Recent Comments Could Saudi Plans for $100/ Barrel Oil Hugely Expand Electric Car Market and Save Tesla? (4) Ron 04/23/2018 at 9:35 am Perhaps they need a short term higher oil price for their Aramco IPO but the Saudis aren't going to make the same mistake again. High oil prices drive production of oil from unconventional and/or expensive sources. Saudis know the end of carbon is coming and they will keep the price low enough to postpone that and keep their market share until it does. Gindy51 04/23/2018 at 7:01 am This is going to send the US car manufacturers into a tizzy. I've been reading how they are gearing up to produce more SUV's and fewer sedans. They may have to rethink this and fast if they are going to survive let alone profit. Our next car will be an EV, we have 30 solar panels o our barn and sell back more energy than we use o sunny days (even in the snowy winter). We will be investing in batteries once they drop o price. We'll continue to need gas for our farm vehicles but eventually those will be replaced with EVs once they become available. philosophical ron 04/23/2018 at 6:27 am I was practically raised in an oil-patch family, my dad was a jr. engineer for (what is now) Chevron in 1946 after delivering beer to the men on Iwo Jima and occupying Japan with the Navy in WW2,, though he moved to the cement industry to make his millions (after I was an adult). I've followed oil markets since my youth, studied them in college, and made money on them after I got a portion of dad's inheritance (and I was glad that he gave 50% of his $ to forgiving the loan that he made to the guy who bought his business). Everyone in oil markets everywhere, from Indonesia going eastwards thru Malaysia and Russia, Iran, the Arabs, the Africans, the Brits, the South Americans, all through the US from the Gulf to Texas to Colorado and Wyoming and still California and Alaska and around to Australia, China to complete the circle -- all of them are slathering for one last run-up of the oil price to $100. The smart ones will cash out on the greater fools who think it might go higher. The general state of financial journalism & market awareness is not significantly greater in 2018 than it was in the last century, they might be able to pull it off -- at least a run-up to $80 or $90. Common Sense 04/23/2018 at 6:00 am Rising gas prices will indeed lead to people switching to EVs much quicker. It comes down to fairness. No one thinks that the oil price fluctuations are fair. So whether they believe in climate change or not, they will switch out of anger as the price of gas goes up. Iran vows ‘expected and unexpected’ moves if Trump exits nuclear deal (1) philosophical ron 04/23/2018 at 5:29 am Why do I have so much more confidence in Rouhani making good decisions than I have in Trump (and Bolton and Pompeo) being able to make good decisions ?? Will an Emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Reshape the Middle East? (4) Juan Cole 04/23/2018 at 2:11 am in reply to brian 2000 US spec ops troops can't hold a fourth of Syria very long. The Kurds in the northeast are going to get severe pressure from Turkey. Trump will likely pull out. The deal to be had is a more federal Syria that the Syrian Kurds rejoin. It may well be the deal that occurs. And then presto Syria borders back. brian 04/23/2018 at 2:07 am with 1 replies in reply to Farhang Jahanpour . I acknowledge your superior knowledge on this subject. But you overlook one factor: the USA has invested heavily in cleaving off about 1/4 of Syrian territory from Arab control (misleadingly calling it "ISIS territory") and gave it to the Syrian Kurds. Those Kurds think they took it for themselves, but it was US Air Force bombing that was decisive. The US has signaled in many different ways that they will not let the Kurds lose that territory. The integrity of Syria's borders is no longer possible to preserve. It has been irrevocably shattered. I'm surprised this is not better understood. . Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters (10) Kathleen 04/23/2018 at 12:55 am It took Natalie Portman a long time to come face to face with the brutality of the Israeli occupation. She is demonstrating real moral values. Go Natalie... Will an Emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Reshape the Middle East? (4) Mark Koroi 04/23/2018 at 12:33 am in reply to Farhang Jahanpour "........we are hearing noises about the need to revive the Geneva Conference on Syria, hoping again to revive the insurgency against Assad. It is in the interest of the Syrian people for the West, the Saudis and the Israelis to accept that they lost in Syria..............." I believe that another Geneva Conference will be a waste of time. However, Israel comes out of the Syrian Civil War a decisive winner, having expanded her influence beyond the Golan Heights via her de facto alliance with rebels in the Quneitra and Daraa governorates - including her controversial ties to the al-Qaeda-linked Syrian Conquest Front. The Assad regime's Syrian Arab Army is in shambles - resulting in the Russian-brokered deal to allow rebels to evacuate East Ghouta rather than see the regime's armed forces sustain more battlefield casualties that would further limit its viability as a fighting force. The Assad regime owes its continued survival to both Russia and Hezbollah - as well as Iran. Most Syrian dissident leaders have felt the staggering costs sustained by the Syrian people the last seven years have laid the foundation for an eventual post-Assad Syria. Absent the Syrian Civil War, the Baathist totalitarian state that had existed for forty previous years would have had its absolutist control to brutally crush any dissent - as it did in Hama in 1982. The Baathists in Damascus today are in a profoundly weakened state and will eventually likely be toppled. Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters (10) Cary Appenzeller 04/22/2018 at 11:22 pm in reply to Marianna Brilliant Cary Appenzeller 04/22/2018 at 11:21 pm perhaps it's scum like Mr. Hazan who should be stripped of citizenship, deported, and put on trial for crimes against humanity Top Six Reasons Pompeo Should Not Be Secretary of State (7) e. a. f. 04/22/2018 at 10:42 pm In my opinion Pompeo is simply an evil man. It will not end well for anyone if he is confirmed in the position. Of course it might help get Trump "unelected", when Pompeo goes off the deep end. There is something very weird about Pompeo. when I don't like politicians or don't trust them, I turn off the sound and just watch the body language when they speak. it usually speaks louder than their words. If Pompeo and Trump proceeds as I think they will, the U.S.A. may well become irrelevant on the world stage. They'll have a large armed forces, but that will be it. sort of like the USSR and the early days of Russia, big military but no one paid attention. Why do Red State Teachers need to Strike for a living Wage? It is about Class (4) e. a. f. 04/22/2018 at 10:36 pm Yes, there are some strange laws to suppress Unions in the U.S.A. as you've outline. What is interesting is that the average voter in some of these states, who don't have a lot of money, are keeping them in place. The politicians who keep these laws in place can only do so because voters keep them in office. In Canada, teachers are made much more, on average in British Columbia its approx. $85K and in Alberta, what you'd call a right wing province, its over $90K a year with pensions, medical benefits, etc. It is beyond me why people would vote into office people who have no interest in their children's education. Now the U.S.A. has a lot more private schools than Canada, but still you've got to be bat shit crazy to vote for politicians who deprive your children of a decent education. Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters (10) super390 04/22/2018 at 10:15 pm in reply to Marianna The Israeli and American Right have been sharing homework for years, using each other as testbeds for more media-savvy forms of racism and discrimination and even imperialism. They both are in the same situation; they demand that those different than themselves live in destitution, but unlike the past, the poor now have low enough infant mortality rates that they tend to become too large a plurality of the electorate. Therefore, democracy is now the enemy and must be deformed. The Israeli legal catchphrase, "Jewish and democratic character" means that Jews will rule even as a minority, thus not democratic at all. Now look around the US - how many versions of the phrase are arising here hidden in other slogans and demands? White and democratic? Christian and democratic? Male and democratic? super390 04/22/2018 at 10:07 pm in reply to Bardi It's amazing how the supporters of Israel demand the sort of absolute tribal loyalty and bias from all Jews that anti-Semites falsely claimed was already in place as part of the giant Jewish conspiracy to elevate each other at everyone else's expense. Is this America? Entire Island of Puerto Rico plunged into Darkness Again! (3) Kozmo 04/22/2018 at 4:55 pm I don't know why more Puerto Ricans aren't lobbying or protesting strongly for a change in status. Either statehood or independence -- this is how a colony is treated in the American imperium, utter indifference from the federal government. Heck, Puerto Rico ought to petition to be annexed by Cuba. They'd be better off as a part of greater Cuba than the status quo. Cuba takes care of itself. And that would really get the attention at last of Uncle Sam! Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters (10) Mark Koroi 04/22/2018 at 2:42 pm "She appears to be characterizing the Likud Party's punitive treatment of the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza............." Her protest goes beyond that. Another is the perceived maltreatment of Ethiopian Jews. There have been violent attacks and discriminatory behavior against this segment of Israeli's Jewry so vile that even Arab members of the Knesset have spoken in defense of them during Knesset sessions. A further expressed target of Ms. Portman's wrath is the pervasive corruption scandals that have resulted in police investigations against PM Netanyahu, his wife, and other political associates. The current Likud Party leadership and the Netanyahu government have caused an international public relations nightmare for the State of Israel. It is error to simply ascribe her disgust solely to the ongoing Gaza situation. Norman Hirsch 04/22/2018 at 2:31 pm Marianna, Well said. I agree with Natalie Bardi 04/22/2018 at 1:36 pm with 1 replies "who on the one hand cynically uses her birthplace to advance her career" Actually, Israel has done nothing to "boost" her career. In fact, identifying as from Israel, in some ways, works against people. Dumping the Likud party, and the "settlers" they support, would go a long way to peace in the middle east. Laura 04/22/2018 at 1:03 pm in reply to Marianna EXACTLY! Will an Emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Reshape the Middle East? (4) Farhang Jahanpour 04/22/2018 at 6:44 am with 3 replies This article makes a number of good points, but leaves out the most important factor in the conflict, the West’s plans for Syria. Relations between countries are not based on how much they like each other but on their respective interests. Unlike some Arab leaders, Iranian and Turkish leaders have shown a great deal of maturity and pragmatism during the past few decades that despite all their differences they have continued their bilateral ties and have separated their political differences from their economic interests. Turkey is Iran’s second biggest trading partner after China. Initially, Turkey was very much in the Western camp trying to remove President Assad and to replace him with a Sunni fundamentalist. She has moved a long way away from those positions and is now cooperating with Russia and Iran to stabilize the Syrian government. The Syrian Kurds were betrayed by their Western allies in the same way that Iraqi Kurds were betrayed by their Western, Saudi and Israeli allies. Both groups were used to weaken the central governments, but when the central governments moved against them the Kurds were left alone. The fact is that a maximum degree of autonomy is the best that Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq or Iran can hope for, because none of those countries would allow a big part of their territories to be carved off. The article leaves out Iraq, which is another neighbor of Syria and is very much in league with Iran and Russia in maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity, a clause that was included in the final statement of the Ankara summit at Iran’s insistence. The three countries stressed that Turkey's operations in Afrin are temporary and are aimed at removing the "Kurdish terrorists" and will not be an assault on Syrian territorial integrity or sovereignty. One of the main goals of the recent attacks by the United States, Britain and France against Syria was to undermine the work of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Syria. Once more, we are hearing noises about the need to revive the Geneva Conference on Syria, hoping again to revive the insurgency against Assad. It is in the interest of the Syrian people for the West, the Saudis and the Israelis to accept that they lost in Syria, and that they should allow that country to find peace and stability under President Assad, until future moves for greater democracy. Calls for stripping Natalie Portman of Israel Citizenship for criticizing Shooting Palestinian Protesters (10) Marianna 04/22/2018 at 4:27 am with 3 replies So much for the "only true democracy" in the Middle East. Whatever happened to free speech, and being able to refuse attending an award's ceremony, in protest of a massacre, that is part of being "democratic", with no vicious backlash? It is time US leaders acknowledge the world "democracy" does not seem to apply in many ways in their top charitable cause, and favorite rogue state it aids and arms. Democracy is non existent when it comes to protesting Israel's endless crimes against civilians. ‘Fake news’: the mainstreaming of Syria conspiracy theories (3) Eurofrank 04/22/2018 at 3:59 am Dear Professor Cole Your readers might enjoy this which mentions articles written before the last hoax to War in Iraq Propaganda when Preparing or Justifying War In preparing for or justifying war, additional techniques are often employed, knowingly or unknowingly: Ottosen identifies several key stages of a military campaign to soften up public opinion through the media in preparation for an armed intervention. These are: The Preliminary Stage—during which the country concerned comes to the news, portrayed as a cause for mounting concern because of poverty/dictatorship/anarchy; The Justification Stage—during which big news is produced to lend urgency to the case for armed intervention to bring about a rapid restitution of normality; The Implementation Stage—when pooling and censorship provide control of coverage; The Aftermath—during which normality is portrayed as returning