Sunday, July 30, 2017

'Smart'

"Shock Claim From Inside DNC: Seth Rich Leaked Emails To Moscow Lawyer One Month Before His Murder".  "Jack Burkman: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".  A guy trying to promote his radio show by throwing multiple conspiracies together.

"Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support".  These South American right-wingers are exactly like the caricature of South American right-wingers.

"The Guardian’s Propaganda on Venezuela: All You Need to Know".  The outright lying has reached a point where it merely indicates the threat posed by the Venezuelan government feared by The Guardian.

"Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire".

"As Harvard academics prove, the truth doesn’t matter when you are bashing Russia".

"Trump is quietly moving at a furious pace to secure 'the single most important legacy' of his administration".  Of course, Killary's ambition is to blame for these decades of future right-wing legal rulings.  And the Clintonistas will continue to mock Trump for his failure to fill various bureaucratic positions, none of which matter to Trump.

"The Myth of American Exceptionalism".  It is striking the lies American authorities think they can get away with.

"Intelligence chairman accuses Obama aides of hundreds of unmasking requests".  Power.

"False Flag Terrorism Isn’t a “Theory” … It’s ADMITTED and Widespread".  I think you could say it is the norm, with real terrorist attacks being the rare aberration.  The only real terrorist attacks remaining are some of the attacks that occur in places like Pakistan against non-white people.

"Did Hillary Clinton win after all? The collapse of Trumpcare has turned her defeat into unexpected victory".  The whole vote reads like a conspiracy, the entire point of which was the self-aggrandizement of John McCain.  First, the cancer announcement.  Then the dramatic plane trip to make the vote ('will he survive?'). The loud hossanahs from the American media gushing over 'maverick' John McCain. Then his vote to enable the process to continue, which of course just set up his vote late in the night (preceded by minutely detailed coverage of everybody he met that evening, with McConnell fretting, helpless, on the sidelines).  Given the fact that everybody's votes were already known - with the actual important votes being the two Republican dissenters - the entire project was run on a predictable schedule to enable the fantasies of a megalomaniac who could be seen to have rescued tens of millions of Americans from the loss of health care.  McConnell and his Koch puppeteers didn't stand a chance up against McCain-level crazy.

"Turkey needs new Syria plan as CIA ends rebel support".  The Turks have consistently shown that they lack the determination for any long-term occupation of Syria, but will do anything to prevent the creation of a Kurdish state.

"China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns" (Escobar).  Do Indians notice that their government, in striking contrast to the Chinese government, always makes the wrong choice?  It is no accident that China continues to pull away from Inda in all markers of economic and social success.

"Who Is Michael Vickers? The CIA's Afghan Jihad Architect Declares War On Trump".

"Moscow’s Syrian Blues Are Unremitting" (Bhadrakumar).  I fail to see why Moscow would fret about Iranian influence, which has been all along predictable.

"How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle" (Porter) (the method is to take their own failures and threaten to blame them on the blackmailed politician unless he doubles down on the same failed strategy):
". . . at the very moment when Washington should have been exerting pressure on its allies to stop pouring arms into an anti-Assad war that was systematically building up al Qaeda’s power and influence in the country, the Obama administration was caving in to those allies. The reason was simple: Powerful national security bureaucracies were threatening to blame Obama for the failure of their heroic effort to save the anti-Assad war.

The lesson of the entire affair is clear: A malignant alliance between powerful national security bureaucracies and the Middle Eastern allies with whom they enjoy mutually profitable relations are pressuring the White House to approve actions that threaten the real interests of the American people—including strengthening terrorists. The only way to reverse that situation is to direct public attention to that malignant alliance of interests, which has thus far gotten a free ride."

"Body Count Comeback".  They spent a long time - the Barry years -  pretending to kill ISIS terrorists while going out of their way not to (after all, ISIS is the only true remaining American ally), so now they need to catch up using lying.

"Derek Harvey - one less neocon" (Lang).  "White House Sacks Top Iran Hawk Amid Ongoing Disagreements" (Ditz).

Interview of Thomas Frank by David Sirota:
". . . there's a class solidarity between the people at the top of the meritocracy, the academic meritocracy, the kind of people that Barack Obama appointed to run all of his agencies, the kind of person that Barack Obama is, quite frankly. There's a class solidarity between that group and the Wall Street people. They're forever expressing their admiration, before the crash, of course, before the financial crisis, were forever expressing their admiration for the Wall Street guys, talking about how creative they were, how sophisticated they were, how much they admired them.

Sirota: On that point about class solidarity in the Democratic Party, it almost sounds like that famous idea of the “best and brightest” — the smartest folks who made tragically bad decisions back then about the Vietnam War. Is there a similarity there?

Frank: It's almost exact. There are very similar groups.  I was a big Obama supporter in '08. One of the reasons I really liked him is because I knew how smart he was. I had met Barack Obama, and I was very impressed by him. I knew that he would bring in smart people to run government. By the way, that's always the word that these people use to describe themselves. Smart. That's always the word they use. 

