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Total number of comments: 144 (since 2015-07-11 06:30:18)

gregg

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  • Tillerson tells Iraqi Shiite Militias to "go home." Sad.
    • American foreign policy has too often been based on the world as we would like it to be (i.e., a world where everyone does what we say, just because we said it) instead of the world as it is. Tillerson, like everything else in the Trump administration, merely takes a common flaw in the American point of view and makes it into Theater of the Absurd.

  • George W. Bush & GOP lack standing to bash Trump for Racism
    • Colin Powell may be highly respected (in spite of his UN performance), but his advice was completely ignored for four years. So you think people were OK with voting for Obama because Condi Rice did such a bang-up job? I don't.

    • I think you're way overthinking this, super390. The reason Jefferson could never come out four-square against slavery is because if he had freed his slaves -- there goes the largest private library in North America, there goes his cellar full of the best French wines, there goes his inexhaustible hospitality to guests, there goes Monticello. Slaves were cash on the barrelhead, and in Jefferson's case, by far the largest part of his personal fortune. When moral philosophy comes up against a comfortable lifestyle, it nearly always loses. No one asks Jamie Dimond why he doesn't give away his money.

    • And you don't even mention that W. rode to national prominence Texas by running against Ann Richards' (and Ross Perot's) plan to equalize school funding in Texas, and his winning presidential campaign depended on a fairly blatant scheme to disenfranchise as many black voters as possible in Florida -- an effort engineered by his brother, Jeb, then the Florida governor.

      That said, I'll take it. This is kind of an "all hands on deck" moment. Let him earn a piece of redemption this way. No time to be picky.

  • Iran's Khamenei: We'll observe Deal if Europe does, despite "Charlatan," Trump
    • Exactly what I hoped (well, the delicious Trump put-downs were unnecessary, but you can’t say they weren’t accurate) and more or less expected, based on the high intelligence and moral character of the majority of Iranians I have ever personally known.

      If we're insisting on being enemies of Iran, it’s almost as if we’re trying to lose. US sanctions are meaningless if they’re not joined by the other parties — the EU, Russia, and China. And they’re not going to join if Iran is complying with the agreement and the US is not. That would be absurd. So the obvious result will be stronger economic ties between Iran and Europe, Russia and China, to the benefit of them all and to the detriment of us.

      The purpose of sanctions is to isolate Iran, not the United States. It’s amazing how many people in high places don’t seem to understand that. I remember reading -- I think during the Bush years, but maybe Obama -- that there were more American university PhD's in the Iranian cabinet than in our own. If that's still true, it shows.

  • ISIL was ended not by Trump or Obama but by Muslims
    • ". . . they identified with the suffering of Sunni Muslims of the region, faced off against what they perceived as the all evil Shias allied with the hated Israelis and the West, true or not."

      And so isn't it ironic that probably the closest and most stable alliance in the region is the unspoken one between hated Israel and Sunni Wahabist Saudi Arabia? They have the same arch-enemy -- Iran -- and they have the same permanent protector -- the United States. And Palestinians in exile provide excellent household labor for the many thousands of members of the Royal House of Saud. (Bangla Deshis are plentiful too, but they don't speak the language.) Their national interests are identical.

      When enough people finally put two and two together, I have to think Saudi Arabia will be the most unstable regime in the Middle East.

    • While this is being portrayed as a big victory for the US -- and Lord knows we'll take whatever we can get these days -- it looks like a big nothing to me. ISIL may be defeated, but the REASONS for ISIL -- an oppressive Assad regime in Damascus and a Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad -- remain the same. The most obvious immediate result of this "victory" is that two of our "allies" in the fight -- the Baghdad government and the Kurdish pseudo-state -- are now at war with each other. It didn't even take 24 hours. Our "ally" Turkey and our "enemy" Iran will obviously both side with Baghdad. (The one seeming constant in Middle East history is the Kurds get screwed.) Which side are WE on? I guess the one benefit of the Trump brand of foreign policy is we can be on more than one side at once, depending on who you're talking to and what time of day you're talking to them.

      Meanwhile, while everyone is distracted by the events in Kurdistan, something will fill the vacuum left by ISIL's defeat in the Sunni regions of Iraq and Syria. Let's hope it's something more civilized, but recent history suggests it will more likely be something even worse.

  • Trump wants 10-fold increase in Atom Bombs but is after Iran, which has none
    • Trump is completely oblivious to a lot of things. I expected the worst from him, but even I am astonished to discover his knowledge of how the American government works has not even reached the "how a bill becomes a law" stage. And he's been giving money to these people for years, apparently with no understanding of what he was even buying except some strokes for his ego and a way to get the charges dropped should the need ever arise. Trump is just a living example of how far a person can rise in America armed with nothing but the most shameless capacity for bullshit.

    • Yet if he ends civilization as we know it, there will no longer be a "history" for anyone to know, and possibly no human beings to know it. It's a conundrum. I'm sure it's what's keeping him up at nights.

  • Corporations Shouldn’t Get to Have ‘Religious’ Objections to Your Health Care
    • The Nobel committee has made a lot of bad decisions over the years.

    • I thought objecting to health care was a cornerstone of every major religion. It's not?

  • Can Coffee survive Climate Change?
    • Why not? Just because there's virtually no oxygen or water there, and no way to produce food? Why would that be an obstacle? We'll just invent space trucks to ferry that stuff up. And they'll pay for it with all that stuff that can only be made on Mars, like . . .

    • And just think -- we owe it all to the Arabs and the Native Americans.

    • Cocaine, too. The Spanish were astonished at how long the disappearing Incas could work in a silver mine with just a few leaves to sustain them.

    • This is bad news, indeed. Without coffee, I'm not sure I even want to go on.

  • Trump and the Faustian Bargain of Corker and the GOP
    • Don't give McCain that much credit. He's not running again either, and in fact, will likely not survive his current term. AND he brought us Sarah Palin.

