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Total number of comments: 449 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:40)


Showing comments 449 - 401

  • Can Turkey's Erdogan ride Rohingya Crisis to global Muslim Leadership?
  • Now they hate Universities: Trumpie anti-Intellectualism infects GOP
    • I agree. Unlike long in the past, when the humanities were the heart of universities, science and technology have taken over. Our modern culture generally has been taken over by philosophical materism and an excessive preoccupation with science. Philosophers in the academy should be critically thinking about our societies current beliefs, but they do not. All the non-technical disiplines have been weakened and altered. Philosophy and religion do not play the role they once did in universities, and this may have left a lot of people unsatisfied

  • GOP Greatest Single Threat to Mothers on Mother's Day
    • Trumpcare Medicaid cuts will also hurt elderly mothers who need long-term care. And, the GOP regime is daily deporting mothers or their family members.

  • Trumpcare is the best Advertisement for Nationalizing Insurance
    • For low-income people, the AHCA is much worse than simply a return to pre-ACA days. It severely cuts funds for Medicaid. Two thirds of seniors in nursing homes depend on Medicaid. We can't allow any compromise that includes cuts to Medicaid. Six million seniors use Medicaid as well as Medicare.
      The ACA Medicaid expansion was a huge expansion of single-payer. Trumpcare will reverse that and also cut into the aid poor people have been getting for decades.

  • Uh, oh: French Left can't bring itself to Vote for Macron
    • In the USA, a lot of innocent people are being deported who would not have been had Clinton been elected. American families shattered, communities terrorized. These are the people some of us voted for when we voted for the neoliberal corporatist. But those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Her, still manage to pass themselves off as champions of the vulnerable. All they have to offer are slogans about how capitalism and neoliberalism are bad, and socialism is the solution.

  • Russia’s Neo-Feudal Capitalism
    • The rhetoric we here from US capitalists is often about getting the state off their backs and shrinking the public sector. But capitalists like Trump and Putin love the state. If they control it, its a source of limitless wealth and power. They can use the state to legally take someone's private property and give it to their friends. Our huge military industrial complex feeds at the public trough. Trump loves eminent domain and asset forfeiture, because they are legal ways to steal private property. The institution of private property is the foundation of capitalism. So, because people don't act the way idealists think they ought, capitalism eats itself. Socialism also fails because people will not ever get with the program.

  • Can we survive simultaneous Trump, Ahmadinejad Presidencies?
    • Ahmadinejad and Trump in power at the same time would be exhilarating. They both express themselves with refreshing candor. Trump has been such a soothing breath of fresh air. No matter what you think about him , you always know where he stands. Whether it's on a golf course, or on a picnic table, we know where he stands. We also know where he sits.

  • Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions' Perjury?
    • Whether the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign is being investigated. The Trump-Russia probe has reached no conclusion yet, according to Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff has been obsessed with Russia for the last 2 months. The sane thing to do would be to wait for solid evidence before freaking out. What happens if several months from now there's still no proof of collusion? The Democrats and the media will be even less credible.
      Trump opponents would be better off spending less energy on Russia, and more on saving healthcare, the environment, and immigrant families.

  • How Islamophobia is Creating Prejudice toward non-Muslims Too
    • I met a Latino businessman who was always harassed at the airport because his face looked like he could be an Arab. Maybe misrecognition plays a role in the fact that Americans think there are tens of millions of Muslims in their country, when there are only a few million.

  • Pundits, stop Swooning: Trump still covering for Radical White Nationalist Extremists
    • There would've been nothing but condemnation if people had any sense. His creation of an office dedicated to the crimes of a minority can do nothing but demonize that minority unjustly, and lead to vigilante violence and ethnic cleansing. We did this to the Chinese in the late 19th century. Trump's entire presentation was defined by his props: the widow of the martyred soldier, the victims of the "aliens" in our midst. Maybe he was presidential like Jackson, who said " the only good Indian is a dead Indian".

  • Trump's Russia scandals could be about to get much, much worse
    • it is worth thinking about why the intelligence community is leaking so much this time, when it hasn't done so in the past. Seeing the CIA and Pentagon using their power to deligitimize an elected President is a bit scary.

  • Has Trump quietly surrendered to Russia and China?
    • The idea of America first is not about making us number one on the global strategic chessboard. Rather, it is about spending all our money on things that benefit Americans instead of war. It is about stopping our efforts to fix , shape, and save the world. There are countries that have very little geopolitical power whose people are better off than Americans.
      Trump's problem is that he has no coherent policy at all, and is f##@+king up everything.

  • German Ambassador 1933: "Hostility to Jews Aimed Mainly at 'Immigrants'"
    • Customs and Border Protection agents are not complying with judicial orders in some cases. Trump has named former anti-immigrant hate group leader Julie Kirchner to be the CBP's new chief of staff. When Trump gets all his appointees in place, they may continue to ignore judges and congressmen. So, we have a constitutional crisis, or a coup.

  • Mexico 'Astonished' at Israel's Netanyahu's Tweet backing Wall
    • one of the chants at LAX protest: from Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.

  • Trump's Visa Ban is about anti-Muslim Bigotry, not Security
    • The first U.S. law to ban an ethnic group was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was in effect until 1943. In the 1850s, white people in the west often took it upon themselves to attack, murder, and drive out "the yellow peril". Newspapers fanned the flames of the Sinophobia.
      The current President of the Philippines decided to make drug sellers and users the scapegoat. He's encouraged the slaughter of thousands of suspected drug sellers and buyers. His constituents fear him, yet he remains very popular.

  • All the terrible things Trump plans to do to Women (besides that one)
    • Let's wait & see. Maybe he'll only break up a few hundred thousand Latina's families. Maybe the number of Muslim women banned will be fairly small. Maybe it'll only be a few million women who lose healthcare. Maybe having huge conflicts of interest doesn't matter. Maybe the free press should be attacked by the POTUS. Authoritarianism is becoming normalized all over the world. Let's wait and see. Maybe... HELL NO

  • 6 Lessons From Nonviolent Organizing for Resisting Trumpism
    • I'm wondering if research has shown that nonviolence works under all circumstances, and if not, at what point does it become ineffective. Nelson Mandela decided at some point that nonviolence was not enough to defeat the South Africa regime. The abolitionists in the 1850s grew to accept violence. Maybe if they had been pacifists the Civil War would have been avoided. But slavery would have continued much longer.
      This is an academic question, because we're just getting started with our nonviolent resistance.

  • For Russian hold on Trump, follow the Money, not the Sex tapes
    • NO. human trafficking is a problem, but their are many sex workers who consent and like what they do. Abolitionists put out tons of propaganda conflating sex work with trafficking and slavery. These types of feminists join with liberals , conservatives, and other fake do-gooders to cause much harm to women in the sex business.
      Like the closure of Backpage. It will not help trafficking victims. But it has stopped income of thousands of women and made them less safe. And, of course, the Senate hearings on Backpage did not talk to a single sex worker.
      That's the rule with the rescuers: never, ever listen to the women you're "rescuing".

