Recent Comments

  • A Way out of the Gaza Trap (1)
    • The author is mostly right about the causes of the situation. He left out the other Sharon motive for the Gaza withdrawal, namely Sharon making the grand move to present a situation where he could avoid indictment for bribery. Nonetheless, the prescription is wrong. The two state solution is dead; killed by the West Bank colonization project. Americans of the North and South and blacks and whites in theAmerican South eventually learned to livetogether

  • Gulliver and the Lilliputians: It's America's Small Wars that are Unwinnable (2)
    • Being able to conduct all these full-scale wars since WWII and on countries that had not attacked the U.S.A. will eventually and finally wear out the US population and definitely turn it against all future wars abroad, even after gruesome beheadings. How can we know that the beheader was muslim and doing it for the Islam cause instead of the US military complex cause? It could be another Pearl Harbor case... Repetitions of modi vivendi make them obvious if not predictable before the fact.

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces (8)
    • this should not be a surprise.

    • Surprise? All during the US occupation of Iraq, the Badr brigades (heavily backed by Iran) tacitly backed the Americans, and now just a day or two after Iran was excluded from ISIL talks, Badr is coming out opposed to US interference and opposed to Iranian exclusion.

      On the other hand, I'm surprised it took the Mahdi army this long to express their opposition to US interference.

      The US is using the new civil war in Iraq as an opportunity to expand US military influence in the region. Unless the US can mollify the Iraqi militias, what choices will the US have? Much of that comes down to al-Abadi's government.

      I'm assuming al-Abadi is receiving a lot of pressure from the US to give legitimacy to US involvement. I'm assuming the US is using the carrot of money and military success with the stick of instability and lack of money. If he attempts to say no to the US, though, the US has few recourses to force him to comply. Unless the US has been grooming Iraqi military officers its unlikely they could mount a coup. Would the US encourage Kurdish independence? No, that would lead to a split with important ally Turkey. What about funding a Shiite militia to oppose al-Abadi? I do not know of any militia the US could hope subvert is such a way. What about a Sunni militia, ex the Awakening militias? Possible, but they'd be nothing but spoilers, along the lines of the Nicaraguan contras, with no hope of seizing power. So really, al-Abadi, is currently in a powerful negotiating position with respect to American involvement.

      Given that al-Abadi is in a powerful situation vis-a-vis the Americans, the only question is what kind of danger does he face from the militias? Historically, the Mahdi militia is the only militia that actively opposed US involvement. But it looks like now across the board militias are rejecting a new occupation, i.e. the so-called boots on the ground. Hence, as long as al-Abadi can hide the US face on the conflict, he can likely keep the militias from opposition. And he has a carrot, too. The militias have been getting good press from their successes against ISIL. By fighting alongside US special forces and air force they can continue to get good press.

      But long term, al-Abadi or any other Iraqi leader faces the usual danger of cooperating with American interests. The US is only fighting in Iraq because of oil. As much a possible they want their dependents to be in control of the oil. So, in Iraq, the Americans will seek to instigate government changes, subvert the Iraqi military and militias along the 20th century Latin American lines, and expand their military presence. It will become increasingly difficult for al-Abadi to hide the US face on the conflict. And the US really has no reason to resolve the conflict. At some point al-Abadi will either have to accept the US face and use authoritarian techniques to control the people, or he will have to oppose American involvement and face replacement.

      If I had to make a prediction, I believe the Obama admin can maintain the low profile required to stay involved. But come Spring of 2017, with the change of president the balance will be lost. By Spring 2018, Iraq will be run by an authoritarian.

    • We broke it, so we own it. That's why we broke it in the first place.

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

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • l'Espresso: "...because Isis fanatics are the perfect demonstration that our democracies are in mortal danger?"

      Julian Assange: "Our democracies are in mortal danger as a result of mass surveillance-enabled totalitarian government: one dominant power faction seizing nearly every significant form of economic and social interaction." link to espresso.repubblica.it

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces (8)
    • America will fight for the good of the people whether the people like it or not!
      I am guessing that the main tug of power (among the many tugs of power) is for the U.S. to prevent Iran from gaining greater "hegemony" in the Middle East---in addition to pushing ISIL back.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Another interesting Peter Lee comment: "The caliphate is a big deal, in my opinion, a big bad transnational deal with significant consequences throughout Asia, and something should be done."

  • Will Independence Harm Scotland's Green Advantage? (1)
  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces (8)
    • Most rebellions are against rather than for something. A meaningful element in this whole business is simple anti-Americanism, and I think that is what motivates many ex patriot volunteers. No one trusts the US, not even it's closest allies. Its track record is appalling.

      It's perfectly natural for neighbours to engage in competitive activities including armed ones. It was going on in Europe when I was a toddler, and still is although morphed into economic conflict. These conflicts are manifestations of the flux of ordinary social life and are better left to local resolution, your third paragraph confirms this. Much of the chaos in the ME is the direct result of US hegemonic aspirations, everybody knows that; leaders of the so called terrorists have frequently come out and said so quite openly, clearly and unequivocally. The IS announced exactly why it was going to execute the US and UK captives and what was required to abort the executions. Osama bin Laden frequently addressed similar messages to the US. The US pays no attention, it's as if those responsible cannot imagine anyone actually meaning what they say. The Australians decided, heaven knows why, to support the US against the IS and in direct consequence have just had to employ 800 police to arrest potential assassins planning to behead random Australians in Australia! link to theguardian.com. Is it any wonder Kerry cannot readily put together his coalition and has to content himself with ever shifting circumlocutory evasions.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Containment allows moderates to gain power over the right wing only with a DMZ and complete absence of external threats. But the US never ceases to hold threatening exercises near N Korea to rile them up. In fact the US right wing always makes provocations to reinforce the right wing of opposing states, which provides the rationale for its military budget.