    • I have never even looked at Twitter and don't understand why anyone else does. Like I need MORE unwanted, uninteresting, and transparently trivial messages assaulting me on a daily, hourly, minutely basis? Please. The information superhighway was a good thing once upon a time. Now it's a snarled, frustrating mess that you only use because you have to -- just like the ones made of concrete.

    • Interesting theory. You may be right. I'm sure there's something about living in a world of gated communities, private jets, chauffeur-driven limousines, and members-only resorts that gives you a certain sense of invulnerability.

    • Perhaps the one positive thing that is coming out of the past two years' mess is that the presidential campaign -- both the Trump and Bernie Sanders phenomena -- and the ensuing dysfunction and division have exposed the absolute failure of the political and economic elites to deliver on any of the promises made by the "Washington Consensus," neo-liberalism, "the end of history" -- whatever you want to call it, over the past 25 years. The rising tide has not lifted all boats, and it has drowned more than a few.

      But I see no signs they are getting this message. In fact, you're already seeing the same scams they were running 10 years ago -- reverse mortgages, home equity loans, etc. There's a whole new generation of suckers out there.

      For a few -- the Koch brothers, Murdoch, Mnuchin, those hedge fund creeps behind Bannon -- this is precisely the situation they've been working toward for years, because a dysfunctional government means no cop on the beat, and thus they can steal, rape and plunder even more.

      But they're not the majority, even among the rich. Why can't they see what's staring them in the face, that they can't have it all forever, that they can't squeeze people to infinity? Well, as Saul Alinsky once said (paraphrasing), he could convince a capitalist on Monday to do something on Tuesday that would make him money on Wednesday even though it would lead to his certain death on Thursday. And there doesn't seem to be anyone named Roosevelt around to save them from themselves this time. That line has run dry.

      So now they find themselves in a situation we have not seen since the feeble-minded eldest sons of kings were still allowed to ascend to the throne, except now the feeble-minded king has nuclear weapons. And we merely hope that a small clique of politically conservative generals will refuse to follow orders when the time comes.

      I visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, and I almost felt like apologizing.

  • Former US Allies peeling off under Trump: Turkey halts US Visas
    • That's refreshing to hear, especially from someone with your perspective. I live in a high-immigrant college town, and I must say, most of my foreign-born friends seem much less freaked out than me. I'll do what I can. Thanks for responding.

    • Tyrants don't fret over a small drop in GDP. Erdogan is not sweating bullets (or anything else) over the Turkish tourism industry.

    • Not "infinite stupidity." No. No one has ever gotten away with "infinite" stupidity, and we won't either.

    • We can now place precise dates on the American Century, that period in world history when it was obvious to everyone (except perhaps ourselves) that we had become a Gulliver among Lilliputians on the world stage, that the United States' influence was dominant economically, diplomatically, militarily, culturally, and even (to a point) morally in every region of the globe. It began in 1917 with the US entry into World War I and ended in 2017 with the inauguration of Donald Trump. 100 years exactly.

      Now we are more like the cyclops after he met Odysseus -- a one-eyed monster now rendered completely blind, staggering around in a rage until we finally fall like a tree.

      But it was fun while it lasted.

  • VP Pence pulls NFL Political Stunt at Taxpayer Expense
    • It will ultimately come down to citizen-soldiers on both sides in any event, just like our Founding Fathers intended.

    • I think the posture taken by the police in Charlottesville -- a progressive town if one exists in the state of Virginia -- suggests that things do not look hopeful. They did nothing while the city was terrorized by brown shirts. We all saw it.

      I live in a similar town (Champaign, IL), and I have never seen a black patrolman in the almost 10 years I've been living here, even though about 20% of the city is African-American. There's a history, too, but the last incident when a black youth was shot while minding his own business happened just before people got wise to the fact that their cell phones were a tool which could expose injustice to the whole world, or we might have become national news. Instead, the protests stayed local. I'm pretty sure that when the time comes, the vast majority of police will not be our friends. Serious and widespread recruitment and training problems for a long, long time.

      We have a better shot with the military, where the top brass realized that regardless of their personal prejudices, they better adopt a zero tolerance policy toward racism or their army in Vietnam was going to collapse. And soldiers don't have unions. So now the ranks -- and even the officer corps -- are well-represented by African-Americans and Hispanics who are trained and efficient killers, so we won't be helpless.

  • Trump, the Magical WASP, Deepens Racial Divide again in Phoenix
    • I never even heard of "antifa" until about a week ago. I doubt if there were 100 members then, although there are undoubtedly more now, thanks to Trump raising their profile. This is a cousin to the Fox News narrative that ACORN -- a group so pitifully powerless it hired staff through the classified ads in The Nation -- stole the election for Obama.

    • Easy. There's no thought process at all. They have no idea what to do. They're screwed under any plausible scenario, so they're paralyzed, do nothing, and hope they wake up someday and somehow everything will have worked itself out. It won't.

    • George W. Bush??? How quickly we forget. (He does look better now, though.)

  • What to do with Confederate statues?
    • It should also be noted when many of these monuments were erected. They don't all date back to when the aging veterans of the Lost Cause wanted to honor their leaders. Many of them were put up in the '50s and '60s, in direct response to the civil rights movement.

    • I'm not in favor of removing statues. I'm in favor of adding them. No one is offended by Confederate monuments at Civil War battlefields because obviously every battle had two sides and both sides are represented on the battlefield. Lee, Longstreet, and Jackson are balanced by Grant, Sherman, and Hancock. Both sides of the story are told.

      So the solution to memorial statues such as the one to Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville is not to remove Lee but to add a counter-balancing statue. Nat Turner, for instance, was also a Virginian, so he might be appropriate. That would put Lee's service in context.

  • Can the Sadr Movement in Iraq overcome Sectarianism with new Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish Party?
    • Without knowing enough to make a very confident judgment, Al-Sadr always struck me as potentially the one statesman on the Iraqi political scene -- probably the only one with a significant following. He has always had an authenticity that the other politicians didn't, which I assumed was why he was always so demonized by the US far beyond anything he said or did.

