Recent Comments

  • This Saudi prince is accused of killing 2,000 endangered birds while on safari in Pakistan (1)
  • Top 5 Reasons Solar Energy will Save the World (3)
    • I remember reading here on IC several months ago a comment written by someone that said that there couldf not be a "burb" of methane from the Artic Ocean for a long time because the Methane is found hundreds of feet under ground.
      Yet yesterday Robert Hunzicker reported on Counterpunch.org in an article titled Ripley's Believe it or Not, climate Change Version, that in December of 2013 ice could not form over part of the Artic Sea because the methane gas bubling up prevent the ice from forming.
      Furthermore it was reported that there were two huge ocean to atmosphere methane "burbs" on Febuary 24th 2014. Most scientist say that there is a better chance of an aquatic dinasour sinking a 100 foot long South African fishing vessel (as reported on the Discovery Channel) than there is of a methane burb of the type reported. Is Robert Hunzicker trying to mislead us or are others trying to mislead us? i have to recuse myself from sitting on this jury.

  • Government = Protection Racket for the 1 Percent (1)
  • Triumph of the Immigrant American Spirit: Meb Keflezighi and the Boston Marathon (4)
    • The "big lung" theory of children in northeast Africa running back and forth to school still doesn't explain why so many elite long distance runners come from that small part of Africa.

      Their diets have even been studied. Researchers found that Kenyan runners eat a diet rich in short chained carbohydrates as opposed to the long chain carbo meals of long distance runners in other parts of the world.

      This is one of the greatest mystery in athletics. Kenyan and Ethiopian women are even more dominant than the men.
      However, Keflezighi left Eritrea when he was very young, so diet and big lungs from the altitude don't play a part with him.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • The outstanding example of a leader with manhood issues is Putin. He's acting like a man with a tiny, little.... At a time of crisis which could very easily spiral towards nuclear war, give me a leader lacking a little "manhood".

  • Pharrell's "Happy" - Gaza Style (2)
    • Dear all,

      I have just seen your Happy Gaza video. Well done! While the worst things happen in life, we still need to find things to be happy about! Palestinian people find these everyday happiness everywhere they live, because surely without it they could not survive. I only wish that other issues are solved in such a way that, you all can be really happy.

      I started this petition with only that in mind. I hope you can find it in your hearts to support it too. I really am looking forward to see your signatures under this petition. If you read the update section of the petition in Change.org, you will see that people like Noam Chomsky and Haim Bresheeth signed both the petitions, at Avaaz and Change, please so do all of you!
      For happier days to come!
      With kind regards,
      Sibel

      link to avaaz.org

      link to change.org

      P.S. After 100 signatures reached the petition will be send worldwide to the members of the websites.
      P.P.S. Avaaz has about 35 million members! Please help the petition to take off.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • Actually, I think he's more corrupt than Dubya-idiot, at least, because he knows the difference and won't speak it; he never intended to use the "bully pulpit" to tell Americans the truth for two reasons: a) he remembered the events of November 22nd, 1963; and b) he expects to be on the "billion dollars a throw" speakers' circuit by 2017, just as Bubba is.

  • A People’s History of Muslims in the United States (2)
  • Top 5 Reasons Solar Energy will Save the World (3)
    • Thank you for the post and the impassioned enthusiasm.

      RE your comments / list:

      1. The estimate is that the solar modules, not "solar electricity generation costs, that is expected to continue to fall through the roof. The panels, not many years ago, was the dominant cost element for solar installations. Now, it is becoming rather miniscule next to the other hardware (inverter(s), framing, wiring), labor, and soft (business development/sales, permitting, insurance, etc) costs. Lots of people are looking to cut these and overall solar prices are plunging, just not as fast as the module hardware costs have fallen/are falling. Here, for example, is a discussion from last August with a nice graphic as to the overall: link to thinkprogress.org

      2. Interesting news re Honda and path to reduce / eliminate inverter losses in getting electricity into car batteries. There are efforts underway to improve the cost effectiveness of making new homes DC dominant -- with either minimal separate wiring for the lower AC requirements.

