Recent Comments

  • What does Iran think of Netanyahu's Interference in Talks? (7)
    • "Al Jazeera publishes leaked intelligence files showing Netanyahu lied about Iranian nuclear threat" by Annie Robbins - link to

    • ... the U.S. media seem uninterested in reporting ...

      The mainstream media or, as Ray McGovern calls them, the fawning corporate media are only interested in publishing what the owners of the media want reported. I happen to be rereading Howard Zinn's "People's History of the US" and this was the case 200 years ago and will be the case until, if ever, there is a revolution at which time the winner of that event will adopt the same or a similar policy.

      I was listening to CNN a few minutes ago with Wolf Blitzer interviewing two congresspersons. All three were going along with the fiction of Iran building a nuclear bomb even if the US and Israeli intelligence services have declared Iran isn't building one. But AIPAC and the owners of the corporate media want the people to be told Iran is building the bomb.

      "Israeli Claims About Iran Nuclear Program Denied By Own Spy Agency: Leaked internal assessment, obtained by Al Jazeera and the Guardian, contradicts Netanyahu's claim in 2012 that Iran was within a year of possessing an atom bomb" by Sarah Lazare, staff writer - link to

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • I would expect that the Israeli intelligence establishment is intimately familiar with the operations and power of the Israel Lobby, given that it is its greatest achievement. Yet these spy guys seem to be unaware of the sheer depth of the Lobby's hold over most of white America. Israel has lucked into the position of our single-combat warrior in our struggle against the rest of the world. (In ancient war, a champion from each army would battle before the main body.) We invest this foreign state with our own identity, as it confronts one large faction of the hordes of Others who are most of the human race. This is usually disguised in American rhetoric as a religious struggle. But we see this fight as the precursor to the battle of our "kind" to maintain white capitalist minority rule at home and abroad.

      Therefore, reason flies out the window. Israel seduced a crazy old widow with far too much power and now they're doomed by each other.

    • "keeping his job in Israel."

      He was born in New York. He can run for US Presidency.

      An IDF soldier, was an adviser to Obama in the White House, Now presently he is Chicago's mayor.

  • What does Iran think of Netanyahu's Interference in Talks? (7)
    • We might also usefully ask what senators and representatives in Congress think of themselves as they react to Israel Lobby pressure and the Netanyahu-Boehner travesty. I'm reminded of a former Congressman who was promoting a book on Book-TV, I believe, in the late 1990s. He entered Congress in his first term as something of a Mr. Smith going to Washington, but when it came to raising funds for re-election he submitted to lobbyists' pressure and failed to live up to his former high standards by agreeing to do things he opposed. Unlike the probable case of more experienced politicians he was ashamed of what he did. If I recall correctly, he won re-election but refused to run for a third term. I wonder how many will attend roll call tomorrow for Netanyahu's speech and will do so with some shame. And, how many will have no shame at all?

    • Thanks Prof. Cole. Also, "for some odd reason," as you say, the U.S. media seem uninterested in reporting that a "declassified report by the US Department of Defense revealed the United States assisted Israel in developing a hydrogen bomb, a move which violated international laws."
      from: link to

      This was at least picked up by a couple of small U.S. websites, Counterpunch and Antiwar, as well as by a variety of foreign sources. But not by the U.S. MSM.

    • "They see the GOP obstructionists in league with Netanyahu as “extremists.” "

      Outrageous characterization. Shutting down Homeland Security, threatening to default on the national debt, exposing the grotesque global warming hoax, unfooled by the phony claims of evolution, establishing an independent foreign policy regarding Iran, exhaustive birth certificate scholarship, and acting as faithful vagina cops are symptoms of extremism? Hmm...

    • The Obama admin cant lift sanctions on Iran due to Israel's influence there, and the Obama admin cant prevent a foreign govt official from co-opting Congress either. Obviously, the Obama admin is NOT in charge of US foreign policy so why negotiate with it?

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • As always Robert Fisk nails it: “The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one: Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America – with the same confidence that he can support his army when they slaughter hundreds of children in Gaza” by Robert Fisk – link to

    • Netanyahu has show what a trouble maker he can be. He is playing one party against the other, gives Boehner/GOP the opportunity to stick it to President Obama, and dictating terms to the US and other 5 nations that are desperately trying to negotiate an agreement. This is typical Netanyahu, arrogant, deaf to voices of reason from Israel and the US, and hell bent on being the usual drama queen. After his cartoon bomb comedy, one would think he would think twice before making such a spectacle of himself, and he is appearing to be more and more unhinged. At least if the Israeli voters are able to see through his drama and games, and vote him out, it would be all worth it.

  • What does Iran think of Netanyahu's Interference in Talks? (7)
    • Iran is fully aware that Netanyahu is trying to derail the talks, and that nothing agreed upon, will be accepted by Israel. Israel has not offered any alternative, it simply wants Iran leveled like they often do in Gaza. Netanyahu is threatened not by Iran's nuclear powers, but by the fact that Iran will be one of the biggest players in the region, and will exert some power over there. Bibi wants Israel to be the only superpower over there, controlling, threatening, interfering, and deciding exactly who should be labelled the bad guy.

  • 180 Frmr Israeli Security Officials to PM Netanyahu: Cancel US Speech, which pushes Iran toward Bomb (1)
    • It should be noted that the Labor Party and Hatenua Party leaders that are trying to unseat Netanyahu both have intelligence backgrounds.

