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  • Political Theatre
    from enemies foreign and domestic It means that the majority of people in those countries will continue going without jobs food and adequate healthcare And if all of this is starting to sound uncomfortably familiar it s because it also describes much of the last two decades of life for the country that won the Cold War the good old U S of A We too have seen political and economic power collecting into the hands of fewer and fewer people We too have seen domestic and foreign policy driven by commercial interests such as oil and natural gas and residential utilities And we too have seen a lack of jobs food and adequate healthcare things many in positions of power have quietly accepted cannot and perhaps should not be changed Far easier and far more divisive which helps maintain things as they are are attacks against imagined enemies ones who hate us for our freedoms and not what our commerce driven policies have done to good and innocent people at home and abroad This is what makes the gutting of campaign finance laws during this post Cold War period so disturbing 2010 s Citizens United decision and last week s McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission decision both decided by the U S Supreme Court 5 4 have opened the doors for the very same abuses of power in elections that we like to associate with oligarchs and Eastern Europe We all know more money buys both more ad time and more time in the room with policy makers We all know without having to be told how dangerous that is And yet with these decisions Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the other right leaning justices want to tell us it just isn t so Roberts may come by his beliefs and interpretations honestly but his interpretation of what is and is not constitutional is truly scary bordering on fundamentalist in its willingness to disregard simple observation of the world around him His decisions on campaign finance will have lasting and probably destructive effects but there he is and there he will stay along with the other right wing leaning justices until he retires or dies We must remember then that Roberts is Chief Justice of a right leaning Court because he and his right leaning colleagues were nominated by and voted for by right leaning men and women who were themselves supported by America s own ruthless homegrown capitalists aggressively selfish men and women who made their money by not having to be accountable to others and who spend their money to ensure that they will never have to be If this sounds a little too familiar maybe a little too much like something you ve read about some post Soviet backwater it may be time to accept at long last that we have our own oligarchs here and that they are no less dangerous to us Just something to think about heading into the 2014 and 2016 election cycles Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 2 58 PM Tagged oligarchs Russia pan russian ism Cold War rule of law democracy enemies supreme court citizens united campaign finance law poland belarus kazakhstan uzbekistan chechnya republic of georgia republic of moldova ukraine crimea mccutcheon v fec bullying politics koch brothers syria Rwanda unemployment accountability aggressive selfishness defensive selfishness Oligarchies Mar 21 View high resolution theatlantic Good News from Ukraine Everyone Still Hates Hitler Russian and Western leaders don t see eye to eye on the crisis in Ukraine but they ve reached consensus on another important issue Adolf Hitler was bad Read more Image Alex Kuzmin Reuters Reblogged from theatlantic 324 notes Permalink Posted at 12 42 PM Tagged ukraine russia crimea vladimir putin adolf hitler pan russian ism warsaw pact cold war world war ii world war iii china Political Theatre Mar 16 Don t Mess With Crimea We remember the Alamo Mostly we remember the long boring movie or the stories we heard growing up stories of brave white men giving their lives to uphold an ideal of freedom against overwhelming brown skinned foreign odds and imperial cruelty That ladies and gentlemen is what we call a myth What we know of Texas birth tends to flip that distortion of history on its head For one thing the men fighting for independence had in 1835 seized thousands of square miles of territory from a sovereign state one that had in fact invited them to settle there Mexico had broken from Spanish colonial rule only in 1822 and still needed money it hoped perhaps foolishly that inviting foreigners to settle Texas would stabilize the border region Native Americans obvious claims aside most of what is now the western United States had been under Spanish or Mexican rule for hundreds of years Thus Mexico s defense of Texas territory wasn t simply a rival claim and they were in no way the aggressors In fact it was really one sticking point in negotiations with the Americans wanting to live in Mexican Texas that led the Americans to declare war and it had nothing to do with freedom It was slavery You see the Mexicans didn t want it The founders of the Texas Republic wanted to expand American slavery and when the Mexicans wouldn t permit it Davey Crockett Jim Bowie William Travis and other southern gentlemen did what men all too often do to support their culture That s what they were doing at the Alamo defending the right to own slaves Santa Anna Mexico s once and future president and general of its armies often presented as an honorable yet ruthless aristocrat up against a bunch of good ole boys pulling themselves up by their bootstraps saw them as invaders men who would not be content to establish an independent republic men who saw themselves as American and who would want Texas to be American too Sure enough a decade after the Americans aided unofficially

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/tagged/cold-war (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre
    some of them very angry and that anger makes many of the ethnic Russians facing a complete loss of political power very afraid Some are so afraid in fact that they ve seized government buildings a first step perhaps towards secession a Crimea for Crimeans by which they would mean Russians It s almost a surprise it took this long for this happen While it is true that Ukrainian nationalism is by its nature not Russian it may not be the fascist movement Putin Yanukovych and others want it to be What we saw from the protesters in Maidan Nezalezhnosti Independence Square were people exercising rights we in the West all too often take for granted free speech and demanding the rule of law These aren t engrained in Russian culture or others Whatever the Russian arts have produced the country was and remains very much the product of authoritarian rule Its ruler Vladimir Putin is himself a product of that rule having risen through the ranks of the KGB before entering politics He understands it very well so much in fact that he knows how to exploit it He also understands that Russia is an unwieldy mess of interests held together by little more than the cultural equivalent of paste and rubber bands Freedom hasn t worked out so well for a lot of them They get stuck looking back to glory days that no one could honestly call glorious They need it even more than they needed gold medals and the prestige of hosting the Games What most Russians want is certainty They want a strong leader That means never apologizing That means silencing mainstream dissent That means resurrecting memories not only of the Cold War but the Crimean War both fought by essentially the same alliances Putin isn t an ideologue He doesn t dream of another Cold War and certainly not another Crimean War they lost that one too but he isn t afraid of starting one if it gets him what he wants which is a country unified behind him If the Russian people looked back on the Soviet Union as a nightmare they never wanted to see again he d be the first to piss on its memory And he would piss on something Literally It would seem manly and unforgiving He s predictable that way So when Putin released political prisoners in the months leading up to the Sochi games it was neither out of the goodness of his heart nor a simple desire to placate foreign critics It was as with everything to strengthen his hold on power Yes there was pressure to release them because of the Olympics but he also knew he would be better off having them speaking out against him than locked away in silence It s the only free speech he likes because it too is predictable and that means he can manipulate it using the state news service and establish his opponent even further as non Russian Mikhail Khodorkovsky now an exile in Germany gives Putin another valuable enemy living in the West one with round the clock private security to avoid FSB assassination and with it looking every bit the corrupt businessman in league with the West Putin claims to be protecting Russians from Khodorkovsky may have sworn to return at some point but he won t so long as there s a cell waiting for him The Pussy Riot members he released might find themselves joining him They wanted everyone to boycott the Sochi games Of course having released them Putin nipped that possibility in the bud some other members ended up going anyway provoking a beating by security thugs in an attempt to embarrass Putin He probably laughed They re just as useful to Putin as Khodorkovsky in their own way outrage at their rejection of traditional mores drives conservative Russians toward Putin That s Putin s game It is perhaps a good sign for those in Kiev that the protests seem to be about standing up and refusing to play The peaceful nature of the protests before the crackdown and the muted sober deliberations following Yanukovych s ouster offer hope that this could be the flavor of a new mainstream Ukrainian nationalism one in which even the ethnic Russians can be confident they have a voice We aren t there yet though Putin s still playing his game He wants what he wants control of Ukrainian oil and gas pipelines consolidating power at home and he ll sacrifice that rosy future to get it It wouldn t be the first time It most ceratinly won t be the last Daniel Ward 2 notes Permalink Posted at 1 48 PM Tagged Vladimir Putin Russia ukraine Viktor Yanukovych orange revolution soviet union Cold War crimean war Yulia Tymoshenko enemies politics mikhail khodorkovsky pussy riot syria pan russian ism 2014 sochi olympics Enemies pt 13 Feb 09 Not The Winning But The Taking Part The long excruciating wait is over By now most of the world has seen the Opening Ceremony to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in whole or broken up into little pieces on the internet It happened The games have started Athletes are competing Medals have been awarded The boycotts and protests talked about with something approaching fervor only a couple of months ago haven t really happened Much The title of this post is an unofficial motto of the Olympic games paraphrased from a sermon given by an Episcopal priest way way back when the grand ideal of the games was a means to world peace The games founders hoped perhaps naively that bringing together the best athletes from different and potentially hostile cultures would offer an alternative to the wars they all saw coming It would be peace through engagement those participating acting as ambassadors of good will It never quite worked out that way As much as the athletes and their fans wanted the competition to be a

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/tagged/soviet-union (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre - BBC News - Did Hyman Minsky find the secret behind...
    wouldn t be Yogi Berra Mar 26 BBC News Did Hyman Minsky find the secret behind financial crashes Permalink Posted at 9 15 PM Tagged economics Political Theatre View the discussion thread Previous post Next post Archive Random Mobile RSS

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/post/80833707403/bbc-news-did-hyman-minsky-find-the-secret-behind (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre - James Surowiecki: Russia’s Unconventional Weapon:...