      3. I think that we are a long way from solar on vehicle roof tops being a significant player in the transportation/energy system ... even though there are very interesting value streams such as being able to keep vehicles cooler when parked in the sun (Prius solar on the roof) so that the air conditioning load is much lower on the moving vehicle/gas system.

      4. In the developing world, solar parks are not where we should look for the greatest enthusiasm since they rely on/foster reliance on 'big grid'. The ability of solar to rapidly address the electricity gap, bringing light/other electricity use to people without electricity, and to replace diesel fuel burning generators in areas off grid are far more interesting and exciting.

      5. Not sure about the leap from Ukraine/Russia to Thailand's decision to deploy 3 gigawatts of solar. Is there material backing that linkage? Perhaps valuable to show some European discussion emphasizing the need for renewables, to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas, as transition to a discussion of the global.

    • I am in solar heaven here in Germany. Solar is bound to take over given the fact that the efficiencies are now so high. I had to wait most of my life to see this happen (I'm 56) but it finally arrived. If Germany can do solar in the dark, I have no doubts that sunny places who neglect the solar option are doing so out of foolishness, ignorance or political machination. Enjoy.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • If the USA must put up with tyrannies, for example like the Saudi Arabia, because of self-national interest, either for profit or for fear of loss, then USA lacks the gentlemanhood.

  • Too Big to Jail? Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington (3)
  • How Torture became Normalized in America (2)
    • Great piece. Accountability is huge. As a nation we watched our congress people hold a President accountable for lying under oath about blowjobs. Yet as a nation we have not witnessed our leaders held accountable for one of the most destructive intelligence snowjobs conducted. We have not witnessed anyone but underlings held accountable for torture. Those in the Office of Legal Counsel who changed torture laws like David Addington, Yoo. Cambone, Douglas Feith and team for creating, cherry picking and disseminating WMD false intelligence. All of these people Cheney and team..Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Bush, Feith, etc should be on trial at the Hague for war crimes. Lie about bj's under oath= impeachment
      Lie about WMD's, torture - no accountability. No need to wonder why few Americans have any faith in our alleged legal system.

  • Triumph of the Immigrant American Spirit: Meb Keflezighi and the Boston Marathon (4)
    • Asmara is a mile and a half up and you have to have big lungs; I kept fainting when I first arrived.

    • In 2009, after Keflezighi won the New York City marathon, I got into a lively discussion with several people who claimed being a naturalized citizen was all that was needed for him to be considered an elite American long distance runner.

      I maintained that Keflezighi was originally from East Africa and runners from that small part of Africa have completely dominated long distance running for over three decades. Keflezighi is from Eritrea, but most come from either Kenya or Ethiopia. As a distance runner, I still considered him to be an East African.

      No knows why these runners are the best in the world--men and women. Scientists can not find the reason even though everything from their diet to the topography has been studied. However, Kezlefighi is somewhat different since he came to this country when he was still a child of 12-13.

  • The Romantics and the Orient: What English Poetry owes to the Middle East (3)
  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • The great thing about America is that anybody can expound on anything no matter how little they know about the subject. Brooks, Krauthammer etc typify this. Unlike years ago, the writings on the internet by people who do know the subject allows those who wish to learn the opportunity to do so.

  • Rebel In-Fighting Endangers Syrian Civilians in their Territory (2)
  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • " In the end, it is the quality of leadership not manhood that is in question and I look in vain for evidence that Obama intends to move far from the Washington consensus view of history and economics that has seen America fumble it’s way from one disaster to the next and play a huge role in creating the intransigent and brutal present circumstances in places like the Middle East. To do so would require courage of the kind that FDR showed when he rose to the challenge of his day."

      This has been my greatest disappointment (I voted for Obama both times). I was hoping for change, but instead what I find is a status-quo president; more secretive, more prone to use special forces and CIA, drones, and involvement of USA in many more unknown (to the public at large) conflicts. His use of financial and economic sanctions is eventually going to make them ineffective as mid level powers such as Brazil, India will not continue to commit economic suicide at the behest of America. They have resulted in short term successes no doubt.