  • Is Israel's Far-Right Government Inciting against the Israeli Left? (2)
  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces (8)
    • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

      Whatcha gonna do, you Beltway idiots? You ain't in any way ready to go to war against the who!e world! Too bad you paid so little attention to the lessons you were supposed to learn in kindergarten...

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Regarding one particularly urgent issue that is noble to do in addressing the atrocities of ISIL, Matthew Barber provides an excellent suggestion of freeing the thousands of enslaved Yazidi women and says it can be done in just one day if there is sufficient will in US decision makers to do so.

      link to joshualandis.com

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces (8)
    • I'm pretty sure we've all seen this tragi-comedy before. It has never ended well. Why should it be any different now? But, alas, election years make strange bed-fellows. Hopenchange's legacy will be merely that white males do not have a monopoly on idiocy and hubris. Shocking, I know.

    • If the military situation dangerously deteriorated in Iraq, with or without U.S. airpower, with IS seriously threatening Baghdad and other Shiite cities and towns especially to the south, and the Iranian army entered in very substantial numbers, effectively defended the Shiite cities and towns, and then began encroaching on Anbar and Mosul (Sunni areas), what might Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states do or threaten? Could hostilities break out between Iran and Riyadh? Could the oil fields in each place come under attack and the Gulf become an all-out war zone? Do I worry too much?

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • ... As Professor Cole implies you can politely ask one's opinion, but to expect or demand basically an apology is racist.and is a not too subtle attempt to assign collective guilt!

  • Coalition Of One: Iran Leads Own Fight Against Islamic State (1)
    • What baffles people like me is how the portrayal of the protagonists change as per the situation: Yesterday, this group were "sectarian Shia militias", but during the lifting of the siege of Ameril they became "Shia volunteers" in the news, even though it is obvious that their mentality, allegiances, and prejudices were the same before as they are now.

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
    • Juan, maybe the US wants the Kurdish control of Kirkuk instead of the Iranian backed regime.

      Seems much easier to gain a Forces agreement with a Kurdish government sympathetic to US. Kurds would agree to US military bases in Erbil and Kirkuk as well?

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • ...and the CinC/Emperor was down here at MacDill Joint Base today, just a quick turnaround visit, here at the home of SOCOM and where all the really cool SpecOps stuff gets run out of. He was "rallying the Troops," who gave in that air-conditioned huge hangar a thunderous response to Obama's promise that "we have the tools, we have the talent, It's Killer time!" and how there is no place for any of them ISISILIQ Terrarists to hide from the Righteous Wrath of the Great iAmerica!

      Has that dude ever been over the terrain, even looked at it from Google Earthspace, tried to understand how 4th Gen works and does definitely NOT for idiot Empires using vastly expensive weapons at the end of a huge, corrupt procurement/deployment/logistics pipelines to try to swat mosquitoes or little swarms of annoying rats? especially where the Empire's provisioners and spies are also handing out the weapons and training for asymmetric conflict (ooooh, ssshh, don't call it *war,* that might wake the idiot public that's paying for it) to "moderates" that only exist as either lesser gunmen who can't even hold on to their weapons, lose them or abandon them to REAL GUNMEN who know urban combat and are feeling damn successful at running their extortion and kidnapping and execution racket, or are adept at posing with a__holes like McCain, who appears to have taken on a hatred of the nation and military that failed to rescue or ransom his lily-white a__ when he managed to get himself shot down and captured all those years ago. When they put away their black flags and unwind those head covers, how you gonna even figure out who is who? or is it another Phoenix Program screw-up?

      And the Troops here in SOCOM City cheered at the smug lie that there won't be any US GI boots on the ground, whatever that now means -- maybe, undoubtedly, some of them will very shortly learn that "boots on the ground" WILL happen, and then that double meaning comes into play, like this: link to google.com

      Wrong tools, wrong mission, wrong tasks. You don't "defeat" or "degrade" or "destroy" a Flexible Horde like ISISILIQ with either dumb-_ss GIs kicking in doors, shooting up the landscape, Hellfire-ing to the Gates of Hell, or "surgical bombing," or propping up pseudo-democratic "leaders. And what is the image the Emperor has in his head of what the ME, and also the future of the planet, are supposed to look like? And what's in the secret warped heads of his advisers and general-grade officers and "diplomats" and spooks? Anything that us ordinary people would like to be living through, or under? Paying for, and ultimately dying for, like the "all of the above energy policy" and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, remember that? and now Wall Street has run up some $2 quadrillion in derivative bets, and their markers are all still payable by you, me, US, not them?

      Professor Cole probably has some very good notions of what actually OUGHT to be done. We can hope somebody will listen to him and other intelligent voices.

      So many slings, spears and arrows aimed at the hearts and guts of the ordinary people. So hard to even try to keep track of them all.

    • Bill notes that, ".....simplistic notions would have us believe."

