Sarah B.

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  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post Killed by Congressional Cowardice by David Swanson.

    2014-09-20 20:06:50View | Delete

    Thanks for the reply and the correction. Type in haste repent in leisure. My famously liberal House critter voted Nay, but only after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had taken the whip counts in their respective caucuses to make sure that this latest war-making atrocity in Iraq and Syria [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post Killed by Congressional Cowardice by David Swanson.

    2014-09-20 14:29:00View | Delete

    As for my Rep, not worth mentioning his name.

    Just out of curiosity, I looked up the Oregon delegation to see how they voted on the legislation to arm and train the “moderate” Syrian rebels: This is just sad! 1 Suzanne Bonamici D — Yea 2 Greg Walden D — Yea 3 Earl Blumenauer D [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Providing Context for the People’s Climate March Sunday

    2014-09-20 12:56:45View | Delete

    No credit where credit is not due:

    US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/20/us-climate-change-aid-poor-nations-un-summit

    Rich countries pledged to find $100bn a year by 2020, but so far only Germany has made a significant contribution:

    Barack Obama will not be pledging any cash to a near-empty fund for poor countries at a United Nations summit on climate change next week, the UN special climate change envoy said on Friday. (Emphasis added)

    The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has challenged the 125 world leaders attending the 23 September summit to make “bold pledges” to the fund, intended to help poor countries cope with climate change.

    The UN has been pressing rich countries to come up with pledges of between $10bn and $15bn.

    “We are putting a lot of pressure for them to do it at the summit on the 23rd,” the UN envoy and former Irish president, Mary Robinson, told the Guardian on the sidelines of a US Agency for International Development meeting. But she added: “I know the United States is not going to commit because I’ve asked.” (Emphasis added)

    Obama put climate change at the top of his second term agenda, and the administration unveiled a host of new green measures in the run-up to next week’s meeting, including an initiative to cut the extremely potent greenhouse gas used as a coolant in refrigerators and air conditioners. (Emphasis added)

    Obama’s speech to the summit will showcase those US actions, such as proposed new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants. (Emphasis added)

    “The president will use his speech at the climate summit to call on other leaders to keep their ambitions high and to work for a strong global framework to cut emissions,” White House adviser John Podesta told a conference call with reporters.

    Todd Stern, the state department climate envoy, told the call those measures put Obama in a stronger position to help broker an international climate deal next year.

    Offering much too little and way too late, Obama will help to broker an international climate deal next year! — I know you couldn’t be more relieved.

    PS — So, stay tuned. But don’t hold your breath.

  • As a Jew, I’m not happy that Elizabeth Warren is boilerplate AIPAC on Israel/Palestine, but she’s so much better than any other Uniparty candidate that I would still work for her.

    Moi aussi! — Sephardic tradition (albeit atheist in the here and now) — but I would not work for Warren under any imaginable circumstance, because she suffers from elitists’ disease (Hint: It’s incurable).

    The fake populist DNC and AIPAC gatekeepers Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are dead ducks based on their craven votes for the IDF and in its recent iteration of war crimes in Gaza and its multiple and serial war crimes and crimes against humanity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its civilians over decades since 1948.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post We Are Arming All Sides

    2014-09-19 18:35:03View | Delete

    Well Ted Cruz voting with Warren is not strange? Get real!

    Evidently you think there is something “strange” about Senators of opposite parties on the opposite extremes of the political spectrum voting Nay on the same piece of legislation involving war-making in Iraq and Syria — especially, when one is characterized as a liberal “progressive” saint while the other is branded as a crazy right-wing Tea Party type.

    Was it equally “strange” that the famously liberal Murray (D-WA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the famously arch-conservative James Inhofe (R-OK) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) all voted Yea on the same piece of legislation?

    Senators Boxer and Murray voted Nay on the Bush-AUMF in 2002, but voted Yea on the vote yesterday. By the same token, Senators Inhofe and Shelby voted Yea in 2002 and Yea yesterday, so at least the GOPers were consistent. Was it because Bush was president then and Obama is president now? While I can’t divine their motivations, I suspect that partisan loyalty played a significant role in the way the Senators voted on those two pieces of legislation.

    Is there anything “strange” about Senators, who are first and foremost politicians, voting on the basis of political expediency? I don’t think so, even when they inhabit the far extremes of the political spectrum but vote the same way on a particular piece of legislation.

