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Total number of comments: 31 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:33)

Jon C. Swanson

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  • The Saudi-US war on Yemen is killing 130 Children a Day & Other Bleak Statistics
    • Muhammed ben Salman
      Has bombed the hell out of Yeman
      He has no excuses
      For his murderous abuses
      Save for blaming it all on Iran

  • Lebanese PM Hariri arrives in or Escapes to France
    • Prince Muhammed ben Salman
      Thinks himself a real super man
      Though he claims not to be queer he
      Buggared Hariri
      And is trying to screw all of Libnan

  • Top 6 signs Trump Really doesn't like being Investigated
    • Small wonder that Trump is having trouble hiring people. No one seems to last long in their post.

  • Trump's Jerusalem embassy Move an Invitation to Terrorism: 9/11 Provoked in part by Israeli Occupation
    • It seems to me that if the two state solution is really going to be abandoned Palestinians should immediately mount a full press for full Israeli citizenship. One state for all its peoples.

  • Low-Carbon 'Eat Local' Movement taking Spain by Storm
    • If buying local is going to catch on in America it has to be cheaper than the stuff grown in California. At this point buying local is only for the privileged few.

  • Hard Truth: Aleppo Rebels weren't defeated by Main Force but b/c they alienated Syrians
    • Excellent Juan. I have sent it to all my friends and posted it on Facebook. Everyone should read this article NPR editorialized this morning yet again about the evil Assad regime. They never talk about the sectarian alternative that is deeply unpopular in Syria especially among minority populations.

  • Conspiracy Theorist in Chief: Trump's falsehood about 2 mn. illegal votes only tip of Melting Iceberg
    • We can be thankful that publication of the Weekly World News ceased publication a couple of years ago and is no longer available at supermarkets. it is on line,however. In fact the most recent issue has a picture of Donald with an Alien who apparently endorsed him. Read it here: Don't breathe a word of this to the Donald.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
    • You say that the Republicans only represent big business interests. Well the same can be said of the Democrats. They have failed over the years to strengthen the labor movement which was their traditional base. They have done nothing to roll back Taft-Hartley or make it easier to organize. They almost never address issues of class. Sanders was the exception and I for one believe he would have run a stronger race against Trump than Hillary who is or at least appeared to be in bed with the 1%.

  • Do Drug Profits actually drive Terrorism in the Muslim World?
    • Narcotics have always been good business for the capitalists. Making them illicit simply increases the incentive to expand markets. Marijuana and qat/khat are not addictive and certainly less dangerous than alcohol. Once could even argue that the deleterious consequences of heroin are less than those of alcohol. Take the profit out of the drug trade and the terrorists and cartels will make less money.

  • Will Yemen be the Graveyard of the new Saudi Empire?
    • I have heard that Ansar al Islam (AKA Houthis) has taken the war to Saudia by attacking Jizzan, Assir, and Najran formerly part of Yemen. One thing is certain this conflict cannot be reduced to Sunni v Shi'a. In my experience Yemenis in general are deeply suspicious of the Saudis who have mistreated Yemeni immigrants and meddled in Yemeni politics for years.

  • Lebanon's Shiite Hizbullah slams Saudi attack on Yemen
    • The Houthis arose in response to the Saudi sponored wahabi menace, a quite reasonable response given the Saudis treatment of its own Shi'a minorieties in the N. East and Najran not to mention their support of the repression of Shi'a in Bahrain. The Houthis are not without Sunni allies. Perhaps the virtually universal Yemeni distaste for their Saudi neighbors will galvinize Qahtani resistance against the invaders. Time will tell.

  • Yemen Bombing: It's not ISIL and it's not Sunni-Shiite Conflict
    • The Yemenis in general have never liked the Saudis. They resent the seizure of Najran, Jizan, and Assir in the 1930s and they despise the way they are treated when they emigrate to work in Saudia as many do or have done. The Houthis most attractive feature to many Yemenis is their rejection of Saudia and its hateful Wahabi ideology.
      Having said that Yemen with its mountainous geography and marginal agricltural foundation has throughout its history been subject to centrifugal forces and was rarely united for any length of time.
      In recent decades oil revenues and foreign aid distributed from the top down have provided the glue that held the house of cards together. But population growth (from 8 -24 million) in less than 40 years together with a decline in oil revenues has meant less income and more people wanting assistance. (It should be added that top down distribution of resources tends to alienate leaders from their constituents.) The resulting instability is almost inevitable regardless of the ideologies involved.
      I do not see a happy ending.

