Recent Comments

  • After Nov. 8: Countdown to Doomsday (1)
    • Can you ask him who wins the 2017 World Series?
      I'd like to know what it's like to have a decent amount of money before I face extinction.

      (Hey, sometimes you just gotta laugh, right?)


  • How China will run rings around Trump on Green Energy, and Win Big (6)
    • "unless the USA government is willing to subsidize them with massive amounts of tax dollars (socialism)."

      If we do a tenth of what we subsidize oil we would have solar panel heated lattes out of every starbucks.

  • Thank You for Your Support (129)
  • Nine Things Obama Could Do Before Leaving to blunt the National Security State (4)
    • Hopeful - electing Democrats to positions of authority and influence (2010,2012,2014,2016) would have gone a good long way towards actually getting all of these good things that we all want.

      What a shame that so many of your buddies had other priorities at the time, and as things stand now there's not a whole lot that your impotent handwringing is going to accomplish.

      The way forward is clear, get to work.

  • How China will run rings around Trump on Green Energy, and Win Big (6)
    • Spyguy: Could not have summarized it better.

    • spyguy - Excellent work on all points but fails to specify by what means the fossil fuel industry has become a significant global threat.

      The current USA form of governance is the worst form of governance for energy and climate change.

      As the current USA form of governance is the source of the problems.

  • John Kerry slams Israeli settlement expansion and proposed 'formalization' bill (6)
  • More districts of East Aleppo fall to Regime & Militia Allies (14)
    • There are probably no more than 5-10,000 in the remaining 8sqkm of East-Aleppo in the hands of the Islamists, mostly their Harem and children which they seem always to sling along. Most of them are from the countryside squatting the city when it was invade by the insurgents. Around 30,000 Combatants and non-combatants evacuated the city when most populated parts in the North fell. The Guardian had it right when it estimated the city's Eastern part had around 50k in total, however 250k sounded nice propaganda wise.

  • How China will run rings around Trump on Green Energy, and Win Big (6)
    • I fully agree with spyguy's thoughtful comment, above.

      "For decades, the world’s media have portrayed China as a bully and trade cheat abroad and a repressive power at home." Fake news, anyone???

    • It used to be that in stories about pollution in China, you'd hear the bit about how ordinary Chinese people heat their homes with nasty little coal stoves burning brown coal.
      So before we condemn China for still building so many coal plants, or merely converting to natural gas with its own methane-leak issues, we have to understand the need to get citizens to stop burning coal in their own homes. Moving that pollution to more efficient coal plants away from population centers is still an improvement in human safety.

      On the other hand, the Chinese government needed to look for ways to leapfrog past the Western paradigm of natural gas as panacea. Everything happening now is five years too late, because China kept pushing conventional economic development at breakneck speed during the last half of the last decade.

      When you've created a gas-powered car industry of 20 million units a year, you've waited too long to force EV development. Now Beijing is wading in late with the usual post-hoc solutions. First it used subsidies, and when too many small-time hustlers got into that, it had to start cracking down and forcing consolidation.

      That's because the ultimate benefit to the world comes not from the Chinese CO2 data, but from Beijing's goal of creating new higher value added export industries. Creating a world-class exportable car is now a huge technological feat. If Chinese capital is divided between 70 or more brands, then it will produce no cars able to compete in America at all. Nor will it produce an advanced, inexpensive electric vehicle.

      The biggest revolution China could foster is the rejection of the entire centralized-grid model in the poorest corners of the world. However, China is divided. Its electronics companies make the solar panels and low-power devices that could free developing countries of the tyranny of huge loans for dams and power lines and cars and highways by which banks and multinationals enslave them. Yet China is now also the home of giant banks and multinationals. This will be a battle of interest groups within Chinese capitalism, the future versus the past.

      Which vision China chooses to export will determine the fate of the world.

  • Hating on "Foreigners" a key Plank of Trumpism: Can it be Fought? (1)
    • Xenophobia is not just spreading in the White countries. It's not just the response of the "declining" race. It's not even just the modus operandi of charismatic strongmen.

      In India, China, and Japan, different aspect of xenophobia are being implemented by boring, faceless bureaucrats.

      In India, Modi presents a technocratic face to investors and green-power advocates, but on the streets, the BJP's state parties conjure up mobs to deal with enemies - first the mobs attacked Moslems, now they attack Hindus who dare criticize the other attacks.

      In China, triumphal nationalism is the order of the day. A couple of years ago when I was able to watch a lot of the Chinese state-owned English-language channel over the air in Houston (!), what was striking was a documentary praising Chiang Kai-Shek's generals for their fight against the Japanese in WW2. What was going on here? The struggle between Chiang and Mao, the Long March on which the Party founded its legitimacy, is being swept under the rug to emphasize the permanence of China... and the crimes of Japan.

      Which is not unreasonable, when Prime Minister Abe tries to use quick-fix economic gimmicks plus resurgent Japanese chauvinism in yet another chapter of the 25-year battle to get Japanese growth rates up again. The only question is, how do Japanese militarists feel about Trump as ally, a man who is a living caricature of all they deride about Western society?

      Which is the eventual downfall of all this ethno-hate. Right-wing racists make terrible allies because the exclusionary doctrine they share eventually must make them exclude each other. There can really be only one Master Race. Too many people have applauded the fall of liberal capitalist ideology without considering how humans treated each other beforehand, when there were only racial and religious myths, not human rights. The reason supremacism is on the march in both the declining White world and the advancing Asian world at the same time, might be that the idea of democracy was all we had to hold onto the idea of human rights.