      Isaac Herzog served in the IDF Unit 8200 - the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency.

      Tzipi Livni spent several years as a Mossad employee.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • Now I see that Israel is conducting massive military exercises on the West Bank. Bibi will do anything to ratchet up the tensions as he gets closer to the elections. Say what you want about Bibi, but he is a genius at the politics of keeping his job in Israel.

    • As always Robert Fisk nails it: "The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one: Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America – with the same confidence that he can support his army when they slaughter hundreds of children in Gaza" by Robert Fisk - link to

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Look, it is Israel that ascertained their right and fought

      ISIS ascertained their right and fought. Do you agree they too have ascertained their right to whatever they conquer?

  • Israel to demolish homes of dozens of Bedouins in Abu Dis (2)
    • I agree with Jay L above - how can they keep getting away with it! It seems the Palestinians have no friends except people like us who can do nothing but try to respond to disinformation on other sites, and support BDS.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Regarding the point that you bring out about Arab countries not recognizing the right of Israel to exist, I would like to remind you that there is an Arab Initiative on the table ( at least from the Arab side, since Israel has so far rejected it). This initiative includes a recognition of Israel by all Arab countries upon the establishment of the Palwstinian state on the 1967 borders. But Israel simply does not want peace ( at least not at this time). They believe that as long as they have the unconditional backing of the US ( it is more like Israeli control of US middle eastern policy rather than US backing), then they are untouchable. Eventually, sooner or later, the balance of power will change and it might be too late then for the Israelis to sue for peace at the 1967 terms. You might very well be an admirer of the Israelis, but the question is: are you also an admirer of their treatment of the Palestinians?

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • This is an abusive relationship, which only serves religious fanatics hoping to escape death.

      End it, divert their aid to Detroit and recognize Palestine.
      Only then can we begin to live down the last 35 years of American Imperialism.

    • Another orchestrated distraction that keep's the world's eyes off Palestine for a few months. Netanyahu & Obama will eventually kiss and make-up - and we'll be on to the next ruse.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • No disagreement. Does another country or coalition of countries has the right to "deny" that right of existence (temporary as it may be). Back pedal to 1948 and what/who. Look, it is Israel that ascertained their right and fought... If others deny it, they will, Israel, I hope, will keep ascertaining it. Will it be "eternal", even long? Silly. Will they fight, defend? I hope so. I admire them.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • The real questions that Americans really should be asking are these (in my opinion):
      1- why is it that the first step any US presidential hopeful does is pledge allegiance to Israel? A foreign country breaking a host of international laws.
      2- what can't we acknowledge that the U.S. - Israel relationship is just one way: financial and military and political benefits to Israel and costs ( moral, political, financial, etc. for the US).
      3- what exactly does the US get in exchange?
      4- Israel led the U.S. to the Iraqi disaster ( where I spent 4 years as a DoD contractor) and now it wants to lead it to the Iranian catastrophe. It is intolerable that this is happening and that politicians are being bought or intimidated into submission and support to the destructive foreign policies of Israel.
      5- Opposing and criticizing Israel in Public might we be a career ending move for the first few who do it until the larger public becomes aware, but it is certainly a sacrifice worth making. The founding fathers risked life, limb, and property to establish a a just and free country. Today, the U.S. is not just in its support of what itself recognize as the illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories and it is certainly not free from the undue influence of the Israeli lobby. It is impossible to imagine the head of any other foreign country doing what Netinyahu is doing and getting away with it.
      6- the most powerful country in the world is being abused like a Taliban wife by Israel through the treasonous behavior of AIPAC. This needs to stop.

  • Maz Jobrani: I'm not a Terrorist but I've played one on TV (Interview) (1)
  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Jane: England plundered the resources of their colonies, now Israeli empire is on the same path to loot everything from its colony & prison, west bank & Gaza strip. No constitution, no restrain on looting.

      I may add, the countries those spread democracy by the barrel of guns & Bombs, keeping their mouth shut on Israeli crimes.

    • The main reason Israel did not implement a constitution is because of its expansionist aspirations and its aims of religious exclusivity/purity. A constitution would have necessitated delineation of borders, which Israel was not prepared to do because they planned all along to capture more territory from the indigenous population. A constitution enshrining democracy would have also required language comparable to contemporary democracies, which legally committed to equality under the law. This philosophy is fundamentally antithetical to Israel’s foundation, which is based on privileging Jews, legally, socially, economically and existentially. Granting equal rights to the non-Jewish natives of the land would have severely limited their ability to ethnically cleanse the land of non-Jews, which has been an ongoing campaign since the establishment of Israel, which immediately expelled approximately 80% of the indigenous inhabitants.

      Israel is an apartheid state. Apartheid South Africa always claimed to be the only real democracy in their part of the world, too.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • As long as a majority of US politicians submit to the dictates of the Israel lobby, Netanyahu or any other Israeli leader can get away with anything - up to and including murder.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • Perhaps they are helping their friends in Big Ag: "Corporate interests behind Ukraine putsch: Behind the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Ukraine are the economic interests of giant corporations – from Cargill to Chevron – which see the country as a potential “gold mine” of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation," reports JP Sottile. - link to

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • This is what happened on a planet in another ST episode, where to reduce their population the inhabitants were even willing to infect themselves with a fatal disease. Unfortunately, this is neither a humane nor an effective solution.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • I think, over time, there will be “natural” trading blocs

      Sir James Goldsmith, an Anglo-French businessman, suggested something similar in the 1980s or early 1990s arranging the world in a small number of economic zones.

