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  • If Trump were really President, he'd Forgive Puerto Rico's Debts and Rescue it
    • On 24th-25th December 1974 the tropical Australian city of Darwin was destroyed by Cyclone (hurricane) Tracy.The entire city had to be evacuated by air because electricity, water and sewage services were destroyed along with 70% of the buildings. Within a few years Darwin was fully rebuilt with substantial federal funding and if you visit it today it looks like a very normal, pleasant modern city of 145,000 people. It isn't immediately obvious to the casual visitor that every building built since 1974 has been built to cyclone-proof standards designed to withstand the full force of a hurricane. Incidentally, the Northern Territory, of which Darwin is the capital, is represented in Australia's federal Parliament by two fully voting members in the House of Representatives and two fully voting Senators. The Territory, like Puerto Rico, is not a state.
      link to en.m.wikipedia.org

  • On 9/11: How we slighted the real Threat, Climate Change, and Hyped Terrorism
    • Yes Nicholas but many European democracies quite unlike Putin's and Xi's political structures have made great progress towards sustainable systems. Why can't American rulers emulate them?

    • Did it cross anyone's mind at the time that "shock and awe" is another term for "terror?"

  • People w/ Electric Cars aren't trapped in Miami Beach with no Gasoline
    • Writing from Australia let me extend my sympathy for your gasoline ripoff at $2.60. Yesterday I looked around for discount fuel and filled my tank at $A1.10 a litre, I think that's about $US3.50 per US gallon. And Australian fuel prices are cheap compared with Europe.

  • Bannon & Trump lost Long ago: White Christians not a Majority in US
    • You may find that the old Republican and Democratic labels will both fade. In Europe as in my country, Australia, new parties are springing up and capturing people's imagination. In the Australian Parliament now there are five parties represented by four or more Representatives and Senators and several others with at least one member in either the Reps or the Senate. No party has had a majority in our Senate for many years. Similar patterns occur in several state Parliaments.

  • Deporting Dreamers will cost US $400 bn. over 10 Years
  • The Racism Heard Round the World: Even Fascists Denounce Nazis more than Trump
    • Why would it be surprising that Netanyahu is comfortable with anti-semitism among Trump supporters? His state only stands to gain from it if his own countrymen reconsider plans to emigrate to the US and American Jews become nervous in their own country.

  • Top 5 ways Man-made Climate Change made Hurricane Harvey much Worse
    • Trump's announcement of US withdrawal from the Paris Accord seems to have confirmed the determination of all the other signatories to make it work. Add to that the fact that the US is a complex society where city and state governments and many corporations can decide to honour the Accord despite the decision of the federal Administration. We are locked in to some temperature increase but we may be heading towards some control of the amount of increase.

  • Trump Exploits Harvey Victims in Stealth Pardon of Arpaio
    • I don't think we are looking at the downfall of the US. I think we are looking at the end of the brief period of total domination by one hyperpower as other lesser powers reach the point where they can, individually or collectively, balance the power of the former hyperpower.

  • Mideast's 'Only Democracy' joins push to Silence Al Jazeera: Netanyahu
    • Juan, am I right in thinking that the only countries in the Middle East that have religious police are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel?

  • In March for 1st Time, 10% of US Electricity came from Wind and Solar
    • In Australia coal supporting politicians are now calling for the Federal Government to build coal fired power stations because commercial investors won't touch them.

  • Only Putin is happy with Trump's NATO Bull-in-China-Shop Catastrophe
    • If the car factory were Russian you'd have Ladas. You know what they say about Ladas --- the reason they have a heated rear window is to keep the driver's hands warm. (Pushing the car in winter.)

  • Trump in Absolute Monarchy during Iran's Election
    • Agreed there will be much less requirement for oil as a fuel in the near future Juan. It won't be valueless though. Much of our industry requires oil products as raw materials. Can you imagine the modern world without plastics?

