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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 22,679

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Because political influence is effectively the corporations' best profit center?

In the political influence game, a million dollars in campaign donations and lobbying can and often does lead to tax breaks, subsidies, regulatory benefits and government contracts worth billions. If they accounted political activity as a profit center (and why not?), then it's doubtful any other investment pays off at a higher margin of profit. To be sure, although they'll deny it, corporate managers are generally committed ideologues. But this is also pure capitalism at work.

As human beings, shareholders may find this behavior odious. Under the law, however, they are shareholders only. It occurs to me that they could sue corporate management for fiduciary malfeasance if management fails to exercise political influence by every legal means. And now that in politics (and most other things) anything money wants is legal, you might see that: shareholder suits alleging CEOs were irresponsible for not giving higher payoffs to friendly politicians.

I am not a Hamas spokesperson. Are you someone's spokesperson?

pelsar, please refrain from projecting on to me your unsubstantiated assumptions and caricatures about my worldview.

We can all look for ourselves. When I look at Gaza, I see a four-sided strip of land with 1.5 million people crowded into one of the world's highest population densities, very dependent on goods from the outside. The territory is sealed off and blockaded by the IDF on three sides, and usually (in the years since 2005) also blockaded on the south side by the Egyptian military. Israel does not recognize Gazans as citizens of a state. As a foreign power, Israel maintains blanket surveillance of the area, controls the airspace and sea rights, and decides who goes in and out (generally meaning who doesn't go in or out). Israel explicitly reserves the right and has the capability to make unannounced military incursions at any time, as it has done on many occasions, most significantly during the Cast Lead Massacre of 2008. When exercised, the IDF's ability to apply force in Gaza is usually overwhelming. The people of Gaza recognize the IDF's authority over them only when it is applied by force. By any reasonable definition, these conditions describe a territory under the harsh military occupation of a foreign power. The current Israeli government and Hamas leadership may both have political reasons to claim this is not an occupation. Neither claim changes the current validity of the facts I've described.


It's the cult of the moment to emphasize how much against him you are.

It's not enough that you're against him along with the rest of the Republican pack. You must have special hatred of him, as though he's worse than Romney or Gingrich (ha!). You must be appalled at the supposed "defense" of him among liberals. If you don't single him out as the worst candidate ever, and if you're not warning warning warning liberals not to look into the Ron Paul Abyss, then you're on your way to being incriminated as a covert supporter.

The reason for this is not how odious his odious positions are. These are no more odious, no more crazy, no more racist than those from Romney, Gingrich or Santorum. (Absurd to think otherwise: these guys are all practically pledging to start World War Fucking Three.)

The reason for this is that right now a D administration is involved in undefined open-ended warfare all over South Asia and producing outrages against the constitution like NDAA, and unfortunately the most prominent voice in opposition (owing to the presidential race) is Dr. Paul.

This is an outrage to the liberal self-image. They want to quietly adopt preventive detention and perpetual war and a growing police state as their own thing, owing to "realism" or "compromise" or "war is peace" or whatever cheap excuse they're making for it. QUIETLY. Not to be outflanked to the left by a right-winger! Grrrrrrrrr!!!

It produces cognitive dissonance, and so for now Exorcism of the Paul has become a required daily ritual. See OP article.

Why the swarm? Why can't people just disagree with him?

To summarize the negative responses:

lost his mind
short a bunch of bananas
"pull the lever for the mittster"
derangement from gonorrhea (hidden, at least)

And not a single one of the above says more than what I've conveyed. Eight hit and run posts, as the first posts on this thread, and none of them bothers with a point. A display of meaningless slander -- against a beautiful artist, a hero of the Civil Rights movement, a target of FBI harrassment, a man willing to take risks, a man who has never stopped fighting the good fight over the last 60 years time. And it's coming from posters who apparently imagine that their responses somehow support the president. Anyone exploring this site who walks into this thread will think it's juvenile sour-grapes rhetoric, at best. Many will decide it's an unpleasant place and go away, without returning.

