Activity


  • By Larry Greenemeier

    The idea of dropping an air-blast bomb—even if it’s the largest nonnuclear ordnance ever used by the U.S. in combat—to target fighters holed up in tunnels deep underground might at first […]

    • The use of this is gesture politics.

      What the US lacks is coherent strategy, not weapons!

      Clearly such a weapon cannot be used in the proximity of civilian populations without massive collateral damage among non-combatants!

    • If this is a gesture, then quite clearly this gesture is being made towards North Korea. They are also busy gesturing back in much the same way. Only difference is there really is very little substance behind them.

      I get the feeling from the Chinese that they have just given up hope for NK and are preparing for the worst outcome just in case.

      Trump looks like a political genius next to what’s on offer in NK so although I don’t wish it I see a very unhappy ending here.

    • https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/4/extraordinarily_dangerous_chomsky_on_how_trumps

      [I]f the U.S. did decide to use force against North Korea, one immediate reaction, according to the military sources available to us, is that Seoul, the city of Seoul, would simply be wiped out by mass North Korean artillery aimed at it. And who knows where we’d go from there? […]

      […] I mean, you cannot play that game in international affairs. We are too close to destroying ourselves. You take a look at the record of—through the nuclear age, of near—of accidental—sometimes accidental, sometimes kind of irrational actions. It’s almost miraculous that we’ve survived. […]

      And anything that—to get a good estimate of this, of the danger, take a look at the best monitor of the global security situation that we have as a simple measure—namely, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock. This is set every year, since the beginning of the nuclear age, 1947, by a group of serious specialists, scientists, political analysts and others, who try to give a measure of the danger that the human species faces. Midnight means we’re finished. In 1947, the clock was set at seven minutes to midnight. In 1953, right after the U.S. and Russia tested hydrogen bombs, thermonuclear weapons, it went to two minutes to midnight. That’s the closest it’s been to total disaster. Right now, as soon as Trump came in, it was moved to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, both because of the nuclear threat, recognized to be serious, and the threat of environmental catastrophe, which was not considered in the earlier years, now is.

    • it’s all blast overpressure, which can blow down trees and use the
      trees themselves as the fragmentation,

      that says it all
      the first victim is the biosphere

    • Moderator: The link to Scientific American is not working…..

    • Seems to work for me, Rod. I’m the person who shares articles here on RDF, so I double checked to see if I made a mistake. Works fine on my end!

      • Working for us too! Are you sure you were clicking on the right box, Rod? The grey one with the words “Scientific American”? Not the orange one with the word “Source”?

        The mods

    • Moderator #8
      Apr 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Working for us too! Are you sure you were clicking on the right box, Rod? The grey one with the words “Scientific American”? Not the orange one with the word “Source”?

      It is however exceedingly dumb that anyone with even half a brain writing a web site would put the word source in a box to make it look like a clickable link too rather than a pointer to an actual clickable link. This entire site is in fact so amateurishly and stupidly constructed, hard to navigate, poorly designed for hosting chat, no proper search facility, slow to load. Shambolic. It’s actually a disgrace to what Richard is trying to achieve, reflects exceedingly poorly on his own professionalism of which sweet FA of that is shown by the people who maintain this pathetic excuse for web site creation.

      I’ve been a main contributor in here for years waiting for someone to get off their arse and do something constructive about the site but nope. Nothing ever happens. I hope Richard sees this and sticks a lit firework up someone’s arse.

      Rant over!

    • Hear, hear!

    • Actually no, not rant over because this makes my fucking blood boil. In terms of what he’s trying to achieve Richard is one of the most important people on the planet. There should be thousands of people contributing to threads in here but if you subtract what myself and Alan4Discussion contribute you end up with a handful of regulars and a few newbies every now and then. A pitiful achievement and no doubt in large part because this site is so off putting to use I don’t blame most visitors for not being arsed to get involved. Go and have a look here.

      pistonheads.com

      This is the largest car related website in the world. Sections for every conceivable car related topic and for over 10 years I’ve given professional advice on engine technical related matters as a race engine designer and builder. Look how the site is constructed. News, Buy, Sell, Forum etc at the top. See how everything loads instantly as you hover the cursor over it because it’s hosted on a proper server not the Sinclair Spectrum that this shit must run on.

      See how the forum is separate from the rest. Go into it. Dozens of categories which then split further down into threads all of which show you every post, date and time of last post, threads split into pages so you don’t have to load every single post just to see the last thing written. It takes fucking ages for this site to load a big thread and eventually we give up and move to a new thread. Proper search facility, ability to post pics.

      You don’t need to write this sort of thing from scratch like this site appears to have done. You go and buy proper off the shelf forum software for a few bucks and incorporate it into your site. Everything you could ever need will be built in. I contribute to many forum based websites on car engine technical and other matters and every one has the same look, feel and facilities built in. Except this heap of shit!

      This site is not an advert for Richard’s work. This site is not a furtherance or a help to Richard’s work. It’s a hindrance, an insult and a complete fucking disgrace to it. Get it sorted!

    • Arkrid- let me pile on a bit. I thought I was the only one who didn’t like it. I used to post a good bit years ago when it was discussion friendly. They changed the format and it just got clunky. I thought they might have been intentionally trying to limit comments and debate for some reason so I didn’t say anything.

      And in not saying anything, I just stopped checking in every day because there was so little new content- particularly user-generated content. I now just check in every week or two to read a couple of the news stories and may comment once every couple of months if that. It might not have been an intentional site-icide but you’d never know by looking.

    • Hi, Arkrid,

      I understand your anger. But could it be that what you really want to fix is this horrible situation we are facing now in the US and which affects everyone? You once told me that you have an innate need to fix things and that it frustrates the hell out of you when you can’t, and that you also hate lies – or something to that effect.

