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Total number of comments: 77 (since 2016-04-22 04:46:31)

Del Berton

Showing comments 77 - 1

  • As Leftist Turks Protest, Trump congratulates Erdogan on Authoritarian Turn
    • Here's a thought: Given what we know about Trump's incurious approach to most things, how likely is it that he actually has an even rudimentary understanding of contemporary Turkish politics and the implications of Erdogan's policies on that country's democratic processes?

      Unfortunately, we have a "D" student running the country.

  • Turkish Democracy in Trouble, but not Because of Presidential System
    • Juan,

      Would love to see a longer discussion of Turkey's "red-state, blue-state" split (to use a US analogy.) I've read about the split between the big urban areas and the provinces of Anatolia. Are we talking about class, religion, a combination - or something else?


  • Can we survive simultaneous Trump, Ahmadinejad Presidencies?
    • Seriously? There's nothing laughable about a petty authoritarian and Holocaust-denier as president of a nation. As Juan noted, the man's tenure was a disaster and he turned Iran into a laughing stock.

  • Washington's demonization of Foes jumps Shark with Sean Spicer on Hitler
  • Russia's not Leaving: Syria is about old-Fashioned Sphere of Influence, not Oil
    • One addition to the list: A warm water port that allows Russia to project its influence in the Mediterranean in line with a long-standing Kremlin ambition that goes back to the Czarist era.

  • Iran is Back: With Int'l Sanctions lifted and Putin Friendly, Tehran is on a Roll
    • My prediction: The grifter in the White House, stumbling from one domestic disaster to the next, is bound to gin up a limited military adventure to rally the nation in the very near future.

  • Was Michael Flynn Russia's “primary channel of communication with the Trump team”?
    • Not even 100 days in and this joke of a White House is exceeding even my lowest expectations. On the bright side, it is great entertainment watching Trump send Spicer out on a near-daily basis to lie to the world.

      Unfortunately, the joke that is the Trump White House is hardly a joke when it comes to the peace and prosperity of the nation - and the world.

  • After Trump Massacres in Mosul, Campaign against ISIL Halted
    • Outstanding! Excellent tactical and strategic approach, Donald. Get General Ripper on the phone while you're at it. Yeah, what a great military thinker. You're just a regular Clausewitz.

  • Dear Rep. King: Our Civilization isn’t White and American Babies aren’t Other
    • Big mistake by Juan Cole!

      You actually put forward an argument that would require Steve King to read something more challenging than a comic book.

      Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. Even more unfortunate this that this cretin is a member of the same legislative body where real statesmen and public servants once debated.

  • Syria: As 400 more Troops go in, What's Trump's Mission?
    • To be fair, Friedman doesn't belong to the pro-Syria intervention crowd.

    • Let's hope this gets wrapped up quickly. US experience in the region suggests otherwise. But OK, let's play this out: If we step up our deployments in Syria and things get messy, what are our options? We can take Raqqa - that's not a problem. But what then? Without a political settlement, it's going to be hard to pull out - especially if there are US casualties. But a political settlement would have to involve Bashar's regime. Is that the new strategy? Do we have a strategy.

  • Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions' Perjury?
    • I'd like to take heart but public opinion reflected in polls is often fleeting. The American "people" have proved fickle and easily manipulated. All those "good white working folks" that James Webb likes to tout let the resentments they nursed through the years interfere with their judgment and voted for a man who is unfit to lead as POTUS. My guess is that if he can get something done with the wall and start deporting en masse he'll win back many of his newly disaffected supporters.

      Let's hope that I'm wrong.

  • "Media Vandalism?" Top 6 Russian reactions to Trump's Russia Scandals
    • One of the most infuriating aspects of Russian commentary is their contemptuous dismissal of any criticism of Moscow's behavior uniformly redrawing the post-WW 2 map by invading and then annexing Crimea. And then there are "the little green men" sent to foment rebellion in eastern Ukraine. No, I don't support a return to the Cold War but the Putin regime is indeed filled with bad hombres. Let's hope that Drumpf doesn't get his way and reward Moscow for its flagrant aggression.

  • Trump invents Sweden Terror Attack, Lies about Immigrant Crime
    • Another day, another lie. But again, none of this matters to his base. That's the most disheartening and yet fascinating part of it all. I really would love to see a social scientists investigate more deeply why so many Trump supporters remain unshakably loyal despite what the man says - and does. It's not hard to understand why the GOP establishment in Washington sticks with him. As long as he signs bills they pass, everything will be peachy keen. The likes of Ryan & McConnell are politically amoral - I'm being kind - so it matters little whether Trump's recorded talking about "pussy grabbing" or attacking the media as "the enemy." But those millions of regular folks who aren't part of the DC gravy train - c'mon people; wake the hell up and start paying attention. Yet they remain in line, egging him on. Boy, this one is a head scratcher. Are we so divided into tribes that facts just don't any longer matter?

  • Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.”
    • It was quite the spectacle. I watched from start to finish and found myself shaking my head in consternation, mumbling how this can't really be happening. It was worse than Nixon's meltdown when he said goodbye to his staff. The hacks in the rightwing media and the GOP political establishment are trying to paint this as an optimistic picture of a strong President asserting himself.

      It's just the opposite. The man's myriad insecurities are eating him alive.

  • Questions about Judgment: Trump appointed Flynn in the First Place
    • The WH dumped him because he lied to Pence. OK, you can't keep around a high official who lies to the Vice President. But Trump and his supporters had no issue with Flynn's consistently bad policy positions.

      His downfall was purely a question of domestic politics - Flynn had turned into a talking point for Trump's critics and this controversy was about to snowball. But had he not lied about his conversation(s) with the Russians, Flynn would still be National Security Advisor.

      That's troubling.

  • Spicer: Trump can Criticize Iraq War but no one can Slam Trump's Yemen Raid
    • Hard to decide who is harder to stomach, Sean Spicer or the equally repulsive KellyAnne Conway. Because I'm a sado-masochist, I wind up watching his daily briefings, as he mangles the English language in failing attempts to spin the day's events in his boss's favor. White House briefings have always been PR exercises but previous administrations weren't so hell bent on promoting a bizarro universe as reality. Shades of the 1960s "credibility gap" - but even worse. And we're only 3 weeks into this nightmare!

  • In Shocker, Federal Judge in Seattle Halts Trump Muslim Ban
    • The best part of this is the early morning's tweet storm by The Crazy Guy. He's pointing to unnamed Middle Eastern states who he says supports his policy. Supposedly as justification/rationalization of his policy. In other words, we should take tips on governance from enlightened leaders such as Sisi or the theocrats in Riyadh.


  • Trumpworld Fake News: Iran attacks US Navy, Iraqis Massacre Bowling Green
  • Here we go Again: Trump Admin Threatens Iran
    • Meanwhile Captain Queeg continues to rage on Twitter in the early hours of the morning about various and sundry. In addition to threatening Iran, he's on a new rampage about "bad hombres" again and sending troops south of the border to take care of business. Oh, and he's insulted Australia - which is only one of our historically best friends. But he's "outraged" over threats to freedom of speech at Berkeley - because Fox News is playing up the cancelation of a racist Breitbart editor. In the playbook, that's called "changing the topic."

      This is not Trump as an agent of change, the phrase his supporters use. It's an erratic and incoherent to foreign policy. The Donald's done the impossible: He's made me miss Dubya.

  • Trump's Alt-Reality: White Terrorism against Mosque justifies Muslim Ban
    • I don't know why it's gained such wide currency but can we please dispense of the silly "alt" moniker? These clowns are racists and bigots. Period. And President Bannon knows exactly which dog whistles he's blowing - such as in the WH's latest comment about the Holocaust, which was so beloved by alt, err, I mean neo-nazis and klanners everywhere.

  • Trump to al-Sisi: Syria's al-Assad is a Brave, steadfast Man (Beirut Report)
    • The source isn't credible. As much as I despise Drumpf, as much as I have contempt for his ignorance of foreign affairs, this would be a bridge too far. It's probably fake news - which, unfortunately, is quite prevalent in Arab media.

  • 5 Images that refute Trump's attack on Hero John Lewis
    • Each morning, I wake up and during the course of checking news feeds, invariably come across the latest blurts from the future Troll in Chief. I try to keep a cheery disposition - no small task given Drumpf's verbal drive-bys - but nothing so far has triggered as much outrage or contempt for his antics than the attack on John Lewis, a veritable saint of a man who has contributed so much to this nation's history. And then we have Drumpf, a greedy nasty ignoramus with a political skin as thin as a nano fiber. What a dishonorable louse this man is.

  • From Syria to Sanctions, Flynn-Russia Quid Pro Quo?
    • Give Putinsky credit. The guy played his cards beautifully and he helped his Manchurian Candidate into the WH. Flynn, an Islamophobe incompetent who was fired from his last government job, should be investigated for conducting foreign policy before ever getting sworn into office. Oh, this clustermuck is just getting started. It's going to get ugly. The authoritarian reactionaries in the Kremlin should toast themselves for a job well done.

