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  • Conspiracy Theorist in Chief: Trump's falsehood about 2 mn. illegal votes only tip of Melting Iceberg
    • Apparently one of Trump's biggest backers is the publisher of The National Enquirer and Trump has used that publication as a cited source for some of his claims. That's only a small step up from the Weekly World News. Heaven help us all.

    • ed--that reason applied to 13 states with a total population of 3 million 230 years ago. The country was totally different then and the states at the time of the Constitutional Convention were like separate countries, with little in common between New York and Georgia, for example, or between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, for another example. Also, communications and travel between the states were totally different then. For example, news of Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 took two weeks to reach Washington D.C. The Electoral College was part of the big states/small states compromise. It also was in response to what many Founders/Framers feared about democracy, based on their conception of democracy found in ancient Greece. What made sense 230 years ago has no relevance to the modern US of A.

    • Interestingly enough, a Gallup poll taken the day AFTER the election showed that Trump's favorability rating was at 42% and his unfavorability rating was at 55%. He will be, by far and away, the most unpopular person to ever take the oath of office for President. With all the analysis and dissection of the vote, too often people have overlooked the obvious explanation--the ignorance and foolishness of large swaths of the electorate. In the last days of the campaign fake news got wider distribution on social media than did real news. Few people bother to fact check. I think it's pretty disturbing, really, how so many people can be so easily conned.

    • Yeah, still 2 million more votes than Trump. Only for the President can you win more votes and lose. We need to get rid of the Electoral College. Clinton lost because of the distribution of the votes more than because of Trump's popularity.

  • Is Trump "Pro-Russian?" How will Russia Fare? Russians want to Know
    • Much of my study as a undergrad and grad student involved the USSR and communism. It has been said that the Russian people themselves are similar in many ways to Americans and have many admirable qualities. Whatever the case, their international record has not been sterling. Consider, too, that Putin was a former KGB officer. To succeed in the KGB you had to be ruthless and unsentimental and a fervent nationalist and supporter of the regime. It was anything but a democratic organization and was guilty of stupendous horrors over the decades. I once read that the Poles have a saying that with the Germans they lose their freedom, with the Russians they lose their souls. Whoever and whenever dealing with the Russians, especially a Putin government or any authoritarian Russian government, wariness and skepticism should be the watch words.

    • When you look at Presidents who were considered corrupt--Grant, Harding, Nixon, etc. they were mostly corrupt administrations wherein cabinet members and other administration officials were corrupt. When you consider the Presidents themselves, as soon as Trump takes the oath of office he will have the distinction of being the most corrupt President in US history--fraud, sexual assault, misuse of charitable funds, illegal campaign donation to an attorney general considering indicting his company, and who knows what else. The Republicans impeach him? Highly unlikely unless he does something liberal they can't stand.

  • CNN's Chyron wonders if Jews are People, inspired by Trumpist Neofascism
  • 5 Trump Headlines more outrageous than the "Hamilton" Tiff
    • I read Arendt's book many years ago in in college and thought it was a bit rambling and lacking social science discipline. I would recommend John Dean's Conservatives Without a Conscience which goes into recent social science research on what makes people have an authoritarian leaning and how that is linked to conservative thought. Also, here's an appropriate article in today's Huffington Post: link to huffingtonpost.com

    • It is not at all unusual for people to hold two contradictory ideas or beliefs at the same time and not recognize the conflict. It is called cognitive dissonance and is a common psychological condition. Thus, being an anti-Semite and a pro-Zionist is not out of the question as one is more about personal, racist views and the other is more of a foreign policy view. Also, many far right evangelical Christians believe that Israel taking over the Middle East is the necessary step for the coming of Armageddon and the Rapture. So, those type of people can easily be both anti-Semitic and pro Zionist.

    • Regarding the Tump U settlement, this is the way our country operates. If a con man swindles a little old lady out of $5,000 and is caught, he will not only have to pay it all back, he will almost certainly be prosecuted for violating the law and has a good chance of spending a couple of years behind bars. A rich businessman cheats thousands of people out of millions, but it's only a civil trial and he walks away with most of his money. It's like the bankers who crashed the economy so they could enrich themselves and all that happened is that their banks had to pay hefty fines which were undoubtedly less than what they made. As someone once said, the best way to rob a bank is to own one. BTW, are there still people who think that Trump is looking out for the "little guy"?

    • The Anti-Defamation League considers Bannon to be anti-Semitic. I saw the head of that organization on MSNBC say that a couple of days after Bannon's appointment was made.

  • Why Internment of Japanese Americans is an outrageous Model for registering Muslim-Americans
    • I find your naivete to be rather incredible. Trump changes his positions as often as person with a cold changes Kleenex. He just settled the Tump U fraud case after insisting for over a year he would never do that. Only a fool would believe this guy.

    • The Bush Administration got away with torture, a war crime and a crime prohibited by US law because of toady attorneys in the White House and Attorney General's office. After Trump got elected, we can't take anything for granted. Scalia, for example, argued with a straight face that waterboarding was not a violation of the 8th Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment because it wasn't punishment.

    • And today we learn that Trump's nominee for Attorney General Is Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions probably holds the same views as Higbie since he is a fervent anti-immigrationist and has a racist past. So, it looks likely that something similar to a national registry will be attempted. Regarding your Point #2, I think this is something important that not many people are aware of. The Constitution uses the term person or people in most instances when talking about rights and limits on government. About the only time it uses the term citizen is when referring to qualifications for holding Federal public office. This was not a coincidence. The rights and privileges of the Constitution extend to all people in the US, whether they are citizens or not. Visitors upon entering lose some 4th Amendment rights and there are other exceptions like that, but even a visitor accused of a crime is still afforded the rights of the Constitution like the 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. And any legal resident (i.e., green card holder) has all the rights and protections of all citizens. Finally, for those who said Clinton was no better than Trump, please hang your head in shame and do some penance (a contribution to the ACLU would be good).

  • Will Trump do a deal with Iran or try to Overthrow its Government?
    • It has been reported that President Bush was not even aware that there were Shia, Sunni and Kurds in Iraq. He seemed to think they were just all Iraqis. Then, he pointedly ignored the State Department and deliberately picked people for post invasion Iraq who were totally clueless about the region, much less the country. This has all been clearly documented. Trump seems to be even more of a know nothing and so far he seems to prefer people based on their loyalty instead of their knowledge or experience. Whatever his proclivities, it's not comforting to me that he will be making decisions set on a base of ignorance.

    • His first two announced appointments don't exactly inspire confidence.

  • Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: "Anger is a Good thing" "if you're Fighting to Take this Country Back"
    • I can excuse a lot of people voting for George W. Bush in 2000 even though I thought that was a mistake. But there was no excuse for re-electing him in 2004 when it was obvious the Iraq War was based on lies and was a total disaster. Then Bush brought us the worst economy since the Great Depression, so that we were staring into the abyss. After Obama brings us back, leaves office with a 52% approval rating, with low unemployment and no inflation plus the longest period of job growth in US history, those same electors voted for the man who promised to undo everything that Obama did and follow almost all of Bush's economic policies. In short, as bad as things may get under Trump, you cannot count on the American public to make a smart and logical choice. As to your other point about living a nightmare, the only time in domestic political history that I think approaches this as far as presenting danger to the Republic was the Civil War, which was a totally different matter. I cannot think of any analog in US history which compares to the election of this man.

    • A couple of things. A billionaire named Mercer is the one pulling the strings. He was a main funder of Breitbart and he was a supporter of Kellyanne Conway. link to mediamatters.org So, the idea that Trump was ever going to be for the working man was obviously false from the start. Secondly, According to Alex Jones, Trump called him and thanked him for his support only a couple of days after the election, telling Jones that he called him before talking to kings or prime ministers. For those who don't know, Jones makes Bannon look like a moderate. He is a certified conspiracy nut job. Trump's reported favorite for the EPA is a climate change denier and Sarah Palin is supposedly in line for Dept. of the Interior. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and now says that he wants to deport more than that 2 or 3 million he first said. I saw Lesley Stahl last night on TV and she was saying how conciliatory Trump was for her 60 Minutes interview and related how he said he wanted to be the President for all the people. And then she expressed surprise that he picked Steve Bannon. She was conned, just like half of the voters. When will people realize that he is an extreme right wing con man, for whom lying comes as naturally as breathing?

  • Sting & Gandhian anti-Terrorism: Your Paris vacation can help cripple ISIL
    • Another reputed choice is John Bolton, of the bomb, bomb Iran cabal. He might be even worse than Rudy.

    • Don't forget a side trip to Nice. Of course many stupid people will say that the answer is to be tougher with Muslims and bomb the hell out of them and other stupid people will believe them. We have to push back against this idiocy and call out the hate mongers for what they are. I'm going to be busy posting on the internet for the next 4 years.

  • Four years of Trump could really sink the planet
    • Once released in the atmosphere, CO2 lasts for 100 years. We have passed 400 ppm and it is still going up. Even if Trump does nothing to cut back Obama's policies, that's still not enough. If he does, the game is over and we will likely see effects that few people have even foreseen.