  • Syria unlikely to be Partitioned: The Resilience of Colonial Borders (2)
  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • This is starting to happen all over the place. What about that guy Gasser who murdered that football player McKnight ? What about the militias that patrol the borders ? I foresee that there will be a lot more George Zimmerman 'incidents'. With 'Stand your ground' they do not have to prove that it was not a planned murder/assassination. All they have to say is that they 'feared for their life'.

  • More districts of East Aleppo fall to Regime & Militia Allies (14)
    • "The crushing of the rebellion is a tragedy, since Syria has a seedy one-party state that tortures people to death and brooks no criticism."

      I largely agree with T. van Ellen. The real tragedy is not that these extremist groups will be defeated, but that ordinary civilian lives were destroyed through all this carnage. The secondary tragedy was that the entire protest movement in Syria that began with the Arab Spring mutated into something quite vile. This mutation was not homegrown. As T. van Ellen eludes to, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States were complicit in making an ordinary protest movement into an extremist movement. Had Saudi Arabia not funded the most extremist groups, the real opposition that has support of all of Syria would have been able to come to power. Instead, what you have is these extremist groups, overrunning whole sections of Syria, and ethnically cleansing large swaths of the Syrian population.

      " But the rebellion also did lose its soul on the whole, moving toward hard line fundamentalism and pledging to ethnically cleanse 2 million Alawite Shiites."

      The extremist groups have already committed genocide in parts of Syria and Iraq. The future tense in your sentence belies this reality.

  • Syria unlikely to be Partitioned: The Resilience of Colonial Borders (2)
    • The inhabitants are likely more united as Syrians than outsiders realise, more than they are divided as members of this or that ethnic group or religious persuasion. Any sense of national identity necessarily encompasses all sorts of subdivisions. Although it may have had an element of seed on stony ground, I recall how dramatically it sprung up in the US in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Among more ancient peoples it has deep roots nurtured by the achievements and tribulations of their inherited past. My guess is Syrians would be seriously opposed to partitioning their land. A bit of federalism is another matter but that is not peculiarly Syrian, there is a broad nisus towards federalism in many places not least Europe. I also have an instinct that Assad's single-minded dedication to restoring Syrian integrity has more local support than Western media may imagine, or want to. Let's consider what Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview in October 2015.

      The last time I saw the Syrian President was in Damascus in May 2010. Syria was a tranquil and civilized country then, unlike now. The old part of Damascus, where I could take a walk, looked like a city where people of different nationalities and religions lived together peacefully.

      I talked with Syrians, who spoke warmly about Russia and its people. I photographed its ancient mosques and churches. It was a modern secular country..

      Life in Syria became a nightmare in 2011, with war, terror, death and the destruction of holy places and monuments that are part of our global heritage.

      link to

      Actually, I heard the same thing from a French friend who had been travelling there a few years earlier.

      We are invited to accept that the Arab Spring arrived in Syria in 2011, and the present mess arose directly from Assad's brutal suppression of peaceful opposition. However I see no reason to discard the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas' assertion that regime change had been on the drawing board in the UK (and presumably the US since neither Blair nor Brown were likely to plan such a thing alone) for at least 2 years before the violence erupted in March 2011.

      I met with top British officials, who confessed to me, that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister of Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I am French, that does not interest me”.

      link to

      If this reflects the truth, Assad was contending with a great deal more than local political opposition. As we may be approaching the recapture of Aleppo it's perhaps time to reassess the true origins of this horrendous period and not seek to impose solutions better suited to a simpler but less accurate scenario.

  • How China will run rings around Trump on Green Energy, and Win Big (6)
    • Long term perspective (China) versus extremely short term perspective (USA).

      China has several big advantages over the USA . . .

      - The culture encourages long term thinking and community perspective. The USA has a very short term, "rugged individual" culture where screwing your neighbor to get a two-cent advantage is applauded.

      - The Chinese government can direct business efforts for the common good. The USA government can only beg (if it cares enough to beg).

      - The Chinese government is not ideologically anti-science. Far too many in the USA government are religiously driven anti-science.

      The bottom line is the Chinese government has accepted that global climate change will devastate its population and to stay in power, the government needs to make a long term changes to minimize the damage.

      Coal (and gas and oil) are finite resources and China needs large amounts of infinite energy for the country to survive and thrive, so harvesting and storing renewable energy is the ONLY long term option. The fact that renewable energy benefits the environment is a bonus.

      After drastically rebuilding the country over the last 50 years, China now has the wealth and talent to develop and manufacture technology to harvest and store renewable energy.

      As the author notes, China's PRIMARY push for renewable energy is local , but because technology increases in capability and decreases in cost in a near exponential curve, China will rapidly become the dominate renewable energy technology provider on the globe.

      While the USA also has the wealth and talent to be a major player in the next generation global energy technology market, it will not because the culture of the USA actually inhibits this. The nature of the USA governance allows obsolete energy technologies to inhibit the development of the next generation.

      The bottom line is, one day Americans will wake up to discover that they NEED renewable energy and will have to drastically re-write their laws that have inhibited it. Then they will discover that all the best and lowest cost renewable energy technology is produced by China and that USA companies are at a HUGE economic disadvantage unless the USA government is willing to subsidize them with massive amounts of tax dollars (socialism).

