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Total number of comments: 355 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:40)


Showing comments 355 - 301

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine
    • "a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state"

      Maybe I'm over parsing, but why is "secure" appended to the Jewish state, but not the Palestinian state. Hints a little like the Pit Bull/Chiwawa relationship that presently exists e.g. a bomb goes of in an Israeli tanning salon, and the entire Palestinian state is put under lockdown, and Palestinian state's only recourse is to complain to the UN.

  • Giuliani & Obama: Immigrant Families and Really Loving America
    • The information about Giuliani's father is something I never heard before. Of course Giuliani cannot be held responsible for his father's behavior, but I wonder how this information has not, to my knowledge, been widely presented by the main stream media.

      If Obama's, or most any Democrat's, father was a convicted gangster, mug shots, rumors, conviction documents, etc., would be ubiquitous media meat in the heat of a presidential campaign.

  • Is ISIL's 'Shock and Awe' more Awe-ful because One Victim?
    • Interestingly, the bar for declaring an explosive device to be "a weapon of mass destruction" is quite low.

      The indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bomber, includes this count:
      "knowingly conspired with Tamerlan Tsarnaev to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely, a destructive device as defined by
      Title 18, United States Code, Section 921,........"

      And here is the weapon's description in the indictment:
      "The IEDs that exploded at the Marathon were
      constructed from pressure cookers, low explosive powder,
      shrapnel, adhesive, and other materials."

      Maybe there is a distinction between between whether the weapon is used by terrorists/enemies, or used by the US. If this is not the case,BLU-82B should certainly qualify,..

    • "There were human casualties–military and civilian–and some were in fact incinerated; but there is no evidence that the US went after civilian targets."
      The US declaration of war was simply a unilateral proclamation to invade Iraq and dictate its future. To suppose that such actions would not inflict extreme harm on Iraqi civilians, including death and maiming of hundreds of thousands, and dislocation to millions, is either a case of profound stupidity, or the crass disregard mountains of worldwide contrary opinions.

      The US went right after the Baaths and the Sunni minority, aka rejectionists. Our allies were the majority Shiites who in turn instigated the bloody civil war to gain dominance and control of Iraq.

      Maybe there is no evidence that the US went after civilian targets but there is massive evidence that declaring war on Iraq, then invading, would cause extreme harm and hardship to a country of 30 million civilians. After disbanding the Iraqi Army, civilians were all that was left.

    • US and allied air strikes on Daesh forces are more like shooting fish in a barrel than war. The airstrikes are conducted at the discretion of the air forces, without being hindered by the threat of Daesh air defenses. Of the thousands of sorties, the Jordanian loss seem to be the only one.

      The US has not declared war on Daesh, and vice versa. The US is engaged in a campaign of relentless endless punishment of Daesh by dropping bombs, and hoping for some favorable outcome on the ground.

      Given the rage, and the need for revenge, generated by the method used to execute the Jordanian pilot, one wonders what the reaction might be if Daesh had used lethal injection instead,

    • In the last five months of 2014 US air strikes dropped about 6000 bombs or other ordinances on Daesh. Quid pro quo?

  • GOP's Scott Walker: Pitches possible Syria War to make us Like Him
    • I think Walker is appealing to that segment of the voters that are more comforted by perpetual military punishment of "Islamic Extremists" than by winning or losing wars. And in the Middle East that could be anyone we choose to label as such. No questions asked.

      In the last five months of 2014 US air strikes released almost 6,000 weapons on Daesh targets, and who is clamoring to know if we are winning or losing. The GOP candidates may talk of ultimate victory, but they know that there are lots of voters that will be satisfied with punishment and the notion of 9/11 blood revenge.

  • 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn
  • Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future
    • Is it the nation state that counts or the population of the nation state?

      Hypothetical. Let's say you took the 900 million residents of India that now have electricity and divided it into three states with a 300 million population each. That makes each comparable to the US in population.