    James Surowiecki Russia s Unconventional Weapon Natural Gas The New Yorker Permalink Posted at 5 22 PM Tagged vladimir putin russia ukraine crimea natural gas pan russian ism economics european union bullying addiction Political Theatre View the discussion thread Previous

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/post/80099184047/james-surowiecki-russias-unconventional-weapon (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre
    Airlines flight MH17 could tell you Russian news agencies have tried in vain to blame the unreasonable Ukrainians for the deaths but the missile was Russian where ve it was fired from Putin wants to stay in power Putin wants control over the oil and natural gas pipelines running through eastern Ukraine Putin wants naval control of the Black Sea Putin wants glory In the short term he ll get it all in the long term he ll return Russia to the parts of the Cold War nostalgic Russians have chosen not to remember such as government oppression economic isolation and being international pariahs The 2018 World Cup may remind more than a few of them of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics with boycotts and economic humiliation Israel doesn t have to worry about either of those at least for now Their economy is small and what they produce wouldn t make or break an economy the way a collapse of oil and gas would Their abuse of Palestinians has gone on so long and with such consistency it could passed off as a chronic condition Too often it has been That is to some small degree the fault of the Palestinians themselves Frustrated and angry they have allowed their political leadership to fall into the hands of violent fear mongers no better than the fear mongering leaders of israel but with less money and fewer smaller weapons Their bitter war against Israeli oppression has become a lifestyle unto itself What would happen if tomorrow Israel gave them everything they need What would they do if Israelis offered to share everything they have an equal partnership in the future Odds are the Palestinian couldn t know how to handle it and that just plays into the hands of Israel s leaders whose only real goal seems to be holding on to power Years from now decades really the bill will come due for what Israel just did to Gaza Two or three generations will have to pass for the stench of it to wash away and that would only happen if the more powerful partner in this mess stepped up and made peace happen They won t They think we ll forget They count on it When was the last time we thought about the military junta in Egypt When was the last time we thought about the girls kidnapped in Nigeria When was the last time we thought about sweatshops in Bangladesh and cyber espionage from China We can t remember everything Our social evolution as a species is based on not having to We externalize it and we hope especially when it s sunny outside and there s some flirting to be done that someone else is paying attention on our behalf Between ice bucket challenges and wondering if there ever really was song of the summer this summer we could almost be forgiven for ignoring what s going on in Ferguson Missouri or the Bronx or somewhere

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/tagged/vladimir-putin (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre
    They don t even need charts What they all should know but insist that they don t is that high voter turnout can also be the result of one other thing a deep unavoidable belief that we really do have something to lose That s the incentive that will return Democrats in all their uselessness to power Give the right wing two years less one week to achieve that Count on it Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 8 02 PM Tagged politics elections 2014 midterms 2016 presidential election barack obama John Boehner Mitch McConnell democrats republicans congress house of representatives senate chris christie rand paul ted cruz George W Bush russia ukraine eastern ukraine china hong kong democracy voter registration voter suppression Elections Sep 17 Deterrence pt 2 Community The word gets thrown around a lot Take for instance the term diplomatic community This particular community operates under a very particular set of rules Diplomats abroad are afforded special rights the most special being immunity from prosecution for breaking the laws of their host countries As we see from time to time this exception remember that word leads to what we in the host country might call bad behavior You know like unpaid parking tickets It is illegal for them to park where and when they should not and it is illegal not to pay tickets given for breaking the law but because they cannot be charged for not paying diplomats find themselves succumbing to the temptation to park in loading zones during street cleaning In New York and Washington D C as well as consulate and embassy filled cities around the world unpaid parking tickets are a problem although not a big enough problem that the host countries threaten to violate the sanctity of diplomatic community ettiquette and send the diplomats home Host countries usually reserve that for espionage Or murder Yes even then the diplomat may be immune Sure the diplomat s country may wave his immunity but odds are they won t not unless doing so might cost them something more valuable With no leverage the host country can only open the door and ask the guest to leave and even then they can only ask nicely That s the trouble with throwing words around Calling something a community is fine but you can t deter bad behavior from an outsider Deterrence requires an individual or group s acceptance of the authority of a community and no one on the outside wants to hear the word When we see what we think of as bad behavior such as political corruption corporate abuse police brutality rioting terrorism or military invasion these actions are taken by men and women who do not accept that they are part of the community they are harming This is to say they do not accept that those they are harming could have authority moral or otherwise over them Either they feel excluded from the community common feelings in cases of police brutality rioting and terrorism and use that to justify bad behavior or they wish to behave badly that would be political corruption corporate abuse and military invasion and attempt to exclude themselves from the community preemptively This latter group has a name for their choice Exceptionalism Like diplomats with parking tickets these people want to believe the rules of common people simply do not apply to them In the short term they get away with it like all criminals do in the long term they and everyone else in whatever community they ve touched pay a very high price What s happening in eastern Ukraine and in Syria and Iraq right now is rightly described as exceptionalist behavior Russian President Vladimir Putin has guided his people wherever they may live to the belief that rules imposed by others the United Nations and the United States in particular do not apply to them To hear Putin or one of his lackies speak international opinion is just a means of keeping the Russian people down