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Total number of comments: 36 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:28)


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  • What's Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist
    • This is a sad day for aviation on top of the indescribable loss of precious lives. No convenient scapegoats, no usual suspects, no state sponsored line of investigation: post 911 changes to airports and airplanes, psych profiling of passengers, etc., all need reevaluating right away.

  • Obama with Drama: Translating his comments on Israel's Netanyahu from the Vulcan
  • Oil Price Fall: Saudi Arabia targets US Shale Oil, Iran, Iraq, Russia
    • Biofuels are produced via variety of means. The most promising aviation biofuel is algae based and would not burden the human food chain. It is, under specific conditions, nearly carbon neutral. So the aviation industry may save the day if it leads that way. Corn/grain ethanol or Palm oil based biodiesel etc. are alarming in the current modes of production. These latter do not have the specifications required of aviation fuels.

  • Victim of McCarthy-Era Witch Hunt calls on U-Illinois not to Fire Critic of Israeli Policies
  • Egypt's "Revocouption" and the future of Democracy on the Nile
    • Where is Athena in Cairo? Unless the Egyptian military comes up with another Nasser, Sadat, or Mubarak right away, Egypt remain incapacitated for the short term and sadly the long term. Transition to democracy has been messy everywhere, even in Athens! When you have a strongly (US)backed military as the only form of stable institution, high unemployment, incohesive impotent(in contrast with Saudi Arabia)fundementalism inside of a demographically impatient poor young population, the odds are not hard to figure out. Alas knowing the ending does not ease the pain!

  • If N. Korea is the Threat, Why is all the War Talk about a Weak Iran?
    • Interesting table. Also valid to ask: Why all the fuss about Iraq WMD? I believe there is zero rationale in most of the rhetoric if not the entire foreign policy game, including 10 Downing Street's claim that North Korea is enough of a threat to Great Britain's security to spend billions on the UK's already bloated nuclear arsenal. It is becoming harder to continue thinking that our times are not the most insane in history, given ample evidence to the contrary.

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • Yes but she is escaping at the end of the movie! I watched this movie and had one thought: if bombs were to fall on Iran tomorrow, Argo and the first lady Obama have done a convincing job of justifying the ensuing death and destruction! Please do a search on the colossal behind the scenes work by top Hollywood execs to parade Obama and Argo in the same place at the same time! And a disclaimer: I am not a conspiracy theorist!

  • Ahmadinejad: US must Cease Militarily Targetting Iran before Direct Negotiations
    • Indeed. Nixon had his own reasons for the China tri: The longstanding Cold War required another implementation of the "divide and rule" policy! China friend USSR foe. I do not see any parallels here either. The closest may be US-Cambodia or US-North Korea. Not very encouraging.

  • Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense
    • This is by far the best nomination Obama has made. Hagel is probably the most qualified person for the job. His service in Vietnam and his real concern followed by commitment to the vets is enough to present a sane alternative to Ike's dire but accurate forecast of over half century ago.

  • Why our Hair is not on Fire about Cutting Emissions, and what to do about it (Giesen)
    • Yes indeed. A side by side comparison of "rational" versus "irrational" forces in human history sure does not give one much confidence! It is, however, important that up to this hour we have not seen a nuclear Armageddon. It may still come but not yet. So may be we can put some weight on the rational side: press Obama, call Ottawa, send flowers to Bejing, text message New Dehli, etc. and reduce our consumption right here: one man one woman one child at a time! Our mantra can be something like: we can do this yes we can together we can. Peace.

  • Questions I ask myself about Connecticut School Shooting
    • A big why for me is the state of mental health in this country. Lack of funding and consequently will or vice versa, has left us unable to do the type of preventive mental care/intervention that should and must be the foundation of any modern industrial state. There was a time when I blamed other factors, but it is clear to me that we are living with a basically unhealthy population mentally and physically. Our money is spent on big and hungry projects with lobbyists up and down every Capitol, but the stuff that we really desperately need is kicked down the road if not totally off it. We need one brave mayor, governor, or president to put his or her foot down and then maybe maybe...

