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Total number of comments: 300 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:42)


Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Obama to Netanyahu: Israel faces Int'l Sanctions over "Permanent Occupation of West Bank"
    • I hope that such a Third Intifada would be peaceful. The Palestinians, West and Gaza, should walk to the Dome of the Rock ignoring boundaries. What would the IDF do if a million Palestinians crossed the border? Mow them down? Cut the grass (as they say)? That one action might end this entire horror!

    • You are correct to compare Israel to some of the other miserable regimes in the world. That old line "the only democracy in the Middle East" is a joke!

  • Obama Plans for complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December
    • " Karzai said no, and that’s it. Game over. Check and mate."??? Ask Diem of Vietnam how that worked out. Do you doubt that there is an Afghan general on the payroll who would be willing to "do what is best for Afghanistan" at America's behest? "That’s the American way." This game is not over yet!

  • Brokers of Deceit: Massive US Aid to Israel has Enabled a Colonial Project
    • With American control of the Middle East waning and as Israel is becoming evermore arrogant and demanding I wonder when it will all end. But these situations do always come to an end.

      I remember when people were predicting the collapse of the USSR. They had been making such predictions for decades so their credibility was low, but then they were proved right. Their timing was just bad. The same thing can be said for Apartheid South Africa. We do live in “interesting” times.

      When will the falling curve of American influence cross the rising curve of Israeli arrogance? That will be an interesting time!

  • In midst of Alleged Peace Talks, Israel Announces Hundreds of new Squatter Homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • A modest suggestion, why doesn’t Israel make this “Jewish housing” into integrated housing? It should be 50% Jewish and 50% Palestinian. This would be a demonstration to the world that Israel is not a racist state and that Jews and Palestinians can live together.

      Imagine if America started building “white” housing. Might that suggest something about us?

  • Christie, Clapper and other Officials who should be in Jail instead of Snowden
    • Please do not ask;

      “Actually, the question is why US intelligence did not foil 9/11 given that they were following Khalid al-Mihdar and had him under surveillance.”

      because the answer is: "we did not have enough information to focus in on X. We need additional surveillance to give us that information.” That is the logic that got us into our current miserable situation. We need to say that it is police work that finds criminals and not massive surveillance.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu faces Zionist Racism from Son dating Norwegian
    • I am surprised that anyone is surprised when Israel shows its racist face. Its founding ideology is not one of equal rights for all people, it is blatantly racist. Israel proudly announces this to the world when it calls itself the Jewish State.
      Let us recognize this fact and also oppose the “liberal” plan for the Palestinians: the two state solution. Getting rid of your unwanted population is not acceptable, it is racist. It is just ethnic cleansing renamed to hide its reality.

  • Gates worries Pakistan Violence blocks Polio Eradication, But is CIA Partly to Blame?
    • In a fantasy world the CIA would feel guilty and send all the people involved to Pakistan to work as un-armed helpers in the Polio eradication effort.

  • Netanyahu Tells Kerry he will Grab 13% of Palestinian West Bank
    • There is an interesting contrast to be made between the West bank and Gaza. In Gaza the Palestinians resisted the encroachment of settlements often with violence and at a terrible price. What did they get? No settlements, indeed Israel no longer even talks about Gaza as being God given land for the Jews.

      In the West Bank things are quite different: ever encroaching settlements, water theft, check-points, and Israel talking about a God given right to the land. Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have been compliant and supine; even then they are accused of being “not partners for peace”.

      What are the lessons from this? Israel says that they want “negotiations”, but that has been tried for 66 years with no useful effect. The lesson from this should be clear to everyone!

  • US Intel Officials keep Talking about Killing Snowden, then say "trust us with your data"
    • Would you be troubled if your local police department personnel talked that way about a criminal that they could not find? What about someone that stole police records, would it be OK to talk about killing him? What if a city counselor wanted to reduce the police budget, would you be troubled if the police joked about doing him in?

      When someone like the US intelligence community, who kills people regularly, jokes about killing someone you should take them seriously.

  • Messianic Israeli Minister obsessed with Palestinian Land accuses Kerry of Messianic Obsession
    • Israel seems to be getting to quite enjoy slapping us in the face. They seem to be doing it at an ever increasing rate. Where will all this arrogance and hubris lead?

      Perhaps Yaalon makes the best suggestion: have the US just "leaves us be". He is right, we should treat Israel the way that we treat other thuggish regimes that don't matter and just ignore them.

  • The Ruling that Endangers the Internet as we Know It
    • I wonder what happened to the notion of the "regulated monopoly"? Regulated monopolies deliver your electricity and heating gas. They are not allowed to discriminate against certain customers, why should internet providers?

      This is an idea that should be revived. Internet service companies should be broken up; one part would be the regulated "providers of the wiring" and the other would be the parts that provide content. Allowing those two functions to be combined in one company was bound to cause these types of problems.

  • Turkey's Fierce Battle on the Religious Right
    • Might the intellligentsia decide that secular rule by the generals was not so bad and welcome them back?

  • The Failure of the Trillion Dollar National Security State
    • I slide out from under my bed to say this:

      Out panic is so great because the stakes are so small. The fix, change America's disgraceful foreign policy, must not be considered.

      Now I climb back under my bed!

  • Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State
    • Is it your contention that the UN, and the League before it, are in the business of handing out national homelands? If so then there is quite a long waiting line of peoples without an independent homeland.

      But if that is your contention, then you will have to admit that things did not work out so well and that the UN should change the enabling resolutions. They made a mistake and they should fix it. OK by you?

    • The difference is that Israel engages in ethnic cleansing. By demanding that the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state they are demanding permission from the victims for their own cleansing.