      ".....Washington usually ratchets toward the macho and the simplistic.

      And where do these conceptual absurdities arise? In the unspoken and therefore untested assumption

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
    • Since the Persian Gulf War concluded in 1991, the Kurdish Regional Government had come into being (in 1992) and surprisingly, the Kurds have emerged as the region's most stable democracy and their militia, the Peshmerga, has become one of the most formidable armed forces in the Middle East.

      Remember the end of the Persian Gulf War when Kurds were waving "We Love Bush" placards and a no-fly zone was established in northern Iraq areas inhabited by Kurds. Since that time, the Kurdish people have flourished economically as the two main politically influential clans, the Talabanis and the Barzanis have learned to coexist in the government.

      Some voices, including Professor Daniel Pipes, have felt that an independent Kurdistan composed of the Kurdish-inhabited areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran would be a political boon to the Middle East. The Turkish government would benefit by losing an area that has traditionally been a thorn in its side, the Syrian government currently has engaged in little fighting with Kurds in northern Syria - who are largely autonomous already as in Iraq - and there are also benefits to Iran in ceding its northwestern Kurdish-dominated areas to a newly-minted Kurdish state.

      Israel would likely give diplomatic recognition to a new Kurdish state - there are 100,000 Kurdish Jews living in Jerusalem alone. Many Israeli observers have compared the historic persecution of Kurds to their own history as a religious minority and expressed support for the creation of an independent Kurdish nation.

      The Kurds have had a historically favorable relationship with the U.S. and the Central Intelligence Agency has had a sporadic but significant relationship with Kurdish elements for decades.

      The Kurds were never given their independent nation that had been contemplated by world powers following the conclusion of World War I. Now is the time to allow the Kurds to fulfill their people's dream of an independent Kurdistan.

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • Excellent article and point. Western Muslims are not obligated to speak out about ISIS or extremism anymore than Christians are to speak out about the Westboro Baptist Church. Yet, regularly conservative pundits and politicians ask--with a sense of incrimination--why Western Muslims are not speaking out. It is a bizarre attempt at trying to pigeon-hole Muslims as either "with us or against us." Muslims as a whole are not responsible for the actions of ISIS. Yet, despite this Muslims do speak out and scholars, laypeople, and religious leaders alike have condemned the group just like they did Bin Ladin, Al Qaeda, and the attacks on 911. They just don't get air time, or aren't as sensational as stories of beheadings.

      I think this article by Professor Cole really hits the nail on the head on this issue.

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
    • “I think in the end the land will belong to the forces that liberate it,” Naqshbandi concludes.

      "Liberate"? Is that the correct verb, except in some odd Narrative? It's just another bit of human conquest, re-conquest, all that jazz..

  • Congressman Lloyd Doggett: Don't be Stampeded into War (1)
    • Rep. Doggett is quite right. Why the caution at YouTube about sharing?

      This video is unlisted. Be considerate and think twice before sharing.

  • Employers' theft from Worker Wages 3 times more than all other Theft in US (5)
  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • A wise comment. I know a young and absolutely non-militant local Iman in my city who was contacted by the media 32 times after 9/11. Not one of the interviews made it into the media. The people who call out Muslims in America for not speaking up are the same ones who constantly complain about the bias of 'liberal media.' So, it's not like they are unaware of the bias of the media, right and left.

  • Middle East "Allies" decline to Commit Forces, Resources against ISIL (28)
  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Unfortunately, the logic in Washington usually ratchets toward the macho and the simplistic. Obama at first admitted that the US could only degrade ISIL, not destroy it.

      Didn't Obama at one time declare al-Qa'eda had been eliminated? Perhaps he has learned these jihadists are a tougher problem than simplistic nostrums would have us believe.

      Peter Lee of China Matters has a couple of interesting comments on the IS-Syria crisis du jour: "ISIS gives US its ‘Suez Crisis’ moment" by Peter Lee - link to atimes.com and link to counterpunch.org

    • How would prof cole like to see it work out in the end?

    • ISIL might not give up Mosul so easily, considering the symbolic and historic announcement of the self-proclaimed caliph there. Their active cult recruitment of local young Sunni residents as time goes by, might subdue the motivation to drive out the militants, even those left behind but disgusted by them who've witnessed their brutality - they would need serious incentive or evidenced backing to even consider any resistance. A good number of Sunni residents also fled. Its unknown whether they'd be willing to return and fight back too.

      Would like where the different Sunni Arab armed groups stand. Below is a NY Times infographic article, and mentions different Sunni Iraqi groups as of July 12th and their relationship with ISIL. 8 groups named in all, half of whom were in conflict with ISIL, half of whom were in peace with ISIL.

      link to nytimes.com

  • Arab Allies will wage Financial war on ISIL: Is it Enough? (4)
    • Apparently it was 'appropriate' to extend the invite to Saudi Arabia despite Riyadh's role in backing up apartheid island Bahrain, which also got an invite who Washington and the allies don't want to oust from power and cooperate with instead.

      Trusting KSA with 'moderate' Sunni militants, and excluding Iran on Shia majority Iraq....with such pragmatism, what could possibly go wrong? ISIL is already one type of blowback...

