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  • From Syria to Sanctions, Flynn-Russia Quid Pro Quo?
    • One thing that is often overlooked in all this is the effect of the $500 billion dollar oil deal which involves billions of barrels of oil. If this deal goes through and that oil is pumped out and burned, climate change will almost certainly be irreversible. So, even if this deal is not mired in scandal, it would be an environmental disaster.

    • I'm a fan of Malcolm Nance, an MSNBC contributor who has 35 years of intelligence experience. Last night he said that as an intelligence agent, he doesn't believe in coincidences. When there are clear cut patterns for which there is a clear cut explanation that makes sense, then that explanation is likely true (my words, not his).Anyway, Nance believes that it is obvious that the Trump campaign officials had been in contact with the Russians (as admitted by the Russian Deputy foreign Minister) AND they were working together. I seriously doubt this is because of the bonhomie between Putin and Trump; there must be a quid pro quo. This is where the $500 billion dollar oil deal fits in. I predicted several weeks ago that when Putin threatened to build more ICBM's it was a ploy to allow him and Trump to reach a phony deal to stop that and, in exchange the US would lift sanctions on Russia. That is one option. Trump has already signalled that he will be lifting sanctions. I think the only question is if there will be a fig leaf or not. BTW, the UK newspaper The Independent, to add fuel to this burning mystery, has reported that the ex-agent Steele who compiled the dossier on Trump being compromised by the Russians, turned over his information to the FBI because of his concern and continued to work the case, even without pay because of his concern. He also expressed the belief that the FBI deliberately sat on the information, something which is now coming out in other ways. This could end up being the largest scandal in US history. For the Independent report, see : link to independent.co.uk

  • For Russian hold on Trump, follow the Money, not the Sex tapes
    • Here is a good article on how Russia has used this strategy of compromising important people in the past. link to latimes.com

    • I believe your views about Putin and Russia are hopelessly naive. They have shown to be ruthless and expansionist in Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltic countries, and Chechnya. Also, to think that Trump has a foreign policy based on detente with Russia for anyone's benefit other than his own does not fit with his past practices. The man is totally self aggrandizing and I have not found one instance of where he has been altruistic. When asked what sacrifices he had made, the best he could come up with was he built a lot of great buildings. As Professor Cole pointed out yesterday, he is a self=centered narcissistic psychopath who cares only about himself. If he pushes for a rapprochement with Russia, it will only be because it benefits Trump and/or the Trump family.

  • Welcome to Psychopathocracy
    • Very cogent and insightful. Professor Cole needs to put like buttons for his comments. Your comments deserve a lot of likes.

    • I think equally dangerous is the abandonment of reality in politics, especially on the conservative side. Trump is the champion of facts don't matter, but this has been going on since George W. Bush took office. So many conservatives live in a bubble of delusion and this enables the psychopaths. Groucho Marx said it well in one of the Marx Brothers movies--"Who are you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" And many people choose to believe him rather than their own eyes. Just yesterday Kellyanne Conway said we are to ignore what Trump says and just know what is in his heart, whatever that is. And his supporters will fall for it.

  • US Media outraged by Russia, won't Notice Israeli plot on UK Parliament
    • Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, incited violence at his rallies, has expressed clear cut racism and xenophobia, mocked the disabled, has more conflicts of interest than all of presidents in history combined, and you think that nothing really damning has yet been revealed? You really need professional help.

  • Those Times the NSA Hacked America's Allies
    • You could read the book Overthrow by Steven Kinzer. Read some histories of the CIA, a history of Iran for Mossadegh, learn about Central America and Arbenz. Hell, just read history, you don't need a teachable moment if you read history. For perspective you should also read about British foreign policy and Russian and Soviet foreign policy. My favorite disgusting war is the Opium War in which Britain fought the Chinese in order to force them to allow opium addiction in their country so the Brits could make a lot of money. At one point during the Cold War and the Iron Curtain, the Minister of Defense for Poland was a former general in the Soviet Army. Now there's some intervention . And, of course, the Soviets put down revolts in East Germany, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia when the puppet governments were unwilling or unable.

