Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Trump

Just How Much Fallacy is Your To Quoque?

Judging you!!!

danielwalldammit posted on wordpress. Nov.7, 2010

We all learned that two wrongs don’t make a right when we were kids, didn’t we?

And we learned that ‘you too’ arguments are a fallacy back in Freshman logic class, right?

Right?

Okay, maybe not everybody, but this is a lesson a lot of us probably have in common. Most educated people ought to know that there is something wrong with answering a criticism by saying “you do it too!” or some variation thereof. Hell, most decent people ought to know better than that regardless of their education.

So, why do we do it?

Hell, almost everybody does it on at least some occasions. To be fair, some people do it more than others. They will do it every chance they get. Others try not to, most of the time anyway. So, the penchant for answering a serious concern with a quick ‘you-too’ gambit varies from one person to another, but I don’t know that anyone avoids it entirely.

This tactic also comes and goes with the times. It’s been particularly common for the last 4 years, so much so that folks even coined a new term for it; ‘whataboutism.’ The “Your side does it too” gambit has made a regular appearance in public debate for a long time, but it’s been particularly common for the space of about one presidential administration (or an administration plus the campaign before it). So, the internet collectively coined a new term to describe it.

Okay, but why is this kind of argument so common?

One reason? It’s not always a fallacy.

Another? For some people, it really is a way of life.

Variable Relevance: The (ir-)relevance of ‘you too’ games varies in a couple of interesting ways.

If someone corrects my behavior and I respond with “you do it too?” am I really engaging in a fallacy?

Variable Conclusions: If I mean by that you-too response that I am not really wrong, because you do it too, then yes. Hell yes! If that’s what I mean, then I am absolutely engaging in the tu quoque fallacy.

If, on the other hand, I mean; “Okay, I need to correct my behavior, but so should you, because you do in fact do this too,” then my response is not entirely unreasonable. I’m not denying my wrong-doing in this instance. I am just asking you to correct your own behavior right along with me.

Alternatively, I could employ a ‘you-too’ argument by of refusing to accept a rule that I have good reason to believe others are not going to follow themselves. Let’s imagine we are playing a game of soccer and you tell me I should stop touching the ball with my hands.

I could then say you do it too as a means of insisting either that you stop yourself or that we are just going to continue playing an odd game of soccer in which both of us are allowed to touch the ball with our hands. In this case, I am refusing to play by unfair rules, or unfair application of those rules.

It seems that there are at least some conclusions which could be reasonably drawn from a premise beginning with an assertion that is essentially saying “you do it too.”

Plus Alternatives: There is another context in which “you too” starts to become more relevant than it would otherwise be. In this case, the tu-quoque fallacy has some company, because the False Alternatives fallacy comes in here right along with it. This is the context of constrained choices.

If I tell you that apples bother my teeth, so I don’t like eating them, it would normally be quite foolish to respond by telling me that cookies have too much sugar. Whether or not cookies have too much sugar, apples still bother my teeth (always feels like I am biting into styrofoam). That does not change if cookies are bad for me. So, the cookie-themed response seems quite irrelevant.

…unless I want a snack, and I have exactly 2 options!

If my universe of possible choices includes an apple and a cookie, then problems with one might very well be a reasonable answer to my expressed concerns about the other. It’s not so much a logical inference as it is a conversational implicature. A possible respondent hears me complaining about the apple, realizes I have offered it as a reason for choosing the cookie instead, and responds by reminding me of a good reason to avoid the cookie

Of course apples and cookies don’t make these arguments themselves, so if this is a concern about false alternatives, how does it relate to the tu-quoque fallacy? Well, it comes into play when the apples and cookies do make these arguments themselves, or at least when we divide ourselves up into an obviously apple camp and a clearly cookie camp.

Or maybe when we try to pick a President.

If I say that Donald Trump has been self-dealing throughout his Presidency as a means of saying he is a terrible President, it wouldn’t normally help matters to say that Hillary does it too (using the Uranium One story about her charity foundation for example). Neither would it help to raise the prospect of similar corruption on the part of the Biden family.

These become relevant during elections precisely because the obvious alternative choice is understood, and so the range of viable possibilities is narrowed sufficiently to make these normally irrelevant arguments matter after all.

And here, 3rd party-proponents will have an obvious complaint of their own. What if there are better choices? What if you can point to a candidate that doesn’t have a history of self-dealing (or, more to the point, a history of having the charge of self-dealing leveled at them by political opponents)?

That’s a reasonable concern and one that speaks directly to the very kind of problem that logicians are trying to call our attention to when speaking about ‘false alternatives’ and ‘tu-quoque’ fallacies. Of course, part of the concern here lies in just how viable the third parties really are and what you are trying to accomplish with your vote, both of which speak to the question of just how constrained the alternatives here really are. If a 3rd party might really win, then it would be quite illogical to respond to a criticism of one major party candidate as though it were an obvious endorsement of another.

Conversely, you may know that the 3rd party is going to lose but choose to vote for them anyway as a means of signaling to the major parties that they should take you own political values more seriously. If enough others vote the same way, this could become leverage in the next election.

If a 3rd party candidate is, however, not a serious contender for winning an election, and the election is just too important to risk on a symbolic statement, then we may be back in the realm of 2 real choices and dirt on one viable candidate really will have to be weighed against dirt on the other. In such cases, “your guy does it too” and “the alternative is worse” start to become relevant again.

Where your choices are constrained, criticisms of one choice can provide a meaningful response to criticisms of another, but this is still problematic. Such arguments don’t erase problems, and they don’t disprove initial claims. If you tell me, for example, that Hunter Biden was using his father’s position as Vice President under the Obama administration to make money, reminding you that the Trump family profits from his role as President (e.g. through fees paid by the Secret Service to Trump properties during his visits, use of political leverage to get Ivanka’s patents in China, or simply the profits made when foreign diplomats choose to stay at Trump properties while negotiating with him) will not prove the claims about Hunter Biden are untrue.

If I want to do that, then I have to provide an argument directly debunking the claims about Hunter Biden activities. What do I get out of calling attention to similar shenanigans about Trump? I get an argument about the significance one relative to the other. I get an argument about how each balances against the other when we assume both criticisms are of roughly equal merit. That may not be the best argument I could produce on the topic, but it would not be fallacious. It’s in this context that ‘you too’ (or at least ‘your guy too’) arguments start to make a little more sense.

One fascinating thing about this is the way that the relevance of such arguments comes and goes. I understood claims about Uranium One, debunked as they are, as a concern in the 2016 election. It was fascinating to me, however, seeing Trump fans continue bringing this up in response to criticism of his actions well into the Trump administration. I found myself saying; “well let’s impeach her too” then, by which I hoped to suggest that this was no longer a relevant means of answering concerns about Trump’s own actions. As the 2020 election heated up, concerns about Biden became a more viable means of offsetting those about Trump (at least to those who care nothing about proportion or credibility of the sources). In terms of addressing the choice at hand, it was useful for the Trump camp to have a claim about political corruption in play precisely because they knew many such claims could be held against Donald. What the merits of each claim really are is of course a debatable question, but having comparable accusations on the table makes possible a kind of argument about how one wishes to weigh one relative to the other.

When we were all expected to weigh Donald Trump’s character against that of another person, complaints about that other person could pass a certain test of minimal relevance to complaints about him. So, the relevance comparison to other people to criticisms of Donald Trump came and went over the course of his Presidential administration. When he was operating on his own, and the only viable question was about his own competence and integrity, they should have gone away.

Of course they didn’t.

Constraining Personalities: This brings us to one last point; some people thrive on the sort of constrained choices I am describing here. When they face an open range of possibilities, they work very hard to create the illusion of constrained choices anyway.

Yes, I have Donald Trump in mind here.

I am also writing about his many fans.

There is a reason the Trump camp was such a source of whataboutism claims throughout his Presidency. This is both a feature of the base to which he consciously pitched his politics and to personality of Donald Trump himself.

Audience: There are people who live in a world of artificially constrained choices, and you can see it their responses to a broad range if issues. Did you say Fox news got something wrong? Well then you must be watching too much MSNBC. If there is a problem with capitalism, well then why don’t you just go try China?

Don’t like Christianity? You must be an atheist! Is the American healthcare system broken? Well then, let me tell you the horror stories coming out of Canada! Concerned about police brutality? You must support riots in the streets! Don’t like coke? Shut up and drink your Beer!

And so on…

(Okay, I might not be that be that serious about the coke and beer example.)

Perhaps all of us fall into this way of thinking from time to time, but some people really do seem to think in such terms on a regular basis. They live in a world of social Manichaeism, a world in which 2 rival forces contend with one another for control of the world and of our loyalties. Anything said against one can clearly be understood as support for the other, because all questions of value must be measured according to the standard of which force one wishes to align oneself with. Other options are always illusory.

You are with the lord of light or you are with the lord of darkness, and if you don’t declare your loyalties openly, then that is a good reason to suspect you are on the wrong side of this conflict. In effect, such people keep making use of the false-alternatives fallacy because they actually do live in a world in which their choices are always constrained. Their assumptions about the world around them and the choices available to all of us consistently reduce all choices to a binary opposition.

Always!

Brief Technicality: I should add that the not all binary opposition are equal. What typically happens here is that people looking at contrary relationships often construe them as contradictory relationships? What is the difference? In a Contradictory relationship between two claims, they two have opposite truth values. If one is true, the other is false. If one is false, the other is true. In a contrary relationship between two claims, on the other hand, one of them must be false, but it is at least possible that both will be false.

In the case of either a contrary relationship or a contradictory relationship, you could infer the falsehood of one claim from the truth of the other, but you could only infer the truth of one claim from the falsehood of the other in the case of a contradictory relationship, not in the case of a contrary relationship.

Case in point: If I know that John is voting for Biden, I can conclude he is clearly not voting for Trump (unless he wants his ballot to be thrown out). If, on the other hand, I know he is not voting for Biden, I could not normally conclude that he is voting for Trump. He might be voting for a third party after all (and whether or not that is a good idea brings up all the points made above).

So, political loyalties are not usually well modeled on the basis of a contradictory relationship. Such loyalties are contrary at best even if specific choices made on the basis of those loyalties (e.g. voting) might be framed in terms of contradictory relationships.

Another example? If you like capitalism, it’s probably safe to assume you are not in favor of communism, but could we really infer from a criticism of capitalism that you were a communist? No. You could be in favor of some alternative political economy. Old fashioned trade guilds, perhaps coupled with mercantilism, subsistence economics (as practiced in many indigenous communities), or good old Georgism (which may or may not be a form of socialism, depending on who you ask), all come to mind. (So, does rejecting the terms ‘capitalism’ or ‘communism’ outright as being to vague and sweeping.). Inferring support for one of these highly loaded terms from opposition to the other is hardly reasonable, and yet, people do it all the time.

People who should know better.

But people often treat contrary relationships as though they were contradictory, thus enabling a faulty implicature, the inference of a specific loyalty from criticism of an alternative commonly understood to be its opposite. This empowers both false alternatives and tu-quoque arguments. For some people this approach to decision making is just too gratifying to resist.

