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Total number of comments: 137 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:44)

Henry James

Showing comments 137 - 101

  • Student Debt: Blame Law-Makers, Tax-Shirking Rich, War on Drugs, not Universities
    • [We should legalize pot, and tax the resulting industry. ]

      Now drug lobby calls for pot legalization. But once this is achieved, it is really naive to think that pot taxes will help education.

      It is more likely that legal drug sellers will share the tax burden with other businesses. In exchange for certain favors, they will agree to pay more taxes so that others will pay less.

  • Why Romney is Wrong that Obama's Syria Policy Emboldened Putin
    • Dealing with Obama admin on Syria, Russians understood that they are being tricked, and made the conclusions. It is that simple.

  • Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail
    • [House Republican majority leader John Boehner (R-OH) unrealistically urged that the US export more natural gas to Europe to offset the Russian advantage. This suggestion implies a press to increase hydraulic fracturing, which is environmentally debilitating, a water hog, a water polluter, and is implicated in deadly methane and CO2 emissions that will sink Miami and New York. ]

      As far as I know, shale gas, unlike natural gas, is not good for export. To be cost-efficient, it needs to be produced locally.

      From the other side, Ukraine heavily depends on nuclear energy, almost 50% of its electricity is produced by Russia-supported nuclear power plants.

      So, in principle, Russians can simply put a break on their support of Ukrainian nuclear power plants and this will put Ukrainian economy down even regardless of gas supplies. It is very unlikely that the West can resolve this issue in the matter of months or even years.

      Why they have not used this tool before? Most likely, this is because of oligarchical interests. Simply put, Russian oligarchs who control the nuclear industry don't want to lose their profits.

      But if situation will get really serious, this can change

  • Three Years Later: Can the Libyan Revolution Succeed?
    • [Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch explains where Libya needs to go from here]

      I am really not sure what exactly legitimacy Ms.Whitson has in Libya. She was not elected there, does not seem to have any military power. Or maybe she has?

  • Ban Coal: Super Cyclone half the Size of India driven by warming Waters
  • The World after the Kerry-Lavrov accord on Syria
    • [There is still a chance of a military strike however if there is another chemical attack but it would be a real headscratcher for any analyst to provide a motive for Assad to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.]

      No, problems at all, here it goes already: Syrian opposition websites have posted pictures of what they claim is a fresh chemical weapons attack on Damascus, this time on the suburb of Jobar. The alleged attack resulted in casualties, activists told al Arabiya on Thursday.
      The claim comes after a purported chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on Aug. 21. link to

    • One Israeli air attack, one chemical attack by anybody in Syria will completely change this game. No, this does not look like any major diplomatic breakthrough at this point.

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • I really can't imagine why bombing of Libya was less exceptionalist than attack on Syria. In fact, it was more exceptionalist because the US superiority over Gaddafi's Libya was much stronger.

  • When Syria was a US Ally (or at Least Helpful)
    • Dear Professor Cole:

      According to Al-Arabiya, all the intelligence info about Assad's involvement in Gouta attack is still classified:
      link to

      According to the usual norms of reasonable discussion, there is nothing to talk about. Or maybe I am missing something?

      So, could you please explain, why do you take all this for granted?

      Henry James

  • American Jews Divided on Syria Strike, Many Oppose AIPAC
    • Exactly as Bush and Cheney, Obama really cares about 2 things: casus belli and the best supporters he can get. The difference is, Bush did not need lots of support, powerful US and Israeli hawks were quite enough for them and they could not care less about France.

      Obama needs more, but, in the end, AIPAC/ADL are just OK: link to

  • Former Iranian President Slams Syria for Gassing own People: Sign of deep Divisions in Tehran
    • Rafsanjani could not care less about the Western "evidence" against Assad aka intelligence collected by the Anti-Assad rebels. He just hates the current Iranian leaders and wants Assad to be hit simply because Hamenei supports him.

      Everything like here in the US where the GOP and Obama fight with each other by any means necessary.

  • Obama goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses
    • This was called the reboot of US-Russian relationship. Basically, Medvedev was happy to believe whatever he was told. This is not the case with Putin meaning now the reboot is over.

  • Rush to Western Strike on Syria slows, but does not Stall
    • [It does put paid to the crackpot conspiracy theory, advanced by the regime and the Russians, that the rebels gassed themselves.]

      I fail to see any magic at im the actions of the Saudi special forces and the Salafists. What is exactly the problem for them to kill a few hundreds civilians?

  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
  • Egypt's Revenge of the Leftovers: Mubarak to be released, Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie Arrested
    • The problem is, if Palin were elected President, she would face the same choice between cutting and continuing aid for Egypt. Exactly as Obama, she would not avoid this false choice and we would be exactly where we are now.

  • Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
    • Local video monitoring of public spaces with a few days retention is one thing. Centralized global monitoring with months/years retention is something completely different.

    • The real nightmare of Snowden's revelations is that now we know that top secret NSA databases are 99.99% meaningless garbage: private emails, casual posts from social networks, pointless metadata for many years, etc. In pre-computer era this would be like collecting ALL used tickets, invoices, bills, etc.

      Regardless of legality, this absurd garbage collection is doomed to end badly.

  • Has Military Suppression of Political Islam ever Worked?
    • Saddam Hussein in Iraq attempted to suppress Shiite religous parties such as the Islamic Call (Da’wa) Party, the Supreme [Islamic Council of Iraq, and the Sadr II Bloc....
      The Baath Party in Syria tried to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood at Hama in 1982, and after....
      The Soviet Union tried to destroy political Islam in Afghanistan and failed, despite igniting a war in which a million people died...]

      In these 3 important examples, the West helped the Sunni Islamists quite a lot, not to mention the pro-Western GCC countries. And GCC is an important promoter of Sunni extremism in all cases. Not to mention Turkey's role in Syria and now in Egypt.

      So, yes, MB in Egypt can rely on the outside help, although GCC and Turkey use to play the double game.

  • Top 10 reasons to welcome departure of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Only the Neocons will miss Him
    • [I will never again have to hear some uninformed pundit or politician drone on about how Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map, which he did not. ]

      Unfortunately, there will be some equivalent of this. Such absurd accusations are symptoms of hate, and hate always finds one way to manifest itself or another.

      Another example of such absurdity is obamophobic story about the birth certificate.

      And there is an absurd cult of Pussy Riot, Pussies are only as good as they are putinophobic.

  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • Industrial robots and computers are part of industrialization. Sure, industrialization comes with lots of social problems.

      But what we see in Detroit is deindustrialization, decline of all kinds of manufacturing including high tech. In fact, high tech does not make much sense when lots of dirt cheap labor is available in the 3rd world.

      Offshoring will certainly kill new green technologies, 3D printing, everything that needs highly qualified work force rather than quasislaves from Bangladesh.