Likewise the group calling itself Islamic State of has gone out of its way to violate any international sense of human decency in great part to remove themselves from having to accept being part of a community that disapproves of their violent invasion of Iraq and the atrocities committed there and in Syria They dress is up as a war for islamic traditions but their cruel taunting videos of executions show them to be outside just about every other Muslim community on Earth And that to be sure is fine by them Both groups have committed violent cruel atrocities both have thumbed their noses at international outrage and both have used identification with those atrocities and nose thumbing as a means of tightening bonds within their own communities This is what exceptionalism is And here s the uncomfortable bit what s happening in Ukraine and the Middle East right now is part of the price to be paid for America s dalliance with exceptionalism To be clear this is not to say that America is directly at fault for what has been done by masked people in Ukraine and Syria Their aggression was always going to find a target and they wear masks for the same reasons bank robbers and kidnappers do No this is what happens when one country decides that the rules of a world community in which they reside such as those regarding the invasion of another country do not apply to them That is what the United States did in Iraq That is what the United States was perceived to have done elsewhere At some point to a lot of people the United States became the biggest bully on the block Is it any wonder that American diplomacy in dealing with Russia and ISIS ISIL only seems to make things worse Think back to Benghazi Think back to attacks on embassies consulates and diplomats in the ten years prior to that and then the ten years prior to that Think about the targets Many of them weren t even American The people who attacked had convinced themselves that they did not belong to the same community as their victims that embassies and consulates are spearheads of foreign invasion that whatever community their victims belonged to they the justified and righteous attackers did not want any part of it The point is we can t deter people who choose to consider themselves outside of our community especially when to them we are the outsiders They more they need us to be outsiders the harder it becomes A quarter century ago we had the certainty and oddly comfort of mutually assured destruction aka MAD At any moment thousands of nuclear missiles could rain down on us all devestating the entire planet That kind of power made it essential that we see ourselves as being part of a world community All we have left of that is the rhetoric and the still dangerous weapons ones no one seriously believes anyone will ever now use At least not in a missile What we need to deter that horrifying spectacle is to remind everyone including ourselves that we belong to that greater community Having convinced ourselves we then have to start acting like it That means no exceptionalism That means accepting the authority of a greater community morally if not legally That means the rules must always apply to us even if we re just parking Daniel Ward Permalink Posted at 2 10 PM Tagged politics russia ukraine isis terrorism police brutality mutually assured destruction Cold War benghazi deterrence corruption united nations nuclear war iraq exceptionalism american exceptionalism corporatism diplomacy Deterrence pt 2 Aug 21 Unknown Track It s been a while This summer has seen wars launched both political and literal It has seen missiles and rockets launched most often at defenseless innocents It has seen the human rights of women girls and unarmed men thrown down while the rights of corporations continued to be elevated above those of humans It has offered distractions from misery and distractions from reason That s two months of a summer much like any other summer In Washington the Republicans have become so obsessed with the business of reelection that they have convinced themselves that digging their hole a little deeper will somehow lead to an exit on the other side of the Earth We should try avoid the mistake most of those we like to call journalists make which is trying to apply some sense of earnest belief to congressional Republicans actions There s only cynicism to see here folks Move on Move on With the modern marvel of gerrymandering see Florida Republicans know their majority in the House is secure That there are no Senate districts to gerrymander is the reason Republicans hope of securing the Senate are remote but they know that too The parliamentary foot dragging the attacks on Obamacare the lawsuit these are nothing but distractions The right wing already got what it wants an underfunded federal government incapable of enforcing the laws on the books They aren t campaigning to pass new laws they just want to maintain the underfunding they have now so they won t have be accountable to anyone And it s working but for how long Campaigning on fear works but only as long as the stakes are low Yes we re likely to see the status quo for another electoral cycle or five but underfunding means things will break and at some point the American people will recognize the real threats getting close to them You wouldn t want to be a Republican politician when that day comes Fear of course is the weapon of choice for politicians all over the world Vladimir Putin s war in Ukraine is almost entirely a product of fear mongering The idea that ethnically Ukrainian Ukrainians wanted to seek out and destroy ethnically Russian Ukrainians is a myth born of centuries of Russian dominance and abuse of Ukrainians There would never be a Rwanda Hutu Tutsi like genocide in Ukraine but for an ethnic group suffering from a two decade long post Cold War hangover Putin s cure has been a tonic Russians are powerful again a people and a nation to be feared and respected wherever that people and nation may be Of course winding people up and giving them lots of weapons can have consequences as anyone who lost loved ones on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 could tell you Russian news agencies have tried in vain to blame the unreasonable Ukrainians for the deaths but the missile was Russian where ve it was fired from Putin wants to stay in power Putin wants control over the oil and natural gas pipelines running through eastern Ukraine Putin wants naval control of the Black Sea Putin wants glory In the short term he ll get it all in the long term he ll return Russia to the parts of the Cold War nostalgic Russians have chosen not to remember such as government oppression economic isolation and being international pariahs The 2018 World Cup may remind more than a few of them of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics with boycotts and economic humiliation Israel doesn t have to worry about either of those at least for now Their economy is small and what they produce wouldn t make or break an economy the way a collapse of oil and gas would Their abuse of Palestinians has gone on so long and with such consistency it could passed off as a chronic condition Too often it has been That is to some