We sometimes encounter simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, and hence make choices between contradictory values, but much of our thinking takes place in a world with a broader range of possibilities. Those locked into the mindset of Social manichaeism are constantly pushing us to think in narrower terms to begin with. If all of us are prone to miss the possibilities from time to time, then some people seem to take this as a point of principle.

Personality: Enter a living train-wreck such as Donald Trump! He thrives on constrained choices precisely because his own actions and his own statements cannot stand up to scrutiny on their own merits. Whatever the man may have been like when he was younger, he has long since accumulated a range of of bad deals, unpaid debts, and obvious lies in a personal history of chronically abusive behavior. His own credibility would never stand up to scrutiny, not from anyone making an honest effort.

So, how does he manage?

He always brings with him a broad range of bluffs and diversions, and one of the most important is a constant penchant for attacking someone in virtually any context, and for doing it in the most humiliating way possible.

Every claim he might make, every question one might ask, is then subsumed under the effect of this personal attack. For those under attack, this means trying to balance the need to defend yourself against the effort to address any objective issues that may be on the table. For bystanders, it is a question of balancing concerns over Trump’s behavior against those he raises about others.

In the ensuing hostilities, trump can raise and drop any issues he wishes, make false claims, and set them aside at his liesure. If he is caught flat footed, the solution is as simple as insulting the person who pointed it out or any source they may rely upon. The end-result is a choice between him or someone else, and any doubts about that other person whatsoever will be enough for Donald. He has spent his lifetime exploiting the benefit of the doubt. It is a benefit does not share with others.

The logic of the whataboutism gambit suits Trump’s style perfectly.

Is Trump University credible? What about Hillary!?!

Did Donald tell a lie? Ask Obama if you can keep your insurance!?!

Is he mistreating immigrants? What are the Dems doing to protect us!?! (…and after 2016, ask Obama, because he did it first?)

Is the Trump family self-dealing through their position in government? Where is Hunter!?!

You get the idea.

This is a man in deep need of enemies. The closest he will ever get to redemption lies in the hope that those around him will think him better than the alternative. Small wonder that he preferred to keep Hillary on the table as a kind of shadow President, a mythic character he could use as a whipping woman even in the 2020 election.

At the peak of his Presidency, when she should have been off the table entirely, she was still the answer to concerns about Trump, replaced only when Biden stepped in to become Trump’s new foil, and only partially so at that. Trump has always needed a constrained choice to make a case for himself, because he is of no value on his own.

To know the worth of Donald Trump, one has always to ask what about someone else.

A man like that is made for the sort of strife we have seen this week, and throughout his Presidency. He is at his peak when the whole world has to think in terms of the constrained choices he seeks to bring about in all times and all places. For most of us these moments come and go. For the likes of Donald Trump, such moments are the only ones that count.

***

Is Donald Trump the only person like this? Not by a long shot, but he is my exhibit ‘A’, and as he is still in a position to do us all harm, he seems to be a relevant example. It was the dramatic nature of our recent elections that got me thinking about the way that certain arguments seem more compelling at some times than other.

I could just as easily have written an epitaph for nuance.

Perhaps that would have been more to the point.

Let us hope that subtlety finds room to breathe in all our minds sometime soon! It is one thing to say ‘no’ with conviction when that is what is called for, and it is quite another to live in a world that is polemics all the way down.

In the end, the point here is that there seem to be some folks who really thrive on the ability to reduce the world to a pair of choices under the assumption that to affirm one is to deny the other. Elections may be a special time to such folks, a moment in which certain patterns of thought seem a little less flawed and a moment in which the rest of the world may just be happy to join in that same pattern of thinking.

We probably all engage in similar patterns of thought in many other contexts, sports rivalries and all manner of brand loyalties come to mind. For my own part, I hope soon to set some of this aside and think about other things. I can’t quite say that i am ready yet.

I can’t quite say that the rest of America is either.

Hopefully soon!

Courage in researching a people history and keeping up to date to warmongering decisions and antagonistic political positions…

Paul Craig Roberts. March 16, 2021

I Have Outlived My Country 

I was born in the spring of 1939.  I was a few days shy of 5 months old when Germany invaded Poland on September 1.  The British and French governments responded to the invasion by declaring war on Germany, thus initiating World War II.  

Germany always gets the blame.  

Germany’s invasion of Poland is always said to be the event that triggered World War II, but never that the British and French declared war on Germany.  This is because the victors write the history.

The British, French, and Americans were victors only because the Soviet Red Army defeated the Wehrmacht, possibly the finest army ever in existence.  

The Soviets prevailed through sheer numbers and in weapons production capability far beyond Germany’s capability.

After reading Viktor Suvorov book, The Real Culprit, I don’t believe Stalin had any need of war supplies from the West.

The Normandy invasion did not take place until June 6, 1944, after the Red Army had been fighting the Wehrmacht for three years since June 1941. 

Hitler was putting Germany back together from its dismemberment by the Versailles Treaty.  

Only the German people and territory under Polish rule remained to be returned.  For reasons that make no sense, the British government interfered in the German-Polish negotiations and caused the Polish military government to break off the negotiations.  

The result was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler had a claim to German territory.  The Soviets had no claim to the Polish territory seized by the Red Army, but the British and French limited their objection to the invasion of Poland by Germany.

It was the mindless British “guarantee” to Poland that caused World War II.  In its absence the Polish government would have come to terms with Germany.  

Hitler did not want war with Britain and France, much less with the US. These were events forced on Germany.  After the swift  German  defeat of the British and French armies, Hitler offered Britain peace with German military guarantees to protect the British Empire, but Churchill kept the peace offer secret and refused.

Churchill continued to refuse German offers of peace, and some historians concluded that the reason Hitler attacked the Soviet Union was because of Hitler’s belief that Churchill was holding out with the expectation that Russia would come into the war on the British and French side.  

Therefore, Hitler decided that he would remove that British hope by overrunning Russia.

Suvorov says Hitler knew that Stalin was about to attack Germany, but David Irving’s histories have not uncovered  evidence to support Suvorov’s claim that Hitler knew of a planned Soviet attack. Neither side seemed to know of the other side’s intention.

Had it not been for an early Russian winter, Hitler might have succeeded in knocking out the Soviet Union. The early winter stopped the German advance and gave the Red Army time to recover and organize.

I am writing this as background to the world I grew up in.  

World War II did not harm the US.  It did America well. The war brought the US out of the decade-long economic depression and left the US as the world power with the reserve currency. 

US military deaths from both fronts—Japan and Germany—totalled 416,000, a number almost matched by Britain, a much smaller country and population, and exceeded by tiny Yugoslavia with 446,000 military deaths.  

In contrast, German military deaths totaled 4,300,000 plus an underestimate of 500,000 civilian war deaths from the British and American policy of targeting German civilian populations with bombing raids on residential areas.

The defeat of Germany was achieved by the Soviet Union with a minimum of 10,000,000 military deaths and between 24,000,000 and 26,000,000 civilian and military deaths. 

I grew up in halcyon days in Atlanta. In those days a person did not have to be brilliant or have ruling class connections in order to succeed.  This fact seperated America from the rest of the world in popular opinion. Americans lived in a land of opportunity. And it was true, not make believe. 

In Atlanta, Georgia, 5-year olds could walk alone or with neighborhood classmates a mile to school and a mile to home without being molested or kidnapped.  

Boys could have fights on the playground without being arrested. Parents together with teachers dealt with problems, which were few. Teachers were outstanding.  

There was no such thing as education degrees. Teachers had degrees in English or other languages, mathematics, chemistry, physics, history. They were people who loved their subjects and conveyed that to students.  

Misbehavior, which was rare, was dealt with a note home that had to be signed by a parent and returned the next day.  The last thing any of us wanted was a note home. There was no CPS we could call to complain of being punished for our misdeeds.

We got along well with black Americans.  They were part of even lower middle class white households.

In those days labor saving machines were unknown.  Clothes were washed by hand and hung on clothes lines to dry. Meals were cooked from scratch with real ingredients.

If mother was not present, Carrie (black home servant) was the boss, not us “white privileged.”  Carrie dined with us at the table, and if Carrie encountered a financial problem she couldn’t handle, my parents and her other day employers would pool our scant resources to help her. 

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, with no fear or hatred of black Americans.  This is no longer the case in Atlanta.  Many white Atlantans are fleeing the city.

It is not only the relations between the races that have deteriorated.  Everything has.  

America today bears no relationship to the American world that I grew up in.  

Of course, today the reply will be that I grew up in “white privilege.” But actually, I grew up in a community in which people and genders had different roles, and a person was judged by performance.  Performance included moral behavior.  If you were a moral person who did a good job and your word was true, you were respected.  Period.

Today if you aren’t a “woke” person who objects to gender pronouns and you don’t believe that the white working class are “systemic racists,” you are deplatformed and cancelled.

White people are now demonized by other white people, and the demonized are not permitted to object. Any “person of color” can destroy any boss, fellow employee, university professor or dean by claiming to be “offended.”

In America today there are very few free people.  Only those not dependent on employment and media approval are free.  

Even the few free Americans are in jeopardy as the expression of dissent is being defined by the Biden regime as domestic terrorism. (Are you a believer in the Prophet Donald Trump?)

The media speaks with one voice, and the voice is one of denunciation of all who challenge the ruling narratives.  (It has been this way since Nixon)

In America today, media protect the mistakes and avariciousness of medical bureaucrats allied with Big Pharma, and the media shield Establishment narratives from scientific experts who are silenced by being denied a forum.

Consequently, the public is informed only by self-serving propaganda that enriches material interests and increases government power over citizens.

The consequences are varied and disastrous.  With Covid there have been needless lockdowns that have destroyed businesses and individuals.  (Too general. Got to develop on that issue)

In foreign policy, antagonisms have been created that could lead to disastrous wars with Iran, China, and Russia.  The focus of the Biden regime on defining Trump supporters, all 90 million American voters, as domestic terrorists implies a civil war. (Sanctions on entire people are still in place, and Biden talks but does Not deliver on removing sanctions)

What I find most discouraging about America is that after all the proven deceptions Americans  have endured—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the assassination of foreign leaders who refused to toe Washington’ line, the Vietnam War, 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass deception, Assad use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russiagate, Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2020 election, Trump insurrection at the Capitol…

The list goes on forever and (Not listing all the pre-emptive wars and countless military coups on undervelopped new States…)— And Americans continue to sit in front of CNN and the rest,  listen to NPR, and read the New York Times or Washington Post…

And continue to accommodate the ruling Establishment by consenting to being brainwashed. (That was the trend for decades, especially in US total support of Israel racist and apartheid policies and demonizing the Middle-East people)

A people this insouciant has no possibility of survival.

A bainwashed America, a brainwashed Western World, are not homes for freedom.

On this website, I attempt to make you aware.  

In contrast to the media, I give you good information about the subjects I explain.  Go back and compare what I told you compared with what the media told you. 

Consider, for example, my Covid reporting. I told you how to protect yourself.  I told you what the cures are if you are infected with a serious case. I told you the masks are not protective unless they are rated N95.

