Recent Comments 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn (8)A. Waters 01/31/2015 at 6:24 pm Actually Romney's transformation from a progressive liberal when governor of Massachusetts (or moderate Republican if you like), demonstrates just how much the Republican party has changed since Eisenhower. One could make the argument that despite his "war on drugs" policies, Nixon was the last liberal President if you actually look at his policies. Nixon's anti-drug policies included substantial funding for treatment and prevention. Now we just condemn those who use the drugs of choice for the poor to long prison sentences (a form of slave labor). Nixon didn't support or even consider mandatory minimum sentences, supported greater regulation of banks as well as far more labor-friendly policies. (No, I'm not a fan of Nixon or a Republican).Bill Clinton was a masterful politician (perhaps the best we've had since FDR at the machinations required to be a successful POTUS). But his foreign and domestic policies weren't progressive at all. He cleverly used a preventive-strike against Newt Gingrich and his "Contract for Americans" to weaken the Republicans when they had tremendous power. Clinton also signed off on NAFTA, the Protection of Marriage Act and made it possible for our private government records to be purchased by private companies.The Republicans have major problems and Romney exemplified them. They have become overly influenced by fanatics of various kinds including Christian Zionists, climate change deniers and anti-evolutionary biology zealots who thrive on fear. They support a large, aggressive state (catering to big banks, hedge funds and the Über-wealthy and their subsidiary military-security supply chains). And, much like their British Tory counterparts, are especially keen to dismantle Social Security and unequivocally against the creation of a more efficient, cheaper, universal form of health care.Romney's problem is that after switching policies so many times and trying to cater to the Tea Party and far right Republicans in self-contradictory ways, he lost the trust of everyone. He is too polarizing a figure to even unite Republicans.Perhaps Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana and former Rhodes Scholar who earned a B.S. in Biology at Brown University, might offer a more coherent form of conservatism. But Jindal supported the Louisiana Science Education Act which allows for the teaching of creationism and so is as anti-science as his Republican partymainstream. Read here: link to motherjones.comGlenn E. Perry 01/31/2015 at 3:38 pm I doubt whether his party has any presidential material.Steve MacIntyre 01/31/2015 at 1:08 pm Emergency room visits are indeed very expensive with costs passed on to the taxpayers. But they are also billed at extremely high rates to the uninsured patients who visit them, patients who by definition have little money to pay.Bill Bodden 01/31/2015 at 12:22 pm ...Romney did an about face and condemned the idea of universal health care coverage. He was just pandering to the Tea Party...Despite the fact that Romney was a politician it was astounding to watch how much he could talk out of both sides of his mouth in 2014.As Andrew Levine said of Romney, "... no one, not even Romney himself, knows what his politics are ..." "Sympathy for Obama?: The President's Republican Problem and My Own" by ANDREW LEVINE - link to counterpunch.orgRepubAnon 01/31/2015 at 12:06 pm You left out the Nixon strategy. Nixon let the far-right wing Goldwater faction run against LBJ in 1968. When they lost, Nixon's operatives swooped in and gained control of the Republican Party. The man who famously told the press that "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" then ran a successful Presidential campaign in 1968.He was helped in large part by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. I expect Mr. Romney figures that: * by 2020, Rupert Murdock (who hates Romney) will be in a sulfur-scented afterlife rather than controlling Fox News content; * The economy will be in deep trouble, as post-peak oil and vanishing resources make virtually everyone worse off than they were 4 years ago - weakening the then-incumbent; * If everything collapses, and massive riots sweep across the country, perhaps it would be easier to escape to one of his remote boltholes if he doesn't have to first escape from mobs attacking the White House. (link to huffingtonpost.com)Over 80 Cartoonists And Comics Workers Boycott Israeli Occupation Firms (1)Ethan Heitner 01/31/2015 at 11:28 am Hi- as one of the organizers of this open letter, I'd like to say: we are now at 110+ signers, including Alison Bechdel, Jaime Hernandez, Lewis Trondheim, and many more. Also, our letter specifically says that we are not limiting our call to boycott to firms profiting from the Occupation of '67, but to all Israeli companies and institutions that do not explicitly take a stand for equal rights, freedom, and justice for Palestinians, in accordance with the BDS call.You can read the full letter and updated list of signatories here: lettertoangouleme.tumblr.comIf you work in the comics industry and would like to sign, you can write to email@example.comCheers!5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn (8)Sherm 01/31/2015 at 10:22 am And all those in the bull pen have double digit era's.armin G. 01/31/2015 at 9:48 am You left out the likeliest reason for his withdrawal: the Bushes told him it's Jeb's turn.As Americans are shot At: Saudi Death Sentence on Shiite Cleric inflames Sectarian Tensions (3)theswan 01/31/2015 at 9:36 am How could the powers to be (along with their military) in Washington not just love this? There will be no end in sight and Washington's powerful pockets will be full of military hardware and cash. And they will be able to display to their people that the budget is balanced, their cars are full of cheap gas, and all is well. And don't forget their "vote for me" slogan. Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr probably knows MLK. Together they would sit down and talk, and understand each other. Power corrupts listen to the little guy.5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn (8)dsmith 01/31/2015 at 9:16 am Thank you Mr. Romney for not running, you really make a boring candidate. I'm looking forward to the Republican wind up toys bumping and banging into each other for the next year and a half as they see who can be the most militaristic.As Americans are shot At: Saudi Death Sentence on Shiite Cleric inflames Sectarian Tensions (3)Jennifer Reft 01/31/2015 at 7:50 am Wow-important read on #KSA politics MT : Saudi Death Sentence on Shiite Cleric inflames Sectarian Tensions link to t.coNetanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Steve Gilpatrick 01/31/2015 at 7:21 am in reply to Keith DuddyRealpolitikAs Americans are shot At: Saudi Death Sentence on Shiite Cleric inflames Sectarian Tensions (3)Ciriaco 01/31/2015 at 4:22 am Most likely, the US will pressure their Saudi friends to avoid trouble at this point.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Ciriaco 01/31/2015 at 4:09 am in reply to NapHe will be rewarded by the donors. And you know who they are.Why the Israeli-Hizbullah Tit for Tat Probably won't turn to War (3)Mark Koroi 01/30/2015 at 10:14 pm Here is a link illustrating the integration of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard into the defense network in south Lebanon, currently:link to timesofisrael.comMark Koroi 01/30/2015 at 9:48 pm "Ooops.......they killed a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps."In 2006, in the Second Lebanon War, the Iranian government had troops that fought against Israel, and at least six were killed in action.Iran Revolutionary Guard units had been responsible for firing the most sophisticated air-to-sea and surface-to-surface missiles deployed against Israel in that conflict. They disabled an Israeli warship off the coast of Beirut with a radar-guided Silkworm missile developed by China, killing several Israeli navy sailors, and also fired rockets into Israeli population centers from Lebanon.Iran had been training Hezbollah fighters in south Lebanon and had supplied its arsenal with missiles previous to initiation of that conflict. Hezbollah was largely responsible for the 12,000 rockets Hezbollah had going into the Second Lebanon War - 4,000 of