    You seem to be attempting to draw an analogy between Scott v. Sandford (1857) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), based on the fact that Scott created a benefit for white slaveholders and Citizens United created a benefit for wealthy donors (both Democrats and GOPers) to political campaigns.

    Other than the fact that a wealthy and powerful group of citizens — white slaveholders and wealthy campaign donors from both political parties — derived a direct benefit from the respective decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is so little similarity between the cases based on the law and the facts and the merits that the analogy falls apart.

    Every decision by the high court results in a winner who benefits in some material way and a loser who does not — hence, it’s an apples and oranges comparison in which the only similarity is the fact apples and oranges are fruit.

    Moreover, what do the Scott and Citizens United decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court — one handed down in 1857 and the other in 2010 — have to do with the vote yesterday in the Senate to arm the “moderate” Syrian rebels?

    In your replies, you resort to condescending ad hominen insults like “Think a little” and “You are not stupid” and “Get real!” and “I’ll spell it out for you.”

    I’ll spell it out for you. Money is as much speech as Scott was inferior due to the color of his skin?

    But, rather than “spell it out” for the sake of clarity, you proceed to offer a muddled and tortured attempt to draw an analogy between the relationship of money and speech as defined by the Court in Citizens United and the relationship between Dred Scott’s skin color and his perceived inferior status as defined by the Court in Scott. Again, the only similarity between Scott and Citizens United is the matter of cui bono?

    Is the similarity that you perceive between the Scott and Citizens United decisions and the vote in the Senate yesterday to provide arms and training to the “moderate” Syrian rebels based on the fact that in all of these examples a wealthy and powerful cohort will derive a direct benefit?

    In the case of the Senate vote, the military industrial complex and the wealthy and powerful private defense contractors will derive a direct benefit, while the Senators who voted Yea might derive an indirect benefit in the form of generous campaign contributions.

    If you are suggesting that the Democrats and the GOPers are self-serving and corrupt in equal measure, then you will get no argument from me on that score.

    PS — The Senate votes on the Bush-AUMFs — 2001 for Afghanistan and 2002 for Iraq — occurred eight years before the Citizens United decision was handed down, and campaign coffers continued to be filled in lavish amounts nonetheless for the Yea votes.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post We Are Arming All Sides

    2014-09-18 19:32:34View | Delete

    Sanders pimps that option most of them time. Wonder why he doesn’t do it all the time.

    Israel.

    Full stop. End of story.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post We Are Arming All Sides

    2014-09-18 19:29:57View | Delete

    Strange bedfellows?

    Please note that the word “strange” appears nowhere in the text of my comment from start to finish.

    Moreover, I neither expressed nor implied that there was anything “strange” about the Nay votes — whether cast by Democrats or GOPers — given the fact that there is no way that I could possibly know what thoughts, feelings, and motivations caused the Senators to vote as they did on this legislation, at least not without a Ouija board or Magic 8-Ball.

    Also, because I’m neither psychic nor clairvoyant, I have no idea what those “guys and girls” trust or desire. Indeed, if I were to profess having access to such knowledge, it would be based on projection as opposed to facts.

    The remaining part of your reply — “Radical Republicans who feared threat to republic from slavocracy” — makes absolutely no sense.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post We Are Arming All Sides

    2014-09-18 17:31:23View | Delete

    My two Senators had better be two of that paltry 22…!

    Sorry, CT, you are 0 for 2 on that vote.

    Alas, my two Senate critters joined them in that giant leap on the cliff.

    My own House critter voted Nay, but I am still going to write in H.R. 676 rather than vote for him in November — I’m finished with the lot of them.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post We Are Arming All Sides

    2014-09-18 17:18:32View | Delete

    Senate Roll Call Vote — Arming the “Moderate” Syrian Rebels:

    NAYs 22 — Bedfellows

    Baldwin (D-WI)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Begich (D-AK)
    Brown (D-OH)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    Cruz (R-TX)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Heller (R-NV)
    Leahy (D-VT)
    Lee (R-UT)
    Manchin (D-WV)
    Markey (D-MA)
    Moran (R-KS)
    Murphy (D-CT)
    Paul (R-KY)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Warren (D-MA)
    (Emphasis added)

    An interesting but somewhat predictable collection.

  • You really nailed it on John Kerry — Born rich and married rich and still very rich!

    I doubt if Kerry even knew anyone who was middle class, let alone working class, until he served an abbreviated four-month tour of duty in South Vietnam as officer-in-charge of a Swift Boat comprised of enlisted soldiers.

