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Total number of comments: 336 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:40)

robert

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  • Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz?
    • During the 2nd Intifada, Hamas carried out 39.9 % of the Palestinian suicide bombings. 887 (78%) of the 1,137 Israelis killed from 2000 to 2005 in Israel were civilians. I guess this makes them ideal candidates to be the founding fathers of a new state.

  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • There are parallels with the China-Burma-India theatre in WW2. General Chennault wanted bomb Japanese cities from China. General Stillwell had to constantly argue that the Japanese would respond by bombing the air bases in China, and there were no effective ground forces to protect those bases.
      Also, rhe Allies allied with Chiang-kai-shek, an extraordinarily corrupt, short-sighted dictator who had no interest in fighting the Japanese. And, the American people were falsely told that the Chinese Nationalists were fighting for democracy and winning victories. If we make a u-turn in Syria, our media may start fawning over Mrs. Assad the way they did over Madame Chiang.

  • Democracy, in India as elsewhere, is not a tyranny of the Majority
    • Popular nationalism has been confused with democracy ever since the rise of nationalism in the 19th century. But, nationalism has often worked against the idea of letting every tile in the mosaic sparkle.
      Look at the relationship between the autocratic, supranational Austro-Hungarian Empire and nationalism. Franz Joseph, the last of the Hapsburg dynasts, was strongly anti-nationalist. The Austrian army was made up of Germans, Magyars, Czechs, Poles, Croats, and other nationalities. A person of low birth could rise in the ranks. Britain with its' parliament had no such egalitarian institution. While other Powers were using nationalism to fuel a rush for territory in Africa, Austria stayed home.
      A big strain on the Hapsburgs was the nationalism of the Magyars in Hungary. They wanted independence so they could dominate the minorities in Hungary. They hated the Germans, but favored German dominance of the Austrian part of the empire in order to keep other nationalities down.
      But, the House of Hapsburg fell. Some of their subjects were later ruled by the German nationalist Hitler.
      Thus, while a democracy that can enforce minority rights may be ideal, a benign autocrat can be better than majoritarianism, or any system infected by exclusionary nationalism.

  • The New Jim Crow: Has the Right finally Repealed the Civil Rights Act?
    • Poor people usually don't have employers that pay them while doing jury duty, and they often need to excuse themselves from jury duty due to economic hardship. Low-income workers can't take off a couple of weeks to serve on a jury. My guess is that poor people are not well-represented in jury pools.

  • Party of Palin? Why Almost No Scientists Are Republican
    • It is appropriate for scientists to be involved in politics. But political issues involve values and morals, as well as scientific fact.
      Scientists can also get involved in philosophy and religion. But if they make assertions such as "science is the only way of knowing things" or "nothing exists beyond what science can grasp", they should make it clear that these are just their beliefs, that these
      opinions are not scientific facts.

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are now more afraid of political Islam than they are concerned about Palestinians. They want Israel to destroy Hamas at all costs. Thus, Arab states are putting no pressure on Israel to stop this bombing.

  • Top 3 White Terrorist Attacks in America this Week
    • The anarchists of the late 19th century had a hatred of the capitalists and bourgeosie that matched their hatred of the state. Today's right-wing anarchists have set their sights solely on the state. The idea is that once the evil institutons are destroyed, utopia will naturally emerge. 19th century anarchist theorists and writers inspired many lone nuts to throw bombs and shoot people.

  • Egypt, Syria, Libya . . . . What is the Appeal of Phoney Elections in the Middle East?
    • Sham election may also be what the masses want. They don't want to admit what they secretly believe, which is that they should be ruled by aristocrats.
      In the 1890's, Lord Salisbury, an aristocrat with a big, fuzzy beard, passionately fought democratic reforms. As a youth, he wrote numerous articles explaing how democracy would damage Britain.
      But , democracy caught on. It's part of being modern. But, that could change over time. Military Coups seem to be in fashion.

  • Pope Francis to call for Sovereign, Independent Palestinian State from Bethlehem
    • Pope John Paul II had an audience with Arafat on Sep 15, 1982? Interesting. The following night the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila began. The Israelis allowed the killings, but it was carried out by Lebanese Maronite militiamen. The Maronite Church is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. What was the reaction of the Vatican to these mass killings of Palestinians conducted by Catholics?

  • In Egypt, Industrial Scale Death Decrees
    • Everybody freaked out when Morsi tried to place himself beyond the reach of this judiciary. "Democracy is more than winning elections", his opponents said. I guess democracy is about having the right balance between a depraved military and a psychotic judiciary.

  • Netanyahu's Blood and Soil: The Racist-Nationalism of his "Jewish State" Ideal
    • 78 percent of Israelis are Jewish, and they like it like that. Jews are small minorities everywhere in the world except Israel. When American Jews visit Israel, they enjoy being in a place that's mostly Jewish. They feel a part of the solidarity that exists amongst Israeli Jews. They say, "we built this country and we'll fight for it.".
      Israeliness is alive and vibrant. Its value should not be judged entirely by crimes committed 66 years ago. That being said, Israelis need to end the occupation and find ways to express their nationalism that do not harm others.

  • From Raybans to Portrait Underwear: Sisi-Mania floods Egypt with Kitsch
    • There are similarities to the atmosphere in Egypt in the late fifties, after the Suez Crisis. Nasser was the superhero. Radio and schoolbooks reminded people how they were required to think. The villified enemies were Jews, French, and British. They had their assets nationalized and were expelled. The Sisi regime, however, has really outdone Nasser in terms of massacres, unjust incarcerations, and death sentences. This Sisi mania is a reminder of how vile people are.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • Bundy may be a domestic terrorist. Nonetheless, can we aknowledge that not all the people who have complained about the way government controls land have been rich white men? Consider the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles that was destroyed in order to build Dodger Stadium.

    • So, are the liberals now going to start screaming at the black people who illegally planted a garded on our defunt armory? That defunt armory belongs to us taxpayers and it's being managed for our benefit by the Goverment. The court has weighed in. Will the liberals be happy when the New Black Panthers are attacked and the garden is returned to the benevolent control of our beloved Agencies?

