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Total number of comments: 25 (since 2013-11-28 16:57:03)

Dylan Skola

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  • Trump accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack as Haley attacks Russia, Iran
    • "Also in that war, there were regime apologists who tried to blame Iran itself, which is ridiculous."

      Yep, apologists like . . . the U.S. State Department, the CIA and the DIA, because of course Saddam was our boy back then and Iran was doubleplusungood.

      The U.S. intelligence community will inevitably blame chemical attacks on whomever the current official enemy happens to be.

      If their bosses wanted to blame the Pygmies of central Africa I'm sure they could whip something up.

      Not that I expect this comment to be published since the intel community is anti-Trump and therefore now can do no wrong . . .

  • Have Syria's Kurds invented a Democratic Neo-Socialism?
    • Thanks for this. Incredible and inspiring but like super390 I don't have a good feeling about how all this will play out once ISIS is rolled up.

  • Trump's Real sin in DC is not distinguishing between "Good" and "Bad" Dictators
    • And of course we can't forget Saddam, who went from being a "good" dictator while he was torturing and gassing his own people by the hundreds of thousands and making bloody war on Iran, to being a "bad" dictator when threatened the profits of U.S. and British oil companies.

      There's a well-documented inverse correlation between a nation's human rights record and the amount of U.S. aid it receives.

      The hypocrisy of the U.S. political establishment and media hangers-on is as boundless as it is shameless.

  • The Coming Muslim Century: Bad news for President Bannon
    • Your economic thinking is stuck in a 20th century mindset, I'm afraid. Somehwat counterintuitively, given the (already in progress) massive loss of jobs to automation and robotics, places like Japan and Europe, with a shrinking but highly-educated workforce, are better positioned to handle the resulting unemployment crisis. Bringing in more unskilled immigrants would just mean more unemployment and therefore social untest. They already have trouble finding enough work for their native-born population.

      A nice side effect will be a reduction in the the massive overcrowding of both places, allowing space for both people and nature to breath, thrive and live humanely, rather than piled on top of each other as in an anthill.

      The lack of birth control in the muslim world is a serious problem, I agree, but it is not an economic boon to anyone.

  • "Get out of my Country!" White Terrorist Shoots Asian-American Engineers in Wake of Trump Visa Ban
    • "Grillot, from his hospital bed, told the story of how he was under a table and counted out nine shots then pursued the alleged assailant. But apparently he miscounted, and the gunman still had a shot to get off."

      ??????

      WTF does nine shots have to do with anything?

      Maybe Ian Grillot guy is a firearms expert who, under extreme duress, can ID the exact make and model (and the fact that it isn't wearing an extended magazine baseplate) of a handgun as its being fired in a dark bar and therefore knew exactly what its magazine capacity was. Even if this was the case, however, he could have easily miscounted (as he assumes he did) or, in the heat of the moment, mistook a Glock 19 for a Glock 23 or some such. Even experts such as Ian can make mistakes in the heat of the moment when the adrenaline has dumped.

      In other words, even given his expertise, his tactic was a needlessly-risky one that very nearly got him killed in vain.

      A much smarter and safer approach, if one should find oneself unarmed in such a situation and unable to return fire, is to wait until the perpetrator actually begins the process of reloading to rush him. If Ian had done that, he might have captured the suspect right away and wouldn't have been shot, in any case.

      Stay safe out there . . .

  • Trump endangering rest of Us to hunt down the Law-Abiding Undocumented
    • Ha. I'd do it for enough cash. But why should one ethnic group get stuck with all the crappiest jobs? Isn't that a bit . . . racialist?

    • "People move. People are going to move. It’s going to continue to happen."

      Right, but throughout human history 97 % of folks have stayed where they were. Rationally or not, people tend to develop a strong attachment to their homeland, and would prefer to remain there unless forced to do so by extreme circumstances. It should be our goal to allow people to live their dreams of staying in their own country, by doing what little is in our power to make those countries as free and prosperous as possible.

    • "the vast majority of whom do essential and backbreaking labor that the native-born eschew."

      Perhaps the native-born wouldn't eschew it if they weren't in a race to the bottom of the wage scale with undocumented immigrants and, instead, benefits were allowed to rise through the magic of supply and demand? If meat-packing paid a good salary, with pension & health-care there'd be plenty of native-born people lining up to do it despite it being dirty and dangerous.

      The reason why the Republican party has consistently refused to do anything about immigration is that their main constituency is business owners, the capitalist class, who love more than anything to have what Marx called "the reserve army of the unemployed" to keep labor costs down. Especially if those folks are undocumented and therefore more easily exploitable since they don't have recourse to the legal system.

      While it's true that undocumented migrants tend to have lower crime rates (contrary to Trumpian propaganda), being "law-abiding" undocumented is an oxymoron, since their first action as a U.S. resident was to break federal law.

