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Why Do We Fear Love?

By: Robert J. Burrowes Friday January 30, 2015 4:38 pm

Why do human beings fear love? That is, why do we fear loving ourselves and others, and why do we fear being fully loved ourselves?

If someone does not receive what they need emotionally as a child, their capacity to give will be limited accordingly. The less of what they need they actually get, the less they will be able to give (and the more they will take for themselves without consideration for others). In order to give, one must have experienced receiving during childhood. If we do not experience love in a way that is truly meaningful, then we will never be able to love ourselves. And if we do not love ourselves, we cannot truly love another.

So what does loving really mean? To me, love means to feel a deep and abiding commitment to nurture the full evolutionary potential in someone, whether ourselves or another. Love might have other elements in particular contexts, such as in a sexual relationship or between a parent and a child, but its most genuine manifestation is its desire to nurture.

If you do not love a child just for being themselves, they will never achieve their evolutionary potential. That is, if you do not love a child enough to let them make each one of their own life choices, no matter how trivial or profound this choice might be, or to have their full emotional response whenever this choice is denied them, then they will never become their ‘True Self’ and they will never learn to fully love. For a comprehensive explanation of this, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

So where does obedience fit into all of this? It doesn’t. Those who require obedience are frightened. And fear is the opposite of love. If you want someone to do what you want, you are frightened, not loving. The poets and songwriters have long told us that love is ‘letting go’. The person in your cage is not a loved companion; the individual who is genuinely free but chooses to stay feels loved.

One complicated variation of the fear of loving that sometimes arises is that a child may not be loved by one parent (or even both) and yet this or both parents will want the child to delude themselves that they are, in fact, loved. This might happen, for example, when a child is aware at some level that they are not loved by one parent and gets angry about this lack of love (which might be manifesting in any number of ways). However, the other parent, anxious to maintain their own delusion about being loved by their spouse, will interfere in the expression of the child’s anger by distracting the child from how they feel (for example, by counselling the child to be ‘understanding’) or by punishing the child for the expression of their feelings and the truth that this entails. Of course, this circumstance will manifest repeatedly in the form of ongoing differences between the parents and the child but the larger picture will be utterly obscure to all those involved (invariably including any professionals whose help they seek).

But apart from those people who are too afraid to love, some people learn to fear being loved. Why is this? Because being loved unconsciously reminds them of not being loved as a child. And this is frightening, extraordinarily painful and infuriating. This is the main reason that some people unconsciously seek out and marry violent partners. Tragically, for these people, the ongoing violence they experience in an abusive relationship is less painful than the many unpleasant feelings that would surface if they were now loved by their spouse. To reiterate: being loved now would raise the deeply suppressed feelings of sadness, fear, pain and anger that they were not loved during childhood.

This is also why many more people, quite unconsciously, go to considerable lengths to avoid feeling loved ‘too much’: it is just too painful to risk triggering the suppressed memories of a childhood devoid of (or at least terribly deficient in) love. And they will stay in a relationship that is devoid of love, or even violent, while the people around them cannot understand why they do so and encourage them to leave. As a generalisation, the people who work to support victims of domestic violence do not understand this aspect of the problem thus making their support work much less effective. Lack of Self-esteem and Self-love is only one dimension of the problem; fear of being loved is another.

Another reason someone might fear being loved is because it raises feelings about the ‘duties’ that derive from being loved. If, during childhood, being ‘loved’ was made conditional on the child behaving in a certain way in relation to the parent(s), then once the child is older they may fear being loved because it is unconsciously associated with the onerous responsibility to behave in particular, Self-denying ways. In some contexts, this might include interpreting any declaration of love to require a sexual response, whether or not this type of response was actually intended/invited.

Of course there are cultural constraints on who we can love too. In some societies, people of the same sex might avoid using the term ‘love’ in relation to each other for fear of being seen as homosexual. And, of course, in explicitly homophobic societies, homosexual individuals might also fear expressing their love.