small degree the fault of the Palestinians themselves Frustrated and angry they have allowed their political leadership to fall into the hands of violent fear mongers no better than the fear mongering leaders of israel but with less money and fewer smaller weapons Their bitter war against Israeli oppression has become a lifestyle unto itself What would happen if tomorrow Israel gave them everything they need What would they do if Israelis offered to share everything they have an equal partnership in the future Odds are the Palestinian couldn t know how to handle it and that just plays into the hands of Israel s leaders whose only real goal seems to be holding on to power Years from now decades really the bill will come due for what Israel just did to Gaza Two or three generations will have to pass for the stench of it to wash away and that would only happen if the more powerful partner in this mess stepped up and made peace happen They won t They think we ll forget They count on it When was the last time we thought about the military junta in Egypt When was the last time we thought about the girls kidnapped in Nigeria When was the last time we thought about sweatshops in Bangladesh and cyber espionage from China We can t remember everything Our social evolution as a species is based on not having to We externalize it and we hope especially when it s sunny outside and there s some flirting to be done that someone else is paying attention on our behalf Between ice bucket challenges and wondering if there ever really was song of the summer this summer we could almost be forgiven for ignoring what s going on in Ferguson Missouri or the Bronx or somewhere even closer The killing Michael Brown is still as unsettled as it is unsettling Like any crisis it has exposed things long ignored and kept at arm s length It s also a case study on the dangers of applying short term thinking to long term problems An unarmed man shouldn t die at the hands of the police It just shouldn t happen Ever Non violent protesters in what is so often touted as the freest country on Earth shouldn t face police in armored vehicles and military riot gear That shouldn t happen Ever Police culture in the United States is one of fear Officers are trained to expect the worst Often enough they actually face it Freedom to own weapons means criminals own weapons Expectation that police will fire their weapons means criminals fire theirs Expectation that a potential criminal will potentially shoot first leads under trained over armed men and women to shoot first to keep from being killed We all know what happens next It s this fear of killing and being killed that has law enforcement spending its taxpayer money on military hardware Everywhere in the country state and local law enforcement agencies see things they can t control and look for fast easy solutions Somebody s going to make money that way Selling fear somebody always does Again though he question is asked For how long Soon enough the people of Missouri will have had enough No more they ll cry The American people will have had enough of congressional Republican cynicism They too will cry No more We ll hear it in Iraq We ll hear it in Nigeria We ll hear it in Ukraine in China in Israel in Mexico in Bangladesh and everywhere else policy is driven by short term thinking Or not We ve started so many things that we can t ever hope to control so often without regard to where or when they will end We mark it down unknown track watch it for a while til the threat passes from us onto someone else and go on our way No More Perhaps if our real journalists cried it out first it might just catch on Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 12 10 AM Tagged Short term thinking fear republicans John Boehner right wing koch brothers affordable care act michael brown ferguson missouri ukraine Russia Vladimir Putin austerity fever iraq islamic state of iraq aggressive selfishness china politics nigeria Israel gaza Palestine cynicism journalistic malpractice egypt libya syria world cup journalism no more Unknown Track May 24 Ahead of Ukraine elections a generational split on nationalism The Washington Post Michael Birnbaum Frederick Kunkle 05 24 14 Permalink Posted at 9 05 PM Tagged ukraine russia nationalism vladimir putin sergei lavrov pan russian ism democracy Political Theatre Apr 11 Oligarchies When we hear the word oligarchy we naturally think of Russia For the last twenty years or so it has been impossible to read or watch any coverage of the Russian economy or what passes for its politics without that term being central to the story There are many reasons for this some obvious some not The most obvious one is that in the tradition of mass media identifying villains with a scary term reduces coverage to a kind of shorthand oligarchs are bad we know this therefore mention of the word indicates something bad is going on Whatever else is or isn t in the coverage we know it s in Russia probably and we know it involves something we probably don t want to know the details of It practically eliminates the need to dig deeper and with little time to hold your attention that s very much the point Of course in this case the shorthand is actually pretty close to the truth In the chaos of the Soviet Union s collapse ruthless homegrown capitalists facing no regulation and little moral outcry scooped up undervalued de nationalized assets and cornered markets that had only one rule survive Most of what we think of when we hear the word oligarch is this basically a thug in a 5 000 suit These are the men mostly men who control the vast majority of Russia s wealth and at least one NBA basketball team These are the men who mostly have supported Vladimir Putin both in his rise to power and in his thuggish efforts to hold onto it They do this because they know

    Original URL path: http://politicaltheatre.net/tagged/russia (2016-05-02)
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  • Political Theatre
    should know but insist that they don t is that high voter turnout can also be the result of one other thing a deep unavoidable belief that we really do have something to lose That s the incentive that will return Democrats in all their uselessness to power Give the right wing two years less one week to achieve that Count on it Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 8 02 PM Tagged politics elections 2014 midterms 2016 presidential election barack obama John Boehner Mitch McConnell democrats republicans congress house of representatives senate chris christie rand paul ted cruz George W Bush russia ukraine eastern ukraine china hong kong democracy voter registration voter suppression Elections Nov 07 Britain and France to blame for Adolf Hitler s march into Europe Putin tells young historians Tom Parfitt The Telegraph November 7 2014 Permalink Posted at 6 06 PM Tagged Vladimir Putin Joseph Stalin adolf hitler world war II munich neville chamberlain peace in our time ukraine soviet union nazis fascism right wing nationalism eastern bloc cold war II Political Theatre Sep 17 Deterrence pt 2 Community The word gets thrown around a lot Take for instance the term diplomatic community This particular community