  • Too Big to Jail? Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington (3)
    • Obama's cover-up of the crimes of Bush/Cheney and his adoption of Bush/Cheney's middle east policy show that our two party Democracy is a fraud.
      Who ever gets elected, no matter what they say, will be working for the 1%.
      We are all working for the 1%

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • "Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander who destroyed Adolf Hitler"

      More accurately, "who helped the Russians destroy Adolf Hitler. The Red Army chewed up at least twice the number of Germans as the rest of the Allies combined.

  • Palestinians consider handing 'keys' back to Israel, ending Charade of "Peace Process" (7)
    • The PA is a farce and has been for a long time. Giving back the keys and starting a civil rights movement for equal civil,political, and human rights for all in the single country is the only move that makes sense for the Palestinian people. But, I agree with the other commentators that the Quisling Fatah bosses will not easily give up their perks and graft.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
  • Triumph of the Immigrant American Spirit: Meb Keflezighi and the Boston Marathon (4)
    • This essay is concise and to the point and much needed.
      However, I think it marred by your choosing to label the Marathon bombing as cowardly. I recall no use of that word in this blog in referencing U.S. drone strikes, which often are targeted at civilian locales.
      Indeed, launching destruction from thousands of miles away, or even thousands of feet, in comparison to an up close placing of destruction, seems to blur any judgment of cowardice. Perhaps you might explain the difference you see?

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • I believe David Brooks is jewish. Whether he is or not his "no borders" comment is exactly the current Israeli Zionist policy. Just a coincidence ?

    • Glenn Greenwald wrote the following about Brooks in 2009 (Salon):

      "... only he [Brooks] and people like him are strong and courageous enough to confront the towering enemy (by sending other people “outside the wire in dangerous places”). Those opposed to the war or even to escalation are cowards who want to “surrender to the Taliban.” And even with the unbroken record he has on Iraq that should shame and discredit him for life (or at least until there’s some serious examination, acknowledgment and repentance), he is the second-most influential commentator among “Congressional and political insiders” – second to one of the very few commentators who did more to bring about that war than Brooks himself did. What type of nation do you think we will be if “insiders” have their views most shaped by people with the record of David Brooks and Tom Friedman?"

      (David Brooks: our nation's premier expert warrior)

    • Obama didn't prosecute the crimes of Bush/Cheney because he's a ringer for the 1% and is as corrupt as Cheney.

  • How Torture became Normalized in America (2)
  • High Inequality Results in More US Deaths than Tobacco, Car Crashes and Guns Combined (1)
  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
  • The Romantics and the Orient: What English Poetry owes to the Middle East (3)
  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
    • You fail to address the muslim portion of Juan's analogy... it would never happen because smallish minorities don't typically own lots of land and take up ranching in middle of nowhere, typically speaking. Therefore it's not something worth fantasizing about with all our liberal might

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • Then there is the alligator in the playpen problem. The current US military has been tested and found wanting against foes that did not have any airpower, heavy artillery, tanks and armored personnel carriers, sophisticated communications and intelligence systems, medevac, near infinite logistic support, and in many cases, a good pair of shoes. In spite of poor overall results, the US has been able to destroy any enemy target with impunity (often without sending troops danger), and without expectation of retaliation in kind, i.e. fish jumping out of the barrel and biting us..

      But Russia has all those military capabilities we have, though maybe not as robust. So a military conflict with Russia would either a throwback to WW1, WW2, or a lurch into nuclear Armageddon. With a couple of nukes North Korea has kept us at bay. Russia, with a few thousand should do at least as well.

      Tough, virile guys like Brooks and Krauthammer know the truth, but can't admit it in public. Russia is not like Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Waziristan, Somalia, . . . . . .. Think Godzilla and King Kong.

    • Brooks is the Gray Old Lady at The Gray old Lady.

    • Brooks is a grade A nimrod whose milquetoast, circuitous and facile arguments are not worth the paper they are wiped on!!

