Recent Comments

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen (7)
  • Feds: We can read all your email, and you'll never know (1)
    • The issue of unlawful search and seizure, and other unlawful acts of government, pits the citizen against often well-meaning but often personally-biased officials. Officials almost always abuse their power unless monitored closely. The founders well knew that no one in government may be assumed to perform their office honorably, any more than those government would regulate. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, and it is vigilance against government that legitimizes government, even when we willfully increase its domain.

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen (7)
    • Having made the conscious decision not to watch or listen, I wonder if the net effect on the undecided was acquiescence to The Bully.

      I gather T was able to dominate through the lameness of Holt's "moderation." Had he actually been able to bray longer and louder and talk over H, he'd be perceived as a winner. The substance of the matter simply does not matter.

      This is the way the lizard brain works, and I suspect those able to transcend this impulse have long, long ago thrown in their lot with HRC.

    • Public notice on a related subject: That tweet is still there. The tweet claiming Drumpf cmpn deleting tweets during debate untrue

    • " But this activity assumes that there is a reality to the Trump candidacy": True; But not as true as the fact that there is no reality in the USA politics. It's all Alice in the Wonderlands, no elephant in the room.

  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200 (10)
    • I may have misunderstood but I interpreted the analysis to imply the regime is making significant progress towards what Assad has expressed as the first stage of his overall purpose. That is to clear the place of armed groups and establish a degree of order sufficient to permit the country to function thus creating conditions for the start, and, I hope, successful conclusion of the political settlement process and internal determination of the political future by the Syrian people. (Putin's words). One can only speculate what that future might look like and whether or not it will even include Assad, but for this or that group to lay out preconditions for stage two when stage one remains incomplete can hardly be helpful, particularly when Assad has said quite openly that it is up to the Syrians whether he has a place in their future. I most assuredly do not think he can do no wrong if that is what is meant by drinking coolaid.

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen (7)
    • These political debates are like gladiators performing in a Roman arena. They seem to me to be a form of mass spectator sport. Unfortunately this ghastly trend seems to have found its way over here in the UK. Up until quite recently in the UK we never had any kind of TV debates, but the candidates for the main political parties each had a short time slot on all TV channels where they were able to put their case to the electorate in their own way without any audience or questions. The time they had was short (about 5 minutes) so they had to get on with explaining their policy and there was little time for them to hector the other political parties. this system was probably not perfect but at least the voter could have an idea of what the candidate had to offer.

    • I despise both candidates. Neither has presented a reasonable plan for the US. The debate from what I can tell was a joke.

  • Israel Apartheid Wall Is the Muse to Trump's Mexico Border Wall (1)
    • Several points:

      (A) The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 passed by U.S. Congress called for the U.S. to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem by 1999 - but was not implemented due to executive resistance from each presidential administration from its passage to the present;

      (B) previously, Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion had declared Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel but this was rejected by the United Nations;

      (C) in 2000, PM Ehud Barak was presented with an Israeli government sponsored study which concluded that the concept of establishing Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital was not justified nor practically feasible;

      (D) should Trump be elected and follow through on this campaign promise, the U.S. will be the only foreign country having an embassy located within Jerusalem - although the State Department has long maintained a consular office in Jerusalem.

  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200 (10)
  • The last Time Summer was this Hot, Human beings hadn't yet Left Africa (6)
    • You are right about global warming caused by jet aircraft which spew out 600,00 tons of CO2/NOx mix per year that creates a greenhouse gas layer 35,00 feet up where jets fly. Reference my blog, energyconservationtech.blogspot.com and book, Danger from Above, Amazon Kindle

  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200 (10)
    • What appears to be developing is what Assad has said he seeks, to regain sufficient control and calm to pursue a diplomatic resolution to Syria's underlying political problems. This is not the same as restoration of the status quo ante and there seems to me no reason to suppose it could not accommodate Kurdish aspirations to some acceptable degree. Obviously the regime needed and continues to need the support of its allies since a nation of its size cannot be expected to possess military elements adequate to face the kind of foreign backed interference that has been thrown against it. What is distressing Is the opaque and even ambiguous role the US appears to be playing in relation to this purpose, insisting there is no military solution while actively engaged in seeking just that, a role uncomfortably like that voiced against Israeli behaviour in Palestine, the human rights record of Bahrain, etc., and then there's Susan Power hyperventilating like she's just found a parking ticket on her broom. These are embarrassing to outside observers and undermine respect for US involvement. If, as Dr Cole suggests, Assad may be close to achieving his purpose then so much the better since that should bring in sight an end to all this suffering, the restoration of security, and the return of those Syrian refugees whose presence is surely much needed for any lasting diplomatic resolution.

