14, 2013, 05:43:18 PM
The surge in US oil production, as I have mentioned earlier, is not likely to last contrary to the general slant of advertising and news/political pundits.  The production figures just don't bear out the hype.

JimD,

I agree. While I can't say I have my head firmly wrapped around fracking, it is my understanding that the wells only produce for a short time then decline rapidly. New wells are constantly necessary to keep production rising. At some point the demand for wells, water and decline curves will crash into each other. Fracking is even less sustainable than classic oilfield development. Yet somehow, our politicians and media are spewing the "we are saved" rhetoric. NPR had a piece this morning about how our production has meet import levels for the first time in  20 some-odd years. Saved! I tell you! No need for further involvement in the Middle East!

No one seems to pay attention to the future.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 15, 2013, 12:32:55 AM
You've got to hand it to Putin.  He plays the Great Game with some skill.

The Russians Are Back in Town

Quote
On Thursday, top Russian and Egyptian officials began talks in Cairo, signaling a potential dramatic foreign policy shift following the U.S. decision to partially cut military aid in response to the ousting of democratically elected, but controversial Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Quote
...But in the early 1970s, President Anwar Sadat ordered 20,000 Soviet military advisers out of Egypt and amid a U.S. brokered peace deal with Israel, decided to shift Egypt's foreign policy with eyes on aligning with the United States. Since then the U.S. government has provided around $1.3 billion in military aid every year to Egypt, up until the recent aid cut.

In a press conference on Thursday, Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy was asked by reporters whether Russia would replace the United States as Egypt's main ally. Fahmy simply replied: "Russia's weight is too heavy to be a substitute for anyone."
....

Quote
....The talks between the high-profile leaders reportedly include potential arms deals, amounting to as high as $2 billion, reports the BBC. Following the partial military aid cut, Egypt is hoping to acquire military equipment like fighter jets, anti-tank missiles, and air-defense systems, with particular focus on battling rising insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula (though the U.S. has not severed any aid bolstering counter-terrorism efforts in Sinai).

"Russia and Egypt are determined to forge a closer partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation," Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.
....

Nothing like adding to the complications of middle east turmoil. 

The Russians are now trying to regain their lost influence in Egypt thus potentially keeping Egypt from acquiescing to Saudi influence and possibly cutting US influence in the Arab worlds most populous country even further.

I saw a report a few days ago showing Iranian Revolutionary Guards involved in combat in Syria in support of Assad.

The Israeli's must be throwing up in the corner.
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophia-jones/egypt-russia_b_4272879.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophia-jones/egypt-russia_b_4272879.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 15, 2013, 12:50:10 AM
UAR again! I don't think so.

The Russians will lose their base in Syria and Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. So the world turns!

I believe the true power behind our present conservative movement misconception is in Europe and not the US.

It's a blame game.   
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on November 15, 2013, 01:30:17 AM
I saw this and thought of this thread http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history (http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 15, 2013, 01:50:07 AM
In my opinion, America doesn't have an empire, but it has a responsibility to the world. America isn't the whole world, but the people who have power in the whole world have a responsibility to protect it. I'm just a minor player in that process.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 15, 2013, 04:57:44 PM
I saw this and thought of this thread http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history (http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history)

Johnm33,

Without question if any country had treated the US in a manner that the US has treated Iran America would erase it from the face of the earth.

This is one of the great ignorances of the American public.  That the Iranians hatred, mistrust, fear and contempt of the US is justified.  The US deserves to be hated by the Iranians.  We earned it.

But, that is not going to change our strategic position in the middle east.  Our empire has needs (along with the needs of our allies) which preclude treating the Iranians as anything but adversaries.  The Iranians were a colony of the Western powers essentially from the discovery of large amounts of oil until the revolution in 79.  Since then they have been struggling to maintain their freedom and trying to figure out how to protect themselves.  The western powers, most notably the US, have not yet given up on regaining control.  Time is not really on the Iranians side in this struggle as they were one of the first major areas of oil production and most of their resources are depleted.  They must diversify their economy and find other ways of generating income as that from oil and gas declines.   

If Americans were under the type of threats that the Iranians are we would stop at nothing o build nuclear weapons.  Oh, wait, that is exactly what we did.  If I were an Iranian the only way you would stop me from building nuclear weapons would be to invade, take over my country and kill me.  Having the Israeli's or American bombers fly by and flatten a few buildings or keep assassinating my nuclear scientists (as we have been doing for years) would only prove to me the need to finish building those weapons as fast as I can.

America especially, and our main allies to some extent, are not going to stop stripping resources from weaker countries as doing so is essential to maintaining the American, and their, way of life.  The high one gets from consuming 25% of the worlds resources while having 4% of the world's population makes the kick of crack cocaine equivalent to a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

Speaking of which, it is time for another cup.   
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 18, 2013, 09:37:11 PM
It looks like we are on the cusp of a critical stage of the Syrian civil war and it does not look like Assad is going to lose any time soon or maybe at all.

The regime forces are on the offensive and pretty much rolling up the rebels at this time.  It appears that the government has set its sights on retaking the parts of Aleppo it lost to the rebels.  A number of towns on the periphery of Aleppo have been retaken from the rebels as well as a critical military base.

In a recent attack the Syrians killed the leader of the main moderate rebel group as well as one of its other top 2 leaders.  As the commander of this group was credited with partly successful efforts to get the Al-Qaeda rebels to cooperate with the more secular rebels his death will likely result in further conflict between rebel groups.

The decline of the rebel cause can be attributed to several factors; one is the importation of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and Revolutionary Guards from Iran whose fighting ability is tops in the conflict; two is that the Kurds have joined the conflict in strength and are attacking the Al-Qaeda rebel groups as they recognize that they have no future in a rebel controlled country ran by Sunni extremists.  Plus they have likely decided it is time to go with the winning side to obtain some sort of concessions for their support to the regime (might not get much there).  It is also possible that they are shooting for autonomy as similar to what the Kurds have in Iraq (Kurdish autonomy is the trigger for another big conflict as the Turks, Iraqi's and Iranians are opposed to a Kurdish state and will fight its creation).  The Kurds now control extensive territory and are being supported by Kurds from Iraq;  three, the infighting between the secular rebel groups and the much more fierce Al-Qaeda groups is seriously depleting their forces.  They are killing significant numbers of each others forces thus putting the rebel groups in the position of fighting three different adversaries. Not a winning combination; lastly the Turks have significantly shut down the flow of arms through their territory to the rebel groups and this will significantly degrade their fighting ability as time goes on.  And having the Russians holding the fort on the diplomatic front does not hurt either.

Should Assad's forces recapture Aleppo it will not end the civil war, but it will be a crushing defeat for the rebels and one very difficult to recover from.  And at that point it will be very difficult for the rebels to again mass the support needed to win even if the fighting goes on for years, as one should expect to happen.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/nov/18/ml-syria-kurdish-gains/ (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/nov/18/ml-syria-kurdish-gains/)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24984365 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24984365)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 19, 2013, 02:37:19 AM
I saw this and thought of this thread http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history (http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-us-was-attacked-by-a-criminal-empire-analogy-to-confront-us-iran-history)

Johnm33,

Without question if any country had treated the US in a manner that the US has treated Iran America would erase it from the face of the earth.

This is one of the great ignorances of the American public.  That the Iranians hatred, mistrust, fear and contempt of the US is justified.  The US deserves to be hated by the Iranians.  We earned it.

But, that is not going to change our strategic position in the middle east.  Our empire has needs (along with the needs of our allies) which preclude treating the Iranians as anything but adversaries.  The Iranians were a colony of the Western powers essentially from the discovery of large amounts of oil until the revolution in 79.  Since then they have been struggling to maintain their freedom and trying to figure out how to protect themselves.  The western powers, most notably the US, have not yet given up on regaining control.  Time is not really on the Iranians side in this struggle as they were one of the first major areas of oil production and most of their resources are depleted.  They must diversify their economy and find other ways of generating income as that from oil and gas declines.   

If Americans were under the type of threats that the Iranians are we would stop at nothing o build nuclear weapons.  Oh, wait, that is exactly what we did.  If I were an Iranian the only way you would stop me from building nuclear weapons would be to invade, take over my country and kill me.  Having the Israeli's or American bombers fly by and flatten a few buildings or keep assassinating my nuclear scientists (as we have been doing for years) would only prove to me the need to finish building those weapons as fast as I can.

America especially, and our main allies to some extent, are not going to stop stripping resources from weaker countries as doing so is essential to maintaining the American, and their, way of life.  The high one gets from consuming 25% of the worlds resources while having 4% of the world's population makes the kick of crack cocaine equivalent to a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

Speaking of which, it is time for another cup.

Do you bother to study history, like the history of Iran? I've studied it from it's ancient history and all the way up to it's modern history, because it's a fascinating place with fascinating people. Since your focus tends to be around the US and Iran, go to wiki and read the recent history since WWI!

You say:

Quote
Without question if any country had treated the US in a manner that the US has treated Iran America would erase it from the face of the earth.

This is one of the great ignorances of the American public.  That the Iranians hatred, mistrust, fear and contempt of the US is justified.  The US deserves to be hated by the Iranians.  We earned it.

So give specific examples! Include in your examples the history of all the assassinations prior to the Shah! Include the history of who exactly discovered crude oil in Iran and what benefit it was to the Iranians when discovered by foreign corporations! Spell the whole story out in details from encyclopedias!

Quote
The Iranians were a colony of the Western powers essentially from the discovery of large amounts of oil until the revolution in 79.  Since then they have been struggling to maintain their freedom and trying to figure out how to protect themselves.

Explain how attacking an embassy and taking hostages was protecting themselves from America! Embassies aren't sovereign territory of the nation where they are located, so how is attacking a stronger foreign power's embassy protecting yourself?

By the way, the US wasn't even a player when oil was discovered in that area and again, why is it trade is viewed as one a way street from certain people's perspective with any commodity from crude oil to bananas? Why isn't it in the interest of a nation to trade the resources they have an abundance of, for things they don't have an abundance of? It isn't practical to make everything wanted locally in our world.

You say and let's try some easy ones:

Quote
keep assassinating my nuclear scientists (as we have been doing for years)

There is no government in this world claiming that, so prove the US assassinated Iran's nuclear scientists, because you have accused the US of doing it.

You say:

Quote
America especially, and our main allies to some extent, are not going to stop stripping resources from weaker countries as doing so is essential to maintaining the American, and their, way of life.  The high one gets from consuming 25% of the worlds resources while having 4% of the world's population

Prove that statement to be true and include definitions of resources and consumption! Materials destined for trade aren't consumed, nor is the energy required to make the product. The consumer is the people getting the product, not making it or the nation that makes it. The production costs shouldn't be considered as consumption in an area not consuming the product. When the consumer purchases a product or service, that cost represents everything that went into making it possible, regardless of who was involved in doing it. When you get that good at bookkeeping, let me know!

The US trades with nations and if I had my way, we wouldn't be trading in our free trade manner and would require fair trade standards to not cut the American people short. The US is not pigging down a quarter of the world's resources and it's ridiculous to claim they are.

 

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 19, 2013, 04:29:48 AM
29% of all Co2 emissions in the last 150 years . Nothing to brag about

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/06/01/204179/us-responsible-for-29-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-over-past-150-years-triple-chinas-share/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/06/01/204179/us-responsible-for-29-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-over-past-150-years-triple-chinas-share/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 19, 2013, 08:01:50 AM
29% of all Co2 emissions in the last 150 years . Nothing to brag about

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/06/01/204179/us-responsible-for-29-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-over-past-150-years-triple-chinas-share/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/06/01/204179/us-responsible-for-29-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-over-past-150-years-triple-chinas-share/)

When America was producing cotton, tobacco and cod, were they consuming it? When America was supplying the world with steel following WWII, because all the steel mills were bombed elsewhere, was America consuming the steel? Consumers consume, so is that too hard to understand? Coal exported from America is not consumed by us.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 19, 2013, 09:18:46 AM
Consuming it?
Consuming the
Consumers consume,
Is that to hard to understand?
   ( no I think I got it )
Consumed by US
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 19, 2013, 10:25:21 AM
Consuming it?
Consuming the
Consumers consume,
Is that to hard to understand?
   ( no I think I got it )
Consumed by US

Then post evidence America consumes 25% of the world's resources and has only 4% of it's population! That is the discussion and what equation needs to be established to rate nations for their carbon emissions.

The consumer consumes the product or service and all costs related to it, even if manufactured and transported from abroad. Is that too hard to understand? 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 19, 2013, 03:46:30 PM
gg


If we used your method and absolved carbon emitters who are producing for export wouldn't that direct all the tar sands CO2 into the US ledger - that's a heavy load for the country. It also seems as though those countries with a positive balance of trade would benefit from your calculation while those with a negative balance would be responsible for more emissions. The US wouldn't do too well that way, but China would certainly be found blameless.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 19, 2013, 04:20:38 PM
gg


If we used your method and absolved carbon emitters who are producing for export wouldn't that direct all the tar sands CO2 into the US ledger - that's a heavy load for the country. It also seems as though those countries with a positive balance of trade would benefit from your calculation while those with a negative balance would be responsible for more emissions. The US wouldn't do too well that way, but China would certainly be found blameless.
Terry

Have you seen the pipeline plans for those tar sands in Canada? Do you think they are going only to the US?

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.texomacore.org%2FpublishImages%2FKeystone-XL-Pipeline%7E%7Eelement38.jpg&hash=775c6f97a21cee84428eca32af87cce1)

The US is stupid for having a trade imbalance, but the idea of charging a nation for providing resources to other nations in the world is equally as stupid. The US does not consume 25% of the world's resources and resources are anything, including the costs to move them to the consumer. Even the wealth gathered during the process is a resource, so who is making the money? Trade imbalances are based on currency exchanges, but consumption is based on the use of a certain mass of a material when discussing resources. Trade is negotiated between nations by agreement, so if it turns sour, stop agreeing to trade. Trade should benefit both nations or it isn't good trade.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 19, 2013, 07:29:19 PM
Within 3 minutes on Google I found 5 sources on US resource consumption which put the US share at 23-25% of global.  US population is currently 4.3% of global.

Quote
..Do you bother to study history, like the history of Iran? I've studied it from it's ancient history and all the way up to it's modern history, because it's a fascinating place with fascinating people. Since your focus tends to be around the US and Iran, go to wiki and read the recent history since WWI!...

Really?  I mean, Really?!

Well then let's just limit ourselves to Wiki.  But we'll push your date back to the beginning of colonialism in the 1700's as that is when the colonial empires of the British and Russians started showing up.

There were 4 main Russo-Persian wars in the 18th & 19th centuries.  And the Anglo-Persian war in the 1850's.  Britain was primarily, at that time, interested in protecting trade routes to India.  Once established in Iran (we are talking late 1800's now) Britain, through the process of bribing local rulers who did not want to lose power, began the process of granting exclusive commercial rights to British companies to establish banks, print currency, explore for minerals, run transit lines and even grow tobacco (standard colonial mechanisms backed up by the British military).  Significant territories were lost in these conflicts never to be recovered.

One of these companies (a forerunner to BP) discovered oil in 1908.  In 1913, the British government maneuvered its way to a contract under which all Iranian oil became its property. Six years later it imposed an “agreement” that gave it control of Iran’s army and treasury. 

The Russians occupied northern Iran in 1911 and the British occupied western Iran during WWI.

In 1921 Reza Khan, the former general of the Russian controlled Persian-Cossack Brigade overthrew the Iranian government and became the Shah. The British then withdrew their troops (the colonial man is now in charge).

In 1941 the Russians and British reoccupied the country (just securing the oil resources you know) and replaced the Shah with his son Reza Pahlavi.  He retained absolute power (within the guidelines of being a ruler of a colony) until there were, lo and behold, democratic elections for a Prime Minister in 1951 when Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected.

Mosadegh was a reformer and a nationalist (not something a colonial power was going to be fond of).  Amongst the many reforms he instituted was the nationalization of the Anglo-Persian oil company.  As you might imagine this did not go down well with the British (and the Americans who were in the process of picking up responsibilities for many British colonies as this was the time of British retrenchment following WWII).  So, big surprise, the British and Americans decided that Mosaddegh must be a communist (sound familiar).  So, true to form, Mosaddegh was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA and MI6 in 1953 known as Operation Ajax. The US (via the CIA) became the prime colonial power at this point and the Shah was reinstated in power.

Quote
.. In August 2013 the CIA formally admitted that it was involved in both the planning and the execution of the coup, including the bribing of Iranian politicians, security and army high-ranking officials, as well as pro-coup propaganda.[11][12] The CIA is quoted acknowledging the coup was carried out "under CIA direction" and "as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government."..

Not wishing to make that same democratic mistake twice the Shah, with the training and assistance of the CIA and the US State Dept, instituted absolute control over the country via his security service (SAVAK) and the military.  The CIA was directly involved in training the SAVAK which was infamous for its use of torture and assassination of anyone who might be a dissident.  Besides picking up the benefits of profiting from the Iranian oil concessions the US thus gained a great location for placing listening posts along the southern border of the Soviet Union which were staffed by CIA personnel.

Of note, and something which helps explain why the Iranians are not very friendly with the Israelis, is that in the 1960's training of the SAVAK shifted from the CIA to the Mossad who not only performed training but conducted joint operations with SAVAK.

The Ayatollah Khomeini, started out as a religious nationalist opponent of dictatorship in the 1950's.  He was eventually imprisoned in the early 1960's (by the CIA trained SAVAK), eventually released and fled into exile. You can imagine what he thought of the US.  One of his prime complaints about the US was our insisting that US military personnel be exempt from local courts when they committed crimes (sound familiar?).

In 1979 the country erupted in revolution and overthrew the Shah and Khomeini came into power.  The US Embassy hostage crises ensued.  CIA and State Dept personnel in other parts of the country fled via various escape routes, some with Canadian help, some by crossing the border into the Soviet Union, and others by hiking cross country out of the country. (this is from personal knowledge).

In 1980, with backroom support by the US and Saudi Arabia, Iraq invaded Iran with the goal of occupying territories and as a means to lessen the threat of Shia influence in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  This war was the longest conventional war of the 20th century and resulted in as many as 1 million Iranian dead, including as many as 100,000 child soldiers (who were used to clear paths through the Iraqi mine fields for the assault troops during mass attacks - just like WWI in a sense - I have looked through folders of pictures of the carnage following such attacks.  Unforgettable).  During this war the US facilitated the shipment of large amounts of arms to the Iraqi's to include chemical weapons used on Iranian troops.  US intelligence provided satellite overhead information on Iranian troop placements to help the Iraqi's use the chemical weapons to effect.  Additionally the Saudi's, with US urging, shifted many billions of dollars to the Iraqi's to help fund the war.

In 1987 in a desperate attempt to end the war the Iranians attempted to close the Persian Gulf to oil tanker traffic and thus starve the Iraqi's of revenue.  Note that at this time the Iranian Air Force was smaller than the complement of a US aircraft carrier.  Iraq at this time was receiving aircraft and parts from the Russians, training and repair expertise from the French and the US navy was providing tactical intelligence on Iranian assets and their locations to help Iraqi targeting of Iranian ships and facilities.  Though badly outgunned the Iranians held their own.   Tanker attacks by both the Iranians and Iraqi's continued for some time until the Kuwaiti's asked the US to reflag their tankers as US vessels. This resulted in the US Navy becoming directly involved in the conflict via operation Earnest Will which was the naval escort of US flagged Kuwaiti vessels.  Iran subsequently sank two of these vessels and not long after the US shot down a civilian Iranian airliner killing all some 250 persons aboard.

Quote
...On 24 September, US Navy SEALS captured the Iranian mine-laying ship Iran Ajr, a diplomatic disaster for the already isolated Iranians. On 8 October, the US Navy destroyed four Iranian speedboats, and in response to Iranian Silkworm missile attacks on Kuwaiti oil tankers launched Operation Nimble Archer, destroying two Iranian oil rigs in the Persian Gulf.[35] During November and December, the Iraqi air force launched a bid to destroy all Iranian airbases in Khuzestan and all remaining Iranian air force. However, Iran managed to shoot down 30 Iraqi fighters with their jets, anti-aircraft guns, and missiles, allowing the Iranian air force to survive to the end of the war.[35]

 Bodies of Iranian students killed in an Iraqi Bomber Attack on a school in Borujerd, 10 January 1987.
On 28 June, Iraqi fighter bombers attacked the Iranian town of Sardasht near the border, using chemical mustard gas bombs. While many towns and cities had been bombed before, and troops attacked with gas, this was the first time that the Iraqis had attacked a civilian area with poison gas.[129] One quarter of the town's then population of 20,000 was burned and stricken, and 113 were killed immediately, with many more dying and suffering health effects over the next decades.[117] Saddam ordered the attack in order to test the effects of the newly developed "dusty mustard" gas, which was designed to be even more crippling than traditional mustard gas, in addition to the area for suspected Kurdish rebels. While little known outside of Iran (unlike the later Halabja poison gas attack), the Sardasht bombing (and future similar attacks) had a tremendous effect on the Iranian people's psyche....


Following the 1979  revolution the US imposed sanctions on the Iranians and has orchestrated a series of sanctions since via various means.  The original sanctions were upgraded in 1996 and UN sanctions were imposed 8 different times.

Now most of the sanctions in recent years are related to the Iranian nuclear program.  We will set aside the arguments about whether the Iranians are justified in attempting to build nuclear weapons (though you know if we were in their position we would not take no for an answer).  Let's just look at its history for a moment (I'll highlight a few items in bold).

Quote
The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program.[1] The participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.[2]

After the 1979 revolution, a clandestine nuclear weapons research program was disbanded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989), who considered such weapons forbidden under Muslim ethics and jurisprudence.[3]Iran has signed treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention,[4] the Chemical Weapons Convention,[5] and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).[6]...

Note that a clandestine nuclear weapons program during the time of the Shah could not have been conducted without US/Israeli knowledge and likely US assistance. 

Quote
..Iran's first nuclear power plant, Bushehr I reactor was complete with major assistance of Russian government agency Rosatom and officially opened on 12 September 2011.[8] Iran has announced that it is working on a new 360 MW nuclear power plant to be located in Darkhovin. The Russian engineering contractor Atomenergoprom said the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would reach full capacity by the end of 2012.[9] Iran has also indicated that it will seek more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future.[10]

In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work" in 2003.[11] In 2012, U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[12]

In November 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors criticized Iran after an IAEA report concluded that before 2003 Iran likely had undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability.[13] The IAEA report details allegations that Iran conducted studies related to nuclear weapons design, including detonator development, the multiple-point initiation of high explosives, and experiments involving nuclear payload integration into a missile delivery vehicle.[14] A number of Western nuclear experts have stated there was very little new in the report, that it primarily concerned Iranian activities prior to 2003,[15] and that media reports exaggerated its significance.[16]...

Over the years there have been a number or Iranian nuclear scientists assassinated.

Quote
Attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists

In a January 2012 article in Salon magazine, Glenn Greenwald noted the killing of at least five Iranian nuclear scientists during 2010 and 2011, by unknown attackers, with no apparent outcry in the Western media.[355]

According to Iran, and privately confirmed by unnamed U.S. government officials, the attacks on the nuclear scientists and facilities are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group called the People's Mujahedin of Iran. According to the officials, the group is financed, trained, and armed by Mossad.[356]...

I suggest reading the entire page on their nuclear program as one can see the effect of government influence on media reporting and that this is a complicated story.  And one might keep in mind US insistence on Iraqi WMD efforts when the IAEA found the opposite and who ended up right.  Credibility means something.  Just because if we the US were in their position we would build weapons does not mean that they are doing so (though it makes some strategic sense for them to do so).  Though I am not a big fan of nuclear power they do have the same justifications for developing a nuclear power industry as do dozens of other countries.  Their oil resources are depleting and they need to transition away from a total reliance on such resources.

In 2010 the Iranian nuclear program was hit by the most sophisticated computer virus seen to date in the world.  Many reports have indicated that development of this virus required tens of millions of dollars and the work of an extremely large staff of computer experts thus making it certain that it was government sponsored.  This virus did extensive damage to their centrifuges.

Quote
Stuxnet is a computer worm discovered in June 2010 that is believed to have been created by United States and Israel agencies to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.[1] Stuxnet initially spreads via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens industrial control systems. While it is not the first time that hackers have targeted industrial systems,[2] it is the first discovered malware that spies on and subverts industrial systems,[3] and the first to include a programmable logic controller (PLC) rootkit.[4][5]...

Quote
..In May 2011, the PBS program Need To Know cited a statement by Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, in which he said, "we're glad they [the Iranians] are having trouble with their centrifuge machine and that we – the US and its allies – are doing everything we can to make sure that we complicate matters for them", offering "winking acknowledgement" of US involvement in Stuxnet.[22] According to The Daily Telegraph, a showreel that was played at a retirement party for the head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gabi Ashkenazi, included references to Stuxnet as one of his operational successes as the IDF chief of staff.[19]...

..On 1 June 2012, an article in The New York Times said that Stuxnet is part of a U.S. and Israeli intelligence operation called "Operation Olympic Games", started under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama.[23]

On 24 July 2012, an article by Chris Matyszczyk from cnet[24] reported how the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran e-mailed F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hyppönen to report a new instance of malware.

On 25 December 2012, an Iranian semi-official news agency announced there was a cyberattack by Stuxnet, this time on the industries in the southern area of the country. The virus targeted a power plant and some other industries in Hormozgan province in recent months.[25]
...

So where does this leave us?  Do the Iranians have reason to dislike, distrust and fear the United States and its allies or not?  To hate us or not?  To hold us in contempt or not?

Do we really have any reason to fear them, to hate them?  To think that they are any threat to our national security?  Or are we just being bitchy because we lost control of the place? 

I say the case is closed.







http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_War)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Persian_Wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Persian_Wars)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAVAK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAVAK)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhollah_Khomeini#Early_political_activity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhollah_Khomeini#Early_political_activity)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iran)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_Libya_Sanctions_Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_Libya_Sanctions_Act)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet)





Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 19, 2013, 07:38:29 PM
Resources are everything, so try again!

Quote
In 1941 the Russians and British reoccupied the country

It's called war and the Nazis were there trying to get resources for war. Is that too hard to figure out?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 21, 2013, 05:08:12 PM
Another interesting read on the internal stresses in America.

Quote
Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal conflict and, sometimes, outright social collapse.

Analysis of past societies shows that these destabilizing historical trends develop slowly, last many decades, and are slow to subside. The Roman Empire, Imperial China and medieval and early-modern England and France suffered such cycles, to cite a few examples. In the U.S., the last long period of instability began in the 1850s and lasted through the Gilded Age and the “violent 1910s.”

We now see the same forces in the contemporary U.S. Of about 30 detailed indicators I developed for tracing these historical cycles (reflecting popular well-being, inequality, social cooperation and its inverse, polarization and conflict), almost all have been moving in the wrong direction in the last three decades.
....

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-20/blame-rich-overeducated-elites-as-our-society-frays.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-20/blame-rich-overeducated-elites-as-our-society-frays.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on November 21, 2013, 11:43:06 PM
Long read but the introduction is very interesting, how a critique became a guide, to Empire.
http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf (http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 22, 2013, 01:00:51 AM
johnm33

Excellent read (I read the first 40 pages).  I urge others who find this subject interesting to work through the intro as well.  It is very instructive.

Contemplate for a time what might happen if the faction in US politics who want to reinstitute the gold standard got their way.  Also what would happen if the rest of the world cooperated (and could overcome US resistance) and replaced the dollar as the global reserve currency.

I expect that the US can maintain the current system for quite some time into the future.  But we are hollowing out and it seems certain to break down at some point.  What can/will it evolve into and what level of control of the world economy would be left in the control of the US.  All this has big implications for how well (or if at all) the world ends up dealing climate change and the eventual collapse.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 22, 2013, 05:48:36 PM
johnm33

Excellent read (I read the first 40 pages).  I urge others who find this subject interesting to work through the intro as well.  It is very instructive.

Contemplate for a time what might happen if the faction in US politics who want to reinstitute the gold standard got their way.  Also what would happen if the rest of the world cooperated (and could overcome US resistance) and replaced the dollar as the global reserve currency.

I expect that the US can maintain the current system for quite some time into the future.  But we are hollowing out and it seems certain to break down at some point.  What can/will it evolve into and what level of control of the world economy would be left in the control of the US.  All this has big implications for how well (or if at all) the world ends up dealing climate change and the eventual collapse.
Agree that this is a must read for anyone trying to understand the absurdity witnessed as US debt increases while interest rates stay in the cellar. Canada managed to avoid an IMF bailout a few decades ago thanks to policies put in place by Paul Martin prior to him becoming PM. As long as the world can be coerced into buying American debt I don't see a way out.
If other governments are financing American excesses & these excesses are spent in part on armaments designed to assure the compliance of these governments how is the circle ever broken?
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JackTaylor on November 22, 2013, 10:26:49 PM
TerryM
Quote
how is the circle ever broken?
Best question I've heard in a long time.

A theoretical simple answer:
When USA Federal Spending (budget) runs less than 90% (or less) of Income (tax receipts) for ten years.
Not that I expect to see it happen.
Too many other countries could collapse well before USA.
Are we the biggest (consumers) supporters of the economies buying USA debt?

Yes it is a BIG CIRCLE.


Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 23, 2013, 12:51:17 AM
"Cluster..." is another phrase that comes to mind.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 23, 2013, 05:39:28 AM
If other governments are financing American excesses & these excesses are spent in part on armaments designed to assure the compliance of these governments how is the circle ever broken?
Terry

I think the answer there is simple - it breaks when China decides it's time to break it. American capacity for coercion is pretty limited looking at the military history of the US. China seems to be playing a clever enough game to succeed.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 23, 2013, 08:42:50 AM
"........propaganda" is the phrase that comes to my mind.

Simply looking back on the times since WWII reveals who was trying to create an empire and who was opposing that effort. Communist nations created areas that only succeeded by stop being Communist. Making that connection to empire is rather complicated for some people, especially when the Communists say their aim is to conquer the world. Can someone explain how the Soviet Union became Russia again or when Russia returns islands captured at the end of WWII to Japan? Can someone explain why anti-ballistic missile systems are so opposed in a world with ballistic missiles?

America hasn't built an empire for itself and has built a reputation of opposing empires. All the sour grapes in the world can't change reality.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 23, 2013, 03:57:19 PM
Quite instructive to have a specimen of the result of said propaganda with us.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 23, 2013, 09:00:24 PM
I'd pushed on into the WW1 chapter but think I'll go back again to the intro. There are so many questions that I still have re. that section that drowning in additional material probably isn't productive at this time.
When other nations are paying America's debts why would we expect anything other than a continuation of fiscal policies that would ruin any other country. If this analysis is correct the only country that could afford the large capital outlays needed to confront sea level rise around the world may be the US. If so convincing American lawmakers that climate change needs to be dealt with is of extreme importance.
A friend has bet heavily against the American Dollar because of the debt increases seen since 2000. I'm going to send her a copy of this article as she may want to at least hedge her position.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 24, 2013, 02:07:44 AM
This post is sort of on topic (at least at the end) and could just as easily be in the topic on Why some deny and others fail to act.

We have exchanged a lot of posts in various topics which refer to and relate to the difficulties in educating the public about climate change and the need to act now.  About how in the face of overwhelming evidence such a large number of people not only lack the will to begin to act, but rather act in ways which make it more difficult for others to act who have made the transition away from passive acceptance of BAU (i.e. the deniers).   I have been thinking about this some in the last few weeks as we all have struggled a bit with a blizzard of posts just full of acceptance of various pieces of BAU, political, cultural, and social propaganda yet seemingly attuned to the reality of AGW.  It is interesting to observe how someone can seem to accept a body of scientific evidence on something like climate change and come to the conclusion we do need to act yet that person can exhibit all the symptoms manifested by the AGW deniers when it comes to subjects which are not in the scientific realm?

Science attracts a certain group of people, I believe, because it has a fairly rigid structure based upon a rule set that can be applied to a wide variety of  events and issues for which data can be gathered and physical processes identified.  It allows pretty definitive answers for a significant range of questions.  Some people are exceptionally good at functioning in this kind of environment or find comfort in its structure.  We are all familiar with those whose scientific IQ's are extremely high and accomplish great things within the confines of scientific rules.  Most all of these people actually think that they are smarter than all the other smart people in the world who are not highly skilled within the realm of scientific thought or who are completely uninterested in it.

A common weakness often pointed out about very smart people who are deep experts in some field is that there is a natural human arrogance that all of us suffer from to some extent which makes us think that because we are smart enough to be an expert in one area that we are automatically qualified to give opinions in any area or topic of discussion which comes up.  There is some name for this which escapes me at the moment - PhD syndrome or something like that - but I think most of us are familiar with this human fault.  In my experience this fault is more openly seen in those whose personal expertise relates to some field of endeavor which is structured around the scientific method.  The ability in a scientific field to actually get an unequivocal answer may be leading many people to assume that the rest of the world actually functions that way.  Having been trained as an engineer my experience is that physicists are the most afflicted with this form of behavior (sort of kidding here).  But all humans suffer from it.

But why does this seem to happen so much more with those who are trained in the scientific method than it does with experts from so many non-scientific disciplines?  I think it lies in the structure of the mental world scientifically oriented people are used to working in. Their world is a model of the real thing and there is a  natural tendency to confuse the two.  We see this in complaints about how various scientists seem to start to view their models (of the climate or whatever) as the real thing and not a representation of what is real.  The deniers use attacks on this weakness to great advantage and posters here at times use it to critique scientists who they think are being too conservative in their projections.   People who are very comfortable using the scientific thought process often try and base their opinions on non-scientifically describable issues via that method.  To do such is not valid and leads to great misunderstandings.  Those who are experts in the non-scientific world intuitively understand that science or the scientific method cannot provide much insight to the problems and questions which occupy their thoughts and that few answers will fall into the bipolar right and wrong framework.   

If we divide the world up into realms where the scientific method can be used and where it can not be it is quite clear, at least to me, that the scientific world, however rich it is in complexity and unknowns, is much smaller, less complex and more explainable than the rest (it is a subset in other words).  Science and math, in the terms my genius son (in math, science and pretty much everything else) put to me, is easy in comparison to the rest of the world and, to him anyway, science is kind of boring.  The complexities of human behavior, feelings, culture, religion, psychology, politics, history, non-scientific cause and effect, conflict, strategy, tactics, economics, finance, etc are vastly more complex than scientific endeavors and to this day we struggle to find rational ways to explain them.  The person with a brain structure strongly oriented toward rigid rule based thought processes is seldom capable of deep thought in the non-scientific world.  And those who are deep thinkers in the non-scientific world seldom operate effectively in the world where rule based thought dominates.  I always try and keep in mind that the old adage in science, "Correlation is not causation", is not always true in the non-scientific world.   

Science is simple because it presupposes a right answer (and I am not trying to be insulting here as I find many aspects of science fascinating and it is nice to have a correct answer sometimes).  It may take awhile to tease that answer out of the fog of data, but it is just in there waiting to be discovered.  And once you know it you are done as it does not change (with a little nod at this point to Newton and Einstein on the difficulty of knowing when you have reached that point).  The rest of the human universe does not adhere to the laws of physics and what has occurred and why is much more difficult to discern.  History as they say is written by the victors (but that does not mean that what is written is what actually happened), why a country is doing something is described by who controls the messaging media (but that does not mean it is the real reason), if you tell a lie enough times loud enough most people come to believe it (deniers anyone), if you send your military to provide disaster assistance to a place which is a functional colony of yours and not to places where disasters occur but you have no economic interest are you providing humanitarian assistance or furthering your empire.  If you grow up having your grade school teachers tell you that your country is THE force for good in the world, that we always oppose the bad guys, that we are for democracy and freedom, etc when the evidence paints a very different picture most will still believe what they were told.  When you send a soldier to war you always want them to believe that what you are sending them to do is morally right and has a higher purpose and governments go to great extent to provide that foundation for their soldiers. But war seldom has a moral foundation and rarely does it have a clear right and wrong. 

Our struggles on the societal/civilizational level about how, or even if, we are going to deal with AGW are foundered on the rocks of the above problem to a great extent.  The science on AGW is clear but it is such a small part of figuring out what we are going to do.  All of the difficult questions still wait for an answer.  How we answer those questions has little to nothing to do with science and everything to do with all those non-scientific factors mentioned above.  If we don't get a better "understanding" of, "what" really happened historically, "why" humans behave the way they do, 'how" various religions (Christian, Muslim, Progress, Jewish, etc) mould (manipulate) our thoughts, "what" the inherent weaknesses of political ideology are, etc. we will never be able to mobilize the global population in a way to meaningfully attempt to mitigate and adapt to AGW. 

The American empire and the budding Chinese empire exist in the same way that AGW exists.  There is a mountain of supporting evidence and no contrary evidence of any consequence.  There are deniers out there arguing about both still, but why they do so cannot be explained scientifically as the "why" is to be found in the non-scientific realm.  The course of what happens and the why when it comes to China and the US are key to the problem (and many other countries are important factors, as well as the general human race) and we must strive to understand the how and why of their behavior and what can be done to change that behavior.  Or disaster awaits us.

And that is the optimistic perspective.  That if we can accomplish this understanding we can effect change for the better.  That is the real fighting not to give up.
 
The pessimistic perspective (or the realistic perhaps) is that we are truly screwed and may as well enjoy ourselves as long as we can and then ride the tiger (which can be quite an adventure until you fall off).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on November 24, 2013, 03:48:39 PM
 This is the network that needs to be addressed and in whose interest the 'empire' acts, [certainly not the American public] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2051008/Does-super-corporation-run-global-economy.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2051008/Does-super-corporation-run-global-economy.html) Zurich uni has done an update, which I can't find, showing that 168[iirc] individuals are at the heart[?] of this enterprise. There's a better treatment in new scientist for anyone with access.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 24, 2013, 04:32:49 PM
Jim, your description sound a bit more like engineers than most scientists. Most research scientists are working at the edge of what is known, so they are constantly faced with uncertainty, it would seem to me.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 24, 2013, 04:41:22 PM
AGW exists and imaginary empires don't. Proof rests on those making the claim and not those saying the claim is bogus. Writing a book supporting a claim on face value only proves someone is willing to waste their time and not prove their case.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 24, 2013, 07:45:49 PM
Jim, your description sound a bit more like engineers than most scientists. Most research scientists are working at the edge of what is known, so they are constantly faced with uncertainty, it would seem to me.

You might be misunderstanding me a bit (or the other way around).  All fields have areas of tremendous uncertainty and unknowns.  But scientific problems by definition are bound within the laws of physics which (with a lot of effort) can be eventually determined via the scientific method.  This is not the case with non-scientific problems/issues.  In these areas the process or description which leads one to what appears to be the correct answer is often not repeatable.  The influence of the various factors determining the answer do not always interact in the same way or which one is causal  to the other varies.  Economics is a perfect example in that it is very difficult to use its rules and get the same answer two times in a row.  And economics is one of the more predicatable of the non-scientific fields.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 24, 2013, 11:46:13 PM
Got it. Habermas, iirc, makes a distinction for fields of inquiry between various levels of complexity. Basic physics applies to chemistry, and chemistry applies to biology, and biology applies to the socio-biology, but it is rather hard to explain even mouse behavior by directly building up from the interaction of subatomic particles that physics deals with. He argues that there is yet another major step up when you get to human-related fields where you can get direct reflexivity--economic or sociological theories affect the very economies and societies being studied.

In our case, the definition of the term "empire" is ultimately what is being discussed. In science, basic definitions of fundamental terms (temperature, mass...) are generally not in dispute. But in the social 'sciences' and political 'science,' definitional disputes are much of the issue.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 25, 2013, 12:35:31 AM
AGW exists and imaginary empires don't. Proof rests on those making the claim and not those saying the claim is bogus. Writing a book supporting a claim on face value only proves someone is willing to waste their time and not prove their case.

You are confused on burden of proof as well.

The person making the new claim which purports to overturn the accepted wisdom or the current body of evidence is the one required to provide the proof and/or justification.

That would be you.

That America runs an empire is has been accepted academically for decades.  Dozens of books and hundreds of articles have been written about it.  It is the 97% story just like AGW.

That Americas leaders have been focused on empire is documented going back to the Founders.  And at times they have been completely open about it.

The mechanics of how empires function is well documented in all its forms going back thousands of years.  America has used a large number of those mechanisms and also America has invented some new and pretty clever mechanisms as well.  You might want to actually read the link johnm33 provided us as it is very instructive on this point.

http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf (http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf)

I am not making any new claims about the American empire I am discussing the status of it and trends and events impacting it.  That is a big difference.  It is an important subject.

If you can actually articulate your position on this subject feel free and if you can present an intelligent argument I for one would like to see it.  Just squawking "NO!" every time the subject comes up adds no value and no one here thinks you know what you are talking about.

Otherwise why bother coming to this topic if it bothers you so much.   

But if you actually are able to backup your position don't waste your time here.  I suggest that you get a publisher and write the book.  You could make millions and some of the neo-cons who work the empire strategies are always looking for ammunition to add to the smokescreen they put out to disguise what they are doing.  You could be their new darling.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 25, 2013, 02:18:46 AM
Terry here is an article from a Canadian I think.  Interesting commentary.

http://jacobinmag.com/2013/09/the-decline-of-the-american-empire/ (http://jacobinmag.com/2013/09/the-decline-of-the-american-empire/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 02:38:23 AM
AGW exists and imaginary empires don't. Proof rests on those making the claim and not those saying the claim is bogus. Writing a book supporting a claim on face value only proves someone is willing to waste their time and not prove their case.

You are confused on burden of proof as well.

The person making the new claim which purports to overturn the accepted wisdom or the current body of evidence is the one required to provide the proof and/or justification.

That would be you.

That America runs an empire is has been accepted academically for decades.  Dozens of books and hundreds of articles have been written about it.  It is the 97% story just like AGW.

That Americas leaders have been focused on empire is documented going back to the Founders.  And at times they have been completely open about it.

The mechanics of how empires function is well documented in all its forms going back thousands of years.  America has used a large number of those mechanisms and also America has invented some new and pretty clever mechanisms as well.  You might want to actually read the link johnm33 provided us as it is very instructive on this point.

http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf (http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030317hudson/superimperialism.pdf)

I am not making any new claims about the American empire I am discussing the status of it and trends and events impacting it.  That is a big difference.  It is an important subject.

If you can actually articulate your position on this subject feel free and if you can present an intelligent argument I for one would like to see it.  Just squawking "NO!" every time the subject comes up adds no value and no one here thinks you know what you are talking about.

Otherwise why bother coming to this topic if it bothers you so much.   

But if you actually are able to backup your position don't waste your time here.  I suggest that you get a publisher and write the book.  You could make millions and some of the neo-cons who work the empire strategies are always looking for ammunition to add to the smokescreen they put out to disguise what they are doing.  You could be their new darling.

I'm confused? You make the claim, so you prove it!

Can you explain this:

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/24/21596267-how-did-that-happen-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal?lite (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/24/21596267-how-did-that-happen-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal?lite)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 04:24:24 PM
Getting back to the subject of Empire - America and the future , can someone explain to me why the US didn't permanently occupy areas of Germany and Japan after WWII?

How did America treat the Philippines after WWII? How did America deal with it's allies who had empires, like France and the UK, as they freed their colonies? Did America invent the Communist threat to our world? The US did not draw the map for countries in the Middle East, because it had no power in the decision to divide the Ottoman Empire.

I think the most sad day lately for America is when we retreated and allowed the Cambodian communist government kill a third of their population, because we could have stopped it.

Speaking only for myself and my assessment of Americans, we don't want bad feelings with anyone on Earth, but if attacked we will defend. Life is miserable enough without creating misery. That black hole over North Korea doesn't appeal to my eyes. I wish it didn't exist.

Wars are hell, but there is a Hell hotter than war.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 25, 2013, 05:45:56 PM
Quote
Getting back to the subject of Empire - America and the future , can someone explain to me why the US didn't permanently occupy areas of Germany and Japan after WWII?

Unbelievable.  We did occupy them.  We still do.  When I was serving in German in 1990 there were some 250,000 US troops in Germany and over 300,000 in Europe.  There are still 50,000 US troops in Germany and over 35,000 in Japan.  WWII ended 68 years ago btw.  There are 10,000 in both the UK and Italy.  We controlled Germany and Japan for long periods after WWII and wrote their constitutions for them.  We fit them under our umbrella and used them to our advantage for as long as we could and still do to some extent.     

Quote
How did America treat the Philippines after WWII? How did America deal with it's allies who had empires, like France and the UK, as they freed their colonies?

We continued to treat it as a colony as it had been since we took it away from the Spanish following the Spanish-American war.  The fact that we allowed the installation of a puppet government and pseudo free elections in 1946 does not change that the Us controlled the country still.  Part of the structure we put in place in 1946 actually made the country even more dependent on the US than it was before the war.  On top of that we ensured that we could station all the troops we wanted there by making them sign 99 year leases for Clark Air Base and Subic Bay.  Vast additional tracks of the Philippines were under US military control (called reservations) until about 1960.  Sounds like occupation doesn't it.  And let us not forget that the US supported the overthrow of the Philippine govt by Marcos in 1972.  The ill will this created amongst the citizens of our long-term colony eventually resulted in democratic government returning and the US being forced to pull its troops out and give up the big bases.

Of note is that the US is currently putting serious pressure on the Philippines in an attempt to regain our bases there by using the argument with the Philippino's that we can help protect them from the growing Chinese empire.  In other words our empire is better for them than the Chinese one.

Quote
The US did not draw the map for countries in the Middle East, because it had no power in the decision to divide the Ottoman Empire.

True but once again you are confused.  The British did that but what we did following the decline of the British empire was pick up the pieces for them and take over running many parts of their former empire (and let them share in the proceeds).  We did the same for some French colonies which led to our disaster in Vietnam.  The UK has been since WWII our most senior (but not equal) ally in maintaining our empire.  They got to keep a lot more than they would have if we had cut them off and our payment was almost automatic support for anything we wanted to do.  This is common knowledge.   No empire has ever willingly given up control of colonies.  They do not "give" them their freedom.  Colonies are let go when the empire does not have enough power to hold onto them.  This is why we are paying such attention to the US as it is starting to lose control.   But just because a country has its own government does not mean it is free as the US controls many countries which are "democratic" as well as many which are dictatorships.

BTW we walked away from Cambodia because we didn't care.  It had nothing to offer us or for us to gain there.  Not to mention we had just got our butts kicked in Vietnam and we were trying to regroup.  There have been lots of genocides around the world in the last 50 years and the only times we got involved to any consequence was when there was something in it for us geopolitically.  Contrary to media propaganda we are not the worlds cop and we don't run around saving people unless there is some gain in it.  This is the reality of how the world works.

Quote
Speaking only for myself and my assessment of Americans, we don't want bad feelings with anyone on Earth, but if attacked we will defend....

Nobody attacks the US and no one is going to for the foreseeable future.  This is part of the effectiveness of American propaganda on its citizens.  No one is out to get us and no one threatens our freedoms and liberty.  We use our military to maintain our dominant position in the world.  We intimidate other countries and threaten them all the time.  We have for decades.  We use that military to force compliance from others.  That is a big part of the reason we control and use 25% of the worlds resources and is why the people of the US get to live like rich people.  Because we take more than our fair share.  This is what empires do.  Empires are the manifestation of our basic animal nature in that everyone who is not a part of our tribe is the enemy and you take from them everything you are able to.  The last time US troops defended our freedom in combat was WWII and one can make a good case the collision between the Japanese empire and the US one was inevitable and had nothing to do with defending our freedom but rather which country was going to end up on top in the Asian sphere.  One of us was going to attack the other sooner or later and they struck first.  Germany did not attack us in WWII or WWI.  We declared war on them.

There are books in the library that would help you get up to speed on this stuff.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 25, 2013, 05:53:17 PM
Another great read.

The Geopolitics of a US-Iran Détente

Sanctions, centrifuges and personalities aren’t the only forces pushing Iran and the U.S. toward a détente.

Quote
In his pivotal book “Treacherous Alliances,“ Trita Parsi seeks to refute the conventional wisdom that ideology shapes U.S.-Iranian-Israeli relations. Tracing the trilateral relationship from Israel’s creation through the middle of the last decade, Parsi argues convincingly that geopolitics has been the driving force in the trilateral relationship....

Quote
Since the end of the Cold War there have been three distinct phases in U.S.-Iran relations. During the first period, which lasted from the end of the Gulf War through roughly 2005, U.S. power in the Middle East was at its peak. American policymakers used this power to construct a U.S.-led regional order that pointedly excluded Iran and Iraq....

....U.S.-Iran fortunes reversed themselves around 2005. At this point, the U.S. had overthrown Saddam Hussein — Iran’s fiercest adversary — only to become bogged down in an insurgency and civil war in Iraq. Iran profited greatly from these developments, which allowed it to construct a so-called “Shi’a Crescent” of influence that stretched from Iraq in the Gulf to Syria and Lebanon in the Levant. Its open defiance of the U.S. also made Iran extremely popular among the Arab street.....

....Starting with the global financial crisis, but only becoming evident with the Arab Spring, U.S.-Iran relations entered a third phase that continues today. During this period, the U.S. and Iran have seen their positions in the Middle East decline precipitously, giving both a strong impetus to reconcile their differences and cooperate in the region.....

Quote
...For both Iran and the U.S., the Arab Spring has brought these trends into sharp relief. The revolts that began in early 2011 have forced Washington to abandon some of its autocratic allies, deeply unsettling the remaining ones. It also laid bare just how constrained American leaders are in a post-financial crisis world.

The seminal event of the Arab Spring for Iran has been the Syrian civil war. The uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad forced Iran to take drastic action to save its oldest ally in the Arab world. While Assad’s grip on power has stabilized, he remains extremely weak. Moreover, the effects of the Syrian civil war have spread to neighboring countries, where they have weakened Iran’s allies in Lebanon and Iraq. More generally, the Syrian civil war has greatly heighted sectarian tensions in the region, which bodes poorly for Shi’a Iran.
...

http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/the-geopolitics-of-a-us-iran-detente/ (http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/the-geopolitics-of-a-us-iran-detente/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 07:00:15 PM
Empires don't give back land conquered in war, so figure it out! Tell us what the USSR did after WWII! Are they an empire?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 25, 2013, 07:07:28 PM
"Empires don't give back land conquered in war"

Actually, they do, for a variety of reasons.

But I have a feeling that, again, we are having basically a definitional problem. gge seems to think that, if an entity isn't acting exactly like the Roman Empire, it can't be an empire. Given that narrow definition, the US is not exactly that kind of empire (though in certain individual circumstances, it does act fairly close to that).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 07:19:53 PM
Another great read.

The Geopolitics of a US-Iran Détente

Sanctions, centrifuges and personalities aren’t the only forces pushing Iran and the U.S. toward a détente.

Quote
In his pivotal book “Treacherous Alliances,“ Trita Parsi seeks to refute the conventional wisdom that ideology shapes U.S.-Iranian-Israeli relations. Tracing the trilateral relationship from Israel’s creation through the middle of the last decade, Parsi argues convincingly that geopolitics has been the driving force in the trilateral relationship....

Quote
Since the end of the Cold War there have been three distinct phases in U.S.-Iran relations. During the first period, which lasted from the end of the Gulf War through roughly 2005, U.S. power in the Middle East was at its peak. American policymakers used this power to construct a U.S.-led regional order that pointedly excluded Iran and Iraq....

....U.S.-Iran fortunes reversed themselves around 2005. At this point, the U.S. had overthrown Saddam Hussein — Iran’s fiercest adversary — only to become bogged down in an insurgency and civil war in Iraq. Iran profited greatly from these developments, which allowed it to construct a so-called “Shi’a Crescent” of influence that stretched from Iraq in the Gulf to Syria and Lebanon in the Levant. Its open defiance of the U.S. also made Iran extremely popular among the Arab street.....

....Starting with the global financial crisis, but only becoming evident with the Arab Spring, U.S.-Iran relations entered a third phase that continues today. During this period, the U.S. and Iran have seen their positions in the Middle East decline precipitously, giving both a strong impetus to reconcile their differences and cooperate in the region.....

Quote
...For both Iran and the U.S., the Arab Spring has brought these trends into sharp relief. The revolts that began in early 2011 have forced Washington to abandon some of its autocratic allies, deeply unsettling the remaining ones. It also laid bare just how constrained American leaders are in a post-financial crisis world.

The seminal event of the Arab Spring for Iran has been the Syrian civil war. The uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad forced Iran to take drastic action to save its oldest ally in the Arab world. While Assad’s grip on power has stabilized, he remains extremely weak. Moreover, the effects of the Syrian civil war have spread to neighboring countries, where they have weakened Iran’s allies in Lebanon and Iraq. More generally, the Syrian civil war has greatly heighted sectarian tensions in the region, which bodes poorly for Shi’a Iran.
...

http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/the-geopolitics-of-a-us-iran-detente/ (http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/the-geopolitics-of-a-us-iran-detente/)

Figure this out, we don't want another country having nukes and the we is this world! We want to go the other way with less countries having nukes.

Let's try this! UK and France give up your nukes! Russia move your nukes out of Europe! North Korea give up your nukes! With the cooperation of nations, we should be able to scale things down to the point that nukes are only needed for planetary defense.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 07:24:43 PM
"Empires don't give back land conquered in war"

Actually, they do, for a variety of reasons.

But I have a feeling that, again, we are having basically a definitional problem. gge seems to think that, if an entity isn't acting exactly like the Roman Empire, it can't be an empire. Given that narrow definition, the US is not exactly that kind of empire (though in certain individual circumstances, it does act fairly close to that).

Sure they do <sarc>, as fast as someone changes the name of the game by moving the goal posts. This crap is propaganda, pure and simple!

What country isn't an empire based on your present definition?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 07:33:33 PM
Any country that doesn't have tens of thousands of soldiers in other countries.  :P
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 08:03:38 PM
Any country that doesn't have tens of thousands of soldiers in other countries.  :P

You mean like those countries that weren't attacked on 9/11?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 08:26:15 PM
You mean like those countries that weren't attacked on 9/11?

Yes, exactly.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 08:28:33 PM
You mean like those countries that weren't attacked on 9/11?

Yes, exactly.

They don't have to bother with that crap.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 09:06:29 PM
Quote
They don't have to bother with that crap.

That's what you get for being an empire. Don't want crap? Don't be an empire. And compost the crap while you're at it.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 09:11:17 PM
Quote
They don't have to bother with that crap.

That's what you get for being an empire. Don't want crap? Don't be an empire. And compost the crap while you're at it.

That's what you get in a country no one wants to come to. Try this:

America (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwo4eZ-MF10#)

We are the United Nations.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 09:17:01 PM
You were the United Nations. Now you're this:

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinwire.com%2Fwp-content%2Fgallery%2Fimage-dump-8-20-2010%2Fbaby-nursing-on-mcdonalds-bun.jpg&hash=9d2a627b790213062b0cbbff549f748f)

And the number 1 reason for this:

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fplanet3.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F10%2F4.jpg&hash=a732f0f442dcda5288c85b8043962344)

The US of A is a sick, decadent empire. It has spread its brainwashing disease to everyone I know in Europe and is now determined to body snatch the rest of the globe.

That's just my 2 Eurocents.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 09:25:26 PM
No, I'm only me.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 09:31:39 PM
No, I'm only me.

If we're going to play games: I was referring to your use of "we", not you as an individual.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 10:11:52 PM
No, I'm only me.

If we're going to play games: I was referring to your use of "we", not you as an individual.

The people in the USA are much bigger/better than any individual, no matter how big someone thinks they are.  Individuals can't change the course of future history and only populations can. If some people want to blame America for it's problems, then they shouldn't waste their time and do it themselves. I'm not wrong for opposing what I consider a propaganda mindset, because it's all belief and not knowledge, even available to be found in common encyclopedias. America isn't as bad as some people claim and we want peace on our Earth.

I challenge the concept that America is an empire, because if my country ever tries to become such an empire during my lifetime, I'll be dead trying to stop it, first in line. What country other than this has ever slaughtered so many of it's citizens over the issue of slavery? Back in the old days we had Presidents who told the leaders of secession movements, we will hang your asses. (excuse my French, Neven) That President came from the South and was the first Democrat in office. Americans don't tolerate dumbshit. (more French)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 10:47:28 PM
My impression is that you live in the past. Everything you say might have been completely true in the past, it no longer is. For instance, the only reasons that the US deploy so many soldiers in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, are oil, pipelines and heroin. Only an empire that wants to sustain itself would do that. It's wrong and it's not going to work.

The American Dream has turned into a nightmare of consumption and slavery.

I'm sorry, that's how I look at it. But I know a lot of great American individuals that still hold and exemplify the values from the past. But a great many don't, even if they think they do (misplaced patriotism/nationalism, etc).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 11:01:25 PM
My impression is that you live in the past. Everything you say might have been completely true in the past, it no longer is. For instance, the only reasons that the US deploy so many soldiers in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, are oil, pipelines and heroin. Only an empire that wants to sustain itself would do that. It's wrong and it's not going to work.

The American Dream has turned into a nightmare of consumption and slavery.

I'm sorry, that's how I look at it. But I know a lot of great American individuals that still hold and exemplify the values from the past. But a great many don't, even if they think they do (misplaced patriotism/nationalism, etc).

Don't you live in Austria? Invite an empire back there and I'm sure the Russians will agree to that situation.

I live in the present and learn from the past. Try it!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 25, 2013, 11:04:00 PM
Quote
Don't you live in Austria? Invite an empire back there and I'm sure the Russians will agree to that situation.

Sure, but the question is: will YOUR empire allow it?

As long as I get to keep my McDonald's, I don't give a flying...  :P
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 11:17:06 PM
Quote
Don't you live in Austria? Invite an empire back there and I'm sure the Russians will agree to that situation.

Sure, but the question is: will YOUR empire allow it?

As long as I get to keep my McDonald's, I don't give a flying...  :P

KFC over in China doesn't make an empire. Try a dictionary!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 26, 2013, 02:27:16 AM
A dictionary over in China makes an empire?  ;D
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on November 26, 2013, 08:15:07 PM
This http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0025995 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0025995) is a much better source for the 'global transnational network' [linked to at the mail above] which I think usurped American democracy, and still holds Americans enthralled, and is the real empire builder. America merely being it's captive, and enforcer. I still can't find the follow-up study which narrows the control down to a number of individuals, and since I have neither german, french, italian or romanche can,t make any attempt on the original at Zurich uni.
 The individuals who control this network, i imagine, expend their efforts ensuring their continued joint supremacy, or in fierce competition with one another. They are certainly large enough as a group to have their own consensus reality, and unless somehow that bubble is popped we can be sure BAU continues until it's halted by a random event so big it derails the whole shebang.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 26, 2013, 08:54:57 PM
A dictionary over in China makes an empire?  ;D

A dictionary anywhere makes an empire, just like imagination can.

Did Iran once have an empire or did changing their name stop that?

I'd say America once tried to create an empire around the Spanish American war times, but gave up the idea following WWII, like many wise countries did, such as the UK and France. The main reason for WWII was Germany, Italy and Japan felt left out in hogging our world. Once the war was over, only the USSR tried to hog it. Yes, America occupied former enemy territory, rebuilt it and left. That isn't the behavior of an empire.

It's outdated, but I remember reading John Gunther's Inside Africa as a child and that man had insights to the future that were unbelievable. When my history teacher took a friend and me up to Philadelphia to buy books on the weekend, I remember spending a good portion of my hard earned cash buying a recent hard copy of his book Procession.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gunther (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gunther)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 26, 2013, 10:26:38 PM
Nice catch, john. A key sentence from the conclusion: "A relevant additional fact at this point is that of the core are financial intermediaries."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 29, 2013, 12:54:29 AM
Here's a recent piece on the Warsaw negotiations and related maters (linked from SkS) that has some quotable quotes on the general issues discussed here:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/20194-understanding-warsaw-capitalism-climate-change-neocolonialism (http://truth-out.org/news/item/20194-understanding-warsaw-capitalism-climate-change-neocolonialism)

I particularly like the lead quote:

Quote
"The old Imperialism levied tribute; the new Imperialism lends money at interest."

    The War of Steel and Gold: A Study of the Armed Peace
, Henry Noel Brailsford, 1914

This may go some way in explaining differences of perception about what is and is not an empire.

And another great quote, this time from the inimitable Vandana Shiva:

Quote
"Growth" measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities

And the quote by the famous economist, Joseph Stiglitz, followed by commentary by the author of the article, Chris Williams (in my bold):

Quote
Stiglitz, whose job was to promote the efficiency of markets as means to satisfy people's needs and enforce the neoliberal order, notes with regard to the operation of the market:

    "Having a bounteous supply [of food] within a country does not ensure that the citizens of that country are well fed. ... [F]amines are not necessarily caused by a lack of supply, but by a failure to get the food that exists to the people who need it. This was true in the Bengal famine of 1943 and in the Irish potato famine a century earlier: Ireland, controlled by its British masters, was exporting food even as its citizens died of starvation."

