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Total number of comments: 305 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:41)

Zandru

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  • If Israel Is In Mortal Danger, Why Did Bloomberg Fly There? (The Young Turks)
    • Great! Everybody is noticing this now. How can Israel claim that it's "very existence is threatened" by Hamas's bombs ... but YOUR air flight is in no danger at all?

      So, which one is it?

  • On 'Human Shielding' in Gaza: The Israeli army has tried to justify striking civilian areas
    • Actually, if Israel has an "Iron Dome" starwars missile system which protects it from all of Hamas's primitive rockets, why does Israel have ANY need to attack the putative launch sites and sources of these rockets? No Israeli can possibly be in danger, because of the hi-tech defensive system! (Not to mention the pathetic record of Hamas's rockets in hitting anything.) This "ultimate defense" concept was the reason the United States and Soviet Union signed a treaty to ban such systems: because, with sufficient protection against the missiles from the other side, there would no longer be a deterrant against starting a nuclear war. Not as "MAD" as it sounds!

      The obvious conclusion is that Israel just wants to kill Palestinian civilians and destroy their homes and livelihoods. No wonder they have to slap on an awful lot of lipstick for the American audience.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • There was a report in today's (7/21) Albuquerque Journal from a graduate of the University of New Mexico who was vacationing in Israel. She gives a sympathetic portrayal of Israeli suffering in Tel Aviv: spending days at the beach, dancing in nightclubs full of people, watching the World Cup from sidewalk cafes. Oh, and sometimes warning sirens sound and Israeli jets fly over, which is so scary she has to sleep with her windows closed. "Civilian life has remained relatively regular," she notes and ends with the obligatory "I can't help but wonder what America's response would be if it were under attack."

      Clearly, she has no idea of what it means to be "under attack."

  • The Court Trial of Bibi Netanyahu
    • Excellent! I do appreciate your summarizing the Netanyahu replies as one-liners which get to the essence of what his response would have been. (And yes, we all know the standard responses, which trolls keep spewing out on every comment board and Israeli officials elaborate upon...)

      In actuality, of course, there would be literally hours of hasbara, irrelevant and inaccurate historical alusions, zionist propaganda, anti-(Muslim)-semitism, legalistic word-chopping, etc.

  • Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing
    • Thanks for the historical summary, explanations, and projection, Dr. Cole! However, I reject the idea that Israel will face increasing economic pressures from world ostracism. Good Old "Uncle Freier" will always be on hand to shore up the Israeli economy and protect it in the United Nations. No cost -- monetary or in goodwill -- is too high for the US to bear in this regard, and apparently, no level of disapproval by "the public" is adequate to change these policies.

      However, with an election coming up in November, it's no time for despair, but rather a chance to register our strongest opinions with the new Congress. We have to keep pushing that rock.

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  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • "the little (R) after his name mysteriously turns into a (D)"

      Yes, this was actually featured on The Simpsons earlier this season.

  • Bush Trifecta lands on Obama: Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan Imploding
    • Here in New Mexico, the big Republican T being hawked by the Susana Martinez campaign reads "I'll be damned ... I'm a Republican!"

      Probably closer to the bone than they'd intended...

    • Great summary, Dr. Cole! Meanwhile, closer to home, the Bush-era law which welcomed any Central American political refugees from countries which were "Not Mexico" is stirring cries of "Failure of leadership!" from the several Republican governors here along the southern border.

      If you ask me, the only "failure of leadership" is that of John Boehner, the Speaker of the House who has somehow been incapable of actually legislating, and has instead turned to the tort system.

  • Fox's Cavuto slams Bachmann on suing Obama: "There's so much Wrong Here"
    • Speaker "Boner" is going to SUE the President of the United States for violating the law and his oath of office? The Constitution specifies impeachment for such crimes, not a tort action. Maybe the Speaker is hoping to pick up a little money??

      And the Republicans of the House of Representatives are looking to "defund the Executive Branch"? Lotsa luck, guys; you haven't been able to even PASS A BUDGET in many years. For that matter, the Republican House hasn't been able to pass much of anything, given that they need to craft legislation that the Senate will approve AND the President will sign. (That pesky Constitution again...) And this is why said President is issuing so many Executive Orders. The country can't just run on autopilot.

      The summer silly season has started early this year, and with an election coming up this fall, it's going to get weirder before it gets better. Until then, only the comedians will benefit.

  • Dear GOP: Captured Benghazi Suspect Says He Was Inspired By Video
    • Dear Democrats:

      Sorry; we've already moved on from the alleged "movie" to much-justified criticism that you didn't nab this guy and ALL of his followers the very same night they slaughtered our Ambassador. And how dare you let him stay onboard a US naval vessel?? You call that secure?

      Lack of leadership, that's what it is. And failure to engage. (How many months is it to the election?)

  • Georgia Courthouse is shot up by Sovereign Citizen after GOP backs Bundy, Open Carry
    • "a semi-automatic weapon instead of a hand gun which ONLY fired ONE BULLET each time the trigger was pulled"

      Sorry, Jack, but a gun that fires one bullet every time the trigger is pulled IS "semiautomatic." You're thinking of FULLY automatic fire, where bullets keep coming out until you release the trigger.

      A gun that is not semiautomatic is one where you have to cock the hammer each time before you pull the trigger. Never heard of such a thing? Well, they're kind of antique now.