  • In Apocalyptic Vandalism, ISIL blows up 800-year-old Nuri Mosque in Mosul
    • Appears to be a movement in the midst of suicide. An appropriate and welcome end to an essentially nihilistic creed, though what succeeds it may be no better.

  • Tillerson-Trump Rumble over Qatar shows White House Divisions
    • I suspect Qatar's primary offense is funding Al-Jazeera, not terrorism.

      "Moscow is trying to roll up the Syrian rebels and cannot be unhappy with the prospect of a forced Qatari retrenchment."

      That, plus they figure any more former allies thrown into the clusterfuck (can I say that, Juan? It's the only word that applies) of US foreign policy can only be a good thing for Russia.

  • As Millions March for Climate, Stab in Back by EPA & NYT
    • The sad fact is that polarization has reached the point where they do things that don't even make sense in their own free market fundamentalism philosophy. They're against addressing climate change primarily because we are for it. They basically do it just to piss us off.

  • The Last time there was this much CO2 in the air, Florida was under Water
    • I recently saw a map of where the coastlines would be if ALL the world's ice melted -- the ultimate worst-case scenario. As you would expect, Bangladesh is gone, the Bahamas, Cuba becomes two islands, etc. But it appeared the two biggest land losses by far would be (1) eastern China north of Shanghai and extending inland clear to Beijing, an immense area that must be home to 300-400 million people, and (2) the southeastern United States. Florida disappears entirely, of course, but in fact the entire Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains stretching from the Carolinas to Texas would be submerged right up to the Appalachian foothills. The mouth of the Mississippi River would be about Memphis, Tenn.

      So at least there will be some justice in that the two biggest contributors to the catastrophe -- the United States and China -- will also be the two biggest losers, at least in land mass. And in America, the land mass lost will be precisely where the largest concentration of climate change deniers resides.

  • For First Time, a US President backs a Fascist France
    • It's hard to see how French soldiers in Algeria and Morocco were defending "their" country.

    • I would argue that we are living in a system of serfdom today. That's what the student debt crisis is all about. Many of today's students will be tethered to jobs (if they're lucky) by a permanent debt that began before they knew what they were getting into. That's serfdom -- a loss of freedom due to a debt which for all practical purposes can never be retired.

      Perhaps not coincidentally, the inequalities of wealth and lifestyle we see today are also probably comparable to that earlier era of serfdom.

  • Russia: US attack on our Sovereign ally Illegal
    • Yes -- Graham went from comparing Trump to poison to comparing him to Reagan. Not a guy I want in my foxhole.

  • Trump intervenes in the Great Mideast Civil War in Syria
    • We're against the regime and we're against the rebels. We're against the Shi'ites and against the Sunnis. We're against the people who stay in Syria and against the refugees. How can you say we have no strategy?

    • Syria is a 3-dimensional chess game being played by about 8 different players. Our "friends" in Syria are "enemies" somewhere else, and the same goes for everyone else in the game. With almost any course of action, the limited predictable outcomes are overwhelmed by the potential unintended consequences which could resonate far beyond the borders of Syria.

      With Trump at the helm, the US is assuming its traditional role as the blundering, drunken cyclops, powerful but clueless, and that usually doesn't end well. I suspect our 15-year war is now becoming a 30-year war.

  • ISIL: Imbecilic Buffoon Trump leading America to Extinction
    • It's not hard to get rid of him. It's hard to know what to do next. That's the lesson of Iraq.

    • Of course, some of these people became terrorists BECAUSE their families were taken out. Trump seems to be unfamiliar with the story of the Hatfields and McCoys.

    • Don't get carried away.

  • Are Progressives Suffering from Trump Fatigue?
    • Unfortunately, under the House rules the minority party can't even get a bill to the floor for a vote. The majority party has 100% control of the agenda. Democracy in action.

    • Page: 1
    • The positive way to look at this is that all this retrograde policy is now being pushed by and identified with a presidency both personally unlikable and professionally incompetent. The fact that Trump is for it hurts any policy's popular support, and much of this agenda will hopefully be bungled as badly as immigration and health care have been so far.

      But I think even the biggest of these policy questions are just distractions as far as Trump is concerned. I don't think there is a Trump "agenda" beyond monetizing the office as much and as quickly as possible. I would love to see even a back-of-the-envelope calculation of how much Trump makes just by going to Mar-a-Lago every weekend. He travels free, but what about the probably hundreds -- staff, media, security -- who must go with him? Where do they stay? Where do they eat? And don't get me started on Carl Icahn writing himself some quarter billion dollar regulatory reform. He's an unpaid advisor, of course, takes no government paycheck. He's doing it as a public service.

      One position I would take for sure if I was the Democrats:

      No Tax Reform without Tax Returns.

  • After Trump Massacres in Mosul, Campaign against ISIL Halted
    • When our own allies are demanding an end to the strikes, they must be pretty bad.

  • Why Trump EO is Still a Racist Muslim Ban
    • Well, at least they took Iraq off the list. After all, what possible reason could there be for any Iraqi to hold a grudge against the United States?

  • Trump covers Rockwell: Sometimes it Feels like, Obama's Watching You
    • The reason he doesn't simply ask for a briefing is because then he would get accurate information, and then he wouldn't be able to tweet a bunch of made-up BS. They've got a perfect set-up: Publish an article in the White House's own propaganda vehicle (Breitbart), then cite that article as the source of your accusation. If Fox News can be normalized as legitimate journalism, why not Breitbart?

    • Yes. Way too much to hope for.

  • Did David Brooks & the NeoCons pave the Way for Trump?
    • Brooks is a man who has watched his Ayn Rand wet dream of a political agenda being implemented for a quarter-century, has watched it manifestly not work on both the domestic and international stages, recognizes it's not working, and yet his faith remains unshaken. I watch him for amusement, not insight. Trump with better manners.