  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • I really can't understand how it comes to $110729 fro whites.

      -- For example, how much of a leased car one owns, especially by the end of the lease?
      -- What about credit cards, student loans, medical and other debts?
      -- Even tenants of luxury apartments have no equity.
      -- Do they count only paid equity for mortgages and car loans?

  • Aljazeera's Conspiracy Theory about Obama and Egypt is Brainless Mush
    • In simple terms, both Obama admin and Qatar play double game in Egypt. Both have strong links both with MB and the military. Apparently, Qatar has stronger links with MB, but they need a smokescreen for their financial aid for the anti-Mursists. This explains why Aljazeera produced this article.

  • Israel, Syria, Trade Fire, Threats in Golan Heights
    • [It was the fifth such Syrian provocation in the territory. ]

      Aha, now it is Syrians who attack Israel, not another way around...

  • Obama must Make Fighting Climate Change National Project, or Die the death of a thousand Scandals
    • Fine, Bush policies had nothing to do with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was all about Taliban and Hussein. Now the world is a much better place without them. Oops, Taliban is still here, but who cares. Does it help?

    • With all due respect for the climate change effort, I can't imagine how it can resolve the problems of GDP stagnation and unemployment, not to mention the security quagmire.

      Unlike with industrialization, we are not likely to see millions busy producing climate preservation products!

      And how it is going to prevent the coming big wars in Korea and in the Middle East which are the natural consequences of Obama's policies?

  • The Conservative Logic of Ferguson's Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and Krugman
    • Apparently, gender left are more concerned about gender issues than about economy. In return, gender right is always happy to fight cultural wars on gender issues. This way, interests of millions are forgotten in favor of the tiny % of those who really care about gays. Which is exactly what super-rich want.

  • Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism
    • Thanks, this is pretty much what I mean :)

    • IMHO, interpreting Koran is up to the Muslim clerics, splitting the difference between policing, regular warfare and terrorism in religious terms even more so. Why should secular Westerners get involved in this?!

  • If N. Korea is the Threat, Why is all the War Talk about a Weak Iran?
    • The point is, Obama has a good chance to replace 2 minor wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2 major wars in Korea and in Iran.

  • Instead of offering to Buy East Jerusalem, the Arab League should invite Israel to Join It
    • Is not Saudi cooperation with Israel on Syria and Iran enough? How they will cooperate with anti-Shiite juhadists if they will formally cooperate with Israel?

  • Pope Francis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Women's Equality: Why Must Religion be Patriarchal?
    • [Why Must Religion be Patriarchal?]

      Pretty much for the same reason it must be non-proletarian :) Up to about mid-19c nobody knew what proletariat is and now this notion is out of fashion, but Religion is still here. Same thing with Feminism and gay rights. There was no such thing as gay rights in mid-20c and, hopefully, they will be forgotten in a few decades.

  • Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense
    • #0.1 Bushist Tom Ridge endorses Hagel: link to
      #0.2: Hagel is a moderate Republican, so Obama shows once again that he is basically a GOPer, follower of Reagan who is a leftist on the current GOP scale

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • As it turned out, the killers' Mom was a former stock brocker and his estranged dad is no less that GE Capital VP! That is, this family is accustome to hacking the laws in the ways ordinary people would never imagine.

      Although Mrs Lanza owned her arms completely legally, she hacked the CT gun law and did not protect her arms from her mentally unstable son. Most likely, she taught him to shoot. So, yes, strict gun laws are great, but peole like Lanza will always hack any laws however smart these laws are.

      link to

  • Malala Yousufzai taken to UK for Treatment; and Pakistan's Education Shame
    • There are to be age limits for political blogging. I don't think it makes sense to encourage 11-year olds to blog about puppies too much, not to mention hot political issues.

  • Top Seven Errors President Obama has made on the Middle East
    • On Iran. Yes, hard sanctions lead to war. With Japan, both sanctions and war were just, Japan and Nazi Germany were allies. With Iran it is completely different. But once you recognize Bush's Axis of Evil and take regime change in Iran a right goal, sanctions and war become basically inevitable.

      On Libya. Once you consider regime change in Libya as a right goal, all the rest is splitting hair.

      On Syria. Again, if regime change is a goal, then sanctions, special ops and open war are the only way to go.

      On Pakistani drones. Ground war with Pakistan is impossible and without Pakistan not much can be done in Afghanistan. What remains is special ops and drone attacks.

  • Top Ten Things Mitt Romney Gets Wrong about US Middle East Policy
    • [In 1953, the United States overthrew the elected, parliamentary government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran, at the insistence of Big Oil. Iran had nationalized its petroleum, and Mosaddegh had allowed Communists (along with liberals and fundamentalist ayatollahs) into his coalition. The US CIA thus implemented a coup plan originally drawn up by Britain’s MI6 on behalf of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP).]

      Early in the Arab Spring, it was politically convenient to support fair elections in Tunisia and Egypt. But just a few months later, it turned out that it is necessary to support Islamist guerrillas in Libya and in Syria.

      So, it hardly makes much sense to project modern concern about fair elections to Iran in the early 1950-ies and lament about supporting the Shah against Mosaddegh 60 years ago! Especially considering that it was a completely different epoch when clean fair elections were taken much less seriously than now.

  • Is Obama more Klingon or more Vulcan? & Michael Dorn Pitches "Captain Worf"
    • In Startrek, Klingons are culture/race/ethincity, not just a political faction. So, comparing them to the neocons is actually racist.

      Worf is an ethnic Klingon, he was raised by humans. He talks a lot about his being Klingon, but fully enjoys Federations' equality policies, so he is treated as everybody else according to his merits, not as a Klingon.

      And yes, of course, as it was already mentioned, Sisko is a great black captain in DS9, he has none of Worf's identity problems.

      As for the neocons, they are ultra-capitalists, but Startrek is anti-capitalist. For example, DS9 Ferengis are a satire on capitalism. So, there can be no neocons in Starfleet.

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  • On Real Gender and Racial Equality (Gloria Steinem Poster)
    • Are they going to choose and earn relatives as well? What is exactly choosing and earning of science and technology?

  • Putin, Pussy Riot, Hooliganism and the Syrian Bloodbath
    • Actually, the difference between normal and punk protest is known ever since the caves, it has little to do with Putin and ROC. Defending punks did not change meaning since then.

  • Iran, UNSC talks have the effect of Averting War
    • Now those who spend years condemning Chamberlain's and Molotov's diplomacy before WW2, have their time. This is exactly the same kind of diplomacy, very little to do with anything close to international law, pure demonstration of force.

  • Legalize Pot, Save Public Education, and end Student Indebtedness
    • [In terms of its safety and side effect profile, cannabis is the one of the safest therapeutic substance used in medicine today.]

      Then why they promote smoking "medical" marijuana? What about extracting its active components and using it as any other drug?

