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Total number of comments: 13 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:33)

Jon C. Swanson

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  • The Military Diminishment of Judaism
    • Published almost 20 years ago, Harkabi's book Israel's Fateful Hour was prescient and is still worth reading.

  • Egypt's Coptic Christians Protest Killing by Fundamentalists of 4 at Church
    • 10% is always the figure cited as the relative size of the Coptic community but I have heard that Egypt's Christian community is under counted and may be as high as 20%.
      In any case the Copts experienced some discrimination under Mubarrak. I'm sure they felt very intimidated by the Morsi regime which failed to include Christians in his government. Sectarian extremists are always the most dangerous since they are convinced that God is on their side. Many here are convinced that God loves the US best. Such thinking only leads to self-righteous atrocity.

  • Syria: Will Killing of Hundreds with Sarin Gas force Obama's Hand?
    • I find it hard to believe that the Syrian Regime however brutal is so stupid as to use chemical weapons on the eve of a UN investigation into the use of such weapons.
      Moreover the photos I saw on Al Jazeera this morning were mostly of alleged male victims raising questions as to whether these photos were staged for propaganda purposes.
      At the same time I would put nothing past some of the extremist rebel factions whose profound convictions push all morality aside in pursuit of their goals. History shows that those without doubt are often those most capable of atrocity.
      In the end I can reach no conclusions. In this war as in most there are no good guys.

  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • It is axiomatic that the privileged enjoy the luxury of blissful insouciance, secure in the belief that the "other" is are responsible for his or her own hunger, incarceration, lack of education, poverty, etc. As Blake said, "It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted and to speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer. It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer sun and in the vintage to sing on the wagon loaded with grain."
      People of color experience racism at every level. No matter how successful, they are subjected to the subtle assumptions of a racist society. From the worker stopped for "driving while black" to student whose professor asks, "Did you write this paper?" or to the young professional who on picking out a garment in an exclusive store is asked, "Can you afford this dress?" the racist assaults go on and on.
      Racism is like alcoholism in America and White America is dominated by the addicted. Like alcoholics Americans can be recovering racists but in this society there is no cure. One must constantly critically assess one's motives and attitudes around race. Self congratulation is rarely appropriate.

  • Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria
    • This morning on NPR I heard the Syrian situation described as a civil war between Sunni and Shia'a. Allawites while nominally Shia'a are like Druze and other groups - very heterodox in their beliefs. Nor do Christians by and large support the rebels. All have good reason to fear takeover by a sectarian Sunni regime. Sunni sufis should also fear Wahabi inspired insurgents who despise the mystical traditions that have flourished in the Levant for centuries.
      Minorities need only look across the border at Iraq to see the consequence of replacing a secular regime with a sectarian one. The convicted are ever ready to murder those who do not believe as they do.
      Despite the failings of the Assad regime and its repeated violations of human rights they are less oppressive than the rebels will be.
      Whose interests are served by a rebel victory?

  • "Investigative Journalism is Completely [Screwed]" (Daily Show's John Oliver)
    • It is interesting how the free press has been hijacked not by a totalitarian government but by corporate interests and public indifference. Americans with their economic and military power have for years enjoyed the privilege of not having to worry about the rest of the world. This is not true of most of the rest of the world. I remember traveling in rural Yemen in the 70s and early 80s and being struck by how aware barely educated peasants were about US policy and international affairs. I thought perhaps 9/ll might cause Americans to move away from their insoucient indifference. but all that has happened is a lot of self indulgent whining about how we were victimized.

  • Top 10 Ways the Middle East Changed, 2012
    • A viable Palestinian state is simply not possible given the geographic and demographic "facts on the ground" that Israel has created. Already isolated, as the recent UN vote demonstrated, the "Jewish" state will become even more so as the US public becomes increasingly disillusioned with its apartheid excesses. The tide has turned. The call for a single secular state with guarantees of justice for all looks less and less like a pipe dream and more and more like the only way out for all concerned.

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • I have repeatedly searched for figures on information about the percentage of total US export are military related or are armaments of one sort or another. Where can one find reliable figures?

  • Despite Negative Hype, Green Energy Revenues Rapidly Expanding
    • A friend of mine who lives near Ann Arbor,MI recently put up a wind turbine costing $60,000. The utility company will only be required to purchase the amount of electricity that he historically used in his household. He will not be paid for an excess generated Moreover there are limits on how many people are allowed into this program. Current business/government policies clearly do not encourage a shift to wind and solar energy. It seems to me that we need to rethink and redefine utility companies not as producers but as transporters of energy. Laws must be changed to require energy companies to pay for clean energy generated by individuals and groups.

  • Israel - Iran Military Comparison
    • Israeli generals themselves have admitted that in 1967 Egypt posed no real military threat to Israel and that their strike was aimed at expanding their frontiers.
      Not mentioned are the mini land grabs Israel carried out against Jordan and Syria in the years prior to 1967, Israel's extraterritorial assassinations,war crimes, violations of international law, and the selling of US secrets to other nations.
      Israel fits the definition of a rogue state rather well but it is a rogue state franchised by US taxpayers and to our shame we are all accessories.

  • Ellsberg: All Nixon's Crimes Against me now Legal
    • Democracy in the US is going the way of the dodo bird. As in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany electoral politics is little more than theater with the corporate elite writing the script. It is time take our lessons from the ME and move our politics to the steets.

  • Sunni-Shiite Tension Boils in Iraq, Gulf over Bahrain
    • The Shi'i of E. Saudi Arbia are not the only victims of Wahabi discrimination. The Sulimani Ismaili shi'a community in Najraan in SW Saudi Arabia has been the subject of systematic discrimination for years and was the subject of a Human Rights Watch investigation in 2008. This report can be viewed at:
      link to hrw.org
      Is there any news of demonstrations in this formerly Yemeni province?

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