If we can't expect the system to feed people, even when food is available, what chance is there that it will close down the most powerful industry the world has ever known to help save the biosphere?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 29, 2013, 01:09:56 AM
People giving back land aren't creating empires, so figure it out!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 29, 2013, 01:24:29 AM
Two more quotes from the above-cited article:

Quote
founder and Chairman of the elite World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab highlighted the point made earlier about the incompatibility of capitalism with human happiness and planetary stability: The "biggest challenge we have today is the incapability of the system of global governance to take the necessary time and devote the necessary attention to construct our future."

Quote
If we are to save our world, it will not be enough to chip away at the walls; the people of the world must take a hammer to the entire foundation.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 29, 2013, 02:00:41 AM
Just move!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 29, 2013, 02:41:00 AM
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/28/21662080-chinese-fighter-jets-patrol-over-disputed-island-chain?lite (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/28/21662080-chinese-fighter-jets-patrol-over-disputed-island-chain?lite)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 29, 2013, 02:55:56 AM
USA for Africa - We are the World (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9BNoNFKCBI#)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 29, 2013, 03:32:43 AM
Let's start in Africa and march, just like the past! Governments aren't that much of an obstruction.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 29, 2013, 09:19:54 AM
Let's start in Africa and march, just like the past! Governments aren't that much of an obstruction.

Let's first ask the CIA for permission.  ;) ;D

Just kidding, just kidding...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 29, 2013, 09:40:54 AM
Let's start in Africa and march, just like the past! Governments aren't that much of an obstruction.

Let's first ask the CIA for permission.  ;) ;D

Just kidding, just kidding...

If you're American - that's what the second amendment (right to bear arms) is for...

The rest of us I suppose just have to start revolutions without the comfort of a convenient conscience soothing justification...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 01, 2013, 06:00:20 PM
With all of the items in the news the last few days about the US and China playing dodge plane over the South China Sea I thought I would present a few other items of interest.

For those who are not paying attention to the US relationship with our "friends" in the Philippines.  Formal control of the giant US bases at Subic Bay (formerly the largest US base outside the US) and Clark Air Base was ceded in the early 1990's.  There has been a lot of talk the last couple of years about the US regaining formal access to these facilities.   Philippine public opinion might not tolerate that due to the sentiments regarding formal colonial control in the past, but that does not mean it can't be worked out between governments.  For instance it turns out that the US has what constitutes an informal lease arrangement for the bases already.

Over the last few years the use of Subic Bay by the US Navy has grown to the point that on average a US naval vessel is in port almost continuously to the tune of near 100 vessels a year getting repairs, supplies and providing shore leave for sailors (the ships/subs actually arrive in groups not singly).  Meanwhile over at Clark some 100+ US military aircraft land and are serviced a month.

The Philippine government is spending some 1.8 billion to refurbish Subic and Clark as well.  This can only be for servicing US assets as the Philippines does not have forces which require such structures.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/us-usa-asia-military-idUSBRE8AD05Y20121114 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/us-usa-asia-military-idUSBRE8AD05Y20121114)

Additionally a brand new naval facility is also going to be built at Oyster Bay some 340 miles from Manila facing the Spratly Islands (disputed with China).  This facility will provide ports for frigates of the Philippine Navy which were just given to them by the US.  It will also provide informal facilities for US forces in a less public setting than Subic or Clark.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/10/01/13/philippine-islet-symbolizes-us-pivot-asia (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/10/01/13/philippine-islet-symbolizes-us-pivot-asia)

What is going on in Guam with the expansion of US bases (btw Guam and its other islands are US territory just like Puerto Rico - i.e. obtained during the Spanish-American war by taking colonies away from Spain).

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Leevin-Camacho/3963 (http://www.japanfocus.org/-Leevin-Camacho/3963)

Quote
And of all our race He has marked the American people as his chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America, and it holds for us all the profit, all the glory, all the happiness possible to man. Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 1900

What follows is a very interesting article on the political fight in the US circa 1900 over colonizing the Philippines (there was opposition to doing so - they lost).  Note the use of propaganda to influence US public opinion.

Note for our former American Marines the development of the beloved M1911 45 cal auto was in response to the difficulty US Marines and Soldiers were having killing various Philippine opponents to US colonialism (especially the Moro tribesmen).  A weapon ironically born to suppress those fighting for their freedom.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/selling-empire-american-propaganda-and-war-in-the-philippines/5355055?print=1 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/selling-empire-american-propaganda-and-war-in-the-philippines/5355055?print=1)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on December 04, 2013, 11:40:51 PM
I had a sort of picture of the Spanish -American war but have never got around to taking a closer look at what happened in the Philippines. There was a prophetic statement made by IIRC an American general when talking about Democracy in Cuba, along the lines of, 'sure they can have democracy but we'll pick the candidates, so they can vote for whoever they please but it will always be our man' . Looks to me they introduced that same system in the USA and here in the UK, we're like turkeys being allowed to vote on Christmas [thanksgiving], where Christmas is a given but we can vote for how warm the sheds are or who gets the biggest portion, or even on what time the feast starts, but Christmas well TINA. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 08, 2013, 05:55:04 PM
More on the rot at the apples core.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 09, 2013, 05:55:11 PM
If you still think that Assad used chemical weapons on the rebels in defiance of all common sense and that Obama was not playing his role of Empire in Chief read this.

What is described as going on in the Intel community over the Assad matter is exactly what I experienced when I was still working there during the Bush administrations manufacturing the Iraq war.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/12/hersh-on-obamas-lies-about-syrian-chemical-weapons.html (http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/12/hersh-on-obamas-lies-about-syrian-chemical-weapons.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on December 09, 2013, 07:09:27 PM
But he has a Nobel Peace Prize.

(and I had hope he was an honest man)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on December 10, 2013, 11:12:35 AM
http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/what-the-classroom-didnt-teach-me-about-the-american-empire.html (http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/what-the-classroom-didnt-teach-me-about-the-american-empire.html)
I wonder what our french soldiers are doing in central Africa...bringing peace...so beautiful !
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on December 10, 2013, 07:33:55 PM
Long read, but explains the predicament we're all in, Americans included. http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/02/democracy-born-chains (http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/02/democracy-born-chains)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on December 13, 2013, 10:47:44 AM
Poised on the edge of a cascade of disasters the culprits still plan the next move in their plan for world empire. http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/12/02/the-secret-trade-agreement-about-to-complete-the-corporate-takeover-of-democracy/ (http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/12/02/the-secret-trade-agreement-about-to-complete-the-corporate-takeover-of-democracy/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 13, 2013, 12:25:04 PM
JohnM


Delivered into the bloodless hands of the corporate persons.
I almost hope that the climate gets us before the corporations[size=78%]
Terry[/size]
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on December 13, 2013, 06:39:04 PM
JohnM


Delivered into the bloodless hands of the corporate persons.
I almost hope that the climate gets us before the corporations[size=78%]
Terry[/size]


No you don't. It's possible to rebel against corporations (if we ever got our act together). Not so much the climate.  ;)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 16, 2013, 04:46:27 PM
Here is an activity that goes on in America that might surprise our non-US readers and perhaps a few of our sleepy American ones.

The US has a program of long standing (from 1916) to train pre-adults to be soldiers and feed the recruiting branches of the US military.  Does this kind of program exist in any other country?

JROTC - Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

This training program is for high school students starting in the 9th grade.

I am a graduate of this program as was my father.  Where we attended HS (Wyoming in the 1930's and 1969 for me).  For both of us this training was MANDATORY for all boys.

Quote
...The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps was conceived as part of the National Defense Act of 1916 in the midst of World War I. In the aftermath of that war, however, only six high schools took up the military’s offer of equipment and instructors. A senior version of ROTC, was made compulsory on many state college and university campuses, despite the then-controversial question of whether the government could compel students to take military training....

This program declined significantly during the Vietnam War and largely disappeared from high schools and shrank significantly at the University level.  But when the US switched to an all volunteer military (a GIGANTIC MISTAKE btw)  it became necessary to boost recruiting efforts and the programs expanded greatly.

Quote
... Yet former Defense Secretary William Cohen, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in 2000, named JROTC “one of the best recruiting devices that we could have.”

With that unacknowledged mission in hand, the Pentagon pushed for a goal first advanced in 1991 by Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: the establishment of 3,500 JROTC units to “uplift” students in high schools nationwide.  The plan was to expand into “educationally and economically deprived areas.”  The shoddy schools of the inner cities, the rust belt, the deep South, and Texas became rich hunting grounds.  By the start of 2013, the Army alone was recycling 4,000 retired officers to run its programs in 1,731 high schools. All together, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine JROTC units now flourish in 3,402 high schools nationwide — 65% of them in the South — with a total enrollment of 557,129 kids.
...

Quote
... Civic groups have raised a number of other objections to JROTC, ranging from discriminatory practices — against gays, immigrants, and Muslims, for example — to dangerous ones, such as bringing guns into schools (of all places).  Some units even set up shooting ranges where automatic rifles and live ammunition are used.  JROTC embellishes the dangerous mystique of such weapons, making them objects to covet, embrace, and jump at the chance to use....

This was our HS with the rifle range in the basement of the HS.  I spent hours in there shooting.  Often completely unsupervised.  Our unit won the US HS JROTC National Championship in shooting.  At our outdoor range we shot M-16's and occasionally 30 and 50 caliber machine guns.  To our disappointment we were not taught to throw grenades or use mortars.  Our instructor was a retired army sergeant major with 2 combat tours in Vietnam.  He did not mess around and we were pretty ready when he was done with us.  He assumed we were headed to Vietnam (as did we) and he explicitly stated that he was trying to make sure we survived.  Real military training not just on shooting, but on patrolling, concealment, and other survival skills.  This training later paid great dividends for many of us.

If many of you wonder why the US is so militaristic you might contemplate the effect of such training during your youth.  I note from the figures above that 557,000 youth are in the current programs.  That is likely more than are in the entire military of any European country.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/americas-child-soldiers-jrotc-militarizing-america.html#comment-1726365 (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/americas-child-soldiers-jrotc-militarizing-america.html#comment-1726365)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on December 16, 2013, 07:43:18 PM
Here is an activity that goes on in America that might surprise our non-US readers and perhaps a few of our sleepy American ones.

The US has a program of long standing (from 1916) to train pre-adults to be soldiers and feed the recruiting branches of the US military.  Does this kind of program exist in any other country?

Yes, the UK has the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) where school age children (13-18) of both genders get to play soldier (or navy or air force). Great fun - run around shooting and even flying in light aircraft (in the RAF section) - less fun - drill and more drill. It's a blatant recruiting tool and only generally operates in private schools (to which children from sufficiently poor families used to be able to go under the government "assisted places" scheme - now finished - probably just as well, chuck poor children from families that can't afford new clothing into an environment full of rich kids wearing designer labels and it's a recipe for hostility to say the least.

The schools mostly don't do too much shooting on site (though some have small ranges) - that's usually done on army bases. The weapons are stored on the school premises in a strong room which I think has an alarm to the local police station if broken into, and don't believe the schools store 5.56 ammo (I only know of .22 being on site, and being fired from a modified weapon). Still - if SHTF and you need a rifle...

It's ironic for a country as tight and dictatorial on gun control as the UK is that they'll let school kids shoot live ammo from GP rifles (NATO 5.56 round, a training version of the SA-80 I believe) and yet have them grow up in a country that prohibits them from going anywhere near anything like it.

The CCF is where they pitch their "officer" recruitment from - as obviously the children of more affluent families deserve that bit more privilege during their service. In the poor neighbourhoods they catch them a bit later, just after school (16-18+), and try to harvest them on the basis that in those areas the army is the only prospect those people have for anything resembling a career (and pretty much the only employer that will take some of those people). Hell, I almost thought about it at one point - at a time when refuse collection was looking like "at least something"...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 17, 2013, 03:02:29 AM
JimD
They had something similar in Canada when I was a kid. Every boy was required to march in uniform one day per week & I do recall shooting with aged bolt action rifles. There was some sort of voluntary summer program that went along with it where they took kids out & trained them for a few weeks (with pay). Those that were into it could continue through high school & possibly on through university.
My one memorable experience was being made to do 10 pushups in a mud puddle for some infraction, the "officer" was 3 grades ahead of me, but I was big for my age and forced him to do 20 pushups for me in a larger puddle. Taught me I wasn't cut out for the military. Not sure what he learned.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 19, 2013, 05:37:47 PM
NSA (and our allies) spying and its purpose. 

Listen to the video testimony from Greenwald.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/18-2 (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/18-2)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 21, 2013, 04:20:28 PM
A very good article on how the middle class core of the US is being hollowed out in order to shift wealth to the wealthy and to keep wages low to remain hyper competitive in the global market.  Serfdom anyone?

This process will eventually (in my opinion) gut the foundation of the American Empire.  But we will see who is right as the folks in charge are fully committed.

http://prospect.org/article/40-year-slump (http://prospect.org/article/40-year-slump)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: SATire on December 21, 2013, 08:22:27 PM
A very good article on how the middle class core of the US is being hollowed out in order to shift wealth to the wealthy and to keep wages low to remain hyper competitive in the global market.  Serfdom anyone?

This process will eventually (in my opinion) gut the foundation of the American Empire.  But we will see who is right as the folks in charge are fully committed.
I agree - that could gut an American Empire. It just makes no sense to compete e.g. with China by reducing wages.

We tried a bit of that in Germany 15 years ago to boost competiveness also in low wage jobs. We have to pay for that now - because it just results in less wealth, less fairness und thus less life quality. The only benefit was    an increasing economic imbalance - soaring excess of exports. That exess-money was spend in american houses loans or in southern European government bonds and was finaly partly lost.

With low wages you just work more and get less. You will loose the profits to some individuals. In total, it makes the world for you and others worse.

A better way (at least for us European poeple - I do not want to advise Americans, because I am from abroad) would be to:
1) get population growth to zero.
2) then you may permit economic growth of zero
3) learn to life sustainable and to concentrate on quality instead of quantity. That makes life better - look at the Japanese and how good life there is after so many "lost years". (I can compare that places only from short business trips - personally I would rank Japan first in quality of life and Scandinavia second. USA and Southern Europe somewhere behind Singapore and last as well as least China due to pollution and cheating)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 08, 2014, 08:38:48 PM
The breath and structure of US Special Operations Forces around the world

Quote
....A review of open source information reveals that in 2012 and 2013, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) were likely deployed to -- or training, advising, or operating with the personnel of -- more than 100 foreign countries.   And that’s probably an undercount.  In 2011, then-SOCOM spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that Special Operations personnel were annually sent to 120 countries around the world. They were in, that is, about 60% of the nations on the planet. ....

Quote
....In the post-9/11 era, the command has grown steadily.  With about 33,000 personnel in 2001, it is reportedly on track to reach 72,000 in 2014.  (About half this number are called, in the jargon of the trade, “badged operators” -- SEALs, Rangers, Special Operations Aviators, Green Berets -- while the rest are support personnel.)  Funding for the command has also jumped exponentially as SOCOM’s baseline budget tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.9 billion between 2001 and 2013.  If you add in supplemental funding, it had actually more than quadrupled to $10.4 billion.

Not surprisingly, personnel deployments abroad skyrocketed from 4,900 “man-years” -- as the command puts it -- in 2001 to 11,500 in 2013.  About 11,000 special operators are now working abroad at any one time and on any given day they are in 70 to 80 countries, though the New York Times reported that, according to statistics provided to them by SOCOM, during one week in March 2013 that number reached 92.
....

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175790/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175790/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 11, 2014, 05:00:54 PM
Further evidence of the deep hollowing out of American technological prowess and how it will dramatically weaken the US military capabilities and also the ability of America to compete in future years.  This ripples through the economy in that it reduces the numbers of highly skilled high paying blue collar and engineering jobs.  This, of course, ripples back to the young and discourages focusing on education as they perceive the prospects of a future of good paying jobs not to be there.

Boeing used to be one of the premier companies in the US in terms of its technical capabilities and the positive trade revenues it generated from the world market.  It is also one of the key companies supporting the US defense (or offense as the case may be) industry.  Much of that has been outsourced to Asia.   These trends in many industries which used to be dominated by the US dramatically weaken future US abilities to manage the global community.  Eventually they will create the opportunity for concerted action by groups of other countries to opposed US interests. 

Boeing Goes to Pieces

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/boeing-goes-to-pieces/ (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/boeing-goes-to-pieces/)

Quote
At a welcoming banquet in Japan in the 1980s, Ford Motor chairman Philip Caldwell received a memorably double-edged compliment. “There is no secret about how we learned to do what we do, Mr. Caldwell,” said the head of Toyota Motor, Eiji Toyoda. “We learned it at the Rouge.”

Toyoda was referring to Ford’s fabled River Rouge production complex in Dearborn, Michigan. In the early days of Japan’s rise, Ford and other American auto companies had been famously helpful to information-gathering Japanese engineers. Know-how gleaned at the Rouge evidently proved particularly valuable.

Similar stories can be told about the complacency of other U.S. industries in the face of emerging Japanese competition. Where Japanese industrial “targeting” is concerned, America never seems to learn.

Now another industry is being targeted—America’s last remaining crown jewel, aerospace. The Boeing Company in particular has long been in Japan’s crosshairs. Yet, in what amounts to one of the most outrageous sellouts in modern business history, the U.S. industry is consciously cooperating in its own demise. Swayed by stock options, top U.S. aerospace executives are increasingly prioritizing short-term profits over the long-term health of their industry.

Japan is arguably already the world’s largest aerospace player. Certainly it is the ultimate source of a vastly larger share of the industry’s most sophisticated parts and materials than a reading of the English-language press would suggest. And given that Boeing now subsumes most of the erstwhile independent companies that put Neil Armstrong on the moon, its eclipse constitutes a major part of a larger story of American decline.
....


Quote
...
Japan’s competitive advantage is its deep expertise in machining, its know-how with advanced materials, and its capital goods. Where you are looking for very high-quality engineering, and labor that maintains its capabilities over long periods, the Japanese are superior.
 This sort of work has been abandoned in the United States because the Japanese are there to do it. They have tremendous expertise in precision engineering using complex materials—materials that have to be dealt with in a particular way such as getting the weight down to a minimum. They will low-ball their prices to get work because they know they will keep it.

The problem for a systems integrator is that technological progress is very rapid. “Once you fall behind in advanced manufacturing, the costs of catch-up are just too great, and a chief executive aiming to maintain quarterly earnings cannot afford to incur them,”
...

Quote
....The Boeing story strongly suggests that America’s defense base has eroded. It is further evidence of a trend identified in a little-noticed 2005 report by the Defense Science Board. The board’s focus was mainly on the electronics market, and it found that even among suppliers who mainly or solely served the U.S. defense industry hollowing out had reached shocking levels. According to the report:


There is no longer a diverse base of U.S. integrated circuit fabricators capable of meeting trusted and classified chip needs. From a U.S. national security view, the potential effects of this restructuring are so perverse and far reaching and have such opportunities for mischief that, had the United States not significantly contributed to this migration, it would have been considered a major triumph of an adversary nation’s strategy to undermine U.S. military capabilities.
...

If the Japanese decided it was in their interests not to supply the US military with the components they control in the bottom two areas alone the US Air Force would be crippled in a reasonably short amount of time. 

Quote
Jet engines. Both Pratt & Whitney and GE Aviation now rely heavily on Japan for engine components. A key supplier is Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries (IHI), a little-known Tokyo-based corporation that today ranks as one of the world’s most advanced aerospace players. (In common with several other leading Japanese aerospace companies, IHI got its start in shipbuilding. Hence the seemingly incongruous reference to “heavy industries” in its name.)

Avionics. This is the term of art for a huge panoply of sensors, controls, flight-deck instruments and displays, and communications equipment essential to modern aviation. The field used to be the preserve of U.S. companies like Honeywell, Hughes, and Raytheon but increasingly the serious manufacturing is done in Japan by corporations like Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba. The Japanese have also assumed leadership in critical avionics materials. An example is gallium arsenide, a superfast semiconducting material vital in advanced computer chips. Japanese companies like Hitachi Cable and Furukawa Electric dominate the supply of gallium arsenide.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 11, 2014, 07:17:28 PM
If the Japanese decided it was in their interests not to supply the US military with the components they control in the bottom two areas alone the US Air Force would be crippled in a reasonably short amount of time. 

That's an interesting factor to keep in mind when considering the probability of the US fighting China if they attack Japan as per their treaty. It doesn't assure it, but certainly it gives the US a significant dependency there to try to maintain.

I daresay the same is true of oil too though - mostly - even if the US were to produce enough for consumption from fracking, how long would that last?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 12, 2014, 04:35:02 PM
Further evidence of the rot.  Check out these BLS projections on future jobs in the US.  If there is a better piece of evidence on how we have shipped our future prosperity overseas with globalization I don't know what it is.  Think how much weaker the US is going to be in 10 years.

Jobs of 2020.

Quote
...The chart below shows what we are talking about: it lays out the job categories for the 20 occupations with with the highest projected numeric change in employment. Alas, of the Top 10 highest growing jobs, 9 out of 10 will pay less than $35,000 a year.

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-job-market-news-2014-1 (http://www.businessinsider.com/us-job-market-news-2014-1)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 12, 2014, 06:16:02 PM
I would like to call your attention today to an excellent article in Der Speigel commemerating and discussing the causes, beginnings and effects of World War I.

In light of where the world finds itself today and where our trajectory seems to be taking us it seems appropriate to review the past once again.  Lest we find a way to repeat it.  The politics of today is rife with the same kinds of complexities, misunderstandings, tensions, miscalculations and rhymes of history.  No matter how hard it is to deal with reality now, it will be infinitely harder if we wait.

Quote
...Fischer claimed that Berlin's "grasp for world power" was the main, if not the only, reason for the great massacre. After a heated debate among historians, Fischer's claim became the established view.

But just in time for the centenary, new research has raised fundamental questions about this view of events. Historians are not exonerating Kaiser Wilhelm II, who alternated between public bluster and anxious restraint. But they also stress the failures of Russia (US historian Sean McMeekin), France (German historian Stefan Schmidt), Austria-Hungary (Rauchensteiner) or all the major powers combined (Australian author Christopher Clark).

Two ostensibly solid blocs were pitted against each other: the German and Austro-Hungarian empires on one side, and the so-called Entente, consisting of the French Republic, the Russian Empire and the British monarchy, on the other. Even this constellation shows that in 1914, democracy and human rights were not at issue, but rather capitalism and the planned economy.
...

Quote
...A few weeks before the Sarajevo assassination, Europe was on the brink of disaster. The events of 1914 were not unlike events in the euro crisis today, argued historian Clark in his bestseller "The Sleepwalkers." According to Clark, everyone knew that they were playing with fire, and yet everyone tried to exploit the general threat to his own advantage. ...

Quote
....The dynamics of the industrial revolution had once brought Europe control over a large portion of the world, and now it was striking back at the old continent. A gigantic killing machine ensured that an average of 6,000 soldiers a day were killed......
...This became especially apparently in the four-and-a-half month Battle of the Somme, in which the British and the French managed to capture only 10 kilometers of German-held territory -- and paid for it with the loss of 600,000 men. Some 300,000 soldiers died at Verdun, and yet the front was relatively unchanged when the battle was over. And some two million Russians died, were wounded or were taken prisoner in the so-called Brusilov Offensive east of Lviv, in which between 50 and 125 kilometers of territory was captured.....
....At Verdun, German gunners fired two million artillery shells in the first eight hours. Today, almost 100 years later, the site of the battle remains a cratered moon landscape, covered with only a light coating of bushes, trees and shrubs.

When the Germans advanced after artillery fire, they were horrified to encounter surviving French soldiers, who continued to fight bitterly......

....One was the extremely large number of casualties. To this day, Aug. 22, 1914 is the bloodiest day in French military history. Some 27,000 soldiers died on that day. By the end of 1914, Germans and Belgians had lost about half of their field armies....

...The war became all-encompassing by 1916. In Germany, France and Austria-Hungary, about 80 percent of men fit for military service were sent to the front or to sea. An entire generation was shaped by the experiences on the battlefield. It included Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Ludwig Erhard, Adolf Hitler and, after the United States had entered the war, Harry Truman, the later president and founder of NATO....

I would like to note for our American readers the French dead listed above for Aug 22, 1914.  This total of dead for one day exceeds the 5 weeks of Iwo Jima by over 4 times, and D-Day by over 4 times as well, and is 50% of the entire Vietnam War, not to mention 4-5 times the combined total of the Afghan and Iraq wars.  And this was hardly the worst battle of WWI as the Somme, Verdun and Ypres followed.

Reality quite likely has a fate in store for our descendants far in excess of the above.  Yet we continue to play a game of stare down with an implacable foe.  Do we have it in us to find the courage to act while there might still be time?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/world-war-i-continues-to-have-relevance-100-years-later-a-941523.html (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/world-war-i-continues-to-have-relevance-100-years-later-a-941523.html)


Quote
...The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,

But, swoll'n with wind and the rank mist they draw,

Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread;

Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw

Daily devours apace, and nothing said,

But that two-handed engine at the door

Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more"...


Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 16, 2014, 08:25:17 PM
Lest anyone is still confused about President Obama being a moderate Republican in sheeps clothing I present the below.

If you have not read about the TPP you should google it and check out a few articles.  It is so bad that I would be surprised if it can get through Congress.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/wikileaks-trans-pacific-partnership-environment-chapter-toothless-public-relations-exercise.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/wikileaks-trans-pacific-partnership-environment-chapter-toothless-public-relations-exercise.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 25, 2014, 08:14:59 PM
More on the TPP trade pact the US is trying to ram down the throats of a number of countries.  This should never be agreed to as it is solely in the US interests.  We will see what happens.

Quote
I have written previously about the risks posed to Australia’s sovereignty and consumer welfare from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

If the TPP goes ahead, it will establish a US-style regional regulatory framework that meets the demands of major US export industries, including pharmaceutical and digital.

The draft chapter on intellectual property rights, revealed by WikiLeaks, included a “Christmas wishlist” for pharmaceutical companies, including the proposal to extend patent protection and strengthen monopolies on clinical data. As part of the deal, the US is reportedly seeking patents for “new forms” of known substances, as well as on new uses on old medicines – a proposal which would lead to “evergreening”, whereby patents can be renewed continuously.

The pact poses a huge risk to Australia’s world class public health system, which faces cost blowouts via reduced access to cheaper generic drugs and reduced rights for the government to regulate medicine prices. It also risks stifling innovation in the event that patent terms are extended too far.

The US is also seeking to insert an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause into the agreement, which could give authority to major corporations to challenge laws made by governments in the national interest in international courts of arbitration. So effectively, US companies would be allowed to sue the Australian Government under international law – a move that is being pursued by Philip Morris against Australia on plain packaging and graphic warnings for cigarettes.....

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/01/us-trade-shocker-one-step-closer-to-reality/ (http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/01/us-trade-shocker-one-step-closer-to-reality/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 27, 2014, 06:16:25 PM
A powerful article.

The Two Faces of Empire
Melville Knew Them, We Still Live With Them
By Greg Grandin

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175798/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175798/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 29, 2014, 05:12:48 PM
Very interesting take on the US Asian strategic pivot.  The author describes it as a sing of weakness vice strength.

The Empire’s New Asian Clothes – America’s Strategic Rebalance As Covert Retreat

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/empires-new-asian-clothes-americas-strategic-rebalance-covert-retreat.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/empires-new-asian-clothes-americas-strategic-rebalance-covert-retreat.html)

Quote
Yves here. This article provides perspective on Obama’s unseemly anxiety to push through the toxic trade deal known as the TransPacific Partnership. We’ve chronicled at some length how this is not in fact a “trade” deal but is designed to make the world safer and more profitable for US multinationals by strengthening intellectual property protections (helping Big Pharma, Hollywood, and technology firms) while providing for enhancement of the rights of foreign investors to bring cases against governments in secret arbitration panels for measures that would reduce expected profits. The effect of these investor provisions is to allow foreign companies to challenge labor protections and environmental and product safety regulations, facilitating a race to the bottom.

Fortunately, word about the implications of this pact and its sister, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is getting out. Not only is there large-scale opposition among House Democrats, but today, conservative Republicans announced their opposition to what they call “Obamatrade,” even as Obama plans to make another push for the TPP in his State of the Union address this evening.

But another reason for the TPP is that it is a crucial part of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” strategy. One of its aims is to isolate China by creating a trade bloc that excludes the Middle Kingdom. The article below helps explain why using non-military means to reinforce the US hegemony is even more important now.

Quote
In a future update of The Devil’s Dictionary, the famed Ambrose Bierce dissection of the linguistic hypocrisies of modern life, a single word will accompany the entry for “Pacific pivot”: retreat.

It might seem a strange way to characterize the Obama administration’s energetic attempt to reorient its foreign and military policy toward Asia. After all, the president’s team has insisted that the Pacific pivot will be a forceful reassertion of American power in a strategic part of the world and a deliberate reassurance to our allies that we have their backs vis-à-vis China.

Indeed, sometimes the pivot seems like little less than a panacea for all that ails U.S. foreign policy. Upset about the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan? Then just light out for more pacific waters.  Worried that our adversaries are all melting away and the Pentagon has lost its raison d’être? Then how about going toe to toe with China, the only conceivable future superpower on the horizon these days. And if you’re concerned about the state of the U.S. economy, then the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the regional free-trade deal Washington is trying to negotiate, might be just the shot in the arm that U.S. corporations crave.
.....
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 01, 2014, 11:22:28 PM
Fanning the Fires of Chaos in the Ukraine

What is the Real Price of Starting Another Cold War?

Quote
In the late 1980s, the leaders of the west promised Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that they would not expand eastward if the Soviet Union pulled out of Eastern Europe and ended the Cold War.  That promise was not kept.  A triumphal West stuck it to the Soviet Union’s  greatly weakened Russian successor, by incorporating the former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO and the EU.  But that was not enough to sate the lust of the neo-liberal triumphalists in search of a new imperium.  Their next move tried to incorporate the Caucasus country of Georgia — a country more a part of Central Asia than of Europe — into the West’s sphere of influence.  That turned out to be a bridge too far; the Russians intervened militarily to put a stop to the lunacy.

But events in the Ukraine suggest that stop may have been viewed as a temporary speed bump on the pathway to rolling back Russia’s geography to the years of Ivan the Terrible....

...Ukraine may be descending into chaos, and some triumphalists in the west are again tempted to meddle and fan the fires of chaos and revolution, perhaps with a near-term aim of a partitioning the Ukraine along its historic Orthodox-Catholic fault line.  Seaumas Milne describes the chaotic state of play in Ukraine in this commentary in the Guardian.  In so doing, Milne shows how the west is fueling revanchist fascism.  Note the familiar role being played again by meddlers like Nato Secretary General Anders Rasmussen and Senator John McCain.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/31/what-is-the-real-price-of-starting-another-cold-war/ (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/31/what-is-the-real-price-of-starting-another-cold-war/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 07, 2014, 08:11:53 PM
Ian welsh on the similar failure mechanisms of the USSR and the US.   

http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-fall-of-the-ussr/ (http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-fall-of-the-ussr/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on February 08, 2014, 08:19:38 PM
Interesting view of  how the USSR elite got to the point of deciding to try a new system, then they made the mistake of asking the US for advice. I don't know if it was the treasury, the CIA the Fed or GS that ended up in the chair. The upshot though was a series of deals were brokered, with well placed apparatchiks, to buy the resources they controlled at modestly inflated values with roubles. Everyone was sworn to secrecy on pain of cancellation of the deal, and since the apparatchiks were blinded by greed all went as planned. A parallel set of deals were brokered to buy newly printed roubles for US dollars, again secrecy was demanded and was kept. Suitcases full of $1000 bills were used to buy truckloads of roubles. Roubles delivered deals signed and over the weekend 78 or was it 87 % of the active USSR economy ended up in the hands of IIRC 27 chosen individuals, which again IIRC rapidly reduced to 19. This was probably the most audacious coup of the 'Empire' in the 20th century, not so good for the Ruskies though.
There was a report on this closer to the time in the Sunday Times ,uk, and later a redacted version in New Scientist.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on February 08, 2014, 08:53:36 PM
I had an opportunity to speak with Sergei Khrushchev a month or so ago. He said that what brought down his father was his decision to announce a policy whereby the Soviets would respond to any attack with the launch of all the nuclear missiles in their arsenal. This would allow for >90% reduction in military forces and was opposed by everyone in the Soviet Military/Industrial complex.
Nikita's philosophy apparently was that the system that best met the needs and wants of the populace would be the winner rather than the side with the biggest guns.
The world might be a very different place had he been allowed to follow through with his plans.
Both he and his son were very proud of the fact that the system Nikita had built was such that it didn't require the death of the old leader. This was shortly after the assassination of JFK which might have been due to Kennedy's plans for reducing American forces worldwide.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 14, 2014, 08:09:55 PM
Another reason to hate rich people.

Earlier this week a big time Wall Streeter said that the 99% should quit complaining as they were better off than the people in China.  Magnanimous.

Now the moron Tom Perkins who stated the other day that complaints about inequality by the 99% were comparable to what the Jews experienced on Kristallnacht (the 1% being the equivalent of the Jews) has equaled himself in stupidity.   I kid you not.

Now he is quoted as saying that votes should be appropriated based upon wealth.  It is kind of funny that he doesn't already know that is how the system really works and was designed to work.

We would have a lot less of this crap talk and a lot fewer problems going forward if we had just shot 50% of all senior executives of all the Wall Street investment outfits and the big banks in 2008, appropriated all the wealth of all of them and tossed the survivors and their families out in the street.   Maybe that day is coming too.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on February 14, 2014, 10:24:34 PM
We would have a lot less of this crap talk and a lot fewer problems going forward if we had just shot 50% of all senior executives of all the Wall Street investment outfits and the big banks in 2008, appropriated all the wealth of all of them and tossed the survivors and their families out in the street.   Maybe that day is coming too.

In a bad mood today, Jim?  :)

I strongly disagree with the shooting part (please don't go there in the future), though I do believe that rich people need to be saved by imposing a cap on how much someone can own or earn. It's very unhealthy to always want more, more, more. I actually feel great pity for very rich people.

There must be a difference between how much people own and earn, because some people must be rewarded more because they are more talented, or work harder. But this difference must never be limitless. The dissension will otherwise kill society.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 15, 2014, 04:33:06 AM
though I do believe that rich people need to be saved by imposing a cap on how much someone can own or earn. It's very unhealthy to always want more, more, more. I actually feel great pity for very rich people.

There must be a difference between how much people own and earn, because some people must be rewarded more because they are more talented, or work harder. But this difference must never be limitless. The dissension will otherwise kill society.

I actually think abolishing the idea of inheritance might achieve a lot. By all means reward hard work or talent (or even luck...) - but don't let an upper empowered affluent class entrench itself across multiple generations simply because their ancestors were particularly good at running drugs or pillaging other nations or seizing and selling slaves or whatnot...

And in the process, I think the more that one can do even at the smaller level to give everyone a fairer start in life the better. The existing system does not reward talent or hard work or luck so much as it rewards ancestral wealth (even where it was gained abusively and morally reprehensibly). Many people are consigned to the social garbage bin of uselessness or mediocrity who could have had far more potential in better starting circumstances.

Also if you took away the capacity to bequeath wealth when you died - you might slightly diminish some of the incentives to accumulate it. It is after all the movement of wealth that makes a healthy economy, not the hoarding.

An ongoing wealth tax (small percentage) might also help - I'm not exactly in favour of hard limits myself, because firstly it seems very artificial and secondly there will always be someone who wants to break them and someone who will feel the need to control them. If you said you cannot make more than a million whatevers a year - who decides that limit? Who adjusts it for inflation? etc.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JackTaylor on February 15, 2014, 02:32:31 PM
There must be a difference between how much people own and earn, because some people must be rewarded more because they are more talented, or work harder. But this difference must never be limitless. The dissension will otherwise kill society.
There are some claims we cannot have rich people without poor people.
Therefore no middle-class between the two.  Unfortunately 'philosophy' is  OT here imho
Some claim it stems from narcissism - thanks to Greek Mythology
(break all the mirrors and create ripples-waves in standing water).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder)
"Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder[1] in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects "one percent" of the population.[better source needed][2][3] First formulated in 1968, it was historically called megalomania, and is severe ego-centrism"

99% vs 1% - my big question is "why hasn't the ballot box provided more equalization?"

Is understanding truly beyond us as a species?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 15, 2014, 05:16:59 PM
99% vs 1% - my big question is "why hasn't the ballot box provided more equalization?"

Is understanding truly beyond us as a species?

People are a tribal social hierarchical animal.

Therefore most people need to be led, and few can lead.

That doesn't lend itself to a democratic mode of operation.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 15, 2014, 08:22:10 PM
An article showing the growing inequality in the US.  It obviously has real knock-on effects on who controls what and gets paid attention to.  It is also one reason why we do not have a functioning democracy.  As the middle hollows out it leaves little options for the vast underclass.  They are there to be taken advantage of (capitalism after all) and have no leverage or bargaining power.  They become living definitions of the phrase wage-slaves.

Quote
...From the top part of the graph, we find that the top 5% of income accounts for almost 40% of consumption. That’s stunning in itself. From the middle part, we see the top 20% of income now accounts for more than 60% of consumption. And from the bottom, the other 80% of the nation by income — all of the rest of us — account for less than 40% of consumption. And again, as the graphs show, the trend is widening....

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/gaius-publius-rising-inequality-recovery-occurring-almost-exclusively-among-wealthy.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/gaius-publius-rising-inequality-recovery-occurring-almost-exclusively-among-wealthy.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JackTaylor on February 15, 2014, 09:28:59 PM
99% vs 1% - my big question is "why hasn't the ballot box provided more equalization?"

Is understanding truly beyond us as a species?

People are a tribal social hierarchical animal.

Therefore most people need to be led, and few can lead.

That doesn't lend itself to a democratic mode of operation.

Yes, from sophomore psychology or was it freshman sociology, it's claimed humans are conditioned to be hierarchical from birth as an infant - child looking up to a parent(s) - adults for needs and wants.  So, I thoroughly believe you.

In studies and observations of "groups" of both humans and non-human animals isolated to similarities - equals such as

around "sexual maturity" - "age" and about equal in physical size

does 99% (or very high percentage) show a want (passivity) for being led

or

is a "hierarchical order" established (?) involving perhaps a super majority ( >68.2% )

via various types of "contests" - "rituals" - "activities" ?

 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 18, 2014, 05:28:41 PM
We can always try the French solution.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/02/14/americas-dumb-elites-risk-fomenting-a-revolution/ (http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/02/14/americas-dumb-elites-risk-fomenting-a-revolution/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 18, 2014, 06:56:58 PM
We can always try the French solution.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/02/14/americas-dumb-elites-risk-fomenting-a-revolution/ (http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/02/14/americas-dumb-elites-risk-fomenting-a-revolution/)

Given it's strong position in terms of resources and population density, and fading (but still clearly superior) military reach - this surely must be the biggest vulnerability America has. It is of course essentially driven by the extraction of massive amounts of tax for funding said military, and precious little spent on social welfare and trying to prevent the growing tensions of inequality.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 18, 2014, 09:02:27 PM
ccg

Don't let my bias about disliking rich people give you the wrong impression about the attitudes of the US public.  My bias comes from my background growing up in a very blue collar place and then my exposure to the inner workings of the US intelligence community during my professional career. 

There is no significant or meaningful group of people in the US who are for changing our form of government nor our general approach to running the country.  Our rather unusual culture and very effective propaganda by our elites and news media (from both the right and left parts of the Capitalist Party - otherwise known as Democrats and Republicans) has not left many unbelievers out there.  I am in a small minority.

I would be very surprised (and pleased) if we had any significant social unrest here in the US related to inequality or AGW for at least another generation.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 19, 2014, 01:35:26 AM
Don't let my bias about disliking rich people give you the wrong impression about the attitudes of the US public.  My bias comes from my background growing up in a very blue collar place and then my exposure to the inner workings of the US intelligence community during my professional career. 

[snip]

I would be very surprised (and pleased) if we had any significant social unrest here in the US related to inequality or AGW for at least another generation.

Can't say I care for rich people either, but also somewhat of a personal experiences thing.

I dunno that social unrest means you automatically ought to be pleased...

I didn't think the UK was particularly ripe for social unrest until the police shot a person in the back of a taxi and the protests triggered rioting in multiple different cities in the UK. Of course, this unrest didn't have a political motivation per se (mostly general discontent and opportunistic anger/greed as taught by modern living) - there was no focussed agenda - but it showed me that actually there are sections of British society quite close to this point already.

I have to wonder if there aren't potential flash points in the US too. Once these things happen they can spread surprisingly fast and more people can take part just because others already are.

I do wonder though if the scope for unrest in the UK has been effectively suppressed by the vast and pervasive surveillance network - after the riots - they used the cameras to catch as many people as possible and handed down some ridiculously punitive sentences (put those plebs in their place, eh?). Will that stop future unrest? For how long? Is this related to the US is busy rolling out cameras of various types fast too now?

Facebook and social networks were also used by the authorities - some people convicted for nothing more than provocative messages online. I think the Snowden findings also speak to the extent to which our governments are moving to try to control and suppress the people (and I think we often are discussing the reasons for them to do this).

I would say at some point the populace always rises up and breaks a security state, but it isn't really true - one can find plenty of historical (and some current) examples where one would have to argue the state successfully breaks the people. In this way civilisation may technically continue longer, but I personally want no part of it.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: jdallen on February 19, 2014, 02:16:28 AM
@ccgwebmaster - unrest in the US will happen when sufficient numbers of Americans determine they have nothing to loose by engaging in it.  I think its a pretty linear relationship.

There is the illusion of stability in a lot of places... I'm rather nervous, and reasonably certain we may return to the same levels of havoc, if not the warfare, that we had starting at the end of the 19th century.  Even security/police states are rather unstable. I don't see them really holding off civil disruption if things go sideways.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 19, 2014, 04:17:49 PM
US centric article but with global relevance.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/stay-classy-greg-mankiw-rich-deserve-deserve.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/stay-classy-greg-mankiw-rich-deserve-deserve.html)


ccg

Here is a horrible problem in the US that cold get us to social disruption.  All it would take is for the Millennial generation to as a group say this is a form of slavery and we are just not going to pay another dime.  That is where they are heading anyway.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/wolf-richter-young-subprime-debt-slave-generation.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/wolf-richter-young-subprime-debt-slave-generation.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 19, 2014, 04:36:58 PM
Here is a horrible problem in the US that cold get us to social disruption.  All it would take is for the Millennial generation to as a group say this is a form of slavery and we are just not going to pay another dime.  That is where they are heading anyway.

The only smart play right now is to borrow all you can and go bankrupt, in my view (preferably after sequestering as much as you can). Just out of curiosity, where do you draw the rather arbitrary millennial dividing line? I still haven't worked out if I'm an old millennial or a young generation X or whatever (hopefully I don't conform to either mold, that said).

I think it's virtually an inevitability that there would be some sort of revolt at some point about debt. You can already see this starting to happen in some of the european nations with respect to home repossessions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14112247 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14112247)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 19, 2014, 05:18:30 PM
ccg

There is no exact definition of what birth dates constitute Millennials, but an average number would be 1980-2000.

For some insane reason in the US student loan debt cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy as can every other kind of loan.  Many of these student will be paying their debt still when they retire.

Quote
As of the first Quarter of 2012, the under 30 age group has the most borrowers at 14 million, followed by 10.6 million for the 30-39 group, 5.7 million in the 40-49 category, 4.6 million in the 50-59 age group and the over 60 category with the least number of borrowers at 2.2 million for an overall total of 37.1 million

An unfixable problem as now structured.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 19, 2014, 05:42:23 PM
Quote
“Every great revolution is a civil war,” as David Armitage has recently remarked. That insight could change the way we think about the American Revolution.

Quote
Once we consider the American Revolution as a civil war, it’s easier to integrate the broader world of violence and division that often gets left out of the Revolutionary narrative: the Regulator movements of South and North Carolina, the march of the Paxton boys, land riots in Maine and New York, separatist movements in Vermont and Franklin, and the rural insurrections that swept the west up to the conquest of the Whiskey Rebels in 1794. As imperial sovereignty broke down, first in the borderlands and then in the heart of the colonies themselves, it left a disparate set of ex-colonists to construct new forms of authority. They did so in overlapping and piecemeal ways, creating struggles in the process that would continue for decades and centuries. New authorities won the allegiance of anxious Americans by offering protection for persons and property: in doing so, they promised to crush Indians and open new land for white ownership; in the south, they fought to restore the slave regime and reverse the effects of the slaves’ own “revolution within a revolution.”[4] Among themselves, they struggled to allocate power—and to locate sovereignty—within the federal union.

If we stop thinking of the Revolution as a War for Independence, in which the United States freed itself from the British empire, we can better see it as a process in which the United States, and American identity, was gradually, painfully, imperfectly constructed in the midst of imperial collapse. If we saw this and every revolution as a civil war, maybe we’d better understand the way the modern world—the nexus of state, citizen, and property—was born in and determined by violence.

Interesting.  Some of my ancestors (the Allen's) were the leaders of the Vermont separatist movement that created Vermont as an independent country for 14 years after the revolution before joining the US as the 14th state.  They were also the first place in the US to ban slavery.  I come from a long line of troublemakers.

http://earlyamericanists.com/2014/02/18/was-the-american-revolution-a-civil-war/ (http://earlyamericanists.com/2014/02/18/was-the-american-revolution-a-civil-war/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on February 19, 2014, 08:45:26 PM
In Canada we've always thought of the American Revolution as a civil war, an unsuccessful one in that it was followed by two more, the War of 1812-14 then "The Civil War". Somehow Americans were never good at self governance
Civil war is one of the things that could lead to the destruction of the grid on a national scale & the division between the haves and the have not's is getting to the point that it could cause problems. I disagree with those that think that "America has never been more divided" because of memories from the 60's when cities were burning & young people were being beaten and jailed across the country. The difficulty for would be rebels at this time is the lengths that governments have gone to prop themselves up and make themselves virtually unassailable.
We have an unpopular right wing government in Canada that attained and maintains it's mandate because the left is divided between the Liberals, the NDP and the Green's. The Conservatives win as long as they take in >1/3 of the popular vote.
I haven't been successful in arguing with leftist/center left politicians that they should drop their party affiliation for one election cycle to get rid of the greater evil, then go back to bashing each other after the Con's are gone. How long Canadian's are willing to be lead by someone that most are frankly embarrassed by is anyone's guess, but so far the only ones that seem ready to tear down the system if they don't get their way are are the Conservatives.
Terry





Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 20, 2014, 02:48:17 AM
Terry

I agree completely with your comment about the 60's in the US.  There is no stress here at all today compared to then.  It shows how far we have to go to get to real trouble.

I was watching the mess in Kiev on the news tonight.  The government is being restrained there.  If there was a demonstration like that here where large numbers of people were throwing Molotov cocktails and thousands of large rocks at the police they would be mowed down by the police in a heartbeat and the National Guard would be called out to help the police.  I expect that is going to happen pretty soon.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 20, 2014, 04:52:24 PM
For our non-US readers, or the US ones who studiously avoid what is going on in right wing policy circles, here is a typical piece of militaristic propaganda which the mass of the populace is bombarded with on a regular basis.  CHINA IS COMING!!

Note that Ralph Peters mentioned prominently has long been one of the neo-con empire strategists.  He is a pseudo-historian who's primary goal is justifying and promoting American empire building.  He has openly stated in the past that given the preeminence of US power in the world that we have the right and responsibility to dictate the course of world events to our advantage.  He has had serious influence with the like of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Bush.  Not to mention a host of militaristic Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives.  This kind of propaganda is very useful garnering support for the giant US military budget.

Quote
China is practicing for a "short, sharp war" with Japan.

That is the assessment of a top U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, who told colleagues that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is currently conducting training exercises in a practice scenario in which the military takes the Senkaku Islands, near Taiwan...

...“[We] concluded that the PLA has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected a seizure of the Senkakus or even a southern Ryukyu [islands] — as some of their academics say.”

Quote
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said China has a habit of bullying its neighbors with intimidating military drills, though exercises aimed at Japan are a new and worrisome wrinkle.

It's ok if the US does this but it is b ad if the Chinese do it.


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/02/19/china-preps-military-for-short-sharp-war-with-japan-says-us-navy/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl13%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D444598 (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/02/19/china-preps-military-for-short-sharp-war-with-japan-says-us-navy/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl13%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D444598)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on February 20, 2014, 06:03:47 PM
I was watching the mess in Kiev on the news tonight.  The government is being restrained there.  If there was a demonstration like that here where large numbers of people were throwing Molotov cocktails and thousands of large rocks at the police they would be mowed down by the police in a heartbeat and the National Guard would be called out to help the police.  I expect that is going to happen pretty soon.

I agree that unrest might take place in the US pretty soon, but i doubt very, very much that such unrest might achive anything positive. Unrest in Ukraine have been able to grow to such an extent that it may lead to changes because the rebels have support from powerfull players in the region, and because the political system which it engages is structurally weak and inflexible. A revolt against the American elite will neither be backed by others with significant powers (as an attack on the capitalist elite in the US in an attack on the elites worldwide), nor will it engage a weak political structure, but rather a cleverly designed surveillance state. I simply cannot imagine US police or military defecting in large numbers and joining the opposition forces either, such is the case in Ukraine. I rather think they would behave in the way you just described, effectively dismantling the protest movement.

Thinking that an there excists a limit of unfairness and hopelessness, that when reached, automatically results in a revolution and systemic breakdown, is the kind of Hollywood-moral which simply isn't true. Increased unequality doesn't equal increased public unrest, just increased unhappiness.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 20, 2014, 06:27:48 PM
I agree that unrest might take place in the US pretty soon, but i doubt very, very much that such unrest might achive anything positive. Unrest in Ukraine have been able to grow to such an extent that it may lead to changes because the rebels have support from powerfull players in the region, and because the political system which it engages is structurally weak and inflexible. A revolt against the American elite will neither be backed by others with significant powers (as an attack on the capitalist elite in the US in an attack on the elites worldwide), nor will it engage a weak political structure, but rather a cleverly designed surveillance state. I simply cannot imagine US police or military defecting in large numbers and joining the opposition forces either, such is the case in Ukraine. I rather think they would behave in the way you just described, effectively dismantling the protest movement.

Actually I could see elements of the US military defecting, not so much the police.

The problem is - that while the existing systems are absolutely rotten and do need destroyed and torn down - there isn't time to rebuild anything better. There's also a real risk that unrest actually makes things worse faster as removing the established powers tends to create a vacuum that only seldom is occupied by positive replacements. Then of course you have a nation with more weapons and violence and little power groups slopping around afterwards - that is arguably harder to govern.

A sad reflection on human nature, but note that it is "others" who become the targets and scapegoats when the going gets tough. Just look at the Australian policy towards asylum seekers to see this in action in the modern day.

This is thus part of the process of collapse and degeneration into violence and chaos. In the case of America it is one of the few nations that strikes me as having the scope to do so long before one might expect them to have reached such stresses just from looking at their resources and population density, etc. They should be able to make things work for a good while yet - but their ideology won't permit it.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 20, 2014, 09:01:14 PM
Rubic

If I gave the impression that the US was in any way likely to have unrest like what is happening in the Ukraine I did not mean to.  I just meant that while the US is talking tough about the abuses of the Ukrainian government if the shoe was on the other foot the US would have resorted to live fire by the police about as soon as the first brick hit one of them or the first firebomb was thrown.  The police here shoot pretty much first and ask questions later.  If you endanger or hurt one of them they are very likely to kill you.

There is almost no chance what-so-ever that any civil unrest on a large scale will happen in the US.  Americans are a very conservative people.  The Democrats are not liberals like in Europe.  They are conservatives by European standards and fully committed members of the Capitalist Party.  Their joint managers of our country, the Republicans, are similar to your more extreme right wing parties.  We have no real liberal party and there is no large group of people who really oppose US policies or the direction we are headed in.

To give you a small sample of what is often going on here in politics the state I live in, Arizona, yesterday passed a bill that "legalizes" discrimination if that discrimination is based upon your religious beliefs.  This new law will get signed by the governor and will have to be challenged in Federal Court.  Boggles the mind.

Re the idea that either the police or military personnel would join protest movements or large scale civil unrest I would say that it is very unlikely in the case of any issue where the civil unrest is based upon any liberal concept or policy, or especially AGW issues.   The  police are trained specifically to put down any such type of activity.  Since our military is all volunteer and drawn largely from the most conservative areas of the US and is known to vote heavily Republican I do not think they would have any problem taking action against fellow citizens.  Even though use of the military against US civilians is specifically prohibited by our constitution the military trains for just such actions. 

Large scale unrest here would almost have to come from rightwing conservatives provoked by a strong movement towards liberal  governing policies which moved this country towards areas socialism.  Obama, as conservative as he is,  manages to provoke these people enough that talk of armed resistance is common among them. Real liberalism  could provoke violence and the police and military just might support that.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 21, 2014, 07:41:55 PM
Many mock the right wing political viewpoint (myself included) that many in the government (mostly liberals) and those who run the UN (mostly Europeans) are out to dramatically reduce national sovereignty and create a one world government.  One of the primary vehicles for this, after UN regulations which infringe on sovereignty, is the creation of trade treaties which supersede national laws.   It turns out they may have a point.  Read the below on the justification used to the US Congress in the 1960's to advocate free trade.


http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/matt-stoller-free-trade-never-trade-eroding-nation-states-advance-rule-multinationals-stealth-colonialism.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/matt-stoller-free-trade-never-trade-eroding-nation-states-advance-rule-multinationals-stealth-colonialism.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 22, 2014, 06:02:01 PM
Venezuela

Note the recent post on a math algorithm being used to predict unrest based upon food crises that claimed that one of the examples is Venezuela (in the Topic on What particularly causes the "Crash").  Events like described below is one reason why I think such claims can only be one of a group of factors.

Quote
How Washington Is Playing Venezuela Like a Fiddle

United States foreign policy can be summed up as hard power vs. soft power. An example of hard power is the US backing the unsuccessful 2002 military coup d’état against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, when businessman Pedro Carmona Estanga briefly took power. An example of the US’s soft power is the current situation in Venezuela.

A leaked document from November of 2013 shows that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) collaborated with the Colombian government and Venezuelan opposition leaders to destabilize Venezuela and stoke massive protests. The document, obtained by journalist and attorney Eva Golinger, was the product of a June 2013 meeting between US-based FTI Consulting, the Colombian Fundación Centro de Pensamiento Primero Colombia (Centre for Thought Foundation of Colombia First), and Fundación Internacionalismo Democratico (Democratic Internationalism Foundation). The third tactic outlined in the 15-point strategy document openly called for sabotage:

"Maintain and increase the sabotage that affect the population's services, particularly the electricity system, that puts blame on the government for assumed inefficiencies and negligence.”

Quote
The current situation in Venezuela is eerily reminiscent of 1950s Iran. Democratically-elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh threatened to nationalize the country’s vast oil supply. President Eisenhower sent Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the CIA’s near-east and Africa division leader, to Iran to oust him.

After sustained protests and civil unrest engineered by Kermit Roosevelt, Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi took power. What followed was 25 years of cruel brutality and fear for the Iranian people, and sustained energy trading with the United States. It was the CIA’s first successful overthrow of a foreign government, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Since Hugo Chavez died in Spring of 2013 and Nicolas Maduro was elected last Fall, Venezuela’s economy has been spiraling downward, as has Maduro’s political legitimacy. Once a top-ten economy, Venezuela’s wealth is based entirely on the oil industry, and the continued success of a finite resource. One large source of the economic malaise has been the mismanagement of oil money – Venezuela energy czar Rafael Ramirez recently admitted that 30 percent of oil revenues were diverted from their original purpose. And while a few corrupt individuals at the top are skimming the nation’s oil money meant for social programs, Venezuelan currency is rapidly declining in value as inflation rates skyrocket.

The US considers what goes on in Latin America of critical national security interest to the US (in other words critical to maintaining the empire).  We just do not have enough say right now in how to control the oil wealth in Venezuela.  It is not about food prices.

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22199-focus-how-washington-is-playing-venezuela-like-a-fiddle (http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22199-focus-how-washington-is-playing-venezuela-like-a-fiddle)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on February 23, 2014, 12:18:54 PM
JimD
Reading many of your previous posts I suspected it was not the intention to say an Ukrainian style revolt was going to happen in the US. I just found some time to make a short reasoning about why this is the case.

CCGW
I agree that a instigating a revolution against the rich elite would create havoc on a tremendous scale, but if I were to be a little simplistic I would say it is like choosing between Syria and North Korea (violent anarchy or absolute totalitarianism). I personally would have chosen Syria, amongst other reasons because anarchy is a fluid state that never lasts for as long as a totalitarian rule can do. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be a option. In order to topple the elite you need help from outside forces, these forces are not availible today, but they will perhaps be in the future when the effects of climate change stir up things elsewhere.

On the issue of US in Latin-America; I have sometimes wondered why the US hasn't been able to restrain the rise of anti-americanism in Lantin America over the past decade. It might be that the economic interest of US Companies haven't been sufficiently harmed, with some countries not being of large economic importance and some leaders talking tougher than they act (Kirchner,for excample, almost encourages Monsanto to rampage the Argentinian countryside). Though, the lack of Venezuelan oil, amongst other things, must have been a real thorn in the eye, thus I think the US intelligence has just been re-grouping and changing tactics after the utter failure in 2002, and it seems these tactics are now paying of.

One Paraguayan goverment, promising land reforms, has allready fallen victim to dirty play, the populists in Argentina are losing ground both financially and economically, Correa, in Ecuador, is feeling the pressure and seeking help from China, even the more conservative Brazilians is struggling, and last but not at least, the Bolivarian revolution is about to implode. The empire strikes back.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 23, 2014, 03:58:04 PM
I agree that a instigating a revolution against the rich elite would create havoc on a tremendous scale, but if I were to be a little simplistic I would say it is like choosing between Syria and North Korea (violent anarchy or absolute totalitarianism). I personally would have chosen Syria, amongst other reasons because anarchy is a fluid state that never lasts for as long as a totalitarian rule can do. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be a option. In order to topple the elite you need help from outside forces, these forces are not availible today, but they will perhaps be in the future when the effects of climate change stir up things elsewhere.

That is a fair point and I too would prefer to be in a situation like Syria, given that choice. In the developed world the tools available to the socioeconomic elites mean there is a real risk of the North Korea outcome in many cases.

I don't think you need outside help to topple an elite per se - just a hard core determined collection of people with the general support of enough of the population. However if the state has sufficiently effectively tools to repress dissent (and stop it from being publicly expressed) it has a lot of scope to prevent such a collection of people from forming in the first place.

One wonders also if the rate of change in getting into such a state matters too though. In North Korea I would be fairly sure the government forces can shoot whoever they want without fear of losing control. In Ukraine - we saw a different outcome - once it turned into slaughter, the sitting government had basically lost. I would argue it takes time for people to adapt and conform to a repressive regime and that may provide a glimmer of hope versus the extremely capable suppression apparatuses being assembled in certain western nations (nothing can entirely negate the numerical advantage that the masses hold, as even in the most totalitarian regime - at least some of said masses are needed by the socioeconomic elites).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 23, 2014, 05:48:08 PM
ccg

Quote
One wonders also if the rate of change in getting into such a state matters too though. In North Korea I would be fairly sure the government forces can shoot whoever they want without fear of losing control. In Ukraine - we saw a different outcome - once it turned into slaughter, the sitting government had basically lost. I would argue it takes time for people to adapt and conform to a repressive regime and that may provide a glimmer of hope versus the extremely capable suppression apparatuses being assembled in certain western nations (nothing can entirely negate the numerical advantage that the masses hold, as even in the most totalitarian regime - at least some of said masses are needed by the socioeconomic elites).

Interesting quote.  I have two thoughts on this, which are sort of opposite each other in a way.  I think the President (loosely speaking of course) of the Ukraine had two viable options to work his way through the protest situation.

The most viable was to do his best to ignore the protesters and just keep the place running as best he could and in time what he wanted to do would happen by fiat.  Now the protesters, who anyone must admit 'wanted' serious violence to happen, as events have shown, because it would work to their advantage would definitely have tried to provoke said violence.  But if the President had held tough I think he could have outlasted them.

The second approach would have been to actually resort to the "slaughter" you mentioned.  Because he did not actually do that.  The level of violence was moderate at best and injuries and such were not overwhelmingly inflicted on the protesters.  Don't forget the propaganda of the western media here.  Approximately the same number of protestors have been killed in Venezuela as were killed in the Ukraine and there is hardly any news about that.  If the President had declared martial law and sent in the tanks and obliterated the protesters (think like the Chinese would have done) and just stamped the protest out entirely and instituted military rule he might have been able to pull it off.  A lesser viable option but either option better than what he chose to do.

I note from an American perspective that if we had protestors shooting at police (I saw videos of this), hundreds of people throwing fire bombs at police with effect, almost 100 police taken prisoner, protestors attacking police with deadly weapons, burning down government buildings, etc that the government here and the police would have killed a lot more of the protestors than the Ukrainian government did of their protestors.  Overthrowing governments is a bloody business and what has transpired so far in the Ukraine is not very high up the historical scale.  I note that I was present in a country (not to be named here) once when similar events were under way and I witnessed about the same number of people killed in a single afternoon as the total in the Ukraine so far.  By the time they were done a couple of years later....whew!   
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 23, 2014, 08:42:52 PM
How does the American Empire function?

Here is a description by a former insider.  As another former insider his description fits my experiences dead on.  An excellent article.

Exclusive Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State

Quote
There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

You want to know who runs things and how?

http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/ (http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 01, 2014, 05:41:46 PM
A bit more on the Ukrainian situation.

Looks like the US was involved in funding/promoting the civil unrest and trigged this crises as one might have suspected.

http://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/ (http://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/)

Now the Russians are moving in troops and will assist (after being asked to help protect their sovereignty I am sure) the Crimea not be overtaken by the rebels in Kiev. 

I would bet that higher natural gas prices are on the horizon for Europe.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 02, 2014, 04:32:36 AM
Well now we have crossed into the galactically stupid. 

If the new (temporary or whatever it is) Ukrainian government gets out of this situation it will be surprising.  Think what the US or the Israelis would do to them if they were in Russia's position.

Quote
Ukraine Neo-Nazi Party Threatens Russia with Nukes: “We’ll Regain our Nuclear Status in 6 Months”

Quote
Calls in Kiev to ‘regain nuclear status in six months’

Unable to resolve tensions with the largely pro-Russian autonomous region of Crimea, Kiev is bombarding Moscow with accusations and warnings. Some politicians have even threatened to restock Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal.

Quote
According to translated news sources within the country, Ukraine interim representative threatened Russia with nuclear weapons, if Russia does not remove their troops from within the Ukrainian borders...

...The ultra-right “Svoboda” (Liberty) party has remained unconvinced, with one of its representatives in the Ukrainian parliament warning that if Russia doesn’t tread carefully it will be dealing with a nuclear power.

“We’ll regain our status as a nuclear power and that’ll change the conversation. Ukraine has all the technological means needed to create a nuclear arsenal – which would take us about three to six months,” Svoboda party MP Mikhail Golovko said....

.... In 1996 Ukraine officially lost its nuclear status, having gotten rid of the whole of its stockpile.

But the country still draws almost half of its energy from atomic power, and is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

While the uranium Ukraine gets from Russia for its reactors is low-enriched, reactor waste is quite enough to make a so-called dirty bomb. The country possesses manpower and know-how to do that as well as delivery vehicles for nuclear payload, which don’t have to be too sophisticated.


At the very least the Russians now have all the excuse they need to take control of all nuclear power facilities in the country if not ensure that they have control over the entire country.  It is the 'clear and present danger' justification that the US uses all the time.  Who would be willing to stand in their way?  Amazingly stupid. 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-neo-nazi-party-threatens-russia-with-nuclear-weapons-well-regain-our-nuclear-status/5371524 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-neo-nazi-party-threatens-russia-with-nuclear-weapons-well-regain-our-nuclear-status/5371524)

http://intellihub.com/ukraine-leader-threatens-russia-nuclear-weapons/ (http://intellihub.com/ukraine-leader-threatens-russia-nuclear-weapons/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 02, 2014, 05:10:08 AM
Empires fighting.   Who has time for AGW? 

Quote
Ukraine Transition Government: Neo-Nazis in Control of Armed Forces, National Security, Economy, Justice and Education

The ultra-right Svoboda Party has scored six major cabinet ministries in the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk approved by the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday. Svoboda is the Neo-Nazi, ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the Western Ukraine.

Quote
The interim cabinet matches exactly the government which U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland recommended in her intercepted call with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev where she revealed the U.S. plan for a coup in Ukraine.

Vitali Klitschko and his UDAR party are excluded, likely because of their close relationship with German chancellor Angela Merkel. Yatsenuyk’s Fatherland Party receives the majority of portfolios. And as Nuland demanded, so long as Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok did not receive a major cabinet post, Svoboda could receive several ministries.

In the eyes of many these facts are indicative of U.S. involvement in what has essentially been a coup against the elected government of the Ukraine.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-transition-government-neo-nazis-in-control-of-armed-forces-national-security-economy-justice-and-education/5371539 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-transition-government-neo-nazis-in-control-of-armed-forces-national-security-economy-justice-and-education/5371539)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 02, 2014, 08:29:17 AM
Empires fighting.   Who has time for AGW? 

Maybe WWIII will come along even without obvious climate change drivers and prove us all wrong for having put so much mental effort into the climate change questions?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 02, 2014, 03:17:44 PM
A couple of weeks ago the Secretary of Defense proposed a fairly significant cut to the US Army as well as other cuts and restructurings of the whole Defense Dept.  Clearly called for if the US is going to be abler to afford to ever pay for the basics properly as well as eventually get around to dealing in some fashion with AGW.  And people here are a little tired of war after 13 consecutive years of sending them into combat.

But that idea is fiercely fought by the militant right and the empire builders.  With the Ukrainian/Russian situation (triggered significantly by the US - it's a feature not a bug??) they now have all the ammunition they need to not only not cut the Defense budget but to call for increasing it. I would bet money that there will be no significant cuts. 

The best way to beat an empire is not direct confrontation it is to bleed them to death.  Death by a thousand cuts.  The more we spend on defense trying to grow and maintain the empire the sooner we collapse.  So if you think that fixing AGW is the ONLY thing that counts then you might want to consider encouraging Russia to go all in as it will result in the US cranking up the empire  machine a few notches on this side.  Bleed them both.

Madness.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 02, 2014, 08:54:08 PM
The status of perhaps the most critical US colony.

Saudi Arabia: Besieged and Fearful

One issue the article leaves out is the coming decline in oil production from the kingdom.  This will have ripple effects all over the place.

http://www.agenceglobal.com/index.php?show=article&Tid=3143 (http://www.agenceglobal.com/index.php?show=article&Tid=3143)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on March 04, 2014, 03:22:31 AM
Well now we have crossed into the galactically stupid. 

If the new (temporary or whatever it is) Ukrainian government gets out of this situation it will be surprising.  Think what the US or the Israelis would do to them if they were in Russia's position.

Quote
Ukraine Neo-Nazi Party Threatens Russia with Nukes: “We’ll Regain our Nuclear Status in 6 Months”

Quote
Calls in Kiev to ‘regain nuclear status in six months’

Unable to resolve tensions with the largely pro-Russian autonomous region of Crimea, Kiev is bombarding Moscow with accusations and warnings. Some politicians have even threatened to restock Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal.

........................................................................................

At the very least the Russians now have all the excuse they need to take control of all nuclear power facilities in the country if not ensure that they have control over the entire country.  It is the 'clear and present danger' justification that the US uses all the time.  Who would be willing to stand in their way?  Amazingly stupid. 

JimD,

On the face value of those quotes alone, Putin can claim "Russian National Security" interests for any future military advances into Ukrainian territory.  While I detest Putin and do not trust his intentions, I smell more than one rat in the cellar.  With the threat of having energy supplies to Europe curtailed, I'm sure my local Texas "Oil/Gas" drillers are thrilled to see energy stocks soaring today.  This almost ensures that the Keystone Pipeline gets approved on the sole pretext of National Security.  This leads me with only one comment on the current situation:

Frack Today,
.......F*%K Tommorrow!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 04, 2014, 04:29:07 PM
We all know about the Koch family and the disaster they are making of the world.  But how many are familiar with the DeVos family?  Their influence is comparable in many ways and on top of that they are already lining up the military wing for when the time comes that they think violence is called for.  These are not the kind of people who will ever understand or compromise with collective attempts to deal with AGW.  All crises are opportunities to gain advantage.  As long as their side is left in control of the field of battle when the dust settles they have no concern for anyone but themselves.  They'll let half the world starve to make sure it works out their way.  There is no meaningful difference between them and Putin.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/devos-michigan-labor-politics-gop (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/devos-michigan-labor-politics-gop)

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/devos-family-foundations-heritage-americans-prosperity-blackwater (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/devos-family-foundations-heritage-americans-prosperity-blackwater)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 04, 2014, 05:45:34 PM
Why Russia no longer fears the West. It’s the offshore, stupid

Quote
The point of this short story is clear: Western leaders are waking up to the fact that Russia no longer fears or even respects them. Why? Well:


“Russia thinks the West is no longer a crusading alliance. Russia thinks the West is now all about the money.”

Quite so. More specifically,


“Putin’s henchmen know this personally. Russia’s rulers have been buying up Europe for years. They have mansions and luxury flats from London’s West End to France’s Cote d’Azure. Their children are safe at British boarding and Swiss finishing schools. And their money is squirrelled away in Austrian banks and British tax havens.
 . . .
 They have seen firsthand how obsequious Western aristocrats and corporate tycoons suddenly turn when their billions come into play.
 . . .
 they know full well it is European bankers, businessmen and lawyers who do the dirty work for them placing the proceeds of corruption in hideouts from the Dutch Antilles to the British Virgin Islands.”

As they say, "Follow the money."  No high level person in any of the US/EU/Russia gives a rats ass about freedom for the proletariat.  It is all about who controls the most wealth and what it takes to get more.  The West does not want to help Ukraine it wants to be in the position to be the one stripping the wealth vice letting the Russians and the Ukrainian oligarchs be the ones stealing it.  They are doing the same thing here in the US to the middle and working class (read the link for the post above). 

http://www.taxjustice.net/2014/03/03/russia-longer-fears-west-offshore-stupid/ (http://www.taxjustice.net/2014/03/03/russia-longer-fears-west-offshore-stupid/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 04, 2014, 06:13:45 PM
What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis

Want to know how and part of the why of the US instigating the Ukrainian crises read the below.  Also include lots of info on how the neo-cons are still having massive influence on the conduct of US strategic decisions. 

Quote
....Without doubt, the neocons’ most dramatic – and potentially most dangerous – counter-move has been Ukraine, where they have lent their political and financial support to opposition forces who sought to break Ukraine away from its Russian neighbor.

Though this crisis also stems from the historical division of Ukraine – between its more European-oriented west and the Russian-ethnic east and south – neocon operatives, with financing from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. sources, played key roles in destabilizing and overthrowing the democratically elected president.

NED, a $100 million-a-year agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states, lists 65 projects that it supports financially inside Ukraine, including training activists, supporting “journalists” and promoting business groups, effectively creating a full-service structure primed and ready to destabilize a government in the name of promoting “democracy.” ....

...Last December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S. goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves,” by which she meant into the West’s orbit and away from Russia’s....

....Nuland was soon at work planning for “regime change,” encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn’t seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.

“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. “He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know.” By “Yats,” Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister — and who was committed to harsh austerity.

As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera’s anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II....

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/ (http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/)

If this situation settles out with Western Ukraine ending up in the US/EU orbit they will be forced to take on debt from the IMF and agree to strict austerity measures accompanied by agreements to sell off significant national assets and allow private (read rich westerners) purchase of their prime farm land.  Just another Greece.  Loot the assets and turn the citizens into debt slaves to continue the milking out of the populace of what assets they have left. 

And AGW just marches on.  Popcorn and beer!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on March 04, 2014, 07:10:19 PM
Popcorn and beer!
I don't think beer is going to be strong enough...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 05, 2014, 04:38:36 PM
Ukraine and US strategy and motivations.  An interesting read. 

Ukraine – some thoughts on who is playing for what.

Quote
In this scenario American hawks do best, Russia and its military can hope to make a good result from a seemingly bad situation and Europe comes out weakened and divided.

This is, obviulsy, just one way of seeing a very complex situation and I don’t offer it as a rival to other considerations but rather as a compliment to them. I think, as always, it’s not about championing freedom. It always about power and competition between the large powers. in which the little countries are pieces to be moved about and manipulated wherever possible.

And it is not all about the US neo-cons working the empire strategy on the Russians.  Those pesky Europeans have been getting uppity and forgetting who is in charge lately.

Quote
Particularly because the US regime’s frustration with what it sees as Europe’s reluctance to share the US’s enthusiasm and policy has been painfully evident.

A frustration made rather public in thte suave “F*kc the EU” comment made by the US State Department’s Victoria Nuland when she was speaking to US ambassador to Ukraine, Jeffrey Pyatt.



Quote
But the benefits for America – at least in the minds of its hawks, don’t stop there.

Nothing hurt Pentagon funding like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the East/West German split. What size of military pork barrel might a new East West Ukraine split deliver? I think the Pentagon is delighted. I doubt AMerica will be as nakedly provocative as to built big new militray bases in a new West Ukraine. Though some will certainly think it only right and proper. But I would be amazed if they don’t create a few speical forces and intelligence sites – which will need defending!

And of course the Pentagon’s pleasure is Europe’s pain. Europe is split on Ukraine. Germany is not happy to anger Russia. Merkel  has conspicuously spent at least as much time on the phone with Putin as with Obama. Being the European terminus of the Nord Stream gas pipeline into Europe means Germany has along term intersts in being friendly with Russia. And Germany has historically always looked East in its foreign policy. While France has historically always looked South and Britain always West. On top of which France has, since Syria, become America’s new best War-buddy. The reasons for which I wrote about in Syria – Cui Bono.

So by provoking a “f*ck the EU” split in Ukraine America weakens any pesky European solidarity. Nothing like dividing your allies against each other to maintain control over them. Not only does a split in Ukraine cause welcome frcition between the two pillars of the European project, Berlin and Paris, it is also marvelously mischievous because if there is one thing the EU is very sensitive and woried about at the moment it is separatist movements. The EU does not like the idea of its constituent nations begining to break apart into even more bickering and all-too-democratic factions. Centralization of decision making is what Brussels wants not nationalist democracies. Spain fears anything that gives legitimacy to Catalonian separatism. The EU and the Conservative Government in Westminster have made it very clear they are neither of them  happy about Scotland away from the UK and France is nervous about a possible Belgian break up.

In a way you have to have some admiration (mixed in with the horror and disgust) of the neo-con strategy to manage and control the world.  They have, so far, been fairly successful in a short to medium term sense even though they are working from a shrinking deck.  Long term they are heading towards epic failure in the global sense that the empire will eventually disappear, but perhaps not in a sense of where they end up standing when the dust settles.  It bears serious thought as to how they plan on dealing with AGW the collapse and the aftermath.  Having spent most of my life surrounded by these people I don't actually think they are ignorant of or actually dismissive about AGW or our chances of stopping its progression.  Rather I think they have long ago come to the conclusion that I did.  It cannot be stopped as we (all humans) are incapable of the actions required to bring carbon emissions to zero.  So what is the next best solution?  Well it is to be the last one standing and to have managed the process to ensure primacy and relative position in the future. At least that is part of their thinking.  I think.  What do you think is their plan?  If any.

http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2014/03/ukraine-some-thoughts-on-who-is-playing-for-what/ (http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2014/03/ukraine-some-thoughts-on-who-is-playing-for-what/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 05, 2014, 07:30:59 PM
Rather I think they have long ago come to the conclusion that I did.  It cannot be stopped as we (all humans) are incapable of the actions required to bring carbon emissions to zero.  So what is the next best solution?  Well it is to be the last one standing and to have managed the process to ensure primacy and relative position in the future. At least that is part of their thinking.  I think.  What do you think is their plan?  If any.

That's pretty much my conclusion too, albeit without any exposure to such types of people - solely derived from what is said and not said and what leaks around the gaps.

As for Russia/Ukraine - for some of us who have connections to Russia, this is already becoming a rapidly growing problem in real terms. The world is still more interconnected than most people realise.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on March 05, 2014, 07:56:32 PM

Rather I think they have long ago come to the conclusion that I did.  It cannot be stopped as we (all humans) are incapable of the actions required to bring carbon emissions to zero.  So what is the next best solution?  Well it is to be the last one standing and to have managed the process to ensure primacy and relative position in the future. At least that is part of their thinking.  I think.  What do you think is their plan?  If any.

It would be one thing to be the "last one standing" in the world, if temperature increase were to be limited to less than 2o(C) and the global climate having achieved equilibrium.  However, on our current path of BAU, what is the great prize in being the "last one standing" on an earth that is 5-6o(C) warmer and the climate is now centuries away from achieving equilibrium??
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 06, 2014, 05:48:38 AM
It would be one thing to be the "last one standing" in the world, if temperature increase were to be limited to less than 2o(C) and the global climate having achieved equilibrium.  However, on our current path of BAU, what is the great prize in being the "last one standing" on an earth that is 5-6o(C) warmer and the climate is now centuries away from achieving equilibrium??

OLN,

The situation is certainly bad and getting worse.  But I think what motivates a lot of us is that we are expressing that natural instinct towards survival.  Or perhaps more properly we want our species to survive.  Some few of us want to save the natural world as it once existed and to live in it in a long term sustainable fashion.  Derrick Jensen obviously feels that all species are equal and that he would prefer ours disappear to save all the others.  Others, the vast majority, are really only thinking of ours in any practical sense. 

I must admit that even though I find the natural world a thing of indescribable beauty I still cannot help but put the main focus on humans.  It is sort of the point that if we are not here then does the universe still exist type of thinking.  I guess that kind of focus is how we ended up in this predicament.  So, while I would hope that whomever the survivors of the bottleneck are they would have learned enough from this harsh lesson that they will be more cognizant of what they are doing and better stewards of the earth.  I also know that it is not actually important who survives as long as someone does.  Even if they are a bunch of rotten bastards (which is probably more likely than not).  Tough conditions and great suffering build very strong character, it just does not happen to be really admirable character normally.  But we take what we can get. 

It is a great prize, no matter what the conditions end up being, to have someone standing when the dust settles.   Many someone's of course.  We cannot wish away the efforts which our species undertakes to survive.  We may think that some of their methods are immoral and unethical, but what do you expect from a bunch of humans anyway.  That is what we always do.  I am actually expecting serious violence over different groups methods eventually.  There is a strong faction of humanity which is oriented psychologically towards authoritarian/totalitarian forms of governance.  They will eventually try to control this situation and will certainly not tolerate deviation.  I also expect that eventually the true earth lovers (seems like a fair description), as exemplified by folks like Jensen, will grow in numbers and spirit and will resort to widespread anti-civilization violence.

This is all self centeredness of course.  In a galaxy of 100 billion stars and a universe of 500 billion galaxies you have to be pretty full of yourself to think that what happens here on Earth matters even one little bit.

But I guarantee anyone would be happy to be alive and have a chance to keep on with our little journey through time (what ever time might be).   No matter what the final temperatures turn out to be.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 06, 2014, 07:16:52 AM
This is all self centeredness of course.  In a galaxy of 100 billion stars and a universe of 500 billion galaxies you have to be pretty full of yourself to think that what happens here on Earth matters even one little bit.

Not sure you can rule anything out though. Do you suppose the Toba catastrophe survivors sat around thinking their ultimate descendents would sit where we do now - with our computers, nuclear weapons, aeroplanes, satellites and so on?

I very much doubt it, I imagine they just got on with the day to day business of surviving - but I think for as long as our species holds on - interesting futures remain possible, whether we can envisage or picture them or not (personally of course, I favour trying to nudge the future down what I think are the right directions).

It would be part of the modern hubris to presume that the modern world is necessarily the apex of human achievement.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JackTaylor on March 06, 2014, 05:09:53 PM
" for as long as our species holds on - interesting futures remain possible, whether we can envisage or picture them or not

part of the modern hubris to presume that the modern world is necessarily the apex of human achievement"

 ccg,
Nice summation.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 06, 2014, 06:08:20 PM
ccg

Completely agree.  I think our current civilization, while it has some interesting toys, is clearly a regression as compared to a few of the human developed cultures once widely practiced.  We can certainly aspire to living higher quality lives than is the norm today.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 06, 2014, 06:32:47 PM
Ukraine - Ok, now we are getting the new looting regime in place.

Wolf Richter: Aid For The Ukraine “Will Be Stolen” – Former Ukrainian Minister Of Economy

Quote
Secretary of State John Kerry jaunted to Kiev on Tuesday and offered the newly installed Ukrainian government $1 billion in aid. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger announced the same day that the EU would help the Ukraine pay its gas bill of about $2 billion, owed Russian state-controlled Gazprom. On Wednesday, the rest of the EU aid package was announced: €11 billion, contingent on the Ukraine’s inking a deal with the IMF and implementing tough reforms. The IMF is still working on its own aid package.

Notice who's taxpayers are going to foot the bill.  And here comes the IMF austerity regulations which set up the looting mechanism. 

Quote
Transparency International ranked the Ukraine as one of the most corrupt countries on earth, in 144th place out of the 175 countries on its Corruption Perception Index, an honor it shares with five other cesspools of corruption of the same rank, including Nigeria.

And the reforms that the EU and the IMF will doubtlessly demand and upon which the aid money will be made contingent? “There will be no reforms,” Mândrăşescu wrote. “Western aid will indeed be stolen, and it won’t help the country’s economy.”

That’s what taxpayers in other countries can look forward to.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 08, 2014, 04:50:09 PM
European Border Changes Over Last 1000 Years

Pretty instructive

European Border Changes Over Last 1000 Years (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp8nYVZoYNE#ws)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 10, 2014, 05:52:01 PM
The Russian view of the Ukraine situation

Quote
By Valentin Mândrăşescu, Editor of The Voice of Russia’s Reality Check. Former commodity trader, economist, journalist. Nomadic lifestyle. When not in Moscow, he can be found travelling across Eastern Europe.

When, on February 21st, Washington decided to default on the agreement signed between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the so-called “democratic opposition,” including Neo-Nazis, it finally crossed the red line.

Washington has defaulted on all of its key agreements made with USSR/Russia during the last 30 years. Gorbachev was promised that Eastern Europe would not be taken into NATO. Country by country, it became part of NATO, and Yugoslavia was dismantled despite Russia’s objections. The US acted as the winner of the Cold War and guided its policies by the famous principle of “Vae victis!” Woe to the vanquished!.....

Washington’s defaulting on an explicit agreement regarding Ukraine’s future and the prospect of NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine finally convinced Vladimir Putin and a big part of the Russian elite that there is no point in negotiating with the US. It means that from now on, no compromises are possible.

Quote
Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the biggest neo-Nazi group in Ukraine, issued a statement in which he called on Russia’s most wanted Chechen terrorist, Doku Umarov, to commit acts of terrorism in Russia. “Many Ukrainians with arms in the hands” had supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians, the statement said, but “it is time to support Ukraine now.”

What would have happened to a warlord somewhere who called on Al-Qaeda to commit acts of terrorism in the US? He would have been killed by a drone strike without international warrant or court decision. If the US does this, then other countries are entitled to act in a similar manner.

The fact that the neo-Nazi leaders and their soldiers haven’t been disarmed despite the EU-brokered agreement signed on February 21st proves that they and not the “official government” are actually in control of the situation. But the US doesn’t care about the fate of the Russians who don’t want to live in a neo-Nazi-led state. The US wants to dislodge Russia from the region, and nothing else matters.

For America, the situation in Ukraine is a geopolitical game, another opportunity to hurt Russia’s interests. For Russia, it’s not a geopolitical game. It’s a matter of national identity, it’s an ethnic matter. Almost every Russian I know has relatives in Ukraine. Roughly a third of Russian senators and members of the government were born in Ukraine.

Quote
Here, in Moscow, almost everyone is certain that we’ll see a rerun of the “Georgian war” and that Crimea will be attacked by Ukrainian army at some point before March 16th. If you’re a trader, sitting on the fence for a week or putting on some hedges may be a very good idea.

And let's not forget this.   

Quote
Ukraine: Kiev snipers reportedly hired by opposition leaders not Yanukovich according to 'bugged call'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ukraine-kiev-snipers-reportedly-hired-by-opposition-leaders-not-yanukovich-according-to-bugged-call-9171328.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ukraine-kiev-snipers-reportedly-hired-by-opposition-leaders-not-yanukovich-according-to-bugged-call-9171328.html)

One of the most common mistakes made by empires in the decline phase of their existence is overreach.  They react to the stresses being created by declining relative power by doubling down on their previously effective strategies, but the fact that they are in decline means that such actions exceed their ability to manage and obtain net resource gains, thus hastening their demise rather than extending their lifespan.  The Ukrainian situation is a self inflicted wound and will move collapse forward in time.  The US f**ked up!

http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/10/from-now-on-no-compromises-are-possible-for-russia.html (http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/10/from-now-on-no-compromises-are-possible-for-russia.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 12, 2014, 02:54:31 PM
Russia - United States

I don't know if it is being bandied about much in the European press but here in the states the pro-empire politicians have been advocating a surge in natural gas production in order to offset probable higher Russian fees for their natural gas going to Europe.

This will not work for a number of reasons.  The first two are simply engineering oriented in that production levels currently are insufficient to provide the supply.  After a period of more intense drilling (and a lot of environmental fights and local opposition) production could be increased, but there is good reason to think that maximum possible supplies are way overstated.  Additionally export facilities on the East Coast are lacking and would have to be constructed.  But there is a much bigger reason which could only be overcome by subsidies.  The gas has already been sold.

Quote
While there is an argument to be made that crude oil exports or even coal exports could immediately dampen Moscow’s regional clout, natural gas exports cannot tip the geopolitical energy scales in Washington’s favour anytime soon.

Most of the natural gas that could potentially head for Europe is already committed in long-term supply contracts. The reasons for this are financial. Building an LNG export facility is a multi-billion dollar endeavour, and financiers want to be sure that future revenue is guaranteed, at least until the debts are paid off. This necessitates long-term contracts between LNG exporters and LNG import facilities at the other end. This means that even once American LNG exports are booming, little of that gas could be rerouted in a surge to offset Russian supply.

Furthermore, most of those contracts are in Asia, where natural gas prices are higher than in Europe. The United States does not sell natural gas, nor does Europe buy it; commercial entities do, and these companies are not going to voluntarily lose money in order to advance American interests.

Moreover, those businesses will likely sell the gas where they will get the greatest return. Landed LNG prices in Europe range between $10 and $11 per MMBtu, while the price in Asia is $15 or higher. Also consider that the liquefaction process adds between $4 and $6 to the price of natural gas, and that the Henry Hub spot price, the benchmark for American natural gas, spiked to over $7 per MMBtu in the beginning of March on the back of an abnormally cold winter. At these prices, it would be hard for American producers to compete with European prices even if they wanted to.

Washington cannot wield natural gas as a tool of statecraft in the same way Moscow can. The private companies that make the United States so dynamic also make it far more beholden to prevailing market realities, and the reality is that when American companies begin exporting natural gas, very little of it will be destined for Europe.

Europe is most likely going to be spending a lot more for energy.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/washington-natural-gas-weapon-moscow.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/washington-natural-gas-weapon-moscow.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on March 12, 2014, 04:11:30 PM
Nice posts Jim. Keep it coming.

I'm not so sure, though, that the American empire is in decline, if that is what you suggested a couple of posts ago. The rich are getting richer, even in times of financial turmoil. The private economy of the common man is most certainly in decline, and so is the economy of the american goverment, but the goverment doesn't really run the empire anymore. I might be wrong, but I feel that the American imperialists have got the least they could have expected out of the situation; a puppet goverment running large portions of Ukraine and a denouncement of Putin, as a mad dog and vicious tyrant, by the disillusioned american and european populations.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Anne on March 12, 2014, 04:56:02 PM
It's not just over-reach that declining empires suffer from. Sometimes it's just neglect of duties. In the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, we have sovereign nations ceding power to international tribunals over which there is no oversight and from which there is no appeal. Tribunals with the power to strike down national laws and award massive compensation to aggrieved multinationals. The TTIP would  grant big business "the remarkable ability"
Quote
to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as investor-state dispute settlement. It's already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet.

The Australian government, after massive debates in and out of parliament, decided that cigarettes should be sold in plain packets, marked only with shocking health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian supreme court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a vast sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intellectual property.
George Monbiot The Guardian, Monday 4 November 2013 (http://2013http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy)

As I've said before, I see big corporations becoming increasingly powerful and unaccountable.

See also Mark Lippman in Daily Kos 12 January 2014: ‘CRUDE’ – How TPP & TTIP free-trade could threaten sovereignty (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/12/1269202/--CRUDE-How-TPP-TTIP-free-trade-agreements-could-threaten-sovereignty)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 12, 2014, 06:03:20 PM
Rubikscube

I think Anne hits the nail on the head.  The creation and growth of the very supra-national corporate mechanisms she describes is living proof of the decline of the US empire in that it highlights the growth of another non-sovereign empire. 

If one reads up on what is considered the natural evolution (in an ideological sense here) of a pure capitalistic system it is just what Anne is talking about.  The global system will be controlled and managed via supra-national corporate entities.  Which naturally are in the control and serve the global 1%.  Countries are now serving the international corporations more than their citizens.  Global feudalism.

Re the Ukraine.  Our sole interests in the Ukraine (from a western corporate/financial/banking perspective) is to garner more wealth into our possession/control.  The dreaded IMF's ( the modern colonial financial/banking structure) purpose is to set up and control the new colonies finances in a manner that will shift wealth from the periphery (the new colony Ukraine) to the center of the empire.  Austerity will be in order or the Ukrainians will get no money and have to turn to the Russians.  That, at this point, is not a very attractive option for those in power in Kiev - I'm thinking a bullet in the back of the head or a quite train ride to the gulag here.  So they will sign the populace up for being bled by the western financial system and will sell off their national assets (mostly a lot of really nice farm land).  And pocket their cut of the proceeds of course.

But all of this activity and asset stripping can only go on so long as there are dwindling numbers of places where wealth can be stolen.  It is a house of cards and it will collapse when the trend of declining wealth crosses the trend in rising AGW effects.     
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 13, 2014, 08:26:05 PM
Quote
The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454 (http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454) It is Greece all over again.

Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.

Quote
The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.

The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.

Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

Do we really want to save this civilization?

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/03/06/looting-ukraine-begun/ (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/03/06/looting-ukraine-begun/)

Quote
The sanction spiral

Further intensification of “the most serious political crisis in Europe since the end of the war in former Yugoslavia” would degrade bilateral economic relations between the EU and Russia. He warned not to underestimate the drag of secondary and tertiary effects on the world economy. “Russia itself, Europe, Germany, and the whole world have a lot to lose,” he said. “But if there’s a sanction-spiral, Germany has the most to lose.”...

Alas, the current sanction regime of visa bans for the elite, asset freezes, and trade restrictions could make that difficult. Then there’s the threat, now more broadly but still unofficially bandied about, that Russian companies should simply default on this $700 billion in debt in retaliation for the sanctions.

Some European banks, including some German banks, might crater. Even the possibility of a major loss would further rattle the confidence in these banks with their over-leveraged and inscrutable balance sheets and their assets that are still exuding whiffs of putrefaction. And this sort of fiasco, as the financial crisis has made clear, has an unpleasant way of snowballing – and taking down the already shaky global economy with it.

During the financial crisis, German exports collapsed, banks toppled and got bailed out, and the economy experienced its two worst quarters in the history of the Federal Republic.

http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/13/german-exporters-fire-warning-shot-about-russia-sanction-spi.html (http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/3/13/german-exporters-fire-warning-shot-about-russia-sanction-spi.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on March 14, 2014, 06:16:11 PM
JimD, Anne

I see your points about "Big money" overrunning the American empire and sort of taking it's place on the top of the food chain. Though, because the rich western elite, which is indeed a super national elite, both seems to act through American goverment institutions associated with the empire, sprung out from America and still is dominated by Americans, I usually think of this elite as the new masters of the American empire rather than a new empire entirely. I further bevieve that the elite will continue to act through the American goverment in order to maintain the illusion democracy and hide themselves from responsability, thus I see no reason to why the influence of the American goverment should decrease without the influence of the elite decreasing as well. I admit that my line of reasoning about what can be defined as the American Empire might be somewhat flawed, so I'm willing to agree that empire in a sense is in decline.

But all of this activity and asset stripping can only go on so long as there are dwindling numbers of places where wealth can be stolen.  It is a house of cards and it will collapse when the trend of declining wealth crosses the trend in rising AGW effects.     

I used to be sure that the instabilities created by resource decline combined with AWG, would send the world tumbling into chaos. I'm not so sure about that anymore. In North-Korea the goverment manages to stay in power despite the country being a permanent hunger disaster for at least 20 years now, so I have begun to think, what if our billionaire masters are able to crush all kinds of rebellions that seeks to limit their power, what if they can actually cope with AWG by forcefully starving all the poorest people to death through neglect and oppression, kind of like in NK? I still think a system collapse is plausible, but I no longer a consider short-medium term decline of our 21th-century feudal system/oligarchy a certainty.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 15, 2014, 03:11:05 AM
Rubikscube

Quote
I used to be sure that the instabilities created by resource decline combined with AWG, would send the world tumbling into chaos. I'm not so sure about that anymore. In North-Korea the goverment manages to stay in power despite the country being a permanent hunger disaster for at least 20 years now, so I have begun to think, what if our billionaire masters are able to crush all kinds of rebellions that seeks to limit their power, what if they can actually cope with AWG by forcefully starving all the poorest people to death through neglect and oppression, kind of like in NK? I still think a system collapse is plausible, but I no longer a consider short-medium term decline of our 21th-century feudal system/oligarchy a certainty.

That is part of exactly what I think they plan on doing.  The 1% will sacrifice everyone else on the way down in order to save themselves.  And I completely agree that they use and plan on using the US as the prime mechanism going forward.  We have the best military for a reason and they will surely use it.     

I think some of our perceptions in what is happening and might happen with the empire are just slight differences.  When empires can no longer maintain their size they start to lose control of the periphery or they strip all they can from a place and then abandon it.  I see signs of that right now and feel certain that going forward the declining EROEI of our energy supplies guarantees that levels of complexity will have to be shed.  Even though I expect the US to remain the dominant player on the world stage for a long time it will not be dominant like it is today.  And once peripheral countries or regions deeply collapse they will be ignored unless someone needs to come in and strip some remaining resources.  A stair step down for the global system as different locations drop out of the world system and a slow decline in aggregate power and wealth for the US (and its prime allies) for 3-5 decades as growth will no longer be possible.  Then bigger steps down as AGW really kicks in.  So to my way of thinking the US is slowly weakening all the time and resistance to its wishes and needs will slowly spread.  Thus the US empire is in decline already, but still immensely powerful. 

A quote by Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize comes to mind:

"Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries."

Kind of says it all doesn't it.  Do we really want to save civilization.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 16, 2014, 12:01:43 AM
A quote by Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize comes to mind:

"Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries."

Kind of says it all doesn't it.  Do we really want to save civilization.

I'm not sure we do want to save the current civilisation personally, even if it were an option. I'm also far from sure a majority of the existing human population would vote for saving it were they presented with an objective view of the facts and their context within those facts.

That doesn't preclude us from trying to build a better civilisation though.

The socioeconomic elites rely on one thing above all else - the passive and tactic compliance and collusion of those who they regard as expendable. With modern tools it is arguably easier for them (in developed nations) to retain control (particularly though more subtle and less obvious means than direct force and fear) but the bottom line remains the same - we all have choices.

I don't think the existing system requires action to bring down - it is clearly unsustainable and will bring itself down. The rich and powerful may dream of suppressing the masses enough to make the resources last their little group much longer - but I'm not clear even that is achievable at this point. They have all the same problems in trying to reduce population and simultaneously retain control that we run into when discussing the problem ourselves.

For me the bottom line remains simple - the vision and power of those at the top is still severely limited - and their scope not as generous as they might prefer. Captain of a sinking ship is still a person on a sinking ship.

As I see it - it is the domain of those of us without so much wealth and power to act in our own interests, rather than passively comply with those of the socioeconomic elites who are more responsible than most of us for things coming to the pass they are. Furthermore - only by withdrawing our cooperation and taking our own paths can we claim to have stopped supporting the system through our inaction. There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on March 16, 2014, 05:57:34 AM
ccgwebmaster wrote: "There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them."

Smile, when you say that, pilgrim. I seem to recall very similar language from  a recent president of the USA. And from earlier times, probably as long ago as language was invented.

This particular phrase evokes unpleasant comparison.

sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2014, 06:01:11 PM
ccgwebmaster wrote: "There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them."

Smile, when you say that, pilgrim. I seem to recall very similar language from  a recent president of the USA. And from earlier times, probably as long ago as language was invented.

This particular phrase evokes unpleasant comparison.

sidd

Though the unpleasant nature of the phrasing cannot be denied that does not mean it is not valid and most times when it is used the speaker is not in any way joking.

I happen to agree with ccg about this.  We have pretty much reached the point where there is a binary situation of you're with us or against us.  If one supports versions of BAU or is just Buddhist like passive then they are not really working to stop AGW.  One does not have to be going violent (though I am not against that) but you do have to be actively resisting BAU and working tangibly towards zero carbon emissions or you  are on the against side of ccg's phrase.   

How are we in any way 'not' in a for or against us situation at this point?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 16, 2014, 08:06:34 PM
Though the unpleasant nature of the phrasing cannot be denied that does not mean it is not valid and most times when it is used the speaker is not in any way joking.

I happen to agree with ccg about this.  We have pretty much reached the point where there is a binary situation of you're with us or against us.  If one supports versions of BAU or is just Buddhist like passive then they are not really working to stop AGW.  One does not have to be going violent (though I am not against that) but you do have to be actively resisting BAU and working tangibly towards zero carbon emissions or you  are on the against side of ccg's phrase.   

I certainly wasn't joking. The passive compliance of the masses - however innocuous it appears at first glance - is a key foundation of maintaining the status quo and all the problems it entails. It is a necessary and essential condition for the socioeconomic elites of today to maintain control (and hence the current path to oblivion).

Furthermore with a clear danger and increasing immediacy - inaction carries a form of guilt too. If I let a person suffer who it was in my power to comfortably help - am I not guilty in some measure for failure to act? (in some nations in some circumstances I would actually be committing a criminal offence by failing to act, incidentally)

So when someone tells me they can do nothing, they are too small, too powerless, it is too futile - what I really hear - is that they are telling me they will not even try - and are quite content to consign my generation and those to follow it to darkness. Their little piece of passive compliance is part of the problem and failure to address it is a choice (not just as to their own fate but also to mine, and thus they are against).

I think our best chance now is people who can make hard choices and who do not always follow the easy path. Yet those people (where they are not part of the current establishment) are liable to be persecuted and oppressed, and to ultimately suffer violence at the hands of the system. The establishment will make examples to try to scare people into acceptable paths and to try to marginalise such people as much as possible. Standing with - or at least behind - such people matters.

I am not precisely advocating violence (even if I might have less problems with it than most), merely - as I think alluded to above - some meaningful action (hopefully commensurate to the scale of the problem inasmuch as individual circumstances permit). It isn't for me to be prescriptive as to the nature of the action I think is merited.

So I would say inaction is a form of criminal responsibility in this matter (certainly morally viewed, setting aside any theoretical test cases in any nations with suitable laws) however much those practising it would prefer to absolve themselves.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on March 17, 2014, 12:38:07 AM

I think some of our perceptions in what is happening and might happen with the empire are just slight differences. 

Agreed.

If you ask whether or not we should try to save civilization, I'm not sure what to answer. I think that if everything went down the drain and we went back to a hunter gatherer society for the next 1000-10 000 years or so, we only risk seeing another failed civilization like ours respawn after some time, though, pulling the emergency brakes would allways be better that potentially ending up with an Owrellian world. The best would of course be the take our current civilization and reform it through revolution, whether or not that is actually possible, I'm not sure.

On the issue of whether of not violence is a justified mean, I would say that in principe it is, because in this situation the goal is more important than the means. Though, I would still encourage peacefull protest, both in order to gain public support, because it is not preferable to destroy, through violence, whatever tools you may use to rebuild a better world and because violence brings suffering. Violence can in my oppinion be justified whenever deemed necessary, and allthough I wouldn't say this is the case for anyone wanting of carry out a revolution against the capitalist elite, I wouldn't necessarily blame people for doing so, depending on the degree of such violence.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 02:04:52 AM
I was being a little flip about the civilization comment.  I do not expect that the survivors of the coming collapse will do away with some less complex version of civilization.  Depending on when collapse happens and how long the BAU folks can keep things running determines how much carbon gets emitted and how bad AGW gets.  If they hold out a long time they could make the effects of AGW so bad in the out years (200-500 years from now) that the complexity of how people are living could still be going down.  But we will try as hard as we can I am sure to save something that is probably not worth saving.  It will certainly be complicated trying to find a method of successful living post collapse.

Thus there is an excellent argument for assisting the progress to collapse.  Resistance to BAU is  morally and ethically sound.  Resistance does not have to be violent, but it can be.  But even non-violent resistance must take the form of degrading the ability of the BAU civilization from continuing.  Pure pacifism is no different from being on the side of those destroying the world as ccg pointed out above.  One has a duty to act and we all must find a way to try and stop the madness.  Industrial civilization is fragile and it should be possible to trigger dislocations.

As to the hunter gatherer mode that is no longer possible like it was in olden times as we have destroyed so much of the world.  The Earth's carrying capacity has decreased significantly and is going down fast.  About 95% of the people would have to have perished before that was even a possibility.  And in the mess getting there I think that option is largely off the table.   

 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on March 17, 2014, 07:11:23 AM
Re: "Smile, when you say that, pilgrim."

I realize belatedly, that i did not give the source of the quote. This is from a 1962 film, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", and John Wayne is the actor who says it.


sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 04:46:49 PM
I am old enough that I actually already knew that.  Pretty sad.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on March 17, 2014, 04:55:05 PM
I my oppinion a hunter gatherer society is very much a possibility, though it is something that can only be achieved after a complete breakdown in all levels of infrastructure, leaving people with no choice, but to try and survive of anything they can come across. As I said it should not be pursued, nor can it in my oppinion be achieved unless at least 99% of the population perish as a result of such a breakdown (probably much more than 99% will die before population decline will stop).

Though, the reason why I brought up this issue, is that I consider a complete breakdown of all levels of infrastructure a possibility in the case of large scale revolution. What I imagine can happen is that large sections of the population somewhere rises up as a result of AWG, while infighting erupts within the elite, ultimately resulting in a situation where two or more different alliances fight each other in a war where the stakes grow higher and higher by each day, culminating in a total war where none of the parts manages to get the upper hand and a subsequent breakdown of infrastructure, law and order. In other words, by instigating revolt against the BAU guys you risk ending up in a situation that no one can control, possibly ending with the use of weapons of mass destruction and the collaps of all aspects of civilization, forcing survivers to return to stone age living (a situation only a selected few can survive because of the earths limited carrying capasity).

As reasoned, the prospect of such things possibly happening should not prevent people from pursuing the overthrow of the "Pax Americana civilization" (if you can call it that). The point was, that I'm not sure whether or not it is possible to end the rule of the ultra rich without ending up where we initially started, in a low tech stone age world, but that such a result would allways better than the elite remaining in power.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on March 17, 2014, 05:39:19 PM
I'm afraid that once the collapse really sets in, 7+ billion people will "hunt and gather" to extinction everything remotely edible, burnable, or otherwise usable to extinction rather rapidly.

I really see no remotely good options ahead. The best would be a sudden realization on all levels that we have to rapidly and in an orderly but very expeditious way draw down our use of all fossil fuels with whatever suffering that entails being as fairly distributed as possible. This combined with almost  no procreation for a while, very different and more positive views of euthanasia of various sorts, and a general abhorrence of unnecessary consumption.

I see essentially no chance of this. So there is either early collapse, which will be disastrous for humans and most other complex life form, or later collapse (perhaps in stages), which will likely be even more disastrous and for longer.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 17, 2014, 06:22:30 PM
As to the hunter gatherer mode that is no longer possible like it was in olden times as we have destroyed so much of the world.  The Earth's carrying capacity has decreased significantly and is going down fast.  About 95% of the people would have to have perished before that was even a possibility.  And in the mess getting there I think that option is largely off the table.

Personally, I expect we are going to see mass mortality on that sort of scale (high 90%s). I also think a hunter gatherer outcome is not impossible, but I don't see it as very likely - as I don't think it's unfeasible or even particularly problematic to retain agriculture (in a rudimentary and fragmented sense, I am not referring to modern industrialised practises).

I'm certainly planning on the basis of expecting to grow/raise something somewhere sometime.

Agriculture is too critical a technology for civilisation to abandon without fighting every inch of the way.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 17, 2014, 06:25:25 PM
I'm afraid that once the collapse really sets in, 7+ billion people will "hunt and gather" to extinction everything remotely edible, burnable, or otherwise usable to extinction rather rapidly.

Not everything. On the heavily populated landmasses - certainly, it may amount to that.

But can you really see enough people getting into places like the Siberian taiga or Antarctica or the high Arctic in Canada to wipe out literally everything? Or islands with useful elevations that are too small to support larger numbers of people and are in the middle of nowhere in the ocean?

Your statement might hold true for the experience of most people (almost by definition most people are in heavily populated areas) but I don't see that it is likely to hold true for literally everyone everywhere.

It isn't that people wouldn't do it if they could - it's that most people simply lack the ability to do so when we're talking about some of these places.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 09:32:40 PM
The problem with the hunter gather lifestyle I think is just what wili said.  In the process of each region going through collapse there will be starvation.  That of course brings in the hunter part of the equation.  In short order in each region all animal life will be exterminated to a great degree.  And it does not take long.

By way of example when the great depression hit the US in 1929 there were almost no hunting regulations in the country.  Within a couple of years the wild game populations were almost exterminated and severe hunting regulations were implemented everywhere.  It was literally decades before many of the animal species recovered and some never have.  And that was with a population much less than 50% of what it is now.  If that situation hit the US today the game would be gone in a year.  The same would happen almost anywhere in the world collapse occurred and many of those regions actually no longer have any amount of game.  The Earth cannot support any amount of the hunter part of living any longer. 

Gathering meant non-agriculture.  I think it obvious that it is not possible for more than a small number of people any longer.  The vast majority of what used to be gathered for food has long been exterminated.  And then you have how many hundreds of millions living in deserts (like me) where neither hunting or gathering is possible under any circumstances.   

It is subsistence agriculture or low scale mechanized agriculture or nothing.  Maybe places like the US can maintain some level of highly mechanized grain growing for some time, but for a lot of places that will not be possible.

ccg, while it takes a boat to get to islands most of those islands are already overpopulated.  Now while the high latitudes are not heavily populated and could support greater numbers in the future it is not that difficult to walk there so those areas will not take long to reach maximum population levels.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 17, 2014, 10:27:58 PM
ccg, while it takes a boat to get to islands most of those islands are already overpopulated.  Now while the high latitudes are not heavily populated and could support greater numbers in the future it is not that difficult to walk there so those areas will not take long to reach maximum population levels.

Nonetheless I contend that most people are incapable of "just walking there" - especially in the context of collapse, without vehicles, with hostility from those peoples already present or whom they are trying to pass through. There's no guarantee the carrying capacity of the high latitudes will improve before or while the capacity everywhere else falls either.

So really - what proportion of the developed world population do we think has the ability to walk thousands of miles north into the wilderness and survive? I'm guessing a few percent at best (and likely lower, possibly much lower).

As transportation networks and options diminish the distance people can migrate will rapidly diminish for most people - especially if they are trying to go long distance through regions with conflict. It ought to perhaps be noted that the modern institutions and national divisions will be fragmenting and disintegrating into much smaller units throughout this process.

I see the bottom line as quite simple - mass mortality.

And I don't really dispute the general premise that most of the available resources will be destroyed in the process - just saying not literally everything - there will be niches and areas that survive human depredation (at least through the collapse process, longer term is perhaps less sure).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on March 18, 2014, 12:09:48 AM
I have to admit that primitive farming is initially a better option than hunting and gathering because it is able to sustain higher populations, though anyone that farms will be highly vulnerable because of their immobilities. If you are going to rely on farming in a post-collaps scenario, you either need to be part of a larger, well organized, group or you need to live pretty far away from everyone else, and if you live that far out in the wilderness, there probably won't be to many other hunters to compete with either way.

Overhunting would certainly be an issue many places, but I think extinction of species will be limited to denser populated areas. I really don't see people from the population centers further south come crawling across miles upon miles of Arctic swamp land to threaten people who hunt there, not until things settle down a bit, chances are that the changing environment in it self poses the biggest immediate threat to people surviving in such areas. In the end I think you will both find people surviving on farming and people suviving on hunting, depending on their geographic location and various chaos factors such as the degree to which war have spoiled farm land and regional faunas across the world, but that the hunters would be in majority because farmers are immobile stockpilers and thus become targets for scavengers.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 18, 2014, 01:28:35 AM
I have to admit that primitive farming is initially a better option than hunting and gathering because it is able to sustain higher populations, though anyone that farms will be highly vulnerable because of their immobilities. If you are going to rely on farming in a post-collaps scenario, you either need to be part of a larger, well organized, group or you need to live pretty far away from everyone else, and if you live that far out in the wilderness, there probably won't be to many other hunters to compete with either way.

I think either subsistence farming or hunter gatherer survival are far tougher and more brutal ways to survive than the vast majority of those inhabiting developed nations really comprehend (which is also part of my argument for limited numbers being capable of making it in the refuges/niches I identified).

No matter what you are doing, you will need to be part of a group to do it effectively. An individual or handful of people can at most merely survive, only a group can really go forwards longer term - and I'm sure the advantages of being in a group don't really need stated even taking a shorter term view.

I know this thread is meant to be about America - so I think America would make a good case study for this question. How many people living there can really adapt to the loss of fossil fuel powered infrastructure, air conditioning, etc. - and make the long hike into the canadian wilderness and manage to survive up there? This assuming a fairly abrupt climate change scenario where there isn't a lot of time in which to build new infrastructure and relocate people in an organised fashion etc (one would need decades to do that I imagine?). In any case infrastructure is also being negatively affected already even where it exists in the northern regions (as permafrost melts, coastlines erode, etc).

Let's suppose that the fossil fuel from overseas has stopped as other nations have failed, the domestic supply is increasingly exhausted (and fracking is a short term yield, so that isn't a long way away really), that agriculture is failing due to the climate in large sections of the country and problematic in others due to fading manufacturing and distribution channels.

How will the bulk of the population respond? Do we really think they can leave the cities and strike out into the wilderness? Or do they huddle together into desperate and dying masses perhaps looting the surrounding area but unable to go further? In my experience the majority of people in developed nations today don't have a hope of going out into the wilderness. Many of them don't even know how to grow food (in favourable conditions, let alone those of survival). Many can't comprehend the simple idea of killing their own meat. Local resources (both domestic and wild animals) will of course be rapidly exhausted as pointed out (simply too many people and too few animals).

In this way - again - how can large numbers of people move north? To do so they must pass through a land already turned into a resource desert? How easy would it be to travel thousands of miles from the south to the north passing through a landscape already stripped barren and populated by the most tenacious and desperate who survived there that far? How can a lot of people make that journey? Surely only those already fairly close to the northern area can easily move into it? (and even here I think the softening of civilisation will make it a lot harder for most of those from affluent nations - which as far as I can see is most of those bordering the northern lands under discussion).

It depends greatly on the rate of change of course. If the rate of change is slow enough human society will try to exploit and develop the north - build infrastructure - let people move in - etc.

Right now I would argue the rate of climatic change exceeds the rate at which the northern areas are being developed (and climate change is only likely to get faster, and that developing those regions becomes ever harder as we have more and more damage to resolve to the existing developed regions - where we are also already falling behind the curve).

Also, I question that most people are well enough informed (especially in the US) to understand what is happening or why they should head north... if the Americans among us will forgive the cheap shot.  ::)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2014, 02:30:46 PM
ccg

Largely I agree with your points.  I think in a couple of areas the mechanism might work a little differently than you described.  When adverse conditions have triggered migrations in the past what seems to normally happen is there is no pass through effect just as you indicated.  In the cases where those already established cannot resist the pressure of those migrating (as will commonly be the case as it is easier to defend than not) history seems to show double migrations occur.  Thus what happened in the British Iles several times in early history.  So the giant mass gets depleted as it pushes out the previous inhabitants (or exterminates as the case may be) until it no longer has the mass to do so any more.  Of course those being pushed out try and do the same to someone else until someone get pushed into the sea.

Now of course when this happens in our big collapse there is no guarantee that the mechanism will work like it used to given the levels of technology in the hands of those in the northern regions.  Most likely it will be a slaughter as you indicated.  But at the same time there could be significant migration by northerners moving further north.

In any case there will be no game left in short order and the problem with the far north is that for the first 100 years of AGW the weather variability up there is likely to make significant agriculture impossible.   
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2014, 02:35:18 PM
Interesting.  It looks like the vote in Crimea is going to give the Russians control of Ukraine's undeveloped natural gas reserves.  A true empire play.

Russia Eyes Crimea’s Oil and Gas Reserves

Quote
According to Reuters, Crimea may nationalize oil and gas assets within its borders belonging to Ukraine, and sell them off to Russia. Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister hinted at the possibility that it would take control of Chornomorneftegaz, a Ukrainian state-owned enterprise, and then “privatize” it by selling it to Gazprom. “After nationalisation of the company we would openly take a decision – if a large investor, like Gazprom or others emerges – to carry out (privatisation),” Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said.

Quote
The ongoing political standoff in Crimea has already halted Ukraine’s oil and gas ambitions. Ukraine came close to inking a deal with a consortium of international oil companies that would have led to an initial $735 million investment to drill two offshore wells. The consortium led by ExxonMobil – with stakes held by Shell, Romania’s OMV Petrom, and Ukraine’s Nadra Ukrainy – had been particularly interested in the Skifska field in the Black Sea, which holds an estimated 200 to 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas. If it can get the field up and running, Exxon hopes to eventually produce 5 billion cubic meters per year. Exxon’s consortium outbid Russian oil company Lukoil for the rights to the block.

Not a huge field but every little bit counts.  And it keeps it out of the hands of the US.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/russia-eyes-crimeas-oil-gas-reserves.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/russia-eyes-crimeas-oil-gas-reserves.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 18, 2014, 04:47:18 PM
Interesting.  It looks like the vote in Crimea is going to give the Russians control of Ukraine's undeveloped natural gas reserves.  A true empire play.

Not exactly? Most people in the west don't seem to have much understanding of the complex historic background in the Crimea (and Ukraine generally to some extent).

I don't think I see Putin's move as more than consolidation and protection of what Russia has left, for the most part - but it's important to understand there is a lot of popular support in Russia for Crimea rejoining the country (and genuinely majority support in Crimea itself, even if the reported poll results are suspiciously high).

If Putin were to attempt to expand further into the Ukraine - yes, it would be increasingly empire motivated one suspects (though other eastern areas have a high population of ethnic Russians who might well want to unify - and rationally so in my opinion).

The whole thing in my view is liable to turn into a mess - but the key actor right now is the Ukraine itself - the west will mostly just bluster and talk (if they have any sense at all). America may think it is less vulnerable to the fall out from meaningful sanctions, but I question that - as Europe is a major trading partner of the US (and actually a bigger economy as a bloc if memory serves) - and so what hurts Europe necessarily comes home to hurt the US too.

Not so easy to sever energy relationships as the resources diminish and choices about where to buy with them. Which is exactly why Ukraine itself can make this interesting by unilaterally attacking the energy distribution infrastructure (and it doesn't need to be a rational strategy pursued by the nation, just a modest number of dissidents).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 20, 2014, 04:14:28 PM
Ukraine - Crimea

Well the simple part has sorted itself out now.  But wither the future?

Read this and tell me that the most likely outcome in Ukraines future is not a right wing fascist government, repression of ethnic Russians, the Russian language, political opponents, Jews and possibly further Russian encroachments.

Ukraine would have been better off if the US and the EU had left them alone.

Quote
One of the three oppositional parties with whom the European diplomats negotiated the agreement of February 21 was Oleh Tyahnybok, who lead the extreme right-wing Svoboda (Freedom), an anti-Russian, anti-Semitic party that wants Ukraine for ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian (which would thus exclude a little less than half of the population).  Svoboda obtained 12 percent of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections, mainly, but not exclusively, in the three western provinces, the main centers of militant nationalism.

Until 2005, when Svoboda underwent a certain makeover, the party bore the name "National-Social" and had as its symbol the "wolfsangel," emblem of certain Nazi SS units.  At various moments during the demonstrations, one could see the red-black banner of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) on the stage at Maidan.  OUN collaborated with the German occupation in World War II and participated in the mass murder of Poles and Jews.  Tyahnybok himself was expelled from the right-wing parliamentary bloc in 2004 for remarks about the "Jewish-Russian mafia" that was controlling Ukraine...

But Svoboda has competition on its right from a much smaller but more violent group: the Right Sector, which is composed of fascist and football thugs and led by Dmytro Yarosh, a long-time fascist activist.  In the latter days of Maidan, Right Sector activists, who were armed, contributed to forcing the pace of the situation by taking over public buildings during the negotiations between Yanukovich and the parliamentary opposition...

At present, members of the Right Sector hold posts in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for the police and the internal armed forces.  According to some reports, Yarosh has become Assistant Secretary of the Council for National Security and Defense, an organism that advises the President on national-defense strategy.  The Secretary of that Council is Andriy Parubiy, a longtime far-right activist.  Recently, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk dismissed three Assistant Ministers of Defense for their refusal to integrate the Right Sector's armed bands into Ukraine's regular armed forces.

Thus, for the first time since World War II, neo-fascists hold posts in the national government of a European state.  And they do this with the blessing of the Western democracies.


Right-wing Activists Destroy Communist Party Office, Chernihiv, Ukraine, 20.02.14

Right Sector forces have seized government arsenals in the western regions and are the source of a wave of violence and vandalism that has swept Ukraine, directed at pro-Russian or left-wing organizations, personalities, and symbols.  Among others, the headquarters of the Communist Party and the offices of an anti-fascist organization in Kiev were ransacked.  There were failed attempts to burn down the Kiev home of the head of the Communist Party and a synagogue in Zaporozhye.  In some towns in the west of Ukraine (for example, Rovno) Right Sector thugs appear to be in control of the local government.

I have read reports that the folks above are showing up at German owned businesses in Ukraine and initiating the process of shaking them down. 

And I am watching the news right now and Obama is on the TV adding in US sanctions on Russia (which will of course be returned in equivalent terms) and threatening to invoked Art 5 of the NATO charter (the use of force in defense of NATO members - of which Ukraine is not a member of course.  Making that happen was the cause of this stupid mess).  Dumb and dumber. 

If this helps the global economy I will be surprised (sarc).  With China sinking into recession and dragging the global economy down with it, this mess is also going to also be a big drag on the global economy.  IN that situation there is going to be a lot less interest and money available for any kind of effort to deal with AGW and its threat.   

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/mandel120314.html (http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/mandel120314.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 20, 2014, 10:02:46 PM
Read this and tell me that the most likely outcome in Ukraines future is not a right wing fascist government, repression of ethnic Russians, the Russian language, political opponents, Jews and possibly further Russian encroachments.

My understanding is the new government (if that's the right word) that took poiwer in the Ukraine had already started to move against ethnic Russians even before Putin sent in the troops (indeed their actions against the use of the Russian language was part of his excuses for doing so).

Right now though I'm wondering if Ukraine is likely to be capable of holding onto any stable government - fascist or otherwise. It seems to me that the nation is ripe for increasing instability and unrest at this point.

Ukraine would have been better off if the US and the EU had left them alone.

Better but still in a big mess. The pro-Russian government before this current iteration was really running things pretty badly...

When you're sitting where Ukraine is - you hold a lot of cards - sitting between two large power blocs. However the imperative in that situation is that you can play your cards wisely and avoid getting too close (or distant) to either side - sitting in the middle without definitively leaning too far one way or the other way - a fine line to walk, but one that can have its rewards if done intelligently.

It doesn't help that the Ukraine is bankrupt and the ethnically Russian areas that will want to reunify with Russia are the better parts of the country. So the resource base is liable to be either attacked by the government or returned to Russia - and the bills of the rest of the country - will be paid by whom? The US? EU? IMF?

Pretty soon the western Ukrainians will hate the west too...

Not so sure about effects on the global economy - I think that depends how stupid the US wants to be in trying to punish Russia - that's the main risk I foresee in terms of the global economy (other than the Ukrainians themselves severing the energy connections to Europe, and damaging their own agricultural output by fighting).

Certainly this old fashioned confrontational and aggressive approach (on both sides really) will do nothing good for any hopes of acting in a coordinated fashion on climate change...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 21, 2014, 06:30:43 PM
Quote
It doesn't help that the Ukraine is bankrupt and the ethnically Russian areas that will want to reunify with Russia are the better parts of the country. So the resource base is liable to be either attacked by the government or returned to Russia - and the bills of the rest of the country - will be paid by whom? The US? EU? IMF?

Pretty soon the western Ukrainians will hate the west too...

Not so sure about effects on the global economy - I think that depends how stupid the US wants to be in trying to punish Russia - that's the main risk I foresee in terms of the global economy (other than the Ukrainians themselves severing the energy connections to Europe, and damaging their own agricultural output by fighting).

Certainly this old fashioned confrontational and aggressive approach (on both sides really) will do nothing good for any hopes of acting in a coordinated fashion on climate change...

Well the Russians would have given them better terms that is certain and why the ousted President shifted their way.  The west will give them nothing and will set up arrangements that require the citizens of the west to pay for it out of their meager resources.  That is what the IMF is designed to do.  It is already stated that is how they intend to proceed.  For the regular citizen when the new oligarchs and klepto-politicians get going and steal from them along with the IMF and the US/EU they are going to eventually realize they made a big mistake.  But it is too late now.

I agree that the real issue here is that the US deciding to keep playing Empire with the Russians (the US triggered this mess) is counterproductive to dealing with the really important issue of AGW.  But it keeps the masses entertained I guess and we would not want them to actually start thinking on their own.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 21, 2014, 07:16:09 PM
Any Aussies care to comment on this?