    • The next logical step in this direction is to introduce robotic prostitution and use it to fund education:
      link to
      And yes, social networks can be of great help in the legal drug and sex trade.

  • Why Romney is Lying about the Causes of high Prices at the Pump
    • Obama just declared that, basically, sanctions against Iran will not really affect the oil prices. So, as usual, he does not have principal disagreements with the GOP! Rather, republicans are ahead of him, and he defends some old GOP policy: link to

  • Top 7 Ways Bin Laden Underestimated Joe Biden
    • Those who developed this story somehow forgot that for the last several years OBL lived near the major Pakistani military base together with his family. Of course, he was not in a position to do anything serious, basically, he was retired.

      In fact, most of what we hear about Al-Queda is their prevented plots. This is quite an industry now.

  • Syria Revolt Enters Second Year as World Stands Feckless
    • What is the difference between anonymous undercover correspondent and the spy? How can we trust his info? But Aljazeera publishes rubbish like this, and it is typical for pr-rebel coverage of Syria: link to

  • Changing Iran's Nuclear Calculation with Green Energy: Buonomo
    • All this logic is based on the assumption that Iran can and will provide sufficient proof that it does not cross the US/Israeli red lined on nuclear development.

      But the Iraqi example shows that it is completely impossible. If Iran will agree for certain more intrusive inspections, the only result will be more fears, more unanswered questions, more demands, etc.

  • Khamenei Takes Control, Forbids Nuclear Bomb
    • I don't really see the point of any detailed discussions of the speeches of Iranian leaders with media stories like Is it time to attack Iran: link to

      Content of these speeches is simply irrelevant now, Israelis and GOP do not listen to them. As for the dems, they are negotiating with themselves and with GOP as usual.

      Also, the question of international legality of attack on Iran looks strange to say the least. Any law should be based not just on bargaining between the sides, but on certain principles.

      But the only principle currently in play seems to be might is right, certainly not equality before the law in any sense, objectivity or sufficient evidence. One can call this revolutionary justice. So, you get what you are paying for.

  • Top 5 Stratfor Revelations
    • It is unbelievable that Russians actually sold S-300 to Iran. If it would be the case, now the codes would be changed and Iran would have operational S-300. But this is not the case! Also, why Iranians want their money back, but there is no word about returning the missiles?

  • Logical Errors and Propaganda in Republican Debate on the Middle East
    • Obama administration already has at least two purely conspirological issues on its account. The first one is absurd story about the Iranian ploy to kill the Saudi ambassador. Next, we heard about the Iranian links to Alqueda.

      Once you start with high level black propaganda, it makes little sense to speak about "logical errors" made by your opponents.

  • Greek Lessons for the Arab Spring: Majid
    • [the gods in Homer are embodiments of forces essential to the human experience on both sides, but the nature and worship of the gods is NOT NOT NOT in question. It’s Greek gods involved in a civil dispute. Their envy of one another causes the war, but in human terms there is NO theology involved, NONE, ZILCH, OUDEN, NIHIL, NADA, and in fact, GREEK gods are portrayed as arraying against one another variously on both the Trojan and Greek side. That is, Greeks and Trojans worship the same gods (and in the same way) as depicted on Homer.]

      We are not the ones to discuss Greek beliefs in any details, one needs to know much more about Greek philosophy for this.

      But one thing is for sure - faith in Greek Gods was completely different from what we now take for religion. In the end, we can even say that Greeks were secular in the modern sense.

      However, the fact is, the Gods participated quite actively in the Trojan war. For example, although both Greeks and the Trojans worshiped Athene and Apollo, Athene was on in the Greek side and Apollo was on the Trojan side.

      Sure, this has nothing to do with WW2, Korea or or Vietnam because these wars were purely secular. But, if we take Sunni-Shia conflict, we see that it has nothing to do with the secular conflicts of the 20c, but Homer can provide us with some useful metaphors to think about it.

      Yes, of course, modern Western democracies are based on the Greco-Roman culture. But same is true about the Western absolutist monarchies of the past. Not to mention some well known examples of the early 20c...

      And, knowing about the Muslim-Greek connections in the Middle Ages, why we should claim some sort of supreme guardianship of the ancient legacy? I really don't think such claims have anything to do with genuine respect for the Greco-Roman tradition.

    • [Muslims need to overcome this mental barrier and not be fooled, once again, into renouncing the rich heritage of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was the Greeks who first created democracy and explained the reasons for doing so; they also coined much of the terminology we use today. Even though the Romans invaded Greece, they learned from them and built the republic that inspired America’s Founding Fathers. The latter were deeply immersed in this ancient history; they read Roman authors and quoted them in conversations, essays and letters. One can’t imagine the American Republic without the Founding Fathers’ knowledge of Greece and Rome.
      Yet the call for democracy in the Arab world today is unfolding without any education in Greek and Roman political histories.]

      I hate to say this, but this language looks extremely naive at best.

      First, if you think about Homer's The Ilyad, it is nothing else than magnificent depiction of a religious war! This is why gods are involved the hostilities.

      Next, one does not need to know much about the Greek Roman history and culture to find out that it has very little to do with nonviolent social progress which the author supposedly advocates.

      Finally, just have a look for example at this wonderful Shia musical composition on youtube. Why should those who make and enjoy such things need primitive lectures on the importance of Western culture? link to

  • Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Rejects while Obsessing about Birth Control
    • If dems really cared about Catholics help, they could make a reasonable compromise. Employers who don’t want to cover contraception on religious grounds, need to cover something else, really important and more expensive.

  • Omar Khayyam (24)
    • If dems really cared about Catholics help, they could make a reasonable compromise. Employers who don't want to cover contraception on religious grounds, need to cover something else, really important and more expensive.

  • The Generals try to stop an Iran War
    • [That’s odd, because the United States has been legally at war with al Qaeda since September 2001.]

      Not so fast :) If this happened in Afghanistan or in Iraq, then it would be nothing new. But it was done in Pakistan just near their main military academy, not in some lawless zone near the Afghan border.

      This means that the Afghan war has effectively spilled over the whole territory of Pakistan! I know, this sounds only fair for the US interventionists, and they think this is a very smart alternative for the real occupation of Pakistan.

      But no, I don't think that the policy of lightweight strikes like this one is sustainable. Sooner rather than later, it will result in a real big war.

    • Obama administration has nobody by itself to blame for this situation.

      In Libya, they hacked quite a number of procedural mechanisms which are supposed to make starting a new war more difficult.

      They take drone warfare and assassinations like that of Bin Laden as their major achievements. No concern that this is nothing else than creeping warfare.

      Not to mention their enthusiasm about sanctions which are acts of economic war.

      Now Israelis and GOP pay them in their own currency and want to start a war which Obama would like to avoid, at least for now. Apparently, Obama has outmaneuvered himself - once again.

