45 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Megan @ (#25(?),) November 1st, 2014 at 21:10

    Curiously, less than two decades later, JFK, whose brother Joe had died fighting the Nazis in Europe and who, himself, almost perished in 1943 when PT109 was sunk by the Japanese, was to be menaced by the pro-Israel lobby in the US. Check out Kennedy, the Lobby and the bomb of May 2013 on Voltaire Net. This shows that if the USS Liberty incident had not been witnessed by a Soviet warship, there would have been no survivors and the incident would have been blamed on Egypt, thus providing a pretext for the United States to intervene in the Six Day War on the side of Israel against Egypt. We came that close to having the Six Day War turn into a far more terrible conflagration in the Mediterranean.

  2. @James

    ‘Other people do worse things’ is neither a justification nor even a mitigation.

    When I use FIDH as my search term, I get their website as the first hit. But if I put the link in this comment it’s likely to get held up in moderation. I shall try putting it in a separate comment all by itself.

  3. This is the abstract from a publication that was discussed on RN this morning, that uses Motivated Cognition and the other cognitive biases underpinning human thinking to explain conflict.

    “Political conflict between American Democrats and Republicans and ethnoreligious conflict between Israelis and Palestinians seem intractable, despite the availability of reasonable compromise solutions in both cases. This research demonstrates a fundamental cognitive bias driving such conflict intractability: Adversaries attribute their ingroup’s actions to ingroup love more than outgroup hate and attribute their outgroup’s actions to outgroup hate more than ingroup love.

    This biased attributional pattern increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability, including unwillingness to negotiate and unwillingness to vote for compromise solutions. In addition, offering financial incentives for accuracy in evaluating one’s outgroup mitigates this biased attributional pattern and its consequences.

    Understanding this bias and how to alleviate it can contribute to conflict resolution on a global scale.”


  4. @Megan

    The USA, Russia and China (to name the three biggest powers) are all authoritarian states. There is no credible way we can be rid of them or their secret security apparatuses, at least not in the short to medium term. For the long term, which I would call 50 years or more, it is not possible to predict anything in these matters.

    The USA, Russia and China are converging in terms of their essential nature. All are becoming more capitalist, more corporate and more oligarchical. Each is doing so in its own way with its own characteristics but each is trending towards an almost final form of capitalist corporate oligarchy. Each is becoming more of a secret police state as this transition progresses.

    People seem to assume that natural enmity always flows from difference. It may do so at times. However, the most virulent natural enmity flows from similarities of certain kinds. Totalitarian regimes are completely intolerant of each other. The theory of offensive realism would probably posit that Machiavellian regimes would be most likely to infer Machiavellian intentions in their opponents.

    Thus, the final (or near final) stage of capitalism gives us capitalist blocs which are corporate capitalist oligarchies, empires and completely intolerant of each other. The tensions of this situation do not appear to reach a crisis point while there are further portions of the undeveloped world (say India) to be turned into genuine capitalist countries.

    The final stage must be reached when one of two things happens. Either the entire world is made or rendered capitalist or the world’s resources (including natural waste sinks) prove to be inadequate for the full transition to a completely capitalist world. My own view is the latter will occur first but no matter. Whichever occurs first, it presages an era of declining standards of living for the exploited masses. The USA is the model for this. We cannot say yet that the USA has hit the limits to growth. Even so, inequality increases and the absolute poverty of its underclass increases. This is the natural tendency of the final stage, corporate capitalist oligarchy.

    The ideal of each oligarchic class bloc (arranged and opposed along the current national empire lines) would be a single world corporate oligarchy comprised of themselves only. Something like the TPP is another wedge or plank designed to render national government secondary and subservient to international corporate governence. I don’t see this culmination of world oligarchic government as likely. Geography, ethnicity, nationalism and logistics are stubborn facts and will remain so.

    I think the key question is this. How much poverty and inequality will be tolerated before revolution? The broad Western middle classes will be the first mass class in history to achieve education, security and plenty and then lose it all again. The key, in the West at least, will be how and when the collapsing middle class / working class reacts to its mass collapse into the underclass.

