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Total number of comments: 32 (since 2014-01-24 23:12:34)

Peter Belmont

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  • Is Lt.-Gen. Flynn Right that Islam is not a Religion?
    • The folks who carry guns for ISIS and Taliban would probably say they were fighting for Islam. The folks (notably those in the USA) who make support for Israel "part" of what they call Judaism doubtless say they support Israel because of "being Jews" or because of "Judaism". In each case, a large and active group of people take action in the world that affects many lives and sometimes ends them, in the name of a religion or of a group often associated in the general mind with a religion.

      What's to choose between them as to that understanding? Ideology or religion?

  • Federal Israel-Palestine? A Center-Left Israeli One State Solution
    • If the Palestinian exiles from 1948 (and progeny) can nreturn to pre-67 Israel as citizens, then I'd say OK. Of course it is not for me to OK anything any moire than it is for anyone else (other than Israelis and Palesetinians to OK anything).

      But because I deplore Israel's your-cake-is-my-cake approach, I still recommend international (extreme) pressure on Israel to remove all settlers and demolish all settlement buildings (residential, communal, commercial) from within all territories now occupied (Golan and west Bank). After all, international law requires it and nothing at all justifies it. Israel had already (1948) taken 78% of Palestine; that is more (far more) than "enough".

  • More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews
    • The bar graphs are odd -- the percentages domnot add up to 100%. Perhaps "undecided" makes up the difference and was not shewn.

      The bar gaphs also show Protestants 2:1 Republican:Democrat (as to the question asked). Can this be true?

  • Evangelical Militarism & Islamophobia? Does the Wheaton College Hawkins case signal a Problem?
    • Religious fundamentalism is always dangerous. Here a (white) Evangelical fundamentalist attitude is described which is pro-war and anti-Muslim and is seriously infiltrating the American military.. In Israel , religious fundamentalists are also infiltating the military, which makes the violence against Palesetinians (often seen as Muslims) easier and more dangerous. Here in the USA the very odd fundamentalist idea that Judaism equals right-wing Zionism is well established into a paralyzing political movement (American support for Israel and neocon instigation of wars against Muslims). And one does not forget the fundamentalist ideas among Muslims which has resulted in Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc. Some would add that a quasi-religious capitalist fundamentalism is standing in the way of absolutely necessary and absolutely immediately needed action on Climate Change.

      The world desperately needs to find a remedy and cure for fundamentalism.

  • Israeli PM: 'Arab terror and Jewish terror' are different
    • Israeli terrorism against Palestinians could be greatly reduced -- not eliminated -- by removal of every Israeli settler from all occupied territories (including, as usually noted, East jerusalem). This if done would conform to the requirements of international law and treaties that Israel is party to. By refusing to do this -- and doing the opposite -- Israel flouts international law and encourages Israeli terrirsm (including that done by IDF and other state agencies).

  • 8,124 Murders by Firearm in US in 2014 vs. 29 (Equiv. 144) in UK
    • Why require gun checks only for gun sales? Why not also: gun transfers by gift, by inheritance, guns acquired when a stray gun is found unattended? Guns given/lent to employees (such as policemen, armed guards)?

  • Why the Paris Climate Summit Will Be a Peace Conference
    • An epidemic of migrants and upsurge of civil wars does seem likely. But global warming climate change (GWCC) should also be expected to produce epidemics of disease.

      As the earth warms, mosquitoes and other vectors should expand their territorial reach. As peoples merge (due to migration) diseases should also spread between formerly separate populations. And poor undernourished and medically-underserved migrants should be less resistant to the diseases they've already got and to new ones they encounter as they merge with other populations.

      And although GWCC is the current scare-focus for most educated and sensible people, overpopulation and the concentration of people in cities should be another, because large (especially concentrated) populations are not only hard on the (local and global) environments but are also ideal locales for transmission of airborn diseases, STDs, and others.

      The people who pooh-pooh evolution and refuse to learn anything about reproductive biology should at least learn about the very quick evolution (or mutation) of disease microbes, especially the quick development odf multiple-drug-resistant microbes -- because we live with them and they are in our futures.