    • Thank you. I see so often the left will look for any excuse to blame the US and in their fervor equate a moderate liberal with a foaming at the mouth fascist, aided and abetted by a party with its policies firmly set in the 19th Century. As to this article, yes the US hacks. Every major country and a lot of minor ones hack and intercept communications and spy. This instance is qualitatively different. Additionally, this is hardly the Russian's first go around at this; they have been doing this for a long time. Putin's job in the KGB was to recruit people in other countries to be spies. He has been involved in dirty tricks for decades. And this is not the same as the Watergate break-in, which led to impeachment. It's different when a foreign adversary does it. It's far more dangerous because it could mean that the person helped is then indebted to a foreign power hostile to the US.

  • Circus of Liars: How Trump & GOP are Twisted into Pretzels over Putin Hack
    • You should become more familiar with the workings and history of the KGB. Putin rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the organization in his 17 years there before leaving and entering government. You got ahead in the KGB by following orders and being ruthless.

    • It wasn't just the hacked emails. We know now that there were a whole lot of Russian trolls working websites and social media feeding false stories. I personally have seen some suspicious posts and when I went to the Facebook page it was obviously just a cover for someone. During the last week of the campaign there were more shares of fake news than real news according to a Buzzfeed analysis.

    • Additionally the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia admitted that they had been in communication with the Trump campaign during the election. There is a lot of false equivalency going on around this issue. It is one thing to intercept messages; it is another to try and get one candidate elected over another by overt and covert acts.

  • Iran confident Trump's bond with Putin will Benefit it, too
    • They are being foolish and short sighted. First, they assume that Trump thinks strategically. He doesn't. Second, they view Syria as a benefit when it will be an liability. How many billions of oil money will Assad need to rebuild his country? Third, they assume that Russia will be a beneficial partner. Unlikely. Outside of Assad, who has benefitted from Putin's foreign policy? I can't think of any country.

  • Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House
    • I agreed with you and argued with Professor Cole over this until the Republican convention, in particular, Trump's acceptance speech. His listing of grievances and so-called problems plaguing this country followed by the statement that "only I can fix this" was a classic fascist statement. While Trump doesn't yet have his brown shirts, etc. in many ways he epitomizes the philosophy of fascism--the extreme nationalism, autarky, the expression of the will of the people (volk) through one man, the stifling of dissent and the singling out of minorities as the cause of our supposed ills, are all right out of the fascist play book.

    • link to vox.com
      Because of demographics, this will not last too long. Unfortunately, a lot of damage can be done in a short time.

    • Fact checking sites found Clinton the most accurate and honest of all the candidates, including Sanders. You must have been one of those people who before the election was telling us that Trump would be better (safer) than Clinton. If you haven't realized your error by now, there is no hope for you. Trump is a real danger to world peace and temperamentally unsuited to hold office.

    • In many cities there are going to be anti-Trump rallies on January 20 or 21. I myself am going to one in my nearest big city--San Diego-which begins at 10 a.m on Saturday the 21st, near the foot of Broadway. All of those concerned about our politics should seek out a similar demonstration or start one of your own in your town. Opposition to this budding tyrant needs to be strong and continuous.

  • Now is the time for Obama to Recognize Palestine
    • I doubt this will happen and it looks to me like a two state solution is dead. Thus, the issue is whether Israel will be a democracy and not a Jewish state in the future, or if it will be an apartheid Jewish state in the future. If it chooses the latter, will it engage in a type of Trail of Tears ethnic cleansing to remove the Arab population from within its boundaries? And will the AIPAC financed politicians still support it when that happens? The US public is way ahead of the bought and paid for politicians of both parties on this issue, but it is not considered a top issue for non supporters of Israel, so I am pessimistic that we will see any change from either Israel or the US government.