      What makes my blood boil, Arkrid, is listening to people on the news discussing such things as whether Trump has fulfilled his promises or not or whether he contradicted himself on this or that issue. They did that during his campaign too. (“Is he softening on immigration?”) They won’t tell the truth or don’t know how: the real issue is that we are in a state of real crisis, in what Marx described as the final stage of capitalism: we have a government “consumed by capitalists” of the most extreme variety who want to “consume the social structures” that sustain and serve the common good, everything from the EPA to education and healthcare. We have an administration that has a “mania” for short-term corporate profit, as Chris Hedges said, at the expense of Democracy, social welfare…

      Trump is unfit to serve, is a pathological liar and his vile spokespeople are all experts at mixing truth with lies and confusing us (and the blurring reality with unreality is, of course, the absolute mark of a fascistic or authoritarian system of governing). The corporate media (which can still be informative at times) lulls us into feeling like everything is relatively normal. Truly insidious.

      No one is talking about these perverted, villainous freaks (“agents of destruction”): “Devos is moving to defund the public school system and use government vouchers to expand corporate charter school chains and those run by the Christian Right.” (Hedges). She was hired to do just that. Then there’s Pruitt who hates, and will destroy, the EPA, and Price with his obscene conflicts of interest…. We are being tranquilized! Mailer talked about that a lot. Look at them! They are all so gleeful! Listen to them on CNN: what’s his approval rating? Why did he say this during the campaign but is now doing that? Pathetic!

      And I haven’t even said nearly enough. I could go on.

      I think you should try to help improve the site. Maybe you can get in touch with someone and see if you can’t get your suggestions out there. It is a bit slow, and it should say “click here” or something.

      It’s a truly frightening and anger-producing time now. Many people are on edge.

      Dan

    • I agree with Dan. The spectacle of Trump congratulating Erdogan in creating what is almost a dictatorship in Turkey is enough to show where it’s all headed.
      Hopefully the Chinese will do enough to avert the worst disaster in NK, but what a comedown for the USA. No longer leading in diplomacy, just relegated to being one of the aggressors in a dispute.
      The problem with NK is they are really daft enough to attempt a nuclear strike on the carrier force Trump has sent. It could be they will not be able to deliver the weapon to target. But only a complete lunatic would want to gamble on that.
      What would Trump do then? Has he thought it through?
      Thought seems to be something this administration is bit short of.
      Presumably if the worst were to happen they will play the game of “that’s why we had to nuke ’em”. Reality is it will be the end for USA as a best scenario and end of almost everyone at the worst.
      What Trump is doing now will/has change/d America’s standing in the world. He seems to think he will make up for it with threat of military force. But when dealing with a real dictatorship he will almost certainly find they can be even more impulsive and unpredictable than he imagines.

    • NK, US

      How you treat a country where 99.9% of the populations are kept in an undeserving state of ignorance and terror?

      Our problem is a man albeit mad.

      Simply wait.

    • What I find quite disgusting about this MOAB and the cruise missile strike is listening to the talking heads on the political shows last week going on about Assad dropping barrel bombs on his people and the comparison that invites. Barrel bombs are just cheap and cheerful oil drums filled with explosive and ball bearings or nuts and bolts as shrapnel. Crude, basic, little more than IEDs really. How awful to have something as crude as that dropped on you say all the talking heads. Why don’t we retaliate against those as much as chemical weapons they ask.

      But high technology sexy weapons like cruise missiles and the biggest non atomic bomb ever dropped are just fine and dandy for killing people with. That’s proper warfare that is with GPS guidance, laser targetting, millions of dollars a chuck and all done from such a distance that no poor brave american soldier has to put himself in harm’s way. Americans glorify their warfare so much but god forbid that any of them should actually get killed. Every president knows what a bump his ratings get when he drops something high tech on a bunch of ragheads or commies.

      The same applies to how combatants are called. Americans invading Iraq illegally are liberators. Iraqis rightfully defending their sovereign nation are insurgents. Brown skinned American nationals killing people in the USA are terrorists. White skinned ones doing the same are just criminals.

      All of this stems from the phenomenal hubris and jingoism that infects the american psyche. The American Dream that every kid is inculcated to believe in. That America is god’s own country and the greatest nation on earth. Well no it isn’t. For many people who live there it’s a shit hole with a pathetic health care system, education system, political system and now a president who’s only going to make all of those worse.

      But hey, it’s got a great military with bombs with sexy names that can kill people from hundreds of miles away so everything’s good.

    • I used to have a young aspie neighbor who must have read every book in existence on WW2 and all things related to military matters. He told me that an invasion of NKorea is something that the American public could support on humanitarian grounds and that it was no problem to smash the current government into oblivion, but what would happen then? I wish my aspie neighbor never moved away.

      Americans have a long history of smashing governments out of existence, “liberating” populations as a so called “humanitarian” gesture, and then moving on to the next exciting military campaign. Everyone gets a promotion and a chest full of metals and new military supply contracts are drawn up. The power vacuum that is left behind and the suffering of the people fades from the collective memory.

      I feel the desire to “liberate” the N Koreans from their huge open air prison (Hitch phrase) but they won’t see us as liberators (will they? No. probably not.) They will be sure that everything their dictator has said about the US is coming true the minute we step over their borders. How to manage a “nation rebuild” of N. Korea at that point is an idea that is too mind boggling for me but maybe I think too small for that. I’m conflicted.

    • @12

      thought they might have been intentionally trying to limit comments and debate for some reason so I didn’t say anything.

      Maybe this is the truth. When the site went down lately it stayed down for a while. I wondered if anyone behind the curtain even noticed what happened. Apparently, Dan notified them and it was fixed. The technical side of things is completely unknown to me but if they want to inspire more conversation they could bring in some top thinkers and give them a platform to air their views. I remember the days when Richard popped in here now and then.

    • Arkrid

      All of this stems from the phenomenal hubris and jingoism that infects the american psyche. The American Dream that every kid is inculcated to believe in.

      This is such a powerful force here in the US. It’s a frightening and powerful force. I see the effects of this brainwashing all around me and I feel its pull on all of us. I think it’s very difficult to see its existence from the inside when we’re in the middle of it. I only came to understand this when I lived outside of the country and looked back in at it. We are surrounded by a thick bubble of propaganda. I have to constantly access international news to act as a check on what the American “news” feeds me 24/7. If Americans don’t think of doing this then they’re vulnerable to thought control. This is how to create jingoism.

    • Hey there, Laurie,

      “It [is] no problem [!!] to smash the current government [of North Korea] into oblivion.” –Laurie’s “aspie” former neighbor.

      Your ex-neighbor sounds like a freak, frankly. Not because he’s aspie but because he’s full of it.

      According to Malcolm Nance – and I’m sure you’ve seen that guy on TV; he’s very good – the weapons that North Korea has obtained over the years is, shall I say, very hard to get at. (I forgot the specific technical terms that he used; sorry.) Nothing short of a nuclear bomb, he said, would be able to destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

      The only ones that need liberating is us. We have been slowly turning into an open air prison ourselves.

      I hope you’re well. Regards, D

    • akrid #11
      some slick techno site that mesmerizes moron motorists?
      can’t think of a worse recommendation for improving this site
      any site that pushes/pimps the private auto is b s
      piss on the pissed on heads
      rd site is as close to a luddism as you can get
      long may its clunkism last
      listen to sam harris’s conversation with tristan harris
      about what technology is doing to us

    • LaurieB #18: I feel the desire to “liberate” the N Koreans from their
      huge open air prison (Hitch phrase) but they won’t see us as
      liberators (will they? No. probably not.) They will be sure that
      everything their dictator has said about the US is coming true the
      minute we step over their borders.

      What about your dictators? 😉 You said you are aware of dictatorship in your own country, how come you believe there is dictator in N.Korea and that they need liberating? 🙂 I mean, every news about N.Korea being “huge open air prison” that you Americans have been fed, has come from America.

      #20: We are surrounded by a thick bubble of propaganda.

      …but look (for some strange reason haha) Americans have this “feeling” how N.Korea is living inside thick bubble?! But in general,…do you know why Americans think they “need to liberate anyone” in this planet? Did anyone invited them to do so? Or do they just (living in their propaganda bubble) think they have some natural right to do so?

    • Modesti, think you hit the nail right on there. USA needs to be liberated from it’s own dictator before worrying about anyone else.
      We are about to have an ‘election’ in the UK and it looks like we will get a dictatorship by default. There really is no effective opposition and what there is gives me little inspiration to vote for it. Could be it will be a very low turnout. Apparently (according to Alan) the Labour party will vote in favour of an election as the chief turkey has already said they will vote for Christmas.

    • Modesti

      What about your dictators?

      Since you have included a wink after this question I’m not sure how serious the question is. We currently have a President who I believe, would move us toward a dictatorship if he is given the chance to do so. I don’t take their actions lightly because I do have some understanding of history and how these things often go down. Do you mean to say that the American Presidency is a dictatorship just in general? Or are you talking about Trump specifically?

      how come you believe there is dictator in N.Korea and that they need liberating?

      My understanding of the N.Korean situation definitely comes from American media reports. Do you think I’ve been misled? If so, I’m happy to hear what you think of their situation. When I used the word “liberate” above I used quotes around it. Do you understand what I meant by that?

      Did anyone invited them to do so? Or do they just (living in their propaganda bubble) think they have some natural right to do so?

      I’m not sure if any NKoreans have invited the US to invade them. I don’t have access to this information. Even if they have invited an invasion upon themselves I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do. How many NKoreans would need to cry out for help to make this a good option? 50%, more? What about the Palestinians? Think the US should liberate them, Modesti? How about the victims of Boko Haram? Should we liberate them? South Sudan? Is there any example of American military action that you approve of? -whether or not it was invited.

      It would be nice if we had an equation for this problem but there are too many factors involved in this to fit into a nice neat equation. I would like to know how you come to these decisions, just personally. Like I said above, many Americans DO believe that it’s our calling from God or our duty or our right to go marching in wherever we please and rearrange the system to fit our needs and wants and vision of reality. That doesn’t include ALL of us.

    • Dan

      I miss my aspie neighbor young guy because I could count on him to give me a concise analysis of any situation with no sappy emotional drivel. He really cut through the crap. I appreciate that.

      We’re not a dictatorship yet, Dan. But the Dems had better turn this around before it gets more entrenched. What a weird situation this is.

      I’m well. Hope you are too.

    • Democrat Narrowly Misses Outright Win in Georgia House Race –NY Times

      I wanted a win. Damned recalcitrant republicans! What does it take? Stubborn, closed-minded, recalcitrant fools. (Propaganda is a powerful tool and pervasive, as laurie said, so I can’t blame them entirely.)

      Senator Warren has become the target of a stream of attacks by the Republicans’ army of media gangsters. They are so afraid of her.

      And they were afraid of Hillary’s brain too. (Yes, I know about Goldman Sachs, and she’s no angel, etc.) That’s why they had to do everything they could do to ruin her chances. I hope that doesn’t happen again in 2020 if Warren runs: (real) fake news, overblown scandals, hearings, false accusations – one on top of the other, and again with Russia’s help, perhaps. What’s to prevent them from interfering again and with even more sophisticated techniques? (Of course I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone what’ll happen four years from now.)

    • LaurieB #25:

      Oh, the question is serious (but no hard feelings), and I mean to say that the American Presidency is a dictatorship in general not that is been led to dictatorship now with Trump. My understanding is that America had produced wars (or revolutions) in other countries not only with this president now but so many times in the past (some thing I have find out from Naomi Klein excellent insights). Why American governments felt they are obigated to engage in socio-political systems of foreign states? With pretexts of “liberations” of people who live there. I understood when you said “liberation” that it is an euphemism for attacks. If there is some country that needs to be liberated from some bad socio-political conditions surely that is a task for UN based on firm facts, and not by one country ‘who thinks‘ they have bad socio-political conditions and need to be liberated by them. Why American governments thought they have right to mess with other countries politics? UN perhaps, but not America I think. American people see propaganda in other countries but not so much in their own, how come they see other people’s mantra (I don’t know…like alah is great or something like that) but they do not recognize that same mantra in their own yard (like American dream, patriots, or the gratest democracy, or something simillar)? I know that ALL people are not misled.