    • That is Israel’s dilemma. Once you define yourself as a racist state then you must draw lines: who are the favored and who are not. Saying that Jews are favored in Israel is easy, but not so easy to implement once you get to the details of individual cases.

      Apartheid South Africa had the same problem. The whites were the favored and the Africans were not. But what about the people who were neither? They created four categories by law: white, black, coloured, and Indian. But what about people who did not fit neatly in one of those categories? Obviously, you create more sub-categories! The only thing that really mattered was that whites were on top. Everyone knew that.

      Israel is going through the same process, deciding who is on top and who is not. Deciding who is “Jewish” and who is not quite Jewish is just as horrible a spectacle to watch in Israel as it was in South Africa. In Israel the only thing that really matters is who is on the bottom: the Palestinians. Everyone knows that.

      By getting the Palestinians to accept that Israel is the Jewish state they will have gotten the Palestinians to accept their position on the bottom. They will have accepted their position as the excluded minority. That then opens the door to the next phase: “transfer” as the Israelis call it. Some call this the “Two State Solution”; others don’t care where the undesirables are transferred to, just not here.

      Why do we Americans accept the Israeli framing of this issue? Did we not fight the same battle ourselves?

  • Is a Third Palestinian Uprising on its Way?
    • If it is madness then it is the madness of desperation. After 65 years there is no point in waiting for Israel to "do the right thing". The argument that resisting will only make things worse is the standard one used to keep people down. It was used to justify segregation in America and it was used in Apartheid South Africa. There comes a time when you have to say: no more!

    • Of course Israel would not permit a march. They won't issue a building permit to a Palestinian. My point is that they should ignore what Israel will and will not permit. They need to just do it.

    • This time the Intifada should have a different focus. All Palestinians, indeed all Arabs, should march peacefully to the Dome of the Rock. They should march from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. They should ignore Israel. After 65 years we all know that there is nothing to be gained by talking to Israel. What would Israel do? What could Israel do?

      Such mass marches got the British out of India and helped end Segregation. It is probably the only way to end Israeli oppression.

  • Israel plans 1400 New Squatter Homes in Palestinian West Bank
    • Here is a solution: Pressure Israel to make these 600 units of housing to be 600 units of INTEGRATED housing. There would be 300 for Jewish families and 300 for Palestinian families.

      Imagine if the US government announced that there would be 600 units of "white Christian" housing being built. Imagine the reaction! Why does Israel always get a pass on that one?

  • Assange warns of Information Apartheid & Encompassing State: "This is the Last Free Generation"
    • The dilemma here is that even if we fix the NSA, rein it in with laws and budget cuts the problem is still not solved. The Chinese, criminal gangs, hackers all operate the same way as the NSA but will not be effected.

      What is needed is to secure the internet. It was designed in an era when a "gentleman’s agreement" was sufficient to insure a reasonable civility on the net. Those days are over, long over.

      We need all parties, even the NSA, to work together to improve the security of the net. In the past NSA people were members of these standards setting groups and subverted their efforts. When new standards are set everyone will be looking at everyone else with suspicion. This one fact may make the process work this time around.

      We cannot prevent people from trying to spy; we can make it very hard to do.

  • NSA bribed Encryption Companies to Install Back Doors: Was the Law Broken? Did Obama Know?
    • Your friend may be "wired" without even him knowing it. The NSA or anyone else can turn on his (or your) cell phone's microphone and listen in. It is best to have a confidential chat in a noisy nightclub!

    • I think that this one thing, impacting US company’s bottom lines, will give this scandal legs. Spying on individual Americans: no problem. Spying on all Americans: nothing to see, please move along. Hitting profits: major scandal, heads must roll.

      It is this one thing that gives me hope. This is one of those rare times where corporate interests align with the interests of individual Americans. We all have come to realize how insecure the Internet is and we may actually fix it.

  • How many American Weddings would have to get hit by Drones before they were Banned?
    • This is continuing evidence that we are getting lazy in perusing this "war on terror". Two blatant examples:

      Drone attacks. We don't want to send soldiers into dangerous places to get the guys we don't like. These countries won’t reliably follow our orders and get the guys themselves. In these situations we just send in the drones and blow them all up. It is easy. Just like Arnaud Amalric’s advice: "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

      NSA spying: It is hard work to follow leads, examine evidence, get a search warrant, and arrest a suspect. Why do all that? It is much easier to spy on everyone all the time. Maybe they will find something in that mountain of data. There might even be some juicy tidbits useful in advancing my career.

      We have become lazy and complacent. No (important) Americans are getting killed. Others getting killed don’t even make the news. No one cares about these wars except for those who have built their career on them. What a mess!

  • American Studies Association to Boycott Israeli Institutions in Historic Vote
    • No doubt we will see Israel's well oiled PR machine move into action as it always does in these situations. It will be interesting to watch if it is as effective as it has been in the past. Will it be smooth running or will it miss a beat? Will this be the beginning of it's slide or will it bury this boycott as it has with every one in the past?

  • Federal Judge to NSA: What you did to Verizon Customers was Unconstitutional
    • Please explain when Hoover's blackmail activities were corrected? Other than the grave, that is?

    • You are certainly correct that if a low level NSA employee attempted to blackmail a significant political figure he would surely get caught. He would be playing out of his league. Blackmailing an ex-girlfriend, not so much.

      However a Dick Cheney doing the same thing would be normal and expected. When the boss does it, it must be OK. Right?

      This information collection, tailor made for blackmail, is too poisonous to have in a democracy. If we must engage in such activity it must be carefully watched and restricted and most of all small scale. After all you cannot predict when the next Dick Cheney might come along!

