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Total number of comments: 230 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:42)


Showing comments 230 - 201

  • Exasperated by Netanyahu, France Prepares to Recognize Palestinian State
    • Uri Avnery attempts to look at the South African comparison (sensible since the state of Israel is very very much like apartheid South Africa).

      But he misses the main point: South African apartheid fell because of *De Klerk* -- a lifelong National Party member, an Afrikaaner, who finally decided that they were going to lose and that they had better made a deal while they still could.

      Basically, the Afrikaaners could dismantle the system of apartheid oppression and elite control on their terms... or try to hang on to it, and be taken to the guillotine and lose all their property. The same calculation faced by the Tsars of Russia (who made the wrong choice), the Kings of France (who made the wrong choice), and the Kings of England (who made the *right* choice).

      Israel's government seems absolutely hellbent on making the wrong choice. There might be a "de Klerk" buried somewhere within the Likud Party, but I can't imagine it.

      I'm not sure when the populist revolution in Israel/Palestine will overthrow the fascist racist government. 20 years? 40 years? But when it happens, that's how people will describe the event.

    • I've having trouble figuring out the endgame here.

      While the world recognizes the Palestinian state, the Israeli apartheid government has already made it impossible. They are engaging in additional colonialism, ramping up racism against the Arabs who already have the vote, and now arresting left-wing activists on trumped-up charges and attempting to censor the media -- heading straight for fascism.

      The Palestinian liberation movement has shifted to a one-state, civil-society, votes-for-everyone movement, within the last few years.

      So how does this work out? The Israeli government will be internationally isolated with the Palestinian state recognized, but the Palestinian state will be a "state in exile" with no actual control.

      So what happens next? I don't see what the endgame is here. This is a horrendously unstable situation in Palestine.

      The total collapse of Saudi Arabia probably happens in the next 10 years -- does that affect things?

  • Will Iowa's Women Dems choose Hillary or Bernie?
    • Unsurprisingly, the *real* divide is by age. Women over 45 prefer Hillary; women under 45 prefer Bernie.

      Bernie's kind of politics is the future of the US, which is kind of hilarious given how old he is. I hope he wins because 4 more years of business-as-usual will be terrible for the US and the world. But if he doesn't, his supporters will be back in 4 years with another candidate and will have even more power. The trend is unmistakable.

      The only threats are: an outright fascist like Trump; and election theft.

  • Rhetorical Terror: GOP Candidates Pledge War Crimes, Carpet-Bombing, Asian Land Wars
    • The Whigs were this off the rails immediately preceding the US Civil War. The party actually *disintegrated*, of course, *and* the country ended up in the bloodiest war (from a US point of view) that the US has ever known.

    • Ah, but the US weapons manufacturers / military contractors (Merchants of Death) WANT all the weapons to blow up. So that they can sell more weapons.

      The Merchants of Death have an agenda totally at odds with the people of the US... and at odds with all people of good will in the world. But the Merchants of Death do spend a lot of money lobbying Congress!

    • Ever wondered how Hitler managed to win elections?

      Because the guys competing with him fell into two categories:
      (1) Socialists, who the aristocracy was terrified of and demonized
      (2) Guys like the lunatics at this debate (Rand Paul excepted, since he actually talked some sense).

      Trump is blatantly a fascist, and he's actually, objectively, *better* than nearly all of these guys. Think about what that means. This is how fascists win.

      For the love of all that is holy, VOTE FOR BERNIE SANDERS. Vote for the socialist, because socialism is the only real alternative to fascism.

  • Iran Unleashed: Rouhani's Triumphant European Tour
    • Apparently the Iranians didn't actually request this!

      (Persian history is full of art of naked people.)

      What happened was that the UAE requested this when a UAE dignitary visited. The Italians ASSumed that they should do the same thing for the Iranians.

  • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him
    • OK, so we already knew that Putin supported Assad, basically out of habit (Russia already has a bunch of leases and contracts with Assad). This is probably a bad move long-run, but Putin probably can make Assad into a puppet, and probably feels that he can replace Assad if necessary.

      The reveal for me in the article was this:
      " It is said that in mid-summer of 2015, Iranian special forces commander Qasem Soleimani flew to Moscow with a blunt message. The Syrian regime was going to fall if things went on the way they were going and Iran did not have the resources to stop it."

      *Iran* is unwise to support Assad. Are they doing so out of naive Shia-Sunni thinking, knee-jerk hostility to the Kurds, or what? Support for Assad is not particularly in the national interest of Iran, and they have no capability of making Assad into a puppet.

  • The Question isn't of Saving the World via Renewables but of how Much can be Saved
    • We actually do know several different processes for taking CO2 out of the atmosphere; the most obvious one is growing lots and lots of plants, and then sinking them in peat bogs or similar.

      But there are also several industrial processes which remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as two different forms of carbon-negative concrete.

      But first we've got to stop spewing the CO2 *into* the atmosphere. ("When you're in a hole, stop digging")

    • Nuclear fusion? As I always say, we have a giant nuclear fusion reactor located conveniently 92.96 million miles away from us. The sun.

      There are numerous calculations showing that we can power the whole world with solar power *very* easily. We just need to do it.

    • If we can keep global warming down to the currently "baked in" level, we probably actually can protect most of New York City -- Manhattan is on a very steep piece of bedrock, and so is Brooklyn Heights. I've worked through the sea level rise maps a few times; southern Long Island will have to be abandoned, but that's not a great loss. Newark will have some serious problems.

      Likewise Boston and Cambridge will need help, but it's doable.

      South Florida is *completely* doomed already. Everything south of Orlando will have to be abandoned, and probably quite soon.

  • Turkish Pres. Erdogan cites Hitler in case for Presidential System
    • You'd think Erdogan's own party, the AKP, would kick him out at this point: he's acting so crazy and unstable that it's bad for the party.

    • Ah, but you may be wrong. There is a new powerbase in the US, represented by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. And their interests are directly opposed to those of the short-sighted "private island" would-be tyrants.

  • Palestinian population to exceed that of Jews by 2020 in Israel/Palestine
    • 50/50 isn't enough to get justice or democracy, unfortunately.

      Even with nearly half of Israelis supporting justice.

      That still leaves 25% of the population -- the evil half of the Israeli population -- supporting oppression.

      Historically, a group as small as 10% of the population has been able to oppress the majority quite reliably for long periods, if they have enough special access to weaponry and training.