to the region, before it once again drops down the news agenda. O’Kane notes there is always a dead baby story and it comes at the key point of the Justification Stage—in the form of a story whose apparent urgency brooks no delay—specifically, no time for cool deliberation or negotiating on peace proposals. Human interest stories … are ideal for engendering this atmosphere. The Peace Journalist Option, Poiesis.org, August 1997 (O’Kane’s reference to the dead baby story is about the 1991 Gulf War where a U.S. public relations firm got a Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter to pose as a nurse claiming she saw Iraqi troops killing babies in hospitals. The purpose of this was to create arousal and demonize Iraq so war was more acceptable. More information about this is on this site’s Iraq section.) Award-winning investigative journalist, Phillip Knightley, in an article for the British paper, The Guardian also points out four stages in preparing a nation for war: 1. The crisis The reporting of a crisis which negotiations appear unable to resolve. Politicians, while calling for diplomacy, warn of military retaliation. The media reports this as We’re on the brink of war, or War is inevitable, etc. 2. The demonisation of the enemy’s leader Comparing the leader with Hitler is a good start because of the instant images that Hitler’s name provokes. 3. The demonisation of the enemy as individuals For example, to suggest the enemy is insane. 4. Atrocities Even making up stories to whip up and strengthen emotional reactions. Knightley also points to the dilemma that while some stories are known to have been fabrications and outright lies, others may be true. The trouble is, he asks, how can we tell? His answer is unfortunately not too reassuring: The media demands that we trust it but too often that trust has been betrayed. The difficulty that honest journalists face is also hinted to in another article by Knightley: One difficulty is that the media have little or no memory. War correspondents have short working lives and there is no tradition or means for passing on their knowledge and experience. The military, on the other hand, is an institution and goes on forever. The military learned a lot from Vietnam and these days plans its media strategy with as much attention as its military strategy. Phillip Knightley, Fighting dirty, The Guardian, March 20, 2000 link to globalissues.org I found Lord West a former Sea Lord and Security Minister a valuable voice of sanity as he casts doubt on the Gas narrative and mentions political pressure to spin or falsify intelligence link to youtube.com Moi 04/22/2018 at 2:53 am The author speaks of "the absence of nuance." I would extend this to "the current conversation" about whether a chemical attack took place or not. Black or white - either the attack happened or it didn't. Yet the West broke international law and attacked Syria without waiting for the OPCW's call. So Assad isn't the only bad guy here. Nato, in the form of the US and Turkey are currently occupying perhaps half of Syria. Turkey has been looting Syria of oil and antiiquities. The GCC has definitely funded terrorists to attack a sovereign nation. In light of the GCC and West's attacks and occupation, for the author to talk of "the international community’s ongoing inaction" is just plain wrong. The reverse is very much in evidence. Perhaps the conversation should finally turn to what reparations the people of Syria should be entitled to for the injustices heaped upon them by that selfsame international community. R.A. 04/22/2018 at 1:04 am There are some inaccuracies in Hasan's article. To start with: "Earlier this week, acclaimed journalist and writer Robert Fisk wrote in the Independent of his trip to Douma alongside other reporters, all of whom were escorted by Syrian government officials." The implication that Fisk was escorted throughout his reporting by Syrian government officials (thereby intimidating witnesses he spoke to) is not correct. As Fisk made clear in his article in The Independent, he left the official government briefing in Douma and went off on his own, accompanied only by a couple of friends. He found the clinic where the video had been shot showing "victims" being treated for "chemical attack" on his own. Then there is Hasan's reference to an article in the Guardian: "Fisk’s report seems to ignore the statements of the head of the largest medical relief agency in Syria, who told reporters this week that medics who responded to the suspected gas attack in Douma have been subjected to “extreme intimidation” by Syrian officials who seized biological samples, forced them to abandon patients and demanded their silence." This Guardian article has been shown to contain gross inaccuracies. To start with, the medical agency quoted in the Guardian article is the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM). It is not the largest medical relief organization in Syria at all--the Syrian Red Crescent is. Personnel of the Red Crescent are pictured in the article, but the Guardian did not speak to them. According to the blogger Moon of Alabama: "The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations was founded in 2012, works from Reyhanli in Turkey and claims to have 600 staff. It consists of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which is funded by the CIA front USAID and lobbies for regime change in Syria, the British-Syrian Medical Society which only works in 'rebel' held areas, as well as British and U.S. p.o.-box 'charities' which collect donations. SAMS and UOSSM are said to be Muslim Brotherhood fronts." In short, these are sources that are not neutral or independent observers, and it is unlikely that their accounts can be trusted. It is apparent that Hasan has not done the due diligence required for accurate reporting here. If I, an ordinary citizen who has access only to open public sources can demonstrate this, I suspect professional journalists with experience covering Syria could find much else that is questionable in Hasan's article. Danger: ISIL is defeated, but Raqqa's people are Devastated and waiting for Accountability (1) brian 04/21/2018 at 9:14 pm . How hard would it be, and how much would it cost, to do a thorough analysis of what losses were inflicted in Raqqa, and what was destroyed there, and then use data from the US military on the bombs dropped there, and on artillery and missiles fired there, and on the limited ground combat that happened there, and produce an analysis that showed how much of the destruction was caused by the US, versus how much was caused by ISIS, and others who were resisting a Kurdish takeover ? Actually, I already know the answer to that. $5 Million would be more than enough. And the US Air Force dropped more than $5 Million in ordnance on Raqqa PER DAY for Months. Shouldn't the US government pay for that ? After all, it is / was a war of choice, our choice, and was fought for reasons of vanity, NOT national security. Surely we should pay for that ? . Top Six Reasons Pompeo Should Not Be Secretary of State (7) David B. Benson 04/21/2018 at 8:37 pm Another horrid person, so attractive to Manhattan Mafia Trump. Bucephala00 04/21/2018 at 4:58 pm Jared is doing such a good job who needs a Secretary of State at all? Let’s see what official explanation we get for the shooting in Riyadh! getoffmedz 04/21/2018 at 1:33 pm 7. Pompeo and Trump agree on many positions which completely disqualifies Pompeo. maloken 04/21/2018 at 11:59 am I think there should be 7 reasons- and the one to add is that Pompeo is a long-time denier of the science of climate change. At his 2017 hearing for the CIA directorship, he said climate change is a significant issue for national security was “ignorant, dangerous, and absolutely unbelievable.” In the last week, he has said that he'd think about it, that there may be something to this climate change. Weasel words to get the SoS position, imo. Why do Red State Teachers need to Strike for a living Wage? It is about Class (4) Save the Nation 04/21/2018 at 11:37 am This is an excellent article. The teachers in these places are heroes. There are many in the ruling elite, particularly on the right, that are against public education altogether. While this sentiment may be more prevalent in the south, it should not be discounted that the attack upon teachers and public sector workers was not limited to red states. Though there was a R governor in NJ, for instance, many machine D politicians teamed up with him to assault collective bargaining, eliminate cost of living adjustments, and reduce benefits. They presided over a massive shift in wealth from government labor to big health insurance and medicine. There has been some rebellion against this recently in Jersey City, where teachers fought back some against benefits contribution, which is tagged to the group insurance rate (over which there is no realistic cost control). The strategy was a quite cynical one of pitting private worker against public, leaving aside the demonizing of labor (still having roots in red scare). It is important that labor or people in general unite against "austerity." How hypocritical that there are calls for cuts in Medicare and Social Security, the so called entitlements (leaving aside the dastardly cuts to programs for the poor), while the policy at the national level has been Reverse Robinhood Tax "reform" and interventionist war of election. It is hard for people employed in private sector to resist demagogic appeals to reduce the economic standard of those employed in the public sector. At the same time, those employed in the public should seize opportunities to express solidarity with the private. Star Wars actor Natalie Portman cancels Award in Israel, hints Netanyahu has gone to the Dark Side (1) Juan Bracich 04/21/2018 at 10:45 am Darth Bibi Who has won the Syrian War in the wake of the fall of ISIL? (1) My comment 04/21/2018 at 10:17 am I would like to have a better understanding of the relationship between ISIS and Saudi Arabia and the gulf states. Is (was?) ISIS supported by SA? Was it just a more extreme faction of a general Suni movement supported by SA? What is the relationship between Wahhabism and the ideology of ISIS? Is the defeat of ISIS a defeat for SA and by extension a defeat for Israel? Top Six Reasons Pompeo Should Not Be Secretary of State (7) super390 04/21/2018 at 9:48 am in reply to Sherm Republicans have that same partisan domination of the Foreign Relations Committee. The difference is in the kinds of Republicans on that committee versus Congressional Republicans in general. Meaning, the more ignorant one is about foreign relations, the more likely one is to support Pompeo out of blind partisanship. Sherm 04/21/2018 at 6:34 am with 1 replies "Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell still has the ability to bring a vote on Pompeo to the floor of the full senate....." Against six good reasons to reject Pompeo, Mitch has one to support the nomination, partisan domination. What, him worry? Is this America? Entire Island of Puerto Rico plunged into Darkness Again! (3) brian 04/20/2018 at 10:57 pm . in light of the vulnerabilities of letting other grids knock yours out, the only smart grid is a local one. insular USA has countless vulnerabilities. I won't mention the most glaring ones, lest I give someone with limited imagination incentive to go after, say, the food supply. But the linked macro-grid can be taken out for weeks with less effort than it took to attack on 9/11. And that type of attack is infinitely repeatable. . Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Save the Nation 04/20/2018 at 10:27 pm Seems to me that much as there is ambivalence and division within Sunni population within Syria, the division being somewhat along class lines (though the issues are far more complex and multi-faceted), there is ambivalence among the hypothetical interveners among neighboring nations. It is very unlikely that there will be decisive commitment to such intervention. It is very sad for the Sunnis who have been resisting the regime (probably religiously authentic but not Al Qaeda terrorist), and so too the Kurds, if the US abandons the endeavor. There is a difficult moral question here, raised by Sen. Mosley Braun apropos of the Iraq War during a debate way back. While there might or might not be obligation to help in mediating civil violence within a nation, it is another matter when one has played a part in creating instability. It is regrettable that foreign actors are playing so prominent a role in the lives of the people who actually live in the area and have a greater claim to control their lives, let alone the resources and wealth that could help to improve their lives. Friedman: Does Iran's Quds Force really Control four Countries and is Israel-Iran War Near? (16) Dan Larkin 04/20/2018 at 3:24 pm in reply to Juan Cole One of the many instances of Juan Cole's fair-minded self. In the spirit of fair mindedness, I think it fair to point out that one of the "philosophical differences with him" that Professor Cole seems to have is that Professor Cole states confirmable or disconfirmable, objective facts as the grounds for his "philosophical" positions -- Friedman seems to state fictions that he has created to support his "philosophical" positions. Jack R 04/20/2018 at 3:12 pm Iran is deemed an "existential threat" to Israel, because Israel needs an "existential threat" badly to divert international attention, insure the flow of US money and military and diplomatic support, and divert Israelis' attention from major domestic issues and Netanyahu's pending corruption indictment. Iran formally switches from dollar to euro (1) Andrew 04/20/2018 at 2:50 pm A good excuse for America to intensify its beating of war drums and anti-Iranian propaganda. Surely Israel will lend a hand and sew the seeds of chaos. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Grant Gilchrist 04/20/2018 at 5:03 am I think the top reason is the Kurds would never cooperate with an army of al qaeda being stationed in their territory. Friedman: Does Iran's Quds Force really Control four Countries and is Israel-Iran War Near? (16) Juan Cole 04/20/2018 at 4:06 am in reply to John Crandell Given the JCPOA, I do not believe there would be international support for any such strike. Russia would not go to bat for Iran, but there would be consequences for the US. Israel doesn't have that capability and could not get overflight rights from Turkey or Iraq. John Crandell 04/19/2018 at 11:42 pm with 1 replies in reply to Juan Cole A combined assault by the U.S. and Israeli forces against Iran's nuclear facilities would not happen without a sizeable Russian response on behalf of Iran, right? And, Israel by itself, is still not capable of carrying out such an assault, no matter how complicated Netanyahu's legal situation becomes. super390 04/19/2018 at 6:30 pm in reply to Juan Cole Terrifying, isn't it? Will Mittelman 04/19/2018 at 5:01 pm in reply to Juan Cole But Friedman's remarks about Quds and Iran, which you so excellently criticize here, reinforce the right-wing hysteria