  • Pastor Hagee: It's not Climate Change, It’s The Return Of Christ
    • "stunned members of the House Interior Committee"
      These days, they'd give Watt a rousing "AAAAmen, brother!"

    • Well, suppose Jesus DOES return in the immediate future. Remember, He/His father gave the Earth to Adam and his ancestors under the conditions that they TAKE CARE OF IT.

      So, Jesus appears, let's say in Pastor Hagee's church during services. And he looks around. "Where is my dodo? What happened to my passenger pigeons? How come there are almost no elephants, lions, tigers, buffalo anymore? Or honeybees - how do expect to even survive without them? What's going on with the atmosphere? Haven't you even noticed how hot it's been getting? Haven't you noticed the super-storms? WHO'S RESPONSIBLE??"

      Well, you can imagine His disappointment. Unless you're Rev. Hagee, apparently.

  • 8 False Climate-Change-Denial Memes Debunked by Real Scientists
    • Re: 4 Temperature readings are wrong, per"Anthony Watts, a former TV weatherman and prominent climate denier, for the Heartland Institute, "

      I actually received TWO of the booklets that Koch-Heartland put out. As far as I could tell, it was being mailed to all business addresses, and had a cover letter from New Mexico's own former astronaut, Harrison Schmitt, who once walked on the moon (!!) and now walks the Petroleum Path.

      As I recall (and I read this thing cover to cover), the "report" was rich in photos of thermometers next to concrete walks and parking lots. This, supposedly, "proved" that all the readings were wrong. Including the readings from satellites. Business owners are apparently a gullible lot, poorly educated, and likely to enthusiastically grasp at any idiocy that supports their political prejudices.

      Which could explain why the businessman-dominated New Mexico economy is still on its knees...

  • Greenwald: NSA sneaking backdoors into hardware exports
    • Well, now you can understand why the government wants to keep this a secret - it's going to cut the legs out from under US computer and networking vendors, now that it's become public. Who wants an NSA-configured Cisco router?

      Just as the NSA tapping "the Cloud" storage and American ISPs has caused other countries to start building up their own 'Net infrastructure, so as to bypass the US. Ditto for deliberately laming the encryption technology that is critical for building trust in computer networks. And let's not forget Heartbleed.

      This kind of scorched earth, damn the consequences, any means justify our ends attitude by American "intelligence" agencies has been coming back to bite the US for decades now. Like global warming, regardless of what we do now, we'll be living with the consequences of this for decades to come. Might as well start cleaning house NOW.

  • Donald Sterling's Illiberal Zionism Part of Racism Controversy with Magic Johnson
    • Well, the common thread here is that Jews/Israelis are a protected class. The Media must jump on Mel Gibson with both feet because Gibson said hateful things about them. The Media must also ignore/not air Serling's admiring statements about Israeli racism, to protect the Israelis/Jews, because by now, most Americans know that anti-black racism is unacceptable.

      It's not a contradiction; it's the same thing.

  • Top 5 Signs that it is Rove who is Brain Dead, not Hillary
    • I agree - but what about the old "I know you are, but what am I?" Childish, yeah - but look at the political ads we've been seeing in the last several decades. It's no worse, and it could resonate with the voters.

  • Human Rights NGOs Call for Palestine to take Israel to International Criminal Court
    • Palestine should do it. It's not possible to "undermine Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations", as there have never been, and under current Israeli leadership, never WILL be "final status negotiations." There will not be "negotiations" of any kind, just stalling tactics to run out the clock while seizing everything in arm's reach.

  • Is Israeli PM Netanyahu's Case against Iran Collapsing?
    • Good one! Also, as far as I know, the Israeli constitution does not acknowlege the United State' "right to exist." How can the US possibly deal with people like that?

  • Top 10 Reasons GOP Benghazi Witch Hunt is just a Campaign Fundraising Ploy
    • Crazy thought: with the House Republicans re-"investigating" the bogus BENGHAZI!!!! tragedy, perhaps we can convince Harry Reid to turn the Senate Democrats loose on the "Innocence of Muslims" film/trailer?

      If you think it's worth a try, please join me in whipping up an email with a link to this article, and incorporating Juan Cole's talking points re: the film and sending it to your Senators, Sen. Reid, and any other promising Senator you can think of.

      Without any pushback (and we KNOW the news media can't do it), all the voters will hear this summer and fall will be the wingnut spin.

  • US calls Israeli Squatter attacks on Palestinians 'Terrorism'; Israel says 'only vandalism'
    • If an official US government report refers to these Israeli attacks as "terrorism", then the tide is most certainly turning against the extreme Zionism of Israel's government. Netanyahu, patting himself on the back for buying another year's unconditional support via dead-end "peace talks" had better look out. President Obama no longer needs to run for re-election.

  • Top 10 Attacks on US Embassies in Republican Administrations that Lindsey Graham doesn't Care about
    • It would have to be the Zombie Walter Cronkite, as he died 5 years ago. On the other hand, think of the ratings!! "Your Zombie World News - with Walter Cronkite!"

    • "Who ever concocted the canard that the US senate was the world’s greatest deliberative body?"

      I believe that would be the U.S. Senate...

  • The Impunity of American Torture: From Abu Ghraib to Sen. Feinstein's Brawl with the CIA
  • Pictures Don't Lie: Refuting #there_was _ no _ Palestine
    • Okay, so not only is there really a Palestine, the folks who are currently living there ACTUALLY ARE the ancestral Jews from the Bible? And the modern-day Israelis are ethnically Europeans and Turks who migrated into Europe, before their triumphal exodus (aka "return") into "Israel"??