    • Any resolution will require taking care of legitimate needs (and non-negotiable demands) of the opposition. If Iraq and Syria and Saudi Arabia ceded a small territory at the border with Saudi Arabia, surrounded by UN DMZs, and both Syria and Iraq conceded greater rights and autonomy to Sunnis to remove support from the radicals, the rebels might go to their own little Islamic state and gradually demilitarize under the necessity of running a state. Perhaps the US and Russia should be discussing such alternatives.

    • U.S. interests would have been far better served had we not become involved in Syria at all. Instead of bold, empty talk of "Assad has to go," we should have told the rebel groups not to expect any assistance from the U.S.

      Assad may be an SOB, but we managed our interests in the Near East for 45 years without much interference from either the old man, Hafez, or his son Bashar. They have run a secular, authoritarian state, which in my opinion is far more in our interest than would be a hostile religion-based authoritarian state, which any successor government is likely to be.

    • Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander "The Americans stand on our side"

      This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the major newspaper in the Cologne region. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)

      Interview with al-Nusra commander "The Americans stand on our side"

      By Jürgen Todenhöfer

      link to moonofalabama.org

    • This is one case where I hate to be proven correct, but there were not likely to be any decent outcomes when Assad survived the first year or two. As I predicted when Russia announced its coming air support, this would guarantee that the regime would become victorious and the US would have to come to grips with that victory and why we should never have gotten involved at all in Syria. This is a wonderful example of a pyrrhic victory, however. Assad has pounded most of his country into rubble, created millions of refugees, engendered lasting resentment, earned the enmity of most of the world, and left his country in economic as well as physical ruins, all so he could stay in power. It will probably take at least a generation before
      Syria can return to a condition similar to that that existed prior to the war. When it comes to awfulness, he has made his father look like a piker.

    • I;'m sorry, but your post is just an apology for war crimes by the Assad government. The nature of the opposition was not always that of the extremists, nor did it begin that way. The war began because of massacres of civilians peacefully protesting and gained momentum because of defections of some significant portions of the Syrian Army. In the early days there were not just individual defections, but even defections by groups of soldiers. It was the absolutely brutal response and subsequent actions of the Syrian regime which created the chaos that provided the opportunity for the extremists to move in and then take over the rebel movement. Your post is about as credible as saying that the rise of ISIS had nothing to do with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  • Netanyahu: I hope Obama won't seek to establish a Palestinian state (2)
  • Mainstream Media focusing on Political Infotainment, not Policy (2)
    • This republic has now become pearls before swine. To quote John Adams:

      "[W]hen the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American Constitution is such as to grow every day more and more encroaching. ... The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society."

      There is nothing left to do - Trump is a genuine nadir who makes Dubya look positively statesman-like. Public virtue has now collapsed, the demos having pulled the walls about its deafened ears in slow-motion. I for one am just waiting. I am waiting for the end.

  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200 (10)
    • One can make numerous criticisms of the conduct of the Syrian government before and during this civil war.

      But there is very little western criticism of the ‘rebels’, who are substantially sponsored by foreigners, and many of whom are not Syrian.

      At this point, after five years of war, it would be reasonable to urge the rebels to accept defeat, stop the killing, and end their brutal proselytizing.

      But the guilty secret and unspoken assumption among opposition supporters is that the critical mass of the rebels are barbarians who are impervious to reason and who see themselves on a mission from God.

      War is always horrible. But if a war can ever be justified, it is a war against takfiris, salafis, Wahhabis, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or whatever they currently call themselves.

  • Egypt: New Church Law Discriminates Against Christians (1)
  • Syria, Russia push to take East Aleppo pocket as airstrikes kill 66, wound 200 (10)
    • Interesting discussion at ESHANI2's twitter feed re the politics of estimating numbers in East Aleppo. Rebels claim 275k, Damascus says 60k.
      Aid is distributed on the basis of lists provided by local offices- armed groups are in charge. Requirements are over-estimated, and xs aid packages sold on the black market- a handy source of revenue to pay fighters.