      In a sane world, the USA government would not be trying to "save" USA coal jobs, but would be shutting down coal production and subsidizing USA designed and manufactured renewable energy technology. Putting laws in place to discourage all carbon based forms of energy.

      As I noted, the USA culture will not do this, so the USA will stumble into the future where they are subservient to China.

      Sometimes the USA form of governance is the worst form of governance.

  • More districts of East Aleppo fall to Regime & Militia Allies (14)
    • The Rebellion is made up of a bunch uf US supported Terrorists. Even Dr. Cole has to admit that the "rebels" in Aleppo have teamed with Al-Qaeda, but that does not make them "bad people"?!

    • The reason the jihadists' desperate call for a cease fire won't be accepted is that they used the previous cease fires to re-supply and strenghten their lines and in fact didn't cease fire themselves. Fooled me once....

    • Yes, reports were as many as 80,000 escaped last week, 50,000 to Kurdish area and 30,000 to West Aleppo under regime control. Some other estimates had lower numbers of escapees, but I think by now 100,000 probably have gotten out. Once the rebel lines collapse, there is no one threatening to shoot the civilian escapees so they get out of the line of fire.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • the problem with passive resistance is that you have to have an opponent who has some stake in the concept of social self-restraint. that's why Gandhi could beat the British, hypocrites though they were. he wouldn't have fared well against Hitler or Stalin because their rationales for power were absolute.

      so was november 8 a referendum by White people on whether it was time to impose power without borgeois restraint? if so, the second siege at Standing Rock next year will be a tragedy.

    • For the first time I'm beginning to consider that "gatekeeper" is not inherently an evil thing... it's just that they are easily perverted, overthrown, and then we're left in howling madness.

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • Half of the country is still in a state of disbelief. Could this really be happening? In January will our new leader actually be an arrogant, bigot, blundering buffoon? The largest embarrassment the United States has ever produced in front of the entire world?

  • More districts of East Aleppo fall to Regime & Militia Allies (14)
    • But it is precisely the point. The 'international community' is the US and a group of allies with an agenda to oust the Syrian regime, some, far from all, with genuflections to human rights and democracy as remote from their real motives as the Sermon on the Mount was to Philip II in Mexico

    • 'can argue Syria and its people are better off today than they would have been had the rebellion been confined to Syrians and put down by the regime."

      Ok but that's not the point. The point is that foreign intervention and arms distorted the strengh of the opposition vs. Assad. There were opportunities in 2011 for the international community to become more involved in a cease-fire and political dialogue through the US. Clinton said "Assad must GO!" Russia said "hell no! You screwed us by turning a humanitatian event in Lybia into regime change. Why trust you now"

    • That said, Assad attacked the hundreds of thousands of non-violent protesters in 2011. The Local Coordinating Committes, one essential group, opposed international intervention and arming protesters. Quit apologizing for Assad. In August 2011, 2200 Syrians had been killed in street protests. Assad had plenty of opportunity to establish talks with dissidents. He chose barrel bombs instead, causing devastation early on that became a magnet for terror groups. It was only later that the world became aware that Al Queda and ISIS were establishing bases in Syria and thus the Assad vs. Terrorists meme grew. Assad was not only brutal, he was strategically wrong.

    • "Rebellion lost its soul."

      Yes it did, thanks for writing that.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
  • More districts of East Aleppo fall to Regime & Militia Allies (14)
    • The accepted figure a few days ago was 250 000 noncombatants besieged in East Aleppo. Is it possible a 100 000 noncombatants escaped in the last week or so?

    • The tragedy was born with the non-Syrian financial and military aid mustered against the regime which destroyed any prospect for ordered political evolution. The regime was ruthless and might well have put the rebellion down but there would have been another, these things often require much persistence and advance in stages over time. Either way, I doubt anyone can argue Syria and its people are better off today than they would have been had the rebellion been confined to Syrians and put down by the regime. The others might usefully consider their own predicaments consequent on their actions. The Russians, although up to their necks now, only became involved when the situation had already got well beyond a local political rebellion.

    • moment of? I don't think this was quite finished.

    • don't agree that the crushing of the rebels is a tragedy. the civil war, is, of course, and the sooner it ends the better. Although you are right when you state that the regime has blood on its hands, it's governing is to be preferred very much over that of a bunch of rag tag militias (see Libya). But let us not forget who were arming these militias in the first place: Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, with silent consent of the US. If the US was really interested in peace in Syria, it would have supported Assad right from the start. There would not have been a civil war, no 200 000 casualties ,and no millions of refugees ( but admittedly, maybe a couple of 100 people killed in government jails). Obviously the US is much more driven by geopolitical concerns than by a genuine quest for peace, or for saving lives.

    • Dear Professor Cole

      The big problem the enemy have is they are running out of ammunition

      AL Masdar reported last night that the Turks have arranged a surrender for most of the remainer of the pocket link to

      Syrian Government forces liberated Marjeh and Sheikh Lutfi yesterday leaving only Sheikh Sayeed and Sukkari in enemy hands

      Fighting was reported in Bustan al Kasir overnight

      It remains to be seen if they will do a last stand in either of these districts.

      There are still reported to be 10,000 civilians still to be liberated in enemy held areas.

      Prayers of thanksgiving are being held in the Ummayad Mosque of Aleppo. Luckily it wasn't fought over.