  • Israel to demolish homes of dozens of Bedouins in Abu Dis (2)
    • Why does the U.S. idly sit by and let Israel continue to raze, bulldoze and construct settlements for Jews on Palestinian property? This is so criminal.
      Somebody please tell!

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • I have no idea what the long-term solution is, or even if one exists. As Malthus would say, the land and water in Israel/Palestine is severely limited, but the potential for population growth is not. Neither side wants to reduce its population for fear of being outnumbered by the other so the crises gets ever deeper.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • B2 bombers are not as "stealthy" as everyone assumes. In fact the Russians, Chinese and very probably the Iranians can "see" them fairly well. Then there is the problem that the B2 non-nuclear bomb load is not all that large. I think the B52 is the only bomber with the lift capacity for a MOAB, which is the only thing that might do a little damage to the Iranian nuclear sites (but not destroy them).

      Israel does not have any non-nuclear Jericho missiles, so they would be triggering their own annihilation.

      The bottom line neither the USA nor Israel has the non-nuclear firepower to do anything more than make Iranians very angry and if either the USA or Israel uses nukes, all bets are off and most of us will have the fun choice of:

      - dying of radiation poisoning (nuclear blast debris reaches the US west coast about 5 - 7 days after the blast in Iran making all the food grown in the US west and quickly the Midwest inedible).

      - dying of starvation (what will you eat?)

      - dying by freezing in nuclear winter.

      All "fun" choices.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • I find this article very patronizing. For example, this description of Iranian intellectuals:
      “...but one on one they are also level-headed and clear-eyed.” There is something very paternalistic and arrogant in that statement, even as a stand-alone; but particularly juxtaposed to "the searing honesty and high ethics of the Israeli thinkers [hanging out in Tel Aviv’s cafes]."

      More importantly, the whole "better-than" approach to the subject is too simplistic and a bit sophomoric, which surprises me because I usually find more nuance and thought in Juan Cole’s pieces.

      Further, the two countries are not comparable. Iranian society is ancient, complex, and developed organically over thousands of years. Israel is an ongoing neo-colonial project less than 70 years old that was formed artificially by the UN to atone for western sins at the miserable expense of the Palestinians, who are the indigenous people of that land. Of course Iran has social problems, as all nations do, and some of them are profound. But the oversimplification of that nation into these infantile bullet points, which seem to somehow come with a disclaimer or qualifier of relativism to Israel, is intellectually lethargic.

      Forget about Israel for a moment, Iran has highest female to male student ratio in the world among sovereign nations. Approximately 70% of Iran's university students and 43% of its salaried workers were women. As early as 2007, 70% of Iran's science and engineering students are women, which far exceeds that of the United States. Government ministers are 27% female, as are 60% of Iran’s judges. Just because countries are not aligned with the west does not put them in the backward categories that necessitate the kind of stooping but-they-do-have-some-good-points essays.

    • Israel may have no written constitution but neither does England and it has gone along happily without one for well over a thousand years.

    • Zionism did indeed reflect 19th century nationalism in a lot of respects, but it was also a response to one aspect of it, namely the pseudo-scientific racial theorizing which rejected any notion of Jewish assimilation. Too bad that Revisionist Zionism--of which Bibi's Likud is the latest incarnation--has virtually mirror-imaged that very same racism which emerged in Central and Eastern Europe a century and a half ago.

  • 5 Things Benjamin Netanyahu Won't Tell Congress (2)
  • Some U.S. leaders to refuse meeting with Israeli PM during Washington trip (1)
  • 5 Things Benjamin Netanyahu Won't Tell Congress (2)
  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • There really must come a time when public officials start to ask the question that is just begging to be asked: is Netanyahu's mind actually coming unhinged?

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • The State of Israel is one of the few democracies in the world with NO constitution.

      There is a reason for this.

      At the time of its creation, religious parties within Israel wanted the new country to have an expressly religious foundation, however secular Israelis opposed this - so no constitution has ever been adopted - and essential governmental institutions, such as the Israeli Supreme Court, exist at the pleasure of the Knesset.

      The "Basic Law" passed by the Knesset early in Israel's history established the organization and operation of the Israeli governmental structure and exists to this day.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • Several points:

      (1) Meir Dagan has, in the past, opposed any military action taken against Iran's nuclear program;

      (2) he served as Mossad director during the development of the Stuxnet computer virus - believed to be a joint U.S.-Israel intelligence operation - that targeted the enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran and was subject to intense debate about its ultimate effectiveness in thwarting Iran's ability to produce weapons-grade uranium material;

      (3) Dagan believes that PM Netanyahu's defiance and antagonism toward the Obama administration may endanger the "umbrella veto" power Israel benefits from U.S. presence on the United Nations Security Council;

      (4) there has long been sentiment within the Israeli intelligence leadership to enter final status negotiations with the Palestinians and achieve a just peace - "The Gatekeepers", an Oscar-nominated documentary, interviewing the five living Shin Bet former directors, indicated that the peace process is being "murdered" for political motives.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • I don't get why the neocons would want to antagonize Russia (or any other non-Islamic power, for that matter).