      It's keystrokes wasted - NO ONE cares!! Please do not give this crap the time of day.

      "Bully"???? He wishes...

      It's amazing to me that the guy even has a job… of any kind.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
  • Too Big to Jail? Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington (3)
    • Virtually all of these "crimes" were occurring to one degree or another in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and investigated by the Church Committee or even internally by the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1970s.

      Former Soviet KGB agent Yuri Nosenko was detained and tortured for years by the CIA until he was deemed a bona fide defector and released with compensation. In the "Family Jewels" report the CIA freely admitted that kidnapping laws may have been broken during his confinement. No one was prosecuted.

      Michael Townley may have been the only CIA contract agent ever convicted in a murder prosecution in the U.S. arising out of his complicity in the Orlando Letelier/Ronni Moffitt killings in Washington D.C., but he was almost immediately placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program after the conclusion of his case.

      Former FBI agent William Turner has written in his book, "The Fish is Red" about the non-enforcement agreement between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the CIA during the Operation Mongoose project to destabilize the Cuban regime in Florida - even though the Neutrality Act and federal explosive and firearms laws were routinely being violated by anti-Castro exiles under the supervision of the CIA and Army in Miami. When Cuban exile leader Dr. Orlando Bosch was convicted of firing a bazooka at a Polish freighter off the coast of Miami in 1967, he was subjected to a rare federal prosecution and imprisonment - but was eventually pardoned by President Bush in 1989 during parole violation proceedings.

      It is exceedingly rare to see severe punishment meted out to those committing crimes while following orders or acting under the direction of the CIA.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • In more pop culture terms, one of my earliest formative influences was a quote in Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy: "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent." Except for most of these guys, it's the firstresort.

  • Pictures Don't Lie: Refuting #there_was_no_Palestine (32)
    • As pointed out in some previous comments, the term "Palestine" derives from the "PLST" or Peleset, an Indo-European or Aegean people, one of many, who appeared in the historical record around 1177 BCE as described in the new book by Eric Cline about that very year.

      Israel already existed at that time since it is mentioned in the Merneptah Stele referring to a confrontation in around the year 1210 BCE. The writer using the 1020 BCE date may have been referring to the traditional date for the kingdom of Saul and not the origin of the Israelite people.

      The northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and not 740 BCE as mentioned in another comment. A few years later in 716 BCE, Sargon II relocated some Arabs to Samaria, the former capital of the kingdom, present day Nablus. This is the first mention of Arabs in the land. The first reference to them at all is from 853 by Shalmaneser III when Arabs using camels were part of an anti-Assyrian alliance which included Aramaeans from the cities of Damascus and Hamath (they had been enemies) and Israel under Ahab, husband of Jezebel in the time of Elijah.

      The Philistines remained independent for a few more years before it to fell under Assyrian domination. It did intrigue with the still independent kingdom of Judah under Hezekiah against Assyria which really backfired when Sennacherib, Sargon's successor, devastated the land in a campaign in 701.
      BCE.