  • Top 5 Reasons Senate Dems should block all Trump Supreme Court Nominees, Forever
    • Beginning in 1981 the Democrats worked with President Reagan and he proceeded to tear apart the policies of the New Deal, undo environmental policies, enact policies for the rich that led to vast income and wealth inequality, and crushed labor unions so that the wages of average workers did not increase. We have already seen many aspects of the media normalize Trump's behavior. Now, apparently it is okay for many people to have a President who is a racist, xenophobic pathological liar who sexually assaults women. We have in power someone who knows nothing of foreign policy only a little about domestic policy, has no public service experience and has appointed a number of people who are on the political fringe and/or are totally unqualified for the posts they would take. So, yes, we need to stop any Supreme Court appointments and we need to oppose and obstruct almost everything this illegitimate president will propose. To do otherwise is to show by inaction that his past behavior and radical policies are within the bounds of normalcy and acceptability. They aren't.

  • Trump's Jerusalem embassy Move an Invitation to Terrorism: 9/11 Provoked in part by Israeli Occupation
    • Just an addition. In 1949 a UN resolution called for the internationalization of Jerusalem and, as far as I know, is still in force. In 1967 after the 6 Day War even LBJ opposed the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem. As you pointed out, its annexation is a violation of international law and for the US to go along with this would be a repudiation of almost 70 years of US policy. Trump just has no idea of what he is doing in international relations and he is truly a danger to world security, not just US interests.

  • Sorry, Trump, you can't bring back Coal when Solar costs half as Much
    • Clinton proposed something like that; I'm not sure if it was specifically retraining for solar, but she has proposed spending something like $30 billion on retraining coal workers. Of course it was ignored by the press and distorted by Trump who just talked about her "war on coal."

  • Hard Truth: Aleppo Rebels weren't defeated by Main Force but b/c they alienated Syrians
    • I found a number of errors in this piece and some internal contradictions. I would call it interesting, but not persuasive. As to the point of origin, I heard a talk by a Syrian expert who knew Assad well, having interviewed him on several occasions and written extensively on Assad and Syria who was of the opinion that the Syrian security forces were almost exclusively responsible for the outbreak of violence. He thought they may have acted without Assad's direction and then Assad decided to back them rather than to admit his failure to control his own forces.

    • Even if the the different radical Islamist groups hadn't alienated so many, it is still pretty hard to defeat an established government when you are not unified. According to reporting here and elsewhere, at times the different rebel groups fought between themselves. Additionally, when the rebels were holding their own, the lack of unity would have made negotiating a settlement difficult since the different groups had different aims. One of the things we can learn from the Bolshevik Revolution, for example, is that when you have chaos or divided opposition, a committed and unified group, even when in the minority, can often win the day.

    • Source, please. Reporting at the time and thereafter indicated that the original protesters were a result of the Arab Spring which was spreading throughout the region. Since Professor Cole has written a book on the Arab Spring, perhaps he can enlighten us. Early armed resistance was aided considerably by deserters from the Syrian Army. I believe that sometimes even whole units up to platoon or company sizes went over to the rebel side for a while. Where do you get your information?

  • Demonization of Putin as "Personally" behind Clinton Hack is old Propaganda Technique
    • link to newsweek.com
      Kurt Eichenwald is a very good investigative reporter.

    • Apparently you believe Assange and Putin instead of the EU, 17 government intelligence agencies, private security companies and just about everyone else outside of Trump, Putin, and their rabid supporters. Amongst security professionals, there is no doubt. Do a google search and check out a recent article in The Hill from an expert.

    • I think it was the Comey letter that was the most important factor in Trump winning the Electoral College vote. Nate Silver also thinks so:link to mediaite.com
      However, to deny Putin's involvement shows a lack of understanding of the operation of the Russian system. Putin was a KGB agent and, thus, a former communist. There is no more top down organization in history than the KGB in the USSR. Nothing of importance would be decided by subordinates. Additionally, we know from history of the Soviet Union that Russian premiers were involved in deciding some of the most detailed and miniscule issues. In short, it is inconceivable that something as important as hacking another country's election, or even hacking into a major function in a major power like the United States, could be done without the knowledge and specific approval of Vladimir Putin. Dictators don't delegate decisions. You really dropped the ball on this one.

