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Total number of comments: 44 (since 2014-11-14 20:26:31)

Duglarri

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  • Nasrullah: Saudi has declared war on Lebanon
    • Kushner is desperately looking for someone to come in and rescue 666 Fifth Avenue, which he bought above market just before the crash, and for which the mortgage comes due in 18 months. So MBS suggests that a buyer might be available- if the United States supports his little re-arrangement of power in Saudi Arabia. And Jared is able to assure him that Mr. Trump won't interfere. Deal done.

      When you're lifting $800 billion from the bank accounts of your relatives, offering a half-billion by way of a bribe to keep the United States from interfering seems like a bargain.

      I think we will hear in a month or so that Jared's company has, miraculously, no more financial concerns.

  • Upshot of Mueller Probe: Putin did to US what we did to Iran and Iraq
    • People pointing the finger at the Russians are not incorrect, but are misguided. Of course the Russians will try to interfere: why should they not?

      But it should be recognized that the United States is uniquely vulnerable, not due to its freedom, but due to its massively corrupt political and media system.

      In a country where political advertising is regulated and controlled, where political contributions are restricted, and where the media does not consist of three or four gargantuan conglomerates beholden to billionaire owners, external political meddling is futile.

      But in the US, where the airwaves are for sale to the highest bidder, even on the news side, where money rules, and news is entertainment, manipulation is not just likely: it is inevitable.

  • Buzzfeed Exposes Breitbart's Neo-Nazi Roots (TYT Video)
    • Everybody with any education at all should stop with this "alt-right" nonsense. This is a term that was invented to rebrand a very much older political philosophy. But we don't need to use the term they invented to confuse people. We should call them the old term.

      They are Nazis. Breitbart is not "alt-right"; they are Nazis, plain and simple.

  • Trump's Fascist Weakness Mars Poland Diatribe
    • I think it's useful, and very easy, to translate Trump's speech into a form that can be understood the way his supporters understood it.

      All you have to do is take every instance of the world "Western" and substitute the word "White."

      For example:

      "Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail"

      Should be read as:

      "Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the Whites ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of White people to prevail over dark people."

      And, further:

      "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. " should actually read:

      "The fundamental question of our time is whether whites have the will to survive. "

      All you have do to confirm this is what he meant is read the accolades for the speech coming from Fox, Breitbart, and the usual white supremacist sources. They don't have any confusion about what "West" he meant.

      He didn't mean "Western Civilization" in the sense we understand it.

      He meant "Western Civilization" in the sense that Jefferson Davis would have understood it. That is to say, white.

  • Syria: Russians alarmed, Washington Befuddled, by White House threats
    • Dr. Cole, I think you are right to knock down all the Russian speculations, but I would suggest one thing that would contribute to the analysis: it seems apparent that it's no use any more talking about "the United States" in terms of policy. The Russians are making a huge mistake when they try to identify what US policy actually is, because there isn't one. There are many.

      There are now at least five sources of policy: the White House, State, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the units in the field.

      For example, it seems that the shoot-down of the Syrian aircraft a few weeks ago was not the first four, but was instead a decision by the local American commander in the area, without consultation. It was not "US policy", but the policy of that commander, that was exercised in that instance.

      It's currently the policy of the Pentagon to work through the Kurds. But there's every reason to believe that the CIA is still supplying assistance to Al Nusra.

      And we've seen the still unresolved loggerheads between Pentagon and State on one side, and the White House on the other with respect to Qatar.

      There is no "United States" any more with respect to foreign policy. There are competing servants of Trump, because that's the way he runs his businesses. He puts his employees at each other's throats, because that's the way he likes it.

      Not United at all.

  • Trump's Folly: Oil is a Worthless Commodity and Saudi's Crown Prince Knows It
    • I'm looking at that exact problem right now, and doing the numbers on my 10-year-old Passat, the one that jumps out is not the gas- it's the maintenance. Fixing what is likely to go wrong from here on with that fantastically complicated 2-Liter dual turbo- not to mention the transmission- is going to be a considerable expense. If I go for a Leaf for daily commute I can let the Passat sit and I won't pay that maintenance. And the maintenance on the electric car is pretty near zero, forever.