  • For Russian hold on Trump, follow the Money, not the Sex tapes
    • Given its history, Buzzfeed's not a particularly trustworthy source of information. But yes, let's please do follow the money. Trump's steadfast refusal to conform with tradition and release his tax forms suggests he has lots to hide. Contrary to his absurd claim during this morning's presser, it's not just the press that's interested in getting a look at the numbers. It's the American people.

  • Meryl Streep calls out Trump: Having Bully-in-Chief Coarsens whole Culture
  • Those Times the NSA Hacked America's Allies
    • Everything in your narrative of US espionage is accurate. But what nation state isn't guilty of some Original Sin? Historians can and should debate the past but demanding a full accounting of Kremlin meddling in an US election is appropriate. Putin and Gerasimov, the military's chief of staff, played this one beautifully. But they don't wish us - or the European democracies - well. And they're doing their level best to shake distrust in our institutions.

  • Sorry, Garrison Keillor: Keith Ellison for President could have beaten Trump, and still Can
    • I don't know, Juan. You're more optimistic than I am. After the last half year watching this country, I can't help but conclude that tens of millions of my compatriots still can't shake prejudice and a fair number of them are shameless bigots. No, not all. But too, too many are indeed deplorables. Would Ellison have been able to beat Trump? Perhaps - if this was a normal nation where we choose candidates based on what they stand for, not the color of their skin or their faith.

      No, I'm not very bullish about America these days. For good reason, I think.

  • No, America, it wasn't Russia: You did it to Yourself
    • Yeah, we're not political virgins. But at this point, I think anybody who has paid attention knows that. But this is the present and future we're talking about. Pointing out our less than spotless history doesn't justify what Putin and his cohorts are doing. Again, I'm waiting to see the evidence published and in full. But if this doesn't turn out to be a Kremlin operation, I'll be quite surprised.

    • Yes, America did have its eyes wide open and did this to herself. That's the tragedy. Trump was selling snake oil and we refused to believe it. We deserve what's in store.

      One minor quibble with your post. No doubt It's an overstatement to argue that the Russians elected Trump. But if Russian involvement in the leaks can be proved, let's weigh how much of a role that played in fostering doubts and questions about Clinton in the 3 battleground states where it was widely assumed she was going to beat Trump. The combined margin of victory for Trump in Pa, Michigan and Wisconsin wasn't large. How many of those people were "Reagan Democrats" who believed the bogus Republican line that she was a congenital liar - "Benghazi, Benghazi!! " -- or were minorities and former Bernie supporters, who viewed her as a sellout and so decided to sit home Nov. 8 and instead watch television? What's clear is that the media drumbeat of negativity related to the Podesta/DNC/Clinton correspondence - carried in mindless network reports or through paid media - had impact. I would love to see that quantified.

      In the meantime, I'm sure Putin and his regime cohorts are feasting on caviar and chilled vodka as they watch our joke of a political transition unfold.

  • How We Can fight back against Trump's Anti-EPA
    • My wife and I installed solar panels 4 years ago and it's been great. Also a huge help since we lease a Leaf - and yes, that's also been great. But I'm thoroughly pessimistic about our future. The greed and stupidity of Trump's Cabinet picks - especially to head the EPA - signal what's in store. The pigs who lobby on behalf of big oil and coal should be thrilled. They're in store for a windfall. Pollution? Global warming? More destruction of the habitat and species reduction? Who the fu** cares. Apres moi, le deluge.

      My only hope is that folks organize and do whatever they can to slow it down until the mid-year elections. We need to take back at least one branch of the government - preferably the Senate so as to block horrid Supreme Court picks. But we have tons of work ahead. The people have been snookered badly and we - as well as the rest of the globe - will pay a heavy price for a thoroughly bad choice.

  • White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump's Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter?
    • I've been watching "Pizzagate" and the involvement of the Flynns with mounting disbelief. Please tell me that this guy is not going to have the ear of the next president when it comes to national security. Please tell me that the next president is not going to be named Donald Trump.

      Here's the part where we need to queue up Joyce's Stephen Dedalus: "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail
    • So Daesh is getting crap kicked out of it in Iraq. If the current trend on the battlefield continues, they will be even further reduced as a threat by the time the Trumpkins take office. They're going to have to gin up another threat to rationalize their ridiculous rhetoric. Iran probably?

      Let's see who Drumpf nominates as Sec. of State. If it's Romney or Petraeus, perhaps they'll dial it down. Maybe. If it's a Giuliani or Bolton - heaven help us!

