« "The system is rigged." - TTG | Main | The Holy Sepulchre »

20 June 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Can you elaborate?


rjj was angry at rjj for asking a trivial question and expressing it sloppily. smoothie's answers are ALWAYS interesting and informative.

Babak Makkinejad

Start here please - with her works - all originally written in German


In regards to the word "Radical Muslim" etc.; its import in terms of religious understanding is zero. I guess it is a politically correct way of describing those unfriendly Muslims, or Muslim Parties, or Governments without being forced into admitting that there is a religious war going on.

It is useful in that sense, but it does not further human understanding - in my opinion.

I cannot answer your question regarding the hypotheticals of the application of Law in Iran. It is too complicated a topic and I have no expertise.



It should be clear to all SST correspondents that the West and in particular the US have lost their moorings. No longer do we pursue policies and actions in our best national interest. This era of the Borg is an era of mass delusions. From economic and financial policy to foreign and domestic policy, propaganda of magical thinking rules. The groupthink of the Borg around delusional ideas represent a period when all common sense and realism have been shorn.

Mass delusions inevitably reach the Emperor has no Clothes moment. But, it can continue far longer than anyone can expect. Usually it fails when cognitive dissonance reaches a crescendo. What we are seeing now are the terminal stages. The vitriol of the Brexit referendum, the election of the Austrian president, the mayoral elections in Italy, the legislative election in Spain and of course our own presidential election show that our social compact is fraying. The volatility in financial markets speak to the growing instability in our financial system. Japan is reaching a terminal stage in it's financial management. Despite decades of massive government spending and monetization of government debt with the BoJ now "owning" around 30% of all JGBs with no real market anymore their economy has not produced any growth in decades. Here in the US many are falling behind as can be seen in median real household income. With Dutch government debt at yields not seen in 500 years and with trillions in sovereign debt yielding negative rates, we are in beyond the looking glass. No one knows what the denouement is going to look like. But the increasing oscillations in financial markets and social mood show we have a highly unstable socio-economic environment. The Borg it seems is intent on taking us all down before they vacate the levers of power.


I know Annemarie Schimmel, Babak. I've seen her twice, first at the event below. Considering what she had really said, I didn't understand the moral indignation campaign started against her. But I met all of the central figures again, with topics that on the surface look like yours prominently pro-neocon in the post 9/11 universe. ... or protesting the building of the new Mosque in Cologne.

I heard her again, when I sneaked into an event to which students had invited her, not long before her dead.

Not read, simply checked if it had left traces on the English web.


Should I read her book on Muhammad Igbal? Her selection of Islamic prayers, or imagery in Persian poems?


Her basic book on Islam and culture, I have read just as her book on the Prophet. Maybe too long ago, to realize how you would like me to have read them then. Without any doubt I may have completely misunderstood her. It is not my field, and I don't have the slightest grasp of the Semitic languages. My impression was she preached dialog.

No need to talk be politically-correct with me, if that was my interest, I hardly would waste my time here. In case you felt I interfered uninvited into a chat among agreeing "grown-ups", I'll watch it.


Hmm, that makes sense. Mind, if I adopt the idea with hat tip to you, of course.

Babak Makkinejad

Since you already have read her introductory books on Islam, I suggest you taking a look at the following:


and the 3 chapters on Islam.

The presentation ends with a Christian response but I think the comparison and contrasts between the two religions is quite insightful.

You can think of Islam as a form of Universal Judaism - minus the bit about Chosen People etc.

For instance, anything that is ritualistically clean in Judaism - halaka meat, for example - is also halal in Islam. But not the other way.


It's difficult at this point to tell exactly what is happening in the Tabqa offensive because there are so many conflicting reports. However, "Riad Albasha" from Mayadeen and Eyad AlHosain have both debunked the Al-Masdar report that initially claimed the "555 Regiment" took heavy casualties, on the basis that there is no such thing as the "555 Regiment" in the SAA. Given the nature of this disinformation, not that Al-Masdar created it but wherever it came from, I think it's fairly safe to assume what acutally happened was a tactical retreat with wounded and possibly a few dead.

Bill Herschel

Let's tick off the names of countries where Jihadists have been defeated and civilization restored. Chechnya.

You would probably include Kosovo. But Kosovo is not really civilized or a country, unless you count being the largest heroin distributor on the planet civilization.