  • Sharp-Elbowed Politics in the New Arab World
    • Does it make any sense to make a list of brief tweet-style news for say US, UK, Israel and try to make any general conclusions from it? In general no, it is likely to be misleading.

      With Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Syria it is even more so. Tunisia is pretty stable, Egypt - stable, but tense, Yemen, Libya and Syria pretty much in the state of civil war.

      Sharp-elbowed politics - what could it mean in each concrete situation? Saudi Arabia and Qatar are most certainly more active than before, but this has nothing to do with democracy!

  • Can Solar Energy in Mideast Stop a Gas War?
    • In the last decade, technological leaps in solar and wind energy, semiconductor fabrication and display technologies have created thousands of jobs. But while many of those industries started in America, much of the employment has occurred abroad. Companies have closed major facilities in the United States to reopen in China. link to

    • Of course, solar energy and wind turbines won't stop the Middle East tensions. Battery fields would be attacked by aviation and guerrillas, and it would be much worse than with oil equipment.

      When oil fields are attacked, oil deposits remain pretty much untouched, while solar batteries and wind turbines are just annihilated.

  • Schmidt: The Freedom and Democracy Struggle in Syria
    • Søren Schmidt starts from Bismarck's aphorism, as if Syrian factions are supposed to know or care about Bismarck any more than Heine, for example. But this is Arab world not Europe or America, so why should they?

      Further, the way I understand Schmidt, he does not even want to know what these factions are - Baathists, Sunnis, Kurds, Allawites,... All he sees is individuals driven by Western values like freedom and democracy - and those who oppress them.

      This way, as it was pointed out in one of the comments, Syrian opposition looks a lot like AWS here in the US. No matter that some of them are actually armed Baathist defectors and Kurd guerrillas who really don't like AWS!

      Well, 10 years ago, when the neocons just emerged in the general public scene, I could buy abstractions like this. Back in 2002, all they saw in Afghanistan was Al-Quaida and Taliban oppressors vs freedom-loving Agfhan peasants.

      And in Iraq it was dictator Hussein and his Baathist cronies who had to be overthrown to democratize Iraq. As for the Shia, Sunnis and Kurds, the neocons did not want even to hear about them until they made themselves heard during the civil war in Iraq.

      So, this logic looks very familiar to me: find somebody for a pro-Western democrat and support him regardless of anything. More about the neocons can be found in Wiki and Prof.Cole wrote quite a lot about them in this blog during the Bush era.

    • [It is therefore not collectivist, political ideologies like Islamism or Socialism that inspire Syrians today; rather it is Western core values like freedom and fairness. Freedom made possible by rule of law that protects the individual against abuse by the state or by other people, and fairness in the form of a democracy ensuring that citizens have equal influence on political decisions, equal treatment by the authorities and oversight ensuring that freedoms and rigths are respected.]

      Excellent depiction of Neoconservative point of view on Syria, thank you very much!

  • Majid: Why America Matters to Muslims
  • Anti-Liberal Netanyahu Slams Arab Spring as Anti-Liberal
    • Unlike Palin or Perry, MIT and Harvard graduate Netanyahu does not need lectures on the basics of the Middle East conflict. He knows exactly what he is doing.

      This way he makes a nod to Saudis and Jordanians who are hostile to the "Arab Spring". Also, since Obama supports it, Bibi signals to the GOP how to attack the interventionist dems and to prevent them from exploiting their "accomplishments" to their political advantage.

  • Herman Cain Painfully Clueless on Libya
    • Yes, sure, Cain does not look here. However, what he lacks is polish, not knowledge! As a GOP interventionist, her needs to blame Obama for something while basically agreeing with him on all the important issues.

      Resolving such a dilemma is a routine task for a super-demagogue like Gingrich, but Cain visibly struggles to sell his views to the audience. This is the issue of political technology, not knowledge or political will.

      Given power, Cain is likely to find experts who will do everything necessary to justify wars and serial regime changes in the Middle East. He is not like Sarah Palin who is really clueless on everything except self-promotion.

  • Could Electronic Communication Cooperatives Protect Us?
    • [What I don’t understand is why someone could not create the equivalent of an email and social media cooperative, which would be like a credit union in the banking sector.]

      That's simple, this entity will be treated like Assange. All of a sudden it will turn out that its creator sexually harassed somebody.

  • Sefat: Top 10 ways OWS can Excel: Counsel from Iran's Green Movement
    • [Send your footage of acts of violence committed by the police to foreign television broadcasters like Al Jazeera, RT, etc. When they show the footage, it puts pressure on American broadcasters to do the same. (Iranian protestors used BBC very effectively, even though it is a British outlet).]

      Knowing the Iranian Greens, I was eager to find something like this. Basically, they are a lot like CPUSA during the Cold War, so GOP types just dream that OWS will listen to such "friends" and start active cooperation with external hostiles. What about using the foreign funds?

  • If American Land were Distributed the way American Wealth Is
    • Social inequality like shown on this picture is just one part of the while story. It is a bad sign for sure like excessive weight, but not critical.

      If the rich are socially responsible like they were in the early 20c, this situation can be corrected if necessary.

      Another really critical part is military superiority. In the early 20c US was not the only superpower, so the rich had to take care to avoid the military defeat.

      Now the top 10% see no restraints for their follies which is the real problem.

  • Ambassador Ford's Departure a Defeat for al-Assad
    • [Obama’s determination to talk with his enemies abroad met the same fate as his attempt to reach compromises with the Republican Party domestically. ]

      So, Obama was forced into complete submission by GOP/Israel. What they want for the Middle East is well known.

  • News that Makes you Go 'Hunh'?
    • [ Only 9% of the media coverage of President Obama is positive in tone, whereas over 30% of the coverage of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann is positive]

      Meaning, not the tone is the real problem. And here we have the perfect storm of black propaganda both on economy and foreign policy.

      For example, 9-9-9 taxing plan and assassination plot against KSA are pure black agitprop. Do dems do anything to clear the atmosphere? No, they are playing the game. So, they don't have much to complain about 9% and 30%...

  • Ballen: Terrorism Can't be Taken out and Shot
    • [The role of the United States must be to take a back seat to the wider religious, cultural and political debate occurring throughout the Muslim world.]

      What could this mean in plain English? My guess is, that's attack drones and human death squads.

  • Pro-Perry Evangelical Leader says Romney not a Christian, Mormonism a Cult
    • The point of calling Romney a non-Christian is exactly the same as of calling Obama a Maoist. This way the Tea Party pushes them to the right, and it works.

  • Steve Jobs: Arab-American, Buddhist, Psychedelic Drug User, and Capitalist World-Changer
    • Thomas Watson, Jr. was a real industrial hero, a man who made great things happen in IT: link to

      Under his leadership, IBM moved on from punch card tabulators to venerable IBM/360 family. IBM/360 was the predecessor of modern mainframes which still power the US finance.