  • Extremist Lieberman: Unified Palestinian-Israeli Party a threat to Israel as 'Jewish State'
    • The end of Israel as a Jewish State? I would happily see the end of all sectarian states. Israel may yet be a "Light unto Nations."

  • Psychologists, who Took $81 mn. to Advise, Practice Torture, betrayed the Profession
    • The names of those involved and their affiliations should be published. The APA should censure and expel them from its ranks. The same should apply to anthropologists and other academics who lend their expertise to the prosecution of state terrorism.

  • McCain on Torture: A Stain on our National Honor, Produces Misleading Info
    • American "honor" took a vacation shortly after the end of WWII. It had been packing its bags a couple of decades before that.

  • Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
  • Islamophobia: Is Sam Harris As Dangerous As Sarah Palin? (The Young Turks)
    • Bill Maher and his ilk could find equally repugnant ideas among a large number of Jews and many of these are supported by Jewish law and scripture. Most Jews do not adhere to this kind of bigotry any more than most Christians adhere to the bigoted elements in their texts. Maybe he should read Max Blumenthal's Goliath.

  • Does the Houthi Takeover of Yemen's Sanaa Endanger World Trade?
    • Yemen has always been difficult to govern and has been unified into a centralized state only during brief periods of its history. Prior to the 1962 civil war Zaidi imams held power only tentatively and resorted to taking the sons of major sheiks hostage in Sana’a as a means of controlling the ever restless tribes.
      In recent times Yemen has been faux state maintained not by taxing the rural producers but rather by redistributing resources from foreign aid and oil to sheikhs in the hinterlands. It was a state maintained from the top down rather than from the bottom up. Dissatisfaction was also ameliorated by large scale emigration to other parts of the peninsula and abroad. As remittances and oil revenues slowed and the population grew (almost quadrupling over 35 years), centrifugal forces inevitably intensified. Meanwhile it is unlikely that the state’s collusion with US drone strikes has enhanced the center’s popularity in rural areas.
      As for the Houthis they have good reason to fear Wahabi proselytizing. They need only look across the border to the former Yemeni territories in Assir and Najran to see how the Wahabis treat Shi’a minorities.
      If Yemen disintegrates into two or more states it will merely be a return to the status quo ante. How this will affect the international economy is hard to guess but given the fundamental practicality of Yemen’s population and assuming it’s people are treated with respect some form of peaceful accommodation could be eventually be achieved. Unfortunately, given the empire’s history of bellicose intervention in favor of its oil rich allies such accommodation may be a long time coming.

  • The Military Diminishment of Judaism
    • Published almost 20 years ago, Harkabi's book Israel's Fateful Hour was prescient and is still worth reading.

  • Thank You for Your Support
    • Sent you a donation. Reposted the appeal on my Facebook page. Hope others will do the same. Good analyses of the ME have always been in short supply. Keep up your excellent work and service. Thanks!!

  • Egypt's Coptic Christians Protest Killing by Fundamentalists of 4 at Church
    • 10% is always the figure cited as the relative size of the Coptic community but I have heard that Egypt's Christian community is under counted and may be as high as 20%.
      In any case the Copts experienced some discrimination under Mubarrak. I'm sure they felt very intimidated by the Morsi regime which failed to include Christians in his government. Sectarian extremists are always the most dangerous since they are convinced that God is on their side. Many here are convinced that God loves the US best. Such thinking only leads to self-righteous atrocity.

  • Syria: Will Killing of Hundreds with Sarin Gas force Obama's Hand?
    • I find it hard to believe that the Syrian Regime however brutal is so stupid as to use chemical weapons on the eve of a UN investigation into the use of such weapons.
      Moreover the photos I saw on Al Jazeera this morning were mostly of alleged male victims raising questions as to whether these photos were staged for propaganda purposes.
      At the same time I would put nothing past some of the extremist rebel factions whose profound convictions push all morality aside in pursuit of their goals. History shows that those without doubt are often those most capable of atrocity.
      In the end I can reach no conclusions. In this war as in most there are no good guys.