      Looking at cost of ownership, the maintenance cost differential is one that didn't occur to me originally- but really jumps out when you have a look at costs over time. It makes the all-Electric a no-brainer, really. It's that much cheaper.

  • Trump's Ally: Saudi Arabia's drive for Aristocratic Hegemony in the Middle East
    • Professor Cole,

      How likely is it that all our Western analyses are viewing KSR through a Western lens, when they should more properly be evaluated in more basic terms?

      It appears to me that the Saudi leadership and their Wahabi partners are simply resuming the offensive they left off when the British arrived in 1852. The still have a project in mind: the conquest of the whole of the peninsula.

      The utter incoherence and hypocrisy of their demands against Qatar speaks to this as their real objective. They just mean to grab Qatar for purely dynastic purposes, and Trump's abdication of American interests is a perfect opportunity.

      There seems to be nothing that the Qataris could do faced with these demands other than cease existing- and that is, it seems to me, what the Saudis are intending to arrange.

  • Did Trump's Climate Disavowal just kill Capitalism?
    • I went to a highly-ranked business school in the 1980s, and there was a scholar there, an influential thinker, by the name of Henry Mintzberg, and his version of the "Economic Text' you speak of included a diagram showing the stakeholders in a corporation. It was a complex diagram, because it included management, workers, suppliers, shareholders, neighbors, government, and- horror of horrors- the public.

      Amorality in economics is not a theoretical necessity. Instead, it is a feature of one particular school, the Chicago school, promulgated by Milton Friedman, who has so successfully argued that corporations have no stakeholders other than their shareholders.

      It's not economics that is immoral. It's Friedman and all those who followed his teaching and use his utterly appalling amorality as a guide to their own actions. The result of the victory of their side is there for all to see.

      Friedman and his followers went to war on corporate morality. And won.

      To the point where hardly anyone is aware that liberal economics, with the inclusion of a role for government to require the inclusion of all externalities in the selling cost of goods, does in fact describe a capitalist system that is not
      inherently immoral. If government is allowed its proper place and role.

      But the Chicago school doesn't at all mind destroying the planet; just so long as they win the academic argument.

  • Priebus: Trump Could Amend Constitution to Abolish 1st Amendment
    • There should be more attention to this. Trump has noticed the success of other authoritarians like Erdogan, and in his own frustration at getting his way, is now tacking strongly towards dispensing with the forms and institutions that stand in the way of his simply ordering things to be done the way he sees fit. In his old life, as a CEO, he was for all intents and purposes a dictator; it's only natural that he would come to prefer that as a mode of operation.

      But now that he is openly starting in on the Constitution, he's turning a corner. I predict that he will now begin to attack the Constitution with increasing intensity.

      And why not? It's only the thing that Republicans worship. Maybe he'll ask for a rewrite of the Bible next.

      "This covet thy neighbor's wife thing- I mean- I tell you- that's very old. Old. Shouldn't be there."

      He's going to go after the foundations of the country, the constitution, and democracy itself. Because it's inconvenient to him.

      President for life?

  • Top 5 Hypocrisies of Trump Friday
    • There's another dynamic at play, that argues in a very different direction. Trump has only filled 35 of 700 national security positions. With every hire, with every new body, every new voice that is not raised and trained inside the Breitbart world, the influence of Bannon and his cult slips a little more.

      The problem for Bannon is simple: there just aren't a lot of White supremacist Leninists to join him in his project to destroy the government of the United States- the goal he blandly repeated at CPAC.

      When people like McMaster come in, they will disagree with him on just about everything. The same will be true of very last deputy and undersecretary. They're not going to be White nationalists. They're not going to be racists. They're not going to be insane people.

      They will listen for a while before concluding that he's a raving lunatic. And he, Miller, and the other members of their little death cult will be isolated into a small, padded section of the White House.