    Kerry’s first wife, Julia Stimson Thorne (1944-2006), was an heiress to a fortune.

    Thorne was born in New York City. She was the daughter of Landon Ketchum Thorne, Jr. and Alice Smith Barry. Her maternal great-grandfather was journalist David S. Barry and her paternal great-great-grandfather was Alfred Lebbeus Loomis, a physician who served as president of the Association of American Physicians. Her brothers are Landon Ketchum Thorne III of Beaufort, South Carolina and her twin brother David Thorne of Brookline, Massachusetts.

    She spent much of her childhood in Rome and attended the international school, Marymount in Rome while her brother David attended the Overseas School of Rome. Her father had been appointed to a diplomatic post and was publisher of The Voice of the Daily American. She attended the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia. She took classes at the New York School of Interior Design and Radcliffe College.

    Thorne met Kerry in 1963 at her family’s estate in Bay Shore, New York on Long Island. Kerry was a Yale classmate of Thorne’s twin brother David. Thorne married Kerry on May 23, 1970 and divorced on July 25, 1988, after a six-year separation. She and John had two daughters, Alexandra Forbes Kerry and Vanessa Bradford Kerry.

    Before entering Yale, Kerry attended St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire, a very exclusive prep school for children of families with old money. Distinguished alumni include J. P. Morgan, Jr., John Jacob Astor IV, Cornelius Vanderbilt III, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

    Besides being tapped for Skull and Bones, Kerry also traveled to Switzerland through the AIESEC program at Yale, an international nonprofit organization that provides young people from wealthy and well-connected families attending exclusive colleges and universities with leadership opportunities to develop themselves into global leaders with an urge to make a difference in society.

    Even when he delivered his famous signature testimony before subcommittees of the U.S. Senate in April 1971 — “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” — Kerry delivered the line in a posh, plummy, privileged accent reminiscent of the late George Plimpton.

  • Craven

    Senate approves Obama request to arm, train Syrian rebels
    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/218248-senate-approves-obama-request-to-arm-train-syrian-rebels

    The Senate on Thursday easily approved a $1 trillion government-funding bill that gives President Obama new authority to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    Lawmakers voted 73-22 in favor of the bill, with 10 Democrats and 12 Republicans voting no. Five members missed the vote.

    The no votes included several senators seen as prospective presidential candidates in both parties, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    The legislation, which has now been approved by both chambers of Congress, now heads to the White House for Obama’s signature.

    Correction on #98:
    The House vote on H.J.Res. 124 is not moot and will now be joined with the Senate’s approval of the legislation; hence, the final legislation now goes to the White House for the president’s signature. Both the House and Senate are putting off the new Obama-AUMF until December 11.

    So, those “moderate” rebels — freshly armed and funded by Obama and the House and Senate — had better get cracking and pronto. They need to topple Bashar al-Assad, defeat the al-Nusra Front, and “degrade and destroy” ISIS with air strikes provided courtesy of the USG. What an amazing strategy!

  • The Senate punts on the Obama-AUMF — until after the midterm elections!

    Senate Dems to debate force vote against ISIS after the election
    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/218200-senate-democrats-to-hold-isis-vote-after-the-election

    Senate Democrats plan to debate and vote on a broad resolution authorizing military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the election, dodging the danger of angering liberal voters this fall.

    “We’re going to take up the construction of a new authorization for the use of military force. It’s long overdue,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). [...]

    Durbin said the Senate would take up the measure when the pending authorization for training Syrian rebels expires on Dec. 11.

    Comedy punch line from Durbin: “This is one of the most important votes we can cast.”

    Obama, Biden, Kerry, Rice, Power, and Dempsey have been getting up on their hind legs and howling at the moon trying to convince us that ISIS is more threatening and more terrifying than King Kong, Godzilla, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

    The Senate is not just putting off the debate and vote until after the midterm elections — they are putting off doing anything until two weeks after Thanksgiving and two weeks before Christmas!

    But wait! — What happened to the fierce urgency? The surging momentum to “do” something?

    Could not the brutal, savage, depraved, barbaric, fiendish, media-savvy, fashion-conscious, evil and diabolical ISIS destroy the entire world by that time?!

    Of course the Senate’s punt renders the House vote moot at this point; hence, everyone is off the hook and unaccountable for an inconvenient Yea or Nay rendered hastily in September.