      But here's the interesting part: if you don't propose that the U.S. enforce it's immigration laws, then logically you should be lobbying for changing the laws, and allowing unrestricted immigration, since that's apparently what you want. Instead you seem to propose maintaining the status quo which is cruel and inhumane since we're basically forcing people to run a deadly and expensive Darwinian obstacle course before declaring those who survive the crossing "home-free!" That's pretty messed up -- just abolish the border controls and be done with it. However, if a state can't control it's own borders, it very soon ceases to be a state in any meaningful sense since it no longer has "citizens" to grant rights to. As you've mentioned before, being the citizen of a state is currently the only way to get any rights at all in our current world. So . . . ?

      In any case, I agree with your prescription to: "help those countries’ economies grow faster and trying to provide for more democracy and less danger for average citizens. Such steps are the real way to cut down on unauthorized immigration." As Edward Abbey put it: "Give them a rifle and a box of ammunition and send them home."

      Finally, if anyone really wanted to prevent illegal immigration they could do it overnight without a stupid wall and without deportations (but nobody will propose this since both right and left wing politicians are fine with the status quo for different reasons): Implement a $1000/day/employee fine for any business employing an undocumented worker, with $500 of that per day going to whoever tips off the authorities. You're welcome.

  • Trumpworld Fake News: Iran attacks US Navy, Iraqis Massacre Bowling Green
    • "And, make note that the GOP Congress just repealed an Obama regulation requiring background checks before gun purchases."

      Sorry, but that's fake news combined with an alternative fact. Trump is bad enough that one doesn't need lies.

      Rest assured that all dealer sales still require a background check just like before. What congress did was remove the requirement that the social security administration forward to the NICS database the names of beneficiaries who, because of a mental disability, are not deemed competent to manage their own affairs, which would presumably make them prohibited persons if they tried to purchase a firearm. Note that some advocates for the disabled have criticized that policy of Obama's.

      No doubt if Trump had instituted such a rule instead of Obama, and it had nothing to do with scary-bad guns, we'd be reading hysterical denunciations of "Neo-fascist Trump administration strips rights from the disabled just like the NAZIs!!"

      Let's all take a deep breath and not get ahead of the facts here.

  • America's Major Challenges in Middle East Policy, 2017
    • What evidence is there that Bush was engaged in Wilsonian democracy-promotion? The original plan for Iraq was for it to be ruled by Chalabi as a pro-US strongman. Democracy only happened after Sistani made it happen.

  • Top 5 Reasons Senate Dems should block all Trump Supreme Court Nominees, Forever
    • Dr. Cole,

      While normally I would be opposed to this sort of obstructionism, given the behavior of the Republican congress over Obama's two terms I think it's not only justified, but necessary. Besides, the Republicans repeatedly said last year that it was just fine to have an 8-judge SCOTUS.

      Tit-for-tat is, according to game theory, the most effective strategy in most competitive undertakings. Giving them a taste of their own medicine would not only be poetic justice, it might disincline them from doing this stuff again. If, on the other hand, the Dems roll over for Trump and lick his hand like they have for every other Republican president, they will have shown that they are nothing but a bunch of rubber-stamping doormats to whom nobody need pay any attention.

  • In Aftermath of Trump's Win, More Than 1,000 Hate Crimes in a Month
    • OK, looking back to the previous post on this, I see 867 hate crimes in the 10 days immediately following the election (numbers also from SPLC), for a rate of 86.7 crimes / day. That means that only 1094 - 867 = 227 occurred in the 29 days that have elapsed since Nov 18 (10 days after the election), for a rate of 7.8 crimes per day. So, while we still don't know what the baseline rate is, these data taken together show a dramatic drop-off in the rate to 1/10 of the initial value after the 10 day mark. Which, as bad as the initial rate was, is a very reassuring trend. In some ways, then, this seems to be a bit of good news.

    • OK, I'll bite. What was the number of hate crimes in the comparable period prior to the election of Trump, or in any other period? Is 1094 an increase, a decrease, or approximately the same amount?

      Unfortunately, as presented, this piece of news is nearly devoid of informational content, thanks to the profound, deep-seated innumeracy of reporters and the American public in general. Not sure why it's posted here, I've come to expect better.

  • Starstruck & Party-Fanatic: The Moral Paradox of Trump Support
    • Trump stands for all those negative things and more, but the core of his support has been his ability to tap into a nascent New American Populism that is opposed to key elements of the neoliberal consensus that has ruled this country for decades:

      1. Massive foreign immigration. The fraction of foreign-born people in the U.S. has reached levels (~14 %) not seen since the late 1800s. This helps enrich elite investors while driving down wages for the working class.
      2. Trade deals that have reduced the wages of the American working class while enriching elite investors.
      3. The system of legalized bribery that yields and endless stream of political candidates that promise the moon but once in office only respond to the concerns of the wealthy campaign donors.

      The key aspects shared by these 3 policies are: they have resulted in the shafting of the working and middle classes for the last several decades now, they are massively unpopular with the majority of the population, and both the Democratic and Republican parties support them to the hilt.