  • Trump's Russia scandals could be about to get much, much worse
  • Trump invents Sweden Terror Attack, Lies about Immigrant Crime
    • Well, if we're going to nitpick and subject his semi-literate brain farts to a Zapruder film level of micro-analysis, what he actually said was on the order of "And can you believe what happened in Sweden last night" -- clearly implying some specific horrible incident involving Muslim refugees when no such event occurred. Apparently he had seen a Fox News piece the night before about general problems resettling refugees which, when run through his ADD-restricted brain, became implanted in his mind as a terrorist attack or some kind of crisis, anyway. Who knows? He's Trump.

      The scary thing to me about Trump is not that he's lying. It's that he thinks he's telling the truth.

    • My opinion, unsupported by any data, but I believe it nonetheless -- Trump's hardcore supporters have been feeding on a diet of hatred for "liberals," "the Democrat party," intellectuals, the media, etc. (all euphemisms for Jews) for over 20 years now via Fox and Limbaugh. It's been engraved pretty deeply at this point.

      They don't know, understand, or even care what Trump is actually doing. As long as he's driving us crazy, it must be good. They love Trump because they hate us.

  • Top 8 Signs someone is a White Terrorist, e.g. plotting to Blow up Mosque
  • Trump plots to keep Palestinians Stateless forever
    • I love the way Americans talk about the "peace process" as if such a thing had existed at any time in the last 20 years. The "peace process" is a rhetorical fig leaf for the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.

    • The only positive thing here is that Netanyahu has coupled his car to the Trump train wreck. I thought he was cagier than that.

  • All of Putin's / Trump's Men
    • The main thing that bothers me about this is the utter obviousness of the whole thing. Flynn may be crazy, but he is the former head of National Intelligence (an oxymoron in America;s case) -- he can't possibly be so stupid as to not know that if you call the Russian embassy, you're probably going to be listened to. A middle school student knows that. There's got to be something more. Are they just so drunk on power they think nothing can touch them? They should be wising up by now.

      Still, my philosophy is if you have to choose between incompetence and conspiracy to explain something, incompetence is far more likely. These guys aren't that smart, and Trump's own historical frame of reference is pretty much a blank slate. Just ask Frederick Douglass.

      But anything that throws stones in the pathway of the 70-year-old child-king is a good thing.

  • Psychologists: Trump's Rage makes him incapable of Serving safely as President
    • So a mentally unstable, delusional individual is now in charge of the most destructive arsenal in the history of humankind. What interesting times we live in.

  • Questions about Judgment: Trump appointed Flynn in the First Place
    • It took exactly 25 days from his inauguration until I first heard the word "impeach" used in the ultra-timid, non-partisan mainstream media. The man continues to impress.

  • After Miller's Mega-Lies, time to rev back up the Reality Based Community
  • The real Victors in Judges' ban on Trump's Ban: US Universities
    • Higher education is one of our most important exports these days. It just happens in the form of bodies coming in rather than boxes going out.

      There are several hundred Iranians at the University of Illinois right now, mostly grad students and post-docs in computer science and various kinds of engineering. If Iran ever does get the bomb, it will almost certainly be designed and built by American-educated scientists. How ironic.

  • Circus of Liars: How Trump & GOP are Twisted into Pretzels over Putin Hack
    • But we forget that the percentage of voters who spend their time googling such things in the days before an election is actually quite small. Most people just aren't that obsessed. Republicans hated Clinton more than Democrats hated Trump, so their turnout was up and ours was down. The results weren't evenly distributed among the states. That's why we lost.

    • There was not much good to be said for the Weimer Republic. It was ineffectual and corrupt. But the Third Reich was not an improvement.

      "Independent thought and intention" are by no means by definition positive. No matter how bad the status quo, it can get worse. My guess is Trump has no problem with covert institutions. He just wants them to be HIS covert institutions.

  • Conspiracy Theorist in Chief: Trump's falsehood about 2 mn. illegal votes only tip of Melting Iceberg
    • Unfortunately, Trump's unpopularity (and that of Republicans generally) only makes him and them more dangerous. They know they have to act quickly, before opposition can mobilize, and they will. I predict Democrats will respond by whining loudly.

  • Is Trump "Pro-Russian?" How will Russia Fare? Russians want to Know
    • "find evidence of corruption . . ."? My God -- we're practically drowning in it. But the GOP Congress impeach him? In your dreams.

      But that's not our only hope anyway. Our only hope is to ACT.

  • Will Turkey leave NATO for Sino-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Council?
  • Will Trump bolster the Military-Industrial Complex?
    • I don't expect any of our troops to be coming home any time soon. Once someone explains to Trump how the military corruption works, he'll be all in.

  • 5 Trump Headlines more outrageous than the "Hamilton" Tiff
    • And yet when the players come to Hamlet's castle, he instructs them to do just that -- address a specific member of audience -- the King -- and in the most "in your face" way imaginable. So what is Shakespeare again? Timeless, or a representative of a coarsened society. I think you have it backwards.

  • Is Lt.-Gen. Flynn Right that Islam is not a Religion?
    • You think that's far enough away?

    • "You only hope that all these crackpots Trump is elevating to the highest offices in the land have been shining us on all these years with their lunatic theories and that once in power they’ll start acting like responsible adults."

      Please Juan -- I need more hope than that.

  • Woman demeans Christian Assyrian-American as 'Terrorist' for Speaking Jesus' Language
    • I have no doubt that Jesus himself would be labelled a terrorist in America today, regardless of what language he spoke.

  • Why Internment of Japanese Americans is an outrageous Model for registering Muslim-Americans
    • If you think those laws you cite will mean anything to Jeff Sessions' Justice Department, Paul Ryan's House of Representatives, or Mitch McConnell's Senate, you have more faith in them than I do. You probably believe in the tooth fairy, too. Lawyers are not going to be the answer.

    • You don't recall Yugoslavia? How about World War II? You have a short memory.

  • Dear Mayor Giuliani: We can’t turn our backs on Syrian Refugees
    • You're trying to use reason to persuade the irrational. That doesn't work. There's an old saying -- I think it originated with a Brit, in fact -- "You can't win an argument with an ignorant man."