  • Romney's Five Wars
    • "A REPUBLIC requires folks who are self-disciplined enough to INFORM themselves about what their politicians are advocating or even suggesting."

      Yes Bruce, but how can a republic maintain a sufficient number of such folks when a potential leader and his supporters are committed to planting and "harvest"ing the worst of human qualities: divisive ignorance and juvenile impatience? As Mr. Romney demonstrated last week and as was amplified by the MSM. The great masses are both victims and the victimizers! Sad to say that the 1%, Romney and his friends, can muddy the waters enough to keep the 99% actively engaged in self-destructive abandon and/or paralysis instead of self-disciplined enlightenment. Obama represented a relative hope in 2008 and ,most importantly, he still does in 2012.

  • Tutu Slams Tony Blair for Illegal Iraq War, boycotts Leadership Conference
    • Agreed. I think Carter tried to do a gentle wake up call in his July 15, 1979 address to the nation-the speech later referred to as the "malaise" speech. His context was the rising energy costs, but it captured our fundamental blind spots rather well. Reagan, of course, used this to win the presidency-we are still paying for it!

    • Indeed, the Iraqi defensive strength was built up on this side so that there would be no doubt how dangerous and capable they were! Deep in the neocon and Bush/Rovian universe they manufactured this "reality" in order to have the congressional approval to use force. The consequent billions or as some have suggested trillions in treasure and as much or more in blood was not, it seems, enough an argument against these outright cruel and inhumane lies-both for us the citizens and for those on the receiving end of the Bush/Blair and company's wrath. Tutu has once again shown courage. Imagine a world were we had a genuine body that could prosecute ALL who commit crimes against humanity no matter the national origin!

  • 58 Murders a year by Firearms in Britain, 8,775 in US
    • Juan, Your point of not including Mexico is well taken. However given the political climate surrounding firearms in the US, it is perhaps instructive to look at other wealthy developed countries that have statistically similar firearm ownership: Canada and Switzerland will then be fair comparisons and worthy of side by side analysis.

  • China hopeful Iran will compromise with the UNSC
    • It is not clear to me what the choices are for Iran:

      (a) Halt all enrichment regardless of NPT allowances.
      (b) Halt all enrichment above 20%.
      (c) Halt all Uranium mining.
      (d) Disarm all conventional capabilities.

      Obviously on this side of the table we are aiming for something or else we would not have unleashed economic warfare on the Iranian public.

  • Iraq Slams Saudis, Qataris for Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels
    • It looks like the blueprint for the next 25 years of conflict and war in the ME has taken shape in Turkey. Sadly and predictably no regional blueprint for peace is in site.

  • US Public Wants out of Afghanistan as 3 Western Troops Killed by Afghan Troops
  • Republicans Promise to take US Health Care in Direction of Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Thanks for the map. It is interesting to note that we are racing to the bottom even in an area where we should be ahead of China, India, etc. Even the folks with $$$ private insurance in the USA do not get the kind of comprehensive care you get in a place like France, England, or our neighbor to the north. What is wrong with us?

  • Is Anti-Immigrant, Islamophobic Campaign Rhetoric fomenting Antisemitism in France?
    • Not only should the GOP be given copies, but anyone anywhere running for public office should be held accountable for inciting hate and violence!

    • "Sarkozy’s xenophobic & racist rhetoric and policies target immigrants – and French people – of Arabic/North African origin, particularly when they are Muslim."

      I think that Sarkozy and his right wing brethren in the US are making a grave error in buttering their political rhetoric with anti-immigrant rants. The right wing extremists view Jews in the same light as non-Jewish immigrants and egging them on for a few more votes may encourage a few to turn violent-as is most likely the case here. My condolences to France. May the parents and relatives of these school kids find the courage to stand up to this gross act of violence.

  • Changing Iran's Nuclear Calculation with Green Energy: Buonomo
    • "The question remains whether Iranian leaders would exploit this capability to pursue their own expansionist foreign policy agenda."