  • Remember Pres. Obama Saying ISIL Campaign like Yemen? Here's Yemen (1)
    • Per the long set of videos behind and including the one in the post, at least it looks like there might be a path to "reconciliation" into nation-state status of the tribally divided groups, who at least so far are still on "yellow card" (nice soccer tie-in) level of discord. All it needs is a strong leader who would pick up the portfolio to cut the corruption and beating-down of protest (making martyrs is SO stupid), and invite the two sides (with apparently some young optimistic leadership, or at least highlighted speakers) to "reason together." Not Sunni-Shia, at least. And NOT IRAQ OR SYRIA EITHER.

      Stay out of it, Boss Man Obama, if you can, or care to...

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Seems as if IS landed in our earthbound "Sea of Tranquility". Imagine a strange violent quasi state appearing within two peaceful, altruistic, law abiding states, Iraq and Syria. The contrast is shocking. Were that true, a war to destroy IS may be justified.

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

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

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
  • Employers' theft from Worker Wages 3 times more than all other Theft in US (5)
    • Ah! The joys of capitalism! When will the suckers finally arise?
      At P. T. Barnum's "one born every minute", the market is really getting crowded, but "the beat" goes on....and on!!.....and ON!!!!!

  • Climate Change: Neoliberal Capitalism is Fundamentally at War with Life on Earth (Naomi Klein) (6)
    • At the Guardian, George Monbiot has this to say about governments confronting corporations on climate change:

      "Governments gather to discuss an urgent problem and propose everything except the obvious solution – legislation. The last thing our self-hating states will contemplate is what they are empowered to do: govern. They will launch endless talks and commissions, devise elaborate market mechanisms, even offer massive subsidies to encourage better behaviour, rather than simply say 'we’re stopping this'.

      This is what’s happening with manmade climate change."

      link to monbiot.com

  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them (20)
    • When 3 from the West are beheaded, it's considered WWIII.

      When the West blows endless 50-person wedding parties to smithereens via drones, hipsters keep sipping their lattes.

      We're hypocrites. We can't understand why relatives of those we kill might not like us.

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • Unfortunately, almost all of our information on ISIL comes from the media which, to my mind , has no credibility at all. Who really knows if even the horribly immoral beheadings were actually ISIL or simply some individual nut case on his own? My cynical approach to the media may be excessive, or maybe not.

  • Employers' theft from Worker Wages 3 times more than all other Theft in US (5)
    • Very true, but at the same time, unions need to realize that this is the 21st century and modernize their procedures and style to become relevant. With weak unions, since Reagan declared war on them, we have managed to go a long way toward destroying the middle class by wealth and income transfers to the 1%.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment? (11)
    • Excellent article, and exactly my thinking. I wish that your moderator would not delete my remarks on this, which have been quite moderate for such an extreme situation.

      I would add that the rhetoric in DC "ratchets toward the macho and the simplistic" largely because, as Aristotle described them, right wing demagogues invent wars to recruit the bully class and threaten their moral superiors with the taint of treason. The US has never succeeded in eradicating insurgency by military attack, because that does not address the underlying motives and ideas. Containment prevents a wider regional conflict and forces IS to focus on issues of government rather than militarism. It disempowers their right wing, allowing moderates to govern eventually. Prolonged attack, as in N Korea and Vietnam, only protracts and intensifies a war that cannot be won, and institutionalizes the right wing ideology of hate, both there and in the US.

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
    • When the British and French carved the Ottoman Empire into countries the Kurds were denied a country of their own and have suffered from this ever since.

  • I refuse to serve – the lonely conscience of Israel’s refuseniks (4)
    • "All's fair in love and war..." Ooooh, wait a minnit -- I din't know the Israelis were at war with us! They are supposed to be our staunchest ally in the area! And a Democracy to boot! Except for the people there who aren't allowed to vote! And have no rights as citizens! They ain't supposed to be manipulating their staunchest ally, or spying on us! What kind of suckers are we?

      Thanks, MK, adding to the context...

      How many potentially fatal parasites can the ol' US body politic sustain? Israel, the MIC and all its parts, Wall Street and what that includes, the Koch et al. re-feudalization enterprise, add your own favorite... Do we all HAVE to slide down into the same black pit that's swallowed all those previous Empires? Does greed and arrogance trump the simple needs of the most of us?

  • Gulliver and the Lilliputians: It's America's Small Wars that are Unwinnable (2)
  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • There are Jews all over the world, like me, who detest the Israeli regime and its oppression of Palestinians, its continuing theft of what's left of their land and an Apartheid system that adds more miseries to Palestinians.

  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them (20)
    • Regardless whether a person is tortured over weeks or dies with a quick snap of the neck, they are DEAD and feel nothing

      This simply absurd. By the same logic the Holocaust didn't matter either, It is the pain that matters, and the termination of a life half lived.

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently? (8)
    • some really good points and I do trust the western powers who are currently involved in this mess do give it all some thought.

      If and when IS goes the way of the dodo bird, what will happen? I doubt the Kurds will give the area up. They have committed too much and fought too hard to give up one square inch. The pain which has been inflicted on the Kurds by the Iraq government when it was run by S. Hussien wasn't nice and the west simply sat around, while the Kurds were poisoned. I don't think I will ever forget the cover of National Geographic mag. with the dead father laying there with his small son. I doubt if the Kurds will either.

      My Opinion, the west ought to stay out of it, should Iraq and the Kurds get involved in a dispute. The more the west messes with an area, the messier it gets. Looking back on things now, I'm sure the west wishes they had left S. Hussain exactly where he was, in charge. He wasn't a nice man, but the country was in better shape and people were safer.