  • Mainstream Media focusing on Political Infotainment, not Policy (2)
  • Number of US Troops in Iraq Heading toward 6,000 (5)
    • You're silent on Syria lately.But can you comment on this Syrian govt claim at the UN that " Ahrar Al-Sham also committed a bulk of violations that contributed the ceasefire failure in Syria, according to the Russian military. The group, which is believed to be allied with Al-Nusra Front, has rejected the latest ceasefire, but is still not officially recognized as terrorist by US-led coalition despite Russia’s repeated requests."?

  • The last Time Summer was this Hot, Human beings hadn't yet Left Africa (6)
    • There is solid science for what Professor Cole says. For some time scientists have been studying arctic ice cores which provide a measurement of the CO2 in the atmosphere over time. Since the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is closely correlated with global temperatures, scientists have known for some time that our present temperatures are the highest in hundreds of thousands of years. Here is just one of many places you can check; this is brief: link to cdiac.ornl.gov

  • Montazeri recording surfaces condemning mass killings that Haunt Iran's Revolution (3)
    • Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) - headed by Maryam Rojavi - is a Islamist group with Marxist leanings that has had a love-hate relationship with the U.S. government over preceding decades. Some have described their structure as a "cult".

      During the 1970s the group was implicated in attacks on American servicemen and MEK supported the anti-Shah revolution in the latter part of that decade.

      U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright declared the MKO a "foreign terror organization" (FTO) and froze their assets in the U.S. in an effort to appease Iranian leaders to ameliorate relations between the two countries. In 2012, Hilary Clinton rescinded this FTO designation and stories surfaced that MKO were receiving training by U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Corps personnel and engaging in covert operations against the Iranian government.

      Here is a link to this group's extremely controversial history:

      link to cfr.org

      I find it very noteworthy that Radio Free Europe would now appear to join the pro-MKO bandwagon - especially given credible reports that the U.S. government during the Reagan administration had quietly leaked the identities of Communists secretly working in the Iranian government to that regime so that those suspected Marxists could be investigated and extirpated from their positions.

      Is this part of a recent broad trend by the U.S. State Department to ally itself with groups previously designated as FTOs to counteract Islamic extremist elements - as it has done with the PKK in Syria?

  • Netanyahu: I hope Obama won't seek to establish a Palestinian state (2)
    • Heaven's NO, as didn't he just give you 10's of billions of weapons systems to decimate everything at your disposal?

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • the US has enacted a body of law designed to protect the rights and privileges of minorities.

      Unfortunately, when it comes to laws protecting the rights and privileges of minorities the US remains on auto-pilot talking out of both sides of its mouth.

      The US certainly isn't concerned about the minorities in Israel, especially the people in Gaza who are repeatedly slaughtered by Israeli forces, when the White House and Congress endorse these crimes against humanity and rush to replace the Israelis' expended military materiel.

  • The last Time Summer was this Hot, Human beings hadn't yet Left Africa (6)
    • The problem with technological fixes, such as air conditioning, is that they aren't available if society collapses under the strains of mass migration, food scarcity, and scarcity of fresh water. It seems unlikely that humans would become extinct, but we could easily slip back into a total world population of a few million hunter-gatherer tribes by 2200

    • A couple of things, oh great Juan.
      1) Global dimming is the effect of continuing placement into the atmosphere of particulates from the burning of jet fuels that, when stopped, yields an instantaneous 1-2 F increase.

      2) Carbon sequestration via bio char is a way to get carbon into the soil.

      3) Hotter climates will prompt an interest in leaner bodies and perhaps fewer clothes, which could be a good thing.

    • Trees. Trees are the answer to our climate woes.

    • Come on professor, you do the support for global warming a disservice when you make outlandish claims that the earth has never been this hot in the last 100,000 years. Archeologists have barely scratch the surface of twenty thousand years ago let alone a hundred thousand. I don't know about the weather in the good old US of A but over here in the UK we have had chilly summers for five years or more.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • There is a domestic role for certain sizes of airliner in a country as large and (under) developed as Iran, in addition to a external role connecting it commercially with the rest of the world.

      It was interesting to note Iran's recent decision to pass on acquiring the "heavies" designed for the latter role, presumably leaving that job to existing world carriers.

  • Number of US Troops in Iraq Heading toward 6,000 (5)
    • Judging by their war-provoking rants and propaganda Clinton and her neocon friends have learned nothing from these monumental catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US and its mercenaries from NATO couldn't tame and "bring democracy" to Afghanistan and Iraq, chances of success in Russia and Iran are less than zero.

      There were knowledgeable people warning that the Iraq war would create chaos in the Middle East. Did any of these wise people think it would be as horrendous as it has become?