  • 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan's Taliban
    • Bundy seems to have attracted the support of all the gun-totin', gummint-hatin' yahoos in the vicinity, and those who could afford to drive/fly in from other parts of the country. Freedom-lovin' men who are just itching to get themselves a shot at those federal jackbooted thugs with the BLM - over the heads of their sacrificial wimmenfolk, who will be stationed in the front row, of course, so's to take the bullets for their brave hubbies.

      Huh? Where are the wimmen? Didn't ANYONE bring their wife? Girlfriend? Ex-wife? Whadda ya mean, she didn't want to come along?

  • Top Ten Ways in which it was Actually the Israeli Gov't that Derailed the Peace Talks
    • I can't see the US standing up to Israel until after the November election and the adjournment of the old Congress. After that, assuming a more Democratic Congress has been elected, President Obama might consider giving Israel its long-deserved ultimatum.
      Trying to do so just before a big election could be electoral suicide.

  • Palestine's Abbas finally says will Go to UN over Israeli Squatters
    • Good for Abbas and the Palestinians! We can hope that, by acting like a state, Palestine will further its goal to be treated like a state.

      Hopefully, this will also throw a wrench into the US's planned release of spy/traitor Jon Pollard.

  • The Shame of American Politics: GOP Presidential Hopefuls now Trek to Las Vegas seeking Adelson Blessing
    • Well, I'd give him credit, except that
      1. The use of the term "occupied territories" was not actually a deliberate provocation, and
      2. He groveled before The Great Adelson immediately after learning of his "mistake."

  • Massive increase in Israeli Squatter settlements in West Bank blamed for Collapsing Peace Talks
    • Mr Green, I don't think the existence of "Palestinian wackos" is relevant anymore; Israeli propaganda doesn't require them - all it needs to do is assert that they exist, and Americans believe it. And Americans don't really know or understand about the Israeli "wackos." Every day is Holocaust Remembrance Day in the United States, and we can't get enough of those crazy Ay-rabs and murderous Moslems.

      Worse yet, only the United States is in a position to bring Israel to heel, and we have not, will not, and thanks to the Lobby-controlled Congress, probably cannot.

      Because this is an Election Year, I refuse to give in to despair. Once you do that, your ability to affect positive change is diminished to nothing. Thus - Americans CAN start improving the Middle East situation by electing a better Congress. That's something that is "do-able".

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • Just what I was going to write, Kozmo, only better. I assume that much of this attitude stems from a belief that "what we're doing is so important, that we can't allow any cheap politicians to get in our way."

      This also can encourage a feeling that no stinkin' LAWS should stand in the way, either. After all, they're made by those cheap politicians. And EVERYBODY has some kind of dirt in their backgrounds - which intelligence agencies are uniquely equipped to find. Or alternatively, have the credibility to fabricate, no questions asked.

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • per Marianna "would Israel then reciprocate and recognize Palestine as an Arab or Islamic state?"

      I don't see how the Palestinians would even WANT this. Remember, they're a mixture of Christians and Moslems and more. They're NOT a quasi-theocracy, like Israel is suggesting that it is. Palestine is also NOT ethnically-pure, as Israel sometimes seems to claim that it is. (Judaism: it's a religion! No, it's an ethnicity! Not to mention a floor wax and dessert topping!)

      For Americans, having a state declare it has a state religion ought to be a non-starter. We can tolerate it, but should not encourage it, much less demand it from others.

      Moreover, we're still waiting for Israel to recognize that Palestine has a "right to exist."

    • Wow! That point 3 is really gonna cost us - by which I mean, "the United States." I can't imagine Netanyahu agreeing to pay a single mite (much less a shekel); not only will the US have to provide all monetary compensation to the displaced Palestinians, we'll also need to foot the bill for relocating the displaced Zionist squatters and compensating THEM. Plus, some military sweeteners.

      However, I assume that Secretary Kerry and President Obama are well aware of this. If done right, the Israel Buy-off might even come to less than the cost of supporting the American military needed to keep order in the middle east as a result of unending Israeli bellicosity.

  • Edward Snowden: The US is Undermining its own Cybersecurity
    • I find that I like Mr. Snowdon more and more, as his revelations continue to emerge. You bet the USA is undermining its own cybersecurity!

      There's the gross collection and analysis of information (emails, phone calls, tweets, metadata, etc). There's building trap doors into commercial security software. There's weakening the very standards for encryption and providing deliberately-lamed algorithms and code to be used by commercial programs. And are these the guys deliberately poisoning online discourse by trolling the message boards?!?

      All of this leaves Americans - and everyone else - who don't work for the NSA more vulnerable than they realize, even those who are trying to maintain security and privacy. If the NSA can get in, so can others.

  • Solar Power In Movies (In honor of the Oscars)
    • "Enders Game" may have "slipped through your viewing fingers" only if you have zero interest in science fiction. This movie has been eagerly awaited for literally decades among the sf community. (Pity that its author has recently "distinguished" himself through a series of homophobic rants...)