Another category of people who are terrified of love consists of those individuals who offer trinkets designed to give them a sense of control over another person, rather than to offer gifts that will, in some way, be a response to what the other person actually needs. Of course, control is no substitute for love and cannot meet the trinket-giver’s needs but their fear of love stops them engaging more deeply.

If you wish to join the worldwide movement to end the violence that frightens us out of loving, you are welcome to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

Experiencing what it means to love and be loved, fully and unconditionally, requires us to feel our fear of love.

***

Biodata: Robert has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.

 

Ukraine Tipping

By: williamboardman Friday January 30, 2015 4:32 pm

 

 

Ukraine’s Going to Get a Lot Worse Before it Starts Getting Worse 

 

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News  [1.13.15] 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much everything about Ukraine is murky and unreliable these days, and that’s before you take into consideration any of the meddling by outside powers playing carelessly with their Slavic pawns. Viewed in their darkest light, the events of the past 20 months (and the past 20 years) reflect an East-West death spiral that is now accelerating, and from which none of the engaged parties show any desire to disengage.

 

The civil war in eastern Ukraine has continued fitfully since September, when the parties signed a ceasefire known as the Minsk Agreement. The ceasefire has often been more honored in the breach than the observance, but overall it has led to considerably less bloodshed, especially among civilians, than the previous six months fighting. In the spring of 2014, the level of killing escalated sharply, at U.S. urging, when the newly-installed coup government in Kiev chose to attack rather than negotiate with the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk and People’s Republic of Luhansk (now joined in the self-proclaimed federal state of Novorossiya). So far, only the Republic of South Ossetia has recognized these Ukrainian “republics” as independent countries. Only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru recognize South Ossetia, which declared its independence from Georgia in 1990, but secured it only in 2008 with the help of Russian intervention.

 

By comparison, the much smaller Republic of Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, quickly secured that independence thanks to American and NATO military intervention, illustrating the double standard applied by the international community to questions of “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty.” Landlocked Kosovo, population about 1.8 million, is now recognized by 108 UN member countries, including the U.S., Canada, most of Europe, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

 

During the summer of 2014, the Ukrainian military captured much of the territory of the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and other separatist-held areas, but at significant cost to the civilian population.  An estimated 2.8 million ethnic Russians have emigrated from Ukraine to Russia during the past year. The Ukrainian army’s advance was halted by Russian military support to the Republics that Russia denies it provided, just as the U.S. and other NATO countries deny the support they have given Ukraine. The two Republics now hold about 3 million people and have access to the Black Sea along the southern border.

 

Does anyone really want a settlement in Ukraine?

 

In advance of the then-pending high level international meeting in Kazakhstan, each side was claiming the other had increasingly violated the ceasefire with small-arms fire, mortar shelling, and rocket attacks in recent days. An unnamed AP reporter has reported seeing Ukrainian rockets fired at separatist positions. Now that Ukraine and the outside powers have scrapped the peace talks, the Ukraine government has claimed that a separatist rocket killed ten civilians in a bus at the Donetsk airport, a key battlefield for months now. Unconfirmed, this report is somewhat credulously reported by Reuters and the New York Times, among others, while the Los Angeles Times awaited independent verification. [This is one of the memes of the Ukraine conflict, a war crime that each side blames on the other while people in the outside world believe the truth is what supports their political bias: another version of the same story played similarly in October.]

 

Ukraine initiated the January 15 peace talks only to have Ukraine effectively scuttle the opportunity. The self-contradictory sequence of events seems to have gone something like this: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire chocolate oligarch, announced in late December that he’d be meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana on January 15 with French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As of January 10, these countries had yet to confirm such a meeting. Meanwhile Merkel met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, America’s guy-in-Ukraine, and then threw doubt on whether the January 15 meeting would happen at all, or whether there would be any other meeting to continue working toward keeping Ukraine from collapsing into a failed state.