      It will make a great battlefield tour one of these days

      I like Galbraith in NYT. Reconstruction. He is right link to

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • France is an outlier on it laicite or strict separation of religion and state in the government sphere. Government schools in Britain and Germany have official Christmas celebrations. My point is precisely that if Muslim-world practices were compared to the mean of Christian countries they wouldn't look so different; comparing them to the US first amendment or French laicite is setting a bar that Germany and Greece couldn't reach either.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • But in France children are not allowed to sing Christmas Carols in school because they are Christian-based. France is trying hard to keep religious education separate from public schooling. Unfortunately, this is not appreciated by fundamentalists of any type, who, as you say, perceive public space should belong to them and their creed. But even this fairly non-sectarian Unitarian-Universalists feels sad when the Christmas Carols have to be left out at my daughter's French-run school in San Francisco.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World (20)
    • The Middle East - Syria and Turkey in particular - is the cradle of 'civilization' with perhaps the greatest intensity of cultural history on the planet - much of it contained in still-unexcavated antiquities. It's world-historical importance is beyond question. (North America, by contrast, is a slab of fairly artifact-free post-glacial sediment that hosted an oil-based culture for a century or two before it collapsed under its own stupidity.)

  • John Kerry slams Israeli settlement expansion and proposed 'formalization' bill (6)
    • Slow genocide of the Palestinians to steal their land.
      Reminds me of US history of genocide against the Native Americans in order to steal their land and natural resources; continuing with the DAPL money over people project.
      Shame on the Obama administration complicity in continued atrocities against the Palestinians.

    • Israel keeps breaking international laws, especially its occupation and illegal settlements. Leaders in the US keep getting the proverbial finger by Israel, every time it's announces more and more illegal settlements. Kerry, is wasting his breath and simply making a fool of himself, like other American leaders do, because nothing the US says or does, seem to make them stop these arrogant actions. We could always stop aiding and abetting the criminals, but Congress seem afraid to do the right thing.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • Just as frightening is that there are thousands, tens of thousands, or even more that actually believe anything this crazy. Large parts of this country are coming unhinged.

    • One of the lessons we should learn from the vigil at Standing Rock is that the people can fight city hall. One of the lessons from this and similar articles is that Americans had better be prepared for lots of fights with "city hall" during the Trump presidency.

    • Instead of brownshirts, we have the Red Hats.
      Instead of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, we have #pizzagate or #spiritcooking.
      Instead of kristallnacht, we have more incidents of hate speech plastered on mosques or churches or schools.
      Instead of ovens and gas chambers, we have larger numbers of hate crimes, including this one, that, luckily, didn't take any lives.

      This individual could have easily slaughtered most of the people in that restaurant.

      Would that have been enough for the MSM to show the slightest hint of outrage?

      Would Anderson Cooper have been crying at the scene of that crime?

      What's it going to take for this madness to be confronted by the very institution that is tasked with doing so???

      Is it going to take a mass shooting by a Trump supporter, or someone who actually believes this insanity, for the MSM to "speak truth to power???"

      Instead, the Bannons and Flynn's are normalized as the Sunday morning pundits turn to more important issues like, is Romney or Huntsman more qualified to be SoS?

      Sometimes, there are simply no words adequate enough.

      Thank you, Prof. Cole, for being one of the few voices in the wilderness...


    • Andrew Breitbart had nothing to do with Pizzagate; his comments about Podesta were related to another matter entirely.

      Steve Bannon is not the editor of Breitbart; he was the executuve chairman until he took a leave of absense, months before this Pizzagate nonsense started. He had nothing whatsoever to do with thr story and Breitbart reporters like Brandon Darby have been vocal in calling BS on it for weeks.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • So let's start anticipating, instead of merely reacting.

      The Trump regime will have its hands full, and the process will probably push out at least until spring. This story is now highly visible, and now we know that Trump only belatedly sold off his stake in Energy Transfer Partners after it was learned he got campaign contributions from its chairman.

      So when he reverses the decision, protesters will be out there in huge numbers, including the veterans who were already arriving a few days ago. It will be a national confrontation against, not just fossil fuels or the disregard for Native Americans, but the entire Trump package: jobs only for White "real" men plus endless conflicts of interest for the rulers, via the poisoning of everyone else physically and mentally.

      The more we annoy Trump, the more he will lose control and try to seize the reins from the governor of North Dakota. National Guardsmen are already there. Trump has contempt for federalism. He sees those troops as his property. Potentially, the Reign of Trump will begin with a little Tienanmen Square in the middle of nowhere. All the cards will be on the table for our next four years.

      Yes, it's cynical for me to point out such a tragedy as an opportunity. The Right has overcome us with its cynicism and cold-blooded cultivation of trivial outrage into an entire universe of myths to make its privileged followers believe themselves to be martyrs. At some horrible moment, either we must resolve to fight back just as hard, or surrender our nation to a minority cult until our children or grandchildren can't take it anymore. Resolve is built by advance preparation.

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • The British monarch is the head of the Church of England. Interestingly, Australia, although one of the British monarch's realms, insisted on the appointment of Sir Isaac Isaacs, a Jew, as its first Australian born Governor General in 1931 thus negating the exclusively Christian character of the monarchy and making a firm stand for Australian secularism. By the way, Isaacs regarded himself as spiritually Zionist but took a strong stand against political Zionism.

    • Marcos and Erdogan also won fair elections, at first. Read the articles at this site and you will see the growing concern among the young Egyptians at the methods of the new Moslem Brotherhood government that sent them out into the streets again. The problem was that the Egyptian army positioned itself to be the only alternative regime, because it was not properly stripped of its political and economic power after General Mubarak was overthrown. This danger was recognized well in advance by people at this site.