  • Trump Taps Man More Far-Right Than Netanyahu to Be Israel Envoy
    • There were people on this site who maintained during the campaign that Clinton was too pro-Israel and Trump would be much better. This appointment is an absolute disaster and means any two state solution is never going to be even considered. It is giving a blank check to the Netanyahu government. George W. Bush was arguably the worst President in US history as far as foreign policy goes. Trump may end up making him look like a genius by comparison. God help us all.

  • Why do GOP Presidents get to go Hard Right, and Dems are just GOP Lite?
    • Most of these comments seem simplistic to me. Looking at this as a political scientist, an amateur historian, and a long time Democrat, here is how it looks to me. The mistake was made after Reagan won. Teddy Kennedy tried to unseat Carter in the primaries, which is close to impossible for a sitting President and, off the top of my head, I can't think of any occasion when it was successful. This weakened the party. After Reagan won, Tip O'Neill made what I think was a fatal mistake. He decided to work with Reagan, even though Democrats held a majority in the House. Having lived through that time I remember clearly that polls showed that Reagan was very personally popular, but his conservative policies were not. The spirit of the New Deal was still ascendant in the country up to this time. By going along with Reagan, the Democrats allowed a number of conservative policies to be put into law. Then, when Bush was elected in 1988, we had 12 years of uninterrupted conservative Republican rule and practically a whole generation of voters who had been brought up under that paradigm. As a result, conservative policies became the orthodoxy and New Deal policies were shunt aside. This is when wealth inequality began to rise significantly, unions were reduced or even crushed, trickle down economics became accepted, and government was presented as the enemy and not the solution. Bill Clinton and the DLC arose as a result. The main purpose of a political party is to win elections. Many of the Democratic leaders felt that the only way that they could win was to embrace more of a business friendly approach to politics. They may have been correct; we don't know. We do know that the previous Democratic candidates before Clinton were New Deal like and got crushed, although their policies probably had little to do with it. Even Clinton felt that he had to adopt the mantra that the government was the problem, not the solution. You need to remember that Clinton was a Southern Democrat and was able to win some Southern states that the Democrats haven't won since. This seemed to validate his approach. Thus, the problem facing the Democrats, which they helped create back in the 80's, was the popular feeling that government did more harm than good. Private enterprise is the answer. This meme is still strong in this country. Anyone remember seeing the signs saying the government should keep their hands off of Medicare? You can't change what has become a cultural norm over night. I personally think Obama should have and could have clamped down harder on Wall Street, but I think his failure to do so was a calculated action for 2 reasons:1. He knew he would need their money in 2012, and 2. He was worried that if he clamped down too hard the economy could tank. Even with Obama's success, you still have close to half the population who thinks the answer to society's problems is reliance on the free market. BTW, this is why the ACA/Obamacare was so vital. Its success would go a long way in changing the public discourse that government is the problem not the solution.
      As to the main point, I agree that the Democrats need to get tougher. It's like they are prepared for fisticuffs while the Republicans are bringing a gun to the fight. The Democrats gave in to Reagan; they gave in to Bush before the Iraq War, and they didn't fight hard enough for their principles while in power. However, a large part of the post Reagan behavior was a result of the extant political culture. While I disagreed with a lot of the party's decisions, I find them understandable and defensible. However, if they had taken a tougher approach and not been so willing to go along, then they would be in a better place IMO. Another thing you should take into consideration. Cognitive studies have shown a difference in how conservatives and liberals think. Conservatives are more authoritarian and willing to give and take orders with little or no questions. Liberals are much more willing to work with others, take the views of others into consideration and are more willing to compromise. So liberals have to go against their basic nature in many respects.

    • First of all, Clinton won 2.1% more of the vote than did Trump. Secondly, a recent study of the polls shows that the unprecedented Comey letter cost Clinton 2% of the vote. If she had that 2% she lost, she would have beaten Trump by the same margin as Obama beat Romney in 2012 and would have won the 3 swing states, plus Florida, more than enough to win the electoral college.

