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Total number of comments: 148 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:54)

Kyzl Orda

Showing comments 148 - 101

  • The Economic Crisis of Greying World: 30 Countries have more Elderly than Children
    • Yeah, immigration is a band aid but works for politicians and businesses with short-term sight/planning/goals.

      Really need to reform the labour laws too. The western countries have fallen into a mindset need two people to afford all the good things in life (insert personal definition here) and also economic troubles have influenced people to put off having kids. Not enough has been done in most western countries to make it easier to be a working mom or to keep essential costs down. Education costs more than a house for example - I'm talking about college. Daycare alone eats a huge chunk of income, at the other end of the spectrum. Then factor in food, utilities, all that keeps rising fast and jobs are not being created or pay like they used to

  • Top Five Ways to tell if a Terrorist is still al-Qaeda despite name Change
  • The Real Problem with the Iraq War: It was Illegal
    • If the Chilcott Report had been charged with determining the war was legal or not, it would mean jail terms for certain officials

      At least the UK has had a Chilcott Investigation; in the US, what have we had??

    • I lived and worked in DC at the time. What 'lots of folks'? Turned out the "opposition" in the halls of government were too interested in keeping their jobs and picket fences in northern virginia and proved much easier to snuff out than any opposition and ISIL combined in Iraq.

      State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) tried to raise red flags. However the sheep public kept quiet as civil servants were pushed out of jobs for political reasons - conveniently civil servants who raised that opposition. One employee of INR jumped off the roof at State at the time - was that person part of a purge and through depression ended his life? ALl the chips fell into line at the end of the day, and here we are

  • The Great Battle for Aleppo
  • Dissing Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israeli Occupation
  • As Putin Slams NATO, Russia loses Patience with US-Backed Rebels in Syria
    • THank you, it's been hard to find information on this recent visit and what is going on. That is dismal because it seems if we all got together on this - we could squash Isil from opposite directions but it seems the will to wipe out ISIL in Syria is not there on our side and that is rather alarming

  • $206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment
    • Like Al-Nusra and radical company in Syria? Would love to know how much we spend on them, an ally of Al Qaeda, but isnt that part of the bill Congress authorizes kept secret??

      These groups are disengenuous - the ones supporting the legislation above are connected to groups that push for supporting the radical islamist groups like Al Nusra in Syria. But hey - they have to earn a living and work to make sure their claims have some basis but don't look too closely at how they play a role in this

    • These fascist groups should be spending $208 million dollars for legislation that creates jobs, not fans hate. Insecurity is big business for these crazies

      A couple of the groups named above were also headed or founded by Daniel Pipes. Pipes was once on the Fulbright Board -- these guys shouldn't be allowed near any government job or anything security-related, especially for the sake of a democratic and transparent society - yet how do they make it??

  • Did the FBI Tell Orlando Shooter's ex-Wife Not to reveal He Was Gay to Media?
    • The second wife was reported to be divorced and one year older than Mateen, too. In Central Asian cultures, this is not the norm. Almost always, a woman would be preferred who is much younger and inexperienced marriage-wise ahem.

      Marriage to an older and divorced woman would likely prompt gossip about the groom's orientation, given these kind of circumstances

  • In further Move to Far Right, Israel passes Draconian Terrorism Law
    • Bad news. This is one case where the US is ahead of Israel. Usually, we copy their bad anti-terrorism laws that yield more terrorism. Civil Forfeiture is that controversial program still in place and bonus - you dont have to be a terrorist. Just be born suspicious-looking in a way entirely subjective way.

      But have to agree, and Im a Sanders person, you know Clinton is going to go hawk in order to curry favour with the neo-cons and prove how 'tough' she is on security matters and will find away to support more restrictions

      Super - no one supports ethnic cleansing except morons and ironically, the Clinton administration was FAMOUS for inacting on the Rwandan and Yugoslavian massacres, waiting until people were murdered before convening conferences and acting like they did something useful. People were dead by then

  • Top 7 ways to tell if Someone is lying about being a 'Salafi Jihadi'
    • I read that this guy's father came to the US after or during our last war in Afghanistan.

      If so, how? I'm worried this may be yet another case where we pick the wrong crowd to back and what needs to be reformed is our foreign and intel policy. Too often we align with human rights abusers and they get immigration or other perks to the US. We need to be better discerners whom we support but we seem to be making the same mistakes today - ie supporting allies of Al Qaeda in Syria and 9/11 anniversary is 3 months away

      Another famous example are the Salvadoran military officials who were responsible for the rape and murder of seven American nuns in El Salavador -- and who were rewarded with citizenship in the US! The US ambassador at the time, Robert White, lost his job because he tried to advocate justice for our compatriots. Ambassador White died last year, I believe, but devoted his life after being fired for taking a moral stand to obtaining justice for these poor souls.

      Something is broken. It's hard to hear people say 'never again' but allow things to continue

    • Someone who supports Salafism would want to think of themselves as religious. They are writing their own narrative, so to speak

      Most Muslims don't buy Salafism, however, and might say it's hypocrasy. 'Do as I say, don't look at what I do'

    • Because alot of the guys who join up -- were not particularly observant or practicing Muslims, except in name only. The further you go outward from the heart of the Middle East (and im simplyfing this) the more likely you are to find people who do not understand the regulations and basis of their own faith.

      In addition, religious education varies country to country and in many cases, people do not undergo any religious instruction so what they learn is from the western media with fantastic irony, and they wind up subscribing to stereotypes about their own faith

      Lastly what is drawing people to join ISIS and the radicals from other countries? Often lack of economic empowerment/jobs in their own countries and being guys -- a sense of boredom and wanting excitement

      Part of the real failure of our occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. We built a few forts, hunkered down, and failed to transform the economies in a way to benefit the local populaces (ie the majority community numerically compared to us). The only economic changes we made were with an eye on the US voter and benefiting American businesses. You might as well build a skyscraper on an active fault line

      You can't expect to invade, retroactively announce plans to build an infrastructure then do nothing. Its a recipe for disaster

    • Just because someone is born into a religion, doesnt mean they know it or know the rules of their particular faith.

      How many Catholics in the US know there are some sects of Catholicism where the priests CAN marry? Probably zero (it's some of the eastern rite branches of the Catholic Church, comprised of over 20 groups actually). Some don't even know they have to go to confession first if they missed a prior mass before going up to receive communion.

      In Central Asia, understanding of Islam is uneven, partly because of geography and political history. Many people do not know the finer points or the actual difference between Shi'a and Sunni. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in an Uzbek village, people were worried about wahhabi/salafi groups but didn't know what they were per se - they thought of them as political trouble makers. My female counterpart once confided she didn't like the Wahhabis - they would make her veil and convert to Baptist faith. At that point, I released she had heard these terms but didn't know a Baptist was very different than a Wahhabi. Can you imagine a Catholic having to explain the difference between a Baptist and a Wahhabi???

  • 'Security Moms': A Constituency for Hillary Clinton's Hawkish Foreign Policy?
    • Is having Robert Kagan and the neocons' support THAT good a thing?

      This candidate has to overcompensate for the stereotyped view that democrats and female candidates especially are weak on security. The irony is -- you can promote a weak security by being too aggressive as well

      There is a constituency this candidate has failed -- her own department's whistle blowers.

  • Media calls Election for Hillary before California: Superdelegate System under Fire
    • There is little difference between Trump and Clinton, except he is a bona fide racist and HRC panders to lobbyists.

      As presidential candidates, neither has successfully articulated their plan for tackling our nation's problems. Neither one has stamina. For her part, HRC has backed down many occassions on key issues to avoid hurting her image. It is naive to think either one cares about anything beyond obtaining the White House

      Howard Dean was quoted today saying no one wants to be remembered as Ralph Nader, in a veiled reference to Bernie Sanders.

      Nader, to those of us with a political memory, did an outstanding job as a consumer advocate and opened the way for alternate parties in the 2 party-system we are stuck with. If anything, no one remembers Dean and he wishes he had accomplished half as much as Nader

      Sanders, no matter what happens to his bid, has made a tremendous impact and flung the doors open for alternate candidates. He has also raised famously no-go issues for campaigning candidates such as support for Netanyahu and the right. Sanders has exemplified candidates can have backbone and compete too

    • It's high time for spokes to be thrown into the wheels of the democratic and republican parties.

      Would be great if both a sane Republican candidate and Sanders announced they will fight on -- via alternate or new party tickets.

      It's time to challenge this process. It's failing us anyway; we need more parties. We are 1 step away from a dictatorship with just 2 parties

    • CBunny -- the other irony with the HRC crowd -- our vote does NOT matter in the primary - but we'd better fall into line and vote for HRC in the presidential race.

      If our vote doesnt matter in the primaries, why will it matter in the presidential race? What would have changed -- people do not reason things through.

      Yeah, our vote matters all right but if it cant be counted in the primary, the Clintonians may have created a monster that could bite their butts come the next phase

    • Democracy has died

  • Fueling Sanders' Turnout Hope, California Reports Record Surge of New Voters
  • Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East
    • Hopefully. It is ironic or maybe somehow related that here in the US, pluralism has been sharply criticized and seemingly rejected by people on the right politically. Could pluralism in the Middle East therefore make a come back, while the right here - often a driver when it comes to national security and military policies in the US and how these play out in the Middle East -- is distracted from pluralism?

      Pluralism is sorely needed but it is a sign of the times people have lost the vital art of connecting to others and working together. We really need pluralism in our lives and as a partial antidote to alot of problems taking place. Crossing my fingers

  • Baghdad on Lockdown not from fear of ISIL but of poor Protesters
    • The so-called think tanks are really NOT think tanks in spite of this term. They are more like 'jockeyers for favours and prestige" with the Washington establishment, and do not expect any intelligent or serious thinking outside-the-box ideas or plans from them. Often, these organizations task areas to specialists who did not previously specialize in anything Middle Eastern-related and there are various reasons why that is, none are really professional. Many if not most of the so-called think tanks are affiliated with lobbying or political organizations. When they work, it is behind-the-scenes, not before the scrutinizing glare of daylight.