The gold standard is always, "What works?". KSA, Israel, US do not seem to have a firm grasp on what works, if their goal is to rid the world of terrorism. Russia does. I repeat that I do not believe that Russia is acting on the notion that their cause is hopeless no matter how strongly you may believe that.

But what works is best analyzed through res ipsa loquitur. Time will tell. Don't give up hope.

David Habakkuk

Michael Brenner,

This takes me back in time.

In the move away from ‘statist’ solutions in the ‘Seventies, Sam Brittan, as the chief economics commentator of the ‘FT’ was one crucial figure. Another was Peter Jay, both as economics editor of the ‘Times’, and also because he was recruited by John – now Lord – Birt as the first presenter of the London Weekend Television’s flagship current affairs programme, ‘Weekend World.’

I spent a couple of years in 1976-8 on the foreign desk of the ‘FT’, when Fredy Fisher was editor, being kicked into some kind of shape as a journalist by a very brilliant foreign news editor, Alain Cass. However, they then wanted to send me to Brussels, which I thought about the most boring place in the world, and I was offered a researcher’s job on ‘Weekend World’.

By then Jay had left to be Ambassador in Washington, but because of his imprint, ‘Weekend World’ championed both ‘free market’ and ‘monetarist’ ideas, and as such became something of an intellectual nursery of ‘New Labour’.

In particular, Peter – now Lord – Mandelson, one of its chief architects, came out of there, but there were a number of other more or less consequential figure, including two successive Director Generals of the BBC, Birt himself and Greg Dyke.

For various reasons, I did not much like working there, and so shifted first to the company’s in-depth local London current affairs programme – a glorious place to work, if you were interested in how British society and politics were changing – and then to the features department.

The experiences pointed in two rather conflicting directions. On the one hand, unless one wanted to imitate the ostrich, and keep one’s head in the sand, there was a fundamental sense in which the reaction against the ‘economic philosophy’ of the post-war consensus on the part of people like Brittan and Jay was simply right.

The more closely one looked at its results, the more evident it was that state industrial intervention in Britain had been a disaster. And the disjunction between the enthusiasm of left-wingers – as Dyke for example then was – for trade unions and the evident facts about their malign influence on British industry and politics was even more evident if one was looking at a ‘micro’ rather than a ‘macro’ level.

On the other hand, it also became clear to me that free-market economists like Brittan and Jay could be remarkably naïve. Actually, this was particularly evident in the reorganisations of the broadcasting industry, in which both of them, in different ways, were involved.

My wife and I in some ways did quite well out of these – not least because, when the independent television sector was created, her skills, as a production manager who came out of BBC drama, became like gold dust.

However, I also came to realise that very much of modern economic theory is based upon notions about ‘rational’ action, and ‘information’, which simply ignore how complex and problematic both conceptions are.

This was not a realisation which came to me through meditating on philosophical issues, but through looking at the yawning gulf between how projects of ‘reform’ were supposed to work by theorists, and how they actually work in practice.

Among the many consequences was that, when the ‘young reformers’ in the former Soviet Union brought in people from the Harvard Institute for International Development to advise them on how to get out of the dead end into which communism had brought them, I knew that chaos was a likely result.

Another element related quite precisely to the fact that the political ideas of the ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies ‘lefties’ had in general been simply silly. Partly because of this, when people like Blair finally abandoned them, in the wake of successive electoral trouncings by Thatcher, their conversion acquired a curious ‘born again’ quality.

The determination of Blair to involve us in facilitating the invasion of Iraq, despite the evident ‘downside risks’, from a purely party political point of view as well as many others, comes out of this.

But there is also another irony. Part of Blair’s motivation here has been the determination to put his CND past behind him.

Ironically, my own deep suspicion of the ‘Peace Movement’ at the time had a great deal to do with the fact that its supporters were, in general, socialists like Blair.

Not long ago, I came across the website of a man called Stephen Shenfield. Again that took me back to the ‘Eighties.

(See http://stephenshenfield.net/places/russia/171-stories-of-a-soviet-studier .)

His grandmother, I learned, was a Jewish refugee from Tsarist Russia who came to Britain in 1925. So – although he moved to the United States – he is a certain type of British Jewish socialist.

In the early ‘Eighties, he collaborated with one Colonel Viktor Girshfield, a former Red Army officer then working for the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, who professed interest in the security ideas of Western disarmament activists, and wrote about ‘sufficient defence’.