  • 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan's Taliban
    • For the Keystone pipeline to be built, they'll have to use a lot of eminent domain (government taking of private property). If the pipline is stopped, it could be due more to the objections of property rights supporters than to the complaints of environmentalists. Anti-government feelings have caused headaches for the NSA. Now, the right needs to step up and oppose the use of eminent domain in those cases where the stolen property is to be given to a foreign corporation (like Transcanada).

  • Poof! John Kerry Blames Israeli Squatting in E. Jerusalem for breakdown in Peace Talks; Bennett: It's Just Zionism
    • If you have a problem with religious nationalism, consider the Hindu nationalism of India's BJP party, the Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar (who do violence to the Muslim Rohingya)...
      Religious nationalism is common.

  • Egypt Shocks the World with Plan for Mass Execution of 528 Muslim Brothers
    • On July 2 2013, The Daily Beast published a piece titled "The 28-Year-Old Face of Egypt Opposition" , which includes the sentence :
      One Tammarod organizer, Hazem el-Zohery, said in an interview that he would consider it a "success" if the Army intervened.

    • It was kind of obvious by the end of last June that the Tamarod youth were blackshirts. Isn't asking for military rule the essence of a fascist youth group?
      My guess is that coups that are very popular are more destructive than unpopular ones. When the military, the media, the youth, and the people (in the millions) are all singing the same tune, the results can be horrible.

  • Egypt: Military Rule, Arbitrary Jailing of Protesters, and... Public Silence
    • You only want to talk about it. Bassem Youseff just wants us to have a sense of humor about it. You want to find a middle ground. I don't see the point of being so apologetic about suggesting that maybe, perhaps, freedom of speach might, perhaps be something worth considering (with all due respect to the General). If you are willing to go to prison, than protest and oppose injustice. Otherwise, you might as well not talk about it.

  • As Putin recognizes Crimea, his other Client, Syria, Goes on the Offensive
    • I wonder why the Greeks were not at the "Friends of Syria" congress , since they are mostly Eastern Orthodox, and Russia's aim in Syria is partly to help Assad protect. Christians.
      Ukraine has more Eastern Orthodox than any country besides Russia, and they are divided about Russia. The Ukraine crisis may cause a split in the Russian Church.
      There are Eastern Orthodox all over the world, and I. don't think most of them favor Putin.

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • Abbas is negotiating as if the Palestinians are in a position of strength, as if they have great leverage. But the Palestians have not prevented any of the land theft that has taken place in the past 20 years. Negotiations are about making concessions in order to get something. The main thing Palestinians should want is an end to the taking of their land. it might be a good idea to give up the right of return in exchange for an end to land theft.

  • Journalists should stop 'balancing' stories with Science Denialists: Cosmos's Neil DeGrasse Tyson
    • Yeah, science denialists should not be given credence. But wouldn't it be nice to have an intelligent discussion about the roles of science and religion? There are things that science cannot study adequately if at all, including values, meaning, and final causes. Science cannot tell us what we should give our lives to. Religion remains relevant because it treats enduring questions of value, meaning, and purpose. Science only knows about things that humans can measure. To be certain that there is nothing in the cosmos beyond what scientists can train their instruments on is anthropocentric and arrogant.

  • Will Russell Crowe as Noah help Egypt Separate Religion and State?
    • Yes, when liberals and fascists unite to overthrow a democratically elected President it can have lovely results. But, the coup-volution in Ukraine, alas, is a geo-political time bomb. Too bad the Ukraine government can't just lock up all their opponents.

  • False Dawn: The 35th Anniversary of Iranian Revolution
    • The translations are by Sholeh Wolpe who did a wonderful little book of Farrokhzad's poems called Sin.

    • Farrokhzad's poem Red Rose reflects the sense of anticipation you note: ...Look!
      Beneath my heart,
      Deep inside my womb
      Now grows a rose;
      Red, red, rose,
      Rose red like a flag
      -a revolution.
      At the same time, Farrokhzad wrote The Bird, Was Just a Bird, which could be read as a critique of impractible idealism and a prediction of the false dawn:
      The bird in the air
      High above flashing red lights
      Joyfully soared in oblivion,
      Deliriously lived in the sky's blue moments.
      The bird,
      Ah,
      Was just a bird

  • Don't Break up Syria: WW I-Style Imperial Divide & Rule is a Failure
    • The Kurds are creating an autonomous region in Syria and seem to be able to defend it from the Salafist militants. Balkanizing nationalist independence movements arise everywhere. They don't need outsiders to inspire them.
      It's hard to know when to support the dividing of a state. East Timor was probably a good idea. Likewise, Kosovo. We may have screwed up in Sudan. The US was probably wrong to recognize the first state to break off from Yugoslavia. We may be screwing up by encouraging the protesters in

  • US Intel Officials keep Talking about Killing Snowden, then say "trust us with your data"
    • The fact that the intelligence community has an emotional response to Snowden is not the reason they cannot be trusted. They cannot be trusted because they are human beings. No group of people should have unchecked power to invade our privacy. It is not what our founding fathers wanted. And there is no logical reason to trust anyone with such power. Is the vetting system of the American government so magical that only superheros make it into the secret halls of power?

  • Syria: Rebel Militias take on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
    • How are the Kurds reacting to this, I wonder. They control about ten percent of Syrian territory. They have fought ISIS and Nusra (who have fought each other). There are serious divisions amongst them. They don't support Assad, but many of the rebels don't seem to trust them.
      The rebels now seem to be almost all hardcore Islamists. Nusra, yesterday's bad guys, have come into the fold, and are fighting ISIS, today's bad guys.

  • Obama Era a new Gilded Age, with Rich Getting Richer, Poor Poorer
    • If the 11 trillion gained by the top 5 percent were divided between the bottom 90 percent, they'd each get 40 dollars.
      The bottom 25 percent have zero or negative net worth. So, a person with a poverty-level income, but no debts and a trailer worth $3000, has a greater net worth than the bottom 25 percent.
      The Walton family has .13 percent of US wealth. Or, 99.87 percent of US wealth is not owned by the Waltons.

