It's as though ISIS and the U.S. media and political class worked in perfect unison to achieve the same goal here when it comes to American public opinion: fully terrorize them.
What kind of country goes around bombing people with no strategic purpose and with little motive other than to "flex muscles" and "show toughness"? This answer also seems clear: one that is deeply insecure about its ongoing ability to project strength (and one whose elites benefit in terms of power and profit from endless war). read more
Politics, if we take politics to mean the shaping and discussion of issues, concerns and laws that foster the common good, is no longer the business of our traditional political institutions. These institutions, including the two major political parties, the courts and the press, are not democratic. They are used to crush any vestiges of civic life that calls, as a traditional democracy does, on its citizens to share among all its members the benefits, sacrifices and risks of a nation. They offer only the facade of politics, along with elaborate, choreographed spectacles filled with skillfully manufactured emotion and devoid of real political content. We have devolved into what Alexis de Tocqueville feared -- "democratic despotism." read more
"Building a coalition could be done, and I think the United States could build it. But the problem that the U.S. faces now, and I think the policymakers in Washington are facing, is if they supported the Iranian-trained militias in defeating Islamic State, wouldn't that be handing Iraq and Syria over to Iran? They don't have a substitute to that. There is -- Iraq has disintegrated. The military itself, that the U.S. have helped building, has collapsed. So I think it's a policy dilemma." read more
In a lot of ways, we're worse off today than we were under George W. Bush.
Back then, Bush's extremist assault on civil liberties, human rights and other core American values in the name of fighting terror felt like an aberration.
The expectation was that those policies would be quickly reversed, discredited -- and explicitly outlawed -- once he was no longer in power.
Instead, under President Barack Obama, they've become institutionalized. read more
The United States and NATO are openly accusing Russia of sending combat forces into Ukraine as tensions continue to mount. According to the United Nations, nearly 2,600 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since April in fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatist rebels sympathetic to Russia. On Thursday, at least 15 civilians were killed when Ukrainian forces shelled the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Meanwhile, a new Human Rights Watch report accuses the rebels of arbitrarily detaining civilians and subjecting them to torture, degrading treatment, and forced labor. On Thursday, NATO released satellite images that it says show Russian artillery, vehicles and troops in and around eastern Ukraine. We are joined from London by the Guardian's Jonathan Steele, the organization's former Moscow correspondent and author of many books, including "Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, and the Mirage of Democracy." read more