Recent Comments Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) JTMcPhee 08/30/2014 at 5:58 pm Never use those nuclear weapons, that is. They've shown no restraint in the use of most everything else in the weapons locker... Should Americans be allowed to Serve in Foreign Armies? (1) Susan Sunflower 08/30/2014 at 5:53 pm I think it needs to be tolerated -- except in the case of a declaration of war -- because it constitutes, to some degree Freedom of Speech ... as also probably most charitable donations. There have been terrible selective prosecutions of muslims (remember the waterproof socks) for things that probably could easily have been ignored -- in cases where the argument seemed to be that they really really wanted to "get some guy they couldn't make a case on" or to "send a message" -- both egregious and great fodder for the cultivation of "Home Grown terrorist" everyone has been expecting to show up any minute now for years -- and oddly the Tsarenevs really didn't fit the BOLO, imho. We have a lot of immigrant who came here as refugees from countries ruled by tyrannical regimes and I think it's a terrible burden on immigrant communities to have to publicly align themselves with (often changing) state department policies -- when in fact, they may see hope for their future in conflicts where we are supporting the status quo -- At very least, if we are going to actually prosecute people for "aiding the enemy" to those enemies need to be formally declared ... the term is again being used casually and the list has grown so long and the varied statuses so great, I fear Americans and resident aliens may soon find their freedom to travel either restricted or "at your peril" -- our freedoms are supposed to be inalienable, not situational. The discipline of needing congressional declaration might slow down some of our adventurism or favors to friends. Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Mark Koroi 08/30/2014 at 5:53 pm in reply to Damian Lataan There are voices within the secular elements of the Syrian rebel movement who believe that potential Israeli intervention against the Baathists would be a positive thing. The Islamic Front brigades had been formed after having broken away from the Free Syrian Army over the FSA's allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition and have, further, eschewed ties to Western interests. It has been fighting ISIS and has received a large share of its funding from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. Mark Koroi 08/30/2014 at 5:31 pm in reply to Jay L Former U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has stated that Israel has no legitimate right to Shebaa Farms. Israel can annex anything it wants but absent agreement from interested parties and international recognition, those annexation claims are not binding on other countries. The Golan Heights has long been a bargaining chip in final status negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors. Mark Koroi 08/30/2014 at 5:22 pm in reply to Jack bender "..........is there any past history of such madness?" Recall the ongoing battles between the Sunni, Shi'ite and Druze militias in Lebanon during the 1970s and 80s. It tore up the country and led to Syrian and Israeli occupations. Mark Koroi 08/30/2014 at 5:18 pm in reply to Bill Bodden Actually, there is very little history of confirmed direct conflict between al-Qaeda and Israeli interests. One incident was an al-Qaeda attack at the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania several years ago. The proffered reason for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was Israeli destruction of Beirut's skyline in the 1982 Operation Galilee invasion. rosemerry 08/30/2014 at 5:06 pm "Bibi" pretends that Hamas, a resistance group against Israeli occupation and for liberation of Palestine, is some sort of "terror" comparable with IS. He may have to start facing reality. Richard Benish 08/30/2014 at 4:56 pm in reply to Jack bender "...glib and superficial piece of cynicism." Recent events in Gaza (among others) prove that Israel is one of the most active participants in the "madness." Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz? (5) Fred Walker 08/30/2014 at 4:21 pm Kenneth Pollack disgraced himself by his diligent efforts to lure self identified liberals into support the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq. He deserves to be shunned by all decent people for his part in destabilizing the Middle East and creating the present regional disaster. Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) notlurking 08/30/2014 at 3:50 pm I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above. I usually agree with most of what is written here but this report sounds so much like the MSM I thought I was reading the NYT, BBC, CNN........lol Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) JTMcPhee 08/30/2014 at 3:41 pm in reply to deborah conner Do a search on "Armageddonists" and you find all kinds of interesting stuff. Like this, in addition to the Hagee/Roberts/Angley nightmare dreams: "On The Road To Armageddon," link to beliefnet.com . It seems a lot of us Murcans are more than a little agreed that the end of the world (the human part of it) as we know it is getting closer. Remember, anyone, the illustration of how a nuclear reaction leading to an atomic/thermonuclear explosion works? link to sites.google.com Huge amount of stored energy + tiny input of sufficient kinetics = WE'RE F___KED! Not going to bother to list all the places where energy, potential and "kinetic" (as in Obama's "kinetic exercise") and emotional has been stored up, tight as the spring of a mousetrap. All those thousands of nuclear and "ordinary" weapons, all the cordite and smokeless and PETN and TNT and all, all in the hands of people not spiritually advanced enough to see that some little mischance or error or idiotic intentional act on their part, driven by some immediate fear or threat or triggered remotely by some idiotic set of circumstances set in place and in motion by the same sh_tS who set up all the mousetraps and ping pong balls of yore, by their arrogant insouciant greedy foolish idiocy, the Great Wars of the Great Game. link to globalresearch.ca And now the sneaks and stupes have the rest of us Ordinary People tugging at our collars in that universal gesture of increasing anxiety and distress, sensing that maybe this time our rulers and kleptocrats, playing their Games with us as self-regenerating pawns, have got us right to the point where some convenient fool like Gavrilo Princip, a mope put in motion by sneaky-petes long dead, link to en.wikipedia.org , might loose the current equivalent of the little bullet that got all the newspapers and legislators and priests of Europe cheering "IT'S FINALLY WAR!" link to informationclearinghouse.info See, generally (pun intended), Tuchman's works, like "The Proud Tower" for a main course, and "The Guns of August" for dessert. And a challenge to all you Really Smart People out there: Lay out the mechanisms and relations that are in place and operating to keep the Really Bad Stuff from happening, and note that "we" can't even keep from giving reality to the tale of the slowly cooking frog... Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) James Whitney 08/30/2014 at 3:00 pm in reply to Richard Steven Hack I see that several readers arrived before me to say that they agree with you. Another person who agrees with you is the very well informed retired French diplomat Pierre Charasse who writes in French and Spanish mostly, in his blog La Tour de Babel, link to latourdebabelworldpress.com. His stuff on the Ukraine is in both these languages between March 20 (20 mars) and March 28 (28 mars). It is regrettable that this blog seems not to be well known, allthough Charasse is well known in France. Also too bad that he doesn't write more often. Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Faraz Fakhteh 08/30/2014 at 2:55 pm really ? now their alarmed finally? Jack bender 08/30/2014 at 2:34 pm with 2 replies What can one do when the Islamic sects go to tearing themselves apart, is there any past history of such madness?...as for Israel ...they can handle any spillage ..actually this infighting between Israel's enemy's is to israels advantage Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense (5) Curt Kastens 08/30/2014 at 2:28 pm I wonder how much students in Europe nied to pay for university tuition each yeer. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) Curt Kastens 08/30/2014 at 2:16 pm in reply to super390 That seems to be a really perceptive comment. Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) Mark Kaplan 08/30/2014 at 1:26 pm I'm in full agreement with Mr. Hack here. This piece does NOT belong on Juan's website. 'Drivel' is right down the pipe. Obama, as House Negro-in-Chief, tosses out lies on a daily basis, about what's actually going on in the failed state of Ukraine -- where one of this so-called nation's richest businessman has now been 'elected' as president, and the rest of its junta-style government leaders have been selected by US and EU interests. Look no further than the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner on July 17th, with the loss of 298 lives. Are 'folks' noticing that Obummer shut his mouth -- along with the rest of the liars in America's lame-stream-media machine, in regard to their bullshit about the plane's loss being tied directly to Russia, and Putin -- after August 5th -- and the emergence of clear evidence that Ukrainian SU-25 Soviet-era fighters machine-gunned the cockpit of the Malaysian flight, most likely thinking they were taking down the Russian president's similar-looking plane, which was nearby? Again -- this 'drivel' by Daisy Sindelar, does not belong on Juan's site. The whole mess in Ukraine had been ginned up by America and its puppets, on behalf of Western oil and gas interests, who want to frack the living shit out this France-sized piece of real estate, while turning the derived profits over to a handful of neo-fascist business interests, while cutting Russia out their energy sales to EU nations... This piece is far beneath the level of journalism enshrined by Juan Cole's site, and all the good its done, on behalf of the Earth's powerless masses -- for many years now. Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Bill Bodden 08/30/2014 at 1:16 pm with 1 replies File this under "Blowback." As I recall, al-Qaeda claimed one reason for its 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington was American support for Israel's treatment of Arabs in Palestine. Presumably, al-Qaeda will continue its hostility towards Israel, especially after its latest attack on Gaza. deborah conner 08/30/2014 at 1:05 pm with 1 replies What a train-wreck you've wrought, Bibi. John Hagee must be dancing with glee. Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) Dennis Redmond 08/30/2014 at 12:57 pm I see the Putinists beat me to the first post. Nice try, bozos, but nobody believes your lies. FACT: Ukraine had a democratic mass protest against a corrupt thief and mass-murderer, former President Victor Yanukovych, whose thugs shot down dozens of unarmed protesters on Maidan square in Kiev. FACT: Yanukovych was subsequently impeached and removed from office by a legal quorum of the democratically elected parliament of Ukraine. FACT: Ukraine then elected Peter Poroshenko as President (he won 55% of the vote) in May 2014 in a free, fair vote. FACT: Russia illegally annexed Crimea and has been waging a war of imperial aggression against eastern Ukraine ever since (thousands of Russian troops and tanks are currently on Ukrainian soil as we speak -- among their other crimes, a Russian Army SA-11 unit shot down that MH-17 airliner, murdering three hundred innocent civilians). FACT: The vast majority of Ukrainians do NOT want to join Russia, and the populations of the regions of Donetsk and Luzhansk which Russian forces have invaded are 70% ethnic Ukrainian. FACT: Part of this war is an unspeakably evil lie campaign by Russia's state-owned media and its paid army of online trolls to smear and defame Ukraine as a fascist junta, a claim which is, frankly, completely insane. FACT: Ukraine is a democracy under attack by an imperialist invader, and should be supported by anyone with the slightest bit of decency or integrity. I'm sorry to report that many so-called Leftists have fallen into the trap of thinking Putin is the reincarnation of Lenin. Not so. Putin is 100% neoliberal, an ultra-nationalist thug who works to enrich Russia's 1% -- its plutocracy, which loots Russia through hundreds of billions of dollars of capital flight. (Note that the fine folks at OCCRP have an excellent series documenting a tiny slice of this massive looting spree here: link to reportingproject.net). Lastly, some useful links from folks on the ground: Myroslava Petsa: link to twitter.com Kharkhov Human Rights Group: link to khpg.org Ukraine's President: link to president.gov.ua Top 100 Putinist Lies: link to examiner.com Ukraine Today: link to youtube.com Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Jay L 08/30/2014 at 12:24 pm with 1 replies Israel, of course, stole the Golan Hts, and the Shebaa (sp?) Farms from spoils of the war in '67. Israel actually annexed these areas. Does this mean that Israel has permanent rights to this? It seems safe to say that there is no de-annexation thereof in the future. If matters get serious in the Golan Heights, then I predict that the U.S. will expand operations versus ISIS. Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Dfnslblty 08/30/2014 at 10:16 am Compare to golan property losses, and then look at usa creating it's own enemies. Potus is warring and doesn't know with whom! Stop the Illegal and Immoral wars! World-Renowned Historian Natalie Zemon Davis Pleads Case of Steven Salaita with U-Illinois (2) M.E. 08/30/2014 at 9:59 am Has Wise responded? Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Steve Stein 08/30/2014 at 9:47 am Just a week ago, John Whitbeck was calling for UN peacekeepers in Gaza. (link to juancole.com) Should this incident in the Golan cause him to change his mind about the UN's effectiveness? Could a Palestinian Boycott Pinch Israeli Economy? (1) Jack 08/30/2014 at 9:43 am Boycotts worked on South Africa to end apartheid there, and they can work on Israel too. Economic damage to their own personal interests are the only language that the corrupt leaders of Israel ( as well as those of the PA, US and almost every other country) understand. Damage to their economy and the finances of the average person is at most a minor inconvenience to them , to be managed and spun, but damage to their own interests gets results. Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers (15) Damian Lataan 08/30/2014 at 9:33 am with 1 replies So, is this the reason Netanyahu decided to quickly end things in the Gaza? Maybe he sees the Golan Heights as potentially an even greater threat. The Gaza's not going away. He'll get back to it. Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) timbers 08/30/2014 at 8:41 am Richard Steven Hack, I agree. The CIA and Mayla agencies have stated it's likely Kiev forces - not Russian federalists - shot down the plan has been ignored by corporate western media, govt officials. Seems unlikely Kiev would have downed that plan w/o approval from Washington and thus Obama. Also Joe Biden's son heads up U.S. fracking interests in eastern Ukriane....so Dick Cheney/Haliburton/Iraq is now Joe Biden/Fracking/Ukraine. It's all about fracking, and Russia stands in the way, so Obama is promoting war with Russia. Desertmer 08/30/2014 at 7:33 am Richard Steven Hack- I totally agree. Well said. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) Nicholas Wibberley 08/30/2014 at 7:10 am There is a danger in promoting a perspective that is simply not available to the majority. Societies of whatever size, from family to nation, are inevitably divided between 'leaders' and those led, whatever the definitions, from warrior to wealth. What creates stability in society is a stable and influential middle class. For the last 50 years or so the Western middle classes have been squeezed, a few have scrambled up into wealth but the majority have slipped down into debt. Debt is slavery. Slaves have no rights and little control of their lives beyond choosing who they mate. All that is available when circumstances become too extreme is revolution. It is against the prospect of that tidal wave that Western freedoms are being eroded and police forces are armed with sophisticated anti-personnel weapons, and imbued with confrontational attitudes to the public it was once their career choice to serve. Russia, China, Iran and so on are really irrelevant to this, except in providing a constant distraction from what is actually going on. Snowden's revelations provided a glimpse but the real issue is less what NSA and others are doing but why they are doing it. I doubt there is a practical solution since the descent of the middle classes into debt/slavery and political impotence looks irreversible. In 1973 the polymath Jacob Bronowski wrote a book and TV series titled The Ascent of Man. I remember the concept gave me pause at the time. Perhaps climate change will cleanse the stables. “…a dance party on the deck of the Titanic”. Why not? At least there is some dignity to it. MaryMMacdonald 08/30/2014 at 6:57 am in reply to hemeantwell Good View Keep it UP:) Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? (7) Richard Steven Hack 08/30/2014 at 1:17 am with 1 replies Drivel. While Russia is undoubtedly supporting the Ukraine militia under the table, so is the US and NATO supporting the Ukraine military under the table. So what? The bottom line is the US overthrew a democratically elected (if corrupt) government and replaced it with a bunch of neo-Nazis with the intent of putting NATO military bases on Russia's borders. Putin has been EXTREMELY FORBEARING by not immediately invading Ukraine and stomping the neo-Nazis flat. Supporting the pro-Russian rebels is the least he could do and he's done it in the least encroaching manner possible. He has no interest in "invading" or "annexing" a failed state like the Ukraine unless that's the only way to keep NATO out. It's Obama, irritated that Putin out-maneuvered him last year on Syria, the neocons in the State Department, and the poodles in the EU who are responsible for this mess. Not Putin. And not Russia. ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) Clif Brown 08/30/2014 at 1:16 am Victory is heady, any morality, religion, cause can be created to back it, no matter how absurd and irrational as seen from the outside. Genghis Khan was unstoppable and set a standard for creating fear with wanton destruction and killing (unlimited slaughter, piles of skulls as monuments, etc.). War is the food that keeps the killing machine going, victory the fuel of morale. It's when a large area is taken and the limits are reached that internal difficulties bring disintegration of what seemed like an unstoppable force. The fighters flock to IS, the people do not. IS shouts to the world "bring it on!" Let's not. Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz? (5) R.A. 08/29/2014 at 11:46 pm I find it interesting that some of the commenters above appear not to have read the Hamas Quiz but just repeat Israeli talking points, such as "Why exactly did Hamas start shooting rockets into Israel? Apparently because they themselves were being excluded from power, being denied pay." This comment completely ignores the many Israeli provocations, including the arrest of hundreds of Hamas followers in the West Bank, that preceded the rocket fire. Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense (5) super390 08/29/2014 at 10:50 pm in reply to bob h In addition to dean's comment, consider the effects of such a deflationary economy: if you own actual dollars (or bonds), they increase in value. William Greider, in books like "Secrets of the Temple", argued that the brutal deflations that wracked and radicalized America after the Civil War were forced by Eastern bankers who cared only about the value of their cash holdings, while Western elites wanted an inflationary economy that would drive up the value of their more speculative holdings. The question is, why do today's oligarchs follow the Eastern doctrine rather than the Western when so much of their holdings seems to be speculative in value? Why Would They Stay? Making Sense of ISIS and Iraqi Sunnis (5) super390 08/29/2014 at 10:39 pm in reply to Susan Sunflower Let's assume that someone is behind ISIS with money and access to expertise. He needs the extremist angle to recruit shock troops to do the dirty work of quickly advancing across the desert. But he knows the extremists will wear out their welcome among their tribal and Baathist allies. Machiavelli, whom someone in the Middle East has probably read, said that when a prince conquers a city, he must commit his crimes quickly, then pass the blame to his governor, fire him and then benefit from the seeming improvement in conditions. I would suggest that ISIS is the evil governor, and the prince is already rigging together the new regime that will "liberate" the tribesmen from ISIS. Baathists will end up running everything, unfortunately, but the locals and the international community will heave a sigh of relief. ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) super390 08/29/2014 at 10:25 pm The immediate problem is the de-escalation of a Saudi/GCC vs Iran cold war that the US did much to create. Since most commenters on this site assume any US action at all is evil, it's hardly worth the effort to suggest that the US will have to be involved in that de-escalation. However, someone will have to use some kind of power to establish a boundary between the two sides and then punish anyone who sends their proxies on the warpath like ISIS. Now, this may mean drawing a line that will trap many people on the wrong side. But we did that in Europe in 1945 and it kept the Cold War stable for 40 years. Russia and China understand this; they will take Iran's side and demand protected enclaves in Syria and Iraq for their own naval and investment ambitions. Once those big boys enter the scene, the Sunni autocrats will be shaking in their Guccis and looking to the US. I'm afraid what will happen then because the GOP, the corporate Democrats and the Israel Lobby will want blood. In fact that is the perfect time for the US, Russia and China to exploit this situation to force the Sunni monarchs to stop using terrorist recruitment as a pressure valve for their own screwed-up societies. Which is in the interests of all countries victimized by terror groups. It's what Bismarck would have done in the old days of Great Power deals. super390 08/29/2014 at 10:04 pm in reply to Nick The oil sheikhs could have guaranteed that protection from their proxies at any moment. They didn't feel like it. Either they accept ethnic cleansing as part of their plan to roll back the Shia, or worse, the right to commit atrocities as a recruitment tool is part of the well-known use of such movements by those sheikhs to make their own disaffected young men go someplace else and die. The US lacks the guts to confront those autocrats, which blew the deal on Syria. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) super390 08/29/2014 at 9:54 pm The survey choices above show how depressingly shallow Americans are about the outside world. It's like looking at Nielsen ratings, with a constant turnover of new shows that are really copies of old shows. I'd like to say the decline in the fantasy of an Iranian threat is good news, but I can see it's only getting crowded out by sexier threats. Note that Shia extremism always is traced right back to the Iranian state by our indoctrinators, but Sunni extremism is only traced back to a black box of "those crazy Moslems"; thus protecting the oil-rich Gulf elites who fund both extremism/terrorism and much of America's financial sector. We can't face that contradiction, or the economic sacrifices we'd have to make if we treated the Sauds as an enemy. super390 08/29/2014 at 9:47 pm with 1 replies in reply to Sherm The pain receptor analogy is a good description of our elites' conversion of global exploitation into the citizenry's global paranoia. However, paranoia seems to be most virulent when the enemy has a face we can hate. Even epidemics have a face; the disease-carrying foreigners we must stop before they contaminate our land. This is the problem with global warming, because our own country is the most responsible for the economic model driving the process. We met the enemy, he is us, so we make up other enemies instead. And that leads to the other problem; all our fantasy enemies in the above survey allow us to imagine solutions without sacrifice by anyone we likely know... since we never estimate the cost of future wars accurately. The jobs and land rights created by fossil fuels have come to be an island of stability in late capitalism, viewed as sacred entitlements, so the fact that alternative energy will create new jobs to replace those hardly matters; the ones who scream loudest and with the best connections to hold onto what they have count more. super390 08/29/2014 at 9:39 pm in reply to Curt Kastens The smart guys decided it would be more profitable to have a country in which there is no real concept of public good. So they destroyed it, and now reap truly vast financial rewards. They figure to have private islands to flee to before the consequences overwhelm their fellow citizens. Now as to how usefully smart they are, imagine if this bunch had been the ones running things in the '30s and '40s. Pretty scary. Craig 08/29/2014 at 9:27 pm One reason why China has to be handled more carefully than a few years ago is that they're finally coming around on global warming. If Europe, the U.S. and China are reasonably working together to limit CO2 emissions and rapidly building up alternative energy infrastructure, that is probably enough to bring most countries along. As long as one remains realistic about the issue while also limiting where possible Russian energy games, the Ukrainian issue could have a profound impact on energy policies in either direction and needs to be handled right. As for ISIL, it's important to keep them away from oil fields as much as possible. If the world economy crashes because there's neither enough alternative energy or enough fossil fuels or both to sustain energy needs, that does considerable harm to dealing with global warming. One needs a reasonably healthy, functioning economy to build up alternative energy. Of course, Tea Party Republicans are bent on sabotaging alternative energy as much as possible, enough reason on that basis alone to reduce their numbers in Congress. DeeDee Halleck 08/29/2014 at 9:21 pm I can't stand the music on the video clip. How to trivialize important information! Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) katty wompus 08/29/2014 at 8:37 pm I agree Nayla. Assad tortured people for Cheney and this is the thanks he gets. The US has a rich history of supporting dictators worse than Assad. For all of Saddam's butchery, he kept the lid on Iraq. ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) Jay L 08/29/2014 at 6:41 pm Quoting from above: "...the conditions and...grievances in Muslim countries must...be addressed: foreign boots on the ground, dictators supported by the US out of convenience, a failure to end a half century of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the treatment of Palestinians as a paradigm for treatment of other Muslims, the US employment of the region as an eternal cockpit for proxy wars — all of this is still ongoing." link to youtube.com LOL. Play "The Beat Goes on" for your amusement. The aforementioned conditions are "not, never" going to change---never in the foreseeable future. ...and the beat goes on. Susan Sunflower 08/29/2014 at 6:27 pm I think there's a high likelihood that ISIS will be weakened by its success -- reports are that thousands of young people are streaming to the region to join up. While it's a ghastly prospect that they would be drawn to join such barbarism -- there's the rub -- these "hoards" are going to need food and looking after (all the more so if they are "tenderfeet") and they expect weapons training and !!!ACTION!!!. At least some of the atrocities may be ISIS indulging the blood thirsty and the adrenalin junkies. I fear for Syrian civilians, certainly, but -- as with captives who need to looked after and guarded -- this mob may also deplete resources. As Fred Kaplan also pointed out, agreeing with the above, ISIS's victories have been the direct result of dysfunctional local order -- meaning they have very shallow roots that may wither when bare-bones expectations of leadership fails to materialize, life becomes even harder and more brutal, at which point, at least in Iraq, there may be a mutiny. In Syria the population has been suffering so much for so long -- that any ceasefire is a blessing -- I think we have to see if Assad is able to effectively use his army and air force to put ISIS on the run. All this I think will become clearer within a few weeks. Iraq's military capability needs to be reassessed (now that they've lived with the results of their failures for more than a month) and prospects for future performance assessed. There seems to be an almost complete news black-out and stories not followed up -- ISIS was reportedly exploitng a tunnel network north of Baghdad -- believed to be digging in for a conventional terrorist campaign of bombings in the capitol before swooping in for the kill -- then crickets. I'll hold off judgment on what appears to be continued inertia and inability to mobilize because there is so little news. Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Susan Sunflower 08/29/2014 at 5:58 pm Well suggesting that Assad is supporting IS so that IS will do the dirty work of killing all the moderates is a step up from the it's-the-CIA-all-the-time conspiracy, but seriously I"m not sure how this post-defeat of the moderate rebels "align with" would work ... Tale of a moderate rebel who lay down his arms and took an offer to relocate in Turkey -- interesting but caveats apply. link to nytimes.com rather bizarre article from the Guardian from a Yazhidi woman still trapped on the mountain .... link to theguardian.com another single-source cell phone eye-witness -- rather raises more questions than it answers. ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) Nick 08/29/2014 at 4:59 pm with 1 replies Maybe Assad just saw the chaos that followed "democratization" in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt, and just "Yeah! Right!" I might be on board for ousting Assad if someone can guarantee the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria will be protected the way they are now. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) Werther 08/29/2014 at 4:54 pm in reply to Curt Kastens Students at "elite" schools (however defined) have a variety of opinions about, and interest levels in, such things. Certainly not all of them are geniuses, and being a genius is no substitute for actual study--in this case, of climate change etc. Jack bender 08/29/2014 at 4:48 pm in reply to Curt Kastens Curt...good question...my take on it is that in a nation with over 300 million...with say 15 million are wealthy enough to send their kids to top schools at close to 70k per year,there are enough smart ones to get into those schools...then they take on financial help reall smart kids from the rest of the population...so you end up with maybe 50k yearly grads...divide them into science medicine law engineering and finance...as human nature takes hold thess grads to to work to make as much money as they can..in order to join the 15 million. Who have like 95 per cent of the wealth..with few exceptions..and those good souls are to few to make any real impression ...it's really up to the rest of the people to make it work...but as it is they are overworked and over stressed just trying to make a living ...and so it goes Don Schellberg 08/29/2014 at 4:35 pm in reply to hemeantwell Nato expanded because the eastern European countries desperately wanted to join out of fear of Russian domination. After looking at Ukraine the past couple of months, can you really blame their anxiety. Russia is the only country in the world that seems to require a buffer. If I were to say we need to dominate the Mexican government so we can have a buffer between Honduras and us, you would think I was a lunatic. Yes, it is true that Napolean and Hitler did invade Russia, that was over 60 years ago. There is no European threat to Russia. In fact there is not threat to Russia at all. And we always talk about Ukraine being a buffer as if the feelings of those people don't matter at all. They have a right to a better future and they chose that future during the Madden protests. That was a widespread movement, supported by the people not foreign powers. If you look at the economic growth of those Eastern European countries that broke free of Russian influence, they are prospering. Ukraine is not, however, and it will never have a decent future unless it liberates itself from Russia. They have a right to join NATO if they so choose. They have a right to join the European Union if they choose. They have the right to join the Russian custom's union if they choose. It is their choice, not Russia's not the USA's. Vladimir Putin's foreign policy is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's advance into Sudetenland. In that time Hitler, was interested in protecting ethnic Germans, or so he said. He sent over Nazi thugs and then when the Czech government resisted he took over some of the country, then he took over the non-German part. Any by the way the oligarchic rule you mentioned, all with the of Yushchenko and the current president Poroshenko were all ethnic Russians who had a cozy relationship with Russia. And another fact you might consider, that even in eastern Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk) the percentage of ethnic Ukrainians is 60%. Another fact you might consider that although the Ukrainian government is responsible for some civilian deaths in eastern Ukraine, the overwhelming number of kidnappings, torture, and murder of civilians is done by the pro-Russian terrorists. So when you call you senator an idiot you should check your mirror first. Can the Kabbalah teach us to Repair Climate Change? (3) Jack bender 08/29/2014 at 4:24 pm Wonderful thoughts.....if only ? US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) Tinwoman 08/29/2014 at 4:11 pm Most Americans are too poor to even think about putting solar panels on their home, much less buy a new environmentally friendly car. Tax breaks don't mean much when almost half of Americans don't make enough money to pay any taxes anyway. JTMcPhee 08/29/2014 at 3:37 pm in reply to Sherm Here's a slightly dated version of our warfighters' playbook on how they plan to link up, "interoperate," with other "militaries" across the planet to defeat all those environmental threats, keep us mopes under control, and open up new markets for our inversion- undertaking US corporations. That list would now be extended to include not just the arms industry, but purveyors of genetically modified seeds and civil engineering firms and makers of heavy earthmoving equipment and probably toilet paper and paper towel manufacturers too: link to acq.osd.mil Edward Anthony Rayne 08/29/2014 at 3:27 pm Man-made #Superintelligence will destroy the human race long before man-made global warming ever does. Explains Fermi Paradox. #AI Sherm 08/29/2014 at 11:40 am with 3 replies How easy it would be for the MSM and the politicians to convert the global warming threat in to an "us against them" threat, "them" being any foreign political entity that can be tagged as a party that contributes to "global warming damage to the USA". As Prof Cole points out, the public is quite malleable when it comes it imagining that distant localized events could be a direct security threat to Americans, i.e. kill us right on US soil. The US is now an octopus like creature with a world wide network of.pain receptors. Events in almost any part of the world can trigger our pain and cause a response, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, lots of African countries, China, to name some well known locations. To put it in harsh terms, we are bulking up to take on global warming as an external threat to the US, which will be dealt with the only way we know how, military violence. ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) My Comment 08/29/2014 at 11:17 am We need to stop saying “If we had only done this” then things would have worked out to our liking. We need to recognize that events in the Middle East are out of our control. If we wanted a better outcome today we would have had to stop supporting despots, monarchs and the racist state decades ago. We missed our chance when it would have made a difference; it is way too late now. We can certainly change things, stir the pot, by supplying arms and money. But we can only sit back and hope for our desired results. Of course such stirring of the pot makes enemies. Not stirring the pot may cause contempt, “why aren’t you helping us”, but it does not make decade’s long enemies. Of course this is the way it had to be. Powerful countries always play the game for their own gain. Short term gains show up on this quarter’s balance sheet, long term? Who knows! Long term is where we find ourselves now. Ps: Let’s stop quoting “Islamic Law” to condemn what people we don’t like until we are ready to conform to “Christian Law”. The hypocrisy gets a little too thick. They see it, we should too. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) Curt Kastens 08/29/2014 at 11:02 am with 3 replies America has a whole stew of supposedly high quality universities. These schools such as the ivy league schools and Stanford and MIT and a few others select what are apparently the highest quality of high school graduates in the country, The graduates of these elite universities often go on to high paying jobs and or write best selling books about how to be a high achiever. I was wondering today. Do any of them really know anything important at all? I have very little first hand experience knowing what type of people make up the legal and economic elite of America. I see them on TV a lot. I read about them a lot. But I have never read or watched TV with them let alone gone out with them on one of their yachts. When the number of graduates of these elite schools is totaled up it would be a quite high number. I imagine that we are talking about at least 25,000 graduates each year. What do they think about America? Do they think that it is royally screwed up? If not what does that say about them? If they do think that America is royally screwed up do they ever wonder what in the world is going wrong? The people who made it in to these schools were clearly better at answering the questions that they were asked on tests than I was. So they must have been better abstract thinkers than I was around the age of 20. Yet when one looks at what problems people in the USA seem threatened by it seems to me that one of two conclusions is in order. One possibility is that all of these brilliant thinkers have had no influence on the vast majority of people who did not go to school with them. A second possibility is that leadership brilliance that these schools claim that they endow has been used to move themselves to higher levels achievement rather than the nation to higher levels of achievement. If that was the case were they all in on it or only a portion of them? If was not all of them did those who were not in on the joke that was being played on the rest of us realize what was going on? If not why not? They are supposed to be brilliant? If they did what did they do to stop it? If they tried but were unsuccessful was it because there were to few of them? Or were there enough of them they were just not smart enough to get the job done? Is there defense that those who were not operating with good faith were outsmarted by those who were? I do not understand how a nation can fear a bigot on the other side of the planet more than it can fear a bigot in the back yard. Do the graduates of our elite universities have a defense for the level of achievement that they have attained? Someone explain it to me. S H 08/29/2014 at 11:01 am It's as if the Rise in Temperature were Debt Equity and some multi-national corporation's Lawyers want the R & D department to work on fudging the numbers instead of actually mitigating the problem from destroying the customer base. World-Renowned Historian Natalie Zemon Davis Pleads Case of Steven Salaita with U-Illinois (2) aristeides 08/29/2014 at 10:26 am One of the most annoying things about this scandal is that Wise illicitly took it on herself to pull the contract, when it should have gone to the trustees. She made the unilateral assumption that the trustees would reject him, and never gave them the chance to consider the issue. US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge (18) hemeantwell 08/29/2014 at 9:24 am with 2 replies Although it's outside your purview, I wish that, instead of only mildly scoffing at the "Putin threat," you would do a walk-through of the development of the Ukraine crisis. In it I hope you might give some place, to the question of Russia's legitimate security concerns and the foolish expansion of NATO, the question of rotating oligarchic rule in the Ukraine, and the historically divided character of the Ukrainian polity. The MSM has been astonishing indifferent to these and other questions, preferring a collage of shallow impressions of demonstrations and airline disasters. It seems very much like we're witnessing a repeat of the start-up of the Cold War, even though it should be possible with Internet resources to thwart the resurrection of the Russian bear (which one of my idiotic Senators - supposedly the least idiotic - recently referred to). 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (25) JTMcPhee 08/29/2014 at 8:20 am in reply to Nicholas Wibberley Tone-deaf unintentional irony, or just more of the Arrogance of the Narrative? ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate" (8) JTMcPhee 08/29/2014 at 7:58 am Well, hey! There's starting to be some discourse and awareness to the effect that "we," whomever that is, cannot bond and kill "our" way to a " solution." One wonders, given the institutions here (the military, its industrial base, "conservative" politicians and punditry, CIA snd its habits, tc.) all lined up and invested in " launching strikes" and "surgical operations" and infighting over what "doctrine" and devices will prevail in the insulated Imperial bubble, if "we" have the smarts or even many incentive to just wait a bit for the paint to dry and then step carefully out of the corner "we" have let our list for consumption let our Rulers and the actions of Corporatocracy paint us into... 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (25) Amir Atiya 08/29/2014 at 5:13 am Yes, it's a big irony. Only the masters, that is the US, have the right to strike, but the slaves or the subordinates cannot. The reason UAE and Egypt did not inform the US is that they lost trust of the US. So, a better strategy is for the US is to try to regain back their trust, rather than rebuking them. Moreover, this scolding will just embolden the islamist militias in Lybia. Now, the US wants to build a coalition to confront ISIS. Good luck if any Arab country will join, after all the bullying they get from the US administration. The US administration should learn from George Bush the Senior of how to win over Arab countries, and build a coalition. US Open round-up: Stan Wawrinka tells fan to ‘shut up’ en route to third round (1) Harvey 08/29/2014 at 1:30 am That fan paid for the ticket and ticket sales pays you to play! Stop being a prima donna, shut your mouth, do your job and play the game! You snot nosed athletes would be in the street if it wasn't for the fans, so show some gratitude and stop acting like your in charge, because you aren't! Israel War Aftermath: Epidemic feared in Gaza sheltering centers as skin infections spread (1) JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 9:49 pm Can it spread to the Israelites? Hey, if not, does anyone think the Likudianists care, or see this as anything more than just one more successful play in the Grand Book of Joshua Strategy Game? Maybe the Gazans need to take a page from old siege warfare, and add some infected body parts to their rocket payloads... As Int'l Powers focus on Kurds and Sunni Arabs, have Shiite Politicians lost Iraq Forever? (3) Jack bender 08/28/2014 at 9:07 pm Iraq is a mistake by the Brits....thanks to our invasion ..it's forever broken...the best outcome would be a loose federation of the three factions....which by the way might work for Israel/Palestine .... 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (25) JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 7:11 pm in reply to tom Maybe on maps, but like Iraq, it seems that the people who live there don't seem to think so. It kind of doesn't matter what "we" call it, us blogitators, now does it? It even appears the White House, that "speaks" its mind or what "we" are allowed to hear of it through the mouth of a guy named Earnest (what a great appointment), is acting like those "countries" have already been Balkanized and subdivided. Not the Onion: Shooting Range raises Age Limit to 12 after 9-year-old girl Kills Instructor with Uzi (7) Julie B 08/28/2014 at 3:32 pm "Handguns under supervision, perhaps". No. Not under supervision. Not at all. Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Nayla Rathle 08/28/2014 at 1:38 pm You may think it's anathema but I don't care one bit what you all think. I want Assad to stay in power. He's our last bulwark against complete anarchy and ISIS type mullahs in the near east. Enough with Islam. Secularism, even the dictatorial one, is far better. Open-Ended Ceasefire reached in Israel/ Gaza: But how Long will it Last? (9) Jack bender 08/28/2014 at 1:34 pm in reply to Mark Koroi Mark is right...both sides took a beating..all this goes to prove how war destroys all envolved ..now if only the human condition could only get it into their thick heads.. As Int'l Powers focus on Kurds and Sunni Arabs, have Shiite Politicians lost Iraq Forever? (3) cfiace 08/28/2014 at 1:12 pm So once again, US implemented and enforced policies from Bushco, in the edict of Paul Bermer's de-bathification, exacerbate already existing cultural and religious problems to the benefit of Lockheed, Boeing and other bringers of death and others that benefit from an unstable region. 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (25) tom 08/28/2014 at 12:18 pm with 1 replies in reply to JTMcPhee We call it libya because that is the name of the country. Also if your going to put up multiple posts, try to at least come out with better thought out comments which do not have such horrendous writing. Not the Onion: Shooting Range raises Age Limit to 12 after 9-year-old girl Kills Instructor with Uzi (7) JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 12:10 pm in reply to Jay L The cops are fanatics too... it's not clear thinking to put the police in a category of people who are primed to do the right thing, to assume that they actually "serve and protect," when it comes to the street-horror putative arms race: link to thetruthaboutguns.com JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 12:03 pm Gotta start 'em young! link to youtube.com Check the proud parents capturing the moment! Do you suppose Hannity would get all exercised about the "gangbanger fist bump" the young hero exchanged with dada after sending a couple of hundred 7.62 rounds downrange at 2700 feet per second? Here's a little vignette, a partial tiny bit of the flood of Very Serious Study And Debate And Discussion that is the foundation and food of the People Of The Gun: link to shootersnotes.com At least the "adults" have that M-134 "Minigun" on a mount that absorbed the recoil and kept that Uzi-idiocy from happening. But the Macho Boys do it this way: link to military.com And "they" say that there's no sexual component to Gun Love: link to youtube.com , and link to youtube.com and so very much more. ... From a little experience, it's a whole lot more fun if the targets down range are fellow humans. Your fellow Americans, folks -- proud to be, right? Freedom (tm) and all that... zandru 08/28/2014 at 11:54 am This year's winner of the "Darwin Award"! For giving a machine gun, set to 'full automatic' mode, to a small child, and then standing on the side that the weapon will rotate towards when fired! Personal responsibility, man. Oh, and he may also have made an anti-gun crusader out of the little girl, possibly even her parents. This guy probably won't win any posthumous awards from the NRA. Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Nicholas Wibberley 08/28/2014 at 11:48 am in reply to mike munk For a while it suited the IS and Assad to give each other a bit of guarded leeway since the one was able to pursue its ideological goals by cleaning the other's stables. But that time is now passed, a new round has begun, and it better suits Assad to align with the IS opposition since, although sharing the same enemy doesn't make you allies, it does introduce possibilities not present in stalemate. Mark Koroi 08/28/2014 at 11:31 am in reply to mike munk ISIS was believed by some to have backing from Assad when they fought Americans in Iraq at Falluja. There is also speculation that the Baathist regime in Syria is covertly helping ISIS and point to the fact that the bulk of the military efforts against ISIS have been other Syrian rebel groups. ISIS sells petroleum to the Syrian government. Reading Africa: How exciting Literature takes us beyond the Dreary Headlines (2) Spring Texan 08/28/2014 at 11:09 am looks like the book is only an e-book for kindle. too bad, I need a paper book. Why Would They Stay? Making Sense of ISIS and Iraqi Sunnis (5) Susan Sunflower 08/28/2014 at 10:57 am ah, found the article: link to nytimes.com "" As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment."" (first paragraph). If ISIS in Iraq is comprised of middle-aged Sunni Iraqi ex-military, then I think they are likely different stronger and better coordinated force -- qualitatively quite different from the apparently youthful Syrian ISIS evolved from local rebels mixed with youthful foreign zealots amped up on heavy weapons and giddy with victory. I'm not sure. Not the Onion: Shooting Range raises Age Limit to 12 after 9-year-old girl Kills Instructor with Uzi (7) Doug K 08/28/2014 at 10:56 am apparently the instructor wasn't very effective at showing how to use a Uzi.. I feel sorry for the girl, whose parents really should have known better. I was trained on Uzis as a young man and had trouble handling the recoil. Those guns kick up very quickly and strongly, quite unlike AK-47s and M-16s which are relatively easy to control on full auto. The Uzi is a specialized weapon for highly trained commandos. Why Would They Stay? Making Sense of ISIS and Iraqi Sunnis (5) Susan Sunflower 08/28/2014 at 10:49 am with 1 replies I've been confused/intrigued by the apparent acceptance (with or without enthusiasm) of ISIS by Iraqi Sunni who "failed to embrace" and eventually shunned the Wahabbi Al-Qaeda 7-8 years ago. The Guardian suggested the ISIS was rather salafi "which should not be confused with Wahabbism" ... this morning, HuffPo (link to huffingtonpost.com) says it's Wahabbi. My interest in this is two fold -- first is (what seemed to me to be unlikely) the apparently rise of Wahabism in Syria and Iraq -- the second, how durable ISIS's conquests would be as, in many ways, an 'foreign" invasion -- at least wrt religious conversion and the insistence on strict behavioral standards with accompanying enforcement. The Guardian's [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/16/isis-salafi-menace-jihadist-homeland-syria] description of salafism suggested a practical adaptability for ISIS to avoid (which might make ISIS's incursions into Iraq more durable). Are Iraqi Sunnis paracitically/opportunistically using ISIS to achieve their aims. Or -- is ISIS (as I read yesterday somewhere) in fact largely a reconstituted Iraqi Sunni resistance/army under the guise of "outside agitators" and/or "foreign fighters. (rarely mentioned is that there was concern throughout the last decade that if the plight of Iraqi Sunni got "bad enough" the Saudis would step in -- overtly/covertly -- to facilitated "redress" -- whether this is another step in a larger Saudi plan of creeping overt aggression on Iran remains a possibility -- with Iraq as a forward operating base. I don't believe that ISIS "just appeared" fully formed -- and I suspect all major power actors have reasons to mold their "identity" and history to protect friends and further demonize enemies -- I suspect that ISIS is eager for it's barbarity to be reach mythical proportions as, in fact, a tactical weapon. How much this barbarity has been fueled by a generation raised on YOUTUBE role models, I'm not sure. I think ISIS will need to control the barbarity of their "troops" if they want to hold gains in Iraq. If they can do that, they will represent an even more formidable foe. Thank You for Your Support (46) frank R Vaughan 08/28/2014 at 10:13 am I appreciate your efforts regarding the middle east doings. keep it up! Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense (5) dean 08/28/2014 at 9:45 am in reply to bob h It represents their self interest, because depressing the economy gives them rationale for cutting services, which they are obsessed with, rational or not. The new doctrine of the super-wealthy is to sreck everything in order to demand cuts... Not the Onion: Shooting Range raises Age Limit to 12 after 9-year-old girl Kills Instructor with Uzi (7) Jay L 08/28/2014 at 9:39 am with 1 replies With our country's mad, fanatical passion for guns, maybe it should be no wonder that police officers have a shoot first and ask questions later policy? The new Jewish exodus: Emigrating Israelis replaced by European Jewry (11) Suleman 08/28/2014 at 9:04 am in reply to Traven Good point, but give the kid a break ! We all can use one. Cheers! Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 8:37 am in reply to JTMcPhee But hey, "we" always do what "we" know how to do, with the massively expensive and ponderous tools in the black box, or those artistic operations in the destabilize-and-over- throw Kermit Kit. Because think of all the careers and investments and JOBS and legislative positions that are part of the inept and ill-suited and corrupt Juggernaut of "our" waning but prideful Empire... JTMcPhee 08/28/2014 at 8:26 am with 1 replies Was the headline intentionally ironic, given the lede? And does the article argue in favor of US military returning to hired thug mode (where the thug conveniently even pays his own wages and provides his own tools and PR)? I mean, there's such a rich string of past successes of US airpower projection to point to... 5 Ironies of US Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya (25) Patrick Walker 08/28/2014 at 8:17 am Forgive me, but when people like the UAE, which have helped fund Syrian islamists claim they are bombing the "bad" Islamists, I just don't buy it. Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Arun Dube 08/28/2014 at 7:48 am @clancycnn I hope the air strikes are able to deliver 2 knockout punches: ISIS and Assad. Shouldn't be the first and not the other. Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense (5) super390 08/28/2014 at 7:45 am In order to live with themselves, the rich have to believe that they are the sole source of value in America - all the rest of us are worthless peons without their Galtian genius. But that leads inexorably to the conclusion that they should be getting all the money. If the rest of us AREN'T getting poorer, then they left money on the table. And a good businessman never leaves money on the table. The objective question we should ask is, why was it that in the past it was believed that the economy could not function like this, while now it's being put into practice: an economy in which the rich only need to trade with each other, and the rest of us are interchangeable temps one step ahead of bankruptcy? Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists (12) Juan Cole 08/28/2014 at 7:33 am in reply to mike munk First time in a long time, Mike. Gordon Wilson 08/28/2014 at 7:29 am Cluster f-bombs I presume. mike munk 08/28/2014 at 5:26 am with 3 replies IS "studiously avoiding" fighting Assad? Western media report IS killed almost 200 Syrian troops in taking an airbase just last week. Mitch McConnell caught Promising Billionaires he'll Enrich them at our Expense (5) bob h 08/28/2014 at 5:26 am with 2 replies The big GOP donors have large holdings of stocks and bonds which will be imperiled by this kind of brinksmanship. Why would shutting down the government and taking other actions which will damage the economy represent their self-interest? There's a kind of kneejerk brainlessness at work here all round.