      My understanding of the N.Korean situation definitely comes from
      American media reports.Do you think I’ve been misled? If so, I’m happy
      to hear what you think of their situation.

      Why would I think of N.Korea? Why would anyone? Why is N.Korea on America mind? Why there was an government that woked up one morning and said “oh…there is this N.Korea located thousands of kilometers away and it get on my nerves. We simply have to mess with her”. hahah… I mean, why America think that N.Korea is their bussines? They can exist without you, and they have until you decided (based on some politician magical thinking probably) that they must change.

      In my opinion if someone has been informed from only one source than it is a highly likely that they do not have whole or correct seeing of the matter. When in war, first thing that is done is to cut off all independence media and fill public with only one source – state. I do not have means to investigate, but I do not doubt that almost all news about N.Korea comes from one source – American. A source that has an aim to destroy that country for some reason. Why America thinks that it is all right to have anything to say on internal things of N.Korea I do not know. If they do not have some mineral assets, oil, water or some other energy potential that America wants, than perhaps only they want to remove comunism and install liberal capitalism.

      I’m not sure if any NKoreans have invited the US to invade them….
      How many NKoreans would need to cry out for help to make this a good
      option?

      But who says they are crying at all? when all information about them is coming from one source who wishes to represent them as such? I mean, if Americans are living in their propaganda bubble (and I think so) telling them that N.Korea must be “liberated” from some “bad” socio-political system, how can they distinguish if they are misled. Why won’t America leave alone country situated thousands kilometers away from them called N.Korea is beyond me. How Korean citizens postulate threat toward you (apart from propaganda) is really incomprehensible to me. To me, you are dictatorship country because your government have first attack Americans with paranoia (created so state of shock as Klein would say) and from it individuals are gaining good businesses leaving American citizens in bubble of fear, paranoia etc. wich allows politicians with businessman to get personal wealth. I think your government first attacked you, all good citizens minding their mind in peace, but than they introduced crisis after the crisis, wars after wars (blaming others for all). You have poor social structures in my view, lots of poor people and huge crime, and your government did it to you while engaged in accumulation of wealth for themselves living you all in dirt, and always monitoring what “others are doing to you”. Other countries I mean (which did not have problem until you came).

      What about the Palestinians? Think the US should liberate them,
      Modesti? How about the victims of Boko Haram? Should we liberate them?
      South Sudan? Is there any example of American military action that you
      approve of? -whether or not it was invited

      But the whole difference is in that whether you are informed well. If they have attacked America without any doubt (where there are independent facts and not imaginations or American imposings so they create facts) than I can approve your involvement, but if america have machinated facts, if America have made you belive that you are under attack than I do not. If Boko Haram, Palestinians, Sudanians didn’t attack Americans than UN is the organisation that needs to intervene not America. But for example, if government of Nigeria said come and help us against Haram that would be other thing, you would have been invited (I don’t know if you were).

    • Olgun #27
      The argument starts with how much the US wants to buy or sell it for.
      ‘My people want their bread for this much and that means you have to
      buy it for that much. No? Then I will send my boys round to talk it
      through’…

      Yes. Greed economy from ill individuals that have state power. This is old scenario (in my opinion) from USA introducing it all over the world. First they buy people in power from country whom they want to draw energy from (energy being money, oil, minerals, water…), then they create social and political chaos, and then USA comes and represent themselves as saviors or liberators (whatever)…and they gain political legitimacy for their involvement and of course perhaps even graditudes from ordinary people.

      …when every other word was ‘Russia’ and the threat…

      Yes. Attackers constantly introduce words like that to associate terror with someone into unconcious (in this example with Russia)… so people in time without even knowing facts or reasons think that this and that is their enemy. In my opinion.

      Don’t think I’ll get any more sleep as I am fuming now. The going son
      in Turkey had my blood nearly boiling but it has just vaporised like
      that fucking bomb. I would like to say, “stop this world, I want to
      get off” but realise it wont stop. Sign me up for the first Mars trip
      though. One way.

      Yes. Sometimes I wish a comet would struck Earth and kill all people. Just people. I don’t want other life destroyed. Someone said if only by any chance people would wanished from Earth, other life on Earth would blossom. 🙂

    • Modesti #29
      Apr 19, 2017 at 5:08 am

      Why American governments felt they are obigated to engage in socio-political systems of foreign states? With pretexts of “liberations” of people who live there. I understood when you said “liberation” that it is an euphemism for attacks.

      The purpose is to “liberate” the assets and resources of those countries for neocolonial foreign exploitation! (look at the situation regarding oil). “Left-wing governments (which protect the interests of their citizens), must be over-thrown by foreign funded and armed right-wing dictatorships or corrupt governments which can be bought with foreign slush funds and “aid” with strings attached!
      The arms merchants of the world, are also very selective in who they and their governments allow access to imported high-tech weapons!

      If there is some country that needs to be liberated from some bad socio-political conditions surely that is a task for UN based on firm facts,

      Unfortunately, the UN “sanctions”, and foreign trade embargoes which induce the poverty, are part of the problem which isolates governments and communities, diverting their limited resources into guarding against foreign infiltration, sponsored terrorism, or invasion – with the associated repressive measures an inevitable consequence!

      and not by one country ‘who thinks‘ they have bad socio-political conditions and need to be liberated by them.

      Those whose political manipulations have inflicted the “bad socio-political conditions, are well aware of them, but simply use these as another tool to force regime change!

    • Well I’m the last person to defend America, but we have a good system of government – if only it wasn’t abused. But we have never had a coup here (although what’s happening now is close to it) or anything like that, which happens every other frigging day in all those backwards countries all over the world. They have no constitution, nothing like what we have. A lot of envy mixed in with legitimate criticism and disappointment.

      Israel-Palestine. We are a sick nation and have a sick policy and should stop supporting Israel. Israel has gone off the deep end, and has lost something good forever, I am afraid. No military action is required, but I wouldn’t mind some pressure, sanctions, etc.

      France is all fucked up now too. I fear the worst.