  • 4 Darknesses: Internet being Manipulated, Deceived by Western Intel Trolls
    • I've been aware of the malignant effects of trolls since way back in Usenet days (early 1980s). Nothing could disrupt a friendly, intelligent discussion faster than having a few s.o.b.s who would respond to every comment -and I mean EVERY COMMENT- in a personally antagonistic, vicious manner, triggering responses to their posts by others, and generally wiping out entire threads in a matter of hours. (Internet time was slower in those days - it was the Time of Dial-up.)

      Moreover, these responses degraded the whole level of discourse, making it seem as if crude, hateful language was the normal way that people communicated. Any moderation (CENSORSHIP!!) was viewed as an unacceptable curb on freedom of speech, an attitude which ensures that the trolls will always rule.

      I'm not surprised that trolls are typically psychopaths; that some are being paid is easily believable; but that MY OWN GOVERNMENT is funding these programs is completely wrong. It must be stopped.

  • Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity
    • "Why does asparagus grow up, and not down?" You clearly have no knowledge of elementary vegetables, Mr. Hansen. Asparagus, like most plants, grows up AND down. Roots, ya know.

    • Dr. Nye might have had a more concise reply to the effect that "Gravity was why they kept going around the Earth, instead of just floating off soewhere. Gravity was why George Clooney and the Chinese space station were ultimately pulled down into the atmosphere."

  • Top 10 Reasons Rand Paul's Lewinsky Gambit Can't Obscure GOP War on Women
    • ??? You must have missed the Petraeus sex scandal. His political career is now toast.

      ... unless he changes to Republican. "IOKIYAR."

  • Let's See: Major Droughts in Drying West; Fracking a Water Hog and Causes Drought...
    • Fracking is taking place in arid areas that already have limited water. Corollary: if fracking contaminates the ground water in these areas, or any surface water, it's game over for human habitation in those parts. No water, no people.

      Two: the oil companies continue to be reluctant to disclose what it is they put into the frack water. Fact: sometimes they use radioactive tracers; there was a contamination event recently in North Dakota where the frack water came back up the hole and crapped up the immediate area. Additionally, any kind of petroleum drilling brings up natural radioactive material, such as radium etc. Old pipe and casing develope significant radioactive scale.

  • Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors
    • A local professor of ancient history has stated that the whole Egyptian exile and exodus have no historical backing. The Egyptians - who documented EVERYTHING, and for many thousands of years - say nothing about it. They wouldn't fail to cover a mass exit of thousands of slaves, particularly if preceded by water turning to blood, locusts, frogs, and a mysterious death of all the first borns, including the young Pharoah to be.

      You know, here in New Mexico, before you can take title to any piece of property, the law requires that a title search be made. It's a big deal here, due to the centuries of assorted treaties and other agreements made with the native American nations. Another complication is the original Spanish colonization, the land grants from the Crown, and how these claims to property were honored via treaties made by the United States when it took possession. Some of these cases are still in the courts.

      One would have thought that similar precautions might have been taken in granting the land of modern Israel to European Jews...

  • The Cheapening of American Politics: Why did Obama reward O'Reilly with an Interview?
    • By going on "The O'Really?? Fracas", the President at least got to speak in his own behalf. I've listened to some of the reactionary wingnut radio broadcasts, and the talkers will go on and on and on describing what "Obama said" - but never play a quote. Well, obviously, they can't, and still be able to make their talking points.

      Say what you will about O'Reilly - and I probably say it, too - when President Obama is on his show, it's Obama talking, not some brutally biased re-read. And Fox viewers actually get to see him in action - just a hint of reality intruding on their happy tea-bag world.

  • Bad for the Jews: Israeli Annexation of Palestinian West Bank, Scarlett Johansson and BDS
    • Yesterday (Jan 30), NPR had a long interview with a happy Palestinian worker at that West Bank Sodastream factory, who talked about the great wages and working conditions there. They also gave a voice to a Palestinian government worker who criticized the plant as being just a way of putting lipstick on the occupation.

  • Dovish SOTU: Obama will Veto AIPAC Iran Sanctions, Pledges Afghanistan Wind-Down
    • Hmm. I thought it was a subtle way of pointing out how excellent and unlimited medical care, with cost being no object, could restore a man who had been reduced to a pile of damaged tissue.

      Apropos of which, there was an autobiography of Dr. Stephen Hawking on PBS last night. Thank G-d for the NHS!

  • Top Ten Ways GOP could avoid "War on Women" Label
    • Update on Steave Pearce, Repub Congressman from southern New Mexico ("little Texas"): last week, he earned derision for stating that the husband is the Biblical ruler of the household, and his wife must serve and follow him as she would G-d.

      Well, this weekend, in an interview with the local fishwrap (Albuquerque Journal), he said his wife made him agree to this arrangement. (rimshot!)

    • Per the Daily Kos today (1/24/14), in 2005, Gov. Mike Huckabee signed a law requiring that all medical insurance plans sold in the state of Arkansas cover contraception. No exceptions for religious belief.

      He was for it before he was against it.

    • Good list! Per your #1, here in New Mexico, a female (!!) Republican legislator was pushing a bill at the last session that would REQUIRE raped women to bear the rapist's baby, in order to provide "evidence" that she had been raped. No pregnancy, no foul, I guess. Just goes to show how it's not just the GOP men who don't understand basic biology.