      When we plan for GWCC we should also plan for these things. In fact we should strenuously and immediately attempt to avoid all of them.

      Doesn't appear to be happening.

  • Bush Lapdog Blair can't Even Apologize Correctly for Destabilizing the Middle East
    • Blair said Saddam could deploy WMD in 45 minutes against Europe? May we ask (did anyone else ask) what he meant by WMD? To my surprise, WMD has been defined officially (in the USA to be sure) to include the pipe bomb or whatever it was that killed some runners at the Boston Marathon. If a small bomb is a WMD, then EVERY nation has WMD and the allegation that someone has WMDs is nonsensical (but of course rhetorically useful) and conveys no information.

      Perhaps Blair was using the term WMD in a different way. Anyone ask?

  • Global Warming: Humans made California drought 15-20% worse by Burning Coal, Gas, Oil
    • Meanwhile, the kindly oil & gas folks who produce these fossil fuels in Califirnia refuse to disclose how much (precious) water they are using to do so and how badly they are poolluting whatever water they discharge. See: link to

  • The Wrath of Netanyahu: What does Orange Telecom's departure from Israel really Mean for BDS?
    • It sounds a bit as though Orabge licensed its logo to an Israeli firm which was not, at the time of licensing, an Israeli firm operating in OPTs (IFOiOPTs). And it sounds as if the terms of the license did not prohibit later involvement with OPTs. I suppose European investors will be more careful about that now.

      Back to Juan's prediction. Since as he says the tendancy is for Israeli companies to get involved with OPTs, wise European companies will be well advised simply to steer clear of Israeli companies -- or (as suggested by me above) to agree contractually that the Israeli company will steer clear of OPTs (not something which may be easy to say in a contract: what does "steer clear" mean? Can the Israeli company purchase from or sell to IFOiOPTs? Can it have subsidiaries which are IFOiOPTs?

    • T,R: very good point. I believe (or at least hope) that there is a momentum growing, starting with people and moving slow-as-molasses to governments, to sanction Israel (or, in some cases, only businesses operqating in OPTs. the ICJ's advisory opinion is, indeed, sitting there waiting to be "noticed" by governments.

      The BDS movement does not limit its recommendations to OPT-connected businesses, since Israel itself (government and all else) are promoterrs of [1] occupation an settlements [2] anti-Palestiniansism inside Israel-48, and [3] refusal to allow return of the Palestinian exiles of 1948.

  • Thank you, Edward Snowden: An End to General Warrants as so-called PATRIOT Act expires
    • There's a catch-22 here on constitutionality. If the government can assert that a thing's a secret and all the injformation surrounding it is a secret and everyone who learns the secret through "channels" is subject to enormous penalties for revealing the secret, how can there be a lawsuit to profer information to a court which information would justify declaring the behavior (or the statute claimed as justification for the behavior) unconstitutional? Our courtts bpow to the government on "secrecy" matters as on "national security" matters -- where a "matter" is a "national security" thing or a "securecy" thing if the government says so. Period. No recourse. I believe that the government, in assrting this stuff, doesn't even have to put on a yellow-sticky saying "Trust me!".

  • How Mainstream is Bernie Sanders?
    • Amazing that so many Americans belive that GW/CC is mand-made and dangerous. Think what the stats would be if a number f serious politicians (think: President Obama) made discussion if CC/GW the center of their agtenda and talked persuasively and with concrete illustrations at every speaking opportunity! I'm not sure the oligarchy would allow this, but times seem to be changing slowly. (OTOH, Obama allowed shell to drill in Arctic water and so forth.)

  • Syria: What if Turkey and Saudi Arabia install al-Qaeda in Damascus?
    • You didn't mention support in this fight coming from Israel. It is a very cionfused fight. Israel appears to be supporting someone near the Golan, presumably fighting against whoever Iran is supporting (Hezbollah etc.). Is Israel an ally, now, of Saudi Arabia and Turkey and to that extent an enemy, perhaps it might be said, of the USA (whose own position is equally confused)?

  • Iran calls for Nuclear Disarmament by US, Israel, World
    • I'm not sure what to make of your suggestion that having a few nukes would protect a country agaisnt the USA.

      What country would commit nuclear escalation with the USA in order to avoid a (mere) "conventional" war (even a "conventional" obliteration)?

  • Assassination as Policy in Washington and How It Failed, 1990-2015
    • Assassination is evidently a favored technique, if not description, by governments. Sometimes it fails, but not always, JFK was the object of a "targeted prevention" attack and died; this prevented who knows exactly what, but President johnson was soon thereafter certainly over-ready to support Israel, even to the point of allowing Israel deliberately and knowingly to attack a USA warship during the 1967 war.

      I'd say that assassination and its threat (look at lame-duck Obama still hewing to the AIPAC line) still work quite well.

  • Bush blames Obama for lack of Wars ('Follow-Through' on 'Threats')
    • Bush is still calling for war against Al Qaeda? Isn't that rather passe just now, when Israel is fighting in Syria on al-Qaeda's side (Silverstein essay).

      How can Bush (or Obama) square the circle on this one? Is Israel a country-which-supports-terrorism or not? (And what about the USA come to that.)

  • If Climate Change ends Capitalism, what good are Climate Economists?
    • Very cogent review as I'd expect from Mr. Griffin. As for valuations, we might reasonably compare costs and benefits of differing methods of cutting GHGs, but the business of treating life-on-earth like a business with a 10-year time-line and a 6% discount (or ANY discount) amounts, really, to discounting life on earth. It amounts to saying, to paraphrase Werner von Braun in Tom Lehrer's song, as to rockets (think business-as-usual),, "I shoot the rockets in the air, where they come down (climate changhe as a result) is not my concern".

  • Has the World's Rush to Recognize Palestine come too Late?
    • All this "recognition" is "mere words" if it is not accompanied by action (sanctions or the threat of sanctions) to compel Israel to do something which Israel does not want to do.

      Since the world (except -- sometimes -- the USA) is agreed that the settlements are present illegally and the settlers are present illegally and the wall is present illegally, it would make sense, be a clear instance of "law enforcement", and be beneficial on all human rights grounds for the nations to make the demand, backed up by sanctions or the threat of sanctions, that Israel remiove the settlers and dismantle the wall and the settlemens.

      THIS would make the recognitions significant. Without such a departure from 48 years of "mere words", none of the rest matters at all.

  • Can Police Who Kill be held Accountable?
    • "I felt threatened" should be disregarded in any case where no threat was realistically possible. Shooting someone repeatedly in the back testifies to mental or mopral imbalance in the police officer, but is incompatible with an immediate nad realistic feeling of being threatened.

      the police may once have had reason to feel threatened, but the law did not nominate a police officer to be witness, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner of a charge that a suspect had earlier tnhreatened the officer. that was then, this is now. and it is murder. If depriving a man of his life is depriving him of his civil rights (I'd hope so), then the feds should proceed.

      BTW, this claim of "feeling threatened" reminds me of another ridiculous claim of "feeling", where advertising managers refuse to publish advertising (pro-Palestine ads) because of a "feeling" that the ads mught bring on violent disorder. More than a claim of having a "feeling" must be required.

  • Israel's Netanyahu jumps Shark with “Iran-Lausanne-Yemen” axis barb
    • Would that you were completely right-- Bibi a joke. But Madame Clinton and the Republican clowns in the USA's circus-politics don't seem to agree. So. Bibi a clown in certain audiences and an almost POTUS in others.

  • Old GOP Realist James Baker's hard Ride among Neocons
    • I have never understood why USA presidents and Secs of State always say (and apparently sometimes also mean) that a negotiated just and lasting (or some other sort of) I/P peace is in the USA's national interest. Why should the USA care? But apparently some portion of the American oligarchy (all those BIGs who normally dictate USA's policies) wants I/P peace or the appearance of a concern for human rights or international law. I doibt that the BIG here is BIG-DEFENSE or BIG-ZION (AIPAC et al.).

      But President Obama is making the same show these days.

      I wish them all good luck.