      The bigger question is how long they'll be able to play the Muslim card to bamboozle the bozos in the flyby states who bought Drumpf's BS. If the new administration does try to shred the social safety net and predictably cozies up to the plutocrats, all those resentful white folks, who opted to give an "F You" to the system and express their racial insecurities, may start to think long and hard about what's really going on. At that point, screaming about Muslims may matter less to them than a nation run by a bigot with incoherent ideas about domestic and foreign policy. Then again, maybe I'm playing Pangloss here. Wouldn't be surprised at all if they continue to let themselves get suckered.

      Frankly, we're not a very intelligent or well informed nation.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World
    • Wishful thinking by our Russian friends.

      If Assad remains in power in Syria, that hardly changes the geo-political axis in any way. And what will he inherit? A nation in ruins, hundreds of thousands dead and an insurgency that likely will continue, albeit more sporadically.

      Meanwhile, Russia remains saddled with a relatively small and highly corrupt economic and financial system that still depends on the vagaries of crude oil prices. It's political system is a joke and the regime espouses reactionary authoritarianism.

      Yes, they will continue to be a pain in the neck. But their delusions of grandeur, notwithstanding, the Russians are in no position to equal either the US or China.

  • How Rupert Murdoch & Fox Created the Fake News Industry
    • All true. But let's not let the working class - largely white - off the hook here. These folks accepted this swill and it obviously met with their approval. We can complain all we want about fake news but the existence of a fundamentally lazy and - sorry to say - racist white working class which shows little interest in striving for higher education and accepts this garbage at face value has accelerated the dumbing down of America. Frankly, the situation is grim and I don't see much room for optimism.

      Maybe they'll start wising up as Trump staffs his Cabinet with a cohort of billionaires in preparation for a general assault on the social welfare net.

      Probably not, though. They'll just buy into another Fox or Breitbart meme that it's all the fault of the (fill in the racial epithet of your choice here)

  • Is Trump "Pro-Russian?" How will Russia Fare? Russians want to Know
    • And in the latest update to "Shi*s and Giggles from a Mad Magazine Glimpse into our Future," the latest round of leaks has Rudy G's chances of getting named as Sec. of State gaining currency. Romney, according to the leaks, will have to "apologize" for....essentially speaking his mind and telling the truth about Drumpf earlier in the year. I'm hoping this story is accurate and also hoping Romney remains true to his principles and does not bow before this clown. In a way, Truth be told, I'm almost hoping that Rudy DOES get to become Sec. of State. Along with Jeff Sessions, Wilbur Ross, DeVos and the other second raters he's assembling, we will suffer so greatly that even the dimwits who got suckered into believing Drumpf's bigoted nonsense will realize the error of their ways.

      Can you imagine Giuliani attempting to negotiate a complex and delicate deal with, say, Iran? I can't.

    • The Russians achieved their goal: Erode faith in the US government and its systems and help elect their Manchurian Candidate by promoting fake news. And today, a couple of nonpartisan research groups are releasing their own findings detailing the reach of Moscow's propaganda campaign: link to

      It's a sad day. I'm no Cold Warrior and do not support pushing Moscow into a corner. But let's recognize that the Russians are deploying a cynical and rancid foreign policy that is hurting millions of people while fostering the spread of an intolerant and chauvinistic ideology - Putinism.

      The accession to the White House of Donald Trump - it pains me to write that phrase - will harm us and the world in so many ways that it makes me cringe. Our only hope is that they find evidence of corruption and impeach him - and Pence as well (who may be worse.) Our only hope would be a GOP putsch that leads to a Romney presidency. I didn't vote Romney in 2012, but he's an honorable man and would not lead us to the disaster that is soon going to be upon us.

  • CNN's Chyron wonders if Jews are People, inspired by Trumpist Neofascism
    • I hate to keep picking on CNN but frankly, Jeff Zucker has turned their coverage into a clown show. Jeff Tapper, who is a solid TV ournalist, must be wondering whether the big bucks he's paid is worth the humiliation of representing such a lousy news product.

  • Why Internment of Japanese Americans is an outrageous Model for registering Muslim-Americans
    • Not all bad news today:

      "As Jews, we know what it means to be registered and tagged, held out as different from our fellow citizens," Jonathan Greenblatt, Anti Defemation League (ADL) CEO, said on Thursday at the group's Never Is Now conference on anti-Semitism in New York.

      "As Jews, we know the righteous and just response. All of us have heard the story of the Danish king who said if his country’s Jews had to wear a gold star…all of Denmark would too.