  • Trump plots to keep Palestinians Stateless forever
    • I think a great deal has changed. Discussions that used to turn on whether the Palestinians "deserve" a state are over; discussions turning over the question whether Palestinians, for Israelis, have rights- or are even human- can now begin.

      Israel was able to duck this question for generations based on the idea that some day, Palestinians would have a state. Now, the question of their membership in the community of the West arises. "All men are created equal." Can a state that openly, now, defies this principle, be considered a member of the civilized world?

      When the answer to the question, "do you intend to keep these people as a permanent underclass" is answered with a resounding, "yes!" then their exposure as an outcast state is imminent.

  • Trump's Travel Ban is to Keep US Snow White: Take it from a Chronic Interviewee
    • As a white, Anglo-Saxon from another country- bravo, I applaud Mr. Bello. Trump's rise is almost entirely based on racism, and the sooner people stop making excuses and understand that's what it is, the better.

  • Taking Iraq’s Oil
    • Take the oil- what does Trump think, this oil fits in a small can? It would take 50 years to pump it all out of the ground. It's absurd.

      I think it's important to add "I would take the oil" to Trump's other three physically impossible promises. Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it? Impossible. Deport eleven million people? You'd need to spend half a trillion dollars to find, house, and ship out them all. Stop Muslims from entering the US? Can't be done without amending the US Constitution, as we are now seeing.

      One more impossible promise.

      He's a fantasist.

      To paraphrase Anderson Cooper, "Take the oil" is what a five-year-old would say.

  • Here we go Again: Trump Admin Threatens Iran
    • In one respect I hope to God you're right- Mexico doesn't have nuclear weapons.

      And we here in Canada stand on our single impassable line of defense: we'd vote Democrat. And tip the balance forever.

    • Del, yet another yet more scary thing, I think, is that he's not changing the subject- he just can't stick to one. He's not jumping to a topic to change the topic. He's forgotten the last one.

  • Trump's Alt-Reality: White Terrorism against Mosque justifies Muslim Ban
    • The interesting question is just who would have to be "sent back" in order to make little (fingers) Donald feel safe. Based on his speech today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the list might include not just everyone who's not white. It might include everyone who's not a fervent observant Christian. We knew he was gunning for Moslems, Mexicans, and foreigners early on; from the sounds of it, people who don't go to church every Sunday are in the queue.

      As with his stated foreign enemies list, which started with ISIS, but has since expanded to encompass Mexico, China, Iran, Germany, the EU, and now Australia.

      One thing that's notable about Donald is that his in-group seems to be shrinking, and the out-group is getting larger all the time.

      The accepted countries list will likely end up including only one: Israel. No other friends, no other allies.

      And the domestic in-group, the ones who are 'real Americans', the ones who have rights, and get to stay, looks like eventually coming down to just his family.

    • What does it take to be a far-right extremist, if not shooting people who are not Christian? Seems to me that's the definition of a far-right extremist.

      And you're right that it's unlikely that anyone in a little town Quebec would be spouting homicidal hatred against Moslems. There's debate, sure, but it's a quiet country, has been since the end of the FLQ, and that suggests all the more that this shooter was radicalized by the alt-right, over the internet.

      This was a Trump shooting.

      I don't think anyone from Quebec is going to doubt that.

  • Trump feuds with Merkel, EU, BMW, NATO, China, CIA but not with Putin
    • Lack of workers in Germany is due to importing goods? How would importing goods affect the birth rate? Because that's what is happening in Germany: a low birth rate means... less Germans. Less German workers.

      Lack of workers correlates to moving jobs... uh... how? Where do the workers go? Vanish into thin air?

  • From Syria to Sanctions, Flynn-Russia Quid Pro Quo?
    • It's a long-term deal. The oil in question would not hit the markets for eight or ten years.

    • There's a plausible in the dossier that says Putin was interested in what Trump could tell him about the activities of Russian oligarchs - those outside Putin's circle - in the United States, in exchange for information on Clinton.