    • Enough is enough. Let’s impeach the son-of-a-bitch. So we’ll have Pence for a while. What else can be done?

      Trump Abandons America’s Freedom Agenda

      This isn’t anything an American president should be thrilled about. Yet, Trump took the opportunity to personally congratulate Erdoğan on his “victory,” while reportedly raising no concerns about the vote’s validity, before getting down to more substantive matters regarding Turkish-American cooperation in Syria.

      This is a dereliction of an American president’s duty to posterity and tradition. American leaders ought to be champions of liberty, particularly when it is under threat. Those who fancy themselves pragmatists might find the move justified by the need to have a productive working relationship with Ankara, but Turkey’s commitment to its Western ties is a vestigial relic of an era its president would prefer to forget.

      Erdoğan has not been a solid NATO ally, but he has been a lucrative business partner for the Trump family. “Thank you Prime Minister Erdogan for joining us yesterday to celebrate the launch of #TrumpTowers Istanbul!” exclaimed Ivanka Trump in 2012. “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” Trump told his future campaign chairman Steve Bannon on the latter’s radio program in 2015. Of course, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was an unregistered foreign agent receiving compensation to serve Erdoğan’s interests while he was the foremost individual responsible for advising the president on threats to U.S. national security.

      These personal conflicts of interest cannot be dismissed, but they may also mislead. Trump never truly surrendered his soft spot for the world’s despots, and he has demonstrated no interest in supporting the aspirations of freedom-loving people anywhere beyond America’s borders.

      Trump previously praised Erdoğan for his uncompromising response to the coup attempt and asserted that he couldn’t presume to criticize the crackdown on civil liberties in Turkey when the U.S. struggles with its own civil unrest. Trump is unable to find anything of substance to criticize when it comes to Vladimir Putin’s intolerance for dissent or opposition political figures.

    • John Oliver on France was very good.

      For those outside the US or who can’t get their computer to lie about its location

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyCEkuqW_N4

      let it run on the the second clip.

    • I watched the whole thing. Scary. I wonder if LePen plans to ban crosses too. I doubt it. She’s a horror, as bad as her father, I am sure.

      Oliver is good, yes, but not funny, imo.

    • Dan #32

      France is all fucked up now too. I fear the worst.

      It’s a brave person who makes confident political predictions these days, but I’m – cautiously, tentatively – optimistic that, although she’ll almost certainly make it through the first round, Le Pen won’t win the presidency.

      She is the only Far Right candidate, and most of the recent polls show her at about 22-23%.

      Both Le Pen and the other leading candidate, Emmanuel Macron, have dropped back a bit in the latest polls, with the centre-right François Fillon and hard left Jean-Luc Melanchon surging forward. So right now, it’s not even absolutely clear that she’ll make it past the first round – though I suspect she will.

      Once there, though, I don’t think it will be easy for her to win. Any election with Le Pen as one of the final 2 candidates is going to be primarily about whether France wants to be governed by the Far Right. And it’s clear from the polling that currently less than 25% of the French population want to see that. My guess is that her support in Round 1 will be enough to get her through to the run-off, but that it won’t increase sufficiently from there to let her win the presidency.

      There are still ways it could go wrong, though. If her opponent in the run-off is François Fillon, the fact that he’s recently been investigated for alleged misappropriation of public funds could lead to a “drain the swamp”-type backlash against him (though Le Pen’s party has itself been investigated along similar lines, so perhaps not). And if the only really left wing candidate, Jean-Luc Melanchon, does not get through to the head-to-head, his supporters could conceivably switch to Le Pen instead, on the basis that what they really want is a major shake-up and don’t really care what form it takes. And if he does make it to the head-to-head, his ultra-left line will undoubtedly alienate a lot of voters. But even so, the latest polling suggests that any of the other candidates with a chance of making it through to the 2nd round would beat Le Pen at that stage.

      Remember, too, that – post-Brexit and post-Trump – the recent trend in European elections (Austria, Netherlands) has been to peer over the abyss but then to back away from it. And polls also show that most French support the EU and want to stay in the Euro – and Le Pen wants to take France out of both.

      So yes, it could all go wrong. But it’s by no means inevitable. On the other hand, about a third of voters still haven’t made up their minds. In practice, many such voters end up not voting at all. On the other hand, a high “don’t know” figure can mask a high number of “shy voters” – people who plan to vote for the politically unacceptable (Le Pen, in this case), but feel embarrassed to admit it to pollsters. Either way, the existence of such a high proportion of Undecideds could sway the election in any direction, in ways no one can predict.

      So who knows? No point despairing before it happens, anyway: it can’t make anything better, and just makes you feel worse.

      There’s a report about the latest situation here, if you’re interested:
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/19/emmanuel-macron-french-election-hopefuls-vie-last-votes

    • Marco—

      Thanks for the link and your analysis of the situation.

      I don’t know too much about French politics; I’ve been informed that Left and Right, or more precisely, the terms Conservative and Liberal, mean something quite different in the UK than they do here in the US. And they might mean something a bit different in France as well. But I was still struck by this interesting statement:

      “…if the only really left wing candidate, Jean-Luc Melanchon, does not get through to the head-to-head, his supporters could conceivably switch to Le Pen instead, on the basis that what they really want is a major shake-up and don’t really care what form it takes.”

      Over here there were a number of Bernie Sanders supporters who had expressed willingness to vote for Johnson that screwy (free market-get-government-off-our-backs )libertarian; and I imagine that a few of them or more did just that, and even voted for Trump. That is a pretty sad commentary on a number of levels; they’ll vote for a shake-up, regardless of what form it takes, as you said, and even though Johnson and Trump represented the very antithesis of everything Sanders stands for – and maybe that applies to Melanchon and Le Pen as well.

      You’re right; no point in despairing; I’ll stick with mere worrying. (Feeble joke.)

    • Modesti

      If there is some country that needs to be liberated from some bad socio-political conditions surely that is a task for UN

      You have much more confidence in the UN than I do! Your view on this surprises me. You don’t think that the UN is a puppet bought and paid for by the US?