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • It's an illuminating insight that politics at this level is distinguished from mafioso coercion by nothing more than a more polished and self-righteous style coupled with an abiding concern for the optics of public relations.

      Still, recognizing that, it is a reality that if, especially through insistence over time, you can create a reality. Those who dispute you lack the same sense of destiny, have other things to do, and their increasing silence ultimately communicates consent.

      Note, as a prime example, the relentless consistency with which Israel has managed its colonization of the WB. The transparency of their strategy and tactics doesn't obviate their strength or efficacy. Where would you place your bets?

  • America's New Reality: Mad Bombers, Merchants of Death, & Lawmaking Harlots (6)
  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
  • America's New Reality: Mad Bombers, Merchants of Death, & Lawmaking Harlots (6)
    • Let's call pyramid schemes “Madoff schemes” from now on. Bernard Madoff stole over eight thousand times the theft of an obscure amateur Ponzi. The earliest major pyramid schemes were the South Sea Bubble and the Mississippi Bubble. The largest modern Madoff schemes were those of Madoff ($65 billion), Stanford ($8 billion), and Tannenbaum (“billions”). Several more exploited “westernizing” former USSR economies in the 1990s.

    • It will be U.S.A. again to use nukes on a country that does not have means to retaliate on the notion we saved so many American lives.

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • The US and much of Latin and South America and other areas of the world had slavery a couple of hundred year. But times have changed. International law is barely 100 years old, but growing in its influence.

      But unlike Israel, the US has enacted a body of law designed to protect the rights and privileges of minorities. The US has evolved to a more universally enlightened understanding of governance and the rights of all individual regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, handicap.

      But this is emphatically not true of Israel which continues to be an exclusive state of Jews and where only Jews enjoy the full privileges of statehood. And in Palestine, under the control of Israel, the ethnic cleansing continues, even in the 21st century.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • China is pretty keen to break into that market too. Smart move would be to talk about buying the C919, so far only ordered by Chinese airlines. The Boeing-Airbus duopoly is not unbreakable.

  • Number of US Troops in Iraq Heading toward 6,000 (5)
    • Maybe with the capture of Mosul and defanging of Daesh, the final bloody solution for Iraq can begin to take shape. The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds can fight seriously for their own final objectives.

      I think that by now the US concept of "stabilization by air strikes" has pretty much run its course, without any stabilization to show for it. The post Mosul/Daesh violence will be among parties that that are not clear enemies of the US, so it's a good time to get out and stay out. Time to pivot towards the plowshare industry.

  • Questioning US Arms Sales, impunity for Saudi Arabia (2)
  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • Have used these maps tracking the theft of Palestinian lands as my FB cover photo for some time. Can't say that it generates much interest let alone outrage, but it reflects a major area of interest and concern to me over the course of 57 years. One day, hopefully in a Clinton administration, in spite of her slavishly prostrating herself before AIPAC this year, we will see some real fairness applied to Israel and Palestine instead of the pathetically impotent condemnation of Zionist settlements on stolen lands that have been the only response of our government in decades. Much of the difficulty the Western world and particularly the United States experiences in the Middle East is traceable to the very real lack of credibility and duplicity in our relationship to the Palestinians. Policies pursued there have not been in our national interest; they have been pursued only for domestic political purposes. Stealing Palestinian homes directly and lands for development has to be a very profitable criminal enterprise, and it has been carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces who's budget is nearly entirely underwritten by the United States. In my view, this support and duplicity has been and remains the seminal most disgusting and ineffectual miscalculation of our governmental policy since the tolerance of Jim Crow laws in the souther states following our Civil War. We have been paying for this miscalculation for decades, in Munich, on the Achille Lauro, highjackings, murders of innocents, 9/11, and right up through multiple incidents of homegrown terrorism in recent months.

      We are kidding ourselves and being consummately stupid when we listen to our politicians dismiss terrorist as inherently evil and cast the issue into the mindset of the Crusades. Of course people who go about murdering innocents are inherently evil but it would behoove us to take note and to admit that these terrorist are also horribly angry and have been for generations. The time is long overdue to fracture that paradigm and reset our relationship with Israel and all of the Arab world. We can do that, or we can choose as Israel has, to fight them forever, or at least until nuclear devices will surely and surreptitiously be used to destroy most of Israel. The road to peace comes from absorbing ones enemies not absorbing their ancient lands and sending them into exile.

  • Number of US Troops in Iraq Heading toward 6,000 (5)
    • @BradCabana oh and remember guys.....No boots on the ground....so take them off went leaving barracks...thanks.