This seemed like a really good idea after George Bush, after the administration of hacks and cronies and all the idiocy. They'd run Washington into the ground. I was really excited that here comes Obama. He's going to put in these very smart people, and it's Larry Summers and it's Tim Geithner. Larry Summers was ... He's supposedly the smartest economist of his generation. He's the president of Harvard University, and all of these other guys. You go right down the list, and it's all of these people who are certifiable geniuses. They have very extremely excellent, formal academic credentials, and they proceed to continue the policies of the Bush administration towards Wall Street, basically unchanged.

Sirota: This gets to a question about “expertise.” If, as you argue, very smart, well-educated folks are making bad decisions, what is the alternative?

Frank: There is another option that I eventually figured out while I was writing this book because the first thing I did was to say, "Well, look, government by expert has, is failing us, you know?" I'd dig around in the past. Has it ever worked? The first thing you come across is the book you mentioned, "The Best and the Brightest," when the exact same thing happened during Vietnam, where you have these experts from, and again, they're mostly from Harvard, but from various other Ivy League institutions. It's the same problem. They won't listen to voices from outside their discipline, and they show this extraordinary deference to one another, to the people at the top.

Then I say, "Well, has there ever been a time when it worked?" This is where it gets interesting because, of course, there is. Government by expert has worked. The Roosevelt administration. They call them The Brain Trust. It worked very well. They pulled us out of the Depression. They won World War II. These guys were awesome. I start digging around. Who were these guys? Here is the fascinating thing. They were brilliant, but they came from all different walks of life. They weren't all these highly credentialed academic authorities. That's not what they were. This is the thing that you finally realize. There are highly intelligent people all over America, from all sorts of backgrounds, in all sorts of different industries. The best minds in banking aren't necessarily at Goldman Sachs…

What I discovered also is there is a lot of pathologies of professionalism. We had been talking about one of them, which is that they show this deference to one another at the top. Another is that they don't listen to voices from outside their discipline. You have the problem of orthodoxy.

Sirota: Which area of “expertise” do you think these problems are most prevalent in?

Frank: The worst offender  is economics. This is a discipline...I went to the University of Chicago. I have firsthand experience with these people, and they get things wrong all the time. They predict things that never happen. Things happen that they had could never have foreseen. They're just constantly, constantly getting things wrong, and they're protected. They're shielded from any kind of accountability by the nature of the professional discipline.

When you decide that this is how you're going to define expertise, this is how you're going to define excellence, is by going to the top people in a discipline like that — oh my God, I could predict even before you start what a disaster it's going to be. There's many other disciplines that are the same way. Political science. This is an endemic problem.

The other problem, I talked about how they have this deference for each other at the top. They have zero solidarity for people below them, zero. 

Here's what I realized. Basically, the unofficial philosophy of the Democratic Party is meritocracy, as defined by education. Everybody gets what they deserve, and what they deserve is defined by how they did in school. This is pernicious doctrine in all sorts of ways, but one of the most pernicious ways is that there is no solidarity in a system like that between the people at the top and the people lower down in the hierarchy. This is killer."

The most striking thing about this is that it is the first thing - not in so many words but the general gist of it - that every deplorable says when asked about the Democrats, but it a big revelation for Thomas Frank to come up with it.

"Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies" (Johnstone).  The inevitable course of unchecked Lawfare.

"The Mask Is Off: Trump Is Seeking War with Iran" (Parsi).  This doesn't ring true as the story makes Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster the voices of reason.

"Fox Airs Allegations That Awans Aided Wasserman-Schultz With Voice Altered Phone Calls".  Sounds like they were (/are?) general technical dirty tricksters for DWS.

"Steve Jobs' Widow to Take Majority Stake in The Atlantic".  I wonder what their corporate policy is on hiring concentration camp guards.

"When Israel’s friends in Labour advocated genocide".

"New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites":
"The World Socialist Web Site has been targeted by Google’s new “evaluation methods.” While in April 2017, 422,460 visits to the WSWS originated from Google searches, the figure has dropped to an estimated 120,000 this month, a fall of more than 70 percent.
Even when using search terms such as “socialist” and “socialism,” readers have informed us that they find it increasingly difficult to locate the World Socialist Web Site in Google searches."
and:
"In the three months since Google implemented the changes to its search engine, fewer people have accessed left-wing and anti-war news sites. Based on information available on Alexa analytics, other sites that have experienced sharp drops in ranking include WikiLeaks, Alternet, Counterpunch, Global Research, Consortium News and Truthout. Even prominent democratic rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International appear to have been hit."
Google became successful because of the perception that it wasn't rigging search results. The entire massive edifice of its business of being effectively the biggest advertising agency depends on that.  Google executives are prepared to risk the hole thing for political mind control, which should be instructive when we ponder conspiracy theory.

"Kinsella’s silence on JNF racism speaks loudly".  The never-heard-of-it/him excuse never rings true.

This is hilariously crooked:  "Doctors use this software during patient visits. Now Big Pharma is tapping it to sell their drugs".
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