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Total number of comments: 39 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:25)


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  • Let's remember the Schoolchildren US & Russian bombs are killing, too
    • I fully agree with you that "wars are never necessary" and with about 99 percent of the rest of your comment. But I would like to address the part where you said that "archaeology suggests that man has always been a killer ..." I am sure it's true that some humans who are quite capable of killing other humans have existed for a very long time. I think that those people are the rare exception rather than the rule. The "humans are natural killers" or "we've always had war" ideas are mostly war propaganda. There's a lot of work out there on this topic, but here's a video of Paul Chappell, extracted from a longer presentation, explaining why: link to I find it pretty compelling.

    • This post makes a very excellent and necessary point, but I don't know how to make people "get" it. For example, I try to share ideas like this on Facebook from time to time and hardly ever get any reaction one way or another. Pretty flowers and cute animal videos get likes and comments. I don't know if people don't see my "political" videos or just don't want to comment. I have the feeling that to the extent they would even read something like this, they would be outraged that such a comparison is even being made. You would be accused of "politicizing" the problem. I guess I will keep trying.

  • Dear Sean Hannity: Allahu Akbar is in the Catholic Catechism
  • Trump's Visa Ban is about anti-Muslim Bigotry, not Security
    • typically they are running away from the violent people

      With the exception of Iran and possibly Sudan, most of the violence they are fleeing from is caused, directly or indirectly, by the United States!

  • The Vanity of the Billionaires: Circuses and no Bread
    • One of my all-time favorite TV shows is the 12-part series adaptation of the Robert Graves novel I Claudius. The title character is played by the great Derek Jacobi. I watched it when it first aired way back in the day and never forgot it. Sejanus is a major character in a couple of episodes as they chart his rise and grisly fall. It was during the Bush 43 regime that a lot of people were saying we were starting to look like Weimar Germany and I would say no it is more like the early Roman Empire as depicted in I Claudius. Finally a couple years ago I bought a copy. It's well worth watching and vastly entertaining in its own perverse, sardonic way.

  • "This Parrot is no More": The 2016 Presidential Election did not Take Place
    • Might as well follow this to its logical conclusion: we are not a real country anymore.

  • Does this Change Everything? Russia's first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases
    • They are some protection from the belligerence toward Tehran of Binyamin Netanyahu’s far-right, expansionist Israeli government, and of the new and reckless Saudi government, which is bombing Yemen, supporting Salafi extremists in Syria, and rattling sabers at Iran.

      Since the Next-POTUS-Presumptive has promised to "obliterate" the country, they might also be hoping that a closer relationship with Russia might at least make her hesitate.

  • It's not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid
    • He exaggerated a little perhaps by saying it was the "only" reason that matters, but not much. AIPAC is a real Thing and "what Israel wants" is a hugely oversized influence -- not a "conspiracy theory" -- in U.S. policy.

    • Excellent points Professor Cole, well-informed and well-put as always. That last sentence, about "the U.S. deep state" -- what a creepy, but sadly apt, phrase. As frustrated as I have been at President Obama, I have really started to feel that maybe he is really not even in charge. Perhaps no President would really be in charge. The U.S. "security" complex is so huge, it is like an autonomous, headless beast of some kine.

    • Yuk! That isn't even good for the chickens!

  • Top Ten Things Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner has said that are worse than Sexting
    • It is OK to post this information about Weiner's attitudes on other issues, but please don't dismiss his behavior merely as some kind of "sex scandal." Weiner has a serious problem with the way he thinks of and treats women. At the very least he is disrespectful of them and some of his actions have arguably been those of a sexual predator. At least one of the incidents of texting pictures of his penis were done without the prior consent of the recipient. There is also the campaign appearance where he was taking questions from the audience and asked a woman who raised her hand, "Did you have a question, or are you trying to flirt with me?" He needs to go away quietly and continue his therapy to figure out why he has such hostility to women.

  • Is LindJohn's notion of an Enemy Combatant Racist? How about attempted Assassination of the Commander in Chief?
    • Remember Jose Padilla? (I know; he might as well be a part of ancient history for most people). He did not even do anything, just supposedly thought about doing stuff. He started out under the military tribunal regime and was tortured to insanity before getting a civilian "trial."