      Our US officials, particularly those with conservative spins or those appointed to this area with zero background or understanding of the country or region, have often favoured federation. Do the Iraqi people favour this too? This is the question. There are a sizable number who fought in the Iraqi army against Iran in that war, including Shi'a Iraqis, who are loyal to the notion of a state of Iraq. Protestors aren't yet calling for the dissolution of the country; they are demanding action from the current leadership

      The political solution we have imposed on Iraq is a failed one; indeed across the region the parties or systems we have 'set up' are anemic and rickety - Libya is another lately in the news. We need to get smarter at promoting feasible political solutions, not imposing them and importantly, factor in populations in these countries when we 'plan' (if you want to call what has transpired since 9/11 planning).

      We seem to be rolling in and forgetting, oh yeah, these countries have populations with basic needs and expectations; instead we are stuck on putting out fires and this is not sustainable anywhere

  • The End of American Iraq: Poor Shiites invade Parliament over corrupt Spoils System
    • Don't believe the Economist. Their 'journalists' often rely on official stats and sources and fail to do legit research.

      They need to factor in all aspects of the economy, including the 'shadow', the black market, and interviewing everyday people. But that would mean -- getting out of the expensive hotels in the capital and away from all the luxuries. So much for getting the real picture. Then we wind up believing our own poor propaganda

    • "but this is a thin sliver of the upper bureaucracy, whereas most people who work in government offices have a career unaffected by the party in office"

      Im sorry to say, as a former Fed - the spoils system is back. Under the Bush-Cheney admin, the focus was on bringing in contractors to replace civil servants and replace them with loyalists and people who would support without questions projects going through that should not take place or permit otherwise questionable contracts.

      You need a compliant staff, people who are inexperienced and content to follow orders without question. Part of the problem with the corruption of our services in Iraq and Afghanistan, relied in part on spoiling the civil service system. The problem occurs elsewhere in the system as well, I'm sorry to report.

      Watch the jobs that are posted, then pulled, and recompeted two weeks later with some tweaking to the language of the annoucement.

      Theodore Roosevelt must be roiling in his crypt

  • Could Hillary Clinton's promise of a gender-equal cabinet change US Politics forever?
    • What good is a gender-equal cabinet when the men and women picked are obsequious and self-serving?

      How about cabinet where the members don't sell out, "just because" they have made it

  • 10 facts the government doesn’t want you to know about Syria
    • The Vatican Radio reported a direct plea from a Roman Catholic Bishop in Aleppo for the "world powers' to stop funding terrorism - highlighting, as a view from the ground too, all that this article pointedly raises:

      link to

  • Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?
    • The title of this article is "Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?" and Dr Cole answers, our DIA did not.

      However, the DIA is not the only agency with a dog in this fight; agencies notoriously do not work together and administrations have been known to foster special departments within agencies or alternate agencies, at the expense of competing agencies, to do a job that political group wants done.

      Departments that don't seem to support a party line, get left out of the loop, underfunded, see work dry up. Voter beware

  • Daesh/ ISIL blows up Shiite Mosque in Saudi Arabia, seeking Sectarian Civil War
    • And, yeah, that gets confusing

    • And in Central Asia, the group or person being referred to as 'Wahhabi' doesnt need to be from Saudi Arabia or even a follower of Wahhabi ideas, it's a synonym for jihadi or extremist. The village I worked in Central Asia would be visited by guys driving through the porous borders from other countries, often further south like Uzbekistan or Afghanistan, to pass out leaflets and propaganda they would come and liberate everyone. People in my village would derisively call them 'Wahhabis'. There's a difference at times between a textbook or classical definition, and how people on the ground view the same phenomenon

  • Obama Prosecutes another Whistleblower to Senate for "Espionage"
  • Washington asks, "Who lost Ramadi?" But Washington never had Ramadi
    • It's amazingly depressing. Right up there, with previously there not being an Al Qaeda connection and Iraq to our war spurring such a relationship - the politically self-fulfilling prophesy.

      Today it's being reported Tadmur/Palmyra has fallen to ISIL, and that it means half of Syria is under their control. The question now is - what next -- how far is ISIL going to push on -- Baghdad is not far from Ramadi, an hour and a half. What is the state of things from the Jordanian and Lebanese perspectives?

  • Iraq: 25,000 Shiite Militiamen gather for Battle of Ramadi
    • The neo-cons (the UK Guardian had a great article on this last winter) had envisioned federation to be a kurdish state in the north, the Shia in the south to align with Kuwait (this is the neo-cons' ill-informed idea) and the center of Iraq to align with Jordan. Just change the parts out the neo-cons thought each region of Iraq would appendage too, and you stiill have some kind of federation idea

      If things really keep going to hell in a handbasket, and ISIL pushes on and attacks Jordan, then it could be a scenario where Jordan aligns with the center of Iraq if ISIL attacks and say Jordan falls. That's hypothetical of course, but scary to consider

    • Isnt that what there is in effect? The Shia dominate the government in Baghdad and the Kurds in the north -- for now. The tribes in the center-ish might be replaced with ISIL. The Federation idea is going to fail too. Really, this problem is bigger than this issue

  • Cole: Iraq's Ramadi falls to ISIL as Shiite Gov't refuses to Arm Sunni Tribes
    • Has it? Sadly, the worst-case scenario is about to take a turn for the worse. It's frightening that Da'esh has gotten this far. And it's equally frightening the political paralysis, the cover up

  • Iraq's Future in the Balance: Will Sunni Arab Tribes join or fight ISIL?
    • Thank you for this insightful update, and looking forward to reading more on the state of the tribes there

  • Eyewitness: How the Bush invasion of Iraq created the ISIL Threat
    • Kenneth and Zeke:

      1) Likely Bin Ladin would have gone for the Towers or something dramatic anyway, irregardless of our first war with Iraq. A) Bin Ladin was further radicalized by the Afghan war and comes from that generation of terrorism, and B) Bin Ladin has always harbored resentment against the US. I used to work at the American University in Cairo and his views were well known. While members of his family were solicited for donations, it was known - leave him off the mailing list

      2) You are referencing the famous dialogue between Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein where the Ambassador indicated the US would not interfere. Then she was pulled from view and has never made an interview following that. The State Department made a point of secluding her. Why? That question has never been appropriately tackled. Was Glaspie's response the result of a conflict of view and/or lack of coordination within the foreign policy apparatus? State does NOT make foreign policy -- few people realize this. It's another agency that does - they set the priorities and State executes. Or Was Glaspie instructed to deliberately mislead Hussein? And later the lesser hawks won out over the chicken hawks in the policy establishment?

      3) Definitely the responsibility for the Iraq debacle likes with the chicken hawks in the Cheney administration. 'Yellow Cake' if anyone remembers that. A friend of my uncle, was one of the heads of the UN weapons inspection team that was later disbanded. They did not find evidence of nuclear weaponry, but of course Yellow Cake was prefabricated along the lines that claimed Iraq had these or was close to it and which formed the basis for justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2007

  • Why The Iraqi Army Is Stuck On The Outskirts of Tikrit
    • If the military-industrial complex prefers a long, drawn out war and for nothing to be accomplished up front, who better to send than Petraeus

  • The Impotence of the Big Dick strain of American Nationalism
    • Dear Ms. Levinson, very interesting article. History is repeating itself but our country doesnt pay notice to history, and hence the stuck-in-a-rut mode, again. One irony, the emphasis on strength by our authorities-that-be falls on the wrong aspect of strength, and as a result we have economic crises, military and political vulnerabilities, and lack of solutions for man-made conflicts (ie that should be solvable because they are man-made). And political impotency as well. The ensuing power vacuum is really a biparty system - eating itself and that also makes us very vulnerable. Often with conflicts, the unity front against a common enemy falls away and in-fighting takes place along with corruption. Our society produces enough 'Cassandras' in the mythical sense of the word -- and has failed to learn the lesson of the Trojans

  • Could a Netanyahu loss in Israeli Elections change Everything?
    • "Are the wild-card ultra-Orthodox parties known to be bribable? "

      Heck, yes. Not all, though. Happens in the US with clergy from other faiths as well. The allure of power and status

    • It would be a welcome change if other parties were elected, and would be par for the course, given past history of Israeli elections.

      Furthermore, it would be great if the Arab parties were to take on a larger role. It remains to be seen what kind of party deals will be struck, though. If it does happen, there could be foreign policy repercussions too. Are our 'wonks' ready for it??

  • Drone program Crashing as Spiritually Damaged Pilots quit in Droves
    • "“We’d go down to Buffalo Wild Wings, drink beer and debrief. It was surreal. It didn’t take long for you to realize how important the work is. "

      If Russian agents in the form of beautiful and easy women suddenly start frequenting Buffalo Wild Wings, wouldnt that be just from left field??

      Loose lips ....

      Anything for defense of the homeland ....

      Bringing the A-game to the war .....

  • Keystone XL Opponents Interrogated by FBI
    • Of course we all know that environmental and democracy activists are the 5th column and a threat to our nation. Older female activists like Vera Scroggins are more dangerous than ISIS and Al Qaeda. She's educated, which makes the situation more dangerous. Beware of grandmothers

      Havent heard of her? Google the Mother Jones story on Vera Scroggins and her role as a fracking activist

  • How Stupid Can CNN Hosts Get about Muslims with Reza Aslan? THIS STUPID.
    • I remember watching a famous American professor on Islam being invited to talk at the State Department for a public talk, with press present. He had been invited by then A/S Secretary Hughes' staff to talk to the Department employees as part of a series these officials wanted to host where experts on the region would come and talk to large groups of State employees.