 

In other words: when Ukraine’s president announces a peace talks, Ukraine’s prime minister meets with a key player and the peace talks get called off. Who’s in charge here?  According to the Ukrainian constitution, both have governing authority – sort of. There is no constitutional mechanism for resolving tension between these offices when the office holders choose to butt heads (as happened earlier with President Viktor Yushenko, a central banker whose policies enraged Communists and oligarchs alike, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, an enraged natural gas oligarch). This structural dysfunction built into the Ukraine constitution is one reason Ukraine has been unable to govern itself effectively for more than a decade during which it has become a world-class kleptocracy.

 

Why does Merkel set conditions she knows are impossible?

 

In establishing her “reasons” for blocking peace talks, German Chancellor Merkel created a cover story that sounded vaguely credible, but made no sense to anyone who understood that the terms she called for were, at best, years away from being achieved, if they were achievable at all. As the Times reported it: “Merkel made clear that the entire Minsk agreement needs to be fulfilled before European Union sanctions against Russia can be lifted.” The American choice for Ukrainian leadership, Yatsenyuk echoed Merkel’s word cloud, but added his own obviously self-serving priority: sealing the border between the Republics and Russia.

 

The Minsk agreement reflects a peace proposal first put forward by Ukrainian President Poroshenko in June 2014. There are only four material signatories to the Minsk agreement: Ukraine, Russia, and the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The agreement was reached under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the only other signatory. One unstated presumption of the agreement is that the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk will be re-integrated into Ukraine with all their rights intact. The Minsk agreement comprises 12 unprioritized points, each of which is an aspirational goal for both sides, even though some elements can be achieved only by one side or another:

 

  1. Bilateral ceasefire
  2. OSCE monitoring of ceasefire
  3. Decentralization of power under law to be passed by Ukraine
  4. Permanent OSCE monitoring of Ukraine-Russia border
  5. Release of all hostages
  6. Amnesty for separatists, Ukraine to pass law
  7. Continue inclusive national dialogue
  8. Improve humanitarian condition of Donbass
  9. Local elections consistent with Ukraine law
  10. All sides withdraw illegal and mercenary military forces

11.Adoption of Donbass recovery and reconstruction program

  1. Protect all participants in consultations

 

In effect, the Minsk agreement is a somewhat messy 12-step program designed to help those people who, along with their friends and relatives, remain addicted to uncontrolled outbursts of internecine violence. Call it “Ukraine-anon.” Like any 12-step program, the participants typically need the support of those close to them if they are to succeed in improving their lives. When someone like Angela Merkel, who is outside the formal process, colludes with someone supposedly within the process to undermine the process, the process will likely be sabotaged. That appears to be what happened, at least for the short run.

 

Given the sketchy quality of the Minsk agreement, using it as a standard for international behavior is irrational, or deliberately dishonest and hostile. The agreement calls, for example, for early local elections, which the Republics held, after the elections in the rest of the Ukraine in the fall of 2014. The Republics’ elections were widely denounced in the West as a violation of the Minsk  agreement, even though Ukraine had failed to pass the law under which they were supposed to be held.

 

Until the West stops assaulting Russia, calls for peace are a bad joke

 

Merkel’s position, reflecting that of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and his American sponsors, is deceitful and destructive. To suspend the peace process until the Minsk agreement can be fully realized is to knowingly to prolong hostilities for an uncertain number of years.  To make EU sanctions on Russia dependent on fully implementing the Minsk agreement is to give Ukraine a veto on the EU. The agreement cannot be fully implemented until Ukraine adopts the appropriate laws, and there’s little to persuade Ukraine to do that other than its own motives.  If Ukraine fails to pass the promised laws, Merkel would have the EU continue to punish Russia, which seems to be what the game has been about for over 20 years already.

 

Russia and Ukraine appear to be at a tipping point, and conceivably the delicate balance in those and other affected countries could last for a long time. Or other actors, including the United Nations, could act to help stabilize the region and to ameliorate the economic and human rights damage that threatens to continue unchecked. More likely, the U.S. and Europe will continue their policies of deliberate de-stabilization until the day when it all implodes and Washington will point a finger and say: “See what Russia’s done now!?”

