Syria & the Return of Liberal Interventionism

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I don’t know which side of the Syrian Civil War used chemical weapons most recently. Both sides have access to them, to different degrees, as the rebels have taken over a number of former Syrian army bases. There have been accusations that the rebels have used them in the past. Certainly, if Bashar al-Assad’s regime is to survive, the last thing he would do is try to bring the United States and Britain into the war, and the first thing that would do that is the use of chemical weapons. On the other hand, the first thing the rebels — who have been largely outgunned recently by the Syrian government — want is Libyan-style direct US and British assistance. Is it possible that the rebels hit a target with chemical weapons and blamed it on the Syrian government? I’d say it is possible — especially given the history of some rebel groups trying to kill foreign media with the same aim — but really there is no clear evidence for precisely who is responsible.

And I don’t know which side of the Syrian Civil War shot at the UN inspectors who visited the chemical weapons attack site. It could conceivably have been the government, or the rebels, or a crazed individual. Again, the rebels have an incentive to inflame the situation to draw in the United States and Britain, but there is no clear evidence.

Yet it seems that the United States is ready to go to war to remove Assad from power. I don’t think this is a good idea.  In terms of a cost-benefit analysis, well, Syria has already experienced a massive and deadly civil war. Huge amounts of damage has been done to Syria’s infrastructure, economy and human population. Could a US-led intervention reduce future, greater damage? I have no idea; there is little scientific basis to make such a judgment. But going by the past examples of US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, I sincerely doubt it. Having US forces on the ground simply unifies and radicalises the opposition like al-Qaeda and deposed elements of the government. The US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan was correlated with more destruction and upheaval than under the prior regimes. While a ground-based or mostly air-based US intervention might bring the civil war to a swifter close, it might lead to greater turbulence and upheaval and terrorism after the war ends. And on the other hand, if things go wrong — like if Iran or Russia and even greater concentrations of radical Muslim fighters are also sucked into the conflict — the outcome could be far longer and deadlier than if the Syrian civil war ran its own course.

The best hope, in my view, remains that the international community devote the resources they might otherwise devote to bombing the Assad regime to helping the millions of refugees who have been displaced and harmed in the course of the war, and to brokering negotiations between the Syrian government and the rebels without preconditions. In these respects, the international community can be an undoubted help to the Syrian people.

But in reality, it seems that the old doctrines of so-called liberal intervention have returned, reborn in the rhetoric and policies of Barack Obama and David Cameron — two individuals who have both at times expressed scepticism toward notions of liberal interventionism in word, but not so much in deed. In my view, killing for peace is an impossible contradiction except in self-defense. While liberal interventionists like Samantha Power are right to believe that the West dramatically failed the people of Rwanda during the genocide, it was not sufficient military interventionism that was missing but sufficient humanitarian intervention. With 1.5 million refugees already displaced in the civil war — a figure that is sure to increase with US-led military intervention and regime change — Syria is shaping up to be a humanitarian disaster too.

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72 thoughts on “Syria & the Return of Liberal Interventionism

  1. The US ain’t going to war. Not even close.

    It’s all weekend-media-frenzy bluffing.

    Contemplating whether Obama is seriously considering military action is Syria ain’t worth the time.

  2. The 100,000 deaths figure ought be repeatedly acknowledged, while what is USA/world to do is not plain. The needed thing (I perceive) is to back the United Nations to “balkanize” Syria, though that attempt to resolve has so many negatives. The Korean peninsula separation “works” better than annihilation(s). But of course de-Titoing Yugoslavia itself devolved into massive murdering. I was for Iraq to tri-separate, and I’m feeling like a ‘told ya so’ moron for bragging. In other words, I really dunno what I’d try if I were presiding, though balkanization is better than nobody is safe/alive. Let’s formally now admit to each other that we are absurd human beings incapable of anything less ugly, thus default balkanization which has obvious negatives, but isn’t on-going nihilism as the state of being worse. I am of course thinking of default pragmatism also for Israel and Palestine, which is better than everybody expires in inevitable hell-on-Earth.

    • A reply from me to me & all of ye. Tonight in pursuing a timeline, I’ve consumed a half dozen internet articles about chemical warfare phenomena, historically and contemporary. My mind has been opened about possibilities, and here is a TIME article from last April, which mentions a chlorine
      factory supposedly held by a rebel faction allegedly linked to Al Quadae.
      Meanwhile, chlorine gas (mainly useful for sanitizing water) apparently is not in a category outlawed by Geneva conventions. My fear doesn’t change in that we humans are inevitably floundering and probably mutually doomed.

      http://world.time.com/2013/04/01/syrias-civil-war-the-mystery-behind-a-deadly-chemical-attack/

  3. “Cui Bono?” All this is so much “false flag”. The planned sequence for destroying the Moslem “axis of evil” was Iraq first, Syria second, Lebanon third, and Iran last. Libya was a target of opportunity. Egypt was a matter of serious concern for a while; but now that is fixed.