This is valuable information.  This website is valuable for everyone. Every person on earth is unique.  

We should respect everyone until they give us reason not to respect them.  The people in Western governments seem to be the least respectable.  They lie the most, and the presstitutes cover for them. Only those who speak truth are attacked.

Think about your sources of information.  I mean real information, not that which agrees with your biases.  Do you have better sources than this website?  

Does it keep you informed?  Does it make you think?

Note 1: Stalin did Not reduced drastically the ever increased demand of Nazi Germany for oil and gas. Russia and the US were the main importers of Germany goods. Hitler could have delayed another 6 months his invasion and destroyed all of England airports and seaports and forced Churchill to howl Uncle. Launching 2 wars in the same time has never been a good strategic decision.

Note 2: It was England that prompted WWI because Germany was the second trade giant behind the USA and its navy was at a par with British marine fleet.

“We read and rebut their vile crap so you won’t have to!”

What a difference a day can make in Idiot America, eh?

Only a little more than one day ago, the entire Judenpresse Armada was blasting holes in the hull of the USS Trump.

His debate performance was a “national embarrassment,” (they) screamed. He refuses to denounce “White Supremacists, ” (they) wailed.

He’s responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 Americans, they libeled. The blistering broadsides got so hot that even a number of ostensibly pro-Trump Republican Senators (Mitch McConnell, Tim Scott, Lindsey Graham et al) — when pressed by the Marxist media — quickly wet their pants and dutifully distanced themselves from the pro-Trump “Proud Boys.”

Their implied mild criticism of Trump eventually compelled the President himself to condemn “White Supremacism .”

Smelling blood in the water, the Deep State – Democrat complex grew bolder by the hour. Demands for adding a debate microphone mute button (aimed at taming Trump) saturated the news. (here)

The fake Stupid-19 “second wave” scare was being hyped (here) — timed, of course, for the coming election — the implication being that it was Trump’s failure.

Incoming fire was also directed at First Lady Melania Trump — in the form of a just-released audio tape of her dropping “the F word” over her frustration with being relegated to White House Christmas decorator while her efforts to help refugees were ignored by the media. (here)

And when even the generally objective Rasmussen Poll showed that a few percentage points of the dumb-as-dirt normies of the mushy malleable middle were starting to pull away from Trump — it became clear that Election 2020 was by no means a re-election lock for him.

The closing days of September and early October were not good for Team Trump.

And now, in a Covid minute — the big guns of the Piranha Press have fallen silent while Trump regroups. How convenient.

The big guns of the Judenpresse Armada have temporarily ceased firing as the subject instantly changes to Trump’s sudden “illness.”

We have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, The Trumps’ sudden “illness” can only add credibility to an illusion that at The Anti-New York Times have worked so hard to shatter — at the cost of having our prior website pulled down by European authorities due to “Covid disinformation (hosting company was based in Holland). 

But then again, there’s that age-old ethical question about “ends justifying the means.”

We are, after all, at war with dirty, lying, thieving, mass-murdering, child raping, Globalist scum here. Is it wrong to hoist them on their own petard (blow them up with their own bomb?) 

So entrenched is the Stupid-19 hoax, that no major media outlet or prominent Demonrat would dare to put forth a “conspiracy theory” ™ suggesting that the Trumps are faking it.

Headline: NBC News (October 2, 2020)

Biden Pulling All Negative Ads

“A Biden campaign official confirmed to NBC News that the campaign is pulling all of its negative advertising from their rotation of paid media. The news comes as the president is transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a precautionary measure.”

Communist film-maker Michael Moore does not have the limitations that journalists and politicians do. He spoke freely:

“Democrats, liberals, the media and others have always been wrong to simply treat him as a buffoon and a dummy and a jackass.

Yes, he is all those things. But he’s also canny. He’s clever. He outfoxed Comey. He outfoxed Mueller. He outfoxed 20 Republicans in the GOP primary and then did the same to the Democrats, winning the White House despite receiving fewer votes than his opponent.

He’s an evil genius and I raise the possibility of him lying about having Covid-19 to prepare us and counteract his game.  He knows being sick tends to gain one sympathy. He’s not above weaponizing this.”

The Judenpresse guns may have pulled back as the President “recovers” — but they will begin firing again in a week or two.

Trump will use this truce period to stop the bleeding and to regroup — before unloading his own barrage during the final two weeks of October.

By that time, the fake furor over Trump’s debating style and the manufactured controversy over his tolerance of “The Proud Boys” will be very difficult for the Left to resurrect.

And forget about (them) attacking a 74-year old “survivor” of Stupid-19 for being responsible for the scamdemic. Trump will have too much moral authority on the subject by then.

It’s a shitty, degrading and pathetic way to win an election. But don’t hate the player; hate the game. That being said, one has got to question if a nation now so deeply afflicted by paralyzing stupidity and stark-raving madness is even salvageable at this point — regardless of what Trump and Q Anon may or may not do to crush the Deep State in Term 2.

1. For the past 5 years, Communist film maker Michael Moore has been trying to warn Libtards not to underestimate Trump’s high-level strategic deception. //

2. Ain’t a darn thing wrong with him. //

3. Bewildered and bamboozled by countless hours of Fake News and years of half-ass “education,” the normie voters of the mushy middle can only be won over by maneuver and manipulation. It’s sad, but true.

Boobus Americanus 1: I read in the New York Times today that Trump just checked-in to Walter Reed Hospital.

Boobus Americanus 2: Though I’m voting for Biden, it’s hard to speak ill of someone who has just contracted this horrible disease.
*
St. Sugar: No comment.

Editor: Yes. Let Boobus hold his fire. Trump’s sympathy play is already working like a charm.

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly

A skilled public speaker often knows how to craft his or her words for the audience. But President Trump started off his speech to the U.N. General Assembly with a number of boasts lifted straight from his campaign rallies.

Not only are these claims exaggerated or false, but the first one inspired mirth and laughter from the assembled leaders and diplomats in the chamber.

That was certainly unusual, as the General Assembly room is usually silent, with barely any applause, during the speeches.

Here’s an examination of 14 key claims made by the president in his speech, listed in the order in which he made them. As is our practice, we do Not assign Pinocchio’s in roundups.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

This is the line that was greeted with laughter. Americans may be used to this kind of boosterism, but world leaders are not. According to The Fact Checker’s database of Trump’s false and misleading claims, Trump started saying that he had done more than any previous president when he was Not even at the six-month mark – and he has now repeated the line more than 30 times.

Trump, unlike many presidents in his first year, had signed few major pieces of legislation.

Certainly, the whirlwind of accomplishments under presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama exceed Trump’s efforts.

As of Sept. 12, his 600th day, Trump had signed 238 bills, most of which were minor.

Trump has signed two more bills and joint resolutions than Obama and 14 more than George W. Bush, but was still behind every other president since Eisenhower, according to a calculation by Josh Tauberer of GovTrack. He noted that Trump is just behind Obama in number of pages, indicating that much of the legislation Trump has signed has been about increasing government spending.

Trump later said the line “was meant to get some laughter” — which is odd, since he doesn’t play it for laughs at his rallies.

“America’s economy is booming like never before.”

This is highly dubious, but it’s another favorite talking point that Trump has uttered more than 50 times.

The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he repeatedly makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is Not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton — and even “the drunken” Ulysses S. Grant.

“We’ve added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs.”

Trump often inflates his totals by including nearly three months when he was not yet president. At the time of this speech, almost 3.6 million jobs had been created during his presidency, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the 19 months starting after Trump’s inauguration, the economy created 3.58 million new jobs — but that is still less than the 3.96 million created in the last 19 months of Obama’s presidency. (The White House notes that job creation under Trump has exceeded the Congressional Budget Office’s expectations for job growth at the end of Obama’s presidency.)

U.S. manufacturing employment has been increasing at a steady rate since 2010 — and the increase in Trump’s presidency has been about 350,000, not half a million, according to BLS.

“We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.”

Trump loves this line so much he has said it more than 100 times. But it’s not true. His tax cut ranks eighth when measured as a percentage of the size of the economy.

“We’ve started the construction of a major border wall.”

This is another false claim that the president keeps repeating — some 50 times.

With great fanfare in March, he toured prototypes of a concrete wall while in California. Yet the language in the appropriations bill is specific: None of the $1.57 billion appropriated for border protection may be used for those prototypes.

Moreover, the bill identified that the money for the barriers — about $1.3 billion — could be used only for items listed as “primary pedestrian levee fencing,” “primary pedestrian fencing” and “secondary fencing.” About $250 million is for secondary fencing, meaning it just backs up other fencing.

The closest thing to a wall would be the levee fencing, which is a concrete levee topped by bollard fencing. As far as we can tell, only 33 miles of new barrier — fencing on top of an existing levee in Hidalgo County, Tex., and a fence in Starr County, Tex. — would be funded under the 2018 bill. The rest of the money appears to be for replacing existing fencing or barriers — with fencing.

“We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year.”

The military budget is $700 billion in the current fiscal year. Congress this summer passed — and Trump signed — authorization for $716 billion in spending in fiscal 2019.

But Trump referred to these defense budgets as a “record,” which is wrong. The budget authority was larger in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 in nominal dollars, and outlays was higher in many years, including recently, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

A better way to measure over time is as a percentage of the economy, and Trump’s is only one-third the size of the defense budget at the height of the Vietnam War. (And what about the Iraqi invasion that lasted 8 years?)

“In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face-to-face with North Korea’s leader, Chairman Kim Jong Un. We had highly productive conversations and meetings, and we agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Since that meeting, we have already seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined only a short time ago.”

Trump highlights the visible fruits of his talks with North Korea, including that “nuclear testing has stopped.”

But The Washington Post reported in June that U.S. intelligence officials, citing newly obtained evidence, have concluded that North Korea does Not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile and instead is considering ways to conceal secret production facilities and the number of weapons it has.

And in July, The Post reported that U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

North Korea has a long history of making agreements and then not living up to them. (Exactly as Israel? And the USA?)

The document signed by Trump and Kim was remarkably vague, leaving it open to interpretation and debate, compared with previous documents signed by North Korea.

The statement said North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) committed to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The phrase is not defined and “towards” is rather weak.

In the past, North Korea viewed “denuclearization” to mean the United States’ removing the nuclear umbrella it provides to Japan and South Korea; there is no indication its definition has changed. (The USA has been deploying nuclear missiles on the borders of China and Russia for decades)

“The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Iran’s military expenditure increased nearly 30 percent from 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was adopted, to 2017. This increase brought Iran’s military spending back to near-2006 levels.

But as we’ve pointed out before, just looking at the raw increase or decrease in any country’s military budget misses important context. Instead, let’s consider Iran’s military expenditure as a share of overall government spending.

In 2015, it accounted for 15.4 percent of government spending. It increased 0.4 percentage point, to 15.8 percent of government spending, by 2017. According to a White House official, this spending level is expected to remain stable in 2018. That means military spending increased alongside overall government spending — not in a silo on its own.