 

There are many straws blowing in that wind, and for now it looks like an ill wind blowing no good. A sampling of those straws:

 

* The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 passed both houses of Congress unanimously, without debate and without a recorded vote. The President signed it into law December 18. The 17-page bill is a model of cold-war-style duplicity cloaking a virtual declaration of global war in the rhetoric of high principle, imaginary threats, and sloppy grammar:

 

“It is the policy of the United States to further assist the Government of Ukraine in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity to deter the Government of the Russian Federation from further destabilizing and invading Ukraine and other independent countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.”

 

Among other things, the bill authorizes the president to impose seven pages of further sanctions on Russia, interfere in Russian democracy and civil society, expand American propaganda broadcasting in the region, expand non-military support to Ukraine, and initiate $350 million in military aid to Ukraine over the next three years.  The bill’s last section says it is not to be “construed as an authorization for the use of military force.”

 

When President Obama signed the bill into law, the White House issued a statement having the president say, in part, with all due sanctimony and duplicity:

 

“My Administration will continue to work closely with allies and partners in Europe and internationally to respond to developments in Ukraine and will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions to respond to Russia’s actions. We again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and implement the obligations it signed up to under the Minsk agreements.”

 

* Ukraine is an impoverished country approaching economic collapse. The new Ukrainian finance minister, Natalie Jaresko, is an American citizen who managed a Ukrainian-based, U.S.-created hedge fund that was charged with illegal insider trading. She also managed a CIA fund that supported “pro-democracy” movements and laundered much of the $5 billion the U.S. spent supporting the Maidan protests that led to the Kiev coup in February 2014. Jaresko is a big fan of austerity for people in troubled economies.

 

* Writing in the New York Review of books for January 7, billionaire George Soros sees Europe and the United States dithering toward failure not just for Ukraine, but Europe. Soros doesn’t challenge the official view of “Russian aggression” or “attempts to destabilize Ukraine” and the rest of that propaganda line that underpins sanctions. Challenging conventional wisdom, Soros focuses instead on the current, inherent, unaddressed, and enduring instability from maintaining a kleptocratic state:

 

“… the old Ukraine is far from dead. It dominates the civil service and the judiciary, and remains very present in the private (oligarchic and kleptocratic) sectors of the economy. Why should state employees work for practically no salary unless they can use their position as a license to extort bribes? And how can a business sector that was nurtured on corruption and kickbacks function without its sweeteners? These retrograde elements are locked in battle with the reformists.”

 

Essentially, Soros argues that reforming Ukraine into an honest modern state that offers opportunity and reliable justice will be at least as effective a response to Russia as the current continued hostility and half-hearted efforts in Kiev. To achieve this, he posits a $50 billion aid package, when the EU is having a hard time managing $2 billion. His view is openly idealistic:

 

“By helping Ukraine, Europe may be able to recapture the values and principles on which the European Union was originally founded. That is why I am arguing so passionately that Europe needs to undergo a change of heart. The time to do it is right now.”

 

Right or wrong, this is visionary and the world of conventional wisdom is not buying it. The U.S. and the EU seem determined to continue taking the familiar and comfortable actions they know will fail in the same old ways.

 

* Perhaps the most vivid sign that the failures of the past foreshadow the failures of the future is the rise of Sen. John McCain to the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he will sometimes be able to exercise near-veto power over the White House’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign policy. In a fawning verbal lap dance in the N.Y. Times of January 13, Sheryl Gay Stolberg characterizes McCain’s apparent inability to learn from failure as his being “untamed.” The reporter allows that McCain is “bellicose,” but frames his responsibility to the nation and the world as a question of whether he will “make war or some accommodation with the White House.” McCain is on record to increase Pentagon spending and to keep the Guantanamo prison camp open, and speaks with open bitterness about the president’s failure to give him a phone call. As Stolberg says about McCain: “If he had his way, the United States would have ground troops in Syria, more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a steady supply of arms going to Ukraine.”