      Would someone out to fabricate against Trump come up with something so relatively obscure as a point?

    • We seem to have gotten a nice peaceful reset with Russia, with a war coming against China. With Hillary, it seems, we would have had the opposite.

    • Particularly when any details he might offer would be evidence of a violation of the Logan act.

  • The Reich Strikes Back? Neo-Nazis Call for a Boycott of New Star Wars Movie
  • No, America, it wasn't Russia: You did it to Yourself
    • There's a crisis-level aspect to this story that is being missed. It's not a question of whether the Russians successfully influenced the US election. The real innovation is in the reaction of the Trump administration to the work of the intelligence services to establish whether or not they tried.

      The response by the Trump transition team to these leaks has not been to argue that they're incomplete. The response has been to subject the CIA to the same kind of insults Trump uses on everyone else.

      For decades, scholars and journalists have debated whether a President could restrain the CIA, let alone control them. There's serious reason to believe Presidents as powerful as Johnson and Nixon were simply afraid of the CIA. Subsequent Presidents have more or less let the CIA do whatever it wanted.

      Here we have an incoming President blandly and directly declaring that they are incompetent, and that he doesn't intend to listen to anything they have to say.

      Trump has in effect declared his first war, and it's a war on his own intelligence services.

      A war between a President and CIA is far more important than whether Russia hacked some emails.

      Trump is clearly a very brave man. Unlike every President since Kennedy, he seems to have no concerns at all about taking on the CIA. From one point of view, it's quite impressive.

      But it does lead to the question of whether this town may not be big enough for both the CIA and President Trump. One of them may have to go.

  • With Trump, we've all Entered the Dark Dimension of Dormamu
    • The thing that I believe is important to understand about Donald Trump is not that he will run the country badly. The fact is that he's not going to be able to run the country.

      This is a man who knows nobody in government, and who has alienated or disgusted all the qualified people- such as they were- who would normally populate a Republican government.

      This is a man who has never shown any interest in anything outside of his area of expertise- construction. And who knows absolutely nothing outside that area. Worse, he has no friends who do.

      As a result he is not appointing third-rate people; he's appointing virtual vacancies. These people are in no way capable of understanding how to make the organizations they now head do anything at all, so they will collapse into paralysis.

      Trump's management style will be chaos. No one will be in charge. There will be no decisions on anything.

      He never really wanted to run the country. And now, he won't.

  • 5 Trump Headlines more outrageous than the "Hamilton" Tiff
    • They didn't want to throw rocks at him- and even asked the audience not to boo. They just wanted to talk to him. Do citizens not have the right to speak to their rulers? The Right To Petition is one of the five freedoms in your constitution. It dates back to the Magna Carta. I'm sure Stalin would not approve of ordinary citizens daring to speak to him, but it seems Mike Pence does.

      Suppose Trump's version, that no citizens can speak to their betters, takes hold. Are you prepared for a world where you and people like you are not permitted to address the men who rule your country?

      And the argument "there's a time and a place" is absurd. When? When would actors get to speak to a President or Vice-President? Seems to me ever since that little John Wilkes Booth misunderstanding, actors don't get a lot of chance to get close to a President or Vice-President. Oddly enough.

  • Dear Ann Coulter: Ben Franklin didn't think you or Trump are White, Either
  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • That Trump supporter backing the Taliban football team is making a bad bet. The Taliban has never produced a decent quarterback.

    • Little to lose? Install a guy who promises to trigger a trade war with China, renounce the national debt, and establish a national deportation force to round up 11 million people? As well as a physically impossible wall on the southern border, and excluding all Muslims from entry into the United States (how, exactly)? And ending the clean water act, abolishing the FDA, ordering the military to kill the families of opponents of the United States. Re-introducing torture as a standard practice. And nuking whoever he tells them to nuke. "They will follow my orders, believe me. Believe me."

      There's a reason he doesn't have the support of anyone "in the establishment". He's a nutcase.

      You have nothing to lose but everything.