    There is no secret that the “democratizers” in Bahrain and Egypt were more than an annoyance to the Zionist side, while the rebels in Libya and Syria were useful idiots in advancing the New American Century’s ideals.

    As you pointed out, there is no evidence to support the charge that the Syrian Army was the initiator of the attack; and there are plenty of motives and “modus operandi” to support the contention that the Israelis and Al Qaeda are behind it.

    The time of night, choice of chemical agent, and mode of delivery are indicative of a clandestine attack, launched by some combination of Mossad, CIA, SAS, Special Forces, and Al qaeda, which infiltrated Syria from the West (Lebanon and Israel) and South (Jordan). There were Stratfor reports that these infiltrations began in early August.

    • Arthur Brina’s comment is so absurd that it doesn’t deserve mention or rebuttal — except to remind that there are brainwashed fanatics who will believe and repeat ANY slander of Israel, US, and Western democracies.

      For the record, Bush’s “Axis of (terrorism) Evil” was Iraq, N. Korea, and Iran. Should I take the bait and ask what are the “plenty of motives and “modus operandi” to support the contention that the Israelis and Al Qaeda are behind it”?

      • The creation and deployment of agent-provacateurs has been standard zionist tactics since the 19th century. Assassinations and acts of sabotage have been instigated by Israelis frequently since its inception. The Southern Lebanese Army was an-Israeli organized and supported rebel group that went on for 20 yearsw. Israel has used its own version of Special Forces to carry out covert acts against all its neighbors, even as far away as Tunisia, Argentina, and Norway. Israeli openly used chemical weapons in Gaza and Lebanon recently. And has been experimenting with various weapons against the Palestinian people since then.

        Are these enough to demonstrate motives and modus operandi? Were you a regular reader of Israeli news sources, and follow some well-recognized gentile experts on Middle East affairs, like Robert Fisk and Franklin Lamb, and Israeli insiders, like Uri Avnery and Roi Tov who have grown disgusted with the way the Zionist experiment turned out, you would be aware of these.

  4. When something is moved from the back burner to the front burner, the motive does not lie in the frying pan or the fire, but in the mind of the cook and his customers.

    Therefore, in trying to figure out what our Great Leaders are up to, look not at Syria but at Washington.

    • re–false flag

      I won’t deny wretched possibility.

      Curious if regime responded to accusation immediately and also denying shelling the particular rebel held locale conventionally?

  5. Assad has already killed more than 100,000 people in his country….why on earth would he now use chemical weapons to kill a few hundred more…when he knows full well that doing so would increase pressure on the West to use force to try and remove him? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  6. I don’t believe anything anymore. Might be time for Israel to use the Sampson option!

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  7. I agree. Proposing another mindless debacle in the Middle East is approaching insanity. The same mob crying for a war there is the same group which will demand withdrawal after it has begun.
    There is absolutely nothing our enemies would like better than to see us hip deep in another failed effort like Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Our compulsive intervention in the affairs of other sovereign nations remind me of ‘beach renourishment’. You can spend all the money you like moving all the sand you want, but the ocean will laugh at your miserable efforts to control the uncontrollable.
    Our ignorance is exceeded only by our arrogance.

  8. It should not come as any great surprise that the U.S. [and its aged mum (the UK)] are ready to engage in another war. War is what the prevailing empire does [for all kinds of reasons], especially considering the much needed money [debt] creation afforded by such benevolent activity.

    War is the penultimate economic stimulus package, incorporating the latest technology in efforts to terrorize, destroy, take-over, drive-out; then, occupy, indoctrinate, re-build, market-to; and finally, to impose taxes, levies, fees, and surcharges on these newly created “democratized” citizens.

  9. Re Aziz’s post:

    Refreshingly thoughtful after all the mindless crap we get here in America, especially his raising the possibility that the REBELS staged the chemical warfare. And, while I am unable to judge the potential for humanitarian aid to refugees, I believe it is surely worth exploring.

    However, the history is confusing — probably because young John Aziz was influenced by the anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-establishment fads of his formative years. “Killing for peace is an impossible contradiction” is an echo of the peaceniks’ “…like screwing for chastity”. Intervention in Vietnam was a (foolish) Cold War strategy, and conquest of Iraq was anti-terrorism and oil; neither was “liberal (humanitarian) intervention” except in propaganda.