      Dr Esposito expressed some frustration at being invited over a period of several years and each time the topic was basically being repeated, and it was time to raise the level of discussion and issues and he applauded Secretary Hughes' staff for creating this special series of speakers for Department employees.

      He was the last speaker as well. This is a problem with our various parts of the establishment -- they are rigidly embedded in the same notions and arguments. It's as if the scripts just keep being recylcled, just the date changes. It's easy for people not to have to read or research. Just keep it easy

  • Palestinian Education: another victim of Israel's Gaza War
    • Thank you. Palestinians absolutely have a right to education. Our diplomats need to step up to the plate and advocate for that right to be respected. The Fulbright Association again needs to go to bat and other organizations to protect the rights of Palestinian students. Yes, even a famous neo-con, Condileeza Rice, stated that Palestinians have a fundamental right to education when she learned the Fulbright program for Gazans had been pulled and she personally stepped in to reinstate that program. Let's not be cowed now

  • The Capital of the Caliphate: VICE on the so-called "Islamic State" in Syria & Iraq
    • Islamic law can be established with weaponry and baseball caps were worn in the 7th Century?? These must of been the guys sleeping at their desks during religious lessons. Conservatives here and there have gotten too emboldened and sure of themselves

  • Dick Cheney wants Hillary Clinton ‘held accountable’ for Benghazi terror attacks
    • Thanks, that was a great laugh. Cheney should THANK Mrs Clinton instead, for all the times the Cheney-ites at State were shielded from accountability because of the pervailing ethos 'the hierarchy must be defended at all costs, no matter what' that reigns at State. Not to mention, during her tenure at State, Mrs Clinton's staff forgot to reform all the problems the Cheney-ites caused or do anything about it.

      He should be particularly grateful that proteges such as Victoria 'open-mouth-insert-two-feet' Nuland enjoyed promotion up the chain of responsibility. Look how great the Ukraine crisis is turning out.

      Mr Cheney should be more grateful indeed to the Clinton staffers. It's hard to hold Mrs Clinton accountable -- she was often out of the country somewhere....

  • Anti-Muslim Gadfly to run DC Bus ads linking Hitler to Islam (+Russell Brand video against Islam Hatred)
    • The bus ad is ugly - no doubt about it. I'm not sure how many buses they are on, but the wording is a bad reflection on the source of the ad, not its intended message.

      The last ad that was run was pulled off stations by commuters or defaced, and just as forgetfully melodramatic

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  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • I live in DC and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Senor actually crawled out from the bleak irony hole a few weeks back doing the speech circuit. It's not clear why Mr Senor is doing speeches. It's not like he has to worry about lawsuits being filed in Spain against former Bush officials -- our new administration has shielded the neocons from accountability.

      Too many are perched at the State Department, evident with the sorry conducting of the Ukraine crisis. Mrs Clinton failed to reform State, instead opting to collect awards around the world promoting free speech, while signing approval at State for the NSA to spy on our EU allies and allowing neo-cons to root out whistleblowers at State. Due process? What could that be?

      A few weeks back, Mrs Clinton clammed up during a speech she gave at George Washington University -- on freedom of speech of all things -- looking on as an anti-Iraq war protester (a senior citizen and veteran) was tackled by two (yeah it took two) security guards. All this guy did was stand during her 'talk' and be silent. For that he was injured. Apparently free speech doesnt apply at home, where it's gotten hard to distinguish from neo-cons and sell outs in the other party.

  • Maddow: Duke Energy busted in N Carolina for Toxic Dumping as Enviro Groups Targeted
    • Unfortunately, the states in our deep south are known for corrupt practices and providing poor services to citizens, while exacting high taxes. Things will worsen following the crisis in Ukraine and fracking will also be ramped up. We should be worried that the NSA and other organizations of that nature may be used to spy on environmental and community activists. In Pennsylvania, the local media refuse to report on environmental pollution caused by industries such as fracking as these media are being pressured by local and corporate interests. Your government *not* at work for you

  • Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis?
    • Dear Mr Parry - Thank for this excellent analysis and assessment. The Neo Cons, aka chicken hawks, are at it again. Ms Nuland should never have been promoted to top representative to the EU and someone needs to seriously clean out and reform 'A' Bureau at State, since Mrs Clinton steered clear of that mess in order to preserve her campaign prospects. Ms Nuland was PAO at the US embassy in Kazkahstan and would have had excellent contacts with US gas and oil companies.

      Yet the other day, several American businesses with investments in Russia expressed concern per the Washington Post our politicians got too far ahead of themselves in this conflict and these businesses worried their investments could b jeopardized.

      What's not clear is -- were the neo cons in belief that they could secure Ukraine's gas sector for their business associates or did they consider the possibility Crimea might break away and that Russia could shut the taps to western Ukraine? Or were they wanting to supply Europe with gas from elsewhere in the world, such as the US with the fracking taking place and don't really care if the Crimea splits off since that would play into their schemes?

  • Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders
    • There was a female VP in Iran - Massoumeh Ebteker

    • The Republicans know alot more about Benghazi and it's why they harp on it, using smoke and mirrors ploy. Mrs Clinton's big mistake was to not reform State and leave alot of neo con appointees in place. Victoria Nuland, our top diplomat to the EU caught on the phone cursing the EU, is a Cheney protege and was involved in trying to intimidate whistleblowers during the Benghazi affair

    • The neo cons are way worse but the Clinton team, if there is going to be a campaign, better clean up their act or they will be out early in primary season. Speeches alone don't suffice anymore nor do smoke and mirrors

    • Thank you, George. Hit that nail on the head. Also, Mrs Clinton not only stood by and allowed neo cons in the State Department to weed out whistleblowers, she personally signed off on permission for the NSA to spy on the EU. Recently, a vet who is also a senior citizen stood up at a speech she gave at GW university, silently but wearing an anti-Iraq war shirt -- she said nothing as two young security guys tackled him and injured him -- while she gave a speech on the need for freedom of speech of all things

  • US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq
    • And no sanctions over the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza on the table either

  • Obama and the Golden Calf of National Security: Broken Commandments
    • To sum up, we here in the US are losing our homes in the mortgage crisis, jobs, unemployment benefits -- but workers for the NSA and agencies that cant be named get paid, with cushy benefits, to watch porn on the job.

      Meanwhile, the Boston bombing occurs under the aegis of the same programs enabling porn-watching at work, though these are really (or ostensibly) supposed to monitor for terrorism being planned/staged.

      And then our President covers for former NSA Chief Hayden, who gets caught on Amtrak giving an "anonymous" and "off the record" interview to a journalist, bashing our very President who is covering NSA senior officials' butts.

      link to

  • Why won't Western Politicians Condemn Israeli Crackdown on Palestinian Protesters, but do Complain about Ukraine?
  • Court Upholds Making fun of NSA, DHS, slaps Down their Nuisance Suit
    • Congratulations to the guy who made this case. He should make a tee for all the whistleblowers who lost their jobs in the government because Judge Scalia interpreted the First Amendment does not apply to government employees acting in the course of their work

  • A Delegation of Congressional Christian Zionists to Israel
    • What is also frightening about the so-called 'Christian' zionists -- they believe it is necessary to spark armageddon that will kill people in order to bring about Judgement day. That's delusional and just another form of terrorism. It is also a rebuke to real Christianity. The so-called 'Christian' zionists don't care if Israel is blown up, it's just a vehicle for carrying out their agendas

  • American Public: Invasion of Afghanistan a Mistake, Speed up Withdrawal
    • The War in Afghanistan proved a beneficial cash cow to alot of our contracting companies, some of whom offshored themselves to other countries to shirk paying taxes to the very government that bestowed them such profitable contracts. In addition to a dreadful human cost, including what happened to Afghanis, this war and the Iraq war bankrupted our economy. Too many people in the system kept quiet for fear of their jobs. Anyone who excercised speaking out, was retaliated against. How many times we were told we 'went in' to defend 'freedoms' for Afghanis and Iraqis, meanwhile many of us could not excercise our own Constitutional rights. What a tragic irony

  • UN: A Million Palestinians will Need Food aid in Israel-blockaded Gaza Next Year
    • Oh? What purpose does banning fuel and energy (isnt it winter now??) and construction materials for Gazans?? How will that promote peace? Please, graduate to the 21st century. It's time for solutions

  • Photo of the Day: Was St. Nicholas "White"?
    • My last sentence above cites "both" reporters. It's pretty much an acknowledged fact about Ms Harris repeatedly trumping herself and there's not much more can add to that.

    • After writing my initial comment, I came across the original article on the controversy, where a Slate writer, Aisha Harris, recommended Santa be represented as African American.

      First of all, why are grown ups arguing over a fictional character?

      But on another level, what is wrong with having role models who are from diverse backgrounds and cultures? Do all our role models have to look just like we do? To subscribe only to role models who represent one's own ethnic or racial groups, is pretty narrow-minded. Both reporters are being silly and retreating to a mental enclave devoid from intricate and inter-linked realities.

    • The idea of what constitutes 'white' should be reformed. Within each racial group, there is great diversity. The problem is as Americans we want to know is it a or b, and whatever it is can only be selected from those two things. But life isnt simple. Among white racial groups there are blonds, redheads, brunettes and many shades of skin colouring.