  • Top Five Things we should be doing to avoid the end of the Earth instead of defaming the Mayans
    • That is a pretty good list. I'm not sure if "rogue asteroid" belongs in the top five though. I probably would have put something to do with industrialized agriculture: all the toxins we are dumping on the land and into the sea, soil erosion, unrestricted and out-of-control genetic modifications of plants and animals. Of course, we have trapped ourselves into that system in order to feed too many billions of us on the planet and it's hard to see any way out.

      I also kind of wish people would stop calling it "climate change" and go back to saying "global warming." "Climate change" was coined, focus-tested and promoted by Frank Luntz because it was less scary-sounding. The global-warming deniers told everybody to start saying "climate change" and the media and everyone else went obediently along with it.

      Still, a good post, thanks.

  • Four Middle East crises will face the next President Immediately
    • The four mentioned "problems" are not difficult to solve:

      1. Do nothing. It is none of our business.

      2. Do nothing. It is none of our business.

      3. Remove all U.S. forces and equipment, immediately.

      4. Don't launch an attack on Iran (see 1 and 2.

      There, now what's for lunch? Oops, it didn't take that long, so do we get pastry or fruit for the coffee break?

  • Afghans to US Military: Be at Least a Little Ashamed
    • Prof. Cole, a good enough piece, except I don't get what you mean when you say that incidents like the Quran burning and this shooting rampage are "tangential." For the Afghans this IS the war.

  • Five Things Rick Santorum Could have Learned in College
    • It's not clear that they have really read even Leviticus. That book has a surprising amount of the dirty-liberal, hippie stuff in it, e.g., leave something for the poor to glean from your fields and let them do it, pay your workers on time and fairly, treat immigrants ("sojourners") generously, etc. It's only a small part of it that gets into the stoning and kill-the-gays stuff.

  • Dear Republican Candidates, You Have us all Wrong
    • For the one he left out:

      Dear Ron Paul, spare us your phony libertarianism. We won't like the War on (Some or Any) Drugs other oppressive programs of our government if they are simply devolved to the 50 states and we don't want your Christian Reconstructionist friends anywhere near power.

      Also Dear Rick Santorum, we were not inspired by your dead granpa story, but appalled. We don't want to dig coal until we drop dead and the times when people had to weren't the good old days.

    • Nothing was ever highjacked. The Tea Party was funded and owned by the Koch Brothers and their like from the beginning. It was never grass roots but well-funded and coordinated astroturf.

  • Ridge Alleges Bush Political Pressure for Terrorism Alert
    • Tom Ridge "appears" to be alleging? Don't go out on a limb there, Mr. Secretary.

      Who even cares? This is way too little and too late to be in any way meaningful. Of the bad things done by Bush 43, this would have to be, if true, like #1000 down on the list. Who even remembers who the hell Tom Ridge is anyway?

  • Senate Repeal of DADT in Global Context
    • You left Ecuador off the list of enlightened nations. Their new constitution adopted last year explicitly includes sexual orientation, transgender status, etc. as protected bases. Allows same-sex marriage, too. The Catholic Church there fought bitterly against it, but to no avail.

      Much of Ecuador's past fits into both the authoritarian and religious models. There were many periods of dictatorship and at one point, I believe in the late 19th century, there was a government that officially dedicated the country to the veneration of the Sacred Heart.

    • Good post, but please don't insult amphibians by calling Newt one, even if he is named after a particular species.

    • Aren't Muslims also "Abrahamics," supposedly? I have heard them described that way and always wondered if most of them would actually like that label.

  • Shimkus Pwned on 2 Percent Climate Claims
    • You know, one really striking thing about people like Shimkus is that their arguments don't hold up even on their own terms. I mean, that passage he read (thanks for posting that video) talks about how God said he wouldn't kill everybody again. God says nothing one way or the other about whether humans will screw up and cause all sorts of damage. In fact, the passage indicates that God thinks we probably will.

  • Cole in Truthdig: "The World Is Safer Without a Republican House"
    • You are probably right that Congress would not declare war on Iran, but still ... wouldn't it be ironic if that was the way they chose to rediscover and exercise one of their key Constitutional powers and prerogatives? It might sound implausible that it would happen, but it is possible -- they just might spin their extreme rhetoric until in goes out of control. It is likely that the Senate would be a brake on such a movement. It's interesting that the Constitution reserves the war-declaring power to Congress but doesn't specify beyond that how it actually takes place. So we can't rule it out.

  • Tatchell: Abu Dhabi between Human Rights and the New Louvre
    • They will all deserve to sink together.