      So when someone comes along who promises to actually address the concerns of working people, and isn't an obvious scripted puppet with campaign donors pulling their strings, many people are going to fall for it, despite all his other flaws. Trump is not the answer but so many people have been watching their futures declining for so long they are desperate to believe in somebody. Since Clinton II is not going to do anything for them, watch carefully the next election. Many people will be more desperate and alienated, and if someone with more political skills than Trump can harness that . . . watch out.

  • Why Trump is (really) wrong to bet against US Military-backed Mosul Campaign
    • I wouldn't go so far as to say that U.S. intervention saved Baghdad. Despite the breathless reporting there was zero chance of that mostly Shiite city falling to ISIS. Otherwise great article.

  • Britain's Debate over Banning Trump by the Numbers
    • "Number of years Britons can be jailed if found guilty of hate speech: 7"

      What an obnoxious concept. So glad that we won our independence from those monarchists . . .

  • The end of National Sovereignty in the Middle East? Iraqi Kurdistan sends troops into Syria
    • Dr. Cole,

      I'm not sure if you're aware of the various theorists about fourth-generation war (with the beginning of the first generation marked at the Peace of Westphalia), like Martin Van Creveld, William S. Lind, etc. They enjoyed a surge of popularity (in some circles) after Sep 11, and particularly after the Iraq war tuned into a guerrilla conflict.

      One of the hallmarks of fourth generation war is that it is often conducted by non-state forces such as militias, gangs, terrorist groups, etc. Martin van Creveld positions this within a general "decline of the state."

      One of the predictions that came out of that camp is that, having destroyed the Iraqi state, it would be very difficult for anyone to put it back together again. Obviously, recent events have provided dramatic support for these theories.

      Cheers.

  • Is Baghdad next? ISIL takes Hit Base in Iraq, loots it for Weapons
    • Surely, Dr. Cole, you don't give much credibility to the idea that IS has a chance in hell of taking Baghdad away from the Shia militias that ethnically cleansed it in the first place? Street by street, the Sunni were pushed out of Baghdad over the period 2006-2008 by the Mahdi Army, Badr Brigades, etc. However worthless the successors of these Shia militia have proven themselves in the field when attempting to take Sunni towns, they are extremely capable and vicious opponents when defending their home turf or waging dirty war in the streets of the capital.

      Do you really suppose that IS is going to conquer Sadr city? Excuse me while I fall over laughing.

      What IS may be able to do with respect to Baghdad is resume the Sunni strategy of ~2004-2006, when they had some success in surrounding and cutting off the city, destroying power lines, blocking highways, destroying bridges, etc. in an attempt to weaken it as a Shia power base.

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • It's the pot and the kettle arguing over which one is blacker, though if one were to tally it up the U.S. is far in the lead these days.

      In a more honest world neither the U.S. nor Russia would be allowed to utter the phrase "International Law" without the room doubling over in derisive laughter.

      As Orwell, among others, recognized when it was being negotiated, the fatal flaw in the UN system is that there is no enforcement mechanism for violations by permanent members of the security council. So in practice it's one set of laws for the weak countries, and another for the great powers. All countries are equal, but some are more equal than others . . .

  • Impeachment is a Cash Cow (Colbert Report)
    • Yes, it is one-sided. One side is willing to fight: the enemy. Our side, even when faced with Bush's massive constitutional violations, far worse than Nixon's, with a clear legal case for impeachment, chose to play nice and be friends.

      One of the reasons the Democratic party suffers is an understandable lack of enthusiasm from their base. They don't stand for anything, they don't fight for anything, and they roll over at the first sign of opposition. Why would that inspire anyone to join their cause?

      The Republican party may be evil and insane, but at least they have cojones, and that counts for something. In some circles, that counts for everything.

  • Condoleezza Rice, Charged with War Crimes at Rutgers, withdraws as Commencement Speaker
    • Actually, it would have to be something you DO, not something you watch. If you wait around for it to show up on your DVR like some kind of spectator sport then it ain't gonna happen. The status quo is on their side.

  • What Ukraine Means to the U.S. 1% and to the 99% (Editorial Cartoon)
    • @Brian,

      Yes, being financially astute, the 1% believe in hedging their risk -- that's why they bought two parties instead of one. What's that in business-speak? Win-win!

  • The Coming Drone Wars: Iran Unveils its own Drone, with a 1200-mile Range
    • factual correction: it was a top-of-the-line RQ-170 Sentinel, not a low-end predator, and it was December 2011, not last winter.

      cheers.

  • Is Iran out of the US War Queue? The Twilight of the Hawks
    • China is becoming a great power. Great powers assert a sphere of influence in their region. This is nothing new.

      None of this is the business of the US and certainly not worth going to war over. The other Asian countries are certainly economically capable of supporting a military deterrent against China, but the US taxpayers can no longer afford to do it for them I'm afraid.

      Best of luck.

  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
    • Just a semantic note:

      What you are describing is properly termed "strategy" not "grand strategy." Grand strategy consists of overarching frameworks, e.g. from the QDR2006:

      “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our Nation has fought a global war against violent extremists who use terrorism as their weapon of choice, and who seek to destroy our free way of life.”

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