      The Saudis are likely to collapse first. The supporters of the regime are clearly far less than 10% of the population. The regime retains control through sheer bribery.

  • Europol: 1% of 2014 European Terrorism by Muslims
    • Here in the US, the primary source of terrorism is right-wing "Christian" groups: they murder doctors and bomb medical clinics, they burn crosses and attack black people for being black, they attack Hispanic people for being Hispanic, they murder groups of women for being women. Several have officially stated their intention to create a "Christian dominion" by overthrowing the US government -- they want to be the Christian version of Daesh / ISIS.

      Yet the media coddles these terrorist groups while spreading hysteria about Muslims.

  • Israeli PM: 'Arab terror and Jewish terror' are different
    • Israeli terrorism is super super common, to the point of being endemic. Everyone who's even visited the West Bank knows this. It's also state supported, like South African terrorism was under apartheid.

      Good Jewish people in the rest of the world need to repudiate the terrorist state of Israel. And some of them are. But groups like AIPAC and ADL aren't repudiating the terrorist state, which shows that they aren't good people.

      Just as good Christian people need to repudiate the Christian terrorists who murder doctors in the US. And some of them are. But many fundamentalist evangelical churches aren't, which shows that they aren't good people....

      Good Muslim people are already repudiating Muslim terrorists.

  • Yemen: US-Backed Saudi Coalition illegally bombing Residential Areas
    • This is basically an invasion of Yemen by the Saudi oligarchy. The Saudi government is illegitimate by modern standards, and feels threatened by any hint of a democratic government anywhere nearby.

      So far, this is just standard "evil dictator invades neighbor" material. The real question is why the US government has decided to join the war on the side of evil. This is not only evil, it's also monumentally stupid. The US gains absolutely nothing from allying with Saudi Arabia and loses a great deal. Best thing we could do would be to cut all ties with Saudi Arabia, close our embassies, sever diplomatic relations, and institute an embargo against them.

  • In Iraq's Ur, Archeologists Explore History's Potential to Unite A Divided Land
    • The Timbuktu archives are incredibly valuable, Library of Alexandria levels of value. Only comparable thing I can think of is the Mongolian archives of Buddhist and Chinese texts hidden and rescued from various book-burners over 10 centuries; there is also an effort underway to digitize them.

  • Putin: Turkey was protecting ISIL oil Smuggling; Russia urges Assad-Kurdish Alliance
    • Putin is a complete idiot, geopolitically speaking. Even Erdogan, who is completely megalomaniac, is outmaneuvering him.

      The US needs to get out of the Middle East completely, so that it can act as an honest broker and cool down the tensions between these *morons*. Iran will probably also be trying to cool down tensions -- Iran has strong interests in being allied with both Turkey and Russia.

      The US's natural ally in the region, geopolitically speaking, is Iran. But apparently *our* government idiots haven't figured that out yet.

      What a *mess*. This is very pre-WWI. The fascist movement in the US, currently following Trump, is the biggest worry, of course.

  • Shooting of pro-Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Deepens Turkey's Political Crisis
    • It's not clear to me whether Turkey will make it to the next election, where Erdogan will be thrown out, or whether Erdogan will attempt to pass an Enabling Act and the country will erupt in civil war before then. Either way Erdogan is doomed; even his own party members are furious at him for damaging the business climate.

  • Turkey's Coup against Press, own Generals over Arms Supplies to Syrian Militants
    • Erdogan is no longer supporting his main backers, who were the Turkish business establishment. This sort of heavy-handed autocracy is going to be deeply unpopular with them. Also, he really thinks he can start arresting army generals on trumped-up charges of, uh, telling the truth?

      Erdogan's overplayed his hand. The propaganda-campaign election of 2015 isn't a mandate and won't stick. I think the result will probably be a lot messier than the three military coups which Turkey had in the past.

  • Angered that EU labels Squatter W. Bank Products, Israel suspends EU from "Peace Process"
    • That stuff is worthless.

      China's government has pretty much figured out that all those creepy weapons are worthless. And they have the absolute best computer spies in the world now.

      I'm not sure any of the other Great Powers have figured it out.

  • Turkey reels as Putin imposes Stiff Economic Sanctions
    • Putin's a moron. We all know the plane was in Turkish airspace; all the evidence supports it. It would have been wise of him to back down on that while saying that it was an honest mistake and that there must be something wrong with their radios that they didn't hear the warnings.

      Russia has no essential interest in its bombing of the Turkmens. Why are they even doing it? We know they aren't fighting ISIS; the Russians are carefully leaving ISIS alone.

    • No. You have a completely incompetent analysis...
      -- Russia wants a Russian puppet in power.
      -- Erdogan wants to wipe out the Kurds.
      -- Non-Erdogan Turkish interests want stability and trade.
      -- Iran wants a Shiite government.
      -- Saudi Arabia leadership wants a Saudi puppet.
      -- Saudi Arabia sub-leadership (the guys who funded 9/11) wants ISIS or Al Qaeda in power.

      Those are a lot of different goals. The only ones which are totally incompatible are the Saudi goals; neither can be achieved while satisfying anyone else. Erdogan's goal is also impractical since any military victory seems to depend on the Kurds. A Russian puppet would be practical, but the puppet shouldn't be Assad, who lost all legitimacy when he started carpet-bombing civilians.

      If Putin were not an *idiot*, he would be arranging to replace Assad with a smarter and more compliant Russian puppet government led by a Shiite. But Putin is an idiot.

    • Maybe Turkey was getting sick of Russian violating their airspace repeatedly? Putin does have a record of airspace violations (see Ukraine).

    • GAAAH! A drop in the lira is what Erdogan wanted, economically speaking. The drop in tourism is bad for business, but the drop in the lira is good for business.

      A cheap lira is good for EXPORTING businesses, and that's Erdogan's voting base.

      Meanwhile, Putin is going to tick off the Russians. They can't vacation in the Crimea, they can't vacation in Turkey, where are they gonna vacation? He's been making it harder and harder for Russians to take a vacation, while sending Russian conscripts into foreign wars which they have no interest in.

      Russia shouldn't have violated Turkish airspace. Putin is a complete idiot, geopolitically. His actions are self-sabotaging and are probably going to *benefit* Erdogan.

  • Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism and GOP Candidates
    • Yep. There are big "madrasas" organized by most of the right-wing Christian fanatic groups to brainwash their followers and fill them with hate.

    • Or just "medical clinics".

      Every doctor in the world needs to know how to perform an emergency abortion; it's a lifesaving medical procedure, because pregnancy can kill the pregnant woman. Sadly, thanks to the terrorist anti-abortion groups, many doctors, even at emergency rooms, do not know how to perform this vital medical procedure and are wandering around with medical licenses which they should not have.

    • If you're really "pro-life" you would be massively in favor of contraception. Like Margaret Sanger was. You'd be contributing to Planned Parenthood. If that's you, my had is off to you.

      Most self-described "pro-life" groups are aggressively opposed to contraception and want to ban it. They're better described as "forced birthers". They want to force women to get pregnant and then force them to give birth. Period.

    • Not all Christians are terrorists. Not even all right-wing Christians. Some are helpful members of society.

      We need to start calling the terrorists what they are.

    • Page: 2
    • The terrorists who murder doctors for providing health care to women -- those terrorists quite explicitly say that their goal is to make a "Christian nation". Which means Christian sharia law. Which is also expliclitly forbidden by the First Amendment.

      These terrorists who kill doctors are also traitors; they're making war on the US in order to overthrow our system of government.

  • Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others
    • Juan is referring to the media in the United States. Spain and Ireland have more honest reporting.

    • Timothy McVeigh used bombs.

      The numerous terrorists who murder doctors in the so-called "anti abortion" fanatic movement use bombs.

      Guns are just cheaper.

  • Dear Saudi Arabia: Executing People for Atheism is in fact ISIL-Like; #Sosuemesaudi
    • Saudi Arabia is the model for Daesh. Of course, Saudi Arabia was the major backer for al-Qaeda too.

      Saudi Arabia is the linchpin of evil in the world. But the regime would collapse overnight if we stopped using oil. We should do that.

  • Abbas submits further files on Israeli Crimes to Int'l Criminal Court
  • Syria: US Boots on Ground risks Conflict with Turkey, not Russia
    • That shows poor planning on the part of the US. Erdogan has outworn his welcome and no longer commands popular support. The US seriously needs some deep analysis of internal Turkish politics, but it's quite possible that watching Erdogan go apeshit crazy is, in the long run, the correct move and that he will get thrown out at the ballot box.

      The US would have to be prepared to make sure he leaves when he loses the election, though.

    • Turkey's heading straight for civil war at the moment. Erdogan has been destabilizing the democracy.

      Forget Syria. I'd like to see an analysis of the factions within Turkey. So far I count:
      -- Erdogan and his loyalists
      -- portions of the AKP hostile to Erdogan
      -- Gulenists and the parts of the government they control
      -- the traditional Kemalists & their military allies
      -- the Kurdish groups (all peaceful at this point)
      -- the left wing non-Kurds (pro-peace, pro-democracy, anti-Erdogan, often formerly pro-Erdogan)

      Am I missing any major powerbases?

  • Will Turkey's Elections bring Peace or More Conflict with Kurds?
    • Aaargh. So the problem is that MHP + AKP is a majority. AKP and/or MHP have to be reduced in popularity enough to give everyone-else-together the majority. Everyone else will work together.

  • Trump On Shutting Down Mosques: Yeah Sure Whatever
  • Is Russia's offer of Parliamentary Elections in Syria Serious?
    • Whenever I look at one of these failed states which failed because the dictator was a brutal idiot, I think: Look at what the King of Morocco did in reaction to the Arab Spring protests. WAS THAT SO HARD?

      Dictators are so poorly educated these days. Assad clearly never learned anything about how to run a country or how to keep the people pacified. You don't massacre peaceful protestors -- you give them just enough of what they want to calm them down and isolate the radical fringe. You only massacre groups which have managed to achieve *general* unpopularity already.

    • Assad won't get many votes. In a free and fair election, *someone else would run*. Someone quite probably from the Assad regime but untainted by Assad's reputation for terrorism and mass murder.

    • Putin is of course talking gibberish, given that Assad is a known terrorist who carpet-bombed peaceful civilians from the air. What is Putin's actual goal?

    • I suspect that both Iran and Russia would love to ease Assad out in favor of a more competent government allied with them. Assad has both the stench of abuse (bombing civilians) and the stench of incompetence (the bombings didn't stop the protests at all).

      Can someone analyze the possible players who might be credibly able to step up to replace Assad, with Russian/Iranian backing, but with potential votes from the Syrian people? Those are the men to watch, and I don't know who they are, but they have got to exist.

    • I wonder who Putin is listening to. Putin made some gross geopolitical errors in eastern Ukraine... but apparently he saw the error of his ways and moved the troops out. New advisor, maybe?

      I don't really expect Putin to support real democratic elections. I *hope* he isn't stupid enough to back Assad, who is tainted in the eyes of the public. The classic *smart* imperialist move in these circumstances is to find a replacement dictator who will act more or less as a Russian puppet but who *isn't* tainted in the eyes of of the public. But I don't know if Putin is smart enough to do that -- he's made some very, very poor choices of puppets in the past. Not as bad as the US which has a uniform, perfect track record of always choosing absolutely terrible puppets -- but still pretty bad.

    • Well, there is evidence that the Air Force has been heavily infiltrated by End Times Christian fundamentalist crusaderist fanatics, so they would have a lot in common with Muslim fundamentalist jihadist fanatics.

    • Assad is doomed. No significant group going to vote for him in an *honest* election -- not since he bombed civilians from the air. Regardless of what the other terrorist groups have done.

      It's possible that Putin has actually figured this out. Maybe. The correct move for Russia is to remove Assad, replacing him with one of Assad's lieutenants who has relatively clean hands, thus getting a *better class* of puppet dictator. We'll see if Russia can pull this off.

  • Al-Qaeda in Syria Leader: Kill Alawite Minority, Russians; Christians fear West Backs Him
    • Gaaaah. It always comes back to Saudi Arabia, doesn't it? Saudi Arabia is the source of money and weapons for nearly all the oppressive, totalitarian, theocratic, mass-murdering groups in the region, and the US keeps backing Saudi Arabia.

      If our government had any principles, we'd boycott Saudi oil and destroy all the munitions we previously sold them. But our governments have sold their souls for oil. I don't think this will change until oil is no longer relevant (when electric cars & solar & wind power take over).