      American people see propaganda in other countries but not so much in their own, how come they see other people’s mantra (I don’t know…like alah is great or something like that) but they do not recognize that same mantra in their own yard (like American dream, patriots, or the gratest democracy, or something simillar)? I know that ALL people are not misled.

      Is this just a phenomenon of American mentality? This is a universal characteristic of our species. We will never be rid of the old tribal bonding feelings and rituals that demonstrate our loyalty to others who are most like us. It takes a great personal force (and other important factors) to squelch the feelings that lead to tribalism, nationalism and jingoism. We are programmed to respond to the political propaganda that inspires the dark behavior we’ve seen in the past and has resurfaced lately. I’m not saying this as an excuse, it’s just that if we don’t understand deep motivations for this situation then we will never be able to move past it. Americans are vulnerable to propaganda just like every other person in this world including you and me. Trump and others have opened the gates for haters to feel proud of their own narrow minded shallow thinking and their promotion of their own small tribe at the expense of all others. I’m really hoping that as someone else here said, it’s going to be the last gasp of the forces of the authoritarian reactionary right.

      Why America thinks that it is all right to have anything to say on internal things of N.Korea I do not know.

      I don’t believe there is any real humanitarian motivation in this American action. But there are treaties involved here with allies in that region. Even if the NKoreans aren’t asking for outside help, I believe that the SKoreans, Japanese, etc are very nervous about their pugnacious neighbor. There are political alliances that exist and for better or for worse they drag countries into conflicts that are far from their own shorelines and their own interests.

      Why won’t America leave alone country situated thousands kilometers away from them called N.Korea is beyond me.

      What does distance have to do with it? We aren’t embarking on a naval mission that involves a flotilla of handmade wooden boats at the mercy of the capricious sea gods. Modern technology puts the distance between NKorea and California in closer proximity by the day. This is why the US military is watching the missile tests with more and more interest. (If this is propaganda then feel free to say so. I will consider it fairly. Military matters are unknown to me.) Is there a real risk here or not?

      If they have attacked America without any doubt (where there are independent facts and not imaginations or American imposings so they create facts) than I can approve your involvement,

      This is too simple to merit consideration. To think that any country would just retreat from the geopolitical stage and only act in defense against an attack on itself is unreasonable. Alliances exist. They shift like the sands of the Sahara but they’re not going away anytime soon!

      I asked you above if you think that the US ought to impose a solution on the Palestian/Israel situation and the Boko Haram, Sudan, etc situations. You replied:

      If Boko Haram, Palestinians, Sudanians didn’t attack Americans than UN is the organisation that needs to intervene not America. But for example, if government of Nigeria said come and help us against Haram that would be other thing, you would have been invited (I don’t know if you were).

      I’ll take that as a “no” since none of those groups has attacked inside the borders of the US (with troops in the old battlefield way) that I know of. But let me take this opportunity to offer a provocation to you now Modesti. If I could fashion myself to be a modern day atheist, feminist, Joan of Arc (on meds for her obvious schizophrenia) with the US military at my command, the first action I’d take is to use that force to redraw the (previously redrawn) lines on the map of the fucked up holy land and enforce them in a state of stability and damage control. There is no end to the toxic consequences that come out of that hellhole and there are many more to come. 1.5 billion Muslims in this world who are seething with rage and it’s worse by the day. Yes. I would do it.

      (Alexander the Great, Laurie, Machiavelli) 😉

    • Dan #37

      Absolutely, Dan. Who can deny that “the system” doesn’t work for everybody? If you have enough people who feel it’s not working for them, that it’s never worked for them and that it will never work for them, then you have a cohort that will be drawn to any politician standing on a platform of “Not This”.

      “Mere worrying” is reasonable, I think 🙂

    • Modesti, Laurie

      American people see propaganda in other countries but not so much in their own.

      The better the propaganda the less it is perceived as propaganda. Ideally, no one is supposed to know it’s propaganda, remember?

      Laurie, you’re a scream! “Alexander the great, Laurie, Machiavelli.” That’s pretty good.

    • Dan

      John Oliver. I understand what you mean about the humour. Its schoolboy silliness. But I just realised it needs to be. The humour must never distract from the content. It must never be sly, insightful or clever clever stuff of itself, distracting you from worthy facts. Its simply the laughing gas fluffing up the substantial cream. (Goodness, thats what they actually use!)

    • Dan #40
      Apr 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Modesti, Laurie

      American people see propaganda in other countries but not so much in their own.

      The better the propaganda the less it is perceived as propaganda. Ideally, no one is supposed to know it’s propaganda, remember?

      US and UK news media seem to be reporting with a straight face, the ludicrously projected notion, that North Korea testing missiles for its own defence, in its own country, and landing them safely in the sea, is “PROVOCATION”, while the USA firing bombs and missiles and landing them on cities and military bases in foreign countries, thousands of miles from the USA, is “defending rights” and “protecting the US homeland”!

      .. . . and yet the gullibles still don’t get it, that as the explosions erupt in their countries, the Iraqis, Afghans, and Syrians don’t buy this propagandist garbage! – and neither do other third-world observers!

      The self-centred dimwits also don’t get-it, that those who believe in the Abrahamic, “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth”, whose families and neighbours have been bombed, will seek revenge, with terrorism and guerilla warfare, – which is the poor-man’s answer to military heavy repression and incompetent gratuitous attacks on the wrong people!

    • Phil,

      John Oliver. Yes, I see your point. It works.

      Not for me, however.

      Bill Maher is very funny, as was (or is) Jon Stewart. What Maher does is walk that tightrope (poor analogy) between serious commentary and humor, and neither gets lost; that’s because he is truly funny and is also real. The humor is organic, like you and some other concerned citizen, who happens to be a great wit, talking about Trump on the street, and the guy makes a joke here and there. You laugh and continue on.

      Then again, Maher’s show has a completely different format, so I guess you’re probably right.

      I have friends who love Oliver. He’s providing a service. I wish him well.

    • Dan,

      He’s providing a service.