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • I think any person living in a society like my own, Australia, should find ISIL's actions repulsive and unsupportable. I also think that any person living in a society like my own should find Israel's conduct in regards to the Occupied Territories and Gaza repulsive and unsupportable.

      However, I find the notion that one group should have a special responsibility to publicly go out of the way to condemn the actions of a group on the other side of the world they have nothing to do with to be wrong-headed, toxic and pointless. It has been endlessly pointed out that American Muslim groups issue public statements denouncing every significant atrocity committed by a Muslim around the world, yet their enemies endlessly demand to know why they never speak up against those same atrocities.

      The supposition that Muslims in Australia, or the United States, should be should be held accountable for the actions in the Levant is as perverse as the corollary about Jews and Israel. Assuming a collective Jewish guilt in the crimes of Israel is clearly anti-Semitic, and assuming a collective Muslim guilt in the crimes of radical Islamic groups is no better.

      Yet recently our Prime Minister Tony Abbott lay the blame for his humiliating failure to win support for his amendment to our Racial Discrimination Act on the need to win over Muslim groups in the country. This was blatant dog whistling even when you don't have anyone to point out that Islam (or any religion) is not given any protection under the act in question, or that the attempt to remove the pertinent section of the act was prompted by the conviction of a major Australian right-wing columnist for racial vilification directed against our country's Aboriginal communities.

      I mention that specific example, because the special emphasis put into holding a specific group accountable for things they're not responsible for, is in no way different from constantly seeking reassurance that a specific group does not support activities that they have no connection to.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
  • I refuse to serve – the lonely conscience of Israel’s refuseniks (4)
    • Israel's Unit 1200 had a system of blackmail targeting Palestinians who were gay or had life-threatening conditions:

      link to mondoweiss.net

    • The Israelis, per an Israeli newspaper citing a recently published book, supposedly had real-time transmissions of wiretaps of the White House telephone system that allowed then to intercept and listen, in Israel, to the Monica Lewinsky conversations with Pres. Clinton - with PM Netanyahu raising the Lewinsky tapes at the Wye Conference as a bargaining chip to release Jonathan Pollard, a convicted Israeli spy:

      link to timesofisrael.com

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • Muslims do not have a greater duty to condemn ISIL than anyone else. Likewise, people who leave the ME or North Africa are not duty-bound to support their nationality of origon. Exiles who find better lives elsewhere should feel free to not identify with were they came from.

    • The key word is "forcing". No one should be forced to state their position, but for people to wonder about the position of individuals who are Jewish or Muslim, or of any other group, and to ask them respectfully what their position is, is quite understandable. In other words, there is a difference between a demand and a request that can be refused. Israel goes to great lengths to extinguish any distinction between the religion and the state, even refusing to use the term "Israeli" on ID cards. This is in keeping with the desire to erase the distinction between objections to what Israel does and anti-Semitism, something PM Netanyahu does regularly.

      Had I been living outside the U.S. when GW Bush rushed to war with Iraq, I would have welcomed people asking me if, as an American, I agreed with his actions. To summarize - it is right to respect each individual, but it is also quite natural to wonder about the views of members of this or that group and right that a question can be asked freely of anyone, individual to individual, without requiring that an answer be given.

  • Employers' theft from Worker Wages 3 times more than all other Theft in US (5)
  • Hurricane cuts off communication with Chabad in Baja California (1)
    • I live in San Jose my wife and I run a rehabilitation centre there we have 20 men in that centre which is in zacatel. I came to Canada on Thursday to take care of business. I lost communication with her Monday morning. It is difficult not knowing what is going on. I have lived there 2 years full time and traveled there for the last 7 years. There is very good medical care there. People are very loving and caring and family oriented. Where ever she is you can be sure she will receive quality help. I want you to know I am with you in prayer asking for her safety as well as that of my wife. I am sure as I pray that we will all be soon reunited. God Bless you

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • Egypt's issue also extends to all other Islamist groups. Not sure how Saudi Arabia sees eye to eye with them on that. Need to call out the elephant in the room....

      Saudi Arabia , the other Sunni 'allies', the lacking Sunni 'moderates', the financing, the ideologies and global Sunni radicalism crisis in the populations. If there's poison politically, its been more here along with US imperialism, than any past or current type of anti-US Iran/Shia radicalism, fundamentalism who aren't anything close to their Islamist counterparts in the Salafists and Wahhabis, who unfortunately have gone mainstream in Sunni communities thanks to Saudi Arabian propagation and other aggressive foreign interests, including sectarian proxy attacks on Iran, apparently ok with other Sunni states, which has been absolutely detrimental, even to the US-but choose to not realize it or ignore despite blowback.

      Side-lining Iran won't go down well with the Iraqi Shia majority (Iraqi FM already made a statement saying excluding Iran was a mistake) and Shia populations in the region as well, looking like the US choosing sectarian sides itself (the very thing ironically the Obama admin claims to not try to do, a message delivered over and over appealing to Sunni allies). But its not unexpected considering the history.

      Its probably easier to politically marginalize them being a smaller population in the region despite the Iranian help militarily many times over, but then discarded soon after with the Israel, Sunni allies excuse or some other canard.