I must admit that I had never heard of this.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22527-the-forgotten-coup-and-how-the-same-godfather-rules-from-canberra-to-kiev (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22527-the-forgotten-coup-and-how-the-same-godfather-rules-from-canberra-to-kiev)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 22, 2014, 04:46:00 PM
The worst place in the world.

Brought to you by who?

Quote
BAGHDAD: As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world’s worst city.

That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.

The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city’s fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political center.

“It used to be a capital of the world,” Faili said, “but today, it has become one of the world’s most miserable cities.”

In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs.

Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally mixed neighborhoods, while the government sits in the heavily fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the U.S. and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis.
 

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Mar-22/251009-once-an-arab-model-baghdad-now-worlds-worst-city.ashx#axzz2whqxpX7o (http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Mar-22/251009-once-an-arab-model-baghdad-now-worlds-worst-city.ashx#axzz2whqxpX7o)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 22, 2014, 05:05:05 PM
Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch

Quote
On Jan. 12, a reported 50,000 “pro-Western” Ukrainians descended upon Kiev’s Independence Square to protest against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Stoked in part by an attack on opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, the protest marked the beginning of the end of Yanukovych’s four year-long government.

That same day, the Financial Times reported a major deal for U.S. agribusiness titan Cargill.

Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer. And those aren’t the only eggs in Cargill’s increasingly-ample basket.

On Dec. 13, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Now which corrupt oligarch got that 200 million?

Quote
Feeding Europe

But people gotta eat — particularly in Europe. As Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors assessed in 2011, Ukraine is poised to become Europe’s butcher. Meat is difficult to ship, but Ukraine is perfectly located to satiate Europe’s hunger.

Just two days after Cargill bought into UkrLandFarming, Global Meat News (yes, “Global Meat News” is a thing) reported a huge forecasted spike in “all kinds” of Ukrainian meat exports, with an increase of  8.1% overall and staggering 71.4% spike in pork exports. No wonder Eli Lilly is represented on the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council’s Executive Committee. Its Elanco Animal Health unit is a major manufacturer of feed supplements.

And it is also notable that Monsanto’s planned seed plant is non-GMO, perhaps anticipating an emerging GMO-unfriendly European market and Europe’s growing appetite for organic foods. When it comes to Big Ag’s profitable future in Europe, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to U.S. encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to U.S. military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.

So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?

The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the “Deep State” that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.

Quote
Nuland also told the group that the United States had invested more than $5 billion in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations,” meaning pulling Ukraine away from Russia. She made her remarks on a dais featuring a backdrop emblazoned with a Chevron logo.

Privatization is a requirement of IMF loans.  Ukraine will have to cut pensions and govt spending on social programs about 50% and sell off control of their farm land to western business interests.  High unemployment, low wages, austerity, serfdom coming to a theater near you. Simple plan.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/ (http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 23, 2014, 05:23:17 PM
If you really want to figure out how the IMF and west are going to steal from the Ukraine watch this video.

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

Quote
HUDSON: The objective of IMF loans is to deindustrialize the economy. It is to force the economy–meaning the government when you say the economy–the government has to pay the IMF loan by privatizing whatever remains in the public domain. The Westerners want to buy the Ukrainian farmland. They want to buy the public utilities. They want to buy the roads. They want to buy the ports. And all of this is going to be sold at a very low price to the Westerners, and the price that the Westerners pay will be turned over to the Ukrainian government, that then will turn it back to the Ukraine. So whatever the West gives Ukraine will immediately be taken back.

But not only will the money be taken back, but the Ukrainian factories, roads, infrastructure, bridges, farmland, and property will also pass into foreign ownership, just like it did in Russia, just like it did in Latvia, just like it does in all of the other post-Soviet countries. And then this is going to lead to lower wage payments. Many Ukrainians say they haven't been paid for two months. In Russia in 1994, during the Yeltsin selloff, labor went ten or 12 months without being paid. You can't pay labor and at the same time pay the IMF and pay the kleptocrats. Something has to give, and what gives is going to be living standards and labor.

So the result will be what it was in Latvia, Greece, and Ireland, where 20 percent of the population emigrated. Just like 20 years ago you had an influx of Polish plumbers into London, you're now going to have millions of Ukrainian plumbers pouring into Western Europe, saying, we want jobs at anything; there are no jobs at home......

An excellent read and it goes into the weaknesses of the EU economies and all sorts of potential blowback over this.  It is interesting to note that the neo-nazis in the new Ukrainian govt are threatening to blow up the natural gas pipelines to Europe now.  LOL  Maybe they can bring collapse on early all on their own.

Transcript first

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11614 (http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11614)

video 2nd

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/ukraine-will-benefit-imf-bailout.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/ukraine-will-benefit-imf-bailout.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 23, 2014, 05:29:12 PM
An excellent read and it goes into the weaknesses of the EU economies and all sorts of potential blowback over this.  It is interesting to note that the neo-nazis in the new Ukrainian govt are threatening to blow up the natural gas pipelines to Europe now.  LOL  Maybe they can bring collapse on early all on their own.

That thought was an obvious one weeks ago when the Russians first invaded/annexed the Crimea.

I doubt it would bring about collapse in isolation but it would certainly ramp up food and energy stresses significantly. I guess it's quite plausible the price shock could act as an identifiable trigger for the next distinct iteration of collapse.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 25, 2014, 08:14:02 PM
If Germany can't get the US to give back the gold it has stored in the US imagine how hard it will be for the Ukrainians to get theirs  back?  They will never see that stuff again.

Quote
As the dust settles in Kiev, another money trail has been revealed…

According to reports out of Kiev (see links below), the US has quietly transfers 33 tons of Ukrainian gold out of the country and back to vaults in the US. Presumably, this sovereign wealth transfer would be counted as partial “collateral” for a fresh round of IMF, US FED, and ECB paper debt that is currently being organised for dumping into the Ukraine’s economic black hole.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/03/21/the-latest-heist-us-quietly-snatches-the-ukraines-gold-reserves/ (http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/03/21/the-latest-heist-us-quietly-snatches-the-ukraines-gold-reserves/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 06, 2014, 12:33:58 AM
The Decline of Europe

Quote
While the US is the hegemonic state, and the sicknesses of the world largely emanate from it, Europe is falling apart as well, it is simply doing so more slowly–unless  you are Greece, Portugal or Spain.

Europe has unquestionably swung right, and England in particular was entirely complicit in the great financial collapse.  Neither were Germany, or France or pretty much everyone else not involved.

Germany’s behaviour since the financial collapse has been disgusting and cruel.....

Quote
Europe is on a downward trend.  They started from a better place than the US (universal healthcare, decent welfare systems), but that does not alter the trajectory.  Their fall is an odd mixture of an insistence on keeping the EU together, while refusing to actually make the EU a proper federal state and take care of everyone in it.  As it stands, the EU does not make sense: most countries, including Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, but not limited to them, would be better off leaving it.  Or, frankly, the rest of the EU should kick Germany out, and erect tariffs against their goods.

England should be kicked out as well, for serial bad behaviour.....

Quote
It is impossible, right now, to regulate the world economy in any way beneficial to ordinary citizens of the majority of states.  The doctrine of free trade, which is really about free financial flows and deregulation of labor, has made actual economic policy almost impossible unless a  country finds a way to opt out of the neoliberal consensus (aka. China), or use its structure to their (temporary) advantage (aka. Germany.)

Everyone is going to have to learn that impoverishing other nations is not a sustainable path to wealth.  We are destroying countries at a ferocious rate: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Greece, Portugal, the Ukraine; with many others tottering and in clear decline (Spain and Italy, for example).
....


http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-decline-of-europe/ (http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-decline-of-europe/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 06, 2014, 07:29:34 PM
This is what being raped is like.

Bill Black: The Kamikaze Economics of Forcing Austerity on the Ukraine

Quote
We all understand why Russia is waging economic war on the Ukraine, but why is Obama doing so? ...

 “Ukraine PM Says Will Stick to Austerity Despite Moscow Pressure.”

The Kiev government will stick to unpopular austerity measures ‘as the price of independence’ as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilise it, including by raising the price of gas, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told Reuters.

“Unpopular austerity measures” are, of course, among the best things Ukraine can do to aid Russia’s effort to “destabilize” the Ukraine.  Indeed, Yatseniuk admits this point later in the article.

The subtext of Russia’s message to Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population, he said, was that they would enjoy higher living standards in Russia, with higher wages and better pensions and without the austerity that the Kiev government was now offering

‘They’re saying: if you go to Russia, you’ll be happy, smiling, and not living in a Western hell,’ he said.

‘They (the Russians) are trying to compensate (for the Western sanctions). But we can pay the price of independence,’ he said, with financial support from the West.

So, our strategy is to play into Putin’s hands by inflicting austerity and turning the Ukraine into “a Western hell.”  Not to worry says our man in Kiev, because he’s sure that ten million ethnically-Russian citizens of Ukraine will gladly “pay the price of independence” to live in “a Western hell.”  That strategy seems suicidal.  Indeed, Yatseiuk emphasizes that he knows the strategy he is following is suicidal.

 [Yatseiuk] has called himself the leader of a ‘kamikaze’ government, doomed by unpopular austerity measures it must take, but he said Ukraine would stick to the measures, which include doubling gas prices for domestic consumers from May 1 and holding down state pensions and salaries against a background of a 3 percent contraction of the economy and double-digit inflation.........

The Ukraine would have been far better off with the Russians and in time even the folks in western Ukraine will come to understand that.  Perhaps.  Or, like an abused woman, they will come to think they deserve the punishment they are receiving and will just try harder to appease their abuser.    It kind of makes one a little nauseous.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/bill-black-ukraine-austerity-and-kamikaze-economics.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/bill-black-ukraine-austerity-and-kamikaze-economics.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 09, 2014, 02:01:15 AM
Railgun technology is within reach after some 30 years of development.  This technology was part of Reagans StarWars program in the 1980's,

100 mile range.  Mach 7...just about 5500 mph.  Pretty dammed amazing.

Quote
So why do rail guns matter, besides generating cool clickable video? Three words: impact, range, and reloads.

Impact. Accelerated electromagnetically down a set of rails — hence the name — that 23 pound projectile moving at March 7 has 32 megajoules of energy. The Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, likened the impact to “a freight train going through the wall at a hundred miles an hour” in a recent phone call with reporters. It doesn’t have an explosive warhead, but then it hardly needs one.

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/04/navys-magnetic-super-gun-to-make-mach-7-shots-at-sea-in-2016-adm-greenert/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl7%7Csec3_lnk4%26pLid%3D462493 (http://breakingdefense.com/2014/04/navys-magnetic-super-gun-to-make-mach-7-shots-at-sea-in-2016-adm-greenert/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl7%7Csec3_lnk4%26pLid%3D462493)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 11, 2014, 04:24:43 PM
Overstated somewhat, but the trend is clear.

And it doesn't mean things are going to get better as the world seems to be suffering from double down syndrome.

Quote
The state of US foreign policy in the Middle East, but also around the world, cannot be described with any buoyant language. In some instances, as in Syria, Libya, Egypt, the Ukraine, and most recently in Palestine and Israel, too many calamitous scenarios have exposed the fault lines of US foreign policy. The succession of crises is not allowing the US to cut its losses in the Middle East and stage a calculated ‘pivot’ to Asia following its disastrous Iraq war.

US foreign policy is almost entirely crippled.....

...But the US is still being pulled into too many different directions. It has attempted to police the world exclusively for its own interests for the last 25 years. It failed. ‘Cut and run’ is essentially an American foreign policy staple, and that too is a botched approach. Even after the piecemeal US withdrawal from Iraq, the US is too deeply entrenched in the Middle East region to achieve a clean break....

...The US has truly lost the initiative, in the Middle East region and beyond it. The neo-cons’ drunkenness with military power led to costly wars that have overwhelmed the empire beyond salvation. And now, the US foreign policy makers are mere diplomatic firefighters, from Palestine, to Syria to the Ukraine. For the Americans, the last few years have been more than a ‘reality check’, but the new reality itself.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/10/the-new-american-reality/ (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/10/the-new-american-reality/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 13, 2014, 06:04:48 PM
For anyone who still believes that Assad ordered the chemical attack in Syria that almost generated a US attack please read this.  It never made any political/military/strategic/tactical sense and there was always evidence there that Assad did not do it.

Quote
Sy Hersh has a long piece in the London Review of Books detailing the strong evidence indicating that the Turkish government worked with Syrian rebels in a "false flag" operation of the worst sort: staging a chemical weapons attack near Damascus in August 2013. The intent was to throw blame for the attack on the Assad regime, thereby drawing the United States directly into the conflict; the use of chemical weapons against the rebels was a "red line" repeatedly laid down by Barack Obama as the trigger for an American intervention.

Quote
...Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.....

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line)

http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2383-false-flags-and-imperial-facades-tales-of-progressives-in-power.html (http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2383-false-flags-and-imperial-facades-tales-of-progressives-in-power.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 15, 2014, 05:00:18 PM
I mentioned in another thread this morning that the national news had a story about a Russian fighter jet repeatedly buzzing a US destroyer in the Black Sea.  Nice cold war stuff and all that.

I just got done reading that a retired 3 star AF general is making the rounds with JINSA and advocating transferring US B-52 long-range strategic bombers to Israel so that they will have the ability to effectively bomb Iranian nuclear installations.

Quote
JINSA's Mandate:

JINSA was founded in 1976 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization to advocate on behalf of a strong U.S. military, a robust national security policy, and a strong U.S. security relationship with Israel and other like-minded democracies.


To do this would violate the strategic arms control agreements that the US has with the Russians.

The Russians, of course, could trump this move by sending a modern air defense battalion to Iran which would be easily capable of blowing the B-52's out of the sky.

What could go wrong? as they say.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: icefest on April 23, 2014, 09:02:44 PM
You might appreciate this article soon due to be published in Perspectives on Politics:

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf (http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf)

America is a functional oligopoly.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on April 24, 2014, 12:59:27 AM
Thanks so much for the link!


Their methodology seems above reproach & if we assume that their conclusions are correct our efforts the alert all might better be spent in attempting to influence wealthier Americans rather than the general populace.
The wants of average Americans apparently has no correlation to the what comes out of Washington while issues supported by the elite have a huge chance of being enacted. Our attempts at educating the masses may have no influence on policy, apparently even issues that are backed by 80% of the people don't pass unless the elite get on board.
Framing AGW in such a way as to elicit support from the top 10% of the wealthy will have much greater effect than convincing the bottom 80% that something needs to be done. Perhaps this is where our efforts should be concentrated.


A caveat, the study applies only to the US. I fear however that a similar study would have similar findings in other western "democracies".


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on May 03, 2014, 04:04:07 PM
Not a perspective I agree with, but an interesting read to see what more hawkish commentators think.  All in on empire.

Quote
The weakened West

What would America fight for?


http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21601508-nagging-doubt-eating-away-world-orderand-superpower-largely-ignoring-it-what (http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21601508-nagging-doubt-eating-away-world-orderand-superpower-largely-ignoring-it-what)

Quote
Geopolitics

The decline of deterrence

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601538-america-no-longer-alarming-its-foes-or-reassuring-its-friends-decline (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601538-america-no-longer-alarming-its-foes-or-reassuring-its-friends-decline)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on May 03, 2014, 05:35:51 PM
Ugly outlook.


Thanks to JimD I've been following the Ukrainian situation & America's involvement. It won't end well for any (except perhaps for the Crimeans), and Nuland's dirty hands are all over it. The IMF has now forced Kiev to attack their own citizens (although they may not have needed much prodding) & the Neo-Nazis have risen to the top at an astounding speed.
Hearing Obama criticize those that shot down attack helicopters as they were firing on civilians while not mentioning the Right Sector's immolation of protesters in Odessa reminded me of the worst propaganda that Bush and company spouted a decade earlier.
To say that I'm disappointed in Obama would be a huge understatement. I despair the policies of America & the path that the West is on as they follow in its wake.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on May 05, 2014, 05:55:20 PM
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4 (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4)

Quote
The story of our age is that the US is increasingly unwilling – and in crucial respects, unable – to continue in the role it has played for the past 70 years. After America comes multipolarity – not China. The question is, what type? Will it be based on a system of US-framed global rules? Or will it be “après moi, le déluge”?

Quote
Therein lies the danger. The US will no longer have the capacity to uphold the global order, while China will always lack the legitimacy. In addition to being an autocracy, China is not built on immigration and has never sought to project universal values.

We are already in the early stages of a multipolar economic world. The postwar US global order was built around the international institutions that it launched – the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Nato

Quote

But even this marginal reweighting has been blocked by Congress, which is also blocking Mr Obama’s leeway to pursue his trade initiatives. The US is behaving like a declining hegemon: unwilling to share power, yet unable to impose outcomes.

The same influences are visible in America’s approach to tackling climate change. As the world’s richest country, the US cut a deal to subsidise carbon emission reductions in the emerging world. But the so-called “cash for cuts” strategy is missing a vital ingredient – cash.

Neither the US nor its partners will come up with anything like the $100bn a year in climate aid promised in the Copenhagen talks in 2009. Again, Congress is blocking America’s leadership. Mr Obama is powerless to do much about it. Thankfully, China, India and others are beginning to see that energy efficiency is in their own interests. But they are making changes on their own initiative.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4 (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on May 24, 2014, 08:16:27 AM
House Directs Pentagon To Ignore Climate Change
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/23/pentagon-climate-change_n_5382067.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/23/pentagon-climate-change_n_5382067.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on May 25, 2014, 03:37:40 PM
The Russia China Axis continues to form

Quote
As I have noted before, the price of the Ukraine is a firm alignment of Russia with China.  Russia needs China’s goods, money and political support; China will also be happy to have a security council ally and buy all those Russian commodities.

Quote
Europe has firmly aligned with America, indicating willingness to cut its own throat with trade sanctions against Russia, if necessary.  South America and central America is unlikely to align en-masse with America for obvious historical reasons: America has been the enemy of most states there for over a century, with its willingness to attempt to overthrow any government it doesn’t like.

The Middle East grows less important as solar and alternative sources for oil come on line, and as their own reserves deteriorate.  To be sure, it will matter for decades yet, but it is no longer the most important region on the earth.  Sub-Saharan Africa, sadly, is largely irrelevant: they will sell their resources to whoever pays for them.

This leaves India s the last major country in play.  But for them, the smart play is to stay out of it, keep good relations with both sides, and let China and the US slag each other, coming up the middle to be the next hegemonic power.

http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-russia-china-axis-continues-to-form/ (http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-russia-china-axis-continues-to-form/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on June 06, 2014, 09:52:30 AM
7 reasons America will fail on climate change
http://www.vox.com/2014/6/5/5779040/7-reasons-America-fail-global-warming (http://www.vox.com/2014/6/5/5779040/7-reasons-America-fail-global-warming)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 06, 2014, 01:46:28 AM
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

Quote
Well, one of the things that has not been in the news is that a recent Senate bill, 2277, directed the U.S. Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing loans for the fracking of oil and gas in the Ukraine. And Vice President Biden’s son has become the head of the biggest fracking company in the Ukraine. And what’s not usually known is that the armies from Kiev that are marching into the Eastern of Ukraine have been basically protecting the fracking equipment.

Remember what I said about the coming US grab of Ukrainian agriculture land?

Quote
Meanwhile, in the Western Ukraine, the World Bank has been supporting essentially the large-scale alienation of agricultural land to foreign investors. The World Bank is a wonderful index. It’s the index of screwing labor and destroying the environment. They call it the ease of doing business index. But the index for agriculture, they have a special index just for ease of doing business in agriculture. And that means getting rid of rules against pesticides, getting rid of rules against labeling food, against additives, and against everything. And it’s very much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal and the Transatlantic partnership proposal. The problem is that Europe is actually opposing all of these pesticides and all the laboring. So you may have the irony of the Ukraine following the World Bank’s directions and getting rid of the restrictions on agriculture and making it impossible to export its crops to Europe.

Rich isn't it?

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08/michael-hudson-frackingworld-bankimfhunter-biden-dismantling-plan-ukraine.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08/michael-hudson-frackingworld-bankimfhunter-biden-dismantling-plan-ukraine.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 06, 2014, 05:19:19 AM
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

Is it still building when the wheels are starting to come off? Or more a vain attempt to retain control and influence?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on August 06, 2014, 11:08:55 AM
An interesting take on the Ukraine here http://www.vineyardsaker.blogspot.mx/ (http://www.vineyardsaker.blogspot.mx/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 08, 2014, 02:59:11 AM
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

Is it still building when the wheels are starting to come off? Or more a vain attempt to retain control and influence?

Clearly the latter.  And we will all be the worse off for it. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: retiredbill on August 08, 2014, 11:38:48 AM
Were it not for empire building, wouldn't it make sense to give Ukraine to Russia? Ukraine has
some nice farm land but is a basket-case financially. Let Russia spend it's money keeping
Ukraine afloat.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 09, 2014, 08:49:41 PM
This has been the first time since late 2010 that I have not been following the Arctic ice on a daily basis. The situation in the Ukraine has become of such import in my mind that everything else has gone to the back burner.
The US apparently is shooting for regime change in Russia & Russia is attempting to end the dollar's rule as the worlds currency. Restarting the cold war isn't good for anyone wishing for a global response to global warming.
As well as the link to Saker's site above I'd like to recommend Niqnaq and Militaryphoto's.net. The later has over 5,200 pages with discussion from both sides. I'm not posting links because if things get serious in the near future real sanctions might be placed on sites linking to "enemy propaganda".
I hope this is paranoia on my part & i hope that somehow this will blow over.
I'm very curious as to why the US thinks that this is a good time to divide the world both militarily and economically. Russia and the West have been playing nicely for some decades with huge benefits to both. America and Europe are allies but Europe is poised to be hurt badly if Russia simply turns the valve on their pipeline. Why is Europe allowing the US to put them in such a position?


I haven't been less sure of the future since the Cuban missile crisis.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on August 10, 2014, 10:05:59 AM
Widely reported after th $50m Yukos award, "One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine. “There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?” " [from FT]. Certainly got my attention too. So faced with what looks like an almost inevitable escalation up to this http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/RobockNW2006JD008235.pdf (http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/RobockNW2006JD008235.pdf) suddenly the ice lost its fascination.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on August 10, 2014, 10:28:55 AM
Terry, I share your concerns.

Three groups with most of the money and so most of the power--power which they all seem to be keen to use for purposes of mass destruction--are:

1) The fossil fuel companies, funding climate mass destruction
2) The banking/financial industry, funding financial mass destruction
2) The military-industrial complex, funding good old fashioned plain old direct mass destruction.

The third one is now looking to cash in on escalating conflicts in Palestine, Syria/Iraq, and Ukraine (so far).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on August 20, 2014, 08:39:58 PM
World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2523733/world_bank_and_un_carbon_offset_scheme_complicit_in_genocidal_land_grabs.html (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2523733/world_bank_and_un_carbon_offset_scheme_complicit_in_genocidal_land_grabs.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on August 24, 2014, 12:37:08 PM
Well reasoned analysis of the steps being taken to bring about our demise. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/08/23/guest-article-steven-starr-senator-corkers-path-nuclear-war/ (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/08/23/guest-article-steven-starr-senator-corkers-path-nuclear-war/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on August 27, 2014, 09:40:21 AM
Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/us/politics/obama-pursuing-climate-accord-in-lieu-of-treaty.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/us/politics/obama-pursuing-climate-accord-in-lieu-of-treaty.html?partner=rss&emc=rss)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 18, 2014, 03:11:26 PM
This is what destroys countries.

Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America … and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome

Quote
....Indeed, economist and inequality expert Thomas Piketty notes that – according to an important measure – inequality in America today is the worst in world history:

For those who work for a living, the level of inequality in the U.S. – writes Piketty – is “… probably higher than in any other society at any time in the past, anywhere in the world …”....

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/inequality-u-s-today-worse-apartheid-south-africa-1774-slaveholding-colonial-america-twice-bad-ancient-slaveholding-rome.html (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/inequality-u-s-today-worse-apartheid-south-africa-1774-slaveholding-colonial-america-twice-bad-ancient-slaveholding-rome.html)

I see this every day where I live.  The prevailing wage for service level people in my town is about $7.50 hour.  I made over $7/hr in 1972 working as a construction laborer and later that year over $10/hr. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 18, 2014, 05:02:39 PM
For the small amount that it is worth, the Carbon Fee and Dividend plan discussed at the link below is not only designed to reduce the risk of global warming, but is also designed to transfer wealth away from those with fossil fuel related wealth, to the average citizen of whatever country enacts such straight forward legislation (without needing to wait for other countries to act):

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1068.0.html (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1068.0.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 19, 2014, 04:28:20 PM
ASLR

The proof is in the pudding as they say.  History over the last 40 years is chock full of plans and pledges that are not worth the paper they are printed on (check out the many phony agreements related to climate change).  When I see actual meaningful action I will then believe some agreement had value.

It is like the nonsense from the recent climate conference where the press trumpets all sort of we 'may' do this, we 'pledge' to do this.  None of those things are going to happen in all probability.  Pledges have no legal basis and no moral force.  Sovreign politics and economic factors will override any of these 'pledges'.

The desperate optimist will always seize on some pablum to calm his roiling stomach and will see the smallest trickle of change as portending the dreamed for tidal wave required.  And they will spend years riding that train until it falls into the canyon.

I have been intensively following the subject of climate change now for 10 years and in all of that time we have made no meaningful progress at all.  Carbon emissions this year will once again set a record driving us even deeper into the hole.  We are past the point already where dealing with the problem could have been executed with some global program based upon fair and equitable ideals.  Nothing less than global earth shaking change forced through the system could even hope to mitigate the disaster coming for our grandchildren. 

My prediction is that our political and economic situation on a global level 2 years from now will put us in an even worse position than we are today.  Remind me in 2 years and we can see how right or wrong I am.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 19, 2014, 05:26:59 PM
JimD,

In a world where the fossil fuel industry buys political influence behind closed doors, I cannot say that I disagree with your forecast.  That said, we also living in a world where for at least brief periods the "common man" can at least temporarily exert "his/their" common will against the powerful few; if the "common man" is will to accept responsibility (by vote or other means).  Today the majority of the "common man" have chosen to stay on a BAU pathway, and I concur with you that it will likely take a series of climate change disasters for the "common man" to wake-up and take responsibility. 

Nevertheless, it is my belief that the Carbon Fee & Dividend plan that Hansen supports can: (a) be implemented by individual countries without any need for a global plan (so the "common man" of a given country has no excuse about the "tyranny of the commons" preventing him/them from taking individual/collective responsibility/action; and (b) will use the "invisible hand" of the market place to limit carbon emissions progressively without additional layers of bureaucracy making matters worse.  Furthermore, I believe that it is convenient for the "common man" to ignore effective policy such a the Carbon Fee & Dividend plan because doing so relieves him/them of any responsibility; which to me means that he/they should give-up the right to vote.  The "common man" needs to realize that a life worth living (and with climate change coming, I mean this literally) requires some effort and responsibility.

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 20, 2014, 06:42:32 PM
ASLR

There is certainly a 'possibility' you may be right, but I do not come to the same optimistic conclusion about there being any probability.  In response I offer the following analysis of the common man and his voting frequency and preferences.

This analysis paints a very different picture of his ability to make a difference.  If one accepts the conclusions it leads to a chain of logic which says the ability of the US to make as decision to deal with climate change is highly unlikely.  But read it and let me know what your conclusions are.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/americans-sick-death-parties-politics-worse-shape-thought.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/americans-sick-death-parties-politics-worse-shape-thought.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 20, 2014, 08:27:36 PM
JimD,

Unfortunately, we live in a world where when the common man is faced with sufficient uncertainty, they look in the mirror and ask themselves what it is that they want, and that becomes their decision no matter what the facts say.  Therefore, I must concur that until society (both rich and common) sustains sufficient loss from climate change they are not likely to take effective action.  That said, I do believe that given sufficient motivation (whether from risk of sustained climate change related loss, or otherwise) that people do have the capacity to face the truth and to take steps to make necessary changes (note that in a non-stationary climate change future this means continuously changing to face new realities). 

Therefore, while I agree that it is not probable that society (whether powerful decision makers and/or the common man) will face our climate change reality before about 2050; I do honestly believe that when hit in the head by climate change consequences that will occur after 2050, that society will make changes that lead to a more sustainable societal future (which given climate change inertia may take until between 2200) due to people realizing that they need to consider the common good when they make choices.

Call me a Pollyanna if you like, but improvements are out there (whether carbon fee & dividend policies or otherwise) when people are properly motivated to face the truth.

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 21, 2014, 05:16:10 AM
JimD,

Unfortunately, we live in a world where when the common man is faced with sufficient uncertainty, they look in the mirror and ask themselves what it is that they want, and that becomes their decision no matter what the facts say.  Therefore, I must concur that until society (both rich and common) sustains sufficient loss from climate change they are not likely to take effective action.  That said, I do believe that given sufficient motivation (whether from risk of sustained climate change related loss, or otherwise) that people do have the capacity to face the truth and to take steps to make necessary changes (note that in a non-stationary climate change future this means continuously changing to face new realities). 

Therefore, while I agree that it is not probable that society (whether powerful decision makers and/or the common man) will face our climate change reality before about 2050; I do honestly believe that when hit in the head by climate change consequences that will occur after 2050, that society will make changes that lead to a more sustainable societal future (which given climate change inertia may take until between 2200) due to people realizing that they need to consider the common good when they make choices.

Call me a Pollyanna if you like, but improvements are out there (whether carbon fee & dividend policies or otherwise) when people are properly motivated to face the truth.

Best,
ASLR

To elaborate on these thoughts I provide the following quote from George Bernard Shaw:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one ... the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will note devote itself to making you happy."

And what mighty purpose is greater than being used to help create a sustainable/enduring social structure for the good those living now and in the future?  This is real joy, real happiness. 

The sooner people realize this lesson the easier it will be for all, as waiting to get motivated by climate catastrophes after 2050 will lead to hardships, which will become sadder the longer we wait.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 22, 2014, 05:44:32 PM
With a hat tip to wili, I provide the following link to an article that indicates that uncertainty about to how to act about climate change has led the common man (or all men) to take little, or no, action, much as the "good German" did not challenge the Nazi leadership during WWII.  However, the discussion following the article shows how complicated it can be how to decide on what effective action to take in the face of continuing uncertainty.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-12-21/what-climate-change-asks-of-us-moral-obligation-mobilization-and-crisis-communication (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-12-21/what-climate-change-asks-of-us-moral-obligation-mobilization-and-crisis-communication)

Nevertheless, even if all of this uncertainty and confusion, causes both American, and world, leaders to delay effective action until after the climate change problem has reached a tipping point; I still contend that it is valuable to consider how people can better collaborate (even after the sh*t has hit the fan) to live in a more sustainable future society. 

In this regard, I believe that using a Bayesian interpretation of Earth System Models, instead of a Frequentist interpretation, will allow people to dispel sufficient uncertainty to take effective action, particularly if the economic system that they work in recognizes the true cost of GHG emissions within the cost of the items they consume.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 22, 2014, 07:39:35 PM
The linked PBS article discusses long-term lessons regarding the potential collapse (including  for economic, political, climate change, and etc reasons) of the American Empire and the Global economic system; yet ends by noting that internalizing long-term lessons (such as using market economics that do not ignore dis-utilities such as GHG emissions)  can help improve society's prospects:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/indiana-jones-collapsed-cultures-western-civilization-bubble/ (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/indiana-jones-collapsed-cultures-western-civilization-bubble/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 01, 2015, 06:44:47 PM
Orlov's always interesting take on the fate of the Empire

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-imperial-collapse-playbook.html (http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-imperial-collapse-playbook.html)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 01, 2015, 07:42:09 PM
An overwhelming article on the state of the US military and its relationship with the civilian US population.

I make no secret of my opinion that the US State Dept and the Pentagon serve to maintain and possibly expand the US empire.  This empire is rotting and will fail.  Much of the reason for that is the rot in the US military and the system of corporate and Congressional corruption which they all feed from.

No opponent of the US who is intelligent and educated about the issues of global strategy and tactics should have any great fear of opposing the US. 

The below link (a long read) can fill in many of the blanks as to why.  A snipet:

Quote
....For our generals, our politicians, and most of our citizenry, there is almost no accountability or personal consequence for military failure. This is a dangerous development—and one whose dangers multiply the longer it persists.

Ours is the best-equipped fighting force in history, and it is incomparably the most expensive. By all measures, today’s professionalized military is also better trained, motivated, and disciplined than during the draft-army years. No decent person who is exposed to today’s troops can be anything but respectful of them and grateful for what they do.

Yet repeatedly this force has been defeated by less modern, worse-equipped, barely funded foes. Or it has won skirmishes and battles only to lose or get bogged down in a larger war. ....

Full disclosure.  I served for 21 years in the US national security apparatus - but not in the military.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: viddaloo on January 01, 2015, 08:37:07 PM
Full disclosure.  I served for 21 years in the US national security apparatus - but not in the military.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/)

Jim, is that your article?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 02, 2015, 12:08:26 AM
Full disclosure.  I served for 21 years in the US national security apparatus - but not in the military.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/)

Jim, is that your article?

No of course not.  It would be very low class to pump ones own work that way.  I just thought it was a good read.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: viddaloo on January 02, 2015, 12:13:12 AM
Full disclosure.  I served for 21 years in the US national security apparatus - but not in the military.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/)

Jim, is that your article?

No of course not.  It would be very low class to pump ones own work that way.  I just thought it was a good read.
Well, it could certainly be interpreted that way. You have the Jim/James thing, and you are presenting the article as 'full disclosure' at the same time as the revelation you worked 21 years in the NS state. But I believe you. In no way was I suggesting you were low–class, it was mostly the Jim/James thing that got me wondering.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 02, 2015, 04:16:28 PM
Ahh I never noticed that the author and I shared part of a name.

I try when it is appropriate, and within reason, to indicate to those reading my work what level of expertise I have in what I am writing about.  There are a few subject areas where I am an expert and have professional work experience of some consequence.  There are some areas where I have fairly deep knowledge from my educational background as well as a long period of study and I try to distinguish those from the former.  And then there are subject areas where what I have learned (or think I have) is strictly from studying them on my own once they caught my interest.

I temper the above with the understanding that many on the internet lie about all this kind of stuff and there is no sense in getting carried away with providing too many details as many will just assume the worst of you  - especially if they disagree with ones work.  As an example I was discussing over the internet with members of an organization about joining it and in the process they asked me my age.  After I told them they were openly suspicious that I was not being truthful.  When I queried them about why would they think someone was lying about their age - especially when providing a retirement age - and they said young people do it to them all the time.  Go figure.  I decided not to join them.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 04, 2015, 03:55:22 PM
Another excellent read.

Ilargi provides some insight into the machinations of the empire and various global interactions.

His conclusion as a teaser to get you to read the whole thing.

Quote
....

Still, America is never going to control the entire world. And any attempt to achieve that goal will take it further away from it. But a lot of people will be killed in that doomed attempt. And down the line the fighting will go on until there are so few people left, and so little organization, that all that remains is communities of a scale people can actually comprehend. That seems to be the only possible outcome as long as we allow for the psychopaths among us to decide who gets to have their fingers on the nuclear buttons.

But before that, we’ll have other shades of entertainment, we’re not done yet by any means. Angela Merkel just told Der Spiegel that she can live with Greece leaving the eurozone. Though that would blow up the entire edifice. I don’t know that I would call her a psychopath, but I have no confidence in anyone who floats to the top in any of our present political systems. And Europe can’t stomach any one country leaving.

It’s high time for a new model and for new people. But the old ones, and their utterly and dramatically failed economies, hold the power, the media, the money, everything. So what other way out is there but mass fighting, mass casualties, a complete overthrow of everything that exists today, probably nuclear bombs dropping, and in the end a world none of us would recognize, let alone be able to survive in?

It’ll take a while yet to get there, and it won’t be a pretty while by any stretch of the imagination. The powers that be are not done yet pretending to rule the universe and playing God. We should kick ‘em all out today, but we won’t. Because we’re all too much like them.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/ilargi-oil-power-psychopaths.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/ilargi-oil-power-psychopaths.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 04, 2015, 04:18:40 PM
http://www.france24.com/en/f24-interview/20141231-interview-bernard-guetta-national-borders-undermined-syria-iraq-mali-ukraine/ (http://www.france24.com/en/f24-interview/20141231-interview-bernard-guetta-national-borders-undermined-syria-iraq-mali-ukraine/)

An excellent interview with a French columnist discussing the pressure to form new regional borders around the world.  Most of the worlds flash points are centered around the problems of forced borders (mostly set up by the various great powers over the last 100 years) which overlap and intrude on the traditional social structures used to determine national borders historically - religion, race, ethnicity and so on.

One can certainly understand the pressure to revert to historical norms and we see it all the time.  As the power of the American empire and its lackey's fades this reversion will turn into a large historical wave.  It is part and parcel of collapse.  A reversion to traditional (do we say tribal?) norms of government when it is no longer possible to maintain a more complex governmental and financial structure.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 12, 2015, 05:29:00 PM
Answering for America’s Madness

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/answering-americas-madness.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/answering-americas-madness.html)

Yves is overall a brillliant person and I have also experienced exactly what Ann Jones describes in my years of wandering the world.  One can hardly disagree with the sentiments they express and it is indeed hard to answer the questions one is posed as Jones and Yves describe.  But it is not that I have any trouble figuring out what the answer to the questions are, I am always trying to take into account whether it is wise to give the questioner the real answer.

Quote
Yves here. This post by Ann Jones discusses the difficulty that Americans have in answering questions from foreigners about large swathes of our policies. I had enough trouble explaining (mind you, not defending) the Iraq War when I lived in Sydney from 2002 to 2004, when Americans were generally still well tolerated around the world. I can’t imagine what it is like now.

Some readers will no doubt beg to differ, but it appears that our supposed leaders are operating out of a mass delusion and trying (and for the moment succeeding) in imposing it on the rest of us.

Quote
Americans who live abroad — more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) — often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States.  Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded “homeland,” now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world........

Quote
Europeans understand, as it seems Americans do not, the intimate connection between a country’s domestic and foreign policies. They often trace America’s reckless conduct abroad to its refusal to put its own house in order.  .........

It’s hard to know why we are the way we are, and — believe me — even harder to explain it to others. Crazy may be too strong a word, too broad and vague to pin down the problem. Some people who question me say that the U.S. is “paranoid,” “backward,” “behind the times,” “vain,” “greedy,” “self-absorbed,” or simply “dumb.”  Others, more charitably, imply that Americans are merely “ill-informed,” “misguided,” “misled,” or “asleep,” and could still recover sanity.  But wherever I travel, the questions follow, suggesting that the United States, if not exactly crazy, is decidedly a danger to itself and others...

America is certainly to be feared.  But it is not hard to understand basic US policy and actions.  As soon as one sets aside Denial and accepts what it is all comes pretty clear.  America is the modern version of the British, Roman, etc empires.  It is all about us and everyone else is here to either support us (for which you will get a minor share in the take) or you are going to get used rather roughly for impeding our collection of wealth which is going to be moved to the center where it rightly belongs.  Yeah we do a lot of stupid things outside the country but so has every other empire as it passed peak and began the long decline.  One continues to grasp at straws and every idea however foolish (Iraq War anyone?) has some carrot in it which seems so attractive that it cannot be resisted.  When Dick Cheney stated that the American way of life was not negotiable he was not joking and his words resonated with great force throughout much of mainstream America.  Americans may be ignorant of the outer world and the intricacies of foreign relations and how others live, but they are not confused in any way about what they think America "is" and it's "value" in the world.  I am not kidding here.  Your average American has no doubts that their country is the greatest and most exceptional country to have ever existed.  That it occupies not only a special place in history but also in the eyes of God.  It is unique in human history and nothing will be allowed to stand in its way.  Those who oppose it are bad people if not evil.  Many Americans despise Socialists and Communists (they see no difference between them) and have no respect for those who are weak and can be taken advantage of (this is part of our internal culture as well).  In religious terms Americans are most like Muslims - fundamentalist Americans are very much like fundamentalist Muslims.  Muslim terrorists kill innocent civilians up front and personal while Americans use drones and F18's, but that is only a minor difference.

Our internal culture is not only defined by our clawing our way to the top of the heap of world power (such a thing stamps one with a certain outlook on the world - see British attitudes over the last 150 years) but also to a major extent by the outlook of the people who populated this country over the last 400 years.  We are made up out of those whom you did not want - never forget that.  You sent your failures here, your troublemakers, your criminals, your poor, your weak, your discards and so on.  My first relatives to come to America were taken from an English prison and put on a ship and told not to return.  Americans largely carved their world out of the wilderness on their own.  They had no one other than each other to manage this task and because of the kind of people they were to start with and how they were stamped by the experience this is where we ended up.

Many Americans are not ignorant of the social systems described in the article.  They are just not interested in them because they consider them vehicles for the weak and would rather die than take such assistance.  If you cannot figure out how to work hard enough to pull yourself up and support yourself you have no value to society.  Americans admire those who are strong and take what they can grasp.  Thus our cultural fascination with outlaws (I have a famous outlaw in my family) and the successful ultra wealthy free market capitalist (I have one of those as well).  People see nothing wrong with accumulating all one can get ones hands on and admire them as well.  It is better to be on the winning team as just a soldier than to be an equal on the team which takes orders from the strong.  It is a dog eat dog world and we all know which side of that equation it is best to be on.

Now the above is clearly overstated - to some extent.  But I am trying to make a point about how to think about the US as we contemplate the future and what can be accomplished in dealing with climate change.  That is, not much, unless you are willing to acquiesce in the US maintaining its relatively superior position in the world.  Our leaders and citizens are not at all prepared to discuss anything if our 'way of life' is on the table as a bargaining chip.  We will double down first.  Just two days ago I had a gentleman who seems to be very nice and treats everyone kindly tell me straight up that we should send the US military into the Middle East (yes he meant all of it) and to just exterminate anyone who opposes us and convert everyone else to a 'real' religion and civilize them until they were like us (??!!). He got angry with me when I demurred and since that conversation has been very stiff with me.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 18, 2015, 05:02:38 PM
A very good read.

Churchill

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/01/simon-heffer-why-it-s-time-debunk-churchill-myth (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/01/simon-heffer-why-it-s-time-debunk-churchill-myth)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 19, 2015, 03:07:06 PM
Quote
We must be mad.  pl

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/01/httpwwwutsandiegocomnews2015jan18a-year-on-islamic-state-group-still-rules-iraqs.html (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/01/httpwwwutsandiegocomnews2015jan18a-year-on-islamic-state-group-still-rules-iraqs.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 19, 2015, 03:41:45 PM
New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%

Quote
Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.

BAU??

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 21, 2015, 04:51:01 PM
National Socialism.   It rises like the dead. 

Quote
...
 “This interview was not aired, because the Ukrainian Government decided that it wasn’t appropriate for their purposes.” This is to put it mildly.

Forget about neo- or crypto- or any of that. This “trooper,” as the transcript unfortunately calls this man, is a right-in-the-open Nazi, worse than the most committed skeptic might have conjured. Ukraine is even better than Europe: “Only gays, transvestites and other degenerates live there.” Then: “When we have liberated Ukraine, we will go to Europe under our banners and revive all national socialist organizations there.”

All sorts of talk about “the purification of the nation,” a phrase Hitler liked, “a strong state,” who can stay in Ukraine and who must go. Now comes repellent language, readers, but we should all know of it:

First of all, we ought to oust, and if they do not wish to leave, then cut the throats of all of the Muscovites, or kikes—we will exterminate all of them. Our principle is ‘One God, one country, one nation’”—this also from Hitler. “As far as the current government is concerned, can you see that they are the same scum? Poroshenko is a kike….”

The blood boils. And it boils over with the haunting knowledge that American officials support these people. Beyond the sewer consciousness and language, there is the apparent danger: These people have the Kiev government backed into a corner, unable to behave responsibly.

Quote
I can do no better than give you the pertinent passage in the note:

“… I spoke … breakfast time in Europe… with the head of one of the largest companies in Germany. This declaration was one of the first items he mentioned. I took notes—because it is one of my clients—and here is what he said: ‘It is urgent for Europe to bring Obama and the people making the decisions behind him back to reality. If not, this will spiral first into a financial collapse, which will slam into all of Europe, and then who knows where it goes after that? Everywhere, far-right nationalist forces are building. Look at the last U.S. Congressional elections, and think what is coming. Will America ever have had a more nationalist Congress?  Le Pen would be right at home in this crowd. The course we are on now is folly.  Can’t they see that?’”

Quote
Here is what Roland Hinterkoerner, a thoughtful analyst at RBS Asia-Pacific, the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Hong Kong outpost, had to say about Ukraine in a recent economic report:

The country is clinically dead…. There is nothing government or the central bank can do to stop the decline. The population is being pushed further and further into poverty. Food prices are up 25 percent and rent, electricity, gas and water by 34 percent…. This is the picture of a Ukraine that is looking an economic collapse in the eye. But its government is still attempting to channel money into the military to fend off the big bear’s aggression…. The danger for Ukraine is not Russia. It is its own demise….”

Quote
On New Year’s Day members of Svoboda, the extreme-right party that many neo-Nazis count their political home, held a candle-lit parade through Kiev to mark the 106th anniversary of Stepan Bandera’s birth. Bandera was the Jew-hating, Russian-hating, Pole-hating Third Reich collaborator, assassin and terrorist now honored as an icon of Ukrainian nationalism.

These people would feel right at home with my neighbor who wants the US to invade the entire middle east and exterminate the 'terrorists' and take the place over and civilize it until they learn how to behave like good Christians.

So much opportunity for chaos and so little time.  There is this long adhered to prohibition in supposedly 'civilized' discussions never to accuse people of acting like Nazi's or using language like Nazi's as this automatically meant you sacrificed any point you were trying to make in a discussion.  It was considered too overboard and extreme of a comparison.  Nothing could ever be that bad again.  However, these people actually ARE NAZI'S.  If I lived in Europe is would be really concerned about this...come to think of it I am concerned about the budding ones in the US.  This is the kind of change that I see generated by the rising stresses of collapse.  Making progress on dealing with climate change in the face of such overwhelming short-term threats is one of the reasons why I do not think we will divert from our historical adherence to various forms of BAU.

Adapt or perish.

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/21/distortions_lies_and_omissions_the_new_york_times_wont_tell_you_the_real_story_behind_ukraine_russian_economic_collapse/ (http://www.salon.com/2015/01/21/distortions_lies_and_omissions_the_new_york_times_wont_tell_you_the_real_story_behind_ukraine_russian_economic_collapse/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on January 21, 2015, 07:23:56 PM
And here's what Collin Powell has to to say about Repubs:

"My party is full of racists..."

https://www.facebook.com/154142984621301/photos/a.156060241096242.23126.154142984621301/770186833016910/?type=1&fref=nf (https://www.facebook.com/154142984621301/photos/a.156060241096242.23126.154142984621301/770186833016910/?type=1&fref=nf)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2015, 03:25:47 PM
Have you ever wondered about the scale and scope of US Special Operations forces?

It will boggle your mind.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175945/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175945/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 02, 2015, 05:57:26 PM
This is really good.

Quote
It was August 2, 1990, and Saddam Hussein, formerly Washington’s man in Baghdad and its ally against fundamentalist Iran, had just sent his troops across the border into oil-rich Kuwait.  It would prove a turning point in American Middle East policy. Six days later, a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was dispatched to Saudi Arabia as the vanguard of what the U.S. Army termed “the largest deployment of American troops since Vietnam.” The rest of the division would soon follow as part of Operation Desert Storm, which was supposed to drive Saddam’s troops from Kuwait and fell the Iraqi autocrat.  The division’s battle cry: "The road home... is through Baghdad!”

In fact, while paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne penetrated deep into Iraq in the 100-day campaign that followed, no American soldier would make it to the Iraqi capital -- not that time around, anyway.  After the quick triumph of the Gulf War, the Airborne's paratroops instead returned to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  And that, it seemed, was the end of the matter, victory parades and all.  Naturally, the soldiers using that battle cry did not have the advantage of history.  They had no way of knowing that it would have been more accurate to chant something like: “The road home always leads back to Baghdad!”  After all, when the First Gulf War ended in the crushing defeat of Saddam’s forces and he nonetheless remained in power, the stage was set for the invasion that began Iraq War 2.0 a dozen years later.  Perhaps you still remember that particular “mission accomplished” moment.

In the course of that invasion, the 82nd Airborne would conduct “sustained combat operations throughout Iraq.”  Once the occupation of the country began, paratroopers from the division would return to Iraq in August 2003 to, as an Army website puts it, “continue command and control over combat operations in and around Baghdad.”  In other words, they were tasked with repressing the insurgency that had broken out after the Bush administration disbanded the Iraqi military and banned Saddam’s Baath Party, putting so many armed and trained Iraqis out on the streets, jobless and angry.  As it happened, parts of the 82nd would redeploy to Iraq again and again until, in 2011, its 2nd Brigade Combat Team was “the last brigade combat team to pull out of Iraq and successfully relinquished responsibility [for] Anbar Province to the Iraqi government.” Then, homeward they went (yet again) and that, of course, should have been that.

But that, as Dr. Seuss might have written, wasn’t the end of it; oh no, it wasn’t the end. Just this week, with Iraq War 3.0 (and Syria War 1.0) underway, it was announced that the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne, 1,000 paratroopers, was being dispatched to -- you guessed it -- Iraq to train up the woeful, partially collapsed, previously American-trained and -armed (to the tune of $25 billion) Iraqi Army.  By now, it should be evident that there’s a pattern here for those who care to notice.  And with this in mind, TomDispatch has called back to the colors one of our regulars, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Astore, to explore the strange repetitiveness of American war-making in these years.  Like the 82nd Airborne, he’s been on this “road home” before. Tom.........

Quote
.....Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition.  Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can’t stop making war.  More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America.  In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I’m planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).....

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175950/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175950/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: LRC1962 on February 03, 2015, 06:54:52 PM
Came across this talk. Noam Chomsky Lectures on Modern-Day American Imperialism: Middle East and Beyond (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PdJ9TAdTdA) Note: It is 2hrs long but the lecture itself lasts for only 1hr. The rest is Q&A.
His starting point is that the founding fathers were thinking in terms of white empire from the start and part of the reason for their action of independence was because England was not allowing them to expand as they wished.
Historically speaking all empires fall. The question then becomes why and in what ways. The danger I see is that it could collapse for a good many reasons.
Environmental degradation leaving it with limited farmable land, limited clean water and vast areas of highly polluted unlivable living space.
Giving away its manufacturing base leaves itself open to being depended upon those countries which are manufacturing its goods good grace. Meaning if China and /or India decide fore what ever reason to stop sending good to the US or suddenly jack up prices, there is very little they can do to them. Sure the US could go and conquer, but would not that just add to problems as they now have a country with destroyed manufacturing base which you wanted in the first place and a huge population  to support.
Another possibility is bankruptcy with foreigners owning the debt and calling the shots.
The last I can think of is the rest of the world start ignoring the US strong arm tactics and going their own way.
A case in point is Bolivia which I was born in (my parents were working there at the time). Although the US spins it as it is the presidents doing, the reality it is the farmers the street sweepers, the miners (think working/living conditions of Wales coal mines in the 17th century) etc. They are the power in the country and they have very long memories of what the Spanish did to them before independence. If the see any sign that gets them close to what feels like that they will run you out of town with maybe your close still on you, and they have done it several times with the army looking on, because the army knows they will become the next target if they get the groups listed angry at them.
Note the final 2 lines of their national anthem is a repeat and says it all "It is better to die then live a slave."
Note 2: An interesting thing about South America is that a good many of former Spanish colonies tend to follow the example Bolivia sets because if it can be done there, they know they can also do it.
Reason I added that example is because is shows the US could be starting to lose the infleuence they used to have in many counties. Influence = power = strength of your empire.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2015, 05:28:43 PM
http://www.alternet.org/world/chomsky-and-kissinger-dont-increase-us-military-involvement-ukraine (http://www.alternet.org/world/chomsky-and-kissinger-dont-increase-us-military-involvement-ukraine)

A very good read.  We have sooo screwed this up it is just astonishing.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2015, 05:39:35 PM
And not to leave out our other wars.

http://m.thenation.com/blog/197057-afghanistan-war-still-raging-time-its-being-waged-contractors (http://m.thenation.com/blog/197057-afghanistan-war-still-raging-time-its-being-waged-contractors)

Quote
The killing of three US Pentagon contractors at the hands of a uniformed Afghan Army soldier in Kabul last week casts considerable doubt on President Obama's recent proclamation that America's "combat mission in Afghanistan is over."

The US-trained Afghan security forces have now "taken the lead" in the fourteen-year-old war, Obama told Congress in his State of the Union address on January 20.

But after digging into the contractors involved and the circumstances behind their untimely deaths, it's apparent that the US-led war against the Taliban is still in full swing, and that Americans—along with many Afghans—will continue to die.

"If you define combat mission as only having large numbers of US combat troops in the field, doing patrols, and engaging the Taliban, then, yes, it is coming to an end," says David Isenberg, a Navy veteran and author who has been researching private security and military contractors since the early 1990s. "But if you define it as continuing to attack and degrade those you consider hostile, via drone or Special Forces or CIA paramilitaries, all of which are supported by contractors, then not so much."

The slain contractors were working for Praetorian Standard Inc., of Fayetteveille, North Carolina. The Pentagon told reporters the men were "overseeing maintenance work" on a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 surveillance and intelligence aircraft. The PC-12s, known by the US military as U-28s, are used extensively by US Special Operations Command forces in Afghanistan and covert wars throughout the world......
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 10, 2015, 04:53:13 PM
Greece...Ukraine...EU??.... Hmmm...

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/09/wretched-us-journalism-on-ukraine/

Quote
A basic rule of journalism is that there are almost always two sides to a story and that journalists should try to reflect that reality, a principle that is especially important when lives are at stake amid war fevers. Yet, American journalism has failed miserably in this regard during the Ukraine crisis.

With very few exceptions, the mainstream U.S. media has simply regurgitated the propaganda from the U.S. State Department and other entities favoring western Ukrainians. ....

Quote
..Frankly, I cannot recall any previous situation in which the U.S. media has been more biased – across the board – than on Ukraine. Not even the “group think” around Iraq’s non-existent WMDs was as single-minded as this, with the U.S. media perspective on Ukraine almost always from the point of view of the western Ukrainians who led the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was in the east.

So, what might appear to an objective observer as a civil war between western Ukrainians, including the neo-Nazis who spearheaded last year’s coup against Yanukovych, and eastern Ukrainians, who refused to accept the anti-Yanukovych order that followed the coup, has been transformed by the U.S. news media into a confrontation between the forces of good (the western Ukrainians) and the forces of evil (the eastern Ukrainians) with an overlay of “Russian aggression” as Russian President Vladimir Putin is depicted as a new Hitler.

Though the horrific bloodshed – more than 5,000 dead – has been inflicted overwhelmingly on the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine by the forces from western Ukraine, the killing is routinely blamed on either the eastern Ukrainian rebels or Putin for allegedly fomenting the trouble in the first place (though there is no evidence that he did, as even former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has acknowledged.)...

Quote
...Neo-Nazi and other “volunteer” brigades, dispatch by the Kiev regime, have also engaged in human rights violations, including death squad operations pulling people from their homes and executing them. Amnesty International, another human rights group that Soros helps fund and that has generally promoted Western interests in Eastern Europe, issued a report noting abuses committed by the pro-Kiev Aidar militia.

“Members of the Aidar territorial defence battalion, operating in the north Luhansk region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions,” the Amnesty International report said.

The Aidar battalion commander told an Amnesty International researcher: “There is a war here. The law has changed, procedures have been simplified. … If I choose to, I can have you arrested right now, put a bag over your head and lock you up in a cellar for 30 days on suspicion of aiding separatists.”

Amnesty International wrote: “Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”

Neo-Nazi Battalions

And the Aidar battalion is not even the worst of the so-called “volunteer” brigades. Others carry Nazi banners and espouse racist contempt for the ethnic Russians who have become the target of something close to “ethnic cleansing” in the areas under control of the Kiev regime. Many eastern Ukrainians fear falling into the hands of these militia members who have been witnessed leading captives to open graves and executing them.

As the conservative London Telegraph described in an article last August by correspondent Tom Parfitt: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiver down Europe’s spine.

“Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”....
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 16, 2015, 04:19:28 PM
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/02/michael-hudson-ukraine-denouement-russian-loan-imfs-one-two-punch.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/02/michael-hudson-ukraine-denouement-russian-loan-imfs-one-two-punch.html)

It sucks to be a pawn in the game of thrones.


Quote
The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders.

Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to flow in by early March. But Ukraine must meet conditions that seem almost impossible: It must implement an honest budget and start reforming its corrupt oligarchs (who dominate in the Rada and control the bureaucracy), implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.

Looming over the IMF loan is the military situation

Quote
...
The Two Futures

A generation ago the logical future for Ukraine and other post-Soviet states promised to be an integration into the German and other West European economies. This seemingly natural complementarity would see the West modernize Russian and other post-Soviet industry and agriculture (and construction as well) to create a self-sufficient and prosperous Eurasian regional power. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently voiced Russia’s hope at the Munich Security Conference for a common Eurasian Union with the European Union extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok. German and other European policy looked Eastward to invest its savings in the post-Soviet states.

This hope was anathema to U.S. neocons, who retain British Victorian geopolitics opposing the creation of any economic power center in Eurasia. That was Britain’s nightmare prior to World War I, and led it to pursue a diplomacy aimed at dividing and conquering continental Europe to prevent any dominant power or axis from emerging.

America started its Ukrainian strategy with the idea of splitting Russia off from Europe, and above all from Germany. In the U.S. playbook is simple: Any economic power is potentially military; and any military power may enable other countries to pursue their own interest rather than subordinating their policy to U.S. political, economic and financial aims. Therefore, U.S. geostrategists view any foreign economic power as a potentially military threat, to be countered before it can gain steam.

We can now see why the EU/IMF austerity plan that Yanukovich rejected made it clear why the United States sponsored last February’s coup in Kiev. The austerity that was called for, the removal of consumer subsidies and dismantling of public services would have led to an anti-West reaction turning Ukraine strongly back toward Russia. The Maidan coup sought to prevent this by making a war scar separating Western Ukraine from the East, leaving the country seemingly no choice but to turn West and lose its infrastructure to the privatizers and neo-rentiers.

But the U.S. plan may lead Europe to seek an economic bridge to Russia and the BRICS, away from the U.S. orbit. That is the diplomatic risk when a great power forces other nations to choose one side or the other.....
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 17, 2015, 04:58:35 PM
A good read for both US and EU readers.

Quote
Western sanctions and Russian perceptions
I parse the Russian media (corporate and social) on a daily basis and I am always amazed at the completely different way the issue of western sanctions is discussed.  I think that it is important and useful for me to share this with those of you who do not speak Russian.

First, nobody in Russia believes that the sanctions will be lifted.  Nobody.  Of course, all the Russian politicians say that sanctions are wrong and not conducive to progress, but these are statements for external consumption.  In interviews for the Russian media or on talk shows, there is a consensus that sanctions will never be lifted no matter what Russia does.

Second, nobody in Russia believes that sanctions are a reaction to Crimea or to the Russian involvement in the Donbass.  Nobody. There is a consensus that the Russian policy towards Crimea and the Donbass are not a cause, but a pretext for the sanctions.  The real cause of the sanctions is unanimously identified as what the Russians called the "process of sovereignization", i.e. the fact that Russia is back, powerful and rich, and that she dares openly defy and disobey the "Axis of Kindness".

Third, there is a consensus in Russia that the correct response to the sanctions is double: a) an external realignment of the Russian economy away from the West and b) internal reforms which will make Russia less dependent on oil exports and on the imports of various goods and technologies.

 
Fourth, nobody blames Putin for the sanctions or for the resulting hardships.  Everybody fully understands that Putin is hated by the West not for doing something wrong, but for doing something right.  In fact, Putin's popularity is still at an all-time high.

Fifth, there is a wide agreement that the current Russian vulnerability is the result of past structural mistakes which now must be corrected, but nobody suggests that the return of Crimea to Russia or the Russian support for Novorussia were wrong or wrongly executed.

Finally, I would note that while Russia is ready for war, there is no bellicose mood at all.  Most Russians believe that the US/NATO/EU don't have what it takes to directly attack Russia, they believe that the junta in Kiev is doomed and they believe that sending the Russian tanks to Kiev (or even Novorussia) would have been a mistake.

The above is very important because if you consider all these factors you can come to an absolutely unavoidable conclusion: western sanctions have exactly zero chance of achieving any change at all in Russian foreign policy and exactly zero chance of weakening the current regime. ...

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/02/western-sanctions-and-russian.html (http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/02/western-sanctions-and-russian.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 17, 2015, 07:36:19 PM
It sucks to be a pawn in the game of thrones.

Which is why it was a big mistake for the Ukraine to have previously agreed to return a nuclear arsenal to Russia in return for US security guarantees.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 19, 2015, 05:07:04 PM
It sucks to be a pawn in the game of thrones.

Which is why it was a big mistake for the Ukraine to have previously agreed to return a nuclear arsenal to Russia in return for US security guarantees.

Russia would NEVER have allowed the Ukrainians to have control of their nuclear weapons.  Those were always in the hands of trusted Russian military personnel.  The agreement was just a cover for defusing the situation and getting the weapons moved.  The US had no more interest in the Ukrainians having them than the Russians did. 