    • if Russia is not threatening the U.S., why do WE have to police them?

  • Top 5 Ways Obama Sanctions on Russia work for Democrats
    • The Democrats need to focus on saving the ACA, protecting immigrants rights, blocking Trump's nominees, etc. How does spending so much time talking about and investigating Russia help stop the Republicans from doing a lot of damage next year?

  • Demonization of Putin as "Personally" behind Clinton Hack is old Propaganda Technique
    • Trump has appointed 3 generals who are squarely in the anti-Russia camp. They're also extremely hawkish on Iran, Russia's ally in Syria. They conflate the various branches of political Islam and see them all as a great threat to the U.S. If they're going to start a conflict with Iran, they have to demonize its ally Putin.
      Trump and Tillerson have ties to Russia, so it's hard to predict what will happen. But, playing up the Russia thing in an effort to discredit Trump is actually helping the war hawks he has gathered around him.

  • Sorry, Garrison Keillor: Keith Ellison for President could have beaten Trump, and still Can
    • The 20th century saw 160 million people killed in wars and genocides that were not based on religion. Get rid of religion and you still have the greed and insanity that cause problems. And, having faith does not require you to be inhumane and irrational.

  • Now that SecDef thinks Israeli Occupation is Apartheid, will the Lobby Blackballing Fail?
    • Mattis said in April 2016 that Iran is "the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East." Flynn and Pompeo are also Iran hawks. The ZOA opposes Mattis, but the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs supports him.

  • Bad Rain Falling: Who's to Blame for our Trump Catastrophe?
    • Chris Hedges, Cornel West, Edward Snowden are amongst those who said Clinton was as bad as Trump. There are millions of people who will be hurt by Trump who would not have been so harmed by Clinton-- people who lose their health insurance, undocumented folks ( some of whom lived here for over 20 years), harassed Muslims. Every vote counted. Whoever did not block Trump by voting for Clinton shares the blame for this disaster.

  • Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: "Anger is a Good thing" "if you're Fighting to Take this Country Back"
    • Ian Tuttle at the conservative National Review does as a good job criticizing Bannon. Regardless of whether Bannon is racist, he defacto endorses the alt-right, which embraces an ethno-nationalism that has it's counterparts in the worst of the European far right. The alt-right rejects the eternally radical principal that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights. Having such a worm in the White House is a grave danger to conservatives and liberals alike.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • Trump is expected to end a program that protects immigrants brought here illegally by their parents as children. There are over 700,000 of these people who Obama protected and Trump will deport. They've been living here since they were kids.
      Low-income people will lose health insurance.
      Those of you who stuck to your principles and did not vote for the only person who could stop Trump share the blame for the pain he will cause. Bernie cares more about people than being a standard bearer.
      After the primary, even Norman Finklestein said to vote for Hillary. You think Chomsky, Finklestein, and many other leftists all sold out? You are wrong.

    • People will be hurt by Trump. The Medicaid expansion part of the ACA will likely be eliminated. We can't be sure how many people the Republicans will be able to harm. Don't sit back in your easy chair and look at the " big picture" while being oblivious to the people being thrown under the bus.

  • Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
  • Dear Ann Coulter: Ben Franklin didn't think you or Trump are White, Either
  • Top 5 Times the FBI intervened to Help the US Right Wing
    • interested readers can read about Viola Liuzzo on Wikipedia. The section " FBI Cover-up and Leaks" will shed some light on this subject.

    • After the Selma to Montgomery march, while Viola Liuzzo was returning from shuttling activists to the airport, she was shot dead by Klansmen. One of the four Klansmen in the car was an undercover FBI agent. The FBI tried to obscure that fact, and J Edgar Hoover began a horrible smear campaign against the murdered woman.
      My father was spit on by a redneck while on that march. Those of us with such memories are repulsed by Trump. We're also nauseated by those who say " he's anti-establishment, so what the neck". Or those who say he's no worse than Clinton. The rise of Trumpism is the revenge of racist south. And the racist right has allies in law enforcement.

  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • The people who stand to lose the most are those at the bottom. Many low-income people are getting by in this status quo and don't want to gamble on a nativist upheaval. You can stuff your revolution up your tailpipe.

  • Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?
    • The ACA gave Medicaid coverage to millions of previously uninsured low-income people. So, you're saying the law that enabled me to have health insurance is bad because it was written for corporations? You think you're anti-corporation campaign is more important than the benefits I get from the ACA? If low-income people were politically astute, they'd realize that leftist idealists are often their enemies.

  • If he wins: The Coming Trump Market Crash and Great Recession
    • 370 economists, including 8 who won Nobels in economics, signed a letter saying Trump is dangerous and destructive for the country. Even his white supremacist supporters know he'll be bad for the economy.
      The only effective way to put a log in his path is to vote for HC.

  • Does Trump's lag prove the end of White Christian America?
    • No information is given about the percentage of white Christians who are upset about increased diversification. There are in fact many who welcome increased diversification. White Christians do not all have the same worldview or politics. Some are quite happy to see the nativist types losing control.

  • Trump Campaign: The Donald's 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam
    • "the effects would be localized within the US"
      Maybe. But some of us are actually concerned about our neighbors, ourselves, and our country.

  • "Little Trump" Pence: Bomb Syria, confront Russia, smear refugees; & smoking doesn't cause Cancer
    • google "an 8 point brief for lesser evil voting Chomsky". It makes sense to me.

    • Trump's understanding of the world, together with his normal way of talking to people, makes it hard for me to believe that he is less likely than Clinton to get us more involved in wars.
      The two greatest threats to the human species are climate change and nuclear war. Trumps stated positions are to speed up climate change and nuclear proliferation.
      A Trump presidency would likely make more people fall in love with the status quo he disrupted to the point where they'd support a coup. People who who can't vote for the lesser evil won't get their revolution, and they won't be standing on a higher moral ground, but they will remain comfortably encased in their delusions.

  • Vote For Hillary Clinton Or Die in a Fiery Apocalypse: A Letter To Young Progressives
    • Since you're referencing Chomsky, do some google searches to see what he says about Trump, and why he thinks Trump is the greater evil, and why voting for the lesser evil is the right thing to do.

    • Comparisons to Germany in the thirties are due to the resurgence of nativism- the calls for banning a religion, deporting millions of illegal aliens, building a wall. Tapping into and strengthening white nativism\racism is the similarity between Trump and Hitler.

    • I'm voting my pocket book. I get free health care ( Medicaid) thanks to the ACA. I'll lose that under Trump, and things will be more difficult.