  • Iran in Syria? Reports its Troops plan Idlib, Aleppo Campaigns
    • US policy makes sense if you assume that the purpose is to give as much business to US arms dealers and "military contractors" as possible. Who cares where the ammo and weapons go, as long as the manufacturers get paid?

      This is very cynical but explains most of US "military" policy.

  • Debate: Clinton slams Iran, Putin & supports Syrian Rebels; Sanders rejects Intervention
    • Specifically, Sanders is correct that the US needs to stop military interventions worldwide. Isolationism is correct policy and isolationism has been correct policy since the Cold War ended.

      The crazy imperialists in the military-industrial complex have done incalculable damage to US national security with all these invasions.

    • Other than the Kurds, Iran is the only government creating positive change in the Middle East at the moment.

      Clinton's swipe at Iran disqualifies her from the Presidency.

    • Clinton is unqualified to be President. Her failure to understand the geopolitical situation would be funny if she weren't *Secretary of State*.

      Sanders is correct. As usual.

  • Endless Rounds of "Vietnamization" as America's Colonial Armies Collapse one by One
    • I think she is insane, unfortunately. Just less obviously insane. But her foreign policy positions (hostile to Iran, friendly to Saudi Arabia and the Likud Party in Israel, trigger-happy about invading foreign countries) remain insane, and would still be disastrous for the US.

  • Does Obama have a Syria Strategy? Putin Does.
    • "It is quite likely that the US secretly backs AlQaeda and even ISIL to create another Zbig insurgency trap for Russia as in AfPak War I, "

      I don't think the current US government is that smart. This *is* going to be the effect for Russia, though; it's a trap for Russia, just like the Russian invasion of Afghanistan was a trap.

    • Putin's strategy is fundamentally dead in the water, long term -- he's backing Assad, who's lost the respect of the population.

      This is what the US has done in countless third-world countries -- backed a hopeless loser as puppet dictator. Russia has a bit of a history of doing this too.

      If Putin is smart, he has a plan to kick out Assad in favor of a more popular puppet. But I see no sign that Putin is smart.

      Iran is playing things absolutely perfectly, of course, effectively backing the Alawites without explicitly backing Assad.

  • Palestine: Of course, it is an intifada: This is what you must know
    • Netenyahu's racist, genocidal, and colonialist policies are not going to stop. In fact, given current trends in Israel, where sane people are leaving when they can afford to, and the deranged killers in the religious settlements are having dozens of kids, it's going to get worse.

      But eventually you'd expect the international community to isolate this criminal pariah state. It's only propped up by unconscionable support from the US. That has to end sooner or later.

      There's a similar situation with the most evil government in the world, Saudi Arabia, but in that case the US and other countries will probably keep propping it up until the oil runs out or oil stops being important -- which could happen sooner than most people think.

  • Top Signs Pope Francis is an Honest Conservative
    • This isn't the article I was referring to, but it covers much the same ground: link to

      Basically, Bergolio was a craven collaborator during the Dirty War -- not really an active supporter of the fascists, but a collaborator anyway. Afterwards, he felt guilty (as he should). And he stopped believing that priests and bishops had the right to order laymen around -- because parish priests and laymen had proven themselves to be far more moral than he was.

      That's the background of Pope Francis. He's personally very right-wing, but he doesn't believe that the Catholic Church has the right to order other people to be right-wing, because he knows from experience *he might be completely and utterly wrong*. That's what he means by "Who am I to judge" -- he actually believes that the Catholic Church should abandon its presumptuous attempts at overriding the morals of clear-thinking laymen.

  • A Russo-Iranian Bloc against the United States?
    • The real issue for Russia is Chinese government opinion. I haven't heard a single comment from China.

      When you're playing Great Power politics, it's important to keep track of *all* the Great Powers. Russia has nothing to fear from the US or the EU right now. However, as Putin acts ludicrous and destablizing, he should (but won't) watch for the Chinese reaction.

  • The Crimean Crisis and the Middle East: Will Syria & Iran be the Winners?
    • World War I.

    • Bingo. Saudi reserves are the big mystery in the world economy, and Saudi oil price manipulation is actually the linchpin of world geopolitics. This is probably going to all come falling apart quite suddently due to the incredible secrecy which surrounds Saudi oil reserves.

    • Putin is not remotely a "chess master". He reminds me of Kaiser Wilhelm.... which should be a warning to us all.

      What we're missing is a Woodrow Wilson figure (There was a real chessmaster).

  • Top 5 US Government Decisions that put Troops more at Risk than Snowden Did
    • The current police state will collapse due to its own incompetence; the NSA can blackmail Congressmen, but it can't even tell who has access to the information it's illegally collected, and as a result *anyone* can hijack it. Remember, a Soviet mole was running large portions of the CIA for over a decade!

      The question is really what comes next after this pathetic incompetent police state collapses. It could be a new era of peace, democracy, and the rule of law. Or it could be a much more competent police state. Or, worse, it could be a long series of civil wars.

    • Snowden did the right thing, just like the Soviet dissidents who defected did.

      There's no point in a quixotic imprisonment under a Stalinist government with no rule of law when you can get out, which he did.

      It's embarassing and weird that he's safer in Putin's Russia -- Putin's government has said, basically, that they would have loved to turn Snowden over to the US, but that the US's dramatic and blatant violations of US and international law while attempting to kidnap Snowden made it politically impossible (in terms of international and Russian politics) for them to turn him over.

  • Gatesgate: Why Obama was right to Distrust his Generals on Afghanistan
    • " Obama understood (as apparently others cannot) that that is a non-negotiable provision when U.S. forces are deployed."

      That (extraterritoriality) is a provision which no foreign government will ever agree to under any circumstances. It's actually largely prohibited by international law.

      Only the countries conquered in WWII have ever really agreed to it, and that's because, uh, they were conquered.

      It is an impossible request. Whether Obama knew that is an open question.

    • It's not just formal authority. In 2008 Obama had an honest-to-god popular mandate, too. That's a rather serious form of power.

      The only formal restrictions on Obama's power were the Supreme Court, which had made itself illegitimate in 2000 when it stole the election, and the arcane 60-vote bullshit in the US Senate, which nobody outside the US Senate understood, and nobody except them and a few media pundits actually approved of.

      The power of popular is powerful.

