Thursday, August 30, 2018

Some of my tweets August 21 - 27

Max Blumenthal's unlauded documentary on America's "Meddling Machine"

Worth a watch if you want to educate yourself.

 Inside America's Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group that Interferes in Elections Around the Globe

The reason why America will never ever win a war in the Middle East ....

heck, let's make that "America will never EVER win a war in a Muslim majority country." 

This is a very thoughtful article and worth reading in its entirety.

Marco Carnelos at MiddleEastEye
Why America can't understand the Middle East

A recent editorial in the Washington Post, written by columnist David Ignatius, offers a shining example of the United States' difficulty in understanding today's world and, most of all, the Arab world.
Ignatius conveys a genuine concern for "The Unintended Consequences of US Disengagement in the Middle East", quoting worried comments made by a member of the Arab elite allied with the US.
The journalist expresses uneasiness about the fact that "American power and values won’t matter the way they once did". His position is steeped in the typical intellectual milieu of American exceptionalism, a position based on the hardwired assumption that the condition for an ideal existence and a stable world order are ensured only when American power and values are strong and shared.

Binary thinking

The article emphasises that, at the moment, there would be "…no constituency in the US for…doing more in the Middle East". This alleged disengagement apparently began with the Obama administration, but now is strongly attributed, and blamed on, Trump.
Leaving aside the fact that, based on recent history, a significant part of Middle Eastern population would object to the "United States doing more in the Middle East", it is what follows that is really astonishing.
Quoting the same Arab source, Ignatius affirms that US disengagement could imply that Arab nations will need to do things on their own. So far nothing wrong, except that, for Ignatius and his source, Arab nations going it alone has only one meaning: "closer relations with Russia and China". Another depressing and frustrating example of Western binary thinking.....

Friday, August 24, 2018

Some of my tweets August 11 - 20

About "Secondary Psychopaths"

Yes, it's true.  We are held captive by psychos in positions of power.

Gary Olson at DissidentVoice
— Frans de Waal, “An Interview with Frans de Waal,” The Believer, September 1, 2007
My question is prompted by the recent Senate vote (unanimous as far as I can determine) for a $38-billion, ten year military aid package to Israel, the single largest in U.S. history, but it’s something I’ve pondered and written about for decades.

In the Israeli case, the best defense apologists can muster is that our spineless mollusks in Congress would do the right thing but for fear of AIPAC’s swift retaliation. While there is an element of truth here it’s unfair to our invertebrate friends. It conveniently overlooks the fact that in other situations — absent any AIPAC pressure — Congress assiduously avoids “doing the right thing.” Instead, it directly or indirectly funds brutal and barbarous overt and structural violence across the globe, a veritable galaxy of moral blind spots.

Hence my question: Are we, almost across the board, governed by psychopaths? Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not suggesting our rulers lack a conscience or any vestige of empathy. The situation is both more nuanced and more dangerous. We’re not talking about primary psychopaths like Jeffrey Daumer and Ted Bundy or fictitious murderers like “Dexter” or Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs. We need to set aside those individuals who are empathy-impaired as a result of damage to the brain’s prefrontal cortex and those born with abnormal brain chemistry.

Our focus should be on the powerful people who’ve allowed their biologically inherited empathy trait to atrophy, to be self-anesthetized in order to pursue their ambitions within the rules of the game. This “bracketing” is required by the capitalist system’s priority on accumulation, the milieu within which its “logic” dictates being highly selective about whom compassion is to be directed. Jon Ronson, an expert on psychopaths, is convinced that “the way capitalism is structured really is a physical manifestation of the brain anomaly known as psychopathy.” In his research, Ronson discovered that many traits found on the psychopath checklist are, in fact, positives for non-murderous psychopaths. Why? Because these traits render distinct advantages in achieving success in the highest ranks of politics, business and the military.

For example, on a given morning a member of Congress might present a public face of compassion as she sincerely scolds public officials who kidnap refugee children from their parents. Then, in the afternoon, she votes for U.S. military policies that terminally (as in dead) separate other children from their parents in Palestine, Afghanistan or Yemen. That evening, she embraces her partner, plays fetch with the family dog, reads bedtime stories to the kids and sleeps soundly, feelings of rectitude intact. This compartmentalization of morals classifies her, for lack of a better term, as a “secondary psychopath.....

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Some of my tweet August 1 - 10