    • If the United States were to bomb Iran (or any other country with powerful air defenses) wouldn't it be using B-2 stealth bombers rather than B-52s?

      Israel doesn't have stealth bombers of course, but it could resort to its Jericho ballistic missiles.

    • It is not that technically hard to build and operate an alternative to the SWIFT network (all financial transactions these days are electronic) and replace the US Dollar with a basket of currencies. Once that happens, the US loses most of their economic power and becomes just another country.

      China wants to decrease the ability of the USA to control the world economy and the USA is currently giving China all the ammunition it needs to make that happen.

      Note that China does NOT want to take over the world. They tried that in the past and are all too aware of the massive downsides to that. China just wants a playing field that is slightly tipped in their favor.

      One of the benefits of 5000 years of history is China has tried and failed at a lot of things and has somewhat learned from their past.

      I think, over time, there will be "natural" trading blocs

      - Europe (although Germany appears to be trying to tear that apart)

      - USA and Canada

      - Mexico and Latin America - they all have the same bad cultural problems that they either are incapable or unwilling to deal with.

      - Africa - many of the same post colonial cultural problems of Latin America.

      - China, Asia & Australia - The Aussies have finally figured out they are an Asian country not a European country.

      - The Mideast except Israel - They only have two resources - oil and human brains and need to develop the humans with the oil wealth.

      - Israel - In reality, Israel provides very little the world can't get someplace else for lower cost and usually higher quality. Israel is not self sufficient in food and energy.

      Of all the blocs, Asia, Europe and the USA will be roughly equal and if the Americans can control their egos, all the blocs can do well.

      IF (big IF) the Israelis were smart, they would give up lots of land, water, cash for compensation and apologies to the Arabs and start to get along with their neighbors. There is a very good economic fit between the intellectually rich Israel and Iran, the low cost workers of Jordan, Egypt and most of Saudi Arabia and the investment wealth of the Saudis and Iranians. If the Israelis could get over their egos and work with the Arabs and Persians, they could form a vary viable economic bloc. But emotionally, the Israelis can't do that, so they will be the (definitely ) odd country out.

    • @rtbl - I hope the USA will not totally collapse, but agree with Lincoln that if it does, it will be due to internal decay, not external aggression.

      The biggest problem Americans have is a hugely overinflated ego, which is not sustainable. The next path of the USA will be determined by what Americans do when their egos get deflated. Will they strike out in fury (something many empires have initially done) or will they gracefully accept that they are not kings of the world? If Americans can manage the deflation, the USA will do well.

      In some ways human emotions are tied very directly to how nations rise and fall. The many failings of humans over the last 10000 years are very well documented, yet we humans still make all the same ridiculous mistakes. BTW - I find it ironic that some of the best documentation of human failings due to emotions are found in "religious" texts that humans pretend to revere, yet mostly ignore.

      As for Israel, the Israelis appear to be both extremely egotistical and very delusional, a very bad combination. Israel has very limited resources and will eventually lose the blank check from the USA. When Israel no longer has a sugar daddy, its debt will increase overnight impoverishing the nation. As for Israel being punished, there are many examples throughout history where nations have acted emotionally instead of rationally (the end of WW1 is a fine example which we tried to avoid at the end of WW2).

      I do not think we can separate human emotion, egos and basic behavior from the flow of history. Humans mostly act irrationally.

  • Massive win for Internet Liberty as FCC Mandates Equal Access for All (2)
    • Some things to keep in mind . . .

      - Every nation on earth uses the same exact broadband technology and pays almost the same wholesale price for the technology, USA networks just make much more profit with it.

      - Several hundred feet of twisted pair and coax both support over 100 MBPS, so it is not necessary to put fibre in every home and business, just get the fibre close enough.

      - Fibre terminal ports cost less than US$50 each, one time cost. That is, after the first month of a typical USA network bill the port is paid for.

      - The coax and twisted pair that goes into over 95% of all homes and businesses has been paid for. In some case as much as 100 years ago.

      - The modem devices in the homes cost less than US$15 on the global wholesale market - they consist of a very inexpensive ARM computer running free open source software and a few inexpensive broadband protocol chips.

      - The extensive twisted pair and coax distribution networks built over the last 150 years have been replaced by fibre terminal distribution networks because the fibre networks lower maintenance costs so much, they pay for the "upgrade" within three years. The telcos and cable companies replaced their old distribution networks, not to "improve service" (which it did), but to vastly increase their profits by inflating the cost of replacement and ignoring the huge savings.

      - Over 90% of the fibre/coax/twisted-pair networks installed before 2010 in the US have been completely paid for, at least once but in most cases, two or three times over.

      - The actual cost to provide broadband service in the USA is less than US$5/month (including the CEO jet usage).

      - Most other countries have separated transport from content providing and require the transport networks to lease the network segments at wholesale prices with a low guaranteed profit to any content provider. This competition for the transport service has yielded very low cost and high speed broadband. In the USA, this woudl mean Comcast and ATT could either provide transport to all vendors or provide content using other's transport network but could NOT do both. Shareholders do not like transport because the profit potential is fixed at about 5% (but is guaranteed).