Looking at Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP, there’s a similar trend. It has increased by only half a percentage point — going from 2.6 percent to 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2017. (For comparison, in 2016, military expenditure accounted for about 3.3 percent of GDP in the United States.)

“We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ and that threatens Israel with annihilation to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth.”

This is a bit in the weeds, but as we have documented, it’s not entirely clear whether Iran means to annihilate Israel, such as “wiping it off the map.”

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been consistent in speaking of his hatred of Israel, but without a military context. He has said his goal is the dissolution of Israel through a “popular referendum” that would give power to Palestinians.

“Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year.”

The U.S. trade deficit in 2017 was $568 billion, according to the Commerce Department. Trump gets his $800 billion number by looking only at the deficit for trade in goods ($811 billion) even though U.S. trade in services runs a substantial surplus of $243 billion.

Moreover, Trump blames the trade deficit on the actions of other countries. But trade deficits are also affected by macroeconomic factors such as the relative strength of currencies, economic growth rates, and savings and investment rates.

“The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO.”

Just on Sept. 20, Trump blamed the loss of thousands of factories on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now he pegs the same phenomenon on China’s joining the World Trade Organization.

Most economists would agree that China’s industrial rise caused millions of job losses in the United States and thousands of factory closures. There’s no definitive estimate of how many of these jobs were lost or how many of these factories closed specifically because of China. The research on this question is limited, indicating that China had an outsize impact but that there were other factors at play, such as automation.

“The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness and due process.”

Trump goes too far here to claim that the International Criminal Court claims “near-universal jurisdiction” over citizens of every country.

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute, which 118 countries have ratified. The United States is not among those countries, and it has signed what are called Article 98 agreements with many countries to shield U.S. citizens from prosecution under the court.

Afghanistan is a member of the ICC, and in theory a war crimes prosecution in that country could cover possible crimes committed by U.S. forces. However, Afghanistan has also signed an Article 98 agreement with the United States. A U.S. law prohibits the government from assisting the ICC in extraditing U.S. citizens.

“OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.

Trump blames the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for rising oil prices, but a key factor in the recent rise in the cost of oil is his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord and the imposition of new sanctions on one of the world’s leading oil producers. Experts say U.S. sanctions could drive oil prices to above $100 a barrel, up from about $70 currently.

“The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid.”

Trump is using raw dollars here, but that’s misleading. It is more appropriate to look at the dollars given as a percentage of the size of a country’s economy.

For instance, the United States gave $35.3 billion in 2017, compared with $24.7 billion for Germany and $18 billion for Britain, according to preliminary data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But as a percentage of gross national income, the United States ranks near the bottom of industrialized countries, providing just 0.18 percent of GNI.

That’s far below the U.N. target of 0.7 percent. In fact, just four countries — Sweden (1.01 percent), Luxembourg (1 percent), Norway (0.99 percent) and Denmark (0.72 percent) — exceeded that target. Britain met it, and Germany, at 0.66 percent, was close.

I am confused. What Trump and Macron (of France) are planning to ruin Syria

Apparently, Trump and Macron want to strike Syria very badly n account that chemical weapons were used in Al Ghouta. Russia vetoed the USA tailor-made alternative to investigate the accusation in Syria and the USA vetoed Russia alternative.

All parties on the field (Syrians and Russians) are saying “No chemical weapons were used”, even the Islamist factions didn’t mention such an event, though chemical weapons were discovered in their tunnels, dug by their prisoners in the last 4 years.

Syria invited the specialized UN organization on chemical weapons to come and investigate on the field and a team has already arrived.

Russia warned USA and France that its reaction will be prompt if the strike injure any Russian in Syria.

Trump cancelled his Latin America tour to personally control the situation of the strike.

The colonial powers have the habit of setting up all kinds of Red Lines when it suit them to other militarily “weaker nations”. Red Lines are Not meant to be applied to the colonial powers, ever. They do sometimes sign on treaties but refrain to ratify them, like the International penal court, or any of their citizens being prosecuted by other nations, especially in matter of crimes against humanity. Or eliminating weapons prohibited by the UN.

Chemical weapons were first used by the colonial powers starting in WWI by Germany. The USA used chemical weapons extensively on Korea and China in the 50’s, then Orange defoliating gases and napalm in Viet Nam… France supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons and were heavily used during Iran/Iraq war that lasted 8 years  (1980-88).

I am confused. First question: Were chemical weapons been used in Al Ghouta? Yes or No? I was not in the battle field, and neither were you. How to you interpret whatever you got in information?  What are your rationals for lack of facts? What can we do with any secret intelligence pieces that we are denied knowledge?

I am confused. Second question: If chemical weapons were used, why it took place when the battle of Al Ghouta was over and all Islamic factions and their families relocated by buses to Edlib and Jarablos?

I am confused. Third question: The colonial powers repeatedly disseminated the plausibility of usage of chemical weapons in Al Ghouta before the re-conquest started. The battle finished and no news of usage of chemical weapons were announced until the last couple of days when the war was over.

I am confused. Fourth question: We all felt that the colonial powers expected the Islamic factions to use the chemical weapons they were supplied with, against either the Syrian army or the civilians inside Al Ghouta to provide excuses for the powers to intervene. Nothing happened. Had the colonial power failed to coordinate their strikes before the battle and now, as they are ready, they need to vent their frustrations from the failed 2013 threat?

I am confused. Fifth question: Why the White Helmets working with Islamic factions and trained to fabricate videos persist on taking video of children, and only children? If chemical weapons were used, the most probable injured parties should be the fighters huddled inside their tunnels in order to vent them out. Why No videos of these supposedly gassed terrorists were not taken for the common people to watch? Since 2013, many of these cruel videos were taken in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq… and displayed as happening in Syria.

I am confused. Sixth question: Why USA and France persist on attacking and striking the Syrian people under any excuse? Is it because their plans failed and they need some kind of revenge? And this latest determination to strike, is it a tactics to let the totally unconvinced world community believe that chemical weapons were indeed used?

Note: My conjecture is that Trump and Macron are finally convinced that whatever plans they had in Syria has failed, and need a face-saving strike before they retire their military operations in this hellish Syria and focus on trade row with China and their multiple domestic problems

The Lone Ranger: Massive strong catalyst for upheaval

Note: You may read part one: City of All Evils https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/on-jerusalem-symbolic-center-of-all-evils/

Trump must demand that Israel conduct a referendum with this question: “Do you agree for Jerusalem to become the Official and Formal Capital of Israel? ” I bet Israel government Won’t Dare run this referendum.

Unilaterally and in a single declaration, Trump smashed 4 decades of a strategy to creating an imaginary enemy between the Sunnis-Shias divide.  The people, in a flash, re-adjusted their direction toward their Existential enemy: Zionism/USA establishment

Israel government wants to still believe the Palestinians are stupid: They allowed for the first time Palestinian youths to enter the Grand Mosque. They assume that the Palestinians will believe that no more constraints on movements will be imposed once Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

The day Trump declared his statement on Jerusalem, unilaterally, Israel declared it will be build 14,000 more units in Jerusalem for the settlers.

In a single day, Israel forces killed 3 and injured 1,100 Palestinian youths with live bullets. Most of them were hospitalized with concentrated and poisonous gas canisters in 10 Palestinian cities and villages.

A great event: Lebanon Parliament met for deputies to express their opinions on the Jerusalem crisis: this is a message for all States to convene their parliaments and let the representatives of their people to share their positions.

The Palestinians in Lebanon refugee camps are starting to side with Hezbollah strategy: Zionism/USA establishment are the Existential enemies

That’s what is called a strong and major Catalyst: Trump in a single declaration awakened the majority of the “Arabic” people, and in a flash, to their existential enemy: Zionism/USA establishment

Israel mindless traditional apartheid tactics of militarily confronting Palestinian mass civil disobedience is backfiring: After over 1,100 Palestinians injured with live bullets within 24 hours, escalation is quickly transforming into missile launching from Gaza and readiness of Palestinian factions into military confrontation.

Unless Trump retracts on his declaration, events are escalating into an all out war from various sides: Gaza, West bank, Lebanon and most probably Jordan.

This Lone Ranger of Trump will quickly find himself isolated and impotent to weight in in any cease fire or share in any deal in the Middle-East.

Israel is about to pay the heaviest of prices for exiting this clownish Trump and his close family circle.

Although Saudi Kingdom was let into this decision 2 weeks ago, it didn’t measure the enormousness of this blunder. Not only they officially condemned this declaration, they feel totally helpless to mitigate this declaration in the face of the massive uprising in the “Arabic” and Islamic world. Monday, the Arab Summit will meet in Cairo: This time around, Saudi Kingdom will shut up and let the condemnation fuse.

States are coming forth and convoking US ambassadors to lambaste them and decry the outrageous declaration that goes counter to the UN resolutions and world community position.

This Wednesday, the Islamic Summit will meet in Turkey to condemn this infamous declaration. Erdogan has already condemned Israel as a violent terrorist State that occupies other people lands

The head of parliaments will meet on Thursday to send a strong message to Trump of the representatives of the people

The US is warning its citizens Not to exhibit themselves in 12 countries and soon, many of its embassies will be vacated until events cool down.

This Pence, smug Vice-President, is to tour the region to meet Islamic high clerics in Egypt, Palestine… They all declined to meet with him. What the hell is he to tell them anyway.

This Not 1948 or 1967. Events won’t be the blank kinds.

Note: Again, read the previous article City of All Evils https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/on-jerusalem-symbolic-center-of-all-evils/

A DEADLY DELUSION: WERE SYRIA’S REBELS EVER GOING TO DEFEAT THE JIHADISTS?

AUGUST 10, 2017

President Donald Trump’s decision last month to shutter America’s covert program to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad was likely inevitable, and in any case overdue.

The program was premised on applying proxy military pressure to realize an unworkable political outcome – a negotiated resolution that removed Assad. And particularly in its late stages, it was feeding al-Qaeda-type jihadists who had infiltrated and co-opted large sections of the opposition.

The end of America’s “massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad” — in Trump’s own words — has sparked sharp debate over whether the move will benefit jihadists in al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

It will not. But the decision has also provoked a second, derivative argument over whether and how much Syria’s rebels were ever willing and able, historically, to stand up to the jihadists who hijacked Syria’s revolutionary insurgency.

This debate has policy implications — at least counterfactual ones — insofar as U.S.-backed rebels were apparently meant to out-compete and counterbalance jihadists. With a few exceptions, they proved unable to do so. (No exceptions so far)

As Syria’s war dragged on, America’s other policy priorities in the war were gradually subsumed by “counter-terrorism” — a shorthand term for the defeat of the jihadists of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Arguments for backing the array of nationalist and Islamist rebel factions collectively termed the “Free Syrian Army” were increasingly recast in those interests-based terms.

Into 2017, some were still retailing U.S.-backed rebels as “an already extremely vetted, truly indigenous, potential counter-terrorism force.” (Vetted by whom? Those Not on the ground for long terms?)

This did not comport with the historical record.

The fact of rebel cooperation with jihadists was consistently excused away as a tactical necessity, or as a function of insufficient U.S. support.