      There is US interest tie ups (Oil, troops still in Afghanistan, Iran kicking them out, Israel) but really its time to re-think policy towards the region (Israel, Gulf, etc) and Iran (and vice versa) like the Leverett's advocate for. While Iran has interests too, they certainly have not helped themselves in being understood with their deluded conspiracy paranoid views almost as bad as what Sunni Arabs spout (or even the US and Israel). Only now has Iran understood the threat of sectarianism or been open and honest about it, rather being just Israel centric.

      Unfortunately we're talking about dogmatic US officials, sitting in security or intelligence positions, even post-Iraq invasion who couldn't tell you the sectarian backgrounds of different militant or terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda.

    • 'Obama's Dangerously Vague New War' a German view

      link to spiegel.de

  • Climate Change: Neoliberal Capitalism is Fundamentally at War with Life on Earth (Naomi Klein) (6)
    • Whether you call it neo-Liberalsim or money hungry brutalism our planet is at risk and our children will have a much changed planet by 2050 and our grandchildren a brutal planet by the turn of the century.
      I know only one MP here (Canada) that pushes to defend against climate change. The PM is an anti-Science ***

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
  • Climate Change: Neoliberal Capitalism is Fundamentally at War with Life on Earth (Naomi Klein) (6)
    • IS (International System) is broken now. (Ukraine, Iraq, Syria) and
      politicians push more of the same. Thank you for your tweets & TV appearences on Al Jazeera..

  • Turkey's Caution on ISIL War: "It's far away for them but very close to us" (7)
  • As Sunni MPs Plea for Precision US Strikes, Iraqi Gov't Kills 31 in School Shelter (1)
    • Either they or the US hit a hospital early on in an airstrike near, or at, Mosul.

      They're failing to show restraint, like Syria or Israel or even US regimes, and just aggravating the situation, making it more difficult for even anti-ISIS Sunnis to trust the Shia led-govt. While relatively more restraint than those regimes (not saying much), but every punitive strike worsens it.

      Unfortunately the criticism of crimes will be overlooked due to ISIS.

  • Turkey's Caution on ISIL War: "It's far away for them but very close to us" (7)
    • Exactly. Only now that weak argument comes to play after the Syrian involvement. Article would've been more convincing if it argued about Turkey's concern of the Turkish hostages rather than this claim.

      Seem to have forgotten when they allowed religious radical militants through and built up all the visible physical smuggling and terror networks. The Kurdish lip service is no good when they showed hesitation in helping out the besieged Syrian Kurds from the Islamist extremists, seeing them as more of a national interest threat. "Zero problems with neighbours"?

      AKP's Islamist or sectarian tendencies kicked in seeing the optics of the conflict in Syria, a govt they had great ties with earlier but easily turned against (truthfully were right to be outraged with Assad after attempting diplomacy early on) and looking more and more as happily part of a militant coalition backed by religious or regional Sunni states.

      Only after attacks/bombings at the border, which included the very same militants they let through (who were upset with the Turkish govt for not satisfying their wishes on whatever) was there a shift in priority in controlling the border and restriction of foreign militants. Even that was too slow and needed Western pandering on sincerely cracking down on Sunni jihadists. I guess the kidnappings changed the rationale but doesn't have the same zeal in confronting the powerful extremists they let through as they did against the Syrian regime.

      And...

      "Public opinion in Turkey holds that a Muslim cannot be a terrorist and any terrorist cannot be a Muslim. In other words, terrorism and Islam cannot be reconciled"

      I agree with the last point, but the earlier sentence generally highlights a narrative and thinking problem of not owning the fundamentalist crisis. It usually gets followed up with a denial or delusional conspiracy of 'foreign hands', but is a sincere (as difficult or frustrating it is to believe) sentiment against the terrorists....

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
    • Great statement by the Turkish Jews. This also extends to the annoying stereotype bias with the exaggerated and ignorant 'silence' claim, particularly against Western Muslims. Its like they expect to hear an ongoing on-demand condemnation or protest machine for every crime to ease their prejudices.

      Learn something new everyday...not on the American Muslims (learned earlier here) but on Albuqeurque. Looked up Wikipedia on it (I know, I know...), article considered it more of a Spanish origin thing...though mention the Arabic as another theory, which makes sense considering the regional history...

      A bit silly, but can't help think of it as a kind of a spiritual fate thing because the Professor was born there and what his concentration is on...

    • “No citizen of this country is under any obligation to account for, interpret or comment on any event that takes place elsewhere in the world, and in which he/she has no involvement. There is no onus on the Jewish community of Turkey, therefore, to declare an opinion on any matter at all.

      On the other hand, as the old saying goes, "All that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing."

    • Yeah, condemn ISIL, but recognize the processes that let the thugs who have grown this grand criminal enterprise have a fertile ground to grow in. And then what is the remedy for this disease? Bombing is never "precision," despite the hype, and that is just plowing more fields in which the ugly murderous identities of disaffected gunmen can sprout. I would say this is a job for Elliot Ness, but his success was actually minimal, and the Mob still prospers today even after some kingpins were "taken down." Same with the trillions of dollars and all those operatives (so many of whom become corrupt themselves) in the War on Drugs. We should be a little concerned that some of our children find their identity in aligning with and even joining in the killing and domination... Why is that?

      Evaluate the problems honestly, then try to sort through the tool box for something that will actually end up making stability and decency for ordinary people, for a change...