which were used against Israel - and is further the primary supplier of the current Hezbollah arsenal in Lebanon that has been estimated to be about 40,000 rockets.I seriously doubt that Israel "mistakenly" killed the Iran Revolutionary Guard general, but the most likely scenario is that Israel wanted to target an Iranian military leader it perceived as inimical to its interests. Given Iran's extensive ongoing movements in South Lebanon in the last 10 years, I doubt that the IDF had any compunctions about doing so.The Need for New Blood at State Dept.: Obama's Problem with the 'Vision Thing' (4)Brian 01/30/2015 at 7:01 pm Dr. Bacevich, Why do you give the Obama Team a pass on their collective failure to close Gitmo ?There is no aspect of closing it down that poses any significant national security hurdle. Rather, the Democratic Party fears that actually closing it would help Republicans get elected. That's it. That's the only thing that's keeping them from following through. Closing Gitmo might cost $ 2 Billion, but would save maybe $ 5 Billion, so the problem isn't the monetary cost. . . . When this foreign policy team finds a core belief or principle that they can rally around, (they might check out the "Declaration of Independence,) then the "vision thing" will take care of itself. .onemorecraig 01/30/2015 at 2:37 pm I generally agree with Mr. Bacevich on foreign affairs; however, to argue that Obama didn't perform up to standard is a false equivalencey at best, and at worst a gross mischaracterisation of circumstance. To be fair, Obama entered office with his furture far more constrained than any previous President in US history: His foreign policy was set by the previous - blunder prone administration. An administration that essentially made the wrong decision on every policy conceivable; an adminstration that was soley focussed on "transformation" in their own right (no pun intended). That aside, his role was doubly and uprecedently constrained by the having the unbelievable bad luck to be the only president in history to have both a domestic induced financial crisis - with global proportions- to deal with while simultaneously dealing with two full blown foreign wars and several smaller conflicts at the same time. This was also compuounded by a congress hell bent on obstructing him in an unprecedented manner. Frankly in the context of his domestic and foreign affairs reality, he's done surprisingly well. The Right's paragon of virtue, Reagan did the same thing Cheney/Bush administration did - transformative foreign policy while ruining the domestic economy. This ruined Bush Sr. and yet Obama managed to survive exponentially more damaged foreign and domestic realities. Anyone foolish enough to have thought he would be truly transformative like some kind of black jesus, clearly shouldn't be a commenter on these issues. His only course of direction possible was to try and recover, not transform US policy. He had no chance to try anything transformative because he and his administration was constrained by historical forces beyond anyone's control. America is NOT exceptional, but rather quintessentially imperial - just like every other empire and as such is a very difficult "ship of state" to turn within an 8 year (really 6 at best) term. In contrast, the next president will be given an economy that is relatively healthy and with no major wars to contend with just like every other president in US history. I think Mr. Bacevich's argument is really about the transformative period of the Baby Boomer decline in power. Obama isn't one, but the remenants of the Boomer disaster which are desperately trying to extract maximum benefits from a system that they benefitted greatly from, which is perpetuating and extending the very problems that he was discussing. I agree; the Boomers have screwed us for too long for their own self-serving and greedy benefit. That demographic shift will truly be the transformative moment that we all hope for.As the Onion posted when Obama won, "Black man given nation's worst job".Historically speaking, I suspect that Obama will be remembered by most americans as an exceptional president, and even more likely an exceptional ex-president - more so than any modern president. His moment to be truly unconstrained will prove his transformative potential Mr. Bacevich.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Jay L 01/30/2015 at 2:02 pm in reply to Nap...and the American people expect these kind of considerations. The American people respect politicians whose first political purpose is to get (re)elected. Moreover, most Americans would love to have a war with Iran. So Boehner (and Bibi too) is playing his political cards very skillfully.zandru 01/30/2015 at 12:55 pm in reply to Laurent Weppe"(a majority of Israeli Jews are actually arabs themselves being blissfully ignored)"Yeah, well what US supporters of Israel don't know about the Israeli experiment is basically EVERYTHING in Israel's history.The Need for New Blood at State Dept.: Obama's Problem with the 'Vision Thing' (4)ambon po 01/30/2015 at 12:14 pm cue lennon singing, "--stuck in the muddle with you". good thoughts: and i suppose u.s. foreign policy suffers from the same cultural mass-delusion that has plagued our economy-- namely, that the VIP who ostensibly represents an institution, industry, or nation, can productively "lead the change process"; therefore we tend to focus on brokering strategic alliances VIPs and institutions (Ex: the house of Saud) which, often as not, end up filing for bankruptcy (in the corporate model) or else dissolve into uncontrollable sectarian chaos (in the nation model). but of course: VIPs real core competency is meeting with/being VIP-y with other VIPs, so of course Gelb/Kissinger will suggest a bold strategic meeting with, say, Modhi-- promising, what shall we guess, maybe greater access to cheap iron ore (from australia or brazil) to "pivot" our economic manufacturing dependency away from China, etc, semi-clever sounding bull-hockey. or maybe we promised Modhi we would let India take over Foxconn's line of production. or maybe we promised nothing of substance, and the entire thing was to make VIPs in china jealous/anxious of our very special relationship. anyways: the game of diplomacy, being so played, being at the end of the day just a pseudo-aristocratic ritual/game, does little to protect us/adapt to real change-- and thus it hath been from the age of metternich. although maybe the key personality by which to analyze the u.s. policy elite would be elihu root. blah. huzzah for middling meddling muddlers!Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Jack 01/30/2015 at 10:20 am in reply to MargotI judged the power of the Evangelical movement in the GOP by what happens in their stronghold---IOWA. In 2008, their support caused Mick Huckabee to upset the field but today, they don't seem as powerful. The big money players like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson seem to drive Republican politics. At the recently concluded Iowa Freedom Summit neither Romney or Jeb Bush attended.Why the Israeli-Hizbullah Tit for Tat Probably won't turn to War (3)Cimi Skywalker 01/30/2015 at 8:29 am . At what point is throwing assaults and killing people NOT WAR?The Need for New Blood at State Dept.: Obama's Problem with the 'Vision Thing' (4)Brian A. Hayes 01/30/2015 at 8:01 am Need the vision that Dr. King laid out in The Beyond Vietnam Sermon penned by Dr. Vincent Harding . King understood the Noble PPObama Win: Dem Senators Flip-Flop, Delay Iran Sanctions Bill (2)super390 01/30/2015 at 6:35 am in reply to spyguyWe become broke when our creditors say we're broke. Our creditors are China, Iran's semi-ally, and Saudi Arabia, which wants Iran crushed. China is only interested in containing the US and marketing its neat new weapons, so bogging us down in a war in Iran may not look like a bad deal; letting us bog ourselves down in Iraq enabled China to make its big move into world power unimpeded by Cheney's PNAC doctrines demanding action against any country that dared challenge US power of any sort. China must also love the cheap oil that Saudi is using as a weapon in this pre-war.But the real mystery is how long Saudi and its fellow Arab tyrannies can prop us up with debt when it is also undercutting oil prices to hurt Iran and Russia.The real shock is watching the US morph before our eyes from a country that would kill for cheap oil to a country that would kill for expensive oil, which all-out war will finally produce.