But there were only so many times U.S.-backed rebels could function as jihadists’ battlefield auxiliaries, sit and watch as jihadists liquidated other rebel factions, or prove generally unmotivated to fight jihadists before it became impossible to take them seriously as a counter-terrorism force.

(Actually, the extremist factions waited for the weapons to arrive to the “moderate” and launch an attack and take them away)

Rebels were more interested in going at the Assad regime – even if that meant fighting alongside jihadists, or under their command – than standing up to jihadists.

The factional dysfunction and personal entanglements of the rebels meant that jihadists were more central and powerful within the armed opposition than Washington and other rebel backers appreciated or acknowledged.

In the end, that not only meant that rebels were useless for counter-terrorism, but also that they couldn’t serve as a viable tool of pressure on the Assad regime or represent a realistic alternative to Assad’s rule. The whole logical edifice of U.S. support for Syria’s insurgency was wormy and rotten.

The counter-terrorism case for backing Syria’s rebels was bogus — an implausible claim by the Syrian opposition that was uncritically and irresponsibly repeated by opposition backers. Policymakers and analysts should have taken jihadist entanglement with Syria’s insurgency more seriously, much earlier. Instead, the policy debate was, for years, built on mythology and tall tales.

The Crux: January 2014 and Rebels’ Fight Against ISIL

The historical argument over the rebel fight against jihadists played out recently in an acrid Twitter back-and-forth between University of Oklahoma professor and longtime Syria expert Joshua Landis and the Middle East Institute’s Charles Lister.

The former argued rebels mostly refused to fight al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and more often fought alongside them. Lister called Landis’s arguments “misinformation” and “lies,” minimizing rebels’ ties with the Islamic State and other jihadists and pointing to their collective fight against the Islamic State in January 2014. (The jihadists had strong backing, financially, in weapons and in logistics through Turkey from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, with tacit support of the western States, particularly France and Britain and USA)

The case for the armed opposition as a counterterrorism force hinges, to a large extent, on this single episode in January 2014. Yet a more critical reading of that one event, especially in the context of rebels’ subsequent fight against the Islamic State, tends to reframe rebels’ utility as a U.S. partner against the Islamic State. Landis’s arguments are an oversimplification, in parts, and occasionally unfair. But the reality sides more with Landis than Lister.

In April 2013, ISIL’s Iraqi predecessor announced it would re-absorb its advance team in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and expand into Syria.

ISIL quickly got to work abducting opposition activistseliminating smaller, ill-reputed rebel factions, and seizing effective control of border crossings and other sources of revenue. Finally, after months of shocking, brutal provocations and escalating clashes with other rebels, open war erupted in January 2014 between rebels and ISIL in the west Aleppo countryside and then spread across the opposition-held north.

This has been spun, uncritically, into a legend of how rebels expelled ISIL from the northwest. Lister has been among those retailing a fairy-tale version of January 2014. In his 2016 paper, The Free Syrian Army: A decentralized insurgent brand, Lister acknowledges some of the complications in this episode, but nonetheless casts it in hagiographic terms:

The scale of [the opposition’s] success in forcing [ISIL] out of four provinces in 12 weeks is incomparably more significant than what the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have achieved in northeastern Syria in over two years of operations backed by U.S. air support. (Does he means Al Nusra of Al Qaeda faction?)

Yet the reality of January 2014 was substantially more complicated than Lister would have us believe. In retrospect, ISIL’s withdrawal from the northwest now seems less a rout at rebel hands than a decision by an overstretched, exposed ISIL to regroup in Syria’s desert east. From its new strongholds in the east, ISIL consolidated its forces and resurged in all directions, including into Iraq.

Though brigades in some sections of the north such as Jeish al-Mujahideen and Jamal Ma’rouf’s Syrian Revolutionaries Front launched pitched battles against ISIL in January 2014, elsewhere in the northwest, ISIL departed with a mix of local handshake deals and deliberate, tactical retreats.

Other powerful brigades — including Jabhat al-Nusrah and Ahrar al-Sham — absorbed or sheltered ISIL membersand facilitated their passage to safe areas in Syria’s east. The horrific death-by-torture of Ahrar commander Hussein “Abu Rayyan” al-Suleiman at ISIL’s hands had been one of the most proximate sparks for the January fighting, but much of Ahrar still couldn’t accept the idea of fighting fellow Islamist militants.

In Raqqa, Ahrar al-Sham fighters confused by ISIL’s religious slogans left local rebels to face ISIL reinforcements alone, only for those same Ahrar fighters to be executed in the dozens at an ISIL checkpoint north of the city. In the Aleppo countryside, gullible local rebel commanders agreed to parlay with ISIL representatives to halt the bloodshed.

An ISIL negotiator set off his suicide belt in time with a car bomb, killing the local commander and more than a dozen others. Local rebel resistance folded. ISIL captured and held east Aleppo until Turkey launched its Operation Euphrates Shield intervention more than two years later.

In eastern Deir al-Zour province, Jabhat al-Nusrah and other rebels fought a fierce, losing battle from February to July 2014 as the Islamic State closed in around them. Then ISIL overran Mosul and, swollen with new weapons and materiel it had taken from the Iraqi military, turned west towards Deir al-Zour. Faced with an overwhelming ISIL force, the Deiri opposition split and collapsed. Critically — and characteristically — rebels in Syria’s west left Deir al-Zour alone to lose against ISIL.

After summer 2014, and with the exception of some stubborn Deiris who tried to claw their way back, most of Syria’s rebels gave up on the east.

To be fair, rebels in  west Syria’s were trying to fend off the Assad regime and, from 2015, hold out against an overwhelming Russian intervention. But the longer the Islamic State occupied Syria’s east, the clearer it became that western rebels were not sufficiently motivated to liberate what had been revolutionary, opposition-held areas from the Islamic State’s brutality and terror, and the less immediate and compelling the example of January 2014 became.

The whole reason the United States opportunistically struck up a tactical partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — including, as Lister noted in his paper, providing U.S. air support — was because the SDF’s core Kurdish elements were motivated and able to kill the Islamic State in eastern Syria.

This set them apart in a way that Lister and other rebel boosters have yet to fully acknowledge. Helpfully, the SDF also was not infiltrated by jihadists, which meant it was possible safely deploy combat advisors and forward air controllers alongside them.

Attempts by the U.S. Department of Defense to build a similar partner force out of Syria’s Arab rebels mostly failed. The most capable rebels were already participating in the CIA’s covert arms program and committed to fighting the Assad regime rather than the Islamic State. Many of the remaining rebels available and willing to partner with the United States were refugees who had fled the battlefield.

Deir al-Zour rebels could not be recruited in more than paltry numbers or unified under a single commander. In Syria’s north, the first batch of U.S.-trained rebels to enter the country in 2015 was almost immediately torn apart by Jabhat al-Nusrah. Notably, no other rebel factions intervened to protect them – it was Kurdish-led forces that came to their defense and then sheltered them.

The second batch surrendered its U.S.-supplied weapons to Jabhat al-Nusrah. The Department of Defense counter-Islamic State program was amended to integrate small, Pentagon-trained units capable of calling in U.S. airstrikes into a larger mass of CIA-armed rebels, but even with substantial U.S. air support, rebels proved unable to do more than ping-pong back and forth across the Aleppo countryside until Turkey invaded.

Turkey’s own role inside Aleppo progressively scaled up over the course of Operation Euphrates Shield, until it had committed thousands of regular forces and taken the lead in the battle for the city of al-Bab.

Even then, American and Western officials told me, the Turkish-led capture of al-Bab went poorly enough to push U.S. planners towards alternatives in the battle for al-Raqqa. By the time rebels who had already lost in Syria’s west were appealing for a role in the battles against the Islamic State in Raqqa and Deir al-Zour in 2017, it was too late.

The Long Black Thread, Before and After the Islamic State

The politically convenient timeline for the Islamic State’s incubation inside the Syrian opposition is short. It starts with the Islamic State’s announced entry in April 2013 and ends with its rupture with Syria’s rebels in January 2014, roughly nine months. But this too is a false narrative.

The reality is that the Syrian opposition’s entanglement with the Islamic State and jihadists broadly didn’t start in April 2013, and it didn’t end in January 2014. It’s not a single, bracketed episode. Rather, it is a black thread that’s run through the opposition almost from the start until the present day.

The Islamic State did not just appear from nothing in April 2013. Though it announced itself in 2013, its advance force — Jabhat al-Nusrah — and other future constituent parts were inside Syria and playing an active, leading role in the insurgency from the start of 2012.

And even after the break with the Islamic State, its jihadist derivatives continued to poison the opposition. Again and again, the opposition — and the armed opposition in particular — proved unable to recognize the jihadist threat in their own ranks until it was too late.

From Jabhat al-Nusrah’s first acknowledged operation in Syria — a January 2012 car bomb in Damascus’s al-Meidan neighborhood — and the group’s video debut later that month, it should have been clear that it was either a manifestation of al-Qaeda or something al-Qaeda-like. But as Nusrah pivoted from terrorist bombings to a vanguard role on the battlefield alongside other rebels, it was accepted, only months after its terrorist opening act, as an integral part of the opposition. Important segments of the opposition went from denying al-Qaeda was even in Syria and claiming Nusrah’s early bombings were false flag attacks to closing ranks around an obvious al-Qaeda derivative.

In July of that year, the opposition stormed Aleppo, in their boldest, most ambitious blow against the regime to date. In the aftermath, Jabhat al-Nusrah was one of the four leading Islamist factions that came together in December 2012 to establish the Aleppo Shari’ah Commission, a joint judicial-administrative body to govern the city’s rebel-held east.

When the United States designated Jabhat al-Nusrah a terrorist organization and identified it, correctly, as an alias for al-Qaeda in Iraq, leading voices in Syria’s opposition loudly refused to acknowledge reality. The then-head of the opposition’s political leadership-in-exile said the decision “had to be reconsidered.” The following Friday, opposition activists organized protests across the country under the slogan, “There Is No Terrorism in Syria Except Assad’s.”

It was only the announcement of the Islamic State in April 2013 that obliged Jabhat al-Nusrah — and everyone else — to acknowledge exactly what it was, forcing Nusrah to defensively pledge direct, public allegiance to al-Qaeda (Even then, armed opposition members argued to me, as late as 2016 and 2017, that Jabhat al-Nusrah wasn’t really al-Qaeda).

Between the April 2013 announcement of the Islamic State and the break with ISIL in January 2014, Syria’s rebels coexisted with ISIL and — though it’s true ISIL was never integrated into the mass rebellion the way Jabhat al-Nusrah was — operated alongside them on at least several fronts.

The most prominent instance of rebel-ISIL cooperation was the 2013 capture of Aleppo’s Minagh Airbase, in which an ISIL suicide bomber cleared the way for a joint rebel assault. But rebels also seem to have fought alongside or in parallel with ISIL elsewhere, including in Lattakia, in the northern Damascus countryside, and against Kurdish forces across the Syrian north.

When ISIL began picking off individual half-criminal rebel factions in 2013 — in Aleppo citythe Aleppo countrysideor in Raqqa — other rebels mostly left them to die.