      So one could say that for the last 2700 years, the land of Philistine/Palestine has not been an independent political entity and never really was since it became Moslem and Arab.
      Israel was an independent political entity for awhile under the Maccabees and sought to be twice under Roman rule. so in that regard 1948 marks the first time in millennia that anyone in the land was independent. Perhaps one day, everyone there will be.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • One of the side effects of the ad hominem style of political discourse we have been dragged into is that it begs emulation;"inside-the-beltway chicken-hawks with small peckers". Very droll. There is however a grain of truth in Brook's otherwise forgettable characterization of President Obama although not in a way he meant. It is clear that the Presidents decision early in his first mandate to adopt a lofty posture with respect to the utterly egregious mendacity and incompetence at that in the wars and conduct of foreign policy of Bush and the Republicans, to "look forward" as he put it, was a huge mistake. Whether this stemmed from cowardice or lack of judgement it has allowed the bunch of dilettante dickwads (how's that for ad hominem?) like Brooks and Krauthammer et al to "move on”, as it were, as though they were not stained in the blood of Americans and all the rest who died due to their disastrous expressions of their manhood. On a more substantive level, Obama’s relative lack of naive bellicosity and more rational response to conflict, while an experience similar to ceasing to smash yourself in the head with a hammer compared to Cheney and Bush, is not a substitute for a coherent doctrine. The best evidence for this lack of focus is the ineffectual use of the bully pulpit to educate the American public, or at least attempt to do so in the face of the huge megaphone placed in the hands of the plutocrats of wealth by the plutocrats in the supreme court, about the real threats to peace, not the least of which are empowered likudists, climate change and legacies of previous exercises in carrying and using big sticks by powerful but ill informed politicians of years past. In the end, it is the quality of leadership not manhood that is in question and I look in vain for evidence that Obama intends to move far from the Washington consensus view of history and economics that has seen America fumble it’s way from one disaster to the next and play a huge role in creating the intransigent and brutal present circumstances in places like the Middle East. To do so would require courage of the kind that FDR showed when he rose to the challenge of his day.

    • Exactly my sentiments Brian!! The pundit class makes too much money to point out our hypocrisy. Our military, industrial complex has been worried about what are we going to do about Nato and all the troops in Afghanistan. It also appears that we have milked the Iranian enemy as far as possible. So we start a new conflict (we started this).
      It is too bad that most Americans do not pay attention to foreign policy and if they do we have a very short attention span.

    • OK, let's accept Brooks' idea that borders have been settled since Yalta. Doesn't that mean the Crimea never was really part of the Ukraine and that the Ukraine should in fact still be part of Russia, a Russia defined by the historical boundaries of the U.S.S.R.?

      An aside, my own courageous, fearless Prime Minister has just sent a few RCAF CF-18's to Poland. I bet Putin heard about that and wet his pants - laughing. It reminds me again how grateful I am that Harper wasn't in power during the run up to the second Iraq war.

    • Oh, come on. Obama sent them in, when many of his advisers were against it. It was a big risk and could have gone badly wrong.

  • Palestinians consider handing 'keys' back to Israel, ending Charade of "Peace Process" (7)
    • The US pays for the military costs and the EU pays for the civilian costs of providing for the Palestinian population.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • I think we have been very successful in making people around the world fear us. but I agree with the rest.

    • In February 1945, Yalta was part of Russia. All of Crimea was part of Russia.
      In 1954, a Ukrainian (ethnic Russian) was BMOC in the CCCP, Khruschev, and he generously bequeathed Crimea to Ukraine.
      So,
      under Yalta rules, shouldn't Crimea be Russian ?

      Anyone here ever hear of the US partitioning Yugoslavia and giving Macedonia and Kossovo to non-Serbs ? Partitioning Sudan and giving Juba to non-Arabs ? Splitting off Timor L'este and giving it to non-Indonesians ? Liberating East Germany and Poland and giving them to pro-US agents ?
      The USA has never felt constrained by Yalta rules with regard to setting up friendly client states.

    • now Obama is on SEAL Team 6 (DevGru ?)

    • He figured out decades ago there was an opening for someone to tart hisself up lib'rul style and rent out his orifici to the AEI and Heritage wank tanks that front for Charlie Black and the other owners of The American Peeps (Republican) Party, cuz doing so gets you the civilized con slot at the NYTimes and the weekly telling lib'ruls whereat it is on PBS and Disco Dave's.

  • Palestinians consider handing 'keys' back to Israel, ending Charade of "Peace Process" (7)
    • Now,that's a plan...of course it can never happen.the Abbas and his pals would never give up the perks and Swiss bank accts...better to struggle along,run to the UN,collect support from the world and such,,like that will garner them much..but hey that's a plan

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • "Trying not to give peace a chance: Exclusive: The trust between President Obama and President Putin helped avert a U.S. war on Syria and got Iran to agree to limit its nuclear program, but the neocon-driven crisis in Ukraine has dashed hopes of building on that success for a more peaceful world, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern." - link to consortiumnews.com

      Note the part describing the "macho" Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed to JFK's diplomacy with Khrushchev over the Bay of Pigs incident.