    The major flaw in Aziz’s post is failure to identify the Syrian rebels as the global Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood whom Obama supports in Libya and Egypt. I am unable to sort out the byplay among Sunni, Shiite, Palestinians, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Saudi, Emirates, etc., but Obama has shown that the US will NOT oppose any Muslim regime, aggression, or terrorism, foreign or domestic, e.g., Ft. Hood and Boston.

    A possible proximate cause of Obama-the-politician’s sudden hawkishness is an opinion poll showing that Americans’ opposition to Syrian intervention switches to support if Assad uses chemical weapons.

    [John's (1) judging "corporatist" Romney as only trivially less anti-democratic and corrupt than Marxist-Muslim-racist-ChicagoWay Obama, and (2) his refusal to see that the anthropomorphic carbon dioxide climate threat is pure fraud, keep me from becoming a sycophant; but I am still an admirer].

    • DG, attempting to figure-out the infinite number of motivations in the current drama playing out in the Middle East would be like try to accomplish the same when you notice [out of nowhere] a very pretty woman smiling at you.

      Good luck!!

      • Great analogy, Imp. Ancient battlefield dictum (Sun Tzu, et al) applies once you determine that there is an enemy: “Do not speculate on the enemy’s intentions; prepare for his capabilities.”

        • Especially when you already know the bottom-line, that is, the eternal desire for people to want something for nothing, and the infinite ploys developed to this end.

      • Your enemies are within and in control if the US military machine. Sorry but that is the truth.

    • The major flaw in Aziz’s post is failure to identify the Syrian rebels as the global Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood whom Obama supports in Libya and Egypt.

      Not all the rebels are jihadis, but a significant substantial proportion of them are. And I completely agree these are not the people who we should be supporting in Syria or anywhere.

      • John: a guest on FoxNC said “Our enemies are killing each other! Why should we try to stop them?” Could the same be said for for Libya and even Egypt? My dubious(?) information says that the Muslim Brotherhood (1) leads/controls the Syrian rebels, the Libyan government and the deposed Morsi regime in Egypt, and (2) is mainstream Muslim Islamist/Jihadist. True?

        Daily the Obama Administration* rubs our noses in protected/denied/mislabeled Muslim domestic terrorism, attacks on Israel, and abuse of our armed forces and diplomats. In the UK were you informed of the undisputed Muslim manipulation of Maj. Hasan and the Boston marathon bombers? All Muslims are not terrorists, but 99% of all terrorists are Muslims!

        * So far, the Obama administration has corrupted the FBI, IRS, EPA, NSA, some senior military officers, and the Departments of Defense, Justice, Home Security, State, Interior ,Treasury — among others.

      • John I know you have Arab blood but call a spade a spade . Muslims should stop the lunatics in their midst . Otherwise they are like NAZI sympathisers. Guilty!!!!

  10. Who ever fired the first shots we will probably never know – but you are just as dead wheather you are killed by chemical weapons or conventional weapons, and in the case of most casualties (unarmed persons) equally unable to stop the attacks.

    As for false flag attacks I would urge anyone how has not yet read this book
    confessions on an economic hit man by John Perkins
    to do so asap – I do not know for sure is all true but it is beleivable and is supposedly not a work of fiction – read it and judge for yourselves.

  11. This idea is about “cognitive dissonance,” which has to do with a tendency
    to clear one’s intellectual mind if not one’s moral conscience in order to support a favored side. In other words, distortion by over-simplification is demagoguery. I perceive many/most/all of us do (seemingly) enjoy arguing
    our bias and to h with objectivity.

    Also, to imply that Obama is a fool for duly expressing sympathy to Egypt’s hurting MB has to be sort of an example of one’s “c.d.,” is it not? Maybe it’s not, while the observer understands the tragic, chaotic reality of Egypt’s dilemma or complex situation and fears the dynamics. Obama is not naïve, and I suppose should openly mourn but not cut-off the military appropriation.
    Actually, I dunno: wouldn’t economic aid particularly now be as important.
    Their economy is said to be way off. Thus military & economic aid.

    • Actually, ‘cognitive dissonance’ is the maintenance of conflicting beliefs, which is supposed to cause discomfort. It’s the opposite of maintaining a single, consistent, sharply defined system of belief.

      Most people seem able to maintain inconsistent beliefs comfortably, however. For instance, they appear to think it is all right for their national leaders to kill people in order to gain dubious political or economic advantages, whereas they would be quite disturbed if someone in their neighborhood did it. Josef Stalin summed up this attitude neatly when he said, ‘If you kill one man, it’s murder. If you kill a million men, it’s a statistic.’