    • On a more strategic level, is it reasonable to assume that this is a "one and done" operation? Given the continuing instability in neighboring Syria and the likelihood that ISIS or Islamist forces would continue to look for opportunities to spill over the border, it's not clear why Iraq would necessarily insist on all the Americans packing up after the conclusion of this latest military operation against ISIS. Maybe there's a middle solution both sides can live with.

  • Questioning US Arms Sales, impunity for Saudi Arabia (2)
  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • Shame on you Juan Cole how dare you contradict the Zionist narrative about Palestine propagated by Israel after 1948 and believed by Americans and most citizens of the Christian World.

      Of course this narrative is a fiction but it is improper to contradict it after it has been believed for so long.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • OFAC claims jurisdiction if at least 10% of the product is American-made. You have not appreciated the supremacy of OFAC.

    • The sanctions on Saddam-era Iraq were monstrous, inhuman, and disgusting. That at least half a million children died due to the sanctions is alone enough reason to negate any imagined salubrious consequence--there were no real positive consequences--of the sanctions. The ones imposed on Iran have some similar problems. Prior to the nuclear deal, import of medicines to Iran were also affected.

      While you make the erroneous argument that air travel is not a fundamental human right, in the case of medicines you cannot make this fallacious argument. Iranians should enjoy the ability to travel like any other people (that is they should be able to buy planes and travel on them). To say that air travel is a human right: sure it is, why not? It's the converse that needs to be justified: why should we have the right to restrict other countries from trading with Iran, and selling them airplanes. If Europe's airbus wants to sell them planes and so does our Boeing, what license does our government have to restrict the sale of civilian planes to Iran.

      Before, one could argue that Iran was not following the NPT, and as a result should be sanctioned. Even that weak argument just does not hold true anymore after the signing of the nuclear accord. So, what is your argument now for the continued sanctions of civilian technology imposed on Iran?

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • The Balfour Declaration was the culmination of about 500 years of English Christian Zionism, carried forward from about the 17th century by the Puritans who identified with the Biblical Jews.

      In fact, Zionism is essentially a product of Christian Zionism and is not a Jewish autochthonous creation, despite what David Ben Gurion, Netanyahu, and Obama think and what the world has been told by the state of Israel.

    • It was Louis Brandeis who, more than anyone at the time, peddled the myth, based on zero evidence, and contradicting much evidence, that the Palestinians were recent immigrants into Palestine

  • America's New Reality: Mad Bombers, Merchants of Death, & Lawmaking Harlots (6)
  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • "The thicker the trade networks between countries the less they can afford to go to war with one another."

      Right on! Make money, not war!

  • US College Course on Palestine Reinstated after Cancellation under pressure from Israel Lobbies (1)
    • Plenty of UC courses espouse a pro-Israel one-sided perspective. The "suspension" of the course was itself a one-sided pro-Israel political act. UC should begin requiring the Palestinian perspective for balance on any course having anything to do with Israel, and not the "Palestinian-perspective-as-told-by-Zionists" like this one link to decal.org

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • People should go to the link above and request Justin McCarthy's book be available on Kindle. At $250 it's a bit steep for all but institutions and specialists. On Kindle it might get knocked down some.

  • Obama: End terrorism like that in New York by Destroying ISIL in Mosul, Iraq (18)
    • ISIS Leadership and Command will withdraw before the battle, leaving small groups of fighters, who will put up stiff resistance, necessitating air strikes that they will avoid by falling back to secondary positions before the bombs fall, leaving the civilians and infrastructure to take the punishment.
      This will be repeated over and over again until many thousands of civilians are killed and the city is in ruin. Then the last of the fighters will slip out of town.
      Obama will declare a great Victory and Hillary will claim a vindication of the Obama/Clinton strategy in fighting ISIS and Terrorist everywhere.
      Throw in a few bombed Hospitals and some atrocities by Shite fighters and you have our upcoming battle.
      It's all so sadly predictable.

  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism (15)
  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • It's great that you are, once again, raising this issue. A review of the rather damming historical context is especially apt and I know you can (because you have) gone quite a bit deeper, since the usual suspects have practiced answers (albeit hasbara) to all this.

      It's worth adding that they're counting on the world just forgetting whats going on. This is evident in how the pace of settlement encroachment ebbs and flows with the amount of distraction provided by current events.

      Hence, throwing a spotlight on whats going on when NOT provoked is the way to go.