  • Will Trump really be Isolationist? Or will he March us to War?
    • "You know it seems like
      Total destruction's
      The only solution.
      No one can stop them now."
      -- Bob Marley

  • Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: "Anger is a Good thing" "if you're Fighting to Take this Country Back"
    • I think anyone counting on the constitution to limit Trump's power is living in a high school civics class dreamworld. Insitutional limits are only as strong as the people manning the institutions. Do you think legal treaty obligations will prevent Trump from withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement? Who will enforce those obligations? Do you think the statutory basis for the EPA will keep it from being dismantled? You're not dealing with people who give a flying fig about the constitution. You're dealing with people who want their way.

  • America through the Hell-Gate of Horn
  • Four years of Trump could really sink the planet
    • It's amazing how people aren't panicking over the most obvious, ominous signs right in front of their faces.

      I have vivid memories of toilet-papering trees on Halloween in my youth -- not that many decades ago -- and I vividly remember those trees being bare by the end of October. After many years in the south, where fall naturally comes later, I'm now not too far from my old digs, and the trees on Halloween haven't even reached peak color. By the time our last city leaf pick-up comes, half the leaves will still not have fallen, no doubt because they haven't updated the schedule in years.

      But when I point these things out to people -- even fairly climate-aware people -- they look at me like, "No kidding? Hadn't really noticed."

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • Once more, in English please.

    • Why would anyone feel any social discomfort about a response they would give to a pollster on the telephone -- someone (or even a robot) they don't even know and who doesn't even know anyone that they know? Makes no sense. They certainly didn't feel any social discomfort about putting yard signs in front of their houses.

      To me, it's pretty obvious the polls were using turnout models that turned out to be just flat wrong -- just like the Romney campaign's models were in 2012.

    • Why don't you Greens try doing something during the four years BETWEEN elections? You know -- organizing, running candidates, winning elections. THEN you might have a powerful third party.

    • That's a pretty simplistic view of the origins of civilization and the agricultural revolution. Way more complicated than that.

    • Shouldn't worry about Trump? Easy for you to say.

      Obama didn't close down Guantanamo because his own party wouldn't back him on it. I think he should just give the place back to Cuba now while he still has time. Solve two injustices with one act.

    • I don't think anyone concealed their voting intentions. The Republican far right maintained that both McCain and Romney lost because they did not go hard right enough -- that there was still an untapped pool of white voters that could be gotten with the right (racist) pitch. I thought that was a fantasy. So did the pollsters. Boy, were we wrong!

    • I hope the Clinton fortune provides them solace in their golden years, because it probably cost them the White House. Reagan initiated the practice of profiting from the Presidency with a $1 million speech in Japan, as I recall, and Bush 41 continued it, but Bill Clinton turned it into a business model, and make no mistake -- his wife's looming return to the White House was very much part of the sales pitch.

      The Clintons received more than their share of the public trust over the last 40 years, and whatever you think of their record, they did far better for the Clintons than they did for the public. You can't blame people for resenting that.

  • Election Westworld? Bots were 20% of your Twitter News Feed
    • I have never visited Twitter.com. The only thing I can imagine wanting to do less than write a tweet is wanting to read someone else's tweet. It seems to me not much interesting can be said in 140-character bundles, and the tweets that have come my way via the news media have done nothing to change that view.

      I have been mystified for some time by the apparent attractiveness to so many of tweeting, retweeting, and following the tweets of others. Do people really have that little to do or think about? Who has that much time on their hands? Maybe someone here can explain to me what I'm missing.

  • Dear Ann Coulter: Ben Franklin didn't think you or Trump are White, Either
    • I can't speak for Europe, but there's no question in my mind that Trumpism in America -- indeed, the entire thrust of Republican politics since Reagan -- is mainly the desperation a segment of the shrinking demographic feels about maintaining white privilege.

      Growing up, I was as much aware of my own whiteness as any black kid was of his blackness, and I was very much aware that in my case, it was a good thing. It was only the moral precepts I learned in Sunday school, the plain words of the Declaration of Independence, and the visible moral example of the civil rights movement that made me open to viewing the world through a different lens than race. And even then, I had to leave my all-white suburb for a big university to even begin to get the opportunities to experience that tolerance works as well in life as it does on paper.

      I think millions of "white" Americans have made basically the same journey, but millions more haven't. It's hard to grow up in an urban area now without at least being comfortable seeing people of color at the grocery store, but in rural America, more than half-a-mile from the interstate, it'll still draw stares. Most job-sites requiring a college education have achieved some degree of diversity at this point, and thus most college-educated whites have had meaningful relationships outside their race. The small town auto mechanic, not so much.

      Those seem to be the basic fault lines in American politics in 2016 -- rural/urban, and education -- and those, I think, are the reasons.

    • Trump would also win if only anorexic albinos could vote,

  • Top 5 urgent Climate Change/Election Stories MSM Suppressed
    • 300 years of scientific progress has not changed the fundamental fact of human nature expressed by Louis XV:

      Apres moi, le deluge.

  • Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?
    • When Le Pen made the run-off in France several years ago, the left en masse supported the despised Gaullists to defeat him and send him back under the rock from which he slithered. And our left wonders why they never get anywhere. It's mainly because they're cry-babies.

    • How about the idea of clapping our hands to save Tinker Belle's life?

    • As you can see, Juan, a lot of your readers were dropped on their heads. Well, I'm sure you're as tired of arguing with them as I am, but thanks for trying. When you can't convince a person that there's a difference between catching a cold and catching bubonic plague, what can you do?

    • If you think a "Network"-style mass insurrection is what the county needs, you obviously didn't hang around for the end of the movie, because however mad as hell they were, all they ended up with was another bad TV show.

    • What are you talking about?

    • "what protects us from the raging fear of devalued whiteness in 40% plus of the population?"

      60% of the population.