  • Israel Tries to Bully Europe over Criticism of Planned 1800 Squatter Units on Palestinian Land
  • American Public Pushes back against AIPAC Senators seeking Iran Conflict
  • Messianic Israeli Minister obsessed with Palestinian Land accuses Kerry of Messianic Obsession
    • Frankly, I was astonished by the harshness and apparent anger of the US State Department response. SOP would be to dance around, emphasizing the "special relationship" and "unquestioning support" yada yada - in other words, to suck it up, and then apologize for whining.
      This may be a hopeful trend in US-Israel relations.

  • Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about, Some Criminal
    • "only deeply flawed minds..."
      It is our fundamental job AS VOTERS to make sure thattt this kind of person doesn't get into positions of resonsibility in government. Your prescription that we must "ignore them" is irresponsible. Democracy won't last when too many of us become "free riders." ... and I'm NOT referring to government financial assistance!

      Dr Cole, your comment form font color is such a pale gray that I can barely see it! Any chance you could tweak your stylesheet to make inputs more readable, for those of us with visual impairments?

  • Israeli Public favors Teaching Peace, Palestinian Narrative in Schools
    • It's just too bad that all of these pro-peace Israelis don't appear to be voting their convictions.

  • Benghazi Consular attack was Local, not al-Qaeda: NYT Correspondent Demolishes GOP Talking Points
    • You're right, Jack. Given their massive data collection program and advanced data mining capabilities, the NSA undoubtedly knows all of the parties involved and how they collaborated, not to mention the detailed timeline of the inception of the scheme, etc. The time for sitting on this information is over.

  • Coleridge, Kubla Khan (Poem of the Day)
    • To get an even better appreciation for this poem, read Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency". You will view Coleridge in an entirely different light from then on...

  • Israel president 'ready to meet Iran counterpart'
    • "The aim is to transform enemies into friends"
      This, really, should be Israel's goal. Not killing all enemies - how would that even be possible? When, every time you kill a man (or woman or child), you make many new enemies from their surviving family?
      It's really too bad that Mr. Perez is purely ceremonial.

  • FBi Laptop Camera Snooping and Orwell's 1984: Side by Side Comparison
    • I've had a little piece of sticky note over the camera ever since I bought my new Mac laptop, several years ago. It won't do much for sound recording, but at least it's something.

  • The Middle East warmly welcomes Iran Deal, sees it as Step toward Denuclearizing Israel
    • It would be a tragedy if the small group of US Zionist lobbyists and other hysterics managed to derail this historic opportunity to improve relations with Iran. Consider contacting your Senators, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and encouraging them to not block the deal.

  • Does the Road to Mideast Peace Run through Tehran?
  • US-Iran War Averted by Agreement to Negotiate on Nuclear Enrichment
    • Thanks, Farhang! However, your #8 looks pretty iffy. We ought to be rushing to our phones, emails, tweeters etc to reassure our Congresscritters that this is a good deal and they need to be supporting it.

      Because we all know that AIPAC and its ilk are rushing to tell them otherwise, and they've got money and media clout and "anti-semitism!!!!" in their arsenal.

  • US seeks Broad Powers, Immunity for post-2014 Troops in Afghanistan (Lazare)
    • Undoubtedly, I'm just being naive, but the demand that US troops be immune to prosecution for their violations of local law looks to me like a very viable exit strategy.

      The US insists upon immunity, or we'll leave. Karzai, backed by the Loya Jurga, refuses. The US then withdraws, since it's impossible to stay on our terms, and the decision was made by the Afghan people, democratically. A more than plausible fig leaf, I'd say.

      Alternatively, Karzai decides, possibly backed by the Loya Jurga, but maybe not, that he will surrender Afghan sovereignty in order to have the US and its money to kick around awhile longer. This could have the effect of decreasing his remaining time in office as US atrocities inevitably continue. Well, that's the optimistic, probably unlikely point of view.

      I do like the idea of the too-comfy SOFA being a sneaky way out, though.

  • Is the White House Right that More Iran Sanctions put US on "Path to War?"
    • "civilians are clueless"

      Oh come on, Mr Hoffman. I think you mean "chickenhawks are clueless" - plenty of "civilians" have made a point of studying history and news and educating themselves as regards war and its "unforeseen" turns.

      Moreover, there are lots of your "brave Warriors®" in the Pentagon who champ at the bit for the chance to try out their new toys in the field, exercise command and get promoted, and win public glory with an eventual path to wealth or political power.

  • Commemoration of Kristallnacht in Berlin
    • It's a sad thing that the annual commemoration of Krystallnacht means that there can be no celebration of taking down the Berlin Wall, which led to German re-unitication - because it happened to occur on the same day.

      I would personally hope that, in future, the Berlin Wall's destruction would replace the endless dwelling on the Shoah, and accompanying justification for Israeli's actions against Palestinians. But we keep picking at the old scab, without even a pretense of wanting the wound to heal.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
  • Dear Press: Stop Enthusing About Habitable Planets until People like Va.'s Cuccinelli Stop Destroying this One
  • Why the US needs Electric Cars: Saudi Arabia threatens Pivot away from US
    • You know, if "most drives for most Americans are 5 miles or less", the US should also start promoting use of bicycles and constructing a lot more safe bicycling lanes.

      In addition, we need more "utility bikes" that folks could ride while dressed for work, and which have ample parcel capacity for that and running errands. The slick 18-speed touring bicycle is great for exercise, if you don't mind dressing all in lycra and wearing special shoes that you really shouldn't walk in - but for commuting or running errands, it takes more time and commitment than is reasonable.