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)super390 01/30/2015 at 6:22 am in reply to MargotThat's the Southern revision of the traditional Republican model that Prof. Cole laid out. And it's a big revision. For the North, Blacks were a problem to be explained away. But the South brought in Blacks as the foundation of their whole system of exploitation (which exploits many whites as well), and any religion that has prospered there has come to accept that reality.The narrow purpose of this religion in the current context is to create an Apocalyptic panic, then a retaliatory Crusade against the outside world. But the belief system will impose its inherent agenda on us. The Faithful/Patriot minority will overwhelm democracy by sheer doggedness, envisioning themselves as a feudal elite, a sort of... Invisible Knighthood, perhaps, serving the capitalist nobility. Or you can use the Old Testament Patriarchy as the model; both insane analogies were present in the old slave South as models.But most of all, religion serves the Right in its most essential goal: to destroy the belief in our society of the ability of the government to accomplish secular improvement in our lives. Note the word "secular", as in objective goals, not absurd and hypocritical holy crusades to distract the masses.super390 01/30/2015 at 6:09 am in reply to spyguyYou are assuming that the rich have any intention of allowing future America to be a democracy. Israel is being used as a testbed for what will happen instead.Laurent Weppe 01/30/2015 at 4:10 am with 1 replies in reply to MargotI heavily suspect that Christian fundies are less motivated by apocalyptic belief and more by sheer racism against a non-white ethnicity (a majority of Israeli Jews are actually arabs themselves being blissfully ignored).Laurent Weppe 01/30/2015 at 4:06 am in reply to spyguyYounger voters want the services that government provides. They grew up with those services after WW2 and expect them to continue. the Republican idea of eliminating services does not sit well with the younger voters.The republicans do not want to eliminate services: they want to turn these into privileges exclusively granted to their constituency in exchange for they submissiveness toward the moneyed dynasties.***If Israelis really want a long term relationship with the USAI don't think the israeli ruling class wants any long term relationship with anyone: they want to keep the social hierarchy which benefit them to keep on going as long as possible before migrating back to Europe's and US' wealthy neighborhoods while leaving their middle and lower-class compatriots alone to deal with their policies' fallout.Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)CTET 01/30/2015 at 2:34 am Solar is the future .Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Clif Brown 01/30/2015 at 1:53 am in reply to spyguySpyguy - you make good points, but the view from rural America is expressed by Mike Huckabee who claims that those in the cities are living in a bubble. I think the perception is still that white America is "real" America and everything else is an aberration that must be stopped. The relentless march of demographics won't stop ever more strident and extreme behavior from the right, let's just hope its ability to determine national policy will soon diminish.U.S. Ally Yemen in Danger of Splitting into Two – Again (1)Hunter Watson 01/30/2015 at 1:42 am I'm pretty much a non-interventionist. Perhaps the U.S. has clear and compelling national interests in Yemen, but I don't see them.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Nap 01/29/2015 at 11:14 pm with 2 replies“Boehner seem to have concluded that new sanctions on Iran, even if it aborts negotiations and brings on a war with Iran, will be rewarded by the electorate in 2016.” Patrick Buchanan link to buchanan.orgKeith Duddy 01/29/2015 at 10:53 pm with 1 repliesIt would be like a former security advisor making private representations to a foreign government with whom the United States is at war to wait for a new president to be elected before making a peace deal.... Oh wait - that happened. Remind me why Henry Kissinger is not in jail for treason.Mark Koroi 01/29/2015 at 10:48 pm in reply to MelNo need to do any "peeling" at all.Max Fisher, a heavy hitter in the GOP, and director of United Jewish Appeal, had been a personal friend of every single U.S. president since Eisenhower until his death in 2005. He was an ardent Zionist. His death at age 96 made front-page news in Israel.Murray Chotiner in the 1950s and 60s engineered the political rise of Richard Nixon and was likely Nixon's closest confidante and friend. Henry Kissinger was Nixon's chief confidante on foreign affairs issues.The Republican Party has many influential Jewish leaders that support Israel.Mark Koroi 01/29/2015 at 10:35 pm in reply to MargotThey are a very powerful voice at the grassroots level.The Moral Majority that propelled Reagan to the presidency in 1980 is an example.Margot 01/29/2015 at 8:11 pm with 5 repliesNo mention is made here of the Christian Fundamentalists who believe fomenting war in the Middle East will help bring about the End Times. How significant a factor are they in the Republican Party?Mel 01/29/2015 at 6:35 pm with 1 repliesUseful in the long run, perhaps, to peel American Jews from the Democratic Party? Assuming it doesn't all blow up in their facesNew Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)Barkley Rosser 01/29/2015 at 3:52 pm super 390,The 1986 increase in Saudi oil production leading to a plunge in the price of oil was not driven by a desire to tank the USSR, although it did that. It was drven by internal factors and their annoyance with Iran and Iraq, who had been violating OPEC production quotas to buy weapons with cash to fight each other. The Saudis had kept the price propped up at $34 per barrel by repeated production cuts over a five year period. But these finally did begin to pinch the Saudi budget and particularly the part that funds the royal family perks. That is what led then King Fahd to pull the plug and crash the price.As it was, then VP Bush ran wailing to Riyadh to ask for a pullback as Savings and Loans crashed hard in Texas (ultimately costing US taxpayers billions), and Fahd did pull back. The price had fallen to $9 per barrel by July, 1986. Some small cutbacks put it back well into the teens, where it stayed for a long time.It is this and some other similar experiences that drive current policy. Oil Minister al Naimi has declared that Saudi Arabia is tired of saving the behinds of high cost producers by cutting their own production. As it is, Iran and Iraq are not the high cost producers this time who will be hit hard. Those include the US as well as parts of Venequela and Russia, although Russia also has some of theh lowest cost fields in the world outside the Persian Gulf, where the costs are indeed the lowest. Some production costs in KSA are as low as $4-$5 per barrel.All Lives Matter: from Ferguson to Palestine (4)Donald Schellberg 01/29/2015 at 2:07 pm And some other unpleasant things called facts for you.Even at Brown's funeral, some speakers used the occasion to call for social change, with one of Brown's cousins urging those in attendance to make their voices heard at the polls because "we have had enough of seeing our brothers and sisters killed in the streets."To put it bluntly, voter turnout for Ferguson township was far from historic.Of 24,334 registered voters, 10,222 cast ballots in Tuesday's election, a turnout of slightly more than 42%, according to an initial tally.There wasn't a wave of new voters, either, as only 204 residents registered to vote between August 11, the Monday after Brown was shot, and October 8, the registration deadline for Tuesday's election, said Rita Days, St. Louis County's director of elections. Fifty-six additional residents have registered since October 8, she said.Of course, 42% is only the initial tally, and the county has two weeks to verify that figure with the state, so the number could rise or drop, Days said. Still, she felt it was a strong turnout."This is a very big number considering the last mayoral election, when Mayor (James) Knowles was elected -- that was 16%," Days said.But comparing municipal to general and midterm election turnouts is apple and oranges, Knowles said in an email. Since 16.2% of voters first put Knowles in office in 2011, voter turnout for the annual city elections has never topped 12%. The 2012 general election, however, lured 76.4% of voters to the polls.Donald Schellberg 01/29/2015 at 2:03 pm I did get my facts straight"In 1990, Ferguson, Mo. was a middle class suburban enclave north of St. Louis with a population about three-quarters white. In 2000, the town’s population was roughly split between black and white with an unemployment rate of 5%. By 2010, the population was two-thirds black,"There was an election with Obama on the ticket, in 2012, when local officials were up for re-election. So before criticizing other people's facts do some fact checking yourself.New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)Joe Zainea 01/29/2015 at 1:27 pm in reply to Solaiman FazelThe end goals are to hurt the Russian economy for its support of Assad; discourage higher cost drilling in the U.S. to reduce our competition against Saudi oil; and, hurt the Iranian economy because of their support of Assad, their Shia beliefs and the threat of Iran becoming the hegemonic power of the middle east.