    • No doubt that Judge Leon now finds himself of that list of 60 or so terrorism suspects under surveillance. He certainly has Gen Alexander terrorized!

  • US Drones Kill 15 in Yemen Wedding Convoy, mistaking them for al-Qaeda
    • Of course we will be turning over the soldier who pulled the trigger and his chain of command to the government of Yemen for prosecution.


  • Has a European Boycott of Israeli Colonies in the Palestinian West Bank Begun?
    • Yes, a good suggestion. We Americans need to pressure our own representatives on this subject. I suspect that if Obama just started talking about Palestinian rights there would be a shock wave in Israel. He could compare the US Segregation era to Israel today. The road forward for Israel would be clear: make Israel an inclusive civil society.

      Obama, given who he is, would be the perfect person to deliver that message.

    • We need to remember that the crimes that Israel commits in the West Bank originate in Tel Aviv. We should not only boycott Israeli settlers we should also boycott all of Israel.

  • Google, Microsoft, Silicon Valley Giants Demand Rollback of out-of-control NSA Spying
    • The end result of this is likely to be the government announcing: "The NSA will not (get caught) spy on ordinary Americans". Then everything will die down and nothing will change.

      The essential problem is that the many good patriotic Americans who work at the NSA and know that what they are doing are wrong; nevertheless they rationalize it because of the war. This rationalization is happening in this war as it did in past wars. We rationalized interning Japanese Americans in WWII. We rationalized persecuting German Americans in WWI. We probably cannot stop it. War is like that.

      What we can stop is these wars. If there were no war then there would be much more institutional resistance inside the NAS against illegal activities. Of course we must work to reining in the NSA and cut its budget but it is probably more important to end these wars.

  • Can Mandela's Truth and Reconciliation Heal the Middle East?
    • I think that one factor helping the transition in South Africa was that American attitudes were changing. By the 90’s the left had turned against the Apartheid regime. African Americans were condemning it in increasingly strong terms. Thoughtful American businessmen could see the building trend. Also, for Americans, Apartheid was not ideological or religious, it was just plain old racist. Not many would shed a tear if Apartheid fell.

      Israel is quite different. Many Americans think that Israel is God’s work. Others think that Israel is a bulwark against scary brown people taking over the world. Most Americans still believe in Israel. They see nothing wrong with Israel as a state with one social group at the top and another group brutally oppressed at the bottom. For many Americans, Israel is an ideological and/or a religious cause. While support for Israel among Americans may be slipping, it is still far from a trend. That is the task at hand!

  • Young Israelis Emigrating Abroad Roils Politics in Tel Aviv
    • Maybe the future is not so grim: a secular Israel composed of secular Jews and Palestinians. Israel is blessed in that it's Palestinian population are largely moderate Muslims. With the Haredim largely staying out of politics. That seems to be a solution that everyone can (should) live with.

  • Top 10 errors in Netanyahu's Speech Demanding Iran give up 'Genocidal' Policies
    • Israel will not be defeated by any combination of regional armies. They have done it before and are no less powerful now. However they are not in a good position. Apartheid was not defeated by any conventional army. The French in Algeria, the British in India, Kenya etc. were not defeated by conventional armies. Nor was the US in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. They were all defeated because the situation was uncontrollable. They did not know who the enemy was. Nuclear weapons were useless.

      The worst enemy that a top notch conventional army can face is chaos. There is no one to shoot or everyone to shoot, either way it makes no difference. Listen to the American generals in Afghanistan complaining that the locals need years of training. They neglect to mention that the other side is fighting with those same guys and they are doing pretty well.

      Israel will reform or be defeated when they realize that they can never win. They fight, they kill lots of people, but they never win. They will become exhausted just like America in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I hope they come to choose reform.

  • Crystal Night Must not be Repeated versus other European Minorities
  • United States, Israel opposed Mandela, supported Apartheid
    • Same as in Israel. It is with those accused terrorists rotting in Israeli prisons that Israel will finally make peace. A just peace with those you oppress is the better deal.

    • There have been Palestinian Mandela's, however they are in prison or dead. Israel knows that a Palestinian Mandela is far more dangerous than a thousand terrorists.

      The question should be: Where is the Israeli de Klerk?

  • NSA monitored visits of "Radicalizers" to Chat Rooms, Skin Sites to Discredit Them
    • You are too narrow on who the NSA might consider a "radicalizer". How would the NSA view a member of Congress who might want to cut the NSA's budget? Surely they would need to be targeted. They would be worse than a radicalizer they would be tantamount (love that word) to a terrorist!

      All the NSA needs to do is to look back through the communications of that heinous person. Likely there is some ill-considered email or an embarrassing selfie or worse. Pass that to their political opponent or to the press. Of course this is all top secret and done for the “national interest”.

      An over-big and unrestrained NSA can destroy democracy like no terrorist can.

  • The Middle East warmly welcomes Iran Deal, sees it as Step toward Denuclearizing Israel
    • Is this what the Israelis mean when they say that this might lead to the complete unraveling of the sanctions against Iran? That the Iranian market is so lucrative that once a little trade is allowed everyone will want to push the limits a little more until the limits are gone.

      If so, then good! Let the sanctions fall.

  • US-Iran War Averted by Agreement to Negotiate on Nuclear Enrichment
    • Of course the Iranians do not want US troops in the Middle East. Neither do the Sunni nor the Shea. The only people who want us there are some of the Arab elites and the Israelis. That is because we protect their privileged positions. Without us they would fall.

      The reason to hide your nuclear facilities even when you are doing nothing wrong is to protect them in case of military attack. You always want uncertainty in the mind of your enemies. You will admit that not having WMDs is no protection against the wackos in Washington or Israel.