  • 10 Things Weiner did Worse than Storing H. Clinton Emails on his computer
  • Iraqi Kurdistan forces take Bashiqa on road to Mosul
  • Polls: Capt. Trump aiming GOP Flight 2016 at nearest mountain
    • Great stuff. My only disagreement is the statement the GOP has earned this shellacking over the past six years. I would say 36 -- since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS, dancing on the graves of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney.

      The best part of the whole kerfuffle over whether Trump will accept the results of the election (who really cares?) is the stampede of vote-suppressing Republicans (talking to you, John Kasich and Paul Ryan) to assure Americans that there is no fraud to speak of in American elections, after several years of telling us we need photo ID laws to prevent -- fraud. The next time one of these cases hits the courts, Democrats can use these statements as Exhibits A, B, C, D . . . X, Y and Z in undermining the GOP's case.

  • Dylan, the American Left, and What We have Lost
    • Nicely done, Juan. Appreciate it. Dylan's a longtime favorite of mine, so I can't resist adding a few thoughts.

      Dylan's "rejection" of his protest songs has always been overblown, in my opinion. Even at the height of that period, his political songs were always outnumbered by songs about falling in and out of love and the rest of the emotional obstacle course that every young man must negotiate. He did see the perils of being stuck in the box of a topical songwriter and was determined not to let that happen, but he never abandoned social commentary. "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" is as political a song as he ever wrote.

      He never abandoned his left-oriented idealism, and he eventually returned to the occasional topical song, be it a about particular case of injustice ("Hurricane"), corporate greed and globalization ("Union Sundown"), or the general decay of our political discourse ("Political World"). He dedicated a song to Sen. Paul Wellstone at a concert in the days immediately following his death.

      He got hammered pretty badly by some on the left for a few statements he made about Israel over the years. I never followed that controversy closely enough to form much of an opinion. But at the very worst, I wouldn't question the basic humanitarianism of Elie Wiesel just because he viewed that conflict through more Jewish eyes than I do.

      I normally couldn't care less about who wins the Nobel Prize, the Oscars, or any of the other high-profile awards, but I admit I was thrilled about this one, probably more than Dylan.

  • Die-Hard Trump Supporters want to *be* Trump
    • I don't doubt that there are more Dylan Roofs and the Colorado clinic bomber-types out there -- probably a lot more, and some of them may act. But the scenario of him winning -- making his entire mass of supporters feel enabled -- is much, much scarier. If Trump loses -- and hopefully loses big -- the vast majority will just go home and grumble and hopefully shut up for a while.

    • But that's where he gets it wrong. Real stars don't grope women. If you're a real star, women grope you. I'd be surprised if Mick Jagger ever stooped anywhere close to the level of Trump (much less the supremely disgusting Roger Ailes). He may have sung about it, but he didn't do it. He didn't have to.

    • Yeah. I remember a lot of people who thought W. was too dumb, lazy, and detached to do any real damage. They were wrong.

    • You must have been channeling me, Juan. I've had that exact same thought for some time.

      We wonder how so many people can be attracted to such an obvious schoolyard bully, but when I look back at the real schoolyard bullies I knew as a kid, most of them were pretty popular guys. Why? Because his "friends" felt enabled to act like bullies too.

      I have an ex-brother-in-law who reminds me very much of Trump, from the mannerisms to the misogynism to the cheating on his taxes (unfortunately for him, he didn't have Trump's lawyers, but that's another story), and of course he's a big Trump supporter. Trump is exactly who he would have wanted to be had he had a little bit better head start in life.

      My niece -- his daughter -- and I have discussed this many times since Trump emerged, and that's the good news. Millions of American woman have some kind of mini-Trump in their past -- father, ex-husband, boyfriend -- and they will NEVER vote for him. In fact, I would guess their turnout to vote against him will be close to 100%, if not higher.

  • GOP finally shocked as Trump admits to being serial Groper of white women on Hot Mic
    • Trump doing damage control? Yeah, and the Boston Strangler's running a rape crisis hotline.

    • The worst part of the whole thing (aside from admitting to being a serial criminal) is being lost amid all the verbal vulgarity. As he ogled the actress who was to escort him to the set of the show, he didn't say, "SHE looks good." He said, "IT looks good." She was an "it" to him.

  • "Little Trump" Pence: Bomb Syria, confront Russia, smear refugees; & smoking doesn't cause Cancer
    • Your delusion is that if Trump wins, you will get another chance to vote.

    • And yet Pence was declared the "winner" because he said these things with a calm demeanor and a straight face.

  • Balder & Dash: Would our presidential Candidates start a Nuclear War? They won't answer.
    • Frankly, this has become a one-issue election for me, and this is the issue. But I'm not that concerned with either candidate's policy pronouncements. We have avoided a nuclear exchange to date because the world's nuclear powers have so far recognized that their use is fundamentally irrational -- that no conceivable benefit is equal to their cost, and their use could quite possibly prove suicidal. The world's nuclear powers have been self-interested always, ruthless at times, but not fundamentally irrational and certainly not suicidal.

      But you don't need to be a psychiatrist to see that Trump is not a stable, rational human being. His middle-of-the-night Twitter tantrums are the stuff of bipolar disorder or alcohol abuse, at the very least. That's not how normal people act. And statements such as "I alone can fix it" bespeak a megalomania that should be genuinely frightening.

      Too many people seem to dismiss such alarmism with a serene confidence that such bad things can't possibly happen, at least in America, because they have never happened before. I'm not willing to take that chance. I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton, but I will vote to live to fight another day.

  • US breaks off Military Cooperation with Russia in Syria
    • I agree. Russia is simply playing the same "Great Game" it has been playing for over 200 years through Tsars, Bolsheviks, and now Putin. It's a matter of geography, not ideology or personality. And there is no reason to think the Russian military will be any more effective than ours in imposing its will. Let ISIS be mad at him, not us, I say.

      I'm amazed at the American politicians who blithely call for the creation of a "safe zone," as if that, at least, could be easily done. 150,000 US troops could not create any safe zones in Iraq -- not even for themselves -- and Afghanistan has been a similar exercise in futility. Syria presents an even worse prospect, since both sides of the conflict are abhorrent. The idea of "arming the moderate opposition" is absurd. The moderate opposition is in Germany.