      The bottom line is the USA political process and ideology is causing Americans to pay far, far too much for really , really bad service. This is another case where "socialism" really is better than the mess Americans have.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto (13)
    • On the next Security Council vote of any significance to Israel the UN delegate for the United States should be absent. A cold, a lengthy phone call, a sick parrot.........just absent. No statement by an anonymous official. Just no US veto.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • It is true that all citizens of Iran can vote but for some reason he omits the fact that it's minorities fare far more badly than those in Israel. Granted, there are certain disablilities to any minority, but they have redress to the court system, and often enough what is percieved as an inequality, is redressed.

      In Iran there is an Arab speaking minority that is, however treated very badly, and a while ago, an Arab-Iranian poet, an activist in that country for positive bilateral community relationships was charged with sedition and sentenced to death. As well, perceived violations on Islam are punished by imprisonment, and in some cases by death. Then too, it ain't easy to be a Bahai, or a Christian in that country either.

      The bottom line is whatever their nuclear policy is, their treatment of the "other" as it pertains to those who are not Moslem, or Iranian is severely lacking. Israel, may not be perfect, but it is far more liberal and accepting of "others" than Iran, and, indeed, in some ways more liberal than in some localities in the States, considering the militarization of some police forces that seems to be the trend in many places.

    • Well said.

    • Not after the peace treaty. Not even a square inch.
      And before that, that was the only way we could bargain to free our invaded lands.

    • It was a U.S. scientist, Edward Teller, who had close contacts with Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion, and advised Israeli leaders NEVER to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      PM Ben-Gurion believed Israel's survival depended upon its possession of an atomic arsenal and was very impressed with the fact that the Manhattan Project had been heavily staffed by Jewish nuclear physicists.

      It was Teller who warned CIA official Carl Duckett in the 1960s that Israel was developing and on the verge of possessing a nuclear weapon.

    • 20% of Israel's citizens are nonJewish - Palestinians left in Israel proper after the 1948 Nakhba. They are treated as second class. This extensive discrimination has been affirmed by major US Jewish organizations as government policy - in housing, education, health care, jobs, where one is allowed to live. In addition some of the Jewish extremists in the government and elsewhere keep calling for expulsion of Palestinians, certainly an ongoing and real threat. So while the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank are treated miserably as Juan says, within Israel proper there is also Apartheid, or Jim Crow, at work.

  • The "Christian State" of Idaho? (7)
    • Idaho is one quarter Mormon and one fifth Catholic.

      Mormons think they are Christians. Christians think otherwise. This should be entertaining.

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • Thanks for that, Juan. Nimoy was much more than his parts.

      Met him at Seatown book signing once, even gave him my book/movie writeup on collapse of Soviet Empire. Cool and distant guy- think Spock soaked into his soul. Did only one known role but became most famous actor in the world!

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
  • Israeli Blockade could cause Gaza Reconstruction to Take Over a Century (2)
  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • "a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state"

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

  • Gaza: How the Struggle for Natural Gas drives the Wars (1)
  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Prof. Cole: I have been following your writings for as long as I've had internet access because I spent 10 years as a university professor teaching students most of whom were Palestinians . Your latest post is, of course, edifying but your reference to Spinoza really grabbed me. I stumbled upon him in my teens and read him with relish.

    • Perhaps Obama should invite Khameini to address the US Congress.
      We live in truly interesting times.

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • I love Leonard Nimoy. Star Trek is my favorite TV series ever. I'm grateful that he had addressed this supremely divisive issue, & all sane people share his desire for peace & justice for all Israelis and Palestinians.

      Having said that, I must say Nimoy's take on it is the same old 'each side is equally to blame, & this has gone on for thousands of years' argument. We know, of course, this is not the case. The (mostly) Brown indigenous Arab & Jewish Palestinians got along together just fine for hundreds of years, until the White Jewish Europeans terrorists began demanding (around the 1920s & 30s) the land for themselves & killing those who resisted (sound familiar, Americans?). Thus, the ‘state’ (if you can call a ‘country’ that which has never defined its borders) of Israel ended up being founded upon acts of terrorism.

      In the end, the indigenous Arab-Palestinians are (mostly) guilty of resisting an illegal & brutal occupation (and theft) of their land, which even the UN has recognized as a universal right of all occupied peoples.

      And so, after all of the evil—Apartheid, torture (including of children), genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, land theft, & so on—Israel has spread in Palestinian lands (mostly fomented by those European immigrants & their descendants), I suspect the only viable resolution is now a One-State solution, which may well be called 'Palestine'. This is one of the ways that Israel can make penitence for those aforementioned crimes.

      If Israel & its supporters are unhappy with that eventuality, they've no one to blame but themselves. If they'd adopted Nimoy's attitude back in 1947, the whole situation may have been a 'completely different movie' by now. Peace will come, & come soon, but not at the expense of justice for the indigoes Palestinians. I think Nimoy will be pleased when that day arrives.

  • Scott Walker compares unions to ISIS (4)
  • ISIL/ Daesh wiping out Iraq's Religious Minorities (1)
  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • > let the victors enjoy the fruits of their victory in peace

      He was clearly for the two state solution though which requires israel to give back control of palestinian land to the palestinians.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • Wouldn't it be funny if global free trade, so painstakingly built by FDR and Truman to replace the catastrophic tariff regime of the 1920s that spread Wall Street's crash worldwide, and then co-opted and manipulated by Wall Street's outsourcing and financial chicanery, were to collapse due to the sheer number of economic sanctions that helpless Great Powers are now imposing on each other?