  • Israel forces Gaza Children to Wade through Sewage as Creepy, Evil Blockade Continues
    • People suggest that a Palestinian state can live side by side with such a monstrosity as Israel? Israel must be reformed, that is the only way to peace.

  • Our Gasoline thirst fuels Mideast Fundamentalism, Violence - EVs are the Answer
    • But what are the relative numbers?

    • Of the 19.5 million barrels a day of petroleum that we use, how much is not burned? How much of that oil is used as lubricating oil, chemical feed stock, fertilizer, etc. If we stopped burning oil how much oil would we still need? I have asked this question in a number of places and not gotten an answer.

  • How America's Global Surveillance Empire made it a Helpless Giant (Engelhardt)
    • You make "targeted killing" sound so clean and complete. Kill one guy and it is done. You forget that action produces reaction, violence produces blowback.

      These guys who are fighting to drive the US out of the middle east do not have drones; they cannot kill from easy chairs half a world away. But that does not mean that they are without resources.

      The blowback comes when they kill our stooges. The blowback comes when they bomb our embassies. Of course we cry “that is not fair”. Who dares to strike the emperor, we scream!

      Perhaps a trade is in order. From the film “The Battle of Algiers” comes the quote: "Give us your bombers [your aircraft] and you can have our baskets." (The French claimed that delivering bombs in baskets was unfair.)

    • There’s that word again "interests", that universal, vague justification for just about anything. The US has for 50 years engaged in ... (I won't recount that long miserable history). That era is coming to an end. Such ends are generally quite ugly. Ask the British about Kenya. Ask the French about Algeria. Now it is our turn.

      However, this need not be so. We can simply realize that times have changed. American domination of the middle east coming to an end and that we should leave. In time we can have respectful relations with the (reformed) countries in that region. We need to realize that they are not ours to remake.

    • We won the cold war, our military is more powerful that the next dozen countries combined; we stand astride the world! Why then are we like a paranoid gun nut holed up in his bunker engaged in "targeted killings" of those our fevered mind has inflated to the status of world menace?

  • Arts of the Arab Uprisings at the Arab-American Museum, Dearborn
    • I am always heartened with things that humanize Arabs in the eyes of Americans. We have had a good part of a century where Arabs are all things bad. This made pursuing "American interests" in the middle east more palatable. If we had to do bad things then it was only necessary because they are bad people.

      Everything that breaks mindset down is good. From Lebanese restaurants to Arab comic books, stand-up comics, art, music, and honest discussions of the plight of the Palestinians will serve to change things. Forty years later the Vietnamese are no longer gooks, in time the Arabs will not be rag heads.

  • Israelis plan new Colonies, Oil Drilling, on Palestinian Land during "Peace Talks"
    • You would have said the same thing about the American South in the days of segregation.

      The problem is rather this type of comment that argues that "Israel will never change so why try".

    • You do not get to "steal only what they need". Israel is a rich country stealing from an impoverished people.

      It is this mindset that is the problem. The Holocaust is long past, there is nowhere in the world where the Jews are at risk of another Holocaust. We need to stop excusing their behavior. What they are doing is racist and it is a crime.

  • CIA Drone Kills Pakistan Taliban Leader on Eve of Peace talks with Islamabad
    • He may have been the key to solving this problem or not. We will never know!

      However, killing him is just the latest round of "we got the second most dangerous Taliban, Al-Qaeda, terrorist (take your pick) leader, surely we will win now!" Shortly they will be telling us that they see the "light at the end of the tunnel" in this war. (I am giving away my age with that one).

      Surely you can see that we are in the "our victories don't matter" phase of this war. We almost never loose a battle but the war does not end. We must win the war before we "win". They just have to keep fighting to win.

    • I wonder if the drone program is just round 2 of the "use the foreign enemy to get your enemy" game. When an Afghan wanted to eliminate someone he did not like, he would tell the clueless Americans: "that guy is a Taliban". In the past we would go arrest or kill the guy. In that way, we got to fill our prisons and report impressive body counts. However we got no satisfaction!

      Isn't it likely that the same game is being played again? With this round it is too dangerous to try to capture the guy, so we just kill him. Indeed it is much better this time; you don't end up with prisons filled innocent but unlucky Afghans. Politically that was bad Juju. Now it is much better, all dead Afghans are guilty, because we say so! Makes us feel righteous.

  • America's Secret 4th Branch of Government: The NSA kept even Obama in the Dark
    • We should all work hard to constrain the NSA, CIA, etc through laws and other directives. However, those clearly are not enough, the most effective restraint is to cut their budgets. If they do not have the resources to get into trouble then they will get into trouble less often.

  • The American Quagmire in Afghanistan by the Numbers (21,565 US Troops Dead or Wounded)
    • I love that logic: If we had not committed the crime, that other guy would have done it and it would have been worse! It is that type of logic that makes us so despised.

  • How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One
    • His strategy has worked very well! How do you defeat the pre-eminent world power when you are just a band of a few thousand living is a far away country like Afghanistan? The answer is you get them to defeat themselves. You drive them insane.

      Over-reactions, witch hunts, attacking innocents, alienating friends all contribute to our isolation and paranoia. That universal excuse; “terrorism” justifies all. Insanity reigns supreme!

  • No, NSA snooping didn't foil 50 Terrorist Attacks (Elliot & Meyer)
    • This is wonderful, 54 somethings averted!

      Given that stellar record I think that the program should be expanded. Imagine if this spying could be targeted against crime at home in the US. We could stop organized crime, drug dealing, bribery etc. Certainly that is possible with today’s technology. Many more people die due to crime than to terrorism.