  • 17% of Americans Support Afghanistan War: CNN (Video of the Day)
    • This is the reverse of the situation when the war began. In 2001, 80 percent of us supported a ground war in Afghanistan. If it was a mistake, we share the blame.

  • "Terrorism" tag is tool of Political Repression in Egypt
    • This wave of repression is supported by Tamarod and a large number of Eygpt's liberal intellectuals. Dalia Ziada, a liberal human rights activist, and liberal novelist Alaa al-Aswany are but two examples. Liberals can't win elections, so they might as well set their values aside and cheer on General Sisi.
      Egyptians want security and prosperity more than liberty. So did the Chinese under Chairman Mao. Authoritarianism doesn't always produce the best results.

  • Snowden's Christmas Message on Privacy: Does NSA threaten 9th, 14th Amendments, 'Inviolate Personality'?
  • Syrian Christians Menaced by Extremist Sunnis, Slam Lack of Lebanese Support
    • We need to remember not to equate Sunni extremists with moderate, pragmatic Sunnis. The Leabanese March 14 Coalition, for example, includes Sunnis and Christians. When they were in power, they made no attempt to establish a theocracy.

    • Lebanese Christians deep divisions about how to relate to Syria began years before the current civil war. The Lebanese people have been split between those that despise Assad (whose forces occupied their country for years) , and those like Hizzbollah who think working with Assad is best for their country.
      Syrian Christians feel safer with Assad. The current conflict may have driven some Lebanese Christians into the Assad camp. But, some of them remember crimes Assad committed against their communities. And some Lebanese Christians remain in the political camp opposed to Hizbollah/Syria/Iran.
      It's hard for Christian leaders to extract themselves from the regions politics and just be pro-Christian.
      I like the statement by Massuh that "bearing arms to defend icons and churches is not part of the values of Christians".

  • Photo of the Day: Apartheid South Africa Sign
    • In 1964, our family drove through the South (USA). We stopped at a rural gas station. It had 3 restroom signs: Men, Women, and Colored. Two of them were normal restrooms. The Colored restroom had no door, and was just a space with a big hole in a dirt floor.

  • Does Turkey's PM Erdogan have a GOP-Style "Woman Problem"?
    • Turkish women got a lot of their rights handed to them by the secular authoritarian Ataturk. Let"s hope that their fear of religious authoritarianism doesn't make them willing to follow another strongman. Secularism is worth fighting for, but not at the expense of democracy. Twerking is no fun if you have to imprison and silence the religious people. Secular democracy is a precious thing.

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  • Sunni-Shiite Tensions soar in Lebanon; Hizbullah accuses Saudis in Iran Embassy Bombing
    • Mr. Cole knows that Sunnis like Hariri are not Wahabi. But, why does Hariri criticize Nasrallah now, if Lebanon is all about Suunis and Shia united against Wahabis?

  • State of Emergency in Libyan Capital as More Militia Clashes Break Out
    • After the fall of Gaddafi, the first thing the Misratans did was use violence to empty the nearby black town of Tawergha. One of the goals of the Misratans is to prevent the 30,000 Tawerghans from returning to their homes.
      The Berbers are interfering with the oil trade, and the Benghazi crowd wants to secede. Good luck to PM Zeidan.

  • US loses UNESCO Voting Rights: How Kow-Towing to Israeli Policy Weakens America
    • Americans' sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64% vs 12%. Support for Israel has increased over the last decade among Americans, according to Gallup.

  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Kerry in Cairo
    • A new Egyptian draft law gives police power to ban all protests. The new system doesn't just exclude the Brotherhood. It excludes anyone who wants to exercise their right to speak, assemble, or have a trial by their peers.

      The comedian Bassem Youssef represents the minority of Egytian secularists who are partial to liberty. He aired one program since the coup in which he made fun of the mania for the military. After that, it was reported that he was to be investigated by the military authorities. He taped another show that included ridicule of CBC, the station that airs his show. CBC pulled that program.

  • The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars
    • This genocide began with the seemingly noble cause of removing Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait and teaching the world's dictators a lesson. In 1991, we destroyed much of Iraq's infrastructure, killed thousands of civilians, and killed thousands of Iraqi soldiers while they were retreating from Kuwait.

  • Libyan Prime Minister Abducted, released by Armed Group
    • Well, the opponents of that intervention gloss over Gaddafi's crimes and blame all the recent violence in Mali and Algeria on Gaddafi's overthrow, and thereby lose their credibility.

  • Dear Tea Party: The Gov't Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too
    • The ACA was severely damaged when states were allowed to opt out of medicaid expansion. Now, it seems that most of the states that are expanding medicaid are doing a bad job of getting the newly eligible enrolled.
      The Social Security Administration knows our income and age. Why don't they just send medicaid cards to all the newly eligible?
      The poor and their supporters should be demanding that everyone making less than 15,000 gets medicaid now, and that there is sufficient funding so that they can get the healthcare they need.

  • Day of Division in Middle East: Bloody Clashes in Egypt, Iraq
    • If the Egyptians were not demonizing Islamists, there might be conflict between liberals and the military. But as it is, security is the main focus, and most folks, including the new left and the unions, are content to live in a patriotic police state. Having an internal enemy that's not too strong can unite a country.

  • The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    • We may be back to the 19th century in that the US cannot act unilaterally. But, the Syria of today is not the Syria of 1860. If it were, the threat of European intervention would work.
      In 1860, Druze killed thousands of Christians in Mount Lebanon, and Muslims killed many in Damascus. The French came to protect the Christians. The fear of European interference motivated the Ottomans to restore order in Greater Syria. The Ottoman governor of Damascus was hung for failing to prevent the massacres. The Muslim Ottomans executed scores of Muslim Ottoman officials and soldiers for particpating in the murder and looting. Christians were compensated and given aid. The French did not need to leave their campsite on the Lebanese coast.
      This was an early example of humanitarian intervention.
      But, the situation in and around Syria today is not like it was then.

  • NSA Spying: Indian Gov't Bans Employee Google Use as Euro Parliament Weighs Law Fining Cooperative Firms
    • Let's hope the Indians act more wisely than they did when they heeded Gandhi's call to spin and weave cloth and burn their foreign-made clothes. Forcing people to do things that make their lives more difficult is not a good solution. What would Rabindranath Tagore do?