    • There's an old saying attributable to the Chinese: "He who strikes the first blow admits to having the weaker mind." In other words, people who lack the intelligence to win resort to violence.

      We might also note that people exhibiting what passes for courage by military aggression may also be lacking in moral courage such as obeying orders they know to be immoral and illegal.

    • "Brooks, of course, was a cheerleader for the Iraq War. How often do you have to be completely wrong on the big issues of our time before you stop being given a prominent perch in giving the country policy advice?"

      And, it's not only Brooks. The media are littered with pontificators who got it disastrously wrong on Iraq and are just as wrong and amoral as ever on current events.

    • I think I understand what Brooks Is saying...If there is going to be any G###damn invasions of sovereign countries it should be done by this country! Like Bill Kristol this man is a spokesperson for the murderous policies proposed by AIPAC and the arm chair quarterbacks who think of our military as toy soldiers and planes.
      The fact that Kristol, Brooks, Gregory along with the nasty cabal over at FOX are allowed to make their outrageous remarks without rebuttal is a sad commentary on our political talk shows. I think Prof. Cole could make mince meat out of these miscreants, if allowed to do so.

    • It amazes me that Brooks, who at times can appear so intelligent and even reasonable, can use that cover to say idiotic things and be taken seriously.

    • Republican WWIII mantra....

      "If not now, when?"
      "If not Ukraine, where?"

    • Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was on Meet the Press earlier basically saying the same thing. Before that, Ukrainian P.M. "Yats" said Putin's dream was to restore the Soviet Union. David Brooks saying"all bets are off" and making comments about Obama's manhood is aimed at starting a bigger conflict with Putin over Ukraine and sending a warning to China just before Obama goes to Asia.

      Starting WWIII didn't pan out in Iraq and Iran's nuke thing fizzled out. So, these CRACKPOTS see Ukraine as a stepping stone to a much bigger war.

      AND THEY WANT THAT.

  • A People’s History of Muslims in the United States (2)
  • Palestinians consider handing 'keys' back to Israel, ending Charade of "Peace Process" (7)
    • This is the one and only right move for the PA! Doubt they have nationalistic instincts to do it..

    • It'll never happen because if they do hand the keys back, they also hand the keys to the candy store over as well. The corruption in Fatah is beyond belief. Israel would also have no reason to protect Abbas and the rest so they would be walking dead men.

    • Good, the only way Israel will consider giving up the occupation is if it begins to cost them something. The current system literally gives all the advantage to Israel, they get ultimate control without any of the responsibilities of day to day governance.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
    • WOW! That's some tongue lashing. And Brooks deserves it. Amazing how the media, like PBS even, tolerate his hypocritical rants.

    • The notion that everything can be solved - in foreign policy terms - by kicking your ass, or the threat of it, must end. If our recent history shows us anything, it is that we lace: a basic understanding of these societies; our legitimacy there has fallen ever since Reagan; relatedly, our unconditional support of Israel to the exclusion and detriment of an entire region has cost us; we lose every war we start there and in the process we ruin the people and the country; the law of unintended consequences always prevails; bringing the fight to them engenders no respect, fear, admiration or any other emotion we think we evoke. We should now try for even handed-ness, understand everyone's interest and how to find equitable solutions that are not based on zero sum. Last, we should stop listening to pundits! Invest in the diplomatic corp and send people overseas to better understand people and needs, and not always for the sake of democracy and capitalism - you have to want that and be prepared for it.

    • "Basically since Yalta we’ve had an assumption that borders are basically going to be borders"

      Never mind Yalta, actually that assumption is kind of built into the Treaty of Westphalia, so we've had 375 years of it not working and Brooks has only now noticed. Idiot.

    • Great Juan. Thanks for giving Brooks the business. It made my Monday!

    • Ouch. What a smart and delicious public whuppin' of one more NYT windbag.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
    • Nobody, my friend, you are too cheap a cynic!