    • There is also a possibility that little pigs will fly. Most all of his early advisers and transition team is made up of establishment lobbyists and his rumored choice for a key environmental job is a climate change denier.

    • I guess it escaped your notice that a large chunk of the establishment is made up of the fossil fuel industry. The "establishment" does not support the massive effort to fight climate change that is necessary. Haven't you noticed that the US is the only country where a sizable portion of the populace, due to propaganda from the establishment, doesn't believe climate change is real? In no other country does the fossil fuel industry have such a hold on public policy and you think the establishment is going to change Trump into an environmentalist? How delusional can one get?

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • I find it hard to believe the lack of information still evident about Trump. What more does one have to do before you consider him a misogynist? On national radio he once admitted he doesn't respect women, he calls women sexist names, rates them according to his standards of beauty, and has sexually assaulted probably at least 10 women, As for racist, 30 some years ago he was cited for refusing to rent to African Americans and one of his property managers revealed later that he gave specific instructions to throw away all rental application from African Americans. When an important visitor was going to go through one of his casinos, Trump ordered that all his African American employees be moved out of sight. He statement about Judge Curiel is widely considered to be racist and so was his first campaign statement about Mexican immigrants. As for advisers, Trump says his main foreign policy adviser is himself because he has a good mind, he knows more than the generals, and seems totally uninterested in policy details. About the only policy detail he highlighted was to build the wall. Most everything else was he was going to have some great ideas and they will be huge and you will love them.

    • You hope Trump puts aside his salacious and stupid comments? How delusional can one get? This is what he is. Not just his words, put his past behavior over not just years, but decades, shows that he is racist, narcissistic, authoritarian, short tempered, and knows almost nothing about government.. He may even have ADD. His co-writer on Art of the Deal reported that he couldn't get Trump to cooperate in a usual way that books are written. He doesn't read and has a short attention span and is uninterested by facts. His co-writer had to make appointments with him and interview him to get enough material for his book and the sessions couldn't be too long because then Trump would lose interest. Even the majority of those who voted for him said he was unfit and unqualified, according to exit polls. You need to get a clue.

    • Let's not forget, too, that Clinton actually received more total votes than Trump. Trump does NOT speak for a majority in this country. All the major things he stands for are evil. You don't compromise with evil. The Republicans have won because they lie, they cheat, they steal. Progressives have to fight constantly, never give in, and keep up a constant opposition in all its legal forms. At his inauguration, there should be massive protests.

  • Putin targets East Aleppo rebels; Did Trump's Election doom them?
    • As per today's Huffington Post, the Russian foreign minister admitted that the Putin regime had contacts with people in the Trump campaign. It is pretty clear that Russia will have a free hand while Trump is President. Ukraine may have to cede some of its eastern territory now and Russia may now have a permanent presence in the Mediterranean via the Syrian port at Tartous.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • You have given us a bunch of strong, sweeping opinions and conclusions. Not worth much without some kind of evidence.

    • A recent article in my local paper was about a women having trouble with her medical costs because of high prescription drug prices. She is on Medicare and fell into the doughnut hole. She said she supported Trump and wanted to see the ACA repealed, obviously not realizing that the ACA is going to close the doughnut hole in a couple of years. I would bet that the vast majority of Medicare patients don't realize that many things that used to require a co-pay are now free because of the ACA. The lack of knowledge, especially about health care, is pretty appalling.

    • About 18 months ago there was a national poll which asked people if they would vote for a nominee of their own party who was. . . and then they gave a list of different types, such as Muslim, socialist, woman, black, etc. 50% said they couldn't vote for a socialist of their own party, one reason I think Bernie supporters are living in dream land if they think he could have won. He never had to face any smears because the Republicans never thought he would win the nomination. As to women, 8% of those polled said they could not vote for a woman of their own party for President. So, consider that among Republicans that would be much higher, just because the candidate was a woman. Even if we just take the 8% figure, that is a huge hurdle to overcome. If you split that 8% in half and give Clinton 4% more of the vote, she wins by a large margin.

    • There is another possibility which I think is the most likely. A lot of fence sitters and luke warm Hillary supporters decided to vote for Trump because of the Comey letter. That change could have come too late for the pollsters to pick up. In a close election a change of just a couple of % can reverse the outcome.

    • I rely on research, not beliefs.

    • To further my argument that this is not so much an economic issue, consider this. Probably the group that supported Trump the most was retired white men. Retired, as in not working. People who will be adversely affected by likely changes to Medicare and Social Security that will adversely affect them economically. I live in a fairly well to do senior community. And it is senior white men who have overwhelmingly supported Trump, while the women mostly supported Clinton.

    • And where did neoliberalism come from? It came from the Chicago school of economics, most notably Milton Friedman. It was seized on and promoted by Republicans, like Ronald Reagan. It's major focus was the destruction of unions and trickle down economics via increasing the wealth of corporations and the elite. While Clinton embraced the neoliberal trade policy, he/they did not embrace the other aspects. Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, as did Obama. The greatest loss of manufacturing jobs came during the George W. Bush administration. Your argument is kind of like blaming a victim of a crime for not putting up enough of a fight. It is the right wing propaganda machine combined with a lack of knowledge by uneducated whites which mostly led to this. In many of those areas Trump was getting over 60% of the vote. The Reagan Democrats weren't due to neo-liberal policies since the New Deal; economic policies were still ascendant at the time Reagan assumed the presidency. This is all about social issues, with an economic topping.

    • Are those same people complaining about immigrants who are white? This is all about racism. Just recently I posted a link that showed a large amount of research shows that discontent is mostly about fear of racial minorities taking some of the white control. Despite the article here, that is the over riding issue, not the economic issue.

  • Dear Ann Coulter: Ben Franklin didn't think you or Trump are White, Either
    • In defense of Franklin, one of the greatest Americans of all time, prevailing thought and knowledge about races and ethnic groups, etc. were much different and much less was known then. Franklin was an early opponent of slavery. When he was in his mid-teens he moved to Philadelphia in order to escape the rigid authoritarianism of the Puritans in Massachusetts, such as the Mathers. So, relative to his time, he was very enlightened. An anthropologist roommate of mine many years ago told me that there are more differences within the races than between them. The concept of race is really an artificial construct that has little meaning in biology. As for this issue in Trump era politics, Vox had a good article summarizing the fairly extensive social science research on the reason for the rise of anti-immigrant politics here and in Europe. It seems the problem is not economic insecurity, but that whites fear losing political power to non-whites. link to vox.com

  • Top 5 Times the FBI intervened to Help the US Right Wing
    • When Hillary Clinton was SOS she was accused of not doing anything. Now that she is running for President, she is accused of doing everything. Are you so uninformed that you think that she or any SOS can make and implement significant public policy independent of the President? The SOS mainly runs the department and is one of many advisers that the President has. In addition to the National Security Council, there are numerous special advisers and Vice President Biden also had a significant role in foreign policy. The US has been providing significant arms aid to the Saudis for over 40 years ($312 million back in 1972, which would be the equivalent of about 5 times that today). This year the US is selling them $1.5 billion, long after Clinton left and it was app-roved by the Senate. Additionally, arms sales and arms aid is mostly in the purview of the Department of Defense and State is just one department that signs off on the deal. The idea that Clinton was the main cause of this is just ridiculous. Comey called her behavior extremely careless, not reckless and the State Department disagrees with that description. He never once said that she was guilty of perjury. As for the emails, only 3 of those that the FBI claimed were classified, were classified at the time she received them and they were not marked as classified. Of the 3 that were marked classified, they were marked incorrectly in such a way that most users would not identify them as classified. I know because I previously had a top secret clearance and would not have recognized those emails as classified. You can criticize Clinton for many things, but please stick to the truth.

    • You download the emails to a dozen different computers and have agents work in shifts. If it was a personal email, that would be immediately obvious and wouldn't require reading the whole thing. It doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility to get something like this done in the allotted time frame with enough agents. According to the LA Times, the FBI worked around the clock after they got the search warrant. It was 9 days from the first letter to Congress to the letter clearing Clinton.link to latimes.com

  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • Here is a good summary of the pretty extensive social science research that shows pretty conclusively that Trump and his like in Europe aren't about economics, bad wars, or whatever other excuse you might want to choose. It is basically about racism against immigrants with a darker color of skin. It is about whites, who have been in the ascendant for millennia, fearing their loss of control of society.link to vox.com

  • Top 5 urgent Climate Change/Election Stories MSM Suppressed
    • What we have seen is that scientists have underestimated the pace of climate change. Things are actually worsening faster than originally predicted. Not just the Arctic, but Greenland and the Antarctic have been losing ice faster than predicted. Because this has never happened before in modern times we are conducting a planetary experiment and scientists can only make educated predictions and guesses on what will happen and how fast. I worry about melting of the arctic permafrost and the vast release of methane, something which is rarely mentioned, perhaps because the results would be so dire.

    • Regarding sea ice, there is an even more dangerous element than you have presented. It is called the albedo effect. Ice reflects sunlight. Less ice, more sunlight is absorbed and the sea heats up faster, reducing ice more, etc. This sets up a feedback loop that is extremely difficult to stop and we may have already reached the point of no return, unless CO2 is removed from the environment. Additionally, the warming of the oceans will cause more acidification, more coral die off and mess up the deep sea ocean currents that greatly affect our climate and, for example, make England and the British Isles much less cold than they would otherwise be. Finally, the liberal MSNBC shows like Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow do give attention to climate change and Hayes had a series of reports about 9 months ago on how climate change is already having a serious effect. But they are about the only ones.

  • Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?
    • To further amplify your point, If Trump wins, or even if the Republicans retain the Senate (as just pointed out in a good article by Paul Krugman), legislation combating climate change is dead and the planet if probably doomed to suffer terrible catastrophe. link to huffingtonpost.com

    • I was talking about domestic policy. Nevertheless, Wilson, whom I don't particularly like because he was an out and out racist, was not ahead of the country when it came to war in 1917. With events like the Lusitania and the Zimmerman Letter, combined with effective British propaganda, the declaration of war almost certainly reflected the will of the people. All during the period of 1915 to 1917 Roosevelt, the putative leader of the GOP , had been vilifying Wilson for not taking sterner measures vis a vis the Germans and he would have wanted us to go to war sooner than he did. As for LBJ and Vietnam, the alternative was Barry Goldwater and then Nixon took over and made things e4ven worse. You don't live in the real world where the choices aren't always what you want, but are most often between bad and worse. As for Obamacare, the alternative was no change to the status quo.

    • I think when historians look back, they will conclude that 2016 was when 40% of the American electorate lost their effing minds and voted for Trump. Also, thanks to him and his party, it will be seen as a time when democratic norms and institutions were seriously weakened. I feel a need to make a response to some points and many of the comments here, so bear with me. First, inequality decreased under Bill Clinton. I never approved of his policies, but the full employment during his administration did lead to a decrease in inequality fostered by the Republicans. I think people of the left bemoan Hillary's policies much too much. Most important is not her, but whether the Democrats control Congress. Look at history over the last 100 years and the times when the most progressive policies have been enacted have been when there has been a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress. Entering office, neither FDR nor LBJ was as liberal as Hillary Clinton and Clinton had a slightly more liberal voting record in the Senate than Obama did. I worked in government for 20 years, studied a lot of political science, and too many people fail to realize that politics is the art of the possible. President Obama has been making this point. He says that even when you are completely right on an issue, you still have to compromise. Trump would like to not have a democracy, but even when your party controls Congress, if you're a Democrat, you still have to compromise. As Will Rogers once said, I'm not a member of any organized political party--I'm a Democrat. More people in this country identify themselves as conservative than liberal. In fact, just about 50% more. This is not my preference, but is a political fact you have to deal with. You can rail all you want against the oligarch, but first you have to convince a majority of the population that government regulation is the solution, not the problem. Then you have to build up the government to take on the entrenched economic elites. They didn't gain power overnight and they can't be removed easily or quickly. Pay attention to what Bernie said. Progressives have to start winning the local races, change the gerrymandering and the voting laws, and then move up to Congress. This is the stuff of decades, not years.

  • War within War - Iraqi PM: We don't want to fight Turkey but we're Ready
    • Left wing ideologues think that the US is so powerful that we are responsible for all the bad things others do while right wing ideologues think we can impose our will whenever we want and if bad things happen from out standpoint, it was just a lack of will by our government. After Vietnam and then Iraq you would think people would have learned.

    • Another example of people over estimating the power of the US. This would be a disaster for US foreign policy. You think that the US isn't furiously trying to smooth the waters? Just a reminder. Erdogan has made it a habit of ignoring US entreaties, Iraq refused to agree to a status of forces agreement and only let US advisers back in when the situation was dire, and Maliki totally ignored our advice on being more inclusive. When are people going to learn about the importance of nationalism in international relations?

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  • Emails and Groping: Our Halloween Election keeps Scaring us to Death
    • I have seen a lot of smart women make stupid choices when it comes to boyfriends and husbands and men do the same. When it comes to love you can't judge a person's judgment on other things. That seems pretty obvious, I would think, to anyone who has observed human nature for any length of time. Love often results in people doing stupid things. You assume a lot about the emails when we know next to nothing about them. You are too quick to leap to conclusions.

    • So we are to judge a woman's ability to do a job on the basis of whom she chooses to marry? Since there are a lot of husbands who are scum, you would have to eliminate an awful lot of women from their jobs. And Abedin failed to control Weiner's behavior? When is the last time you or anyone could control a person's behavior, unless you are a cop putting them in jail? Parents can't control their own kids. You are just looking for an excuse, it seems to me. I have no opinion of Abedin one way or another as to her competence since I know next to nothing about the advice she gives Clinton. But it is beyond ridiculous to apply your standards to her or any woman, or any man, for that matter as I can't control my wife's behavior.

  • Starstruck & Party-Fanatic: The Moral Paradox of Trump Support
    • For those who don't know, the Republicans played the anti-immigrant card with Proposition 187 in 1994. It doomed their party to minority status as Hispanics and other minorities grew until they now make up a majority of the population. With Trump you will start seeing this occur in many other states like Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Florida. Even Georgia may go Democratic in the next presidential election cycle. New Mexico and Colorado seem to also have already become Democratic states because of these demographics.

    • I find it hard to understand, as a liberal Californian, how anyone could vote for this guy. Especially minorities and women. Voters from those groups who vote for Trump are like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders. What we have seen is that most of the Republican Party is now divorced from reality and easily swayed by propaganda. Plus, I think it is safe to say that about 20% of the American people are racists, misogynist, xenophobes, and/or authoritarians. And about 20% of the populace also believes that the sun revolves around the earth, so there ya go. H.L. Mencken once said that no one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Churchill once said that you can count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have exshausted all the other options.

    • The US did not engage in carpet bombing in Europe, only in Japan under Curtis LeMay. The approach by the Americans and the British were completely different. The US believed that we could carry out accurate precision daylight bombing of military targets and US commanders accepted the heavy losses that came with that. The British began that way, but found the losses unacceptable and switched to night time area bombing. Most all of the bombing of Hamburg, especially that which led to the firestorm, was carried out by the RAF. While the USAF participated in the bombing of Dresden, it was a British initiated plan and they did most of the bombing. The USAF tried again to carry out precision bombing (mainly a rail yard), but failed because of all the smoke and a lot of US bombers missed the city completely. As for US attitudes, most civilians had little idea of the horrors of the war because US press sanitized the news and US censors kept a lot of information away from the public. Also, attitudes towards the Germans were different than that towards the Japanese. Both among civilians and soldiers, there was much more enmity toward the Japanese than the Germans.

  • Trump says Clinton will Start WW III with Russia, but Moscow Disagrees
    • I really wonder why Clinton ever latched onto her stupid no fly zone idea. Once the Russians entered the conflict it certainly became totally unfeasible and the idea has been overtaken by events. Despite her shortsightedness on the Middle East, Clinton is so far superior to the totally ignorant and bellicose Trump, that the choice is obvious. We really need a lot more liberals in Congress that will put the kabosh on any foolish adventurism that Clinton might engage in. If it were Trump in the White House and a Republican Congress that would surely accompany that, the future certainly looks bleak (attack another country for obscene gestures, anyone?).

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam
    • There is no doubt that both 4 and 5 are violations of law and unconstitutional. I think you minimize just how bad they are. The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. There is a specific law against torture and the Constitution specifies that treaties are the "law of the land" so that the Geneva Convention prohibiting torture and making it a war crime is thus part of US law. As for holding families, clearly a violation of law and a violation of due process as well as the 14th Amendment. Also, Korematsu is not just bad law, it is considered one of the worst decisions by the Supreme Court in history, up there with Dred Scott.

    • The Islamic world is not monolithic any more than the Christian. What you are saying is like saying that Christians are responsible for atrocities of the IRA during their time of terror in Ireland and Great Britain. According to the Wikipedia entry on Wahabis, they make up less than 5 million Muslims in the Persian Gulf (29 million inhabitants in Saudi Arabia alone).

  • ISIL Boasts: America will go down to defeat in the Streets of Mosul
    • ISIS will turn into a terrorist group like al Qaeda so that we will see a lot of car bombs, attacks on mosques and the like. But it will no longer present a real threat to the Iraq government's control of its territory, as long as the Iraq government doesn't go and screw things up again like they did with al Maliki. Having studied developing countries a lot I have concluded that the importance of political leadership cannot be overstated. So often when we see countries devolve into instability or chaos it is because of venality, selfishness, stupidity, or tribal/ethnic warfare by the ruling elites. There aren't too many George Washingtons out there. Let's hope the Iraqi Shiites have learned something.

  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States
    • One thing Marx got right is that religion is the opium of the people. Some people get more hooked than others and true believers can become dangerous, whatever the religion.

    • Excellent analysis you rarely see outside of scholarly journals. Most coverage of current events are just a recitation of the events rather than a look at why and how they happen. This article is a good example of why this website is so valuable and why I have recommended it often to others.

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread
    • One good description of how things came to be this way is found in the book Who Stole the American Dream by Hedrick Smith. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz lays out the dangers in his book The Price of Inequality.