We would all be far better off today if Russia had kept most or all of Ukraine as part of its territory.  It would have cut down on potential mischief sorry to say.  Ukrainian Nazi's in Kiev?  The Russian's should be running the place.

As the EU breaks up over the next decade that sentiment will become stronger I expect.  Europe is likely heading for chaos. 

I sincerely hope the current Greek government has the courage to pull the plug at this point.  It is the only sensible long term option.  Short term it will hurt like hell but that is better than slavery. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 25, 2015, 05:26:52 PM
Cuba - Ukraine

Europe is heading down the collapse path (go Germany!) somewhat quicker than I expected (more on that later if I have the energy) and a part of this is demonstrated in the mess caused by the US in Ukraine.  Europeans should be afraid and strongly resisting what the US neocons are promoting.  But enough of my lowly opinions.

Here are some thoughts from deep experience in these matters.  On a side note it is worth pointing out that Henry Kissinger is on record as being against US actions and involvement in Ukraine.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/24/ukraine-war-a-reverse-cuban-missile-crisis/
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: viddaloo on February 25, 2015, 07:59:03 PM
With nazi atrocities and craziness in the recent (20th century) history you would have thought Europeans would be more skeptical of a new totalitarian far–right wave. I guess not when it's *strong* enough. Nazi strong. And served with Coca–Cola.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 26, 2015, 04:23:50 PM
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/02/emails-from-kiev-free-speech-vanishes.html (http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/02/emails-from-kiev-free-speech-vanishes.html)

If you don't think Ukraine is totally f**ked read this.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 27, 2015, 06:41:40 PM
There is an intense level of irony in the below story.

The US instigates the overthrow of the government of Ukraine which is replaced by corrupt oligarchs supported by Nazi's.  Who are in turn being supported by Islamic fighters bound to the Islamic State which of course the US is fighting in Syria/Iraq and contemplating putting significant numbers of troops on the ground there to fight again.  My my.

Quote
“OUR BROTHERS ARE there,” Khalid said when he heard I was going to Ukraine. “Buy a local SIM card when you get there, send me the number and then wait for someone to call you.”

Khalid, who uses a pseudonym, leads the Islamic State’s underground branch in Istanbul. He came from Syria to help control the flood of volunteers arriving in Turkey from all over the world, wanting to join the global jihad. Now, he wanted to put me in touch with Rizvan, a “brother” fighting with Muslims in Ukraine.

The “brothers” are members of ISIS and other underground Islamic organizations, men who have abandoned their own countries and cities. Often using pseudonyms and fake identities, they are working and fighting in the Middle East, Africa and the Caucasus, slipping across borders without visas. Some are fighting to create a new Caliphate — heaven on earth.  Others — like Chechens, Kurds and Dagestanis — say they are fighting for freedom, independence and self-determination. They are on every continent, and in almost every country, and now they are in Ukraine, too....

Worth a full read.  The level of crime and corruption is breathtaking. Not to mention the potential blowback of providing even more training grounds for the Islamic extremists.  What could go wrong?  We would all be far better off if the Russians sent in their army and took Ukraine back into the fold so to speak.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/26/midst-war-ukraine-becomes-gateway-europe-jihad/
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 06, 2015, 04:56:53 PM
This is why Putin is not going anywhere anytime soon. 

Name any other leader over the last 20 years who has accomplished this much for his country.  No wonder his approval ratings are so high.

Quote
...A recent poll, conducted between 20 23 February 2015 among 1,600 Russians aged 18 or more in 46 different regions of Russia by an independent Russian not-for-profit market research agency Levada Centre for Echo Moskvy radio station, found that 54 per cent of the population agreed that “[Russia] is moving in the right direction”. Eighty-six per cent of the respondents approve of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president. When asked to name five or six  politicians or government officials they trust, 59 per cent responded: ”Putin”.

Let’s put aside the possibility of rigged polls because there is little to suggest Putin’s popularity is fake. Putin is respected, if not revered. He is referred to as batyushka, the holy father. Many Russians are particularly upset and angry about Nemtsov’s murder because western fingers are pointing at Putin....

Russians love and support their president. I wanted to understand why..

Putin is a strong leader...

Putin built Russia’s middle class...

Putin has improved social welfare in Russia....

Putin has restored Russian might...

There is no one else. ...

Russian people have survived many periods of hardship since the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, which destroyed its peace, independence, culture and cities (including the then-capital, Kiev). It is perhaps this early history, as well as the civil war after the Bolshevik Revolution, the famine that followed, the Second World War and the Stalinist repressions, which indicates that Russian tolerance for austerity is higher than in the western world. Russians do not seek prosperity but stability. They are less concerned with individual freedom than with the collective sense of status and integrity. Spanning both European and Asian continents, Russia has inherited the Eastern sense of community, attitude of acceptance and predisposition towards authoritarian government.

In the increasingly cool climate between Russia and the west, it helps to understand each other’s values.

NOTE that the capital of the Russian people in the 1200's was Kiev.  Kind of interesting in light of current activities in Ukraine is it not?

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/03/why-do-russians-support-still-support-vladimir-putin (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/03/why-do-russians-support-still-support-vladimir-putin)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 09, 2015, 04:08:38 PM
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchaprilmay_2015/on_political_books/operation_rent_seeking054219.php?page=3 (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchaprilmay_2015/on_political_books/operation_rent_seeking054219.php?page=3)

This is something that I have extensive direct experience with.  The article is pretty damned accurate.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on March 09, 2015, 10:31:11 PM
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchaprilmay_2015/on_political_books/operation_rent_seeking054219.php?page=3 (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchaprilmay_2015/on_political_books/operation_rent_seeking054219.php?page=3)

This is something that I have extensive direct experience with.  The article is pretty damned accurate.

JimD,

Fascinating, alarming and true.  I've also had extensive experience in these matters.  It seems that we have created a cozy government/contractor/sub-contractor culture in D.C that we have finally outsourced governance.  I can remember back in the early 80s, when I had my first opportunities to travel to meetings in D.C., the majority of the attendees were either government employees, military officers with a few consultants who actually had critical knowledge about the subject at hand.  25 years later, similar meetings required larger rooms because every government agency represented had to bring a supporting cast of "Beltway Bandits".  We, in industry, were  just as guilty,in that we felt it was necessary bring along a few retired Generals and Admirals to add credibility to our story line. ........Of course, I was always the good guy wearing the white hat!! (he says, tongue in cheek).

Sub contracting has gotten out of hand.  Most of the "Beltway Bandits" get their start when small groups of former government employees and/or military officers form a small company to provide an ostensibly essential service to the government.  Being good capitalists, which requires continual annual growth, they eventually begin to invent reasons that their services not only be continued but further expanded, requiring the hiring of additional employees.  Who do they hire??  They end up hiring people that don't have the experience, education or competence to get hired by the government or prime contractors in the first place.  It's an endless downward spiral.

I can remember being appalled, at the beginning of the 2003 Iraqi Disaster Invasion, when I found out that the contractors hired to drive fuel and ammo trucks from Kuwait to Baghdad were being paid $85,000/year.  I harkened back to my time in Vietnam, the young soldiers and Marines driving the fuel and ammo trucks for less than $400/month.  And while many were drafted and weren't given a choice as to their duties a good many of those jobs were given to those who couldn't be trusted to carry a rifle on the  front lines.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 10, 2015, 04:39:04 PM
Quote
I can remember being appalled, at the beginning of the 2003 Iraqi Disaster Invasion, when I found out that the contractors hired to drive fuel and ammo trucks from Kuwait to Baghdad were being paid $85,000/year.  I harkened back to my time in Vietnam, the young soldiers and Marines driving the fuel and ammo trucks for less than $400/month.  And while many were drafted and weren't given a choice as to their duties a good many of those jobs were given to those who couldn't be trusted to carry a rifle on the  front lines.

If I remember correctly those drivers eventually got over $150K and the Blackwater security contractors were above $300K.  All in a good cause of course.

One of the greatest scams ever put over the American people was the outsourcing of government functions to the private sector.  This resulted in a huge increase in costs and an almost complete loss in control and accountability.  Libertarian-Anarchism.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 10, 2015, 04:52:34 PM
Another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences??

Quote
Something remarkable is taking place in Russia, and it’s quite different from what we might expect. Rather than feel humiliated and depressed Russia is undergoing what I would call a kind of renaissance, a rebirth as a nation. This despite or in fact because the West, led by the so-called neo-conservatives in Washington, is trying everything including war on her doorstep in Ukraine, to collapse the Russian economy, humiliate Putin and paint Russians generally as bad. In the process, Russia is discovering positive attributes about her culture, her people, her land that had long been forgotten or suppressed......

http://journal-neo.org/2015/03/09/russia-s-remarkable-renaissance-2/ (http://journal-neo.org/2015/03/09/russia-s-remarkable-renaissance-2/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 15, 2015, 03:51:22 PM
Ukraine

If you still think the Ukrainian 'rebels' shot down MH-17 the civilian airliner with a Russian missle read this.  Probably not.  Have they told the truth about anything?

Quote
...When she didn’t respond, I sent her some more detailed questions describing leaks that I had received about what some U.S. intelligence analysts have since concluded, as well as what the German intelligence agency, the BND, reported to a parliamentary committee last October, according to Der Spiegel.

While there are differences in those analyses about who fired the missile, there appears to be agreement that the Russian government did not supply the ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine with a sophisticated Buk anti-aircraft missile system that the original DNI report identified as the likely weapon used to destroy the commercial airliner killing all 298 people onboard....

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had begun shifting away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible, funded by one of Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian oligarchs.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/03/14/us-intel-stands-pat-on-mh-17-shoot-down/
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: johnm33 on March 15, 2015, 06:44:19 PM
Ron Paul on Empire http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/march/14/a-green-light-for-the-american-empire/ (http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/march/14/a-green-light-for-the-american-empire/)
not that I'm convinced it's an 'American' empire at all since it clearly does not serve americans in any way, though they serve it. It does serve an internationally aligned elite who can be found somewhere in this entity http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VQXA7OFma-d (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VQXA7OFma-d)
Though how many are true insiders who will not be eliminated/impoverished as time/usefullness  passes I couldn't guess.
 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2015, 07:41:41 PM
There is really no topic for this piece but since the US is pretty complicit in what Israel does I decided to put it here.  Pretty awful stuff.

Islamic extremists, Christian extremists, Jewish extremists.  There is nothing like global consistency.

Quote
Right-wing media outlet Israel National News published an opinion piece Tuesday calling on Israel to launch nuclear bombs at Iran and Germany, only days after the outlet came under fire for publishing a piece accusing a war widow of killing her husband over her pro-peace views.

In the opinion article published Tuesday, the author claims that only through nuclear annihilation of Iran and Germany, with 20 or 30 nuclear bombs each, can Israelis prevent the state’s destruction.


If Israel does not walk in the ways of God’s Bible,” author Chen Ben-Eliyahu wrote in Hebrew, “it will receive a heavy punishment of near complete destruction and doom and only a few will be saved.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/op-ed-calls-on-israel-to-nuke-germany-iran/ (http://www.timesofisrael.com/op-ed-calls-on-israel-to-nuke-germany-iran/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2015, 07:56:33 PM
Ron Paul on Empire http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/march/14/a-green-light-for-the-american-empire/ (http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/march/14/a-green-light-for-the-american-empire/)
not that I'm convinced it's an 'American' empire at all since it clearly does not serve americans in any way, though they serve it. It does serve an internationally aligned elite who can be found somewhere in this entity http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VQXA7OFma-d (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VQXA7OFma-d)
Though how many are true insiders who will not be eliminated/impoverished as time/usefullness  passes I couldn't guess.

Good post..  Well worth the read.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2015, 04:12:13 PM
There is a lot of truth in the following article about modern American militarism (it has been part of us for so long it bears paying attention to how it has evolved).

I mention how you change people and get them to do things by manipulating their subconscious human reactions to threats as a way of making progress on dealing with climate change and carrying capacity issues.  Here is a picture of how others are doing the same things for different purposes. 

It should provide a window on why it is going to be so hard to get the US to really change in good ways and why we resort so quickly to the use of the military.  And it also points to how you go about the manipulation if you choose that path.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/big-dick-school-american-patriotism-make.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/big-dick-school-american-patriotism-make.html)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2015, 06:31:11 PM
Cracks in the armor. 

I favor this kind of thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/business/france-germany-and-italy-join-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/business/france-germany-and-italy-join-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank.html?_r=0)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 20, 2015, 05:19:34 PM
Blowback or the Law of Unintended Consequences

Huge efforts and vast resources which are needed for far more important purposes go into these things.  The dark side of being for BAU.

http://firedoglake.com/2015/03/19/libya-burning-isis-lays-claim-to-another-country-right-at-europes-door/ (http://firedoglake.com/2015/03/19/libya-burning-isis-lays-claim-to-another-country-right-at-europes-door/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on March 20, 2015, 05:28:35 PM
Well written, but the important question was left unanswered.  What will Americas response to this weakening of its control be?  Will we accept that our power to control and maintain our empire is diminnishing?  Or will we double down and go for even more dominance?  Perhaps that's  a rhetorical question.

Global cooperation on climate change in this type of semi-toxic political and economic environments is how likely?

http://www.williampfaff.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=721 (http://www.williampfaff.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=721)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 01, 2015, 07:54:27 PM
My parents are rolling over in their graves.

http://firedoglake.com/2015/03/31/us-military-will-train-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/ (http://firedoglake.com/2015/03/31/us-military-will-train-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/)

It makes you wonder at the insanity. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: anotheramethyst on April 01, 2015, 09:50:58 PM
well Jim, looks like u answered ur own question.  classic cold war tactics:  any enemy of the russians is a friend of ours.  i think this recent revival of the cold war mentality is frightening all on its own.  me and other paranoid types speculate this comes from the pentagon foreseeing resource wars and strategizing to take control sooner rather than later.  i really hope i'm wrong. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on April 14, 2015, 04:31:44 AM
Guess who was born on April 20th????

Quote
U.S. to Train Nazi Troops in Ukraine, Starting on April 20th

It has just been announced that, starting on April 20th, U.S. troops will start training troops of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion.

The Azov Battalion was founded and its members were selected by Andrei Biletsky, a Ukrainian nazi (that’s an ideological term, meaning racist fascist — not a term referring specifically to the first political party with that particular ideology, the National Socialist Party of Germany). When Britain’s Guardian interviewed members, the reporter was shocked to find that they’re nazis (“neo-Nazis”).

Biletsky proudly explains his ideology as follows:

“Social Nationalism is based on a number of fundamental principles that clearly distinguish it from other right-wing movements. This triad is: socialism, racism, imperialism. … On the principle of socialism [in the sense that Hitler used it] follows our complete negation of democracy and liberalism. … Instead there is natural selection of the best representatives of the Nation — born-leaders as Ukraine’s leaders. … Racism: All our nationalism is nothing — just a castle in the sand — without reliance on the foundationstone of blood Races. …

The historic mission of our Nation, a watershed in this century, is thus to lead the White peoples of the world in the final crusade for their survival. It is to lead the war against Semites and the sub-humans they use.  … Social Nationalism raises to shield all old Ukrainian Aryan values, forgotten in modern society.”

Some guy named...

Adolf Hitler

Global cooperation is exactly what they have in mind if I read that right.  Right??

We are so f**ked.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-to-train-nazi-troops-in-ukraine-starting-on-april-20th/5440841 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-to-train-nazi-troops-in-ukraine-starting-on-april-20th/5440841)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on April 14, 2015, 06:03:10 PM
JimD,

I don't pretend to understand all that is going on in US foreign policy. It certainly does seem that the resource wars are beginning in earnest and that nations are jostling for position. I appreciate the information and opinions you share. The great unraveling continues!  :-\
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Laurent on April 22, 2015, 08:23:28 PM
Barack Obama: climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – video
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2015/apr/22/barack-obama-climate-change-video (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2015/apr/22/barack-obama-climate-change-video)

Well, well, green BAU wil not save US or the world, we have to be smarter than that...First recognise that green technology pollute, then display the amount of pollution for each type of products in CO2 eq before buying so the people can chose. Find a way to limit cities to their ecological foot print... and the most important, find a way to control human population without too much worry.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on May 25, 2015, 05:20:56 PM
Read this and think about all that it implies.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-west-saw-isis-as-strategic-asset-b99ad7a29092
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on May 26, 2015, 04:29:53 PM
Words form the prime neo-con strategist in the US.

Is this what he really thinks, or is it what he wants us to think he thinks? 

All the world lacks is a more effective empire?

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/25/its-time-to-bring-imperialism-back-to-the-middle-east-syria-iraq-islamic-state-iran/# (http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/25/its-time-to-bring-imperialism-back-to-the-middle-east-syria-iraq-islamic-state-iran/#)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on May 29, 2015, 02:46:57 PM
JimD
Let's Just hope that TPTB haven't found the perfect combination of runaway global warming and nuclear winter.
Terry

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on July 21, 2015, 06:12:51 PM
History rhyme's once again.

Quote
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”...

It just goes to show you being a 4 star general and a Presidential candidate does not mean you are educated and know your history.  Almost ALL of those interned by the US in WWII were loyal Japanese Americans not German sympathizers.  But, hey!  We built those camps for a reason (yes a few actually exist) why not use them?

Quote
...“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” Clark said. “I do think on a national policy level we need to look at what self-radicalization means because we are at war with this group of terrorists.” And he added that “not only the United States but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”...

And all you Euro folks need to get with the program too by the way.  lol love this world!  I think we, in general, deserve what is coming.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/20/chattanooga-wesley-clark-calls-internment-camps-disloyal-americans/
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on July 21, 2015, 08:34:24 PM
Wow, that's creepy.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on July 21, 2015, 10:58:34 PM
Wow, that's creepy.

No kidding. Got to love a good witch hunt. We'll need a new term for "red scare." Muslim scare?  :(
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on July 23, 2015, 05:59:38 PM
Mission creep?  Well not really as the missions never really ended but were rebranded.

Those keeping track will note that US airstrikes in ISIS held territory now number some 5000.  Given the known lethality of such airstrikes we can be pretty certain that the bottom number of people killed in these strikes is around 20,000.  And likely quite a bit higher.  Yet the problem gets no better.

Quote
In all three of the countries where the Obama administration declared US wars “over” in the past few years - Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya - the US military is expanding its presence or dropping bombs at an ever-increasing rate. And the government seems to be keeping the American public in the dark on the matter more than ever.

Pentagon leaders suggested this week that the US military wants to keep remaining 9,800 troops in Afghanistan from withdrawing in 2016, despite the fact that the Obama administration declared combat operations in the country “over” six months ago.....

Away from the headlines, Libya continues to deteriorate since the US and NATO allies bombed the region and deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. “Many parts of Libya, particularly in the east, have been converted into jihadist training camps, attracting fighters from Tunisia to Iraq,” the Daily Beast reported a few days ago.

As a result, the US military to desperately look to build another drone base near Libya that they can start launching regular drone strikes from - targeting both Libya and “elsewhere in North Africa.” ....

I note that the US is well into its long election season and there is always heavy emphasis on militarism (more than usual I mean) and no one running for President would even consider bringing up the idea of scaling back defense/security issues if they had any real interest in getting elected.  Expect more of the same.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/22/america-war-iraq-libya-afghanistan-endless (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/22/america-war-iraq-libya-afghanistan-endless)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on July 25, 2015, 10:43:22 PM
No idea where this really belongs but since they are the enforcement arm of the empire ...

Quote
Elephant In The Room: The Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Footprint

It’s not news that climate change threatens the security of every person on planet Earth. ....

What is news: the Pentagon’s enormous, unacknowledged contribution to climate change.

According to its own study, in 2013 the Pentagon consumed fuel equivalent to 90,000,000 barrels of crude oil. This amounts to 80% of the total fuel usage by the federal government. If burned as jet fuel it produces about 38,700,000 metric tons of CO2. And the Pentagon’s figures do not include carbon produced by the thousands of bombs dropped in 2013, or the fires that burned after the jets and drones departed...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/23/72279/ (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/23/72279/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 03, 2015, 10:04:41 PM
If anyone is up for watching something really scary I wanted to point out that the first political debate of this election season is this Thursday.

The top 10 of the 17 Republicans running to bring the US military to Your Front Door are going to mud wrestle.  Current top contender is The Donald.

If that does not scare you nothing will.

Fox Propaganda Network  News 9 pm ET Aug 6th.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: crandles on August 03, 2015, 10:48:11 PM
Current top contender is The Donald.

Polls put Trump top but bookies put Bush as most likely. Are the bookies more likely to be right in the end? Do they expect Trump to trip up somewhere or is Bush more likely to have a better campaign with more and better established ground troops supporting his campaign or something else?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 03, 2015, 11:05:55 PM
If anyone is up for watching something really scary I wanted to point out that the first political debate of this election season is this Thursday.

The top 10 of the 17 Republicans running to bring the US military to Your Front Door are going to mud wrestle.  Current top contender is The Donald.

If that does not scare you nothing will.

Fox Propaganda Network  News 9 pm ET Aug 6th.

Good reminder JimD.  Don't forget that Fox will be hosting the Junior Varsity Debate, with the 7 lower ranked candidates earlier that same day. We can look forward to multiple promises of the following idiocies:

Defunding Obamacare
Starting a War with Iran
Kicking the "Illegal" Mexicans out of the  country and building a wall to keep them out
Reducing the tax burden on businesses so that they can continue to grow
Provide easier access to gun ownership
Remove burdensome environmental regulations
Prohibiting use of Federal funds for Climate Research

We may be on the brink of societal collapse!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 03, 2015, 11:16:11 PM
If that does not scare you nothing will.

It's rather amusing? Maybe it shouldn't be  :D
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sedziobs on August 03, 2015, 11:45:50 PM
14 of the Republican candidates will be debating in just over an hour (7:00 Eastern on CSPAN).  No Trump, but should be scary nonetheless.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 04, 2015, 12:18:07 AM
If anyone is up for watching something really scary I wanted to point out that the first political debate of this election season is this Thursday.

The top 10 of the 17 Republicans running to bring the US military to Your Front Door are going to mud wrestle.  Current top contender is The Donald.

If that does not scare you nothing will.

Fox Propaganda Network  News 9 pm ET Aug 6th.

Good reminder JimD.  Don't forget that Fox will be hosting the Junior Varsity Debate, with the 7 lower ranked candidates earlier that same day. We can look forward to multiple promises of the following idiocies:

Defunding Obamacare
Starting a War with Iran
Kicking the "Illegal" Mexicans out of the  country and building a wall to keep them out
Reducing the tax burden on businesses so that they can continue to grow
Provide easier access to gun ownership
Remove burdensome environmental regulations
Prohibiting use of Federal funds for Climate Research

We may be on the brink of societal collapse!


A preemptive nuclear attack on Moscow 5 days after I'm elected.


Bye Bye
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on August 04, 2015, 05:45:09 PM
Current top contender is The Donald.

If that does not scare you nothing will.

American politics--the turd with the most entrained methane floats to the top.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 04, 2015, 10:22:55 PM
Current top contender is The Donald.

Polls put Trump top but bookies put Bush as most likely. Are the bookies more likely to be right in the end? Do they expect Trump to trip up somewhere or is Bush more likely to have a better campaign with more and better established ground troops supporting his campaign or something else?

I go with the bookies.  The Donald is a godsend for Bush.  Absent Trump the more extreme Republicans have a much better chance of tripping up Bush.   Bush has the money and staff to win.  But American politics is pretty crazy right now.  We have had dark horses come out of nowhere to win here before (Obama, Carter) so who knows what happens.  We could easily end up with neither Clinton or Bush - though my bet is one of them.  They have big money and big machines.  It might amuse you to know that the biggest benefactor of Wall Street money is not Bush it is Clinton - that says a LOT to me.

I do know one thing for certain.  If a Republican wins the White House it will set back efforts to mitigate climate change and a host of other important issues severely. 


OLN Yes you have it all there.

Walker has already said he will send in the Army in between being sworn in and the formal ball held that evening.  I think he means Iran, but, hey, why think small?

http://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-military-actions-on-inaugural-day-are-very-possible/ (http://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-military-actions-on-inaugural-day-are-very-possible/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 10, 2015, 09:11:08 PM
In many locations in this thread and elsewhere here I have tried to give a picture of how I see US global strategy being designed in relation to climate change and in response to approaching and early stage collapse dynamics.

The below link is about Pentagon plans as they relate to those very things.  As much as many here (and else where) have reacted negatively to much of what I have opined here is some pretty solid confirmation of many of my points.

Yup they get it.  They are fully on board with climate change, carrying capacity and over population.  No they are not interested in solving 'your' problems as they have their own obligations to take care of.....and you best not get in the way.

Thus, this is how an empire responds to our existential crises.

Quote
...The report to the Pentagon shows that the US Army sees “resource stewardship” not as a fluffy concern of hippy tree-huggers who want to save the planet, but as a fundamental national security imperative....

...The US Army is preparing for a new era of war for oil.

While energy has always played a role in military conflicts, US military experts believe the geopolitics of energy, land and water is increasingly central to who rules, or ruins, the world.
....

....The plan is not perfect. The US Army’s understanding of “resilience” – the capacity to anticipate, prepare for, withstand and adapt to “natural or man-made disruptions” and to “recover rapidly” from them – is based on the unquestionable assumption that US-dominated global capitalism must be protected.

This notion of resilience is not about transforming the system that generates disruptions, but about increasing the US military’s ability to withstand disruptions to capitalism, thus keeping the system rumbling along:....

...The imperative to protect business-as-usual is reflected in a separate report published by the US Army’s institute for geostrategic and national security research....   

...It also specifically warns that US energy interests – including the need to regulate the global oil supply and price system – may lead to more US military interventions across the Middle East and Africa, especially in the context of proliferating climate-induced emergencies:

“Evolving energy-based US national interests in Africa or the Middle East may shape the degree to which the US military becomes involved in political or humanitarian crises in those regions. Tightening energy supplies may alter fundamentally the way in which the United States wields military force in a contingency operation.”....

....Elsewhere, the report advocates a far more interventionist approach to Latin America, described as “potentially rich in unconventional oil and shale gas resources, as well as renewables. These resources can fuel domestic growth” as well as make-up for the declining significance of Middle East oil resources....

Read this carefully.  There is a lot in it that is of value in understanding 'official' thought processes. 

As much as many dislike what this says there is no point in ignoring reality.  One has to deal with it.  So...what are you going to do or what do you think the response to the above should be????

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/pentagon-prepares-century-climate-emergencies-and-oil-wars-2021134422 (http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/pentagon-prepares-century-climate-emergencies-and-oil-wars-2021134422)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 10, 2015, 09:47:56 PM
Current top contender is The Donald.

Polls put Trump top but bookies put Bush as most likely. Are the bookies more likely to be right in the end? Do they expect Trump to trip up somewhere or is Bush more likely to have a better campaign with more and better established ground troops supporting his campaign or something else?

I go with the bookies.  The Donald is a godsend for Bush.  Absent Trump the more extreme Republicans have a much better chance of tripping up Bush.   Bush has the money and staff to win.  But American politics is pretty crazy right now.  We have had dark horses come out of nowhere to win here before (Obama, Carter) so who knows what happens.  We could easily end up with neither Clinton or Bush - though my bet is one of them.  They have big money and big machines.  It might amuse you to know that the biggest benefactor of Wall Street money is not Bush it is Clinton - that says a LOT to me.

I do know one thing for certain.  If a Republican wins the White House it will set back efforts to mitigate climate change and a host of other important issues severely. 


OLN Yes you have it all there.

Walker has already said he will send in the Army in between being sworn in and the formal ball held that evening.  I think he means Iran, but, hey, why think small?

http://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-military-actions-on-inaugural-day-are-very-possible/ (http://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-military-actions-on-inaugural-day-are-very-possible/)

Well maybe I'll be eating crow.  The first poll is out following that mind boggleing 'debate' and Trump going full misogynist on the debates female moderator/reporter.

He leads the Republican with 23% and the 2nd place guy (Cruz !!! omg) has 13%.

It will be interesting to see what the next 4-5 polls say.  If they are approximately consistent Trump better get some good body guards as the party establishment will be getting their knifes out.

Do you think he works for Hillary?  lol

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/new-nbc-news-survey-monkey-poll-donald-trump-still-lead-n406766 (http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/new-nbc-news-survey-monkey-poll-donald-trump-still-lead-n406766)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ivica on August 10, 2015, 10:13:25 PM
How about adding one more candidate to election list, "None Offered".  8)
If such wins, all are disqualified and new turn follows... or is it blasphemy/heresy for 'democracy' as we know :P
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 10, 2015, 10:36:58 PM
How about adding one more candidate to election list, "None Offered".  8)
If such wins, all are disqualified and new turn follows... or is it blasphemy/heresy for 'democracy' as we know :P

Personally I long ago came to the conclusion that democracy in the US was a farce.  As Emma Goldman once said, "If voting made a difference it would be illegal."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ivica on August 10, 2015, 10:46:28 PM
How about adding one more candidate to election list, "None Offered".  8)
If such wins, all are disqualified and new turn follows... or is it blasphemy/heresy for 'democracy' as we know :P

Personally I long ago came to the conclusion that democracy in the US was a farce.  As Emma Goldman once said, "If voting made a difference it would be illegal."

Eh, that reminds me on:

(https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/we-own-you.png)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 10, 2015, 10:57:07 PM
JimD
Looking forward to reading your link, but before I do I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts.


I don't think that the US was expecting the conformation of abiotic oil. Because of this I think their program - for at least this century - has been to grab control of every energy resource possible. Basing a policy on peak oil/peak gas might have made sense before abiotic oil was confirmed, but now it appears as a gamble that didn't have to be taken.


TPTB must be aware of global warming/ climate change. Any time a high official denies this I'm convinced that he or she is lying, as opposed to having been uninformed. If you are aware that the climate is crashing, and also believe that the world is running out of fuel, it may seem reasonable to try to control what little is left of a very finite supply, and if you aggravate long time friends and allies in the process, this is a price you have to pay in order to have some control when the crash comes.


Abiotic gas & oil changes the equation in a fundamental way. Not only is fuel renewable, it's available in such quantities that the recent exorbitant prices probably are unsustainable. No country has to pull off the velvet glove when dealing with energy matters, and in fact cooperation in dealing with sea level rise, droughts and food shortages might be preferable.


Hopefully the US of A will catch up to the most recent changes before she has either started a war that no one can win, or before she has alienated so many others that she becomes a pariah.


Now off to read your link.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 10, 2015, 11:07:44 PM
Well maybe I'll be eating crow.  The first poll is out following that mind boggleing 'debate' and Trump going full misogynist on the debates female moderator/reporter.

He leads the Republican with 23% and the 2nd place guy (Cruz !!! omg) has 13%.
[my BOLD]

It will be interesting to see what the next 4-5 polls say.  If they are approximately consistent Trump better get some good body guards as the party establishment will be getting their knifes out.

Do you think he works for Hillary?  lol

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/new-nbc-news-survey-monkey-poll-donald-trump-still-lead-n406766 (http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/new-nbc-news-survey-monkey-poll-donald-trump-still-lead-n406766)

OMG!!  Sadly, I can see that there are enough poorly educated, misogynistic, racists who actually believe Trump can be a leader on the national stage, but I did not think that there were that many. 
What is more unnerving is that Ted Cruz jumped into 2nd place.

I watched both debates and I would like to know if any one of the responders to this poll actually watched the debates.  In the Prime Time Event, John Kasich was the only one who acted like an adult.  In the Junior Varsity Event, I thought that Rick Perry actually did a good job of appearing presidential, and I detest him for what he did for 14 years as the governor of Texas.

The GOP might as well invite Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman back into"Circus Ignoramus- 2015 "!!!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 11, 2015, 12:07:57 AM
FOX NEWS Plot to Sabotage Donald Trump Fails!!

    "Donald Trump and Roger Ailes Make Up — for Now"
    By: Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine - Daily Intelligencer

Full Article here:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/donald-trump-and-roger-ailes-make-up-for-now.html (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/donald-trump-and-roger-ailes-make-up-for-now.html)

It's quite obvious to me that FOX News planned to attack Donald Trump in Thursday Night's debate.  Roger Ailes is a very old friend and compatriot of President George H. W. Bush.  Considering this alliance and the Establishment Republican angst over Trump's candidacy, I'd be willing to bet that the GOP hierarchy and the Jeb Bush Campaign were involved somehow in trying to destroy Trump's candidacy.

Apparently, the loyal rabid FOX-spewing viewers did not appreciate that Meghan Kelly was so mean to Trump.  The vast majority of the e-mails and twitters received by FOX lambasted the network and Ms Kelly.  Roger Ailes is in panic mode, fearing that their loyal viewers will abandon the network.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 11, 2015, 12:31:54 AM
FOX NEWS Plot to Sabotage Donald Trump Fails!!

    "Donald Trump and Roger Ailes Make Up — for Now"
    By: Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine - Daily Intelligencer

Full Article here:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/donald-trump-and-roger-ailes-make-up-for-now.html (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/donald-trump-and-roger-ailes-make-up-for-now.html)

It's quite obvious to me that FOX News planned to attack Donald Trump in Thursday Night's debate.  Roger Ailes is a very old friend and compatriot of President George H. W. Bush.  Considering this alliance and the Establishment Republican angst over Trump's candidacy, I'd be willing to bet that the GOP hierarchy and the Jeb Bush Campaign were involved somehow in trying to destroy Trump's candidacy.

Apparently, the loyal rabid FOX-spewing viewers did not appreciate that Meghan Kelly was so mean to Trump.  The vast majority of the e-mails and twitters received by FOX lambasted the network and Ms Kelly.  Roger Ailes is in panic mode, fearing that their loyal viewers will abandon the network.

Yup be careful what you wish for or make.  You might get it.  One of the problems with brainwashed people is that they do not know they are brainwashed and they will act upon their programming.  Maybe Ailes forgot that.  The viewers like the bimbos on FOX because they are bimbos not in spite of their being bimbos.  Ms Kelly is there to look hot.  She is the reporter equivalent of the hot girls reporting on the NFL.  None of the viewers pay attention to what they say  they pay attention to their cleavage.   
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rubikscube on August 11, 2015, 12:44:38 AM
A somewhat different article about Trump.

https://pando.com/2015/07/23/short-fingered-vulgarian-cometh/7bd2fc2e5415411c8d43896406a4ba8acb728601/

NB: link expires after 48 hours (if it works in the first place).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 11, 2015, 12:45:30 AM
JimD
Looking forward to reading your link, but before I do I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts.


I don't think that the US was expecting the conformation of abiotic oil. Because of this I think their program - for at least this century - has been to grab control of every energy resource possible. Basing a policy on peak oil/peak gas might have made sense before abiotic oil was confirmed, but now it appears as a gamble that didn't have to be taken.


TPTB must be aware of global warming/ climate change. Any time a high official denies this I'm convinced that he or she is lying, as opposed to having been uninformed. If you are aware that the climate is crashing, and also believe that the world is running out of fuel, it may seem reasonable to try to control what little is left of a very finite supply, and if you aggravate long time friends and allies in the process, this is a price you have to pay in order to have some control when the crash comes.


Abiotic gas & oil changes the equation in a fundamental way. Not only is fuel renewable, it's available in such quantities that the recent exorbitant prices probably are unsustainable. No country has to pull off the velvet glove when dealing with energy matters, and in fact cooperation in dealing with sea level rise, droughts and food shortages might be preferable.


Hopefully the US of A will catch up to the most recent changes before she has either started a war that no one can win, or before she has alienated so many others that she becomes a pariah.


Now off to read your link.
Terry

RE: Abiotic oil.  You might want to read the following links as the hypothesis that our vast oil reserves are not of fossil origin has been thoroughly debunked many times.  But the origin of our fossil fuel deposits is not the point in any case.  We know where the remaining large deposits which are easy to get to are and there is a desire to control them by some.  That we need to stop burning them is also independent of their origin.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abiotic_oil (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abiotic_oil)

http://peakoil.com/geology/abiogenic-oil-is-it-the-end-of-peak-oil-fears (http://peakoil.com/geology/abiogenic-oil-is-it-the-end-of-peak-oil-fears)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin)

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/727 (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/727)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 15, 2015, 05:37:19 PM
JimD
I believe the question of abiotic fuel was definitively solved earlier this year off Salvard.


http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2015/03/bp30gashydrate.cfm (http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2015/03/bp30gashydrate.cfm)


http://www.sciencenewsline.com/articles/2015041418100008.html (http://www.sciencenewsline.com/articles/2015041418100008.html)


http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/early/2015/03/27/G36440.1.full.pdf+html?ijkey=tNRcKxKHNcG5s&keytype=ref&siteid=gsgeology (http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/early/2015/03/27/G36440.1.full.pdf+html?ijkey=tNRcKxKHNcG5s&keytype=ref&siteid=gsgeology)


ABSTRACT Biotic gas generation from the degradation of organic carbon in marine sediments supplies and maintains gas hydrates throughout the world’s oceans. In nascent, ultraslow-spreading ocean basins, methane generation can also be abiotic, occurring during the high-temperature (>200 °C) serpentinization of ultramafic rocks. Here, we report on the evolution of a growing Arctic gas- and gas hydrate–charged sediment drift on oceanic crust in eastern Fram Strait, a tectonically controlled, deep-water gateway between the subpolar North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Ultraslow-spreading ridges between northwest Svalbard and northeast Greenland permit the sustained interaction of a mid-ocean ridge transform fault and developing sediment drift, on both young (<10 Ma) and old (>10 Ma) oceanic crust, since the late Miocene. Geophysical data image the gas-charged drift and crustal structure and constrain the timing of a major 30 km lateral displacement of the drift across the Molloy transform fault. We describe the buildup of a 2 m.y., long-lived gas hydrate– and free gas–charged drift system on young oceanic crust that may be fed and maintained by a dominantly abiotic methane source. Ultraslow-spreading, sedimented ridge flanks represent a previously unrecognized carbon reservoir for abiotic methane that could supply and maintain deep-water methane hydrate systems throughout the Arctic.


To my mind it's like cannibalism. You are either a cannibal or not a cannibal, can't have it both ways.


http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2010/02/thinking-about-the-unthinkable/ (http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2010/02/thinking-about-the-unthinkable/)

But the discovery has more benefits. The degree of accuracy in finding oil is enhanced dramatically -- from 20 to 70 percent. Since drilling for oil and natural gas is a very expensive process, the cost picture will be radically altered for petroleum companies, and in the end probably for consumers as well.

If new well sites can now be located with 70% accuracy, the cost of exploration drops drastically, and at some point these savings will get passed on.
IIRC the latest Russian find in the Kara Sea is comparable to the Gulf of Mexico deposits.

When oil traded for ~$100/bl, and it appeared to be a finite resource the squabbles over who controlled it made perfect sense. At today's ~$40/bl, and the knowledge that wherever plate tectonics or asteroid blasts have thinned the crust (and left an impermeable cap in place), you will probably find gas or oil, the squabbles make far less sense.

As you point out, there are still very good reasons too leave much of it in the ground. Just not many reasons to care whose ground you leave it under.

The old saw is that we are always fighting yesterday's war, meaning that our offences and defences are maximised for whatever equipment they were fighting against previously. Should the present situation erupt we may find ourselves fighting over yesterday's commodity, a sad situation indeed.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 15, 2015, 10:54:47 PM
Terry

I guess we were talking past each other a bit.

You said abiotic "oil" in your first post.  I am still unaware of any substantial amount of oil having known to have been produced by abiotic means.  One can analyse oil deposits to determine their source materials.

Your following post details a what it says "may" be a geologic source for methane.  Not oil so we are talking about different things somewhat.  But this is also one of the few places this has been discovered and the amounts of gas are not significant in terms of the total global amounts.

But the real controversy regarding abiotic oil was related to claims that this supposed generation was fast enough to guarantee endless supplies would be available.  Any mechanism whether based upon organic sources or geologic processes is going to be very slow and thus any deposits can only be considered one time and not renewable in a human time frame.

But, of course, the main point not to lose track of is that we dare not burn what we already have in hand so it matters not whether oil/gas is renewable in the human sense or not.

In any case the methane issue is irrelevant to US strategic/military policy as they are far more concerned about crude oil supplies.  There are endless amounts of gas out there and of course the continental shelves are covered in methane clathrates.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 16, 2015, 11:05:07 PM
JimD
I'd prepared a very long response to your last, then on reading it noticed that the whole thing was devoted to my argument in favor of abiotic fuels as opposed to the topic under discussion.
I'd followed events in the Ukraine to the exclusion of a year of Arctic Sea Ice, a subject that has taken all of my spare time since 2011.
At first I had no idea who was telling the truth as both stories required that the other be lying. I'd had a similar experience when juggling WUWT and Neven's site in my earliest days of interest in global warming.
My prior experiences helped with the Ukraine research. One side, similar to Watts, was willing to include any information that made the other look bad, even if that information belied other information that was also accepted. The other was slightly more willing to include data that was either ambiguous, or was detrimental to their story.
I was horrified when I came to the conclusion that the Russians, to a great extent, were telling the truth, while the Kiev faction were lying through their teeth.


My peers are convinced that Putin is the devil incarnate, and that any means of causing his removal would be a great boon for the world. I fear a great boom might be our final gift.


I don't know if Russia (and China), can stand against "The Empire". I'm not convinced that I'll be better off if they do. It would be nice to see the good guys win , just once.
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 17, 2015, 07:46:46 PM
Terry,

Quote
....I don't know if Russia (and China), can stand against "The Empire". I'm not convinced that I'll be better off if they do. It would be nice to see the good guys win , just once.
Terry

I have yet to meet those guys.  Have you had the pleasure?

In the world I spent my professional life in there are no good guys.  There is power and the quest for it in order to secure one's (country's) security and to gain wealth (another leg of security).  In a zero sum world - and that is what kind of world we live in - that means there are going to be a few winners and a lot of losers.  We are NOT going to defeat Russia or China nor they us.  While we all (along with the minor power players and our/their allies) struggle to hold onto as much of the resources and power as possible, as this global civilizational ship slowly sinks, most of the weak will be eventually crushed.  And, of course, eventually most of the minor allies and power brokers in the world will follow the weak down that same path.  That is the way collapse works.  You just cannot save most of them.  We (our side) will also end up with a lot less, but someone(s) will remain standing at the bottom and odds are that it will be the strongest and most ruthless among us.  That is the story of history and life.  There is no reason to expect otherwise.

Those who hold onto the idea that we are eventually going to cooperate to solve our big problems, have social justice, educate all the worlds women, overcome cultural/racial/religious hatreds and biases, etc, etc, etc, just in time to avoid collapse are just fools.  Dangerous fools.  They think that by pushing every green BAU thing they can think of it will soften the collapse.  But the opposite is true as what they will do is run the train off the cliff at a much higher rate of speed (trying to maintain what we have now will just use up more of the finite resources) and make the crash much worse.  More suffering and death not less will be the result of their succumbing to their base human nature of avoiding hard facts and depending on miracles.   We have held this play lots of times in human history and we all know how it ends.  Their way is the method we have always followed and it just does not work.

I seldom meet anyone who I think highly of and the general human I find pretty hard to like or respect.  They are just too pigheaded and stupid.  So I will not mourn their passing as I figure they are getting what they deserve.  But I highly value the human race (I guess I am a bit biased) and I get furious with those dummies mentioned above when they are only capable of thinking selfishly and ignore the future.  But I have no doubt there will be a future and I have no doubt that the folks who live in it will be hard men and their supporters.  I would just like us for once to act a bit more intelligently and make the trip down a bit less lethal and brutal than it normally is.  If we figure out a way to do that maybe we evolve a little bit and get better humans next up cycle.  I guess that is my version of foolish hopes.

As an aside to the above you Canadians are one of the luckiest countries on Earth considering what is coming.  Your geographic location is one of the best on earth considering the eventual effects of climate change and no one threatens you strategically since you live under our wing.  As the US goes it will be thus for you.  If we make it you make it.  If we partially make it (the more likely outcome I think) then you will still end up in a relatively good place.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 18, 2015, 04:39:53 PM
JimD


I have had the pleasure of meeting good guys - lots of them.
Perhaps your standards are higher than mine.


Any possibility of global co-operation re. global warming went out the window after the opposition got organized following the Montreal Protocols. What must follow will be the short, brutal, destruction of civilization. I strongly doubt that any entity we know of will be left standing.


If a "hot war" develops, and nukes fly, it's probably the end of our species. If not, our civilization ends, but individuals survive. Those beating the drums at an ever more feverish pace need to be silenced.


While I share your fondness for humanity, I'm not sure that I care too much how or when we bottom out, although later is always better 8>) We won't leave much for the future regardless & what we have used may be of some value as salvage. It will be easier to pull down some electrical wiring than to mine and smelt more copper. Besides, with the population implosion that I'm afraid is inevitable, our scrap will provide material for some generations going forward.


I don't see past collapses as comparable to what's coming, with the possible exception of Rapa Nui. The others AFAIK all had some neighboring culture to fall back on, at least on the fringes. We will have none of that. Our largest, wealthiest cultures are the most fragile. When they go their populations will sweep the others out of existence.


I live in a very fecund valley once settled by Mennonite farmers who even today rely little on modern accouterments. Unfortunately we're within a few days walk of Toronto. The local farmers have no history of defending their farms and granaries and would object strongly to anyone using force even in defence of their own foodstuffs.


Other farming methods increasingly rely on fuel, transportation, fertilization and now on non-replicating seeds. This can't survive even a severe downturn, let alone a collapse. Bruce and others have put a lot of sweat & thought into zero emissions farming, and this is huge. But without an army to secure the crops they will be lost. An army will of course eat the crops so it's hard to pick a winner here.


Others have envisaged sailing off and avoiding everyone in an attempt to remain alive. This may work on an individual family level, but it does nothing to prolong civilization. A hidden valley, Shangri La, hidden from strangers by impassable mountains, hidden from reality by melting glaciers and truculent weather.


I see no way out my friend. I see no reason to worry about how the exit is made, (but keep the bastards away from the button). Remember Einstein's admonition that WW IV will be fought with clubs and stones.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2015, 07:06:56 PM
Terry

Yes, individual good people I agree with.  I was more talking about the plural good guys as in large groups or countries.  In my experience once you get beyond a specific family it all goes out the window - but I have no direct experience with Amish or Mennonites either.

I do expect some nukes to fly eventually, but do not think it will reach the level of global winter and all that.  More likely between Pakistan and India than anywhere else and that would come when the region was deep into collapse with famine widespread and mass migrations underway.  The only way India keeps the Bangladeshi's out when the time comes is via genocide.  And that can easily lead to war.

I understand quite well the strong desire to hold collapse off as long as possible.  To me this is the worst catastrophe possible as it burns through so much more of the resources, kills off so much more of the sea life and animals, eliminates so much more of the forests, dramatically worsens top soil loss, completely depletes the fossil aquifers, dramatically worsens the eventual peak of climate changes effects, adds a huge additional amounts of industrial chemicals/poisons to the environment, likely triggers several  more tipping points on amplifying climate feedbacks, etc.  Thus the Earth ends up with a much lower carrying capacity and far fewer finite resources to rebuild from.  Thus the bottom of the collapse is far deeper than if we manage collapse (my desire - hopeless I know) or if we just collapse quickly. 

One way or another we are going to burn off a very large percentage of the population (if we don't manage decline - which 'would' allow us not to go through mass death processes) so if dragging collapse out as long as possible results in far more death and suffering - I am against that.  Just seems wrong to me to make that decision for those who would have no say in the matter.

I am 100% for early collapse as soon as possible.  I don't care how it happens either and will just take my chances.  I try very hard to leave out the emotions when looking at the data and trends.  Just where does it say we are going.  It says we are going down hard no matter what.

 I keep in mind an event which happened to me when I was a child.  Our entire family was in a station wagon coming down a very steep mountain road in Wyoming.  All the kids in the back and mom and dad in the front seat.  We lost the master brake cylinder.  It was like our collapse situation.  A wreck is coming and there is no avoiding it.  So do we wait as long as possible and end up leaving the road at the next switchback at a very high speed or do we wreck now to minimize damage?  This whole train of thought here did not go through my mind then - I figured it out later.  But it went though my father and mothers mind instantly and I know this because I was sitting right behind them listening to them calmly discuss the choices (discussed quickly I might add).  They quickly picked the biggest rock on the uphill side of the road, told us all to brace ourselves, and my father drove the car straight into the rock.  Everyone lived and it is pretty certain that the opposite choice would have had a different result.  I learned a lot from that day.  The biggest and most important thing was to not let fear rule your mind.  That is what I believe almost everyone is doing - letting fear cloud their thinking.

Einstein may be mostly right about WWIV though I am pretty sure there will be lots more than clubs and stones.  What I am more concerned about is WW V.  I would like to be quite a bit further back up the civilizational tree by then and well beyond basic technology.  War is never going away - or call it conflict if you like - but it does not stop and sometimes helps civilization grow.  I think (and I know some I correspond with elsewhere would really disagree with this) that we are slowly stepping up the civilizational ladder and, in general, we get to a higher level each time.  I expect the same to happen again.  We are not talking about the end of history or human progress.  All that is cyclical and we will be back again down the road of time a ways.  It is time to compost this effort and get ready for spring.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2015, 07:10:21 PM
Sort of apropos.

Quote
....Lawrence Keeley, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois in Chicago, said that alongside Talheim and Asparn, this latest massacre discovery fits a pattern of common and murderous warfare. “The only reasonable interpretation of these cases, as here, is that a whole typically-sized Linear Pottery culture hamlet or small village was wiped out by killing the majority of its inhabitants and kidnapping the young women. This represents yet another nail in the coffin of those who have claimed that war was rare or ritualised or less awful in prehistory or, in this instance, the early Neolithic.”.


http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/17/mass-grave-prehistoric-warfare-ancient-european-farming-community-neolithic (http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/17/mass-grave-prehistoric-warfare-ancient-european-farming-community-neolithic)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 18, 2015, 07:36:38 PM
Thanks Terry, I concur with everything you said above. It is a shame that the example set by the Mennonites or Amish isn't envied by a larger mass of moderns. I wish I had something more of a community goal rather than a rather iconoclast bent. I can say I have struggled with alternatives to modern farming but I don't think I can honestly say I have succeeded. This drought is a real challenge and a  reality check. The only success worth measure is the knowledge or skills that can be passed on to future generations and that demands a community or at least an apprentice to share ones knowledge with.
 If and when the hoards arrive there will be plenty of food here for the taking and I will let them at it I suppose. I will take some seeds, maybe small stock animals, simple tools and do my best to revert to the stone age. A hiding place and a good spring will be about all a non-violent soul could hope for under those conditions.
 I have met many good people , even in government, but most of them will need to be avoided should the ramparts fail. Just too many damn people for the renewable foodstuffs available sans ff.       
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Milret2 on August 18, 2015, 11:01:39 PM
I do not know if I should be happy or alarmed that highly educated people who are climate change literate here at the Arctic Sea Ice Forum feel that some part of humanity will be preserved in the bottle neck that we are rushing towards. My own feelings are that, between sea level rise, crop collapse, the natural response of nations/individuals to take what ever they can, loss of fresh water resources, melt downs at many nuclear power plants with the subsequent contamination, and just general heat stress as the carbon dioxide air mantle stays put for many decades will do away with pretty much all carbon based life and humans will be somewhere near the top of that extinct list.

The Earth is getting a major reboot, I suspect, and maybe something else will replace us and do greater things in the 3-4 billion years before our sun dies out. I wish any post collapse society the best but have little hope. Just glad I have no kids and am 64 years old.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 18, 2015, 11:10:31 PM
Others have envisaged sailing off and avoiding everyone in an attempt to remain alive. This may work on an individual family level, but it does nothing to prolong civilization. A hidden valley, Shangri La, hidden from strangers by impassable mountains, hidden from reality by melting glaciers and truculent weather.

The current civilisation is worthless, if collectively it is willing to damn its own children indefinitely.

Dunno that sailing off necessarily entails literally avoiding everyone, although no doubt one would aim to avoid large organised hostile groups clinging to the ideologies of the old world.

I think you're overestimating too the "seed" require from which to restart - how large was a typical tribe of hunter gatherers if you wind far enough back into human history? How unfeasible would it be to collect such together again post collapse?

Provided one is willing to accept total loss of existing civilisation for planning purposes - what makes such an objective impossible (setting aside the requirement for large amounts of luck)?

[EDIT] With the note I'm citing the small hunter gathered tribes as an example of low numbers communities, I personally regard agriculture in the primitive sense of the word as a key technology to fight to retain, ie the notion of domesticated plants and animals as improving the overall human condition if managed wisely.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 19, 2015, 01:26:59 AM
Milret 2

While I guess it is technically/physically possible for us to screw things up that bad, from what I understand of what it would take to get there I just do not see it happening.

The prime reason for that conclusion is that I just don't think we can hold off deep collapse long enough to run everything into the ground far enough to make that happen.  Though the BAU folks I fight with all the time are going to try their best to see that it does.

From spending the better part of a decade digging into the details of every factor that I had time for that relates to over population, carrying capacity and climate change, my experiences running an organic farming operation and my career in the US govt I just cannot come up with making it past about 2050 before we experience collapse on a pretty much global basis.  I don't see that giving us enough time to completely collapse the global ecosystem sufficiently to wipe life out.  It is certain that we will diminish it hugely and us along with the rest of the animals.  But not completely.

I agree with Geer that collapse takes a long time from now (I say now because I think it is already underway) till we hit bottom.  I do not agree with his sort of stair step gradual decline which takes 2-300 years till bottom.  I think we will go a bit quicker than that, but he is one of the smartest guys in the room and I would not take a big bet on my opinion over his.  I think we have gradual collapse underway and we will see deeper local collapses (Greece, Ukraine, parts of the Middle East, etc) occurring from now till we hit the first big step down.  Some accidental and some triggered on purpose.  I think the first big step down comes mid-century as I said, but I think it will be a big one and pretty much wipe out this version of civilization in terms of widespread global trade, global level organizations, global internet, very complex industrial processes will only be a capability of a few of the strongest entities, the ability to feed anywhere near the 9+ billion projected by then will no longer exist (I actually have trouble thinking the feeding that many can last that long but it seems to fit the data), and other details which are of a similar scale and complexity.

I have actually stated here before that I do not think we ever make it to the 9+ billion the UN projects as we will have so many things unwinding in the next 25 years that global deaths will catch up to births before we get there. 

But none of this means to me the end of humanity or even of a significant level of civilization.  Many forms technology and pretty much all of the knowledge of how to get to and build our current technologies I am certain will survive the whole cycle.  There is both good and bad in that of course.  Even though we are significantly lowering global carrying capacity it would be so difficult to drop it below 500 million to 1 billion (given our current knowledge of biology and the ability to grow food in ways our paleo ancestors could not do) that even if we mange to screw it up that bad it gives us the opportunity for another do over.

Time, of course, in a term of existence sense, is running out though.  We clearly will not make it work this time, but the next time might be close to the last opportunity.  But that is a problem for the future - if we make sure there is a future. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 19, 2015, 01:28:55 AM

The current civilisation is worthless, if collectively it is willing to damn its own children indefinitely.

....

Damn straight!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Milret2 on August 19, 2015, 02:59:55 AM
I thank you and do appreciate your reply JimD. I read the Druids blog often and enjoy it. Being a pessimist is hard but someone has to do it and I wear that mantle in my group of comrades 8).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on August 19, 2015, 01:52:17 PM
Thanks for the excellent (as usual) discussion. I agree collapse will not be so deep as to wipe humanity out, with one caveat and that's the nuclear wildcard.
I can definietely foresee some nukes flying at some point of big desperation. But equally dangerous are all those nuclear power plants that must have a high level of maintenance to keep on functioning, and the nuclear waste that needs constant management. I can't really see how a collapsing civilization avoids multiple nuclear catastrophies, as I'm quite sure no one will do a managed shutdown of all nuclear plants and dismantling of all nuclear arms before the coming breakdown.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 19, 2015, 07:05:11 PM
I can definietely foresee some nukes flying at some point of big desperation. But equally dangerous are all those nuclear power plants that must have a high level of maintenance to keep on functioning, and the nuclear waste that needs constant management. I can't really see how a collapsing civilization avoids multiple nuclear catastrophies, as I'm quite sure no one will do a managed shutdown of all nuclear plants and dismantling of all nuclear arms before the coming breakdown.

Even a bad nuclear war should settle climatically after a decade or so (and the effects questionably worse than substantial climate change anyway)? Many of the radioactive products have a pretty short half life, and indeed people still live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki...

Many designs of nuclear reactor can achieve "cool shutdown" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_%28nuclear_reactor%29 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_%28nuclear_reactor%29)), which means they'll just sit there for decades or centuries until containment finally fails to materials degradation, and they presumably spill whatever radioactive fuel hasn't consumed itself (even in shutdown the fuel continues to consume itself) into the surrounding environment.

That's not pretty, but it's essentially a local problem (even if local means "the size of a country"), and arguably likely far less serious than we think on a global scale (in the context of everything else that is and will be happening).

I often wonder if people like to retreat into the notion of assured nuclear armageddon for precisely the same reasons they tend to retreat into the notion of survival (and advancement of civilisation from some base level) as being inconceivable - which is to say it's an excuse for inaction.

By convincing ourselves the future is impossible, we defeat ourselves without lifting a finger. Convenient?

I'm open to arguments demonstrating empirically that the whole earth surface will be rendered uninhabitable by nuclear war or reactor failures, provided they're reasonable in nature and have some measure of science behind them. Otherwise, my counsel is simple - we educate ourselves as to the natures of all the threats we can conceive, and determine appropriate responses to the extent feasible.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 19, 2015, 08:10:13 PM
Terry

A conspiracist would perhaps come to the conclusion that Harper is a Manchurian Prime Minister being managed by the US.  His job is to set Canada up for future statehood perhaps??

(just tweaking you)

Quote
...Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.

But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.

His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions. In the usual give-and-take between press and politicians, the hurly-burly of any healthy democracy, he has simply removed the give.

Mr. Harper’s war against science has been even more damaging to the capacity of Canadians to know what their government is doing. The prime minister’s base of support is Alberta, a western province financially dependent on the oil industry, and he has been dedicated to protecting petrochemical companies from having their feelings hurt by any inconvenient research.

In 2012, he tried to defund government research centers in the High Arctic, and placed Canadian environmental scientists under gag orders. That year, National Research Council members were barred from discussing their work on snowfall with the media. Scientists for the governmental agency Environment Canada, under threat of losing their jobs, have been banned from discussing their research without political approval. Mentions of federal climate change research in the Canadian press have dropped 80 percent. The union that represents federal scientists and other professionals has, for the first time in its history, abandoned neutrality to campaign against Mr. Harper....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/the-closing-of-the-canadian-mind.html?mabReward=A3&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/the-closing-of-the-canadian-mind.html?mabReward=A3&_r=0)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on August 19, 2015, 09:35:51 PM
"it's essentially a local problem (even if local means "the size of a country")"

Yeah, 'country's like China, the US, Russia, and the EU, for example??

Japan lucked out (so to speak) because the fuku plume mostly went east over the ocean. If it had been blown in the opposite direction, Tokyo, much of the rest of central Japan, and probably much of Korea and northern China would have had to be evacuated or just live with very high levels of radioactive fallout raining down on them.

And that was just one reactor.

There are (or soon will be) over 500 reactors around the world.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/Nuclear-Basics/Global-number-of-nuclear-reactors/ (http://www.world-nuclear.org/Nuclear-Basics/Global-number-of-nuclear-reactors/)

That looks like a pretty big potential net affected area (though of course some areas are particularly thick with the f'rs while others remain blessedly free of them).

Yeah, nuclear facilities are not the only threats. But they sure have to potential to be big multipliers of the other effects of collapse.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 19, 2015, 09:53:40 PM
There are (or soon will be) over 500 reactors around the world.

But there isn't and won't be 500 tsunamis? That's a pretty abrupt and improbable event. It's not like they're all going to spontaneously go bang one day.

Besides, pretty much however many countries you care to write off, just a reminder - the worse case end projections indicate a planet that is no longer inhabitable for people over 90% of the currently inhabited surface from climate change (heat stress) alone... those reactors mostly fall within the same area, I'd wager. It's already likely dead land as far as our descendents are concerned.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 19, 2015, 10:03:26 PM
JimD


At some time Canada & the States will of course merge, We're desperately in need of one more province ;>)


Thanks for the article - who would have expected it from the NY Times.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on August 19, 2015, 11:47:45 PM
I can definietely foresee some nukes flying at some point of big desperation. But equally dangerous are all those nuclear power plants that must have a high level of maintenance to keep on functioning, and the nuclear waste that needs constant management. I can't really see how a collapsing civilization avoids multiple nuclear catastrophies, as I'm quite sure no one will do a managed shutdown of all nuclear plants and dismantling of all nuclear arms before the coming breakdown.

Even a bad nuclear war should settle climatically after a decade or so (and the effects questionably worse than substantial climate change anyway)? Many of the radioactive products have a pretty short half life, and indeed people still live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki...

Many designs of nuclear reactor can achieve "cool shutdown" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_%28nuclear_reactor%29 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_%28nuclear_reactor%29)), which means they'll just sit there for decades or centuries until containment finally fails to materials degradation, and they presumably spill whatever radioactive fuel hasn't consumed itself (even in shutdown the fuel continues to consume itself) into the surrounding environment.