      Steve Jobs? Just two questions. First, how his iWonders would be possible without outsourcing to China? Only dirt cheap Chinese labor makes these toys affordable! Warping the US economy to play with cool gadgets is the bottom line of his late efforts.

      Second, what is exactly mission critical about Apple's innovations? Yes, their mouse and desktop publishing are great, but, in the whole, are they really necessary for the economy and defense? What would Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Konrad Zuse say about this hyper-rich playboy?

      But Ayn Rand most certainly would be thrilled by Jobs, this is exactly her type - tycoon for his own sake.

  • Amanda Knox and Troy Davis
    • People like Amanda Knox don't get into trouble in GA. They go to Europe and "represent" America there. And then US politicians and media defend her rather than Assange or Polansky.

  • Al-`Awlaqi Should have been Tried in Absentia
    • After some thinking, trying terrorists in absentia contradicts Obama's multilateralism. The problem is, Europeans do not recognize the death sentence. So, they would not participate and would have to object.

    • Suppose terrorists are pirates. Yes, the piracy law suggests trying and imprisoning pirates. But it does not mean that the Navy are forbidden from chasing and destroying the pirate ships!

      The problem is, I don't think that piracy was ever considered as a major foreign policy issue! Historically, major anti-piracy operations are considered as a pretext for military intervention in certain countries.

      From this prospective, libertarian discussion of piracy/terrorism is just a smoke screen for crude colonial interventionism. This could be not obvious 10 years ago, immediately after 9-11, but not now.

  • Al-Qaeda Brands Ahmadinejad a Conspiracy Theorist!
    • Sorry for the trivial reminder, but Iran and Al-Queda are mortal enemies. So, they can exchange all kinds of insults, this does not mean much

  • Ten Years after 9/11, Do the Arabs value Democracy more than We do?
    • Of course, $1T or $3T depends on the calculation. The point is, this is the cost of response to 9-11.

      Another critical point is the destructive role of Bush tax cuts.

      In the end, Spiegel makes an explicit claim that 9-11 triggered the US decline. Gregor Peter Schmitz explicitly blames Bush and neocons for this: link to

      Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with Obama's position. In fact he honors 9-11 together with Bush. IMO, this is the main problem.

    • [Some critics trace the debt and budget crisis to the Bush wars, but in a $14.5 trillion a year economy, the $1 trillion spent on the wars over a decade was not decisive.]

      In 2008, Stiglitz gave the following calculation for the Iraqi war alone: link to

      Obama did not really use these numbers, so for his supporters it comes to a trifle: $1T/decade vs $14.5T / year!

  • NATO Refuses Ground Troops for Libya as "Friends" Conference Opens
    • [most of the Russian and Chinese publics and press outlets, supported Qaddafi, whether explicitly or latently.]

      Here is the Russian cartoon about the official Russian position on Libya: link to
      Translation: Rumors about the loss of Russian contracts in Libya are greatly exaggerated.

  • Historical Question for Governor Perry
    • No, I don't think that GOP radicals are as modern as Nazis. They are more of a medieval barons who may use modern language, but actually financial default, global warning, etc. are all magic for them. So, they boldly talk about these things, but all they really care about is, as always, Gold and Power.

  • President Bachmann as Mideast Prophet: Cole/ Truthdig
    • [A President Bachmann might or might not get out of Iraq and wind down the Afghanistan War (apparently her fatigue with those efforts could easily be countermanded by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). But she seems to be looking for other conflicts, especially with Iran. And clearly she would write a blank check of support to the far-right government of Netanyahu for any military adventures it would like to initiate.]

      Now replace Bachmann by Obama - not much of a difference.

  • Jordan Plans Green Star Trek Theme Park
    • Roddenberry considered Star Trek as educational entertainment, not a commercial or political propaganda project. $1.5 bln is much more than was ever spent on making the show. He expressed his views in writing and directing SciFi, not in explicit political rants.

      Basically, Trek is a set of TV novels, so the best way to appreciate it is to watch and discuss TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, not to build commercial theme parks. Why build a huge billion dollar Mark Twain park?

      Direct systematic intervention in alien affairs clearly contradicts the Trek worldview. One can't imagine Federation of Planets declaring certain alien regime illegitimate and bombing it. This is not Trek!

      In the US, the idea of using taxpayers' money to build such a park or museum would cause a huge outrage. No, I don't think private investors would ever bring in a billion plus for this purpose. When, all of a sudden, such things happen in the Arab world, it smells heavy corruption.

    • Roddenberry would never endorse spending $1.5 bln for a tasteless delusional Trek park in a poor country with population lacking basic services!
      link to

  • London Riots: Its the Economy, Stupid (Not a Clash of Civilizations)
  • Downgraded US Credit Rating: What comes of Coddling the Super-Rich
  • Syrian Massacre in Hama Sparks More EU Sanctions
    • I know, neither Iraqi, nor Libyan example can prevent the enthusiasts from supporting the Syrian freedom fighters like Sadr or Younis.

    • Sorry for the banality, but tanks are heavy armed vehicles. Systematic usage of tanks suggests that Syrian rebels are not just hooligans, they are armed with automatic weapons. No, I can't believe this is kids' intifadah.

  • Al-Tamimi: The Norway Attacks and the Paranoid Mindset
    • I'd remind the recent Koran burning in the US and how it was treated by the officials. Put together, these facts tell quite a lot about the Western backing of the Arab Spring. It looks more and more like thin wrapper for the War on Terror which seems to be quietly forgotten.

  • Dear Foreigner-Haters: Immigration is Good for You
    • There is no reasonable way to say just on the spot whether immigration is good or bad and for whom exactly. To determine this, we need certain framework. Discussing workforce structure is a good staring point. What jobs are available and why, who take them and why, who benefit from this situation and what it means in the near and far future...

    • There is a coherent language to discuss these issues: structure of workforce, quality of job market. Using this language, we ask question like how good is the structure of workforce, does economy as it is generate enough good high-skilled good paying jobs? Is there any real deficit in the local applicants for these positions? Why exactly immigrants are so needed?

      And then we find out that there are lots of really bad 3rd world jobs which only illegals will take and mafia will act as their "trade unions"!

      For higher level jobs we will find problems with education which prevent lots of people to get skills for these positions. Also, we will find bitter memories of earlier layoffs which tell local youngsters to avoid industries that treated their parents badly many years before...

      But if we use language like why these lazy people don't want to take the jobs that are already here, then Miltonian argumentation comes into play.

  • When Extremism Learns to Blow things Up
    • The tragedy of Obama dems is that they apparently believe in the supremacy of political rhetoric and vague ideological programs over strategy, tactics and action.