  • Trumpcare is the best Advertisement for Nationalizing Insurance
    • As one of the commie Aussies let me just point out that our health care does cover all Australian citizens and residents but it isn't nationalised. Local doctors have their own businesses but when they treat a patient they have the option of charging the Australia's universal Medicare which pays them a standard fee or charging a higher fee to the patient who can then get a refund of the standard fee from Medicare. Australians have the option of using only Medicare cover or buying private cover which enables them to be treated at private hospitals. But the Government hospitals which don't charge for their services are world class, they just don't guarantee such frills as free TV and a private room. And yes, as stated, our system costs about half as much as the US system and gets much better results.

  • Priebus: Trump Could Amend Constitution to Abolish 1st Amendment
    • A supermajority in Congress sounds troublesome but with the present weakness of the opposition party it might be achieved. I like the system in Australia where the legislation for an amendment to the Constitution must first be passed by both houses of Parliament, then passed in a nationwide referendum where there is both a majority of the popular vote and a majority in two thirds of the states. Needless to say, this almost never happens.

  • Sharpening Contradictions: ISIL Strikes Egyptian Christians on Palm Sunday
    • Well noted that Muslims sacrificed their lives to save the worshippers at the church Juan. The former Australian ambassador to the country noted on Australian ABC radio that many Muslims also donated blood for the injured.

  • Trump, al-Sisi and Tightening up the Pressure Cooker
    • The famous Egyptian sense of humour won't go away that easily Juan. The satirical jokes used to spread by word of mouth in Sadat's time and in Mubarak's time and I'm sure that's happening now, with help from the social media. Egyptian friends have told me a few of these jokes that could not have made the TV. Here's the shortest one they've told me: Question: How many terms does a President of Egypt serve? Answer: Two, one in office and one in jail.

  • The simple Number that will Defeat Trump's attempt to Roll back Obama Energy Policies
    • In Australia, where we have a federal government that doesn’t like renewables, ordinary householders are putting solar photovoltaic panels on the roof at a rapid rate. At last count 16.5% of houses had photovoltaic panels. As the price of panels drops more and more homeowners are getting them. Some people who want to make a statement are using batteries and disconnecting from the grid. Coal, gas and other fossil fuels as well as nuclear look doomed but we shouldn't forget that making photovoltaics also has an environmental cost.

  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage?
  • Spurned Reporters should dump Trump Briefings, turn to Investigative Journalism
    • “News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.” I searched for that and found it attributed to William Randolph Hearst, Juan. I guess that makes Informed Comment a news site, not a commentary.

  • Netanyahu rejected offer by Kerry & Arab Leaders of Comprehensive Peace Talks
    • Juan you remarked sarcastically, "Sure. A comprehensive peace with the Arab League states..would doom Israel." I've long thought that Israel could not long survive peace. The different groups of Jewish Israelis don't like each other very much. Without a real or imagined common enemy what's to stop them from going at each other's throats?

  • How We Can fight back against Trump's Anti-EPA
    • It's been said that a State cannot function if 15% of the population refuse to cooperate. You don't want to stop it from functioning, you just want to stop it from doing so much damage. 10% should be enough.

  • Why Trump & his Cabinet's Jihad against "Political Islam" will Fail
    • The British monarch is the head of the Church of England. Interestingly, Australia, although one of the British monarch's realms, insisted on the appointment of Sir Isaac Isaacs, a Jew, as its first Australian born Governor General in 1931 thus negating the exclusively Christian character of the monarchy and making a firm stand for Australian secularism. By the way, Isaacs regarded himself as spiritually Zionist but took a strong stand against political Zionism.

  • Woman demeans Christian Assyrian-American as 'Terrorist' for Speaking Jesus' Language
    • Aramaic sounds like Arabic, in fact Arabic became the default language by virtue of the adoption of its writing system by speakers of related languages. It's no surprise that the bigoted woman thought she was abusing an Arab. Middle Easterners, South Asians and others related to them are going to get more of this if the Trump regime acts as Trump has said it it will. And in other countries that take some of their socio-political cues from the US there may be some of that too. In Australia my modestly dressed Muslim wife and daughter were criticised loudly on a suburban train by a man who said, "These people come here and try to force OUR people to change the way they dress." We are Australian and our forebears arrived in the country before the mid 19th century. My daughter confronted him, told him that and demanded to know where he was from. As he sank back into his seat he said sullenly, "England."