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Bill Bodden 01/29/2015 at 12:24 pm The audacity of Speaker of the House John Boehner colluding with the prime minister of a foreign country to undermine a sitting president is, I think, still not entirely appreciated.But not surprising. Perhaps instead of charging Boehner with audacity he should be charged with bungling incompetence.On the other hand, the White House and Congress have colluded with Israel in its treating the United States with contempt for decades. "Benjamin Netanyahu: the Anti-American Obstructionist: Has He Gone Too Far This Time?" by MELVIN A. GOODMAN link to counterpunch.orgTravis Bickle 01/29/2015 at 10:35 am This post is, as usual, useful, but it's illustrative of the problem in communicating the importance of such things in that it demands too much focus (if not background). Not to be too critical, but analogizing between Netanyahu and Barzani or Franco, detracts hugely from the simple eloquence of your first paragraph.The accepted science on these things in cognitive psychology is that when presented with too much new or contradictory information, brains default to their pre-existing prejudices. The threshold at which human's mental "fuses" blow, whether they be progressives OR conservatives, is really rather low (depressingly so). Which is why this website, as well as ones like Red-State, have such big Amen Choruses. People wittingly or unwitting triggering this phenomena goes far to explain the increase in political polarization over the last decade or so.There are, of course, critical readers of all stripes who may divert the mental voltage necessary to appreciate your point more fully. But it strikes me that it would be possible to be more effective by being simpler and more direct.....without going all simplistic.Otherwise, Amen Brother.Max Nigh 01/29/2015 at 10:09 am How do we stop Netenyahu from coming at all?Nel 01/29/2015 at 9:47 am Boehner is treason. Netanyahu should not be allowed to land in the USA.The Boehner-Obama Struggle over Iran Nuclear Talks has gone International (5)Dieter heymann 01/29/2015 at 9:47 am Nuclear reactors which use uranium enriched in U235 can be smaller hence safer than reactors which use non-enriched U235.Climate-Denial Buffoon Inhofe takes Big $$ from Big Oil, Says Scientists Corrupt (7)Dieter Heymann 01/29/2015 at 9:34 am I am puzzled why the oil industry is so adamantly opposed to renewable energy. Crude oil will continue to be used for the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals. The reduction of the use of oil for other purposes means that it can remai n a source for the former much longer.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)Steve Stein 01/29/2015 at 8:33 am "And frankly I don’t think a Speaker would have dared try to treat a white president that way." If this was 16 years ago, I have no doubt Boehner would have done this while Clinton was president.As Gaza Refugee Babies die of Cold, Underfunded UN Agency Halts Rebuilding Aid to 400,000 (1)Lydia 01/29/2015 at 7:38 am Why isn't Israel paying for this? What happened to the practice of REPARATIONS?? #GazaNew Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)spyguy 01/29/2015 at 7:11 am in reply to KevinWhile low prices do effect Russia and and Iran, they also severely effect Canada and USA production.The actual cost to pull oil from the ground in Iran is about the same as in Saudi Arabia, so they have about the same profit margin.(both are still profitable at $50/bbl - they just have less excess cash)The Saudis spend most of their money on the "high life" for the thousands of princes and to buy off the oppressed Shia and non-princes.Iran spends most of their money on designing and building defensive weapons because of their extreme paranoia since 1979 about the US attacking them.The cost of production in Russia is higher than Saudi Arabia, but not that much higher. If I remember correctly Russia can still make a profit at $50/bbl, but not as much as they need to fund their otherwise non-productive economy. Putin and his cronies have failed to invest the surplus cash over the years in new business ventures in Russia. Like the Saudis, a good portion of the cash went to the high life for the ruling class in Russia.The big losers in a prolonged low price are the producers in USA and Canad which have very, very high production costs and can not continue to develop new production at $50/bbl.BTW - As Russia, China and most of the world walk away from the sanctions on Iran, Iran will be in increasingly better shape even at $50/bbl. The sanctions will not continue no matter what congress does, so Saudi Arabia is not really doing itself any favors.spyguy 01/29/2015 at 6:56 am in reply to KevinEven the "religious" enjoy the good life of booze, women and music.The brutal reality is exactly zero humans are as "religious" as they pretend to be and Saudi princes are no different. Why cause a physical confrontation with the USA or Israel which would severely disrupt their good life, when they can spew some meaningless rhetoric and continue to enjoy their toys and mistresses..All humans are basically selfish and self-centered and Saudis are just more so because they have the wealth to be that way.Power and wealth does really corrupt all humans.Netanyahu & Boehner: How Israel went from being a Democratic to a Republican Project (22)spyguy 01/29/2015 at 6:42 am with 3 repliesGiven the current and probable long term political make up of Israel and the probable long term make up of the USA, Israelis in for a very, very bad future.Currently the USA has a deep divide between the rural people who have lots of land, but a small part of the population and the suburban/urban people that have only a small part of the land, but over 75% of the population.The rural people still believe the myth about "frontier self reliance" (they are not actually "self reliant and need big government just like everyone else). Whereas the non-rural need all the services that governments can provide (along with taxes to provide those services).The rural are predominantly white and profess to be "christian" (although few actually practice the principles of Jesus Christ). The non-rural are a mixture of races and religions. Right now the rural whites have been able to maintain more power than they deserve, but as California has demonstrated, eventually the large population centers will simply yank power away from the rural areas and relegate them to powerlessness (This is why the rural parts of California want to form their own state, even though ti would be bankrupt the day it started).That is, over time the republicans will become a fragmented, almost powerless political party in the USA, especially as most of their core ideas are proven in the real world to be down right crazy (Kansas is proving that as I write).Basically demographics are against the republicans:- the boomers are dying off at a rate of about 2000/week and over the next 20 years most will no longer be voting (hard to do when they are dead).- Most of the voters and potential voters under 40 do NOT care about social issues like gay marriage, abortion, etc.