      "So I pledge to you right here and now, because I care about the fight against anti-Semitism, that if one day in these United States, if one day Muslim-Americans will be forced to register their identities, then that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim."

    • This is how "effed up" things have become: The Trumpistas are so unhinged from sanity that even Megyn Kelly is calling them out. Kudos to Kelly for trying to force Higbie to offer a coherent explanation of his supremely idiotic idea about internment. Unfortunately, if Jeff Sessions does get confirmed as the next AG, Higbie may very well get his way.

      People, I do hope one takeaway from this unfolding nightmare is that VOTING MATTERS! About half the country's eligible voters sat this one out because they were too busy doing - who knows? And of the minority that did actually vote, too many were purists or Bernie folks sore about what happened to their guy. OK, fine. So Hillary wasn't a political virgin and we would have had to push her hard on some agenda items. But rest assured, we would not be flipping out over the nomination of an outright racist retrograde from the "good ol' days" or worrying that some nitwit in the administration would suggest we apply the mass incarceration of the Japanese to the current day.

      It just gets worse & worse & worse.

  • Will Trump do a deal with Iran or try to Overthrow its Government?
    • Lord help us all if Bolton or Giuliani get the nod. There "seems" to be a push to look beyond those two. But given the coterie of advisors who surrounded him during his campaign, I'm not expecting the second coming of Gen. Marshall.

      Juan, on a separate note, can you do a reality check on this tory that's breaking this morning. Saw this over at the WSJ and wasn't quite sure what to make of it:

      link to

      The head of the United Nations agency that oversees the Iranian nuclear deal warned Tehran on Thursday to stick to the accord after it was found for the second time to have breached one of its terms.

      The International Atomic Energy Agency said last week that Iran had stockpiled slightly more than the allowable 130 metric tons of heavy water. Spent fuel can be taken from the heavy water to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

      Details of the violation emerged the day after Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president. During the campaign, Mr. Trump talked about tearing up the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S. and five other world powers. Since election day, he hasn’t commented publicly on the agreement.

      I'm hoping that it's a one off and doesn't represent a desire by conservatives within the regime to game the system. That would only hand Drumpf the excuse he needs to rip up the treaty and then bomb their plants to smithereens.

  • Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: "Anger is a Good thing" "if you're Fighting to Take this Country Back"
    • Gary,

      One correction to your post: Obama's not leaving with a 52% approval rate. He's leaving with a 57% approval rate. (link to How Trump believes he has a mandate to under policies that the majority likes is beyond me.

    • I must confess to having evil thoughts.

      A part of me is saying,

      "Hey, you know what? Good. Let this horrid little man, this racist, homophobic anti-Semite become one of the most powerful people in the next government. Let him lead us astray. Screw the minorities. Screw the poor. Screw the Jews. Screw the liberals. Screw the people who need Medicare, Medicaid or any other social welfare net that's prevented them from falling into poverty. Screw them all!"

      Because once those policies take effect, it will leave such an atomic bomb's worth of pain and horror on the national landscape that Americans will never again do anything as stupid as they did Nov. 8.

      Then I catch my breath, calm down and realize that that would be a horror. Bannon is simply poison. He cannot be allowed to remain in high office. My God, this is beyond the pale. Are we living in a nightmare????

  • Sting & Gandhian anti-Terrorism: Your Paris vacation can help cripple ISIL
    • Meanwhile, in today's humor segment, Trump is reported to be considering Rudy G as the next Secretary of State. (I kid thee not!) If you're Al-Baghdadi, you ought to be doing cartwheels right about now because your recruitment lines are going to be ringing off the hook. Alahu Akbar!

  • As Der Donald-inspired Hate Crimes grow, US Universities at Risk
    • Get used to it. This is the new normal.

      Meanwhile, some morons unfurled the good ol' Confederate flag during a Veterans Day parade in Petaluma yesterday. Also, that predictable paragon of Christian decency, David Duke, hailed Drumpf's victory as a kick in the teeth to the Jews and an opportunity to teach them a lesson - as only a good little goose stepper would.

      These are only coming attractions. Hope I'm wrong but I think it's going to be open season for the racist lunatics to come out of the woodwork.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • Good post. Just wanted to pass along an anecdote. I went to the periodontist the other day for my regular cleaning and wound up kibbitzing with one of the receptionists. Her parents brought her here from Mexico when she was a kid and she's as American as apple pie - but with one exception: She never applied for citizenship and so she can't vote. I gently chastised her and suggested she take care of that as soon as possible. "Yeah, you're right, but it's not been a big agenda item."