    • Zionist leader David Ben Gurion noted in his diary when Israel was established that when the US had been formed, no document set out its territorial extent, implying that the same was true of Israel.

      Similarly, the US and Israel share a callous - congenital? - pathological? - indifference to the victims of their ethnic cleansing.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • I appreciate your point, but the sanctions triggered the various events that followed. No sanctions then no need for the oil-for-food program and any other actions Saddam deemed essential for his survival.

      To a lesser extent the recent sanctions on Iran created problems for Iranians who needed certain vital medicines.

      Similar US strokes for different folks.

  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • The British Mandate of Palestine was in essence a child of The League of Nations. It should therefore have become a ward of the UN, the successor organization of the LoN. The UN did not just "play a Solomon", it executed a Solomon by hacking its ward into pieces because not one of the members of the Security Council wanted to take responsibility for giving asylum to all of the surviving Jews of the Holocaust. If there ever was an act of retching political cowardice that was it.
      The unintended consequences include our wars in Iraq and Libya, and against ISIL.

  • America's New Reality: Mad Bombers, Merchants of Death, & Lawmaking Harlots (6)
  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • Thanks for this review. This history is widely ignored by politicians and major media in the U.S. Your concise statement of the facts is very valuable.

  • UN Calls Out Saudi Arabia for Killing Yemeni Women and Children (3)
  • Colonial Slow Genocide: Palestinian Leader Abbas asks Britain for "Balfour" Apology (12)
    • Very impressive history. Thank you.

      Although each has evolved in its own way, the world is replete with situations where the relics of the colonial era and its residual attitudes leave ordinary people unable to pass their brief lives in security and tranquillity. At an earlier stage, Oslo perhaps, the Palestinian issue might have been addressed in isolation but today it's difficult to view it other than as one among many symptoms of a deeper disorder which needs to be cured before any have a chance of resolution. It's easy to see Israel/Palestine, and Syria, for instance, as aspects of a stand-off between the US and Russia, and that would be valid if Russia had the same global ambitions as the US but I believe we are looking at something quite different and the stand-off is actually between the notion of a single global authority and a completely new reality. The background to Orwell's novel is a tripolar world where the three powers live in fluctuating equilibrium because any two can always combine to outface the third. We may be seeing that emerging, Does it not seem likely that if Clinton were, for instance, to decide to confront Russia in an existential military manner, China would enter the fray on Russia's side? Palestine and other conflict areas may have to wait until the US climbs down from its throne and sits at a round table with Russia and China.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • Iran doesn't need as many Boeings and Airbuses. Air France has less airplanes (around 170) and has reportedly 7 (seven) times more the number of passengers. (i like boeings personally)

  • America's New Reality: Mad Bombers, Merchants of Death, & Lawmaking Harlots (6)
  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • Along with the UN sanctions, the UN authorized an "oil for food" program that allowed iraq to sell oil for food that it could distribute to its people. From the moment the oil-for-food programme was introduced in 1996, Saddam concentrated all his energies on attempting to subvert it. The complex oil-for-food programme was introduced so that the profits from UN-supervised Iraqi oil sales would pay for essential healthcare supplies.

      But Saddam skilfully worked the system so that the profits were diverted to fund his regime rather than feed his people. An important element of this fraud was that a significant percentage of the funds was diverted to set up a voucher system that could be used to bribe a wide network of international politicians who could be counted upon to do Saddam's bidding.

      Far more than the sanctions was Saddam's subversion of the oil-for-food program that was responsible for the half million Iraqi children's deaths.

  • Montazeri recording surfaces condemning mass killings that Haunt Iran's Revolution (3)
    • Montazeri was a great man. However, how can we explain (not justify) the regime's hardliners' unacceptable brutality to those they deem "dissidents"? It comes down to Iran's modern history of outside domination and, therefore, lack of true sovereignty. The West's support of Iraq during the horrific Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s only confirmed the hardliners in their extreme worldview. Consider the following explanation for the current behavior of the hardliners: One explanation for the Iranian regime’s brutal treatment of those it deemed dissidents, is that some influential hard-liners saw “a world laced with malevolent conspiracies, one in which journalists [and others], both domestic and foreign, were operatives in an international web of spies determined to bring down the Islamic Republic. [While such] claims were outsized [they were] not altogether incredible in a country that understood itself to be beset by powerful enemies. The United States under President George W. Bush had invaded two neighboring countries and declared Iran a member of an ‘Axis of Evil.’ It had also adopted an explicit policy of ‘regime change’ in Iran and expressed a desire to distribute money to Iranian opposition groups. What preoccupied Iranian hard-liners most of all were the bloodless revolutions in former Soviet satellites, where opposition forces, sometimes overtly or covertly supported by Western foundations and government affiliates, had succeeded in removing repressive regimes unfriendly to American interests. The Islamic Republic was not wrong in imagining itself a potential target of such efforts. But the determination to stave off a ‘velvet’ overthrow would become both paranoid fixation and carte blanche for internal repression.” link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • link to en.wikipedia.org This gives a good rundown on the different perspectives. I don't think it is so clear cut as you state. Considering how Hussain used the cover of the Gulf War to massacre thousands of "Marsh Arabs", and who massacred about 10,000 Kurds with poison gas, I don't think it would be out of character for him to allow thousands of his own citizens to die through neglect for political purposes. He was a big fan of Stalin who basically starved to death 3 million Ukrainians in the early 1930's (see The Great Famine by Robert Conquest).