    • Even if you think HC is corrupt, dishonest, and too hawkish, Trump is still more dangerous. Even if you're not concerned about the 20 million of us who have health insurance thanks to Obamacare, he will still be far worse than HC. Naom Chomsky is quite far to the left, and he advocates voting for HC if you live in a state that's competitive. Math and logic tell us that, if you live in a state where the outcome is uncertain, if you don't vote for HC, you effectively vote for Trump. You're refusal to vote for the lesser evil, will bring us the greater evil. Unfortunately, there are only 2 possible outcomes in the race to the White House. I voted for Bernie, and I've voted 3rd party before, but Trump is an abomination and must be soundly defeated.

  • French Court lifts Municipal Burkini Ban; & Why should you care what other people wear?
    • The worldview that would "liberate " Muslim women from the Burkina is the same worldview that "freed" French sex workers by criminalizing paying for sex. Whether your too pious or too libertine, the state must rescue you from men, like it or not.

  • The most Left Wing Supreme Court in a Generation? Sec. Clinton's most important Progressive Prospect
    • if you stay home, vote 3rd party, or write in Bernie, you help Trump win. Trump will be much worse than the status quo,

  • Rep. Steve King, White People and 'Civilization'
    • Gunpowder, printing, and the compass are a few of the multitude of things that originated in China. "Science and Civilization in China", are a series of books initiated and edited by Sir Joseph Needham, Ph.D. To date, there are 7 volumes in 27 books. Rep. King's question about contributions of "these other categories of people" have been sufficiently answered by Joseph Needham's work.

  • The Real Problem with the Iraq War: It was Illegal
    • There was strong international support for the Gulf War, but the Arab world was deeply divided. The final resolution of the Cairo summit, which condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwat, was favored by 10 states and opposed by 9.
      @@When the US invaded Panama and set up a puppet regime, the world objected. But the US vetoed 2 UN resolutions condemning their aggression.
      @@There have been a number of aggressive, unjust wars that the UNSC has ignored.
      @@International Law absolutely should be obeyed. It should be enforced. There should be no illegal wars. But the system needs to be greatly improved so that the decisions of the UN actually reflect morality and justice.

  • Trump's Politics of Whiteness and the CIA tip that Jailed Nelson Mandela
    • Mandela came to the conclusion that non-violence wouldn't work in South Africa. The ANC was involved in sabotage and guerilla warfare. Mandela supported this violence, to his credit.
      If The Donald tries to deport half of Los Angeles, he may be in for a surprise.

  • Forget the Trump/Cruz Circus: Why Liberals are the Future of America
    • James Haught seems to equate secularism with liberalism. Than he quotes Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who had a PhD in theology, and was religious to his core.

    • The secular trend may be unstoppable in the US, UK, and France, but globally the percentage of non-religious is expected to decrease in the coming decades. Muslims will eventually outnumber Christians. In the USA, religious people will be mostly non-white. Progressives will get stuck in a white, secular bubble, unless they relearn religious tolerance. They'll need to work with Hispanic Catholics on economic justice issues, even though they may disagree with them on social issues. And they'll need to relax around religious progressives. Religious does not mean conservative, and secular does not mean liberal. Ted Cruz does not define religion anymore than Charlie Sheen defines secularism.

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  • More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews
    • Catholics are about 60% non-Hispanic whites and 30% Hispanics. As the demographics continue to change, there will be less Catholic support for someone like Trump, who is disliked by most Hispanics.

  • John Legend to Trump & Son on Chicago Protests re: their Racism: 'This isn't Complicated'
    • In 1968, there were lots of protests, and Nixon won on a law and order platform. The silent majority gave him a landslide victory. In 2016, the democrats have in Sanders a contender that is way better than Hubert Humphrey was. And Clinton would be better than any of the Republicans. So the goal is to beat Trump on election day, not disrupting rallys. Televised clashes between pro and anti-Trump groups may increase his popularity with voters.

  • Can we trust Middle East Policy to any of these Presidential Candidates?
    • Well, there are Neocons (who want a muscular, interventionist foreign policy) who say that if they must choose between Trump and Clinton, they'll hold their nose and vote for Clinton.
      And someone made the libertarian case for Sanders--which is simply that he's the least likely of the current candidates to get us into a ground war in Syria.
      Whether you're a hawk or a dove, on the left or the right, chances are you'll be holding your nose in the election booth.

  • Iran: Poet of Gender Discrimination flees Lashes, 11.5 Year Sentence
    • Farugh Farrokhzad, the great female Iranian poet, said ,"I respect poetry to the same extent that a religious person respects his or her religion." Iranians generally have great respect for poetry. They visit the tombs of their poets, and have volumes of poetry in their homes. The Shah censored works that were overtly political. Since the Islamic Revolution, they go after anything that might bother some old fundamentalist. Some things are censored for no apparent reason. By attacking poets, they are attacking the very wellspring of their own Persian culture.

  • The Chinese are Coming: First 'New Silk Road' Train reaches Iran's Capital
    • This will be very good for those in positions to take advantage of it. In medieval times, Venice became very rich by forcefully taking control of the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean, and shipping goods from Asia and North Africa to Europe. Byzantium fizzled out about this time, and the Slavs on the east coast of the Adriatic were not allowed to benifit from the sea traffic.
      A good reason to live another 30 years--to see how the world transforms.

  • Clinton and Sanders on Mideast War and Kissinger's Legacy (PBS Debate)
    • Shortly before the 1991 bombing of Iraq began, Sanders became a congressman. He voted against that war, and correctly stated that , "we are laying the groundwork for more and more wars for years to come." I think his judgement now is as sound as it was 25 years ago.

  • Undertaxed: Top 62 Billionaires doubled wealth to $1.76 Trillion since 2010
    • The top 62 biilioaires own 1.76 trillion. Compare that to the 150 trillion in fossil fuel resources owned by the US federal government. Think of all the other land the US has mineral rights for. And every year, the Fed collects more in taxes than those 62 billionaires own.
      So, yes, put a cap on the wealth a person can own. But, if you're going to study wealth and it's effects on society, you might want to check out the US government.

  • Is the future Socialist? Bernie Sanders swept 84% of the Youth Vote in Iowa
    • The Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire said just over 171,000 Iowa Democrats showed up to caucus. The Dems don't cast ballots like the Republicans do. They have a confusing process. There are 1,681 precincts in Iowa. Somebody mixed up the precinct number with the turnout.

    • Bernie admires the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, 90% of industry is privately owned. In classic socialism, the people own the means of production. The future belongs to some kind of mixed economy. Business must be regulated but not destroyed. Taxing the private sector funds the public sector. Anarho-capitalism and Marxism both belong in the dustbin of history.

  • Tahrir 5 Years Later: The Hurdles to Democratization & Arab Youth Revolts
    • In Bangkok, Thailand, in 2014, middle and upper class protestors demanded the removal of the elected head of state. When she scheduled new elections, they protested the elections. They don't like democracy now because they always lose to the party supported by the upcountry , rural poor. So the military again stepped in and took over. There are Bangkok citizens who think they should have a greater say than their country cousins. Likewise, there's a class of Egyptians who think there's a group who should be excluded from elections. When divided groups are unwilling to compromise, democracy must wait.