  • Military-Ruled Egypt Opposes US Strike on Syria
    • Large numbers of Egyptians, the Egyptian army and police, and the Egyptian media are making life very difficult for Syrian refugees. Promilitary TV hosts like CBC's Lamis El Hadidi say things like, "I support Assad because he's killing you, and you deserve it." Syrians, along with Gazans and Muslim Brothers, are targeted both by the police and violent vigilantes.
      It's creepy to see leftists support this fascism simply because Egypt's rulers are not cooperating 100% with the US.

  • Must US Aid to Egypt be Cut Off? (Wang & Meyer)
    • I don't know why the White House hesitates in calling it a coup. In the case of Honduras, they said it was a coup, but not a military coup, because it had the support of part of the government. They could just as easily say the Egyptian coup was popular, and so not a military coup.
      But, the "we just will not say" line is also very eloquent.

  • Egypt's Revenge of the Leftovers: Mubarak to be released, Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie Arrested
    • Google "Alas, Nobody Lives There Anymore -by Bassem Youssef". He criticizes fascist tendencies of secularists. He wrote it on 7-16. Things have gotten worse since then.

  • Egypt's Waco
    • Victor, it is like Honduras. In spite of what Obama said, the US never officially called it a coup or cut off all the aid that the law reqired.
      Read Huffpost nov 29, 2010 : Wikileaks Honduras: State Dept. Busted on Support of Coup.

    • it"s a kind of nationalist, fascist mania. The media spews out pro-military, anti-MB propaganda. People who step out of line, like El-Baradi, are called US puppets. After each massacre, young secularists are out in Tahrir with pro-military banners. Every problem must be blamed on the MB, or some foreign conspiracy. The Egyptian media attack Palestinians and Syrians, as well as the US and Israel. There having a little Maoist Cultural Revolution, and it will be years before they regain their senses.

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
  • Bahrain Cracks Down in Bid to Stop its Tamarod Movement (a la Egypt)
    • Between the 2 recent massacres by the Egyptian army, Tamarod, echoing General Sissi, called on the people to go out and give the army a mandate to cleanse the homeland of terrorists. Many in that youth movement are enthusiastic backers of the military and the police. They are hyper-nationalist, xenophobic, fans of General Sissi. If the Bahraini opposition is against authoritarianism, they should not emulate Tamarod.

  • Egyptian authorities release CCTV Footage of Muslim Brotherhood Attack on 6 October Bridge
    • That's cute, Richard. After a few hundred people are massacred, you ask them what their plan is. I was not an MB supporter before this depraved revocouption. I have no idea what the MB's stategy is. But all I have for you, Tamarrod, El Barradi, and al-Sissi is indignation and disgust.
      Richard, would you have asked the same question of the Native Americans after the Battle of Wounded Knee ?

  • A Tale of Two Bombings: Libya too Weak, Egypt too Strong
    • Cargi, Turkey produced more than 900,000 internally displaced persons between the eighties and nineties, according to a report by Hacettepe University. These were mostly Kurds fleeing state campaigns to evacuate villages in Eastern Turkey. The modern secular media in Turkey had nothing to say about that.
      Five years ago you could not talk about what happened to Armenians in 1915.
      Wikipedia lists 12 journalists killed in Turkey since 1995. Eight of them were killed before 2002, when the AKP came to power.

  • Egypt: Prosecutor Comes after Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, as Divided Mass Protests Continue
    • The June 30 movement seems different from the April 6 movement (the original Tahrir protesters) as well as from Gezi Park in Istanbul. Where are the calls for pluralism, democracy, and individual liberty? What the young, twittering secularists are asking for at this time is the forceful silencing of their political opponents.

    • Egypt's media have been putting ou non-stop pro-military, nationalistic, anti-Brotherhood messages. The young protesters in Tahrir also seem to be fervently pro-military, patriotic, and anti-Brotherhood. And the government is cracking down on the group seen as "the enemy within". This is the recipe ror either civil strife or an ugly "cleansing" of the Brotherhood. The atmosphere seems a bit like the Balkans in the nineties

  • Aljazeera's Conspiracy Theory about Obama and Egypt is Brainless Mush
    • In the article you link to, it says, "Clinton said the administration was not formally designating the ouster as a military coup for now, a step that would force a cut-off of most US aid to Honduras."
      Two months later, she announced the cut-off of 30 million, which was a small fraction of the US aid being sent

  • Middle East Regional Contention over Egypt's New Government
    • If Egypt had become a successful democracy with the Musims playing a major role, that might have put ideas into the heads of Muslims who are ruled by kings. So, the kings are happy to see Morsi go.
      Also, the Saudis liked the corruption of Mubarak and the military, because they could participate in it and make money. Corruption should now start blossoming again in Egypt.

  • Egypt: A People’s Revolution, Not a Crisis or Coup (Nawal El Saadawi)
    • In an op-ed by Khaled M Aboul El Fadl in 7-7 NY Times entitled "The Perils of a 'People's Coup'", he concludes: "This time, the military agreed with the protesters. But next time, when protesters call for something that isn't in the army's interest, they will meet a different fate..."
      I dare "the people" to do something that threatens the military's privileges

  • Egypt: 8 Wounded in Clashes as Salafi Fundamentalists Object to Elbaradei as PM
    • The opposition is the joke. They can't pick a PM because of the Salafists' veto. The Salafist leaders would've been ok with ElBaradei, but their base is furious at them for supporting the coup.
      The young petition circulators are out chanting, "come out Al-Sissi, and teach the Brotherhood a lesson."
      Troops are standing in the studios of state-run media. Is Jon Stewart on his way over to make fun of Al-Sissi?
      The first year of this new goverment is going to be really funny.

    • According to the NY Times, ElBaradei said that he had worked hard to convince Western powers of what he called the necessity of forcibly ousting Morsi.