operates under a very particular set of rules Diplomats abroad are afforded special rights the most special being immunity from prosecution for breaking the laws of their host countries As we see from time to time this exception remember that word leads to what we in the host country might call bad behavior You know like unpaid parking tickets It is illegal for them to park where and when they should not and it is illegal not to pay tickets given for breaking the law but because they cannot be charged for not paying diplomats find themselves succumbing to the temptation to park in loading zones during street cleaning In New York and Washington D C as well as consulate and embassy filled cities around the world unpaid parking tickets are a problem although not a big enough problem that the host countries threaten to violate the sanctity of diplomatic community ettiquette and send the diplomats home Host countries usually reserve that for espionage Or murder Yes even then the diplomat may be immune Sure the diplomat s country may wave his immunity but odds are they won t not unless doing so might cost them something more valuable With no leverage the host country can only open the door and ask the guest to leave and even then they can only ask nicely That s the trouble with throwing words around Calling something a community is fine but you can t deter bad behavior from an outsider Deterrence requires an individual or group s acceptance of the authority of a community and no one on the outside wants to hear the word When we see what we think of as bad behavior such as political corruption corporate abuse police brutality rioting terrorism or military invasion these actions are taken by men and women who do not accept that they are part of the community they are harming This is to say they do not accept that those they are harming could have authority moral or otherwise over them Either they feel excluded from the community common feelings in cases of police brutality rioting and terrorism and use that to justify bad behavior or they wish to behave badly that would be political corruption corporate abuse and military invasion and attempt to exclude themselves from the community preemptively This latter group has a name for their choice Exceptionalism Like diplomats with parking tickets these people want to believe the rules of common people simply do not apply to them In the short term they get away with it like all criminals do in the long term they and everyone else in whatever community they ve touched pay a very high price What s happening in eastern Ukraine and in Syria and Iraq right now is rightly described as exceptionalist behavior Russian President Vladimir Putin has guided his people wherever they may live to the belief that rules imposed by others the United Nations and the United States in particular do not apply to them To hear Putin or one of his lackies speak international opinion is just a means of keeping the Russian people down Likewise the group calling itself Islamic State of has gone out of its way to violate any international sense of human decency in great part to remove themselves from having to accept being part of a community that disapproves of their violent invasion of Iraq and the atrocities committed there and in Syria They dress is up as a war for islamic traditions but their cruel taunting videos of executions show them to be outside just about every other Muslim community on Earth And that to be sure is fine by them Both groups have committed violent cruel atrocities both have thumbed their noses at international outrage and both have used identification with those atrocities and nose thumbing as a means of tightening bonds within their own communities This is what exceptionalism is And here s the uncomfortable bit what s happening in Ukraine and the Middle East right now is part of the price to be paid for America s dalliance with exceptionalism To be clear this is not to say that America is directly at fault for what has been done by masked people in Ukraine and Syria Their aggression was always going to find a target and they wear masks for the same reasons bank robbers and kidnappers do No this is what happens when one country decides that the rules of a world community in which they reside such as those regarding the invasion of another country do not apply to them That is what the United States did in Iraq That is what the United States was perceived to have done elsewhere At some point to a lot of people the United States became the biggest bully on the block Is it any wonder that American diplomacy in dealing with Russia and ISIS ISIL only seems to make things worse Think back to Benghazi Think back to attacks on embassies consulates and diplomats in the ten years prior to that and then the ten years prior to that Think about the targets Many of them weren t even American The people who attacked had convinced themselves that they did not belong to the same community as their victims that embassies and consulates are spearheads of foreign invasion that whatever community their victims belonged to they the justified and righteous attackers did not want any part of it The point is we can t deter people who choose to consider themselves outside of our community especially when to them we are the outsiders They more they need us to be outsiders the harder it becomes A quarter century ago we had the certainty and oddly comfort of mutually assured destruction aka MAD At any moment thousands of nuclear missiles could rain down on us all devestating the entire planet That kind of power made it essential that we see ourselves as being part of a world community All we have left of that is the rhetoric and the still dangerous weapons ones no one seriously believes anyone will ever now use At least not in a missile What we need to deter that horrifying spectacle is to remind everyone including ourselves that we belong to that greater community Having convinced ourselves we then have to start acting like it That means no exceptionalism That means accepting the authority of a greater community morally if not legally That means the rules must always apply to us even if we re just parking Daniel Ward Permalink Posted at 2 10 PM Tagged politics russia ukraine isis terrorism police brutality mutually assured destruction Cold War benghazi deterrence corruption united nations nuclear war iraq exceptionalism american exceptionalism corporatism diplomacy Deterrence pt 2 Aug 21 Unknown Track It s been a while This summer has seen wars launched both political and literal It has seen missiles and rockets launched most often at defenseless innocents It has seen the human rights of women girls and unarmed men thrown down while the rights of corporations continued to be elevated above those of humans It has offered distractions from misery and distractions from reason That s two months of a summer much like any other summer In Washington the Republicans have become so obsessed with the business of reelection that they have convinced themselves that digging their hole a little deeper will somehow lead to an exit on the other side of the Earth We should try avoid the mistake most of those we like to call journalists