      When people get in debates, though, they usually just want to win, not discover the truth. So they mention only the facts and arguments which support their position. This is why debates are usually pretty vacuous.

      In any case, I doubt if Mr. O spends a lot of time mourning the many thousands of people whom U.S., military aid will kill. If he were not already resolutely committed to the million-man side of Stalin’s ironical dichotomy, he wouldn’t be president. There is no room in the White House (or any other Mafia) for sissies.

        • Actually, I think the ability to simultaneously maintain two or more different interpretations of the world is strongly conducive to survival. But in any case it’s certainly conducive to success in politics.

        • Yeah, “adaptation” seemingly does require in requisite sophisticated
          living, an agility/ability to hold contradiction, so long the holder
          is aware of the contradictory reality/situation/phenomena/”lie,”
          and thus is a “successful manipulator,” I hereby cynically grant
          the point I think you’re making, but then am I thus renouncing my original
          lecture which implied intellectual honesty?

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  14. Re Aziz’s original post on this (“Syria, etc.”) post:

    Here we are on Saturday ( Aug.31) afternoon (in the US), and Pres Obama has delivered his decision — or two decisions — or indecision.

    Recently preceding: (1) Congress given UNclassified written briefing; (2) UN inspection team departs Syria, will report in two weeks — but only about IF there are chemical warfare casualties, not WHO did it. (3) Congressional leaders have been promised CLASSIFIED report @ 2:00 p.m. Sunday. (4) Israel deploying “Iron Dome” defense and issuing gas masks to civilians. (5) US embassies go on max security, through 9/11.

    Obama’s “decisions”: (1) “I” have determined that use of WMD must be confronted and punished in order to deter other nations. (2) However, he says, while “I” believe that “I” have the authority to take action, “I” also believe in the Constitutional* three equal branches of government, and will give Congress all information necessary to debate the action and arrive at a decision when they return on September 9**. [Obama did NOT reveal whether or not he will abide by the Congressional decision]. He said he will consult with allied governments*** and the UN***, but indicated NO commitment to their approval. Obama called Near East conflict “sectarian violence”, and vowed not to insert American troops into other people’s conflict — “al Qaeda”, “Muslim”, “Iran”, “Russia”, “Muslim Brotherhood”, and other real-world players were never mentioned.

    MY conclusions: (1) A masterpiece of evasion by a master of evasion and his speech writers. (2) Delay was caused by Valerie Jarrett’s and/or other puppet-masters’ indecision. (3) The fog lifts when the Syrian problem is viewed in context of the Obama Administration’s goal (totalitarian, anti-democratic, anti-family rule by elites), strategies (Marx-Alinski, racist, ChicagoWay corruption, pro-Muslim/anti-democracy foreign policy), ethics (lawlessness and lies, e.g., non-transparency, lobbyists, crony capitalism, deficits/debt, stimulus, employment, energy, climate, voting fraud, immigration, Obamacare, Fast & Furious, Boston, Ft. Hood, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, etc.).

    Oh — want an honest, sensible pro-American foreign policy decision? Consider the bottom line of former SecDef McNamara’s memoirs: “We saw Viet Nam as part of the global cold war. They saw it as a foreign power interfering in a civil war.”

    * Obama has consistently demonstrated that he regards the Constitution, including power-division among the three branches, only as an inconvenient obstacle to totalitarian rule.

    ** The president “may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses” of the Congress ( Constitution, Article II, Section 3).

    *** Television commentators: (1) recalled that President Bush had 16 UN Resolutions and 50 Coalition members in a campaign which Senators Obama, Biden and Kerry endlessly called “going it alone”; (2) reported that there was “jubilation” in Damascus, with claims that the US had “chickened out”; (3) opined that Secretary of State Kerry was betrayed and possibly felt like resigning; (4) observed that Obama believes that the world is safer with a weaker America; (5) conjectured that getting support to punish Syria would have been easier when chemical weapons were first used in March (as confirmed by Israeli intelligence).

    • Let’s make it simple: Assad is a ruthless dictator; the rebels are Muslim Brotherhood. Assad supports Palestinian aggression against Israel; Muslim Brotherhood is part of global Jihad to overthrow democracy.

      • OK. While we’re at it, let’s go from specific* to general.

        Economically healthy democracies — which the US used to be — don’t start big wars. They can avoid big wars by “Peace Through Strength and the WILL to use it”, a lesson ignored** by pre-Churchill UK government. Civil wars will break out as long as non-democratic regimes rule, or conspire to.

        A superpower or a coalition*** of peace-loving nations can declare “lines in the sand” to successfully contain local wars, PROVIDED the “lines” are enforceable and there is credible will to enforce them.