      That drove me crazy. She's a sweet kid but had no clue what that apathy meant. How many other legal immigrants are of a similar mind? I wonder.

      Meanwhile, while we need to wait for the final stats, the numbers so far suggest that blacks and latinos failed to show up for Hillary in the same percentages that they did for Obama. If those numbers hold up, it would be a tremendous disappointment. What part of "Trumpism" don't they understand? If that's the case, it makes little sense to pin your hopes on a narrow coalition where there are these kinds of variables. Beyond organizing and protesting, the Democrats need to expand their base. Specifically, they ought to rethink their positions and come up with ideas to help economically struggling Reagan Democrats who remain alienated from the party. If they fail that challenge, they will never win back white working class voters who feel forgotten.

  • Putin targets East Aleppo rebels; Did Trump's Election doom them?
    • Putin played this one beautifully. He helped manipulate (gullible) US public opinion with the selective email hacks and got his guy, the "Manchurian Candidate" into the White House. Obama can't - and won't - do anything major to intervene militarily in Syria and so Russia now has the equivalent of a carte blanche to blow up as many Syrians as they want.

      Once he takes office, Trump will quickly reach an understanding with Putin and that will be that. And of course, Assad will get to continue the family business - Murder Incorporated - with hoomus and falafel on the side - and we won't be able to do anything about it as he represses anything even remotely resembling legit democratic dissent.

      On the one hand, you do have to admire Putin's ability to deploy his limited military and media assets for maximum effect. But there's no joy in Mudville. In fact, only a fool or a tool can be overjoyed at the geopolitical success of an authoritarian, if not reactionary regime.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • I just can't feel any sympathy for the "white working class." Zero. Instead of whining and drinking and drug bingeing, how about striving for higher education? No, it's much easier to blame blacks, Muslims and immigrants. So you got Drumpf. Congrats, but don't revel too long. Because this was a fluke. Putin helped put this Manchurian Candidate in power but he doesn't represent the future. Neither do you. Frankly, I hope the next 4 years are even more rotten economically. Maybe that will shake you out of your encrusted world view. Probably not, but I'm not in a gracious mood. You went out of your way for the last 8 years to foil a great president - just because he was black. Well, that won't be forgotten and I'm all for payback.

  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • Oh Juan,

      " there isn’t much chance he can win.."

      I obviously, fervently want to believe that as well. But if there's one takeaway from the 2016 campaign, it's that normal rules - and facts - don't apply as they otherwise would. Yes, the famed "ground game" should tip the advantage to Hillary. But the RNC and the majority of the Republic rank and file are uniting around Trump, voting for their tribe over the general interest.

      Never in my lifetime has there been a more important vote. The purists who wrinkle their nose in disgust at Hillary because of supposed "shortcomings" ought to think twice before wasting their vote on Stein or Johnson. A Trump presidency would usher in a horror show.

  • Another Saudi War Crime in Yemen as 43 Prisoners dead in Airstrike
    • Curious why there's so little discussion at the UN of these repeated human rights violations. Or maybe I am unaware of those sessions.

  • Starstruck & Party-Fanatic: The Moral Paradox of Trump Support
    • I'll offer up another possible explanation.

      We've turned into a kvetching nation. Fanned by rightwing media outlets - TV, radio and the internet - (largely) older white conservative types have gravitated to the faux narrative that the US is in decline, morally, economically and militarily. It's a load of horse manure but it's resonating with this apparently large cohort of folks who are quite receptive to this message to the point where they believe that it's true. Obviously, the nation faces serious issues and the deinstrializAtion of areas like Youngstown or Scranton speak to larger, structural challenges that the political elites need to tackle - yesterday. But a few blotches do not make a ridiculous exaggeration true. The tragedy here is that the people who are most vulnerable are putting their trust in a guy whose policies really will make their fears a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  • Trump says Clinton will Start WW III with Russia, but Moscow Disagrees
    • Very true. Clinton's a pragmatist and we should expect her foreign policy to reflect that. Meanwhile, the real hysterics are coming out of Moscow, where the Kremlin has been ratcheting up war fever. Great piece by Loyola's Michael Khodorovsky in today's NYT. Here's the link: link to

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam
    • 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.

  • Whose Fault is Trump? Top 7 Culprits
    • Here's a possible addition: The fragmentation of media caused by the internet. The myriad of far right and far left news websites has led to a cocooning effect, where people increasingly hang with similar-minded folks. It's not for the good. There are sites, such as TruthDig, where the soundtrack gets extreme. But it's far, far worse on the right, where Breitbart is nowadays one of the lest strident voices comparatively; that's how crazy it's become. Unfortunately, any crank now has a platform to spout and the wingnuts have figured out how that works.