      When the Utah facility comes on line the possibilities for improving life for Americans is even greater. This new capability could be used to help make government more honest. With increased surveillance they could have caught Anthony Weiner when he posted his first risqué picture. It could have caught Elliot Spitzer the first time he got a little frisky. They could fact check politicians as soon as they open their mouths. A golden future!

      I think that we Americans should demand that NSA capabilities be expanded. This force for good should be focused on our politicians to insure that they act in the interest of the people they serve; not the military/industrial complex, not AIPAC, and not the NRA. Also, I want it to catch people who spit gum on the sidewalk. I hate that!

  • Israelis again impose Collective punishment on Palestinians of Gaza
    • Spielberg’s “Munich” is certainly a masterpiece but it still propagates the "thinking man's" justification for Israel: "The Palestinians are human beings but they are wrong" and "The Israeli's are good people who are forced to do terrible things to protect themselves". The movie is propaganda for the Left.

      The Right simply dehumanizes the Palestinians as nothing more than born terrorists who must be punished until they “understand”. The Israelis are saintly people who have done nothing wrong.

      We must reject both the soft propaganda of the Left and the hard propaganda of the Right and look at Israel itself: a country of one favored class and another brutally oppressed class. Fix that and there will be peace.

  • Snowden: Federal Spying makes us Less Secure
    • How well do you think the Cisco salesmen are doing in Brazil these days? Do you think that American cloud services are getting a welcome reception? How about other places around the world?

      I will bet that Siemens will be making a big push in the switch market. Why? The German privacy laws are much stricter and the designers would risk legal action if they put nice convenient backdoors in their products. This is where strong privacy laws make good business sense. Solid secure products will sell. If you were buying a top level switch for your national infrastructure would you buy one with a backdoor or one without?

      Why the Germans? They have firsthand experience with the type of spying that you are so sanguine about.

  • World Bank: Israelis strangling Palestinian Economy
    • Ponder the word "viable" in this context and you understand why the Palestinians will reject this ploy even if the Israeli approved Palestinian leadership accepts it.

      The fact that Israel considers its borders to be adjustable when to their advantage but decreed by God when not to their likening is only one manifestation of the problem. The overall problem is their quest for ethnic and religious purity. This is an idea so ugly that it should be rejected by all, particularly Jews. Was that not the cause of many of the atrocities of the 20th century? Do we want to bring these ideas into the 21st?

    • "Palestinian statehood" would solve nothing. Such a "Palestinian state" would be under Israel's thumb just like the Palestinian territories are now. The problem is with Israel itself. They feel that they have the right to do what they are doing. Their theology and/or ideology is what drives them forward and is what they use to excuse their crimes. That is what must be confronted.

  • On how American Jews are Mostly the Opposite of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu
    • The Zionist right wing in America is powerful not due to support of most Jews but because of the power of the accusation of anti-Semitism. They are very skillful with such insinuations. We hear things like “he is trying to throw Israel under the bus” when Israel does not get its way, implying that Israel, a regional super power, is at risk. The ridiculousness of that accusation is irrelevant, the message has been delivered: go further any you will be accused of being anti-Semitic.

      If a politician does not buckle under then the accusations increase: “He wants Israel destroyed”, “He wants all Jews killed”, “Another Holocaust”, etc. It does not take long before a politician realizes that if he votes for the bill and signs the check such problems go away. It is a process that has worked very well for half a century.

      With this scheme, the opinions of ordinary American Jews hardly matter.

  • Iranian President Rouhani acknowledges Holocaust as Crime against Jewish People
    • "To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war." (Churchill)
      That makes me a supporter of the UN.

      Also, the impossibility of getting UN approval of a US attack on Syria is one factor in holding off that disaster.

  • Brazilian President Snubs Obama: How US Cyber Espionage will Destroy the Internet
    • You over-fund the Pentagon and you get war. You over-fund spies and you get over-spying! What a disaster!

  • If Obama goes Back to Congress on Syria, they must save America by voting No (van Buren)
  • Al-Qaeda as Fringe Cult: 12 Years Later, Heretical Text of 9/11 Hijackers Still Withheld by FBI (Kurzman)
    • I wish that we would stop the "are they good Muslims" type discussions. They are insurgents fighting for a cause who happen to be Muslims. Religion is not their cause!

      Do we have the same discussions after domestic terrorism events? Did we ask if Timothy McVeigh, the Kansas City bomber, was a good Christian? Do we ask if the KKK are good Christians? They certainly claim to be. Lots of nasty people find it useful to wrap themselves in religion.

      These discussions distract us from asking useful questions like why are they fighting? What is their cause? What are their grievances? Can we stop them from attacking us by acting on their grievances?

      These are difficult questions that we don’t want to thing about. We are much happier to talk about their religion; lets us off the hook.

  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
    • One unfortunate result is that Congress will not get the opportunity to say: it is we that get to decide matters of war and peace. That would have put a stop to the presidential "war on a whim" policy that we have had for the last few decades.

  • The US still Wants to be the Sole Superpower; but it Can't (Engelhardt)
    • There is a curious factor that has gone on without comment. There is, in the world of nations, a sort of magic ring. This ring is able to provide absolute security from the machinations of the Goliath. Those who posses one are secure, without one you are not. Thus, all nations covet the magic ring; however the quest for the ring is exceedingly dangerous. If the Goliath notices your efforts, you are destroyed.