      This is a pretty wild assertion even going back to the Medes and the early history of the Persian Empire. The Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah comes from a different place and cannot and must not be labeled as "expansionist." The Iranian leadership in more in line with the Abbasid era domestic and foreign policies. In this manner, there is a deeply rooted connection to the Shia ideology of justice and fair governance. Solidarity with the downtrodden in the region comes from these roots.

      There was a possibility of rapprochement based on green energy carrot, pre David Frum's infamous Bush "Axis-of-Evil" speech and Cheney led neocon rejection of moderate Khatami government's overtures. That proverbial train left the station awhile back.

      Now we have to deal with our own image in the mirror. The only course left is to stand for and push for a nuclear weapons ban in the entire Middle East. Ask our friends and foes to come to the table. For this to happen we need to think outside of a different "box." The "military-industrial complex" of Eisenhower is our box and in a very similar manner Israel's. Unless we and our friends can find a way to crawl out, the Iranians will not be deterred anymore by the promise of a few Megawatts of green energy than our own recent governments of Democrats and Republican governments alike.

  • Netanyahu 1992: Iran will Have the Bomb by 1997
    • I have had a similar question for awhile: What is the ultimate goal of Israel? It cannot be mere survival, they with their current estimated capability can bomb the entire ME many times over. It cannot be their economy, high oil prices hurts them. They are trade partners with the top economies of the world, their GDP is better than any other country in the region. It cannot be their technology, they are the most technologically advanced regime in the region. What is threatening them?

  • Top Ten Dangers for Obama of Iran Sanctions on behalf of Israel
    • Thanks for very good points. However, one has to remember that Iran is not an Arabic speaking or a Sunni Muslim country. There will never be any fundamentalist Sunni Muslim solidarity with Iran or the Iranians after the devastating effects of war, instigated by the US or Israel, or the current pseudo-war sanctions regime. As a matter of fact the big Sunni money in the Gulf and the peninsula has not befriended the non-Sunni cases or causes. In reality there is very little Iranian influence around the region. There may be some fellowship in Iraq, but logistically the Iraqis are going to be busy building their house for a long long time to come, and so cannot come to Iranians' aid with other than some basic minimums like fuel etc. China, Japan, S. Korea, India, and Pakistan have some fuel ties with Iran, but cannot and will not go to war over the threat of losing these supplies and can find replacements-albeit at a higher price. So the nation of Iran is more or less defenseless and friendless(it most certainly does not have a lobby in DC). In summary, here is a country that can be attacked with immunity, like Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Of course, moral arguments notwithstanding!

      Against such stark reality we(it is our government and our MSM like it or not) have turned up the volume on the propaganda machine to create the impression of morality and justice. Meanwhile, we have put the Iranians in the impossible position of proving a negative even when our own intelligence service has repeatedly indicated the absence of an Iranian bomb, the absence of an Iranian intention of a bomb, and the absence of an Iranian intention of a "nuclear capability" aka Japan option.

  • Mark Twain on Courage
    • Thanks Juan for the Twain. Nevertheless, moral courage has proven far more instrumental in change politics. One domestic example: the civil rights movement and MLK. I cannot think of any examples in the US foreign policy, recently or otherwise. Can you Juan? Alas, Twain also wrote another truth: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure rhymes." I do not know if he had access to Omar Khayaam, but they would have liked each other.

  • Dear President Obama: On Iran, Listen to the Israelis, not the Likud
    • "And the State Department might be just as ghoulish as the Pentagon, but it just takes longer to see the results."

      Your point is well taken. What has the state department offered the Iranians in exchange for their termination of enrichment activities? I see a thread of profoundly immoral acts regardless of the point of origin being the pentagon, the state department, etc.

    • This just out: Obama says he is not "bluffing" on Iran. Today the Israeli PM meets with the president. There is a history of 30+ years of tough sanctions on Iran just made more draconian in the last couple of years. Meanwhile it is the all important parliamentary elections in Iran. What is the overall signal to the Iranians and the Israelis? With the ongoing sanctions and threats the Iranians will rally around the leaders and the nuclear solidarity factor will trump the sanctions hardship. The constant military strike threats are a welcome bonus for the Iranian right. The Israeli administrations of the past and present have carried progressively bigger and bigger sticks-I dare say with diminishing returns. Let us wish Obama courage today.