      And you must admit, Lois, that those young people went out into the streets because they had good reason to be concerned, based on the actions of other Islamist parties in power. Exactly the way that young people in this country are alarmed by Christian fundamentalists in control in Washington.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • There are plenty more conspiracy theories where that came from. There is an infinite supply, because the theories are merely a means of whipping up one's own cult into blinding itself to the costs of crushing the rights of other long enough to actually do it.

      We don't recall most of the conspiracy theories the Nazis used to get from week to week in their crawl to power. Because we know the crawl to power came first, and lies were manufactured to serve it. We now sensibly assume everything the Nazis said was a lie for that reason.

      When we apply that standard to Trump, the White supremacists whispering at his ear, and the tens of millions of voters who demand to be told lies to justify their supremacy, a lot of bullshit will drop away and we will see clearly the trajectory of this new fascism. This time, instead of Germanic governmental organization of all terror, we will do it Southern-style, all-volunteer, paid only with bullshit justifications, the internet lynch mob and the occasional stochastic terror by a "lone wolf" to keep the rest of us in line at a bargain-basement price.

  • Did Trump's Son-In-Law Finance Israeli Extremists and Illegal Settlements? (1)
    • If those settlements are declared not illegal, then either America must define a special white-man exception to international law, or the entirety of international law forbidding armed colonization is out the window for all races everywhere. Which, absent the old racist understanding that the "civilized" nations observed rules with each other that didn't apply to the lands of "savages", means international law is dead as a restraint to war.

  • Denialist GOP House "Science Committee" Retweets Fake News Breitbart (5)
    • How did it come to be that half of our country flat out rejects scientific consensus? Has there ever been another issue (other than evolution, which has no direct impact on our welfare as a species), that has been so openly rejected despite the clear evidence indicating otherwise?

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • I've been watching "Pizzagate" and the involvement of the Flynns with mounting disbelief. Please tell me that this guy is not going to have the ear of the next president when it comes to national security. Please tell me that the next president is not going to be named Donald Trump.

      Here's the part where we need to queue up Joyce's Stephen Dedalus: "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

  • Under BDS Pressure, G4S Ends Most Illegal Business with Israel (2)
  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • I don't know that it helps to staple it too firmly to Bannon. There is a clear connection to that particular meme, the perpetrator admits that, but the Internet appears to be awash with such unfounded stories, as if old-fashioned gossip, which one was brought up not to believe, has reached global dimensions. I don't see how it can be stopped but perhaps all information carrying media should also carry prominent warnings, like cigarettes: Warning! Unsubstantiated claims are addictive. Rumors can kill! Maybe even linking access to a site where rumors can be checked out.

  • John Kerry slams Israeli settlement expansion and proposed 'formalization' bill (6)
  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter? (14)
    • Love your conclusion, Juan, yet of course these clowns will carry merrily along, apologizing for nothing, until some terrible disaster occurs at their clumsy hands, gravely affecting most ordinary Americans quite severely. Then, maybe, a few of the worst of them will have to suffer some consequences.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World (20)
    • This bit about fake news is quite disturbing. As a journalist, it disgusts me to see our vaunted American media trolling itself and blaming it on "The Russians." I mean, guys, come on, the fakest news in town is that which has come directly from the outlets that claim the mantle of "professional journalism" i.e. Yellow cake, barrel bombs, moderate rebels, curveball... and so on. If we had a real fair and balanced fourth pillar, the American populace wouldn't have needed to turn to alt sites in search of valid analysis that actually questions power without fear of loss of sponsorship and/or access. The corporate media/Washington propaganda juggernaut has now created their stalking horse to compensate for what can only be called a proper reaming over the last election cycle. T'was a long time coming.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • . . . - so Cliven Bundy and his group show up with guns and the Feds are afraid to confront them because they threaten violence - both in Nevada and Oregon, but water canons on Native Americans and First Peoples in freezing temps? Sign them up! . . . stop lecturing anyone about errors. Again, whites are freedom fighters, people of color or Natives terrorists?

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • As usual, I find your thoughts informative and clarifying.

      Can I raise a point about the near-universal omission of Indonesia, a giant Muslim democracy, in discussions of Islam and politics.

      This omission is I suspect precisely because it goes so strongly against the preferred narrative of the warmongers, and it is these racist haters who tend to set the parameters for the debate, for all-too-human reasons

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
  • Pakistanis Baffled, Buoyant over Trump's Fantastical Praise (8)
    • You are far too polite, the Electoral College has elected a dangerous BATS••• crazy egomaniac with no concept of the rule of law.

  • Can Trump be checked and balanced? (6)
  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • You have used several propaganda techniques in your comment. First, you begin by alleging errors but then it becomes quickly apparent that what you mean is that you disagree with it. NYT wrote, "On Sunday, they cheered the Department of the Army’s announcement that it would seek other routes for the pipeline and would not allow a crucial section to be drilled under the Missouri River just upstream from the tribe’s reservation, where there were worries it could pollute their drinking water and cross near sacred burial sites."

      So the issue for the tribe was two-fold-- drinking water and *near* sacred burial sites. What I wrote was correct, as the NYT makes clear, and your way of putting the matter manages to make white people's definitions outweigh American Indian ones. The tribe gets to decide if they are offended by a pipeline near their sacred sites; you don't get to tell them how they feel about that.