      That’s it. Its the news for the shorter attention span. That and Harms’n’Fairness weighted opinion.

      Maher needs you to know this stuff already so the sly observations allow you to be knowing and in on the joke.

    • LaurieB #38: You have much more confidence in the UN than I do! Your
      view on this surprises me. You don’t think that the UN is a puppet
      bought and paid for by the US?

      I wrote some things in questions thinking you are not aware of some things and perhaps they will prompt you to ask yourself. I know the answers. 🙂 So, no I don’t have much confidence in UN. I suspect that about them, but I think you have missed the point, or I haven’t been enough clear. If there is international threat than answer has to be reciprocal, that is by an international body, and not by individual. Seems that America thinks that is their legitimate job to do so. And it is interestingly how “only” America sees threats.

      Is this just a phenomenon of American mentality?…We will never be
      rid of the old tribal bonding feelings and rituals that demonstrate
      our loyalty to others who are most like us. It takes a great personal
      force (and other important factors) to squelch the feelings that lead
      to tribalism, nationalism and jingoism. We are programmed to respond
      to the political propaganda that inspires the dark behavior we’ve seen
      in the past and has resurfaced lately.

      I do not think so completely. Every time someone has to find explanations for some human behavior that puzzles them, they think it must have something to do with our ancestry. It reminds me of believers who, when they do not know explanations for something, think that god did it. Ok, there are that tribal bonding, but people must be aware of that by now and be suspicious not to take everithing for granted. In my opinion we are beyond that conections. I do not exactly undersand what do you mean by we are programmed… that inspires the dark behavior we’ve seen in the past and has resurfaced lately. (this bold sentance). But I do know that we have reason and we can suspect, and in my opinion we are not puppets of some biological programmes any more as you perhaps think. Programs can be overrid by other programs, and we had a lot of time. A lot.

      Americans are vulnerable to propaganda just like every other person in
      this world including you and me.

      I am very aware of this. I am not blaming. Some people more, some less vunerable. 😉

      …are very nervous about their pugnacious neighbor.

      …but this constatation (being pugnacious) is a product of what? You know …why have they become pugnacious? They haven’t always be so I think. Perhaps some “caring” country in the past has always bullied them, so they had to developed this attitude. 😉 They are not pugnacious by nature, perhaps they have become like that as an answer on constant bullying from America. (as a first law of motion says: an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force). I think N.Korea hasn’t always been pugnacious,… it was at rest, and it could stayed normal not-pugnacious country (their primary state) if there was no force to change that. 🙂

      What does distance have to do with it?

      Because this feud didn’t start recently. But in the fifties if I recall right. And it is unfortunately about “who started it first”. You know … like kids. Childish behaviour. I was thinking of that when explaining. In those days there was no internet and cellulars. And one day American president woke up and thought of a brilliant idea “lets attack Korea, because it represent a threat in my (magical) opinion. They are comunists and comunists must be destroyed because I think so”. So attacking a country that is thousands kilometers away started then, and America has countinued since then to bully them. But now, NOW president can woke up and decide and say “we will not bully that country no more. Stop.” Of course he would not, he would have to be a human being first, an adult 😉

      To think that any country would just retreat from the geopolitical
      stage and only act in defense against an attack on itself is
      unreasonable.

      Unreasonable? But isnt it reasonable not to attack someone if they are not attacking you? I think actors made it unreasonable and not because it is not reasonable per se. It is normal not to attack someone just like that, you know without reason, only when attacked you defend yourself. It is reasonable to defend yourself if attack is direct I think.. Since America was not attacked directly in almost every case it is unreasonable for America to create plans to attack someone. They have created this geopolitical stages based on something. Their fantasies and false acusations I presume (which can bring them in future some money) and not on real threats. Probably that is why America has declared this “war on terror” and laws, which is a broad term enough so they can proclaim anything a threat in order to broad their “geopolitical stages” and come to some more money at the end. To retreat is simple if someone is responsible human being and an adult, but they will not retreat not just because they are not human, but because it doesn’t bring them money. In my opinion America like to invent enemies and plant evidence or situations of terror, because it brings money for certain people.

      I’ll take that as a “no” since none of those groups has attacked
      inside the borders of the US …

      Yes. It is no. No country has a right to cross someones borders with weapons (if they were not invited) it is called war if they do so. I think I know what you mean by this attack in order to control someone terror behavior. But I am wondering how that behavior influenced America directly? It was feude between different casts among same country. America wanted to look like it concern her in order to gain some profit for individuals. If terror began iside borders of “holy lands” perhaps it would continued to be limited (people still can not predict the future) 🙂 , but America got involved (on unfonded predictions and magination) not to help poor people over there I think, but to acheive some wealth for proxy. So feedback got more and more vicious. But good for business. People involved with wars do not want this wars to end, it is their main source of money right? Ordinary people want wars to stop, and as I see nobody is helping them especially not America. I mean I do not see that helps. But,I was watching several videos recently about fantastic American people lawyers, humanists, economists, etc. who are in Afganistan helping ordinary people with their every day life fighting unjust laws and behaviours. Fantastic people! Imagine whole “army” of those instead of weapons in those areas there. But America wanted differently. And it seems America is not helping but fueling those “toxic consequences that come out of that hellhole” as you say. And I am affraid it will continue as long as American (and other, not to forget) private firms are selling weapons who ever they want. I would also like to have some power to stop all this as I see you would like too, but scenario of “more to come” and billions of rageing Muslims is consequence of involvement of countries that should not been involved in the first place in my opinion. 🙂

    • Alan4discussion #43:

      Exactly!

    • Alan4discussion #45: I see the propagandists are currently extending
      that theme of alleged “PROVOCATION”!

      US accuses Iran of ‘alarming provocations’ amid nuclear tensions

      Rex Tillerson: ‘Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to
      international security’

      > Supposedly UNLIKE, Pakistan’s India’s or Israel’s more advanced and
      operational “nuclear ambitions”!

      US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused Iran of “alarming
      ongoing provocations”
      aimed at destabilising the Middle East and
      undermining America’s interests in the region.