      The situation in Syria is tragic and heartbreaking, and no one wants to say do nothing, but that doesn't mean we should throw gasoline on the fire in the name of doing something. A nearly unbroken string of military failure since Vietnam has failed to convince Americans -- neither the elites nor the man on the street -- that our military, however lethal, cannot deliver the outcomes we want. Even our "successes" are failures. Kosovo is now the leading source of ISIS recruits in Europe.

      I don't know what it will take. Gore Vidal had it right: The United States of Amnesia.

  • Whose Fault is Trump? Top 7 Culprits
    • Actually, the data I've seen indicates the typical Trump supporter is above the national average on the income scale -- hardly in a state of penury. The Trump signs I've seen in my town are all in front of houses that appear to be doing quite well. It's kind of like the meme that seems almost universally accepted that America is in awful, awful, awful shape, although it's hard to support that with data. The deficit as a percentage of GDP is quite low by historic standards, and while I agree the benefits of the recovery have not been well-distributed, the US has done better than almost any other country in the world, and we're indisputably in better shape than we were eight years ago.

      For some reason, Americans seem to think there should be no problems in the world, and those that exist should go away just because we say so. It doesn't work that way.

      And if Hillary Clinton is "full-blown evil," where do you go to describe Charles Manson? Vlad the Impaler? Hitler? Hyperbole is rarely useful.

    • Other than perhaps overstating the importance of a smarmy wise-ass like Bill Maher, I agree completely.

      On Point 5 (news as infotainment): While movies set in the near future usually look a bit silly within a few years, an exception to this is the '70s film "Network." I suspect the screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky, thought at the time he was exaggerating what were then barely visible trends to the point of ridiculous absurdity. But 10 years later it looked truer than before, and 40 years later, truer still. If anything, it almost looks understated now.

      Add in a specific (and heinous) political agenda like Fox News, and a Democratic Party elite as clueless about the views of its own base (they thought Hillary Clinton was going to be popular) as it is spineless in opposition to Republican bullying, and you have a democracy in peril.

      Be strong, everyone. Be strong.

  • Vote For Hillary Clinton Or Die in a Fiery Apocalypse: A Letter To Young Progressives
    • True. We suffered a massive redistribution of wealth to the top, our public lands were looted, there was no longer an organized labor movement worth mentioning, and the new Jim Crow was born, but we did survive. We're a resilient species.

    • 16 years of "party building" has taken the Greens from Nader's 3% to Jill Stein's 1%. I'm not impressed.

    • Agree. Clinton has agreed to push at least some of the things on Bernie's agenda. If she's elected with our support, she has every reason to follow through. If she's elected without it, she has every reason to blow us off.

    • The point is not that only Nader made the difference. The point is that in a close election, many things can make the difference, and Nader was certainly one of them.

      I certainly understand why Ralph (who I once worked for) and the people who voted for him don't want to take responsibility for the disastrous eight years that followed. Who would? And no, it's not all their fault. But to pretend that Gore would not have followed better policies on at least some important issues -- climate change, for instance -- is an insult to everyone's intelligence.

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen
    • I saw some polling data which showed that more of Trump's support is actually anti-Hillary than Hillary's support is anti-Trump. That means they find her very scary, indeed.

      I think our side underestimates just how effective 25 years of Fox News and talk radio have been in creating an alternative reality that the majority of the GOP now lives in. I listen to these people occasionally on the principle of "know thy enemy," and many of the things on which we base our negative opinions of Trump are simply not presented. and if they should happen to hear them from other sources, they've been told not to believe them because the "liberal media" is in fact part and parcel of the "Democrat" party.

      Don't be surprised if the post-debate polls don't move as much as we think they should in light of Trump's (almost) universally panned performance. In fact, Republicans may be surprised if they don't move in his direction. They think he won. Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, and Charles Krauthammer said so on Fox.

  • Arab Street Shocked as Saudi Delegation Visits Israel
    • "The lack of genuine Saudi Royal concern for Palestinians is an old story."

      That's not true. They care a great deal about Palestinians. They're an important source of menial labor.

  • Disgraced Wasserman Schultz Resigns as DNC Chair, Gets Hired by Clinton
    • I think the more accurate way to put it is she's the honorary chairman in charge of trying to save her own sorry butt in Florida.

      By the way, how good a Jew is she, really?

  • How Roger Ailes at Fox killed Journalism and gave us George W. Bush
    • It's so fitting that Ailes' inglorious fall comes just as Trump -- the Frankenstein he did more than anyone to create, however unwittingly -- has taken over his party. A Trump would not have been possible without the 20-year assault on facts and reason that Fox News has so successfully led, and God willing, the whole conservative agitprop house of cards is crumbling as we speak. I'm only glad I lived to see the day. And I'm glad Roger has, too. Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

  • Mike Pence on the “American Heartland” and the Holy Land
    • The good news is that the Pence selection may cost Trump Indiana. The GOP is badly fractured there since the Tea Party took out Dick Lugar. That wing was infuriated by the "Religious Freedom" bill debacle, while the fundamentalists, meanwhile, got pissed at him for caving.

      So I understand why Pence wanted the job -- it saves him from the embarrassment of being defeated for re-election -- but I don't understand why Trump wanted him. He's a colorless campaigner, doesn't bring him a state, guarantees he'll get 0% of the LGBT vote, and he absolutely melted his one time in the national spotlight.

      Then again, his other choices were Christie -- which would have cost him New Jersey -- and Gingrich, perhaps Trump's only rival in egomaniacal blowhardism. And Trump brooks no rivals. That would have been like picking Al "I'm in Charge" Haig.

      Still, my guess is you'll have an easier time finding Pence on a milk carton than on TV this fall.

  • Did Trump-Style Islamophobia break up the European Union?
    • I believe it was a campaign promise. A lot of Tories wanted out of the EU, and a referendum was the deal Cameron made to run for PM.