  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism?
    • If you have a pile of kindling in dry grass and three feet away you are playing with matches on a windy day, you shouldn't be surprised if the field catches on fire. Trump has laid the groundwork and has been lighting the matches. This man and his supporters are a true danger to our democracy. Showing once again that the so-called alt-right is more of a danger than radical terrorists.

  • Dylan, the American Left, and What We have Lost
    • I don't think there has ever been a more anti-war song sung as bitterly as Masters of War by Dylan. Everybody should listen to it if you haven't already. Here's one version. link to youtube.com

  • US Goes to War with Houthis in Yemen (Openly)
    • To sound like a broken record, once again we see a conflict in the Middle East where neither side is particularly worthy of support. And, once again, the best US course is to stay out. If only we would learn.

  • Clinton brings back Gore, talks Green, but still Opposes Carbon Tax
    • First, what does this have to do with a carbon tax? Second, Trump has come out in favor of putting US troops on the ground in Syria in the past.He has also indicated that we aren't doing enough to destroy ISIS. The only way we could do more is to use combat troops in Iraq and/or Syria. You are hopelessly naive if you think Trump would be more cautious than Clinton, even though I do fear her hawkishness. Trump is a serious loose cannon, both literally and figuratively.

    • I have seen some environmental groups that approve of cap and trade. I'm guessing they do so because they think it is a more politically viable option. I, too, favor a carbon tax, but to date only in a few only places have we actually seen it implemented, such as one province in Canada. So, it seems rather unfair to criticize Clinton because she doesn't favor a carbon tax. One thing I see so much among progressives is that they use the perfect to be the enemy of the good. I can recall very few occasions in US history when the best policy was adopted without compromise--on any issue. I think the chances of a carbon tax getting approved by Congress are close to zero. Even a Democratic Congress might not approve it. BTW, Republicans oppose even cap and trade, even thought it was their original idea which they used to combat the idea of a carbon tax. In a way, this is kind of like arguing over how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. Even with a comprehensive carbon tax, climate change has and will go so far as to have near or actual catastrophic outcomes in the future. We really need a Manhattan style project internationally to come up with a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • US breaks off Military Cooperation with Russia in Syria
    • And what interests would China have in Syria? I swear, some of the speculations I see here and elsewhere are reaches that make no sense. Try looking at things from the viewpoint of the nation state you are speculating about. China has never been involved in the Middle East before that I can recall.

    • To me, the truth is murky. Also, while some are eager to blame the US, Russia has a pretty sordid historical record in international relations and war, surpassing that of the US in perfidy (read about the Chechen War, as just one example). Here is a truism. If one side in a war believes it is winning and will win, it has no incentive to negotiate and any negotiations are likely to be a ploy for the winning side to exploit its situation. I think the Syrians and the Russians think that they are winning so that negotiations are really pointless. The US needs to just disengage.

  • Whose Fault is Trump? Top 7 Culprits
    • It has been said that a people get the government they deserve. While all you say is true and while the oligarchs have been successful in capturing our political system, the American people also share a large part of the blame. People are intellectually lazy. We have the curious situation of a time when all the world's information is instantly available, with all different viewpoints also available. Yet, studies have found that more and more people insulate themselves and look at only those outlets which they already agree with. Also, they will blindly accept statements of opinion without checking to see if there is a factual basis for them. Another problem is that even those who do use the internet for new information, often limit themselves to that and fail to read in depth information as found in books and scholarly articles. So, they may have some fairly wide bits of knowledge, but it is very shallow and thus lacks context and perspective, both very important. (I am reminded of a historical quip about William Jennings Bryan who was first known as the "boy orator from the Platte.". One wag said that was appropriate since the Platte River was a mile wide and an inch deep.)Having read a fair amount of history, one thing that has struck me is how I think the average voter 100 and more years ago may have actually been more informed than the average voter today. For example, it has been estimated that around 10,000 people attended each Lincoln and Douglas debate, which must have been a very large portion of the surrounding population. Also, you read of rallies and political events throughout the 19th Century that had large attendance with interested and informed voters. Political events often seemed to also be social events. I often get the feeling that the populace was more informed of the issues and more concerned with them back then than they are today, when so much of politics is a sideshow of sound bites and character assassination.

  • How the JASTA override on Saudi could Bite Americans in the Ass
    • A good example of why Congress should not make foreign policy. Often in the past here posters have criticized Obama and Clinton for our pro-Israeli policy. If it were up to Congress, US support of Israel and its ruinous policies would be even more uncritical and wholehearted. When it comes to Middle East policy, most in Congress don't have a clue.

  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200
    • This is one case where I hate to be proven correct, but there were not likely to be any decent outcomes when Assad survived the first year or two. As I predicted when Russia announced its coming air support, this would guarantee that the regime would become victorious and the US would have to come to grips with that victory and why we should never have gotten involved at all in Syria. This is a wonderful example of a pyrrhic victory, however. Assad has pounded most of his country into rubble, created millions of refugees, engendered lasting resentment, earned the enmity of most of the world, and left his country in economic as well as physical ruins, all so he could stay in power. It will probably take at least a generation before
      Syria can return to a condition similar to that that existed prior to the war. When it comes to awfulness, he has made his father look like a piker.

    • I;'m sorry, but your post is just an apology for war crimes by the Assad government. The nature of the opposition was not always that of the extremists, nor did it begin that way. The war began because of massacres of civilians peacefully protesting and gained momentum because of defections of some significant portions of the Syrian Army. In the early days there were not just individual defections, but even defections by groups of soldiers. It was the absolutely brutal response and subsequent actions of the Syrian regime which created the chaos that provided the opportunity for the extremists to move in and then take over the rebel movement. Your post is about as credible as saying that the rise of ISIS had nothing to do with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  • The last Time Summer was this Hot, Human beings hadn't yet Left Africa
    • There is solid science for what Professor Cole says. For some time scientists have been studying arctic ice cores which provide a measurement of the CO2 in the atmosphere over time. Since the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is closely correlated with global temperatures, scientists have known for some time that our present temperatures are the highest in hundreds of thousands of years. Here is just one of many places you can check; this is brief: link to cdiac.ornl.gov

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal
    • link to en.wikipedia.org This gives a good rundown on the different perspectives. I don't think it is so clear cut as you state. Considering how Hussain used the cover of the Gulf War to massacre thousands of "Marsh Arabs", and who massacred about 10,000 Kurds with poison gas, I don't think it would be out of character for him to allow thousands of his own citizens to die through neglect for political purposes. He was a big fan of Stalin who basically starved to death 3 million Ukrainians in the early 1930's (see The Great Famine by Robert Conquest).

    • This issue is the type of thing that kind of frustrates me no end. Not the deal itself, but the failure of so many in this country, especially those who should know better, to take a big picture view of events. The Iran nuclear deal was so important not just because of its immediate goal, but because of its vast overall potential. Iran is becoming normalized. This should have been obvious to anyone who has knowledge of foreign affairs and the history of same. I liken it to the breakthrough with China. I think what we see here is the beginning of a total re-direction of American Mideast policy. Under the Shah, Iran was considered our most important ally in the region. The revolution changed all that, of course. But from a geopolitical standpoint, Iran is the logical regional power and it makes sense for both Iran and the US to become more closely aligned. This means a pivot away from close alignment with Saudi Arabia. However, this can't be done quickly or openly and it requires a redirection of US energy policy. This requires a long term solution of alternative non-fossil fuel energy and a shorter term policy of greater internal production of fossil fuels. I think that Obama is very much a strategic thinker and he has chosen policies like this accordingly. Obama was a poli sci major as an undergraduate and from what I have observed of his foreign policy, he must have had course work in international relations. I think he gets it.

    • Thank you. Additionally, the US is not the only source of aircraft. In addition to the European Airbus, Russia also builds civilian jet liners and Brazil builds smaller commercial planes.

  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism
    • Since you are focusing on mortality, medical errors kill an estimated 250,000 per year, making it the third leading cause of death. link to npr.org Additionally, for every 1 million people uninsured, approximately 950 will die needlessly each year. Even with Obamacare, that means over 20,000 unnecessary deaths annually. Add to that the spiraling cost of drugs, and our health system is a leading cause of death in this country.

  • Obama: End terrorism like that in New York by Destroying ISIL in Mosul, Iraq
    • From the US standpoint, this attack is largely political in that the Obama administration really wants Mosul retaken by November 8, in order to blunt Republican/Trump attacks that they aren't doing enough to combat ISIS/ISIL. As for the hasty attack, giving ISIS notice, this is the last major area held by ISIS, they have know this was coming for a long time. The issue of alerting them is not relevant. As for the attack itself, the city is basically surrounded, so it's not like a lot of tactical thought or innovation is required. The principles of siege warfare have been around for a couple of millennia.

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance
    • I have maintained from the beginning that the US should not be involved in Syria in any way. In regards to this incident, I fail to see how a deliberate attack of this kind is beneficial to the US, despite several fanciful conspiracy theories bandied about here (DOD trying to make Kerry look bad, for example). Sherlock Holmes once told Watson that the key to solving a mystery is to eliminate everything impossible and then look at what is possible. I have amended that to look at what doesn't make sense and eliminate those things and then figure out what does make sense and then you probably have your answer. I can't see any way that a deliberate attack makes sense, unless you WANT to believe some convoluted theory lacking any basis in fact.

