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JHB

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,833

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Juan Cole: Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris

Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
By Juan Cole | Jan. 7, 2015

The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination. This tactic is similar to the one used by Stalinists in the early 20th century. Decades ago I read an account by the philosopher Karl Popper of how he flirted with Marxism for about 6 months in 1919 when he was auditing classes at the University of Vienna. He left the group in disgust when he discovered that they were attempting to use false flag operations to provoke militant confrontations. In one of them police killed 8 socialist youth at Hörlgasse on 15 June 1919. For the unscrupulous among Bolsheviks–who would later be Stalinists– the fact that most students and workers don’t want to overthrow the business class is inconvenient, and so it seemed desirable to some of them to “sharpen the contradictions” between labor and capital.

The operatives who carried out this attack exhibit signs of professional training. They spoke unaccented French, and so certainly know that they are playing into the hands of Marine LePen and the Islamophobic French Right wing. They may have been French, but they appear to have been battle hardened. This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this anagram). Ironically, there are reports that one of the two policemen they killed was a Muslim.
***

“Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.
http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/sharpening-contradictions-satirists.html

(boldface highlights added by me)

New York Observer: "EXCLUSIVE: New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up"

It’s been a tough month for fact-checking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is—to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—”not true.”

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the ‘high eight figures.’ ” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

And now it turns out, the real number is … zero.

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Islam and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov, who also featured heavily in the New York story, the baby-faced boys who dress in suits with tie clips came clean. Swept up in a tide of media adulation, they made the whole thing up.
Read more at http://observer.com/2014/12/exclusive-new-york-mags-boy-genius-investor-made-it-all-up/#ixzz3M6E5xQWm

My hinkey-dar is vindicated.

TYT: CEO Pay Is A Massive Scam, This Chart Proves It

Spoiler Alert






No other Spoiler Alert threads were harmed in the making of this Spoiler Alert.

Re:Chelsea Clinton: Did peoples' spin-detectors suddenly short out?

Who read the article about Chelsea Clinton? No, not the NY Daily News article that's spawned at least two threads in GD and probably more elsewhere?

I mean the other one, the Fast Company article that the Daily News piece cherry-picked from and spun.

Because in that article, the line about "not caring about money" was in the context of not being obsessed with nothing but money . Of not being another "grab everything and squeeze" type like Mitt Romney or the Kochs.

Even the bit about "I just work harder..." is in the context of overcoming the assumption that she's a well-connected do-nothing getting a ride on family connections, a la a certain scion of the Bush clan who loses fights with pretzels. It's not an example of Mitt-wit self- back-patting.

Really, don't people click through to sources when there's some obvious spin going on? Especially from an article from a tabloid newspaper?

I'm hardly a fan of the Clintons and the neoliberal economics their policies have been steeped in, but Jeez, people, use your heads. The Daily News piece may not be the Soviet-grade quote-extraction that the isolating of "You didn't build that" was, but it bears a strong family resemblance.

I, for one, remember who Romney chose for foreign policy advisors

McCain too, for that matter.

They were dominated by the same gaggle of chickenhawk neocons who:
1) were caught flatfooted by the collapse of the Soviets
2) dismissed bin Laden as a guy in a tent
3) had an ongoing pet project to clear out all the old Soviet allies in the MidEast (plus Iran) and replace them with... something else
4) seized (with gusto) the opportunity to use the aftermath of 911 to launch Pet Project Item Number 1: removing Saddam Hussein, and cooked up false pretenses for doing so
5) "Planned" the invasion and occupation of Iraq with an entire string of assumptions, any one of which would derail their vision of how smoothly it would go -- and didn't have a "plan B" when for the infinity-minus-oneth time in military history things didn't work out quite as planned.
6) suffered absolutely no consequences for botching the entire operation, costing thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands injured and maimed.
7) When making said "plans" they joked "Anyone can go to Baghdad, Real Men go to Tehran!", and they've been hankering to start Pet Project Item Number 3 or 4 (depending on how you count overthrowing Ghaddafi and Assad), attacking Iran.

They're big on tough talk, but as to their actual track record, they're long on blood but very, very short on results, and batting zero on seeing problems or major developments before they arrive.