  • Is the Islamic State finished? Five possible scenarios
    • I don't see ISIS going anywhere. Who is going to cross into Syria and take Raqqa? It's Sunni, Arab territory.

      So not the Kurds, who would be considered non-Arab invaders, and who besides have the Turks stabbing them in the back. Cross into Arab territory, with what would be an expeditionary force, and knock off Raqaa- die for territory they would then have to give up? Very unlikely.

      Iraqi forces? How? The Iraqi army is going to be massively stretched just to hold down the former Sunni territory it will control if it clears ISIS from Iraq. They won't have any troops to spare for Raqaa. Even if they did, who would they turn it over to after the liberation? Again, die for a city they will then give up?

      The Turks? Well, that would mean a first: that the Turks actually enter the war- against ISIS, instead of against the Kurds. And it would also require the Turkish army to pass through- conquer, most likely- the Kurdish areas of Northern Syria on the way. As well as ISIS, then, they'd have to deal with 40,000 American-armed Kurds. And there, too, who runs the place when ISIS is gone? Perhaps the Turks are up for a permanent occupation, perhaps even annexation, but that would mean opening up two long-term insurgencies, one against a hornet's next of former Syrian Kurds, the other against a new ethnic minority for Turkey: former Syrian Arabs. Are they ready for two new wars?

      It looks to me far more likely that no one will prove ready or willing to go to Raqaa. ISIS may be able to hole up there for decades. They may be with us a lot longer than anyone thinks.

  • "Little Trump" Pence: Bomb Syria, confront Russia, smear refugees; & smoking doesn't cause Cancer
    • All of this on Syria by Pence should have been met with "your boss doesn't agree with you." Whatever the merits of the position- and of course there are none- Pence is 180 degrees away from Trump when he blandly states that he agrees 100% with Hillary and is for confrontation with the Russians.

      Is he even running on the same ticket as Trump?

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance
    • No rebels in the area. Just ISIS.

    • The problem with this "mistake" is that it involved hitting ISIS who were facing Syrian troops. The US has never done that before in years of war. If this had been ISIS the attack would have assisted Assad. That's the suspicious part. They've never helped the SAA. Why now?

  • America's Syria SNAFU: Pentagon's Militias fight Turkey & CIA's Militias
    • Soon the Pentagon will decide to end the war by doing what it does best: striking directly at the leadership of the enemy. They will assemble an armored column and drive at high speed down to Langley, Virginia, and assault CIA headquarters.

      Should be fun to watch.

  • $206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment
    • It's so painful to say, but does this study ask where the money comes from? That this isn't just a random collection of 33 hate groups? That this is very likely a coordinated, foreign-funded, long-running intelligence operation?

      The policy of the government of Israel is to try to draw all of the West, and particularly the United States, into their conflict with the Palestinians, and as a large part of that population is Islamic, a useful step is to demonize Islam.

      Where is the money for all these organizations coming from? I don't think you have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder if this might not just be a massive influence operation by a foreign government.

      Because it's working.

  • As US/ Kurdish force Moves on ISIL at Manbij, Turkey goes Ballistic
    • Of course the Turks will be furious at the US for supporting the Kurd's cutting off ISIS. The Turks are on the other side, and always have been.

  • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity
    • When Mr. Sanders discusses proportionality, is there a reason the "Dahiya Doctrine" is not raised? Disproportionate violence, it appears, is not just an accusation leveled by opponents of Israel. Disproportionate violence is official Israeli policy. Or is that incorrect?

      Why is this even debatable when it official Israeli policy?

      link to en.wikipedia.org

  • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him
    • I'm with you- there's no humanitarian element to American policy of opposition to Assad. It's entirely neocon-driven.

      On the other hand, it seems possible that Putin's support for Assad - amazingly enough- may actually in fact be humanitarian. The fall of the Assad regime to the Islamists would present some problems for Russia, but nothing to compare with the price they're already paying, for example in terms of trade with Turkey. It may just be possible that Putin sees millions of non-Sunni Syrians on the death list if Al Queda/ISIS wins, and just won't let that happen on his watch.