      I am, of course, talking about nuclear weapons. With them you will not be attacked by the US, your protection is near absolute. The effort to acquire then is fraught with danger; consider Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

      While nuclear weapons protect you from outside risks they do not protect against internal divisions. Thus, nuclear weapons did not prevent the fall of the USSR. They did not save Apartheid South Africa nor save segregationist America. Both were forced to reform. Nuclear Israel is at war with itself, i.e. the top half vs. the bottom half of its society. It is on the path to destruction. Social problems are immune to the nuclear threat.

      Nuclear weapons also protect those nations that lose the struggle with the Goliath. Traditionally the victor would salt the farmlands of the vanquished as the Romans did with Carthage to insure that they could never rise again. Russia, though defeated, will not be salted. Russia could easily rise again. China is rising and the US has no military means to prevent it. Nuclear weapons cause a permanent stalemate on the unrestricted use of military power. Even a country whose economy runs on ox carts such as North Korea can stalemate US power.

      The unipolar world is a curious place!

  • Former Iranian President Slams Syria for Gassing own People: Sign of deep Divisions in Tehran
    • This is a reoccurring theme in American foreign policy in the Middle East: why be smart when you have lots of guns. Subtle diplomacy seems quite beyond us. The question always seems to be; do we bomb them or not?

      Here is an opportunity to be on the right side of an issue and get help from others but arrogance will preclude such a thing. Iran is a “must not talk to” country.

  • Israeli Press on Syria Delay: History will Mock Obama (OSC)
    • Didn't Netanyahu ask Israelis to be silent on this so that Israel does not become associated with the crime?

      I love the line: “The wicked are smiling in Tehran” Of course that means that the wicked in Tel Aviv are glum.

  • Iraqi Government Rejects US Strike on Syria, Fears Civil War
  • Obama goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses
    • Consider this scenario: Congress approves a strike but only a limited one time thing. This being necessary to get it passed. The strike happens but because it is limited it has minimal effect on the course of the war. A strike that affects the course of the war is the only real measure of its desired “punishment” effect.

      The regime and the Arab world laugh it off. Does Obama repeat the strike without Congressional approval? Does Obama opt for a real as opposed to symbolic strike the second time around? Perhaps a real strike requires boots on the ground? I think not, his bluff has been called!

      I think that, at this point, Obama would recognize the slippery slope to another quagmire and back off. His only next move would be to continue our slow disengagement from the Middle East; the announced pivot to the orient. This would be a good thing.

  • The Ghost of Iraq haunts Obama on Syria as British Parliament Defects
    • Here is a foreign policy to try in this situation: bring up the issue of Russia and Iran supplying weapons to a country that has used chemical weapons. Initiate a debate in the UN security council on this subject. Push for a weapons embargo or even a blockade.

      This would put us on the right side of the issue. It would shame the Russians and Iranians on topic where there is wide acceptance; the non-us of chemical weapons. Most importantly, we would be using diplomacy and not bombing anyone.

  • Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria (ECFR)
    • "putting an embassy and a friendly regime Tehran"? Those days are over. The era when most of the Middle East was ruled by rulers compliant to Washington is also over. The time when American military might was enough to make recalcitrant autocrats buckle is in the past. This time of terrorism originating in the Middle East will be over when the last American military base closes and the warships sale for home.

      The end of empire is marked by chaos not defeat. The empire simply can no longer be managed in an economical way. The balance sheet goes from being in the black to blood red. Let's cut our loss and go home.

    • This is the best and most comprehensive analysis on the situation that I have read.


  • A Century of America's Imperial Deep State (McCoy)
    • History's lesson seems to teach that the pressures for the surveillance state subside when the associated war ends. A lot can be justified with the statement: “It’s for the war effort”. I hope that the same happens with the ending of the war in Afghanistan.

      However, we also have the war on terror as a widely used excuse for such excesses. As we slide down the backside of empire this excuse will continue to be heard. It will probably be a generation before America’s involvement in the Middle East comes to a close so we are likely to be hearing “terrorism bla bla bla!” for some time to come.

      To defeat the surveillance state we must also end the wars, all of them!

  • Malala Yousafzai Pleads at UN for Universal Free Schooling for Girls and Boys
  • Top Ten Ways US TV News are Screwing us Again on NSA Surveillance Story (Iraq Redux)
    • The universal and widely accepted excuse for all of this is:
      We are at war, this is necessary.

      The solution is to end the wars!

  • Snowden was Right, they're Reading your Mail: How British Intelligence and the NSA are Tag-Teaming US
    • I wonder if the internet outages in the Middle East a few years back that were due to a damaged undersea cable were a wire tapping effort gone wrong. Did some guy cutting into a cable under the Mediterranean cut the wrong wire? I did notice that Arab countries were affected but not Israel. Curious!

  • India-Pakistan Daily Border-Closing Ceremony, courtesy the Ministry of Silly Walks
    • While this is very entertaining, I sensed a troubling overtone. The ornamental strutting your military in front of your often enemy does not indicate a lessening of tensions. Peace treaties and joint military exercises would be more comforting. This is not the British Army at the Horse Guards Parade performing for the Queen!

  • An Outbreak of Reasonableness in Tehran: Top Ten Conclusions from Iran's Early Election Returns
    • What happens to US policy in the region if Iran's president sounds more rational than ours?

  • We Misunderstood Barack: He only wanted the Domestic Surveillance to be Made Legal, not to End It
    • A curious thing to note with these pervasive surveillance schemes is that they don't work. The spying has been going on for 7 years. Did it prevent the Boston bombing? The London stabbing?

      The people planning these attacks can easily cover their tracks; throw array phones, talking in dialect, the internet, etc. Also, they are dedicated to their cause and they do not particularly care about being caught. They draw from a pool of over a billion Muslims, many of whom are enraged at Western foreign policy in their region. No amount of surveillance, even if effective, can stop successful attacks.