    • It was reported that on Monday 9/19 either Russian or Syrian aircraft bombed a UN aid convoy bringing relief supplies to Aleppo. This has forced the UN to halt its scheduled aid convoys to that city. Does that count?

    • The US had never previously hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital before it did. People seem to have forgotten that. Was that an intentional attack and what would the US gain from it?

    • Gary Johnson believes that government should do little other than provide for public safety and believes the government should not regulate anything in the economy. Check out this last 60 Minutes for a rundown on their policies. They are basically extreme right wingers except that they don't believe in right wing social policy regarding abortion and drug use. So, if you think non-regulation of Wall Street and the big banks is a good idea, then you should vote for them and wait for the next recession.

    • That comports with my reading of history. 9 times out of 10, stupidity or incompetence is to blame rather than some conspiracy.

    • In World War II, about a month after D Day, US bombers dropped bombs about a half mile to a mile short of their intended targets on the front line and killed about 500 US soldiers. More recently in Afghanistan B-52 bombs early in that war fell short killing both American advisers and Afghan forces fighting the Taliban. There are many instances of so-called friendly fire killing a lot of an army's own soldiers. Read some military history. Often the determinant in the victor in a battle is which side makes the fewer mistakes. Even in today's technological battlefield there are errors, such as someone making a typo in inputting coordinates for smart weapons.

  • "This Parrot is no More": The 2016 Presidential Election did not Take Place
    • Natural gas emits 20% less CO2 than coal and coal also requires transportation by rail, increasing its carbon footprint. And, as you have pointed out, coal has other serious pollutants such as mercury and arsenic, serious carcinogens. Nobody says you end CO2 with fracking. This is a bridge until there is enough green energy. Professor, you should know that politics is about choices and often the choices are between bad and worse. Not only Obama, but also Governor Brown in California have done little to nothing to limit fracking and they both have excellent environmental credentials. California has the most aggressive climate change policies in the country and maybe in the world, but until the new, green technologies can take over we have to rely on fossil fuels for a while. Additionally, fracking has led to a boom in US oil production which reduces our dependence on overseas oil, lessening the incentive for involvement in the Middle East. At the same time Obama has greatly increased CAFE standards and included about $50 billion for green energy in the stimulus bill. It also has blunted the Republican call for drill, baby drill, which would mean more new wells, many in environmentally sensitive areas. When you consider the alternatives for the near term of 10 or 20 years, fracking is, in my opinion, a necessary evil where the benefits outweigh the liabilities. I liken it to wind turbines. Wind power kills a lot of birds, but if they can slow climate change, then that is an acceptable price to play since it is loss of habitat that is the greatest threat to wildlife.

    • Part of Clinton's platform from the start is her pledge to have 500 million more solar panels installed at the end of her first term. Also, she has shown she welcomes the demise of the coal industry, which I would like to point out, is due largely to fracking. I don't like fracking one bit, but if it ends the use of coal, then it is a net gain and can be seen as a bridge until green technology is ready to take over.

    • You write as if he is incapable of this or uninclined. If Trump had been in a position to do something of the sort and thought it would benefit him, I have no doubt he would have gone ahead and done it. He is the ultimate narcissistic conman.

    • One thing I have noted for some time is how widely the verb believe has come to be used, even, or especially, in the news media. Thus, the issue of climate change is expressed in terms of whether one "believes" in it or not. Or, to cite another issue, whether one "believes" that Obama was born in the US, as if it is a question of belief instead of one of fact. It's like saying you believe there is gravity or you believe that 2+ 2=4. We are in an age where things have become a matter of belief--the opposite of the Age of Enlightenment. I try to correct this misuse of the term whenever possible, but I feel like King Canute trying to hold back the tide.

  • Trump-inspired felon allegedly torches Ft. Pierce FL Mosque, says "All Islam is radical"
    • Donald Trump, with top advisers who are bigoted far right wingers, has normalized hatred, bigotry and xenophobia. And, because he voices one outrage after another, he overwhelms the media such that he is not called to task often enough. His attitude, voiced today about China is, you can;'t blame someone if they get away with it. This is his modus operandi. And it works. Even recently here and on a left wing website a few days ago, I still see people making an equivalency between Trump and Clinton, some saying that Clinton is even worse. We are in a dark time in this country and even if Clinton wins, it is scary that between 40 and 45% of the voters buy into Trump's rhetoric.

  • Clinton: No US ground troops in Iraq, Syria; Trump: Steal Iraqi Oil
    • After reading this, I think Professor Cole is doing something similar to what he criticizes at the first--badgering Hillary Clinton and down playing Trump's shortcomings. He spends as much space here on criticizing her policies as he does on Trump's outright idiocies. For example, his criticism of Clinton's anti-terrorism policy is terribly flawed. First, Lauer cautions her to be brief, so she cannot spend a lot of time going into the details, nor can a candidate do that and expect the average voter to pay attention. When she talks of the Iraqi Army I'm pretty sure she recognizes its limitations, but under that title I feel certain that if she were asked by someone like Professor Cole in a forum like this she would explain that meant the Iraqi Army coalition that included the militias and the Kurdish forces. Anyone with her experience would know the difference. That coalition did take back Fallujah and has reduced ISIS territory by about half. And Professor Cole's criticism that air power cannot defeat a terrorist or guerilla group is correct. However, ISIS in its present incarnation has been holding territory and operating as a proto-state. Further, Clinton is talking about air power as a tactical support for the ground forces which is altogether different from what Professor Cole is talking about.Tactical air support is critical in defeating a ground army, as Israel demonstrated in 1967 and 1973. As for Iran and terrorists, it is widely believed that the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina is linked to Hizbollah and Iran. Also, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon is generally accepted as a Hizbollah operation. Finally, as regards to ground troops in Syria and Iraq, I am sure she meant fighting forces vs. advisers. Again, one must consider the venue and forum when assessing her answer. I am sure she knows the difference, but couldn't take the time to explain the difference. And this is not a fair criticism, since the death toll among US advisers is a small fraction of what it would be if they were fighting soldiers. Since Obama re-inserted the advisers I think we have had two US advisers killed, one by a sniper during an Iraqi attack and another by artillery at a support base. Now I am not here to defend all of Clinton's policies as I disagree with a number of them and have done so in the past. But the difference between the problems with the respective policies of the two candidates, to use a legal metaphor, is like a ticket for speeding vs. a serious felony like attempted murder. Trump is so outrageously uninformed and shows such bad judgment (really, take the Iraqi oil?) that he deserved to be hooted off the stage. Add to that that he consistently lies about his past positions and there is no comparison between the two candidates.

  • Top 5 Ways Green Energy is already Helping American Workers
    • Where does the waste go? There is still no long term depository in the US. Also, nuclear, unless there are significant technological breakthroughs, is not really competitive since the cost of decommissioning is either not figured into the cost of the production of nuclear energy or it is discounted (A pro-nuclear website I visited put the cost of decommissioning as only 9-15% of the cost of construction). Right now it costs almost as much to decommission an old plant as to build a new one. For example, the estimated cost to decommission the two nuclear plants in California are $3.8 and $4.4 billion for Diablo Canyon and San Onofre.

    • Also, hydrogen fuel car prototypes are presently on the road from several different manufacturers. The extraction of hydrogen can be done with solar and wind energy. Petroleum may be limited in the future to things like plastics (and even here there are alternatives, too) and other by products which require only a small percentage of present production.

  • Top 8 Syrian-Americans whom we'd miss If Trump had Kept them out
    • Not directly related, but important. Since his immigration speech in Phoenix I have watched pundits, even of the liberal persuasion, arguing over whether Trump softened or hardened, the importance of his not calling for deportation of all immigrants, and other issues I consider peripheral. They overlook the most important aspect which transcends those things and the issue raised here. With his previous comments about Mexico sending us their criminals and rapists, it is clear that Trump means Mexicans when he talks about illegal immigrants. All his dodgy language is comprised of code words. In his Phoenix speech he attributed almost all of the nation's ills to illegal immigrants (Mexicans). He has scapegoated and demonized an entire national group. If you had substituted Jews for illegal immigrants, that speech would not have sounded out of place coming from Hitler. "Those people" are responsible for all our problems and only I can solve them, is what he is saying. This man is a serious danger, the worst kind of demagogue. Whatever Clinton's faults, she will not endanger our democracy. Trump would.

  • America's Shameful Record on Syrian Refugees
    • I am glad to see this response since your article seems to emphasize US involvement and reduce Assad's responsibility. The reason there is a civil war is Assad. He is responsible for probably a minimum of 75% of all the deaths. He is, by many definitions, a war criminal. As for the Saudis or any other actors, there are NO clean hands in the Middle East. Even our friends the Kurds, who have often been victims, were often deeply involved in the
      Armenian massacre during the Ottoman rule.

  • America's Syria SNAFU: Pentagon's Militias fight Turkey & CIA's Militias
    • Well, I hate to be an I told you so, but from the very first I have been saying that the best US policy is to stay out of Syria. It is a mess, there are so many different factions, there is no good policy and anything we did was probably destined to fail. The big mistake was not any specific policy, but the idea that we thought we could achieve anything positive there.