So my question to the eight of you: What do you think you're doing?

One of the subsequent negative responses does stand out from the rest: ProSense arrives with a familiar, unrevised cut-pasta selectively listing (and exaggerating, or inventing) things Obama has done, a couple of which are true and good. This evades relevance, switches the discussion to Obama's supposed character rather than actions ("Belafonte would have people believe Obama is without a soul" - ridiculous!), and omits any and all of Belafonte's grounds for criticism. But by comparison to the above, it looks like the veritable act of a statesperson.

The swarm must stop!

The case against Libya for the Lockerbie bombing is dubious.

Mr. Boffin, obviously your intervention here is not an answer to what I wrote.

Nevertheless, to reply:

The Scotsman


Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked

Published on Sunday 28 August 2005 00:14

A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.

The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.

The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison.

The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.


By 2009, the one man convicted for the Lockerbie bombing, Megrahi, was released by the UK on humanitarian grounds while his appeal, which looked set to overturn his conviction, was still in process.

You're not unfamiliar with the fact that even in the unlikely case that Megrahi had anything to do with the 1989 bombing of the Pan Am flight, the CIA still apparently saw a need to frame him by manufacturing the key evidence. In denial perhaps, but not unfamiliar:

So, how have they managed to cover up the Lockerbie frame-up for 17 years?

As emerged in 2007, CIA offered millions to the key witnesses in the case against Megrahi - a piece of information the prosecution forgot to tell the defense, as would have been required.

The Herald, Scotland



The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission found document during its three-year investigation, which concluded earlier this year that Megrahi should have a fresh appeal.

The document, thought to be from the CIA, contains highly classified information about the MST13 timer which allegedly detonated the bomb. The Crown, for national security reasons, is still refusing to hand the material over to the defence.


The Crown ultimately released Megrahi, avoiding the chance that his conviction would be reversed.

Again, your reply does not speak to my own post, or the subthread.

Nevertheless, there is a more clear-cut case:

Locater map depicting Iran Air 655's origination point, destination and approximate location of the shootdown. (The air corridor is not necessarily a direct path)

A missile departs the forward launcher of Vincennes during a 1987 exercise. The forward launcher was also used in the downing of Iran Air 655.

From Wikipedia: Iran Air Flight 655

What happened in that case is not in dispute.

Just more collateral murder.

Updating one of my posts from that Lockerbie thread:

Recalling the context

1) 1988: Vincennes downs Iranian airbus.

2) 1989: Lockerbie.

3) Circuit board found.

4) U.S. officials insinuate Syria as terror-sponsor state blew up Pan Am as contractor for Iran.

5) 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait.

6) U.S. switches to openly accusing Libya of Lockerbie bombing.

7) Bush Sr. visits Assad Sr. to recruit him for upcoming Gulf War. They appear together in Damascus.

8) Sanctions on Libya for more than decade.

9) Libya caves in, produces 2 suspects for Scottish trial (held in Netherlands).

10) One conviction. Libya pays ransom to lift sanctions, even as Gaddafi continues to deny the verdict.

11) After 9/11, Libya and U.S. reconcile, Gaddafi takes a moral membership in the GWoT, practically makes love with Bush Jr. (and Blair. Many arms deals with West, joint friendly summits with Western leaders follow.)

12) 15 years after Lockerbie, Scottish police chief says CIA planted circuit board.

13) Scottish review board orders retrial of convict.

14) 2009: Convict is released prior to completion of retrial.

15) 2011: Arab Spring, uprising in Libya. Overnight, Gaddafi is enemy again, US-UK propaganda rediscovers Lockerbie as an unpunished atrocity.

I think any U.S. credibility in making a case against Libya vanished somewhere between 6 and 7.

Did Libya ever invade a nation on the other side of the world...

on a false pretext, in a war of aggression, killing hundreds of thousands of people?