That's not pretty, but it's essentially a local problem (even if local means "the size of a country"), and arguably likely far less serious than we think on a global scale (in the context of everything else that is and will be happening).

I often wonder if people like to retreat into the notion of assured nuclear armageddon for precisely the same reasons they tend to retreat into the notion of survival (and advancement of civilisation from some base level) as being inconceivable - which is to say it's an excuse for inaction.

By convincing ourselves the future is impossible, we defeat ourselves without lifting a finger. Convenient?

I'm open to arguments demonstrating empirically that the whole earth surface will be rendered uninhabitable by nuclear war or reactor failures, provided they're reasonable in nature and have some measure of science behind them. Otherwise, my counsel is simple - we educate ourselves as to the natures of all the threats we can conceive, and determine appropriate responses to the extent feasible.

Thanks for the detailed response. I don't know anything quantifiable about nuclear, so can't come up with any counter-arguments.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2015, 07:25:58 PM
I don't get surprised very often, but I am by this.

Recently one of the most prominent right wing para-military organizations in the US got a bunch of publicity for showing up in Ferguson to 'protect' some conservative media reporters from the black demonstrators (some had been beaten a few days before).  Naturally they show up fully SWAT/Special Ops outfitted with assault rifles, handguns, body armor, nigh vision equipment, etc. 

Turns out the police are not happy with them and there is a big confrontation between them and the police.  After 2 days 'protecting' the reporters and many conversations with the black demonstrators they decide that the rights of the blacks are being infringed upon by the police.  Who could have known?

So their natural solution is to have a big 'rights' demonstration in Ferguson where they AND the blacks demonstrate together.  But the blacks there don't have the necessary assault rifles (being black and carrying an assault rifle is basically committing suicide in the US) so they are bringing 50 of their spare assault rifles for the black demonstrators to carry.  And they are going to be with the blacks to 'protect' them.

You just cannot make this stuff up.

http://www.reddirtreport.com/red-dirt-news/oath-keepers-plan-unique-demonstration-assault-rifles-ferguson (http://www.reddirtreport.com/red-dirt-news/oath-keepers-plan-unique-demonstration-assault-rifles-ferguson)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 20, 2015, 09:57:41 PM
JimD


At some time Canada & the States will of course merge, We're desperately in need of one more province ;>)


Thanks for the article - who would have expected it from the NY Times.


Terry

You can add the province of Texas anytime. Once you've proven you can govern Texas, we'll gladly  give you the choice of getting Oklahoma or Alabama next
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2015, 10:23:48 PM
JimD


At some time Canada & the States will of course merge, We're desperately in need of one more province ;>)


Thanks for the article - who would have expected it from the NY Times.


Terry

You can add the province of Texas anytime. Once you've proven you can govern Texas, we'll gladly  give you the choice of getting Oklahoma or Alabama next

Rats!  I was planning on giving Texas and Arizona back to Mexico.  Procrastination gets you every time.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 20, 2015, 10:28:30 PM
JimD


At some time Canada & the States will of course merge, We're desperately in need of one more province ;>)


Thanks for the article - who would have expected it from the NY Times.


Terry

You can add the province of Texas anytime. Once you've proven you can govern Texas, we'll gladly  give you the choice of getting Oklahoma or Alabama next

Rats!  I was planning on giving Texas and Arizona back to Mexico.  Procrastination gets you every time.

Maybe we could foment a war between Mexico and Canada, whereby the loser gets to keep both Texas and Arizona.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on December 09, 2015, 07:03:01 AM
Science
Man, introverted man, having crossed
In passage and but a little with the nature of things this latter
century
Has begot giants; but being taken up
Like a maniac with self-love and inward conflicts cannot manage
his hybrids.
Being used to deal with edgeless dreams,
Now he's bred knives on nature turns them also inward: they
have thirsty points though.
His mind forebodes his own destruction;
Actaeon who saw the goddess naked among leaves and his hounds
tore him.
A little knowledge, a pebble from the shingle,
A drop from the oceans: who would have dreamed this infinitely
little too much?

Robinson Jeffers :

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on December 10, 2015, 09:35:01 AM
Thought I'd seen and heard a lot. And of course I've heard of Donald Trump.

We do have 20% of the Swedish people who support a party that want's to see an opinions register (has been illegal since 1969) for muslims (and journalists), denies climate change and want's to shut down our borders to all immigrants.
Fine, I hear them and I see them every day, but I also see the refugees. Among those a lot from Syria now.

Today I saw this:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/donald-trump-wants-to-ban-the-internet-will-ask-bill-gates-to-close-it-up-a6764396.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/donald-trump-wants-to-ban-the-internet-will-ask-bill-gates-to-close-it-up-a6764396.html)
Quote
“We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."
Ok, so I'm one of the foolish ones, fine.

Then I saw this:
http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-gop-primary (http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-gop-primary)
Graph attached below.

Please tell me that graph is wrong?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on December 10, 2015, 04:13:43 PM
Sleepy, I live in an affluent area but the republican right wing has a strong foothold here. DT probably has a strong support base here but it is not economic stress that is causing this hard shift towards fascism, more like I got mine and everyone else can ( eat cake ). There is a strong anti -Latino message that goes with the anti-Muslim bent but the rich around here are totally dependent on  cheap Latino labor, go figure.  None of this is rational, immigrants statistically pose a very very small threat to these peoples safety . They call themselves Christian, they like their guns and big trucks. They really need to be publicly called out by the rest of us but there isn't anything like a public forum to do so. I have been booed out of a question and answer session following a fracking promotional movie because I stood up and upset their groupthink. They are willing to include violence if you push them intellectually.
 They will likely lose this election but our military expansionism is largely driven by a similar mindset.
My advice is cut us off , make us get visas to leave, don't buy our weapons , don't support our foreign bases, make us live in the cesspool of our own making. Don't allow us to use our weapons to enforce
our mindset elsewhere. We are collectively trying to maintain a diminishing power base and the left goes along with it far to easily. Without the support from the rest of the world we will wither away as we have not the energy resources to perpetuate this madness . It come down to oil and military power and who is willing to wield weapons to maintain them. The immigrations noise is just a method to promote the larger goal of maintaining our wealth  via violence, verbal, imagined and real. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on December 10, 2015, 06:55:55 PM
Thanks Bruce, unfortunately you confirm some of my fears, but I do appreciate when people write about their home turf a bit more. Good that the republicans likely will loose though.

My parents lived through WW2 and they didn't talk much about it, but what they did say was enough. There are too many disturbances today, different than back then but all over the world, and there's been a debate here with people like Wilhelm Agrell and others, speculating about what might come out of it all. We probably won't recognize the signs today, until it's too late. And then those like Isak Svensson who say that it's dangerous to talk about such things since it will only feed the extremists. I don't know, but for me, not talking is always the worst option.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on December 16, 2015, 08:59:41 PM
Regarding Trump, Swedish Vattenfall is in a joint venture here:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-35106581 (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-35106581)
Quote
History will judge those involved unfavourably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small-minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish government's dangerous experiment with wind energy.
I don't know if I should laugh, or cry.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 27, 2015, 04:37:37 PM
A Christmas Story for y'all. 

One can't fix most of the problems discussed in this blog unless the direction of the empire is changed or it is just eliminated. 

Quote
......So 101 years after the Christmas truces along the Western Front there is still no peace on earth. And the long suffering American taxpayers, who foot the massive bills generated by the War Party’s demented and destructive policies, have no clue that Imperial Washington is the principal reason.

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/christmas-2015-why-there-is-no-peace-on-earth/ (http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/christmas-2015-why-there-is-no-peace-on-earth/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on December 29, 2015, 03:36:28 PM
Hey!  We're #1!  Woot, woot.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/12/28/us-increasingly-dominates-global-arms-trade-congressional-report.html (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/12/28/us-increasingly-dominates-global-arms-trade-congressional-report.html)

Quote
..."In worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2014 -- to both developed and developing nations -- United States dominated, ranking first with $36.2 billion in such agreements or 50.4% of all such agreements," the report states. "Russia ranked second in worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2014 with $10.2 billion in such global agreements or 14.2%. The value of all arms transfer agreements worldwide in 2014 was $71.8 billion."...

Imagine what 2015 numbers were like.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 03, 2016, 05:35:54 PM
The Sovereign Citizen movement and right wing militia's

US radicalism on the right.  There are lots of these folks where I live.

Some of these folks live near where my son lives in CA.  They have shot at the local police at least once and are a constant issue locally.  In the Nevada standoff mentioned in the link below there were a host of pictures of them holding sheriff's deputy's, BLM officers and others at gunpoint.  None of them ever were charged.

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/sovereign-citizens-movement (https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/sovereign-citizens-movement)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oregon-ranchers-occupy-national-wildlife-refuge_56888a61e4b0b958f65be382? (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oregon-ranchers-occupy-national-wildlife-refuge_56888a61e4b0b958f65be382?)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/oregon-ranchers-reject-cliven-bundy-family-occupation/ (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/oregon-ranchers-reject-cliven-bundy-family-occupation/)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cliven-bundy-cattle-battle-continues-to-rattle-washington/ (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cliven-bundy-cattle-battle-continues-to-rattle-washington/)





Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on January 03, 2016, 07:35:48 PM
"None of them ever were charged."

That wouldn't have anything to do with skin pigmentation, would it??  8)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 05, 2016, 07:13:32 PM
Ouch!  And this is the Obama administration.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Immigration-Crack-Down-on-Central-American-Families-Begins-20160103-0028.html (http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Immigration-Crack-Down-on-Central-American-Families-Begins-20160103-0028.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 06, 2016, 04:13:34 PM
So interesting news this morning.

North Korea claims the seismic event which just occurred there was the result of them testing a hydrogen bomb.  Should this prove true what does the rest of the world do about it?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: OldLeatherneck on January 06, 2016, 11:00:30 PM
So interesting news this morning.

North Korea claims the seismic event which just occurred there was the result of them testing a hydrogen bomb.  Should this prove true what does the rest of the world do about it?

JimD,

Good question.  While there are a multitude of things that the world could do in response, most of them could have very serious consequences.  Among these are:

1.  The US has the capability of using non-nuclear weapons to destroy North Korea's nuclear infrastructure.  This however, would almost certainly cause Kim Jong-Un to invade South Korea with his million man army.  Another risk would be that he might have nuclear tipped rockets that could be fired into the  south from conventional launch platforms.

2.  South Korea, with  help of allies, could use covert means to attempt to "decapitate" North Korea's leadership.  This would be fraught with risk, unless they could ascertain significant support from within North Korea.

3.  Most probably, further UN sanctions will be imposed, resulting in further hardships for the starving masses and will have little impact on the  behavior of the North Korean Leadership.

In summation, I think the Kim Jong-Un picked this time to detonate this device just get get the world's attention.  With  the world focused on the problems in the middle east, he wanted to get his name back on the world scene.

Has anyone notticed the similarity between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un.  They are both self-aggrandizing, attention seeking, megalomaniacs with bad hair!!

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 07, 2016, 04:47:15 PM
From the file of you can't make this stuff up.

Quote
Illinois college moves to fire professor who said Muslims, Christians worship same God
Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian university outside of Chicago, said on Tuesday it was taking steps to fire a tenured political science professor after she wrote in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.....

I have had this very conversation a couple of dozens times with various evangelicals I have ended up engaging in conversations about religion and Muslims.  It comes as a complete shock to most of them.  That Muslims read the old Testament and many are very well versed in the Bible also shocks them.  The best one is asking them when they see the videos of the Haj and the crowd is walking in a big circle around the giant black obelisk in Mecca what it is they are doing.  They almost fall on the ground when they learn that that is Abraham's tomb.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-illinois-religion-muslim-idUSKBN0UK0IN20160106 (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-illinois-religion-muslim-idUSKBN0UK0IN20160106)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 11, 2016, 04:04:33 PM
The dearth of realists

From my experience in this world this question is very valid.  There was a host of minor functionaries in the US government in the days leading up to many of the mistakes mentioned in this article, some of them very loud voices, so of those voices threw away their careers in opposition, yet they had little meaningful voice.  And still do not.  But then they do not have much voice in climate changes issues either.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/08/what-would-a-realist-world-have-looked-like-iraq-syria-iran-obama-bush-clinton/?utm_content=bufferc8773&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer (http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/08/what-would-a-realist-world-have-looked-like-iraq-syria-iran-obama-bush-clinton/?utm_content=bufferc8773&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 12, 2016, 05:20:53 PM
The Koch family:  founders of the John Birch Society, the US Libertarian Party, funders of the Tea Party, funders of climate change denial, blackest of the Black BAU'ers...

Quote
The father of the billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and other wealthy families.

The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the modern conservative movement through the activism and money of a handful of rich donors: among them Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune, and Harry and Lynde Bradley, brothers who became wealthy in part from military contracts but poured millions into anti-government philanthropy.

But the book is largely focused on the Koch family, stretching back to its involvement in the far-right John Birch Society and the political and business activities of the father, Fred C. Koch, who found some of his earliest business success overseas in the years leading up to World War II. One venture was a partnership with the American Nazi sympathizer William Rhodes Davis, who, according to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to help build the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/us/politics/father-of-koch-brothers-helped-build-nazi-oil-refinery-book-says.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/us/politics/father-of-koch-brothers-helped-build-nazi-oil-refinery-book-says.html?_r=0)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2016, 03:46:06 PM
This Month Marks 25 Years the U.S. Has Been at War in Iraq

Quote
Saturday, January 17, marked 25 years — a full generation — since the 1991 launch of a U.S.-led air war, “Operation Desert Storm,” that devastated Iraq, causing extensive damage to the country’s electrical, water, and sewage infrastructure, with terrible public health consequences.

A quarter-century later, the U.S. is still bombing, and over 3,400 U.S. troops are in the country. It’s part of a larger war raging in northern Iraq and Syria, with a ferocious, merciless entity driving the destruction: the Islamic State.

The countries of the region, and to a lesser extent European countries, have been overwhelmed by the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

http://fpif.org/month-marks-25-years-u-s-war-iraq/ (http://fpif.org/month-marks-25-years-u-s-war-iraq/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 28, 2016, 05:30:23 PM
Are we heading back to Libya?

If this happens on any scale it should provide a nice boost to the European immigration problem don't you think?

Quote
...We now have our answer, from the New York Times:

Worried about a growing threat from the Islamic State in Libya, the United States and its allies are increasing reconnaissance flights and intelligence collecting there and preparing for possible airstrikes and commando raids, senior American policy makers, commanders and intelligence officials said this week. … “It’s fair to say that we’re looking to take decisive military action against ISIL in conjunction with the political process” in Libya, [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph] Dunford said. “The president has made clear that we have the authority to use military force.”


https://theintercept.com/2016/01/27/the-u-s-intervention-in-libya-was-such-a-smashing-success-that-a-sequel-is-coming/
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on January 28, 2016, 05:55:55 PM
Another article on the planned ramp up in Libya.  The interesting aspect of this article is that it is more openly critical from a more 'mainstream' source in that rather from being from a liberal correspondent like Greenwald it is from a conservative publication. 

Of course the rhetoric being put out by all the presidential candidates (except Sanders) is that all of them are for more military action against terrorism than Obama has been.  Obama is weak according to them.  So one can bet that if a Republican gets elected their tune will change as it will be their team on the offensive.  Of course since Hillary is more militarily conservative than Obama they might even like what she ends up doing.

All this will help a lot in dealing with climate change and carrying capacity issues.  Such is how we make collapse happen quicker.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/the-war-on-isis-expands-to-libya/ (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/the-war-on-isis-expands-to-libya/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on February 24, 2016, 04:57:23 PM
Hey Great Britain!  Don't be f**king with the structure of the Empire!

Quote
President Barack Obama plans to deliver a message to the British people: Stay in the European Union and say no to “Brexit.” That’s what Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he has been led to expect.

At a hearing earlier this month, his committee heard from two witnesses who had served in the Bush and Obama administrations. Both of them urged the U.S. to make it clear, as Britain prepares to vote on its membership in the EU, that Americans want it in.

As if the U.S. message wasn't clear already. The Obama administration’s mantra is that we want “a strong United Kingdom in a strong European Union.” It has even hinted that it would not sign a trade agreement with Britain if it left the EU.

Support for deeper British involvement in a more and more united Europe has been a bipartisan American policy since the early days of the Cold War.

So.  Don't mess with us or we will cut you out of our trade agreements and turn you into a developing country vice a junior member of those who get to make the rules and siphon off the wealth and resources.  Your choice.

Note the author thinks for a variety of reasons that the US should mind its own business.  But that is not likely to sway those making the decisions for the Empire.

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-02-24/u-s-should-stay-out-of-britain-s-decision-on-eu (http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-02-24/u-s-should-stay-out-of-britain-s-decision-on-eu)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on July 08, 2016, 04:03:07 PM
A really excellent article on the state of the Empire.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176161/ (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176161/)

btw  it is starting to remind me of 1968 these days here in the US.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on July 09, 2016, 10:09:03 PM
The linked article was adapted from: "Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP" (2016); and focuses on how the Koch brothers planned to and then proceeded to take partial control of the GOP via the Tea Party:

http://time.com/secret-origins-of-the-tea-party/ (http://time.com/secret-origins-of-the-tea-party/)

Extract: "Charles and David Koch—who, if their individual fortunes were combined in one place, would quite possibly represent the wealthiest person on earth—have almost certainly spent or raised more than a billion dollars to successfully bend one of the two national parties in America to their will. The long rise of the Tea Party movement was orchestrated, well funded, and deliberate. Its aim was to break Washington. And it has nearly succeeded, as America saw in the debt-ceiling debacle of 2011, prompted by the Republican Party’s demand that the president negotiate over deficit reduction in exchange for an increase in the maximum amount of money the US Treasury is allowed to borrow. There are no mistakes or accidents in the Tea Party movement. Its leadership has made certain of that.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on July 23, 2016, 04:36:50 PM
An excellent take on the building decline of the empire.  Has some excellent points on how we got here, and where we are going...to include the rise of Trump and the poison pill of Hillary.

Quote
...And it’s in cities like Baltimore where the economic decline is most apparent. In its heyday, it was a prosperous middle and working class metropolis, with one of the largest and busiest ports on the east coast. Flooded with European immigrants in the early 20th century, Baltimore soon became a diverse mosaic of cultures, with new arrivals settling in ethnic neighborhoods that reflected old world customs.

In the 1950s, Baltimore was home to a host of thriving industries—particularly manufacturing and shipping—which created some three-fourths of all jobs. The city's residents had a median income 7 per cent higher than the national median; the percentage of Baltimore families earning middle-class wages was about one-fifth higher than in the U.S. as a whole; and the proportion of Baltimoreans living in poverty was roughly one-fifth lower than the corresponding national figure.

But then the city began to de-industrialize. From 1970 to 2000, Baltimore’s population fell by nearly one-third, from 906,000 to 651,000. Now it’s down to 620,000, and has the highest concentration of heroin addicts in the nation, many neighborhoods where households earn less than (US) $25,000 a year, with more than one in five adults out of work. It had 344 homicides last year – the highest per capita in its history (In comparison, with a population of 2.6 million, Toronto had only 55 homicides last year)...

..Now some wonder if the United States is at that critical point the Roman Empire once found itself – where the rot has set in and the future is looking bleak. “It’s more like the Roman Empire where you overextend your capacity to maintain the empire, you surrender your economic system to speculators, you need to base your political system in a form of political theater, which is how you end up with Nero and Caligula,” says Hedges. “And the citizens are kind of bought off with bread and circuses… which is sort of the entertainment complex in the United States, which is vast and huge and a very effective political pacifier… People essentially retreat into a kind of form of magical thinking…That’s what we are kind of seeing with Trump: the idea that he can bring back that prosperity that the white working class had in the 1950s and the early part of the 60s. It’s a non-reality belief system. But it’s what people desperately want to hear.”....

Quote
This economic crisis led to two important developments that ended up creating the empire’s fatal flaw: pressured by the business community, governments introduced free trade agreements that gave corporations and finance capital greater freedom to move factories and investment wherever labour was cheaper and civil society and environmental laws were weakest. And domestically, trade unions – which had fought for better wages during the post-war boom – came under withering assault.

The result of globalization and attack on labour rights was wages in the US and Canada (and in Europe too) stagnated – and have done so for more than 40 years. Unionization in the US has fallen from 35 per cent of all workers in 1954, down to 11.3 per cent today – and only 6.6 per cent in the private sector.

Consequently, the capacity of workers and the middle class to garner a bigger portion of the economic pie began to fall. Says Baker: “We decided to put American workers in competition with workers in China and in India and, of course, the effect was to lower their wages.”

I have mentioned before that my brother was one of the architects of what became known of as globalization several decades ago.  His quote to me back then was that he did not work for an American corporation but an international business and thus had no loyalty to the US.  His goal of free trade agreements was to reach the point where there was "labor arbitrage in place globally".

Quote
The evidence of this is no longer a matter of debate: For instance, in a recent survey, the US Federal Reserve Board asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer was shocking: 47 per cent said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the money at all.

Two reports published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 55 per cent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income, with 71 per cent were concerned about having enough money to cover everyday expenses. A similar study conducted by Annamaria Lusardi of George Washington University, Peter Tufano of Oxford, and Daniel Schneider, then of Princeton, came to the conclusion that nearly half of American adults are “financially fragile” and “living very close to the financial edge.”

Indeed, in the US, median net worth has declined steeply in the past generation – down 85.3 per cent from 1983 to 2013 for the bottom income quintile alone. According to research funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation-adjusted net worth of the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. By 2013, it had fallen to $54,500 - a drop of 38 per cent.

Consequently, this pauperization has meant the share of American adults living in middle-income households has fallen from 61 per cent in 1971 to 50 per cent in 2015, while the share living in the upper-income tier rose from 14 to 21 per cent over the same period. At the same time, the portion of the population in the lowest-income tier increased from 25 to 29 per cent.

Instead, wealth has been flowing upwards. Fully 49 per cent of US aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014 – up from 29 per cent in 1970. The top 1 per cent of income earners received approximately 20 per cent of the pre-tax income in 2013, versus approximately 10 per cent from 1950 to 1980.

Quote
But as wealth has concentrated among the wealthy, they have not been shy about using it to further their economic ends. Now there is growing concern America is turning into an oligarchy – and democracy is disappearing as a consequence. “There is no democracy, it’s bought and sold,” argues Evans.

In 2014, a study by Martin Gilens, a professor of politics at Princeton, and Benjamin I. Page, a professor of decision-making at Northwestern University, examined this question and concluded that it was true. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” they said.

This political interference by the 1 per cent is best demonstrated by Charles and David Koch, who control the Wichita, KA-based oil (US) $115-billion oil conglomerate Koch Industries, and are the seventh wealthiest people in the US, with a combined worth of almost (US) $90-billion.

Quote
Yet it’s unlikely to win him the White House. Instead, in November, Hillary Clinton will almost assuredly take over as president.

But what does that mean for the future of the American empire? After all, under Barack Obama, a Democrat and African-American, the problems of Americans only got worse. “She will be a good steward of the empire,” says Cohn. “She is more hawkish than Obama.”...

...But Trump is not the phenomena; Trump responds to the phenomena. So you put Clinton in power and you know you may get rid of Trump as a particular figure but you’re not going to get rid of that phenomena. You will certainly see another Trump-like demagogue rise up as this legitimate anger ripples through society.

If you think today is a mess wait until the next generation of political populist rises up to challenge the system in 2020.  America is going broke and rotting from the inside out.  What cannot stand will not.  All of this day to day dealing with real life issues will trump (nice pun!) climate change issues for ...ever?  Those who think we can just slide along on the green and black BAU gravy trains are in for a rude awakening ... about the time the train hits the river after flying off the tracks.


http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/07/21/news/decline-american-empire-and-rise-donald-trump (http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/07/21/news/decline-american-empire-and-rise-donald-trump)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on August 27, 2016, 05:23:06 PM
What America decides to do on the global geopolitical stage is the key driver of everything.  A bald but simple statement backed up by the obvious realization that real progress on solving climate change and carrying capacity issues lie on the road which passes through Washington.  If Washington does not play there can be no solution.

So what is going on in the rooms where those who lay out the strategy of the American empire talk.  For those who do not know, over the last 50 years two voices have held dominance in this room.  Their views on what our overall objectives should be are largely fully compatible - American dominance.  However they are strong rivals and there are significant differences in their approaches.  We have largely followed the first of these men and occasionally the second.  Our likely next president is wholly in the camp of the first and is a devoted follower.  There is absolutely no reason to think she will not follow his strategic lead.  This approach relies on the constant use of military force and all the tools of diplomatic and economic force with the goal of furthering American power and maintaining the American empire.  The first man is of course Henry Kissinger.  The other is Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Below are two links to Brzezinski's current views.  They are very important and critical in that they are the least of the two approaches in terms of maintaining the empire - and completely incompatible with solving the existential problems of climate change and carrying capacity.  Kissinger's approach is much more militarily oriented.  Tell me how, given the outlooks guiding the American elite, we have any real world chance of implementing the kinds of social changes required to deal with the existential problems we face.

FYI I do not support the views expressed below and find many of them repugnant.  Brzezinski's expressed opinion's on what the other global actors should do going forward should not be taken at anything like face value as the intention of such recommendations always has as their ultimate goal the advancement of American interests.  Remember, trust no one and verify.  We are not your friends after all - allies perhaps - rulers frequently - enemies often.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/04/17/toward-a-global-realignment/ (http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/04/17/toward-a-global-realignment/)

Quote
As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture.

Five basic verities regarding the emerging redistribution of global political power and the violent political awakening in the Middle East are signaling the coming of a new global realignment......

Quote
...Taken together as a unified framework, these five verities tell us that the United States must take the lead in realigning the global power architecture in such a way that the violence erupting within and occasionally projected beyond the Muslim world—and in the future possibly from other parts of what used to be called the Third World—can be contained without destroying the global order. We can sketch this new architecture by elaborating briefly each of the five foregoing verities....

Maintaining the global order is a euphemism for maintaining American global dominance of course.

Quote
...The alternative to a constructive vision, and especially the quest for a one-sided militarily and ideologically imposed outcome, can only result in prolonged and self-destructive futility. For America, that could entail enduring conflict, fatigue, and conceivably even a demoralizing withdrawal to its pre-20th century isolationism. For Russia, it could mean major defeat, increasing the likelihood of subordination in some fashion to Chinese predominance. For China, it could portend war not only with the United States but also, perhaps separately, with either Japan or India or with both. And, in any case, a prolonged phase of sustained ethnic, quasi-religious wars pursued through the Middle East with self-righteous fanaticism would generate escalating bloodshed within and outside the region, and growing cruelty everywhere.
The fact is that there has never been a truly “dominant” global power until the emergence of America on the world scene. Imperial Great Britain came close to becoming one, but World War I and later World War II not only bankrupted it but also prompted the emergence of rival regional powers. The decisive new global reality was the appearance on the world scene of America as simultaneously the richest and militarily the most powerful player. During the latter part of the 20th century no other power even came close.
That era is now ending.....

The bolded section is referring to the Henry Kissinger approach.  Brzezinski is in favor of some retrenchment to maintain as much of the empire as possible while the Kissinger camp still favors the use and extension of American power.  While I think neither approach helps deal with our more important problems the fact remains that until the above dialog changes there will be no substantial  or meaningful progress on climate change or carrying capacity issues. 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/25/the-broken-chessboard-brzezinski-gives-up-on-empire/ (http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/25/the-broken-chessboard-brzezinski-gives-up-on-empire/)

edited to add missing text due to hitting the post button by accident.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on August 28, 2016, 04:50:10 AM

Over the years I've come to fear the influence of Brzezinski even more than that of Kissinger. The good Dr. always/usually appeared as a realist to my eye. A monster surely, but a realistic one, Brzezinski however, in my opinion, always seemed an ideologue more fixated on doing ill to Russia than doing good for America.

Brzezinski still thinks Putin is playing chess. Kissinger has long been aware that Go is the name of the game, and that Anglophones are just no good at playing Go. You didn't need to be a Chess Master or a Go Dan to recognise which game was being played out in Ukraine, or to notice that only one side was marching their troops into one encirclement after another. No brash rook advances or rapier like thrusts by bishops could overcome the strategic positionings of the necessary stones to end the liberty of the opposition.

Watch as things become clearer in Syria. Encircle, starve the enemy of ammunition, fuel, then open the door and entice more into the trap. Repeat as needed until the enemy's will is broken.
This is not the heroic capture of a king, rather the strategic placement of forces that cause the enemy to react in foreseeable ways. Ways that seem logical to the neophyte.



"Tell me how, given the outlooks guiding the American elite, we have any real world chance of implementing the kinds of social changes required to deal with the existential problems we face."


The answer of course is that as long as the "American Elite" remain in power, no solution is possible.
I am NOT advocating a coup,rebellion, or war to remove them. Any attempt strong enough to have any chance of success would be met with such resistance that the horrors of climate change would pale in comparison.
The American version of democracy won't allow even an aroused electorate to do the job & the elite media would never allow such an arousal.

The time to act was during Carter's presidency. If the American public hadn't been taken in by Reagan's "October Surprize". And of course if Carter could have seen through Brzezinski's war mongering advice, it's just possible that we would not be sitting on this climatic powder keg that is blowing up as we look on in amazement.

Sorry for straying so far from the topic.
We're cooked.

Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on August 31, 2016, 06:25:35 PM
You two are so cheery lately.  ;)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on September 21, 2016, 06:57:35 PM
This is my first attempt at cross-posting. I thought this might fit in well with this thread. It is not just because of the presidential election, but particularly it is THIS election that has me greatly concerned.   

Re: What Would a Donald Trump Presidency Mean to Combating AGW/CC
« Reply #186 on: September 17, 2016, 05:46:42 PM »

Terry: It must be interesting (and a bit disconcerting) to watch this election spectacle unfold from a neighboring country. The level of political dysfunction in the U.S. is alarming, which brings the question to mind: Can the center hold? Here's an op-ed from the Brookings Institution from April 2016 dealing with this question.

https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/can-the-center-hold/ (https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/can-the-center-hold/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on October 28, 2016, 01:51:35 AM
With THE ELECTION close upon us an interesting poll gives answer to the question of who Americans trust to be acting in the "best interests of the public"


The categories selected were:


Elected officials
Business leaders
News media
Religious leaders
K-12 principals & supervisors
Scientists
Medical scientists
The military


 Before reading on, ask yourself whether in your opinion the above can be trusted to act in the best interests of the public:


A great deal
A fair amount
Not too much
No confidence


The results surprised me even though I lived most of my adult life in the US.


American's trust in these groupings is the exact opposite of the order in which I presented them, with the military far more trusted than any of the others.


http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/18/most-americans-trust-the-military-and-scientists-to-act-in-the-publics-interest/ (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/18/most-americans-trust-the-military-and-scientists-to-act-in-the-publics-interest/)


Apparently this bias in favor of the military increases with age. Memories of the draft, My Lai, and Hiroshima fade when superseded by visions of the glorious conquests of Grenada and Panama.


I suppose the upside is the high marks given to scientists when compared to politicians and clerics.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: magnamentis on October 28, 2016, 02:47:33 AM
With THE ELECTION close upon us an interesting poll gives answer to the question of who Americans trust to be acting in the "best interests of the public"

intersting but not suprising while "none of them" as a "category" is missing to make it perfect IMO. i'm pretty sure that that category would have won :-)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on October 28, 2016, 09:11:00 AM
Before reading on, ask yourself whether in your opinion the above can be trusted to act in the best interests of the public:
At this point I actually went for the military.

The results surprised me even though I lived most of my adult life in the US.
I often try to look at my own nation from the outside, I started with that while working abroad. People talk and people do, those two are not always the same.


Apparently this bias in favor of the military increases with age.
I simply can't understand that. Alzheimer's?

I suppose the upside is the high marks given to scientists when compared to politicians and clerics.
It surprised me that scientists came that high.
Polls are polls and I've never been to the US. Most people here vote for a better life, more money, more energy, more stuff, just more. But still, our main right wing party would probably be called communistic by many in the US. We get the leaders we vote for. When is enough, enough?

I posted this yesterday, a mini series of interviews with cab-drivers in the US made by SVT: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1748.msg92439.html#msg92439 (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1748.msg92439.html#msg92439)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on October 30, 2016, 12:46:47 AM
The cab driver interviews were interesting, although what a driver tells his customers is often what he assumes will net him the largest gratuity.  :-\


The concept of trusting the military, particularly the American military, to do the right thing is so twisted that I question how the sampling was conducted. I'd have rated them somewhere between used car salesmen & your friendly neighborhood drug dealer, and I'm 70 years old. :)


Much of what I concider disfunctional in the States could be ameliorated by disbanding the armed forces.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on October 30, 2016, 08:41:25 AM
Terry, then you're not an alzheimers patient.  ;D
The cab driver interviews were interesting, although what a driver tells his customers is often what he assumes will net him the largest gratuity.  :-\
Yes that might be true, but their individual thoughts are not that interesting. I'm trying to understand the general attitude, and it's a different thing to see someone say something, than to read it.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 12, 2016, 08:20:41 PM
Sleepy, I live in an affluent area but the republican right wing has a strong foothold here. DT probably has a strong support base here but it is not economic stress that is causing this hard shift towards fascism, more like I got mine and everyone else can ( eat cake ). There is a strong anti -Latino message that goes with the anti-Muslim bent but the rich around here are totally dependent on  cheap Latino labor, go figure.  None of this is rational, immigrants statistically pose a very very small threat to these peoples safety . They call themselves Christian, they like their guns and big trucks. They really need to be publicly called out by the rest of us but there isn't anything like a public forum to do so. I have been booed out of a question and answer session following a fracking promotional movie because I stood up and upset their groupthink. They are willing to include violence if you push them intellectually.
 They will likely lose this election but our military expansionism is largely driven by a similar mindset.
My advice is cut us off , make us get visas to leave, don't buy our weapons , don't support our foreign bases, make us live in the cesspool of our own making. Don't allow us to use our weapons to enforce
our mindset elsewhere. We are collectively trying to maintain a diminishing power base and the left goes along with it far to easily. Without the support from the rest of the world we will wither away as we have not the energy resources to perpetuate this madness . It come down to oil and military power and who is willing to wield weapons to maintain them. The immigrations noise is just a method to promote the larger goal of maintaining our wealth  via violence, verbal, imagined and real.

Mati just posted ( on the presidential nausea page ) an article from a Canadian publication that showed  U.S. households with incomes above $ 50,000 voted largely as the Majority that elected Trump.Those below those income levels voted mainly in the Clinton camp.  I don't see this breakdown published by U.S. media sources and that is because it isn't comfortable to either the left or the right that the richest 1% of the worlds population are all a bunch of dicks . If you would like to invest your money in the weapons market you might do very well over the next few years.
 None of this is good news for a planet that could use some humility and self sacrifice from the humans contributing the largest portion of the damage done and don't expect any such  news to penetrate the collective pathos of our elites on the left or the right.
The quote above was from months ago and I may have gotten the results wrong but I think I may have foreseen the portion of the electorate that  eventuated our sad results.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on November 12, 2016, 09:07:10 PM
1) Re: " U.S. households with incomes above $ 50,000 voted largely as the Majority that elected Trump.Those below those income levels voted mainly in the Clinton camp"

While this is true, I note that a comparison to the 2012 results shows Clinton losing 16% of under 30KUS$ segment and 6% of  30-50K segment compared to Obama. TH sing toward Trump was strongest in the low income groups.

2) Trump won in precisely those states and counties whose economy was poor.

sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: magnamentis on November 12, 2016, 11:05:20 PM
1) Re: " U.S. households with incomes above $ 50,000 voted largely as the Majority that elected Trump.Those below those income levels voted mainly in the Clinton camp"

While this is true, I note that a comparison to the 2012 results shows Clinton losing 16% of under 30KUS$ segment and 6% of  30-50K segment compared to Obama. TH sing toward Trump was strongest in the low income groups.

2) Trump won in precisely those states and counties whose economy was poor.

sidd

the majority of popular votes went to clinton, the majority of electoral votes is based on a cheat by southern states (counting slaves as citizens at that time) right after the civil war.

for my understanding the word majority only applies to a majority of "people" not of system based
artificial majorities. if that would be valid majorities all the communist leaders would have been elected by close to 100% "majorities" LOL
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 13, 2016, 04:06:36 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0)

   Under $30,000

Clinton 53%   ---     Trump 41%

$30,000 - $49,999

Clinton  51%   ---     Trump  42%
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on November 13, 2016, 05:11:11 AM
Correction: " TH sing toward Trump was strongest in the low income groups." should read
 "The swing from Obama-Romney 2012 to Clinton-Trump 2016 toward Trump was strongest in the low income groups."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 13, 2016, 09:23:51 AM
Mati just posted ( on the presidential nausea page ) an article from a Canadian publication that showed  U.S. households with incomes above $ 50,000 voted largely as the Majority that elected Trump.Those below those income levels voted mainly in the Clinton camp.  I don't see this breakdown published by U.S. media sources and that is because it isn't comfortable to either the left or the right that the richest 1% of the worlds population are all a bunch of dicks . If you would like to invest your money in the weapons market you might do very well over the next few years.
 None of this is good news for a planet that could use some humility and self sacrifice from the humans contributing the largest portion of the damage done and don't expect any such  news to penetrate the collective pathos of our elites on the left or the right.
The quote above was from months ago and I may have gotten the results wrong but I think I may have foreseen the portion of the electorate that  eventuated our sad results.
I saw mati's comment (and also remember yours from last year). Wrote a comment in that thread, then I had to take a long break. I've seen these things brewing for a long time here, but I denied the reality of a Trump presidency. I sensed it but did not want to see it = denial.
A quote from the posted article:
Quote
It is not just an American problem. There is a striking similarity, in lifestyle, geography and beliefs, between those white Americans who voted for Mr. Trump and the white Britons who voted in June to recommend their country’s withdrawal from Europe’s economy and politics, on what surveys showed were largely xenophobic grounds. They also have much in common with the white French, Dutch and Austrian voters who have turned far-right parties of racial intolerance into significant political forces. It would be naïve to assume that groups of white Canadians are immune to the temptations of extremism, for many of us live in similar communities and circumstances.
Add Scandinavia as well.
I'm not impressed by the US. The unrest on this planet just got bigger. A lot.
I even got annoyed at my Ariens sno-thro the other day. Not that it matters, but I will actively stop supporting anything out of the US from now on.
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/2016/11/donald_trump_chief_choice_said_to_be_imminent (http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/2016/11/donald_trump_chief_choice_said_to_be_imminent)
Steve Bannon as the next chief of staff? My head is about to explode. I'm probably still in denial.  Climate Change? That's not a problem with people like that in the White House.
I really have to do something else now. Something real like comparing structures in snowflakes...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 13, 2016, 04:07:01 PM
Sleepy, I tried to write something about the need for an organized worldwide boycott of
" Made in USA "  yesterday. It should also be an effort that includes those of us disaffected here in
" the homeland " .  ( that saying came out of the Bush years ). Marching is just pissing in the wind, money is the only thing the Alt Right is going to understand or respect.
 I realize writing this on a public forum will likely land me on some lists I probably would like to avoid . I don't fly anymore so I probably won't realize I have crossed some line until big brother knocks on my door but if I push hard enough that may be what eventually happens. We are all on a trend line now that spirals back to darker images of our not to distant past. Although I am talking about creating an economic boycott I have no doubt those currently taking the reins of power would view such efforts as something else. Unamerican at best and maybe something like economic terrorism .  I view it as the only viable option that might get their attention. Just like ISIS they really would prefer violence but I am not and will never support anything that gives them what they want. I am only talking about how to get to the 1 percent in a way that will get their attention and make them rethink how they prefer to rule the rest of us.
 In an ideal world home gardens, living simple and on the cheap, and avoiding U.S. brands, styles and keep up with the Jones mentality would be a vast improvement for planet earth. Maybe someday it will get a name ?
 So spread the word, organize public trash days for our products , invite the press while you send our stuff of to the dump. Have a little fun with it. Maybe we can make our little voices heard.  At the very least we gotta demonize brand Trump.
 Wish me luck , I use my real name, I am only a little afraid but sometimes you gotta risk things in life.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: mati on November 13, 2016, 04:51:38 PM
There are some worrying parallels with the past:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11179774 (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11179774)

Then after the War to end all Wars, we went and had another one. Again, for a historian it was quite predictable. Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 13, 2016, 05:14:39 PM
A quite nerdy look at the election in the Grand Scheme of Things.

Your Day-After-Trump Posts Forgot Something
Quote
Life is more complicated than linear trend vs. cycle. For example, you can have a linear trend and cycles. At the same time! That’s what global warming is — an unnatural linear trend superimposed upon various cycles, from the daily cycle to the yearly cycle to Milankovitch cycles of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. (Yes, I have a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences.) But none of the climate change doubters I have ever talked to has ever been able to grasp this concept, at least not enough to understand that saying “cycles” exist does not disprove a linear trend superimposed on it.

Turning to the election, it’s easy to say that Trump’s election will lead either to the end of American democracy and life as we know it, or else it’s the Second Coming of Orange Jesus. But instead the Trump presidency will be superimposed on cycles of birth and death, among others, as well as other cycles that affect our country and democracy and our world. (And other non-cyclical phenomena as well. And don’t get me started on climate change.)
https://medium.com/@johnknox_uab88/your-day-after-trump-posts-forgot-something-131d9c6207ee
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: in4apenny on November 13, 2016, 05:29:01 PM
There are some worrying parallels with the past:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11179774 (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11179774)

Then after the War to end all Wars, we went and had another one. Again, for a historian it was quite predictable. Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable.
All very true, now here's my take :-

You stigmatize, neglect, demean & mock a % of the population then they will be inclined to follow any charismatic/extreme speaker that will lend a voice to their dissatisfaction . You take away that voice & they wait for another to fill that place.

You could alternatively come to some compromise with that part of the population. ie stop branding them with a stereotype & nurture their reasonable side & treat them with some respect.

Compromise & compassion is needed in ever larger portions as the global population bulges.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 13, 2016, 05:39:02 PM
Don't give up.

Kate McKinnon (as Hillary Clinton) opening Saturday Night Live program.  3-minute vid.
https://twitter.com/nbcsnl/status/797673802805018625
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 13, 2016, 05:47:37 PM
in4apenney, yes O.K. a part of the electorate that used to be democrat broke right this go round but the upper income electorate that brought us Bush not to many years ago also just brought us Trump.Without their near lockstep support things would have gone differently and it wasn't economic  issues with the low income voters that drove the 1% to support the Alt Right. It is a nice meme to deflect their true intentions but it is a diversion and you will soon see where this administration is going to take us .
 I am a lifelong commercial fisherman and I understand quite well how demonization from the left feels but sometimes there are issues that should supersede our personal interests and hurt feelings. We just collectively walked away from those hard choices .
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 13, 2016, 06:00:51 PM
Bruce


I was hesitant to speak of my plans for avoiding American brands until I read your piece. I at least have a border between myself and the Beast.


At present I drive a Dodge minivan, whatever I replace it with will not have an American marqui. Toyota has two assembly plants within a few miles & I'll give them my trade.


I haven't entered a Walmart for decades & will extend this to include Home Depot as well as Lowes. Fast food isn't a big deal for me, and substituting Tim Horton's for Starbucks will be a snap.


Weaning myself from Costco will require more thought, but if the object is to inflict as much economic pain as possible, they have to go.


I've always felt that spending with an eye to who would benefit from my purchases was worthwhile, even if all it really did was to ease my conscience. When I made it a point to eat uni, I did so with the thought that in some small way I was making life a little easier for a friend who dove for urchin.


At some level I'm aware that it's those least responsible for our plight that will initially feel the hurt, but at some point, as the world recognises that they can do quite nicely without Ford, Caterpillar, BOA, CitiGroup, Mcdonald's and Burger King, TPTB may decide that the Paris accords are a minimum commitment that must be exceeded, that what is good for Exxon may be disastrous for everyone else, and that populist demagogues have no place on the world's stage.


Your courage in posting the above has encouraged me to open up.


Thanks
Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: in4apenny on November 13, 2016, 06:08:04 PM
I understand quite well how demonization from the left feels but sometimes there are issues that should supersede our personal interests and hurt feelings. We just collectively walked away from those hard choices .

A voice of reason, though many do not think so clearly ( education & salary i find don't necessarily equal rational or common sense).
The electorate can only vote for those on the ballot paper & i feel this time round you got royally screwed. Maybe it's the wake up call the western world needs albeit at your expense.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on November 13, 2016, 09:14:40 PM
1) "You stigmatize, neglect, demean & mock a % of the population then they will be inclined to follow any charismatic/extreme speaker that will lend a voice to their dissatisfaction . You take away that voice & they wait for another to fill that place."

Precisely. A Bernie Sanders was made impossible, thus a Donald Trump was made inevitable.

1) "You could alternatively come to some compromise with that part of the population. ie stop branding them with a stereotype & nurture their reasonable side & treat them with some respect.

Compromise & compassion is needed in ever larger portions as the global population bulges."

Agreed.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Csnavywx on November 14, 2016, 04:18:37 PM
Boycotting America and its products isn't going to work. Boycotts work only if they inflict damage to a significant percentage of demand. The larger the entity, the harder it is. America is huge and its reach with the dollar (and petrodollar) is massive. It's not going to be an effective strategy.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Csnavywx on November 14, 2016, 04:28:20 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0)

   Under $30,000

Clinton 53%   ---     Trump 41%

$30,000 - $49,999

Clinton  51%   ---     Trump  42%

The exit polls were f****** terrible, just like the pre-election polling. Actual election data showed Trump winning non-college white males by a margin of 72-23. An extreme 49 point gap. Rural voting increased from a 16% share to a 27% share.

At any rate, despite whatever the Pollyannas say, his election will have massive consequences on climate and international cooperation. If people think that India, for instance, has any will or shot at following the INDCs they set out after the US withdrawl, they're deluding themselves. Their entire argument rests on "historical responsibility for emissions" and this simply plays right into that narrative. Now they're safely on the moral high ground in their minds.

The time for effective international agreements is drawing perilously close to ending. Once CC starts biting hard on countries, they're going to be forced to draw increasing amounts of resources and political capital to taking care of the domestic consequences of failing to deal with CC 20 years ago. That increases geopolitical instability via populist unrest, like we're already seeing in the more developed countries.

I didn't see any RCP scenario or climate model that incorporates populist backlash, did you?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 14, 2016, 05:11:45 PM
Csnavywx


I believe you are correct when you describe the ineffectiveness of a boycott.


In the 60's, when my hair and beard knew no restraint, I had no illusions that my actions would bring an unpopular war to an end. The war did finally end, the protestors did take credit for ending it, and all was well with the world.


In the 90's, American youth ignored mid-eastern wars. I banged out a few anti-war ditties, but no-one was interested. It's 25 years since Desert Storm, and I doubt that a week has gone by without casualties on both sides. Saddam was no threat, ISIS actually is.


Protests don't work and boycotts don't work, but doing nothing works even less well.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on November 14, 2016, 05:26:10 PM
Protests don't work and boycotts don't work, but doing nothing works even less well.

Well said Terry!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 14, 2016, 07:04:26 PM
Protests don't work and boycotts don't work, but doing nothing works even less well.

Well said Terry!

Any idea on what we could be doing right now that would help?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 14, 2016, 07:05:55 PM
Csnavywx, I think you need to define goals before you can quantify results. Back when our country invaded Iraq president Bush told Americans they could help by going shopping. That is somehow we weren't expected to sacrifice anything while we bombed the crap out of another country.
 Fast forward to an election that will have repercussions all across the globe as the U.S. doubles down on growth fueled by expansion of coal, fracking ,fossil fuel mining and use via deregulation ,tax incentives , and graft.
 I don't know how I am supposed to respond except going 180 degrees away from the goals of the ruling elite that plans to profit on this election. The one thing I can think of is to reject their growth paradigm . I think a little sacrifice is in order.  I also think a little preparation for the hangover that will result in a few years ,after we splurge on deregulated resources and unregulated emissions , is probably a good idea.  Getting used to living with less , not buying the " Made in USA " brand , and preparing for our eventual descent can't hurt . 
 So I am open to better ideas if someone can point me in a different direction. In the meantime I will try to switch from a grid tied power system to off grid. I  will continue to expand my biofuel program and do my best to continue my efforts to detach from as many industrial society dependent systems as possible. I have signed up for a seat on a soil conservation board as a democrat and in four years I will be in a position to gain some power from the blowback created over the intervening years .
 Although  people outside the U.S. may be rather powerless to change our political decisions they don't have to support the economic paradigm and  exceptionalism  driving  current decisions over here.
Please don't.
 Always good to hear from you Terry !
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 14, 2016, 08:03:50 PM
@Bruce, re your previous reply, I wish you all the luck there is.

Re effectiveness: I've marched, I've protested, I don't fly and now I will avoid anything out of the US. I try to follow my conscience. I threw away my career fifteen years ago, the best thing I've ever done. How effective is that? To me it means the world, to the world it means nothing.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: ritter on November 14, 2016, 08:12:02 PM
U.S. households with incomes above $ 50,000 voted largely as the Majority that elected Trump.

I am above that income level and so are virtually all of my friends, family and work colleagues (California Bay Area--cost of living is astronomical but salaries are generally higher than elsewhere, too). I only know of a handful that voted Trump. Many of us preferred Sanders but lined up behind Clinton.

His win took most of us by surprise, likely for two reasons. 1) we are generally well off--although it becomes increasingly difficult to remain middle class in this geographic area. 2) we live in the bubble that is north coastal California--environmentalism and social justice is on the minds of even most conservatives here.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around the xenophobia and/or deep suffering of those who voted for him.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: solartim27 on November 14, 2016, 08:18:37 PM
I am still trying to wrap my mind around the xenophobia and/or deep suffering of those who voted for him.
Interesting analyses of societal isolation here:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2/ (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2/)
Survey only takes a few minutes, unless you start clicking all the links that go with the questions.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: P-maker on November 14, 2016, 09:27:02 PM
Budmantis:

Quote
Any idea on what we could be doing right now that would help?

From this side of the pond, I may offer you a couple of successful public campaigns and a serial killer:

1)   The Brent Spar campaign (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brent_Spar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brent_Spar) ) simply made people drive by the Shell gas pumps in huge numbers, eventually persuading Shell that it was a god idea to get rid of their scrap metal in a sensible manner
2)   The French (Nuclear) Wine Boycott (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/french-wine-boycott-successful-1317133.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/french-wine-boycott-successful-1317133.html) ) simply made shoppers chose non-french wines to such an extent that France changed its policies on nuclear testing
3)   Lego decided to split up with Shell after a massive public protest on the Internet (https://www.rt.com/business/194800-lego-partnership-shell-greenpeace/ (https://www.rt.com/business/194800-lego-partnership-shell-greenpeace/) ) followed recently by this retraction from its engagement with the Daily Mail (http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/1112/Why-LEGO-stopped-advertising-through-The-Daily-Mail-video?cmpid=TW (http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/1112/Why-LEGO-stopped-advertising-through-The-Daily-Mail-video?cmpid=TW) ) after a Facebook campaign.

Apparently it helps to address a major company of some national importance. The choice should be made easy for the consumer (either ignore the pump, select another shelf, click on your computer) and wupti!, it starts to hurt the bottom line of both the company and the country. Once you get the first blow in to the chin, its easier to follow up...
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 14, 2016, 09:57:02 PM
Thanks Bruce
P-Maker, great to hear of boycotts that have had measurable effect.


I think it's important for people to feel that their actions may have some effect over their future, even if that particular effort should prove to be illusory. Once an enemy is defined and the first jab is thrown it becomes much easier to expand the fight.


My health is such that I'll never be able to follow Bruce's lead. I can however decide where my money gets spent.


Terry

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: magnamentis on November 14, 2016, 10:14:11 PM
Protests don't work and boycotts don't work, but doing nothing works even less well.

Well said Terry!

Any idea on what we could be doing right now that would help?

there are a few things we can do:

a) each should do his very best every day and give a good example to proof that life can be very good and satisfactory without being a resource hogger.

b) edcucate our children but not through indoctrination but by (a) giving a good example and
by explanation and communication in general.

c) we can vote with our wallet which is my favourite and the impact is significant. only problem with this is that those in charge would often not see the connection and find other excuses why things go
down the river.

there is much more but that would fill libraries :-) just a few hints to demonstrate that we can indeed do something and once a critical mass of the population does the very same things start to roll. that critical mass BTW is around 30% but only if bundled on topic. as long as one group pays most of their attention to one field of the overall problem and other groups on other non-holistic but cherry picked topics, the powers are split in fractions and have only a small effect which is what is happening right now.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 14, 2016, 11:33:33 PM
This has been a great conversation and I give a lot of credit to all but particularly to Bruce Steele for thinking outside the box. Short of harassing my Senators and Congressman, I really have been at a loss to know how I can make an impact.

What my wife and I have done over the last eighteen years is we got off the consumerism treadmill and started making smart financial decisions. We'll both be retired shortly and plan on traveling beginning next spring. We sold our double wide mobile home recently and bought a travel trailer with an attached Florida room. So we went from 1400 square feet to about 350 square feet. Quite an adjustment!

The whole idea is to save money in areas that are not that important to us while having more money to spend on things that are very important to us. At the same time, we've reduced our footprint.

When we start traveling next spring, we're going to use our Hyundai Elantra (40mpg) and we'll stay in a tent as opposed to going the RV route. The costs associated with an RV are obscene and are bad for the environment, and we'll have nothing to do with them.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 14, 2016, 11:58:07 PM
We could, as a host of embarrassed political commentators currently are doing, try and digest the numbers on why the Democratic machine lost and Trump won.  There is no one reason, of course, for this event, but I think we can certainly say with confidence that the Democratic machine  has conclusively proved it's incompetence.  The fault for this is looking at them in the mirror when they brush their teeth in the morning.  None of this can be blamed on the Republicans (after all they did not want Trump either) nor can you really blame it on Trump (other than the fact he decided to take a shot at the opening he saw available) as his campaigning was hardly at world class levels.

The Clinton's and the Democrats had every advantage possible: way more money, a huge campaign organization, several times as many folks on the ground, virtually 100% of the press working on their behalf, demographics in their favor, business on their side, and so on and so on.  But they chose to run a candidate who was uniquely unacceptable to their opponents as well as to a significant percentage of those who do not favor Republicans.  Note that Trump got a higher percentage of the vote than Romney did with blacks, Hispanics and women.  53% of women overall voted for Trump - think about those numbers for a second.  Not to mention that Clinton drew a smaller number of the millennial vote.  There is a story there.

I could go on but let's cut to the chase.  The Democrats got their heads handed to them because they ran an incompetent selection process and a terrible campaign.  If you can't beat Trump you don't deserve to win let us say.  It was not only Trump who acted with bigotry and bias - the 'deplorables' heard her say that you know.  The strength of the democratic party was always the working class and middle class.  They have systematically abandoned those folks in their search for money and have alienated tens of millions of those who used to support them due to their high class attitudes and thoughts.  They have been galactically stupid to put it bluntly.  You can only crap on people for so long and anyone with a foot still in the working class community would know  the time was near when what just happened was going to happen.  I did not expect this this year but I did have bets on the table with those who's opinions on politics I value for this happening in 2020.  While race always plays a part in things it is economic conditions which drive the bus and for the working class and middle class it has been abandonment. And they decided that they had to take a flyer on change no matter what the risk and the only choice was Trump because Clinton was clearly not about anything which could help them.

 And if you think this is just a temporary glitch think again.  You have Trump, a Republican Senate, a Republican House, a soon to be more conservative Supreme Court (for a generation or more), 33 Republican Governors, 25 state governments totally controlled by Republicans, another 20 states where the Democrats have to share power with the Republicans and only 4 states totally under Democratic control.  In 2018 the Democrats have to defend 2 out of 3 of the senate seats up for election and 5 of theirs are in Republican states.  It is certain that when the 2020 census comes that election districts will be drawn overwhelmingly by Republicans.  Like it or not you have to admire their planning and execution of a game plan.  And think of this - what happens in the political life of the US if a much larger percentage of the colored and Hispanic working class realizes that they have more in common with the white working class than they do with their masters in the Democratic party? 

So the Black Swan has flown into town.

Where do we go from here?  That is the real question is it not?

I don't post here much anymore as I think the hundreds of posts I have made on where we are going and why have been validated enough that there is no point rubbing it in. 

Fixing climate change left the station years ago as anyone could see if they took their emotions out of the calculus.  We have chose various BAU paths from both sides of the political spectrum and that is just that.  There is no sense crying about it anymore.

What we are seeing is a stage of collapse.  As resources decline stresses between peoples and countries will rise.  They are competing for them after all. The direction we go will be directly dependent on the economic situation of the populations of the various countries as their citizens will brook no other path since the lives of their families depend on that more than anything else. This begets additional bigotry and racism always - and if you think Trump is bad take a look at Modi and the Hindu's in India as they make him look like a piker.  Populist politicians are rising all over the world.  It is the dominant theme in global politics. There are few counties left which are actual democracies in any meaningful sense - and they are going to disappear over the next few decades I expect.  This is not at all likely to change in your lifetimes any more than you are going to see 400ppm co2 levels again. As climate change gets worse and those critical resources dwindle we will regress towards earlier forms of civilizational structures - like it or not.  And there is going to be lots of conflict.

We chose this path and it is a very hard one.  We have passed the point where we could have avoided disaster so disaster it is going to be. Dig in and try and deal with it for if you don't deal with reality it will deal with you.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 15, 2016, 12:46:54 AM
We chose this path and it is a very hard one.  We have passed the point where we could have avoided disaster so disaster it is going to be. Dig in and try and deal with it for if you don't deal with reality it will deal with you.

JimD,

While I agree that there is no point in crying over spilt milk, nevertheless part of preparing oneself for the hard times to come is to continue reaching out for the greater good.

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 15, 2016, 05:11:16 AM
Starters,
McDonalds, Burger King   -   Iconic ,American, beef  so there is a climate link
GM     Every state with a GM plant just went Trump,  gratitude for Obama saving them eight years ago
          Chevy volt is made in Detroit so to maintain a climate link and acknowledge Detroit voting blue
           Chevy Volt not on boycott list
 
There is still a month till Trump begins to dismantle EPA regulations and the rest of the damage he is planning. With each new climate linked decision another name should be added to the Boycott.

What are consumer products that are marketed worldwide that have a climate link and should be added as the Republicans tighten their grip?

These actions are not designed to bring back votes. They are designed to do economic damage in retaliation for damage done to the earths climate systems. The only way to get a voice in  curtailing how far the republicans  are willing to go in their planned dismantlement of our climate protections is to inflict economic damage and make it clear there will be a price to be paid to the " Made in America " brand
if they implement their destructive wish list.

If the republicans don't fear economic retaliation they will be emboldened and carve deeper into more and more climate protections currently in place.

If Trump does walk away from the agreements made in the Paris accords there needs to be a very clear answer from both people worldwide and within the U.S.    Please talk with your wallets !
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 15, 2016, 06:28:59 AM
McDonalds and Burger King are really easy, we have better alternatives here.

Crossposting this link:
https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19 (https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19)

Adding; Maybe not that easy, we once spent a few months at a Ronald McDonald House. I was a bit disturbed by that eleven years ago, today I would probably try to find another solution. Or should one accept charity?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 15, 2016, 07:10:03 AM
McDonalds and Burger King are really easy, we have better alternatives here.


You're right Sleepy, McD's and BK are easy pickings as far as I'm concerned. The western diet of fast food is bad for our health anyways and tends to cause inflammation, i.e. your immune system begins to work against you, etc. Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and was given three to five years to live. In 2013, one pulmonologist suggested I try anti-inflammatory's. They helped a lot but I couldn't tolerate them. I started researching and found a book by a Dr. Chilton called "Inflammation nation".

Since then my wife and I changed our diet, eliminating highly processed foods. We also started taking supplements like fish oil, turmeric and others. Although I have some lung damage  I am alive and well four and a half years after my diagnosis and the disease has not advanced at all in the past two years.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 15, 2016, 08:02:35 AM
I've read this forum and the asi blog for years but registered just to comment here.  In regards to Hillary Clinton,

virtually 100% of the press working on their behalf

That is patently absurd, and reeks of the very same deliberate misinformation that characterized the forces opposed to Clinton.  Right wing radio, a cable television news network devoted to white panic and pushing every conspiracy against Clinton, Sunday news show hosts and an entire MSM apparatus including cable/print/digital that obsessed on Clinton's email server while staying surface on Tump's horrendous behavior and positions, and failing to push back when the various campaign figures and surrogates lied and explained away everything Trump.  Unfiltered broadcasts of Trump rallies and no deep focus on policy differences.  Very little analysis on policy, at all.  The GOP wanted the press to talk about emails and the press complied.  Trump was allowed to not release his tax returns.  Unprecedented.

Clinton was a eminently qualified but not perfect candidate.  She most assuredly did not have the press working on her behalf.  And it should scare the hell out of everyone that this same press that was timid with Trump the candidate is one of the only check points that can stem the tide of extremely damaging and backwards policy and likely deepening of voter suppression coming our way.