At the time, of course, Shenfield was dismissed as a gullible tool of Soviet ‘information operations’, aimed at undermining Western defenses.

The curious thing, however, was that this turned out to be, to be frank, complete and utter BS.

It was Shenfield whose anticipations of the directions in which Soviet security thinking might move were prescient. The various forms of the conventional wisdom turned out to be wrong.

Ironically, part of the background to this was that the collapse of faith in 'statist' solutions, as later became evident, had been taking place in Soviet research institutes like that for which Girshfeld worked, and also sections of the KGB.

However, Shenfield still was then, and still is now, a socialist, while I have no more enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn now than I had then. But on Soviet security policy Shenfield was patently right. And nuclear 'deterrence' and the folly of Western interventions in the Middle East are among the few things on which I agree with Corbyn.

And yet Blair and the whole of ‘New Labour’ embraced all the neocon BS.


>>The Borg it seems is intent on taking us all down before they vacate the levers of power.

Not surprisingly. They must know that if the masses were ever to awaken and realise the magnitude of the deception which has been perpetrated against them, the Borg would be swinging from the nearest lamp posts in short order. They probably have some plans to scurry away in the chaos when it all comes on top.

Bill Herschel

If anyone would like to see brave Russian pilots in action, look at this video. Those flares are not 4th of July celebrations.


Russia is putting everything on the line. Let us see what happens.



Check out this mofo.

I want a refund!!

The new Israeli ambassador to the United Nations believes that Israel has God on its side but not the United States. In fact, U.S. policy has cost Israel “thousands of young lives.”



Küng is my favorite among Catholic dissenter.

There is another one, who intellectually is interesting here in my country, but for whatever reason, I have a really hard time to connect the written with the somewhat way too soft spoken person from my limited perspective in his special case.

I can see he may want to emphasize Jesus' intention as healer, based on scriptures versus historical realities. Anyway he tries to connect religion with psychology over the ages. And strictly, not really guided by successful box-office endeavors in the film industry to lead my interest, I do occasionally watch this products in the wider realm of exorcism.


Talk about biting the hand that feeds. The US should just cut these ingrates loose and let them fend for themselves. Then we'll see how long they last on their own surrounded by people who'd like nothing better than to see their heads on sticks.


Congress pays Israel billions in taxpayer money each year; Israel and its oligarchs then support AIPAC with roughly around a hundred million; AIPAC then pays Congress across the board $75M each year, not including the recent $6M total bonuses to Sen. Cotton. At 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, this works out to an average of just over $140K/@.

Since a Senator or Representative receives a U.S. salary of $174,000/yr (2014), and, assuming 50% Fed + local taxes, this then works out to $87,000 take-home pay after taxes. So the scheme ends up in roughly doubling their pay, depending on how you count.

If it's any consolation, I believe the Congress folk don't personally keep all the money, but rather spend it on underlings and advertising in order to stay in power. It's the same e.g. in Iraq, Ukraine, etc. Power takes money to run.

To believe that Congress is not complicit, or that it's all "flattery", or that AIPAC is merely "incompetent demagogues", seems to not give credit where credit is due. It's quite a sophisticated system, which has worked, undetected, for decades.


The Oded Yinon plan (cf. 1997) has *always* been to balkanize and reduce the enemies of the Chosen Ones to a state of perpetual anarchy and civil war. This has been the grand strategic goal all along. It didn't just happen. It has been achieved beyond wildest dreams in Iraq, Libya, and mostly Syria, with Iran on deck. They picked a goal, stuck to it tenaciously, and achieved it.


Of course this plays into the conspiracy-o-sphere, however, given the landscape Bush and Obama have left the Middle East in, can you blame them?

Obama just released 150 Billion back to Iran, for some very silly commitments which Iran has already proven it will not honor.

Do you think that's a wise strategy? Erdogen and the Muslim Brother finally got their victory and have accelerated the plans to subjugate Turkey. Obama praised the Democracy, as 5,000 police officers and teachers are arrested.

So what is it that you find so funny about this?



"Obama just released 150 Billion back to Iran" Your numbers are wrong. pl


"So what is it that you find so funny about this?" No idea what you are talking about. BTW you are new here. All comments are "moderated" by me or the author of a piece. Do not post things more than once. It is annoying. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad