Recent Comments

  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab? (5)
    • "On October 18 Erdogan said, that Turkey has a "historical responsibility" in Mosul and Kirkuk, as they were both historically Turkish land."

      In fact, the whole of Iraq and Syria were "historically Turkish land" under the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic empire that subjugated its Muslim brethren for more than four centuries every bit as much as the British and French did for a mere 38 years. It is odd that the British and French are tarred with the epithet of "imperialists" while the Ottoman Turks are rarely mentioned as such, a result of the inability of the Islamic Umma to criticize one of its own.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
    • . . . [You fail to mention] history, the history of rhetoric, of the 20th century, and what such rhetoric can bring about (see above GWC comments; also see Wansee Conference; Holocaust; Herman Khan and the "winnability" of Nuclear War; or better yet, just sail up the coast of Norway and see the destruction [STILL in evidence to this day!] that The Orange Menace's way of thinking can bring about).

  • Now is the time to remember Bernie Sanders: Can a new Political Center yet Emerge? (5)
    • Global warming is urgent. I voted for Hillary in the primary because I know she can hit the ground running and has the foreign policy experience to get cooperation from other nations. But I always liked Bernie.

      From 1932 to 1980, the Democratic Party had a very effective left wing. Even Ted Kennedy was still getting things done before he died. The United States needs reform, particularly reform that helps working Americans while we transition to green energy. I hope Bernie is successful. He's in a place right now where he can be a big help.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
    • "You have to ask where it came from."

      The Islamic world shares the blame with the U.S. for Islamic terrorism. The success of the Islamic Republic of Iran provided the Sunni Islamists proof that they too could take over governments. And the billions upon billions spent in spreading the Wahabi way have made the Muslim world more narrow-minded, more suspectible to violent extremism.

    • "These policies are unconstitutional."

      "1. Ban Muslims from coming to the United States."

      This is debatable in a legal sense since person who are non-citizens and are outside U.S. borders do not have standing to challenge such discrimination in U.S. courts.

      "2. Put mosques under surveillance."

      There is nothing per se unconstitutional about placing a mosque under surveillance - even absence of suspicion of criminal conduct occurring.

      However, such a policy would possibly run afoul of a law enforcement agency's internal operating guidelines - and the FBI certainly does have such guidelines that sets rules on when surveillance can commence and only when some credible information of possible criminal activity is brought to the Bureau's attention.

      Secondly, a general imposition of mosque surveillance when other non-Muslim places of worship are ignored could give rise to a lawsuit under anti-discrimination laws due to "disparate treatment" of Muslims vs non-Muslims.

      The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last year upheld the discrimination claim of a black Metro Detroit judge investigated and removed from the bench for misconduct where white judges allegedly committing the same acts were not investigated and charged.

      "3. Put all Muslims in a federal database."

      This would likely be struck down under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Korematsu U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the internment of Japanese-American citizens is considered bad law today.

      "4. Torture Muslim suspects.............."

      Torture per se likely still violates the "shocking the conscience" standard of the substantive Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment and imposing it on Muslims alone or in a manner different than others likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the same amendment.

      "5.Take Muslim family members hostage to ensure good conduct."

      Likely violates the "shocking the conscience" standard cited above as well as the Equal Protection Clause to the extent that Muslims were singled out for such treatment by the government."

  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab? (5)
    • "This situation has a historic parallel.....[i]n Europe, in particular, what transpired was a war between competing
      interests to capture as much territory as they could....."

      The 2003 invasion of Iraq had little to do with fear or genuine concern about purported "weapons of mass destruction" possessed by the Baathist regime in Baghdad - it had far more to do with the fact Iraq is one of the most strategic locations on Earth from a defense and foreign policy perspective:

      (1) it had been under the Russian sphere of influence for decades and had the former Soviet Union to the north;

      (2) it has Iran directly to the east;

      (3) it has the oil-rich Persian Gulf states directly to the south;

      (4) it has Israel to the west;

      (5) it has substantial crude oil reserves.

      The United States began covert operations against Saddam Hussein via executive order by President George H. W. Bush directed to the National Security Council and the CIA issued immediately after the close of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

      Shortly after the Baathist government in Baghdad collapsed, the Baathist regime's intelligence agency chief and Iyad Allawi - who would become a future Iraqi president - were transported to Langley, Virginia to restructure a new Iraqi government and intelligence service - along with a 3-billion dollar appropriation from U.S. Congress.

      Congress also allocated 500 million dollars for the U.S. intelligence community to establish their own network of bases inside Iraq.

      Same situation happened with Nazi Germany - the Nazi spymaster Reinhard Gehlen was not only not prosecuted by the Allies - but stayed on as the intelligence director of West Germany for over twenty years following the end of WWII and was relied on by the U.S. intelligence community for authoritative reports. His "Gehlen org " spy ring transmitted valuable intelligence on Soviet Union railway facilities and military installations until it was finally penetrated and broken up by the KGB.

      West Germany became the host of 250.000 American military personnel during the Cold War as well as an industrial juggernaut that exported valuable products such as automobiles and machinery to the U.S. after the end of WWII. The U.S. also exploited Nazi missile technology not only for its NASA program - but also to establish its ICBM network

      The U.S. and it allies saw the conquering of Iraq as an economic, military, and intelligence opportunism imperative - not as a concern over purported "weapons of mass destruction."

      Iran and the U.S. are the main players in the Iraq "power play" today - as the Warsaw Pact and NATO was in Germany in the decades following WWII.

  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab? (5)
    • The "historic parallel" to the United States, Britain, and France pushing into German-occupied territory from the west and the Soviet Union pushing from the east is a superficial analogy at best. For one thing, the allies pushing from both west and east were liberating, and in the Soviet case occupying, whole nation-states that were under German control and occupation. The one exception was Germany itself, which was divided among the allies.

      In the current case involving the various players in Syria and Iraq, we are witnessing the potential dismemberment of sections of the two nation-states. Moreover, in the World War II case, the United States could have pushed further and occupied both Berlin and Prague, but the decision was made, for both political reasons and in recognition of the tremendous sacrifices made by the USSR, to allow the Soviets to take both. The two sides met at the river Elbe.

      Finally, the worldwide repercussions of the division of Europe were historically much greater than would be those resulting from the dismemberment of parts of syria and Iraq. that's not to say there would be no repercussions, but they would not have the political, economic, and ideological effects that resulted from the division of Europe between East and West for 45 years.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
    • What we should do "in that part of the world"? We should just get out. Quit supporting anyone in the region, including Israel.

      You're right, we don't know what Trump will do, but we know that Hillary will double down in Syria, and by supporting so-called "rebels" will prolong the agony. And this is before we even get to the question of setting off a war with Russia. If we had never gotten involved, Assad would have destroyed the rebels long ago, and several hundred thousand people would still be alive, there would be far fewer refugees headed for Europe, and the destruction of Syrian infrastructure far less.

      War and peace issues, especially if there is even the least chance of its going nuclear, dwarf our devisive, domestic "identity politics" concerns.

      Antoinetta III

    • You have no choice because the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the media conspired to destroy Bernie's candidacy. If you vote for Clinton, you will be demonstrating that such manipulation has worked, and you will never get a better candidate, because the DNC will destroy anyone who is not a corporatist, a friend of the global elite, and a feeder of the MIC.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
    • I do think the corporate media and our government are quite happy with a populace that believes that Saddam was involved with 9/11 and that climate change is a hoax, perpetrated by the Chinese or 'tree huggers' or whomever .r ....

  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab? (5)
    • Syria has already said they would attack Turkish forces if the latter attack the Kurds, so Turkey really has limited options there. I agree there are better pickings in Iraq, but I don't think their relations with the Peshmerga is good.

      I do take issue with your characterization of the 'infamous' Sadr. Why? Because he was fervently anti-American after the start of that criminal war in '03. He did try to unite with the Sunni in their opposition to the Americans. If he had his way we might not have had all the sectarian bloodshed that followed.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
    • There may be more revolting people in contemporary US politics than Kellyanne Conway - though it would be hard to find them. This (very well) paid liar and conniver promotes a bizarro universe of fiction that has ZERO connection to the factual realities of our times. I'm no Hillary bot but Conway's serial lies and wacko exaggerations are simply contemptible. Can't wait until Nov. 9 when she goes away - at least until the next election cycle with the GOP candidate forks over a big bundle of cash for "advice" from this useless hack.

    • Conway's slip is known as a "Freudian slip" because it emerges from the sub-conscious.

    • Of course, he has a long way to go. He's never had elected office and no real political power. If he won, he would have power. That's why the majority is against him. They (we) can project the disasters he would call down on Ameria

  • Polls: Capt. Trump aiming GOP Flight 2016 at nearest mountain (2)
    • Re: "...after a Clinton presidency we would have a “very, very small replica” of the second amendment. What it would mean for the country to be left with a hobbyist’s miniature of a constitutional amendment was thankfully left unsaid."
      Trump is very affected by TV (obviously) and, I think, movies. I'm not really a film buff, but Trump bringing Obama's half-brother to the third debate sure reminded me of the scene in the second part of The Godfather where Michael brings Frankie Pentangeli's brother from Sicily to Washington D.C. for an appearance during congressional testimony. The quote from your article that I stated at the top of this note, reminded me of a movie with the title Small Soldiers; more generally I think Trump and hopefully small number of his followers regard the movie Red Dawn as a possible scenario post-election. We need to start treating these people like what they are: terrorists.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
    • Since Americans are often insular and poorly informed by their ramshackle school system and shoddy mass media (and you have to wonder if the corporations like it that way)

      Wonder no more. You can bet on that. An ill-informed, apathetic and docile populace is what corporate America and the political oligarchs want. They are less likely to get involved with groups such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
    • I find myself in the terrible position of have no choice but to vote for someone I don't like or trust to insure that a dangerously deranged man does not become President.
      I'm afraid Hillary will get us more involved in the Syrian Civil War with disastrous results, but Trump is so bad she is still the best choice.
      Bush/Cheney, Obama and Clinton have made such a mess of things it's hard to see a way out of this self imposed tragedy the U S Government has gotten us into.

  • Polls: Capt. Trump aiming GOP Flight 2016 at nearest mountain (2)
    • Great stuff. My only disagreement is the statement the GOP has earned this shellacking over the past six years. I would say 36 -- since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS, dancing on the graves of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney.

      The best part of the whole kerfuffle over whether Trump will accept the results of the election (who really cares?) is the stampede of vote-suppressing Republicans (talking to you, John Kasich and Paul Ryan) to assure Americans that there is no fraud to speak of in American elections, after several years of telling us we need photo ID laws to prevent -- fraud. The next time one of these cases hits the courts, Democrats can use these statements as Exhibits A, B, C, D . . . X, Y and Z in undermining the GOP's case.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam (17)
    • This is only meaningful if one believes he would actually try any of these fantasy solutions to a fantasy problem; or is he just shooting off his mouth? Even if he were to attempt such things the effects would be localised within the US itself and wouldn't blow up the world.

    • You're talking about people (Trump, Conway, et al) who don't know Islam from hod carrying.

    • Trump is taking in tongues.

    • Watching Trump read his prepared text at the Al Smith dinner he reminded me of a fifth grade student reading "What I did this summer" essay before the class. He had the comic timing of Charlie Manson doing stand up.

      This is a man who is not capable of solving complex problems without the threat of violence or other extreme measures.

      18 more days and he can go back to promoting Wrestlemania to the same fans who attend his rallies.

    • not just waterboarding, but really really torturing them

      Waterboarding is clearly the professional way of torturing. This already is as barbaric as it gets.

      There certainly are more visually brutal techniques, such as dismemberment and boiling people alive, (which have been outsourced to allies, btw). However, what are these going to accomplish that stress positions, sleep deprivation, and recurring waterboarding will not, apart from leaving a lot of material evidence behind?

      While maybe inadvertent and guided by the understandable fear of Trump, buying into the idea that there is some form of torture lite or enhanced interrogation in Newspeak is making excuses for the torture done under previous administrations*.

      Let's use the specter of Trump to ask some hard questions about what's already been done under a more enlightened PR-facade.

      *While waterboarding was initiated by Cheney, let's not get too comfortable with the Democrats as the political prisoners in Guantanamo still have feeding tubes forced down their noses on a daily basis. Generally, when looked at dispassionately, clearly the main shift in policy has been from taking prisoners to assassinating suspects extra-judicially through drone-strikes, so no more use for torture techniques.

    • It seems to me that torture, water boarding and rendition to other countries for more enhanced methods of torture, were around years ago long before any of us had ever heard of Trump. The hands of former American and British governments are stained with the blood of Muslims in the middle East. When Hillary Clinton laughed and clapped her hands in a debauched frenzy of glee when she heard that Gaddafi had been murdered and tortured by being bayoneted in the rectum, saying "we came, we saw, he died", political rhetoric had sunk to new depths. Trump and his associates have got a very long way to go to match anything previous American and British governments are capable of.

    • You write -- truthfully and artfully -- "The best five point plan to defeat Muslim radicalism would be to stop using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over.

      But those steps wouldn’t be the Trump Way."

      I won't say that "... using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over ..." is exactly the policy that Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton would prefer. (Perhaps I need them to be better than that.)

      However, these things are certainly the policies that our American national defense and "intelligence" agencies (which Obama and Clinton variously do, have and will formally supervise) do actually engage in.

      I'm not one with the critics who emphasize the cynicism of "it's all corrupt and conspiratorial" and have no suggestions to offer to better the situation. I'm more like, now it's time to lobby Hillary (and your local Democrats) that we expect the new administration to challenge the spies and the generals more than Barack ever did, and get some better policies in place. Most likely these policies will have to be most subtle, more possibly contradictory of each other or some national myth in some way, more difficult perhaps to explain , yet worth the effort in the long run.

  • Will Turkey, Iran & Iraq make the Mosul Campaign a Land Grab? (5)
    • So many words about all the competing players, and yet the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian airforce is mentioned exactly once - and then only in passing.

      Spectators, apparently.

      Which would come as something of a shock to both, I imagine.

  • Now is the time to remember Bernie Sanders: Can a new Political Center yet Emerge? (5)
    • We do need alternatives to the Republican and Democratic Parties. But Jill Stein has no government experience and therefore is totally unqualified to be president. Gary Johnson has demonstrated that he is clueless about a lot of essential issues.

      Third parties should be fielding candidates in local, state, and congressional elections to build their bases and change laws to make it easier for them to get on ballots. And this is happening, although on a very small scale. It will require a lot more of this before any third- or fourth-party candidate is ready for a presidential campaign.

  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
    • Sigh. So many ignorant comments again! Oh we know EXACTLY what HRC will do, so the Orange Menace must be allowed his due. Fergawdsake gimme a break. Most of you in comments (yeah, here goes my Festivus list of grievances), you know nothing about what the Orange Menace will do – zero, zilch, ouden, nihil , nada – because it will depend on what pussy he has or hasn’t grabbed that morning. Yeah, I get it – HRC bad in the Mideast, and I agree. So WTF, let’s just kick the remaining shreds of democracy to the curb – is that what you all want?

      I have students who need a future. Who need even a [dys]functioning democracy so they are at least still allowed to protest against it. HRC will give us that at the least. The Vulgar Talking Yam will not - this should be clear to anyone who has listened to this creature. Btw, as a teacher, I kind of like having kids who have at least been fed and given a good start. HRC has been a champion of children’s issues in this country. What has the Orange Menace (or any of you) done to make life tolerable for kids in this country lately? (And yes, you f*****g bet I want an equally tolerable life for the children of Aleppo (or any other city in the world), a city I happen to love [or did before it was destroyed]). For that matter, what is your solution to the crisis in that part of the world? What would any of you do or be able to do? It seems we are Gulliver on the Strand - but with one hand loose.

      Trump has incited violence, hates Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, women, and LGBTQs. Last night he showed utter contempt for a democracy for which many have died. Hope you are happy with your white supremist neo-Nazi. My relatives in Norway and Denmark were occupied by Trump’s mindset in the 40s. I had relatives – and so did many of you – who fought and died against his ideology. Shame on you. Shame and eternal shame. Nothing but shame for any who lend support to this impiteous peri-wig-pated pustule.

    • I think whether those advisors and special forces remain after Mosul, isn't really up to the next president except as veto point. They are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government, which might withdraw the invitation if the threat from Daesh begins to appear less urgent. This is similar to 2010, when we ended the occupation, because we no longer had a legal mandate from the government of Iraq.

    • I think that Trump is the significantly greater evil, but I also believe that Clinton is a dangerous war hawk.

      As far as I can tell many Russians actually would prefer Trump to HRC, and not because they can’t see that Trump is a lying con man.

      It’s not that they believe Trump; it’s that they believe HRC. She has compared Putin to Hitler, and said that we must be tougher** on Russia, and impose more costs on them. Tougher how? The Russians have made it clear that they can be expected to use nuclear weapons if they are attacked by US/NATO.

      The Russians aren’t fools. If President Trump is a fascist, racist, sexist, etc., that will be our problem. If President Clinton starts a nuclear war, then it will be their problem.

      (**I doubt that President Obama would admit to being weak with Russia. He sponsored sanctions against Russia, promoted an anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine, and supports Wahhabi rebels against Russian ally Assad in Syria. The results so far include Russia re-gaining Crimea, and acquiring permanent air and naval bases in Syria.)

    • Trump is fundamentally untrustworthy in a way different from "typical" politicians such as HRC, this is screamed loud and clear by his behavior and easy embrace of demonizing the "other".

    • Clinton has proven, with her record on Iraq, Syria, and Libya, that she thinks this kind of instability is in the strategic interests of the United States.

      From Ramzy Baroud over at CounterPunch: - An oddly refreshing, although disturbing ‘truth’ was articulated by Alon Ben-David in the Israeli Jerusalem Post last year. The title of his article speaks volumes: “May it never end: The uncomfortable truth about the war in Syria.” - link to

    • How come you didn't mention, Professor, Hillary's statement where she would go to Raqqa when ISIL was defeated in Mosul? Does she mean the no-fly zone, or something more ominous? Also I'm no lover of Assad, but why doesn't the West mention the indiscriminate bombing of west Aleppo by the terrorists, including these so-called moderates? Assad may be a terrorists, but I believe more Syrians would prefer him to Al Nusra, ISIL and the others.

      As a sidebar this vilification of Russia is insane. I'm with Trump on this. We've seen the politicization of our federal agencies from Nixon to 'W' to Obama, so pardon me for my skepticism towards our 17 intelligence agencies!

    • Trump seems to envision something like a 21st Century Yalta Conference where he and Putin sit down and divide up the resources of the ME. In that context, it's easy to see a substantial American presence on the ground, working with Russia to end Daesh as an organized fighting force. That vision is much different from Sec. Clinton's. She seems to envision a long tussle with Russia in the ME, essentially more of the same.

      Both candidates do agree on one thing. Someone is trying to rig this election. They just can't agree on who is doing it. He thinks it's the American political and economic establishment. She thinks it's the Russians.

    • I think her 'no occupation' declaration was a carefully parsed crumb thrown to the anti-war left. Her plan to 'negotiate' a no-fly zone with Russia and Iran was a total retreat from the whole no-fly zone idea. She knows they won't negotiate something like that. It sounded awfully naive coming from a former Secretary of State, especially one who totally ignored Russia's criticisms of US action in Libya and whose "Assad Must Go!" mantra ruined the chance for a UN resolution on a cease-fire and political negotiations as far back as fall, 2011, when the body count in Syria was 2300 instead of half a million.

  • Now is the time to remember Bernie Sanders: Can a new Political Center yet Emerge? (5)
    • We don't need a new center. We've got one of those already. We have a rightwing party and a centrist party. What we need is a true leftwing party, and then our current "center" will be just that.

  • The Mosul Campaign and the 3rd Presidential Debate (17)
    • What's so baffling about Hillary's answer on Iraq and Syria? It's clear she's a political hack whose aides do all the work for her and then she spouts these well-rehearsed lines that sound like she's knowledgeable. It's obfuscation, she does it smoothly and it works for her.

    • I am suspicious of a no fly zone. What does a US fighter pilot do if he encounters a Russian fighter in the zone? Can the zone be used by rebels to operate with impunity?

      With the disastrous results we see taking place in Libya, some would call Hillary's War, I don't trust her or her neocon advisers to improve the life of the average Syrian. She admitted this in her emails saying...." A no fly zone will kill a lot of Syrians."

    • A concern that should worry American voters is that a Clinton presidency represents more destabilization. Assad's governance was not an issue prior to the "civil war," and was certainly milder than that of some of our closest allies.

      Our hope should be for Assad to retake at least the entirety of the western half of Syria, as there are no actors who stand even the chance of that, with all due respect to the liberal interventionist fantasies expressed here.

      Clinton has proven, with her record on Iraq, Syria, and Libya, that she thinks this kind of instability is in the strategic interests of the United States.

      Trump is a buffoon, but that was one issue that he may have accidentally stumbled into being correct on.

    • It scarcely matters what contestants say these days but it may matter where they come from, and If one ignores all the blather, it does seem Clinton is for more sabre rattling and military involvement and Trump for less.

  • Now is the time to remember Bernie Sanders: Can a new Political Center yet Emerge? (5)
    • This is historically familiar. Basically the interests of leaders have diverted from the people to the point that government is no longer of, by, and for them. Not being a US citizen and having anyway little interest in day to day politics, I can't comment on the 'solutions' explored here except to say that they are all intrinsic while one might perhaps also take into account pressures arising from extrinsic forces. As domestic solutions prove elusive, or too long delayed, extrinsic forces become more of a factor. For instance, it's one thing to advocate reining in US overseas activities, quite another to have no option but to do so, which is what happened to Rome from the early 5th century when instead of tribute flowing into its coffers, it was flowing out to maintain what from our perspective might be called distant 'strategic interests' until under the pressure of necessity those interests began bit by bit to be abandoned.

  • Can America's Middle Class make a Comeback? (3)
    • I go to green technology sites and look up cheap housing technology all the time. You have to learn to sort out the serious efforts from the stuff with no economic grounding.

      But the main way you bring down the cost of living is by getting rid of car-centric sprawl. That means more young people moving to cities, reversing the path of their forefathers. Once you eliminate $50,000 three-ton pickup trucks in your life, and learn to drive fewer miles and use mass transit, you learn to walk again. And that yields health benefits. You also have a lot more entertainment options in the city, and some of them are free.

      But what we need is a way to keep housing supplies ahead of urban real estate speculation, and that requires a different model of land use. The one virtue of Houston's lack of zoning is that it is possible to create dual-use buildings on the European model, with stores in the bottom and apartments above. But only recently has Houston had the housing density to cause such buildings to exist, and it's being done more as a fashion statement in Downtown and Midtown than a necessity. If we could safely fold more forms of economic activity into residential spaces we might open up more of a city's total acreage to housing. However, to truly stay ahead of the developers' schemes to inflate prices, we might need floating housing complexes. Buckminster Fuller worked on this idea and claimed the Federal government was interested in his work as a means of low-income housing. Most of the world's supercities are on the sea.

  • Now is the time to remember Bernie Sanders: Can a new Political Center yet Emerge? (5)
    • Remember, if the Democrats win the Senate, Sanders becomes Chairman of the Budget Committee. Then he's the monkeywrench in everyone's plans.

  • Israeli Jim Crow: US-led 'Peace Process' Completely Collapses (2)
    • How can Israel "win" in the long term?

      Sure, Israel is doing OK today, but how long will that last?

      The USA has HUGE internal problems which will, over time, cause Americans to focus internally and walk away from the Middle East.

      While Israel has lots of "war toys," the reality is all of the war toys produced around the globe have all converged on identical capability. That is, the USA/Israel war toys have reached the point of diminishing return (cost vs capability) and all the non-USA war toys are now equivalent to USA/Israel war toys. In other words, Israel has no military superiority.

      While the post-colonial restructuring of the middle east is still currently a mess, over time it will settle down. Arab and Persian states will stabilize and start to cooperate particularly as they are forced to diversify their economies as global energy production changes.

      Just as Australia eventually had to face the fact they are an Asian region country not a European country, Israel will have to face the reality that they are a middle east country not a European country and will eventually have to deal with their neighbors on a peer basis or risk a war they can not win.

      To me, it appears that Israeli are very arrogantly focusing on the present day with no ability to see where their actions will lead in the future. The idea of Palestine may be dead, but what will follow it?

      Based on how power constantly flows over time and how technology has drastically changed the capabilities of all countries, I do not foresee a very good future for Israel.

  • Can America's Middle Class make a Comeback? (3)
    • The author does not really understand just how much technology has already negatively "disrupted" the middle class and will technology only make the middle class shrink and suffer more.

      While there will be new businesses, they will employ a minimal number of humans because it is now possible to develop and produce most goods and services using technology rather than humans.

      As CGP Grey points out in . . . "Humans need not apply"

      link to

      technology is improving in capability and decreasing in cost EXPONENTIALLY. That is, faster than any human can duplicate.

      I can cite dozens of examples where technology has decimated the middle class and these changes are NEVER going to be reversed. Tesla producing thousands of car with very few humans - AT&T decreasing its workforce by 75% because of technology - Farmers increasing yield by 15% with fewer humans - and the list goes on.

      Just as we changed the nature of work when we made "mechanical muscles," we have now accelerated the replacement of humans with technology by eliminating many human brain activities.

      Few people realize that 85% of the humans in the USA now have more computing power in their hands (smart phones) than the USA combined with the UK had during WW2 and for decades later. The pace of technology displacing humans has been so fast and widespread that humans can not comprehend its seismic shift.

      Today, any person can purchase a $35 Raspberry Pi computer that has several million times more power than the first IBM PC that cost thousands of dollars. When limitless computing power costs almost nothing, there is no need for humans.

      The world will soon discover that less than 3 billion humans plus technology can develop, produce and distribute **ALL** the goods and services that the earth's 8 billion inhabitants need or want.

      So what do we do with the "extra" 5 billion?

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
    • I want to know in what shape the dam is. Would Daesh blow it up when they conclude Mosul is a lost cause?

      Also, the Ottoman Turks of the 19th and early 20th century had fallen far from the far more tolerant glory days of Suleiman. The late Ottoman empire was no model of tolerance.
      They commited genocide on the Armenians.
      Yes, I'm well aware of Erdogan's and the Turkish state's denial of genocide. I'd trust Orhan Pamuk's historical perspective and not the pan-Turkic "Red Apple."

  • ISIL Boasts: America will go down to defeat in the Streets of Mosul (6)
    • This is a amalgam of groups with different agenda. It's far from the organized front that's displayed in the mainstream. The Kurds want to shore up its minority population in the city. The Sunnis want to protect their own, Shia militia and Iraqi army got its goals. Even Turkey got a force not too far from Mosul. The US' air-power will probably be the decisive factor, which means the city could end up in shambles like Ramadi! This will be a real complex operation, that will probably lead to further disintegration of the country, more than the end to this barbaric, nihilist group. I haven't even mentioned the humanitarian crisis of the one million plus civilians in the city!

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • ISIL Boasts: America will go down to defeat in the Streets of Mosul (6)
    • ISIS will turn into a terrorist group like al Qaeda so that we will see a lot of car bombs, attacks on mosques and the like. But it will no longer present a real threat to the Iraq government's control of its territory, as long as the Iraq government doesn't go and screw things up again like they did with al Maliki. Having studied developing countries a lot I have concluded that the importance of political leadership cannot be overstated. So often when we see countries devolve into instability or chaos it is because of venality, selfishness, stupidity, or tribal/ethnic warfare by the ruling elites. There aren't too many George Washingtons out there. Let's hope the Iraqi Shiites have learned something.

    • Daesh can win this by denying our side victory. We have been here before; that is what happened last time.

      What happens when the Iraqi army refuses to do the door to door fighting as required to take a city (like last time)? What happens if the militias enter the city and engage in atrocities (like last time)? Will we say "not our fault" (like last time)?

      Even if we do get something called "victory" by killing everyone associated with Daesh it will only be temporary. Until the underlying dispute between Suni and Shia is resolved this battle will be fought again. And we. as westerners. can play only a minimal role in that.

      These are not out battles, we contribute nothing except for guns. It is time for us to get out.

    • Desperation. ISIL will die.

  • Israeli Jim Crow: US-led 'Peace Process' Completely Collapses (2)
  • ISIL Boasts: America will go down to defeat in the Streets of Mosul (6)
    • Les forces de sécurité irakiennes ont lancé lundi une offensive d’ampleur pour reprendre Mossoul, deuxième ville d’Irak aux mains des jihadistes de l’organisation État islamique depuis juin 2014. Les ONG et des acteurs politiques s’inquiètent du sort de quelque 1,5 million de civils coincés dans la ville et estiment que l’Irak n’est pas en mesure de gérer le défi humanitaire de leur exode.

      link to

    • A defeat for those the US is actively supporting is a defeat for the US objective and, although a small guerilla group cannot match great firepower, it can drive the humanitarian situation up to and even beyond what troubles the world in Aleppo. In fact some are already asking what is the difference, a question from Tuesday's DOS briefing. *

      Q: He [Josh Earnest – White House spokesman] said this: They, ISIL, are killing civilians all the time, so the idea that somehow the Iraqi Security Forces should delay this operation because of their concern about the humanitarian situation in Mosul, that doesn’t make sense, end quote. The US. view for eastern Aleppo, as I understand it, is that going after terrorists there is not worth the suffering of civilians. Why the difference in U.S. reaction or approach, please?

      A: ...the Iraqi Government is coordinating with regional governments on the ground and with police forces and other security forces to ensure that there’s a system in place to deal with those civilians who might be – might have to flee the violence in Mosul.

      Precisely because the US has determined to play a background role it would appear to have no ultimate control over the attack, and although the US insists this is an Iraqi Government operation and it is in charge, and by extension in control, many have doubts how realistic that may prove to be at a practical level.

      * link to

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • N. Dakota Judge Laughs Riot Charges against Amy Goodman out of Court (3)
    • Actually it was done to intimidate journalists like Ami Goodman. The corporate media doesn't give a S(*&^ about the Nations fight against this pipeline or any other of their issues.

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • N. Dakota Judge Laughs Riot Charges against Amy Goodman out of Court (3)
    • He may laugh but the damage has been done. They knew the charges would never fly. It wasn't meant to - pure and simple intimidation tactics to scare away less brave reporters.

    • Sadly though, there's no penalty for those committing 'persecution under color of law' such as happened to Amy Goodman & Deia Schlosberg. Yet, the prime objective - the interference with unrestricted open journalism - was nevertheless accomplished. The only means of stopping this 'official interference' is for there to be stringent legal penalties, applied immediately, for such 'legal' transgressions... not holding my breath.

  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism? (24)
    • Good insightful article. But comment about the girlfriend who stayed for her "meal ticket"' didn't report sooner, etc. certainly disturbing, but women can be trapped in fear, staying in such a relationship.
      No need to blame the girlfriend at this point.

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States (9)
    • As an anthropologist I had once considered writing a thesis on millenarianism in the Confederate Army in the last year of the war. Soldiers would fast and pray, feeling sin was the real reason they were losing, not technology or superior numbers. It really is quite an interesting phenomenon to study.

  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • Can America's Middle Class make a Comeback? (3)
  • 7 Things to Know about Mosul (9)
  • The Jewish vote may swing key undecided counties, study says (1)
    • American Jews are divided on the Iran deal. I doubt, however, that those Jews who don't favor it would vote for Trump on that basis especially with the open neo-Nazi support he gets.
      As for the settlements, once again, Jews are divided. And Trump's positions are so unclear that it is doubtful most Jews know where he stands.
      As an American Jew I support the Iran deal and am totally against the settlements.

  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States (9)
    • "The battle was over in only 24 hours, even though"......

      Ahem. Perhaps it wasn't a "battle" at all.

      As in: the Turkish-backed ISIS was told that it had to make way for the Turkish-backed FSA and - since they are all on Turkey's payroll, after all - they did as they were told.

      Isn't that a far more logical conclusion to make?

    • Excellent clarity, reason and content. I have struggled to put the pieces together exactly why I have always considered Daesh to be a historical incidental precipitated by the Bush Administration, its viceroy and associates' tearing apart of Iraq. May the pipe bombs be few.

  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism? (24)
    • So since 95% of black people vote for Democrats we can assume everything they do should be blamed the Clintons, Obama, Carter, etc.

      Real solid logic you're using.

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
  • Muslim Americans eager to take revenge on Trump... at Ballot Box (6)
  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
    • Of course everything becomes so corrupted that reality is ignored until it forces itself on the situation. Cue the Visigoths.
      One question: Are the Hillary voters having buyers remorse yet. She's not even in office and already a storm of scandal. Unbelievably Trump is still a contender and no wonder, look who he's running against.
      A whole bunch of people should be embarrassed.

  • Journalist Amy Goodman to Surrender and Fight Dakota Charges (2)
    • Rioting? I didn't see any blood dripping from Amy Goodman's mouth and nose. The criminal charges should have been brought against the woman handling that dog.

  • PA welcomes UNESCO resolution criticizing Israeli policies toward Aqsa (1)
    • While UNESCO language acknowledges a the importance of the site to Jews with reference to Abraham it omits any mention of the presence of the Jewish temples on the mount for over a half a millennium. Unlike the claims about Muhammad and 'Abraham, the presence of the temple as a focal point for Jews is a historically verified fact in Jewish, Christian, and contemporary Roman sources. UNESCO raises valid issues in other regards but undermines it claim to even-handed factualness with that conspicuous omission.

  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States (9)
  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism? (24)
    • Where does the information about her needing/wanting a meal ticket come from? "Of course, we don’t know full details, but if she had kept her suspicions to herself as long as he was a meal ticket, and only contacted the authorities after he kicked her out, that is pretty disturbing." It might be a bit of a leap, but the guy who's stockpiling weapons and making bombs probably also beats his girlfriend. And she probably stayed quiet because of fear and went to the local police again out of fear (hoping all of this would be enough to put him in jail and keep her safe).

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
    • The American voters are tired of wars and war-like interventions (principally in the Middle East) and inconveniently were desirous, in their majority, of a candidate who shared their antipathy for such costly (for us), calamitous (for them), and repercussive (for both) actions. In other words, they were most loath to elect an establishment-type Republican (the example of Bush II still being so repellent) and almost equally loath to elect a similarly establishmentarian Democrat (Obama's elitist economic-priorities and continued interventionism abroad being an educative disappointment); some looked, perhaps more wisely, for a solution in socialist senator Bernie Sanders, others, certainly more foolishly, in the mediatically-magnetic magnate Donald Trump. In any case, it appears the media, along with the DNC, had pre-decided that Sanders, by the solipsistic reality of not being Hillary Clinton, would not be the Democratic presidential candidate. This very same media was sought, and assumed to offer no resistance, by the Democratic party to make and elevate a Republican "Pied Piper" candidate, who would lead the Republican presidential race off a cliff into populist extremity (besmirching by association the stance against imperial interventionism along the way) and definite presidential unelectability. The result is that the candidate considered best able by the security and defense (i.e. imperial-defense) establishment to continue and extend America's defense of its global imperial centrality will be elected president having already been pre-selected by the aforesaid elite and its media servitors. Leaving the anticipatory question: Was there any democracy at all? Or had the 'pre-deciding' risen to the level of material and technical pre-ordaining of electoral results?

  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States (9)
    • Every state as it's own propaganda, so be it. Here in the U.S. our propaganda is spreading Liberty, and freedom, while we install chaos or dictatorships as we then occupy their once sovereign land. Been while in the land of freedom we install more Homeland Security measures to eat away at our once proud independence. The U.S. and it's allies brought this terrorist war to the Middle East, and not a civil war. Professor as much as I value your educated essay, you and I will need to agree to disagree. This is a war for a clean break, otherwise know as the Yinon Plan, and we are all recruited into Israel's army.

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
    • You're a lesson in history Sejanus . . . that above all else . . . mankind . . . still needs . . . his sense . . .of smelllllllll!

    • And all this wonderful writing without mention of Cicero. The silver-tongued devil who was the bane of Latin III students 50 years ago, he erased the line separating the interests of the optimates, especially landlords and grain merchants, and the interests of the Republic. One could argue that Cicero's rhetoric emboldened his faction, making Caesar not only possible but perhaps inevitable.

      I fear the evolution of the Democratic Party from its pre-Democratic Leadership Council more proletarian orientation has paved the way for the rise of the Trump-demagogue. His large numbers of alienated heavily armed followers, unified by their sense of betrayal by the elites and devotion to their misunderstanding of the Second Amendment, are nothing short of frightening. All they lack is a real leader (not an empty-suit self promoter) capable of organizing them.

  • US Goes to War with Houthis in Yemen (Openly) (37)
    • Do you have any idea how long it would take to obtain an AUMF from Congress, particularly when it is unnecessary in order to mount defensive action?!

      Radar stations do not themselves launch missiles, but they do have the targeting function. Take out the radar and you blind the launchers.

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
  • ISIL's loss of Dabiq: It was never about Armageddon, but Weak States (9)
    • Doesn't explain why ISIS and other jihadi "rebel" groups are comprised of so many foreigners. And if the police state the young people are fighting against, why don't they fight as Libertarians or Anarchists? Sharia-based societies like Saudi Arabia are perfect examples of a police state. You might have to consider that some of the guys actually believe that violent Jihad is what some big bearded dude in the sky wants.

    • You forget to mention in Syria the real push by Wahhabi Saudis to counter the also real power of Iran in the region. The meddling by U.S. and the West can very well be explained also by the defence of Israel against that growing military might of Iran.

    • Excellent analysis you rarely see outside of scholarly journals. Most coverage of current events are just a recitation of the events rather than a look at why and how they happen. This article is a good example of why this website is so valuable and why I have recommended it often to others.

  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism? (24)
  • Dylan, the American Left, and What We have Lost (26)
    • Several points:

      (A) Bob Dylan never has recanted his support for the late Jewish extremist Meir Kahane;

      (B) Dylan did convert to Christianity at one point - but later disavowed any ties to organized religion;

      (C) Dylan has had a long and complex relationship with Israel and some of his songs have been revered by the West Bank Jewish settler movement - which he appears to favor.

      Some links:

      link to

      link to

  • US Goes to War with Houthis in Yemen (Openly) (37)
    • @William:

      The link to the article cited above suggests that Pres. Obama authorized the Tomahawk strike - so it appears that a captain did not order return fire while under attack - but proceeded a significant interval later and if they had the time to obtain presidential approval perhaps they should have made an effort to procure an AUMF from Congress.

      Also, the allegation was that the radar stations were somehow implicated in the Tomahawk strike - however radar stations do not themselves launch the missiles at the U.S. destroyers and it is unclear what proof the U.S. has to suggest that the three radar stations in Houthi-controlled territory were actually involved in targeting U.S. Navy destroyers.

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread (22)
  • Were Kansas White Terrorists Self-Radicalized? or was it Trumpism? (24)
    • It is a shameful episode in American history that the arrival of Europeans was a disaster for the American Indians. Nevertheless, the Indians' conduct among themselves was hardly a lesson in moral superiority.

      it is a historical fact that many Indian tribes and groups were subjugated and forced out of their territory by other Indian tribes. A prime example in Arizona is the Navajo who, along with the Apache (both Athabaskans), came down from Canada to their current territory in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

      Both Navajo and Apache were nomadic and aggressive toward tribes existing in the region. They made war against the sedentary tribes such as the Hopi, Zuni, and other tribes who had been in the region for centuries. In fact, the Hopi, Zuni, and others, who we now call "Pueblo Indians," established themselves in their iconic cliff dwellings, not because of the Spanish, but prior to the Spanish arrival in order to protect themselves from marauding Navajo and Apache.

      The myth of "peaceful" Indians living in harmony with their surroundings and their fellows is, in many cases, just that--a myth. It was true in some cases, and in some cases not. In other words, American Indians could be, and in many cases were, just as rapacious in raiding and pillaging among themselves as were the Europeans. The Europeans prevailed because they possessed better technology and tactics, but history suggests that neither could claim moral superiority over the other.