      Moreover, the protests were certainly peaceful and the only violence deployed was directed against the protesters:

      link to

      Finally, that some locals, especially corporate oil employees, might have been disturbed by the idea of people protesting is plausible but also irrelevant. Your implication that they were endangered by the protest is the same implication given out by generations of white sheriffs in Alabama in the face of civil rights protests there.

    • The Army Corps of Engineer's decision on the Dakota Access Pipelines will last until, well, today. The word, today, from Trump land is that Trump - he who must be obeyed - would consider the Corps decision and then make a determination once he is in office. And this is but one of multiple disasters we will soon face, both domestically and in foreign affairs. Watch this space.

    • There is contrary evidence because most of the hydrates are at relatively deep sea levels, less affected by climate change. A more pressing problem that is likely to occur much sooner, IMHO, is methane release from the thawing of permafrost. In addition to Alaska and Canada, there are truly vast stretches of permafrost in Russia. I agree that it is likely we are already in a feedback loop and the future is grave.

    • What makes Trump different is that his most ardent followers want a race war to put themselves back on top of every community. It won't take too many abuses by bigoted police to get that familiar cycle of retaliation going in America. At that point, Trump's ignorance of federalism puts him in play wherever white people need to be "protected."

  • All the President's Men: The Warmongering Washington Blob is Back (4)
  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • There was a PBS show on the Taliban a couple of years ago. They had a correspondent go into NW Afghanistan and cross the border into Pakistan. He was able to arrange on camera interviews (faces hidden) with top Taliban officials. One of them said that if Pakistan wanted to, they could round up all the top Taliban officials living in Pakistan in less than a day. He was saying by implication that they knew where all of them were and were giving them sanctuary. This is typical of the Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI, who wants to see a weak Afghanistan. Certainly the ISI knew where bin Laden was hiding, too.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • There are a number of errors in this article. If you read the local press, which did cover this extensively, you'll see the demonstrators were hardly 'peaceful' and were widely resented and feared by locals. Also, the pipeline is still going to cross this river, just in a different place. It won't cross sacred land, but it was never going to.

  • Nine Things Obama Could Do Before Leaving to blunt the National Security State (4)
  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
  • Denialist GOP House "Science Committee" Retweets Fake News Breitbart (5)
    • This is just a continuation of thousands of years of primitive human behavior.

      As Arthur C Clark notes:

      "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

      In other words, all the scientific advances we have today don't impress the natives, but scares the sh*t out of them because to accept the results of the technology REQUIRES them to drastically re-think their world view and realize much of they they believe is false.

      Most people have a tenuous grasp on the world as it is, and being forced to actually think about reality hurts far more than just denying reality.

      Basically, most humans do not think but only react emotionally. I see this all the time with clients when discussing computer operating systems. Since I have deep understanding of the three major operating systems, I know that all three are 99% technically identical and that any decision about an operating system is purely an emotional one. People will defend their choice of an operating system with virulent emotions.

      There have been many human behavior studies that have shown that when people are confronted with actual facts that invalidate their emotionally held world view they completely ignore the facts and "double down" on their invalid beliefs. Facts will not change these people's views, but I have not seen any methods to directly change the emotions of a group of people (Psychiatry/Psychology does have techniques to help individuals in therapy change their world view after confronting their inappropriate thinking, but even these are not always successful).

      Science is complex and not understandable in detail by most humans so most people react with deep emotional distrust. That is, The "magic" scares the primitives and no one knows how to calmly reason with them.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • Because of global warming from C02, our planet is moving into a period where there is a high probability of a methane hydrate feedback loop in the Arctic. Then we Homo sapiens will experience the same conditions that existed during the Permian-Triassic extinction when 96% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates became extinct. And once the feedback loop starts there will be no way to stop it.

  • Israeli Occupation economically suffocates Palestinian East Jerusalem (1)
    • What is Israel's "end game?"

      Do they really think if they mistreat the non-Jews living west of the Jordan River bad enough, the non-Jews will simply disappear without any long term consequences for Israel?

      Israelis should remember their own history - they wandered the earth for over 2000 years before they forcibly took over Palestine. Do they really think that the non- Jews they are trying to drive out will simply "forget?"

      Israel has limited resources and it will have less in the future, so their eventual defeat is very likely. Then what? thousands of more years wandering the wilderness?

      I realize that the Jewish want to have a unique identity and a place to call their own, BUT the way they are trying to do that will destroy them in the end.

      From what I can see, there are almost zero "sane heads" in Israel and they appear to be rushing down the path to slow genocide with no thought to the eventual "blowback."

      This will not turn out the way Israelis think it will and I suspect that future generations Of Israelis will deeply regret what Israel does today.

      In the grand scheme of world power, Israel is almost powerless and without its patroon, USA, it would have collapsed years ago. Based on what trump has done so far, the USA will not be able to protect Israel for much longer because the USA is going to be in deep economic and military trouble. So what happens when (not if) the USA throws Israel overboard? the world could very quickly become a very ugly place for Israelis.

      But what do I now? I am just some dumb guy in the USA that has studied global power flow and human behavior over the last several thousand years. What I do know is that humans show surprisingly consistent stupid and bad behavior and power NEVER stays in one place very long - it is impossible to hold on to power - it always gets ripped from your hands.

      It will be interesting from a long term human history perspective to watch this tragedy play out.