      That being said, it is Fox news where its reporters are (mostly) blond whites with a couple of blacks, and not much in between. The reporters often hail from regions of the US that are either geographically insular or socially hierarchically and rigidly structured. They also miss the spirit of what Christmas is all about -- brotherly love and sharing what you have with those who are without

  • Uygur: Bush Targetting of Juan Cole proves that NSA can't be trusted with our Personal Data
    • The problem is - where does it stop? The sordid story keeps widening and widening. Worse, people who take an oath to uphold the Constitution sometimes express the laws of our country are too weak or bind their hands. Then they disregard these laws but they secured the job. Franklin or Jefferson said it - those who trade freedom for security deserve neither

  • Tamikrest, "Imanin bis Zihoun" (Tuareg Rock Band from Mali)
    • Dear Professor Cole,

      You may have seen this already but if not, there are links below to an American musician featured on the show "Arabs Got Talent" singing Um Kulthum. She doesnt know Arabic yet, but is a student of music and had studied with Simon Shaheen. She plays the oud too.

      link to

      link to

    • Dear Professor Cole,

      You may have seen this already but if not, there are links below to an American musician featured on the show "Arabs Got Talent" singing Um Kulthum. She doesnt know Arabic yet, but is a student of music and had studied with Simon Shaheen. She plays the oud too.

      link to

      link to

  • US-Iran War Averted by Agreement to Negotiate on Nuclear Enrichment
    • "The decade-long Neoconservative plot to take the United States to war against Iran appears to have been foiled. "

      Having worked for a Neo-Con and his minions, why do these words worry me? These guys have no appropriate morals or ethics and do whatever it takes to enrich their legacies. Somehow, they find ways to reassert themselves. Okay, never mind if their objective blows up or goes down in an amazing blaze of confusion and idiocy, but they still persevere and act like nothing went wrong

  • Pakistani family testifies to empty room on Hill about US Drone that killed Granny
  • No Woman, No Drive (Saudi Satire Video)
    • Hisham Fageeh's site is over 4 million views now; yesterday was about a million views

  • Is the Arab World turning back to Russia? Egyptian Delegation heads for Moscow
    • At least we have Netanyahu. Oh wait, so does Russia

    • *represent states that ....

    • Pfft...I expect NOTHING from the Tea Party. They support American businesses owners giving up their US citizenship so they can dodge paying taxes while collecting lucrative defense contracts for derelict programs in Afghanistan and Iraq, or to be able to dodge taxes while filing for Chinese permanent residency status to exploit cheap labour. You know sometimes workers are not even paid in Chinese factories, right?

      Why would the Tea Party curb defense expenditures? Why are people who hate our government tripping over each other, killing people's careers, to run for the very offices they tell us again and again they loathe? Even Al Qaeda failed to shutdown our government operations. The Tea Party succeeded where Bin Ladin could not

      If per capita incomes have fallen behind, its the failed policies of today's conservatives who care only about THEIR bank accounts. People who fall unemployed in this country are ridiculed by Tea Party sympathisers who claim to be Christian yet havent' an ounce of compassion or consideration for other human souls.

      If your party has to write off millions of unemployed people as 'hopeless' or ignore their plight as the unemployed swell in our country, they need to disband. No one is going to vote for a political party that seeks their impoverishment, while they represent stats that SUCK a huge amount of aid from our federal government. Is it any irony many of the Tea Party representatives represent states that rank LAST in critical sectors of our nation?

  • Snowden: Federal Spying makes us Less Secure
    • When our president says there are 'internal' mechanisms for addressing serious issues, unfortunately these 'internal' mechanisms are broken. See something, say something, lose your job is the real reality.

      The EEO and civil complaint process for civil service is utterly broken. Alot of attention has been paid to military and defense contractors, who do face an even worse battle, but do not think civil service is really any better off. It's not. These problems are the reason why people who raise allegations of sexual harrassment in the military have been drummed out of their jobs after going to HR offices. If the "internal" mechanisms cant manage the serious matters, how the heck are they doing with daily governance issues??

    • State's OIG released back in February or March, a report on Diplomatic Security in the spring that mentions, in the middle of the report, 'potential' for abuse because of the use of DS to settle what are HR issues at State.

      It has happened (the OIG know it) where State employees suddenly had clearances pulled, without any notice, just because of a HR issue -- usually where the employee him or herself had filed a complaint involving local supervisors.

      This in effect abrogates State employees' right to due process. No clearance, no job and no hearing that the employee had requested. This means no problem ever occurred except of course, the employee is declared deficient in their work per the official story

      No surveillance agency should be used to settle government HR matters. Period

  • Militant Secularism in the Middle East?
    • "One has to wonder what actually motivates a creature like Bashar Assad and the creatures he surrounds himself with or inherited…"

      When it comes to political elites and those who wish to be in the ascendancy -- whether you are talking about Syria or Washington, DC -- it's about access to and control of resources, including financial, and the ability to exert authority and shape people's views

  • Ted Cruz and America's Super-Rich say "Let them eat Cake"
    • I think it speaks volumes the Obamacare site has been swamped. That, in an ordinarily boring democratic world would take the starch from the Republicans' argument, but the new guys who are in that party dont seem to respect rule of law at home and certainly not abroad.

      That being said, I do wish the healthcare choices were more affordable. I might luck out, being a full time student but what about our countrymen and women for whom this would be a hardship? Our leaders can do a better job bringing those costs down. I wish we could emulate the Canadians or how the Scandinavians seem to do it. People say their taxes are higher but they are similar to ours - and there is more to show for it where even college is provided. If my taxes were kept the same level and there was better management of allocation of monies instead of going to some bureacrat's pocket, I'm all for that

      Please spare me malarkey that is socialism. I lived in a socialist country before -- where people werent paid salaries though they worked, they had no recourse in the courts, they could be spied on by the police, and their politicians were corrupt. I would have to ask any neocon who tries the socialism argument --isnt that what your party has actually brought about?? How are you different? Where is the 'government is for the people, by the people'? We dont need a Dickensonian society

  • Is Hamas Finished? Facing a Youth Rebellion and Egyptian, Iranian Hostility
    • If it were any other administration than Mr Netanyahu, the arrival of aid into Gaza could be interpreted as a hopeful sign. Unfortunately, there is a cynical view that Hamas serves a useful purpose to Netanyahu's objectives in a most dysfunctional way

      Hamas has suffered from similar problems affecting other 'islamist' administrations - squandering opportunities to better impact citizens' lives and failing to differentiate its governing style and ethos from those of administrations it's been critical of

      " In the aftermath, the Israelis and the Bush administration decided it had been an error to let Hamas run (Bush hadn’t expected them to win)"

      After the elections in which Hamas won, the Post or the Times quoted an advisor to Dr Rice expressing surprise over Hamas's election victory, claiming the Israelis hadnt advised them this could happen. It was definitely a face-palming moment. If the advisor to Dr Rice had only read the papers just to keep up to date on the region in his portfolio, there had been various polls leading up to the election claiming Mr Abbas's popularity was in single digit standing. But elections were in vogue then

  • How the National Security State creates its own Whistleblowers, with a Letter to the Next One (Engelhardt)
    • Our superiors in the government are very keen to safeguard their legacies. Our President said there are alternate means to challenge issues, well, those 'alternate means' are broken. Our higher level officials have created a system where it is very difficult to foster reforms from within the system. Government employees are forced to choose -- your career or doing the right thing. Why?

      In hindsight, a whistleblower is going to face the prospects you will be blacklisted in your field, have your career ruined, be portrayed as someone you wouldnt even recognize if you passed on the street. The most important thing is at the end of the day, it's just you and your conscience. If no one got hurt or killed on your watch or other serious consequences occurred, you have to remember that. People give their lives for our country, you gave your career and will be able to piece your world back together

      If our officials cant reform the process for addressing serious matters, then go public. If they put their legacies ahead of our country, that's their conscience and time to inject accountability and hope this will fix the mechanisms inside the government for the better

    • With all due respect, Manning and Snowden were not "the first harbingers of whistleblowing." Their work is based on years of prior whistleblowers' work. Part of the problem is NGOs only pay attention to whistleblowing matters, and the most sensational ones, by people in defense and security or anyone associated with the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      These are vital mattters. Absolutely, But -- unfortunately, there are whistleblowers in other sectors of the government, Their efforts may not seem 'sexy' enough to support but they have vital ramifications too. Being civil service in most cases, it doesnt fall onto the radar of NGOs who have limited funds. And our government officials thank you very much for missing important stories like this.

      I myself engaged in a matter at State - even writing a detailed memo, going on record and sending it, and then alerted another office about a plan by my local superiors to cut the visas of Gazan Fulbrighters in the US on Fulbright educational grants and send them and their minor age kids to a third country where they could have languished indefinitely.

      It also would have had blowback on the US Consulate who was working with Israel on trying to get special permission for these guys to cross the West Bank, not to mention my local officials didnt care about Israeli policy.

      I had been told "no one cares" about what would happen to the Fulbrighters

      Apparently that included my local superiors' superiors. When Secretary Condileeza Rice was contacted, she was definitely surprised by it all and my agency received stringent criticism worldwide in every major news source. If people only knew, it all could have been avoided. The story that made it to the media had alot of parts omitted. And that was the SECOND time the problem occurred.

      There's no dissent channel at State for civil service employees. Heck, raise a matter of concern and watch your brilliant work history go up in smoke, awards be darned. I watched as my performance evaluations were abused, some I didnt receive, in the rush to show I was now a bad civil service staff. Unfortunately, drying up my portfolio meant my local superiors had to put effort into making up claims, some of which were ludicrous. A year of retaliation occurred between the first effort to cancel the Fulbright Gaza program and the second. I'm the person who alerted the officer in the Consulate about the exploitation of my work evaluations, shortly to the second program being canceled.