The best that we can hope for is the GOP and Trumpists fight and destroy each other beginning immediately.  Democrats and those with no party that care about the ongoing viability of our country should be resisting and obstructing every action from the WH and GOP congress, starting immediately.  Democracy requires an opposition, now the shoe's on the other foot.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 15, 2016, 08:21:13 AM
Good to hear budmantis, just keep on moving, no matter what happens in life.
My daughter almost died from heart failure eleven years ago, that why we stayed at a McDonald House. Apart from their so called food(?), I was annoyed with their charity because franchise takers here have a history of treating their employees poorly, failing to reach minimum wages and also hires dirt cheap labour without papers. Hypocrisy.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 15, 2016, 04:24:58 PM
So, Steve Bannon nominated as White House chief strategist. My head is still there, it didn't explode. I just feel a bit num. Can't go out an compare structures in snowflakes either, it's close to +10°C outside.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 15, 2016, 04:27:18 PM
We chose this path and it is a very hard one.  We have passed the point where we could have avoided disaster so disaster it is going to be. Dig in and try and deal with it for if you don't deal with reality it will deal with you.

JimD,

While I agree that there is no point in crying over spilt milk, nevertheless part of preparing oneself for the hard times to come is to continue reaching out for the greater good.

Best,
ASLR

Ok.  I suppose that is true.  But who gets to define 'the greater good'?  Unfortunately there does not seem to be a single answer.

A great link on this subject lies below.  Illargi can be pretty articulate at times.  His emphasis is pretty much totally towards the financial and he is a little weak on climate change and such.  But what he posted is just about the best I have seen. 

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/ (https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 15, 2016, 05:42:23 PM
So, Steve Bannon nominated as White House chief strategist. My head is still there, it didn't explode. I just feel a bit num. Can't go out an compare structures in snowflakes either, it's close to +10°C outside.

Glad to see one Republican willing to say no to John Bolton becoming Secretary of State!

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/rand-paul-no-john-bolton-trump-231406 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/rand-paul-no-john-bolton-trump-231406)

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 15, 2016, 06:53:00 PM
Ok.  I suppose that is true.  But who gets to define 'the greater good'?  Unfortunately there does not seem to be a single answer.

A great link on this subject lies below.  Illargi can be pretty articulate at times.  His emphasis is pretty much totally towards the financial and he is a little weak on climate change and such.  But what he posted is just about the best I have seen. 

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/ (https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/)

JimD,

Thanks for the link to the article "No More Flyover Country".  While that article promotes Donald J. Trump as the ideal solution to our country's difficulties , the following article entitled: "End of Growth Rise of Trump", uses Raul Ilargi Meijer's own logic to come to a very different conclusion, that Trump will only make our difficult situation worse.

So to address you question of "… who gets to define 'the greater good'?"; in order to gain lucidity on the absurdities of life people need only consider the difference between what actions promote light and what action promote darkness.  Alternately, given our current difficult socio-economic situation Leon C. Megginson offers the following words of advice:

"It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change."

Best of luck,
ASLR

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/11/10/End-of-Growth-Rise-of-Trump/ (http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/11/10/End-of-Growth-Rise-of-Trump/)

Extract: "“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.”
— Albert Camus

The world did not end, but it changed when the United States elected a narcissistic billionaire and racist demagogue as its president.

As Albert Camus once noted, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”  But there is no shortage of such men in politics and commerce at the moment.

Donald Trump’s electoral victory says something significant about the declining state of the global economy as well as the steady demise of the U.S. empire and its white working class.

Some of these truths are self-evident.

The Baby Boom generation, the most destructive and selfish generation in the history of the planet, has made its last political statement.

When economic tides are rising, politics can often be rational and generous. But when an economic tide of plenty runs out, politics will become emotional and authoritarian.

The U.S. is living this deplorable reality. So, too, is Europe.

Clinton didn’t lose the election because she was a privileged white lawyer but because she behaved like a career politician. She pretended real change wasn’t needed and that the status quo was hunky dory.

Powerful oil and gas interests were the election’s biggest winners. And that means much of North America could be fracked and mined to death. Trump knows nothing about energy and even less about climate change, and he has ceded his ignorance to the interests of Big Oil.

Globalization continues to create more discontents than it does billionaires, and this election was very much about the corrosive impact of globalization.

The economist Raúl Ilargi Meijer wrote an interesting essay explaining why there is a Donald Trump in September. He credited Trump’s rise to “the most important global development in decades.”

That development, says Meijer, is “the end of global economic growth, which will lead inexorably to the end of centralization (including globalization). It will also mean the end of the existence of most, and especially the most powerful, international institutions.”

Meijer adds “that the politico-econo-media machine churns out positive growth messages 24/7 goes some way towards explaining the lack of acknowledgement and self-reflection, but only some way. The rest is due to who we ourselves are. We think we deserve eternal growth.”

In the end, neither candidate talked about what mattered: growing climate anarchy; unrelenting economic stagnation; declining energy returns; and the onslaught of robots and algorithms in the workplace, government and home. Trump should remind us of two things and Camus, who understood the nature of tragedy, has expressed them well.

The first is that “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.” Trump embodies that sentiment.

The second is the growing absurdity of it all.

“Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity. And maybe that’s what gives us our joy for living, because the only thing that can defeat absurdity is lucidity.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: be cause on November 15, 2016, 07:21:30 PM
laughing all the way to the bond market :)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Rippleillusion on November 15, 2016, 08:13:16 PM
We chose this path and it is a very hard one.  We have passed the point where we could have avoided disaster so disaster it is going to be. Dig in and try and deal with it for if you don't deal with reality it will deal with you.

JimD,

While I agree that there is no point in crying over spilt milk, nevertheless part of preparing oneself for the hard times to come is to continue reaching out for the greater good.

Best,
ASLR

Ok.  I suppose that is true.  But who gets to define 'the greater good'?  Unfortunately there does not seem to be a single answer.

A great link on this subject lies below.  Illargi can be pretty articulate at times.  His emphasis is pretty much totally towards the financial and he is a little weak on climate change and such.  But what he posted is just about the best I have seen. 

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/ (https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/)

While I do agree that he articulates the political situation far better than most that I've seen, does his refusal to mention the climate emergency not invalidate his basic premise? I'm beyond frustrated seeing people far more intellectual than I refuse to acknowledge the situation. We're on a different planet now. It's an unpredictable, and quite possibly a soon uninhabitable place. To talk about self sufficient communities without even mentioning the incredible challenges they (we) will face from mother nature's revenge seems pointless to me. Why waste his and everybody's time? Are we all under some unspoken rule that we shall assume some incredible best case scenario, since planning for an apocalyptic future seems relatively pointless?

Putting that aside for a second, I have to agree with whomever said that Trump's appointments seem to squash the argument that Trump is going to be the President for "all Americans". This situation is entirely unpredictable, and to assume that he is going to compromise and become more moderate seems like a random and hopeful guess at this point. We will see of course.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 15, 2016, 08:18:37 PM
Putting that aside for a second, I have to agree with whomever said that Trump's appointments seem to squash the argument that Trump is going to be the President for "all Americans".

The linked article is entitled: "Trump's attack dog on climate", and discusses Myron Ebell who is the leading candidate to be Trump's new head of the US EPA.

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/11/trumps-attack-dog-on-climate-000231 (http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2016/11/trumps-attack-dog-on-climate-000231)


Extract: "In the seven weeks since reporters confirmed that climate-change skeptic Myron Ebell would be the head of President-elect Donald Trump's EPA transition team, environmental websites have lit up with worry, and reporters have started to unpack the views of someone referred to as a “climate contrarian” and free-market “public-policy wonk.”"

He views the scientific community as deeply flawed, an arrogant profession prone to sloppy mistakes. Critics views his position on science as mirroring that of the tobacco industry decades ago and they note that Ebell worked on tobacco issues at the ALRA in the 1990s.
“If he deserves credit for anything—I would call it a black mark—it would be taking the tobacco playbook and applying it to climate change,” said Jeremy Symons, the assistant vice president for climate political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund who has clashed with Ebell over the years.

“Myron is a true believer that climate change isn’t real, that corporations left to their own devices will do the right thing and the EPA is the problem, not part of the solution,” said Symons. Moylan called Ebell a “ring leader in the libertarian wing” who is fully convinced that alarmist environmentalists are using the specter of climate change to push through their Big Government agenda.

“The climate denialist world is a very small echo chamber which is almost hermetically sealed from the rest of the climate arena,” said Taylor. He added, “It’s not that different from the alt-right world writ large that we’ve been learning about recently. They have not crossed the radar screens of serious people. But through that neglect, they have grown steadily and increasingly on the right.”

“I got a sick feeling in my gut,” said Symons. “I can’t believe we got to the point when someone who is as unqualified and intellectually dishonest as Myron Ebell has been put in a position of trust for the future of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate we are going to leave our kids.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: SteveMDFP on November 15, 2016, 08:30:28 PM
Starters,
McDonalds, Burger King   -   Iconic ,American, beef  so there is a climate link
GM     Every state with a GM plant just went Trump,  gratitude for Obama saving them eight years ago
          Chevy volt is made in Detroit so to maintain a climate link and acknowledge Detroit voting blue
           Chevy Volt not on boycott list
 
There is still a month till Trump begins to dismantle EPA regulations and the rest of the damage he is planning. With each new climate linked decision another name should be added to the Boycott.

What are consumer products that are marketed worldwide that have a climate link and should be added as the Republicans tighten their grip?

These actions are not designed to bring back votes. They are designed to do economic damage in retaliation for damage done to the earths climate systems. The only way to get a voice in  curtailing how far the republicans  are willing to go in their planned dismantlement of our climate protections is to inflict economic damage and make it clear there will be a price to be paid to the " Made in America " brand
if they implement their destructive wish list.
If the republicans don't fear economic retaliation they will be emboldened and carve deeper into more and more climate protections currently in place.
If Trump does walk away from the agreements made in the Paris accords there needs to be a very clear answer from both people worldwide and within the U.S.    Please talk with your wallets !

Economic boycotts can be highly persuasive.  But simply altering our own spending won't do much.  Far more effective to ANNOUNCE our intentions.  The purpose wouldn't be to exact revenge, but to motivate different corporate and political behavior.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever.  Organized, publicized, ongoing boycott campaigns can provide incentive.

I'd suggest the biggest bang for the buck is boycotts of contributors to Trump and Republican leadership.  We should look at contributors to both official campaigns and aligned Super-PACs.  Call it the "anti-abuse boycott" --- against abuse of the planet, women, and minorities. 

A simple,  widely-announced intent to boycott such organizations can persuade them not to fund the rapists. 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 15, 2016, 09:58:27 PM
laughing all the way to the bond market :)

After reading your comment it is difficult for me to determine what you are laughing about.  But if you are hinting that people are very good at twisting preceived reality to benefit their short-term interest (such as the "Me Generation" baby boomers who will take their substantial assets to the bond market as things get dicey so they can retire in comfort), then the linked article entitled: "Facebook chose to fight fake news with AI, not just user reports", and the second linked article entitled: "It took only 36 hours for these students to solve Facebook's fake-news problem", may soon help in the fight to shine more light in shady areas:

https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/14/facebook-fake-news/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/14/facebook-fake-news/)

Extract: "Facebook built two versions of a fix for clickbait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behavior, a Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch.
Today Facebook was hit with more allegations its distribution of fake news helped elect Donald Trump. A new Gizmodo report saying Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have identified fake news because it would disproportionately demote right-wing news outlets.

According to Facebook, it developed two different options for how the 2016 clickbait update would work. One was a classifier based off the 2015 hoax detector based on user reports, and another was the machine learning classifier built specifically for detecting clickbait via computer algorithm.

Right now, Facebook is damned if does allow fake news to spread because it relies on users to think for themselves, but it’s damned if it doesn’t allow fake news to spread because it makes decisions about what to censor that remove the power of choice from its users. The social network will have to choose its next moves carefully."

In this regards also see the linked article entitled: "It took only 36 hours for these students to solve Facebook's fake-news problem".

http://www.businessinsider.com/students-solve-facebooks-fake-news-problem-in-36-hours-2016-11 (http://www.businessinsider.com/students-solve-facebooks-fake-news-problem-in-36-hours-2016-11)
Extract: "During a hackathon at Princeton University, four college students created one in the form of a Chrome browser extension in just 36 hours. They named their project "FiB: Stop living a lie.""

See also:
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/11/the_problem_with_facebook_runs_much_deeper_than_fake_news.html (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/11/the_problem_with_facebook_runs_much_deeper_than_fake_news.html)

Extract: "In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, Facebook has taken justifiable heat for its role in spreading misinformation and propaganda about the candidates. In particular, its news feed algorithm fueled a cottage industry of fake and intentionally misleading “news” that skewed heavily anti–Hillary Clinton and pro-Trump, according to a BuzzFeed analysis. These falsehoods attracted far more user engagement, on average, than true stories from the same outlets and drowned out earnest attempts by dedicated fact-checking sites such as Snopes to debunk them.

Finally, on Monday night, the company took a concrete step. Following the lead of Google, which made a similar move earlier in the day, Facebook announced that it will ban fake news sites from using its advertising network. It’s a fine start. It is not nearly enough."

& see:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/14/facebook-fake-news-us-election-news-feed-algorithm (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/14/facebook-fake-news-us-election-news-feed-algorithm)

Edit: As a disclaimer, I note that I personally will likely only benefit from a Trump presidency, but I believe that the same cannot be said for my children.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on November 15, 2016, 11:54:42 PM
Here's a comment from a new member that I was late to release (sorry, pileus, and welcome, your account has been set free):

I've read this forum and the asi blog for years but registered just to comment here.  In regards to Hillary Clinton,

virtually 100% of the press working on their behalf

That is patently absurd, and reeks of the very same deliberate misinformation that characterized the forces opposed to Clinton.  Right wing radio, a cable television news network devoted to white panic and pushing every conspiracy against Clinton, Sunday news show hosts and an entire MSM apparatus including cable/print/digital that obsessed on Clinton's email server while staying surface on Tump's horrendous behavior and positions, and failing to push back when the various campaign figures and surrogates lied and explained away everything Trump.  Unfiltered broadcasts of Trump rallies and no deep focus on policy differences.  Very little analysis on policy, at all.  The GOP wanted the press to talk about emails and the press complied.  Trump was allowed to not release his tax returns.  Unprecedented.

Clinton was a eminently qualified but not perfect candidate.  She most assuredly did not have the press working on her behalf.  And it should scare the hell out of everyone that this same press that was timid with Trump the candidate is one of the only check points that can stem the tide of extremely damaging and backwards policy and likely deepening of voter suppression coming our way.

The best that we can hope for is the GOP and Trumpists fight and destroy each other beginning immediately.  Democrats and those with no party that care about the ongoing viability of our country should be resisting and obstructing every action from the WH and GOP congress, starting immediately.  Democracy requires an opposition, now the shoe's on the other foot.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 16, 2016, 07:28:43 AM
I was waiting for someone else to respond to Pileus's comments, but with no takers as yet, I thought I'd throw in some random thoughts. Welcome Pileus and I hope you don't mind some disagreement on what you are asserting. I think the mainstream media was definitely on the side of Clinton, while Fox and conservative talk shows were on Trump's side. This was an anti-status quo election. If Bernie had the Democratic nomination (whether he was cheated out of it is another story), the Democrats had a better chance to win than with Clinton.

The momentum in favor of a rogue candidate was so strong that an establishment candidate like Clinton could not achieve separation, despite all the missteps by Trump. In 2008 or 2012, Trump would not have made it out of the primaries. His campaign would have been akin to Herman Cain's. 2016 turned out to be totally different. Any other year and Clinton would have won by a landslide, but this year, any status quo candidate would be fighting an uphill battle.

Looking back at the primaries, Jeb Bush had plenty of funding and would have been a shoe in as a  Republican establishment candidate. Not in 2016, it was like Trump was riding a wave from a perfect storm. He just happened to be at the right place at the right time. He also got an assist from James Comey in the last ten days before the election.

Speaking for myself, I found it extremely hard to pull the lever for Clinton. I never would have voted for Trump, but would have preferred one of other candidates as a protest vote. A lot of voters pulled the lever for Trump due to deep frustration with status quo politics in this country. Most of my sibs and in-laws voted for Trump for that very reason. Eight years ago, they would have preferred Clinton over Obama. Go figure!

I'm sure there are many members of this blog that are better at analyzing this than I. I tend to suffer from the "paralysis of analysis", but I do the best I can! So here is my take, for what it's worth.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 16, 2016, 11:48:08 AM
I also think Sanders would've had a better chance. Clinton made up her climate change policy along the way since last year. To me it was a choice of selecting the least evil.

Jumping out of the American bubble, whats next for Europe? Populists here in Sweden are cheering and they are gaining popularity, Finland seems to be the sober nation right now as their populist party is loosing support.
Next election in Europe will be Austria, in December. In 2017 elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany will follow. All with strong populistic winds. Spice things up with the potential powder kegs in Ukraine and Estonia.
Which bubble will pop next?

Then add the rest of the unrest, to complete the big bubble.

An article by Reuters today:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-accord-idUSKBN13A12Z (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-accord-idUSKBN13A12Z)
Quote
I am sure he will make a fast and wise decision" on the Paris Agreement, Ban said, saying he had spoken to Trump by telephone after his victory and planned to meet him.
Maybe an overly positive statement, beacuse further down (and what I rambled about last week in the election thread):
Quote
A source on Trump's transition team said the president-elect is seeking ways of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement within a year, by-passing a theoretical four-year wait.
A final quote about zombies waking up:
Quote
Shares in coal producer Peabody, in bankruptcy proceedings,[BTUUQ.PK] have surged 63 percent since the election, and shares in Arch Coal in the United States were up 19 percent.
What comes to mind when I hear Peabody, is this:
http://youtu.be/DEy6EuZp9IY (http://youtu.be/DEy6EuZp9IY)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on November 16, 2016, 12:40:01 PM
I don't post here much anymore as I think the hundreds of posts I have made on where we are going and why have been validated enough that there is no point rubbing it in. 
JimD thank you for your (as usual) excellent post. The fact that a future prediction is depressing doesn't mean it should be avoided or ignored.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 16, 2016, 05:18:54 PM
As JimD's main focus has been on limiting world population, I provide the following link to an article entitled: "Africa's Population Growth Could Undermine Sustainability Goals".  I suspect than Trump's isolationist tendencies will make it more likely that African birthrate will remain higher that if the USA were to remain more proactive in Africa (as Obama currently is):

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/africas-population-growth-could-undermine-sustainability-goals (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/africas-population-growth-could-undermine-sustainability-goals)

Summary: "If the world’s fertility rates remain constant, global population would more than triple and reach 26 billion by the end of the century. However, many demographers assume fertility rates will ease. The most commonly used projection assumes that global fertility rates decline to 2 births per women from the present global average of 2.5 births – suggesting that the world’s population will climb to 11 billion just before the end of the century. In either scenario, Africa is rapidly growing with 20 African nations posting fertility rates in excess of five children per woman. Demographer Joseph Chamie argues that stabilization of world population is the paramount issue of the 21st century, and he urges policymakers to aim for this goal: “To do otherwise jeopardizes efforts to achieve universally adopted sustainable development goals, including ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 16, 2016, 05:20:14 PM
I think the mainstream media was definitely on the side of Clinton, while Fox and conservative talk shows were on Trump's side.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS. “The money’s rolling in, and this is fun. It’s a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

Jeff Zucker, CNN president and former head of NBC entertainment:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/jeff-zuckers-singular-role-in-promoting-donald-trumps-rise/2016/10/02/7c3d4366-865b-11e6-a3ef-f35afb41797f_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/jeff-zuckers-singular-role-in-promoting-donald-trumps-rise/2016/10/02/7c3d4366-865b-11e6-a3ef-f35afb41797f_story.html)

Fox and conservative shows on Trump's side?  You betcha.  Fox spent the last eight years dealing in extreme opinion and conspiracy theory denigrating Obama and Clinton, 24/7.  Right wing radio, 24/7.

The MSM was assuredly not interested in anything but promoting Donald Trump, for ratings and clicks, and therefore $$$ revenue.  The essence of the power of the free press is to serve as a bulwark against a would-be dictator or authoritarian.  The US system has been put at risk, in the name of short term media profits.  Kind of sounds like the deal with climate change deniers and vested fossil fuel interests.  Does this excuse Clinton's weaknesses as a candidate?  No.  But to assert that the MSM was aligned in her favor suggests an alternate lens of reality.

If Bernie had the Democratic nomination (whether he was cheated out of it is another story), the Democrats had a better chance to win than with Clinton.

Senator Sanders (I-VT) chances were better based on what?  This is a strawman.  The polls that suggested he could beat Trump?  From the same polling outfits that proved to be absolutely wrong for the entire cycle?  Sanders would have been absolutely filleted by the conservative media machine.  The CEO of Trump's campaign, now tapped to be chief WH strategist, is a raging anti-Semite, and would have had a field day with the Socialist Jew template.  Do you realize that "free college tuition" is a red meat issue for conservatives?  The rural and white "working class" see this as another redistribution scheme to benefit the children of elites.  Sanders would have been on the defense on this and other key parts of his agenda.  The noise would have drowned his message, and he would not have been able to deal with it effectively.

The "Bernie was cheated" meme is another strawman.  He failed to win enough votes against Clinton, the majority of primary participants did not want him as the nominee.  Is it shocking that the DNC and other party machinery would do everything, even conspire, to ensure that a non-Democrat was defeated by the strongest Democratic candidate? 

Speaking for myself, I found it extremely hard to pull the lever for Clinton.

Yes, that thought assuredly went through the minds of many men when it came time to make a selection.  You have all of the information about Trump and his lack of experience, his flawed character, his threats against so many groups, and Clinton is a known factor and eminently qualified to do the job, and you know she has faced decades of being made into a cartoon character by right wing media.  You care about climate change, and you know Donald Trump thinks it's a hoax by the Chinese.  Yet, you still find it hard to pull the lever, for a woman.  Yes, that was certainly a factor that many men could not overcome.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on November 16, 2016, 07:29:36 PM
Yes, that thought assuredly went through the minds of many men when it came time to make a selection.  You have all of the information about Trump and his lack of experience, his flawed character, his threats against so many groups, and Clinton is a known factor and eminently qualified to do the job, and you know she has faced decades of being made into a cartoon character by right wing media.  You care about climate change, and you know Donald Trump thinks it's a hoax by the Chinese.  Yet, you still find it hard to pull the lever, for a woman.  Yes, that was certainly a factor that many men could not overcome.

pileus, although I'm not a US citizen and haven't voted I do resent your tone and especially the insinuation about misogyny. Hillary represented the status quo, at a time when for many reasons the status quo is no longer a good option. Bernie Sanders (on the good side) and Donald Trump (on the bad side) represented a big kick to the status quo. Unfortunately Bernie fell in the first round, in part due to her control of the Democratic party machine, and only the Donald remained. Her being a woman had little to do with it. Her being unable/unwilling to change many things had a lot to do with it.
I do agree though about the 24/7 right-wing media machine, it tends to accumulate a big effect over time.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 16, 2016, 08:52:04 PM

Speaking for myself, I found it extremely hard to pull the lever for Clinton.

 Yet, you still find it hard to pull the lever, for a woman.  Yes, that was certainly a factor that many men could not overcome.

I decided to not reprise your entire rant Pileus, it would have been a waste of space. We obviously differ considerably over what occurred this past election cycle and I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you about the details. I stated my opinion and you can take it or leave it. One item I have to take exception to is your inference that I didn't want to vote for Clinton because she was a woman. That simply is not the case and I thank Oren for taking you to task over that.

Being new to the Forum, you certainly started off with guns blazing. You might want to listen more and stop drawing conclusions on little to no evidence.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 17, 2016, 07:39:23 PM
pileus, although I'm not a US citizen and haven't voted I do resent your tone and especially the insinuation about misogyny. Hillary represented the status quo, at a time when for many reasons the status quo is no longer a good option. Bernie Sanders (on the good side) and Donald Trump (on the bad side) represented a big kick to the status quo. Unfortunately Bernie fell in the first round, in part due to her control of the Democratic party machine, and only the Donald remained. Her being a woman had little to do with it. Her being unable/unwilling to change many things had a lot to do with it.
I do agree though about the 24/7 right-wing media machine, it tends to accumulate a big effect over time.

You don't understand the level of misogyny in the US, especially among white males.  You can't, it's not your fault, as you indicated you are not a US citizen.  It's pervasive.  It's one of the last barriers to the office of the President.  The US has overcome the electoral barrier of race, religious sect, even mental impairment (GW Bush).  Gender is the line in the sand that many voters can't yet cross.  It's not a view held by everyone, but it's enough to make a difference.

Tell me, what do women in the US earn on average for comparable work?

Clinton was criticized by the talking heads for:  not smiling enough, smiling too much, being too serious, laughing too much, having a shrill voice, shouting too much, her hair styles, her manner of dress.  Trump held to these criteria?  Nope.  Trump and his surrogates constantly claimed Clinton lacked stamina, implying manly testosterone was a requirement for office.

In the last debate Trump hurled the insult, "such a nasty woman".  Why do you think he used the qualifier "woman"?  If his counterpart had been a male, do you honestly think he would have said, "such a nasty man"? 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 17, 2016, 09:47:15 PM

I decided to not reprise your entire rant Pileus, it would have been a waste of space. We obviously differ considerably over what occurred this past election cycle and I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you about the details. I stated my opinion and you can take it or leave it. One item I have to take exception to is your inference that I didn't want to vote for Clinton because she was a woman. That simply is not the case and I thank Oren for taking you to task over that.

Being new to the Forum, you certainly started off with guns blazing. You might want to listen more and stop drawing conclusions on little to no evidence.

I read through the "poll" thread and I appreciate the cognitive process you shared in the run up to the vote.  It was also interesting to see your comment that, because of Bill Clinton's time in office, Hillary Clinton would therefore likely have a scandal-ridden term.  That was a not insignificant theme with many voters, and of course a major attack line from the right, that Hillary the wife should be held accountable for Bill her husband's actions.  You seem to be an astute observer, so of course you realize that the scandal brush used to paint Hillary Clinton is mainly of the cartoon sketch variety by the RW.  She's never been convicted of any wrong doing, period.

In any case, I'll take your word that misogyny didn't play a factor in your hesitation with Clinton.  To me it was a simple binary choice: Hillary was extremely qualified and competent for the job, and I discounted Donald as a legitimate authority on anything back in 2011 when he was the de facto leader of the Birther movement.  Racism and xenophobia are non-starters for me.

My list of reasons on why Trump got elected are, loosely:

1. White panic and supremacist mindset in the largest electoral bloc, fed and encouraged by Trump and the RW media machine

2. Systematic and organized voter suppression efforts of Democratic blocs by the national GOP, state level officials, county poll workers, and the Supreme Court conservatives (weakening of voting rights provisions; just read scalia's and Thomas's opinions).  The GOP made a conscious decision to reject their 2012 postmortem regarding demographic challenges, and instead doubled down on restricting the ability of "certain" people to vote.  What is more antithetical to the idea of democracy than that? IMO it is the most dangerous aspect of all with regard to the US conservative mindset.

3. Russian influence and contrarian forces in the US FBI.  I consider these equally horrible, and it should be frightening to US residents that a significant part of US law enforcement structures, federal and local, are friendly to Trump. 

4. Misogyny, along with the decades long RW effort to cast Clinton as a demonic force.

5.  Clinton's leadership and organizational deficiencies. Overly careful.  She was outflanked by Obama in the 2008 primaries.  She made adjustments for the 2016 general, but it wasn't enough to overcome the factors above.  Kaine was not a good pick for VP.  I would have preferred Warren (as an explicit nod to the progressive wing to build trust) or Franken (he would have been a perfect comedic foil to both Pence and Trimp, as for some reason the US electorate demands entertainment and comedy in their elections).

I'm skeptical that Trump will actually take office in January.  If he does, it's likely he will face impeachment in short order.  Otherwise, I would fully expect a homeland attack inspired by AQ or ISIS before summer.  Trump is their guy, and we all know how Trump would recklessly respond, here and abroad. Think we have a repressive surveillance state now?  Just wait.

You should reconsider spending time at the Hard Rock Tampa.  I've done very well there in the poker room over the years.  Florida deplorables are easy marks.  You just need to observe the corners of their mouths and eyes, and their pupils.  I assume most of them will have red hats now, so they'll be even easier to identify for economic stimulus purposes.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 17, 2016, 11:18:45 PM
What Bill Clinton did is on him, not Hillary. If my post on that subject seemed to imply she was also to blame for his indiscretions, then I need to be a little clearer next time.  Although there is no evidence of wrongdoing and she has been cleared by the FBI (twice), the Republicans would have continued to harp on her as President, which would have distracted her greatly during her first term and probably only term. She also had high unfavorability ratings. Nevertheless, I did vote for her and would have been pleased to see her as the first woman President. Looking forward, Eliz. Warren may well be the Democratic nominee in 2020 and I will enthusiastically vote for her.

The only poker I played at the casino was video poker, and mostly slots. Glad you're doing well with poker and outwitting those "deplorables". I'll stay away though because not only do they not serve free booze, they even charge for parking!

Great post by the way, well thought out. Thanks.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on November 17, 2016, 11:24:39 PM
1) Powerful women such as Indira Gandhi, Srimavo Bandaranaike, Corazon Aquino, Dilma Rousseff do no exactly hail from gender equal societies. The argument that the USA is more misogynistic than India, Sri Lanka, the Plillipines or Brazil is weak.

2) In the list of reasons presented by Pileus for Trump's victory, I do not see economics. Crediting solely those reasons for Clinton's defeat will ensure continuing losses for the Democratic Party. 

sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 17, 2016, 11:42:00 PM
Crediting solely those reasons for Clinton's defeat will ensure continuing losses for the Democratic Party. 

sidd

The linked article is entitled: "Is empathy a luxury in the age of Trump?", and features an interview with the renowned sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild.  ARH warns against objectifying Trump followers in simple categories such as: racists, misogynists, deplorables, etc.

http://news.berkeley.edu/berkeley_blog/is-empathy-a-luxury-in-the-age-of-trump/ (http://news.berkeley.edu/berkeley_blog/is-empathy-a-luxury-in-the-age-of-trump/)

Extract: "The election of Barack Obama marked the emergence of the Tea Party, a radical right-wing movement that challenged the Republican establishment and ultimately fueled the rise of Donald Trump.

We discussed her research for Strangers in Their Own Land, what it could tell us about how divided America has become—and how we might begin to bridge our differences.

Emotions are at the bottom of anybody’s political beliefs. Those emotions are evoked by a story that feels true. So a deep story is a story that feels true. You take facts out of a deep story, you take moral judgments out of a story.

Their deep story is that you’re waiting in line, as in a pilgrimage. At the top of the hill is the American Dream. The line hasn’t moved. You really deserve to move forward, because you’ve done what everyone said you should do. Why isn’t it moving?

Then you see people who are cutting into line ahead of you—they’re blacks, women, immigrants—who are taking jobs formerly reserved for white men. Then you see Barack Obama, who is supposed to be supervising the line, actually signaling to the line-cutters. He’s their sponsor. He looks like them. He’s a line-cutter himself.

Then you realize that the federal government is actually their government—the government of the line-cutters. He’s their president. He’s supporting them. And in essence, he is the instrument of your marginalization, pushing you backwards. And then you see someone ahead of you in line who turns around and adds insult to injury by saying, “Oh, you’re just a redneck.”

All of this is going on while you, in fact, are not feeling good about yourself. In a way, you’re kind of in mourning for a lost identity and way of life—a life with good, union-supported industrial jobs. And you feel like there’s no one who sees your distress. You’ve been in line for a long time, and each of those line-cutters seems to be saying, through identity politics, “Poor me, oh, poor me.”

You do not believe in identity politics. You don’t say, “I’m a white man and I’m waiting in line, too.” Because you have an ethic that says you shouldn’t call on people’s pity or sympathy. You just obey the rules and work hard. And so there’s something dishonorable about what they have done. At the same time—and here’s your conflict—you do feel like a forgotten minority group. So without believing in a culture of victimhood, you feel like a victim.

And then you have Donald Trump come along and say, “Hey, you are a victim, and it’s OK. You are a stranger in your own land, and I am your guy. I’m representing you.”

JAS: In your book, you write: “Race seemed everywhere in the physical surroundings, but almost nowhere in spontaneous direct talk.” Barack Obama’s election catalyzed the Tea Party movement, and you describe, in your book, some racially-charged attitudes toward the president. Based on your interviews, to what degree do you think the Tea Party and Trump’s campaign were fueled by racial fears?

ARH: I think, definitely, they were fueled by racial fears. But you have to understand the deeper story that those racial fears are embedded in. When you say, “Oh, it’s racism,” then you’ve suddenly objectified the person. “Oh, they’re an evil racist and sexist, and they’re not educated.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on November 17, 2016, 11:57:38 PM
2) In the list of reasons presented by Pileus for Trump's victory, I do not see economics. Crediting solely those reasons for Clinton's defeat will ensure continuing losses for the Democratic Party. 

sidd
That was my thought exactly. Especially as several blue-collar Dem states flipped this year and turned the election result. Of course all those factors mentioned by Pileus played their part, but still the main underlying reason was economics, and more specifically the feeling of a large electorate that they have been left behind economically, while the statistics tell of a growing economy and the rich only become richer. Such people listen more easily to propaganda.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 18, 2016, 12:12:41 AM
1) Powerful women such as Indira Gandhi, Srimavo Bandaranaike, Corazon Aquino, Dilma Rousseff do no exactly hail from gender equal societies. The argument that the USA is more misogynistic than India, Sri Lanka, the Plillipines or Brazil is weak.

2) In the list of reasons presented by Pileus for Trump's victory, I do not see economics. Crediting solely those reasons for Clinton's defeat will ensure continuing losses for the Democratic Party. 

sidd

Quote my post to show where there was a relative comparison of misogyny in other countries (tip:  you can't, because it didn't happen).  The essence, since you missed it:  American structures, systems, and opportunities have long been set up to favor American born white males.  The US was founded on white male supremacy.  It's both obvious and subtle. 

Economics?  You mean a record period of job creation and 95.1% employment?  Most people even in the Rust Belt understand that manufacturing is not coming back, and even if so it would be largely automated.  Trump can't change that.  For many here "economic anxiety" is a cover for failure to adapt in a changing world, and a reaction to the expanding Hispanic demographic.  Trumps supporters won't hold him accountable for his failure to deliver on his economic proposals, as long as he continues to antagonize Mexicans, Muslims, and "others".  Just watch.

Continuing losses for the Democratic Party?  Most Americans prefer Democratics in general, and Democratic economic policies specifically.  6 of the last 7 Presidential popular votes won by the Democrat.  2014 House cumulative votes flavored democrats, and likely in 2016.  Refer back to my comments about systemic and organized voter suppression.  Republicans understand the dynamics, and they know they can't win at the ballot box on their policies and ideas alone.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 18, 2016, 12:45:44 AM
Good catch, ASLR. I had a general sense of that dynamic, but the extract you quote from says it quite clearly. I would add that it is not just white men that have these stories. More white women voted for Trump than for Clinton, iirc. And in my neighborhood, which has a very high concentration of immigrants as well as African American, many Blacks have similar views about immigrants with similar resentments.

One disappointment I had with Obama is that he didn't make these issues a more prominent, open national discussion. If he had, perhaps some people could see where their 'stories' do not always mesh with reality. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps presenting it, at least, people may have felt that their side of the story was being told. Of course, it would be even better if he also had an even more vigorous vision for bringing back jobs to rural America and some other sections of the economy. I don't think he got enough credit for the advances (which plinius points out) that he did achieve, though.

....
 I pretty much agree with pileus's position here
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 18, 2016, 02:23:38 AM
I am surprised and pleased to say that I pretty much agree with plinius's position here (surprised because on some other cases I find myself in disagreement with his positions and demeanor.)

I assumed I might be confused with that member.  ;-)

White women can be much more racist that white men.  Sadly, for some of them hatred of "others" trumps any concerns about a sexual abuser occupying the Oval Office.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on November 18, 2016, 05:30:02 AM
1) "American structures, systems, and opportunities have long been set up to favor American born white males."

Agreed. But other countries who have elected women have even more lopsided patriachal structure also, yet women triumphed electorally. The answer might be of interest, and ties into the economic argument, that these women won by promising the poor a better chance.

2) Re: Economics and the Trump victory. Please see

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/ (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/)

There is a similar article in the washington post, but less well sourced.

sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on November 18, 2016, 06:00:24 AM
D'oh!

Sorry, pileus. Thanks. Fixed.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 18, 2016, 07:08:43 AM
1) "American structures, systems, and opportunities have long been set up to favor American born white males."

Agreed. But other countries who have elected women have even more lopsided patriachal structure also, yet women triumphed electorally. The answer might be of interest, and ties into the economic argument, that these women won by promising the poor a better chance.

2) Re: Economics and the Trump victory. Please see

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/ (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/)

There is a similar article in the washington post, but less well sourced.

sidd

It's a good read, thank you.  It's also a case study in people voting against their own interests.  Trump can't do anything to change the march of technology or globalization.  If anything his proposals will slow the overall economy, and of course the worst will be felt in those very same areas.  When they see and feel his failures, they will not hold him responsible as long as he continues the rhetoric against Mexicans and Muslims, and the RW machine will be right there to cast blame on Obama and Dems.

I'd like to take some economically anxious folks from areas with routine jobs and introduce them to people I've met in Manila.  People that ride on shoddy buses 3 hours each way to work, to support the four generations of family that are crowded in a small apartment.  If Americans in depressed areas just wait for the government or a strong man to fix things, they'll just be waiting forever.  They should turn off Fox News, stop stealing grandma's Percocet, and try to improve their situations.

What will be interesting is as climate change forces dislocation along the US East Coast, where do the coastal elites and the supporting cast of lower wage service workers end up?  To the Rust Belt states?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Csnavywx on November 18, 2016, 01:08:24 PM
1) Powerful women such as Indira Gandhi, Srimavo Bandaranaike, Corazon Aquino, Dilma Rousseff do no exactly hail from gender equal societies. The argument that the USA is more misogynistic than India, Sri Lanka, the Plillipines or Brazil is weak.

2) In the list of reasons presented by Pileus for Trump's victory, I do not see economics. Crediting solely those reasons for Clinton's defeat will ensure continuing losses for the Democratic Party. 

sidd

Quote my post to show where there was a relative comparison of misogyny in other countries (tip:  you can't, because it didn't happen).  The essence, since you missed it:  American structures, systems, and opportunities have long been set up to favor American born white males.  The US was founded on white male supremacy.  It's both obvious and subtle. 

Economics?  You mean a record period of job creation and 95.1% employment?  Most people even in the Rust Belt understand that manufacturing is not coming back, and even if so it would be largely automated.  Trump can't change that.  For many here "economic anxiety" is a cover for failure to adapt in a changing world, and a reaction to the expanding Hispanic demographic.  Trumps supporters won't hold him accountable for his failure to deliver on his economic proposals, as long as he continues to antagonize Mexicans, Muslims, and "others".  Just watch.

Continuing losses for the Democratic Party?  Most Americans prefer Democratics in general, and Democratic economic policies specifically.  6 of the last 7 Presidential popular votes won by the Democrat.  2014 House cumulative votes flavored democrats, and likely in 2016.  Refer back to my comments about systemic and organized voter suppression.  Republicans understand the dynamics, and they know they can't win at the ballot box on their policies and ideas alone.

If you're basing it on duration alone, then yes. Strength, no. Also, unemployment numbers do not reflect a) job quality (where wages are a proxy), b) underemployment, and c) labor force participation rate, which are all important metrics and which are all (still) anemic.

Like sidd mentioned, if the Dems stick with solely the strategy mentioned and don't include the economic side and the problems of the forgotten man, they'll lose again. It's important to get it right, because the consequences of getting it wrong again are dire.

Painting the entirety of Trump voters with the same brush is the same mistake that Dems eviscerate Republicans for. It's also hypocrisy.

I'm not the only one:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/jon-stewart-nobody-asked-donald-trump-what-makes-america-great-165854259.html (https://www.yahoo.com/news/jon-stewart-nobody-asked-donald-trump-what-makes-america-great-165854259.html)

 
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on November 18, 2016, 06:29:03 PM
If you're basing it on duration alone, then yes. Strength, no. Also, unemployment numbers do not reflect a) job quality (where wages are a proxy), b) underemployment, and c) labor force participation rate, which are all important metrics and which are all (still) anemic.

Like sidd mentioned, if the Dems stick with solely the strategy mentioned and don't include the economic side and the problems of the forgotten man, they'll lose again. It's important to get it right, because the consequences of getting it wrong again are dire.

Painting the entirety of Trump voters with the same brush is the same mistake that Dems eviscerate Republicans for. It's also hypocrisy.

I'm not the only one:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/jon-stewart-nobody-asked-donald-trump-what-makes-america-great-165854259.html (https://www.yahoo.com/news/jon-stewart-nobody-asked-donald-trump-what-makes-america-great-165854259.html)

No, all Republicans are not racists and xenophobes.  But Trump's core agenda is based on...racism and xenophobia.  And people were wildly enthusiastic to that message, and turned out for that in this cycle. I think the "forgotten man" above is the forgotten white man.  Addressing the economic situation of the forgotten man with an agenda and policies that dilute or restrict the rights of minorities and ethnic groups is still...racism and xenophobia. 

It's the height of hypocrisy to hear the GOP nominee, and the entire RW media machine, harp on Muslims, Mexicans, and others as America's greatest problem, and not admit that it's racist and xenophobic.

I can't believe some of this analysis that the Democratic agenda is all of a sudden ignoring or not geared towards the populations in lower socioeconomic groups. Hillary Clinton was not going to be dishonest and say coal jobs are coming back, or all the manufacturing jobs from the 70s are coming back.  If that was the difference in the three Rust Belt states where about 100K votes swung the electoral college, those folks are going to be sorely disappointed in the next few years.  But Trump and the GOP will be right there to blame....Mexicans, and "others".   

Let's not forget that Hillary Clinton is on track to have the 3rd highest popular vote total in US presidential election history.  More than any white Republican man, ever.  That's a rejection of Democratic economic policy?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: oren on November 19, 2016, 02:17:55 PM
No one disputes that Trump's messages were racist and xenophobic. But people are more open to such messages when their economy is bad.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: JimD on November 20, 2016, 04:48:22 PM
Well I guess the forum has a new troll.

Lots of BS there but I don't know that I care to respond in any detail other than to say it is more repeating of misguided and/or inaccurate themes than anything else. 

I had a discussion with my wife on our morning walk today on a very related subject matter.  She by the way was a very strong Clinton supporter (even though she agreed that all of the prime complaints about Clinton were accurate) for the sole reason (which she readily admitted to) was that Clinton was a woman and she felt it was time for a woman to run things.  I on the other hand was dead set against either Trump or Clinton (Sanders supporter here).

The discussion we had was on the relative election strategy and tactics of the two camps during and before the campaign.  There should be no argument at this point to which camp had the better plan and execution.  Clinton and the Democrats election operations can only be characterized as incompetent.  Trump on the other hand (entering the 'contest' as a complete neophyte) systematically dismantled the two biggest political machines built in America over the last 80 years - the Clinton and Bush machines.  He also dispatched 14 (or was it 16) experienced political rivals in the Republican party as well as over powering the Republican establishment. He carried the Republican party into an election result which (if they do not squander it) will allow them to hold political power overall in America for at least 6 years and possibly for much longer.  I have been arguing with a host of people involved in a wide variety of interests that range from climate change, progressive politics, environmentalism, national security issues and such for some time that something like this was coming as the various players running the political system were ignoring the constituencies which Trump reached out to with his rhetoric.  The demonizing of any large group of people over a long period of time while at the same time you are destroying their ability to have a quality life cannot end well.  And this is what the Democrats AND the Republicans have been doing for decades now.  When Clinton repeated Romney's statement about the worthless 40% of Americans by referring to them as 'deplorables' as I saw on the news one night I turned to my wife and told her that Clinton probably just threw her chances of winning the election in the trash.

Trump executed a plan to draw support from the working class and the middle class voters who have been deliberately left behind in Americas economic planning over the last 30 years.  And don't try and tell me that this did not happen or was not a plan as I would remind you that I have told you before that my brother was one of the economic architects of this plan some 30 years ago and he described its intent quite clearly back then (labor arbitrage between working class and middle class workers across the world in order to vastly increase profits for large corporations like his by driving down wages in places like the US.  He was the chief of North American operations for a Fortune 500 corp).  So Trump executed a plan along a populist political theme.  Clinton could have countered this just by selling herself to working class voters and bothering to campaign in the locations where their votes were electorally important - as some Democratic strategists tried to get her to do.  But her cluelessness about the importance of these voters and their legitimate interests led her to make a galactically significant strategic mistake. 

Additional reasons Clinton fell on her face was that she did not understand the electorate all that well.  Why did she not do as well as Obama did with white women and men, blacks overall, Hispanics overall, working class voters?  You cannot say it was because of Trumps supposed racism  and misogyny now can you?  Clearly not.  Dog whistling goes both ways and both sides were using it.  But working class people of all colors and cultures know that they are being screwed by the establishment Democrats and Republicans and some of them - no matter what they thought of Trump personally - could not or would not vote for Clinton. 

Working and middle class people have legitimate interests which are systematically being activly ignored and deliberately being undermined.  These people are not stupid and some of them - only some of them - have reached the point where it rationally makes more sense to them to take a flyer on someone like Trump because he offers change.  And no they are not naive about the likelyhood of this leap working, they just know that it is their only chance as the Democrats and Republicans have proven they will not do anything for them.  Two bad choices obviously.  But one offered no hope and the one they took they see as having some chance.  Right or wrong this choice makes rational sense.  Now think what happens if a growing percentage of Black and Hispanic voters can be persuaded that their best option lies in this direction.  After all it is definitely true that working class people, no matter what their color, culture or race may be, have a LOT more in common with each other than they do to the 1% who own and control people from the Establishment parts of the parties.  There is huge fertile ground laying in front of the Trump administration to plant some seeds in.  He got 4-5% of the Blacks and Hispanics to not vote for Clinton.  If he can pull just a few more percent next time he wins again most likely.  It is hardly impossible and he has clearly demonstrated the ability to see this far.  The Democratic party had better throw out most of its leadership and return to its roots of advocating for the working class and middle class if it was success in the future.

Populism has a bright political future in a declining world.  Italy may be the next to go this way and it is pretty certain that this type of politics will grow much stronger.  It comes with our ongoing collapse and will get worse as climate change and collapse worsen.

ALSR

I agree with that article you linked to a great extent, but I do not interpret it as a refutation of Illargi's post.  It actually confirms the broad themes of what I think as well as Illargi's body of work.  Yes, Illargi is not fully educated in all the aspects of climate change - as I have pointed out he is somewhat weak on this subject - but taking that into account the two articles meld pretty well.  No one can know it all and we have to look for where there is value and combine it with value found elsewhere.  It is the systems approach.  Additionally regarding your statement about choosing the light or darkness I would point out that the vast majority of what we live and what is available for us to choose between can only be described in shades of grey.

Regards

ps sorry for any grammer mistakes and spelling - I am in a hurry as I have other requirements to respond to today.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 20, 2016, 05:37:42 PM
While Trump supporter want to live in the past and fixate on Hillary Clinton, the future holds an increasingly divided nation as illustrated by the linked article entitled: "If Trump quits, California could apply to join UN climate talks".  Trump will pretend to be leading a populist revolt (even though he did not win the major of votes), but in actuality he will just be enabling special interests, like the Koch Brothers, to benefit at the people's expense:


http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/11/17/if-trump-quits-california-could-apply-to-join-un-climate-talks/?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=b908482ce9-Today_s_Climate12_10_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-b908482ce9-326462105 (http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/11/17/if-trump-quits-california-could-apply-to-join-un-climate-talks/?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=b908482ce9-Today_s_Climate12_10_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-b908482ce9-326462105)


Extract: "If Donald Trump pulls the US out of the UN climate process in early 2017, the world’s sixth largest economy could try and fill the sizeable hole it leaves.
Asked by Climate Home on Thursday if the golden state could replace the United States, California senate leader Kevin De Leon said it was an “option that I want to keep open”.
Legal experts at Harvard and Yale were already researching if a sub-national body could join the UN climate talks he said, but added this would be a “political decision”.
“We will continue to be active in the international movement to address climate change,” said De Leon, who branded Trump’s threat to the UN process as a “jobs killer”.
“To the extent the UN wants to coordinate with work we are doing we are more than willing to take part in these discussions,” he added.

Traditionally only states have been members of the UN climate body, although there are exceptions to the rule such as the EU and the Holy See.

A spokesperson for the UN climate body appeared to nix California’s chances, telling Climate Home that “only national governments” could join.

But the UN convention on climate change appears to allow for some flexibility: “Any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, which is qualified in matters covered by the Convention, and which has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a session of the Conference of the Parties as an observer, may be so admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object.”

Still, Jake Schmidt, head of international climate policy the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading US NGO, said Governor Jerry Brown’s administration “should definitely consider it”."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Csnavywx on November 21, 2016, 12:06:46 AM
The "did not win popular vote" line borders (to me) on a canard. That's not how the election is fought and that makes a difference in the final vote. If the rules were set for a pure popular vote (a good idea on paper - but horrible in practice - a discussion for another thread), the results would most likely have been different. It's not an apples to apples comparison. Republicans do not spend much time in dense, urban Democratic strongholds and their related states because their chances of winning those areas on an Electoral College map are not very significant. This creates a cycle of underinvestment in campaigning where the popular vote in those states (like California) goes heavily in favor of one candidate. If it were a popular vote-only race, you'd see far more money and campaigning going on in those regions and thus, most likely a reduction in Democratic popular vote in those states. The inverse isn't necessarily true because a significant portion of the Republican vote is in rural and exurb areas that are harder to reach and get turnout for in the case of a Democratic candidate.

At any rate, the failure of the DNC and the party in general was taking for granted that the Rust Belt states were a "given" and virtually no time or money need be spent there. As we just saw, almost the entire Rust Belt flipped. This is also the region left behind by globalization and free trade agreements. Economic despair goes hand in hand with populism and a strengthening of xenophobic and racist elements. We saw this first-hand in Europe over the past several years. We saw this in the lead up to WWII. Folks look around for someone to blame for their predicament. It's at this vulnerable time that nationalists have invariably taken up their banners and in each and every case, the established political paradigms have been tossed away.

One thing is for certain, AGW is going to increasingly produce (a few) winners and (a lot) of losers. This, as JimD pointed out, is an increasingly favorable breeding ground for populism, nationalism and violence. The potential knock-on effects for international climate agreements (for instance) or cooperation in general is severe. It's my opinion that we're in the last decade or so for a chance at effective cooperation. The further we go, the stronger the headwinds become. The geopolitical effects of climate change are something that really hasn't been touched upon to any decent degree by scenario builders (including those at the IPCC).
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 21, 2016, 04:05:50 AM
The linked article is entitled: “Obama says he may take on Trump”.  So rather than focusing on what might or might not have happened in the past election; like Obama I prefer to focus on the future to help voters better understand the reality of our current situation:

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/obama-democrats-trump-231691 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/obama-democrats-trump-231691)


Extract: ““I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Obama said, but “as an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.”

But don’t despair, Obama said, pointing out that Clinton won the popular vote this year and that Democrats continue to get more cumulative votes in congressional elections, though the structure of the system means that’s not necessarily helpful for the Electoral College or congressional representation. On top of that, Obama noted, his own approval rating remains high, and a Gallup poll just out shows higher approval numbers for the Democratic Party than the GOP.
“I’m not worried about being the last Democratic president – not even for a while,” Obama said, batting back one reporter’s question.


Rather than over-read the election results and call for a “complete overhaul,” Obama said, he urged his party to get smarter. This comes, though, after eight years of many Democratic leaders complaining that Obama never seemed committed to or interested in electing down-ballot Democrats, and as his White House systematically atrophied the Democratic National Committee party apparatus. Obama’s own Organizing for Action group, grown out of his presidential campaign structure, has not emerged into anything like the force expected.

“Doing better involves us working at the grassroots, not ceding territory, going out into areas where right now we may not stand a chance of actually winning, we’re building up a cadre of young talent, we’re making arguments, we’re persuading, we’re talking about the things that matter to ordinary people day-to-day and trying to avoid some of the constant distractions that fill up people’s Twitter accounts,” Obama said. “If we do that, then I’m confident that we’ll be back on track.””
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 21, 2016, 06:29:46 AM
Anerriphtho kybos.
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/are-we-about-to-see-a-repeat-of-donald-trumps-shock-victory-in-europe-a7428561.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/are-we-about-to-see-a-repeat-of-donald-trumps-shock-victory-in-europe-a7428561.html)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 21, 2016, 08:09:49 AM
Sleepy: With Sarkozy out of the picture, doesn't that play against Le Pen?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Sleepy on November 21, 2016, 10:19:06 AM
Yes I think so budmantis, Sarkozy would have been a walk over for Le Pen. But Fillon isn't that popular among the left-wing voters and he's also a friend of Putin. Those with anti-establishment sentiments will probably choose between Fillon or Le Pen, left-wing for Juppé.

Who cares about climate change? Mr T and the US just provided a success recipe.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Aporia_filia on November 22, 2016, 01:10:45 PM
"On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

—H.L. Mencken, 1920
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 22, 2016, 03:15:56 PM
"On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

—H.L. Mencken, 1920

And a very dangerous moron he is!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-conflict-of-interest_us_5833b971e4b058ce7aacbb56 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-conflict-of-interest_us_5833b971e4b058ce7aacbb56)

"Trump says any conflicts of interest were priced into your vote."

"It's all the media's fault, of course."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on November 22, 2016, 04:34:06 PM
The linked opinion piece by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich is entitled: "Opinion: First thoughts on Trump-era science".  As Trump is irrevocably tied to the Tea Party, his chances of supporting Planned Parenthood and/or for effectively fighting climate change are close to zero.  Furthermore, it looks like "The Donald" plans to accelerate the "Hood Robin" approach started by Ronald Reagan to stealing from the poor and lower middle class and giving to the rich; which will serve to accelerate the timing of the coming collapse of both the American Empire and the interconnected global socio-economic system:

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2016/nov/ehrlich-science-trump-perspective (http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2016/nov/ehrlich-science-trump-perspective)


Extract: "First, those concerned with the state of the world should face up to a likely further reduction in the odds of society changing toward sustainability. The job many of us have been trying to tackle—making the coming collapse less severe—has clearly become much harder.
We were hopeful that at least a partial recovery would be possible and that the worst impacts of our unsustainable ways could be averted. But today we fear there is close to no chance that Trump will take the obvious steps to improve the future for all Americans, even on parochial issues.

Of the most basic forces driving us toward destruction—increasing overpopulation and overconsumption, like most politicians and elite decision-makers—he is pig-ignorant.

As scientists, we're faced with the issue of what our community should do. It seems to us that we should focus on three areas in an attempt to soften the coming crash and make a partial recovery more possible.
The first is generating a thorough discussion of the probability of nuclear war and the likely consequences of both a "small" one and a global one.

The second area of focus should be on inequity and redistribution, which will be critical to prepare humanity for dealing with the coming environmental collapse. A collapse will hit the poor hardest and fastest as continuing population expansions and consumption growth by the rich take us down.

The third area of focus ought to be to work to bring universities into the 21st century. As the results of recent elections have shown, while most politicians have college educations, most are also hopelessly ignorant of how the world works. This leads to such things as climate denial, anti-evolution, belief in perpetual growth, and faith-based policies.

The lack of understanding of basic science is appalling in many so-called "educated" people and is often dramatically displayed in the mainstream media."

Edit: See also the attached cartoon by Tom Toles on the Trump transition.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 25, 2016, 07:47:54 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-child-labor-acton_us_5836eb7fe4b000af95edf12e (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-child-labor-acton_us_5836eb7fe4b000af95edf12e)

"Group Funded By Trump’s Education Secretary Pick: ‘Bring Back Child Labor’."

"This raises serious questions about the woman who would potentially be in charge of U.S. public schools."

Yet another objectionable cabinet pick by President-elect Donald Trump.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 26, 2016, 01:17:00 AM
The linked article gives some valuable insight into the inner workings of Trump's transition team.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trumps-team-of-rivals-fighting-spills-into-public-231841 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trumps-team-of-rivals-fighting-spills-into-public-231841)

"Romney vs. Rudy spat for secretary of state reveals a deeper divide in Trump transition."

Extract: Donald Trump’s struggle to find a secretary of state has erupted into an early battle for the soul of his nascent presidency – a critical showdown between the insurgents who thrust him into office and establishment Republicans pushing for a more conventional White House.
At the moment, the internal debate over who should serve as the steward of the country’s foreign policy pits advocates for bombastic ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani against those for caustic Trump critic Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee. The behind-the-scenes battle exploded into public view on Thanksgiving Day, after Trump stalwarts began viewing Romney as a serious contender.

Tea party activists have launched a grassroots push against Romney over the Thanksgiving week – inundating Trump's office with calls and expressing anger over a potential Romney pick after the contact information to reach Trump Tower was passed around online by people given the number by anti-Romney insiders.
The conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, one of Trump’s most vocal supporters during the campaign -- on Thursday took to Twitter to warn that, without his base, Trump could “be killed with a paper cut.”
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on November 26, 2016, 01:46:51 AM
Trump Crazies or Right Wing Republican Whackos?


Decisions, decisions, decisions


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 27, 2016, 05:45:12 PM
http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/these-charts-show-that-trump-is-bringing-the-1990s-back-to-markets/ar-AAkDQ1p?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp (http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/these-charts-show-that-trump-is-bringing-the-1990s-back-to-markets/ar-AAkDQ1p?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp)

"Donald Trump's election as U.S. president is driving global markets to levels not seen in nearly two decades — but in completely different directions. And the "polarization'" of emerging and developed markets is all part of "Trump reflation,'' argues Divya Devesh, a foreign-exchange strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on November 27, 2016, 06:03:25 PM
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/priebus-trump-absolutely-willing-to-end-cuba-opening-231854 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/priebus-trump-absolutely-willing-to-end-cuba-opening-231854)

Extract: President-elect Donald Trump is “absolutely” willing to reverse the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus told "Fox News Sunday."
In the wake of the death of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Trump needs to see “movement in the right direction” from the Cuban regime in order to maintain recently re-established diplomatic relations with the island nation.


“Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners — these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships,” Priebus said. “There’s going to have to be some movement from Cuba in order to have relationship with the United States.”
President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba after a freeze-out of more than five decades. Obama visited Cuba, now being led by Raul Castro, in March 2016.

----

I find it ironic that Trump expects certain "reforms" from Cuba, while the U.S. seems to be taking a giant step backwards!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: SteveMDFP on November 27, 2016, 09:21:03 PM
That might just be a negotiating stance on Trump's part.  As soon as the regime helps finance Trump Tower Havana, Cuba will be a crucial ally.

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 10, 2016, 03:01:37 PM
On Thursday President Obama, with little fanfare, waived sections of the Arms Export Control Act that prevented the US from overtly arming "Foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals within Syria.


https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/08/presidential-determination-and-waiver-pursuant-section-2249a-title-10 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/08/presidential-determination-and-waiver-pursuant-section-2249a-title-10)


I'm not sure if I'm more upset at Obama arming the rebels as he leaves office, or at the media blackout that accompanied the move.
RT ran an article, but as far as I can see western media has remained mute.


https://www.rt.com/op-edge/369726-us-arming-militants-war-russia/ (https://www.rt.com/op-edge/369726-us-arming-militants-war-russia/)


I've been a strong supporter of the Democratic Party for close to 40 years.
No More.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 10, 2016, 04:53:00 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Exxon C.E.O. Said to Be Top Contender for Secretary of State; Giuliani Is Out".  If anyone has any doubts that The Donald will promote the fossil fuel industry, this article can leave no room for such doubts:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0)

Extract:
"■ Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fiercely loyal Trump ally, is out of the race for secretary of state. Rex W. Tillerson, the head of Exxon Mobil, appears to be the leading contender.
■ President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team is asking a lot of questions at the Energy Department.
■ Mr. Trump will name Gary D. Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, to direct the National Economic Council.
■ He could also name Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, to be interior secretary.

Rex W. Tillerson, the president and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, is the leading candidate to be Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, according to a person with direct knowledge of the search process.

President-elect Trump’s transition team has circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire that requests the names of all employees and contractors who have attended domestic or international climate change policy conferences, as well as emails associated with the conferences.

The questionnaire appears targeted at climate science research and clean energy programs."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 10, 2016, 05:14:10 PM
Those who think that The Donald will reduce income inequality in America are sadly mistaken, as indicated by the linked reference and the associated article:

Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman (2016), "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States"

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf (http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf)

Abstract: "This paper combines tax, survey, and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the United States since 1913. Our distributional national accounts capture 100% of national income, allowing us to compute growth rates for each quantile of the income distribution consistent with macroeconomic growth. We estimate the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income, making it possible to provide a comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality. Average pre-tax national income per adult has increased 60% since 1980, but we find that it has stagnated for the bottom 50% of the distribution at about $16,000 a year. The pre-tax income of the middle class| adults between the median and the 90th percentile has grown 40% since 1980, faster than what tax and survey data suggest, due in particular to the rise of tax-exempt fringe benefits. Income has boomed at the top: in 1980, top 1% adults earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50% adults, while they earn 81 times more today. The upsurge of top incomes was first a labor income phenomenon but has mostly been a capital income phenomenon since 2000. The government has offset only a small fraction of the increase in inequality. The reduction of the gender gap in earnings has mitigated the increase in inequality among adults. The share of women, however, falls steeply as one moves up the labor income distribution, and is only 11% in the top 0.1% today."