    • "The officers Obama was dealing with were known to be insurbordinate and bullies. "

      Why weren't they cashiered, like MacArthur? "Dishonorable discharge" is correct for insubordinate bullies in the military.

      We need a President who's actually willing to nail the jackasses like this.

  • Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about, Some Criminal
    • It's kind of hard to miss that fact. Even if you are Bob Gates. You have to be wilfully blind to not see the ways Israel's government has been isolating Israel, right up to deliberately and pointlessly insulting the Turkish ambassador.

    • Lew, you've got your history completely whacked.

      For the reason why the US now loses wars, look at Robert Franks's book _The Generals_.

      Basically, up to and including WWII, the US dissolved the military after each war and built a brand new one for each new war -- one which was purpose-built for the new war. Since WWII, we have the "military-industrial complex", which is not designed to win any actual war, but rather to feed itself.

      This is why the US won every war for 150 years and then started losing every war.

    • I can give you the full list of wars we won since Korea (which was a draw): Grenada, Gulf War I (which was kind of easy) and Kosovo (which was brilliance on the part of General Clark).

      Every other one has been lost, while spending goes up and up and up.

      We even lost the Cold War, as far as I can tell from the USSR-like behavior of our current government.

    • The relevance of the author's character is Gates's record of (a) lying, (b) supporting violent, fascist, and criminal thugs, and (c) geopolitical incompetence. In this context, he has no place to criticize Biden from.

      This doesn't mean that Biden is *right*, but it does mean you can't believe anything Gates says.

    • In retrospect, since Amin wasn't a CIA agent, the USSR should just have left Afghanistan alone.

      Unfortunately, Brezhnev was still running the USSR. Running it into the ground.

      Gorbachev took three years before he gave up and got out of Afghanistan. That's too long, but it's already smarter than Obama.

      Anyway, looking at counterfactuals, if the Soviets and the US had left Afghanistan alone, it's not clear what would have happened. It probably would have spread into Pakistan one way or another. The USSR would have been able to maintain their border with no difficulty. Eventually Iran would probably have stepped in in a non-military way as an "honest broker" and been treated fairly positively (this being ex-Persian territory culturally).

    • That's the defense that James Buchanan made of his record as President.

      No, really, look it up. "I prevented things from getting much worse" was Buchanan's defense. And it's sort of true, except in retrospect not really.

      I guess we won't be able to judge until some time later whether Obama actually prevented any of these potential disasters you list, or merely delayed them.

      If he merely delayed them they'll probably be worse when they do happen than they would be if they'd happened earlier. If he prevented them, great.

    • " If you say that he is not a trustworthy character because of his past dealings; give us a reason why we should not believe him now. "

      Because he is not a trustworthy person! Seriously, look up the word "trust"! He committed multiple treasonous activities, committed perjury several times, lied to Congress, so why should we believe the book he wrote?

  • Spain, Portugal show that 50%, even 70% Power from Renewables is Possible Right now
    • The Rajoy government in Spain went completely bonkers and is trying to tax people for going off the grid. Solar has already reached grid parity, so Rajoy, as agent of the coal and oil lobbies, is applying confiscatory taxes to it.

      Unfortunately, you should probably write about this. The mere fact that solar is actually cheaper and quite sufficient for all energy needs isn't going to help if the government puts confiscatory taxes on it and sends police into people's homes to confiscate their unauthorized solar panels (which is actually part of Rajoy's latest law).

  • America's Secret 4th Branch of Government: The NSA kept even Obama in the Dark
    • It seems that the only way out of this is for a loyal army unit to massacre the NSA criminals. Since the DOJ sure isn't doing anything.

      How third world.

  • The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    • Woodrow Wilson style ethnic carveup would work in many places. With the ethnic integration of Syria, unfortunately, likely the only form of outside intervention which would work would be Stalin-style ethnic carveup.

      The US will not do Wilson-style redrawing of the map in any case, and certainly not with Russia objecting to it.

      So, best if we just stay out of it.

  • Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
    • James Clapper has admitted to outright lying to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Evidence is piling up that Keith Alexander lied to both the Senate and House committees.

      They need to be in prison for their crimes. Their actions are the actions of traitors, as they help nobody but al-Qaeda.

    • Care to comment on the violation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, or do you just want to blather pro-NSA nonsense when it's easy?

    • Yep. In contrast, it is well established that private letters, phone calls, and mail -- and so also email, etc. -- have a strong expectation of privacy.

      This was one of the issues over which the English Civil War was fought and it was one of the issues over which the Glorious Revolution was instigated. A government which does not respect this particular right to privacy -- which is embedded in US law in the form of the Fourth Amendment -- is a government which is trying to suppress all dissent. They knew this in the 1600s and we know it now.

      Such an abusive government is illegitimate and should be liquidated.

    • UK "intelligence" has no legal right or power to steal someone's possessions based on the suspicion that that person may have documents which US intelligence would not like them to have.

      I mean seriously! Joe from Lowell never, ever answers the question of what *UK* law he thinks Miranda broke, because Miranda didn't break any law in the UK.

      Miranda was "caught" possessing lawfully received documents which are completely legal to publish in the United Kingdom, Bill. It's horrifying that you would consider that justification to detain him and steal his stuff.

    • The suppression of Occupy showed that we have to do something more organized than mere protests and riots.

      People have repeatedly commented on how "millenials" are all focused on community, and structure, and fitting in. They've missed the meaning of this. When millenials are screwed over, they won't get mad, they'll get even.

      Witness Snowden, who keeps winning.

      There is going to be an honest-to-god revolution in the US. I have no idea what's going to come after it (it could be terrible or great -- it all depends on organizations) but the current situation is completely unsustainable, therefore it will collapse within 20 years.

  • Has Military Suppression of Political Islam ever Worked?
    • "American exceptionalism is so deeply buried in our character that he is unsure what can pry it loose."

      Utter, total, scorched-earth defeat.

      That's what finally did in German exceptionalism, in 1945.

      I hope that the people in charge of the nukes manage to avoid setting them off while the US is losing.

  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • So here's an interesting scenario: the 3-D printers and the raw materials will simply be stolen. Few will successfully investigate the thefts, because *everyone* will steal this stuff, *all the time*. Money economy dies.

      Eventually, some smart rich guy will figure out that he'll be better off offering his 3-D printers and materials for free ("no threat of arrest") in exchange for the loyalty of the people using them.