  • Palin for Trump: 'Political Correctness' (anti-racism) is a Suicide Bomb Vest
    • Good point. The left's response to the Oregon militia has been particularly wanting, with the exception of Mother Jones' article, " The Oregon Militia is Picking the Wrong Beef With the Feds". It explains that ranchers operate under razor-thin margins because the Feds have allowed giant meat-packing companies to dominate the US beef production chain.
      The left needs to show people that they have better solutions. Clever tweets aren't going work.

  • Oregon Standoff: What If The Armed Men Were Muslim Or Black?
    • If they were black or Muslims, the feds would treat them more harshly. But, the left would listen to them with a sympathetic ear. Remember how the global left fell in love with the Zapatistas, the armed indigenous peasants who rose up in 1994? The left is suspicious of the NSA, but they can't imagine the BLM doing anything wrong. I guess if the rebels are white, rural men wearing cowboy hats, the only response needed is ridicule.

  • Paiute Native Tribe: Oregon Militia is Polluting our Ancestral Land
    • That would be interesting. Bundy should contact the Zapatistas in southern Mexico for advice on autonomas communities and resisting the government.

  • After 2008 Wall Street Crash, did US White Working Class Drink itself to Death?
    • What is the evidence that poor white people are more likely to be racist than other groups? What are the numbers? Surely, there a lot's of poor white folks who could care less about grasping at some non-existant white privlege.

  • Lessons for the West on Immigrants & Exclusion from the Age of the 'Bomb-throwing Anarchist'
    • The anarchist terrorists of 120 years ago were urban, poor, immigrants, insecure, and traditionless. The bombings and assassinations ended, but the class from which the assassins came continued to be neglected (except in Russia). The left should have made a democratic socialist revolution in Europe and the US after WW 1, but they left the field open to the right. Hitler, Mussolini, and their followers came from the
      same hopeless, helpless class as the earlier anarchists.
      Luccheni was the assassin of Empress Elizabeth. In 1939, Rebecca West wrote, " But now Luccheni is Mussolini, and the improvement in his circumstances can be measured by the magnitude of his crimes". This underscores the fact that things can always be made worse by the wrong policy.

  • In 'Spectre,' James Bond becomes Edward Snowden
    • The "Five Eyes" are the countries that have the most people of British ancestry. In this film, the "eyes" are expanding to include Asian and African eyes, and at the same time, the criminals are taking over. Are there subtle racial overtones here?

  • Top Signs Pope Francis is an Honest Conservative
    • Jammer, the linked-to article says "...Cardinal Bergollio argued that gay adoptions discriminated against children...". How can that indicate anything other than homophobia?

    • Canonizing Father Serra is not exactly liberation theology. Serra and the other missionaries were a key part in the violent conquest of California by the Spanish Empire. The mission system enslaved and led to the deaths of most of the Calfornia Indians.

  • How Black Lives Matter is making Bernie Sanders a better candidate
    • The last time I saw public hostility towards black people coming from white progressives was on election night in 2008. The anti-gay proposition 8 passed in California, and I heard well-known progressive radio hosts unreasonably and nastily blaming black voters. I'm not sure how important it is to be respectful. I'm white and support progressive positions, but there are times i'd like to hurl a lot of vitriol at the ice coffee

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?
    • It was not necessary to kill half a million to save several million. But the people who made the decision may not have known that at the time. It's easier to analyze after the fact than to make decisions in war-time. Truman and his team may have believed they were doing best thing.

  • How Dropping the A-Bomb on Japan initiated the Military-Industrial Complex
    • Many of the scientisrs who developed the bomb would eventually reconsider their roles. This is why any future project that musters immense financial resources and brings together thousands of scientists to solve other problems, like climate change, should be looked at with suspicion. The technologies developed, the laws passed, and the changes made to economies could cause all kinds of unforseen problems.

  • As GOP fumes re: Iran, Russia & China are outflanking West with New Eurasia Silk Road
    • The Russians spent decades screwing up Central Asia's environment and oppressing the Turkic ethnic groups there. Turkic Uighurs in western China are left out of the economic boom and called terrorists if they defy Beijing. The dominance of Moscow and Beijing in these schemes may aggravate ethnic tensions rather than provide a safe nieghborhood. And all these ancient power centers may be overcome by problems that can't be solved by highways.

  • No, GOP, biblical Marriage was not between one man and one woman
    • In Genesis 19 the older daughter of Lot says to the younger, "come let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the seed of our father." Jesus descended from Lot through this incestuous encounter. I don't know why conservatives don't base sermons on this bit of scripture.

  • Top 6 Achievements of Obamacare: (Hint, millions more insured)
    • Thanks to the ACA, my neighbor gets insurance for 40$ a month. The ACA made me eligible for Medicaid. I've gotten dental work, cataract surgery, and am being screened for serious eye problems. Before, I could've had the cataract surgery at a county hospital, but the Medicaid gives me more options. The ACA has clearly helped a lot of low income people.

  • Tom Cotton's 'Chickenhawk' Taunt at Iran FM Demeans Jeb Bush, GOP Field
    • The lottery for men born in 53 was held on 2-2-72. It was conducted for men who would have been called in 1973. But no one was drafted in 1973. No one born in 53 was drafted. Jeb, like me, got lucky.

  • Pakistan as Hong Kong West: China's New Silk Road & US Failure
    • The laissez-faire capitalism of Hong Kong was inherited from the British. The Chinese didn't mess with Hong Kong's economy because they learnd something from what they had done to Shanghai. We'll see if they can create a Hong Kong on their own..
      As China's economy continues to grow, its' largest companies may become like other transnationals which are not loyal to any state. The world economy will make nation-states less relevant.
      If the Chinese investment led to the disruption of terrorist networks, it has already benefitted the US. If they create a thriving trade center on the sea, US firms can get in on that trade. Chinese money invested in the US has increased to 14 billion. We should be encouraging China to invest more here. We shouldn't try to out-invest China in any particular region. The stronger economies should divide the labor in the work of uplifting the world.

  • Indiana: Church of Marijuana founded to Exploit Religious Freedom Act
    • The Religious Freedom Act of 1993 was introduced by Democrats to protect the right of Native Americans to use peyote in their religious services. After it was declared unconstitutional as applied to states in 1997, states began passing their own RFAs. There is a full circle of unintended consequences that began with the case of a Native American who was discriminated against for using peyote in his church. I wouldn't be so sure that there weren't marijuana advocates and other non-conservatives who supported Indiana's RFA from the start. The problem is that our various freedoms sometimes conflict, and things are not as simple as a slogan or soundbite.