  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • It is axiomatic that the privileged enjoy the luxury of blissful insouciance, secure in the belief that the "other" is are responsible for his or her own hunger, incarceration, lack of education, poverty, etc. As Blake said, "It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted and to speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer. It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer sun and in the vintage to sing on the wagon loaded with grain."
      People of color experience racism at every level. No matter how successful, they are subjected to the subtle assumptions of a racist society. From the worker stopped for "driving while black" to student whose professor asks, "Did you write this paper?" or to the young professional who on picking out a garment in an exclusive store is asked, "Can you afford this dress?" the racist assaults go on and on.
      Racism is like alcoholism in America and White America is dominated by the addicted. Like alcoholics Americans can be recovering racists but in this society there is no cure. One must constantly critically assess one's motives and attitudes around race. Self congratulation is rarely appropriate.

  • Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria
    • This morning on NPR I heard the Syrian situation described as a civil war between Sunni and Shia'a. Allawites while nominally Shia'a are like Druze and other groups - very heterodox in their beliefs. Nor do Christians by and large support the rebels. All have good reason to fear takeover by a sectarian Sunni regime. Sunni sufis should also fear Wahabi inspired insurgents who despise the mystical traditions that have flourished in the Levant for centuries.
      Minorities need only look across the border at Iraq to see the consequence of replacing a secular regime with a sectarian one. The convicted are ever ready to murder those who do not believe as they do.
      Despite the failings of the Assad regime and its repeated violations of human rights they are less oppressive than the rebels will be.
      Whose interests are served by a rebel victory?

  • "Investigative Journalism is Completely [Screwed]" (Daily Show's John Oliver)
    • It is interesting how the free press has been hijacked not by a totalitarian government but by corporate interests and public indifference. Americans with their economic and military power have for years enjoyed the privilege of not having to worry about the rest of the world. This is not true of most of the rest of the world. I remember traveling in rural Yemen in the 70s and early 80s and being struck by how aware barely educated peasants were about US policy and international affairs. I thought perhaps 9/ll might cause Americans to move away from their insoucient indifference. but all that has happened is a lot of self indulgent whining about how we were victimized.

  • Top 10 Ways the Middle East Changed, 2012
    • A viable Palestinian state is simply not possible given the geographic and demographic "facts on the ground" that Israel has created. Already isolated, as the recent UN vote demonstrated, the "Jewish" state will become even more so as the US public becomes increasingly disillusioned with its apartheid excesses. The tide has turned. The call for a single secular state with guarantees of justice for all looks less and less like a pipe dream and more and more like the only way out for all concerned.

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • I have repeatedly searched for figures on information about the percentage of total US export are military related or are armaments of one sort or another. Where can one find reliable figures?

  • Despite Negative Hype, Green Energy Revenues Rapidly Expanding
    • A friend of mine who lives near Ann Arbor,MI recently put up a wind turbine costing $60,000. The utility company will only be required to purchase the amount of electricity that he historically used in his household. He will not be paid for an excess generated Moreover there are limits on how many people are allowed into this program. Current business/government policies clearly do not encourage a shift to wind and solar energy. It seems to me that we need to rethink and redefine utility companies not as producers but as transporters of energy. Laws must be changed to require energy companies to pay for clean energy generated by individuals and groups.

  • Israel - Iran Military Comparison
    • Israeli generals themselves have admitted that in 1967 Egypt posed no real military threat to Israel and that their strike was aimed at expanding their frontiers.
      Not mentioned are the mini land grabs Israel carried out against Jordan and Syria in the years prior to 1967, Israel's extraterritorial assassinations,war crimes, violations of international law, and the selling of US secrets to other nations.
      Israel fits the definition of a rogue state rather well but it is a rogue state franchised by US taxpayers and to our shame we are all accessories.

  • Ellsberg: All Nixon's Crimes Against me now Legal
    • Democracy in the US is going the way of the dodo bird. As in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany electoral politics is little more than theater with the corporate elite writing the script. It is time take our lessons from the ME and move our politics to the steets.

  • Sunni-Shiite Tension Boils in Iraq, Gulf over Bahrain
    • The Shi'i of E. Saudi Arbia are not the only victims of Wahabi discrimination. The Sulimani Ismaili shi'a community in Najraan in SW Saudi Arabia has been the subject of systematic discrimination for years and was the subject of a Human Rights Watch investigation in 2008. This report can be viewed at:
      link to
      Is there any news of demonstrations in this formerly Yemeni province?

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