      The US total emissions would be about 24 times as large as each of the other three. So what counsel would a US president give to the leaders of these three other nations that, each on their own, belch only 4% of what the US does.?


    • Looking at the per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the US and India, the difference couldn't be starker. The US per capita emission is about ten times that of India, If the the 300 million people with no electricity are discounted, and the per capita number is just attributed to 900 million or so with electricity, then the ratio is eight to one.

      It must be hard for Obama to keep a straight face when telling India's leader that India must become more austere in the use of fossil fuels, when the majority party running the US congress doesn't believe that global warming is caused by human activity.

      This burn-baby-burn congress is unlikely to support any significant government role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. More likely the GOP will try to use the cheap oil situation to smother progress on renewables. That's what they have been paid to do,

      So while we gorge on steak and lobster, we implore the skinny Indians to tighten their belts.

  • Why Egypt's Threat to Arrest Amal Clooney will hurt its Economy
    • I think Knucklehead has it right. The judiciary flaws pointed out are really pluses for a fascist kleptocracy. The lessons learned from the turmoil of the last few year will help the new regime build improved bulwarks to protect against against any future uprising. Obviously the judiciary bulwark needs very little tweaking.

      The US , especially with a congress fully run by the GOP, will do its routine "turn the other cheek, and reward with military assistance" policy as long the Egyptian regime does Israel's bidding, and provides some lucrative sweetheart deals to American investors.

  • Top 7 Ways Assassination Fails USA as Policy
    • Maybe a little introspection would help. The Pentagon could do a simulation that eliminated the entire general staff, accompanied by field promotions of competent majors, lt colonels, and colonels to fill the vacancies. Would the absence of self serving careerists hurt?

  • World's Poor to be hit Hardest by Global Warming: World Bank
    • Another boost for the "What, me worry." point of view in the US. Helps cancel out the the antarctic glacier melts problem. Frack baby frack, and, with cheap gas, let's get some more gas guzzlers back on the showroom floor. Having a GOP congress can't hurt. .

  • A Day Late & a Dollar Short: Obama & China agree on Languid Climate Goals
    • The patient is dying!! Quick, bring in more administrators and insurance executives!!!

  • When will US admit Boots on Ground in Iraq (3000 Troops)?
    • Putting a few US soldiers in harms way, or even close to harms way, has a huge multiplier affect in terms of any manner of support needed for their safety. It provides the rationale for virtually unlimited air support, logistical support, facilities construction, intel, medevac, and of course control over types and quantities of weapons provided to the allied forces..

      This sort of halo affect can allow a much larger and fiercer war fighting American role against IS----. No politician is going to turn a general down on requests that protect "trainers on the ground".

      The morale of the trainees will no doubt improve when they see how much war fighting support they gain from having a few American soldiers around.

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • The US is perfectly content to participate in, and support, any military violence that makes sense at the break of day, and move on to other strategies at dusk, in case of problems. The constant is that the indigenous populations will be subjected to this violence for a long in-determinant future. Our empathy for their misery is more difficult to find than the Red October.

      The Republicans, now in power, are more concerned about the most serious threat to American life, abortion clinics.

  • How a Republican Congress could Entangle the US further in the Middle East
    • I think it's hard to tell what the Republicans might do. After being the "Party of No" for six years, it might have trouble advocating any self conceived action that doesn't focus on attacking Obama, or increasing wealth inequality.

      On the other hand I do think that philosophically they will be even more "America first" at the expense of any international cooperation. And the Military Industrial Complex may urge them to wean off the Middle East wars and concentrate on developing more severe anti China and anti Russia .antagonisms. Those antagonisms will bring in the big bucks for the MIC - more, bigger, and better of everything.

      On the other hand, by just acting a bit more rational, intelligent, and, yes, progressive, the right can succeed in completing the vaporization of the liberal/progressive political force that Obama started six years ago..

  • Iraq: US dismayed Shiite Gov't hasn't Armed Sunni Tribes fighting ISIL
    • The enemy of my enemy's enemy's enemy's enemy's enemy's.............enemy is my????