      Result: feudalism, an economy based on personal loyalties.

    • Another idiot living in a fantasy world.

      "In every way we are getting better all the time."

      What drugs are you on? They must be pretty strong!

      I suggest you ask the people evacuated from the exclusion zone around Chernobyl whether "in every way we are getting better all the time". You could also ask the native Americans. Heck, ask anyone living in the real world.

      Here in reality, some things get better, other things get worse, there is no magical guarantee of progress.

    • TJ, you're living in a fantasy world. I suggest you visit Easter Island and tell the corpses there about the "story of constant and unstoppable progress".

    • Co-operatives were the most functional part of the Soviet system in the USSR. The co-operatives actively resisted the dismantling and privatization which was imposed on the "collective" farms and "state" factories. They didn't all succeed, but to the extent they succeeded, the co-operatives are still the most vibrant part of the Russian economy.

      Co-operatives are an excellent basis for economic organization. They so have a significant failure mode, which we could discuess at another time -- the tendency for the owner/workers to get bored and stop paying attention -- but this is also the major failure mode for democracy. We haven't found anything better than co-ops/democracy as a method of organization.

    • Indeed. This is why the 0.1% in our country are complete idiots, idiots like most of the aristocracy of France under Louis XVI were idiots.

      If you want to retain power, you keep everyone fed, housed, and clothed. This was understood by the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt -- a Pharoah who failed to feed the people was overthrown in quick order. This was understood by Emperor Augustus of Rome, who put up monuments bragging about how many people received the wheat ration from him (bragging how many people were on welfare).

      This basic principle of how to stay in power is not understood by the idiots in the GOP and the idiot right-wingers running major corporations. They are dooming themselves.

    • Elections are supposed to be the method to keep governments under control. We have serious problems in our election system, but a functioning election system (proportional representation, approval voting, with hand-counted paper ballots) is a powerful tool to keep governments under control.

      Big businesses, of course, have NOTHING keeping them under control. They were also supposed to be kept under control by elections (but corporate elections are basically a fraud). They were supposed to be kept under control by regulation from governments -- which they have bought off, so that the governments refuse to cancel their charters even when the businesses commit murder sprees.

    • It's actually the short-term thinking which is the fundamental problem in American society, and in world "crony capitalist" society.

      Short-term thinking was also the major problem in the USSR.

      The issue is not one of "capitalism" or "communism", but one of short-term thinking versus long-term thinking. We need long-term thinkers in power, and I don't know how to achieve this.

    • Juan is correct. Jobs aren't created by magic or by invisible hands. (And, by the way, TJ, it seems you have never actually read Adam Smith, since you don't understand his theories at all. They're much more... socialist... than most people think they are.)

      As for central planning -- central planning is the *modus operandi* of every corporation in the United States. If central planning has failed, then the United States is on the express path to failure. In fact, central planning frequently works excellently, as the executives of Amazon will tell you.

    • No, it doesn't.

      There are a couple of reasons people might create new robots.

      (1) For fun. This requires engineers with free time and money. In a world with lots of unemployment, that doesn't happen. Therefore, we need to hand them money as in the Alaska Permanent Fund.
      (2) For profit. This requires lots of people buying lots of stuff, which people can't do without money. With lots of unemployment, people won' have money... unless we just hand them money as in the Alaska Permanent Fund.

      The conclusions are inescapable. In a world where almost everything is made by robots, the only way to have a functioning money economy is to continuously distribute money to everyone, pretty much evenly.

    • Globally, in a sense, this is sort of correct -- the richer will be the ones more able to migrate.

      But with massive numbers of economic migrants, the current elite-of-the-temperate-zone don't have a chance of survival. The new migrants can ally with the old residents to smash the old 1% without a second thought, and make it look easy.

      So the current global 0.1% elite, if they want to survive, had better have a better plan than just being a bunch of worthless greedheads. I believe most of the current 0.1% are incapable of making such a plan, because they are congenitally incapable of long-term thinking -- it's a mental defect, probably psychopathy. (There are exceptions, of course, like Al Gore and Gorbachev and Soros, who will do their best to find a long-term plan, but they're an insignificant fraction of the global elite and unfortunately seem to have no influence over the majority of Koch-addled 0.1%ers.)

    • The feudal system relied on the feudal lord owing duties to the serfs, and generally living up to those duties.

      Those duties weren't much -- food, clothing, and shelter -- but when the elite failed to provide them, the feudal lord in the area was killed or expelled. Quite consistently. He was replaced with a *different* feudal lord, of course, but that doesn't change the picture for him.

      The equivalent in the modern day would be an absolute obligation for the government, or the "feudal lord" factory owners, to feed, clothe, and house everyone. But just try and get the idiots like the Koch Brothers to realize that that's their best move.

    • Tesla moved extra robots into the factory.

      At the moment, most of Tesla's rather large employment is in sales & service, which aren't really automatable. Some in delivery, which is. Some in engineering, which isn't, but people do enginering for fun, so it's not really necessary to pay them.

      Within the factory, the majority of the employees are doing... sewing. Nobody has yet figured out how to fully automate sewing, and if they do, that eliminates the last major manual-labor job in the world. Pay attention to this; automating this will change the world.

      And some are doing bolting. Robots can bolt things together but humans are slightly better at it. This will probably change over time.

    • People I know from Michigan say that Snyder is getting away with everything he does because people are "voting with their feet" and moving to other states. Period.

      In the US as a whole, Mexicans are "voting with their feet" and moving back to Mexico.

      But this "voluntary migration" as a relief for the social pressures has its limits, and I think we are reaching them.

    • Steerpike: the problem is that our current elites don't have any interest in having dozens of servants. Robots can do all the work better!


    • Actually, for all the failures of the Oligarchic State Control system under the Soviet Union... worked better than the US system is working now.

      Homelessness rates were WAY down on what we have now, except where Stalin decided to make people homeless deliberately. Again, once Stalin was removed, people weren't starving in the streets. Here? People are.

      I'm not saying the USSR had a good system; it didn't. But we don't either. We'd better try something else. Like nationalized robot labor -- that would be different.

    • Indeed, Marxists believed in putting production in the hands of the workers.

      Juan Cole is suggesting a world with, well, no workers. That's extremely different -- the workers do not have the means of production, becuase *there are no workers*.