  • Saudis bomb Sanaa during "Million-Person march"
    • I don't understand your post. Are you saying it is hypocritical to denounce an attack on masses of unarmed civilians demonstrating peacefully? Are war crimes okay because so many people commit them?

  • Does this Change Everything? Russia's first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases
    • My point was not a moral or ethical one, but how much power and importance a state has if it has nuclear weapons. SA can be more easily ignored than can be Russia.

    • I'm not so sure that Russia is less likely to intervene in other countries than is SA. both are bad actors. You are missing a very important difference between the two states. Russia has hundreds of nuclear weapons. I do agree that we should back away from SA.

    • Putin came up through the KGB and seems to have absorbed the values of the old Soviet regime. The Soviets made the Middle East a priority ever since 1956 and had sought to gain footholds there. Putin is resurrecting this approach. He is playing the mid-20th Century power politics game. However, it is an obsolete approach. I think that within 20 years we will have seen a steep decline in the importance of fossil fuels, greatly reducing the importance of Middle Eastern oil. Whatever happens there will only have regional importance. So, Putin is aiming for short to medium term gains when long term it won't matter much. I see no reason to worry about this Russian move; if they want to get more involved in the region I think it is just a minefield anyway and the US is better off getting out of the region and letting the locals sort out their own problems.

  • Monsters to Destroy: Top 7 Reasons the US could not have forestalled Syrian Civil War
    • Many international problems have no good solutions. There are many states which could become failed states if their authoritarian regimes are toppled. When they are toppled instability is almost guaranteed whether there is intervention or not. I would just add that Libya was almost guaranteed to be a mess once a full scale civil war began, even if NATO had not expanded bombing. if NATO had not tilted the fighting against the regime, you probably would have ended up with something similar to Syria. Either way you get a mess, just a different type of mess with lots of suffering all around. The main difference between Libya and Syria is that Syria is much more populated so that the problems are multiplied. To ramble a bit, this is a constant in US foreign policy analysis. After 9/11 many pundits were saying that after the Russians left Afghanistan we dropped the ball by not intervening in Afghanistan and allowing the Taliban to take over. Well, we intervened, removed the Taliban and 15 years later that country is still a mess. What more examples do people need?

  • Donald "Dr. Strangelove" Trump and some of the Times We almost had a Nuclear War
    • And another thanks from me. As one who has made similar arguments, it amazes me how anyone, especially of the left, could equate Trump and Clinton. I'd just like to add that Trump is obviously an extreme narcissist, a bully, pathological liar and seems to have ADD. I'm no psychologist, but he seems close to a sociopath as he has no qualms about violating social norms and even laws in order to advance his own extreme self interest, no matter what the effect on others. Personality wise Clinton is close to the opposite.

    • A couple of additions. Sagan and his associates figured out that as few as 100 large nuclear weapons would trigger a nuclear winter, so you wouldn't even need a full scale war.
      During the Reagan Administration, they actually operated on the assumption that a nuclear war could be won and planned for that. Finally, the Russians also had a terrible computer glitch in the 80's that showed an incoming flight of US ICBM's. However, the Soviet officer in charge on duty, had the courage to assume it was a mistake and did not report it to the Kremlin. Which was a good thing because Reagan's bellicose talk about the "evil empire' had convinced Soviet leaders (especially Premier Andropov who had come through the KGB and was really paranoid) that he, Reagan, wanted to start and win a nuclear war. Had that incorrect information been passed on to the Kremlin, they very well could have ordered a retaliatory strike that would have destroyed civilization as we would have responded in kind.
      One last thing, some movies are so perfect (like Casablanca, Psycho, etc.) that they should not be remade. Why mess with perfection?

  • 6 Signs the Big Global Switch to Solar has already Begun
    • This is great news. The bad news is that we should have been at this point 20 years ago. As it is, without some technology to remove carbon dioxide from the environment, significant climate change is now unavoidable. We need a Manhattan Project level of commitment to attack the problem.

  • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?
    • Thank you.

    • " You do not spend enough ink on criticizing Democrats for using militaristic/ patriotic messages undergirding Khan’s speech." This is a clear example of politics at work It's why the Democrats also brought out the longtime Republican operative who supported Clinton. They want to get moderate Republican votes and not just beat Trump, but overwhelm him. It's not just about winning the presidency. If Trump loses big time the Democrats will almost certainly retake the Senate (thus being able to confirm judicial appointments) and may cut significantly into the Republican majority in the House, allowing for the possibility of meaningful legislation. If the Congress stays substantially the same as it is now, it won't matter whether Clinton or Sanders would win; nothing will get done. If Trump wins along with a Republican majority in Congress, I would recommend New Zealand. Nice weather, uncrowded, pleasant people, beautiful scenery and far away in case of nuclear holocaust.

    • Clinton can and will get us into another war? You realize, don't you, that Congress may have something to say about that? And just what foreign adventures did Bill Clinton get us into? Bosnia where we intervened to stop ethnic cleansing and lost not one American in combat. Trump is far more than a racist. He is a fascist, a misogynist and a xenophobe who doesn't want any minimum wage, wants to do away with Obamacare, wants to do away with Wall Street regulation, wants to rip up the treaty with Iran and on and on. All positions opposed by Clinton. You really need to learn more about their policy positions. His co-author on The Art of the Deal who spent a lot of time with him for 18 months has said that if Trump gets the nuclear codes it could the end of civilization. Even 150 Republican national security experts have called him a danger to the country. As someone who has read a fair amount of history, I think Trump is the most unqualified nominee of a major party to ever run for President. I suspect most historians would agree with that statement.

    • Probably because the situations aren't at all comparable. Plus, "this lady" made statements that were factually incorrect and greatly exaggerated. 8 investigations of Benghazi, most by Republicans, none found Clinton responsible for what happened.

    • Here's an excellent analysis of the Clinton vote which looks closely at what she said during the debate over the vote. I think it is a real exaggeration to say she promoted the war.
      link to slate.com

  • When Dems ditched Workers for Professionals, they opened Door for Trump
    • You and I have very similar analyses, but i disagree with your conclusion. It is not that the Democrats abandoned those people, but those people voted against their economic interests because of their opposition to civil rights due to the racism of many. If the Democratic Party had used the appeal of the Republicans, they would have been abandoning minorities, people of color, and many other constituencies that make up their base. And, it is a question of values. Should the Democrats have worked against equal rights for all in order to try and retain the blue collar workers? The Republicans had no problem doing that since they prize political power above principle. Rachel Maddow, in her show tonight (Friday, 7/29) related how Reagan's first campaign stop after he got the nomination was Philadelphia, Mississippi, where the 3 civil rights workers had been murdered. There he spoke to 30,000 in an all white crowd and supported "states rights", which they all knew meant segregation. As a Democrat, I am glad that my party did not, in the main, do that. Another important aspect of all this is that it shows the inadequacy of Marxism in explaining and predicting behavior. According to Marxism, class should trump all else. The Republicans have shown that people will put a higher value on things like racism than on their economic interests. Social wedge issues, based on fear, are stronger than the binds of class. Also, these type of issues can be used to stoke resentment between groups to promote the belief that those "others" are going to take your jobs, rather than the Marxian view that class members would stick together.

    • I think that Franks is guilty of cherry picking and also using a bit of a strawman argument. First, the ablation of the working class from the Democrats to Republicans began with the Southern Strategy, was really developed under Reagan, and then flourished thereafter. It was the brainchild of people like Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater, who used social wedge issues to get blue collar workers to vote with the Republicans and against their own economic interests. They were called Reagan Democrats. The social wedge issue was really a code word for racism. The emphasis on law and order was really a campaign to get less educated whites to fear "the black man." They accused the Democrats of being soft on crime with the implication that since they supported civil rights they supported black people who were the "real" criminals. Throughout this time Republicans continued an attack on unions while Democrats supported unions. Democrats have supported unions since FDR while Republicans have almost always opposed them. Thus, the idea that the Democrats have somehow abandoned the working class is just not true. The Taft Hartley Act and right to work laws, especially in the South where state legislators are staunchly Republican, led to a huge drop off in private sector unions, so that the public sector is the last bastion of unionism. This is a big reason the Republicans have gone after teachers, public employees, and public employee pensions. They want to privatize everything and then, with non-union labor, right to work laws, and the like, corporations can rake in even huger profits than ever before. The DLC, headed by Clinton was a reaction to this in order to try and reverse Democratic losses. I did not and have never agreed with their approach. However, it has resulted in greater electoral success. The Democrats tried to blunt the soft on crime issue by being tough on crime and criminals. The DLC approach was to be more business friendly in order to get more campaign funding. And they were aided by the recession in the first Bush administration. Through it all, the Democrats have supported unions, minimum wage hikes, and civil rights. The Republicans broadened their wedge issues to include attacks on homosezuals and the support for right wing evangelicals. Ed Schultz some years back summarized their issues as God, gays, and guns. So, I think Franks view is oversimplified and ignores the big picture and doesn't take enough of a historical over view.