    • That is the problem with war! All sorts of tortured rationalizations begin to make sense, at least to some people. You don’t like what we are doing? We have to do it because of “terrorism”! “Terrorism” the universal rationalization.

      We will never defeat that logic. The fact that these are phony wars does not matter. Such rationalizations were used during a real and necessary war; WWII. The internment of the Japanese Americans for example. At least WWII was over after a few years and things could go back to normal. The GWOT is eternal, as they explain, things will never be normal again! That is the logic that we must fight. That logic will only collapse when the wars end.

  • PRISM: The US Government is mad at Bradley Manning for doing to it what it is Doing to All of us
    • Why is it likely that some NSA employee turned a PowerPoint slide over to the Guardian and the Washington Post? Remember that the Chinese Army has a massive electronic spying operation. Presumably they are reading the same documents as the NSA people.

      Of course the Chinese are using these backdoor entry points to spy on all of us too. Since the Chinese can do it so can the Russian FSB. After that it is the Russian mafia, the US mafia, black hat hackers, teenage boys, the Republican Party (of course the Democrats will not be left behind), and American marketing firms. However, the public is strictly excluded!

      Once these backdoor entry points are provided, it becomes hard to control who enters.

  • NSA-Verizon Surveillance: Welcome to the United States of Total Information Awareness
    • This troubling governmental grab for universal surveillance leaves me with the question: what do I do? In many authorities countries the police are not trusted. You never call the police because you do not want to end up in their files. Is this where America is heading? In an environment of pervasive surveillance do we, the public, become passively uncooperative? Is “the government” no longer “our government”?

  • Dear US Government: Your 'Terror' map of the Muslim World is from the Time of Shakespeare (Kurzman))
    • A little speculative history: what would such a map have looked like in the late 1940's and drawn up by the old European colonial powers. It would include Africa, India, and much of Asia. It would include all of the territory of the old European empires (curious)! Now, half a century later, most of those countries do not pose a terrorism threat to the West. Curious how that worked out!

      Now we have a map of Islamic world defining it as a source of terrorism. We need not quibble about how that dividing line is drawn; we know where the threat originates from. We should ponder the cause of today’s terrorism and learn from the last time around. The solution to this terrorist threat is the same as it was for the old colonialists; get out!

  • Stateless! The Core of the Palestinian Crisis (Juan Cole Video)
    • I remember, not so long ago, that Israelis would say: If only the Palestinians would protest peacefully they would get a fair deal.

      Now that the Palestinians are pursuing peaceful avenues of protest, UN resolutions, the BSD movement, and peaceful marches, all that we hear from the Israelis are complaints that they are attempting to delegitimize Israel.

      It leads me to wonder, what do the Israelis want? They objet to violent resistance: OK, I understand. They also object to peaceful resistance: isn’t that what they wanted? Of course we know what they really want: an ethnically/religiously pure state with no undesirables in sight: pretty ugly. It is the Israelis delegitimizing themselves.

  • Syria needs a dozen S-300 batteries to protect itself - Russian general; Kerry Denounces Plan
    • I wonder how Israel will react. Israel has always attacked its neighbors with impunity. Its military superiority has allowed it to feel immune to any repercussions. Is it feeling less immune these days?

      What would Israel do if one of its jets was shot down over Syria? Or, more likely, if its jet falls in Israel after firing a long range missile into Syria? This is also a Casus belli even if the jet itself does not violate Syrian air space.

  • Checkpoint: The Every Day Life of Humiliation for Palestinians (Short Documentary)
    • I am always troubled to hear lines like “We need to defend ourselves” or the more common “Israel has a right to …” A more useful question would be: do the Palestinians have a right to resist oppression? I hope that we can all agree that the answer is: yes.

      Before you start talking about Palestinian violence ask yourself do they have any other choice? Can the Palestinians get equal rights through peaceful protest? Could the Palestinians peacefully march to the steps of the Knesset and demand their rights?

      We acknowledge the right of the people in other countries to overthrow their brutal and repressive regimes. Some of us cheer the Arab Spring. Don’t the oppressed people of Israel have the same right?

  • Department of Justice Spying on AP Reporters' Telephone Contacts Threatens Democracy
    • It seems that Aljazeera and throw-away cell phones might become critical to American democracy. Where are the traditional forth estate guardians of freedom?

  • Bibi's $127,000-bed in the Sky: PM Sleeps in the Clouds as he Plans Austerity for Israelis
    • I am sure Bibi sleeps rests very comfortably in his $127,000 bed while he has the Palestinians on a "diet".
      Doesn't anyone in Israel see the problem here?

  • Top Ten Republican Myths on Libya
    • One question that goes un-asked: why was the US consulate guarded by CIA "operatives" and not uniformed US Marines like every US embassy? Uniformed military guards guarding a nation’s embassy wearing that nation’s uniform is a well accepted practice. Have we not violated diplomatic norms here? Perhaps this is the blowback!

      Would we object if the Russian embassy in Washington were guarded by a heavily armed KGB paramilitary force operating out of a “safe house”? Might we wonder what else this KGB secret army is up to?

      It seems that now that we have militarized the CIA we no longer have an intelligence agency.

  • Unsustainable: The American Empire Project and the Health of the Planet (Engelhardt)
    • But, but! Empire is not like it once was; there are worries!

      If you were a Londoner during the height of the British Empire you had little worry for your personal safety. Terrible things could be happening out in the Empire but they had little impact on you. The British Army could be committing atrocities “out there” but you went about your business with scant thoughts about the affairs of Empire. Empire was sweet, even if you were not rich.