about Iran posing an "existential threat" to Israel. So, Patrick Hunter's characterization of Friedman as a supporter of the Israeli right seems correct, however much Friedman may try to pose as a centrist. The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) Londo Mollari 04/19/2018 at 4:56 pm in reply to Juan Cole I preferred the site you linked to, foxnewsadvertisers.com. The top 16 were 50% of Sean's sponsors in the week ending 4/15/18, and some of them aren't worth boycotting. Direct marketing advertisers just buy time and Fox runs their ads wherever it has air time to fill. My Pillow and LifeLock only know they've bought advertising time on Fox. They don't care about Sean — but if Fox loses viewers, they'll expect to pay less. If you don't recognize direct marketing advertisers, watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Hill Street Blues on broadcast TV. Black-and-White Gunsmoke is good too, likewise The Untouchables, The Honeymooners, etc. Pick something that won't make you crazy. Top-tier advertisers like Bayer AG and Toyota/Lexus pay extra for specific ad placement. Bayer is a good example: manufacturers of headache pills and stomach ache potions like to advertise on news broadcasts. I wonder why. Top-tier advertisers can respond to boycotts by switching to less hated Fox News shows. It's an old trick. Sean's number three sponsor is My Pillow, so it looks like this may already be happening. It doesn't hurt Fox's bottom line, but it makes The Sean Hannity Show a less valuable property. Sooner or later, the Murdochs will ask themselves "Do we need this guy? What are we paying him? Maybe we need some fresh blood!" Is this America? Entire Island of Puerto Rico plunged into Darkness Again! (3) getoffmedz 04/19/2018 at 4:28 pm The entire system failed in 2016 for the same reason, according to AP. Would the claw hammer and the screwdriver be the approved tools for that task? (In the CNN pic.) Friedman: Does Iran's Quds Force really Control four Countries and is Israel-Iran War Near? (16) Travis Bickle 04/19/2018 at 3:07 pm in reply to Farhang Jahanpour Remember, there are people who believe very deeply in creating their own reality. From wikipedia we learn (sic) that as of late 2016 Iran controlled 70,000 troops (15,000 Iranian military) and controlled another 250,000 "militia and agents" in Syria through payroll. The source for this was the Gatestone Institute, with John Bolton it's (still?) chairman. link to en.wikipedia.org bucephala00 04/19/2018 at 2:48 pm How can anyone who called for support of ISIS have any credibility anywhere but in NYT? Clealrly suffering from the Napoleonic, short-man, complex Friedman is projecting his evil thoughts on Q. Soleimani. Some years ago someone suggested writing a compare/contrast essay on QS and that compulsive fornicator Petraeus (analogous to the classic essay Grant v. Lee) whose idiotic policies assisted in the rise of ISIS and Sunni militancy in Iraq. Perhaps it's not too late! Exposing Canary Mission’s campaign against Palestinian human Rights: A Resource for College and University Leaders (1) Charlie Donnes 04/19/2018 at 2:41 pm My, the sensitivity of those engaging in or supporting Palestinian genocide. Friedman: Does Iran's Quds Force really Control four Countries and is Israel-Iran War Near? (16) Juan Cole 04/19/2018 at 2:28 pm with 4 replies in reply to Patrick Hunter No, he isn't with the Israeli right wing. More of a centrist in the terms of Israeli politics, maybe even center-left. Juan Cole 04/19/2018 at 2:26 pm with 1 replies in reply to Larry It isn't fair to say that Mr. Friedman does not know the region well. He has a graduate degree from St. Anthony's Oxford in Middle East studies and covered the region on the ground (while in some danger), and has met with and reported on most of its movers and shakers. He has been bravely critical of the annexation of the West Bank and favors a Palestinian state. I just have some philosophical differences with him, that's all. Larry 04/19/2018 at 1:06 pm with 2 replies Thomas Friedman has never been anything even resembling a fair arbiter of or even truly knowledgeable about the region. He has been a willing pro-active and disinforming tool for the growth and expansion of anti-Arab and anti-Iranian violence since he has been on the journalistic scene. It's no wonder he has been given such a prominent position in American media, particularly the New York Times, whose ownership and editorialists have supported each successive violent racist and repressive Israeli government. Hopefully one day an Israeli government will emerge that embodies the compassionate wisdom of Yitzhak Rabin and his party at the time and that this government is able to put its own stamp on Israeli's policies. The paranoid Israeli right-wing governments we've seen since Rabin's assassination (catalyzed by hysterical right-wing blood-libel and demented propaganda) have only intensified the danger to Israel and its Jewish, Arabic, Christian and Druse population. Ali R. Abootalebi 04/19/2018 at 1:00 pm The analysis here is flawless, it hits all the right points. If the right-minded, objective thinkers and intellectuals can see what is happening, why not policymakers? Well, you know the answer---wealth and power, and a dash of arrogance. Thanks for the piece, Professor Cole. Patrick Hunter 04/19/2018 at 11:50 am with 5 replies Has Thomas Friedman been right on any subject, ever? I find him a reliable supporter of Israel's right wing. Always increase the chaos and confusion in the region. The more instability among the Arab countries in the region the better. Travis Bickle 04/19/2018 at 9:27 am The 'thinking' of people like Friedman and Martin Indyk (see his recent essay in The Atlantic, (empowered by their eminently even-handed and Truth Seeking EIC Goldberg), can be quite useful. However, one needs to factor in their biases, goals, and the context they are evidently endeavoring to construct for the exercise of Israel prerogatives. Iran represents no existential threat to Israel, but they certainly do represent a threat to Israel's established way of doing business, and that threat really is set to increase going forward. For Israel, this is a very real thing. So, it is not unreasonable to see this sort of rhetoric, and the reality of events, as prelude to a more direct conflict with Iran, given their increasing influence, which this post may minimize, but cannot deny. These guys are just laying the groundwork. Farhang Jahanpour 04/19/2018 at 8:48 am with 1 replies Thank you again for another insightful blog that says what needs to be said to counter the consistent propaganda by Netanyahu, recently also taken up by his new-found friend Mohammed Bin Salman that Iran controls four capitals. Iran fell victim to an eight-year war of aggression by Saddam Hussein, who was then supported by all Western countries. The war resulted in over one million Iranian casualties and massive destruction to the country. Iran shares a nine-hundred-mile border with Iraq and after the experience of that war for which no reparation has been paid, although Iraq was forced by the United States to pay reparation to Kuwait for a much shorter war, Iran does not wish to see a repetition of that experience or endless instability in Iraq. In recent years, Iran’s principal concern in Iraq has been to fight against ISIS. When the entire Arab world was supporting Saddam with hundreds of billions of dollars of economic aid, Syria was the only Arab state to support Iran. After the rise of the insurgents/terrorists, some of whom were supported by Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran contributed to the war against them. In a recent interview IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot estimated that there were about 2,000 Iranian advisors and combatants in Syria. Iranian officials maintain that it is an exaggerated figure and many of them have already returned home. Meanwhile, the Israeli regime has been attacking Syrian targets at will. Again, according to Eizenkot, only one per cent of those attacks have been known to the public. link to peacenow.org Iran’s posture toward Israel and other regional governments has been defensive and reactive. Far from being an implementation of some grand design hatched to dominate the region, Iran’s actions have been in response to foreign threats. Unlike Israel, Iran lacks the hard power to come anywhere close to hegemony. Its military spending is one-fifth the size of Saudi Arabia’s, less than that of either the UAE or Israel, and less than one per cent of US military budget. Meanwhile, Israel possesses an arsenal of nuclear weapons and has access to the latest US military equipment and billions of dollars every year. Therefore, the latest Israeli rhetoric is reminiscent of the false claims about the “existential threat” that Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons poised to Israel. Since the JCPOA, Israel has had to find a new excuse to demonize Iran, and Iran’s presence in Syria is the latest excuse. It is the Israelis who are threatening Iran, not the other way round. link to iranian.com Nel 04/19/2018 at 7:58 am "American journalists always spoke of American allies but of Soviet satellites“, the "always" reminds me of Solzhenitsyn's remark about the American press: It is good but it is always the same. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Juan Cole 04/19/2018 at 2:27 am in reply to Keith McClary The Saudi proxy, Army of Islam, has been pretty decisively defeated. cclements 04/19/2018 at 1:39 am I think that US support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, begun under Obama and extended under Trump, is the only positive thing the US has done in the middle east since the Iran nuclear deal and turning that territory over to MBS is a formula for disaster. The successes of the Kurdish-led SDF in liberating most of the ISIS Caliphate seems to have happened in spite of Trump, not because of him. I think we should continue our sponsorship of Kurdish efforts to keep that part of Syria liberated and ISIS-free. Unlike our disastrous War on Terror and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the neocons had nothing to do with this...it's not an occupation. That vast part of Syria east of the Euphrates, rich in oil and agricultural resources, is now in the hands of the people who live there, free of both Assad's brutal tyranny and the Wahhabist Caliphate of ISIS. How many casualties did this alliance cost us? Five American combatants have been lost, most in accidents, not combat. Why would the US abandon that hard won territory and its people to a war criminal like Assad, whose rule will only add fuel to an ISIS resurgence? Turning the territory over to MBS and his Salafi-Jihadist allies would be similarly disastrous for the area and its people. Why not continue to support it as a self-supporting secular territory that respects all religions and cultures and ensures that ISIS will not rise again there? The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) PxThucydides 04/19/2018 at 1:33 am in reply to Jeffrey Stewart That capitalist system would work a whole lot better with a simple rule that is in place in most other countries: broadcasters aren't allowed to lie. Fox tried to get a station in Canada: gave up when their lawyers told them you lose your license for lying on the air in Canada. Kicked out of Britain for the same reason. The supreme objective of the capitalist shouldn't be permitted to include lying to make a buck. It's that simple. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Keith McClary 04/18/2018 at 11:49 pm with 1 replies You didn't mention that the Saudis are already involved in backing Islamist "Rebels" in Syria. Or is that "fake news"? Trump can't Actually care much about Syrians if he only let in 11 Refugees this Year (2) Keith McClary 04/18/2018 at 11:38 pm In previous interventions the US would take in "pro-American" "freedom fighters" when the intervention failed, but it seems they are no longer offering that incentive. Are there other incentives instead? Cash? Israel to French Mayor: You can’t visit Occupied Palestine if you stand against Occupation (2) john crandell 04/18/2018 at 7:40 pm The biggest joke in this world is to label Israel a democracy. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Anon 04/18/2018 at 7:14 pm in reply to Bucephala00 These ideas are from the Saudis and Emiratis are as nonsensical as they are disgusting. After 7+ years of sustained strife that has only been exacerbated through Saudi and Emerati lawlessness and intransigence, one begins to wonder: these rulers and tyrants are absolutely morally depraved and intellectually deficient. Why do Red State Teachers need to Strike for a living Wage? It is about Class (4) super390 04/18/2018 at 6:25 pm It isn't just that these Red States have a contempt for teachers. This region specifically has been inculcated (even brainwashed) into a renewed hatred of public schools. The teachers are the agents of this alien enemy. Public schools were absent from the Confederate States because they were a phenomenon spreading across the North. As we know, the war against public schools got organized the instant that they were required to be integrated in the South. In the early '60s Georgia's rulers crafted a scheme to destroy all public schools in a stroke by legislating 1 for 1 tax credits for donations for private schools, instantly transferring the entire public school budget and more to the Christian Right. It wasn't carried out then, but I hear talk of such a scheme now. Now if the impoverished teachers at Christian Right schools in these states start making demands, things will really go nuts. Israel to French Mayor: You can’t visit Occupied Palestine if you stand against Occupation (2) super390 04/18/2018 at 6:12 pm God damn it, what will it take to get Israeli officials to admit that international law is opposed to what Israel currently defines as its interest? Occupation is occupation. There are laws about that. If Israel wants to say that those laws are wrong, then it must say that applies for all invaders. If Israel wants to say it is uniquely above international law, go ahead, sound like North Korea. But don't refuse to admit that the laws exist. Hitler or Stalin could just as easily have conquered the entire world by saying that it was in their country's interest. The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) Jeffrey Stewart 04/18/2018 at 1:12 pm with 1 replies It seems like Dr. Cole has some nascent economic analysis in that exchange value, not use value is the most important aspect of the commodity for capitalist producers. This holds with capitalist production generally and the capitalist, corporate news in particular. I repeat that the capitalist, corporate media's goal is not to provide information so that (working) people can make important decisions about their lives. It is to provide content that attracts the viewers their advertisers covet. And, all of this is just to profit. If people gain some information and understanding about the material forces shaping their lives, so be it. However, again, the supreme objective of the capitalist, corporate media is profit. save the nation 04/18/2018 at 11:59 am Agreed Pence would be no better than Trump. Nor Ryan for that matter. They've already done much damage, and whatever happens in November, it will take decades to undo harm they already have done, through legislation but also through appointments to court. Pretty sad state of affairs, challenging the will to be optimistic. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Bucephala00 04/18/2018 at 11:17 am with 1 replies Another amusing idea coming from a shrinking empire: Saudis and Emiratis are forced to hire African mercenaries, particularly Chadians, to do their dirty work in Yemen and elsewhere. As noted, all these desperate attempts will fail. Why do Red State Teachers need to Strike for a living Wage? It is about Class (4) getoffmedz 04/18/2018 at 9:56 am Underpaying teachers and underfunding public education in Red States serves to effectively "dumb-down" those who attend these public schools. Q - Who generally attends public schools? A - Children of working citizens and those of limited means. What kind of mean-spirited WHITE •••clown legislators want to increase their prison populations? The direct result of "dumbing-down" school children particularly children of color. Breaking-down the School-to-Prison Pipeline is not about class, per se. It is about the dismal attitude of extreme Republican politicians towards public education and their investments in Charter Schools and sprawling corporate-owned prisons. Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment (15) Mary Biggs 04/18/2018 at 9:48 am So.....there is a hierarchy of bad guys. With people like Dick Cheney at the top, and James Comey somewhere further down. The real question is this -- "Are ANY of these Republicans on the side of right and decency....or are ALL of them thieves, crooks and liars?" My vote would be that they are all "thieves, crooks and liars". Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) Sherm 04/18/2018 at 9:23 am I think a good question for Trump to ask is: if we stay, who will we be shooting at and bombing a year or two from now? That's about all we've done for the last seventeen or so years (not counting earlier less strategic uses of force, like the demolition of the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan in 1998). From today's column, my best guess is the target will be "chaos", and the results will be more chaos. Using the time warn (pun intended) broken clock analogy, maybe this is one of those times Trump is right. With Turkish Troops in Syria, is Erdogan's Neo-Ottomanism a Diplomatic or Military Project? (1) Moi 04/18/2018 at 8:27 am Why Turkey, indeed Nato, has any diplomatic credibility regarding Syria is beyond me. Turkey, a "key Nato member", has demonstrably supported terrorists attacking Syria, systematically looted the nation's oil and antiquities and is now occupying the North in contravention of international law. All this on top of reportedly burning alive hundreds of Kurds sheltering in basements a few years back in what was nothing short of a Nazi style pogram. And Nato has the gall to accuse Russia of stoking the Ukranian civil war while France, the UK and US (interesting acronym) use air stikes to deliberately prolong the outrageously evil war in Syria. "... the pledge ... to fight terrorism and overcome sectarianism" could not be more hollow even if it was stated by the White House. Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) DJ 04/18/2018 at 7:57 am The US getting out of Syria more or less means that the Syrian government has won the war. Without US backing, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries would most likely not want to get involved. With Russia's and Iran's help the remaining ISIS pockets in Eastern Deir-Ezzor can be addressed, all the more so as Iraqi army and militias would close the border from the other side. It would also mean the resurrection of Syria as a unified sovereign state. The Kurds would have to be satisfied with some limited autonomy but would also be protected against Turkish attacks. One could consider this a defeat of the US, and it would be up to President Trump to sell it as a victory. brian 04/18/2018 at 7:44 am . the prospect of the Saudi Army occupying a big part of Syria seems to have sharpened thinking about what the US Air Force did in Eastern Syria over the last 4 years. IIRC, the Train and Equip Mission started in mid-2014. acknowledging mass movement of locals and imposition of Kurdish suzerainty is short of naming ethnic cleansing, but it is also a long way past "well, the Kurds deserve that territory. They earned it." . by the way, except for the "White Army, " what ground troops could Prince MbS put there ? I think this is a job for Erik Prince. He knows this landscape. . dsmith 04/18/2018 at 6:14 am Well sir, after reading this article I am reminded of actor William Bendix and his 1950ish TV series called The Life of Riley. His catch phrase was...."What a revoltin' development this is!" In that our involvement has only made things worse in the middle east I have to agree with Trump and his plan to get the hell out of Dodge. The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) Juan Cole 04/18/2018 at 6:12 am with 1 replies in reply to Charlie Weaver someone sent me this by email BOYCOTT SEAN HANNITY ADVERTISERS. Here are his main advertisers: AARP AT&T Chewy Cigna ExxonMobil Geico IBM Jenny Craig Jos A Bank LegalZoom Mitsubishi Round Table Pizza Sandals Resorts Trivago US Bank USAA Insurance Syria After Trump's Withdrawal: Top Reasons an "Arab Force" will Fail (12) philosophical ron 04/18/2018 at 5:50 am If one listens closely, one can almost hear the "geopolitical tectonic plates" shifting, grinding. Trump's inability to think clearly is like a lubricant in the process, nothing can rest as it was a few days previously. Where this geopolitical bloody deadly tangle will end up is difficult to predict. Between the fake news of the corrupt propagandists and the real events of real persons in real time, those who care about local and/or world politics are being worn out trying to keep up, while also subject to what I have called "a form of pollution, a pollution of the personal space of each of us, a pollution of our culture’s common human space, a pollution of our culture’s common social space." For me personally, I find it important to spend a good portion of hours NOT thinking about Trump, while still overall supporting the positive necessary steps towards countering Trumpism (and other authoritarian regimes/parties): maintaining personal and family balances, supporting favored social movements while also focusing on the main legal step Juan recently highlighted, electing the nominees of the Democratic party (whatever their faults) in every district Americans can vote in. The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) Charlie Weaver 04/17/2018 at 7:13 pm with 2 replies Who are the advertisers we should boycott? Ammo Alamo 04/17/2018 at 7:00 pm Too many of those newsies and entertainers have no understanding at all about their collusion, or appearance of collusion. They think a $300 round of golf, or an evening out, all paid for by the rich guy, is just a friendly gesture. They falsely assume that a free ride on a private or corporate jet is just what friends offer to each other... but in fact it is the buying and selling of everything American. Their behavior is despicable. Travis Bickle 04/17/2018 at 4:52 pm in reply to save the nation PS:::: Here's