      Paraphrasing Krugman, they are looking for Republican "daddies" who oppose them politely without excesses typical for the Tea Party types. This way they agree to play the good cop - bad cop game and lose miserably.

  • Top Self-Defeating Moves in the Middle East
    • Making a good film, book or an article is kind of a mystery. Making a bad one is much easier - in the end, one can copy/paste something or hire a ghost.

      By this logic, I am not surprised by what is going on with US default - they just can't do this right. As for the rhetoric, we are lucky to have Paul Krugman's explanations of its meaning:
      link to

      As for the Middle East situation, remember that Israel has no foreign policy, it is all internal politics. Apparently, same is true about Obama admin - it just projects its internal troubles to the region.

  • Can Bookstores be Saved?
    • I see pretty grim sign in bookstores demise under the pressure of etrade. Up till now, we thought about Internet as new railroads, highways and telegraph.

      However, neither railroads nor highways were built for entertainment and propaganda purposes. Transporting theater and circus groups was not their main purpose! Precious telegraph bandwidth was used mostly for business and military purposes, it was not wasted on creating social networks with info like what somebody ate for breakfast.

      Now technical and strictly informational/educational texts make just a small fraction of what we find in the US bookstores. Most of the items are pure entertainment and there is a heavy flow of crude propaganda like politicians' "books".

      Now all this moves to Internet. Unfortunately, we don't see much of job creation by Amazon, but we certainly see significant job loss and community deterioration caused by
      the demise of Borders.

  • Is Murdoch's Media Empire a Cult?
    • There is nothing new about media barons and media bullies in the US history. What is new is a pretty strict taboo on any meaningful public discussion of this subject, besides blog chatter.

      One can learn something about this subject from Kazan's Face in the Crowd, not to mention Citizen Kane by Welles:
      link to

      So, basically, it comes to the issue of anti-trust legislation in general and in the media in particular. IMO, anything like Fairness Doctrine is far too weak.

      Recently, Clinton had at least some interest in enforcing anti-trust legislation, but Obama has none. Hence the results.

    • It looks like Fairness Doctrine is not of great help when we have current level of radicalization: link to

      In fact, NYT and WaPo seem to follow it, they allow both liberal and conservative op-ed voices. But it is hard to imagine how it can work with huge PR vehicles like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.

      In fact, Fox calls itself "fair and balanced", and it is naive to think that one cane tame Murdock just by one FCC doctrine or another.

      Quite on the contrary, Obama dems apparently believe in bipartisanship and even postpartisanship, so from their prospective, confronting Murdoch simply makes no sense.

  • Today's Top 5 Crises in the 2011 Arab Revolutions
    • [Dear Baathist Regime in Syria: It is easy to move to pluralistic democracy. You announce the date for elections, and let other parties freely contest them. Talking about it as a far-future ideal in the absence of practical steps will only enrage your citizens. And having a debate in which those who speak on the opposing side are likely to go to jail and be tortured is a farce.]

      Tom Friedman instantly comes to my mind. Like the world is flat, etc, etc. Tom speaks as if he is on TV and assumes that his readers never check him and don't know, for example, about all the perils of Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Anthony Case Index
    • [Intentional homocides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 (some 2008) United States: 5.0]

      So, US murder rate is on the E.European level. This is not good!

  • 10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes
    • What day is better for voting, how to register voters, redistricting, etc are really exciting questions. But I am afraid that in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan this is taken as pure scholastics.

      Meanwhile, Chinese are building magnificent bridges. GOP believes that bridges lead nowhere, but I can't agree!
      link to

  • The Arabs' Fourth of July
    • If "Arab Spring" is like American Revolution then what foreign power they are fighting? And why they already have their Civil War?

  • US Public Backs Obama, Wants out of Afghanistan
    • [“The Iraqi Security Forces with international help…” LOL. Which government security agency do you work for?]

      Joe, apparently, you don't get the basics. Of course, ISF are helped and trained by the US troops as well as others from "coalition of the willing"!

    • [And we’re supposed to ignore everything that happens after the end of 2012, why, exactly?]

      2012 is election year, if you remember :) So, basically, Obama gambles on his reelection. No, I have not done this, this and this, but trust me, people, if you vote for me, I will do this, well, maybe.

    • [US Public Backs Obama, Wants out of Afghanistan]

      If we translate this from political language into human, Obama just reverses his surge and returns to the Bush level of troops presence. The rest is supposed to happen only after 2012 elections!

      Quite remarkably, we still have all the Bush tax cuts intact
      as well. If they will be reversed, it will happen after 2012. Meanwhile, the GOP keeps pressing the dems to cut spending instead of taxes.

      So, in the end, both in domestic and foreign policy, obamadems fight more the left that the GOP.

  • Notar: Syria and the Palestine Card
    • [It sounds like you’re making excuses why it’s wrong to denounce dictators.]

      My points have nothing to do with what is right or wrong. I am just trying to explain the facts whatever they are, as if it is some classical drama.

    • We already have editorials in NYT and WaPo calling for Obama to declare Assad's rule illegitimate. Also, we know how escalation works - it starts from "analytical" media campaign, then it intensifies to the calls for the regime change...

      Then ICC and UN get into play, then come sanctions, then bombings, etc.

  • The Audacity of the Gaza Flotilla
    • Regardless of one's position on the issues, it has to be admitted that Obama admin shows systematic neglect towards legal common sense. Here are some recent examples.

      Guantanamo was kept open not based on some clear political principles, but because of some incomprehensible legal technicalities.

      Obama's position on Libya comes covered by a thick cloud of obscure legal arguments why they don't need the Congress authorization.

      With Gaza blockade, they again use obscure legal tools instead of making the political position clear.

      Just recently, NYC court considered a really bizarre Israeli case against Aljazeera. The case was dismissed, but why in the world US legal system spends time on things like this? There are other, more reasonable ways to achieve the same goals! link to

  • House Libya Vote: Anti-War or Just Anti-Obama?
    • Apparently, when pro-war dems call those who oppose new wars isolationists, pacifists or even Leninist conspirators, this does not work any more.

      With these resolutions, Obama follows politically clumsy and non-charismatic Gordon Brown in the UK. He made another step to his political death.

  • The End of the Beginning in Afghanistan
    • [opinion polling shows that most of the public now wants out, including 60 percent of Republicans. And the Republican presidential candidates are beginning to run against the war.]

      Normally, the dem left should be anti-war and the GOP right should be pro-war.

      But in real life, obamadems act as a GOP faction without any consistent political platform. As for GOP leadership, it takes advantage of this mess and play isolationist card until they are in opposition.

      Once GOP will get power, it will turn out to be even more interventionist than dems now. So, the fact that GOP tentatively opposes wars in Afghanistan and Libya is actually very grim. It means that public opinion is crudely manipulated for short-term political benefits.