  • Will Trump do a deal with Iran or try to Overthrow its Government?
    • The USA is not going to be a second-rate nation. It's big and rich and resourceful. But the world is a bigger place than any one country can control. Iran is much bigger than Iraq and has a uniting nationalism that didn't exist in Iraq. Any attempt to invade Iran would cost the US more than Iraq and Afghanistan together, neither of which has worked out well. You didn't win in Vietnam which was much weaker.

  • The Shootings you Didn't Hear Trump Denounce because, not Muslim
    • Thanks Juan, yes it's time the news media and politicians recognised that shooters can come from any sector of society. With regard to the Australian decision about guns it was actually harder than you implied because it took negotiation between the Federal and State and Territory governments to arrive at uniform legislation and agreement between the main political parties. In Australia that means agreement between nine governments. In America you would need agreement between fifty-one. Still, responsible political representatives should be able to do that.

  • Why the Boeing & Airbus Sales to Iran are a Big Effing Deal
  • Nearly Half of Israeli Jews want to Expel Palestinian-Israelis from Country
    • It has never been democratic Gary. A State founded on ethnic cleansing cannot be democratic until it abandons the practice of ethnic cleansing (as the large Anglo Saxon settler States mostly have.) Israel has the choice of being either Jewish or democratic. It is not alone in this: some other Middle Eastern States can be either Islamist or democratic; several European States can be either Christianist or democratic; France can be either laicist or democratic.

  • Trump's SC Victory and anti-Muslim Hatred
    • Your last paragraph is revealing Juan. The Germans and the Italians are wonderful people, I've never met one I didn't like, but in certain socio-economic circumstances they handed their affairs to men who could "make things work." Men who pointed the finger of blame at defenceless minority scapegoats. Today we are seeing this again in Europe and it's no surprise to see it among the increasingly desperate middle class of America.

  • Why Trump's tiff with the Pope endangers his Political Future
    • If American politics had no effect on the rest of the world non Americans should not get involved. Mr Trump has left the world in no doubt that he means his Presidency to be felt around the world. Francis as a Latin American would know what that means.

  • Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
  • Trump vs. the Founding Fathers on Muslims Coming to US
    • How sad that you have to quote all this Juan. The dynamic of the McCarthy era seems to coming back with Muslims in the place of Communists.

  • Afghanistan: The Taliban reign of Fear in Kunduz belies Charm Offensive
    • Not worth fighting over? Travelling by train from Delhi to Kolkata (Calcutta) some years ago my travelling companion and I were chatting with some local Indian passengers. We were just going there to catch our plane home to Australia. Kolkata is widely regarded by outsiders as a crowded, uncomfortable, chaotic place. Then as we neared the end of our train journey one of the Indian passengers called out joyfully, "There it is! There's our Howrah!" (Howrah Junction, the main railway station of Kolkata.) He was so happy to be home and we learned from that not to see only the outward appearance of a place that others call "home."

  • How the Israel Lobbies hurt U of Illinois-UC & 1st Amendment (Salaita Case)
    • "administrators flaunting the law..." That's "flouting" Juan, not "flaunting." Probably the computer text prediction's fault.

  • Actually, Oldest Qur'ans are in Sanaa, Yemen & in Danger of Saudi Bombing
    • Thanks for drawing attention to this Juan. A good historical introduction for someone wanting to benefit from reading a translation of the Qurán would be 'Muhammad' by Martin Lings. I found this book hard to put down.

  • Palestinians welcome Pope's Recognition of their State
    • I used to think that a small Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza would eventually happen and that it would be better than nothing; even if there would be no room for the Palestinian diaspora to come home it would at least confirm their identity. But successive Israeli governments taking more and more land and resources in the Occupied Territories have worked to make such a State impossible and there seems little point in recognising a Palestinian State that has no prospect of existing. Some Palestinians call for the Palestinian Authority to dissolve itself and hand back the full responsibility of administration of all of the Palestinian lands to the Israeli military authorities. They say that this would establish in the eyes of the world what the occupying power actually is and end its legitimacy as a liberal democracy in the eyes of the world. To regain legitimacy it would have to establish on the combined territory a single Jewish and Palestinian State with equal citizenship. The name might change or remain the same but democracy and human rights would be established. It might then, for the first time, become the first liberal democracy in the Middle East outside Turkey.

