Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kissinger Rides Again


Kissinger is certainly an egomaniacal jerk but the weakness of this article is that it seems to blame the victory of the National Liberation Front and the Communist government in the North against American aggression in Vietnam on his incompetence rather than on the superior military skills of the Vietnamese under the leadership of Vo Nguyen Giap and the justice of the cause for national liberation. Incidentally, the total incompetence of the US military was a contributing factor as its continuing incompetence has shown to this very day (it has no generals who know how to win a war and only throws out money and death in its efforts to postpone defeat -- its the most expensive, destructive and useless organization in history and should be prevented from hoodwinking young American men and women into thinking they are somehow "serving their country" by joining it when it is merely a political extension of Republican and Democratic politicians furthering the interests of Wall Street Banks and Arms Manufacturers and the tool of fraudsters such as Kissinger.
HISTORYNEWSNETWORK.ORG
At McCain’s funeral he presented himself as a foreign policy sage. He wasn’t one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Russia Falls Behind on Domestic Abuse: Bring Back USSR!

Seventy years of "socialist" education and many Russian men (most?) and women still have medieval outlooks re the role of women. Women's rights have gone backward since the end of the Soviet Union as the following quote indicates: "Activists say that the idea that women in Russia are equal is a cliché left over from the constitution of the Soviet Union, particularly in the area of domestic abuse. And various organizations focused on domestic violence ... have been labeled “foreign agents,” forcing some of them to close." The US rejected the "Equal Rights Amendment" for its constitution and we also have a big problem with domestic violence but this article indicates Russian women are worse off than they were in Soviet times as under Putin the laws against domestic violence have been weakened to protect the family! Are families based on violence? Violence is the woman's fault for not obeying her husband: “A man beating his wife is less offensive than when a man is humiliated,” Yelena Mizulina, the lawmaker who led the effort to decriminalize domestic abuse, told reporters in 2016. She added that it was “mandatory” for a woman to respect her husband as the “authority” in the marriage." Sounds like some of the Republican Congressmen we read about!
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NYTIMES.COM
The reversal of the murder convictions of two battered wives was a surprising development in a country that has decriminalized domestic abuse.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

"Fear" by Bob Woodward: Cheat Sheet


Don't have time to read 420 pages of Woodward? Here is the "Fear" CHEAT SHEET"-- 10 points "to get" just from the NYT review -- the least you need for a nodding acquaintance!
[All points, except in brackets, are quotes from the NYT review]
1. Nothing in Bob Woodward’s sober and grainy new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” is especially surprising.
2. “Fear” is a typical Woodward book in that named sources for scenes, thoughts and quotations appear only sometimes.
3. Woodward dispenses in “Fear” with most of the small human details that brightened his earlier books. There is no moment like the one in “Bush at War” (2002) in which George W. Bush said to a Navy steward on
duty in the West Wing, “Ferdie, I want a hamburger.”[Do we really these brightened details?]
4. Among the primary sources for this book are clearly [Reince] Priebus; Gary D. Cohn, Trump’s former chief economic adviser; and Rob Porter, Trump’s former staff secretary'
5. Cohn is in some ways this book’s moral center. If this were a first-person novel, he would be its narrator. He is shocked at every turn by Trump’s lack of knowledge and utter lack of interest in learning anything at
all. It was pointless to prepare a presentation of any sort for him.
6. Mike Pence, the vice president, comes off as a glorified golf caddy who doesn’t want to rock the boat lest Trump tweet something mean about him.
7. About Melania Trump, [Steve] Bannon says: “Behind the scenes she’s a hammer.”
8. Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation rattles Trump to his core in “Fear.”
9. John M. Dowd, Trump’s former lawyer, does not think Trump is mentally capable of testifying to the special counsel. “Don’t testify,” he is quoted as saying. “It’s either that or an orange jump suit.”
10. If this book has a single point to drive home, it is that the president of the United States is a congenital liar.
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NYTIMES.COM
Woodward’s latest look inside a White House offers details of an administration in chaos.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

What the CIA "Knows" About Putin

 not be among those 60 expelled -- this part of the story was just put in as cover for them. We are also told that Putin wants to eliminate current US informants by poisoning retired ones by using a poison that points to him. He must be dumber than Trump. If Russia, with a mere pittance of the resources the US has, is able to stir up chaos over here just imagine what we are doing to Russia! And who are those "pro-Russian" politicians running for office in the midterms?
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NYTIMES.COM
The spy agency does not believe its Russia informants have been killed, but sources have gone largely dormant amid heightened scrutiny and rising threats.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Giraffes, not just for the Zoo anymore


Since humans of a certain class and moral disposition cannot be prevented from slaughtering animals such as whales, dolphins, elephants, rhinos and now giraffes (etc., etc.) for fun and profit, and others from buying products made out the body parts of the slain wildlife to look "cool" is it too much to ask Congress (even Republican members not known for having reliable moral compasses) to enact laws to at least protect these animals from going completely extinct. Perhaps it is better for them to so if it is the only way to save them from never-ending acts of human cruelty and greed. Half the world still eats dogs and cats and if our "best friends" are still on the menu what hope do other animals have to escape our appetites for them as food, clothing, and the thrill of killing?
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PATCH.COM
A Humane Society investigation found at least 52 locations in the U.S. sell products made from the imperiled animal.

Monday, August 20, 2018

R.I.P. David McReynolds

A socialist from a different era but still a comrade for all that, he mused in 2015 “The failure of the Socialist Party, its tendency to substitute a kind of left rhetoric for serious analysis, is to be regretted because if ever we needed a democratic socialist movement it is today”--- a short three years later we see DSA rising to fill that need; the roles of other left forces are yet to be determined as democratic socialism, still "new" in the US is old in Europe and has failed to get beyond the welfare state and NATO. Communism (i.e., Marxism-Leninism) is still a viable alternative despite the failure of Eastern Orthodox culture to digest it as it is apparently working in China being compatible with a modern interpretation of Confucianism and as the ultimate solution to the contradictions engendered by the now dominant world capitalist system that evolved out of European mercantilism and whose continued existence is an existential threat to humanity and the planet.


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NYTIMES.COM

David McReynolds, Socialist Activist Who Ran for President, Dies at 88His pacifist work spanned decades and several wars, and he twice ran for the White House as an openly gay man on the Socialist Party USA ticket.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Trump vs Brennan: A Spat Between Scoundrels


Well, both Trump and Brennan lied to the American people (it's SOP for the CIA to circulate disinformation in support of government policies and to engage in deceptions and dirty tricks.) Once you leave government service there is no reason for you to keep your security clearance, it's a courtesy extended for loyal service. Once you bite the hand of a serving president don't be surprised if he bites back. These two scoundrels deserve one another and the American people deserve neither. There is nothing honorable about the Hon. John Brennan or the current President, their spat is a sideshow between two imperialist marionettes whose strings have become entangled.
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NYTIMES.COM
The White House cited “erratic” behavior by Mr. Brennan, who has frequently been a fierce critic of the president.