      While it was quite a stack of coin back in the day, being a millionaire is hardly a big deal these days. Further, it is not necessarily a bad thing if most Congressional representatives are reasonably well off, millionaires. They would at least have the capacity to be personally independent from moneyed interests of scale.

      The De-glittering generality that "Congress is corrupt" is but a natural law. Power is nothing, if not corrupt by definition. The Constitution and three branches of government never attempted the illogic of eliminating corruption but to contain it within bounds.

      What you wish for is that legislators would be more responsive to voters rather than their financial supporters?

      The superficial problem is one of imbalance (money v. votes or democratic masses v aristocratic elites) heightened by recent Supreme Court decisions. To address that is ironic because moneyed interests now have excessive influence in elections. Thus, it would be ironic to suggest we can elect other people (the Tea Party argument)--whether poor or rich -- who would be more responsive to voters. Rather, people would have to take to the streets in more serious ways than the one-day protest with a parade permit. That's not likely because the stakeholders are too impoverished and would lose too much more, if that seems possible, in the process—ignoring for the moment the new police state that has largely come about out of the fear elites have of the new starving masses.

      Now it used to be, and there are still wealthy aristocrats who believe this besides Warren Buffet--but the nation is better off and more apt to grow economically with a strong middle class--a business needs customers. The problem is that individual investors profit in a nationless market not concerned with local manufacturing and other business concerns.

      The wealthy no longer are willing to support the greater cause (pay taxes). Why--They no longer are invested and dependent nationally but are portfolio-ed internationally. These new age cowboys are able to hold all governments hostage profitably. America’s problems in Congress and governance are common. Governments are compelled to compete for the self-interests of elites just as are politicians. “Money get back I'm all right Jack keep your hands off my stack.” (old quote of not a new problem). Elites no longer depend on the profits of a factory or a portfolio of, say for example, American businesses but profit from exchange rate fluctuations, arbitrage, take-overs (like Romney's Bain equity capital firm) which place short-term profits—generally involving liquidation of pension funds and capital assets—in front of long-term security) and other financial deals because it is legal and nothing else matters. The equity capitalist is now a MBA/JD—making money is now a legal game where the target is disadvantaged in the court room besides whatever economic inequities matter.

      The City-State failed because it was reliant on local elites contributing to the temples of the local gods. When they refused to do so, the foundation of Greece was broken as the City States were no longer able to uphold the central government as before. Rome had a new system but also failed when elites refused to play their part well.
      In today’s global economy, the millionaire and the Nation-State are anachronisms.
      I understand your exasperation. Scapegoating Congress persons in general is however unproductive. If there was an answer to your question, we would be well past the problem. Things will have to get much worse before a new system emerges from the ashes as the adage goes. If nothing else, we all still have hope.

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem (36)
  • Palestinians consider handing 'keys' back to Israel, ending Charade of "Peace Process" (7)
    • One reason for the length of the Israeli occupation is the "genius" system developed by Israel (and US Jews), which has made it possible for Israel to make money (clean cut) with the occupation. USA basically pays the military costs of the occupation through its 3 billion donation. The Palestinian "economy" is as independent and viable as Warsaw Ghetto's economy was. Israeli state and companies can make enormous profits by taking land for free and at the best with minimum costs from their land bank (=West bank + Golan) and then selling this real estate development with the normal cost of land+house. The foreign capital given to Palestinians in the end goes in the pockets of Israeli whole sale sector and producers, because most products come there through the Israeli channels. The international community doesn't pay for decades the costs of Tibetans, people of Kashmir etc, it is the cost the occupier has to pay. If Palestinians would stop or reduce their economical activity and foreigners would end the "donations" Israel would have to make a solution in couple of months. It simply could not afford a non subsidized occupation and feed, educate and keep warm millions.