 

Even as the Ukraine ceasefire was taking effect after the Minsk agreement was signed, McCain was calling for the U.S. to arm Ukraine for defense against a “Russian invasion” that he sees as part of Putin’s plan to “re-establish the old Russian empire.” McCain also called for the U.S. to send military “advisors.”

 

Maybe the future won’t be dominated by the struggle between those who are satisfied with just a little war on Russia’s border and those who want a whole lot more war because that’s all they know. We’ll see, no doubt. And for now, the unheeded warnings of former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev continue to fall on unhearing ears, and unseeing leaders on all sides grope their way into “a vortex with no way out.”

 

How long can the present balance of instability last?

 

 

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Pentagon Silent on Current Use of DU in Iraq

By: David Swanson Friday January 30, 2015 10:07 am

Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). . . . Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, ‘There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed.’”

This week I have left an email message and a phone message for Mark Wright at the Pentagon. Here’s what I emailed, after consulting with Wim Zwijnenburg of PaxForPeace.nl:

“Recent reports by CENTCOM have noted that 11% of the U.S. sorties have been flown by A-10s , and that a wide range of attacks on tanks and armored vehicles have taken place.  Can you confirm that  PGU-14 30mm munitions with depleted uranium in the A-10s (and any other DU weapons) have not been used during these attacks. And if not, why not? Thanks!”

I sent that email on January 28 and left a voice message January 30.

You’d think there’d be lots of reporters calling with the same question and reporting the answer. But then it’s only Iraqis, I guess.

Ukrainian army shelling of bus and humanitarian aid center in Donetsk kills 9 – Graphic Warning

By: operationmindcrime Friday January 30, 2015 9:20 am

The Ukrainian army has once again shelled civilians. There are a number of videos on the internet, all of which point the blame at the Ukrainian military. OSCE observers are on the ground as proven by the videos at the links below. The US government and media have intentionally been covering up what the Ukrainian military are doing. It is a consistent pattern of lies and obfuscation. This has become surreal at this point as the US consistently pushes the narrative that Donetsk citizens are all dying because of Russia. It is completely untrue and Russia is the only country that is providing these people with humanitarian aid. It was a cultural center that was used for distributing humanitarian that was bombed today. The US’s position makes no logical sense.

Highly graphic warning:

The Live Leak link below features numerous videos and graphic photos of the victims. These photos and videos were taken by people in the city of Donetsk. They are not shelling themselves as the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki would have people believe. I am including a clip of her being questioned by AP reporter Matt Lee on the subject of the Kiev regimes ‘free pass’ when it comes to killing civilians.

These pictures are incredibly graphic and show a young girl who has had her face blown off as well as numerous civilians blown to pieces.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7f8_1422621609

These were primarily elderly civilians living in Donetsk. They were at the Center to pick up humanitarian aid supplies.

Graphic Warning:

There was also another bus attack today. Keep in mind that all these attacks are happening to the innocent ethnic Russian population of East Ukraine. The US media wants you to believe they are miraculously killing themselves. Link to pictures of the bus attack victims, they were innocent elderly people. Graphic warning:  https://www.facebook.com/irina.laschkevich/posts/758354940916982

Uk reporter Graham Philips of RT reports at the scene: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c17_1422626222

Matt Lee questions Jen Psaki on the US’s blatant one sided hypocrisy.

On Scott Walker and academic work

By: cassiodorus Friday January 30, 2015 9:18 am

I don’t know if you all caught this one in Politico:

Scott Walker urges professors to work harder

By Lucy McCalmont

1/29/15 8:15 AM EST

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, defending proposed budget cuts for higher education, took a swipe at university professors who he said could be “teaching more classes and doing more work.”