      No government employee, in any sector of the government, should be retaliated against for doing their job. Often, it comes back to humiliate our big bosses the actions of local supervisors whose loyalty is to a paycheck and their own slimy legacy

  • The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    • Some interesting articles about pipe dreams in the region:

      "The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis: Syrian Opposition "armed" to thwart Construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria Gas Pipeline" from:
      link to

      "Israel License to Cheney-Linked Energy Firm in Occupied Golan Heights" from:
      link to

    • The chicken hawks will scavenge for a way. They would like the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Jordan-Israel-Lebanon-Syria gas pipeline to get a green light. The irony is such a pipeline could contribute to security in the region, but as always, its the crazy way the Chicken hawks go about things. Their poorly made plans often negatively impact their own objectives. No, the public hasnt forgotten Yellow Cake or the Iraq "study" group malarkey. The chicken hawks are going to have to put effort into this one

  • Al-Qaeda as Fringe Cult: 12 Years Later, Heretical Text of 9/11 Hijackers Still Withheld by FBI (Kurzman)
    • Thank you, RBTL. An enlightened and important point. Back to school for me:)

    • "If the leaked translation of Atta’s invocation is correct, and the document is genuine, then the release of the missing page might help accentuate the sharp theological divide between puritanical Wahhabis and al-Qa’ida militants."

      Unfortunately, that might mean less aid for the military-industrial complex George Washington tried to warn of. If the actual threat is less than the 'presented' threat, then less money is required for high-paying wages, lucrative lobby contracts, sale of equipment and weaponry to overseas countries, and the need for a surveillance state staffed with minders who cant speak Arabic or think the Constitution a quaint document that unfortunately gets in the way of administering the law. Its the new old 'welfare' state with the priorities for spending shifted to different sectors

  • Johns Hopkins University Orders Cryptography Professor's Blog Posting Removed for Classified NSA Links (Larson & Elliott)
    • Johns Hopkins and GW are well connected to the neo cons. Especially during the Bush-Cheney admin, there seemed preferential hiring of students from these universities' programs, including over at State

  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
  • A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War
    • Soooo bombing, hitting and killing innocent people to retaliate for killing innocent people is gonna fix everything??

      Let's be honest, 'smart' bombs arent and no one can control where these bombs will fall

    • *Two of the many negative results of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars ...

    • This is resembling more and more like American Idol-Syria Bombing Campaign edition. If a 'surgical' strike does occur, and as of today Congress is acting like it will support such a campaign, what will be the outcome? How can it be ASSURED innocent lives wont be lost? The point of the bombing is to protest the loss of innocent life but now you risk killing more innocent people to avenge the killing of the other innocent people??

      Please, someone wear the grownup pants in our government offices.

      Two of the many negative results (and I emphasize 'many') are the fact both the United Nations and the State Department have been turned into salaried paper-pushers. Why not let them do their job -- finally?? Don't underestimate the importance they could play. A bombing campaign is an old, tired Clinton and Bush tactic. You bomb, then what? You bomb again. Then what? And looking at Iraq and Afghanistan, we know how well THAT went.

      Where are the results?? Diplomacy needs to be dusted off the shelf. There needs to be committed effort to end this problem in Syria

  • Military-Ruled Egypt Opposes US Strike on Syria
    • The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. I remember a neo con-oriented Wall Street 'journalist' speaking at the 2002 Middle East Institute calling for bombing Syria

      It would be nice if the State Department staff could be able to do their job - ie statecraft, rather than be reduced/restricted to public affairs work.

      It's past time for that change and too irrestible to deviate from old formulas

  • NSA abuses include Stalking ex-Girlfriends
    • The UK Guardian is reporting the Independent has released possibly classified information, citing it came to them courtesy Snowden. However, just today, Snowden stated he was not the source and that the UK government is the source of 'information':

      link to

      The Guardian is supposedly teaming up too with the NY Times on coverage of the Snowden affair. That will be interesting, since the Times itself censors news topics especially on matters of whistleblowrs and national security

    • "And: Perhaps, the ‘handful of times’ the NSA has engaged in insider trading and affected stock movements

      And: Perhaps, the handful of times the NSA has blackened the reputations of politicians it didn’t like"

      Is there additional information about these kind of instances? We see our politicians engaging in these kind of actions all the time. Our courts dont help, in fact the justices obstruct, making reform a challenge. Thanks

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
    • @ Barry -

      It's more impressive that the New York Times had solid sources. Frankly, that's a tactic, whipping up demonstrators, that has been used for eons in demonstrations in the Mid East. It's not anything new. If the NY Times tried to make it seem a scoop, that would be disengenous but not surprising

  • Israeli Gov't mocks 'Peace Talks' with announcement of 1200 New Squatter homes in Occupied Palestine
    • For some reason, every Palestinian-Israeli negotiation (attempt) follows the same formula: free prisoners and authorize more settlements. Why do "peace" talks have to begin this way??

  • The Kidnapper & Torturer vs. the Whistleblower: The Gov't's different Treatment of Lady and Snowden (Engelhardt)
    • *liked

    • An 'understanding' is a good way to put it. Papers like the Washington Post and NY Times have excellent 'understandings' with some of our officials in government, including refusing to publish information about whistleblowers.

      The Lady case also highlights another problem in our system -- if you are like, your illegalities will be overlooked and escape punishment, and if you embarass any powerful person then you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law

  • Congress betrays vow to Uphold Constitution, abrogates 4th Amendment; Snowden is Better
    • That Michelle Bachman is on the House Intelligence Committee is a sign of how deep the rot is in our system. The idea of Secret Courts in our system is a disgrace. If Bachman and company think secret courts shall operate indefinitely, they are in for a great surprise. It's a matter of time

  • Breadcrumbs and Circus Reruns: How and why US News gave Egypt Short Shrift (Cunningham)
    • It felt like Kim Kardashian articles were ramped up during the Snowden incident

  • Fourth of July Comes a Day Early to Cairo after Fundamentalist President is Removed (video)
    • I think the coup was not quite the surprise to our elected officials. If I remember right, neither was the 1956 coup. Its history redux in some ways. Or, the more things change the more they stay the same lol. It is probably better intel than the silliness with the Bolivian president's flight

  • Top Ten Ways US TV News are Screwing us Again on NSA Surveillance Story (Iraq Redux)
    • "Private Sector'contractors are used because its believed they cant be held accountable to local or our laws. This is partly why Rumsfeld expanded enormously the use of private contractors in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Also, too there was alot of lobbying because hey its a verra profitable business and during the Bush administration, a law was passed that said contractors not based in the US could receive USG money and a number offshored themselves to avoid paying US taxes.

      Dr Peter Ludlow, who is a professor at Northwestern and making a documentary on hacking, had a guest blog at the NY Times recently. He cites the problem of private sector intel companies and mentions how for years not only have they spied on US citizens, they have been involved in deliberately fabricating information on social activist groups to discredit them. The link to the piece he wrote is below.

      Unfortunately, alot of our newspapers are are just arms of the official public affairs machinery. The NY TImes and Washington Post not only deliberately NOT publish information on other whistleblower cases to not offend whatever administration is in power, they coordinate the editorials and articles with the white house public affairs office. Notice all the similar commentaries and articles in regard to the Snowden affair??

      It's good to pay attention too to events in the UK - some people might be familiar with the case of Milly Dowler, the murder victim in the UK whose phone was hacked by a Rupert Murdoch-owened paper, News of the World, and her voice mail messages erased. If i remember right - please someone correct me if this is not so - i think some law enforcement were involved either in this case or other cases, taking bribe money relating to feature stories the 'journalists' of the News of the world were investigating. That is just one case that made it in the media and a number of british celebrities like Hugh Grant have sued believing they were the victims of unauthorized eavesdropping by this paper

      link to

      link to

  • Arab Idol Winner performs "I want it that Way"
    • Dear JGala and Rich,

      Thank you for the link to the street celebrations.

      Rich, If you havent already heard Abdel Halim Hafez's song, qiraat al finjan, there are a number of videos of him singing it on Youtube. It is one of the top and most famous songs in all Middle Eastern music.

      The link below is to a short version, lol 15 minutes, but with english subtitles. Alot of the video clips are about an hour.

      some of the searches spell it qiriat al finjan or fingan. hope you enjoy

      link to

  • Turning the Tables on the Surveillance Class (Cole on Majority Report)
    • It is vital employees of government agencies and contractors in the intel field are given whistleblower protections too. Dont get me wrong, the whistleblower process is fraught with too many problems and politics and is very weak, as is the system supposedly in place to protect employees from retaliation. Let's be honest. It is broken. Yet, as problematic as it is, whistleblower protections should encompass this critical area of the government workforce has vastly expanded since 9/11

  • My Visit to the Iraqi National Museum (Photo Gallery)
  • Department of Justice Spying on AP Reporters' Telephone Contacts Threatens Democracy
    • If whistleblowers are harshly dealt with, initially people cower, afraid. The people who retaliate feel they are protected (mis)using the system. That's the mentality behind this unfortunately.

      But with this continuation and widening of the net, cannot go on endlessly. It results in people feeling they can speak freely, they've past that red line, survived the loss and learned the sun will still rise. Mahmood Darwish said hope is an incurable malady. It's all you need. Then you will know justice, along with fixing the record, is important. People give their lives for our Constitutional rights, why not give our jobs? When you've lost so much, speaking out is all that is left. Even David persevered against Goliath

  • My Trip to Baghdad Last Week (Photo Gallery)
    • Is it known what was in the Ottoman records that miraculously survived? Will there be efforts to either put records online or copy them in some way, providing copies to any universities?

      Thank you for the photos

  • Gates: Administration Critics view of US Military Capabilities in Benghazi "Cartoonish"
    • i could be wrong but every post is supposed to have evacuation plans or something along those lines. One would think that a search and rescue team had already done the practicing for the 'what if' scenario as well. It's not like there wasnt unrest in Libya before this and things happened out of the blue.