      The starchitects like Gehry, who design junky, jokey buildings; the "artists" like Koons who produce junky, jokey "art" ; the oil sheikhs who literally have more money than they know what to do with and are pouring it into this cesspool of vanity.

      Of course, the aforementioned will not drown as they ought to but will be able to flee to Switzerland or someplace, leaving the foreign slave workers and any ordinary Arab citizens to their fate.

  • 4th Attack on Trucks Near Quetta, Pakistan
    • Why should you apologize for wanting a war stopped immediately? It is our "leaders" who should apologize, at the very least.

    • but ... but ... but ... Prof. Cole, what about the mustache guy or the lake pirates? You didn't say a word about them. Priorities, please.

  • 27 US Fuel Trucks Torched as Pakistan Blocks US Supplies at Khyber Pass for 2nd Day
    • Not that I want NATO personnel on helicopters to be killed or injured -- really, I don't; I just want them to come home -- but why is it "crazy talk" to say that helicopters crossing over without permission should be shot down? What would happen if a Mexican helicopter "strayed" over to our side of the Rio Grande? Nothing good, I bet. Or maybe you are referring to other things the general has said that are crazy-sounding.

  • Major al-Qaeda Attacks on European Cities Said Foiled
    • No doubt more details will emerge.

      Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a few details, but more likely they will say, "we can't tell you anything about it because it would reveal sources, etc., but trust us, it was going to be terrible and we saved thousands of lives." And maybe that will be true and maybe it won't.

  • Deputy Gov. Ghazni Killed;
    Karzai Weeps, announces Peace Outreach Council
    • So, is the operation called "Cooperation" (Hamkari because the different army units are cooperating, or is it because they come in, and the residents cooperate by fleeing for their lives? Like Karzai, I feel like weeping too but I don't know if the reasons are the same. Having grown up on a farm, I find the story about the man who had to leave his orchard just as it was time to pick the pomegranates heartbreaking. What do we think this man is to do? His whole year's livelihood may be ruined. That is if they don't destroy his orchard in the process.

  • Will Resumption of Israeli Colonization of West Bank End the Two State Solution?
    • I just found a curious headline on Yahoo (I think it was):

      Israel: Settlers brace for end of building freeze.

      So it is the settlers who have to "brace" for this? Like the victims of something: hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. It seems more like the people whose land and homes the Israelis are stealing would be the ones needing preparation. Or I guess they are just expected to get out with what they can carry, right now, which would require strong, fast legs and not any "bracing." Nope, no bias in the American press.

      It seems to have appeared in the Seattle Times:

      link to

  • Top Stories More Important than Quran-Burning Nut Job
    • But ... but ... but ... is John Travolta really gay or not?

      Seriously, the Rude Pundit got it exactly right when he said:

      By the way, as far as General Petraeus saying that Pastor Yosemite Sam shouldn't exercise his right to free speech because it might endanger our troops in Afghanistan, oh, sweet General, what endangers our troops in Afghanistan is having troops in Afghanistan.

      I hadn't heard about the Gates phone call, which is ridiculous enough, but I did hear that the President weighed in on it. Of course he had to as a political, CYA move, but it is appalling that the media and politicians have elevated this obscure loon into an international figure.

      And there's something else funny about the "mosque" story. There have been reports in recent days that, as a real-estate development project, the whole thing was kind of half-baked from the beginning, that is, purely from a practical, logistical standpoint. The group has raised barely any money for it, not even enough to buy the portion of the site they don't own. Apparently in local development circles, there are a lot of informal steps in doing something like this, talking to the "right people," etc., if you are going to put up a major project like this, whether it's a mosque, a mall or an office building. And they haven't done much of this and really don't have their ducks in a row, despite the official approvals.

      So has this been about nothing from the beginning. Some commentators have mentioned the "irony" of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal being a financial backer of Fox News and they are being all critical of Muslims and the Prince is a Muslim, isn't that weird. But what if this has all been just a big publicity stunt, something to give the neocons a wedge issue to flog on Fox? I know, I know, conspiracy theories you're thinking, and we all know that there have never been any conspiracies in real life.

  • Afghanistan and Paris Hilton's Purse
    • Metzengerstein 08/30/2010 at 4:02 pm

      I have a DVD with a wireless attachment that will allow me to stream Netflix. The same service has other menu choices, including, for some odd reason, a German-language news channel whose name escapes me. Excellent news film footage accompanies the stories. I can watch this channel for a few minutes and learn more about what is going on in the world than I can watching CNN, NBC, etc. for an hour, if I could actually stand to watch them for that long at a sitting, which I can't. And I don't even speak, read or understand German!

