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Total number of comments: 21 (since 2017-04-23 23:22:55)

del berton

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  • Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment
    • "Comey doesn’t like Trumpworld. Comey helped create Trumpworld."

      Unfortunately, that's the blunt truth of the matter. And now Comey - and the rest of us - are stuck with the reality he helped midwife.

  • Iraq on Syria Strikes: We've seen this Movie and it doesn't End Well
    • OK, it appears that Mattis trumped Bolton - this time - and we've avoided a needless military conflict with Russia. But the problem remains and it's only a matter of time before we're again close to a clash. So I have a suggestion. Yes, it's a bit batspit crazy but hear me out.

      One of the motivations behind Putin's unflagging support for Assad dates back to Czarist times: The desire for a warm water port. OK, so what if Netanyahu phoned Putin to offer a port facility where the Russian navy could dock?

      The 2 countries have turned the page on their Cold War hostility and their respective militaries work together to keep out of each other's way in Syria. Russia could still project power and go after ISIS - one of its professed goals - without needing to get its hands dirty supporting a regime that deploys chemical weapons. It also would remove the risk of a conflict with the US in the event that the West again retaliates against Assad if he again uses unconventional weapons.

      Yes, I know there are any number of reasons why this is unrealistic. But "realism" of the sort practices by the great powers competing for influence in the region isn't winning special points on my final exam.

  • Russia, Iran and Syria respond to Trump's Threats
    • In the end, it was nothing with nothing.

      The US and its allies blasted a few chemical sites but hardly inflicted enough damage to undermine Assad or weaken the grip of his Ba'athist bullies. The regime can still drop barrel bombs full of chemicals on rebel forces and the US won't be able to do a damned thing about it.

      The Russians turned out to be paper tigers. Putin and his henchmen talk a good game but they aren't a match militarily or economically for the West. The attacks against Syria were calibrated and minor.

  • Why Trump can't reverse Syrian regime dirty win in Ghouta & why Iran is Gloating
    • You're kidding, right? The Ba'athist regime - aka the Assad family business - is no "revolutionary regime." And as Juan's post correctly notes, the regime has exacted a terrible price in destruction and death. The only "unremitting pity" is that the people of Syria will continue to be ruled by war criminals.

  • Protests won't stop Trump derailing Mueller Inquiry; Putting the Left in Congress Will
    • Yes, yes and yes.

      People need to get off their duffs and head to the polls come Election Day. The rightwing won this last election because too many people who ought to have known better decided to forego the vote - they couldn't be bothered or were steamed that Bernie lost and were just too "pure" to vote for Hillary. Or they were sucked by Russian bots and reactionary strategists to waste their votes on the wacko 3rd party candidates.

      This time let's get smart about this. If the Democratic candidate fails to live up to your dreams of perfection, vote for them anyway - and then hold their feet to the fire to get them to improve. But for Pete's sake, let's not imagine we'll get out of our current mess without changing the current composition of Congress.

      Now, it's on us.

  • Trump on Syria Chem Attack: Putin responsible for supporting "Animal Assad"
    • I must confess to being of two minds. I detest Assad and his band of Ba'athists thugs. Then again, I detest our fake President and everything he stands for. At this point, Trump's done a wonderful job alienating allies to such an extent that I can't imagine how he'd be able to mobilize a coalition of the willing to take serious action against Damascus. Even then, what's the end game? After Iraq, we ought to take a deep breath and ask ourselves what we want to accomplish. Lots of bad options on the table. It's a mess.

      Only safe prediction: More Syrian civilians are going to get butchered in the worst way while Assad, Lavrov and assorted Iranian hacks will swear that everything's just hunky-dory

  • Ultimate Hypocrisy: Saudi Crown Prince touts Religious Tolerance in NYC
    • Question: Do any synagogues remain in Saudi Arabia and are they open for worship - assuming any Jews visiting might want to pray there?

  • Trump, McCabe and our Permanent Constitutional Crisis
    • Just when you couldn't imagine he could be even more vindictive, Trump proves himself to be small beyond belief. I'm hoping that the contemporaneous notes McCabe submitted to the special prosecutor's office contain some juicy material. But I have to again say that it's not going to matter to the Trump base - or the gutless Republicans who will hold their noses and still vote GOP in 2020. I'd love to believe Trump is a traitor and doing Putin's bidding because of a pee tape and that he colluded with the Kremlin through Assange. But I'm not holding my breath. Maybe one or more of the hole-in-the-wall advisors got their hands dirty. Only if Mueller is able to get a hold of Trump's tax records and follow the money trail - to the point where he uncovers clear evidence of corruption - will any of this tip the balance in favor of impeachment. Of course, if our fake president fires Mueller, that would peel off some of his support in Congress. But how many? In the end, we're going to have to focus on finding a strong candidate and also get out the vote - both this November and again, two years from now. Otherwise, Trump's right: He could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his base would still support him.

  • UN: War Crimes being Committed in Syria's East Ghouta
    • And they got away with it. The Russia propaganda machine each day spews out more nonsense about what's going on in Syria. For their part, the Ba'athists are living down to the low standards established in the 70s by the Assad family. The lies come fast and furious.

      Meanwhile, on the ground, footage from the "liberated" areas reveal no shortage of smiling and outwardly happy civilians, passionately proclaiming their love and support for Bashar. Just as they've been doing since the days when Nebuchadnezzar's armies criss-crossed the region- one of the first perpetrators of war crimes.

      And they got away with it.