    Well-choreographed kabuki, GOPers and Democrats — May you all lose decisively in November!

  • Waterboarding “Folks”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#Spain_1500s

    Spanish Inquisition 1500s

    In general, waterboarding seemed to be very extended in the Spanish detention centers in the 1500s. Books from the time explain how to treat persons in custody, and used this “light” form of torture. After a specific way of beating, body, legs and arms, it was detailed how to pour 4 cuartillos (approx. 2.5 liters) of water over mouth and nose, with a covering cloth, making sure there was some cloth introduced in the mouth so water could also get in.

    Flemish Inquisition 1500s

    Facsimile of a woodcut in Joos de Damhoudère’s praxis rerum criminalium, Antwerp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#mediaviewer/File:Water_cure.jpg

    In Joos de Damhoudère’s Praxis rerum criminalium (1554), a manual on the practice of criminal law, the chapter on torture and interrogation is illustrated with a woodcut of waterboarding, which it describes in detail.

    Colonial Period (1623) — Agents of the Dutch East India Company used a precursor to waterboarding during the Amboyna massacre of English prisoners, which took place on the island of Amboyna in the Molucca Islands.

    By American prisons prior to World War I (1852) — New York’s Sing Sing Prison;

    By the U.S. in the Philippines after 1898;

    By the U.S. police before the 1940s;

    World War II (1940s) — used by Japanese officers and German Gestapo;

    French Algerian War (1954–1962) — used by the French;

    Vietnam War (1960s-70s) — use by the U.S. on Viet Kong prisoners of war;

    Chile — Augusto Pinochet (1974-1990)– used by police on dissidents;

    Khmer Rouge — Pol Pot, et al. (1975-1979) — used by the Khmer on Cambodian detainees;

    Northern Ireland (1970s) — used by the British Army on IRA detainees and prisoners;

    Apartheid South Africa (1948 to 1994) — by South African Police on black detainees;

    U.S. military survival training program (1959–1975) and (2002-2003) — (SERE);

    Use by law enforcement (1981) — Texas sheriff and three deputies were convicted for conspiring to force confessions by waterboarding suspects;

    Approved by the Office of Legal Counsel — Bybee, Yoo, Haynes, Addington, Cheney, Gonzales — for use by intelligence officers on Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees (2002-2005).

    Clearly, the historical record suggests that the practice of waterboarding “folks” has been at least as popular over the decades as freshly-made popcorn, getting drunk, and casual sex.

    In addition to the obvious sadism, the forcing of false confessions has always been the desired goal of such practices. Go figure.

    (h/t Wiki)

  • Is there a word for a person beyond pretentious?

    How about “prick” to describe Secretary Skull and Bones?

    That term sure works for me — succinct, on point, and accurate.

  • Parse Go the Weasels:

    Here is the text to the non-AUMF amendment — no doubt the pre-AUMF designed to warm up the crowd for the new Obama AUMF postponed now until after the midterm elections — which was passed by the House yesterday:

    H.Amdt.1141
    Description: None
    Amends Bill: H.J.Res.124
    Sponsor: Rep. McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [R-CA-25] (Offered 09/16/2014)
    Latest Action: 09/17/14 On agreeing to the McKeon amendment (A001) Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 273 – 156 (Roll no. 507).

    Authorizes the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.

    Additionally, the amendment would strengthen congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports, on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment.

    It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.

    While this amendment does not authorize additional funds, it would allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to submit a reprogramming request to Congress should the President request DOD funds to execute this authority and permit the Secretary of Defense to accept foreign contributions.

    Lastly, the amendment would state that nothing in this section be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances. (Emphasis added)

    [On edit: I added paragarph breaks to the text for readability.]

    The language calling to “strengthen congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports, on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment” really is comedy gold at this point. D’oh! — why, pray tell, has this not been the standard operating procedure before now?

    Plus, it might be a bit of a “tell” that this amendment is so weasely that it doesn’t even have a description that might identify it more readily at a later date…when everything that could go wrong does go wrong and then some and sooner rather than later — clearly, a failed attempt at plausible deniability.

    Those human-liver eating “moderate” cannibals — I mean “the Syrian opposition” — are going to be jumping for joy!

    Vetting Question: Which do you prefer — fresh, raw, human organs or MREs supplied by the USG?

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Because Libya Worked Out So Well….

    2014-09-17 23:15:11View | Delete

    DW

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply to my comments. Your feedback is always very welcome and very much appreciated when it comes my way.