      Now, things are different. What the American Empire does “out there” seems to be leaking “back here”. People espousing crazy beliefs that we can’s understand (don’t want to understand) are committing terrible terrorist acts “back here”. In the back of our mind we know that there is a connection between “out there” and “back here” but we don’t want to think about it.

      Of course, that is not the worst of it. Modern technology has seen to that. Today terrorists use ordinary bombs and plane crashes as in 9/11 to attack the reigning empire.
      That will likely change soon. Next up will be weapons of mass destruction. Poison gas, bio-weapons, and of course nuclear devices are the worries of the future. America had the luxury of building its empire when such weapons were not widely available. At the end of empire we may not be so lucky.

      To the question; will there be a next empire? No, widely available weapons of mass destruction will make anyone who tries sorely regret the attempt.

  • Israeli Pundits Slam Kerry as Naive, Messianic for Arab League Concession
    • This is simply the latest illustration of what we already know. That is; Israel will take what it wants and use "peace negotiations" to distract the West. This latest proposal which gives Israel most of what it wants is labeled as “encouraging terror attacks”. To add insult to injury, Kerry is called “Messianic”.

      We need to turn this process around; we need to stop listening to Israel. It should be the policy of America that Israel should become a country of equal rights. It should become a civil society where all of its people have the same rights regardless of religion and ethnic origin. Those principles applied to any other country would not be controversial. Why is Israel different?

      If every time America discussed Israel, those were the principles espoused things would begin to change. We should discuss the process where Israel is reformed not whether Israel should reform and especially not how an unreformed Israel will be imposed of the world. Currently we are just a party to Israel’s aggression.

  • Karzai admits taking CIA money; Galbraith: We're not getting what we pay for
    • Hamid Karzai understands this war perfectly: War is a racket. Quoting the immortal Gen. Smedley Butler. It is we that are neophytes. He and the ruling class are grabbing all the money they can before it all falls apart. Why do we act surprised, isn’t that what any one of us would do in the same circumstances?

      I have some sympathy for Karzai; the life puppet is not an easy one. He must try to appear independent enough to be “legitimate”. He must also placate his master but not seem too subservient. It is also a balancing act that must eventually come to a conclusion. It is very important to not be around for the end, you don’t want to be the next Najibullah.

      When it does collapse they all need a place to go, likely Dubai or the Riviera. For that they need piles of money. Somehow I think that some in the CIA understand this. If they cut off the money then the collapse would start sooner as some in the ruling class would head for their retirement villas. As long as the money keeps flowing they will stick around to try to grab some more. As the end nears and the desperation grows it will require ever more piles of cash to keep them around. It will be difficult to achieve “Peace with Honor” (link to this time around.

  • Are Chemical Weapons use in Syria really Obama's Red line? (Feaver)
    • In the back of my mind is the wonder if this information might not be "cooked". There is a country that must not be named that has a great interest in having the US continue to be bogged down in the Middle East. Said country has a record of such kitchen wizardry.

  • Pot and Partying: Top Ten Signs the Tsarnaev Brothers Weren't Pious Muslims
    • There is little value in asking “were they good Muslims” in situations such as this. They were terrorists and they were insurgents, that seems clear. They fought for a cause. That cause was not primarily about religion.

      Yes, the religious divide corresponds closely with the dividing line of this struggle. The real battle is the Middle East (of course mostly Moslem) throwing off the West (of course mostly America and mostly Christian). How many Moslem armies occupy Christian states? How many Moslem military bases are there in Christian countries? How many Christian rulers are propped up by Moslem powers?

      Do we ask if a US soldier was a good Christian when he kills some insurgent in Afghanistan? That Afghan was fighting for his country against foreign invaders. Let us stop examining their fealty to their religion if we are not also willing to apply the same standards to ourselves.

      Pointing out that they were “bad Moslems” does little to aid understanding. It will certainly not make them stop. We should focus on the real issues.

  • The New Muslim World: Dictators on Trial
    • I have a question of English usage; do you "make a coup"? That sounds wrong to my ear. I do hear is a lot so my ear may be defective.

      It seems that you can plot a coup, execute a coup, and stage a coup but do you make a coup?

  • Israel at 65: Welcome to the Neighborhood (Map)
    • The only Zionism that matters is the Zionism practiced by the state of Israel. That Zionism is an ideology of oppression. It is an ideology of one people oppressing another. In this Zionism is not unique. The history on the 20th century is the history of the battles between liberal forces and various ideologies of oppression. The others were defeated and only Zionism remains.

      Perhaps Zionism can be reformed; there are Israeli thinkers that want to strip the racism from Zionism. I wish them well.

      Don’t think Zionism is racist? Ask a Zionist about changing Israel into a country of equal rights. Ask about making it into country at peace where both Jews and Palestinians live as equals. The answer that you will likely hear will be indistinguishable from the typical American racist discussing African Americans. Particularly listen to Zionists discuss how the “Jewish character” of Israel must be maintained. They will tell you how Israel must be maintained as a Jewish democracy. Ask; they are not shy about it.

    • Satire?

      In discussing the origins of Israel with supporters I seem to get two narratives:

      One is; "Israel exists because of the Holocaust. Jews must have an exclusively Jewish state where Jews can protect themselves".

      The other is; "Israel has a historic right to exist. It did exist, millennia ago, so therefore it has a right to exist today."

      These two seem incompatible; if one is the “reason” then the other is irrelevant. When I press an Israeli supporter on their logic they often flip from one to the other. Each one has so many holes that after a few questions their logic collapses. It is like trying to nail down Jello!

      Satire? Perhaps, but with a large dose of the truth.

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