make which is trying to apply some sense of earnest belief to congressional Republicans actions There s only cynicism to see here folks Move on Move on With the modern marvel of gerrymandering see Florida Republicans know their majority in the House is secure That there are no Senate districts to gerrymander is the reason Republicans hope of securing the Senate are remote but they know that too The parliamentary foot dragging the attacks on Obamacare the lawsuit these are nothing but distractions The right wing already got what it wants an underfunded federal government incapable of enforcing the laws on the books They aren t campaigning to pass new laws they just want to maintain the underfunding they have now so they won t have be accountable to anyone And it s working but for how long Campaigning on fear works but only as long as the stakes are low Yes we re likely to see the status quo for another electoral cycle or five but underfunding means things will break and at some point the American people will recognize the real threats getting close to them You wouldn t want to be a Republican politician when that day comes Fear of course is the weapon of choice for politicians all over the world Vladimir Putin s war in Ukraine is almost entirely a product of fear mongering The idea that ethnically Ukrainian Ukrainians wanted to seek out and destroy ethnically Russian Ukrainians is a myth born of centuries of Russian dominance and abuse of Ukrainians There would never be a Rwanda Hutu Tutsi like genocide in Ukraine but for an ethnic group suffering from a two decade long post Cold War hangover Putin s cure has been a tonic Russians are powerful again a people and a nation to be feared and respected wherever that people and nation may be Of course winding people up and giving them lots of weapons can have consequences as anyone who lost loved ones on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 could tell you Russian news agencies have tried in vain to blame the unreasonable Ukrainians for the deaths but the missile was Russian where ve it was fired from Putin wants to stay in power Putin wants control over the oil and natural gas pipelines running through eastern Ukraine Putin wants naval control of the Black Sea Putin wants glory In the short term he ll get it all in the long term he ll return Russia to the parts of the Cold War nostalgic Russians have chosen not to remember such as government oppression economic isolation and being international pariahs The 2018 World Cup may remind more than a few of them of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics with boycotts and economic humiliation Israel doesn t have to worry about either of those at least for now Their economy is small and what they produce wouldn t make or break an economy the way a collapse of oil and gas would Their abuse of Palestinians has gone on so long and with such consistency it could passed off as a chronic condition Too often it has been That is to some small degree the fault of the Palestinians themselves Frustrated and angry they have allowed their political leadership to fall into the hands of violent fear mongers no better than the fear mongering leaders of israel but with less money and fewer smaller weapons Their bitter war against Israeli oppression has become a lifestyle unto itself What would happen if tomorrow Israel gave them everything they need What would they do if Israelis offered to share everything they have an equal partnership in the future Odds are the Palestinian couldn t know how to handle it and that just plays into the hands of Israel s leaders whose only real goal seems to be holding on to power Years from now decades really the bill will come due for what Israel just did to Gaza Two or three generations will have to pass for the stench of it to wash away and that would only happen if the more powerful partner in this mess stepped up and made peace happen They won t They think we ll forget They count on it When was the last time we thought about the military junta in Egypt When was the last time we thought about the girls kidnapped in Nigeria When was the last time we thought about sweatshops in Bangladesh and cyber espionage from China We can t remember everything Our social evolution as a species is based on not having to We externalize it and we hope especially when it s sunny outside and there s some flirting to be done that someone else is paying attention on our behalf Between ice bucket challenges and wondering if there ever really was song of the summer this summer we could almost be forgiven for ignoring what s going on in Ferguson Missouri or the Bronx or somewhere even closer The killing Michael Brown is still as unsettled as it is unsettling Like any crisis it has exposed things long ignored and kept at arm s length It s also a case study on the dangers of applying short term thinking to long term problems An unarmed man shouldn t die at the hands of the police It just shouldn t happen Ever Non violent protesters in what is so often touted as the freest country on Earth shouldn t face police in armored vehicles and military riot gear That shouldn t happen Ever Police culture in the United States is one of fear Officers are trained to expect the worst Often enough they actually face it Freedom to own weapons means criminals own weapons Expectation that police will fire their weapons means criminals fire theirs Expectation that a potential criminal will potentially shoot first leads under trained over armed men and women to shoot first to keep from being killed We all know what happens next It s this fear of killing and being killed that has law enforcement spending its taxpayer money on military hardware Everywhere in the country state and local law enforcement agencies see things they can t control and look for fast easy solutions Somebody s going to make money that way Selling fear somebody always does Again though he question is asked For how long Soon enough the people of Missouri will have had enough No more they ll cry The American people will have had enough of congressional Republican cynicism They too will cry No more We ll hear it in Iraq We ll hear it in Nigeria We ll hear it in Ukraine in China in Israel in Mexico in Bangladesh and everywhere else policy is driven by short term thinking Or not We ve started so many things that we can t ever hope to control so often without regard to where or when they will end We mark it down unknown track watch it for a while til the threat passes from us onto someone else and go on our way No More Perhaps if our real journalists cried it out first it might just catch on Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 12 10 AM Tagged Short term thinking fear republicans John Boehner right wing koch brothers affordable care act michael brown ferguson missouri ukraine Russia Vladimir Putin austerity fever iraq islamic state of iraq aggressive selfishness china politics nigeria Israel gaza Palestine cynicism journalistic malpractice egypt libya syria world cup journalism no more Unknown Track May 24 Ahead of Ukraine elections a generational split on nationalism The Washington Post Michael Birnbaum Frederick Kunkle 05 24 14 Permalink Posted at 