  5. > How much poverty and inequality will be tolerated before revolution?

    Anger comes with frustration: revolution comes when an improving trend is cut off. If things monotonically get worse there’ll never be a revolution: I suspect that for some this is the plan.

  6. @Collin Street

    “revolution comes when an improving trend is cut off.”

    I guess this is part of my argument. For the Western middle class an improving trend has been cut off. There is only one way now for much of the Western middle class and that is down, all the way to the underclass.

    But I also think there is relative dissatisfaction and absolute dissatifaction. A long, slow decline of class fortunes could conceivably lead to relative and containable dissatisfaction. However, there is the rock bottom of basic subsistence. Beyond that point there are food riots and mass insurrections.

  7. I made a mistake with the ‘<blockquote>’ tags in the previous post. Please delete that post Professor Quiggin.

    The following has also been posted here. Links which I cannot include here have been included there.

    J-D wrote on November 2nd, 2014 at 07:24 :

    ‘Other people do worse things’ is neither a justification nor even a mitigation.

    Where did I write that the staged murders by the neo-Nazi putschists in January and February and its subsequent war against the people of East Ukraine justifies the persecution of gays in Russia?

    On November 1st, 2014 at 21:59 I wrote that, in comparison to the war crimes of the Ukraine regime and the even greater crimes of the the United States in Iraq, Libya and Syria, “the prohibition of ‘propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations’ seems almost insignificant by comparison.”

    We may have to differ on whether the latter is ‘trivial’ or ‘insignificant’ in comparison to the former, but I fail to see how the latter could any way be likened to the former.

    JD wrote on November 2nd, 2014 at 07:25 :

    (The web address of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) that he cited earlier to show that the Syrian and Russian governments are guilty of human rights violations.)

    I can see that the FIDH is no more than yet another a vehicle to manufacture pretexts for the many wars launched by the United States in recent decades. This is shown by its article “Crimea: 16 March referendum not admissible in international law” (16/3/14).

    “Since the announcement of the ‘referendum’, the self-proclaimed Crimean authorities, supported by the deployment on the territory of increasing numbers of Russian military forces, have carried out abductions and expulsions towards continental Ukraine pro-unity activists, acts of intimidation of local communities, and the closing down of all independent media, thereby violating Ukrainian and international Human Rights legislation. Given the lack of security, many persons are presently fleeing from Crimean territory.

    “At the same time, the Russian media under government control have organised a continuous disinformation campaign, pretexting the defence of ethnic minorities for propagating a message of hatred and threats. The representatives of the Russian and Jewish minorities in Ukraine, along with the Crimean Tatars, have frequently denounced such an attitude.”

    Curiously the FIDH has had nothing more to say about Crimea in the ensuing 8 months in spite of the ominous developments of which it wrote in that article.

    I would have particularly thought the FIDH would have had a lot to say about the Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklanskaya. Surely Natalya would have to have been complicit in all of the crimes of which FIDH complains? But, not a word has been written of her by the FIDH.

    A good many who read about Natalya and see her astonishing youthful good looks, whose anime-style images have gained her overwhelming popularity, particularly in Japan, would inevitably want to know why she, and the near unanimous majority of Crimeans, have supported the Russian government against the Kiev regime. If this were to happen, a vastly greater number of people would scrutinise the Ukraine narrative of both the Western mainstream media the FIDH and see it for the tissue of lies that it is.

    The claims made against the Syrian government by the FIDH are no less deceitful. Much of the fearful 195,000 death toll in that conflict is the consequence of such lies by phony human rights organisations such as FIDH.

  8. @James

    I could go on to quote from other sources, but I am wondering whether perhaps it would be more efficient to ask what kind of sources you regard as reliable, and why.

  9. The following, including other links, has been posted to my own web site.

    J-D wrote on November 3rd, 2014 at 07:42:

    I could go on to quote from other sources, …

    Or, perhaps, you could just respond to the arguments I posted above (on November 3rd, 2014 at 02:03). If you were to dispute any of what I have written, you could always ask me to provide sources.