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • 92% of the current Congress members are Christian. 158 of the Democrats are Christian. Liberal Christians need to stay involved, get more involved. Liberal Christians played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement and many other just causes. Conservative Christians are hogging the power and the attention. Liberal Christians may feel intimidated by both the Christian Right and the non-believers of the Left. A strong, loud Christian Left would make politics, as well as debates about atheism , religious freedom, and the role of science a lot more interesting.

  • Facing Down Anti-Muslim Bigotry Through Faith in America
    • Perhaps the first misuse of the word "phobia" was when social scientists started using "xenophobia" to mean hatred of
      outsiders. Then, in 1972, a book by a psychologist popularized the word "homophobia". One influence may be the ongoing impulse to turn every human experience into a psychiatric disease. Twenty years after "homophobia" we got "Islamaphobia". If we had any sense, we wouldn't use these confusing words.

  • The Letter: Top 5 Similarities of GOP and Iran Hard Liners
    • In 1951, General MacArthur made a public threat to the Chinese which sabotaged a cease-fire proposal prepared by the Administration. This act of insubordination was preceded and followed by others that were aimed at widening the Korean War in dangerous ways. At one point, the House Minority Leader read to Congress a letter from MacArthur about the conduct of the war. After Truman finally fired him , Congress invited the General to speak at a joint session, where he may have gotten more ovations than Netanyahu. The country was in an uproar, but Truman stuck to his guns. Harry Truman kept the Korean War limited and affirmed presidential authority.

  • In New Gilded Age, Social Protest dominates Academy Awards Ceremony
    • It's too bad Hollywood couldn't muster any courage in response to the Sony hack, a huge invasion of privacy and a successful act of cyberterrorism.

  • Fox News Contributor: Fifty Shades of Grey Heralds the End of the World
    • Old fashioned marriage won't be the same. Niether will the old dungeons. When something that was underground becomes mainstream, it loses something.

    • Let's hope the approaching apocalypse is more exciting than. E L James' fantasies.

  • The Chapel Hill Shootings & the Troubling Growth of Anti-Muslim Intolerance
    • No, Craig Hicks won't be called 'self-radicalized'. Nor will we hear any academics trying to explain why people turn to radical atheism.

  • Beaten over call for co-existence: French artist's religious graffiti
    • The problems in France are not just about conflicts between religions. French secularism, for historical reasons, is deeply mistrustful of religion. An atmosphere of hostility toward religion in general is one in which Islamaphobia thrives. The secularists, including leftists, supported the ban on wearing headscarves. The secularists need to learn tolerance, as do the religious fanatics.

  • Why Obama is Right to avoid double standard about Modern Christian Atrocities
    • Replace "church" with "mosque" and "priest" with "Muslim", and Emile Zola becomes Pam Geller. Also, the context in which things are said makes a difference. Zola's words would sound different if they came from a jihadi in Iraq.

    • Non-religious ideologies have killed millions also. Remember Pol Pot, Lenin, National Socialism, Maoism, Pinochet's 'free market', Bathism, the Gulf War, ...?

  • After Charlie Hebdo: How Will Europe Deal with Islam and Muslims?
    • You say that Hebdo's anticlerical journalism represents the most valuable cultural asssets of the West- freedom of speech and secularism. One definition of secularism is the separation of church and state, with the state guaranteeing freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. You seem to be using another common definition of secularism which is the belief that the less religion in a society the better. This anticlerical bias is fairly recent to the West, and I'm not sure that it's one of our most valuable cultural assets.
      Your point is excellent that it was a mistake to leave theology and philosophy of religion out of education. But this ommission led not only to bad religion. It led also to a shallow intellectual culture in the West. If we studied religion and metaphysics well, we would have a better understanding of religion. We would also be able to look at our secular worldview from a different angle.

  • Charlie Hebdo & French 'Secularism': Does it really just privilege White Christians?
    • A typical religious person will believe that she is a creation of the One that contains every perfection, which fills her life with meaning and a sense of belonging. Her universe is filled with living spirit , and she knows she's going to heaven. A dogmatic materialist will see her as misguided. But the materialist has no reason to feel superior. The materialists assumptions are every bit as arbitrary as the believers. Science gives us no reason to reject religion.
      the worldview I'm complaining about consists of science plus 2 random corollaries: 1. The scientific method is the best way of getting at the truth; 2. Material entities are all tha exist. The 2 corollaries are arbitrary. Faulty reasoning brought us from appreciation of science to a constricting worldview.
      What I'm saying here is all in Huston Smith's book, " Why Religion Matters".

    • French secularism likely favors a worldview that is scientific, anti-religious, and materialistic. This worldview holds that nothing exists beyond what science can catalogue, prove, or deduce. It has never been proved to be true, yet it is never held up to examination by academics . It is a good time to reassess the narrowness of the secularism that rules modern culture.

  • Civilization's Advance has depended on "Blasphemy" of Thinkers & Mystics
    • Some speakers should be defended but not promoted. The ACLU has defended the right of Nazis to march. But, they did not join the march. Cartoons of black women as monkeys, naked muslims with hijabs stuffed up their butts? You are Charlie, not me.

  • Twitter mirth after Steve Emerson's Fox Nonsense re: Birmingham as Muslim 'no-go' Zone
    • Steve Emerson has a Masters degree in sociology. There are millions of sociologists who agree with him. It's time to have a frank discussion about sociology. If there are any moderate sociology professors, they need to speak out.

  • Paris Terrorist was Radicalized by Bush's Iraq War, Abu Ghraib Torture
    • Rachid was fortunate and had help. But he made choices, acted, and deserves credit. Almost everyone is able to make choices and so is accountable for their behavior. There are a billion Muslims who have reasons to be angry, but do not choose to kill pointlessly. Arabs and Muslims have agency. They should be blamed every time they're blameworthy.

    • Rachid Nekkaz was born in France of Algerian parents. He made his fortune with an internet startup. Which white man gets the credit for Rachid's career?

  • MSM ignores Bombing of Colorado Springs NAACP by White Terrorist
    • Viola Liuzzo was a white woman who took part in the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. After the march, she was murdered by Klansmen. Riding with the. white terrorists was an FBI informant. The FBI responded to this terrorism by trying to cover up the role of their informant and conducting a campaign to trash and smear the reputation of the martyred victim.

  • Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See Oprah's Film
    • As this summary shows, there were thousands of unsung heroes and martyrs who brought change to the South. People, mostly black, organized for 30 years. Many were jailed, fired, murdered, beaten, spat on. While at home, they used guns to defend themselves. If young people know this history, they'll know it can be done again. If they it was all about LBJ or MLK, they'll sit around waiting for a new savior.