      There are regional jurisdictions and in addition there are bureaucratic jurisdictions, and it sounds like bureacracy was the problem in securing interagency help, not material things or planning. There are thousands of planning committes in the government, who came through?? Maybe diplomats and US personnel should be informed ahead of time if anything goes wrong, sorry you are on your own. That would be harsh. I dont understand why ex Secretary Gates says knowledge of the environment is required. What has everyone been doing the past several years in the Middle East?? There are many jobs for mapping and geospatial portfolios, among other kinds.

      There are efforts now to claim supplies for fueling or whatever were not at hand for a rescue plane to fly from italy. Well, our country is not an island. The US bureaucrats should pick up a phone and started working it, including asking the Italians for material cooperation (ie we will compensate you later for the fuel) even if behind the scenes, given this crisis involved Libya and the Italians and Libyans have a different relationship than we do.

      I'm sorry for the diplomat who called for a rescue plane and was declined. There was a report that two planes eventually were sent, because the first one didnt have the capacity to pick up everyone. That diplomat is off the hook, he did follow procedure it sounds like. He was retaliated against ironically by higher ups in State who've been there too long and are used to using dirty tactics.

      I dont agree with blaming Clinton, the problem predates her tenure. As Secretary though, there is culpability for not reforming the process but then who knows, too often the higher ups in the bureaucracies report only butterflies and daisies to their big bosses so how could Clinton have an accurate view of things? In addition, there is a tendency for some of the higher ups to stifle the other ranks so serious matters are not brought to the Secretary's attention. The problem lies deeper in the ranks but thanks to the smoke and mirrors campaign, things will be allowed to fester at State and the wrong heads will roll

  • Top Ten Republican Myths on Libya
    • Supposedly the post was to have been an unobtrusive one but there may be some contracting politics involved here too - would be interesting to see the correspendance - did the contractor they were using claim at any time they had things under control, if so could be a case of greed as well because the contractors make soo much money off this whole thing. The idea of contracting out the government to save money should be on the hot seat cause it's a huge wasteful ripoff of the american taxpayer.

      It was claimed it was supposed to have been a secret post there but it sounds like it was a big open secret and the post was under surveillence. I am not sure who would claim that post could be a secret operation - hey it is libya lol. There is a history of government intelligence networks in country.

      There have been a couple of articles in the Post over some months, about the militarization of the CIA. It is bound to happen because the hiring processes emphasize jobs for recent veterans and thus there is a cultural aspect and Petreaus led it for a few years

    • Republican 'skazkii' would be a good title too. Should also include the moment in the early debriefings had to be halted because one of the Republican senators inadvertently divulged CIA involvement and Victoria Nuland got antsy, not wanting to be led down a garden path.

      The other aspect too, some of the people involved in the incident and making bad decisions were likely republican as well, so cant pin all the tail on the democrats. There are alot of former Bush-Cheney people in the hierarchy at State. These incidents where information has to be changed and covered up brings out their special 'skills'.

      What's sad is that the real problems will be buried in this smoke and mirrors campaign covering for one or more party's presidential ambitions.

      It's disgraceful the level of in-bureaucracy retaliation that occurred, including how Stevens was treated. During the brief 'matyr' phase of Steven's death, he was presented by State officials as a golden boy sent to Libya. Then as the situation took a dark turn, attempts were made to pin the tail on him since he couldnt defend himself being dead. That had to stop when his diary was found in the rubble and he had written even his own request for more security had been denied. An agency should not do that to their own.

      Then there was wrangling over stupid 'talking points' to include or exclude so the bureaucracy looked good, as if no one had died. On the plus side, the talking points made an impact lol and everyone is trying to talk about them.

      The CIA behaved shamefully too, throwing State under the bus, and I still do not understand who in the Defense department refused to send a rescue plane in. Why refuse your own countrymen??? How officials rise to the top in bureaucracies, and the promotion and firing processes should be reformed. These institutions are firing people for doing their jobs and promoting the most obsequious and overly ambitious who care only to protect their jobs and not about their country.

      We used to have far more expert professionals in government affairs and there used to be stronger collaboration across party lines. My uncle was a former head of the MFO agency, a democrat, hired by Bush senior's representatives, and political affiliation was not an issue. You did your job. But the system has been too manipulated by current political interests and needs reform-- badly. Of course, that is not so sexy a notion for the current hearing

  • Obama's War on Whistleblowers who are trying to out Government Waste, Fraud (Van Buren)
    • Love that when information is classified 'retroactively.' That is an immediate sign a fishing expedition is about to commence, albeit a very long and bureaucratic and unsavory one.

      The internal mechanisms for seeking redress are a fail and unfortunately would be whistleblowers have to rely on the court system. If they happen to live in a state where there is a congressional office that is proactive and responsive to their constituents, that is a key resource for a fed employee in a tough situation.

      The current system protects the higher up. People ask why sexual harassment is such a problem in the military - in the government system the mechanisms for dealing with lower level issues are broken, so how can it be expected the system will be responsive to extremely serious matters? Too often, the employee who raises a concern -- gets blamed for committing the very thing they raised. Who wants to experience that???

  • Fisk on Syria and Stenography "Journalism" (Democracy Now! Video)
  • The Worst Places to be a mother-- Save the Children
    • Would be interesting to know which region of the US ranks highest with infant mortality. I can probably guess, at the risk of being called a northeast elitist.

      Ok, heck, is it Texas and Florida where there is more anti-government sentiment and healthcare fraud by institutions with continual cutting of support for the large amount of poor in these states?

  • The Conservative Logic of Ferguson's Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and Krugman
    • * correction -" *T*he discourse of most important topics...", sans 'Not to'

    • There's also the issue of how many so-called journalists are really 'bought' men and women, mouthpieces of a particular ideology who fail to provide objective, factual and truthful information. Somehow, public affairs has replaced real journalism. Not to the discourse of most important topics in this country are too often 'dumbed-down.' Sometimes the liberals in 'journalism' are guilty of the same or worse, opting to be quiet on matters key to this country precisely when we need them to lift their voices

      We'll know if influential gay Republicans acted behind the scenes if Ferguson begins toting the graces of gay economists, albeit conservative ones. That frankly would not cheer me more because it would still be a disservice to addressing our country's most pressing issues

  • Moroccan, Indian have lives Ruined by old, new Media, falsely Accused of Boston Bombing
    • It was very interesting how quick the Post and Daily News were putting forth photos of what were presented as likely suspects. Do these papers have their own face-imaging technology in-house?

  • Israel at 65: Welcome to the Neighborhood (Map)
    • With all due respect, many of the Arab nationalists were Christian. They promoted a secular kind of Arab nationalism. Please visit the real history of the Middle East

    • Religious fanaticism, catch the wave. (Same old) Choice of a new generation?

      Sadly, our country has also been at risk. Not long ago, I was in Leavenworth, KS (on the outside lol) and saw an ad that took my breath away - it was for Christians for guns. Posted on the window of a trendy-looking cafe near the center of town.

  • How the US Pays off innocent Drone Victims (Currier)
    • How much does a so-called condolence payment amount to that's being dispensed in pakistan, yemen and other countries?

  • How the Pentagon Helped Make Afghanistan the Most Corrupt Country on Earth (Hiro)
    • Two years ago, the Washington Post published a couple of articles on the Bagram-Kandahar highway problem concerning our convoys paying bribes to the Taliban to be able to pass through, bringing supplies into Afghanistan. Then the series died. This past spring, the Washington Post published an article about a USAID contractor accused of taking USAID money meant for projects in Afghanistan. How long was that article in the Post? One evening. It went in then was suddenly pulled from the Post and no additional articles appeared. Why was that? The Post never published an apology for this. When it matters most, the State Department gets a light hand from the media and as a result, the serious problems do not get resolved. *If* matters come to a head, count on either a "lower-level functionaire" to be scapegoated while the responsible parties get a promotion, or in the case of Benghazi, count on the responsible parties to keep their jobs at State. For instance, the head of Diplomatic Security was supposed to have resigned. He hasnt. He signed off on a recent OIG report that investigated what needed to be improved in DS following the Benghazi 'incident'. Isnt that a conflict of interest? There are too many conflicts of interest in the government agencies directly involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Banking Scandal should have raised flags from the get-go. It was a project that should have been managed much differently and clearly there was no supervision considering the duration and how much money was lost. Ask any peace corps volunteer who had worked anywhere in Central Asia, and the scandal that occured at the Bank follows familiar patterns and the issue of syphoning off salaries for state employees is a familiar story. Unfortunately at State during the Bush-Cheney era, very few people with Centrali Asia experience were placed in Afghanistan jobs. In certain cases, people were passed by if they had area-knowledge because Neocons embedded at State did not want such people on the ground. Projects had to be approved, no matter what, and discretion and feasibility tests were sacrificed as well. Scandals take time to cultivate, they don't happen overnight and this was some years in the making, but due to the glasnost in President Obama's second term, only some of the problems are being aired, slowly.

  • Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobes: Pope Francis just washed the feet of a Poor Muslim
    • Under Pope Benedict, the American Catholic Church (if i can generalize) drifted further from Rome. I remember Pope John Paul II issuing guidance that American Catholics were NOT supposed to vote for any so-called Christian fundamentalists or right like Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition. During Pope Benedict's time, it seems no guidance stemming any rightwood drift was addressed as Pope John Paul II had tried.