        * The Obama Administration does not care about peace or prosperity for people — Near East, US or global. Their goal is weak or non-existent democracy giving way to a Marxist-Muslim “Nomenclatura” (ruling elite) totalitarianism.

        ** Nazi Germany’s first campaign of expansion/revenge on WW I reparations was conducted by horse-drawn artillery.

        *** The UN — with a charter made weak enough to enlist the USSR and gradually corrupted by a multitude of third world nations interested in receiving handouts, not giving peacekeeping support — will never serve as effective peacekeeper.

        • “Economically healthy democracies — which the US used to be — don’t start big wars.”

          I would contend that the most direct route to becoming a “healthy” country [economically] is EXACTLY by starting wars, big or otherwise. After all, is there a more efficient way to get, something for nothing, than war?

          Look at all the previous empires. That’s all they did was start wars [and steal everything from everybody else].

          What’s this democracy thing you refer to?

  15. Since, Absolute Simplicity equals Absolute Truth, the complexity of something like the potentiality of global war means that there are an infinite numbers of layers of lying, deceit, obfuscation, and all the rest designed to distract those paying attention from the objective of all organized human activity…to get something for nothing.

    If the Elite can keep people mired in the minutiae of the how’s, what’s, and why’s of a thousand different things [of which it is impossible to know anyway], then the actual purpose of all of this activity stays well beneath the surface, safe and sound, both for the Elite [who have the most to gain] and for the professional class, amaurotic through sticking their heads up the butts of their masters.

    When you step back and view this from outside of our infantile [intellectual] perspective, no longer can you make out the boundaries that usually define constructs such as, yours and mine, private and public, you will live and you will die, etc., and see that man has used that one attribute which He believes differentiates Himself from the lower orders [intelligence] in a way not outlined in the owners manual.

    The intellect is but a tool that can point towards the Truth, but can not reveal the same. Everybody already knows the answers, as we are taught this at a very young age, but people simply can not resist the natural urge to take from others and use their intellect to rationalize such theft as anything but…

    • Reply to impermanence’s September 3 comment:

      1. Historic empire-builders — Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, Britain, etc. — were not democracies, although during prosperity the kings no doubt let enough wealth trickle through to ensure the subjects’ support. Early in the 20th century, Pres. T. Roosevelt robbed Spain and the WW I losers lost territories. Since then, the democracies liberated, and did not keep, nations conquered by Germany, Japan, and Italy, and forced the USSR to dissolve the Soviet Empire; PLUS they restored sovereignty to their “colonies” and ceded Hong Kong back to China.

      Arab land was given to Israel, a newly created independent state, but without starting a war.

      2. “Democracy: a system of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people.”

      Let’s be active 21st century citizens of our democracies, and reclaim the “supreme power” that we have allowed would-be tyrants to plunder.

      • The Netherlands, Britain, and France in most of their 18th- and 19th-century imperial days were ‘democracies’ in the same sense that the U.S. is a ‘democracy’. The ruling classes of these countries convinced their populations that they were somehow intrinsically superior to the peoples they were to rule over, usually using some version of racism. And so, until the final collapse of their imperial systems, one observed the paradox of liberal and socialist egalitarians going to the polls and voting for their empires and the wars which the empires made necessary.

      • “Let’s be active 21st century citizens of our democracies, and reclaim the “supreme power” that we have allowed would-be tyrants to plunder.”

        DG, I would like to suggest that the “democracy” you speak of, is the most effective way for the Elite to steal from the rest. A system has been created such that people will voluntarily hand over the hard-earned labor value, no questions asked.

        At least when you were a slave, you knew you were a slave; a serf, you knew you were tied to the land; but with wage labor [over-seen by the state], people believe themselves to be free, when in fact, they are tied into a system where every Tom, Dick, and Harry has his computer deducting a % from your wages [not mention the money magicians].

        DG, people need to give up the fantasy that somebody else is going to take care of you. If you look throughout history, this has never been the case, although at various times a plenty, there has been some trickle-down, but those leaks are quickly sealed as the Elite put their heads together in order to find ever more creative methods of fleecing the rest.

        How interesting to note that people have almost always felt that the system they live under would be, just peachy, if and only if [fill in the blank].

        All systems are EVIL, by definition. Man’s only hope is Himself, but alas, He does whatever He can to make sure He never discovers exactly who He is.

        • Imp, old friend, you’re getting closer to practicality and to joining the good fight to win back our country.

          1. Is there a system better suited to preventing the elite from stealing — better than We The People’s exercising our Constitutional powers to amend it (see Article V) and to elect officials who obey it, including exercising Congress’s power of impeachment (see Article I Sections 2 & 3)?