Please note, here, the implicit presumption in this sort of rhetoric that what matters with university professors is the quantity, and not the quality, of the work they do. Go ahead, professors — teach a bunch of courses in which you make life easy for your students because they would all rather get good grades than be required to learn a whole lot. Lecture a lot on topics such as your best research — to a bunch of students who need to know nothing more than the proper composition of a paragraph in standard written English. And feel free to put out a lot of scholarly publications in which a bunch of “factors” are “operationalized” without any substantive meaning, or in which you’ve piled on pages of abstract jargon in hopes that nobody who grants you tenure will notice that you’re not saying anything. Put out some more academic writing as real estate; adorn your CVs with great gobs of it if you will. But be sure to do more work!

In real life, moreover, most academic faculty are adjuncts. NPR puts it at 75%. If individuals within this majority of academic workers are lucky to find four classes per term, why, they might even make the whopping sum of $20 to $25,000 per year. Yeah, that’ll pay the rent, medical bills, etc. Certainly granting said individuals a raise might add something to the quality of their work maybe?

This is not to say that Scott Walker could ever be an authority on the quality of academic work. But here’s a side thought — perhaps if the social sciences were more useful, maybe the Scott Walkers of the world could somehow be prevented from attaining public office. Possibly?

CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

By: David Swanson Friday January 30, 2015 8:52 am

If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a nuclear bomb.

The CIA then proposed to do exactly the same for Iraq, using the same former Russian scientist to make the delivery. How do I know this? Well, Marcy Wheeler has kindly put all the evidence from the Sterling trial online, including this cable. Read the following paragraph:

iraq

“M” is Merlin, code name for the former Russian used to give the nuclear plans to Iran. Here he’s being asked, just following that piece of lunacy, whether he’d be willing to _______________. What? Something he agrees to without hesitation. The CIA paid him hundreds of thousands of our dollars and that money flow would continue to cover a more adventurous extension of the current operation. What could that mean? More dealings with Iran? No, because this extension is immediately distinguished from dealings with Iran.

“WE WILL WANT TO SEE HOW THE IRAN PART OF THE CASE PLAYS OUT BEFORE MAKING AN       APPROACH….”

It seems that a national adjective belongs in that space. Most are too long to fit: Chinese, Zimbabwean, even Egyptian.

But notice the word “an,” not “a.” The word that follows has to start with a vowel. Search through the names of the world’s countries. There is only one that fits and makes sense. And if you followed the Sterling trial, you know exactly how much sense it makes: Iraqi.

“MAKING AN IRAQI APPROACH.”

And then further down: “THINKING ABOUT THE IRAQI OPTION.”

Now, don’t be thrown off by the place to meet being somewhere that M was unfamiliar with. He met the Iranians in Vienna (or rather avoided meeting them by dumping the nuke plans in their mailbox). He could be planning to meet the Iraqis anywhere on earth; that bit’s not necessarily relevant to identifying the nation.

Then look at the last sentence. Again it distinguishes the Iranians from someone else. Here’s what fits there:

“IF HE IS TO MEET THE IRANIANS OR APPROACH THE IRAQIS IN THE FUTURE.”

North Koreans doesn’t fit or make sense or start with a vowel (And Korean doesn’t start with a vowel, and DPRK doesn’t start with a vowel). Egyptians doesn’t fit or make sense.

The closest words to fitting this document, other than IRAQI and IRAQIS, are INDIAN and INDIANS. But I’ve tried approximating the font and spacing as closely as possible, and I encourage typographical experts to give it a try. The latter pair of words ends up looking slightly crowded.

And then there’s this: The United States knew that India had nukes and didn’t mind and wasn’t trying to start a war with India.

And this: the mad scheme to give slightly flawed nuke plans to Iran was admitted in court by the CIA to risk actually proliferating nukes by giving Iran help. That’s not such a bad outcome if what you’re really after is war with Iran.

And this: the U.S. government has repeatedly tried to plant nuke plans and parts on Iraq, as it has tried for decades to portray Iran as pursuing nukes.

And this: The Sterling trial, including testimony from Condoleezza “Mushroom Cloud” Rice herself, was bafflingly about defending the CIA’s so-called reputation, very little about prosecuting Sterling. They doth protested too much.