      Think about it. The Great Depression broke up the world into 3 main trade blocs: the British & French empires + vassals, and the US hegemony, leaving Germany & Japan in catastrophic isolation. You know where that led.

      Now, the US whores out its foreign policy to the needs of Israel and Saudi Arabia, while trying to use NATO to encircle Russia, which is finding many disgruntled authoritarian regimes to ally with in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But the latter is moving quickly to strengthen links with the rest of the BRICs, thus getting trade entry into a suddenly vibrant Africa and South America.

      No wonder the US wants more corrupt free trade pacts; we're trying to build a firewall around a part of the world, and call that "free trade". If Iran is promoted from observer status to full member of the SCO, that means China is ready to let the blocs form, because I assure you the trade wars will escalate. Our bloc will look like a retirement home for the senile rich.

    • Or, "don't bleed a mark who's already bleeding himself with military bases in 130 countries, and abandoning the general welfare to serve the disloyal, outsourcing corporate elite."

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • The Israeli trend line doesn't look good. If you build any state on a religious test, the religious will demand more and more - meaning the secular will be able to vote and speak less and less.

    • To add to spyguy's comments, the neocon-backed Hariri regime was accused of being a front for Saudi Arabia, which poured money to the Hariris & the Sunni business elite they represented (a small % of the country) to turn Lebanon into a corporate whorehouse at the expense of the mostly-Shia poor. Yes, Hariri was a neocon and a neoliberal at the same time, the worst of all worlds combo of Saudi bigotry and Wall Street dogma.

      After Hezbollah forcefully reminded everyone that the Shia have the numbers, Saudi Arabia began fomenting radical anti-Shia hatred and backing jihadis who were co-opting pro-democracy uprisings thruout the Arab world.

      Saudi Arabia is at war with Shiites and the poor. You can't fight this awesome oligarchic tyranny by Marquis of Queensbury rules. And Hezbollah is a far saner and less corrupt regime than what is now being imposed on the Arab world by rich oil sheikhs. I only wish Hezbollah had ruled Syria instead of Assad Jr. and his idiot army; they would have bargained with the disaffected Sunnis instead of attempting extermination and we wouldn't face a potential pan-regional war.

  • Scott Walker compares unions to ISIS (4)
    • How to divide the working class and drive down wages forever: teach white private-sector workers to hate all workers who still have strong unions (govt employees, teachers) or are trying to form unions to get living wages (Latinos organizing in minimum-wage hell).

      ISIS = union = Mexican, is the intended myth.

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
  • Massive win for Internet Liberty as FCC Mandates Equal Access for All (2)
    • Since the Right will not stop fighting the FCC, it is important to keep the focus on Net Neutrality. Each side in this fight complains that the other side wants to change the status quo and ruin a successful new system. Our side says that neutrality is the norm, their side says that nonregulation is the norm. The latter is much easier to sell as an ideological taboo because it fits the entire right-wing narrative.

      If you can't convince conservative friends that neutrality is the thing that made the Net successful, then point out something their billionaire tribal leaders won't. Genuinely independent right-wing media will also be crushed by fast lanes. These guys claim to not be shills for the Wall Street agenda; what happens to their anti-Mexican conspiracy sites, anti-Federal Reserve sites, 9-11 sites, even white supremacist sites, when they get slowed to make way for more Fox News?

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • It also sounds like all of America's "moderate" racists, saying that the massive inequality in conditions between blacks and whites can't be accounted for because we must stop blaming past events (that all make whites look bad). So we will now just be a libertarian free market society with the blacks accepting that they will "start" this Monopoly game with no cash and many of their men in jail.

  • Israeli Blockade could cause Gaza Reconstruction to Take Over a Century (2)
  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine (12)
    • The link to his entire letter didn't work for me; I haven't read it and accordingly won't comment on Mr. Nimoy's views based on the brief excerpt quoted above. But I was struck by part of that excerpt. The part that says, ". . . the time for recriminations is over. Assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. . . ." It reminded me of statements I've often read, statements from supporters of Israel, who say, in effect, "the Arabs [they don't say 'Palestinians'] need to get over the past, let it go, assigning blame is self-defeating." In other words, let the victors enjoy the fruits of their victory in peace, forget about the past, move on, nothing to see here.

    • Prof Cole will your biography be completed? Just read. So impressive. Can't remember exactly when I started reading although do know it was months before the invasion. Reading what you, former IAEA weapons inspector Scott Ritter, several former middle east CIA analyst and head of the IAEA El Baradei, DR. Zbig etc had to say before the invasion had me convinced that the Office of Special Plans WMD intelligence was to be seriously in question. Had many of us lobbying our Reps, protesting and being arrested trying to stop the invasion from happening. To think that 30 million marched against around the world with no successful outcome at all, Disastrous results...that invasion...extremely destructive and sad. To say the least.

    • “The story was a myth, of course, and by invoking it I don’t mean to belittle the very real issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. What I do mean to suggest is that the time for recriminations is over. Assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. Myth can be a snare. The two sides need our help to evade the snare and search for a way to compromise.