  • Gates: Winding down the Wars
    • Medvedev does not say this directly, but it is pretty clear that, basically, he complains about being lied about the actual meaning of UNSC resolution 1973. All he wants is no-fly zones, not massive bombing and regime change in Libya.

      For this reason, he is pretty clear that he does not want any resolutions on Syria because he thinks that any text of it will be used to justify bombing of Syria like it is done to Libya.

      One reasonable explanation of what is going on that, in its search for multilateral solutions, Obama admin wants to provide Plausible deniability to its partners. The end goal is regime change both in Libya and Syria, but it is impossible to achieve if everything is put clearly from the very beginning. Hence escalation and caveats.
      link to

  • Top Ten Mistakes in the Libya War
    • [The $70 bn. in Qaddafi’s assets frozen in the US]

      Typical number is about $40 bln. link to
      It would be interesting to find out how $70 bln are calcaulated.

      Also, one can't imagine USG freezing $70 bln corporate assets for any reason whatsoever, even $700 mln look far too much.

      This is called nationalization and considered to be a mortal Socialist sin. Corporate bailouts are a completely different matter, of course.

  • Libya not a War for Oil
  • Top Ten Things Anthony Weiner has Said that are Worse than Sexting
    • I don't think that Weiner's political views are anyhow relevant to this situation. What matters is that he is a mainstream politician, nothing like a radical. Most importantly, nobody accuses him of real corruption.

      All we have against him is pretty bad taste. What matters is that permanent Monicagate makes US political process a joke. It is impossible to discuss anything of importance this way!

  • President Obama's Wicked Satire of Trump & the Birthers
  • Birth Certificate just Jim Crow all Over Again
    • [Trump has gone on now to question Barack Obama’s intellectual credentials, which is sort of like Woody Allen questioning whether Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually physically powerful.]

      Woody Allen cannot humiliate and blackmail which is Trump's main goal. But brothers Marx certainly know quite a lot about games like this: link to

  • TomTom, Apple and the Security-GPS Complex
    • Malware attacks are known quite for some time. Why now it is up to FBI to take care of this? As a result, FBI, Justice Department and the Courts discuss purely technical issues which have absolutely no meaning for non-specialists!

      Also, this is pretty bad for international cooperation. Malware affects everybody, but why should anybody but close US allies cooperate in the FBI effort?

      Lots of countries would be happy to work with neutral private entities, but not with US intelligence, this is a completely different matter!

      Are we looking for the war on malware? This is going to be quite unfortunate.

      link to

  • The Tyrants Strike Back
    • [2. The people of Syria have not asked for international intervention.

      3. The Arab League has not asked for an intervention in Syria

      4. The UNSC has not authorized a military intervention in Syria]

      I remember how Anne Applebaum made exactly the same case against intervention in Libya. It was just a few days before all these issues were resolved and intervention went on!

  • Fighting Rages in Misrata despite Withdrawal Pledge
  • Free Libyan fighters exult in small Victories, as US begins Drone Strikes
    • [If in a couple of years we don’t hear about Libya, and the Qaddafis are gone, and there is an elected parliament, and no near-genocides or genocides have taken place, then this intervention will have been a qualified success.]

      One important additional condition: absence of foreign troops. Otherwise, it will be pretty much the same as in Iraq and Afghanistan now.

      Also, it is important for how long intensive guerilla war will go on. If will go on say until the end of 2011, this war is pretty much toast. There will be no grounds to believe that it will get any better by 2013.

      Sure, Obama is eager to get a blank check for his Libyan policy until 2012, but all he has is a few months.

  • Apple Tracking likely a "Bug" or Oversight
    • All Internet-connected mobile devices have contact lists, that's one of their main purposes. Also, devices with GPS navigation have a list of destinations.

      GPS location logs are huge and hard to transfer, but these contact lists are relatively small and easy to compromise.

      Law enforcement aside, this info is a coveted target for marketing firms and all kinds of spammers, scammers, phishers, etc.

      On individual level, it is a good idea to limit proliferation of contact info between one's gadgets and storage devices as strictly as possible.

      Of course, this is not enough, certain regulation is necessary. But here we are in a political quagmire - GOP libertarians are against BOTH spying on the citizens and any Government regulation that would prevent this spying!

      As for Obamadems, in the end, they simply follow the GOP line whatever it is.

  • Bush's Pre-War Iraq Oil Deals Alarmed BP
    • [Blair said in February of 2003 on the eve of war,
      “Let me just deal with the oil thing because… the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”]

      Now that Blair does not play a major role, his true character may get forgotten by those who did not track the Iraqi war attentively.

      Putting long story short, Blair is a live definition of pro-war demagoguery. Taking anything he says about the Iraqi war seriously is really misleading.

  • Starship Amerika and Obama's GPS Surveillance (Cole in Truthdig)
    • Unlike Babylon-5, Star Trek does not show anything close to real life security even on the office level, not to mention military and intelligence. Main characters of TOS and TNG are best friends, they don't have any serious tensions with their command, no particular reasons for mistrust. So, this analogy makes no sense.

      More importantly, GPS tracking is nothing compared with Obama admin's cyber warfare initiatives which are really harmful.

      Remember for example the STUXNET story which happened just before the Japanese nuclear disaster. STUXNET hardly damaged the Iranian nuclear program anyhow seriously. But spending resources on disrupting the nuclear installations rather than enhancing safety is quite irresponsible!

  • Saif admits Qaddafis are Brutal Foreign Occupiers
    • According to CIA data, unemployment in Saudi Arabia is just 11%: link to (looks like this does not include women).

      For comparison, for Israel they show just 6.4%, basically, full employment: link to

      But for Libya that's hopping 30%, basically, economic disaster: link to

      No, this does not look like a credible source.

    • In 2005, official estimate of unemployment in Libya was 13%: link to - result of Gaddafi's liberalization.

      In 2009, there was an unofficial 21% estimate: link to But this is according to census data, not unemployment statistics.

      Considering the differences in estimating methodology, there are no grounds to believe that unemployment in Libya is really bad for a third world country. But it is certainly worse than before the neoliberal reforms.

      Most importantly, civil war and sanctions most will bring the Libyan economy down, and then the winner will have quite a lot to explain to the Libyans.

      Now bring the Western "peacekeepers" in, introduce purely market economy - and try to blame everything on the old rulers. We know how this social experiment worked in Iraq!

  • Qaddafi Using Cluster bombs on Civilian Areas
    • Meanwhile, the French are looking for another UNSC resolution. So, this could be a sting staged by he Western special forces.

  • AU proposes Ceasefire, NATO protects Misrata, Ajdabiya
    • Paul Krugman makes everything clear about Obama's economic policy. It is even more true regarding his foreign course:

      I realize that with hostile Republicans controlling the House, there’s not much Mr. Obama can get done in the way of concrete policy. Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative: link to

    • Before the conflict, I never saw anything in the Western / Israeli media that would challenge Gaddafi's role in the obscure African conflicts. His involvement in Chad and Sudan was taken philosophically, as yet another bizarre political experiment that ended without any results.