  • I refuse to serve – the lonely conscience of Israel’s refuseniks (4)
    • Thew most interesting and important part of this article was the highlighting of the IDF's "Unit 8200," which spies on American presidents and other officials, grabs their "secret phone calls:" and other signals intelligence, coerces and blackmails Palestinians and no doubt Israelis too, including "missions" for the personal advantage of Israeli politicians, like our own CIA and NSA and good old J. Edgar Hoover FBI. link to theguardian.com Makes you wonder at what point US rulers will finally have had enough of the "Freier" treatment and cut off the giant chaos-engendering suck that is Likudianism. They are "not nice people."

  • Turkey's Caution on ISIL War: "It's far away for them but very close to us" (7)
    • Complete BS. Turkey supported Al-Nusra just to take out Alawite Assad. Countries foreign policy became an extension of Erdogan's Sunni bias.

      Turkey became Arabized and tribalized in the AKP years. Everybody knows this.

      Don't forget that the idiot government allowed for 10s of diplomats be captured by IS in Iraq. We don't know what happened to them and the government BANNED MEDIA from reporting on it.

      Worse is to come for my dear idiotic country.

    • Byzantine complexity was one thing, when the weapons were a little less deadly and us humans had not so badly abused the planet we were given, destroying much of its resilience and extracting far more than our needs.

      Now, added to the mix are the kinds of careless idiots that populate the US Imperial Capital. Busily trying to play in a game where shifting alliances and false loyalties and all the ancient long-practiced tricks of "statecraft" and "politics' in the old Middle-Far-Near East are beyond their comprehension and beyond the tools they unlimber to try to control outcomes (though a few oligarchs like Cheney successfully move the levers and dials to line their own pockets, and we are pretty good at destroying actual democracy and creating disorder.) Looking, as "we" do to the more competent players, like useful, clumsy, well-armed, but naive mercenaries (appropriated for and led by self-serving bureaucratic careerists and "supported" by a huge growing armaments industry) that are so easy to manipulate and deceive (Bibi and Sisi and Hamid and all that crowd, you know who you are).

      Do I have it right that the Turkish press is even more under the Ruler's thumb than our own media lap dogs? As I read through the posted piece, and go back to the source ("TurkeyAgenda") and look at what's published there, e.g., link to turkeyagenda.com, is it not the case that this is just the kind of propaganda that comes out of the slippery mouths of people like Josh "You can believe every thing I say" Earnest, link to politico.com and certain columnists for the WaPo and New York Times (the latter at least maybe repenting for cheer-leading us into striking the Iraq Tarbaby -- the NYT editors are maybe having doubts about "this time, second verse": link to nytimes.com, and link to nytimes.com -- and other Chicken Hawks and War Wimps too: link to huffingtonpost.com And of course this is no hit on Dr. Cole's work, that also appears there.

      So what game is Erdogan actually playing? Or more properly, how many different games? What face is he showing? Where the hell do ordinary people, who have but a tiny bit of influence on direction and are so easily misled and misdirected by tugs on their fears and connections and loyalties and identities, turn to figure out what's really in play and whether they can do a damn thing about keeping their ruling-idiot "betters," who are "better" than them only by skills at kleptocracy and killing and power-gaining, from draining and killing them and their planet, all free from any consequences?

      All of this is possible only because ordinary people get up every morning to work to make the wealth that "our betters" are taking ever more of, in a race to the very bottom -- link to globalchange.umich.edu And it presupposes that there will continue to be a game board to play on. Neither assumption may prove accurate.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • Obama's strategy will not work. It's glaringly obvious. Entering into a silent and tacit alliance (to save face) with Assad and Iran is the only thing that will get rid of the scourge. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have always been two-faced nations that cannot be trusted. Al Jazeera and a declared fight against IS on the one hand, and Madrassas, arming of IS etc on the other. Why would they now suddenly change? I totally agree with Tulsa Time. It is complete theater that will cost us dearly for many years to come. I see the hand of Israel behind this unbelievably ridiculous strategy.

    • Why does the US have to do anything? ISIS is the day of reckoning for those dysfunctional Middle Eastern states.

      1. For Syria which could have allowed moderate reform without violence years.
      2. For Iraq that blindly chose the sectarian road, worst traveled.
      3. For Turkey that took a sharp turn toward fundamentalism.
      4. For Iran, which spent so much time persecuting religious minorities, now they get a taste of what they have been dishing out and can no longer even travel to Syria again.
      5. For Russia, a reminder of the cost of supporting Assad, and the price of its expansionist policies.
      6. For Europeans who don't want to do any lifting concerning their own defense.
      7. For China, whose flow of oil might be imperiled, because of a completely AMORAL view of life.

      So why do we have to anything for the above 7? Just concentrate on energy independence and alternate energy.

  • Turkey's Caution on ISIL War: "It's far away for them but very close to us" (7)
  • Employers' theft from Worker Wages 3 times more than all other Theft in US (5)
  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War? (18)
  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them (20)
    • You missed the point.

      Regardless how a person dies really does not matter. People in the west put far too much thinking into the method of death like it really matters.

      Regardless whether a person is tortured over weeks or dies with a quick snap of the neck, they are DEAD and feel nothing.

      When we try to imagine the death process, we are just injecting our own fears onto a perfectly natural process that happens to EVERY HUMAN.

      I know I will eventually die and once I die, that will be the end. I do not worry about the process, because it will end and then I will not care.