After ISIL was finally run out of Syria’s northwest in 2014 and concentrated in Syria’s east, the northwest became the rebellion’s center of gravity. It also became Jabhat al-Nusrah’s main power base, as the group rallied in the northwest starting in summer 2014.

And when Jabhat al-Nusrah started to eliminate nationalist rivals, not unlike ISIL had, northern rebels again sat on their hands. Northern rebels suffered from the same weaknesses and contradictions that plagued rebels nationwide. They had limited, local horizons. They were divided by faction, geography, and individual personalities. And they had problematic ideological sympathies and interpersonal ties with jihadists.

Altogether, they were incapable of mounting a collective resistance to a predatory Jabhat al-Nusrah. It is unclear how more U.S. support would have fixed that, particularly when the United States started targeting al-Qaeda external operations cells and Nusrah began targeting factions it deemed “Western tools.”

Jabhat al-Nusrah wiped out Jamal Ma’rouf’s ill-reputed Syrian Revolutionaries Front in October 2014, plus an assortment of Ma’rouf-linked factions. Other local factions, including Ahrar al-Sham, either joined in or were quietly complicit.

When CIA-backed Harakat Hazm tried to intervene to slow Nusrah’s campaign on Ma’arouf, Nusrah eliminated Hazm’s Idlib section. After escalating tensions between Nusrah and what was left of Hazm in Aleppo, Hazm defensively joined a larger Islamist faction. But Hazm kept causing problems, so its Islamist patron and other local factions decided Hazm had run its course. In February 2015, they stood aside while Nusrah snuffed it out.

Jabhat al-Nusrah was abetted in liquidating these factions by an ultra-extreme, Islamic State-leaning splinter called Jund al-Aqsa. Nusrah sheltered Jund al-Aqsa as it assassinated other rebels and — as what rebels called “[ISIL’s] Embassy in the North” — ferried would-be foreign fighters from Turkey to the Islamic State’s home base in al-Raqqa.

When Ahrar al-Sham attempted to uproot Jund in late 2016, it suffered heavy losses and accepted a face-saving settlement brokered by Jabhat al-Nusrah. In February 2017, Jabhat al-Nusrah (by then renamed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) finally moved on what was left of Jund al-Aqsa — but, even then, Nusrah “defeated” Jund by giving its fighters safe passage to Islamic State-held Raqqa.

In March 2016, Nusrah broke a locally popular Free Syrian Army faction. In January 2017, it broke several factions that agreed to attend the Astana talks co-sponsored by Turkey, forcing the remaining fragments to join Ahrar al-Sham.

And in July 2017, Nusrah broke Ahrar al-Sham, its sole remaining rival for power in Syria’s northwest. Ahrar had historically been a key ally and enabler of Jabhat al-Nusrah, and it had played a central role in bringing the same extremist foreign fighters into Syria who would later repeatedly betray it.

The dust has yet to fully settle, but it seems as if enough of Ahrar’s local subfactions stuck to their home areas — cutting deals to declare their towns neutral, or only running Nusrah out of their own sectors — that Nusrah was able to overwhelm Ahrar at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing. Bab al-Hawa had been Ahrar’s stronghold and its main source of revenue and power. No longer.

The next-biggest rebel factions said they’d send a buffer force to interrupt the fighting around Bab al-Hawa, then didn’t, then blamed each other. One has already endorsed Jabhat al-Nusrah’s planned “civil administration” in the Syrian north.

CIA-backed Free Syrian Army factions played no part in the fighting between Nusrah and Ahrar al-Sham, except as a tame buffer force. The CIA had encouraged them to unite to form a counterweight to Jabhat al-Nusrah months earlier. They refused, recognizing, correctly, that Nusrah would view their unification as a menace and destroy them. Instead, they formed a nonthreatening “operations room” meant solely to fight the regime.

From 2012 to 2017, all these rebels continued to coordinate with and fight alongside Jabhat al-Nusrah. And the intra-rebel power dynamic had been inverted in ways outsiders seem to have misapprehended. By some point — certainly from 2015, but probably earlier — most northern rebels were not operating alongside either Jabhat al-Nusrah or Ahrar al-Sham as autonomous peers, but rather as jihadists’ fire support and force-multiplying auxiliaries. Nusrah was also siphoning off these factions’ U.S. material support, either by taking a regular cut or crushing these factions and pillaging their weapon stocks.

Lister has claimed that “[Free Syrian Army] groups who fought [al-Qaeda] were abandoned to lose.” But there’s only so much the United States could do when fragmented, basically local rebels abandoned each other, over and over again.

Flawed, Nationwide

Syria’s northwest — which, as rebels lost more of Aleppo, became increasingly centered on Islamist- and jihadist-dominated Idlib province — has been the most extreme example nationwide of how jihadists have run roughshod over Syria’s opposition. But rebels nationwide suffered from the same flaws, only to lesser degrees. It’s those flaws that, even when they didn’t leave other rebels vulnerable to outright jihadist control, meant they also couldn’t really expunge pernicious extremist actors and tendencies.

The closest thing to an anti-jihadist success story has been the rebel southwest, where Jordan’s tight management of its northern border with Syria and of its local rebel clients seem to have kept Jabhat al-Nusrah from blossoming the way it did in Syria’s north.

“Southern Front” rebels officially renounced cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusrah in 2015, and the group has apparently been kept mostly isolated and small. It also seems to have suffered because of one particularly bloodthirsty, unlikeable Jordanian emir, now since moved elsewhere in the country.

But even in the south, Jabhat al-Nusrah has survived, protected by its members’ local clan ties and their tactical utility to other rebels as shock troops, and it has continued to play a key role on hot fronts. There have been reports that local rebels have told Nusrah to either dissolve itself or leave the south, against the backdrop of the United States and Russia imposing a “de-escalation zone” over the area, but it remains to be seen how convincing rebels are and how willing Nusrah is to be convinced.

Under the de-escalation agreement, southern rebels will likely have to fight the local Islamic State force that stubbornly holds the area’s valley corner and against which they have been unable to mobilize effectively.

The “Euphrates Shield” northern Aleppo countryside is mostly free of Jabhat al-Nusrah because of Nusrah’s 2015 withdrawal from the area, the presence of Turkish forces on the ground, and a geographic accident — this rebel enclave is disconnected from the Nusrah-dominated rebel northwest, and really from anything other than Turkey’s Gaziantep province. Still, there is some reason for concern.

In June, dozens were reportedly killed in intra-rebel clashes that erupted — according to one party to the infighting — after one rogue rebel sub-faction starting chanting Nusrah slogans and then opened fire on residents who objected. And rebels have struggled to deal with continuing Islamic State infiltration. Local rebels told me in interviews that Islamic State cells in this area continue to commit acts of sabotage and carry out bombings.

In the besieged East Ghouta pocket outside Damascus, dominant local Islamist faction Jeish al-Islam eliminated the Islamic State in 2014 and, in 2016, turned its fire on Jabhat al-Nusrah. But that seemed to have as much to do with local factional balancing and economic interests as with anti-jihadist religious doctrine. And the rest of the Ghouta’s factions just balanced back, as Jabhat al-Nusrah opportunistically partnered with a local Free Syrian Army faction against Jeish al-Islam.

In terms of extremist influence and relative moderates’ inability to effectively organize against jihadists, Idlib and the rebel-held northwest have been the worst. But these are not Idlib problems; they are problems with Syria’s revolutionary opposition writ large.

Policy Implosion

This accounting of when Syria’s rebels did and did not resist jihadists is by no means a complete or comprehensive one. If someone wanted to get maximally granular — to dig down to the individual or village level — it’s probably possible to produce unlimited examples of rebels’ tangled-up relationships with jihadists.

The Assad regime itself had a hand in engineering jihadist influence within the opposition. From releasing dangerous jihadist detainees early in the uprising, apparently deliberately, to dumping rebels from elsewhere in the country into jihadist-dominated Idlib, Assad seems to have done everything he could to make his opposition toxic and unpalatable.

But Syria’s rebels themselves never really proved capable of policing themselves and purging their ranks of extremists. And by the time Trump had decided to end the CIA’s covert arms program, the geographic and numerical core of the armed opposition in Syria’s northwest was unsalvageable. It was dominated by factions like Ahrar al-Sham that were problematic, ideologically confused, and incapable of being productive counter-terrorism partners, and by Jabhat al-Nusrah, which is itself a counter-terrorism problem.

That meant rebels were never a really useful implement of U.S. or allied policy. So long as the most powerful factions espoused either Islamist, sectarian-majoritarian chauvinism, or straight black-flag jihadism, rebels could not represent an alternative political vision for a diverse Syria or be used effectively to press for a negotiated end to the conflict. The opposition also could not be a reliable counterterrorism partner, and support for opposition rebels was in fact boosting jihadists militarily and materially.

The conventional wisdom that the Syrian opposition was indispensable for counter-terrorism was a product of sentimentality and addled thinking. In particular, many opposition backers fell into a sort of over-reading of sectarian identity politics. They allowed themselves to be convinced that Syria’s jihadists had to be defeated by a force that looked basically like those jihadists, drawn exclusively from a demographic community defined in jihadists’ own sectarian terms.

One report called for America to stand up “the moderate Sunni Arab resistance needed to defeat the ISIS and al-Qaeda insurgencies,” a “partner by, with, and through which to conduct a population-centric counterinsurgency.” Another set of analysts and activists argued Washington needed to support Syrian opposition “indigenous counter-terrorism forces” in the most simplistic sectarian terms: “This counter-terrorism force needs to be led by moderate Sunni Arab fighters as Syria is a majority Sunni Arab country.”

This uncomplicated sectarian logic meant recommitting to a Syrian opposition force that had demonstrated consistently that it could not challenge jihadists and that, in any case, did not have a monopoly on Sunni Arab representation in Syria. Counting on the Syrian fighting force that, besides the Islamic State itself, was most riddled with jihadists to combat jihadists did not make sense.

And when rebels repeatedly made clear that their priority was fighting the Assad regime instead of jihadists, opposition backers rewrote their own interests and objectives to suit their clients’ needs. They tied themselves up in contortive logical knots to explain how, if they wanted to defeat jihadists, first they had to give the opposition everything it wanted.

These counter-terrorism-appropriate rationales for supporting the opposition should not have been taken seriously. The idea that Free Syrian Army rebels could somehow outcompete jihadists on the battlefield, or that they had to backfill and provide fire support for jihadists just to maintain their own independent relevance, was not real.

The idea that opposition rebels, if delivered to victory or to a negotiated solution on their preferred, victorious terms, would then team with the Syrian military to eliminate their jihadist cousins and comrades-in-arms was similarly unreal. And finally, the idea that if the opposition won, jihadists would just demobilize and rejoin anything like a normal, safe society was also not real.