  • Israeli Supreme Court Upholds ‘Anti-Boycott Law’
    • I'm willing to buy from them as soon as a mutually acceptable settlement is implemented between the Israeli regime and the Palestinians which, in view of the absence of a duly elected sovereign Palestinian government, would need to be approved by a majority vote of the Palestinians including involuntary exiles. At present the only solution that presents itself is the establishment of a joint, perhaps federal, Israel/Palestine with mutual right of return.

  • Iran: Putin Explains to Israel's Netanyahu: Air Defense System is, like, Defensive
    • Putin is in charge of the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world and some very good military equipment (as well as a lot that isn't so good.) Sanctions are pushing him to find new markets and suppliers outside the EU and North America, which in the short term is hard but in the long term will give Russia's economy more diversity. He's lost a few of his old cards but he may be picking up some new ones. He may not be nice (what world leader is?) but he's not a fool.

  • What if US & UN Sanctioned Israel over its Nukes as they did Iran over Enrichment?
    • Love it. Especially President Michelle Obama. She would be the successor to President Jeb Bush who was elected following the impeachment of President Hillary Clinton?

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • Right. So Ted thinks the US should get rid of Jews and other non Christians in positions of influence? Has he read the US Constitution lately?

  • What's Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist
    • Thanks, Juan, for saying what so many were thinking, especially those of your readers who are Muslim. We often hear "Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim." Except when they're white Christians, or Hindu nationalists, or Slavic racists, or Israeli settlers, or any other kind of non Muslim, in which case they won't be defined as terrorists even though their actions are the same and their victims are just as dead or injured.

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • Thanks Juan. I hope Israelis read this and think a bit harder about how to live in peace alongside Palestinian people with full human rights and responsibilities.

  • Yemen Bombing: It's not ISIL and it's not Sunni-Shiite Conflict
    • Yes Juan, thanks for the response, certainly politicising religion causes religious conflict. I meant that in the absence of the religious excuse, if there is going to be conflict it will occur. Is it extra? I'm not convinced but willing to keep an open mind about it. In any case as a practising Muslim I'm both grieved and ashamed of the events in some countries taking place in the name of my religion. But as an Australian citizen I'm ashamed of certain actions taking place in the name of my nation.

    • Of course, by definition, secular states have less violence labelled religious. They don't necessarily have less violence, it's just not called religious violence. For much of the first half of the 20th century Europe had some of the world's worst violence. It wasn't called religious violence. Secular Ukraine is in the midst of a very violent period at the moment. Many of today's most violent places are in Latin America, all in secular states. Several of the world's most violent cities are in the secular United States, some others in secular South Africa. Parts of secular India have very serious political, not religious, violence. Religious belief, even religious difference, is not a cause of violence but it can be used as the label by particular groups clashing with each other.

    • May be so in Middle Eastern countries. I haven't been there. Certainly in Indonesia where I did my religious studies and in all of South and Southeast Asia there are very few Government-employed religious scholars (what this site calls "clerics.")
      Juan, I would make this point: Western observers keep referring to the Wahhabi groups such as DAESH as "Sunni" or even "ultra-Sunni." They certainly regard themselves as that. But they are not, because they regard the 98% of Sunni Islam that doesn't subscribe to their doctrines as "murtadd" ie apostate. That is why they are so free to fight and kill Sunni Muslims who don't follow them.

  • Defying US, Sweden to Recognize Palestine (First in Western Europe)
    • In Arabic that's, "Ya Khianah, ismuki Balfour!" Sorry, I don't have an Arabic keyboard.

  • Iraq: Are Sunni Arabs of Kirkuk Province Turning on ISIL?

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