  • Dear Tea Party: The Gov't Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too
    • In New Mexico. Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory (Albuquerque) have notified their employees that they will shut down on October 21, if this budget/debt ceiling thing isn't resolved. This will furlough about 18,000 of the most highly-paid folks in the entire state.

      Not to mention the innumerable local businesses which supply goods and services to the labs. Los Alamos drives the economy of northern New Mexico.

      Here's the link to the story in the Albuquerque Journal:
      link to abqjournal.com

  • Ghoul's Glossary: Shutdown
  • With a Solar Minimum and La Nina's, Why isn't it Really, Really Cold?
    • "Dear Leader"? "Loyal opposition"?? What country do you live in, anyway? It sure ain't the U S of A.

  • When Syria was a US Ally (or at Least Helpful)
    • I think it would be more accurate, Dr. Cole, if you substituted "the al-Assad family" most everywhere that you refer to what "Syria" did for us. I'm assuming that the Syrian people, as a whole, did not authorize or necessarily give their consent to all of these actions?

  • Bradley Manning in a World of Cheneys, Hadithas, and NSA Domestic Surveillance
    • "He deserves Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize in a way the president does not."

      Here's a link to the page discussing how people are nominated for Nobel prizes:

      link to nobelprize.org

      Maybe some of us could take action to remedy that situation?

  • Top Reasons John McCain and Lindsey Graham have no Credibility for Egypt Talks
    • I just assumed that McCain-Graham were tapped to "negotiate" because:

      1. It gets them out of DC
      2. Any solution they arrive at will automatically have their buy-in, instead of their knee-jerk opposition
      3. They finally get to "put their money where their mouths are" and experience the frustration of trying to be part of the solution, for a change.

      Not that McGraham is likely to have much success. But this will burnish the President's "bipartisanship" in the eyes of the talking heads - and tar both Graham and McCain as RINOs etc for working for a (black!!) Democrat.

  • Top Ten Things that don't Make Sense about NSA Surveillance, Drones and al-Qaeda
    • Excellent points, Jane! My guess is, if companies "eliminated" their billing metadata, cramming would go way up...

  • 'Every Stroke you Type': Greenwald Reveals Xkeyscore, Vindicating Snowden
    • Waitaminute here. "Snowdon was right" because Glenn Greennwald reported on the same story that Snowdon told - to Greenwald?? In both cases, Snowdon was the source.

      Moreover, the NSA has been tapping the fiber optic trunks at the major carriers for over a decade. They installed special rooms AT the carriers' communication centers and got a full, 100% feed of all traffic. This has been going on for over a decade; computer geek-types were all over it from the beginning. It's old, old news. It was part of the creepy "Total Information Access" program run by the Bush (the Lesser) administration. Formally "killed" by Congress, the program has evidently continued under different names and funding.

  • Why US Media will focus on Pope's 'Gay' Remarks but Ignore those on the Poor, Amazon Environment
    • "the theological reasons why women cannot administer the sacraments"

      Could you add a little explanation of this, Mr. Lewis? I was raised Lutheran, and know very little about your Catholic rituals. Did Jesus administer the eucharist with his penis, or what?

  • Fox to Reza Aslan: Why would a Muslim write a book about Jesus?
    • NPR did an interview with Reza Aslan on July 15, on Terry Gross's Fresh Air. Now there's a real professional! Here's the link, for those who are interested:

      npr.org page.

  • Top Ten Things Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner has said that are worse than Sexting
    • "google eyes"

      Shouldn't this be "goo-goo eyes"? I thought "Google eyes" were those spiffy new display-screen glasses.

  • How America has Failed African-American Youth, by the Numbers
    • Thanks for these graphs! I can't help but note that Hispanics aren't doing too well, either...

  • Gil Scott-Heron Explains 'The Revolution will not be Televised'
    • I find it truly incredible that certain people still think African-Americans are "inferior".

      As Mr. Scott-Heron observed, they are the ones who marched, became politically active, educated themselves, and fought to achieve their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Certain other Americans just rest on their "racial superiority", without having to actually demonstrate it.

  • Climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai - World's Tallest Building (Video)
  • A Brief History of Typography (Animated Video)
    • What's this on Comic Sans hate? It can be a nice touch, if not overused.

      In my opinion, the "Times New Roman" that is the Word™ standard is unlovely and I find it annoys me more and more. Interestingly, the font called "Times" looks nicer... but not all applications seem to have it.

  • We Misunderstood Barack: He only wanted the Domestic Surveillance to be Made Legal, not to End It
    • Apparently, the laws passed under fear of "the nine one one" have opened the box for government surveillance "to protect" the American people. The President appears to be taking them to their logical conclusion.

      He noted that there needs to be a conversation and people need to start thinking about the balance between SECURITY and privacy/civil rights. And he is forcing that conversation. For over a decade, provisions of the U. S. A. P. A. T. R. I. O. T. Act (an orwellian acronym, since there's nothing "patriotic" about it) have been expiring year by year - and the Congress unquestioningly REAUTHORIZES them every time. Regardless of who holds the majority.

      Like I said - the President appears to be trying to force a conversation of whether U. S. A. P. A. T. R. I. O. T. law is really what this country wants. How much privacy will citizens give up, for the warm fuzzy feeling of "security"?