          2. Amendment XVI (UNLIMITED income tax) is the government’s weapon to make us “hand over” our money and to bribe interest groups for support.

          3. A Term Limits amendment would cure many Congressional evils.

          Perfect people would need little or no government, but you well understand and articulate that people are lazy, selfish, foolish, etc. Our Constitution gives us a government capable, like no other, of protecting our rights from exploitation, private and public. But, as many Founders feared*, we have gradually surrendered those rights, allowing politicians to increasingly abuse Constitutional powers, not only to facilitate private “stealing” but also to become the major pillager!

          * Washington: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Franklin: (We have given the people ) “A Republic, if they can keep it!”

        • DG, systems DO NOT work, NEVER have, and NEVER will. Should we wait another 5000 years to come to that conclusion, or should we begin to re-think this entire human civilization thing?

          People have become so dependent that they can NEVER imagine the possibility of breaking their chains…and this is what the Elite have ALWAYS understood.

          The Elite use fear to control and manipulate the masses, be they slaves, serfs, or wage earners. In return for the Elite backing-off a couple of turns on the vice, people allow themselves to stolen from, the ultimate form of weakness.

          But, people tell me that I am “unrealistic” because I will not settle and want to be free[er]. What happened to the American Spirit that spit in the faces of those who said, “Not so much?”

        • Reply to impermanence of Sep. 5 @ 4:33 p.m.:

          1. Of course “systems do not work” perfectly or even up to modest expectations. What does? Become a monk or hermit?

          2. I and many others, e.g. “tea parties”, still have and are reviving* the American Spirit, and passionately want to be free(er). What do you propose that we do?

          * Example: Last year veteran Republican Texas Sen. Hutchinson retired rather than face the grass roots uprising (“Outside the Beltway, it’s The People vs. Government”). Lt. Governor Dewhurst, armed with big bucks as the next establishment Republican in line, got 49% (need 50% to win) of the first Republican primary votes vs. 34% for unknown challenger Cruz. Our local (North Houston and Montgomery County) volunteer-staffed Texas Patriots PAC organized and led a state-wide “tea party” runoff campaign. Result: Cruz 53%, Dewhurst 47%. [If you haven't noticed Sen. Cruz yet, you will. Of possible 2016 presidential candidates, Cruz has the 2nd best (after Jindal) resume, and Democratic attacks on his eligibility vouch for his electability].

        • DG, I understand that you can have small victories, but if you’re simply rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic, what’s the point? The larger institutions become, the worse it gets [by definition].

          That being the case, what’s the solution? Moving as close as you can get to individual autonomy. What else could it be?

  16. Let’s hope the week or so’s pause before the Congress vote allows some sense to creep in. A negotiated deal is the only thing worth trying for. It won’t be easy but that doesn’t mean our politicians shouldn’t be working at it.

  17. I believe the U.S. ruling class still considers imperial politics in the Middle East to be sensible. Therefore, the negotiated deal would have to be one which separated Syria from Iran and Russia. That is not going to be easy to obtain — I can’t imagine what could be offered to the parties concerned that would make their current arrangements worth giving up, besides a lot of extremely risky violence.

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  19. For those not reading NYTIMES today, there has been an interesting
    article re why “experts” fear/think/perceive things get very outa hand
    if USA degrades regime’s stuff (airfields, whatever). I don’t read NYT
    enough (who possibly could), though I do respect their seeming attempt at objectivity, because “intellectual honesty” could at least be their “brand” or
    laudable goal, which they do seem to try for, though no human nor institution can be entirely fair/balanced/objective … except I suppose Ayn Rand claimed it or have I confused “o” semantic with her novel(s) as trying to be shocking truth, though I admittedly enviou$ly consider her (apparently popular/favorable/classy for many) ideal of the “individual” as corny/unrealistic/ridiculous. But, on the other hand, perhaps she’s very Right.

    • The NY Times is a joke. It supports the so-called liberal branch of TPTB. These are intellectuals, poor at even being intellectuals, yet understanding the nature of the trade they ply.

      Ayn Rand is another intellectual who makes 80% of the case for anarchism, but seemingly forgets that it is the state that allows her individual to accomplish much of what s/he does. De-construct the state, and the glue that holds her individual turns to gooey ectoplasm.

      Intellectualism is empty, and more empty [if this would be possibly] than any other form of knowable existence. It’s total bullshit.

      • Imp: Should we/can we deconstruct the state?

        (See above): Is electing an anti-establishment Senator only “rearranging the deck chairs”? Tea party-supported congress members advocate SMALLER government; everything they/we stand for recognizes that government is an oversize oppressive institution.