    • It is my supposition that one reason for our escalation in Vietnam was because of Communist China. The Republicans hammered the Democrats and Truman for "losing China" as if it were ours to lose. It was only 15 years from the takeover of China by the Communists until LBJ escalated the war. Anti-communism was like a religion during those times and I think LBJ was truly worried about being branded as the President who lost Vietnam and Indochina. When you hear some of the tapes when he was talking to Senator Richard Russell, a friend from his Senate days, you hear a man (LBJ) who sounds tortured because he knows it is a terrible situation he is putting himself and the country into, but it sounds like he sees no other alternative.Too often people judge things by the norms of their own era instead of the tenor of the times at which events took place.

    • There were something like 430 ;bills passed by the House that never got through the Senate because of Republican filibusters while Democrats had a majority (2009 to 2011). Because of Teddy Kennedy dying, the Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a little over 6 months and most of that time was spent on healthcare.

    • That's ridiculous, as is Marx. History has shown time and again that economics is not the most important influence in how people vote or who they support in politics. The party nominated McGovern and he lost in a landslide. Losing big is what they fear, not abandoning corporate interests.

    • Things will never change unless you and others like you work to get real progressives elected as Democrats. Why do you think the GOP has gone hard right? It didn't happen overnight, but took about 20 years as the conservatives worked assiduously to take over the party from within.

  • Sorry, Garrison Keillor: Keith Ellison for President could have beaten Trump, and still Can
    • ... You may think there are millions anxious to vote for someone like Representative Ellison, but this is just not true. I like to rely on facts, not hope. Outside of political wonks like people who come here, Ellison is unknown outside of his home state. Obama was lucky in that he succeeded maybe the worst president in US history. Under other circumstances he probably would not have won. That is because, as it should be obvious by now, there are still a lot of racists in this country. Secondly, there is a whole lot of anti-Muslim sentiment. In a poll 38% said they could not vote for a Muslim. link to gallup.com
      More people identify themselves as consevative than liberals (44% to 29%). Also, you quote a lot of labor leaders who would love to vote for Mr. Ellison. However, labor leaders were 100% behind Clinton. Many rank and file would never vote for Ellison. Since Reagan won, we have seen time and again how the white working class will vote against their economic interests because of social issues (racism, fear of crime, homophobia, etc. ) raised by the Republicans. I would love to see someone as left wing as Bernie Sanders or Keith Ellison as President, but that won't happen any time soon. Wishing doesn't make something so. We have to learn to live with the reality we face. Clinton won the popular vote and lost the electoral college because of a lot of untoward events. Republicans still control both houses of Congress and almost two thirds of state governments. Change that to Democrats controlling all those institutions and then someone like Ellison might have a chance.

  • Syria's Aleppo Falling: The Government Russia actually Turned
    • People should have learned by now that you can't trust his words. He has literally changed major positions from one day to the next. Look only at his actions.

    • For the young ones the biggest problem in the future will be climate change, not war in Syria. The biggest danger of Trump, of which there are many, may be his denial of climate change and promotion of fossil fuels.

    • The destabilization began when Assad security forces fired on peaceful protesters. Assad could have met with the protesters and tried to work out some form of limited representation, but he chose instead to engage in armed repression that led to civil war when some of his own army defected to the rebels rather than fire on them. He then engaged in war crimes which have been thoroughly documented. This ground was laid well before any outside intervention.

  • Is Bruited Sec. of State Tillerson allied with Iran & at war with Iraq?
    • Rachel Maddow highlighted this deal a couple of days ago. It is worth $500 billion. What do you want to bet Putin gets a billion or two out of that and if and when sanctions are lifted Trump gets a whole lot of business in Russia.

  • No, America, it wasn't Russia: You did it to Yourself
    • While what you say is true, it doesn't tell enough of the story. As it has turned out, Clinton has now gotten as many votes as Obama in 2012 and just lost in key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin by a total of less than 100,000 votes. Given the narrowness of the win/loss, a small change in votes could have changed the outcome. Given that Trump gained a fair number of votes in the last two weeks, when the Comey letter and the fake news had their biggest effect, that could very well have been the difference. Here is one of the latest analyses: link to latimes.com We shouldn't ignore the importance of Russian meddling.