  • How Jesus' Message of Peace & Non-Violence Got Lost
    • Top 4 reasons for loving your enemy (from sermon by MLK Jr.) :
      1. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violene, toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
      2. Hate sears the soul and distorts the personality of the hater.
      3. Love is the only way to change an enemy into a friend.
      4. The ultimate reason is the one given by Jesus : " love your enemies... so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
      Only by loving our enemies can we know God and experience the beauty of holiness.
      An atheist Buddhist might say that by expanding the circle of people we have compassion for to include everyone, we become liberated.
      Maybe the methods of Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi don't always work. But our actions will surely be more effective if try to follow Jesus's instructions to not be angry or hateful.

  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • Some media re-broadcast the content of private mail and call it 'revelations', as if this kind of privacy invasion were journalism. Snowden and wikileaks revealed information about our government that we should know. The content of the Sony hacks ,however, should be ignored. But the media need to feed our boundless hunger for gossip. The millions of consumers of entertainment news are responsible for many invasions of privacy.

  • Top 5 ways US treatment of African-Americans resembles Apartheid South Africa
    • While Manifest Destiny justified the taking of Indian and Mexican land in the American West, the Afrikanners' Great Trek was God's Will. The Chosen People were fair-skinned in both places.
      In the 19th Century, the Afrikanners were trying to get away from the anti-slavery British. The American parallel is the Southern secessionists.

    • At the center of the Afrikaners' national myth is a story victimhood. It's all about massacres of martyrs followed by righteous, neccessary massacres of the hethen.

  • Cairo Erupts as Mubarak, Adly Declared Innocent in Deaths of Protesters
    • The only instance of a democratically elected head of state being tried, convicted of human rights abuses in his own country was Fujimori. In Peru. May we live to see the day that General Sisi is locked up for the massacres he's responsible for. Fujimori was hugely popular, even when on trial. Nonetheless, justice caught up with him.

    • The first former head of state to be tried and convicted of genocide in a domestic court was Rios Montt in May 2013 in Guatemala. The conviction was latter overturned. The precedent has been set .

  • Is the Qur'an Really Violent? Not if you Read the whole Book!
    • The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu holy book, begins with the god-king Krishna explaining to prince Arjuna that his duty is to go into battle and kill his relatives. This 'violent book' was the favored holy book of Mohandas Gandhi, who's devotion to non-violence was unsurpassed.

  • Artificial Billionaires: Regimes' Crony Capitalism Stifling Middle East
    • We have this problem in the USA also. A lot of US companies get rich by having public money funneled to them. But, we are confused, and don't distinguish between state capitalism and free enterprise.

  • Reza Aslan, religion Ph.D. vs. Sam Harris
    • When scientists make assertions, we should first ask whether or not the claim they're making is a scientific conclusion. Science deals with material entities. Since it's selective, it cannot say whether its account of reality is complete. So, we should listen to what scientists say about the effects of global warming. But, when they talk about atheism, we know they're just stating their beliefs.

    • Reza Aslan has a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School. The aticle you link to says, "if Aslan's Ph.D. is the basis to scholarly credentials, he could plausibly claim to be an expert on social movements in 20th century Islam". How could his credentials possibly be more relevant to the topic at hand?!.

  • Ben Affleck on Bill Maher's Muslim Problem
    • If you were to say that Christian beliefs are harmful to gay people, you'd be doing a disservice to the numerous open and proud gay Christians who read the scripture differently than gay-bashers.
      Saying that Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas is on a par with telling someone you disagee with that there mind is malfunctiong. It's not an argument.

    • As you say, widely held ideas allow people with violent tendencies to justify their actions. The belief that Islam is the problem has led to killings of peaceful Muslims and Sikhs (who are often mistaken for Mslims).
      A 2006 poll by CNN found that 56% of Americans favor amending the Constitution to outlaw flag desecration. You can find other evidence that Americans are not real big on civil liberties. But, the ACLU doesn't go on hostle rants about flag-wavers.

    • Bill Maher and Sam Harris have a faulty approach to religion in general. And they are strongly pro-science. We hear a lot from atheist science guys on the one hand, and religious anti-science folks on the other. We don't hear enough from science-friendly people who are strongly religious. There is no reason for conflict between science and religion. But, a lot of 'modern' people mistakingly think that the fact that science tells us so much about the implies that nothing can exist that is not a part of the material world. And a lot of religious people think they can deny what science tells us about the world.

  • The Yasukuni Shuffle: China and Japan duke it out via T.V. Serials on the Wrongs of WW II
    • Making patriotic films about the Chinese in WW2 requires a lot of fantasy. There were 2 Chinese armies, tht Nationalists and the Communists, who spent much of the time fighting each other. The Nationalists' idea was that China was too big to be conquered. No matter how many Chinese were killed, no matter how much land was taken, there was always much, much more. And, they figured the Americans would eventually defeat the Japanese for them. The Reds, for their part, were not entirely focused on defeating Japan, used only guerilla tactics, and did not make a big dent in the Japanese Empire.

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • Sectarianism was not the reason for the protests against Assad, but it came into play not long after the fighting began. Juan Cole downplayed the role of sectatianism for quite a while. The strong position of ISIL in Syria was a suprise to Juan Cole as well as to Obama. He thought the revolution would remain in the hands of people committed to democracy. That"s what I recall of his writings at the time. His analysis is great. But there are always additional factors that can tilt things in an unexpected direction.

  • What Arab partners will get in return for strikes on Syria
    • Our allies are all monarchs or princes. It might be best to leave them alone. None of the kingdoms or emirates have been overwhelmed by the recent turmoil in the region. All of the countries that have been plagued by war discarded monarchy long ago. After the removal of Sadam, Mubarrak, and Gaddafi, and the ongoing rebellion against Assad, do you really want to wave the banner of freedom in the monarchies?

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War?
    • Wkipedia mentions the cork industry in Alburqurque in Spain. 'Ab al-Qurq' means 'land of the cork oak' in Arabic. Moors (Arab speakers) occupied the region for centuries. This may be the origon of Albuquerqe..

    • Muslims do not have a greater duty to condemn ISIL than anyone else. Likewise, people who leave the ME or North Africa are not duty-bound to support their nationality of origon. Exiles who find better lives elsewhere should feel free to not identify with were they came from.

  • Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz?
    • During the 2nd Intifada, Hamas carried out 39.9 % of the Palestinian suicide bombings. 887 (78%) of the 1,137 Israelis killed from 2000 to 2005 in Israel were civilians. I guess this makes them ideal candidates to be the founding fathers of a new state.

  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • There are parallels with the China-Burma-India theatre in WW2. General Chennault wanted bomb Japanese cities from China. General Stillwell had to constantly argue that the Japanese would respond by bombing the air bases in China, and there were no effective ground forces to protect those bases.
      Also, rhe Allies allied with Chiang-kai-shek, an extraordinarily corrupt, short-sighted dictator who had no interest in fighting the Japanese. And, the American people were falsely told that the Chinese Nationalists were fighting for democracy and winning victories. If we make a u-turn in Syria, our media may start fawning over Mrs. Assad the way they did over Madame Chiang.