  • Brotherhood, Army risk Civil War: 30 Dead, Hundreds Wounded
    • Khaled Shaalan complains that Western media talk only about the conflict between the military and the Islamists, that they don't talk about the Egyptian people's defiance of Brotherhood rule. Well, as of now, 28% of Egyptians support the MB and 35% support the opposition. Why talk about "the people" as if MB supporters are not people?
      Also, Shaalan implies that the MB is a mere tool of the West. Maybe $haalon has a touch of the Orientalism he complains about.
      Now, I agree that we should put our attention on the anti-Morsi people that impress him. It seems that there only goal was to remove Morsi. They removed Mubarak, now Morsi. So what? What kind of movement is that?
      Then, there is their tendency to chant the name of al-Sisi. The fondness of the young hipsters for the military makes me think of Mussolini's blackshirts. Shaalan is right that groups that upset the plans of the West are ignored or criticized by the West. At the same time, such groups are often unduly romanticized by leftists.

  • Egypt: One Soldier Dead, 3 Wounded, as Muslim Brotherhood Clashes with Army, Secularists in Provinces
    • By inviting and encouraging the military coup, the young revolutionaries have demonstrated that they are as uninterested in democracy as Morsi. I don't think you lay the groundwork for a free society by licking the boots of the military.

  • Egypt's "Revocouption" and the future of Democracy on the Nile
    • A popular pluralistic revolution is just not compatible with rule by a corrupt, repressive military. The revolutionaries should have opposed military involvement as vehemently as they oppossed Morsi. Now the military is calling the shots. The same military that brutalized thousands of leftists is now setting the parameters for what comes next. T

  • How Unreasonable Searches of Private Documents Caused the American Revolution
    • The rally in L.A. was a blast. Stay tuned to restorethefourth.net for future demonstrations.

  • Fourth of July Comes a Day Early to Cairo after Fundamentalist President is Removed (video)
    • I agree. In January 2011, some chanted "the people and the army are one". Now they're carrying Army men on their shoulders. In the interim, when the military was in charge, they detained, beat, and tortured lots of protesters.
      Maybe this naivete is a legacy of Nasserism, in which secularism, modernism, and socialism were entirely divorced from liberal democracy.

    • This is the people (except MB supporters) endorsing military rule.
      Sometimes people prefer a strongman to the alternative. Juan Peron, \astro, and Nasser were popular strongmen.

    • there are no examples given of democratic coups.
      Does anyone recall how the Egyptian military ruled

  • Duelling Demonstrations Divide Egypt over Morsi and Fundamentalism
    • Kevenmic. You don't mention Egypt, which is the topic of this report. Nonetheless, your comment relates to Egypt. The US would probably be happy with the MB in Egypt if it were more effective, because the MB is more neo-liberal than much of the opposition.

  • Glenn Greenwald: Good journalism is measured by how angry you make the people you're covering (Video)
    • Analyzing reporters isn't that interesting. Maybe Greenwald is an overage rebellious teenager. Is that worse than the middle-aged, pipe-smoking Cub Scouts who sit in their studies congradulating themselves for being so mature, and are always waiting for a pat on the head from daddy?

  • Correa on Smearing of Snowden: "The World Order is not only unjust, it is immoral"
    • In the article you linked to, it says "those who take an absolutist or anarchist position with regard to countries such as Ecuador should apply the same standards to the US and other rich countries." I agree. And it follows that Snowden, Glen Greenwald, and Wikileaks should apply the same standards to Ecuador that they apply to the US.
      Correa was elected in spite off the media. Why does he need to force radio stations to close, and journalists to go into exile?

    • In Ecuador, Correa slams the media with lawsuits and laws restricting press freedom.

  • Obama's New Syria Strategy is Nixon's Vietnam Negotiation Tactics Redux (Meyer)
    • 245 coalition troops were killed by in-theater accidents, 190 by enemy fire. It was over in six weeks. If the Powell Doctrine is to only go to war when these kinds of outcomes can be achieved, it was a good test case.

    • Well, I'm not one of those who consider only negative consequences for the US. I opposed the Gulf War even though it had UN approval. The Arab world was divided on approving Western intervention. We didn't need to kill 30,000 Iraqis in 1991.

    • The ground campaign took four days.
      I'm just saying there are some things a superpower can do without committing all of its resources. And there are things it can't do.
      The Iraq War might have turned out better if we had had an intelligent plan for what to do after we toppled Sadam. Our leaders are surely considering this when they think about Syria. They are trying to somehow influence what rises from the ashes.

    • Powell would have kept us out of Kosovo, Bosnia, and Libya, but we are not in quagmires in those places.
      Desert Storm wasn't a good test case of the Powell Doctrine because all that was needed was an air campaign. Only a few hundred Americans died, thus no great political will was called for.
      In Syria, nothing can be accoplished easily. There are many reasons we won't go all out in Syria. One is that goal is unclear. Removing Assad won't be enough to bring peace and stability.

  • Snowden was Right, they're Reading your Mail: How British Intelligence and the NSA are Tag-Teaming US
    • Our peeping culture has been fostered by our television shows. First there were the talk shows, where strangers in the audience comment on guests personal lives. Then came the reality shows, which normalize constant voyeurism and exhibitionism.
      I suspect that when people get access to our personal communications, some will be unable to resist the urge to entertain themselves.

    • Given that the tech companies make large contributions to congress, and that they get hugely profitable contracts from the NSA, their efforts to appear blameless in this snoop-o-rama are disingenuous.

  • Erdogan Clears Gezi Park Protesters, sets Stage for Polarization
    • The Turkish experiment with democracy is immature because Kemalism, the 'founding philosophy" of Turkey, was about the forced imposition of a uniform identity onto an ethnically and religiously diverse society.
      Kemalism is not compatible with liberal and pluralistc democracy.
      Politics in Turkey has always been a struggle between the barracks and the mosque. With the AKP, some had hoped that democracy would emerge from the mosque. But Erdogan's authoritarianism is dashing those hopes.
      Real democracy, with a free press, has never really flourished in Turkey, has it?

  • Learning the Wrong Lessons from Tahrir Square: Erdogan Assaults Taksim in bid to break up Protests
    • One lesson of Tahrir Square is that removing an authoritarian leader does not neccessarily result in a liberated society. If protesters succeed in removing Erdogan, there's no reason to assume they'll be happy with the next government. It may be that the military and fundamentalists will eventually benefit from the unrest.