  • Argentina's President Kirchner: US Industrial Espionage gave me Chills down my Spine
    • "My thought is that many nations in Latin America seem to have a new direction and a new willingness to find a path to prosperity that doesn’t involve the U.S. Maybe it is too soon to declare Latin American independence from U.S. imperialism, but it may be closer than anybody inside the beltway realizes."

      Yep. I wish I knew a good blog with a South American specialist, the way this is a blog with a Middle Eastern specialist. South America is the place to watch for signs fo the future.

  • Snowden: Top Ten Signs that Putin might not be on Washington's Side
    • The US government's desire to torture whistleblowers and create political prisoners has definitely given whistleblowers a STRONG incentive to turn to the other superpowers.

      The US government is doing the same sort of deranged nonsense which the USSR did -- the sort which encouraged people in the USSR to defect to the West.

    • The "missile defense" nonsense -- which would never have worked -- was exceptionally stupid geopolitically, as its only function was to anger and alienate Russian leaders.

      Result: Russian leaders are doing their best to sabotage US government geopolitical moves even when this is not in Russia's best interest (as in Syria). Now, obviously, supporting Iran economically is very much in Russia's best interest, and defending people like Snowden is too.

      Supporting Assad isn't really in Russia's best interest. However, supporting Assad is seen by Putin as showing the US that the US isn't the only superpower, so Putin does it.

  • Critics: Obama's Climate Plan a Day Late and a Penny Short (Lazare)
    • The EPA is *REQUIRED* to regulate existing power plants.

      They were ordered to do so by the federal courts after a large lawsuit brought by several state governments, including New York.

      President Obama has been foot-dragging in the worst possible way. He is now trumpeting the action which he was ORDERED to do by the COURTS and the STATES -- as if it was a voluntary action.

      Pathetic, but some people will probably believe that lie.

  • Erdogan Clears Gezi Park Protesters, sets Stage for Polarization
  • Rafsanjani's Exclusion from Iran's Presidential Race a Sign of Creeping Totalitarianism
    • My question regarding where Khamenei's raw power base is -- hasn't been answered. Perhaps nobody here knows.

      A further question is, who can count the regular Iranian military as their power base? They have carefully stayed out of internal politics for decades, but as the country sinks into an unpopular dictatorship, that won't stick. 10, 20 years from now what sort of situation will we be looking at?

    • Where is Khamenei's power base? It seems to me he doesn't have one.

      Rafsenjani has a power base -- he's been personally bankrolling the university education of the majority of the country's young people. Ahmedinijad has a power base -- the rural, religious "old ways are best" conservatives. The Green Movement has a power base. Heck,the Communists have a power base.

      Where is Khamenei's power base? I don't see it. The "clerical establishment", perhaps? But he has alienated a lot of them by opposing the very principles of Shi'a governnance, in favor of making himself a new Caliph. As such, I wonder how long it will be before he is overthrown.

  • Bibi's $127,000-bed in the Sky: PM Sleeps in the Clouds as he Plans Austerity for Israelis
  • Erdogan: Turkey will not be Dragged into Bloody Quagmire in Syria, after Deadly Bombings Kill 49
    • While I suspect a direct Turkish invasion of Syria would actually not be a quagmire *if* Turkey had Russian support, Turkey simply cannot do it unless Turkey has Russian support, and Turkey doesn't have Russian support.

  • Will New Pakistani Government Ban US Drone Strikes in Light of Court Ruling? (Ross)
    • What's really sad, Bill, is that I know how the US *could have* neutralized al-Qaeda and eliminated the Taliban. It would have required several intensive immersion programs in various Middle Eastern languages and cultures, taken by hundreds of thousands of American soliders. Nobody even considered it.

    • Bill, the drone program has been the best recruitment program al-Qaeda and its "affiliated forces" have ever had. There are now far more al-Qaeda leaders than there were in 2000, and they are far more competent. (Because they're the ones who didn't get targeted.)

      Face facts. Al-Qaeda is a distributed organization which can't be stopped by "killing leaders". There have been many such situations in the past. The drone program has been entirely counterproductive.

    • "Is it just me, or is it actually the case that Our Players just do not get it that they don’t know how to play the Game"

      It's not just you. Erdogan has an understanding of geopolitics. The Saudi princes seem to have an understanding of geopolitics. Khamenei in Iran seems to have an understanding of geopolitics. The people in power in the US don't seem to have a clue.

      I haven't seen such craziness on such a large scale, geopolitically, in my lifetime; I had to look back in history to the incompetence of Wilhelm II to see such a dramatic example of idiocy in geopolitics.

    • Yeah. Pakistan wins by having a peaceful election transition. And countries which are intent on peace... well, their first priority is usually to stop mad bombers and murderous gangs. So the government probably will ban the drone murders.

    • Dumbpire is a nice word for the blundering US fake empire; mind if I borrow it?

  • Israeli Gen. Charges Syria Chem Weapons Use: Is Israel Allying with Sunnis to overthrow Alawites, cut off Iran?
    • On another point, I cannot figure out what the heck Putin is up to. There is really no benefit I can see for Russia, long-run, medium-run, or short-run, in supporting Assad. All the Middle Eastern countries have given up on Assad except Iran; Iran supports Assad because of Sunni-Shia politics and because of Hizbollah in Lebanon.

      But Iran's support is unimportant, because Iran was never going to have a major effect on the outcome or the process of the war. Russia's support *matters* because Russia is still a Great Power, and I am pretty sure that only Russia's opposition prevents there from being a "no-fly zone" over Syria right now. (Turkey could enforce such a zone all by itself.)

      And I just don't see what's in it for Russia at this point. Apart from giving Putin even more of a "We Love Brutality" reputation, what's in it for him? I don't think that reputation is a good idea even in Russia; Putin is no Stalin and even Stalin had to watch his back for people who would have been happy to kill and replace him.

    • The internal fault lines in Saudi Arabia run deep. I don't read much analysis of them any more, but the monarchy and the Wahhabi clerics have been in an *uneasy* alliance for quite a long time, arguably since before the founding of the state. They don't have the same views.

      What the rest of the population of Saudi Arabia thinks is yet another matter (several other matters, really), and I would love to know. Frustration with the monarchy led to bin Laden's creation of al-Qaeda and most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Sauid Arabia -- so that's one group! Then there are the women demanding the right to drive cars. There are clearly multiple groups with their own viewpoints, allied neither with the monarchy nor with the Wahhabis, and that's before we get to the Shia.