    • Was a trekkie for about three years in late 60's Loved the character Spock. Nimoy always seemed like a decent person. What a great thing he had to say late in the game but he said it. Although from what you posted that he wrote he was not willing to go another mile and state that Israel needs to stop building illegal settlements in West Bank and illegal housing in E Jerusalem. Not willing to call the Israel's out on their crimes against Palestinians. Great that he said something but part of the better late than never crowd. May he rest in peace and become part of universal star dust.

      I think President Obama is the real life Spock.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • To get Iran Visa is not difficult, just the process is very lengthy.

      You have to have a ground tour operator in Iran & here in the US also. They have to make an itinerary of the places that you will be visiting in Iran. He will initiate visa process in Tehran at the ministry of foreign affairs. Ministry takes about six to eight weeks. The ministry issues visa number for you with your American passport number, the one you will be using for travel.

      Once the Visa number is issued, I got the Visa for my clients same day the Iranian interest section received passports, (with urgent fee) at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, DC.

      (In Tehran Swiss Embassy has US interest section for Iranians to get visa)

      Once you are in Iran, you cannot deviate from your itinerary. Your guide has to be with you all the time.

      Iranians love Americans to show their hospitality. They welcome Americans with open arms, smiles & heart. (Do not listen to the negative propaganda) Once you have visited Iran many falls myths disappear.

    • No country has a "right to exist."

      It is generally agreed that individual humans have a "right to exist," but that does NOT extend to whatever groupings they choose to form at any particular point in time.

      Political boundaries (AKA countries) simply exist until they do not. Over the last 10000 years thousands of political entities have come and gone. The current 200 or so "countries" are just convenient lines drawn on maps, often by distant empires and are subject to change all the time.

      Israel has no more "right to exist" than any other country on earth. Does the USA have a "right to exist?" NO. Israel and the USA will simply exist until some day they are replaced by different lines drawn on the land.

      Note also that the rhetoric about "wipe them out" is NOT about killing all Jews on earth nor even just the Jews in Palestine but actually applies to removing invaders from their land.

      Many Arabs view Israel as just another European crusader invasion , but with Jews this time instead of Christians. This situation started with an invasion, not as a religious war.

      BTW - human behavior over the last 10000 years shows that you either learn to get along with your neighbors or they eventually remove the irritant. If Israel does not learn to get along with their neighbors, they will be removed. Nothing to do with religion, just basic bad neighbor removal.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • As I am sure Mr. Cole knows, the late Lt. Gen. William Odom (former NSA director), who publicized his opinion of the folly of attacking Iraq at every opportunity, also said this about Iran and nuclear weapons: "You want nukes, have them. You live in a bad neighborhood.’ There’s no single diplomatic move that would so revolutionize our position up there." (From a speech at Brown Univ. in 2006)

      He also felt we could have a rapprochement with Iran if we just took the diplomatic effort. That doesn't mean everyone loves each other; but it means they aren't at war or threatening war every day; they can have commerce and talk to each other about disagreements.

      I wish I could hear a single voice like his in the power structure today.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • If you actually look at the political "law" in Lebanon, you will discover that the French empire, like the British empire, heavily skewed the rules to allow the Christian minority more power than the Muslim majority. In a fair distribution of power, the Muslims would control Lebanon. Even under the current skewed power structure, Hezbollah is actually a significant part of the government.

      If the USA had not been extremely biased against majority Muslim rule, it would have supported Hezbollah instead of Iran providing the support.

      Although the USA talks a great deal about "majority rule," it has consistently supported "minority rule," often by brutal means, by the governments put in place by the previous empires. That is, the USA has just the old empires of the British, French, Spanish, etc. with a newer USA empire.

      The USA should not be picking "winners" but should let the locals sort out their power structures and then work with whoever ends up being the leader. The USA does not like the power structure of China, but due to the size and power of China the USA is forced to deal with the Chinese government. The USA should do the same for every other country on earth.

      The bottom line is Iran is meddling in Lebanon a whole lot less than the USA has meddled in both Lebanon and the rest of the world.

    • Iran signed and ratified Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty...the OPCW. Israel has signed but not ratified.

    • As well as refusing to sign the NPT, Israel is also one of the handful of countries who have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. Unlike Iran or even Syria.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • This comment is different from most of yours. You usually keep a distance of some kind. But this makes the rise and fall of nations seem like a subjective undertaking. Israel getting punished. Israelis in poverty. ETC. History moves against people's will or despite it. The US is a wounded empire now. It's overstepped its bounds and countries and people have pushed back. So has Israel. But you make it sound like you and I can sit around and wait for both of them to collapse. That's not going to happen.

    • While the USA might replace some of the aircraft, the USA itself does not have all that many "spare" aircraft due to the extremely high cost of modern aircraft. Note also there is a limit to how much money Americans will spend on non-Americans and once Israel hits that emotional point, the money machine will stop overnight. This is the danger that Israelis face - sudden poverty. Whiel right now Americans have been willing to fund the "wild child," there will be a point whre Americnas stop - count on it. Remember that over the last 200+ years, the USA has screwed over each and every "strategic partner" they have ever had and Israel will eventually suffer the same fact, only more so.

      For example, right now the republican governors are cutting every service the state provide including education to cut taxes for the wealthy. But society needs those services and eventually those republican governors are going to be severely punished. Israel has been bleeding USA wealth for decades and one of these days, they will be punished. I don't know how quickly that will happen, but it will happen not too long from now.