Take this section of Lister’s policy opus for War on the Rocks, in which he argued for a compulsory ceasefire and political transition imposed at the end of America’s superpower arsenal:

Assuming that the credible introduction of an enforcement mechanism did guarantee a more durable period of calm in Syria, the influence of extremist groups would almost certainly decline after a period of months. As that trend developed, the likelihood for tensions to develop between Syria’s mainstream opposition and extremists alongside them would rise, thereby presenting opportunities to encourage their isolation.

Over an undeterminable period of time, this process could eventually “re-sort” insurgents, whereby all those willing to abide by a continued ceasefire and engage in an eventual political process would become more and more distinguishable from those who would not. It would only be after such a process played out that external military strikes could be considered against those unsalvageable extremists more clearly delineated on the ground.

“An undeterminable period of time” is a Syrian opposition-dictated fantasy, not policy.

There were non-counter-terrorism-related reasons to like and support the Syrian opposition. But as counter-terrorism gradually crowded out America and the West’s other priorities in Syria, the interests of the opposition terminally diverged from those of their Western backers, including the United States.

I don’t blame the opposition for these sorts of rationalizations, although we shouldn’t infantilize them or deny them agency, either. They certainly bear their share of responsibility. Still, as events turned against them, these arguments were all they had left.

I am angry at outsiders who affirmed and repeated these sorts of excuses, and particularly government officials and decision-makers. These people should have known better, and they should have communicated the political realities and consequences of the opposition’s extremist links clearly to their Syrian clients. They did the Syrian opposition, and Syrians broadly, a terrible disservice.

The opposition was not, with time, learning usefully, and its backers were not obliging it to learn. When rebels took Aleppo’s eastern half in summer 2012, lazily disguised Syrian al-Qaeda and other unacceptably hard factions assumed control of its governance. When rebels took Idlib in spring 2015, openly avowed Syrian al-Qaeda and other unacceptably hard factions assumed control of its governance, again.

When rebels broke the siege of Aleppo in summer 2016, it was the same radioactive, jihadist-led coalition that blazed the path. The same patterns kept playing out, only more intense and worse, and still enabled by opposition sponsors.

In retrospect, optimism among rebel backers about the Jeish al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) coalition’s 2015 offensive in Syria’s northwest — channeled by The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, for example — seems to be where the opposition’s backers really worked themselves into peak delusion.

It is mind-boggling that anyone was bullish about the political leverage to be gained from a provincial capital’s fall to a force jointly led by Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda, which then blazed a path south into the regime’s sectarian heartlandmassacring Alawite villagersand featuring their children in hostage videos.

The “al-Fateh” in Jeish al-Fateh literally means “open.” Historically, it connotes a Muslim army’s “opening” of new, non-Muslim lands to Islam. A Sunni-supremacist, foreign fighter-laden “Jeish al-Fateh” — reinforced by U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army factions — rampaging through the minority farming villages of Hama’s Ghab Valley should have been deeply alarming. It certainly seems to have alarmed Russia, which directly and decisively intervened in Syria on behalf of the regime months later.

Opposition backers probably should have figured this out. Instead, they repeated their opposition clients’ rationalizations and superstitions, which conveniently flattered those backers’ own policy preferences and analytical misapprehensions.

The opposition’s state backers and friendly analysts did not take the problem of jihadist infiltration of the opposition seriously. And in part because they coddled the opposition instead of forcing a real, corrective reckoning, things got out of hand.

Ultimately, it fell on Trump to kill U.S. support for Syria’s opposition rebels and to state the obvious: “It turns out it’s — a lot of al-Qaida we’re giving these weapons to,” he told The Wall Street Journal last month.

Opposition backers’ magical thinking helped lead their clients into a dead end. But those foreign opposition boosters can at least disengage and walk away, even if they’ll feel some angst about it. It’s mainly the opposition itself — the admirable parts of it, and some good people who made mistakes — who are going to pay.

Sam Heller is a fellow at The Century Foundation and a Beirut-based writer and analyst focused on Syria. Follow Sam on Twitter: @AbuJamajem.

Note1 : Since January 2017, 700,000 Syrians returned to their hometowns, mostly to Aleppo. Hezbollah kicked out Al Nusra from Lebanon eastern mountain chains and over 8,000 Syrians returned to Syria. The fighters were dispatched to Edleb, Al Nusra fiefdom in north west Syria by Turkey, the main supporter of this faction, along with Qatar.

Note 2: ISIS will be done with within a few months, But Al Nusra (backed by Turkey) will be there in north west Syria by the border.

Note 3: The US is still delaying the defeat of ISIS in Syria and obstructing the Syrian army to liberate all the eastern desert. to reach the Iraq borders.

Trump vs 21 children lawsuit

Momentum is building! Just last week the court shut down Trump’s latest attempt to kill the case. Let’s send the children to trial with a wave of support

The US lawsuit, Juliana et al v. United States, was brought by young people aged 9 to 21 and a group of powerful advocates at Our Children’s Trust.

One lawsuit could stop Trump wrecking our planet. And here’s the kicker — it’s a case brought by 21 children!

After years of battling motions to dismiss their case, a US court ruled that 21 young people suing the US government have a constitutional right to a safe climate. Now, a Federal court will hear their case against the President!

If they win, Trump will be forced to rein in the fossil fuel industry! This case could change everything.

But these are just children. They’ve got a tiny team of great attorneys but don’t have the funds to fight Trump and the oil industry’s fire with fire. So they’ve called on us for help.

Our community has a unique power to raise the funds to back them before they are due in court, and then take the fight global to other courts and countries.

These courageous children and their case could be our best chance to stop Trump’s war on our planet.

If 50,000 of us chip in just a small amount now we can support them and campaign for a safe future —

Trump just declared he is pulling out of the Paris Global Climate Deal. He and his fossil fuel buddies are doing everything they can to block climate action. But they can’t buy the judges.

US judges were the only way to stop Trump’s travel bans. Now the courts could force his hand on climate.

Legal action is already working.

Two years ago, Dutch citizens took their government to court, demanding it cut carbon pollution according to science, and they won the biggest climate case in history.

And the most exciting thing is a legal ruling has a butterfly effect — one case can create a precedent. We could not only take on Trump, we can then move all our governments from words to action, faster.

The US lawsuit, Juliana et al v. United States, was brought by young people aged 9 to 21 and a group of powerful advocates at Our Children’s Trust.

The funds are to support the best legal minds to build the case, collect evidence, make these planetary heroes famous all over the world, campaign and back legal cases worldwide to confront climate obstruction, and even just to pay so all the 21 children and their families can be in court to make their case.

2016 was the hottest year, by far, in recorded history. Our climate is delicate, unstable — the last ice age hit us in just 6 months. It may sound far fetched but these incredible children actually could hold all our futures in their hands.

Our community can do this like no one else. We changed the game with the People’s Climate Marches and fought for the Paris climate agreement that laid out the path to a 100% clean future. Now let’s rise again, to back this David vs Goliath fight, to help save the future for all our people.

With hope and determination,
Alice, Danny, Nick, Camille, Spyro and the whole team at Avaaz

More information:

The Kids Suing the Government Over Climate Change Are Our Best Hope Now (Slate)
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2016/11/the_kids_lawsuit_over_climate_change_is_our_best_hope_now.html

Meet the kids suing the US government for ruining the earth for future generations (Business Insider)
http://www.businessinsider.com/kids-suing-government-for-climate-change-2016-11?IR=T

After Obama, Trump May Face Children Suing Over Global Warming (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-11-11/after-obama-trump-may-face-children-suing-over-global-warming

Landmark U.S. Federal Climate Lawsuit (Our Children’s Trust)
https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit/

Failed Matt Lauer’s Interview: Trump can Win

Beware of the Brexit referendum: The communities barely visited by journalists (the deep communities)are the ones who will eventually vote against the elite point of view.

I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major-party candidates.

Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking. The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists.

I not only consume a lot of news, since it’s my job, I also tend to focus on elite print-news sources.

Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.

Lauer focused a third of his questioning time on Clinton’s private email server. Her decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice is a legitimate blot on her record.

But Lauer did not move the ball forward on the question in any meaningful way:

The word judgment has been used a lot around you, Secretary Clinton, over the last year and a half. And in particular concerning your use of your personal email and server to communicate while you were secretary of state. You have said it’s a mistake.

You said you made not the best choice.

You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in-chief?

Lauer followed up with four more email-related questions.

The impression an uninformed or even moderately informed viewer would receive from this interview is that the email issue represents a sinister crime, perhaps completely disqualifying from office, rather than an unjustifiable but routine act of government non-transparency.

The email exchange would not by itself be so alarming except when viewed in juxtaposition with Lauer’s hapless interview of Trump.

Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.” This is a lie.

Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward.

Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003?

But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up.

A  case study in journalistic failure.
nymag.com|By Jonathan Chait

Trump went on to make a series of wild and dangerous statements.

He praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong, effective, and popular leader. Lauer did press him on this point, and when he did, Trump offered the astonishing rebuttal, saying President Obama had done equivalently brutish things.

Lauer did not press Trump on his claim that the president of the United States behaves in a fundamentally similar way to a dictator who imprisons and kills political critics and journalists.

Trump likewise reiterated his belief that “to the victor go the spoils” is the proper basis for American foreign policy, specifically with regard to his long-standing lament that the United States failed to steal Iraq’s oil after the 2003 invasion. (But the US did steal the oil and even dumped enormous quantities  of crude oil in valleys that are now condemned)

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Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief. Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge.

Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality-show character as a prospective chief executive.

Both of these beliefs stun and appall foreign-policy experts in both parties, as readers of the Washington Post or the New York Times know.

But the average undecided voter isn’t reading those newspapers.

The average undecided voter is getting snippets of news from television personalities like Lauer, who are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian.

Update: National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke writes, “Welcome to the Club.”

Cooke’s point is that my dismay at Lauer’s performance contradicts another piece I wrote four years ago, about the liberal influence of Hollywood.

“Now (Chait) believes that pop culture — which is just as shallow and dumb as it’s always been; Lauer is no anomaly — is hurting him and his party. And we can’t have that!,” sneers Cooke.

Cooke’s accusation of hypocrisy suffers from two flaws, each of them fatal.

First, my 2012 essay, which Cooke does not link, does not celebrate liberal influence, it describes it, and indeed argues the conservative critics have reason to feel resentful:

This capacity to mold the moral premises of large segments of the public, and especially the youngest and most impressionable elements, may or may not be unfair. What it is undoubtedly is a source of cultural (and hence political) power.

Liberals like to believe that our strength derives solely from the natural concordance of the people, that we represent what most Americans believe, or would believe if Not for the distorting rightward pull of Fox News and the Koch brothers and the rest.

Conservatives surely do benefit from these outposts of power, and most would rather indulge their own populist fantasies than admit it.

But they do have a point about one thing: We liberals owe not a small measure of our success to the propaganda campaign of a tiny, disproportionately influential cultural elite.

Cooke’s notion that I have been hoisted by my own petard implies that Hollywood is my petard, rather than an institution I analyzed critically as a source of liberal propaganda.

Second, the entire focus of that essay was on Hollywood – movies primarily, but also television shows like Modern Family, Glee, and so on.