  • 6 Million Pakistanis need Immediate Aid as 1/3 of Country is Submerged
    • Metzengerstein 08/12/2010 at 1:52 pm

      This is staggering, as you say, virtually unimaginable. I honestly have no idea what the "mainstresm" print and broadcast media outlets are saying about this, because they have become so useless that I refuse to waste my time reading or watching them. So the main information I get about it is from this blog and from the links it it -- why oh why can't we get Al Jazeera English on our cable services? (never mind, I know why). I was just able to make a small donation via PayPal. I rarely do that kind of thing because I distrust large organizations and figure I will just get on another mailing list. But this is so sad I though I would go ahead.

      Another reason this has resonance with me is that we are having absolutely freakish weather in Iowa. There has been maybe 15 inches of rain so far in August when the "normal" average is 3 inches for the whole month! I don't mean for a second to suggest that it is on anything near this scale -- but many people have lost everything. The other day, an entire mobile home court was flooded to its rooftops so fast that some people had to SWIM for their lives and were not able to get ANY of their possessions out! The university of Ames was entirely cut off from the outside, every single road. And so on.

      Again, the point is not that it is comparable in scale, but that this stuff is going on everywhere. Yet, outside the local news, there is a strange disinterest. Our "media" is consumed with nonsense -- dangerous nonsense -- about stuff like the G****d Z**o m****e "controversy" (I don't want to spell it out and create more linkage to it). In the meanwhile, we are sending 2,800 more Iowa National Guard troops to Afghanistan (that's just Iowa; it must be 10s of thousands nationwide). You think they might they otherwise be able to help with flood rescue and reliefI don't believe in "End Times" prophecy in the religious sense; I think the end will be more a matter of our own doing. And the level of insanity we are displaying may mean that it is near.

  • Take that, Dennis Miller; Climate Change is Real and Dangerous
    • Metzengerstein 08/02/2010 at 1:56 pm

      Dr. Cole,
      Could you look into the Costa Rica thing? I know I mentioned this the other day. Usually you write about the Mideast but this was not about the Mideast and I would like to hear from someone reliable about this thing with Costa Rica. Is it just a leftwing version of the right wing nuts' U.N. black helicopters or is there something to it?

      Yes Dennis Miller is a fool and no longer the least bit funny.


  • Dems Souring on Afghan War as 25 Killed by Roadside Bomb in Nimroz
    • Prof. Cole,
      I read this IC blog every day; it is one of the best places to find out about a lot of things, not only Iraq/AfPak etc. but what is going on in other parts of the world as opposed to the crap we get from "news" sources.
      So I am wondering, not to detract from this excellent post -- I know your specialty is the ME, but what have you heard about our govt. sending dozens of warships (maybe including an aircraft carrier) and 7,000 troops to Costa Rica? Is this to attack Venezuela or what?!! It really seems like our nation has gone totally insane!!!

  • Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy
    • Metzengerstein 07/24/2010 at 2:40 pm

      If it comes to that, they won't ask for permission. Turkey might have air defenses that would be able to stop or slow them, but Iraq doesn't, not in any sovereign sense. The U.S. controls what there is, and the Israelis would probably have the green light, tacitly if not explicitly.

  • Lockerbie Bomber released for Sake of BP Libya Drilling Rights
    • Metzengerstein 07/14/2010 at 4:22 pm

      Remember the outrage of the neocons, dittoheads, etc. at the decision of the effete, wimpy, bleeding-heart Scottish courts for letting the guy go and also at the Brits, especially the Labor govt. for letting the Scots "get away" with letting him go?

      That's probably why they are now so incensed at BP and publicly lashing out at them for ... oh, wait ... they aren't?

      In the immortal words of Emily Litella -- "Never mind."

  • Why Pakistan needs the Separation of Religion and State;
    Atrocities by Taliban against Ahmadis
    • Metzengerstein 05/30/2010 at 4:06 pm

      "Peace be upon you" with the response "and also on you" or close variations on those have also been adopted by Catholic (at least post-Vatican II) and many Protestant denominations as part of the liturgy. I suppose in other languages than English as well, although I can't recall offhand having attended any such services. It can be either part of a call-and-response between the pastor and the congregation or is used during a "sharing moment" in the service where people turn and shake hands and offer it to each other. How silly to try to ban anyone from saying such a simple and kind greeting.

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