The linked article is entitled: "Income inequality helped elect Donald Trump — and would grow wider under his policies".


https://mic.com/articles/161422/income-inequality-helped-elect-donald-trump-and-would-grow-wider-under-his-policies#.tHRJ1dJvn (https://mic.com/articles/161422/income-inequality-helped-elect-donald-trump-and-would-grow-wider-under-his-policies#.tHRJ1dJvn)

Extract: " Some of the world's top researchers on income inequality — who presented a new paper on the topic Tuesday — say American economic anxiety and the growing gap between the rich and poor helped put President-elect Donald Trump on a path to the White House. Those same economists now warn that Trump will likely make the problem worse.

Letting this trend continue unchecked could hinder growth in the U.S. economy, co-author Zucman said in an email to Mic.
"No one knows how far this can continue to go," Zucman wrote. "But above a certain point, extreme inequality is bound to destroy growth and lead to political instability."
Paradoxically, Saez said, Trump's proposed policies — like regressive tax reform — are likely to make income inequality worse.
"The scary thing is that, unlike Reagan in 1980," Saez said, pointing to the year that income inequality began to grow sharply, "we are starting in 2016 from an already record-high level of inequality."
Trump's tax plan, several economists argue, disproportionately benefits people who are already wealthy.

The underlying causes of growing inequality are complex, the researchers found. One big problem, Saez said, is that the government's biggest redistribution efforts — Medicare and Social Security — target the elderly, as opposed to the very poor.
Saez also pointed to the "Reagan revolution" of the 1980s, saying that "de-regulation, erosion of minimum wage, unions weakening and less progressive taxation," all made income inequality worse.
But a particularly worrisome factor driving the rise of inequality is the dominant role of capital appreciation, Saez said: The growth in the value of assets — as opposed to growth in salaries or productivity — has accounted for most of the rise in richer Americans' income since the early 2000s."

See also:

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/09/the-next-generation-of-americans-is-going-to-be-in-a-lot-of-trouble/ (http://www.salon.com/2016/12/09/the-next-generation-of-americans-is-going-to-be-in-a-lot-of-trouble/)

Extract: "“Children’s prospects of achieving the ‘American Dream’ of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90 percent to 50 percent over the past half century,” said Stanford economist Raj Chetty, co-author of the Equal Opportunity Project study. “This decline has occurred throughout the parental income distribution, for children from both low and high income families.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 10, 2016, 09:44:30 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Exxon C.E.O. Said to Be Top Contender for Secretary of State; Giuliani Is Out".  If anyone has any doubts that The Donald will promote the fossil fuel industry, this article can leave no room for such doubts:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0)

Extract:
"■ Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fiercely loyal Trump ally, is out of the race for secretary of state. Rex W. Tillerson, the head of Exxon Mobil, appears to be the leading contender.
■ President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team is asking a lot of questions at the Energy Department.
■ Mr. Trump will name Gary D. Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, to direct the National Economic Council.
■ He could also name Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, to be interior secretary."

See also the linked article entitled: "Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil Expected to Be Named Trump's Secretary of State: Sources".  It is very bad getting Tillerson but a Tillerson-Bolton tag-team cannot turnout well.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/rex-tillerson-exxon-mobil-expected-be-named-trump-s-secretary-n694371 (http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/rex-tillerson-exxon-mobil-expected-be-named-trump-s-secretary-n694371)

Extract: "He will also be paired with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his deputy secretary of state, one of the sources added, with Bolton handling day-to-day management of the department."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 10, 2016, 09:54:42 PM
The linked article is entitled: “Mark Zuckerberg's interest in government puts his defense of Peter Thiel in a whole new light”.  Is Mark Zuckerberg angling to join Trump's kleptocracy so that he can get while the getting is good (if so it puts a new light on the fake news on Facebook that help Trump win the election)?

http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-government-defense-peter-thiel-2016-12 (http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-government-defense-peter-thiel-2016-12)

Extract: “Zuckerberg has expressed interest in political issues before: He wants to speed up the process of bring worldwide broadband access to the internet, for instance. That might require various rule changes in the telecoms industry, as it greatly impacts the broadband carriers that Facebook and WhatsApp are dependent on. He has also hosted a fundraiser for Trump supporter Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey and former head of Trump's transition team. Zuckerberg once donated $100 million to Newark's school system.“

See also the article entitled: “Lawsuit: Texts between Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Andreessen say the Facebook founder may want to go into government”.

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-government-role-court-documents-allege-text-messages-andreessen-2016-12 (http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-government-role-court-documents-allege-text-messages-andreessen-2016-12)


Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 10, 2016, 10:23:33 PM
The linked article is entitled: “The coming Trump kleptocracy, perfectly captured in a single sentence“.  Why should a Republican Congress compel transparency on Trump when they want part of the spoils?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/12/08/the-coming-trump-kleptocracy-perfectly-captured-in-a-single-sentence/?utm_term=.b728e95f86c4 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/12/08/the-coming-trump-kleptocracy-perfectly-captured-in-a-single-sentence/?utm_term=.b728e95f86c4)


Extract: “If you want to understand why the conflicts-of-interest involving Donald Trump’s business holdings and presidency could matter enormously in the months and years to come, read this single sentence buried in today’s big Wall Street Journal piece about those holdings:

It’s not clear how much Mr. Trump’s businesses would benefit from his proposal to cut business tax rates.
The key part of that sentence is the phrase, “it’s not clear.” The Journal piece reports that Trump has employed a “web” of limited liability companies to house assets accounting for over $300 million of the revenues he reported in disclosure forms last year. The crucial revelation in the piece is that these entities are a key reason why many of the specific details of Trump’s holdings remain shrouded in “opacity.”

And this underscores again that Congressional Republicans could be taking specific steps to try to compel Trump to show more transparency about the full scope and range of his interests — if they wanted to. If Trump does fail to do anything more than transfer his businesses to his family — or, worse, does so while retaining an interest himself — the likely abdication of Congressional Republicans in trying to compel more transparency should be seen as a big part of this story.”
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 10, 2016, 10:32:35 PM
Tillerson is a very bad choice.


Bolton's selection makes the appointment of Tillerson appear as a work of genius.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 11, 2016, 12:16:51 AM
If Trump's election halts the American rush to war with Russia I'll forgive him for damn near everything.


We were rushing into a conflict that we might not have survived. Even when Saddam was our target he wasn't subject to the personal demonization that Putin has received.
In my lifetime whenever the media attacked a foreign leader anywhere near this viciously, it was a presage to war. I'm not sure of Russia's military capacity, but I am sure that this is the first time since 1812 that the US has provoked someone with the capability to inflict major damage to the contiguous States.


I haven't been happy watching America roll over small defenceless countries, but I'm much less happy now that they are poking at someone who might be able to fight back.


Obama's "Christmas Surprise" for Russia, (the overt arming of extremist mercenaries in Syria), may not be appreciated by Trump, or Assad and Putin. It certainly seems cowardly to ramp up hostilities just as one is exiting the stage.


Whatever claim to moral superiority the US held is now certainly lost. It's one thing to "accidentally" drop millions of dollars of arms in the desert, or to arm groups who "later" align themselves with terrorists, but to show the world that arming jihadists is Ok, as long as they're our jihadists, is nuts. If you or I had done this we'd end up in jail or droned.


For over 20 years the Democratic Party has been recieving $75.00/month since I saw them as the lesser of two evils. No longer, Master Card has been notified & the payment stopped. They will never again receive as much as a good word from me.


Our children will not escape climate change. No one will escape a nuclear winter.


Terry

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2016, 01:10:21 AM
If Trump's election halts the American rush to war with Russia I'll forgive him for damn near everything.

Terry,

You can forgive Trump and blame the democrats all you want.  Per the linked article, in 2014 ExxonMobil confirmed the Northern Gateway oil project in the Kara Sea is one of the largest oil discoveries in the world, but that Obama's sanctions against Russia (for it's illegal territorial expansion) prevent the development of this valuable asset in the heart of the Arctic Ocean.  With Rex Tillerson as the new Secretary of State these sanctions will soon be lifted and both ExxonMobil & Putin will benefit directly at the expense of both the Arctic and mankind.  By given into strongman rule and kleptocracies (of which Russia is now and the USA will soon become) you are increasing the chance of a nuclear winter rather than diminishing it.


http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/russia-exxon-oil?__lsa=b2e5-1c1d (http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/russia-exxon-oil?__lsa=b2e5-1c1d)


Extract: "Russia’s state-run oil company said a well drilled in the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp. struck oil, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas.
...
Sanctions forbidding U.S. and European cooperation with Russian entities mean that country’s nascent Arctic exploration will be stillborn because Rosneft and its state-controlled sister companies don’t know how to drill in cold offshore conditions alone, she said."

Best,
ASLR

Edit, P.S.: The linked article discusses some of ExxonMobil's Arctic oil drilling projects including those in the Kara Sea, and in Sakhalin (see the image of ExxonMobil's Orlan drilling platform in Russia).

http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/current-issues/arctic/presence/our-arctic-presence (http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/current-issues/arctic/presence/our-arctic-presence)

P.P.S.: I would not be surprised if such Arctic oil money is one of the main reasons that Russia hacked the Democratic Headquarters and gave the associated e-mails to Wikileak.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2016, 01:55:05 AM
Per the linked Wikipedia article Tillerson made a name for himself within ExxonMobil due to his dealings in Russia (see the attached image of Tillerson & Putin shaking on a business deal). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Tillerson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Tillerson)

Extract: "In 1998, he became a vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited with responsibility for Exxon's holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea. In 1999, with the merger of Exxon and Mobil, he was named Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil Development Company."

ExxonMobil often operates above the law overseas (including in Russia).

Edit: See also the linked article entitled: "Trump Picks Exxon CEO for Secretary of State Despite Close Ties to Putin".

http://www.ecowatch.com/rex-tillerson-putin-2140257585.html (http://www.ecowatch.com/rex-tillerson-putin-2140257585.html)

Extract: "Exxon, the top U.S. producer of oil and gas and a well-documented funder of climate science denial, actually leases more land in Russia than it does in the U.S.

"Exxon boosted its Russian holdings to 63.7 million acres in 2014 from 11.4 million at the end of 2013, according to data from U.S. regulatory filings," reported Bloomberg in March 2014. "That dwarfs the 14.6 million acres of rights Exxon holds in the U.S., which until last year was its largest exploration prospect."

Exxon, though headquartered in Irving, Texas near Dallas, is a sprawling "private empire" with assets spread across the globe. When asked about building more U.S. refineries to protect the U.S. economy and consumers from fuel shortages, former CEO and chairman Lee Raymond put Exxon's view of itself and its loyalty to the U.S. bluntly.

"I'm not a U.S. company, and I don't make decisions based on what's good for the U.S," Raymond is quoted as saying in the 2012 book Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll.

In June, Tillerson attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum after taking a two-year hiatus from attending the event, which is the top business meeting held annually in Russia. Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian state oil company Rosneft and currently the subject of U.S. sanctions, served as the keynote speaker.
...
As soon as sanctions are lifted in Russia, which Trump has said he would do, Exxon has said it will return to the Russian Arctic."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2016, 11:38:54 PM
The linked article is entitled: “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House“.  It contains a nice summary of the history of this matter:


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.544d926c0266 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.544d926c0266)
\

Extract: "The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. “
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 12, 2016, 12:49:41 AM
The linked article is entitled: "Leaked Memo Outlines Trump’s Energy Agenda", and indicates that extent of climate damage that Trump is planning on inflicting on the world:

http://www.ecowatch.com/trump-energy-agenda-2131797024.html (http://www.ecowatch.com/trump-energy-agenda-2131797024.html)

Extract: "President-elect Donald Trump is set to gut U.S. environmental regulations, open up federal lands for fossil fuel extraction and quit the Paris climate agreement, according to documents seen by Energydesk.

A memo penned by Thomas Pyle, head of the Department of Energy transition team, and obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, lists 14 key energy and environment policies the incoming Trump administration is expected to enact."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: logicmanPatrick on December 12, 2016, 01:37:49 AM
A reminder of old news - from October 11 2016

Quote
Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security

The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-department-homeland-security-and-office-director-national (https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-department-homeland-security-and-office-director-national)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Martin Gisser on December 12, 2016, 04:24:14 AM
"McConnell Covered Up CIA Reports That Russian Hacks Were Aimed At Electing Trump"
http://crooksandliars.com/2016/12/mitch-mcconnell-squelched-disclosure (http://crooksandliars.com/2016/12/mitch-mcconnell-squelched-disclosure)
Quote
According to a bombshell report from the Washington Post, the CIA concluded that Russia actively interfered in the election not just to destabilize our political system, but to actively elect Donald Trump.

This conclusion was not something they just pulled out of thin air. Intelligence agencies had arrived at their conclusion in September, and briefed a bipartisan group in the Senate and House about it then, along with President Obama. The President wanted to go forward with a full disclosure of the report, but Mitch McConnell quashed it, threatening to taint any disclosure with the claim that it was being made merely for political gain.

(Methinks the GOP is since long the party of the fossil fools and the oilygarchy. Nothing surprising that they have no qualms linking arms with the Russian oilygarchy, serving and protecting their stranded assets.)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on December 12, 2016, 07:55:24 AM
I will not dispute the truth, or lack thereof, of the claim "Russia was trying to help Trump win White House." But I must smile when looking at the parties who make the claim. The Washington Post has been part of the Mighty Wurlitzer since at least the days of Philip Graham in 1948, quite entangled with Wisner and the Dulles brothers and the rest of the murderous and incompetent crew which became the CIA. For that sad tale you may see "Operation Mockingbird" and the Church Committee hearings. I will not here recapitulate the litany of lies from the Post and the CIA since the Church inquiry. There was no cause too evil to espouse for that pair, no villany too low, no despot too vile, no swamp too fetid or drain too filthy. Citing sources such as these two serves no purpose except, perhaps, satire.

Perhaps the Post is being satirical too. They posted an an apologia of sorts for another very recent story which blacklisted alternative media, quite droll in it's own right:

"The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual  outlet, nor did the article purport to do so."

For a leading newspaper to admit they do not vouch for the validity of what they print is quite an admission even in this post-truth world.  Of course, they invented the post-truth world but I think they forgot that if the truth matters not, then neither do lies. Nor their claims as to which is which.

In fairness, their leading competitor and colleague in crime is no better.

More cogently,  I am afraid those operating the wurlitzer have not grasped that they are no longer believed, and soon will no longer be even noticed.

See also Greenwald at the intercept, Wheeler at emptywheel.

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/10/anonymous-leaks-to-the-washpost-about-the-cias-russia-beliefs-are-no-substitute-for-evidence/ (https://theintercept.com/2016/12/10/anonymous-leaks-to-the-washpost-about-the-cias-russia-beliefs-are-no-substitute-for-evidence/)

https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/09/unpacking-new-cia-leak-dont-ignore-aluminum-tube-footnote/ (https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/09/unpacking-new-cia-leak-dont-ignore-aluminum-tube-footnote/)

sidd

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on December 12, 2016, 05:54:48 PM
At least 16 US intelligence agencies have concluded Russian operatives interfered in the election in an organized and systemic manner, with the intent of electing Trump.  The POTUS elect is trashing the intelligence community, refusing to hear Intel briefings, and likely subscribes to John Bolton's false flag theory.

Trump actually invited Russia to interfere in the election.  He called on them to hack and release DNC and Clinton emails.  That's treasonous.

This isn't about a random shady figure making references to yellow cake, and an irresponsible mainstream press not doing their job,  It's sad that some see post truth media on a level playing field.  The WAPO is imperfect and is replete with incompetent journalists, but it is not Alex Jones, is not Fox News.  False equivalence. 

There is raging, billowing smoke here, yet many prefer not to look at the fire. 

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on December 12, 2016, 07:06:08 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-morell-russia-election-hacking_us_584eb2cde4b0bd9c3dfd73cc (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-morell-russia-election-hacking_us_584eb2cde4b0bd9c3dfd73cc)

Former Acting CIA Director Calls Russian Interference In Election ‘The Political Equivalent Of 9/11’

“A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life,” he said.

-----

The pres. elect is also an existential threat to our way of life.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 12, 2016, 07:44:43 PM
pileus


Have the 16 agencies weighed in on whether the CIA's much publicized on/off/on again "investigation" of Hillary might have cost her the election?


Could the CIA have conspired with Russia, Exxon, Wikileaks and Trump to skew election results?


We now know that it was a Clinton supporter who posted the false Wikileak that started the Wiki/Russian connection.  Tillerson was posted in Thailand, Yemen & Russia, what wonderful cover for a covert operative, why not a CIA, Exxon conspiracy.


The Trump presidency is going to be terrible for everyone concerned about the future. A war with Russia means no future to worry about.


Terry



Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Hefaistos on December 12, 2016, 08:33:49 PM
I'd be very careful to jump to conclusions regarding (official) Russian involvement in the various hackings on the Democrats. It seems more likely that skilful hackers just left a trail in their hacks to point in the all too obvious direction. There is no hard evidence brought forward, and I doubt there will be.

Newsweek: “I am not saying that I don't think Russia did this,” Nada Bakos, a top former CIA counterterrorism officer tells Newsweek, in a typical comment. “My main concern is that we will rush to judgment. The analysis needs to be cohesive and done the right way.”

http://europe.newsweek.com/cia-trump-putin-2016-election-hacks-wikileaks-clinton-spies-intelligence-iraq-530666?rm=eu (http://europe.newsweek.com/cia-trump-putin-2016-election-hacks-wikileaks-clinton-spies-intelligence-iraq-530666?rm=eu)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 12, 2016, 09:51:43 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Trump risks war by turning the One China question into a bargaining chip".  Trump's action could lead either to a direct war between the US & China and/or to China financing and supporting interests that are hostile to the US.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/12/trump-is-risking-war-by-turning-the-one-china-question-into-a-bargaining-chip/?utm_term=.226c722b7322 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/12/trump-is-risking-war-by-turning-the-one-china-question-into-a-bargaining-chip/?utm_term=.226c722b7322)

Extract: "Undermining the status quo could lead to full-scale military conflict between the United States and China over an island that both see as vital to their national interests and whose unique status they have managed well up to this point."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 12, 2016, 10:00:23 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Electoral college members request intelligence briefing on Russia, Trump".  The bipartisan electors' letter calls for the briefing to address the ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the Dec 19, 2016 Elector College vote.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/electoral-college-intelligence-briefing-russia-election_us_584ee466e4b0e05aded4da1b (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/electoral-college-intelligence-briefing-russia-election_us_584ee466e4b0e05aded4da1b)


Edit: See also the article entitled: "Is Hillary Clinton Trying To Question The Legitimacy Of Donald Trump Winning?".

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/12/505286051/is-hillary-clinton-trying-to-question-the-legitimacy-of-donald-trump-winning (http://www.npr.org/2016/12/12/505286051/is-hillary-clinton-trying-to-question-the-legitimacy-of-donald-trump-winning)

&
The following linked article entitled: "Bipartisan Electors Ask James Clapper: Release Facts on Outside Interference in U.S. Election".

https://extranewsfeed.com/bipartisan-electors-ask-james-clapper-release-facts-on-outside-interference-in-u-s-election-c1a3d11d5b7b#.u3nrkgl5v (https://extranewsfeed.com/bipartisan-electors-ask-james-clapper-release-facts-on-outside-interference-in-u-s-election-c1a3d11d5b7b#.u3nrkgl5v)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 12, 2016, 10:13:22 PM
The linked article is entitled: "How we know Russia, not a guy in Jersey, hacked the DNC".

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/309956-how-we-know-russia-not-a-guy-in-jersey-hacked-the-dnc (http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/309956-how-we-know-russia-not-a-guy-in-jersey-hacked-the-dnc)

Extract: "I have to admit that I was shocked when I saw President-elect Donald Trump's interview with Fox News.

While I don't doubt he wants to deny the conclusion that Russia intended to help get him elected, his comment regarding computer crime attribution was grossly ignorant of both computer crime investigations practices, as well as the hundreds of people who have gone to jail as a result of the hard work of law enforcement officers.

In the case of the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), there was a detailed analysis of the hack by Crowdstrike, a top cybersecurity company that investigates highly sophisticated attacks that clearly attributed to the software and infrastructure used to Russian state-sponsored hackers. The conclusion was confirmed by multiple organizations with similar expertise.

Clearly, the CIA and other intelligence agencies also agree with the analysis."

Edit, see also the following linked article entitled: "Yes, Donald Trump, you can catch hackers not in the act".

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/12/trump-election-russia-interference-hacking-mock-twitter-tweet/95332544/ (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/12/trump-election-russia-interference-hacking-mock-twitter-tweet/95332544/)

Edit2, for a timeline of Russia's hacking of the 2016 election see the following article entitled: "A Timeline of Russia's Hacking Into US Political Organizations Ahead of the Election".

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/timeline-russias-hacking-us-political-organizations-ahead-election/story?id=44140526 (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/timeline-russias-hacking-us-political-organizations-ahead-election/story?id=44140526)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on December 12, 2016, 11:22:28 PM
Levin(2016, doi:10.1177/0738894216661190 )

"Overall, 117 partisan electoral interventions were made by the US and the USSR/Russia between 1 January 1946 and 31 December 2000. Eighty-one (or 69%) of these interventions were done by the US while the other 36 cases (or 31%) were conducted by the USSR/ Russia. To put this number in the proper perspective, during the same period 937 competitive national-level executive elections, or plausible targets for an electoral intervention, were conducted within independent countries. 20 Accordingly, 11.3% of these elections, or about one of every nine competitive elections since the end of the Second World War, have been the targets of an electoral intervention." 

Those are, of course, merely the electoral interventions. Military actions add considerably to the list, but are not discussed in the paper.

Chalmers Johnson was more prescient than he knew when he wrote "Blowback."

sidd
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: Neven on December 12, 2016, 11:50:17 PM
While they're at it, maybe the geniuses can also tell us who hacked the CRU servers to cause Climategate? Because that seemed to be so much to ask at the time.  ::)

Anyway, very strange developments. I don't know what to make of it. Does this mean the US Secretary of Finance will not be provided by Goldman Sachs?
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: sidd on December 13, 2016, 12:03:51 AM
"Does this mean the US Secretary of Finance will not be provided by Goldman Sachs?"

Oh, hardly. Banks own both of them.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 12:08:57 AM
While they're at it, maybe the geniuses can also tell us who hacked the CRU servers to cause Climategate? Because that seemed to be so much to ask at the time.  ::)

For those who are interested, the linked 2011 Mother Jones article is entitled: "Climategate: What Really Happened?".

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2011/04/history-of-climategate (http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2011/04/history-of-climategate)

Extract: "How climate science became the target of "the best-funded, best-organized smear campaign by the wealthiest industry that the Earth has ever known.""

Edit: So this raises the question of whether ExxonMobil provided funding for any of these shenanigans.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 02:55:43 AM
The linked article is entitled: "Dispute over Russia reflects growing Republican resistance to Trump"


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dispute-over-russia-reflects-growing-republican-resistance-to-trump/2016/12/12/55fd679c-bbf0-11e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html?utm_term=.3764a7840189 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dispute-over-russia-reflects-growing-republican-resistance-to-trump/2016/12/12/55fd679c-bbf0-11e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html?utm_term=.3764a7840189)

Extract: "Republican lawmakers are increasingly at odds with Donald Trump across a range of ­high-profile domestic and national security issues, an early sign that the GOP-led Congress might resist some elements of the ­president-elect’s un­or­tho­dox agenda.

Although Trump maintains enthusiastic backing in many corners of the party, key members of the Senate and House have been outspoken in challenging his views of Russia and its interference in the U.S. election, warning of potential conflicts of interest arising from Trump’s far-flung business interests if he does not fully divest from his company, and criticizing the tough approach that he has taken to some companies, including his threat to impose a stiff tariff on firms that move jobs overseas.
...
No issue has so clearly divided Trump and top Republicans lawmakers as much as his dismissal of U.S. intelligence agencies that attributed the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political targets to Russian operatives.
...
McConnell stopped short of endorsing a special select committee investigation, as some lawmakers have suggested, but said that the Senate Intelligence Committee is equipped to take on the matter.

“This simply cannot be a partisan issue,” he said.

McConnell also appeared to break with Trump in his assessment of the CIA, saying that he has “the highest confidence” in the intelligence community and that the CIA is “filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on December 13, 2016, 05:46:31 AM
I was about to post this article on the presidential poll thread, but after reading ASLR's post, I think it belongs here. This Politico article brings up the same issue as the Washington Post with a somewhat different twist.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/republicans-russia-donald-trump-232528 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/republicans-russia-donald-trump-232528)

"GOP leaders shield Trump from expanded Russia probe."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on December 13, 2016, 06:18:16 AM
This is a really important commentary and is the essence of why it should be inconceivable that Trump be permitted to take office.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-already-antagonizing-the-intelligence-community-and-thats-a-problem/2016/12/12/9576a0ca-c0ad-11e6-897f-918837dae0ae_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.385bdf14ef72 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-already-antagonizing-the-intelligence-community-and-thats-a-problem/2016/12/12/9576a0ca-c0ad-11e6-897f-918837dae0ae_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.385bdf14ef72)

Of note -

"First is the question of how the incoming administration values intelligence. On Sunday, the president-elect again rejected the Russian role, adding that he was smart enough that he didn’t want or need a daily briefing.

This creates more than hurt feelings. The intelligence community makes great sacrifices, and CIA directors send people into harm’s way to learn things otherwise unavailable. And directors have seen stars carved on the agency’s memorial wall because of it. If what is gained is not used or wanted or is labeled as suspect or corrupt — by what moral authority does a director put his people at risk?"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 05:07:01 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Four Reasons Tapping Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State Is a Terrible Idea".  If this pick does raise warning bells that Trump is going to (paraphrasing Buddy) "Make Russia (& its oil/gas) Great Again" then we have all become frogs in a slowly boiling pot of water.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/13/four-reasons-tapping-rex-tillerson-as-secretary-of-state-is-a-terrible-idea.html (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/13/four-reasons-tapping-rex-tillerson-as-secretary-of-state-is-a-terrible-idea.html)

Extract:
"1. … is the vantage point of a fossil-fuel extractor really the vantage point that we want to privilege in the role of the world’s most important diplomat?

2. … Tillerson, according to this article, came up through the ranks in Exxon managing the Russia account! It’s next to impossible that Trump didn’t know this, and it seems reasonable to conclude then that Trump chose Tillerson not in spite of his deep Russia ties, but precisely because of them.

3. … Tillerson, though, is a climate-change denier in the general sense.

4. … Tillerson will be learning on the job literally every day for his entire tenure, however long it lasts.

Except, that is, about fossil fuels and Russia. Those are the two things he knows upside down. And it’s not very likely that that’s an accident. A global energy CEO would have been a totally unacceptable choice 20 or 30 years ago. No, even a decade ago—Dubya would have seen that this was just too brazen, and he probably would have realized that he should have someone with some relevant experience (and indeed, comparatively speaking his two secretary of state choices weren’t horrible)."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 05:14:58 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Trump picks Perry to lead Energy Department he once vowed to kill".  Obviously, Trump wants to "Make Oil/Gas Great Again".

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-picks-perry-for-energy-secretary-232565 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-picks-perry-for-energy-secretary-232565)

Extract: "While the levers of energy regulation are limited at DOE when compared to agencies like EPA, Perry could slow-walk the department’s appliance efficiency mandates and de-emphasize its research on climate science. Those efficiency regulations account for half of the greenhouse gas reduction targets that Obama made part of his Climate Action Plan in 2013. And there's no undoing them in one fell swoop: Dozens of rulemakings are involved and would require a massive, years-long effort to go after them one by one.

Renewable energy research at DOE may also take a hit under Perry, even though he presided over a massive boom in Texas’ wind power production fueled by federal incentives — enough that the state’s been looking to sell its excess power across the border into Mexico.

The Heritage Foundation has urged the incoming Trump administration to go even further, saying the next secretary should take an ax to much of the department to “end the destructive role played by the federal government in the energy sector.” "
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 05:54:00 PM
The linked article is entitled: "With Oil Sands Ambitions on a Collision Course With Climate Change, Exxon Still Stepping on the Gas".  If Rex Tillerson becomes the next Secretary of State, not only can he promote the development of Russian oil/gas but also Canadian tar sands:

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/12122016/exxon-climate-change-investigation-tar-sands-oil-development-canada

Extract: "ExxonMobil placed a risky bet on the tar sands of Canada, even though they contain some of the dirtiest oil in the world and the company's own scientists had documented the link between fossil fuels and global warming.

Now, representing more than a third of Exxon's global liquid reserves, the investment is running into strong headwinds: increased international pressure to curtail emissions that contribute to climate change as well as persistently low oil prices that make tar sands petroleum, among the most expensive to produce, a drag on the bottom line.

But without even stronger steps, the cap and Trudeau's carbon tax seem unlikely to substantially limit emissions of the tar sands. Trudeau approved two new pipelines in November, one of which could expand exports to Asia. He said the decision will not detract from Canada's climate pledges.
Building new pipelines and trying to curb emissions at the same time "just doesn't work," said Greg Muttitt, with the climate advocacy group Oil Change International.

Exxon argued in a 2014 paper that it "takes the risk of climate change seriously, and continues to take meaningful steps to help address the risk."
But the company also said it doesn't expect any restrictions that would prevent the development of all its reserves, including the tar sands. "We are confident that none of our hydrocarbon reserves are now or will become 'stranded,'" the paper said."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 13, 2016, 05:56:26 PM
If we ask what agency was most responsible for Trump's win, don't we have to concede that the CIA's unprecedented interference during the campaign did more to sink Hillary than anything leaked by Wikileaks?


I say unprecedented, but that only applies within the USA. The same tactic was used in Canada when the RCMP announced just before election day that the Finance Minister of the Liberal Party was being investigated, and that an indictment was sure to follow. This allowed Harper's Conservatives to win their first federal election.
As an aside no case was ever made and the whole thing was dropped after the election.


Wikileaks certainly didn't help Hillery, but the bomb was the CIA twice announcing their investigation. That they now try to divert the blame to a foreign actor is disingenuous at best.


Why the CIA wanted Hillary out is anyone's guess. That they were successful is evident.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 06:09:07 PM
Wikileaks certainly didn't help Hillery, but the bomb was the CIA twice announcing their investigation. That they now try to divert the blame to a foreign actor is disingenuous at best.

Terry,

Are you referring to the FBI (& not the CIA) when FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation of Hillary (just before the election) and did not investigate Russia's hacking of the US election (which Comey like did to secure FBI funding from the GOP control House of Representatives) ?

Then look at the first linked article entitled: "Reid: FBI director's letter cost Democrats the election, Senate"

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/12/politics/harry-reid-james-comey-election/index.html (http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/12/politics/harry-reid-james-comey-election/index.html)

Extract: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday FBI Director James Comey was "heavily involved as a partisan" in the weeks leading up to the election and that Comey's actions handed the presidency to Donald Trump.
...
Reid said he urged Comey to address the hacking, which intelligence agencies have concluded was the result of Russian efforts to tilt the election toward Trump.

"I am saying the FBI did nothing -- did nothing. All the information that we've heard in the last couple weeks, it was available to the FBI. He just ignored it. He did not make it public. We asked him to more than once and he didn't do it," Reid said."


Also see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harry-reid-russia-donald-trump_us_584f0df0e4b0e05aded537cd (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harry-reid-russia-donald-trump_us_584f0df0e4b0e05aded537cd)
 
&

http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/senator-reid-calls-for-an-investigation-into-fbi-director-comey-831372355655 (http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/senator-reid-calls-for-an-investigation-into-fbi-director-comey-831372355655)

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 07:12:01 PM
The linked article is entitled: "The Last Chance to Stop Trump? Hamilton Electors’ Grand Compromise".  Such a possible groundswell might give the US House of Representatives a chance to pick a President other than Trump.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/13/the-last-chance-to-stop-trump-hamilton-electors-grand-compromise.html (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/13/the-last-chance-to-stop-trump-hamilton-electors-grand-compromise.html)

Extract: "If there are 37 electors who cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump, they should at least give the House of Representatives the opportunity to choose a candidate who might unite a nation fractured by a bitter and divisive campaign. That candidate would need to be a Republican."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 13, 2016, 07:38:19 PM

ASLR
My bad, it was indeed the FBI, not the CIA that interfered.


It's a nasty way to swing an election and should be outlawed. I believe they (TPTB), tested it's effectiveness in Canada some years ago, then used it in the big show in the US of A.


Harper was a disaster for both Canada and the world. The tactics he used, silencing scientists by claiming that the state had intellectual property rights to their findings even when they were not directly employed by the government will probably be used again.


Scientists directly employed by Canada were simply required to have all their communications vetted by a "keeper". My local MP was a born again, short timeline creationist, he became Minister of Science and Technology, much to the dismay of every scientist, environmentalist and everyone in the tech sector.


The alliances Harper formed, the bridges he broke, and the promises our government reneged on made us a pariah on the global stage. We went from a tech heavy powerhouse to a petro state, with all of the evil that implies. RIM, who invented the smartphone, lost out to lesser companies who weren't fighting against their own government. Our dollar floated with the price of West Texas Intermediate Crude.


You're not in for a pleasant period. Historically the party that's in can pull enough toggles to assure reelection, so it could be 8 years before sanity is restored. (we had close to 10)
If you can avoid civil war & foreign "entanglements", the world will only lose about a decade, if his ignorance foments a major conflict then Thanks for the Fishes, it's been a good ride.


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 08:14:44 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Trump taps Exxon's Tillerson as top U.S. diplomat, lawmakers worried".  If accepted by the Senate, Tillerson would represent a major victory for crony capitalism:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKBN14121W (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKBN14121W)

Extract: "Global Witness, an international group that focuses on natural-resource related conflict and corruption, urged the Senate to reject Tillerson, citing Exxon deals with governments in Nigeria and other countries, which the group said contributed to corruption."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 13, 2016, 08:20:34 PM
It's a nasty way to swing an election and should be outlawed.

Actually, it is the responsibility of the GOP controlled US Congress to decide whether Comey violated the Hatch Act as pointed out in the linked article:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/harry-reid-russian-interference-james-comey-fbi (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/harry-reid-russian-interference-james-comey-fbi)

Extract: "Comey later announced that emails the agency discovered in an unrelated probe into former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is married to close Clinton aide Huma Abedin, ultimately were determined not to be related to the server investigation. That led Reid and others to wonder aloud if Comey’s stunning break with tradition in making the announcement so close to Election Day violated the Hatch Act."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 05:05:25 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Trump taps Rep. Ryan Zinke for Interior, adds another climate denier to the cabinet"; which indicates that Zinke's selection is one more step towards "Making Fossil Fuels Great Again".

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-taps-rep-ryan-zinke-for-interior-adds-another-climate-denier-to-the-cabinet-a9cb691fee54#.dwwmpnnw0

Extract: "Zinke is also yet another climate denier to be named to Trump’s cabinet — although he has been considerably more circumspect than some other members of Congress, or the president-elect for that matter."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 05:34:23 PM
The linked Scribbler article is entitled: "Rex Tillerson Named as Secretary of State Amidst CIA Report of Russian Attack on U.S. Election".  One can almost hear the Texas-Tea Party chanting in the background: "BAU, BAU, BAU …"

https://robertscribbler.com/2016/12/13/rex-tillerson-named-as-secretary-of-state-amidst-cia-report-of-russian-attack-on-u-s-election/

Extract: "In the end, it’s pretty obvious what will result from Tillerson’s appointment as Secretary of State. First, U.S. efforts to mitigate climate change by working with foreign powers will be stymied and/or sabotaged. Trump has stated that he wants to withdraw from the Paris Climate Summit — and who better to lead those efforts than climate change denial promoter Rex Tillerson? But more to the point, U.S. foreign policy under Tillerson is even more likely to roll back sanctions against Russia for its attack against the Ukraine."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 06:07:57 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Rise of the alt-right: How mainstream conservatives’ obsession with purity fueled a new right-wing radicalism".  Just looking at Trump's cabinet nominees it is clear that the alt-right is gaining ground on claiming the GOP's soul.

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/14/rise-of-the-alt-right-how-mainstream-conservatives-empowered-racism-and-engineered-their-own-destruction/ (http://www.salon.com/2016/12/14/rise-of-the-alt-right-how-mainstream-conservatives-empowered-racism-and-engineered-their-own-destruction/)

Extract: "The GOP's endless battles over who is or isn't a "true conservative" created a movement it couldn't control.

It’s easy to see why Goldberg and other conservatives like former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol want to separate their own political views from racists and conspiracy nuts. This time around, however, the purge impulse isn’t likely to yield much in the way of results. Much of that has to do with the fact that the American right has been caught in a purity spiral — a form of vicious circle in which successive elites compete among each other over who is the “true conservative.”

What drives these continual metamorphoses of perception is that for the past 50 years, conservatives have been running on economic and fiscal platforms that are literally impossible to enact. While they have had some opportunities to enact their policy preferences regarding gun rights, taxes and foreign policy, the larger goals favored by the American right have never come to fruition.

Social Security has not been abolished and Medicare and Medicaid — often decried by the right as creeping socialism — have not been privatized. The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, has never been overturned. The federal government’s role in education has only increased. Instead of eliminating federal departments, Republican presidents have only created more of them."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 14, 2016, 06:17:49 PM
Trump vs CIA. What the Russians think.


https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201612131048497750-trump-showdown-with-cia/


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 07:08:30 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Robert Reich: Dark cloud of illegitimacy hangs over Donald Trump’s pending presidency".  Reich's 6th point indicates to me that Trump's 2016 election victory is more a result of GOP gerrymandering (following the 2010 census) than of any populist uprising.

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/14/robert-reich-dark-cloud-of-illegitimacy-hangs-over-donald-trumps-pending-presidency_partner/ (http://www.salon.com/2016/12/14/robert-reich-dark-cloud-of-illegitimacy-hangs-over-donald-trumps-pending-presidency_partner/)

Extract: "Before the Electors submit their ballots for president next week, Trump must release his tax returns and the CIA must make public its report on Russia’s intervention in the U.S. elections in support of Trump.

6. Trump was defeated in the actual voting by a startling — and still growing — 2,676,670 votes. Clinton’s popular vote victory margin is now 2 percent, thus handing Trump the largest defeat suffered by a candidate elevated to the presidency by the Electoral College in modern history."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 07:25:12 PM
The linked Mother Jones article is entitled: "Did Russia Spy on Donald Trump When He Visited Moscow?"  This raises the question whether Trump is a direct national security threat and subject to potential blackmail by the Russians.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/russian-intelligence-trump-moscow (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/russian-intelligence-trump-moscow)

Extract: "A counterintelligence veteran of a Western spy service in October told Mother Jones that he had uncovered information—and had sent it to the FBI—indicating Russian intelligence had mounted a years-long operation to cultivate or co-opt Trump and that this project included surveillance that gathered compromising material on the celebrity mogul. Yet there have been no indications from the FBI whether it has investigated this lead …

The intelligence experts agree: Trump would have been in the sights of Russian intelligence. But what might Moscow's spies have found? There is no telling. In the famous Access Hollywood video, Trump boasted of committing lewd (and illegal) action. Any intelligence operative would be delighted to catch Trump in such an act. Nance speculates: "That some of this would be salacious or information he would not want exposed to the public is without question. This unknown to the US intelligence community makes Donald Trump not just a national security threat but potentially a victim of blackmail by our oppositions intelligence agencies." Nance also points out that if Russian intelligence penetrated Trump's phone when he was in Moscow, its officers could have continued to intercept Trump's conversations once he was back in the United States."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 09:34:49 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Earnest: Trump may have known Russia behind hacking before Election Day".  Hopefully, the CIA will share some facts with the Electors (after granting them temporary security clearance) before they vote on Dec 19, 2016.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-russia-hacking-white-house-232642 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-russia-hacking-white-house-232642)

Extract: "… White House press secretary Josh Earnest contended Wednesday that it’s entirely feasible that Trump was well aware of Russia’s interference well before the intelligence community confirmed as much in October, a month before the election.

“There’s ample evidence that was known long before the election and in most cases long before October about the Trump campaign and Russia — everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” Earnest told reporters. “It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him, that Russia was involved and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign.”

“That’s why he was encouraging them to keep doing it,” Earnest continued, referring to the then-GOP presidential candidate’s invitation during a late-July news conference for Russia to find Clinton’s missing emails. At the time, Trump added that Russia would “probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 09:47:24 PM
The linked Washington Post Opinion piece is entitled: "Trump is playing a risky spy game".  The piece confirms that the CIA has more evidence that it is not yet sharing with the public; however, if the Electors were to be granted temporary security clearance, then hopefully the CIA could share these more sensitive details with the Electors before Dec 19, 2016:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-playing-a-risky-spy-game/2016/12/13/1c262bbc-c17c-11e6-9578-0054287507db_story.html?utm_term=.cdac5cc90a6e (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-playing-a-risky-spy-game/2016/12/13/1c262bbc-c17c-11e6-9578-0054287507db_story.html?utm_term=.cdac5cc90a6e)

Extract: "The evidence that led CIA analysts to conclude that Moscow’s aim in 2016 was to help Trump — rather than simply spread confusion — was based on a variety of sources. One indication was that the Russians didn’t disseminate information from their snooping into Republican files, as they had with the product of hacking against Democrats; the Russians also didn’t disseminate material after Trump’s victory. The CIA had other, more sensitive evidence that officials won’t discuss."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: TerryM on December 14, 2016, 11:05:50 PM
This elector, the one who has pledged to dump Trump may have some difficulty attaining the needed security clearance.


http://gotnews.com/exposed-anti-trump-faithless-elector-thechrissuprun-paid-ashley-madison-bankrupt-married-w-3-kids/ (http://gotnews.com/exposed-anti-trump-faithless-elector-thechrissuprun-paid-ashley-madison-bankrupt-married-w-3-kids/)


Just a thought, he pledged to vote for the winner of the vote in his state, then pledged to not vote for him, which pledge are we to believe?


The above probably wouldn't preclude him getting a security pass, but it certainly casts him as an ass.


The time for fighting against a Trump presidency ended when the last ballot was cast. Now we need to work against his agenda (particularly re. climate). Saying that his election was somehow illegitimate won't win us any friends, and could in fact backfire at some time in the future when  our guy wins a close one.
If this was Shrub against Gore I'd be on board. That was a stolen election. This time the wrong guy won, but he did win.


Does anyone really believe that Pence would be such a wonderful alternative?


Terry
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 14, 2016, 11:31:30 PM
Does anyone really believe that Pence would be such a wonderful alternative?

If the US Electoral College does not award at least 270 votes to a single candidate then selection of the next POTUS falls on the House of Representatives (i.e. it does not necessarily go to Pence).

Edit: Granted, if the House does select the next POTUS they will likely select Trump as indicated in the following linked article:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/electoral-college-fight-matters-though-trump-will-still-win.html (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/electoral-college-fight-matters-though-trump-will-still-win.html)

Edit2: In a dream world, 37 faithless GOP electors would vote for a well-respected moderate Republican (not Trump) that the House could then select as the next POTUS.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: pileus on December 15, 2016, 03:15:00 AM
A few MSM networks are reporting with confidence that Vlad directed this personally.

Since joining this dialogue my initial bias was skepticism that Trump became president in January.  Part of my rationale was a belief that there are well-placed people that understand what this would mean to the US and world order, and that if they could they would try to stop it.  I'm even more convinced that Trump will not assume office.  The Vlad news and they way the networks are reporting it make it likely that there is strong evidence that can't be waived off.  Along with Trump's on the record denials, the Russia connected cabinet picks, it creates an impossible to solve before Jan 20 crisis.  The Constitution demands that foreign influence in the electoral process be addressed.

The chess moves from all sides will be fascinating to watch over the next four days.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 15, 2016, 03:54:10 AM
A few MSM networks are reporting with confidence that Vlad directed this personally.

For example see the linked NBC article entitled: "U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack".

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-putin-personally-involved-u-s-election-hack-n696146 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-putin-personally-involved-u-s-election-hack-n696146)

Extract: "wo senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said."


Edit, see also the following linked article entitled: "Report Says Putin Was Directly Involved With Russian Interference In U.S. Election".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/putin-russia-campaign-hacking_us_5851d9fee4b0732b82fee4ac (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/putin-russia-campaign-hacking_us_5851d9fee4b0732b82fee4ac)

Extract: "Meanwhile, Putin’s popularity is skyrocketing among Republicans. According to a YouGov/Economist poll released this week, favorability of the Russian president has climbed 56 points since July 2014."

Edit 2, see also (and let me note that in my opinion Putin is no friend of the USA):

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/12/14/theres-been-a-breathtaking-swing-in-putins-popularity-among-re/21628136/ (http://www.aol.com/article/2016/12/14/theres-been-a-breathtaking-swing-in-putins-popularity-among-re/21628136/)

Extract: "Taking a closer look, in the 2014 poll, 3% of Republicans had very favorable views of Putin in addition to 7% who had somewhat favorable views. That poll showed that 25% of Republicans had somewhat unfavorable views, while a whopping 51% had very unfavorable views of Putin.

The August 2016 poll showed that some of those numbers took a drastic swing.

In that survey, the percentage of Republicans who viewed him very unfavorably dipped from 51% to 14%, and those who viewed him somewhat favorably increased from 7% to 32%."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 15, 2016, 05:48:02 PM
The linked article is entitled: "Climate Denial Rides Trump's Coattails to a Roaring Comeback".  It looks like the Decline & Fall of the American Empire has already begun.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14122016/climate-change-deniers-donald-trump-rick-perry-scott-pruitt-rex-tillerson (https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14122016/climate-change-deniers-donald-trump-rick-perry-scott-pruitt-rex-tillerson)

Extract: ""This is such a great time to be alive in America," said Sen. Mike Lee, (R-Utah), who Trump has listed among his possible Supreme Court nominees. "It's the best time in recent memory—perhaps in our lifetimes—to put federal energy policy back on the side of hard-working Americans."

Lee told the group he's focused on lifting the Obama administration's moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. He'd like to reverse recent Obama regulations like controls on methane at oil and gas operations and federal lands, using the Congressional Review Act—a move that would automatically bar Interior from attempting such rules again in the future. And early on, Lee said he hopes to see Congress pass the so-called REINS Act, requiring a Congressional vote on every regulation with an economic impact of $100 million or more.

Much of the afternoon was not devoted to policy, however, but rather discredited arguments downplaying climate risks , such as how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would improve the growth of plants, and increase vitamin C levels in fruit. Physicist William Happer of Princeton said that the emissions of an efficient power plant were not much different than the breath that people exhale.

While he was speaking Inhofe looked at the contrarian scientists in the front row before him and smiled.

"You've got all my heroes here from the old days," he said."

Edit, see also the following linked article entitled: "The oil and gas industry is quickly amassing power in Trump’s Washington":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-oil-and-gas-industry-is-quickly-amassing-power-in-trumps-washington/2016/12/14/0d4b26e2-c21c-11e6-9578-0054287507db_story.html?utm_term=.ab7fbc3d52c0 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-oil-and-gas-industry-is-quickly-amassing-power-in-trumps-washington/2016/12/14/0d4b26e2-c21c-11e6-9578-0054287507db_story.html?utm_term=.ab7fbc3d52c0)

Extract: "After eight years of being banished and sometimes vilified by the Obama administration, the fossil fuel industry is enjoying a remarkable resurgence as its executives and lobbyists shape President-elect Donald Trump’s policy agenda and staff his administration."

Edit2, see also the following Wikipedia article about decadence:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decadence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decadence)

Extract: "The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill at governing among the members of the elite of a very large social structure, such as an empire or nation state."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 16, 2016, 12:00:07 AM
The linked article is entitled: "Obama and Trump allies trade blows over Russia hacking".  As Voltaire noted in the age of Napoleon: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize".  We are finding out just how thin-skinned "The Donald" really is.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/kellyanne-conway-josh-earnest-trump-russia-232696 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/kellyanne-conway-josh-earnest-trump-russia-232696)

Extract: "Kellyanne Conway calls the White House's comments 'incredibly disappointing.' Josh Earnest knocks Trump for joking about an 'extraordinarily serious matter.'"
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 16, 2016, 12:16:45 AM
The linked website has information about the "Hamilton Electors".  While it is most likely that the Electoral College will elect Donald J. Trump, who knows what will actually happen on Dec 19th 2016?

http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/ (http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/)
&
http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/about (http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/about)


See also, the linked article entitled: "Donald Trump will face one, some or 20 faithless electors, depending on what random story you read". 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/14/donald-trump-will-face-one-some-or-20-faithless-electors-depending-on-what-random-story-you-read/?utm_term=.2f2d0689b542 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/14/donald-trump-will-face-one-some-or-20-faithless-electors-depending-on-what-random-story-you-read/?utm_term=.2f2d0689b542)

Extract: "Trump has 36 more electors than he needs to be the next president: He has 306 committed and needs 270. (At 269, the race is decided by the House.) So there would need to be 37 people like my anonymous emailer to flip the vote. There's already one, as we noted last week, an elector named Chris Suprun from Texas. One wobbly elector in Arizona recommitted to Trump, and others in Georgia and Texas plan to resign rather than vote for the Republican. They'll be replaced."


Edit, see also the following linked article entitled: "Could 'Faithless Electors' Keep Donald Trump Out Of The White House?":

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/15/505595890/mailbag-could-faithless-electors-keep-donald-trump-out-of-the-white-house (http://www.npr.org/2016/12/15/505595890/mailbag-could-faithless-electors-keep-donald-trump-out-of-the-white-house)

Extract: "So imagine the (unlikely) situation in which Trump loses 37 electors. Then the House would choose from the three candidates who get the most Electoral College votes, with each state delegation getting one vote. There are 33 state delegations that are majority-Republican right now. One could assume they'd want a Republican to win — and having a sizable number of them jeopardize a Republican presidency seems unlikely."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on December 17, 2016, 04:42:16 PM
There's no doubt in my mind that if the outcome of the election was left to the House of Reps, they would go with Trump. If Trump's presidency is the disaster I think it's going to be, the onus will be on the House Republicans, which will no doubt result in large losses for them in 2018.

The linked article is a BBC interview with David Remnick, by Newsnight editor Ian Katz:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38344175 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38344175)

"David Remnick: Trump’s win is an American tragedy."

Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 17, 2016, 05:05:16 PM
There's no doubt in my mind that if the outcome of the election was left to the House of Reps, they would go with Trump.

I believe that you are correct; however, Trump has a serious personality disorder that presents a clear and present danger, and people who intentionally choose to follow his lead are also exhibiting the mental illness of failing to see that Mother Nature will soon be handing-out Darwin Awards.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 17, 2016, 05:52:29 PM
As a follow-on to my last post, the linked article by Joe Romm is entitled: ""Flawed individuals will victimize you": A top FBI profiler's lessons on extreme narcissists like Trump".  As an example Trump played (& still plays) the media like a fiddle, leading them to all too frequently repeat his deluded sense of reality as if it were normal (e.g. in August 2016, 37% of Republicans admired Putin).

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/10/an-fbi-profiler-explains-trumps-narcissism_partner/ (http://www.salon.com/2016/12/10/an-fbi-profiler-explains-trumps-narcissism_partner/)

Extract: "There are 130 warning signs of the narcissistic personality.  Trump checks off at least 90.

As Navarro told me, "the purpose is to warn people that these traits are fixed and rigid" and that those who possess them in the extreme are a danger to everyone they have power or influence over."

Edit, see also the same article on Alternet:

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/what-top-fbi-profiler-taught-me-about-extreme-narcissists-donald-trump (http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/what-top-fbi-profiler-taught-me-about-extreme-narcissists-donald-trump)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: budmantis on December 17, 2016, 05:53:10 PM
There's no doubt in my mind that if the outcome of the election was left to the House of Reps, they would go with Trump.

I believe that you are correct; however, Trump has a serious personality disorder that presents a clear and present danger, and people who intentionally choose to follow his lead are also exhibiting the mental illness of failing to see that Mother Nature will soon be handing-out Darwin Awards.

No doubt about that. Definitely a clear and present danger. A large majority of politicians are too nearsighted to consider the longview, whether they be republicans or democrats.
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 17, 2016, 06:16:59 PM
(e.g. in August 2016, 37% of Republicans admired Putin).

The linked article is entitled: "A Dire Prediction for Trump's First 100 Days". 

When Putin became Prime Minister of Russia he had little wealth, after 17-years in power he is now worth over USD $85 Billion. Will Trump's budding kleptocracy make Putin's look small in comparison?

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-presidency-disaster (http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-presidency-disaster)

Extract: "Putin's power grab is a blueprint for Donald Trump's budding kleptocracy.
...
Why? Because it’s happened before.

In the fall of 1999, just months after then-unknown former FSB agent Vladimir Putin had been sworn in as prime minister of Russia, someone began bombing apartment buildings. Over the course of two terrible months, hundreds of people died in the series of explosions around the country and thousands were injured. As Masha Gessen tells it in her book The Man Without a Face, “panic set in all over the country.” The majority of the country assumed Chechen terrorists were responsible. Paranoia became the national mood and vigilante surveillance the national pastime. Into this chaos stepped Vladimir Putin.

“Putin made one of his first television appearances,” Gessen writes, “‘We will hunt them down,’ he said of the terrorists. ‘Wherever we find them, we will destroy them. Even if we find them in the toilet. We will rub them out in the outhouse.'...His popularity began to soar.”

Putin never looked back. Over the next 17 years, Putin ,  the uniquely unqualified newcomer to political office , became a global authoritarian. Russia was never the same.

Since those fateful days, experts around the world have come to agree that the Russian government was complicit in the terrorist bombings that swept Putin into power.

So, to summarize: In 1999 the FSB, the same organization now suspected of tampering in the U.S. election to tip it in favor of Donald Trump, was caught in the act of planting bombs in civilian apartment buildings in Russia in order to sow chaos and consolidate power for its disputed leader of choice."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: wili on December 17, 2016, 07:20:38 PM
ASLR, that's it in nutshell!
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 17, 2016, 09:41:47 PM
Ignorance increases human suffering, so until the media learns how maintain information integrity, and to sort fact from fiction, we are all going to live in an increasingly painful world, as illustrated by the following two articles with the first article entitled: “Trump Campaign Made A Deal With Media Organization For “Straighter Coverage” During Election”.

https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/12/16/trump-campaign-made-deal-media-organization-straighter-coverage-during-election/214853 (https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/12/16/trump-campaign-made-deal-media-organization-straighter-coverage-during-election/214853)


Extract: “Donald Trump’s campaign made a deal with Sinclair Broadcasting Group for more favorable media coverage during the election, adding to the growing lists of conflicts between Trump and the media.

President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a key member of his transition team, “struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage” for Trump in exchange for “more access to Trump and the campaign,” according to Politico.


Also see the following article entitled: “Newt Gingrich explains how Donald Trump expertly manipulates the media”.


http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/14/13938456/newt-gingrich-donald-trump-manipulates-media (http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/14/13938456/newt-gingrich-donald-trump-manipulates-media)


Extract: “Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich likes to say reporters are idiots.

“The same idiots that failed to understand that Trump was going to win the nomination, then failed to understand that Trump was going to win the general election, are now commenting on Trump’s Cabinet,” he told a crowd at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, to cheers and applause Tuesday in a speech about the principles of Trumpism.

And what these “idiot” reporters fundamentally don’t understand about Donald Trump, Gingrich said, is that the president-elect knows how to play them.

“I have had a theory going back to Reagan that you have to have rabbits that the media will chase, or they will invent their own,” Gingrich said.”
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: magnamentis on December 17, 2016, 10:15:34 PM
<snip>until the media learns how maintain information integrity, and to sort fact from fiction, we are all going to live in an increasingly painful world <snip>

sincere kudos, not many get that VERY important part in the first place and even less would dare to mention the shortcomings of the "holy cow" of the western world and so called democracies, the media. nothing will ever change until more ethics are enforced on them and as long as our monetary system includes interest on interest, just as a side note, while the later is what means doom to any restart from day one. TLTR if i write more about that but in short, it means enforced growth and later in the cycles between collapses it means more pressure on individuals as well as larger entities and as a consequence more and more sophisticated corruption. all the details would fill entire libraries :-)

cheers and thanks for you large amounts of useful information all over the place. :-)
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 17, 2016, 11:59:34 PM
ASLR, that's it in nutshell!

The first linked article (dated Nov 18 2016) is entitled: “Barack Obama Will Hand Donald Trump A Sweeping Ability To Wage War Without Oversight”. 

It confirms that Trump will inherit the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which Obama's lawyers have interpreted to authorize Trump to fight ISIS, without any limitations on what country he chooses to fight ISIS in.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-trump-drones-war-torture_us_582e27a5e4b058ce7aaa2928 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-trump-drones-war-torture_us_582e27a5e4b058ce7aaa2928)


Extract: “Obama has overseen bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Syria. In each country, the administration relied, in part, on legislation Congress passed in 2001 to authorize the use of force against those who plotted the Sept. 11 attacks. The wording of that authorization was vague ― it didn’t limit the war to a specific country or timeframe ― and the Obama administration’s lawyers have presented a complicated legal justification to defend its ongoing use in countries that Congress never even considered in 2001. That means a future president could continue to rely on the 15-year-old law to wage new wars in additional countries without asking Congress for approval.

There is near unanimous agreement that the 2001 AUMF is outdated. It’s a “stretch” to use it as legal justification to fight the current war against the so-called Islamic State, multiple national security law experts say. “The ways it was invoked have been stretched to a breaking point,” said Hina Shamsi, head of the ACLU’s national security project.

Congress, of course, bears much of the blame ― but regardless of who is at fault, the over-reliance on the 2001 AUMF sets a precedent for the Trump administration to make decisions about where and when to go to war with little input from lawmakers.



The following linked Wikipedia article is entitled: “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists”, and it confirms that as of December 2016 the AUMF allows POTUS to use force against ISIS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Terrorists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Terrorists)

Extract: “The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces". The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.

As of December 2016, the AUMF provides Congressional authorization for the use of force against ISIS and other Islamic militant groups.”


The last linked article indicates that Trump has confirmed that he would declare war on ISIS.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/14/donald-trump-wants-congress-to-declare-war-on-isis-it-hasnt-done-that-since-world-war-ii/?utm_term=.a48b31e21d08 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/14/donald-trump-wants-congress-to-declare-war-on-isis-it-hasnt-done-that-since-world-war-ii/?utm_term=.a48b31e21d08)

Extract: “Asked by Fox News's Bill O'Reilly whether he would move to declare war on the Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS, Trump answered in the affirmative.

"I would," Trump said. "This is war. If you look at it, this is war."


Congress has authorized the use of military force -- which isn't a declaration of war but has many of the same practical implications -- against al-Qaeda, which was used in Afghanistan. The al-Qaeda authorization is being used to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but some in Congress and President Obama want a new authorization of military force (AUMF) for the fight against ISIS.


It remains to be seen whether Trump actually wants to push for a step beyond an AUMF and really advocate for a declaration of war. “
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 18, 2016, 03:37:42 PM
The linked article entitled: "ExxonMobil helped defeat Russia sanctions bill", cites yet another example of crony capitalism working hard towards a BAU future (note that the "billions" mentioned in the article most likely refers to ExxonMobil's share of the pure profit, as its Russian assets are worth hundreds of billions of US dollars):

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/exxon-mobile-russia-sanctions-rex-tillerson-232770 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/exxon-mobile-russia-sanctions-rex-tillerson-232770)


Extract: "ExxonMobil successfully lobbied against a bill that would have made it harder for the next president to lift sanctions against Russia, clearing the way for the oil giant to restart a program worth billions of dollars if Donald Trump eases those restrictions as president.

The company’s effort could be helped by outgoing CEO Rex Tillerson, who, if confirmed as secretary of state, would be a key adviser on the decision."
Title: Re: Empire - America and the future
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 18, 2016, 04:34:18 PM
From mobster mentality to mobster ties (see first image), it is not far for "The Donald" to get to be a Little Caesar (see the second image).

The linked article is entitled: "Donald Trump's mobster mentality".

http://theweek.com/articles/666154/donald-trumps-mobster-mentality (http://theweek.com/articles/666154/donald-trumps-mobster-mentality)

Extract: "Before running for president, Donald Trump was what we might consider a mid-to-high-level grifter. Despite his bogus claims about being the largest developer in New York, his media profile was much larger than his actual influence in the real estate world. As such, he was always looking for ways to scoop up extra cash and avoid liabilities in whatever quantities available — bilk struggling people out of $10,000 here and $20,000 there with phony real estate seminars, sell some steaks at Sharper Image, stiff the contractors who did work for him, get his "foundation" to pay off lawsuits against him, and so on. "My whole life I've been greedy, greedy, greedy," he said. "I've grabbed all the money I could get. I'm so greedy."

But now there's no longer any need for small-time cons. Trump is truly the boss, and just like it is with the mob, everybody has to pay the boss."