9 05 PM Tagged ukraine russia nationalism vladimir putin sergei lavrov pan russian ism democracy Political Theatre Apr 11 Oligarchies When we hear the word oligarchy we naturally think of Russia For the last twenty years or so it has been impossible to read or watch any coverage of the Russian economy or what passes for its politics without that term being central to the story There are many reasons for this some obvious some not The most obvious one is that in the tradition of mass media identifying villains with a scary term reduces coverage to a kind of shorthand oligarchs are bad we know this therefore mention of the word indicates something bad is going on Whatever else is or isn t in the coverage we know it s in Russia probably and we know it involves something we probably don t want to know the details of It practically eliminates the need to dig deeper and with little time to hold your attention that s very much the point Of course in this case the shorthand is actually pretty close to the truth In the chaos of the Soviet Union s collapse ruthless homegrown capitalists facing no regulation and little moral outcry scooped up undervalued de nationalized assets and cornered markets that had only one rule survive Most of what we think of when we hear the word oligarch is this basically a thug in a 5 000

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    and women who made their money by not having to be accountable to others and who spend their money to ensure that they will never have to be If this sounds a little too familiar maybe a little too much like something you ve read about some post Soviet backwater it may be time to accept at long last that we have our own oligarchs here and that they are no less dangerous to us Just something to think about heading into the 2014 and 2016 election cycles Daniel Ward 1 note Permalink Posted at 2 58 PM Tagged oligarchs Russia pan russian ism Cold War rule of law democracy enemies supreme court citizens united campaign finance law poland belarus kazakhstan uzbekistan chechnya republic of georgia republic of moldova ukraine crimea mccutcheon v fec bullying politics koch brothers syria Rwanda unemployment accountability aggressive selfishness defensive selfishness Oligarchies Mar 21 View high resolution theatlantic Good News from Ukraine Everyone Still Hates Hitler Russian and Western leaders don t see eye to eye on the crisis in Ukraine but they ve reached consensus on another important issue Adolf Hitler was bad Read more Image Alex Kuzmin Reuters Reblogged from theatlantic 324 notes Permalink Posted at 12 42 PM Tagged ukraine russia crimea vladimir putin adolf hitler pan russian ism warsaw pact cold war world war ii world war iii china Political Theatre Mar 19 James Surowiecki Russia s Unconventional Weapon Natural Gas The New Yorker Permalink Posted at 5 22 PM Tagged vladimir putin russia ukraine crimea natural gas pan russian ism economics european union bullying addiction Political Theatre Mar 17 Ukraine s protests at Sochi Paralympics offer a bit of the honesty missing from Olympic Games National Post Permalink Posted at 4 46 PM Tagged ukraine russia crimea vladimir putin sochi pan russian ism Political Theatre Mar 16 Don t Mess With Crimea We remember the Alamo Mostly we remember the long boring movie or the stories we heard growing up stories of brave white men giving their lives to uphold an ideal of freedom against overwhelming brown skinned foreign odds and imperial cruelty That ladies and gentlemen is what we call a myth What we know of Texas birth tends to flip that distortion of history on its head For one thing the men fighting for independence had in 1835 seized thousands of square miles of territory from a sovereign state one that had in fact invited them to settle there Mexico had broken from Spanish colonial rule only in 1822 and still needed money it hoped perhaps foolishly that inviting foreigners to settle Texas would stabilize the border region Native Americans obvious claims aside most of what is now the western United States had been under Spanish or Mexican rule for hundreds of years Thus Mexico s defense of Texas territory wasn t simply a rival claim and they were in no way the aggressors In fact it was really one sticking point in negotiations with the Americans wanting to live in Mexican Texas that led the Americans to declare war and it had nothing to do with freedom It was slavery You see the Mexicans didn t want it The founders of the Texas Republic wanted to expand American slavery and when the Mexicans wouldn t permit it Davey Crockett Jim Bowie William Travis and other southern gentlemen did what men all too often do to support their culture That s what they were doing at the Alamo defending the right to own slaves Santa Anna Mexico s once and future president and general of its armies often presented as an honorable yet ruthless aristocrat up against a bunch of good ole boys pulling themselves up by their bootstraps saw them as invaders men who would not be content to establish an independent republic men who saw themselves as American and who would want Texas to be American too Sure enough a decade after the Americans aided unofficially by the United States had won their independence their annexation as a new slave state along with the discovery of gold in California sparked yet another war an official one in which the overwhelming forces were on the American side one which cost Mexico most of what is now the American southwest It s important to think of this now because of what is happening now in Crimea By the time you have read this Crimeans will have voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine While it s true that the region is dominated by ethnic Russians and that an independent Ukraine is only 22 years and change old everybody knows what s really going on The agreement Russia signed in 1994 promising to protect Ukrainian territorial integrity has been shredded a humiliating document signed by weak defeated men Crimean Tatars claims like Native Americans count for nothing Russia wants the military bases the oil refineries and the oil and natural gas deposits and the Crimean Russians want to be part of Russia so much so that remaining in Ukraine isn t even a choice in the referendum The choice to join Russia having been made Russia itself doesn t even have to act It can wait until a more opportune time and simply annex it while the rest of the world is distracted with some other crisis There will be protests in Ukraine and counter protests in the newly but not legally independent Crimea Republic but the threat of Russian military force permanently parked on Ukraine s borders will lend a sense of inevitability to it a kernel of powerlessness that will grow in the heart of Ukrainian politics and culture and one that in time will blossom into sectarian violence between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians in Crimea and the rest of the eastern provinces Putin will then intercede on those Russians behalf and the conquest will be complete Years from now when history has been safely turned on its head the myths Crimean Russians are spinning now will

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