      Don't bather to knock, just go in ad hoc.

  • Iraq: Is the Sunni-Shiite Slaughter at Jurf al-Sakhr really a US Victory?
    • Seems like the US is attempting to orchestrate a bar brawl, with the serious intention of prolonging it as long as possible.

      I guess it was just a pipe dream to imagine our troops returning to the barracks. We'll keep handing the tail of the tiger to the indigenous forces and they'll keep handing it back. The Pentagon can't afford to get its butt kicked again, so it will do all it can make victory over ISIS a national obligation.

  • Top 5 Good News Solar Energy Stories Today
    • Just being sarcastic, but depending on the November election, maybe a little prophetic.

      I'm firmly in the professor's camp.

    • And by extensive use of modern technology, arctic drilling and domestic fracking and shale oil recovery will eliminate any US dependence on renewable energy sources. The reliance on Chinese made solar panels and Danish wind turbines will be at an end. Burn baby burn!

  • Is Baghdad next? ISIL takes Hit Base in Iraq, loots it for Weapons
    • I think the world has had ample proof of our credibility from our accomplishments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia ...

      I just hope that our ongoing secret talks with ISIL can bring about some moderation of their viciousness, in exchange for diplomatic recognition. (Nutty as it sounds, what can be nuttier than the Middle East. Think about "degrade then destroy" as rationale.)

  • $22 Billion to Fight ISIL in same Year Congress cut $8.7 bn in Food Stamps
    • ISIS is an entity engaged in conquering land and populations to form a new country. I believe this type of activity has been vigorously pursued since the beginning of communal organizing..

      Violence is typically used to quell the indigenous population. The Spanish Conquistadors' devotion to Christianity certainly gave them a moral basis for their extreme viciousness. .ISIS gets theirs from the Muslim faith. . But conquest is the objective, and ISIS has succeeded. Like an invasive species, they have no natural enemies (with military strength) in their portions of Syria and Iraq.

      Seems like it might be worthwhile to stop trading airstrikes for beheadings, and start looking for restraining accommodations. Obama's three years of airstrikes mean an awful lot of collateral damage.. .

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • To give credit where credit may not be due, I don't think Obama speaks his mind, or relies on his own knowledge of circumstances when he makes decisions, especially concerning international relations, and actions.

      Basically he just garnishes the standard exceptionalism cliches that have run our foreign, aka military violence and intimidation, policy. The notions of bombing for economic, educational, and social improvement can't make real sense to anyone who thinks beyond the cliches, even Harvard Law School graduates.

      In this piece Prof Cole lays out the reality of what we are warring against, and the near inevitability of our failure. Obama, the good captain, has chosen to go down with the ship, as he tries to kick the crap out of the icebergs.

  • Syrian Media Hail America as Damascus Ally, Support UN Ban on Foreign Fighters
    • If and when ISIS vanishes from the face of the earth, it will be the boot owners who will decide how to fill the void. I don't recall Obama making any mention of what comes after.

      To our way of thinking, craters, rubble, and a fair dose of human collateral damage make for a good start to build an egalitarian democratic nation.

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces
    • We broke it, so we own it. That's why we broke it in the first place.

      Simple, we'll just have to add al Sadr and his corps to the rejectionist list for you know what.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment?
    • Seems as if IS landed in our earthbound "Sea of Tranquility". Imagine a strange violent quasi state appearing within two peaceful, altruistic, law abiding states, Iraq and Syria. The contrast is shocking. Were that true, a war to destroy IS may be justified.

      In the long term is there any expectation that Iraq and Syria will be of better quality, by Western standards, than they are today, and much preferable to a Saudi-like IS?

      Speaking of Saudi, how would our well connected emotional public react if videos of a bunch of Saudi beheadings went viral on YouTube.

  • Middle East "Allies" decline to Commit Forces, Resources against ISIL
    • Are there many young souls in the Middle East that are willing to leave safety to subject themselves to being maimed and killed in a war with ISIS?

      Poor Obama. It must be painful to realize that the US has the only significant ground fighting force in the world that can be put on planes, flown anywhere, and fight with professional fury whomever is pointed out to be the enemy. If he wants additional fight and die help, he'd be better off telling Kerry to visit state capitals to drum up support for activating the National Guard. .

  • Obama's ISIL Actions are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of going on Offense
    • Aren't we confronting an administered territory, rather than a roving gang of thugs? Without praising ISIS in any way for the way it does this administration, when we bomb them and the unfortunate collateral's, we will be eliminating or degrading local governance without the slightest hint of what will fill the vacuum.

      Vengeful Shiite boots on the ground may well result in rape and pillage replacing ISIS's nasty stuff. Somalia and Yemen are so deep in the periphery of of our awareness, that who rapes and pillages who is not a public concern in the US. ISIS is as big a spot on our radar as you can get.

      Metaphorically, last night Obama announced a clumsy stroll through the Pottery Barn.

  • 3 Years War? Obama to Bomb Syria in fight against ISIL
    • In a nutshell.

    • Those three years of giving IS the "Gaza" treatment will give us time to assemble an army of egalitarian legislators and professionals that will move in as soon as all is quiet on the Western Front. (Of course they will be showered with Sunni thrown flowers as soon as they arrive.). Yawn, it's all so predictable.

      "Light at the end of the tunnel" will make a comeback in administration rhetoric and political cartoons. And shopping, at its most patriotic level, will prove that we are all in the fight.

  • New Iraqi Government: Less than Meets the Eye?
    • Seems to me that the visceral elements of this situation will smother any formal political and legislative plans. Sectarian hatred and distrust may make if difficult for Baghdad Sunnis to wage long term warfare against the IS Sunnis, especially in alliance with the US and its planned, mammoth, long term air campaign.

      Then there's the $64 question. Should IS be destroyed, who and what will take its place? A cozy (new, improved) Shiite - Kurd run regional government would be the darling of the US, but how hard will Baghdad Sunnis fight and die for this outcome?

  • Obama & Cameron find little Enthusiasm at NATO for new Iraq War
    • I feel sorry for Obama. He's cornered into a fight with an adversary that knows exactly what what our forces can and cannot do, On the other hand we have admitted that ISIS surprised us, and we know little about them. Supercomputers vs the abacus, Unlimited air power against roadside bombs, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA against a bunch guys sitting around a fire. Obama, being pretty smart, taking this all in, and looking at recent history where there were similar conditions, must know that he is entering the swamp of no return.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • Loic, I've been curious about what is intended to fill all those bomb craters that we are anxious to dig in Iraq and Syria, and I think your scenario is the the most likely. Never (leave) again.

  • What the Hackers did to Celebs? The NSA has been Doing that to All of US instead of Predicting ISIL
    • Maybe we are so used to looking for terrorists, whose acts are generally brutish and random, that we are missing the "territorialists" and their "mongol hoard algorithm".

      And knowing how devoted we are to connecting dots, ISIS may have been flooding NSA detectors with juicy irrelevant dots.

      Let's not be too harsh on the MSM for not digging into the contrast between the Snowden revelations and the ghee wiz ISIS intelligence. At this time the MSM is concerned with promoting a lunatic right senate, come next November.

  • Top 5 Reasons "Labor Day" isn't for Laborers Anymore
    • A couple of (hidden) prevailing mantras:
      Labor is a commodity, don't humanize it.
      We need a "buyer beware" constitutional amendment to defang the nanny state and its lawyers..

  • US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge
    • I should have mentioned the doctrine that supports our responses to those pains, the doctrine of limited sovereignty. Basically: The US reserves the right to violate the sovereignty of other nations when US interests are in any way threatened, where interests can range from a direct attack on the US, to such things as trade, energy policy, political gain etc. Other countries have no right to adapt a similar doctrine, and the US looks unfavorably on any attempt to employ it, the exception being when such action is an supports US objectives.