      The point is, the method of dying DOES NOT MATTER and people should NOT get all freaked out about it and do stupid irrational things.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • Interesting article. "China Matters" calls Obama's Syria policy "Let 'er drift" and blames his administration for allowing Saudi Arabia and Turkey to support an IS jihad to solve Obama's dump-Assad problem.

      Now, they have a Frankenstein problem on their hands.

    • Saudi and Quatar are the funding for IS, so Obama has to pretend to fight them without doing much. This is true theatre, because we want to defeat Assad and preserve Iraq at the same time. As usual the US is trying to have two things at once while undercutting both of them at the same time. DUMBS

  • The Plutocracy Strikes Back: The Pathologies of Rule by a Handful of Billionaires (1)
    • Economic hierarchies always start as "meritocracies." You know what merit was in the Dark Ages? Being good at riding around on a horse while beheading people. But the meritorious always find their children are worthless parasites, so they must rig the entire social system to ensure their kids always stay on top.

      Every private property system either infinitely polarizes wealth over time or develops some form of regulation to control this... or it falls to revolution, as happened to the kingdoms of ancient Greece in the 6th century, replaced by every variant of "cracy" that Aristotle coined.

      These bastards have no vision of a future, only rehashes of the past. Destroying the hope of ordinary Americans in a better collective future was their way of destroying any alternatives to their rule. There's always a constituency for the past, after all, from South Carolina to Tehran.

      History indicates that reactionary aristocracies fall when people can see better alternatives overseas. So consider the problem the Kochs face - as the slaveowners would have faced if they'd won in 1861 - with Internet-driven awareness of better ways of life in the outside world. Their only choice is to declare war on that outside world, isn't it?

  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them (20)
    • Beheading is seen as a violation of the "modern", Western person in the same way that many of the indignities the US & Israeli occupations imposed on Moslems were hated as violations of the Moslem person. It's all about perceiving an insult by the other side so we can say that they hate our very existence and thus intend to utterly destroy us, instead of having negotiable policy goals that may be based on our own past misdeeds.

      However, that being said, we must ask this question: when did Americans gain the entitlement to be able to go anywhere in the world without consequences? Or for that matter, agents of Wall Street exploitation, military advisers tilting a playing field in a foreign war, aid workers unwittingly propping up a bad regime, etc? I mean, before WW2 celebrity journalists like Henry Stanley and Lowell Thomas risked their lives in lawless places precisely because the American public knew that they were lawless, that large parts of the globe were off-limits to those unable to defend their own persons. That's why Indiana Jones (and movie serial adventurers in general) made no sense in the postwar world, where every inch of land was declared officially part of our bloc, the enemy bloc, or the neutralist bloc, and anything that happened anywhere was closely monitored as an event that might tilt the scales between them. Maybe that was just too ludicrous to endure?

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • The erroneous strategy that has been adopted by President Obama and the great depth of the extremism crisis, which has been sweeping through Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen in recent years, only support speculations that the ISIS and other similar extremist groups are nothing but the ominous legacy of his failed foreign policy in West Asia and North Africa.

  • Arab Allies will wage Financial war on ISIL: Is it Enough? (4)
    • On the one hand, money has always been the main issue, since the Sunni extremists would not exist without the wealth of the oil sheikhs. On the other hand, stopping this money is like stopping the flow of money to drug cartels. How's that going after all these years? As long as the sheikhs are more afraid of diversity of thought and religion than of their own jihadi Frankenstein monster, they will keep sending the money, just like American drug users will keep sending their money to the murderers in Mexico as long as they're more afraid of sober life than the effects of the drugs on their own persons. There is no empathy in supply and demand.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
  • Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them (20)
    • Simple Mind, your nick seems to be wisely chosen, if you only now come to the realization that Saudi Arabia's barbarism and promotion of Wahhabism is the source of all this evil.

    • "Remember that the guillotine was considered a 'humane' way to kill a human, so why is a knife any worse?"

      Spyguy, I hope you will never have to find out why beheading with a short blunt knife is far worse.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • No Arab army can be counted on to defeat Isis ...nor can light air power...maybe the Iraq Shia with help can...but unlikely...I can not see a way to do this without American boots...then when they leave ...back to square one..over again..

  • HIstoric Mass March against Global Warming: Saving the Planet Next Sunday in NYC (1)
    • One good thing about such a march is that the marchers could see how many marchers there are, and take heart in numbers depending on the numbers. Another good thing is for marchers to meet eachother and exchange contact information and discuss about what to do on all the ordinary days between marches.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy (18)
    • People that do and have done war have offered some advice to others who want to play the game -- too often starting from a notion that the war is supposed to provide some benefit to the nation. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz are a couple, that our warriors are supposed to study (though given the crappy standards of scholarship, with lots of cheating, I guess those lessons don't actually get learned.)

      So now we ordinary people are saddled with huge expenditures for endless conflict fueled by weapons manufacturers and True Believers with all those petrodollars, on phony or trumped-up "justifications," not for the general welfare but to make a welfare state for the generals who live so large on our hard-earned dollars, link to outsidethebeltway.com. The only rule is "maximize your personal extraction of wealth, in the knowledge that you are playing a singing part in a grand Götterdämmerung, end of the world Wagnerian opera."

      Hitler, if he is still alive, is laughing his moustache clean off...

    • A lot easier with a fragmentation grenade...