    Best.

  • Forget the use of the past tense — “We tortured some folks” — it’s so yesterday.

    We are torturing folks — and we have been torturing folks since Inauguration Day 2009, and subsequently (and without challenge), since Inauguration Day 2013 — on orders from the Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama. What else is new?

    Obama famously said, “We don’t torture” — except, of course, when “we” do just that — hence, he was lying, as is most often the case.

    Neither shocked nor surprised.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Because Libya Worked Out So Well….

    2014-09-16 22:15:04View | Delete

    I think you misunderstand. He is only saying wars or conflict have persisted in the ME for millennia. Do you disagree?

    No, I did not misunderstand any part of newcarguy’s comment:

    Mesopotamian wars of conquest date to around 4000 BC. Persian wars date to around 400-500 BC.

    I’ll admit I was kinda “rounding off”. :-) But somebody has always been fighting or fighting off somebody else.

    I replied by pointing out that the first part of the comment is historical anachronism, and the second part is the logical fallacy known as the sweeping generalization.

    Yes, there have been wars in the region we now call the Middle East during the particular periods of classical antiquity referred in newcarguy’s comment, but so what?

    That tells us nothing about the current state of events and conditions in the Middle East, and there is no correlation between the current state of conflicts and wars and those of classical antiquity.

    Do the wars and conflicts of the ancient Inca, Mayan, and Aztec civilizations tell us anything about the U.S./CIA sponsored Dirty Wars in Central and Latin America from the early 1950s through the 1990s and continuing in fits and starts in particular countries in the 2000s? I don’t think so.

    To say that “somebody has always been fighting or fighting off somebody else” is like saying that “Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia” (Orwell, 1984). The statement is essentially meaningless.

    Your suggestion that wars and conflicts have always persisted in the Middle East smacks of bias and Orientalism and reflexively ignores the long periods of peace and prosperity and trade and scientific advances in navigation and architecture and engineering and mathematics and medicine and art and literature and poetry and music and textiles and pottery and iron and bronze works and agriculture and systems of laws and the creation of complex civil societies in the context of genuinely multicultural and religiously diverse civilizations that are evident in the historical record from the period Before the Common Era (BCE), through the collapse of the Greek and Roman Empires and the evolution of the Byzantine and Persian Empires and followed by the medieval, Renaissance, early modern, and modern periods.

    See Silk Road
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road

    The post-modern period has not been exemplary or kind to the Middle East, to say the least, starting with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the debacle that resulted in the wake of World War I, specifically, the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), which carved up the regional map into its current configuration, and continuing through World War II and beyond, with a marked shift from the hegemony of Great Britain and France to the United States, and exacerbated further by the intensified exploration, discovery, and development of Middle Eastern oil by British and American corporations for export markets largely to the U.S. and eventually to Europe.

    Plus, let us not forget the establishment (by hook and by crook and by terrorism and violence) of the State of Israel — “The Jewish State” — and the commensurate ethnic cleansing, massacres, and expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948, without the right of return, which continues to roil the region to the present time.

    The advent of European (and later American) colonialism, which exploded in the wake of World War I, and which culminated with World War II and beyond, set the stage for the complex mixture of political, social, religious, and economic strife that we see today across the Middle East and South Asia today.

    But it was not always thus, and it is both a shop-worn cliché and a historical anachronism to attempt to make that case.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Because Libya Worked Out So Well….

    2014-09-16 18:20:14View | Delete

    Tribalism and tribal conflicts have existed in the ME since paleo-lithic times.

    How could you possibly profess to know that?

    The Paleolithic Era extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by hominins such as australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP (Before Present). Since there are no written records from the Paleolithic Era, nearly all of our knowledge of human existence, way of life, and culture from that period of prehistory comes from archaeology in conjunction with ethnographic studies and comparisons of the fossil record. Moreover, the fossil record reveals that more than one human species existed during that time.

    The Lower Paleolithic lasted between approximately 2.5 million and 200,000 years ago, and it was when the hominin ancestors of human beings, including Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo ergaster, roamed most of the earth and began making the first stone tools.

    The Middle Paleolithic (ca 200,000 to 45,000 years ago) witnessed the evolution of Neanderthals and the first anatomically modern Homo sapiens, and some of the first glimmers of modern behavior, such as sophisticated stone tools, caring for the elderly, hunting and gathering and some amount of symbolic or ritual behavior.