      In two weeks' time, Pope Francis has moved to address a lot of issues, alot of heady issues that fell off the radar obscured by the last eleven years of military-security and terrorism issues. Meanwhile, the bottom part of our societies sinks lower and lower. The video embedded here the other day on the sinking of the middle and lower classes in this society alone is a scary reality, albeit obscured one too. What will be interesting is to see what key issues will emerge front and center on the Vatican's agenda. It's only been two weeks' time but it's been a refreshing two weeks' time as far as what has happened so far

  • The Top other thing Netanyahu Needs to Apologize For: The Gaza Blockade
    • And how is Gaza supposed to take over Israel?? I'd like to hear this. With what, please elaborate. How many times has Gaza taken over Israel and how many times has Israel/the IDF overrun Gaza?

    • Turkey's Hurriyet Newspaper is today citing an Agence France-Presse article that PM Erdogan has announced he plans to visit Gaza and the West Bank and work on lifting the embargo of Gaza:

      link to

  • Why the Senate should Confirm Chuck Hagel as SecDef
    • Another reason, we need a voice of logic in the upper echelons. Having Hagel AND Kerry at the helms is very hopeful. I hope Secretary Kerry can reform the management system at State and protect whistleblowers. History has proved Hagel correct but there are so many overly-ambitious sorts and people who have no integrity who rose up in positions that had no business being there. Those people have come to make the bad decisions and that's another reason why reform is needed in both bureacracies

  • Top Ten Ways President Obama has Expanded our Rights, in Rev. King's Footsteps
    • For those of us who still remember the craziness and poor leadership of the minions brought in by the Bush-Cheney admin, these baby steps are needed but much more has to be done. The Obama Admin needs to stop letting the chicken hawks call the shots on security issues and needs to be far more supportive of government whistleblowers - both civil service and those who are contracting or working as civil on the Military and Intel side. We need better government accountability - not protection for those abusers from the Bush-Cheney era still holding onto their government jobs. There were good people brought in, but alot also who didnt deserve it either. Government hiring needs to be made truly competitive and fix USA Jobs and the corrupt practice of "posting" a government vacancy then hiring a republican or someone already known while making the process "Look" competitive. State Department is one of the biggies at this.

  • Petraeus gave Afghanistan away to NeoCon Think Tanks (Elliott)
    • The General owes much to the neocons for his position. Unfortunately, the Obama Presidency kept alot of these guys around - then wonders why it gets stymied on key issues. Is it really that Petreaus 'gave away' Afghanistan to NeoCons? What about Iraq which also predated Petreaus? The Heritage Foundation was one source for vetting young neocons for powerful roles in the provisional government there and Heritage is a known chicken-hawk hideout, I mean bastion. Did the chicken hawks ever really have an Afghanistan to give away? Perhaps kabulstan but not sure about Afghanistan.

      The role of the so-called think tanks in these two wars is actually very interesting and not sure there has been a truly academic review of the impact of these other sometimes uncredited Beltway bandits. State has a revolving door of them - it's hard for some to make an impact because the next egos that come along undo any efforts to make a good reform. Probably the only sign a reform should have come about - when your successor gets jealous and helps shelve it

  • Tom Ricks finally Tells Fox News ("GOP TV") off on the Phony Benghazi "Issue"
    • The Republicans have not got much else to sink their teeth into, and beating dead horses seems to be one of their favoured tactics. Meanwhile, the real problems surrounding the Benghazi attack are getting buried again. If there is to be a real concern about Susan Rice it is that she is more a mouthpiece and not an active supporter of human rights. Once, she said she regretted failing to take an aggressive role protecting human rights during the Hutu-Tutsi ethnic cleansing and would not repeat that. What role has Ms. Rice played protecting human rights vis a vis Gazan civilians or Syria? It's a repeat of what sardonic foreign policy critics (remember those guys, lol??) termed the "duck policy" employed by the Clinton administration regarding ethnic cleansing of Bosnians. Anytime something important comes up, officials duck that moment

  • Gaza: Israeli Rightists Propose Cutting Water, Electricity, but oppose ground op (OSC)
    • There's water and electricity running that frequently in Gaza that any cut off would have impact??? The Right once again outdoes itself in silly comments; funny how eerily similar it sounds to the malarkey our neocons blubber

  • The Arab Reading of the Petraeus/Allen Affair: Jill Kelley is Gilberte Khawam, a Lebanese
    • It's probably more common than people realize for security agencies to get involved in these melodramas, especially office ones and for lower ranking people, not the 1% such as the circles these people now in the spotlight are, well -- good luck to you to clear your name. It doesnt take much for a spiteful supervisor or a jealous colleague to make false claims that can jeopardize a clearance. Woe to the lower ranking professional because it is not easy to clear one's record

  • Bradley Manning would Cop to Wikileaks if Spying, Aiding Enemy charges are Dropped (DemocracyNow!)
    • Oh? Remember Benghazi? What about the higher up who denied funding for security for the post? If you see someone get cited, chances are you see a tip of the iceberg and a twisted story only for public consumption. No one higher than GS 13 ever gets held accountable, especially political appointees from the neo cons still in government and who are very interested in protecting their legacy, not their country, and still don't want dirt to be aired

  • Real Petraeus Issue was Evaluation of Afghanistan
    • It seems only part of the doctrine was somewhat achieved: take and clear (sort of). Hold and Build never got off the ground. The Build phase was so disastrous, it's a serious reason for our debt crisis - for several years, programs and government agency budgets were mined as part of the Afghanistan and Iraq "tax" as it was euphemistically called so that contractors would get that money and supposedly develop Iraq and Afghanistan, except that failed to happen. So all those funds taken over the course of several years could have built up much of the regions, not just two countries. Just down a black pit

  • Four Middle East crises will face the next President Immediately
  • Republicans Tip world off to covert CIA Role in Libya
    • Correction: Chats from Eveonline, not WoW, were shared with the media

    • It's a great shame that, once again, no foresight whatsoever is given to the welfare of people who try to work with our government officials in countries overseas. It underscores a question just how important is security if you can throw on the swords those that risk their lives to help.

      The 'fortress mentality', 'us against them' is locked into the mindset of a number of people working in the bureacracy. This has been an issue for a long while now. Some foreign service complain about not getting outside the wire, but they dont complain too loudly for various reasons, including security and job-protection

      I was one of two staff at State instrumental in re-openning the Fulbright scholars program in the West Bank for American professors and researchers. We went through big hoops to re-open the program after its being closed for years. There were some in the Fulbright/ECA bureaucracy who, ironically from our viewpoint, opposed its reopenning even though the Consulate had held meetings and *wanted* it re-openned. The 'us against them' mentality was a factor and challenge.

      Payback was karma later when the two of us who advocated this and a Gaza-related program be kept open were thrown under the bus by the same folks who opposed bolstering programs in the West Bank and Gaza. I remember my colleagues words on the importance of 'competing for hearts and minds,' reiterating that great oft-quoted phrase we had heard our higher level officials bandy about, hoping that would appeal to a few minions of a political appointee, connected to those same higher level officials, yet who opposed bolstering these programs. We learned the hard way that Hamas was not the only danger.

      If a bureaucracy can't deal with the everyday events that arise, how will it cope when more serious events erupt?

      Government workers also cant advocate doing their job or they get an overly-broad interpretation reminder of the FLRA rule that a supervisor has a right to assign -- or withhold -- work from staff. At State, that means a person can become overnight a persona non grata, a hall-walker.

      This has been a long-standing issue that predates this administration. But an issue of concern is that there are current officials who sweat profusely under the collar, if something arises that might become twistable-fodder for the neo-cons. Then the current officials not-so-admirably wear their fear on their sleeves and forget to do the right thing. Woe to lower-level professional staff, and i do emphasize the professionals here, because higher ups are never held accountable. One State employee had to request whistleblower protection when called to testify on his asking for more security during the Benghazi hearings. Isnt it a shame that an employee who did the right thing has to ask for such protections?

      The 'intel services' of the 'other' groups would likely have been aware if just a couple of Americans with northern-virginia-style haircuts were posted where they themselves were operating and would shadow them, especially given the history of Libya's intelligence and how that worked. It's not clear how it could not be known something was going on at that post. On another blogsite, someone had posted chats of one of the men killed from his World of Warcraft account that someone shared with the US media, stating the Benghazi post was being watched, and Americans working there had seen people take photographs of the post. If that's true, it's disengenous for an official to claim a low-key presence was sought if it was known that wasnt going to happen. There are alot of issues predating this administration that were never appropriately addressed and problems have a tendency to manifest sooner or later

  • Mourdock, Rape as a Gift of God, and Islamic Sharia
    • The problem when politicians wade into these sensitive matters that deserve more than 5 minutes of attention, is that compassion is utterly lacking. Since September 11th as the power struggles have grown, but the level of compassion has plummetted.

      What gets lost in this debate is that quality of life *IS* a key part of being "pro-life" and the death penalty is anti-life. I am a traditional Catholic and have encountered cases of rape and attempted abduction in my family, so these issues have been contemplated. If one is going to play the Christian card, life doesnt end if one is fortunate to make it outside the womb. Such work isn't even 1/8 done.

      We have too many children living in poverty in our country and that is wrong. Yet we see programs for education, food distribution, housing slashed. How can this be?? At one point, a stupid row recently ensued in Texas over Planned Parenthood's alleged role in health programs in that state, resulting in health programs being temporarily cut. Who suffered? Low income women and children. I may not agree with all of Planned Parenthood's programs but they do offer alot of services and the conduct of that campaign was just sheer vindictiveness.

      The focus has been utterly lost on raising quality of life standards for all kids in our country and THAT needs to be put back on the table to be addressed because THAT is pro-life. It's also hypocritical to call for death penalty or punishment without a trial, or drone assassinations, and claim to be pro-life.

