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Total number of comments: 17 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:06)

gus

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  • Iran's President Rouhani and the New Hopes for Diplomacy (Sternfeld)
    • It was ill-treated long before Ahmadinejad. In fact, the West and Russia have treated Iran badly for a couple centuries, but the Iranians know such things eventually change & their time will come again. Their nation has 10 times the experience with international politics the US has; they've seen more than their fair share of lunatics and oppression, but also good government and regional or global influence. We could learn a LOT from working with them, but as an adolescent society we think we're always right and probably won't wake up until we get our backsides handed to us. Let's just hope that doesn't wipe out civilization when it happens.

    • Israel -- more accurately, the Israeli right wing -- ALWAYS freaks about any possibility the might lose their monopoly on US support in the MidEast. If we were to start supporting Iran again, particularly an Iran led by someone who has world respect AND is popular among Muslims (not sure Rouhani has the former yet, but he's got a better chance than Ahmadinejad), we stand to gain millions of new allies and would benefit FAR more than supporting an isolated state widely distrusted by its neighbors. (I know some of the MidEast distrusts Iran, particularly the Saudis because of their Wahhabi worldview, but they ALL distrust Israel, even if they deal with them. The problem isn't the people there, it's the Israeli government's practices, and by distancing ourselves from them, we might be able to start repairing some of the relationship damage with Muslims nations the wars caused.)

  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • Agreed. Also, even if it's unlikely, what if the rebels DID use the gas? Will we treat them the same way we'd treat the regime? Under those circumstances, wouldn't we be morally obligated to SUPPORT Assad?

  • Where has all the Water Gone? How Climate Change and Soaring Water Demand are Drying out the Southwest (deBuys)
    • The generation that migrated there in the 90s and 00s to escape northern winters will soon see its children returning north as refugees from the heat. With the larger effects of climate change and related economic woes, though, they might not be all that welcome.
      Phoenix was vastly overgrown and immensely water-wasteful when I lived there 1997-01, and has only kept growing since. It's amazing to see how much the sprawl has expanded on Google Earth -- whole cities of people have appeared that didn't exist then, often in "unincorporated" areas that allow developers to violate any commonsense building rules. Those cookie-cutter subdivisions often have big, very green, water-gulping golf courses to appeal to those who go there with the hubris that golf is a way for man to best nature, as a former AZ roommate once said (even though they ignore the fact they aren't actually playing under natural conditions at all).

      Predictions aside, there's no way that area can support 49.3-76.5 million people. It exceeded carrying capacity decades ago.

  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • Probably true. But we'd better devise a clear idea of what we want our society to look like before or while we're ousting them, or we could rapidly find the changes we're making hijacked by brutal demagogues whose only interest is power.

    • To some degree, that's true. That's why we need to reintegrate localized farming into almost every community, to restore our ability to feed ourselves before the centralized system disintegrates and leaves us starving.

    • Right. I've thought we should seriously consider abandoning something like every other parallel street -- rip the pavement up and start planting raised beds in them, with a bike lane down the middle. My town (in MA) has such a backlog of roadwork the former DPW director (he left this spring) told me it'd require a budget 6X what he actually gets for several years in a row to catch up. One thing that's interesting is that some of the roads needing the most work are those leading out of town, and I suspect that, over time, many communities will find similar situations gradually cutting them off from their neighbors.

    • The robot-owning corps (and others) have purposely concentrated that power by making the government THEIRS,and are already abusing their power. We have to take it back and make it OURS again.

    • Agreed. And the biggest institution in question is the government, specifically the degree to which it has been corrupted by those with wealth. In the West, a secondary one are the university business & economics departments who have all but eliminated any sense of ethics or ecological/social responsibility in their training of the capitalist "priesthood."

    • Not sure about that, Juan. The vast majority of Europe spent centuries "forever poor" while fully "employed" under feudalism, while a small merchant class and even smaller nobility flaunted their wealth. In the early years, that started with the poor seeking (and generally getting) protection from the more powerful, but in time it turned into serfdom and oppression.

    • The problem is that Americans have no real experience with oppression. Today, we're just starting to get glimpses of what oppression might look like, and the potential tools are in place, but true oppression isn't here yet. The capitalists learned from the Nazis and Stalin not to be TOO overt about it, while undermining the sense of civic duty you mention.
      At this point, they still manipulate average people to keep us at odds but climate change & other factors could well change that. Even now, those of a leftist bent often find Tea Partiers have the same underlying issues if we're willing to talk through the BS on the surface. That fact should be our unification; the capitalists know that and it scares them.

    • Actually, they didn't. They put the control in the STATE'S hands where the state used the rhetoric of being run by the people but was in practice oligarchic. Those nations never actually experienced what Marx termed "communism" because they never got out of his "dictatorship of the proletariat" stage.

    • No, the real problem is we can't produce enough to satisfy the WANTS of everyone. We produce vastly more than needed to meet basic NEEDS; the problem is waste (sometimes caused by political manipulation or as a weapon) and diversion of resources into making things that increase profit but have no purpose other than vanity-enhancement.

      I agree with Juan; some things DO need to be "nationalized," although I use that loosely to mean publicly-owned at various levels. There is definitely a need today to have a major society-wide discussion on what capitalism is doing to us & our planet, what things should rightfully NOT be based on profit or rooted in the global market system even if profit-based, and what things should be owned at a local level vs larger scales.

    • The catch-22 is that modern big ag REQUIRES massive supplies of fuel, which are going to become a problem (already are in some places) for economic & ecological reasons. That's the only way a tiny minority can feed billions; without the fuel, we'll need a lot more physical labor, and agriculture could also help the unemployment issue. The issue is whether we structure it so the workers have an ownership stake in the farms; if we don't, it'll probably look suspiciously like feudalism again.
      Although the pop growth RATE is in fact slowing in most places (a good thing), global pop (the only number that matters) is still GROWING, and we're well into overshoot now. For that reason, I agree with Chet's last line. Without good education & promotion of contraception, major redistribution of wealth so that the Global South can
      "leapfrog" the fossil fuel era (essentially repaying them for all the wealth our corps have stolen over the last century), and major reductions in our overconsumption in the West, that leveling-off will happen in away that leaves the vast majority of us far worse off. With climate change and other issues, it might even be a pop-decline, in ways we don't want to experience.

  • Did the Man who Tried to buy our Presidential Election Get rich by Bribing Communist China? (Engelberg)
    • Never mind him bribing Chinese officials -- what about bribing (oops, "donating to campaigns") of AMERICAN officials?!? when is THAT going to ever be treated as the corruption it is?

  • Top Ten Most Distasteful things about Romney Trip to Israel
    • Beyond that, every cent he gets had better be documentably from US citizens or he's violating federal law (not that he cares about the law, obviously). Has any other pres. candidate as brazenly held fundraisers overseas before?

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