  • How the US went Fascist: Mass media Makes excuses for Trump Voters
    • The Mussolini comparisons are spookier than you think. Go to YouTube and do a search. You don't have to speak Italian. The facial expressions, the gestures, the jutting lower lip -- it's Trump.

      Still, I'm not panicking until I start seeing brownshirts.

  • Why Trump's tiff with the Pope endangers his Political Future
    • That's why the media's collective heads exploded. "He gave a straight answer? What's his angle?"

    • The most "Christian" people I have ever known have been atheists, Jews, or atheistic Jews.

    • I don't think the Pope was trying to meddle in American politics. I would be surprised if he has more than a vague idea who Donald Trump even is. One of our fatal flaws as Americans is we tend to think anything that happens, anywhere in the world, is primarily about us. It's not.

      When the Pope speaks, he speaks to a worldwide audience. Roman Catholics in his native Latin America outnumber US Catholics by probably 10-1. I suspect he was thinking much more about them when he spoke than about swing voters in Pennsylvania.

      And then there's Europe, where walls are going up left and right as we speak to keep out refugees from Africa and the Middle East. I suspect he was speaking to them, too.

  • Did Bashar al-Assad win New Hampshire? Trump & Sanders Mideast Policies
    • Relax, Vic Oldright. Republicans have done nothing to address their basic demographic problems except to make them worse. No amount of red-baiting is going to make African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latino-Americans vote for the white racist party instead.

    • My only issue issue with you, Juan, is the implicit assumption that we should take seriously anything Trump says. He says what he thinks will help him today, and he'll say the exact opposite if he thinks that will help him tomorrow. Frankly, no one knows what the hell he will do, which is scariest of all.

      My gut (and his Iraq vote) suggest to me that Bernie has the best instincts on foreign policy, but he definitely needs to work on his chops.

  • Can we Take another Year of GOP Candidates' 'Bright Ideas'?
  • Fair Weather Friends: GOP says 'We're all French' Now; but remember Freedom Fries?
    • "One hopes that the recent events in Paris (at a time when ISISphobia has replaced Francophobia) will begin the process of forging a new trans-Atlantic sense of solidarity with America’s historic friend and perhaps remove some of the allure of French-bashing among the American Right."

      Don't bet on it. They are as consistent as they are logical.

  • Has the GOP given up on winning the Presidency? Carson, Trump on Muslims, Latinos
    • I think you're giving the GOP way too much credit for having any kind of plan at all. They correctly identified their demographic issues after 2012, but while it's in their collective interest to address those issues, it's not in any individual's interest to do so, so no one does. Same at the Congressional level -- it's in each individual Representative's interest to play to the existing right-wing base. That's what saves their job even if it hurts the party nationally. It's the down side of gerrymandering. The GOP is like a car with a steering wheel that only turns one way. And they can't even recognize the problem, because they've been driving that car so long, there is no longer even any institutional memory of a steering wheel that turns any other way.

  • What's behind Russia's military build-up in Syria?
    • I doubt Putin is very committed to Assad personally in the long run. He is, however, committed to a friendly Syria and a defeated ISIS for both geopolitical and domestic terrorist reasons. Assad is surviving simply because the Alawites fear the same fate suffered by the Sunnis in Iraq -- a fall from the ruling class to a persecuted minority. The only non-violent solution is some kind of Assad-less ethno-sectarian power-sharing structure. With Iran back in the international community -- and with a strong interest in demonstrating that that is a good thing for the region and for the West -- that may be an attainable goal.

  • Germany seeks Talks with Russia over Syria as Putin conducts Naval Maneuvers off Tartous
    • I can't believe the Russians think Assad is sustainable. My guess is this is the first step in a Russian-Iranian effort (with full US backing) of providing Assad with a nice retirement home while ensuring a place at the table for the Allawites in a future multi-sectarian Syria.

  • Charge that Trump had Black Casino Employees hidden from him in '80s
    • Like all other Trump scandals, this will only help him with the Republican base.

  • Trump in Alabama: Playing George Wallace & making Latinos the new N-Word
    • super390 -- 2 answers:

      1) My experience is it's a small minority of African-Americans who "hate" illegal aliens. While I hesitate to paint any group with a very broad brush, I've found them to be unusually sympathetic to other disadvantaged groups.

      2) See my initial comment -- It's the racism, stupid.

    • To take a page from James Carville, "It's the racism, stupid."

  • Defying Saudis, Iran: Muslim thinkers call for Action on Climate Change at Istanbul Conference
    • It doesn't surprise me that the most prominent member of the group is from the island nation of Indonesia. The Islamic world embraces many cultures and lifestyles.

  • How many thousands US troops would GOP Hopefuls send to Iraq and Syria?
    • Many people have run for President promising peace. This is the first time that I know of that has people running for President promising war. (And not just one.)

  • Iran's Khamenei Praises Nuclear Deal, but slams US Foreign Policy
    • Between the hostage crisis and the CIA coup which installed the Shah in the '50s -- both clearly illegal and morally unjustifiable -- both countries still have some understandably raw nerves. Apologies cannot change the past, but they can play a big part in reconciliation. I think it would help if Iran apologized for holding 52 of our citizens hostage for over 400 days, and we apologized for holding their entire country hostage for over 25 years.

  • Iran Deal: Winners & Losers in the Greater Middle East
    • It seems to me the biggest winner is the United States. I just read on HuffPo about a major terrorism bust (more than 400 arrested) in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis realize they now have a significant rival for our favor, and they better start shaping up.

  • South Carolina removes the Physical Flag: Can it remove the Spiritual Illness of Racial Discrimination?
    • Interesting you should bring up the pursuit of educational opportunities. Did you know that black people founded the first public schools in South Carolina? They were run by the Freedman's Bureau and were open to people of all races (although few white people would lower themselves to attend. I guess they hated black people more than they loved their own children.) When Reconstruction ended, they reverted to the Southern state governments, who then denied them to blacks. Ironic, isn't it?

    • If physical displays cannot affect hearts and minds, then why are they displayed in the first place?

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