  • Democracy, in India as elsewhere, is not a tyranny of the Majority
    • Popular nationalism has been confused with democracy ever since the rise of nationalism in the 19th century. But, nationalism has often worked against the idea of letting every tile in the mosaic sparkle.
      Look at the relationship between the autocratic, supranational Austro-Hungarian Empire and nationalism. Franz Joseph, the last of the Hapsburg dynasts, was strongly anti-nationalist. The Austrian army was made up of Germans, Magyars, Czechs, Poles, Croats, and other nationalities. A person of low birth could rise in the ranks. Britain with its' parliament had no such egalitarian institution. While other Powers were using nationalism to fuel a rush for territory in Africa, Austria stayed home.
      A big strain on the Hapsburgs was the nationalism of the Magyars in Hungary. They wanted independence so they could dominate the minorities in Hungary. They hated the Germans, but favored German dominance of the Austrian part of the empire in order to keep other nationalities down.
      But, the House of Hapsburg fell. Some of their subjects were later ruled by the German nationalist Hitler.
      Thus, while a democracy that can enforce minority rights may be ideal, a benign autocrat can be better than majoritarianism, or any system infected by exclusionary nationalism.

  • The New Jim Crow: Has the Right finally Repealed the Civil Rights Act?
    • Poor people usually don't have employers that pay them while doing jury duty, and they often need to excuse themselves from jury duty due to economic hardship. Low-income workers can't take off a couple of weeks to serve on a jury. My guess is that poor people are not well-represented in jury pools.

  • Party of Palin? Why Almost No Scientists Are Republican
    • It is appropriate for scientists to be involved in politics. But political issues involve values and morals, as well as scientific fact.
      Scientists can also get involved in philosophy and religion. But if they make assertions such as "science is the only way of knowing things" or "nothing exists beyond what science can grasp", they should make it clear that these are just their beliefs, that these
      opinions are not scientific facts.

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are now more afraid of political Islam than they are concerned about Palestinians. They want Israel to destroy Hamas at all costs. Thus, Arab states are putting no pressure on Israel to stop this bombing.

  • Top 3 White Terrorist Attacks in America this Week
    • The anarchists of the late 19th century had a hatred of the capitalists and bourgeosie that matched their hatred of the state. Today's right-wing anarchists have set their sights solely on the state. The idea is that once the evil institutons are destroyed, utopia will naturally emerge. 19th century anarchist theorists and writers inspired many lone nuts to throw bombs and shoot people.

  • Egypt, Syria, Libya . . . . What is the Appeal of Phoney Elections in the Middle East?
    • Sham election may also be what the masses want. They don't want to admit what they secretly believe, which is that they should be ruled by aristocrats.
      In the 1890's, Lord Salisbury, an aristocrat with a big, fuzzy beard, passionately fought democratic reforms. As a youth, he wrote numerous articles explaing how democracy would damage Britain.
      But , democracy caught on. It's part of being modern. But, that could change over time. Military Coups seem to be in fashion.

  • Pope Francis to call for Sovereign, Independent Palestinian State from Bethlehem
    • Pope John Paul II had an audience with Arafat on Sep 15, 1982? Interesting. The following night the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila began. The Israelis allowed the killings, but it was carried out by Lebanese Maronite militiamen. The Maronite Church is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. What was the reaction of the Vatican to these mass killings of Palestinians conducted by Catholics?

  • In Egypt, Industrial Scale Death Decrees
    • Everybody freaked out when Morsi tried to place himself beyond the reach of this judiciary. "Democracy is more than winning elections", his opponents said. I guess democracy is about having the right balance between a depraved military and a psychotic judiciary.

  • Netanyahu's Blood and Soil: The Racist-Nationalism of his "Jewish State" Ideal
    • 78 percent of Israelis are Jewish, and they like it like that. Jews are small minorities everywhere in the world except Israel. When American Jews visit Israel, they enjoy being in a place that's mostly Jewish. They feel a part of the solidarity that exists amongst Israeli Jews. They say, "we built this country and we'll fight for it.".
      Israeliness is alive and vibrant. Its value should not be judged entirely by crimes committed 66 years ago. That being said, Israelis need to end the occupation and find ways to express their nationalism that do not harm others.

  • From Raybans to Portrait Underwear: Sisi-Mania floods Egypt with Kitsch
    • There are similarities to the atmosphere in Egypt in the late fifties, after the Suez Crisis. Nasser was the superhero. Radio and schoolbooks reminded people how they were required to think. The villified enemies were Jews, French, and British. They had their assets nationalized and were expelled. The Sisi regime, however, has really outdone Nasser in terms of massacres, unjust incarcerations, and death sentences. This Sisi mania is a reminder of how vile people are.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • Bundy may be a domestic terrorist. Nonetheless, can we aknowledge that not all the people who have complained about the way government controls land have been rich white men? Consider the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles that was destroyed in order to build Dodger Stadium.

    • So, are the liberals now going to start screaming at the black people who illegally planted a garded on our defunt armory? That defunt armory belongs to us taxpayers and it's being managed for our benefit by the Goverment. The court has weighed in. Will the liberals be happy when the New Black Panthers are attacked and the garden is returned to the benevolent control of our beloved Agencies?

  • 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan's Taliban
    • For the Keystone pipeline to be built, they'll have to use a lot of eminent domain (government taking of private property). If the pipline is stopped, it could be due more to the objections of property rights supporters than to the complaints of environmentalists. Anti-government feelings have caused headaches for the NSA. Now, the right needs to step up and oppose the use of eminent domain in those cases where the stolen property is to be given to a foreign corporation (like Transcanada).

  • Poof! John Kerry Blames Israeli Squatting in E. Jerusalem for breakdown in Peace Talks; Bennett: It's Just Zionism
    • If you have a problem with religious nationalism, consider the Hindu nationalism of India's BJP party, the Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar (who do violence to the Muslim Rohingya)...
      Religious nationalism is common.

  • Egypt Shocks the World with Plan for Mass Execution of 528 Muslim Brothers
    • On July 2 2013, The Daily Beast published a piece titled "The 28-Year-Old Face of Egypt Opposition" , which includes the sentence :
      One Tammarod organizer, Hazem el-Zohery, said in an interview that he would consider it a "success" if the Army intervened.

    • It was kind of obvious by the end of last June that the Tamarod youth were blackshirts. Isn't asking for military rule the essence of a fascist youth group?
      My guess is that coups that are very popular are more destructive than unpopular ones. When the military, the media, the youth, and the people (in the millions) are all singing the same tune, the results can be horrible.

  • Egypt: Military Rule, Arbitrary Jailing of Protesters, and... Public Silence
    • You only want to talk about it. Bassem Youseff just wants us to have a sense of humor about it. You want to find a middle ground. I don't see the point of being so apologetic about suggesting that maybe, perhaps, freedom of speach might, perhaps be something worth considering (with all due respect to the General). If you are willing to go to prison, than protest and oppose injustice. Otherwise, you might as well not talk about it.