  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism (15)
    • Fear is an advanced response to a sense of insecurity and a basic 'animal' survival instinct that, while it can arise both in isolated individuals and groups, requires the application of individual reason to be allayed. There is therefore such a thing as group fear but not, alas, group reason, and this imbalance is known to be politically exploitable.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • Neither the Iranian people nor the state have done anything that deserves their being denied a national air line. And let's be really honest. It's not "the world" that has imposed this American embargo. It's Israel's supporters in the US.

    • Reminds me of the Israeli list of banned imports into Gaza of substances that could be used for terrorism. The list included pasta. I think it was John Kerry that shamed the Israeli's into deleting that item.

    • I think we can guess with some confidence. It'll be another clue to a greater threat to US national security and interests than Iran.

  • Stopping the War on Children (1)
  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • I'd like to see OUR present beefs with Iran enumerated, rigorously excluding those in which Israel has some connection either in the Near East or through its sad role in American politics.

      I question whether they exist in significant, concrete form, and if they do I don't believe that they are of the type which we and Europe cannot resolve amiably with the descendants of Ancient Persia who haven't attacked another country for over 200 years.

      We are being focused by political hacks on the wrong enemy and it's being done at our tremendous expense.

      There are reasons why we don't end it; they don't reflect well on the American people and our political class.

      The primary troublemaker in the region overall is not Iran, but Israel. This has been the case since late in 1947 when the cleansing of Palestinians and other non-Jews began. She has made life miserable for American policy makers since at least 1967. If we can not say these things we will never emerge from this travail.

    • Why does Airbus, a European consortium based in France, need the permission of the US government to trade with whoever it wants to? The European Commission, that would make sense, but the US Department of the Treasury- none of their damn business.

    • This issue is the type of thing that kind of frustrates me no end. Not the deal itself, but the failure of so many in this country, especially those who should know better, to take a big picture view of events. The Iran nuclear deal was so important not just because of its immediate goal, but because of its vast overall potential. Iran is becoming normalized. This should have been obvious to anyone who has knowledge of foreign affairs and the history of same. I liken it to the breakthrough with China. I think what we see here is the beginning of a total re-direction of American Mideast policy. Under the Shah, Iran was considered our most important ally in the region. The revolution changed all that, of course. But from a geopolitical standpoint, Iran is the logical regional power and it makes sense for both Iran and the US to become more closely aligned. This means a pivot away from close alignment with Saudi Arabia. However, this can't be done quickly or openly and it requires a redirection of US energy policy. This requires a long term solution of alternative non-fossil fuel energy and a shorter term policy of greater internal production of fossil fuels. I think that Obama is very much a strategic thinker and he has chosen policies like this accordingly. Obama was a poli sci major as an undergraduate and from what I have observed of his foreign policy, he must have had course work in international relations. I think he gets it.

    • Thank you. Additionally, the US is not the only source of aircraft. In addition to the European Airbus, Russia also builds civilian jet liners and Brazil builds smaller commercial planes.

    • Iran will be dependant on the US for parts and service.

    • false characterization. iran gets along just fine. it's the US with the psychopathic impulse to punish those who don't cowtow, combined by the reach of its dictat, that's putting civilians in danger. as an american, i say my nation's culpable. chomsky explained it best: like a mafia. the punishment given to the corner shop owner who doesn't pay protection money is way out of proportion to said money, because it's the successful defiance the don's upset about, not the tiny amount of lost money

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance (75)
    • One final note on the Guardian article cited. The author can't even get the NATO Secretary General correct. He refers to Wesley Clark as "retired NATO Secretary General." This is risible. Wesley Clark Was SACEUR commander. The NATO Secretary General is always a European. So much for accuracy in reporting.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • You know well the military history and putting an embargo on airplane parts does not make the US responsible for civil aviation disasters.