  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • "Otherwise your grandchildren will live in a very hot and very dangerous world."

      Sorry Juan, that's already locked in. Look up "CO2 Latency"
      your last line could read:
      Otherwise our grandchildren face a dystopian future at best and most likely extinction.

  • All the President's Men: The Warmongering Washington Blob is Back (4)
  • Nine Things Obama Could Do Before Leaving to blunt the National Security State (4)
    • Sorry, meant to say "single payer" not "public option"!
      And "Make sure Kratom remains legal".
      Other wishes: publicly support Bernie and other progressives' agendas. This is the best way forward, especially against Trump. Speak against the concentration of media in few hands, and in favor of net neutraity before Trump guts it and starts attacking the internet (which is inevitable, since that is where the main opposition to him will be organized and most truth against his lies will be presented- he can't stand criticism or ridicule, and will attack all media as viciously as he can).

    • Here is my own Obama "wish list":
      -stop all possible pipelines, not just DAPL. Declare all possible Wilderness Areas and National Monuments. Set things up to shut down coal plants, to ban fracking. Come out publicly against fossil fuel development worldwide, admitting the mistake of previously advocating "all of the above". Disclose all information about oil spills and cleanup efforts like BP. This will help galvanize the environmental movement in the aftermath of Standing Rock. Publicly honor the Standing Rock Sioux for their patriotism and heroism. The additional publicity will strengthen the successful nonviolent, prayerful, inclusive (thinking of the well-being of others, of 7 generations...) approach which especially in the age of Trump will be the only way forward. Publicly honor those injured in the protests and begin an investigation into the police abuse and actions of the Governor of ND.
      -free and publicly pardon all the whistleblowers.
      -release all possible secret documents related to past government errors and crimes: the incompetence around 9-11 and the Iraq invasion, but also dating back decades,
      such as regime change in South America and including
      recent events (Libya and Honduras.) Admit mistakes and set the record straight.
      -Come out publicly for all possible progressive agendas: public option, infrastructure (done the right way, not Trump's corrupt way), free public education and forgiveness of student debt.
      -decriminalize pot and all soft drugs. I personally hate the effects of pot on my body but the main reason for this is to
      de-fang the draconian war on drugs and privatized prison system. Make sure Kratom (by all accounts a life-saving
      herb, only opposed by Big Pharma because they make more money when people are addicted to opioids).
      -Come out against Big Pharma's greed publicly.
      -Make strong statements pro-science and pro-education, and pro-public education. Speak out against over-testing and in favor of higher teachers' salaries and against exorbitant administrators' salaries. Speak out strongly against charter schools and vouchers and privatization -
      all windfalls for Trump's friends.
      -reveal all possible information about Trump or Adelson
      or Murdoch which will reveal corruption- before during a Trump presidency, all these records are permanently erased.

      -Encourage Stein's recount efforts and speak out against
      election fraud. Release any information about the election thefts of 2000 and 2004.
      Any of this will make it harder for Trump to get off the ground with the fascist state he and his circle want.

      Now that Obama has stopped the pipeline, it's time to congratulate him and encourage more of the same- before it is too late.

  • All the President's Men: The Warmongering Washington Blob is Back (4)
  • In the shadow of Trump, a DAPL Victory and Global Protests against Fossil Fuels (11)
    • I hold no brief for Trump professor, but making the assumption he will brand ever more people in the USA who demonstrate against something as terrorists, seems unlikely because he won't need to. The job has already been done for him. Have you forgotten the patriot act dreamed up by the Bush administration? This piece of legislation along with statements like "if you're not with us then you are against us" made it abundantly clear that anyone challenging the state would be regarded as some kind of trouble maker or worse. As you know, certain news papers in the USA have declared that many independent news outlets on the internet as 'fake news' with calls for them to be banned or curtailed. Bearing in mind that these same newspapers are little more than mouth pieces for the state, it would appear that what Trump might do will be just a thin layer of icing on the top of an already rotten cake. There are terrorists and freedom fighters. There are demonstrators and writers but the state decides who's good and who's bad. You yourself may well be on the so called 'fake news' list and as I have recently made a donation to your site perhaps I will be thought of as some kind of agitator or worse.

  • Thank You for Your Support (129)
    • Finally got it sorted, Juan.
      Been a fan since 2003.
      Already knew your reputation as a scholar from my own time doing Islam at uni - Rels Dept. (Canterbury NZ) with another US professor - Bill Shepard. Still learn heaps here.

  • The Election that Changed everything and Could be History's Deal-Breaker (11)
    • Profound super.
      Add to the problem that Trump himself believes in the Divine Right of Kings!
      2 really good things on Trump's personality & how he snows his followers tonight. Feffer & a Comment by Al with professor's 10 pointer on narcissism.

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • Yeah! Remember Gen. Boykin?
      Bin Laden wasn't far wrong about it being a crusade.

    • Hey super - what's that about the Muslim Bros. blowing it? They won a fair election! Yeah, they started to put in some Islamic legislation but it was el Sisi & co. who shot them, & brought in martial law... Egypt is right back to Mubarak square one.
      Amazing how the US wouldn't utter the word "coup" tho. So selective about elections, aren't they! (Not a question, ho ho.) You've sure got that bit right!

    • Pakistan only pretends to oppose the Taliban. Actually, I opine, a branch of the Pakistan government provides some support for the Taliban.