        How do I/non-billionaires get close to “individual autonomy”?

        • How do I/non-billionaires get close to “individual autonomy”?

          Now, we’re talking about something that has substance.

          I don’t claim to have any answers, as nobody ever has, so where does that leave us?

      • Okay, you make an argument I can grasp about intellectual honesty, and are apparently particularly thinking my disingenuous liberal left news outlet shouldn’t pretend to try for fairness and balance in reporting, while I can agree it’s impossible to be non-subjective. We’re after all acculturated non-uniformly, thank goodness. But if no, and/or I’ve misinterpreted, then please cite a favorite news presenter, at least so I can
        be emphatically counter-critical, since I may be familiar with it.

        • Robert: Re “favorite news presenter”:

          Below I have recommended The Investor’s Business Daily. Most of its pages cover investing data, news and comment, and its two daily editorial pages, with staff editorials and syndicated columns*, do not pretend to report straight news, nor do they attempt to cover every story every day.

          But they do not lie. Read some pages and see if you still believe that “it’s impossible to be non-subjective”. Considering space limitation, they do a good job of citing sources and providing supporting data.

          Try http://www.investors.com to see if you can get the editorials and cartoons, maybe for a free trial period. I can “lend” you my username/password if necessary.

          * Regular columnists are Thos. Sowell, Larry Elder, Mark Steyn, Geo. Will, Walter Williams, Krauthammer, Betsy McCaughey, Svetlana Kunin, et al, and scholars from Cato, Heritage, etc. Daily there is an “On the Left” column by a liberal/Democrat. Often this is reveals the ridiculous, but sometimes it is a credible person like economist Samuelson.

    • NY Times: I know it has good theater reviews and occasionally some well-researched foreign policy pieces, but anything touching politics and domestic public policy must support their big-government, socialist, Democratic party agenda. That’s now the meaning of “Fit” in their long-time motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. Read the two editorial pages of the Investor’s Business Daily for the truth.

      Ayn Rand: I think you’re right about her writing — “ideal” (not immediately implementable) and exaggerated per “poetic license” in fiction. But I know her free market ideals are “Right”, and I trust she would advocate a private charity “safety net” augmented by government funds if necessary.

      As to Syria, anybody with a foreign affairs I.Q. > 100 can see that joining the Muslim Brotherhood civil war is NOT in the best interest of the US, only of the Obama administration. But if you’re of the Washington Nomenklatura, you usually go along to get along. That’s why we grass-roots independents say, “Inside the Beltway it’s Republican vs. Democratic. Outside the Beltway it’s the people vs. government!”

      • The government is to freedom what religion is to spirituality. If you truly wish to find [whatever it is you are looking for], then, spiritually, you must pursue your own path. The same goes for all things, especially when it comes to freedom.

        Settling for the best it can be would be like settling for the Pope deciding how we were going to worship here in the United States. The government is simply the legal branch of the mob referred to as the Elite, nothing more than organized criminals willing to do whatever it takes to steal people blind [deaf and dumb].

        • IBD is editorially rightist, and some years ago I did subscribe for awhile. The WSJ is its direct competitor, and is rightist in its editorial pages too. I truly enjoyed the WSJ, many, many years ago as I often read every article, because my Dad subscribed. And the WSJ–including after Murdoch bought it–does differentiate between its front page of detailed fascinating business related exposes and the predictable editorial positions/pages, But is it your opinion that the NYT non-editorial
          sections are more ideologically slanted than IBD and the WSJ?
          The NYT articles are assigned and edited to reflect “liberal
          left values” and thus inherently unfair to the “conservative right pov.” They do seem to accept climate change and evolution as givens, don’t they? So, to my own darn question, yeah, and that’s perhaps why I think it’s so great.. I hereaby surrender and withdraw that silly claim that they really try hard to be objective. Meanwhile,
          I’ll also semi-honorably concede that Ayn Rand would lose a Senate race in Kentucky by at least 85%. Dr Rand Paul
          is name-saked to a un-conservative, anti-religion,
          anti-traditionalist radical, if “name-saked” is grammatically
          correct.(and which I doubt).

  20. Something needs to happen that will snap people out of the funk they have been in for many, many decades. For example, is there anybody out there who doesn’t understand that nearly all corporate advertising is complete lying, that nearly all these monstrous groups [in the very light of day!] attempt to defraud you at every turn, to the point where when a small business/individual attempts to tell the truth, they seem like they are the one who is deceiving?

    It is the perfection of Edward Bernays with a huge helping of avarice.

    Until you alter what is acceptable [in public discourse], nothing will change. Politicians will continue to lie, cheat, and steal; corporations will do everything in their power to rip people to shreds [saying that it is in the legal interests of their shareholders]; the professional class will continue to sell-out everybody [including themselves], and the downward spiral will continue.