      In 2009, after Obama came to power, the tone of US coverage of Gaddafi changed. Now, looking backwards, we see that his deal with Bush II has been reconsidered by the new administration.

      It was especially noticeable during his visit to NYC in 2009. Back then, it was mostly about his brand tent, but certainly not about his role in Sudan and Chad.

      So, it would be really interesting to find any period references in the Western media that would prove that not only Lockerbie was taken as Gaddafi's aid to terrorism.

      What was little known before the current Libyan conflict is the actual meaning of Gaddafi's joining the fight against Alqueda. Now it is clear that Bush II greatly valued his role in the E.Libya, his suppression the Islamist insurgents there.

      So, what happened is that Obama shifted on this, as he did on quite a lot of things, while Gaddafi is simply using the old language.

      Further, current rants on Gaddafi's support of terrorism in Africa can mean the long awaited redefinition of terrorism and retiring the old concept of fighting Alqueda. This makes lots of sense because there are indications that Alqueda whatever it is has influence among the "pro-democratic" rebels.

      [Far away from his own territory, Qaddafi spread terror through his terrorist training camp, the World Revolutionary Center.]

      This language is unmistakably Safirean. Late William Safire used quite a lot of rhetorics like this when "Global War on Terror" has been initially defined. Apparently, the Obama admin is currently working on War on Terror 2.0!

  • Al-Sadr Threatens Mahdi Army Revival if US Troops Stay
    • Suppose a bank forecloses on one's property and evicts the unfortunate customer from the property because he is known to beat his wife. The bank's lawyers say it is perfectly legal.

      Strange it may seem, but this is exactly what Obama admin does to Gaddafi. Other customers of this bank may hate this wife beater for one reason or another, but make no mistake, this bank is looking for all kinds of seemingly unrelated problems.

      This is why I am absolutely not surprised that now Obama admin has all these problems in Iraq.

  • Thomas Jefferson in Arabic
    • [Journalists sometimes ask me if there isn’t something Orientalist or imperialist about translating Americana into Arabic.]

      IMO, they ask a wrong question. Much better question is, how did it happen that Gaddafi Jr. got PhD in Political Science from LSE and now he fights a civil war instead of peacefully cooperating with the West?

      As far as I understand Orientalism, the idea that promoting the Western political culture in the Arab world will result in the Arab-Western cooperation on the Western terms is 100% Orientalist. It all depends.

  • Green Energy in 20-40 Years?
  • UN Allies Strike Convoy near Brega as Rebels begin Oil Exports
    • [ We analyze at that level because that is what we (people in general and historians in particular) have always done.]

      After some thinking, I figured out what is going on. The statement about about depleting Gaddafi's capabilities and demoralizing his forces IS true, but trivial, uninformative and can be omitted for good.

      But this is exactly how official policy on the Libyan crisis is formulated: strike Gaddafi, try to demoralize his followers and hope it will be enough!

      We know there are grave concerns that this policy won't work, but these concerns are not mentioned in any way. Those who don't know much about the current Libyan situation, can be impressed, otherwise, this mechanical repetition of official Obama's policy looks really strange.

    • [The significance of the strike on the convoy is manifold. Qaddafi doesn’t have infinite amounts of heavy military equipment, and every tank or armored vehicle he loses degrades his ability to control a country that for the most part doesn’t want him....
      Another significance of the strike is that it may well discourage soldiers loyal to Qaddafi from trying to attack the rebels, and may encourage them to defect to the Benghazi government.]

      I am sorry, but all this can be said about any military action - from Alexander the Great to Gaddafi and his enemies. Of course, all sides of an armed conflict want to destroy the capabilities of their enemies and demoralize them!

      Why bother to "analyze" on this level is not an easy question.

  • Afghan Protests against Qur'an-Burning cause Deaths
    • Extreme forms of Islamophobia like Quran burning are marginal in the US. But "mild" Islamophobia from Fox News is mainstream, Glenn Beck is a top dog of the US media. And those who oppose Juan Williams get fired.

      All this means that any civilized opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is broken, and brand new war in Libya is even fashionable. So, there is little surprise that the fate of these conflicts is decided on the battle fields, not in the pointless discussions.

  • Torpey: Support the Libyans but Don't Arm Them!
    • [Global domestic policy probably shouldn’t include handing out guns to lots of unknown forces, even if we may be heartbroken that the Libyan people can’t fight back as effectively as they might otherwise. If we supply them with weapons, the fight may start to look more like ours than theirs, and that may backfire down the road. But the coalition should surely provide intelligence, logistical, and political support, and hope that the neighbors can find a way to clean up the neighborhood as best they can.]

      Not surprisingly, the decision is already made: link to

  • Answer to Glenn Greenwald
    • [Iraq was an illegal war, for no pressing national interest & with no UNSC authorization.
      The Libya intervention is legal and was necessary to prevent further massacres...]

      Yes, legality meaning UNSC resolution and AL approval is important. But is it enough to justify any meaningful support of the dems? It is hardly so.

      For example, by this logic, GOP tax cuts are perfectly fine because they are 100% legal. In fact, Obama admin has extended Bush tax cuts until 2012, and it is very likely that Obama's victory in 2008 will not kill them after all.

      As for preventing the massacres, that's generic entry-level pro-war rhetoric. Pretty much all wars are fought to prevent killings by the other side. This language really has no particular meaning!

  • Obama on Libya vs. Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Romney, Gingrich and Carrot Top
    • [Trump alleged that the rebels in Libya might be connected to Iran, and that there was a danger that the US intervention might end up turning the country over to Tehran.] is here to read, and they are very explicit in their support for the rebels and condemnation of the US intervention. So, what Trump says makes lots of sense.

      Without ground intervention, we have no reasons to believe that, having won, the rebels will be any more pro-Western than pre-revolt Gaddafi. Well, unless one believes in miracles like their gratitude for the help they receive now.

  • What if? and the Meltdown Threat
  • Qaddafi's Scorched Earth Policy, at Home and Abroad
    • It is not that difficult to translate Qaddafi's language into plain English. He is not like Milosevic, his defense will not be in the court room, but on the battle field. Removal of Qaddafi is certainly possible, but consequences of calling him murderous and further removal are going to be much more serious.

      When Qaddafi says he is not afraid to die, he means it. We may dislike this message, but this is the way it is. When it will turn out that occupation of Libya needs tens of thousands of troops and this will not stop the guerrilla war anyway, this will be not a surprise.

  • Alimagham: What Egypt & Tunisia Tell us About Iran
    • [garnering the support of Iran’s armed forces]

      There are calls to put MEK off the terrorist list. Looks like a step in this direction :)

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