My criticism of Lauer focused on television news. Those are different things entirely. Did I think morning television or soft-focus feature news has a pronounced liberal bias? No, I don’t think that, I didn’t think that and I didn’t write that.

 

What may happen next with Brexit and Trump?

Brexit is almost done. And Trump?

[note: this essay contains a lot of links out, which are underlined. Consider them further reading or me backing up my opinions]

It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information and they’re intended just to challenge and be part of a wider dialogue.

My background is archaeology, history and anthropology. It leads me to look at big historical patterns.

My theory is that most peoples’ perspective of history is limited to the experience communicated by their parents and grandparents, so 50–100 years. To go beyond that you have to read, study, and learn to untangle the propaganda that is inevitable in all telling of history.

In a nutshell, at university I would fail a paper if I didn’t compare at least two, if not three opposing views on a topic. Taking one telling of events as gospel doesn’t wash in the comparative analytical method of research that forms the core of British academia. (I can’t speak for other systems, but they’re definitely not all alike in this way).

So zooming out, we humans have a habit of going into phases of mass destruction, generally self imposed to some extent or another. This handy list shows all the wars over time.

Wars are actually the norm for humans, but every now and then something big comes along. I am interested in the Black Death, which devastated Europe.

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily and Jean Hakim shared a link.
medium.com/@theonlytoby/h…|By Tobias Stone

The opening of Boccaccio’s Decameron describes Florence in the grips of the Plague. It is as beyond imagination as the Somme, Hiroshima, or the Holocaust. I mean, you quite literally can’t put yourself there and imagine what it was like. For those in the midst of the Plague it must have felt like the end of the world. (How classified as war?)

But a defining feature of humans is their resilience. To us now it seems obvious that we survived the Plague, but to people at the time it must have seemed incredible that their society continued afterwards.

Indeed, many takes on the effects of the Black Death are that it had a positive impact in the long term. Well summed up here: “By targeting frail people of all ages, and killing them by the hundreds of thousands within an extremely short period of time, the Black Death might have represented a strong force of natural selection and removed the weakest individuals on a very broad scale within Europe,“  (It harvested very strong people too. Nothing to do with physical weaknesses)

…In addition, the Black Death significantly changed the social structure of some European regions. Tragic depopulation created the shortage of working people. This shortage caused wages to rise. Products prices fell too. Consequently, standards of living increased. For instance, people started to consume more food of higher quality.”

But for the people living through it, as with the World Wars, Soviet Famines, Holocaust, it must have felt inconceivable that humans could rise up from it.

The collapse of the Roman Empire, Black Death, Spanish Inquisition, Thirty Years War, War of the Roses, English Civil War… it’s a long list. Events of massive destruction from which humanity recovered and move on, often in better shape. (Not convincing a reasoning for the better shape conjecture)

At a local level in time people think things are fine, then things rapidly spiral out of control until they become unstoppable, and we wreak massive destruction on ourselves. For the people living in the midst of this it is hard to see happening and hard to understand.

To historians later it all makes sense and we see clearly how one thing led to another. During the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme I was struck that it was a direct outcome of the assassination of an Austrian Arch Duke in Bosnia. I very much doubt anyone at the time thought the killing of a minor European royal would lead to the death of 17 million people.

My point is that this is a cycle.

It happens again, but as most people only have a 50–100 year historical perspective they don’t see that it’s happening again. As the events that led to the First World War unfolded, there were a few brilliant minds who started to warn that something big was wrong, that the web of treaties across Europe could lead to a war, but they were dismissed as hysterical, mad, or fools, as is always the way, and as people who worry about Putin, Brexit, and Trump are dismissed now.

Then after the War to end all Wars, we went and had another one. Again, for a historian it was quite predictable. Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable.

That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe, and so many more. Mugabe is a very good case in point. He whipped up national anger and hatred towards the land owning white minority (who happened to know how to run farms), and seized their land to redistribute to the people, in a great populist move which in the end unravelled the economy and farming industry and left the people in possession of land, but starving.

See also the famines created by the Soviet Union, and the one caused by the Chinese Communists last century in which 20–40 million people died. It seems inconceivable that people could create a situation in which tens of millions of people die without reason, but we do it again and again.

But at the time people don’t realise they’re embarking on a route that will lead to a destruction period. They think they’re right, they’re cheered on by jeering angry mobs, their critics are mocked. This cycle, the one we saw for example from the Treaty of Versailles, to the rise of Hitler, to the Second World War, appears to be happening again.

But as with before, most people cannot see it because:

1. They are only looking at the present, not the past or future

2. They are only looking immediately around them, not at how events connect globally

3. Most people don’t read, think, challenge, or hear opposing views

Trump is doing this in America.

Those of us with some oversight from history can see it happening. Read this brilliant, long essay in the New York magazine to understand how Plato described all this, and it is happening just as he predicted. Trump says he will Make America Great Again, when in fact America is currently great, according to pretty well any statistics.

He is using passion, anger, and rhetoric in the same way all his predecessors did — a charismatic narcissist who feeds on the crowd to become ever stronger, creating a cult around himself. You can blame society, politicians, the media, for America getting to the point that it’s ready for Trump, but the bigger historical picture is that history generally plays out the same way each time someone like him becomes the boss.

On a wider stage, zoom out some more, Russia is a dictatorship with a charismatic leader using fear and passion to establish a cult around himself. Turkey is now there too. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia are heading that way, and across Europe more Trumps and Putins are waiting in the wings, in fact funded by Putin, waiting for the popular tide to turn their way.

(As if Russia had amassed enough financial capital to bestow on so many countries. I have the impression this article main purpose is to target Russia as the villain, and totally ignoring the main Evil in US foreign policies)

We should be asking ourselves what our Archduke Ferdinand moment will be. How will an apparently small event trigger another period of massive destruction. We see Brexit, Trump, Putin in isolation. The world does not work that way — all things are connected and affecting each other.

I have pro-Brexit friends who say ‘oh, you’re going to blame that on Brexit too??’ But they don’t realise that actually, yes, historians will trace neat lines from apparently unrelated events back to major political and social shifts like Brexit.

Brexit — a group of angry people winning a fight — easily inspires other groups of angry people to start a similar fight, empowered with the idea that they may win. That alone can trigger chain reactions.

A nuclear explosion is not caused by one atom splitting, but by the impact of the first atom that splits causing multiple other atoms near it to split, and they in turn causing multiple atoms to split. The exponential increase in atoms splitting, and their combined energy is the bomb. That is how World War One started and, ironically how World War Two ended.

An example of how Brexit could lead to a nuclear war could be this: (Oh Oh. This is going too far)

Brexit in the UK causes Italy or France to have a similar referendum. Le Pen wins an election in France. Europe now has a fractured EU. The EU, for all its many awful faults, has prevented a war in Europe for longer than ever before.

The EU is also a major force in suppressing Putin’s military ambitions. European sanctions on Russia really hit the economy, and helped temper Russia’s attacks on Ukraine (there is a reason bad guys always want a weaker European Union). Trump wins in the US. Trump becomes isolationist, which weakens NATO. He has already said he would not automatically honour NATO commitments in the face of a Russian attack on the Baltics.

With a fractured EU, and weakened NATO, Putin, facing an ongoing economic and social crisis in Russia, needs another foreign distraction around which to rally his people. He funds far right anti-EU activists in Latvia, who then create a reason for an uprising of the Russian Latvians in the East of the country (the EU border with Russia). Russia sends ‘peace keeping forces’ and ‘aid lorries’ into Latvia, as it did in Georgia, and in Ukraine. He annexes Eastern Latvia as he did Eastern Ukraine (Crimea has the same population as Latvia, by the way).

A divided Europe, with the leaders of France, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and others now pro-Russia, anti-EU, and funded by Putin, overrule calls for sanctions or a military response. NATO is slow to respond: Trump does not want America to be involved, and a large part of Europe is indifferent or blocking any action.

Russia, seeing no real resistance to their actions, move further into Latvia, and then into Eastern Estonia and Lithuania. The Baltic States declare war on Russia and start to retaliate, as they have now been invaded so have no choice. Half of Europe sides with them, a few countries remain neutral, and a few side with Russia. Where does Turkey stand on this? How does ISIS respond to a new war in Europe? Who uses a nuclear weapon first? (The USA will re-use the A-bomb first again: It has the habit and the hand)

This is just one Arch Duke Ferdinand scenario. The number of possible scenarios are infinite due to the massive complexity of the many moving parts. And of course many of them lead to nothing happening.

But based on history we are due another period of destruction, and based on history all the indicators are that we are entering one. (The world had been in wars for the last 60 years: the frequency of pre-emptive wars and manufactured civil wars surpassed the number of all wars since antiquity)

It will come in ways we can’t see coming, and will spin out of control so fast people won’t be able to stop it. Historians will look back and make sense of it all and wonder how we could all have been so naïve. How could I sit in a nice café in London, writing this, without wanting to run away.

How could people read it and make sarcastic and dismissive comments about how pro-Remain people should stop whining, and how we shouldn’t blame everything on Brexit. Others will read this and sneer at me for saying America is in great shape, that Trump is a possible future Hitler (and yes, Godwin’s Law. But my comparison is to another narcissistic, charismatic leader fanning flames of hatred until things spiral out of control).

It’s easy to jump to conclusions that oppose pessimistic predictions based on the weight of history and learning. Trump won against the other Republicans in debates by countering their claims by calling them names and dismissing them. It’s an easy route but the wrong one.

Ignoring and mocking the experts , as people are doing around Brexit and Trump’s campaign, is no different to ignoring a doctor who tells you to stop smoking, and then finding later you’ve developed incurable cancer. A little thing leads to an unstoppable destruction that could have been prevented if you’d listened and thought a bit. But people smoke, and people die from it. That is the way of the human.

So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase.  (Have we ever entered a good phase?)

It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover, and move on.

The human race will be fine, changed, maybe better. But for those at the sharp end — for the thousands of Turkish teachers who just got fired, for the Turkish journalists and lawyers in prison, for the Russian dissidents in gulags, for people lying wounded in French hospitals after terrorist attacks, for those yet to fall, this will be their Somme. (What? Not a word about the million refugees? About the thousands dying in civil wars and famine?…)

What can we do? Well, again, looking back, probably not much. The liberal intellectuals are always in the minority. See Clay Shirky’s Twitter Storm on this point. The people who see that open societies, being nice to other people, not being racist, not fighting wars, is a better way to live, they generally end up losing these fights. They don’t fight dirty. They are terrible at appealing to the populace. They are less violent, so end up in prisons, camps, and graves.

(What the author is suggesting again to avoid calamities? Very confused. A pack of conjectures Not related to the subject matter)

We need to beware not to become divided (see: Labour party), we need to avoid getting lost in arguing through facts and logic, and counter the populist messages of passion and anger with our own similar messages. We need to understand and use social media. We need to harness a different fear.

Fear of another World War nearly stopped World War 2, but didn’t. We need to avoid our own echo chambers. Trump and Putin supporters don’t read the Guardian, so writing there is just reassuring our friends. We need to find a way to bridge from our closed groups to other closed groups, try to cross the ever widening social divides.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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