    This is why somebody like Ron Paul could get up in front of Congress for 30 years and make not a bit of difference. People simply are not interested in the truth, only what they perceive is in their own interests.

    And since everybody wants something for nothing, this is exactly what the government, the corporations, and anybody else who wants to control people will promise them…free [fill in the blank].

    • Re: impermanence @ September 6 & robert cohen @ September 6.

      Allow me to reply to both since they share a basic blind spot — no, blind landscape.

      “Hard” science long ago developed a method to establish truths/facts/natural laws and best-possible substitutes called theses, hypotheses, conjectures, theorems, postulates, etc.

      Understanding human behaviors and attitudes, both individual and group, (such as when writing laws, organizing education, or simply voting) is facilitated by the same discipline. For example, labels such as “rightist”, “liberal” and “conservative” (as used by Robert), would be replaced by meaningful descriptions. Furthermore, confusing “corporate” (non-government) lying and fraud with those acts by “politicians” (government) would end: one is trickery corrupting choice and competition, and the other is tyranny imposed by force.

      Both posted comments advocate improved “public discourse”, which, like stopping illegal drug use, is best attacked by upgrading the wisdom and self respect of the user. Robert compliments the NY Times on standing for “climate change and evolution”. The truth? Denial of evolution has effectively disappeared (except when Democrats accuse world-class brain surgeon Ben Carson of believing that the planet was created in seven days); however, “climate change”, a new euphemism for anthropomorphic global warming, is a total fraud perpetrated for profit and political power.

      IBD heads their two editorial pages “WE SAY IT LIKE IT IS” and “READ WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY”, compared to Fox News Channel’s insipid “Fair and Balanced”. Like Impermanence, IBD uses plain old fashioned words words like “lie” and “truth”. [I was glad to read that Vladimir Putin called Sec. Kerry "a liar"; I wish he would expand his insights to include Obama, Clinton, and the multitude of other liars].

      There IS truth, fact, reality vs. “reportedly”, “credibly”, “sources say”, “consensus”, “American people want”, “polls”, etc. There ARE two sides of Alice’s looking glass — backbone America and Wonderland.

  21. Do not miss the TIME article on Bashar Assad, “The Cult Of Assad.” Gossipy/insider. It’s not mentioned in TIME, but perhaps an
    Assad brother did order chemical attack. Their father Hafez Assad had
    allegedly used cyanide in early 1980s Hama “10,000–30,000″ MB slaughter. I’m not for intervention. Glad I don’t decide. TIME, Sept. 16, 2013.

  22. Tuesday afternoon @ 4:00 pm NY time:

    PLEASE REFLECT ON THIS HISTORY AND THE IMPLICATIONS THEREOF before this evening’s speech on Syria by President Obama.

    The ONLY CONSISTENCY to be found in Obama’s record is in a few selective policy and strategy areas. Those bearing on Syria:

    A weaker America.
    Pro-Muslim.
    Anti-US Constitution.
    License to act against American and allied interests.
    License to act against expressed public* opinion, e.g., Obamacare.
    False promises. Lies. Cover-ups.

    SO:

    President Obama does not represent the American people* — neither our interests nor our preferences.

    What’s good for President Obama is likely bad for America and allies.

    * The entirety of Americans. In Obama’s race and class apartheid, he DOES serve his constituencies.

    • I think Mr. O could have gotten Single Payer, but he’s not working for the general population, who seem to favor it, he’s working for the elites, who do not.

      As for the race thing, race is a social fiction not a physical fact,. Mr. O is not half anything; he is going along with one version of the fiction or another from day to day.

  23. The President is “half-Black and “half-white.”
    His mother is descended from Kansans. Obama has
    not unusual humanistic ideals, while he presides/performs
    as non-radical. Obamacare is not “single-payer,”
    because he perceives a “Medicare expanded for everybody”
    could not be passed through the lobby of Congress. He is a pragmatic
    politician, and as per FDR, Harry Truman, John Kennedy,
    LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, he is
    disliked if not demonized. If he had not
    bailed-out Wall Street and General Motors, he probably
    could not have been re-elected. I am old enough to
    recall that Harry Truman–as FDR– was slurred, and HST slurred back.
    Pro-Obama people should not attribute the political
    opposition as merely shockingly regressively racist. Though I am still amazed that he was elected in 2008. He is indeed a politician, and if he were not adaptive, then he’d not have been re-elected. USA politics ain’t beanbag, and it is “art of pragmatism” or of the possible often by way of compromise & salesmanship.

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