      The lesson all grifters learn very quickly is don't bleed the mark too quickly. Israelis have never learned that lesson.

    • Yes, the congress critters are bought and paid for, BUT . . . they still need to get elected and over time, as the US demographics shift due to conservatives and Israeli supporters dying off (2000/week currently), Israel will lose support. I suspect that like many other issues, there will be a sharp break point where the shift will appear to happen overnight and will surprise and shock Israelis. Once the break point is reached, there will be no going back. Bibi is just ensuring that break point occurs sooner than later.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Would anyone care to speculate on what Iran might have become if Mossadeq had not been overthrown by the Anglo-American coup in 1953? Less theocratic and more democratic seem to be reasonable possibilities.

  • Why Netanyahu's Congress Speech will Fail: Iran Can't be Stopped, only Monitored (38)
    • Mr Tedesky I share your worries , wont extend on them because it is of common knowledge. But I´d like to put into your consideration the fact that Argentina is one of those capable of building a bomb, and after the murder of Public Prosecutor Mr Nisman , investigator of the two explosions which leveled the Jewish embassy and the AMIA ( a mutual service organization ) and that have gone unpunished for some twenty years is rather of public knowledge in the country , that at the behest of Venezuela´s Chavez Mrs Kirchner government drew some kind of nuclear cooperation with Iran . Explaining this with more detail would take too much space , and I believe you able of finding it out by yourself

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • ">Tehran did not try to take and hold Iraqi territory in revenge.

      Didn't iran counter attack and seize parts of southern iraq"

      Was that a deliberate or mistaken statement on your part? You omit the first part of the quote. Mr. Cole says "But after the hostilities ended, Tehran did not try to take and hold Iraqi territory in revenge". That is inarguable. But by omitting the first part of the quote you make it look like Mr. Cole was saying something incorrect.

      Yes, Iran counter-attacked and seized some small parts of Iraq, but no, they did not try to hold on to those areas, post-conflict.

      Not that Iran has been a model of adherence to international norms, of course. The last 35 years are a consequence of their seizure of the American embassy and their personnel.

  • The "Christian State" of Idaho? (7)
    • Something like this is what you are bound to get if you carry on with this sort of intolerance link to

    • To me branding anything after a particular religion is as damaging and brutal as ISIS politics towards christians . budists , chaldean and any other religion .
      Why force your particular brand of religion into the discussion , while it still is part of the private sphere of life , before it´s stewed together with politics ?

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel (41)
    • Iran lost almost half of its population of some 15 million in the years between 1916 and 1919 to famine and disease because of plundering of its resources by the occupying British and Russian forces. During the WWI Iran was an officially declared neutral country. Watch
      link to

    • Iran did occupy small parts of southern Iraq at the final stages of the war but relinquished all occupied territories immediately after cessation of hostilities. How about Israel ? Do I need to answer this question?

    • Well put...pretty good assessment ..however Israel is far and wide freeer as far as gay rights ..freedom of speech ..and political action...also you are deluding yourself on irans desire for nuclear bombs...

    • During the course of the war both countries conducted offensives against the opposing armies and seized territory beyond their original borders, but when the war was settled the original border was ultimately restored. This is obviously what Prof. Cole meant.

    • I meant to add that the USA aided ad abetted the Hussein side of the Iraq/Iran war. Please add this to the apologize and fix.

    • What about Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, undermining the rule of law in Lebanon, getting in the way of electing a Lebanese president, and sending combatants to the Lebanese border with Syria and into Syria under the pretext of fighting off Daesh attempts at invading Lebanese territory? Isn't all this aided, financed, and abetted by the Iranian regime? that said, I appreciate very much your well reasoned attempt at even-handedness.

    • Your paragraph about the start of the many wars is entirely accurate; I question your definition and intent when you write, “if you define it as who fired the first shot”. Israel did fire such and was the “aggressor”. It is disingenuous because attack on multiple fronts by superior forces was imminent; Israel fragmented enemy plans and, in most cases, did neutralize/delay some countries, particularly Syria.
      The freedom of discourse in Israel is unmatched; that alone cancels many other points. There is extremism, as silly and offensive as extremism anywhere. A Key, very important, impossible to ignore point is that many Arab countries deny the right of Israel to exist. Moreover, it does exist; follow this to “it must be wiped out”.
      Iran is not full of howling maniacs, many Iranians are extremely civilized, many civilized Iranians are exiles; they have their own problems as to race (Persian/Arab) and of course, in terms of extremism elsewhere, Caucasian is Iranian. We (USA) have a lot of responsibility for the Shah; the “revolution” and whatever extremism resulted. Go apologize and fix.

    • I would love to visit Iran, except the Israeli stamps in my passport prevent me from getting inside. I have a second American passport, but even then it's not simple for Americans to enter the country. I hope that reality changes soon.

    • When are the alleged liberals like Rachel Maddow, Ed, Al Sharpton, Chris Hayes etc going to have you on their programs? Did the fact that the Bush administration came after you for your stance against the invasion (before the invasion) intimidate these talking heads? Why not have you on? At least Melissa Harris Perry has made a breakthrough by having Hillary Mann Leverett on I think at least four times since this summer to discuss the situation with Iran and other middle east issues.