  • Top Ten Ways the US Government will Smear, Slight Whistleblower Edward Snowden
    • A liberal Democrat talk show host suggested that Snowden may want to sell information to the Chinese.
      The problem is that most Americans don't care that private companies as well as the government can read their emails. In fact, a lot of people would spy on their neighbors if some authority asked them to.

  • Should Memorial Day include Commemoration of Thoreau?
    • Juneteenth, a state holiday in 42 states, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the US. It dates back to June 19, 1865, when the people of Texas were informed (2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation) that slavery was ended.

  • Dear Oklahoma: We Feel for you, we love you, but do us some favors
    • I heard that they can make waterproof basements in Oklahoma that aren't too costly.
      But a leak-proof basement could lower the value of an Oklahoma home. Why? Because Oklahomans think all basements will leak.

  • Revenge of the Bear: Russia Strikes Back in Syria (Cole @ Truthdig)
    • Check the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms.
      Putin read Netanyahu the riot act. He did not read him the Riot Act.

  • Guatamala's Montt guilty of Atrocity; but what about Ronald Reagan? (Democracy Now!)
    • Carter renewed military aid to El Salvador in November 1979. In February of1980, he ignored a plea from Archbishop Oscar Romero not to send military aid. Carter suspended aid in December 1980 after the murder of 4 churchwomen from the US.
      There's also his aid to the Indonesian regime while it killing large numbers of East Timorese.
      On this blog site, I've seen plenty of praise for Carter, and no mention of his errors. It's nice to have all the facts.

    • The US gave military aid to the repressive regime in El Salvador in the eighties. Both jimmey Carter and Ronald Reagan were a part of that.

  • Belize Construction company Destroys Mayan Pyramid in Latest Refutation of Libertarianism
    • What individual rights were in conflict here? The site is on PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    • The site is on private property. The Libertarian view is that only the property owner should decide what happens to it.

  • Hawking joins Academic Boycott of Israel
    • Given that Americans don't really know what's going on over there, the academic boycott could simply strengthen support for Israel.

  • Shiraz, Iran: Timelapse Video
    • It's unfortunate that the Iranian regime does not honor Iran's most influential female poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. In 2010, there was a congress in Shiraz of Iranian and other poets attened by President Ahmadinejad. On that occaision, Iran published a book about prominent poets from Iran. Farrokhzad was left out.
      If people saw documentaries about Farrokhzad and read her poems, it would help change stereotypes of Iranian women.

      Two stanzas from 'In Night's Cold Streets'

      I am you, you,
      and one who loves,
      one who suddenly finds in herself
      a dumb grafting to a thousand strange unknowns.
      I'm the earth's ferocious lust
      sucking all the waters in
      to impregnate the fields.

      Listen to my distant voice
      in the heavy mist of dawn's prayer chants,
      and in silent mirrors see how
      with what is left of my hands
      I touch, once more, all dreams' innermost dark,
      and imprint my heart like a bloodstain
      on life's innocent riches.

  • Saudi Arabian Women, Unveiled (VICE video)
    • He seems impressed with the number of women with college degrees. Did the woman with the cupcake franchise need a college degree for that? He is a photographer with no formal training in photography. The value that is placed on a college education is the silliest feature of modern times.

  • Why Obama doesn't want to intervene in Syria
    • These are good reasons not to intervene. And good reasons why Obama should not have drawn a red line (made a threat).

  • Top Ten Problems in South Carolina Lindsey Graham should worry more about than Benghazi
    • Bush's attorney general, Ashcroft, did not want to hear about terrorism before 9-11-01. So what were the feds doing in the earlier months of Bush's term? One thing they were into was harassing pornographers. A porn producer in the San Fernando Valley (the porn capital at the time) told me that the porn companies were all being raided frequently before 9-11.

  • Glenn Greenwald on the Price of Government Secrecy (Moyers interview)
    • Greenwald says "privacy is the area in which human creativity and dissent and challenges to orthodoxy all reside", and "only when you can engage in behavior without being watched is that where you can explore, where you can experiment, where you can engage in creative thinking, in creative behavior."
      These things are true, but there's more. Imagine that the government thought you were suspicious, and deputized your neighbors to use cameras, gps, and drones to monitor everything you said and did. Like if the Chinese had high tech during Mao's time. If you flirted with someone, picked your nose, bought a fetish magazine, or told someone you loved them, -your neighbors would watch, laugh, and discuss as if it were just another reality show. Two of the things that would disappear from your life would be intimacy and fun. Life without privacy is really worthless.

    • Glen Greenwald says that the US has recklessly killed civilians. To relate this to an earlier topic, do we know how many of the US personnel involved in those killings were actually motivated by militant Christianity? If someone wanted to kill a bunch of Muslims, he might join the military and be able to do that without being called a terrorist.

  • Serbia and Kosovo: A European Success Story? (Trix)
  • Terrorism and the other Religions
  • Is LindJohn's notion of an Enemy Combatant Racist? How about attempted Assassination of the Commander in Chief?
    • Tsarnaev is a white American Muslim from Chechnya who may have been inspired by radical Islam. This event may endanger Chechnyans status as white people. Which is odd, given that not long ago, "Caucasian" was used on forms to mean "white", and Chechnya is in the Caucuses. But, people like Graham and McCain have always played a role in deciding who's in and who's out.

  • Chechen Jihadis Reject Tsarnaevs (OSC)
    • Anarchists' ideal is a world without states or authorities. So they cannot be trying to establish a caliphate, because that is a religious state.
      Anarchists can be communists or capitalists. They can be religious or atheists.
      Leo Tolstoy and Dorthy Day were Christian anarchists. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a Muslim anarcho-pacifist known for his non-violent resistance to British rule in India.