      I scratch my head as to why this candidate from Indiana was sourcing the Sharia. On one hand, I am glad he was researching the Sharia. I hope he keeps researching and comes across the passage "لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ" and, with extra effort, looks into sources written by American Muslim scholars on how this idea might have influenced Thomas Jefferson when he wrote our Constitution

  • SNL Spoof of Second Presidential Debate (Video)
  • Creepy Israeli Planning for Palestinian Food Insecurity in Gaza Revealed
    • Dr Cole - would it be possible to know what is the date on that cable? Thanks

  • Two Canadians Discover the US has become a Police State
    • The Canadian was ordered from the car, following his laughing at the agent's question regarding store destination. It's sad that one of the guards advised not to ask questions and says alot about our own civic education.

      Once I was with a group of friends in Amman, Jordan, a mix of Americans, Brits, and Germans, and we were stopped by a plain-clothed Jordanian policeman who stated he was a policeman. One of my friends requested to see his id, and another friend nervously countered we shouldn't question the police. Interestingly, the policeman smiled wryly and said, no, one should always ask for id if stopped by police -- it was a right and don't take anything for granted.

      The attitudes are stark and ironic, because you would think an officer trained in the US, not a kingdom, would hold such views, and it was a civic lesson

  • US Drone Strikes on Pakistan: Counting the Bodies (Ross)
    • Joe, with all due respect most civilians killed by Al Qaeda have not been white and American but indigenous people. If you add the Taliban and other militant groups, the number increases further. If the New York Times or WaPo feel like reporting on a bombing in Iraq, it's always a nameless group of bystanders - majority of the time indigenous Iraqis. But often, the papers dont report these attacks, you'd have to read local media. And the Americans in Iraq are not there in civilian capacity are they? In citing the "humanitarian perspective" you are only including us, you forget the vast majority of affected folks -- those from the country. Why is that? Arent they people too? Is there no consideration the human toll on people who just happened by coincidence to be in the vicinity where the bomb or shooting takes place? You know, you can google "Iraqi" or "Afghan" newspapers come up with a list and read these - google also offers translation for newspapers in local languages. It's flawed but you can find insightful information

  • Pakistan: Imran Khan’s march brings global attention to CIA drone strikes (Ross)
    • *our economic crisis worsens further

    • There is another scenario -- our treasury is further drained, our economic crisis and we wind up in recession for decades like the British after WWI

    • Medea Benjamin is arguing a different point than what you wrote, coming at it from the view "on the ground," from the perspective of the communities *receiving* the impact of drone technology. If you are saying "Blowback" is only relevant in the case of NOT taking action on supporters of "oppressive, undemocratic governments," well 'blowback' really has wider implications than being allowed for in the comment above, which is kinda selective in its application of what blowback is.

      Is there no cause and reaction in the case of military or drone campaigns? Are people on the ground being supportive of receiving drone attacks? It might seem that way to us, tucked in the West ensconced in our easy chairs unawares because our media is too afraid to visit these communities, so news is cut off. But things fester, sometimes take time to boil over, and hopefully you dont have to run a war in a neighboring country needing the support of the other country where you are conducting strikes. In case you havent noticed, things suck relationship-wise at the state-to-state level between the Pakistanis and us. In addition, there is now an Al-qaeda in Iraq -- there wasn't before we invaded, Iran is enjoying an enhanced strategic position, and Afghanistan is a security black hole. Things are not going swimmingly well

  • The Shameful Politicization of the Benghazi Consulate Attack
    • What's also sad - at least the officer at State can request Whistleblower protection. If any agencies-that-can't-be-named were involved here, what happens to any of their people who may have done the right thing and also asked for more security? Whistleblower protections are really thin for employees in the intel agencies, because that was the deliberate idea. Please dont try the excuse no one has a crystal ball and could have foreseen the events -- known facts include the country had just experienced a revolutionary phase and approximately 200 serious security incidents occurred in June/July. I'd like to think buried in the other bureaucracy, if this is the case, there was another staff who felt security for the post was being risked

    • A little spiked kool aide might not be a bad idea, for recovery's sake. No, I am not laughing at the notion of "little blog site" or "elitist progressive liberals", not at all. Really. A State employee asked for more security. Apparently Ambassador Stevens or his staff did too. These requests were denied. Who denied them? Why? Who passed the misinformation up to the White House? If you think the President has his fingers in every single dark office in our far flung agencies, guess again. Even President Bush and Secretary Rice didnt know everything going on - including with the people they installed in federal service. I worked at State in an area headed up by neocons -- these guys had NO compunction serving up misinformation to their own bosses and lying when malarkey hit the fan, which it did owing to the lack of integrity and solid judgement often exercised. That's a dangerous mentality. If you cant serve your country without deceitful behavior, it's time to look for another job. That's NOT a protected category in government

    • There are quite a few problems with all this and sadly the real issue is not likely to be reformed.

      1) The attack in Benghazi has been politicized and the claims coming from the right are pretty ironic given all the crying over security's importance. Massive amounts of money have been lost in the black holes known as Iraq and Afghanistan, with little where-with-all by the Tea Baggers to recoup that money and those two countries are not exactly the epitomies of security. The tolerance for the loss of all this massive amount of money during the last administration - notably to contracting companies including those off-shored - has fostered our own economic crisis and worsened political, military and economic security for us, for Iraq and Afghanistan. So of course it makes sense to cut security funding for our missions in post revolutionary Libya, especially when over 200 attack attempts were logged in June/July, yes?? Take that State with love from your fellow Tea Baggers

      2) Dig into State's bureacracy - it's time. Our leadership was given misinformation and the way the system works - leadership thinks they are getting accurate information from supervisors and people moved into positions of responsibility. Clearly, that didnt happen here. People died - that shouldnt be lost here. One of the Department employees here asked for whistleblower status after being called to the hearings. Whistleblower status? The guy knows his job can be ruined even though he did the right thing and asked for more security. It's a shame he did not push the envelope and say "Something is seriously at risk, boss..." Unfortunately at State, too often employees are compelled to choose - do the right thing or save your job because the system there fails to protect the average employee. There is something very wrong if employees can't raise up issues of concern with their superiors for fear of retaliation, which is supposed to be illegal -- but is not. If he was foreign service, he could have used the dissent channel - but a) this is likely weak too and b) it does not apply to civil service. I am one of two employees at State who raised red flags of concern when during the Rice admin, my former office Fulbright wanted to cancel programs for Palestinian Gazans who were in the US that time on their grants. It would have meant stranding them indefinitely in a third country along with their minor age kids because they didnt have Israeli permission to cross the WB-Israel-Gaza corridor at a time when Pas Jerusalem was trying to get crossing permission during the early Gaza border crisis. I was accused of 'disloyalty' for notifying PAS and got the door. My local supervisor even had said i would not be able to work in my field. It hasnt been a picnic since then, but it was the right thing to do. This makes employees fear doing their jobs but at the end of the day, it's just you and your conscience. This guy shouldnt have to ask for whistleblower status - that's wrong. He shouldnt have to fear for his career when the fault lies with another who clearly hasnt got the integrity to do the right thing here. The system at State needs to be fixed

  • Imran Khan Protest Convoy Against US Drones Heads toward Waziristan, Pakistan
    • anyone under the illusion our folks in Islamabad would dare venture from behind plexiglass to assist Amcits in need, should anything occur??? Independent groups like Code Pink just don't get that level of support from us. It's kinda ironic referring to Code Pink as "this type" and infer they are without a clue - there are plenty of people associated in official capacities who somehow managed to secure a US government job yet havent got but the foggiest understanding about that region of the world. For example, some quarters of our government offices refer to Afghanistan as the Middle East. It isn't. Never was. Not likely to be except possibly via plate tectonics some day

  • Tom Ricks and The Generals: Why the US succeeded in WWII but not Since
    • Could it be a generational failing? The values and integrity are pretty lacking in successive degrees among the post war generations. There is also definitely a failing in the promotion systems in both the government and the military. All too often, articulation and so-called communicative skills are valued more than experience and real knowledge or grounding in a subject matter. Leadership is awarded on the basis of loyalty and saying what would please the boss. Plus contacts make a difference all too often, sad to say

  • Obama Plays Hardball and Egypt's Morsi Folds
    • Words and political pressure are not enough, yet that is all that seems to be offered by politicians in many countries.

      Meanwhile, ignored socio-economic conditions excacerbate the classic tensions between the 'haves' and the ‘have-nots’ in the lower realm of societies. Who is scaling the walls of the diplomatic posts and actually carrying out attacks?? It's not the ever-lucky elites chosen for Fulbright programs or who get to attend Yale. In the US, the 'have nots' are a growing segment of US society; in the Middle East, they pretty much ARE society.

      This is not 1979 and may not reach that level, depending on the country and the long-term horizon. Most of the places where the rioting has occurred as the articles of last couple of days point out have new governments at the helm, having inherited some deep "baggage" - something with which our own administration can empathize. And regardless of what side of the political street politicians stroll/court, they want to be supported by as much of the street to be able to keep power.

      They have a couple of choices then: keep ignoring things and hope yet another conflagration goes away, or address socio-economic problems employing either the Shah of Iran too-little-too-late method or a more substantive, functional approach:

      “…the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.” Erwin Schrodinger

      Our counterparts in the Middle East must do a better job addressing poverty and raising up the standard of well-being and education for those in the lower realm of society. Where available, social programs are often in the jurisdiction of religious institutions not the state per se -- an idea being promoted here in the US during the campaign season. Is it really a good idea to have a government disconnected from its society or vice versa?? Security measures, alone, are not sufficient to enable the new governments (including new governments with old faces) or ours to compete for ‘hearts and minds.’ Remember when that was a goal, since fallen victim to greed or politics, though not sure if it was ever really implemented. And here we are

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