  • The most Left Wing Supreme Court in a Generation? Sec. Clinton's most important Progressive Prospect
    • FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and JFK all came from families that were part of the elite. None of them had the requirement to work one day of their lives but could have just lived off their family money and their investments. There are a number of millionaires and some billionaires who support social justice and greater economic equality. Try learning a little history and try not to over generalize.

    • The Citizens United case involved an anti-Hillary video. It affected her personally and she has been against it from Day 1. But, don't let facts get in the way of your beliefs.

    • Bill Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court. Ginsberg is a very strong liberal while Breyer votes with the liberals the vast majority of the time.

  • Islamophobia Kills: German Munich shooter admired Breivik, Killed Turks
    • Of course, good luck trying to explain this to the American people. When a neighbor of mine went on a typical anti-Muslim rant after this, even before we knew this about the perp, I tried to explain to him that if the shooter was Iranian in heritage he was mostly likely Shiite and wouldn't be following ISIS. Well, of course my neighbor couldn't accept that and thought all Muslims are the same. Is it any wonder Trump has a devoted following?

  • H. Clinton and Ed Snowden: Some Animals are more Equal than others
    • In his testimony today we find out from Comey that only 3 emails out of over 30,000 contained information that was classified at the time that Clinton received them. Further, they were marked with a C in parentheses (C). This is a violation of the rules. Any time a page of any document contains any classified information, the top of that page must be marked in large bold, capital letters, the level of classification. Also, if it is a multi-page document, then the front of that document must be so marked with the highest classification level found in that document. Thus, if there is a 10 page report and on page 8 there is one sentence that is considered confidential, then page 8 must have CONFIDENTIAL marked at the top of the page and the whole document must be considered as confidential. I was both a user and producer of classified information while in military intelligence. If i were reading a document that was not so marked, I would automatically assume that nothing in the document was considered classified. This is very important in considering the culpability of Secretary Clinton.

    • I did not support Bill Clinton when he ran in 1992. I opposed most of his DLC policies. I supported Obama in 2008. But these left wing attacks on Hillary Clinton are so over the top as to be ridiculous. I cannot wait for her to come into the White House so that the delusional parts of the left will be proven so totally wrong. Of course, ideologues will never admit to error, but those of us who are rational will recognize and accept what is fact. Her positions right now are to the left of almost every previous major party nominee in history. The one exception may be George McGovern. And that did not turn out well.

    • I used to work in elections administration that included an initial evaluation of local officials campaign statements and their following disclosure laws. We would flag anything suspicious to the City Attorney for review of violation. I used to be quite conversant with the various election laws at all three levels of government. I have never seen anything that would suggest that soliciting a donation to a charity is a violation of any campaign or election laws. A person must directly benefit for there to be any violation or conflict of interest. Only if the Clintons were to directly benefit, such as getting a commission for any donations they produced, could there possibly be a conflict of interest. And, in fact, the Supreme Court even loosened the law recently in the case of former Virginia Bob McDonald by saying that his receiving apparent bribes were not illegal if there was not a clear quid pro quo. There is no case to be found in the Clinton charity.

    • I have seen many leftists who take the position that we have to burn down the village in order to save it. In short, they would prefer a Trump victory since that would bring about a real change sooner because he would be so bad. This totally ignores the damage that could be caused in the meantime. I would remind my friends that we would have been much better off with that "no better than Bush" Al Gore in 2000. Trump would probably be worse than Bush.

    • He deliberately gave what he knew to be classified information to someone not authorized to see it. Clinton exchanged information with others in the department who were authorized and some of it may have been classified. As near as I can tell, most all of the "classified" items kept by Clinton on the server were classified after the fact. If that is true, they probably didn't deserve to be classified.

    • Thanks, now I don't have to take the time to point out what should be obvious. Intent is usually extremely important in determining illegality. There is so much hypocrisy on this issue from all sides. From the left I saw a bunch of lefties at TruthOut excoriating Clinton for her carelessness while most of these same people applauded Snowden for what he did. And of course the righties ignore things like the outing of Valerie Plame. You not only need to include intent, but also scope as you so rightly point out. While in the military I dealt with Top Secret material every day I was at work and I can tell you from first hand experience that the government way over classifies things and I doubt that anything Clinton kept on her server even approaches some of the materials released by Snowden in importance or security.

  • Top 5 Green Energy Good News Stories Today
    • From one standpoint it is already too late. Even if CO2 emissions were to be cut drastically in the next 5 years, there is enough CO2 in the environment right now that significant climate change is assured in the future.There needs to be a way to remove mass amounts of existing CO2 from the environment and then have alternative sources available for power generation in lieu of fossil fuels.

  • $206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment
    • Thanks for this important story which will probably be ignored by practically everyone else.

  • Pyrrhic Victory? As Iraq rolls back Daesh, can it stay together as a Country?
    • What we have seen since WWII and the independence of so many former colonies is that while the new countries usually make no sense from an ethnic, social or even economic basis, re-alignment is fraught with such difficulties that the governing elites don't dare try and take the necessary moves to re-combine with other areas to make up logical states. Enough nationalism has been created within the boundaries drawn up by colonial powers that no one wants to give up any territory. Look at Nigeria and their civil war, for example. I think the best hope may be a federation/confederation where the local areas have a lot of autonomy, similar to Scotland in the UK

    • Problem with an independent Kurdistan is Turkey. They are deathly afraid of such a situation and abhor the idea of a Kurdistan anywhere that could attract the Kurds in Turkey to fight to join their fellow Kurds. It might be more destabilizing than a sullen, non-independent Kurdistan.

  • The end of the Beginning: The Fall of ISIL in Fallujah
    • ISIS/ISIL made a large strategic mistake by setting up a caliphate with a set territory and government. What they did was to establish themselves as a target. They were going to be defeated eventually unless the Iraqi government had collapsed. As long as that didn't happen, their defeat was inevitable; it was only a matter of time. The biggest mistake a rebellion or insurgency can make is to go too soon to regular military actions instead of guerrilla war. The leaders of ISIS were unrealistic and didn't study the lessons of history.

    • You are much too optimistic. An insurgency does not need all the financing that setting up and running a government with territory does. An insurgency can be done on the cheap. There are many historical examples of this. The key is the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Iraqi government. If they continue to discriminate against Sunnis, the chances of insurgency remain high.

  • Obama: Hating on Muslim-Americans makes you an ally of ISIL, & Unamerican
    • The war in the Middle East and terrorism are very complex issues. The President is not there to explain all the complexities, which 98% of the people either don't care about or couldn't understand. He has to simplify things in order to expose the dangerous aspects of Trump's policies. The criticisms in the article and many of the posts here are rather nit picking and don't understand how political speeches are supposed to work. This was a good political speech. It was not meant to be a tutorial on these complex subjects. Read some of the speeches of FDR before WWII, for example. His genius was in simplifying complex issues in order to mobilize the US populace, not explain all the ins and outs of international relations.

  • Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President
    • Graduate of Yale Law School, Legal Aid attorney, staff member of a congressional committee, elected and re-elected US senator, Secretary of State. Compare this to some recent candidates like George W. Bush who was nothing before trading in on his name to become governor of Texas, Donald Trump, even Obama who was a senator for a shorter time than Clinton. When her husband ran for and won his first public office as Arkansas Attorney General, it can be argued that Hillary was just as qualified as he was to hold the position. If Hillary Clinton were a man, this would not be an issue.

  • Obama in Hiroshima, Memorial Day and the Iran Deal
    • The threat came not from Iran, but from the US attacking Iran and creating more chaos and instability in the region. That is the threat reduced by Obama. If Trump is elected then all bets are off.

  • Egyptians "shocked" at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak's accusation of "fascism" in Tel Aviv
    • You think this is bad, as bad as Clinton is, imagine Trump, who is now in Sheldon Adelson's pocket, as President while Netanyahu goes further rightward. We live in perilous times.

  • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?
    • One small correction. From what I have read, the 1953 coup was a joint effort with British intelligence, so they should include the UK in their law, too. British Petroleum was a major player in Iran and Great Britain had more of an interest in Iran than the US from WWII until they decided to withdraw from east of Suez in 1968. I believe it was Nixon who really got us closely involved with the Shah..

  • Trump's Politics of Whiteness and the CIA tip that Jailed Nelson Mandela
    • Well, I guess I'd like to point out that US foreign policy has often changed according to the administration. For example, in the 20's in Latin America, it was all about dollar diplomacy, intervention and banana republics. FDR tried to change things with his good neighbor policy and he was largely successful. Then in the 50's and afterward, everything was focused on the anti-communist struggle, as we perceived it. You could have mentioned many other times when the US intervened because of concerns about communism, or even without that concern (Dominican Republic, 1965). However, historically, the US has also been very anti-colonial and that was a major disagreement between FDR and Churchill. As regards South Africa, it was a very conservative/liberal split as to what US policy should be. I remember arguing with a conservative back in the mid-60's about whether Mandela was a communist and in one of Thomas Frank's books he has a section on how the belief that the ANC was communist was a major tenet of conservative doctrine, which was opposed by liberals. In sum, there have been a number of zigs and zags in US foreign policy, so I tend to hesitate to use broad generalizations. As for the teaching of international relations, I was taught in the mid-60's by a European who focused on realism vs. idealism in foreign policy, so I don't think the charge of racism applied to my course work. The other major professor in the subject at my school was a Korean, so I doubt he was racist. I can't think of any professor in the field I ran into who would come close to fitting that bill and that includes professors in comparative government and area studies. Also, an interesting side note is that in the book Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein relates how while Mandela was negotiating a turn over of the political reins from the Apartheid government, one of his chief lieutenants was basically giving away the store regarding the economy because he was unwittingly out manoeuvered.