  • Palestinians Displaced again, to Camps in Lebanon
    • In January, President Abbas said he asked UN chief Ban Ki-Moon to seek Israeli permission to bring Palestinian refugees from Syria to the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas said he was told Israel would agree to this if those resettled refugees would sign a statement giving up their right to return to Israel. Abbas rejected that deal saying, "it's better for them to die in Syria than give up their right of return". Israel and the UN said none of this happened.
      My guess is that Abbas made this up in order to look tough on the right of return. Last November, Abbas outraged Palestinians by publicly waiving his right of return.
      Anyway, the West Bank and Gaza cannot afford to bring in refugees.
      So, politics and economics are stronger than any bonds that unite the Palestinian diaspora.

  • CNN Fail: Imaginary "Dark Males," "Accents," and "Arrests" Haunt Reporters
    • Speculations about suspects can be used to bring attention to something the speculator wants to focus on. After the recent killing of a Texas district attorney, their was some attention given to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. It turns out, the culprit was an ex-employee with a grudge, not a white terrorist.

  • Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?
    • Yes, the blows have been very effective.
      And the drone killings we continue to do are just for fun, right?

  • Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobes: Pope Francis just washed the feet of a Poor Muslim
    • Maybe the tradition was influeced by Luke 7:38-50, wherin a woman kisses Jesus feet and Jesus responds to her faith.

  • Palestinians Protest illegal Israeli Theft of Water Rights
    • The Oslo Accords gave the Israelis control of the water and they did not prohibit settlement building. I cannot understand what the Palestinian negotiators were thinking.

  • Instead of offering to Buy East Jerusalem, the Arab League should invite Israel to Join It
    • So Israel will not allow a Palestinian state, but they will allow themselves to be "fixed"?

  • How Climate Change Disrupts Industry: Michael E. Mann Video Interview
    • Jtmcphee, maybe someone will create a mutual fund that specializes in taking advantage of the disruptions caused by climate change, so that even small investors can enjoy it.

  • The Top other thing Netanyahu Needs to Apologize For: The Gaza Blockade
    • Obama began his first term with a demand that Israel halt settlement construction to enable talks. Last week, he reversed course and said Palestinians should negotiate, in spite of the ongoing land theft. With preconditions, there is no point in negotiations, he said. The reality is that there is no point in negotiating with people who are taking your land and blockading a part of your land. But Obama has decided to aid the Israelis in their PR campaign to portray the Palestinians as the obstructionists. This peace/colonization process has been going on for 30 years, aided by monstrous misinformation.
      And, right on cue, Obama blamed the misery in Gaza on Hamas.

  • Obama slights Palestinians, who stage Tent Protests
    • If you want to refute any of the points I made, I'm all ears.

    • Settlements are not necessarily an obstacle to peace in the long term. When Israel has annexed all the best parts of the West Bank and left the rest to the Palestinians, there will be no demographic problem and the Palestinians will be left to rot.
      The fact that the US is not fighting Native Americans is not because of negotiations.

    • Yes. Presidents have been saying things that sound good to Palestinians since Carter. But what they do is to send money that is used to occupy Palestinian land. And they enable colonization by doing nothing to stop it. And the pro-Israel stuff in their speeches is always more voluminous than anything said on behalf of Palestinians. Only a fool would be impressed by a few lines in a speech.

  • By the Numbers: US Drone Strikes on Pakistan "Illegal"
    • Mr. Emerson met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Secretary. Pakistan has made public statements at the UN calling for an end to the drone strikes. President Zadari has called for an end to the drone strikes. Both houses of Pakistan's parliament have passed resolutions calling for an end to the use of drones. Is the UN investigator charged with upholding international law supposed to ignore these realities?

  • Obama & Brennan Brought GOP Filibuster on themselves by Extreme Secrecy on Drones
    • "We aren't shooting at people in Yemen just for thinking about things, but for being commanders of an enemy force."
      In a comment above, Mark Koroi mentions a case of a Yemeni targeted despite evedince of him being an immenent threat to the US or of being an enemy commander. This case was reported in the LA Times. You constantly ignore facts that don't fit your narrative- a narrative that is based on uncritical acceptance of every said by the President.

  • Venezuela and the Middle East after Chavez
    • Yes, and Churchill chose to work with Tito rather than Mihailovic, because even though Mihailovic was more concerned about saving Yugoslav lives, Tito was killing more Nazis. There can be a 'realpolitik' motivated by humanitarian concerns.

  • Muslim Opposition to the Muslim Religious Right Grows, from Egypt to Bangladesh
    • Rudolph, secular Arabs were in power for many decades after the British left the Middle East. I would guess that the shortcomings of secular nationalists like Nasser contributed to the rise of the Muslim Right.

  • New Pope has Opportunity to Improve Christian-Muslim Relations
    • Palestinian Christian opposition to Zionist colonization goes way back. In 1911 , Isa al-Isa and his cousin Yusef started the newspaper "Filistin" which adressed its readers as Palestinians and warned them about the consequences of Zionist colonization. Before becoming focused on that issue, Isa's first cause was to get the Greek Orthodox churches in Palestine to conduct services in Arabic. The al-Isas were Orthodox Christians.

    • The Catholic Church's process for self-correction doesn't work. Some of the Cardinals who will be selecting the new Pope took part in covering up abuse of children by priests.

  • Bad Precedent: Obama's Drone Doctrine is Nixon's Cambodia Doctrine (Dietrich)
    • Our drone policy spurs proliferation. Other states are now working diligently to acquire drones.
      The number of al Queda in Yemen has tripled over the past two years. If we've decimated al Queda, why are they all over North Africa?
      In Pakistan, we just killed a leader of a group that the Pakistani government was at peace with , thereby increasing the danger to the Pakistani government. We tried to mollify them by killing a leader of a group at war with the Pak leaders.
      In order to keep the support our allies in the region, we're increasingly involved in their counterinsurgecy campaigns.

    • Drone operations require a fair amount of intelligence and infrastructure support from local governments and populations. This support will evaporate with increased anti-American sentiment. So, supporters of the drone policy ought to consider self-restraint.
      The unique features of this weapon could be enticing decision-makers into strategies that are not viable in the long-term.
      But the key issues are legal and moral. The drone policy might be moral if more lives were saved by killing bad guys than innocents were killed by drones. But it is dumb to think the authorities could or would accomplish that.