What did blowing the whistle on Operation Merlin put at risk? Not the identity of Merlin or his wife. He was out there chatting with Iranians online and in-person. She was outed by the CIA itself during the trial, as Wheeler pointed out. What blowing the whistle on giving nukes to Iran put at risk was the potential for giving nukes to more countries — and exposure of plans to do so (whether or not they were followed through on) to the nation that the United States had been attacking since the Gulf War, began to truly destroy in 2003, and is at war in still.

When Cheney swore Iraq had nuclear weapons, and at other times that it had a nuclear weapons program, and Condi and Bush warned of mushroom clouds, was there a bit more to Tenet’s “slam dunk” than we knew? Was there an alley oop from the mad scientists at the CIA? There certainly would have been an attempt at one if left up to “Bob S,” “Merlin,” and gang.

Did Sterling and other possible whistleblowers have more reason to blow the whistle than we knew? Regardless, they upheld the law. Drop the Charges.

 

UPDATE: Multiple sources tell me that each letter in the font used above is given the same space, which is why they line up in vertical columns, so in fact IRAQI and IRAQIS use the right number of spaces.

‘Ad hominem’ is not Latin for ‘I cannot rebut your argument’

By: danps Friday January 30, 2015 5:17 am

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.

Jonathan Chait’s latest adventure in pointless contrarianism has already been wrestled to the ground and noogied, with Alex Pareene doing an especially delightful job. The short version is this. With the exception of the incident at the top of the article (about which: intimidation, violence and threats of violence are completely wrong) Chait catalogues some snarky behavior and petty grievances, then tries to blow it up into a threat to democracy.

As Angus Johnston pointed out, everything else that Chait objects to in his article is speech. He says he’s in the “solution to speech you don’t like is more speech” camp, then proceeds to lament people using more speech to prevent, say, Condoleezza Rice from having yet another opportunity to share her unique thoughts about things. Those who didn’t want their university to sponsor one of the architects of the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history had, in Chait’s view, an unwillingness to encounter contrary ideas. (Does he not know what the point of protest is?)

So while in theory Chait favors more speech for everyone, he doesn’t really like how it can work out in practice. Those he disagrees with are welcome to their more speech, but only on the condition that it is exercised in a way no one notices.

He traces this troubling development to the beginning of the political correctness movement in the early 90s. This is kind of funny because the title of his essay recalls a formulation conservatives loved to use back then – invoking the phrase as a way to endorse reactionary positions. (“Well, this may not be politically correct, but (insert antediluvian sentiment here).”)

Whatever the origin, lots of people can now broadcast their opinions on social media. Someone says something, then others respond. If the first thing said is provocative then there might be lots of responses, and those responses might be pointed. Chait is totally fine with that first thing, which makes sense considering he’s a professional instigator at a major media outlet. But that second thing? Why, it’s “swarms of jeering critics” (everyone to the cellar!)

Here’s another curiosity. Chait deplores mansplaining as “an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man,” but he uses his own all-purpose term of abuse to respond to Pareene. (It also violates Rule #1 for Contrarians. Bad form!) In Chait’s case it’s “ad hominem.” This is something I’ve observed more and more lately – writers using that phrase as an excuse to not address substantive criticism.

A great deal of online criticism has a mix of styles. Some combine insults and mockery (the dreaded ad hominem) with substantive critiques. To grab one random example of someone who favors this approach, consider Jonathan Chait. In just the last couple of weeks he has called James Inhofe primitive, the opinions of climate-science skeptics “bizarre ramblings,” the Republican Party “obviously unhinged” and senseless, and so on. He certainly likes his personal attacks, doesn’t he?

Which is fine, or can be anyway. Name calling can be an effective rhetorical technique. Making your opponent look foolish can help persuade others that your position is the right one. What you can’t do, though, at least not without looking like a thin skinned and pompous twit, is use ad hominems when it suits you and then recoil in priggish horror when they’re used against you. And that’s exactly what Chait does in his response – one which, hilariously, both uses and decries ad hominems in the same sentence.