      Tragically, the news media and punditocracy have framed this as The Eeee-vil President Obama and His Grab For Power. Associated Press and Fox, who are the sources of nearly all news, have it in for Obama, because their reporters exposed intelligence sources and as a result have been pursued by Justice. These same media were, of course, fine with Valerie Plame and her nuclear intelligence network being exposed by Bush admin officials. Those officials were Republicans and the news media was not targeted. Totally different situation, right?

      Even reliably "librul" media have initiated a war against the President personally, rather than THE ISSUE. This really disappoints me. Instead of pushing for changing the enabling legislation, or lobbying our congresscritters, or even changing our congresscritters, it's a personal pushback against The Perfidy of the President.

      How futile. How pointless. How irrelevant!

  • Sen. Wyden Warned us in 2011 that the Government was Running wild on Surveillance (Video)
    • Fine, but what do you know about his OTHER positions? His legislative history? His level of experience? Is he generally right, or is this a fluke?

      Please don't take my negativity personally. I've just gotten terminally tired of people popping off with "You oughta run for prezzydent!" anytime they hear something they happen to agree with.

    • Well, I discuss this in far too many words in a response to the next article (if approved). In brief, I think President Obama is pushing the limits of what "U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T." authorizes to make a point - IS THIS WHAT AMERICANS REALLY WANT?.

      Congress keeps re-authorizing the law, provision by provision, as expiration dates come up. Nobody questions it.* Nobody questioned it under Bush Junior.* But now, because the President is a Democrat, it's out in the open and everyone is angry.

      About time.

      ======
      * By "nobody", I of course have totally excluded the liberal media and liberals. Just as the American media and decision-making process has been doing for decades. Face it, we're invisible. We're not on the map.

  • A Forever War that Dares not Speak its Name (Bacevich)
    • Thanks, Professor Bacevich! This might be an opportunity for us activists to "name" some of the present conflicts, with a goal of illuminating, discrediting and ultimately ending them. G-d knows, the actual "Democrats" have zero understanding of the power of words...

      Re: the "Civil War": Maybe we ought to just go back to the "War of the Rebellion."

  • When Politicians promise 'Lower Taxes' they are promising Collapsed Bridges
    • No "sales tax"? Big deal. The gross receipts tax is one of the more regressive forms of taxation. The less you make, the more you pay, proportionally. If they've mandated no GRT in their Constitution, then good on them.

      What Washington (the State) residents should look into is what their income tax rates are, and how progressive, not to mention taxes on gasoline/diesel, traditionally used for road maintenance and construction. Plus how, and how much, they tax corporations doing business there. You'd think they'd be able to get a chunk of change off of Starbucks, for example.

      It looks as if Washington's 2013 tourism revenue will take a major hit, however, even with gawkers coming in from out of state to see the disaster.

  • Solar Impulse sun-powered Plane flies from California to Phoenix, AZ on way across America (Video)
  • Republican Scandal-Mongering on Benghazi and the Bush Embassy Attacks (plus Daily Show video)
    • Providing historical context. "Connecting the dots." Man, it would be cool to see/hear this kind of thing on the regular news broadcasts. Unfortunately, that would be branded "partisanship". As Stephen Colbert has observed, facts have a liberal bias. So we're limited to "he said, she said" at best.

      In actuality, it's generally worse: Statement, followed by But some Democrats say....

  • The Conservative Logic of Ferguson's Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and Krugman
    • When Niall Ferguson got a front-page weekly column in Newsweek, and I read it, was when I finally decided to drop my subscription.

  • Steven Spielberg's "Obama," with Tracy Morgan as Joe Biden
  • How not to Cover a Mass Murder (Charlie Brooker Video)
    • But, but, but... 24x7 coverage, featuring our beautiful media stars, keeps people watching, even if nothing happens or we give out the wrong information. People watching means higher ratings. Higher ratings mean we can bill more for advert space.

      It's the MONEY!!!

      If one network doesn't do it, the others will, and will get that increased market share at the expense of the "responsible" network. As Chris Andersen notes, "lookey-loo" is human nature.

      It's a vicious cycle, the free market feeding on human weakness, powered by the force of law. We see this happening on many fronts in the US, from food overconsumption to ludicrously violent entertainment products.

      The sad fact that massacre coverage inspires more massacres - and the US has been on a real binge over the last year - is "sad" only if you're not an investor. To many people, it's a continuing bonanza.

  • Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism
    • But Dr Cole, you could do a similar list for "Christianity" - and yet today's Christianist positions include starving the poor, abandoning children once they've been born, impoverishing the elderly and the ill, and shooting first to avoid having to ask any of those tedious questions.

      Then there's the list of what the United States purports to stand for, and today's sad reality.

      People will distinguish between theory and practice.

  • Israel at 65: Welcome to the Neighborhood (Map)
    • Well, those 400 million Arabs weren't "angry" until Zionists moved into the neighborhood, and "little" Israel has been making itself bigger from day one.

      Ah, I remember the great days when so much of humor in America was Jewish! Now, any mention of either Jews or Israel, and it's no longer funny.

  • Gun "Control" "Legislation," Parodied by Saturday Night Live
    • Once again, satire beats the coverage of the "shamestream media" in accuracy, clarity and analysis.

  • Jonathan Winters, RIP (Video: of Classic Standup Routine)
    • Winters was the best. When it came to finding humor in bizarre situations - or describing bizarre situations which were suddenly funny - he could not be beat. He was right - cats aren't interested in seeing us naked.