  • Pharrell's "Happy" - Gaza Style (2)
    • Thank you for this, Juan. I'm crying after this Happy video. The sheer and unbelievable and massive missed opportunity since 1948 is just heartbreaking. People are people; period.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
    • Actually, there were lots of black cowboys and several who ran large cattle operations. One of the more famous black cattle ranchers was Daniel Webster Wallace; he worked as a cowboy and, in 1885, he purchased 1280 acres in Texas where he later ran his cattle. When he died in 1939, his estate was worth more than 1 million dollars.
      link to tshaonline.org

      If you Google “black cowboys”, you’ll see lots of great images from the frontier days!

      As for today…
      Here’s a video of Charles Sampson (1982 World Champion bull rider)
      link to youtube.com

      And here’s another “Black Cowboys In Texas” featuring rodeo riders.
      link to youtube.com

      Given that a number of Black Americans (like boxer Muhammad Ali) converted to Islam in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it’s certainly within historical possibility that there could have been a black ranching family who’d run cattle since the late 1800’s and converted to Islam in the 20th century.

  • Was John Lennon Right? Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights lament Paucity of Religious Jewish Allies (9)
    • The Rabbi no doubt has done wonderful work in the occupied territories and represents a (small segment) of Israeli society that wishes to live a normal life.

      There are however as he points out severe limits to the possibility of change in Israel due to the notion of Jewish supremacism, to which he refers. This is most aptly seen not only in the most overtly bigoted Israeli Jews, but within the whole of Zionism, especially the liberals who "remain silent for fear their criticism would give fuel to those who would delegitimize Israel."

      Let's stop and examine this for a second.

      The notion of the legitimacy of Israel is a purely subjective notion that reflects the Jewish collective obsession with their well being and is itself irrelevant at this stage in history. The supposed legitimacy of Israel is based on the idea that the Jewish people have suffered tremendously throughout the ages. Due to this suffering, they are entitled to form a state where there alleged ancestors held suzerainty for 60 years millennia ago.

      This notion is extremely self serving on several levels. First, it assumes that one's suffering entitles one to take the property and political rights of another. Because of the pograms and holocausts, Jews somehow have a right to set up a Jewish majority state on land that was 93% owned by Palestinian Arabs who were driven out in 1947-1949. Any criticism of this is "delegitimation" of Israel, though it is in fact the Palestinians who are the legitimate owners of the land.

      By the logic of the formation of Israel, if we apply it to all of humanity and not to a handful of politically powerful zionist Jews, any people that suffers are entitled to the land of another people. The African Americans suffered far more than the Jews the past 500 years. Why do we not allow for a "Black state" in China? Or even in the USA, where they committed their crimes?They do not even have compensation for their ancestors' labor.

      The notion of protecting Israel's legitimacy is self-serving also on the level that Israel itself has not declared its borders, so it will not even put forth a state to which it can be recognized. It overstepped even the questionable boundaries of the UN partition plan of 1947 (incidentally, not approved by the Security Council) and tripled its allotted land. So even accepting Israel on its quasi-legal basis in 1947, is Israel legitimate based on the fact that it occupies the West Bank and Golan Heights, and even occupies 50% more land than it was allotted by the UN?

      No. By this logic, we must recognize all conquerors as legitimate.

      And Rabbi Ascherman, all the facts show that Israel's conquests were premeditated. They are not living in a neighborhood that is "hostile" to them for no reason. They are hostile to Israel because of Israel's perpetual hostility. And all attempts by Israel's supporters and even its zionism critics to package it as otherwise are just not legitimate arguments.

  • Despite being Barred from Jerusalem Easter is a Symbol of hope for Palestinians (3)
    • It's what al-Nashra said. However, the thrust to the reporting on all this is that substantially fewer permits were granted this year. A claim of none is easily refuted by "1", but that wouldn't challenge the point.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
  • Pictures Don't Lie: Refuting #there_was_no_Palestine (32)
    • all nationalism, including Israeli and Italian, is recent; peoples are older, and there were people in the 19th century who thought of themselves as from Palestine when there were no people who thought of themselves as from Israel.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists" (22)
  • Despite being Barred from Jerusalem Easter is a Symbol of hope for Palestinians (3)