- Younger voters want the services that government provides. They grew up with those services after WW2 and expect them to continue. the Republican idea of eliminating services does not sit well with the younger voters.- All religious groups are rapidly declining (Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, etc), with the steepest decline in conservative religions (Catholic, Evangelicals and Mormons - The LDS church shows declines in the USA and slight increases outside the USA).- While Racism is still deeply ingrained in some parts of the USA, for the most part it is declining overall, especially with the white population decreasing as percentage of the USA population.- The middle class is decreasing, especially the white middle class. As a result, as Romney correctly pointed out, almost half the people in the USA will no longer respond to the republican mantra of low taxes for the rich, especially since 75% of the population is non-rural and need the services government provides.The bottom line is the old republican constituency of white, racist, rich, angry white MEN is rapidly decreasing in size, meaning that over time, no matter how they try to rig the books, the republicans will lose power, meaning that Israel has tied their future to a losing team and alienated the winners.Bibi has broken the old Israeli model of buying every USA politician, no matter where they were on the political spectrum and has misread the American population (republicans have a long history of being delusional).If Israelis really want a long term relationship with the USA, instead of insulting Obama, they should be trying to make nice with Obama and every other politician they can while ignoring the deep divide in the USA. It is foolish to get sucked into the partisan politics of the USA.New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)Kevin 01/29/2015 at 2:04 am with 1 repliesAs recently (?) as 1973, the Saudis were willing to use an oil boycott against the West to attack Israel and Israel's pereceived allies. The Saudis were seen (by Westerners) as intransigent and hostile. Pundits discussed military operations to seize Saudi oil fields (I still have a board wargame on this topic, "Oil War", 1975). But since about the late 70s, the Saudis seen to have slid into a basically pro-Western stance, at least on the part of the ruling dynasts. They've abandoned their stance against Israel -- even ally with Israel, if not openly -- and schmooze with American presidents, buy military toys from the US, participate in military exercises, support wars against Iraq -- what gives with this? Did the Saudis become pragmatists, opportunists, or is this a demonstration of what the ruling class there will do to preserve its own power and interests, which have nothing to do with the cause of pan-Arabism, or pan-Islam, or being the guardian of Islam's holy sites?It's somewhat puzzling, how this change occurred and how the Saudis and US administrations since Nixon and Ford have been so cozy with each other. I'm sure there are Big Oil reasons involved. But is that all? Simple greed and money and economics?Kevin 01/29/2015 at 1:53 am in reply to super390Heh! I live in Texas (then and now) and remember those times! Same as it ever was...Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)Sherm 01/29/2015 at 1:27 am in reply to Juan ColeIs it the nation state that counts or the population of the nation state?Hypothetical. Let's say you took the 900 million residents of India that now have electricity and divided it into three states with a 300 million population each. That makes each comparable to the US in population.The US total emissions would be about 24 times as large as each of the other three. So what counsel would a US president give to the leaders of these three other nations that, each on their own, belch only 4% of what the US does.?Hypothetical.New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)super390 01/28/2015 at 10:39 pm with 1 replies in reply to KevinResearch the secret deal between Reagan and an earlier Saudi king to collapse oil prices in 1986 to bankrupt the USSR. It was devastating for Texas, but it was deemed worth it.All Lives Matter: from Ferguson to Palestine (4)super390 01/28/2015 at 10:32 pm in reply to Donald SchellbergThe town of Ferguson only recently began to have a large Black population; many Blacks have been moving to the suburbs recently. However, seriously, when a typical American moves to a faceless, corporatized suburb, how is he even aware that it HAS a government? Black politics was community politics - just as labor politics was the politics of working-class neighborhoods in the cities of the past. Break those up, and you create a rootless cloud of "consumers" who don't know who their local, state and Federal representatives are - just the location of the shopping mall.Which leaves politics to tireless, hate-fueled extremists who support police oppression and every other form of inequality they can resurrect from our past. The new residents of Ferguson forgot that such people still exist outside the city and got screwed the way that immigrants to cities got screwed in the past by hostile governments until they eventually organized for justice.So get your facts straight.Ms. Marvel Vs. Islamophobia (1)super390 01/28/2015 at 10:19 pm Ms. Marvel has been successful for Marvel in 3 ways: 1. very vocal support from comics websites written by women and minorities 2. #1 in digital comics sales for Marvel 3. Heavy overseas sales, presumably also digital.This may represent what Marvel sees as the future comic book audience: everybody but white American males. Since we don't know how profitable digital comics actually are, we don't know how fast Marvel wants to move in this direction. But since Ms. Marvel started its run, it has caused me to learn a lot about alternative fandom on the internet, and they are touting plenty of independent comics that were already throwing out the traditional prejudices of Marvel and DC fare. So the environment exists for new ideas.New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)Solaiman Fazel 01/28/2015 at 9:40 pm with 1 repliesIs the end goal of Saudi's low oil price policy to weaken Iran and Iraq? Is this all part of the wider Sunni-Shi'a geopolitical rivarly?Barkley Rosser 01/28/2015 at 5:28 pm Obama may be less bothered by the low oil prices than many think. After all, they help most US consumers and the US economy overall, if hurting oil producing states like Texas, OK, Louisiana, Wyoming, ND, AK, and some others so noted for their support of him (OK OK, CA is on the list, but oil not so important there).Also, I doubt these Saudi budget forecasts. In November the Saudis publicly declared they were planning their budget on oil prices being in a $45-$50 range, which they have been pretty much for the last three weeks since the price first fell below $50.Finally, I think a very important reason Obama went and got an hour wih Salman is that he personally wanted to check on the reports of Salman suffering from dementia and becoming incoherent after a few minutes of conversation. The main person publicly pushing these rumors has been Simon Henderson of the Near East Policy Institute in Washington. Why this Israeli-linked institute would want to spread such rumors is not entirely obvious to me, given the Saudi-Israeli sympathy on the Iran issue. But, I suspect Obama got his answer, which we are unlikely to hear of.Kevin 01/28/2015 at 1:44 pm with 3 repliesI can't be the only person who sees collusion at work between the US and the Saudis to keep oil prices low for a while in an attempt to wreck the Iranian and Russian economies, whatever the collateral damages or domestic concerns, which both partners believe they can absorb in pursuit of their greater goals. Low oil prices also hurt ISIL financing.Koch Bros To Spend Nearly A Billion Buying The 2016 Elections (2)theswan 01/28/2015 at 1:33 pm I fear my vote has a long way to go to measure up to theirs. They do have ONE vote do they not?Israel 'systematically mistreats' Palestinian children in custody (2)Farhang Jahanpour 01/28/2015 at 1:29 pm If you can bear it just watch the following documentary by an Australian TV station to see what goes on in "the only democracy in the Middle East": link to youtube.comKoch Bros To Spend Nearly A Billion Buying The 2016 Elections (2)Eduardo Arias 01/28/2015 at 1:29 pm I´m appalled and my thoughts are many , too many for the allotted space its not any more about the unequal distribution or about the percentages of it ,that´s overcome , now they are fighting for the management of the country its resources its armed forces its foreign policy. What´s left for the rest of the world , because this doesn´t only affect you , but the whole world beyond the 140 places where you have deployed SOC. I´m I safe in my small Andean farm , or should I consider turning into an alien ?New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)theswan 01/28/2015 at 1:28 pm Are you suggesting the US pols use people for their benefit? And who is it that pays these pols for their judicial fore thought?Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)Juan Cole 01/28/2015 at 12:43 pm with 1 replies in reply to shermthe argument that late comers are owed massive carbon emissions is akin to arguing that inmates arriving recently on death row should be allowed to have longer ropes.New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change (12)Charles Fowler 01/28/2015 at 12:10 pm Let's see if I remember this correctly. We were close pals with the Shah of Iran when he was running an oppressive dictatorship, because Iran was a bulwark in the Middle East against Soviet influence. How did that work out?Israel 'systematically mistreats' Palestinian children in custody (2)Nicholas Wibberley 01/28/2015 at 9:19 am Absent a global authority with the will and means to enforce our abstract moral beliefs and aspirations these contradictions will continue. I am not even sure there is much new about them except the manner in which they have become media currency, providing controlled opportunities to focus outrage and diffuse it in onanistic, largely harmless, vaguely comforting ways. Look at that piece about the Koch brothers, you would imagine Cenk Uygur and the other guy think the situation funny; arms waving, voices rising in faux incredulity. Or the self-righteous media protestations as 30 US suits (and others) rush headlong to congratulate Riyadh days after a viral snuff film showed an executioner taking three sword strokes to remove the head of a Burmese woman in a public square in Mecca.Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)sherm 01/28/2015 at 8:32 am with 2 repliesLooking at the per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the US and India, the difference couldn't be starker. The US per capita emission is about ten times that of India, If the the 300 million people with no electricity are discounted, and the per capita number is just attributed to 900 million or so with electricity, then the ratio is eight to one.It must be hard for Obama to keep a straight face when telling India's leader that India must become more austere in the use of fossil fuels, when the majority party running the US congress doesn't believe that global warming is caused by human activity.This burn-baby-burn congress is unlikely to support any significant government role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. More likely the GOP will try to use the cheap oil situation to smother progress on renewables. That's what they have been paid to do,So while we gorge on steak and lobster, we implore the skinny Indians to tighten their belts.Obama Win: Dem Senators Flip-Flop, Delay Iran Sanctions Bill (2)spyguy 01/28/2015 at 5:08 am with 1 repliesFrom a practical point of view, the congress critters have already shot their entire wad and further attempts at sanctions or manipulating the global banking system will not only FAIL miserably but could make it very hard for US companies to operate on a global basis.From this point on, the only thing the congress critters can do that would have any meaning would be to declare war on Iran. Given the extreme reluctance congress critters have with having a public vote to authorize war on ISIL, it is unlikely they would ever vote to go to war with Iran, especially when the US military and US intelligence services are adamantly against it.The political cost of declaring war on Iran would devastate the republican party in 2016. Only Rand Paul might have a chance if he guaranteed to stop the war overnight (because by 2016 the war would be going very,very badly for the USA).Maybe the US military explained to Mendez that Iran has huge military strength. For example:- Total Population: 79,853,900 - Available Manpower: 46,247,556 (1) - Fit for Service: 39,566,497 - Reaching Military Age Annually: 1,392,483] - Active Frontline Personnel: 545,000 (2) - Active Reserve Personnel: 1,800,000 (2)(1) More than enough people to kill every American that invades Iran - This is ~15% of the US population - Will the US want to dedicate 15% of its population to war with Iran?(2) Bigger than US military unless the US re-starts conscription- Iran has put in place an extensive antiaircraft network consisting of multiple layers of ;- S-400 equivalent long range missiles (very deadly) - BUK equivalent medium range missiles (very deadly) - ManPad short range missilesIran has enough to target each incoming aircraft with multiple missiles, making the lives of most invading pilots very short.Iran also very probably has DF21D "carrier killer" missiles, so the US fleet has to stay at least 800 miles from Iran and can not get anywhere near the Persian Gulf. Then there are the supercavitating torpedoes that Iranian subs carry that give any ship in the Persian Gulf less than 30 seconds to realize they are about to get blown up.Given that the US will NOT be able to get any "partners" to help fight the war, the US will be totally broke within a few months.Maybe the real world finally got through the massive delusion Mendez appears to have.Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)Henning Dekant 01/27/2015 at 11:46 pm "... and so should be allowed to put extra water in makes no since if that policy would drown you."Typo alert.Why Fracking & Tar Sands are Doomed: Low-Cost Oil and Pollution (3)gmoke 01/27/2015 at 8:54 pm I suspect that there may be more to the drop in oil prices than just production issues and competition from renewables. It may be part of a deflationary trend that is affecting many other resources as well.Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)Paul Mueth 01/27/2015 at 8:02 pm The aid to India's nuclear program (and punting the liability ) should be emphasized. And someone in the US press should point out that it's a flagrant violation of the NPT! Some violators are more Orwellian than others.The Boehner-Obama Struggle over Iran Nuclear Talks has gone International (5)Rudolph 01/27/2015 at 7:58 pm According to Iran experts, Flynt and Hillary Leverett: “The world has...seen what happens when America and its European partners demonstrate bad faith in nuclear diplomacy with Tehran -- Iran expands its nuclear infrastructure and capabilities. When Iran broke its nearly two-year enrichment suspension in 2005, it could run less than a thousand centrifuges; today, it has installed 12,000 centrifuges, more than 9,000 of which process uranium gas to produce enriched uranium. In February 2010, Iran began enriching uranium to the near-20 percent level needed to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) after the US and its partners refused to sell the fuel; Iran consistently offered to suspend near-20 percent enrichment if it could obtain an adequate fuel supply for the TRR. After Obama torpedoed the Tehran Declaration, Iran accelerated production of near-20 percent uranium and began indigenously manufacturing fuel plates for the TRR.” link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.comAll Lives Matter: from Ferguson to Palestine (4)Donald Schellberg 01/27/2015 at 11:15 am with 1 repliesI am the father of 3 multi-racial children and I warn them not to expect to be treated equally by the police. I do this for their own protection. The Treyvon Martin case and Jordan Davis case really tore me up inside, because I believe they were vicitimized by people with racial issues.Ferguson is a different story, however. Why doesn't Ferguson have a police force that is represenative of its population? The only answer is that the inhabitants of that town did not vote locally in large numbers. If that is the case, then they are partly responsible for the appointment of a police chief so ill equiped to deal with a diverse population.Mark Brown is not a very good poster child for civil rights either. I am no way justifiying murder if that what it was, but he was a bully when he strong armed those cigars from the owner of the convenience store. I agree that the police badly handled this situation but one thing I did notice was the marks on the officer's neck, which means someone must have grabbed him (or he faked it). If you grab a police office hard enough to leave a mark, then expect to get shot white, black or green.I am not a big fan of the US judicial system because it is a two tiered system, but this case is not a good example of that.Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future (7)zandru 01/27/2015 at 11:10 am The expansion of solar energy in India is great news! India will be fortunate to be able to skip much of the 19th century Industrial Revolution-style carbon pollution by going to solar instead. China has found out how much environmental devastation results from trying to modernize its population the old fashioned coal&oil-powered way.Unfortunately, NPR yesterday preferred to concentrate on a new nuclear power agreement whereby US nuke builders would be able to build in India WITHOUT the normally-required indemnity insurance required by the Indian government.As too few Americans know, the only thing making nuclear power economically-viable in the US is the Price Anderson Act, which provides effectively unlimited coverage to nuke operators via the federal government - us taxpayers.American companies attempting to get any kind of liability insurance that ISN'T Price Anderson will find that it's basically impossible, at any price. Insurance companies put in explicit exclusions for anything dealing with "radiation" or "nuclear." If a nuclear power plant had to buy insurance on the free market, they could not remain in business.And really - why in the world would one wish to build a multibillion-$ facility, requiring containment, exclusion zones, radiation protection and monitoring, terrorist protection, etc - to simply BOIL WATER - when all you really need to do is concentrate sunlight on said water?Kurds expel ISIL/Daesh from Syria's Kobane after months of fighting (1)Jack 01/27/2015 at 10:12 am Obama's wise decision to use American air power to attack Daesh when they were over extended and most vulnerable has finally paid dividends in Kobane and Diyala province. These key strategic defeats reverse the momentum and propaganda Daesh had so carefully executed for months. Cutting their supply lines and isolating Mosul will be next.This certainly isn't good news for the Republican war mongers in Congress, especially with Netanyahu coming the Washington in the next few weeks.Using Daesh as an example of Obama's incompetence would have been perfect for attacking any plan to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. Graham would gone all hysterical claiming a nucular agreement with Iran is like giving Daesh nukes.Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes (6)Laro 01/26/2015 at 10:55 pm I would rather qualify the term secession, while Al-Hirak has been asking for independence with mixed success, the current wave of "non-accepting orders from Sanaa" are more about who is in control of a united Yemen. Somehow it seems that the government forces are now the rebels but South Yemen is no more independent than it was a week ago. W'll see what happens in the weeks to come.The Boehner-Obama Struggle over Iran Nuclear Talks has gone International (5)super390 01/26/2015 at 8:56 pm in reply to spyguyIt would be prudent to consider more alarming possibilities - because those are exactly what the GOP is planning. They still face the problem of having nothing to offer in 2016 but old-school oligarchs like J. Bush and Romney, at a time when we are assured by the media that Tea Partiers are anti-oligarchy libertarians who are not knee-jerk racist imperialists. Well, let's get a fairly Warm War going with Iran and those folks will start to feel very nostalgic for these Neocon scions and the glory of 2003.If the war goes as badly under Bush/Romney as we expect, all the police state measures we and the Tea Partiers complain about will be applied - overwhelmingly against leftists, pacifists & minorities - and you will not hear a complaint from the Right except the token one from Rand Paul.Because "wartime" changes everything for "patriots". Because it's not Big Government if it's "wartime". Because duty instantly annuls liberty in "wartime". Because martial law is a fantastic opportunity to destroy the traitors for good while the National Guard looks the other way.Every time we underestimate how far the GOP is willing to go is when the worst happens. And boy, Netanyahu can give it plenty of training on how to use a permanent state of war to turn a left-leaning society into a new Rhodesia.Saudi's Barbaric Flogging for Blogging, explained by a Blogger (1)A E Nicholson 01/26/2015 at 8:47 pm Je Suis Raif Badawi !America's Walking Dead: The Perpetual War Machine (7)super390 01/26/2015 at 8:37 pm What the war machine is financing is a rewriting of the culture itself. Yet I can't help but suspect that our culture needed little indoctrination to fall in love with the military, if we understand the culture to mean the traditional patriarchal hierarchy of elites > enforcer/smallholder class > underpeople. It's obvious in this scheme what values the middle caste will tend to admire. In an era where the proliferation of minorities causes that caste to feel threatened, democracy becomes scorned and military discipline is supposed as a remedy for dissent. God, guns and guts become the surrogate for a desire for white supremacy that can no longer speak its name.One of America's dirty secrets, known by the earliest plantation owners fearing their indentured servants, is that this caste of poorer whites has always held the balance of military power in our land. ("I can always hire half the working class to shoot the other half.") How it is divided between loyalty to race, to region, and to class has delivered the blackmail power that movements of the Left and Right have used to move the country a long way in one direction or the other.Our Left hates to look at our country this way. But then look at the vast scale of its failure to keep whites from voting against their own material (as opposed to emotional) interests.super390 01/26/2015 at 8:17 pm in reply to JTMcPheeA few countries have walked away from their empires after one or two non-fatal defeats, but I can't tell why some try to hold on all the way to catastrophe. For instance, Sweden invaded Russia in the early 1700s; it got deep into the Ukraine before its king was killed. After its defeat, it evolved into a very different kind of society.One thing we must consider is that just because empires are criminal enterprises, doesn't mean the people who inherit them lack justification to fear the consequences of walking away. Maybe Sweden could shut it down because the balance of forces around it meant that retreat would not lead to being conquered or bankrupted. The European colonial empires were proven unnecessary after 1945 as the Marshall Plan and European Community were demonstrably better for the people of those countries.However, I don't think there's an easy way out for the US, because it has outsourced its economy and turned its financial markets into casinos, while relying on foreign creditors to unnaturally prop up the $. Presumably those creditors have reasons to keep our empire in business; otherwise, years ago they should have used their leverage to blackmail us into shutting it down and paying down our debts.Turns out Rightwing Hindu PM more reasonable on Climate Change than US Congress (Obama visits Modi) (2)super390 01/26/2015 at 8:01 pm So is India headed towards nuclear power or renewables? What is the society truly committed to doing? After the nuclear accidents in Russia, America and Japan, whose engineers can be trusted to run a reactor safely instead of forming a corrupt bureaucratic caste protected by a code of silence?Climate-Denial Buffoon Inhofe takes Big $$ from Big Oil, Says Scientists Corrupt (7)super390 01/26/2015 at 7:54 pm in reply to Jay LHe's not a crackpot, he's a cynical liar. The list of contributors above paid him to say the things he says. He knows that if things go wrong, his grassroots army of bullies will blame the victims and double down on the oppression