  • Did GOP Leaders Betray Our Country By Writing Letter to Iran?
    • I don't know what the "conduct of diplomacy" means. The 47 Senators might as well have published their letter as an op-ed in the Times. They did not pretend to be negotiating in behalf of the USA, rather the opposite.

      So, no, I don't think these 47 hae broken the law (as to who can perform diplomacy for the USA). As to overstepping their power, why, even I can write a letter.

      The letter did smack of a sort of blackmail, a threat, a promise of high-handed behavior yet to come. And it was a bit like name-calling ("Hey, iran, you don't deserve to be talked to politely").

      Stupid, ignorant, bad manners to Iran's leaders, "lese majeste" (to President Obama and Secretary Kerry)), yes. Overstepping their power? No. It was nil-potent. It use3d no powers and accomplished nothing.

  • Gaza: How the Struggle for Natural Gas drives the Wars
  • The More Coal & Oil we Burn, the worse the Southwest Megadrought
    • I don't know if the maps in this web-page are widely accepted by the drought-predicting fraternuity, but take a look. If we keep burning fossil fuels (as we are) there will be catastrophic drought world-wide: link to See the last diagram (2090-2099)

    • The video shows a pretty scary prognostication (in the emissions as usual case) for the part of the world shown: Mexico, Cuba, Haiti and DR, USA's southwest and so forth.

      Do the forecasters also show the rest of the world?

      I'd expect Mexicans and Cubans, etc., to look at this with horror. Also Americans who'd like to eat anything grown nowadays in blighted regions.

  • Why was 2014 Hottest Year on Record? The Humans did it
    • Juan, While it is surely necessary that we cut back (to ZERO!) on GHG emissions, that would not stop the warming but merely slow the speed of its increase.

      Stopping emissions would not remove the GHGs already up there. And they act as a steady increaser of the net heat gain of the earth (and thus of temperature).

      So we need to find a way to remove the GHGs "up there" faster than natural processes will do so.

      The needed "fix" would thus seem to be: [1] reduce emissions [2] remove existing GHGs, and [3] reduce population.

  • Critics Slam US Military's 'Disturbing' Praise for Israel's Gaza Offensive
    • One lesson we all might learn from the turkey-shoot (Gaza-2014) is that having a free hand to shoot up a defenceless population is a wonderful opportunity to test new weapons and to demonstrate to potential buyers in the international arms market that the arms have been "battle-tested" and "shown to be effective". This is apparently a strategy of Israel's version of the military-industrial-government complex. Israel earns substantial revenue from commercial arms sales on the international market (as does the USA).

      The turkey-shoot in Gaza is thus a bit like cosmetic companies testing cosmetic drugs on animals. Animal rights folks don't like the latter, and human-rights folks don't like what Israel does when it is testing its weapons.

  • Global Warming could Uncork East Antarctic Ice Shelf, Leading to Massive Sea Rise
    • Well, uncorking a flow over a thousdand years gives us a lot of time. Of course, because climate change will not be finished in other respects in thyat thousand years, or even in the next 100, maybe nothing to be sanguine about.

  • Turkey: Legislating the End of Democracy - 3 Laws for One-Party Rule
    • This is dreadful. And it does not quite stand alone. A CHART of the world would I believe reveal a lot more countries following the same path.

      Diminishing voting rights in USA states.

      Censorship on various political adn speech actions in (pre-1967) Israel.

  • Edward Snowden Interview: NSA is Engaged in Industrial Espionage for Interests, not Security
    • If (as your text suggests -- I could not view the video) NSA spied for corporations, then it means that not only the USA's more-than=-merely-bloated "defense" budget but also its doubtless-more-than-bloated "intelligence" budget and activities are being spent/carried out in corporate (rather than "security") interests.

      I wonder which the corporations are. Are they "American"? Are their shareholders American?

      The oligarchic reign over the USA cannot be more clearly marked out than by seeing all the money wastefully (and worse) spent by the USA in corporate interests.

      Wouldn't a return to "democracy" -- with all its troubles -- be a delight?

  • Israel and Saudi Arabia on Same page re: Keeping Iran a Pariah

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