I don’t think many people who dive in to the rough and tumble of social and political debate have an unwavering sense of propriety. Calls for civility usually come from those who are on the inside looking out. If you’re on the outside, your voice may be all you’ve got. Sometimes it takes being a little bit loud and colorful to get noticed. That goes both ways though. It’s fun when your preferred targets are on the receiving end of ridicule, not so much when you or your allies are. But if you’ve been dishing it out you damn well better be able to take it.

You don’t get to have it both ways. You don’t get to say, this piece has personal attacks and therefore should not be dignified with comment, then gleefully use personal attacks in your own writing. If you do, anyone who’s paying attention will understand the real reason for not responding: you’ve got nothing. That’s certainly how it looks in this case.

“Just Like Witches at Black Masses”

By: Big Al Thursday January 29, 2015 9:55 pm

“Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death’s construction”
War Pigs – Black Sabbath

The Pentagon and our elected “representatives” worked together in a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting to lay the propaganda groundwork for continuing the U.S. military empire full speed ahead. They focused on the sequester cuts and how they will continue to hinder their quest for Full Spectrum Dominance, in fact, they’d have to “craft a new national defense strategy while losing their ability to conduct two major operations simultaneously”.

Granted, Full Spectrum Dominance costs alot of benjamins, but we all know the only thing they’re defending are the interests of the rich and powerful. Evidently “two major operations” must mean wars because they have special forces troops conducting operations in over 130 countries. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the U.S. couldn’t wage two illegal wars at the same time?

Of course, John McCain and friends did their part.

“Senior Senate Armed Services Committee members bemoaned more sequester cuts, but none offered a plan nor spoke of a new effort to get rid of them.
“Despite an accumulating array of complex threats to our national interests … we are on track to cut $1 trillion from America’s defense budget by 2021,” SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said. “If we in Congress do not act, sequestration will return in full in fiscal year 2016, setting our military on a far more dangerous course.”

Of course that’s a deceitful statement.  The “cuts” are actually reductions in the budget projections, made by some humans, to the year 2021.  Nothing is being cut, it’s just not as much is being added.

Incredibly,

“Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history.” Can you believe that? This country has poured many trillions into this “Global Force for Good” and it’s unready. Unready for what?

They’re pouring it on thick man. Not good for us antiwar/anti-Empire types.

“Odierno said if sequestration hits again, he will remove tens of thousands more soldiers, and end, restructure or otherwise change “all” of its acquisition programs, resulting in a “40 percent modernization decrease.”

They also had the CNO, Chief of Naval Operations and the Air Force Chief of Staff on to complain about what sorry shape the Navy and Air Force are in and that their fleets are filled with antiques and we’re in danger of all dying tomorrow because of it. You never know. Air Force dude said the same thing about simultaneous or multiple wars:
“Welsh said if sequester kicks in again, the Air Force would be unable to defeat one foe while holding off another and “defending the homeland.”

The Marine General dude differed in approach:

“In a twist, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford called his force “the best trained and equipped” ever. But he did say the Marines are investing in new hardware at “historically low levels.”
He said another round of sequestration would leave the Corps unable to meet the requirements of the country’s current defense strategy.”

I sense a touch of irony in the Defense News article however, hopefully on purpose.

“All of these dire predictions came a day after Defense News broke the news that the Obama administration will seek $585 billion for the Defense Department in its 2016 budget request. That will include a $534 billion base budget request, which would be the largest such request ever.”

Largest request ever. And they’re complaining because it’s not enough. Actually I believe them. Look what they’re trying to do with their military. They’re trying to rule the damn world. You just can’t do that on the cheap. And with the Asian pivot, Ukraine war/Russia/Putin, and the ISIS “Cover” war, I can bet they do need to up their games at this point.  The perpetual Global War OF Terror requires perpetual budgets to match.

This could be an achilles heel if we could mount a challenge.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/01/…