of un-American thought, as long as he keeps feeding it with self-serving fantasies.He is the perfect intermediary between the Wall Street plantation owners and the heartland's neo-rednecks; each gives cover to the other; each gives the other the form of power it craves. The Southern model of class control has been modernized and gone nationwide.Why Fracking & Tar Sands are Doomed: Low-Cost Oil and Pollution (3)super390 01/26/2015 at 7:46 pm I never imagined that falling oil prices would sink the US economy. I guess that the money from the fracking bubble is playing such a huge role in keeping the economy going that it has overshadowed the normal benefits of cheap oil to every American who isn't part of the bubble. And now having the whole thing fall apart because of a weak global economy derails the touted rebirth of US industrial exports thanks to brutal wage cuts.But better to have this fantasy derailed now when the stock market is at 17,000, than to have it go all the way to 30,000 and then suffer a collapse bigger than 2008. The reborn boom/bust cycle we've seen in the last 30 years is a social catastrophe, like the one during the laissez-faire era from 1865 to 1929.Turns out Rightwing Hindu PM more reasonable on Climate Change than US Congress (Obama visits Modi) (2)Frank Messmann 01/26/2015 at 4:24 pm India's PM Modi knows how necessary nuclear power is if mankind is to prevent catastrophic ruination of the ozone layer. Wind and solar can never provide sufficient energy. Unfortunately, "nuclear" has become a term of opprobrium in the US.Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes (6)Shannon White 01/26/2015 at 1:56 pm If the US does not intervene this could be a long protracted civil war between a couple violent forces. If the US does intervene this could be a permanent civil war between fragmented violent forces in a failed state.America's Walking Dead: The Perpetual War Machine (7)Jack 01/26/2015 at 1:52 pm The Guardian is reporting the withdrawal of ISIS from Kobane. Their ill-timed and very expensive attack on the town has resulted in a CATASTROPHE. It's also a BIG blow to the war luvin' Republicans, especially when Bibi Netanyahu is scheduled to give his lets go to war with IRAN speech before Congress in a few weeks. The timing is couldn't be worse. Bibi won't be able to point his finger at Obama for being an incompetent CIC, at least not where ISIS is concerned.Yemen: Freeze on US Drone Strikes as Gov't Collapses (9)Juan Cole 01/26/2015 at 1:39 pm in reply to BrianNo.Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes (6)Steven 01/26/2015 at 1:19 pm In every case in the Middle East and North Africa, forces claiming to embark on destruction of democratic transitions in the name of "correcting the course of the revolution" or staging a "war on terrorism" have made the situations in their countries worse. In each case where one or more forces tried doing this, they brought about a betrayal of the regional revolutions, democracy, and human rights. This has happened in Egypt, in Yemen, and several different forces have been doing this for a while now in Libya.It is better to have a shaky, even ineffective, transitional government which will give way to democratic governance than have some new anti-democratic violent force establish a murky new period of oligarchy or dictatorship.The Houthis need to work with the democratic Yemeni forces and ditch Saleh and his cronies. The demands of the Zaydis can be achieved through patient work toward liberty and democracy if the country is allowed to move in that direction. Even in its darkest moments, the Tunisian transition continued and Tunisians kept pressing forward. Despite various problems, they are starting to reap the fruit of that work. They did not run away from democracy at the first sign of adversity.Egypt Cancels Revolution Fete to Mourn Saudi King who derailed Revolution (4)Steven 01/26/2015 at 1:11 pm The regime is slowly but surely pushing itself down the tubes. Gradually, democratic political forces will want less and less to do with this tyranny and its supporters. Imagine the effect on the Tunisian Popular Front as they hear about the slaughter of members of the Egyptian Socialist Popular Alliance. Moroccan and even Algerian political parties will sour on this failed military cult. The silver lining is that Egypt will discredit military rule among those who value intellectual integrity. However, this is occurring at a hideous cost.It will be interesting to see what effect the Saudi succession has on the regional counterrevolution. Salman will have to worry more about solidifying his domestic position and may not follow precisely the same foreign policy as Abdullah's government did. There is also the pressing Yemen issue which cannot be ignored. Playing the role of a regional counterrevolutionary baltegya and financier is starting to incur numerous costs.Why Fracking & Tar Sands are Doomed: Low-Cost Oil and Pollution (3)Michael Lardner 01/26/2015 at 10:22 am This article is a good summary of the issues.Egypt Cancels Revolution Fete to Mourn Saudi King who derailed Revolution (4)Mel 01/26/2015 at 9:31 am Is it worth understanding what the Saudis' "sinister role" was?dsmith 01/26/2015 at 7:31 am Could the $12 billion dollars Saudi Arabia has given Egypt over the past two years have anything to do with it?boomer Bob 01/26/2015 at 6:47 am Sad news, but thanks for letting us know what is going on. At least U.S. aid to the military continues there.The Boehner-Obama Struggle over Iran Nuclear Talks has gone International (5)spyguy 01/26/2015 at 5:11 am with 1 repliesIn reality, even if the congress critters can over-ride a POTUS veto, the sanctions will be worthless and ignored by everyone on earth except the Iranian right wing who will be able to force the Iranian president to walk away from the talks while putting the whole blame on the US, and pretty much everyone on earth will agree with that reason.Do congress critters understand the ONLY alternatives to negotiations are to ignore Iran completely or war? Do the congress critters really want war? Do they understand what war would be like? Do they understand that Iran is a lot more powerful then they imagine? Iran will NOT start the war, they will simply wait for the US and/or Israel to start the war then make everyone in the USA and Israel extremely miserableI think the congress critters have a HUGE over-estimation of the real world power of the USA and think the rest of the world will salute and do as the congress critters say. That is NOT how it works and the congress critters are going to be shocked when the rest of the world laughs at them and refuses to OK another war.There is close to zero chance the US can get the votes in the UN to authorize a war on Iran and in fact the USA might have to use its veto to keep the UN from putting sanctions on the US for even thinking about war.This is NOT going to turn out good for the USA, congress critters nor Israel. This could be the final stupidity that causes Americans to throw Israel under the bus.If Israelis think they are isolated now, just wait until the USA stops protecting Israel. If they think the cost of living in Israel is high now, just wait until the Israeli economy slows to a halt. Contrary to the popular myth that Israelis have invented the whole world, the REALITY is Israel produces NOTHING that the world needs and can't get someplace else on earth (often cheaper).So the bottom lines are:- Congress critter are going to be shown to be incompetent and impotent (driving their poll numbers close to zero)- Obama is going to look like a real leader.(and probably picking up some poll numbers)- Iran will win in the end.- Israel will lose big time.Jack 01/26/2015 at 1:57 am Perhaps it is time to make sure the next time a Security Council vote important to Israel arises our UN ambassador has a bad cold.Yemen: Freeze on US Drone Strikes as Gov't Collapses (9)Brian 01/26/2015 at 1:08 am with 1 repliesisn't the organization that you keep calling a "national army" really a tribal militia, with fancy uniforms and weapons ?Sorta like in Iraq ? Sorta like in A'stan ?Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes (6)Brian 01/26/2015 at 12:07 am Seems to me that even a Houthi govt is better than one imposed by and propped up by a foreign government, as was Hadi and Saleh before him.Where do the folks of Hadramaut stand ?