The Buddha’s Skull Bone May Have Been Found in a Chinese Crypt - Via Atlas Obscura, thanks to Garrett
5 hours ago
"Corporate money was a factor, no doubt, as was conservative propaganda, but all the money and spin in the world won’t help you win if most people just flat out don’t agree with you. The fact is, demagogic appeals to people’s fear and envy almost always trump good will and common sense. Nowhere is this more true than in America, where the only thing we love more than money is kicking someone in the guts when they’re down."Why People Vote Against Themselves" by Sam Smith. Note that this is almost entirely, and tragically, wrong.
But, say lefties like Michael Moore, poll after poll shows that Americans usually come down on the progressive side of the issues. Well, maybe, but election after election keeps putting reactionary Republicans and conservative Democrats back in office. Why is that?
I don’t care what any poll says. This country is firmly, staunchly, stupidly center-right. It doesn’t matter if a poll says most Americans favor single-payer health care, because those same people will turn right around and vote for some right-wing demagogue who cries that it’s 'socialism!' Most Americans would benefit from bigger stimulus spending, extended unemployment benefits, and a strong labor movement, but all of that’s irrelevant. Rational considerations like that get thrown out the window as soon as a politician or a talk show host tells people that the dirty fuckin’ Mexicans are stealing their jobs, or that lazy government workers are prospering on their dime, or that class warfare against multimillionaires in the form of the capital gains tax is wrecking our economy.
If Americans are so damn progressive, why do we live in the least progressive nation of all the advanced industrial democracies? Why does public policy always, always, drift in favor of the rich and powerful? The divide and conquer tactics employed by the likes of Scott Walker succeed because so many American fundamentally agree with them. When they’re told about wicked teacher’s unions, they remember the high school civics teacher who always gave them detention and think, 'Yeah, fuck teachers!' When they hear about public service workers getting higher pensions than themselves, they remember some petty government department that levied a fine on them for some minor infraction, and they think, 'Yeah, fuck government workers!'"
"Let’s first get rid of the false Big Money argument. The truth is that no amount of money can turn an election when the public is fired up over a cause or a candidate. What Big Money on one side of an issue or on behalf of one candidate can do is rally the people who are on that side, to get them out to the polls. On the margins, it might help sway a few undecided people who can be duped or scared, but this is of very limited help, because such people tend to be disinterested in politics and voting, so even if they are convinced by the propaganda, they are unlikely to turn out. That can only make a difference if the other side fails to get all its supporters out."
"The larger point is that as long as Washington stays firm that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed, à la Kosovo and Libya, the cost to the United States will be limited. Victory may not come quickly or easily, but it will come. And the payoff will be substantial. Iran would be strategically isolated, unable to exert its influence in the Middle East. The resulting regime in Syria will likely regard the United States as more friend than enemy. Washington would gain substantial recognition as fighting for the people in the Arab world, not the corrupt regimes."
"In contrast, a defecting Air Force officer, Major Jihad Raslan, has told the Western press that he saw Syrian army soldiers give cover to the pro-regime Shabiha thugs who carried much of the massacre in the city, which is a stronghold of opposition to al-Assad. Raslan’s account is corroborated by satellite photos published by the BBC last week."Of course, a real analyst, Tony Cartalucci, has already ripped the propaganda completely to shreds. This kind of thing not only makes Cole look like a bloodthirsty imperialist monster, it also makes him look like a fool. For more laughs, see here. I'm reminded of the jokes made about the scientific absurdity of the forensics in the CSI television shows, especially where they obtain impossibly accurate evidence by repeatedly blowing up bad photographs.
"The Houla story is still murky. No one knows what happened. We know that there are innocent civilians who were killed. We know that both sides are exchanging accusations and we know that both sides are habitual liars. But we can raise some questions:The Official Story of Houla is starting to resemble the David Cross sitcom Todd Margaret, where the unbelievable lies told compulsively by the main character don't wash with his audience so are 'improved' by doubling down with a series of even more unbelievable lies, with the fact that the lies aren't even consistent having no effect on the incompetent liar.
-Why have the Western media ignored stories of kidnappings and killings of civilians by the gangs of Free Syrian Army (which is really merely a name used by a variety of gangs and bands largely with Islamist – and in some cases Bin Ladenite – ideology)?
-Why were there no attempts made at deconstructing the stories spread by the exile Syrian opposition. Initially, they claimed that the Syrian Army killed those civilians by shelling. It was only the other day when the UN stated that less than 20 were killed by the shelling (and the 20 are not a small number and they should be added to the disgraceful list of crimes committed by the regime that should be overthrown and brought to justice), and that most were killed at close range. There were claims of knife attacks but it seems that most were shot.
-Why was there an attempt to make it as though the Houla massacre was a sectarian crime (by Shia/Alawis against Sunnis) when it is emerging that maybe a third of the victims were Shia. Were there sectarian killings going on in the region in the days preceding the massacre? Why has there not been in the Western press any reference to the sectarian kidnappings (by Salafi armed groups in Daraa comprising even some Libyans according to Al-Akhbar correspondent who visited the scene) against Druze in the Sweida region (the Druze, in turn, kidnapped people from Daraa before the matter was resolved and hostages exchanged.
-Why did the media not notice that the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian National Council, and the Muslim Brotherhood all admitted that they were in touch with the sectarian group that kidnapped the Lebanese Shia pilgrims? In fact, famed liberal Syrian dissident, Haytham al-Malih, told a newspaper owned by a Saudi prince (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) that he supported the kidnapping and called on the kidnappers to not release the pilgrims.
Is it possible to believe the story that was told: that Shia and Alawis who reside in a predominantly Sunni area decided to suddenly turn against the majority and butcher them? And how did the surviving victims know the sectarian identity of their killers? Well, according to the Neil MacFarquhar, they bizarrely told them, “we are shabiha.” They all but left pictures of Bashar Assad behind them. Another story (wildly circulated on Twitter) has a more bizarre twist: apparently, the killers had “Shia slogans written on their foreheads” (the story was written by a Western reporter and then circulated by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (who will soon direct a news station owned by the Prince Al-Walid bin Talal)."
"Sunstein is a sort of caricature of everything people don’t like and don’t trust about government. The fact that he’s in charge of “open government” speaks volumes.""I hereby forgive the CIA for Abstract Expressionism" "Paris Review"
"Why You Pay More for Gas Because of Jewish Supremacists""The rational and non anti-Semitic answer to the question is that anti-Semitism is the result of the actions of the Jewish extremists and Zionists, who control the Jewish community.Their actions, which include prominent Jewish criminal endeavors in finance and societal degeneration in the media, cause people to be left with a negative impression of the Jewish people as a whole.This is compounded by the enormous crimes of Zionist Israel against the Palestinian people and the blatant lobbying by Jewish pressure groups for horrific wars against their perceived enemies such as Iraq and now Iran.The real answer to the question is therefore not, as the Jewish Supremacists like to say, an “irrational prejudice,” but actually the actions and activities of the Jewish Supremacists themselves."