Did Libya have bases and carriers and submarines with missiles and warplanes and nuclear weapons at the ready around the world, claiming the right to strike in any country at any time entirely at its own discretion?

Was Libya, for all its human rights violations, imprisoning the highest proportion of its own people of any country in the world? Most of them for dealing drugs?

You don't experience these things, therefore you can treat them as less than real. Fascism (by whatever name, I'm using the one you chose) occurs for now in neatly separated compartments. In another compartment, down the street, all seems peaceful and prosperous and free, and the people there don't have to think about it. Fascism? Ridiculous!


There is no "collateral damage" by the way. If you make a decision to start a war, it is also a deliberate decision to kill the unarmed civilians who will inevitably die from it in large numbers as a statistical certainty. You kill enough of these thousands and a few of them might feel justified in retaliating more directly against your own civilians. The ratios are still many more of them killed. And what are you doing in their countries, again?

Right now I have the convenience of them without needing a govt ID.

If you're doing any kind of competitive business nowadays that involves getting a lot of registrations and permits and insurance certificates (example: film production), it's not really a convenience but a necessity to transact on the Web. If these agencies and corporations start demanding an Internet ID, that is what you will have to get. Jobs will require it. It will become a standard, like expecting everyone to have a drivers license. It will not make things more convenient or secure than today, but it will help in creating ever more centralized databases of all that we do and give leverage for enforcement measures (commit a violation, lose your license).

Not if "collateral" casualties are predictable on a mass scale.

If you know that thousands of civilian non-combatants will die and be maimed as a predictable and necessary consequence of your actions, then even if you are not targeting them, and even if you are striving to minimize how many of them die, you are still making the choice to kill them.

Now any effort you might make to split hairs about how this deliberate killing of civilians is nevertheless not mass murder becomes superfluous once we identify and reject your unspoken premise: that war somehow happens, when in fact the wars that the US has engaged in after WW2 have never been in self-defense, and in the case of the invasions of Iraq and Vietnam they were clear cut wars of aggression waged on false pretexts, the worst conceivable international crime. Not only is the predictable and therefore deliberate choice to kill civilians as "collateral damage" an act of mass murder and arguably genocide (only a legal definition would preclude that, not a moral difference), but in fact killing anyone, including insurgents against invaders and occupiers of their country, is murder.

Yes, I find the relative pass for the "moderate" Huntsman...

and the implication that Romney's the better nominee than Paul from any perspective to be the truly fantastic and potentially destructive beliefs.

Romney's the slick tycoon who (like all the R candidates) exploits racism and could win against Obama. Then he might then start World War III in Iran.

Paul, whom I do not support (one needs to constantly say that in the present DU environment, even though it should be self-evident) cannot win against Obama. Assuming the impossible scenario that he did win, he's the racist and economic primitivist who nevertheless might release a half-million people of color from their unjust imprisonment, and who won't start World War III in Iran. (Oh wait, I'm told these are exotic "single issues.")

And yet Paul has so far inspired about 50 times the rage and ranting on DU that Romney has, and most of this rage and ranting has been directed at... LEFTISTS! Why? It's not because Paul is an electoral threat. It's not because any of his positions are worse than Romney's! It's about those of his positions that are better than Romney's, and better than Obama's too. This is an intolerable situation for a certain kind of liberals of inflexible bent. They can't have this right-winger opposing the perpetual war even as Obama brings it to new battlefields!

The reason for the correlation is obvious.

Don't see anyone implying the skyscrapers directly cause the crash.

A big crash necessarily is preceded by a big bubble. A big bubble nowadays usually involves a big financial center (that would be a big city) with a lot of FIRE speculation. During the bubble the big dicks will be building themselves big buildings to show off and celebrate their magnificence, and of course in the hope of having them fully sold or leased prior to the big crash. So it's no shock that crashes often leave a lot of record-tall towers standing unfinished or mostly empty for a few years - as famously happened with the Empire State.
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