    As it is, in the copy of the post on my own web site linked to above, as well as two links to the FIDH, there is a link to one other article on my own web site which has been republished from rt _dot_ com . That article includes that 2:05 video of Natalya Poklonskaya. If you look at the tags at the foot of the article I have linked to here, you will find a large number of articles, most of which also contain citations from elsewhere.

    Tags at the bottom of that article include: anime, Crimea, feminism, Japan, Natalya Poklonskaya, NATO sanctions and Ukraine.

  10. @Ikonoclast

    James posted some statements about Russia, its government, and Vladimir Putin and about Syria, its government, and Bashar al-Assad.

    I made no comment about James’s sources. I posted some other statements on the same topics, sourced from Amnesty International.

    James’s response argued (if I understood correctly) that Amnesty International was not a reliable source of information.

    I posted some statements sourced from the International League for Human Rights.

    James’s response argued (if I understood correctly) that the International League for Human Rights was not a reliable source of information.

    I could, as I already indicated, post more material from other sources, but it seems to me that worhtwhile communication will not take place if I keep posting material from various sources and James dismisses each in turn as unreliable. In order to have any sort of worthwhile communication it’s necessary to have some shared reference points. Since James first raised the issue of reliability of sources (by questioning mine), it seems reasonable to me to invite James to give a more general indication of the criteria by which he judges.

  11. J-D wrote on November 3rd, 2014 at 07:42; November 4th, 2014 at 17:12 and November 4th, 2014 at 19:15

    … what kind of sources you regard as reliable, and why[?]

    I would have thought the answer was self evident:

    The sources, I find reliable are those which I have cited in the various discussions on this site and on my own web site.

    Why do I find them reliable?

    I find the reliable, because no-one – least of all, you – have been able to show me that any article, cited by me, is wrong.

    Of course, feel free to prove me wrong. Just choose any article written on my own site, candobetter -dot- net or any of the other sites I listed in the Gough Whitlam discussion:

    globalresearch -dot- ca, voltairenet -dot- org, landdestroyer -dot- blogspot -dot- com, presstv -dot- com and rt -dot- com

    … and show all of us, with evidence and logic, how wrong it is.

    Of course, I won’t hold my breath waiting.

  12. @James

    You have not shown that the International League of Human Rights is wrong; therefore, by your own stated standards, it is a reliable source and you have not justified your rejection of its reports.

  13. J-D

    I note that on November 5th, 2014 at 16:26 you did not take up my challenge to “show all of us, with evidence and logic, how wrong” even one article from any of the web sites I “regard as reliable” is.

    Presumably, J-D, you agree with me that those are credible and authoritative web-sites.

    As for the FIDH, On 22 May 2014 the “Caesar Report” has not once again been mentioned in any of the FIDH’s articles about Syria since it published those allegations on 13 May 2014.

    On 22 May 2014 the “Caesar Report” was dismissed by Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin as “based on unconfirmed information obtained from unverifiable sources”. So it would seem that by making no further reference to the “Caesar Report” the FIDH concurs with Vitaly Churkin’s assessment. It’s a shame that the FIDH has not said so publicly.

  14. @James

    Silence is not affirmation. If I have not said anything about your sources, that does not equate to an affirmation on my part of their reliability. If FIDH has said nothing about Russia’s dismissal of the Caesar Report, that does not equate to concurrence with the assessment or disavowal of their previous position. You have not shown that FIDH is wrong. Being contradicted by an ambassador does not constitute proof of error.

    I am confident that you don’t accept as reliable everything that I have not shown to be wrong. That would represent an extraordinary level of credulity. Seriously? You read something, you check whether I have shown it to be wrong, and if I haven’t, then that’s good enough for you to accept that it’s correct? No, that can’t be the principle you work on.

  15. J-D wrote on November 6th, 2014 at 19:01

    Silence is not affirmation. If I have not said anything about your sources, …

    When you write something substantial in response to my previous posts, we will resume this discussion.

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