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Re: World Politics

24 Oct 2017 10:33

A recent Brown University Study showed that, between 2001 and 2016, the cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan has cost the US $3.6 trillion.

~ Ramzy Baroud

Imagine if you will that the U.S. had instead put $3.6 trillion into measures to improve infrastructure around the world. It has been estimated by the UNDP that to give the entire world fresh water and sanitation would cost half a trillion. That leaves $3.1 trillion for further projects. Now what would the U.S. have gained by being the country known for giving the entire world a glass a water and a place to ****? Think on it.

The first obvious effect would be a tremendous uplift to U.S. prestige. That is so obvious as to be unnecessary to argue. The public relations value of such an act would echo for generations. In addition, it would give the U.S. reputation a saintly glow that would render it all but immune to attacks of any kind. Who after all would sympathize with any who attacked such a country? Who would not come to its defense?

This of course would only be the beginning as there is $3.1 trillion still to go. The next thing the U.S. could do would be to give light to the world. I.e. To create small scale solar and wind power along with battery storage so that every village of the world no matter how remote would be able to light their way through the night. One of the biggest obstacles to schooling in the undeveloped world is that the children cannot read and study after sundown. I know of no studies as to what this would cost. What one can say with assurance is that as compared to the massive infrastructure requirements for water and sanitation the costs would be less for such an initiative. Let’s say $300 billion just to be safe. That leaves $2.8 trillion.

So now the U.S. is the country that has given the entire world a glass of water and a place to **** and the country that has lit the night. Again the goodwill that this would create is hard to overestimate. Again the U.S. would massively enhance its reputation and further immunize itself as a target. Again, who would sympathize with anyone who struck such a country?


https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/23/looking-for-a-glass-of-water-and-a-place-to-shit/
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Re: World Politics

31 Oct 2017 10:47

They should do the same in Brussels (while making sure that the people living in find new housing of course).

Functionalist modern concrete architecture such as Le Corbusier's, Niemeyer's, Wright's or Mies van der Rohe's is so ugly.

Just compare it to Neuschwanstein.

If I remember well, Prince Charles tried to defend architectural harmony back in the eighties and tried to create a village in that way. In this respect I'm on his side.
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05 Nov 2017 18:16

Brullnux
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06 Nov 2017 13:34

The momentum is there, now hopefully something fundamental will be done to make sure the (super-) rich actually pay their dues. Lump it together with the money carroussel of the mega-multinationals please. Think of what good could be done with all that money. Proper universal health care, investments in public transport, green energy, real aid for the developing world, etc. etc.
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Re:

07 Nov 2017 11:58

Jagartrott wrote:The momentum is there, now hopefully something fundamental will be done to make sure the (super-) rich actually pay their dues. Lump it together with the money carroussel of the mega-multinationals please. Think of what good could be done with all that money. Proper universal health care, investments in public transport, green energy, real aid for the developing world, etc. etc.


Without legal changes nothing can be done. Name a rich person or company that doesn't minimize their taxes.
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07 Nov 2017 15:42

aphronesis
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Re: Re:

07 Nov 2017 15:55

movingtarget wrote:
Jagartrott wrote:The momentum is there, now hopefully something fundamental will be done to make sure the (super-) rich actually pay their dues. Lump it together with the money carroussel of the mega-multinationals please. Think of what good could be done with all that money. Proper universal health care, investments in public transport, green energy, real aid for the developing world, etc. etc.


Without legal changes nothing can be done. Name a rich person or company that doesn't minimize their taxes.


https://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n03/robert-brenner/towards-the-precipice
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08 Nov 2017 11:44

User avatar Jagartrott
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10 Nov 2017 10:00

It would be absolutely fantastic if other countries would stop messing about in Lebanese politics.
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Re:

11 Nov 2017 15:18



Well, as this article indicates the Netherlands is one of the worst tax havens in the world and actually our newly formed government announced measures which more or less constitute further corporate tax cuts! Because who cares about the rest of the world? As long as we benefit from it, our current government has zero **** to give about basically stealing other countries' tax money. :o

I was just reading an interview with our prime minister who defended the new tax cut by arguing we need it to stay competitive in keeping multinationals in the Netherlands (despite the fact that we are already a tax haven compared to all neighbouring countries) for creating jobs and alluding to the lack of multinationals and job shortage of our southern neighbours, he literally said: "we don't want to become a second Belgium". Really, the guy has zero **** to give. He's been caught lying, ignored a referendum, extremely inconsistent with regard to ethical and social issues, giving away issues to whatever coalition party he needs to collaborate with. It seems that all he cares about is the economy and as long he gets in the money, apparently Dutch folks keep voting on him, because his on his third term already and the Dutch economy is doing great. :D
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18 Nov 2017 05:11

aphronesis
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29 Nov 2017 10:17

in a manifest defiance and as a sign of utter failure of the us foreign policy, north korea just tested yet another missile...

what happened to the us president praises of china's 'positive role' after his lavish visit there just a week ago ?
why the growing in their ferocity american threats are as effective as a pyss in a wind ?
why the collection of 3 aircraft carrier groups off the korean shores dont scare the fatface ?

i always thought that if something is repeated over and over despite the consistent failures it can be called STUPID. has the state department run out of brains ?
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29 Nov 2017 17:00

Forgive Trump, he was too busy re-tweeting Anti- Muslim propaganda smear videos from the fascist leader of Britain First to deal with North Korea. Don't worry he is on the ball now.