  • RIP Shimon Peres: Last Great Israeli leader to believe in 2 State solution
    • Peres wasn't perfect but who is? The fanatics on both spectrums will attack his memory because he didn't pass their purity test. But they don't matter. Let's pause and honor the man for his extraordinary work on behalf of peace. He had a dream and it must be kept alive. RIP, Shimon.

  • Number of US Troops in Iraq Heading toward 6,000
    • On a more strategic level, is it reasonable to assume that this is a "one and done" operation? Given the continuing instability in neighboring Syria and the likelihood that ISIS or Islamist forces would continue to look for opportunities to spill over the border, it's not clear why Iraq would necessarily insist on all the Americans packing up after the conclusion of this latest military operation against ISIS. Maybe there's a middle solution both sides can live with.

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance
    • On cue, the conspiracy theorists are out in force. As noted in the post, the problem here is that the US is simply unable to 100% guarantee that its air campaign will accurately hit targets. They're pretty good but this is combat and it's anything but an exact science. Unfortunately, the mistake hands both the Russians and the Assad regime a gift-wrapped propaganda present.

      Unless we conclude that yes, let Assad kill his way back to full control over Syria, there aren't a lot of great choices for the US. We're not invading the region with ground forces. Been there, done that and no thankyou. So that leaves us to support anti-regime forces, either via materials supply or air power.

  • "Pigs! Crusaders!": US-Backed Fundamentalist Militias drive US Commandos out of al-Ray, Syria
    • True enough. RT is little more than a propaganda arm of the Kremlin - albeit in a very well produced, shiny package. Give the Russian counterpart of Roger Ailes credit for putting on a good show. Unfortunately, it's just that - a show.

  • Syria: Can Russia & US Broker a new Cease-Fire?
    • Would love to hear any analysis of Russia's interest in a warm water port at Latakia and to what extent that plays into Russia's Syria policy.

  • Trump threatens Sec. Clinton with Gun Nuts, imitates Tinpot 3rd World Regimes
    • There are consequences to speech. A number of columnists have already noted the similarity to Trump's pot stirring and Bibi's irresponsible orchestration of the mob prior to Yizhak Rabin's murder. I was thinking the same when I watched the video stream yesterday. We're now in dangerous territory.

  • Donald "Dr. Strangelove" Trump and some of the Times We almost had a Nuclear War
    • Remake Dr. Strangelove? Mandrake, DON'T!!!! That classic came as close to movie perfection as possible.

      Meanwhile, protect your precious bodily fluids.

  • Dear Trumpists: Khizr Khan is not 'Muslim Brotherhood' and it wouldn't matter if he Were
    • Yes, the "Shoebat" story is the latest piece of insanity that's been making the rounds. I've already had several tangles on Facebook with people seizing on the post as "proof" that Khan is the second coming of Bin Laden. And it's being predictably promoted by Breitbart News and the rest of that lot. You would think that most folks would assume Shoebat is batshit and leave it at that. Not this year where crazy is the new black.

  • Pope and French Muslims try Muslim-Christian outreach instead of 'War on Terror' Polarization
    • This was the first bit of encouraging news out of France in quite some time. Both sides reached toward each other - Catholics attending Muslims service last Friday and Muslims attending Sunday church services. Whoever came up with the original idea - viva! Let's hope it gathers momentum. Would love to see the Muslim and Jewish communities in France draw closer as well. The spate of anti-Semitic attacks in France is deeply concerning.

  • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?
    • You ask:

      Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?


      What's amazing is that Hillary is not farther ahead than Trump, who is a walking, talking non-stop embarrassment. Maybe the fact that he continues to insult the Khans - which is beyond belief - will finally be the wakeup that finally dents his teflon.

      Frankly, I'm stunned that he's still competitive given the crap that comes out of his mouth seemingly every day. It's quite remarkable. I've never seen anything like this in this country.

  • Russian & Iranian Press deplore Hillary Clinton Hawkishness; Israelis complain she's Dove
    • One clarification, Juan. Yisrael Hayom is a political rag, which as noted in your post, is a GOP-leaning mouthpiece owned by Adelson. But coverage in mainstream publications, such as Ha'aretz and Yidiot are far more balanced.

