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Total number of comments: 151 (since 2015-07-11 06:30:18)


Showing comments 151 - 101

  • Trump, McCabe and our Permanent Constitutional Crisis
    • Don't know. We'll only find out when they are -- like Watergate-era Republicans -- in the minority.

  • Happiness Index: From Immigrants to Health, how Trump & GOP are making America Sad (Sad)
    • Judging from our political rhetoric, I can't believe we're as high as 18th.

  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal
  • Why Turmoil in Iran: Beyond the Fake News and Social Media Hype
    • Excellent article. I believe almost none of what I read or see about Iran in the American media because I can't square the image of Iran they create with the actual Iranian people I know and have known over a period of decades. So I know what I don't believe, but I don't always know what I should believe. This helped. Thanks.

  • World's Cheapest Solar Power in Mexico a Coal-Killer
    • Actually, my understanding of China is they DO have endless bureaucracy -- the Chinese invented bureaucracy -- but what they don't have is endless politics where the greedy can prevail if they can successfully deceive the gullible.

  • Top 5 reasons Roy Moore could still Win, despite Sex Scandals
    • No, this won't hurt him in Alabama. Baptist preachers have a reputation for a reason down there. Most of the flock would consider it an honor to have their teenage daughter hit on by such a God-fearing man as Roy Moore. They would consider the daughter at fault for being so unreasonable and uncooperative.

  • Saudi Official views Lebanon as "at war with us"
    • Wouldn't pretend to know what's going on in Saudi Arabia, but from far away, it looks to me like the Saudi nightmare of a Shi'ite crescent from Iran to Beirut has basically come to pass (thank you neo-cons), it has solidified rather quickly, and it has them more than a little freaked out. Your long-term economic heft is clearly on the wane, and you find your only friends in the region are Israel and Donald Trump. Desperate men do desperate things.

  • Was Democratic Nomination rigged for Clinton against Sanders?
    • This is just providing the contractual details to what everybody already knew. Of course the DNC -- i.e. "the establishment" -- favored Hillary. That's why she was called the Establishment candidate, and Bernie was the Insurgent. The only rigging was in the superdelegates -- Bernie was spotting her over 400 votes -- but everyone knew that, too, and that rigging has been in place for 40 years. It's just usually not so one-sided. So yeah, the DNC did whatever they could within the rules to help Hillary. So what? Being the ineffectual organization it is and being under the leadership of the ineffectual Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, their help was of no significance one way or the other. Hillary won and would've won anyway.

  • 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.

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