  • As Putin recognizes Crimea, his other Client, Syria, Goes on the Offensive
    • I wonder why the Greeks were not at the "Friends of Syria" congress , since they are mostly Eastern Orthodox, and Russia's aim in Syria is partly to help Assad protect. Christians.
      Ukraine has more Eastern Orthodox than any country besides Russia, and they are divided about Russia. The Ukraine crisis may cause a split in the Russian Church.
      There are Eastern Orthodox all over the world, and I. don't think most of them favor Putin.

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • Abbas is negotiating as if the Palestinians are in a position of strength, as if they have great leverage. But the Palestians have not prevented any of the land theft that has taken place in the past 20 years. Negotiations are about making concessions in order to get something. The main thing Palestinians should want is an end to the taking of their land. it might be a good idea to give up the right of return in exchange for an end to land theft.

  • Journalists should stop 'balancing' stories with Science Denialists: Cosmos's Neil DeGrasse Tyson
    • Yeah, science denialists should not be given credence. But wouldn't it be nice to have an intelligent discussion about the roles of science and religion? There are things that science cannot study adequately if at all, including values, meaning, and final causes. Science cannot tell us what we should give our lives to. Religion remains relevant because it treats enduring questions of value, meaning, and purpose. Science only knows about things that humans can measure. To be certain that there is nothing in the cosmos beyond what scientists can train their instruments on is anthropocentric and arrogant.

  • Will Russell Crowe as Noah help Egypt Separate Religion and State?
    • Yes, when liberals and fascists unite to overthrow a democratically elected President it can have lovely results. But, the coup-volution in Ukraine, alas, is a geo-political time bomb. Too bad the Ukraine government can't just lock up all their opponents.

  • False Dawn: The 35th Anniversary of Iranian Revolution
    • The translations are by Sholeh Wolpe who did a wonderful little book of Farrokhzad's poems called Sin.

    • Farrokhzad's poem Red Rose reflects the sense of anticipation you note: ...Look!
      Beneath my heart,
      Deep inside my womb
      Now grows a rose;
      Red, red, rose,
      Rose red like a flag
      -a revolution.
      At the same time, Farrokhzad wrote The Bird, Was Just a Bird, which could be read as a critique of impractible idealism and a prediction of the false dawn:
      The bird in the air
      High above flashing red lights
      Joyfully soared in oblivion,
      Deliriously lived in the sky's blue moments.
      The bird,
      Was just a bird

  • Don't Break up Syria: WW I-Style Imperial Divide & Rule is a Failure
    • The Kurds are creating an autonomous region in Syria and seem to be able to defend it from the Salafist militants. Balkanizing nationalist independence movements arise everywhere. They don't need outsiders to inspire them.
      It's hard to know when to support the dividing of a state. East Timor was probably a good idea. Likewise, Kosovo. We may have screwed up in Sudan. The US was probably wrong to recognize the first state to break off from Yugoslavia. We may be screwing up by encouraging the protesters in

  • US Intel Officials keep Talking about Killing Snowden, then say "trust us with your data"
    • The fact that the intelligence community has an emotional response to Snowden is not the reason they cannot be trusted. They cannot be trusted because they are human beings. No group of people should have unchecked power to invade our privacy. It is not what our founding fathers wanted. And there is no logical reason to trust anyone with such power. Is the vetting system of the American government so magical that only superheros make it into the secret halls of power?

  • Syria: Rebel Militias take on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
    • How are the Kurds reacting to this, I wonder. They control about ten percent of Syrian territory. They have fought ISIS and Nusra (who have fought each other). There are serious divisions amongst them. They don't support Assad, but many of the rebels don't seem to trust them.
      The rebels now seem to be almost all hardcore Islamists. Nusra, yesterday's bad guys, have come into the fold, and are fighting ISIS, today's bad guys.

  • Obama Era a new Gilded Age, with Rich Getting Richer, Poor Poorer
    • If the 11 trillion gained by the top 5 percent were divided between the bottom 90 percent, they'd each get 40 dollars.
      The bottom 25 percent have zero or negative net worth. So, a person with a poverty-level income, but no debts and a trailer worth $3000, has a greater net worth than the bottom 25 percent.
      The Walton family has .13 percent of US wealth. Or, 99.87 percent of US wealth is not owned by the Waltons.

  • 17% of Americans Support Afghanistan War: CNN (Video of the Day)
    • This is the reverse of the situation when the war began. In 2001, 80 percent of us supported a ground war in Afghanistan. If it was a mistake, we share the blame.

  • "Terrorism" tag is tool of Political Repression in Egypt
    • This wave of repression is supported by Tamarod and a large number of Eygpt's liberal intellectuals. Dalia Ziada, a liberal human rights activist, and liberal novelist Alaa al-Aswany are but two examples. Liberals can't win elections, so they might as well set their values aside and cheer on General Sisi.
      Egyptians want security and prosperity more than liberty. So did the Chinese under Chairman Mao. Authoritarianism doesn't always produce the best results.

  • Snowden's Christmas Message on Privacy: Does NSA threaten 9th, 14th Amendments, 'Inviolate Personality'?
  • Syrian Christians Menaced by Extremist Sunnis, Slam Lack of Lebanese Support
    • We need to remember not to equate Sunni extremists with moderate, pragmatic Sunnis. The Leabanese March 14 Coalition, for example, includes Sunnis and Christians. When they were in power, they made no attempt to establish a theocracy.

    • Lebanese Christians deep divisions about how to relate to Syria began years before the current civil war. The Lebanese people have been split between those that despise Assad (whose forces occupied their country for years) , and those like Hizzbollah who think working with Assad is best for their country.
      Syrian Christians feel safer with Assad. The current conflict may have driven some Lebanese Christians into the Assad camp. But, some of them remember crimes Assad committed against their communities. And some Lebanese Christians remain in the political camp opposed to Hizbollah/Syria/Iran.
      It's hard for Christian leaders to extract themselves from the regions politics and just be pro-Christian.
      I like the statement by Massuh that "bearing arms to defend icons and churches is not part of the values of Christians".

  • Photo of the Day: Apartheid South Africa Sign
    • In 1964, our family drove through the South (USA). We stopped at a rural gas station. It had 3 restroom signs: Men, Women, and Colored. Two of them were normal restrooms. The Colored restroom had no door, and was just a space with a big hole in a dirt floor.

  • Does Turkey's PM Erdogan have a GOP-Style "Woman Problem"?
    • Turkish women got a lot of their rights handed to them by the secular authoritarian Ataturk. Let"s hope that their fear of religious authoritarianism doesn't make them willing to follow another strongman. Secularism is worth fighting for, but not at the expense of democracy. Twerking is no fun if you have to imprison and silence the religious people. Secular democracy is a precious thing.

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