      Exceptionalism at work.

    • How easy it would be for the MSM and the politicians to convert the global warming threat in to an "us against them" threat, "them" being any foreign political entity that can be tagged as a party that contributes to "global warming damage to the USA".

      As Prof Cole points out, the public is quite malleable when it comes it imagining that distant localized events could be a direct security threat to Americans, i.e. kill us right on US soil.

      The US is now an octopus like creature with a world wide network of.pain receptors. Events in almost any part of the world can trigger our pain and cause a response, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, lots of African countries, China, to name some well known locations.

      To put it in harsh terms, we are bulking up to take on global warming as an external threat to the US, which will be dealt with the only way we know how, military violence.

  • Iraq: Bombs & Bullets vs. Political Process
    • The mother of all demolition derbies. One of Tip Oneal's well known wisdoms was "All politics are local". In my view, playing musical chairs in Baghdad is pretty local.

  • What do Iraq's Sunni Arabs have in common with Ferguson, Mo. African-Americans?
    • I don't think a civil war based on religious differences, and control of oil lands, has clear cut "San Juan Hill" military situations. A decisive win by either side would probably result in extreme punishment of the losers. Winning isn't everything, or the only thing.

  • ISIS to US: We'll drown you in Blood; beheads US Journalist, Holds Tikrit
    • I believe that in his remarks today, Obama has clearly declared the position that IS must be eliminated. That can only mean one thing, one more Middle East windmill to tilt at until public and political fatigue set to

      Seems that our presumption that Iraqi regulars will willingly and enthusiastically kill Iraqi irregulars, to support central government that barely represents any interests of the Iraqi people, should be vetted by the psychology community. What would motivate a Sunni conscript to make war on Sunni IS at the behest of Shiite leaders and the US President? It is quite possible that the beheading of an American reporter is not the most atrocious event they know of.

  • Iraq: Al-Abadi garners Iranian, US, Saudi Support: But can He Unite Iraq?
    • In my simplistic view when the royal courts (official and unofficial) herald al-Abadi as the potential uniter, he is given the green light to hold his head high and request the US to demolish ISIS, since ISIS can logically be considered a serious impediment to his uniting efforts, and the Iraqi military is supposedly not up to the job.

      Violence, military and otherwise is the coin of the realm (which includes us), so it's only natural for al-Baradi to request some to fill his purse. Having advocated him for an impossible job (certainly no US politician could handle something like that), it's only fair to help him, actually in the only way we know how.

      It's going to be the same old story. Instead of the Pentagon giving the new war a cute name, I think deja vue is adequate.

  • The Long Knives Come out in Baghdad
  • Why is Obama bombing Iraq, Really?
  • Obama & Airstrikes to Protect Iraqi Kurds: 1991 Deja Vu all Over Again
    • "Apparently not only has the Iraqi federal army almost completely collapsed...."
      I've always been curious about the huge armies we developed in Iraq and Afghanistan (and maybe Vietnam). Their purpose is to fight an die in civil wars against forces the US considers enemies.

      A soldier in the Iraqi Army is expected take the lives of other Iraqis, and risk his own life, for a central government birthed out of the US invasion and occupation. Seems it might be perfectly natural for there to be Army members who would rather fight on the ISIS side than against ISIS. ISIS seems a force of Iraqis unlikely to collapse or be intimidated.

      And poor Obama has only one button on his action console - BOMB

  • Israel Still Holding Gaza Civilians Hostage, Doesn't Get Geneva Conventions
    • Hamas does have one of out cherished rights: the right to remain silent. I think that's about the limit of Israel's graciousness.

  • Top 5 Ways the US is Israel's Accomplice in War Crimes in Gaza
    • The State Department, aka Obama in this context, is telling Israel that, dwellings, infrastructure, government and private sector locations are OK targets - just leave anything with UN involvement alone.