  • Will Obama Stand up to the Keystone XL Pipeline & Climate-Destroying Tar Sands? (Klare)
    • Another irksome thing about this project is that private businesses are using the government to seize the private property of those whose land is needed. The use of eminent domain to seize private property and give it other private parties is repugnant. It's done for redevelopment projects, sports stadiums,... In these activities, we see clearly that big business is not concerned about the institution of private property or free markets, but rather likes to use the state to steal.

  • Why Tunisia's Arab Spring is in Turmoil
    • Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose suicide sparked the Arab Spring, was a poor businessman who was mistreated by government bureaucrats. What would his politics be today if he were alive? The officials who harassed him are likely nervous about the fundamentalists. Hopefully, Bouazizi would have the sense to know that neo-liberalism usually means simply changing who is favored by and using the state.

  • Are today's Drone Strikes still covered by the 2001 Congressional Authorization of Use of Force? (Currier)
    • "Shamsi and other critics of the drone war have noted that some strikes in Yemen in paticular appear to target insurgents acting against loacal government"
      This sentence in the 3rd to last paragraph has a link to an article in which Micah Zenko, who has studied the drone program, states that we are not targeting senior Al Queda commanders.
      We are killing people who want to establish Sharia law where they live, or who have some other problem with their local government.
      Within that linked-to article, is a link to a piece by Peter Bergen of the New America foundation. In that article, it says that the signature strikes, which have become the hallmark of the Obama drone war, have decimated the ranks of LOW-LEVEL combatants.
      So, let's put to rest the idea that we are targeting senior al Queda leaders.

    • Given that the drone campaign is conducted by people who try to redefine common words and who lie about who they're targeting, there should neither a new nor an old AUMF.

  • Will a declining America Start Having to Obey the same Rules as Everybody Else? (Chomsky)
    • So you're assuming I didn't support US intervention in Libya. Based on what?
      It's clear that you feel compelled to spin everything in a way that makes the current administration look good.
      And you're going to accuse others of being stuck in a small story?

    • The original White House response to the Cairo protests was to stand by Mubarak. The White House is still standing behind Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The first White House statement on the Honduran coup was weak and non-committal. The Administration's condemnation of that coup became stronger after they saw how the rest of the world was reacting. So, yes, the White House sometimes supports democracy when it feels it must.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • this is the basic fact of Russian history: The Russians were perhaps the most extensive and thorough colonizers in history, especially since the 16th century. The conquest of Central Asia took over 300 years. Russian genocide of the nomadic hunter and pastoral peoples began earlier than that in the Americas and was considerably more systematic and deliberate.

  • Immigration and the Future of America (Chart)
    • Looks like the demographic changes that will happen to the US in the next 30 years are similar to what happened in Los Angeles during the past 30 years.
      It's great to live in a city with so much cultural variety.

  • Egypt: The People Still want the Fall of the Regime
    • The economic policy of the Muslim Brotherhood is pretty "Western" , with its' market-based solutions and deference to the IMF. But, as the economy continues to slide, the MB may need to use the "culture war" and authoritarianism to hang on to power.
      The opposition needs to develop the kind of organizational skills that the MB has.

  • UN to look into US Drone Program, but the Biggest Victim is Democracy
    • No Sherm. Obama says we only target people who are a threat to Americans.

    • Let's consider the people in Yemen who were the targets of US drone strikes in 2012. Can you provide evidence that they had both the intention and capability to attack the US?

    • The idea that the US only targets people who threaten Americans is questioned in "Have US Drone Strikes Become a 'Counterinsurgency Air Force' for our Allies?" (Propublica 11-27-12). The fact that our anti-terror war overlaps with local counterinsurgenies raises additional legal and political problems.

  • Netanyahu Emerges Weakened, But Most under Israeli Apartheid were Disenfranchised
    • The statelessness of the Palestinians adds to the misery of Palestinians who have fled Syria. They have nowhere to go but to camps in Lebanon that were built in 1948. They're living 20 to a room with no water, toilets, electricity. Jordan will not accept these refugees,saying Israel would use that as an excuse to send Palestinians to Jordan. Abbas asked Israel for permission to allow some Syrian Palestinians to come to the West Bank. Israel agreed to let them come if they signed away their right to return to Israel. Abbas rejected this saying it'd be better for them to die in Syria than give up their right of return.
      Granting citizenship to all in the West Bank and Gaza would not necessarily solve the problems of refugees in the nearby countries, but they would also be in a better position to demand rights from some state.

  • Top Ten Ways President Obama has Expanded our Rights, in Rev. King's Footsteps
    • Mr. Cole is listing some good things Obama has done. He does not say anywhere in this post that Obama has not done bad things. Nor does he say that the good outweighs the bad.
      There are many leaders who deserve to be credited for the good they've done, even though their overall goodness is equivocal. Fidel Castro, for example, can be credited with providing education and healthcare to his people, yet he was brutally repressive. Pointing out someone's achievements is not always cheerleading.

    • The Affordable Care Act will enable low-income people in states that accept the medicare expansion to have Medicare coverage, regardless of age or gender. Progressives who pooh-pooh this are demonstrating their lack of concern for the poor.
      And most people whose medical coverage is being improved by the ACT don't give a whit about how it affects the insurance agency .

  • Syrian Kurds Battle Extremist Fundamentalists
    • I thought that both the squashing of the Succor Front and the question of Kurdish autonomy were things that would be dealt with after the defeat of the regime. But the Succor Front stupidly wants to bring the Kurds into the civil war. The opposition will lose some support because of this. The Kurds have been preparing to defend their autonomy in a post -Assad Syria. Some foreigners may think it's worth backing the Kurds in order to keep the extremist fundamentalists at bay.

  • France, ECOWAS intervene in Mali to Halt Advance of Radical Fundamentalists
    • The article that Travis Bickle links to gives other factors in addition to weapons from Libya. In addition to those, there's the fact that coup-fearing politicians deliberatly kept the Mali military weak, droughts have made the Tauregs more desperate, and hostage-taking, drug-trafficing jihadis in the area have made tens of millions of dollars in recent years. There are a number of reasons this is happeng.
      The first Taureg uprisng happened in 1916, long before Gaddafi's time.

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