  • Omar Khayyam (43)
    • Khayyam got it . The essence of all religion is to allow us to live a connected life in our own time. In this way his poetry points the way to immortality: "twigs of immortality" grow out of this mortal mass. Hark.

      Jesus, as do Abraham and Jacob et al, occupy a central ethos of the Muslims. How this centrality plays out in politics is complicated by a variety of factors, but nevertheless important to remember.

  • Arizona Republican Debate: The Middle East
    • Paul was the only one up there with credible moral integrity. That is to say the one that might stand a chance among a nonpartisan electorate and be able to beat Obama.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu attacks Gen. Dempsey as Servant of Iran
    • I wonder if the sanctions are there to appease the hawks and saber-rattling crowd here and in the ME . Election year politics as usual. Why else would Obama rhetorically and otherwise push for it, sacrificing our own economic interests in the midst of a jobless recession, where the intelligence report does not support an Iranian nuke in the near future? Either we want a nuclear-free ME, in which case "all options should be on the table" and everyone should be around the same table, or we do not. Obama sounded better in 2008, but this is 2012. The similarities between Clinton's compliant continuation and expansion of Bush(41) Iraq sanctions with the current state of diplomatic conduct are rather disturbing.

    • Sorry I did not mean to write religion per se. I meant what religion can lead to: a supernatural rationality that is beyond worldly reason! Most of it can be harmless, but the little that is not has not been easy on the world! Soviet rationality did not have a supernatural force behind it...

    • History is full of exactly these "half-a**ed or catastrophic" consequences! WWI, WWII German/Italian/Japanese side especially, Vietnam, Iraq I on Iraq side, Iraq II on the US side...etc. I agree with the Soviet analogy, but how would have one made a prediction at the height of Stalin's supercharged(and talk about "internal contradictions") and cruel power? What is puzzling is not that Israel seems to operate with many blind spots no matter who the PM or FM-many nations have, do , and will-it is that wholesale loyalty of the US-google US UN vetoes of the past 6 decades-does not seem to take any of these spots away! What can explain this? Religion?

      BTW South Africa ran for quite awhile with lots of these "internal contradictions."

  • History Lesson on US-Iran Relations
    • This is interesting. One has to remember that Iran's chief source of revenue has been and is fossil fuel exports. They generate more revenue by moving their domestic energy production/consumption to stuff other than fossil fuels. The Shah wanted a French or Japanese-like source of nuclear energy. It made fiscal sense-of course wind and solar can replace a lot of the nuclear today, but the vision is not there yet! Nor is it here yet!
      The Shah, like Dr. Mossadegh, was educated in western Europe and ultimately and ironically met a similar fate. Both were forcefully removed and exiled. The developed countries, and their undeveloped allies, do not seem to have a clear vision of a future other than war and constant threat of war. What a total waste! Dr. Mossadegh and the military had no intention of deposing the Shah-they wanted a better more efficient distribution of power as evident in the successful European monarchies of their era-Holland, Sweden, Norway, etc. However, absolute dictatorship played a stronger hand at the time-cold war, dominos, etc. It is almost as if the great powers, blind and deaf, were not able to see the gaping difference between communism and democratic aspirations!

  • Omar Khayyam (3)
    • Thanks for the translation. The second quartet, not translated, at the bottom of the page is very important in light of your Latin America post. Please translate and post.

  • Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks
    • The elephant in the room here is the evident lack of good intentions and/or self interest on the part of the US, very much in keeping with the spirit and image of Procrustes. In a sad way it sounds like the 1600's and the repeated colonial reneging and deception in dealing with and taking resources away from the various native American tribes. In spirit, the US diplomacy then and now comes across as far removed from decency as from common sense. With aching hearts and tears in our eyes we are witnessing, thanks to wikileaks, yet again the Procrustean polity at work. Unless, of course, one considers our historical dehumanization of the natives and their subsequent demise a resounding success! The difference between now and then is that now the American people are often the first victims of the uninterrupted deception.

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