So, when conservatives ask when will Obama be apologizing to Romney for dismissing Mitt's "Cold War" thinking, I have to ask: You wanted to put the "on to Tehran!" crowd back in the driver's seat. How "tough" do you think President Romney (or McCain) would be able to be about Ukraine since by now our forces would be tied up in Iran?

The reason Thomas was put on the SC was...

...NOT because he was the most qualified jurist. He wasn't.
...NOT because he was the most qualified black jurist. He wasn't.
...NOT because he was the most qualified black conservative jurist. He wasn't.

He was the most qualified black conservative with reliable but obfuscatable views on abortion & other subjects, and was young enough that he'd stay on the court for decades.

The Democratic senators were initially ready to give him a pass, since 1) they didn't look forward to another SC nomination battle, and 2) initially the black community was receptive to Thomas -- not enthusiastic, but not inclined to oppose -- and a fight against him wouldn't be well received.

At the time I thought Thomas should have been voted down just because of his lackluster record and ignoring conflict of interest (Thomas failed to recuse himself in a case involving the Ralston Purina company, where his political mentor Sen. John Danforth owned millions in stock and had brothers on the board of directors. Thomas' decision in favor of Purina directly benefited his pals).

Black opinion didn't shift until later in the process, after Thurgood Marshall made his "a black snake is still a snake" comment. The senators were finally forced to take a harder line when the harassment charges leaked out, and giving Thomas a pass would piss off another Democratic constituency: women fighting workplace harassment.

But all that happened too late: by that point conservatives were ginned up in support and the rest of the establishment didn't want another high-profile fight, so the Thomas hearings were kept to a he-said-she-said with Anita Hill (Angela Wright was shunted off to the side), giving the senators their excuse to just put it behind them.

So here we are, a quarter-century later, and he's still a lackluster jurist who ignores conflicts of interest, and is a reliable conservative operative in the courts.

Bill O'Reilly Complains About Americans Being 'Self-Absorbed and Ignorant'

via Crooks and Liars:

Pot, meet kettle.

Fox's Bill O'Reilly is very upset that many Americans can't answer the same questions that are asked of immigrants who take our citizenship test, and used his Talking Points Memo segment this Monday to rail about it.

This from the man who works for a network that literally makes their viewers dumber, that constantly rails against funding of public education in favor of school vouchers and charter schools, and who has been carrying water for the party that's responsible for getting rid of civics classes in our public schools to begin with.
***
O’Reilly said America is in decline because so many citizens are not paying attention and are not interested in the welfare of the country.


O'Reilly's right about the problem. You'll never get him to admit his and his network's part in contributing to it though.

Progressivity of the income tax was eliminated for high incomes under Reagan...

...and has not been restored since.

After adjusting for inflation, before the Kennedy-era tax cuts typically over half the brackets (sometimes well over half) affected incomes over $250,000, with about 40% affecting incomes above $500,000. Inflation eroded those levels (the brackets were not indexed for inflation) until the late 70s, when the top bracket dipped those into the single digits. Reagan's tax cuts cut even those further, eliminating brackets starting at over 500K entirely. And by the end of his term, the top bracket kicked in at roughly the median income, not anything that could be considered high (BushI went back on his "read my lips" line because these were unsustainably low).

To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, it seems progressivity is for little people.





In case you're wondering why I picked 1942 as a start date, it's purely for readability, thanks to my graphics skills or lack thereof. I need to figure out how to pull off skipping some intervals, because some of those inflation-adjusted brackets reach higher. Much higher:

The Hunting of the President (2004)

Stop me if you've heard this: A Democrat running for and then elected president who doesn't fit the Conservative Movement's favored "weak on crime and defense, tax and spend liberal" narrative, so they ignore reality and invent their own narrative -- that he's a radical leftist who wants to usher in a police state (and his wife! What a harpy!)

They push that out through billionaire-funded conservative media and foundations, and press investigation after investigation -- both inside and outside of the government.

The 2004 fiim, based on the 2001 book.




Bill Clinton in 2004, speaking following a screening of the film. Worth listening to:

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