    By the Upper Paleolithic (45,000-10,000 years ago), the Neanderthals were in decline, and by 30,000 BP, they were gone. Modern humans spread all over the planet. The later part of the period is characterized by fully modern behaviors, such as hunting, gathering, cave art, and the making of a wide range of tools in stone, bone, ivory, and antler.

    At the beginning of the Paleolithic, hominids were found primarily in eastern Africa, east of the Great Rift Valley. Most known hominid fossils dating earlier than one million years before present are found in this area, particularly in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

    By 1.5 to 2 million years BP, groups of hominids began leaving Africa and settling southern Europe and Asia. The Southern Caucasus were occupied by 1.7 million years BP, and northern China was reached by 1.66 million years BP.

    By the end of the Lower Paleolithic, approximately 200,000 PB, members of the hominid family were living in what is now China, western Indonesia, and, in Europe, around the Mediterranean and as far north as England, southern Germany, and Bulgaria. Their further northward expansion may have been limited by the lack of control of fire: studies of cave settlements in Europe indicate no regular use of fire prior to 300,000-400,000 BP.

    Very little fossil evidence is available at known Lower Paleolithic sites in Europe, but it is believed that hominids who inhabited these sites were likewise Homo erectus. There is no evidence of hominids in America, Australia, or almost anywhere in Oceania during this time period. East Asian fossils from this period are typically placed in the genus Homo erectus.

    Although fire was used by some groups during the Lower Paleolithic period, the use of fire only became common in the societies of the following Middle Paleolithic period.

    The social organization of the earliest Paleolithic (Lower Paleolithic) societies remains largely unknown to scientists, though Lower Paleolithic hominids such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus are likely to have had more complex social structures than chimpanzee societies.

    Human societies from the Paleolithic to the early Neolithic farming tribes lived without states and organized governments. For most of the Lower Paleolithic, human societies were possibly more hierarchical than their Middle and Upper Paleolithic descendants, and probably were not grouped into bands, though during the end of the Lower Paleolithic, the latest populations of the hominid Homo erectus may have begun living in small-scale (possibly egalitarian) bands similar to both Middle and Upper Paleolithic societies and modern hunter-gatherers. However, the earliest solid evidence for the existence of home bases or central campsites (hearths and shelters) among humans only dates back to 500,000 years ago.

    Consequently, there is zero evidence to support your assertion that tribalism and tribal conflicts have existed in the Middle East since Paleolithic times.

    If you are suggesting that tribalism and tribal conflicts are an integral part of human nature, or an essential characteristic of human behavior, then that is a different argument entirely and incorporates a range of related disciplines that would include philosophy, psychology, and comparative religions. But, if that is your argument, then why single out the Middle East as opposed to all of humanity in every geographic location on the planet?

    Does NCG believe the Middle East is unique to tribalism and tribal conflict in its various iterations? If that is what NCG was trying to point out, then he is seriously mistaken.

    Whether one is a historian or not, valid points are not made through the use of fallacies. Indeed, fallacies — like sweeping generalizations — actually undermine and invalidate what might otherwise be valid points, which, if they are to be regarded as valid, must be based on factual and demonstrable evidence.

    You assert that our Western solutions to “make peace” are ill conceived, but that too is a sweeping generalization. The immense success of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement of 1998, to cite but one example, suggests otherwise. While some might argue that it is not a perfect peace — probably because a “perfect peace” does not exist in the real world — the ongoing and continuing process engaged by the parties has brought an end to decades of repression and violence in that part of the world.

    (h/t Wiki)

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Because Libya Worked Out So Well….

    2014-09-16 14:17:42View | Delete

    I’ll admit I was kinda “rounding off”. :-) But somebody has always been fighting or fighting off somebody else.

    Sweeping Generalization = Logical Fallacy:

    A sweeping generalization applies a general statement too broadly. If one takes a general rule, and applies it to a case to which, due to the specific features of the case, the rule does not apply, then one commits the sweeping generalization fallacy.

    Historical Anachronism:

    In historical writing, thought, reference, or analysis, the most common type of anachronism is the adoption of the political, social or cultural concerns and assumptions of one era to interpret or evaluate the events and actions of another — the anachronistic application of present-day perspectives to comment on the historical past.

    Historical anachronisms — and the historical revisionism derived from them — are often used in the formulation propaganda, a convention that was captured exquisitely by the master:

    “Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”
    ~~ George Orwell, 1984

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