  • Brothers in Arms: Jeb Bush Won't Say 'No' To Future Torture
    • It's too bad the reporters don't put the question this way:

      "So you're saying, if you're elected President, you will not feel bound by the law? Torture is against the law. You're telling the American people that you will break the law as you see fit?"

      "If so, which laws do you propose to obey?"

      "As President, could you walk out onto the street in front of the White House and shoot a random person? For reasons of National Security? If not, why not?"

  • Top Six Signs ISIL/ Daesh is Doomed
    • True that ISIS may be rolled back, and maybe- a big maybe- driven out of Iraq; but there's no prospect of anyone driving them out of Syria. The Kurds did most of the work in separating them from the Turkish border, but now, it seems, are going to pay for their efforts, because Turkey is even less willing to tolerate Kurdish success than they were to tolerate ISIS. The more the Kurds roll back ISIS, from now on, the more likely Turkey is to simply cross the border and crush not ISIS- but the Kurds.

      What if the Kurds can go no further? Who else is going to go into Syria on the ground to eject them from Raqqa, or Palmyra for that matter?

      They may be chased out of Iraq (still a long shot), but is there anyone who can even begin to think about dislodging them from Syria?

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • Their construction of freedom would run this way: "freedom to be free of the influence of people who are not Christian. Freedom from science, freedom from that pesky evolution, freedom from having to pay taxes that go to pay for welfare or health insurance for people not the same color as they are." That's freedom.

  • Top 5 Disasters If GOP Senate derails Iran talks
    • But if the talks are scuttled for reasons that the ROW (Rest Of The World) doesn't accept, the sanctions will be just plain ignored. Countries that can break them will resume trade with Iran- like China, Korea, Russia, and Japan, and even many EU members. There will be little the US Congress can do about that, much as they will try.

  • Your Election is being Bought by 47 Billionaires (and they are Buying War, Climate Change)
    • It's not the Presidential campaign that is really going to be broken by money- it's all the others. The research shows that in Senate and House races, the side that spends the most- that is to say, buys the most TV advertising- wins 90+ percent of the time. Cit Uni means Republicans will outspend in every race.

      Ben Franklin remarked that democracy will fail when the people realize they can vote themselves money. Well, the rich have realized they can buy politicians and make them hand over all the money.

      We are learning that democracy is incompatible with unlimited campaign spending.

      And that is the root of just about everything that has gone wrong with the US over the past thirty years.

      A constitutional amendment that completely cut private funding of political campaigns would not automatically fix all that is wrong. But without it nothing can be fixed.

  • Demonstration outside US Base in Afghanistan against Quran-Burning Turns Violent
    • Discussion of the actual relationship between Islam and Al Queda leads to another question, one that I think is intensely important: who is stoking these fires? Who is whipping up animosity towards Islam? Who has an interest in ensuring that the American people fear Islam?

      There is a government with a massive vested interest in encouraging this fear, and it's leaders openly propagate such views: "Islam is our biggest security threat", says Netanyahu. Not Palestinian nationalists, not Arab nationalists, but Islam.

      And of course, according to this government, Islam is a threat not just to Israel, but to the world.

      Note that it's not Iranians who are a threat; it's Islam.

      This government openly fans the flames of anti-Islamism every chance it gets. Are there talking points distributed by persons in this government's employ to ensure that innocuous subjects like the New York mosque are spun to create the greatest sensation possible?

      They certainly have every interest in doing so, as their economic lives depend on it. The minute the United States no longer fears Islam, the wonderful spigot delivering F-35's, tanks, guns, and bombs to Israel would be cut off, or at least cut back. They have a desperate, existential motivation for ensuring that the hatred continues.

      With that motivation, is there any chance that their security services do not conceive and execute operations that would encourage anti-Islamism in the world?

      This anti-Islamism in the United States has practically materialized out of thin air- 9/11 or no 9/11. There is every reason to believe there is a significant force behind it.

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