  • Now that SecDef thinks Israeli Occupation is Apartheid, will the Lobby Blackballing Fail? (28)
    • I think Mattis' views are representative of a big bloc in the military that thinks about the Middle East in terms of US ability to project power without becoming bogged down in fighting. They want a return to the Nixon Doctrine of building up proxies and realize that most of the plausible proxies keep the US at an arm's length because of America's deep support for an Israel that refuses to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians.

      Of course Trump's national security advisor, Michael Flynn, represents the other bloc in the military, of true believer Christian evangelicals who think the US is in a war with Islamic fundamentalism/terrorism and therefore must stand with Netanyahu.

      At present the weight of the nationals security establishment is closer to Mattis than Flynn, and probably Trump doesn't give a rat's ass one way or the other. Of course, many in the Republican establishment are closer to Flynn's views than Mattis'. The choice for Secretary of state will be a first indication of which way the new Administration will lean.

  • Denialist GOP House "Science Committee" Retweets Fake News Breitbart (5)
    • As the National Enquirer and Alex Jones proved, years of fake news seemingly without a partisan agenda is an excellent way to prepare your audience for the introduction of propaganda.

  • Can Trump be checked and balanced? (6)
  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • I'm thinking about how long strongmen can rule before their paranoia catches up with them and they really roll out the tyranny. With Trump I assume the worst because my greatest fear is that his followers want him to be the worst right now. But Putin and Erdogan had many twists and turns in their rule before their willingness to throw out all restraint was proven. Marcos was president of the Philippines for 7 years before declaring martial law. Of course, the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt blew their game very quickly. And I would rather Trump did the same, and take my chances with the brawl for power that would follow. It's not like we can ever really trust election results again.

  • Thank You for Your Support (129)
  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
  • Pakistanis Baffled, Buoyant over Trump's Fantastical Praise (8)
    • Meanwhile, Trump chatted on the phone with the new Taiwanese president and stirred up another hornet's nest.
      Searching for other metaphors, and "bull in a China shop" seems particularly appropriate there.

      To understand what in the heck is going on, I found this
      note a friend sent me about Trumpian Narcissistic Personality Disorder very helpful. Maybe all of us (including leaders of state) will have to become amateur psychologists. Duterte and Putin seem to have already figured this out.
      "Coping with Chaos in the White House"
      By Phelps S. Hawkins

      A few days ago, I wrote a post for my Facebook friends about my personal experience with narcissistic personality disorder and how I view the president elect as a result. Unexpectedly, the post traveled widely, and it became clear that many people are struggling with how to understand and deal with this kind of behavior in a position of power. Although several writers, including a few professionals, have publicly offered their thoughts on a diagnosis, I am not a professional and this is not a diagnosis. My post is not intended to persuade anyone or provide a comprehensive description of NPD. I am speaking purely from decades of dealing with NPD and sharing strategies that were helpful for me in coping and predicting behavior. The text below is adapted from my original Facebook post.

      I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it or a similar disorder. If I am correct, it has some very particular implications for the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

      1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.

      2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.

      3) You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it.

      4) Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder. As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for everyone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents.

      5) We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.

      6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate.

      7) People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers” when they allow or cover for bad behavior and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.

      😎 People with NPD often foster competition for sport in people they control. Expect lots of chaos, firings and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the NYT, with a confusing combination of punishing/rewarding, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior for rewards, call them on it.

      9) Gaslighting — where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true — is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away.

      10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention. Unfortunately we can’t and shouldn’t ignore the president, but don’t circulate his tweets or laugh at him — you are enabling him and getting his word out. (I’ve done this, of course, we all have… just try to be aware.) Pay attention to your own emotions: do you sort of enjoy his clowning? do you enjoy the outrage? is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership.

      Phelps S. Hawkins

      Assistant Professor, JMC

      Savannah State University

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail (24)
    • So Daesh is getting crap kicked out of it in Iraq. If the current trend on the battlefield continues, they will be even further reduced as a threat by the time the Trumpkins take office. They're going to have to gin up another threat to rationalize their ridiculous rhetoric. Iran probably?

      Let's see who Drumpf nominates as Sec. of State. If it's Romney or Petraeus, perhaps they'll dial it down. Maybe. If it's a Giuliani or Bolton - heaven help us!

      The bigger question is how long they'll be able to play the Muslim card to bamboozle the bozos in the flyby states who bought Drumpf's BS. If the new administration does try to shred the social safety net and predictably cozies up to the plutocrats, all those resentful white folks, who opted to give an "F You" to the system and express their racial insecurities, may start to think long and hard about what's really going on. At that point, screaming about Muslims may matter less to them than a nation run by a bigot with incoherent ideas about domestic and foreign policy. Then again, maybe I'm playing Pangloss here. Wouldn't be surprised at all if they continue to let themselves get suckered.

      Frankly, we're not a very intelligent or well informed nation.

    • Uganda is a Christian-majority country were to be gay is a capital crime.

      There are few Christian-majority countries where a non-Christian president would be elected. In Greece, Poland and many other countries the Church is given a public and often semi-governmental role in some spheres. Most Christian countries have religious education in state schools.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World (20)
  • Denialist GOP House "Science Committee" Retweets Fake News Breitbart (5)
  • Will Trump Bring in a New Era of Surveillance and Torture? (5)
    • Autocrats and totalitarians throughout history love to use calamities as pretext to seize expanded powers.

      “His predictions could be self-fulfilling prophecies.” - indeed.