  • Why is Intel Community Targeting Kushner?
    • Would love to know the details but I also wish the media and the political class would focus on the question of nepotism in the Trump White House. How on earth does Trump award Jared with a portfolio of high-profile assignments when his only requirement is that he's married to Ivanka. And can someone explain why Ivanka represents the US here and abroad? Or (apparently) influences the president's policies? I loved Bobby Kennedy but JFK's decision appointing him as AG was clearly nepotism. One might argue that at least he was prepared for the job. But I thought we had learned the lesson and moved on. If you're the POTUS, it's simply unwise to put family members into high-profile political positions.

      Then again, this is Trump. And he treats the WH as his own personal reality show. The rest of us - well, we're just along for the ride.

  • Turks Threaten al-Assad if he sends Army to Defend Syrian Kurds
    • And meanwhile, the regime launched another murderous air attack against civilians - this report puts the latest death count over 100. I watched the streamed session from the Munich security conference. How Sergey Lavrov can maintain that Assad is a legitimate leader is bewildering beyond belief. Of course, we're all numb to this by now. But one day, maybe, an international tribunal will be able to hold some of the participants accountable. Probably not - but I hold out hope.

      link to

  • What Does Netanyahu Corruption Case tell us about Trump's Fate?
    • In both examples, you have rightwing leaders who have whipped up resentments by targeting the press as a scapegoat and exploiting ethnic differences to bring their bases to a boil. Both also are in hot water due to investigations that are turning up new evidence of wrongdoing. And again, both Trump & Bibi demonstrate contempt for democratic processes that they dismiss as ginned-up conspiracies. Their fates now depend on the willingness of their citizenries to support the rule of law.

  • Syria: War is over at the Center, but Powers nibbling at Edges
    • "They should not be confused with a bigger phenomenon, of major war."

      True enough but this region is so volatile that things could easily spin out of control. Waiting to hear the final - and accurate - story about what happened near near Al Tabiyeh. But there are reports today that a number of Russian mercenaries attacking US-backed Kurds got blown to bits by an American airstrike. Nobody of sane mind wants this to escalate but......

  • Russia warns Israel on Syria strikes, danger to Russian Troops
    • I know that some genuflect before Putin as the master chess player - and compared with our current POTUS, I suppose that claim has validity for now. But Russian policy in the region sounds confused. Does Putin really want to put his troops in harm's way in order to allow Iran to pursue its anti-Israel foreign policy? That's only going to expose Russian troops & advisors to unnecessary risks. The region is volatile enough without Iranian meddling. Reasonable to expect that message made its way from the Kremlin to Tehran.

  • Russia-aided Syria shoots down Israeli F-16 after downing of Iranian Drone
    • Something's odd here. Why would Iran send a drone into Israel, knowing that the IDF would shoot it down and then retaliate? Were they looking for a "trophy" event to boast about the next day during their commemoration of the Iranian revolution? Or did someone screw up and make a mistake? They paid a price in the battering delivered to Syrian ground batteries. Just doesn't seem to advance anyone's interests here.

  • Top 5 Economic Disappointments of the Trump Regime (so far)
    • As everyone with half a brain keeps reminding us, the stock market is not the economy. Unfortunately, that truism has eluded Mr. Trump. What galls me is that the first year's gains in the economy have little to do with the new administration's policies. Trump inherited a strengthening economy from Obama, a fact he has no gracelessly ignored. I'll concede that Trump has had two big impacts on the stock market. One, he has eviscerated many regulations. I don't view this as a long-term good but it's something that Wall Street and the business community view as a short-term gain. And then there's the tax overhaul which paves the way for a massive wealth transfer to Corporate America and the 1% crowd. The expectation of its passage helped juice markets during the course of 2017 but it was passed too late in the year to have any discernible impact on the economy. Heading into 2018, lower rates on repatriation, etc. ought to help big companies. But none of this does anything to impact productivity rates and there's the likelihood that the Fed will need to tighten at least 3, perhaps 4 times this year. Long-story, short, markets aren't likely to crash completely, a la the 1930s, but gains from this point are likely to be limited. If that's the case, I wonder whether our credit-grabbing POTUS will tout the market's performance in his future pitstops.

      Up the staircase, down the elevator.

  • Cherry-Picking Intel, Nunes and the Iraq War Disaster
    • Good insight. You could probably publish a full-blown magazine piece on "cherry picking and its discontents" as it pertains to foreign policy & national security. In fact, why don't you? :)

  • Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash
    • Trump is obviously outsourcing this to Tillerson but how does this new strategy match with his professed campaign ambition to reduce the US global footprint? It's clear that we don't have enough resources on the ground to make this work. I'd love to believe in sugar fairies but the "policy" is just more wishful thinking. Sounds like a recipe for a future quagmire. Hope I'm wrong.

  • White Nat'list Trump Adviser Miller Bounced from CNN after Sit-in
    • If I might use your post as an excuse to offer praise for the much-maligned "MSM." OK, granted, big journalistic pubs like CNN, the NYTimes and the WaPo have made their fair share of mistakes with sloppy, sometimes inaccurate coverage in the last couple of decades. And they've been rightly dunned for their screw-ups. But we shouldn't remain so mired in the past that we refuse to recognize change. All of the above orgs have done some stellar work pushing back against the current regime and helping keep the public informed. In this case, kudos to Jake Tapper who demonstrated that a TV journalist with balls can respectfully but aggressively check the lies that routinely fly out of the mouths of various White House officials.

      This is why a free press matters.

  • Nations of World at UN Humiliate Trump w/ Massive vote for Palestinians
  • As Scientists March, Will Trump give away US Science Lead to China?
    • Did anyone in their right minds ever think that we'd one day be in the situation where scientists actually need to hit the streets of America to make the point that science matters?

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