      We don't want the IDF to sully the the pristine rectitude of precision bombing. Our wars without end are depicted as killing "bad guys (9/11 wannabees) only". Sure, once in a while we take out a wedding, funeral, kids playing in the dirt, etc. but we always follow up with a full investigation to prove the honesty of the mistakes. If only our enemies used the tactic of skirmish lines on open fields, these mistakes wouldn't happen.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)
    • Let's see, Israel has one of the best air forces in the world, warships, well armed and well trained ground forces, and the usual superb collection modern communications and warfare electronics. And the threat from the other side is tunnels.

      So Gaza gives up it's formidable tunnels, which have obviously been around long before the latest fighting, yet have not facilitated an MSM level attack on Israel. Then what does Israel give up? Not even the right to do it all over again. Hamas dare not grab a shovel, but Israel will repair its damaged equipment, replace it's lost equipment, and probably shop the US for newer and better stuff.. .

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • With our military might, our long suit is to create absences (with a little help from our friends):Hussein, Gaddafi, The Taliban (temporarily), bin Ladin. But we don't have the tools or power to fill the absences with the the indigenous Thomas Jefferson's whom we assume are waiting in the wings. In the case of bin Ladin we assumed that al Qaeda couldn't possibly function without his brain. For a while we had our sights on Assad, but someone in the Administration took a good look at out wake, and counseled against it.

      Israel, on the other hand, functions like the dictators we deposed, with regard to the occupied territories. And we are politically incapable of accepting that view of Israel.

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?
    • Fortunately for Israel the MSM is busy right now helping to rewarm the Cold War. Surfing the headlines one would conclude that Putin ordered the east Ukraine ethnic Russian rebels to shoot down a civilian airliner. Won't be happy until Putin does a perp walk at the Hague.

      But Israel is being helped by the alarms raised about the Gaza tunnels. Sure, Israel has nukes, but Gaza has TUNNELS!!!!!

  • Israel, Gaza and the Fatal Spirit of Versailles
    • "Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel, with an Israeli man being killed by one (the only Israeli killed in the current conflict). Over 200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs since the current round of hostilities began a week ago."

      I think the MSM was coming breathlessly close to invalidation of the Gaza-Israel symmetry notion. Evidence of asymmetry was showing its ugly head. Now, with the death of an Israeli, the notion is safe, e.g. hypothetical headline: "Death on Both Sides"

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • Don't underestimate the cleverness and mendacity required to preserve the notion of ubiquitous symmetry between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In a boot on the throat situation it's not easy to develop public sympathy for the boot, but the media does its best.

  • Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq
    • I'm probably just naive, but is it possible that the Iraqi army soldiers are less than enthusiastic about killing fellow Iraqis for the sake of a corrupt sectarian government, and the corroded fantasies of US hegemony?

      The MIC is lulabying Obama with "Baby It's Cold Outside" - link to - and he's having a problem putting his coat on. (Just a romantic interlude.).

  • Faced w/ Global Warming Threat, Obama fudges EPA Carbon Reduction
    • Seems to me that the operative mantra is "tickle the markets and hope for the best". The notion of directly attacking the global warming menace like we attacked the Cold War Red Menace, with trillions invested nuclear warfare hardware, is just not an option. What about something financially comparable to the building of the Interstate Highway System or space exploration? No, that would be a betrayal of market faith.

      Of course if India and China ignore reliance on the markets and initiate deliberate state funded programs to reduce carbon emissions (as they are doing), we would applaud them, as long as they didn't hinder imports of US made materials.

      As far as Republicans torpedoing the EPA goals, I think that once the natural gas/fracking/cabon industries tell the political money men to back off because those goals will turn gas into gold - the kind that shows up in GOP coffers..

  • Mr. Kerry: Why Snowden can't "Make his Case" in "Our System of Justice"
    • Of course if Snowden did "man up", came home, and somehow got to tell his side (with a duct taped mouth), that would only add to the charges against him since anything he would say will be labeled classified.

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