      Do you agree with those who said the UN sanctions enforced by the Clinton administration were not responsible for the half million Iraqi children who died as a consequence but it was Saddam Hussein's fault? Or, do you agree with Madeleine Albright, the Clintons' secretary of state, it was worth it?

  • Montazeri recording surfaces condemning mass killings that Haunt Iran's Revolution (3)
  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism (15)
    • Interesting comment about fear. Also, the first responsibility of government is national security or keeping people safe in respect to enemies. This is where the small % problem comes in. They cave to fear irrationally if just a handful of deaths occur. Americans expect 100%.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • ¿What the eff is the ustresury doing with aerospaciale?
      Drop the sanctions and stop the subsidies to boeing - welfare whore.
      Get off of Iran's back!

  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism (15)
    • Max, I am not miserable. For me and other people tobacco has positive effects: on concentration, mood, and endurance. You've a right to your opinion. It is a drug, and all drugs have side effects. Some are strong. But if what I do does not harm you, then until all drugs are outlawed, including caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, then I would ask that society not single my drug out with restrictive laws and taxes.

    • I'll forget tobacco and talk about fear, which was the main point. Almost all of us get in a car every day, despite the fact that there is a statistical risk if injury or death. We might hate the traffic, but we do it. We aren't paralyzed with fear. I thought the point was to face in a similar way the existence of ISIS without fear. And I suppose that if were suddenly to develop a phobia about being in a car I would seek a therapist to help me get back on the road, since I need to get around and that's how we do it in America. If we continue the analogy the question is how to address the irrational fear of a group. Can you do cognitive behavioral therapy with a nation? What role can national leaders play? In terms of national mood I see Clinton, (questions of policy aside), as trying to guide us to see the thing itself, ISIS, without fear. I see Trump saying be afraid unless I'm driving the car. This will work to the extent that people buy his strong man act.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • We might not forget other advanced airplane manufacturers who would certainly benefit from selling to Iran. The "effing" seems to be directed at Russia who might come later to the party.

      Russia's MC-21: Boeing to Face Potential Challenger in the Skies

      Read more: link to sputniknews.com

    • I think you overstate the immorality of the embargo. You know well the military history and putting an embargo on airplane parts does not make the US responsible for civil aviation disasters. If a country cannot build a technology, and cannot get along well enough with the world to buy it, then they just won't have aircraft. They do not somehow have a human right to commercial air travel. Putting people on airplanes that aren't safe rather than grounding the aircraft and either developing the technology themselves or mending fences abroad is an arrogant and ghastly choice.

    • Great article on the Boeing and Airbus sales. Thanks. Republicans in Congress might keep in mind that Americans and people of lots of nationalities sometimes fly on those ancient Iranian airplanes; even if strangely Congress doesn't care about Iranians themselves, which Congress actually should, the people of the whole world are affected by the health of the Iranian fleet of airplanes.

      Minor comment: Vice President Biden made the "big effing deal" remark about the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as Justice of the Supreme Court, not about the signing of Obamacare.

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance (75)
  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal (26)
    • I live in Lindsey Graham country, South Carolina, where Boeing happens to have a large manufacturing plant. Lindsey is caught between supporting what is right for his constituents and pleasing AIPAC. What's a guy to do?

  • Top Six US Problems worse than Terrorism (15)
    • Most here are local cultural peculiarities, particularly true of suicide which doesn't harm anyone or cost the State anything, but terrorist attacks are assumed to have distant roots and be more concerning, a bit like a lot of broken legs or a few cases of Zika.

    • I bel;eive the worst drug of all is tobaccco. Other top notch drugs are more addicitve than destroyers of the body. Tobacco does that , immune system and all. We all die in the end, but why be miserable while we are here, and smokers do suffer more than non-smokers. I am only and engineer, but I am smart enough to know this about tobacco!

    • Cigarette smoking is not a choice. The tobacco companies spray extra nicotine on the leaves to make sure they addict people. Essentially they doom them to an early grave. My relatives in the hills of northwest Virginia all smoked and most of them died young. We know how to shoot, by the way. Squirrel hunting is not the same as putting millions of Glocks into urban areas. It is silly to suggest it is.