  • Arctic Summer Ice Cap will be gone in 20 Years: NOAA (Time-Lapse Video)
    • But it also means we can drill for oil in the Arctic! Yippee!!! Ka-CHING!!!.

      Honestly, it brings to mind Karl Marx's observation that the capitalist will sell you the rope you use to hang him...

  • CNN, John Kerry falsely try to tie Iran to North Korea Nuclear Crisis
    • It's disturbing how thoroughly the American media have painted Amadinejad as a crazy, out of control person. Like I keep asserting, Americans aren't stupid - just underinformed and misinformed. We don't have a "free press" anymore - it's a "for-profit press" - and war and conflict SELL.

  • Earthquake Near Bushehr Nuclear Plants in Iran Kills 37
    • "Iran is an active seismic zone, another argument for solar panels and wind turbines."

      Yes, if only we could manufacture medical radioisotopes with wind farms... But seriously, this appears to be a missed opportunity for the US to offer humanitarian assistance and use this as a backdoor way to quietly re-open diplomatic relations.

      Well, I'm off on my unicorn pony.... look at the rainbow!

  • Iceland: Pioneer in Green, Geothermal Energy
    • It always annoys - okay, enrages - me when pols and flaks in the US say there's no point for the United States of America to do anything to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, because, well, China.

      Yet there are the much smaller nations - Iceland, Germany, etc - who are stepping up and making the changes needed, without whining that, since their contribution can't solve 100% of the problem, they should do nothing.

      I'm so old that I can still remember the days when the United States thought it was important to be the leader in science and technology. Now, we won't move at all unless we can slink along behind the crowd.

  • If N. Korea is the Threat, Why is all the War Talk about a Weak Iran?
    • It just goes to show that if a country constitutes a REAL THREAT: that is, it has nukes and maybe also a big army/navy/airforce, the US won't threaten it with war. Only the relatively harmless will be threatened and/or attacked.

      I believe this is Reagan's famous "Grenada Doctrine."

  • Republicans not liked, even by 25% of . . . Republicans
    • This validates my experience in contact with people who view themselves as "Republicans." These folks are a lot more reasonable than what you hear coming out of Prince Reibus, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest. Often, they complain that they can't vote for the Republican presidential candidate. At other times, they cling desperately to the old-time image of the Republican as fiscally-responsible, in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

      What seems to help, in my opinion, is a strong dose of actual fact: the record of each candidate for office versus what they're telling the public. Solid economic numbers, best presented in the much-mocked graphical form. (Face it: we think in pictures, not long numbers with a lot of significant digits.) And empathy - pleasee resist the urge to yell "SEE??? You were WRONG!"

      People will eventually work their way to the truth, when presented with enough facts. Once they realize that their cherished party has been playing them for fools and suckers for decades, there will be no going back.

  • Instead of offering to Buy East Jerusalem, the Arab League should invite Israel to Join It
    • Why should we assume that Israel wants peace? A constant wartime footing has served it very well for the last 60+ years.

      The Palestinian "threat" keeps the Israeli citizens in line and in a state of fear, causes the United States to constantly give large amounts of aid and de facto gifts of weaponry, and provides an excuse for any and all restrictions on the Palestinian people, including unprovoked attacks on civilians, imprisonment, and torture.

      The "need to protect themselves" from disorganized and starving Palestinians serves as a motivator to push them into smaller and smaller zones, taking the best of their land. "Self-defense" is the public rationale behind the "separation wall", which makes huge incursions into Palestinian territory, appropriating it as well.

      What would Israel get out of peace with the Arab world that in any way compares? Why would they fall back to the 1967 borders - much less the 1947 borders?

      Farhang pointed out some of the several substantial peace offers that Israel scorned and rejected. Peace would cost Israel - endless war (with Israel guaranteed the winner through unconditional and perpetual US support) enriches it.

  • Isaac Asimov Predicts Interactive Internet 25 Years Ago
    • I'm sorry - I left out social media. Junior is also posting phone videos to his Facepage, cheeping semi-illiterately, and cyber-bullying the other kids.

    • Well, the Internet was going strong by 1983, which was when I first got on, and things called "newsgroups" were the way people talked, argued, and spread knowledge about a lot of arcane things that no serious person would care about: science fiction, TV & movies, computer operating systems & code - the whole geek experience. It should not have been that big a leap of imagination to propose that people could, in the far distant future, use this capability to enrich themselves intellectually on an even wider set of topics, and that there might be a more user-friendly interface than email.

      But, in a larger sense, Asimov's speculation is every bit as tragic as the famous Edgar R. Murrow quote, "This medium can teach" was about TV. Yeah, and 70 years later, most of what we get is Honey-Boo-Boo, a thin corporate gruel of "news", and 24x7 year-round sports.

      Similarly, when Junior gets onto his Internet, he ain't out there exploring new sources of knowledge and enriching his mind: he's either playing computer games or viewing porn.

  • Israeli Right: Obama Undermined Netanyahu, Endangers Israel with Call for Palestinian State
    • "He went to the US Congress over the Israeli public's head." ("Shalom" Yerushalmi)

      Oh, the perfidy! The outrage! That the President of the United States would presume that HE would have any right to go to Israel's own US Congress! Frankly, this says it all. There's no need to read further and try to figure out why anyone would put honey on a plastic spoons so they could turned it into knives...

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