Donald Trump: This situation will be handled!
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29 Nov 2017 21:18

What do you think about the general's reception of the verdict?
Interesting from several points of view. Especially considering his biography.
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07 Dec 2017 10:38

With Trump "deciding" to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy, Kushner still convinced he can broker a peace deal while effectively driving these decisions and the international community largely paying lip-service to what a bad decision this is, I thought this article nicely captures why a "Two-state" solution will never happen in the current political climate:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/david-morrison/israel-must-be-forced-to-end-occupation-otherwise-there-will-n
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07 Dec 2017 14:39

The reporting about Kushner's mindset on the Middle East is mind-boggling.
These days, close associates said, Kushner is primarily driven by one goal: to prove himself by delivering a Middle East peace deal many skeptics doubt he can close. He is banking on the hope that the opposition is just a facade — and that, privately, after a “cooling-off period,” Arab allies will continue to work with him on a peace plan he still expects to announce at some point in the early months of 2018.

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/06/jared-kushner-trump-jerusalem-mideast-peace-283770?lo=ap_e1
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Re:

07 Dec 2017 15:55

djpbaltimore wrote:The reporting about Kushner's mindset on the Middle East is mind-boggling.
These days, close associates said, Kushner is primarily driven by one goal: to prove himself by delivering a Middle East peace deal many skeptics doubt he can close. He is banking on the hope that the opposition is just a facade — and that, privately, after a “cooling-off period,” Arab allies will continue to work with him on a peace plan he still expects to announce at some point in the early months of 2018.

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/06/jared-kushner-trump-jerusalem-mideast-peace-283770?lo=ap_e1

It kind of depends... Clearly the current peace plan based on the Oslo accords is not moving forward in any measurable way. Borders, settlements, right of return, Jerusalem, and the two-state solution haven't been negotiated at all after a quarter century. If anything, things are going backwards with Israeli expansion continuing at a steady pace.

So if you want "peace", or any kind of solution, the current framework isn't functional. It's not going to happen. So how to move forward without angering Israel - which is political suicide in the US? I don't know if it was planned that way, but the best way to blow things up is to give someone what they want. In this case Jerusalem. Sure it's what they have wanted all along. Huzzah! But now they have to deal with the consequences. Kind of like giving a kid a puppy.

Now the US isn't the bad guy, but it forces the situation. Is it one state or two? Israel doesn't like either solution and has been kicking the can down the road for fifty years. Looks like that's going to change and fast. Notice that out of the five big issues, Jerusalem is perhaps the most divisive, but least damaging one to gift to Israel.

This could be a brilliant gambit.

John Swanson

I should also add that if one wanted to get Israel to shut up about war with Iran, this would be a perfect way to do it. Israel is going to be very busy for a while.
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07 Dec 2017 19:10

I would definitely agree that the talks were not on a trajectory towards peace before this move. Not even close.

What I would worry about is that Trump gave Israel something that they really wanted for seemingly* nothing in return (besides a small political bump among his base). This observation can't be lost on the leaders of Israel or Palestine.

*The notion that Trump may have gotten something in the negotiation that he wasn't willing to brag about publicly scares me even more.
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Re:

07 Dec 2017 19:45

djpbaltimore wrote:I would definitely agree that the talks were not on a trajectory towards peace before this move. Not even close.

What I would worry about is that Trump gave Israel something that they really wanted for seemingly* nothing in return (besides a small political bump among his base). This observation can't be lost on the leaders of Israel or Palestine.

*The notion that Trump may have gotten something in the negotiation that he wasn't willing to brag about publicly scares me even more.


The comforting thought is that for all the bluster, the apparatus of government isn't full of idiots. In fact, they're generally very smart people who have access to all the facts - the ones we'll never have. My sincerest wish is that this wasn't cynical pandering, but a brilliant move to "drain the swamp" by subverting the process in a dramatic way that will demand a response from all sides while minimizing the possibility of bloodshed.

All of a sudden Israel is faced with making an actual decision. Either squashing the notion of a Palestinian state and making everyone an Israeli, or allowing a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem. The whole of the Israeli dynamics has centered around never having to make that choice. Blowing it up means that in a very short time everyone is going to be willing to negotiate for the first time.

John Swanson
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