  • Syria unlikely to be Partitioned: The Resilience of Colonial Borders
  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter?
    • Just as frightening is that there are thousands, tens of thousands, or even more that actually believe anything this crazy. Large parts of this country are coming unhinged.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels
    • There is contrary evidence because most of the hydrates are at relatively deep sea levels, less affected by climate change. A more pressing problem that is likely to occur much sooner, IMHO, is methane release from the thawing of permafrost. In addition to Alaska and Canada, there are truly vast stretches of permafrost in Russia. I agree that it is likely we are already in a feedback loop and the future is grave.

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail
    • There was a PBS show on the Taliban a couple of years ago. They had a correspondent go into NW Afghanistan and cross the border into Pakistan. He was able to arrange on camera interviews (faces hidden) with top Taliban officials. One of them said that if Pakistan wanted to, they could round up all the top Taliban officials living in Pakistan in less than a day. He was saying by implication that they knew where all of them were and were giving them sanctuary. This is typical of the Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI, who wants to see a weak Afghanistan. Certainly the ISI knew where bin Laden was hiding, too.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World
    • You make some good points and I think what you have found is very interesting. I hope this is something that is not only investigated fully, but also publicized widely. This could be a real threat to democracy. During the campaign on leftist websites I kept running into a lot of posts by Bernie supporters attacking Hillary and making a lot of specious claims. Some were so over the top and became so common, I finally deduced that they were more likely from conservative trolls trying to sow dissension in Democratic ranks. Now, however, it may be that a lot of these posts came from Russia and other affiliated locations. I think it was Buzzfeed that did an analysis of social media and found that in the last week of the campaign fake news stories got more readers and shares than real news. We know that some fake news has been created by individuals who rely on and prey on the gullibility of Trump supporters to make money. In articles in the Washington Post and the LA Times, they said that they could make from $10,000 to $40,000 a month from advertisers by getting a lot of hits on their fake news. Given the large volume of fake news at the end of the campaign, it may very well be that a lot of this was also generated by Russians seeking to gain support for Trump. As one of the American fakers said, Trump supporters will believe anything because they never fact check. That is why the entrepreneurial types play to the right wingers; they are easier to fool than liberals, according to the articles. Thus, Russian fakers would be able to have a lot of success in supporting Trump in that way.

    • I wouldn't claim to be an expert, but I have had course work in international law and have read extensively on WW II. I also checked the Wikipedia article on War Crimes, which pretty much confirmed what I had thought. Deliberately targeting civilians was a war crime as far back as the 1898 Geneva convention. In Europe the British engaged in what they called area bombing, which was to just drop bombs on a German city pretty indiscriminately. That was a war crime. The US attempted precision bombing, aiming at specific military targets. Although the precision turned out to be illusory, the US thought the Norton bombsight was capable of precision bombing and that was the intent of the US bombing campaign. As a result, the US took many more casualties among its bomber fleet than the British since the US bombed during the day and the British at night. Thus, the US bombing campaign in Europe was not a war crime. In the War in the Pacific, the bombing of Japan was generally speaking a war crime, especially the fire bombing of Tokyo and other indiscriminate bombing of Japanese cities. The intent was more to terrorize the local population than destroy military targets.

    • It's just Syria. Syria was an ally of the Soviet Union when the USSR was powerful and the USSR still played a secondary role in the region. Syria has never been important on the world or even regional stage.. It has been a secondary theater and what importance it has had is to support Hezbollah, which is more an irritant than a powerful force, and to form a nebulous axis with Iran, providing them with a pipeline for sending arms to Hezbollah. Even with a victory, Syria will be prostrate for at least a decade because of all the destruction. Let the Russians crow all they want. Once the world moves on to alternative fuels, the Middle East won't be very important anyway. Of course, Trump could decide to get the US more heavily involved in the region, screw everything up and who knows what happens then. He is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Now that SecDef thinks Israeli Occupation is Apartheid, will the Lobby Blackballing Fail?
    • To which can be added that during the campaign Trump came out forcefully in favor of Likud policies and Sheldon Adelson, as staunch a supporter of right wing Israeli policies as anyone, is still a major force in the GOP and gave several millions to Trump. I suspect Trump picked Mattis because he is in favor of tough anti-Iran policies, not because of what he said in 2013 about Israel.

  • 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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