  • Top 3 Signs Bill Clinton didn't kill himself to "give" the Palestinians a State
    • Good comments on this thread. You need to go back to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and then the awarding of the mandate to Great Britain by the League of Nations. The US wasn't even a member of the League and had no interest in the area in the pre-WWII era. Also, when Israel claimed its independence and President Truman recognized it, it was against the recommendation of the State Department. In fact, the State Department was pretty anti-semitic in the first half of the 20th Century.

    • My thought upon reading that was they are stateless because their state was taken away from them.

  • I Blame the US Media for Donald Trump
    • The member companies of the media are businesses. Their main goal is to make money. If they made money by showing Latinas or anyone else as wonderful people, they would do that. I kind of get tired of the "blame someone else syndrome" as the cause for a problem. The problem boils down to an uninformed and ignorant populace. Too many of them are fed pap, because that is what they want to see. They don't want to think, analyze, do research, or find out the facts. Most Americans know more about the Kardashians than the Supreme Court. With the internet, there is no excuse for not finding out what is true and what isn't. When I was in college, there were a lot of classes available about Latin America. We had a Latin american Studies program. Anyone who wanted to, could take those classes or have that major. I took about 3 different classes, including a graduate seminar. Now you can find a lot of this information on line. Even before that you could find books in the library and read them for free. The problem isn't the media, it's the lazy public and the uninformed voters. The media are a reflection of that, not its cause.

  • The Pundits suddenly saying Trump could win in Nov.? No. Just, No
    • Trump is also driving up registration among Latino and other minority groups who will probably turn out in record numbers. The possible increase there is likely more than with white males, since they register and vote at high levels anyway. And spare us the apocalyptic babble. It's often the sign of a fear monger.

    • When you take Trump's unfavorability rating among women and minorities, Clinton is close to 50% of the vote without a single white male. Women make up 53% of the electorate and Trump has a 70% negative rating with women--that's 37% of the vote right there. I have been predicting for a month or so that Clinton will win by 10 to 12 percentage points and get around 350 electoral votes. It actually could get worse in the electoral college, but campaigns and candidates make a difference and you can't predict future events. But, with Trump seemingly intent on picking a fight with Paul Ryan, the most popular office holder in the GOP, it's almost as if he is sabotaging his own campaign.

  • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov't's made Bin Laden's Killing Moot
    • I will defer to your knowledge of the Egyptian military. However, while US influence is critical in Central America, I don't believe it has done much to moderate regimes in South America. Specifically, both Brazil and Argentina had pretty brutal dictatorships during and after Carter's presidency. I remember during the 1960's when the US would not recognize military governments that took over by coups and there was a foreign policy debate as to whether it made sense. It proved to be totally useless in changing the incidence of coups or the behavior of the governments that followed. The governments that have arisen over the last 20 to 30 years, I believe, are more a reflection of the general political development of those countries and US policies have had little to do with those outcomes. I think your ideas have the possibility of encouraging the meddling of the US into the internal politics of countries when we should be encouraging the opposite. We can encourage positive steps, but I think anything else just invites blow back. We couldn't control the Afghan or Iraqi governments when we had a huge presence in those countries. There is a lesson there.

    • There is a lot to address here, but I will pick three points. First, the local government must be seen by the populace to be both legitimate and effective. If that happens, an insurgency cannot succeed. When the government is neither, insurgencies have an easy time with it. Castro never had more than maybe 100 followers when the Batista regime just fell apart. Second, Professor Cole says that the US either hasn't had the knowledge or the desire to promote social justice. He then cites Egypt as an example. Do you really think that the Egyptian generals would change their policies even if the US withdrew all of its aid? That certainly hasn't worked in the past with other regimes, it just makes them more intransigent. The US has been urging the Iraqi government to be more inclusive of Sunnis for years, but they have ignored us. Any change there will be because of Sadr and his supporters internally. Nationalism, nationalism, nationalism. I will keep repeating it until it is recognized. The US is very limited in what it can do to force regimes to change. Additionally any change will take considerable time. Look at the history of all democracies. I can't think of many that were smooth transitions from autocracy or dictatorship to democracy. It's usually a slow and messy process. Building functioning institutions takes time. Finally, decapitating leadership is not a cure all. However, it can degrade an organization. It depends on the organization. Experience shows that it is not leaders so much who are important, but technical specialists in many cases. Two examples from war time. The Stalin purges of the late 30's absolutely decimated the top officer class of the Soviet Army. Then when the Soviet Army had trouble beating Finland, everyone assumed that the loss of leadership meant the army was very ineffective. It turned out not to be the case. When given the chance and the opportunity, especially to learn from actual experience, those who had been lower level officers like majors and lieutenant colonels rose through the ranks to take on top positions and provide the needed leadership. In the Pacific War at one famous battle of carrier groups the US shot down over 300 Japanese planes, which decimated their air force. What was crucial, was not the loss of the planes, but the loss of the pilots. Japan never recovered from that. Probably the most important German for their war effort was Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments. In 1943, under intense allied bombing, he actually significantly increased German war output. So, it is those with a special skill who are probably most important.

  • The End of American Iraq: Poor Shiites invade Parliament over corrupt Spoils System
    • Thought I would add that the book Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips details how the rentier class and rentier economies have destroyed once economically powerful countries. It is a path the US has been on for 30+ years, especially aggravated by, guess who, George W. Bush, under whose administration 60,000 factories went out of business and money trading exploded as a portion of the economy.

    • Another thing you could mention is how the Bush Administration practiced the spoils system within the Bremer Administration. Having read a number of books on the US presence there, I'm not sure which one details this the best, but it might be Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Basically, Americans sent to Iraq to help in the Bremer government were specifically hired for their partisan and ideological purity. In fact, if you had knowledge about the Middle East, they didn't want you. They preferred young ideologues who knew nothing about the Middle East, much less Iraq. For example, for the Iraq health system they brought in some guy from the U.S. Middle West whose big issue was anti-smoking. Not exactly a big issue when hospitals have been destroyed and basic care is lacking. A top economic appointment thought the most important thing for Iraq's economy was to set up a stock exchange. The failure of the Bremer Provisional Government was legendary and set the stage for future failure by leaving a legacy of spoils, mismanagement and near total incompetence.

    • I have read that this is a particular problem in the DOJ and may be one reason they have been so slow to prosecute Wall St. criminals.

  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster'
    • I live in the real world. It's not what should be done, but what can be done. What is the point of continuing the war against Assad if you can't win? To draw a parallel, always dangerous, when Nixon took office in 1969 he said he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. It turned out his plan was escalation and it did not succeed in bringing the North Vietnamese to their knees like Nixon and Kissinger hoped. So, four years later they worked out a peace deal that we now know he could have gotten four years earlier. Tens of thousand of people died in the interim, and for what? The only way Assad is going is if a coalition of nations invade the country and sides with his enemies. Not going to happen. Especially since many of his enemies are as odious as he is.

    • Bashir Assad is a dictator and war criminal. However, the balance of forces seem to be such that he cannot be defeated. The carnage has become so bad that I think an end to the civil war is required, even if that means leaving Assad in power. I believe this is the position the US and the West should take.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused
    • You could take everything Trump knows about foreign policy, put it in a thimble, and have room left over for all his knowledge of domestic policy.

    • Under UN supervision 600 metric tons of chemical agents used for making poison gas were destroyed from Syrian stockpiles. There have been no reported uses of poison gas in Syria since. Wikipedia has a thorough article on the use of this gas. I am not aware of anyone who said Turkey was behind it. Human Rights Watch, not affiliated with any government, placed the blame on the Syrian government. Only Seymour Hersh seems to think it was a false flag operation. The evidence is murky, but most evidence points to the Syrian government. I find it quite strange how people are so quick to blame the US for all the problems in the area, even to go to the extreme of seeming to support a war criminal like Assad. I am finding ideologues of the left as unrealistic as ideologues of the right. One says the US can do no wrong, the other says that the US is to blame for everything that goes wrong. Nuance be damned.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left
    • Not even Bernie could accomplish much if the House remains in Republican control. This is the reality. A reality most Bernie supporters don't want to acknowledge.

    • The left wing ideologues here show that they are as immune to facts and porpotionality as right wing ideologues. Anyone who lumps Clinton together with Republican neo-cons is politically blind. Keep at it Professor Cole. Some of us are able to make distinctions.

    • Bernie Sanders would have to win about 80% of the California vote and sweep the other states in order to win. Do you even know how delegates are apportioned in California? Do you know that there is a large pro-Hillary block of minority voters in California? Do you know that Hillary beat Obama by 10 percentage points in California in 2008? Do you know anything?

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