      Perhaps Tillerson could list the US territories in the Middle East –
      unless of course he means the neo-colonial conquest of various
      presently independent (or semi independent) states!

      Yes, very well said. Yes, what are those interests and why he feels he has been provoked (or America). 🙂 So horrible, so horrible politicians. 🙁

    • Olgun,

      Do you mean this one about pipeline? Sorry, yes, I haven’t seen it… you know… perhaps you would not believe but sometimes I forget to see or follow what have people wrote about some subject where I have participated hahaah… . Sorry.

      I have seen that article now, where is written this:

      If it’s not a pipeline war, why is the US intervening in Syria? The US
      decision to support Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their
      ill-conceived plan to overthrow the Assad regime was primarily a
      function of the primordial interest of the US permanent war state in
      its regional alliances.

      Well, permanent war works for me also you know. It is linked with trade also, with money I mean, isn’t it?

      They are all behaving like children…these elected people should be
      doing all they can to sort things out and share the wealth. America is
      a bully and so is Russia and others too, although I am not sure some
      would be without the US behind them.

      Yes. Isn’t that unbelievably! Sometimes one can not believe how minds of this caricatures works! How primitive their motives are. Well I know I am simplyfying (is this a word? hahaha) this right now, but actually I think greed is their primary motivator and that of feeling omnipotent in that proces (perhaps this even more). That is what is so unbeliveable! Those people are not healthy in their minds. One can not to come to ones sences when realizing this primitive motives. And they are killing people around with our help (taxes). Well, perhaps some psychologist should explain it to us, but I see it that way. Common primitive robbery and this feeling of being able to control people like puppets. Like it gives them some sort of morbid satisfaction after the act… like some animal just had devoured its prey and feeling so powerful after catching it. I think people underestimate this feeling of omnipotence, feeling of powerfull. 🙁 And I think it is always some sort of batle for energy involved, you know. Energy in all sorts of form (oil, gas, water, properties, gold, minerals… all things that can be transfered in money; all thing that have equivalent in money). I wish we (people) fuck those energy seekers and start on massive scale using sun energy, energy from earth (ground), wind etc. by some home made apliances hahaha. And say fuck off I do not want nor need your gas or oil haha.

      By the way what is this ENOSIS (union with Greece) you are talking about? But what is your opinion what ordinary people wants Cyprus to be? 🙂

    • Modesti

      Every time someone has to find explanations for some human behavior that puzzles them, they think it must have something to do with our ancestry. It reminds me of believers who, when they do not know explanations for something, think that god did it.

      ~gasp!!~

      You canNOT be comparing us, the ultra-rational evo science bunch to those mumbling bumbling, masochistic fatalists – the religious!! Say it ain’t so. Say it!!!

      Ok, there are that tribal bonding, but people must be aware of that by now

      Errr…It doesn’t seem like it. Plenty of intergroup hostility on full display these days.

      In my opinion we are beyond that conections.

      Think about sports as a benign controlled form of tribal warfare. Although it wasn’t so benign when the Dutch national soccer team fan took a few swings at my son during one of their games in Brussels that time. But in general, I think the example will hold.

      I do not exactly undersand what do you mean by we are programmed… that inspires the dark behavior we’ve seen in the past and has resurfaced lately. (this bold sentance).

      Tribalism from Wiki:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribalism

      Tribalism implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group. Based on strong relations of proximity and kinship, members of a tribe tend to possess a strong feeling of identity. Objectively, for a customary tribal society to form there needs to be ongoing customary organization, enquiry and exchange. However, intense feelings of common identity can lead people to feel tribally connected.[5]

      The distinction between these two definitions for tribalism, objective and subjective, is an important one because while tribal societies have been pushed to the edges of the Western world, tribalism, by the second definition, is arguably undiminished. A few writers have postulated that the human brain is hard-wired towards tribalism by its evolutionary advantages, but that claim is usually linked to equating original questions of sociality with tribalism.[6]

      But I do know that we have reason and we can suspect, and in my opinion we are not puppets of some biological programmes any more as you perhaps think. Programs can be overrid by other programs, and we had a lot of time. A lot.

      haha. Modesti, I’m so sad to break it to you – let me be gentle here…You’re a complete fucking puppet. I say this with great affection. Biology is destiny. Yes it is. Are you a guy? I think so. If that’s the case, think about how much of your life has been directed by the testosterone surging through your system for all of those years. That’s just one example. Don’t say you can overcome the effects of that testosterone. It’s leading you around by the nose.

      Yes, ok, we can override the programs and I know this is happening but it’s a work in progress and the whole thing does go to shit from time to time. It’s disappointing when that happens. Let’s try to understand why it happened and make corrections however we can.

      We’ve had a lot of time? As humans trying to overcome our destructive impulses? Most of human history has seen us behaving as brutal head smashing thugs. A bunch of big dumb meatballs. One thousand years ago your life wasn’t worth a piss hole in the snow. It’s still true in some places even now.

      They are not pugnacious by nature, perhaps they have become like that as an answer on constant bullying from America. (as a first law of motion says: an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force). I think N.Korea hasn’t always been pugnacious,… it was at rest, and it could stayed normal not-pugnacious country (their primary state) if there was no force to change that. 🙂

      I am considering your statements on NKorea. I do concede that I need to learn more about the history of that place and also more about their exact military capabilities. I really am skeptical of the claim that states will stay “at rest” if not provoked by an aggressor but I’m now watching the news on NKorea with a more critical outlook.

      In my opinion America like to invent enemies and plant evidence or situations of terror, because it brings money for certain people.

      For whatever reason, this has happened so many times. Only an ignorant or totally brainwashed jingoist would deny it. Of course it gets denied every single day, just watch FOX news for a depressing example. I want to judge the behavior of countries with a skeptical evidence based analysis. Too much trust is naive and cooking up conspiracy theories is useless as well. It’s difficult to get a clear picture sometimes but I for one and as Dan mentioned somewhere, we won’t defend bad actions of the US. I totally agree that this government has acted as an international bully and perpetrated atrocities. No argument there.