  • Is Russia deepening Cooperation with US in Syria, or hitting US Bases?
    • Can we put paid to this exaggerating depiction of Hillary Clinton as a latter-day Dubya. She's hardly an incoherent Cold Warrior with a thirst for blood. Assuming she wins the election, she'll likely treat Putin and the Russians as a pragmatist. The Russians have been bad actors in Ukraine and they are opportunistic about stirring up mischief - everywhere from Syria to the DNC. Doesn't mean that Hillary is going to pick an unnecessary fight with them, but she ought to deal with Moscow as a realist. Whether the Russians desire a constructive relationship or a confrontational one with the US is more up to the Kremlin than it is with the new occupant of the White House.

  • Newt Should Check out Mike Pence's Christian Sharia
    • No, he's not a "wacked out dude" at all. I don't agree with any of his beliefs but he's just expressing a widespread belief in his part of the nation. The problem for Trump/Pence is that this locks down the part of the country where there's already support for the GOP - southern and midwest coal regions. It's not a winning combo. Hopefully, the next Clinton administration can move the country away from these confrontations over culture and help those regions become more prosperous. Economics isn't a cure for everything but if she can fix that, it may help some of those folks return to the center.

  • 8,124 Murders by Firearm in US vs. 29 (144 equiv.) in UK
    • Don't bother offering the statistics. We live in a fact-free zone where the evidence just doesn't matter in this debate. Every - and I mean EVERY - time pro-regulation political leaders try to address the gun epidemic, the NRA flexes its mighty muscles and shuts down the debate. Is there any way this is going to change? I'm skeptical but if we can mobilize a majority of states, perhaps we have an outside chance of modifying the Constitution. That's obviously a long shot. More likely, we'll continue to be stuck with this stale debate and gun violence will continue. And with each paroxysm of death, the usual conservative "leaders" will offer to pray for the victims and their families. Yet again.

  • If East Aleppo Falls to Regime, is the Syrian War over?
    • It may be a crippling blow to the rebels but it wouldn't necessarily mean a return to normalcy. The Turks and Saudis will continue to meddle - as will the Russians. Meanwhile, it's highly unlikely that the various Salafist groups will lay down their grounds. They'll more likely go underground and continue to carry out terror attacks against the regime and civilian population. And the regime will continue to act as brutally as ever. Honestly, I can't see anything good coming out of Syria for quite a long, long time.

      I know this is sacrilegious - not to mention being a pipedream - but would splitting Syria into 3 statelets based on ethnicity be any worse for the people living there? Like so many "nations" in the region, modern day Syria is an artificial creation. We don't know what might follow but we do know what has happened up to this point - and it's been an utter horror.

  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
    • "Maybe it is just me, but maybe that is an indication that the US should change its policy."

      Does it even have a policy?

  • Syrian War Overflows: Radical Salafis attack Christian Village in Lebanon
  • Did Trump-Style Islamophobia break up the European Union?
    • Immigration clearly was a factor in the Leave vote - though some of the concern had to do with immigrants from eastern Europe. A bigger concern was the - wrongheaded - belief that the UK was getting the short end of the stick by remaining a member of the EU. I can't remember a more mendacious political campaign in the nation's history. The Leave camp exaggerated and often lied through its teeth to promote its talking points. (And already Farage is backing off one of his big promises abound funding the NHS: link to surprise, surprise.) Am waiting to see the voter breakdown but anecdotal evidence suggests that the Leave voters were more working class and lived in cities other than London - and so receptive to the phony argument that the EU was a scam bleeding the UK's prosperity and run by pointy headed bureaucrats. Not a happy day in UK history. This will have big implications

  • Obama: Hating on Muslim-Americans makes you an ally of ISIL, & Unamerican
    • I'd be more generous. Obama's not perfect but on the whole has done far more good than bad - and in the face of no shortage of obstacles.

  • Top Hizbullah Commander in Syria killed in Explosion; Radical Salafis blamed
  • Top 4 Reasons Iran will stand by Syrian gov't despite High Casualties
    • That's an unfair besmirching of Hillary. She supported the Libya mission but as you might recall, the US played a supporting, not a leading role. What's more, there was a humanitarian crisis. If left alone, Qadaffi would have murdered untold thousands. I don't see anything in her resume which would indict her as a thoughtless warmonger, the way you do.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left
    • Please. Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq to protect his father's reputation. The Nader-ites keep repeating their litany of defenses. I understand their shame and bad conscience but they must take responsibility for helping to elect the worst president in history.

  • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents
    • I'm voting Democratic but I don't think Trump believes half the things he says. Even then, he's more palatable than Cruz, who is more hardline and a religious fanatic, to boot. Let's hope we don't have to find out whether he moderates his positions after winning the W.H.

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