      But I don't understand the internal politics of Saudi Arabia. Which is unfortunate because I think it's going to become *very important* the moment the oil money stops papering over the differences.

    • FWIW, there appears to be independent evidence of the chemical weapons use by the Assad government in Syria -- reports NOT sourced from the (untrustworthy) Israeli government.

      I read about this last week -- I believe it was a UN investigation? See if you can dig up the reports.

      Obviously Obama doesn't give a damn.

  • America's Murder Inc. Abroad: Engelhardt on Scahill's Latest
    • The war in Syria is going on longer than one might have predicted, due to the unreasonable levels of loyalty of Alawites and some other ethnic/religious groups to Assad.

      The war in Libya went quicker partly because Qaddafi was abandoned by a LOT of the groups who previously supported him.

      The war in Syria is also going on unreasonably long because the Great Powers have been unwilling to destroy Assad's aerial bombing capability. Once Assad resorted to bombing his own cities, he was guaranteed to lose, but unfortunately it also means he can keep going until he runs out of bombs, planes, or pilots. The opposition doesn't have the correct countermeasures -- not enough anti-aircraft missiles, and no fighter planes. Any one of a lot of countries could have supplied that, but nobody did.

    • And yet this entire, bloated "national security" organization is helpless against pretty much any attack anywhere; not only can it not win any wars, it can't identify attacks before they happen. (Due to "East Germany syndrome" -- collecting so much information that nobody can read it.)

      It'll be interesting to watch it fall. Ugly and violent, but interesting. It is *guaranteed* to collapse from its own incompetence. The current military technological landscape gives the advantage to guerilla warfare quite decisively, with a small exception when air power can be brought to bear. The democratization of drones (happening as we speak) will end the age of "air power" and usher in an age where guerilla tactics are *completely* dominant. There have been such ages before.

  • Minimum Wage: Beggaring Workers does not Help Employment (Infographics)
    • That Bakken Oil Boom is very visible on the map. When that busts, it's going to hit the US economy hard.

      Jesper: unfortunately, economics is not well-developed enough to have a good theory of the minimum wage. The theory of monopsony helps a little.

      We know that at current levels we can keep raising the minimum wage and it will actually cause unemployment to DROP. We have never tried raising the minimum wage far enough that it causes unemployment to rise. Perhaps we should try it -- that's the only way to tell how high that number is!

  • Why there Were no CIA Torture Black Sites in Latin America (Grandin)
    • It hasn't been exactly peaceful (though I'd agree with "largely" peaceful) -- the US side of it was brutal and violent, as were the US's allies like Pinochet. The good guys were pretty impressively non-violent, though not quite Ghandi style.

      South American countries, and to a lesser extent Central American countries, have simply figured out how to beat the US empire. It's a lesson the rest of the world is going to learn. Heck, it would be good for those of us in the US to learn it -- the empire is bad for us too.

      As for the "underreported" nature of the development -- that is also true, but it's underreported because the US imperialists do *not want* people to read about how South Americans beat the US. Stories of the US losing, and how it was beaten, are consistently underreported within the US.

  • Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College for Event on Boycott of Israel over Settlements (Democracy Now!)
    • A parallel movement to "Christian nationalism", then? That's a movement which wants to make the US a "Christian nation" by ignoring the 1st Amendment.

    • Name the councilmembers. It's important to name-and-shame these would-be censors.

  • Top Five Objections to the White House's Drone Killing Memo
    • Please look up the reason why the laws against Star Chamber style courts were passed.

      There were kings who claimed the exact same powers which Obama claims. Those kings were quite clear: they would conduct a careful review, done entirely by direct employees of the king, in secret, and then the king would decide whether you were innocent or guilty. What could you possibly complain about?

      Well, you, Joe From Lowell, would obviously *NOT* complain. If the king's men say you're a traitor, you're a traitor!

      This makes you, technically, a supporter of *autocracy*, also known as *despotism* or *tyrrany*.

      There were different rules for war. War involved, you know, armies and battlefields. Assassinations did NOT count as acts of war even if they took place during a war.

    • Joe, if there were an objective definition of "operational commander of an al-Qaeda group", which could be appealed in court, that would mean something.

      But there isn't. The US government freely declares random schlubs to be "operational commanders of al-Qaeda" -- witness the absolutely ridiculous number of "#2 leader in al-Qaeda!!!" who the US has announced the deaths of.

      After all, you could be an "operational commander of an al-Qaeda group" if the President decided that you were. And you would have *no legal recourse* to prove that you weren't. WHICH IS THE POINT, YOU MORON.

    • Joe: the warmaking power simply does not apply to assassinations of civilians sitting at home.

      Never has, never will.

      Go learn what "warmaking" actually consists of, legally.

    • Joe From Lowell, since you are an operational leader of al-Qaeda (if the President decides that you are), the President can murder you, according to the doctrines in this white paper.

      The key is the fact that there is NO REVIEW. The President has arrogated the power of judge, jury and executioner into the executive branch.

    • The US goes around committing acts of terrorism and supporting brutal dictators. What the hell do you EXPECT the results to be, bunnies and puppies?

      Realpolitik says the US should stop murdering civilians and stop supporting brutal dictators. Nobody in the US government understands realpolitik.

    • Travis: you're correct. The US has been aiding and abetting the political plans of bin Laden. He wanted to convince the world that the US was a brutal, murderous, vicious, evil country which slaughtered civilians.

      Well, the US has been doing its best to be a brutal, murderous, vicious, evil country which slaughters civilians. Bin Laden's mission has been accomplished.

    • Bill, because the US military has arrogated to itself the "right" to murder random civilians in Pakistan, frankly, I think Al-Qaeda is the one on the right side of the law of war at this point; the US is simply committing war crimes.

      The US has committed multiple acts of war against Pakistan. Pakistan is simply being polite in not declaring war on the US; in fact, Pakistan has the right to get a UN operation against the US.

      The murder of bin Laden was illegal; the legal thing to do was to have him arrested by the Pakistani government.

    • Joe, you obviously didn't read the white paper. In fact, this is a pretty accurate description of *exactly what it says*:

      "Now, a U.S. Citizen can just disagree with U.S. policy, associate (used to be a freedom) with people someone (we don’t know who) has deemed to be undesirable, and now that person can be legally killed on the order of someone in the White House."

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