a breakdown of how D and GOP spending is being deployed for key House seats in November. The spending on both sides is about equal, but people living in these battleground districts can now begin to gird themselves and organize appropriately for what they will be facing. Travis Bickle 04/17/2018 at 4:35 pm in reply to save the nation Taking the House really is too much to hope for. See: link to nakedcapitalism.com although gains may well be made. There is also a link there for some more traditional and easier to parse handicapping. Should the House fall, it won't be by much, and there would be too many indies to represent a consolidated threat to the GOP agenda. Whatever happens there, they seem to be banking on holding the Senate, especially for the impact judicial appointments will have over generations. Note how young Gorsuch is. However incompetent Trump is on other areas, with appointments he is getting things done. It's hard to factor out Trump's personality when gauging his impact. But with the attempt, what you seem to find is how the GOP congress is running wild. What's happening isn't that much different than if someone more couth was in the White House. Not to say bringing about a nuclear war through spite or incompetence is small potatoes, but in terms of policy nothing would change if Pence were brought in. save the nation 04/17/2018 at 3:50 pm with 2 replies Let's not forget good journalists/guests who appear or have appeared on cable. Richard Engel. And there are many who wish they had listened a little more attentively when Peter Bergen was talking about the man who declared war against the united states. A bit too confident to say Ds will take back Congress. They should, but many things can happen between now and then. Case can go up to Supreme Court fast and end the whole inquiry into dirty works of Trump et al. Possible Rs on court could find fine spun distinctions in Nixon precedent. These people will not go down without a very hard fight. Zinsky 04/17/2018 at 3:38 pm Can you imagine if Rachel Maddow was found to be using the same attorney as Barack Obama? The howls from the right-wing would be deafening. These people are hopelessly lacking in self-awareness or basic concepts of fairness, independence and objectivity. Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment (15) Juan Cole 04/17/2018 at 12:33 pm in reply to save the nation Actually Apple does not have access to your encrypted data and therefore cannot share it wih the government, which is what Comey minded. Syria: would a new foreign military intervention be legal? (2) getoffmedz 04/17/2018 at 11:53 am This extreme right-wing infested Congress will aid and abeit President Donald Trump to express his flagging manhood any way HE sees fit because Syrians are NOT WHITE or primarily Christian! HELLO! Reality Show violence in the Age of Trump: Striking Syria (24) getoffmedz 04/17/2018 at 10:53 am in reply to Moi Does it not seem odd to anyone that 102 cruise missiles at a total cost of $84,864,000 produced no casualties? Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment (15) save the nation 04/17/2018 at 10:05 am with 1 replies The issue is government access to user data, however strongly encrypted. If Apple and US government have it, that does not mean that Russians will, unless Apple or US government is careless. There may be something to the idea that US government prefers weaker encryption to facilitate its own access to citizen. There is a problem when all of this, (communication between government and private providers) happens in the dark. Congress has a role in this, after all. So too the courts. Ultimately it seems to boil down to when, under what circumstances, should government have access to citizen data. There is some law on this, albeit data collection was happening for a while between telecom providers and executive branch w/o judicial oversight. Congress has made abdication a bad habit of long standing, this when it comes to privacy, and also matters of war and peace (and many other matters, where there is either apathy or stalemate). Within DOJ, DOS, DOD, much is relative. Comey better than Gonzalez, McMaster better than Bolton, for example. Easy to call on people to resign, and I often wonder why more decent of people would want to remain and be associated with bad doings or lot, but, in considering a given official's resignation "on principle," serious consideration must be given to what/who will remain or take that official's place. We live in the world of the possible, and a substantial shift in the balance of power will be needed to achieve the types of "privacy" protection that appears to be needed. The Hannity Case is so Serious it Requires a Consumer Boycott of his Advertisers (13) getoffmedz 04/17/2018 at 9:27 am A corner of the vast right wing conspiracy has been well-documented by Michael Cohen. Mischievous rich folks and naked propagandists will be exposed and hopefully, dealt with appropriately under the law. Nel 04/17/2018 at 7:37 am Most MSM "journalists" are glorified typists. Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment (15) Juan Cole 04/17/2018 at 5:33 am in reply to Save the Nation Because if the US government had pushed for consumer privacy and strong encryption it would have made it more difficult for anyone to hack anything. del berton 04/17/2018 at 12:30 am "Comey doesn’t like Trumpworld. Comey helped create Trumpworld." Unfortunately, that's the blunt truth of the matter. And now Comey - and the rest of us - are stuck with the reality he helped midwife. Reality Show violence in the Age of Trump: Striking Syria (24) Mark Koroi 04/16/2018 at 10:19 pm in reply to Travis Bickle ".........I don't get your reference to the Steel Seizure Case, so tell me what I'm missing....." The Steel Seizure Case contained not only the oft-cited concurring opinion of Justice Jackson but also the concurring opinion of Felix Frankfurter regarding historical Congressional acquiescence as a gloss on executive power. One of the reasons President Truman's actions were invalidated by the Court in the Steel Seizure Case was clear Congressional intent in the Taft-Hartley Act that forbade the very conduct Truman undertook. In the case at issue, the War Powers Act of 1973 delineates situations in which the chief executive may proceed militarily without initial Congressional approval - and Trump's unilateral bombing of Syria fits none of these. Reagan's authorizing the Libyan attack had a history of four Americans killed in the 1985 Rome and Vienna terror attacks and the immediate killing of a U.S. Army non-commissioned officer at a Berlin dance hall in a second terror attack - the situation was arguably authorized by the War Powers Act due to apparent Libyan complicity in ongoing terror attacks directed at Americans. Here, there was no asserted basis that American lives were being endangered in Syria due to alleged poison gas attacks - hence the third prong of Jackson's concurrence invalidates Trump's conduct. Many constitutional scholars have opined that Truman's authorization of U.S. forces in Korea was unconstitutional as a United Nations Security Council resolution cannot serve as the legal basis to circumvent the constitutional power of Congress to declare war. Comey did it to himself & Us, by gutting Privacy, Encryption, & 4th Amendment (15) Marcus M 04/16/2018 at 9:40 pm Somebody should whisper in Trump's ear that Mueller's investigation is being stalled by encrypted files he can't get into. That'll get him on the right side, albeit for the wrong reason. Save the Nation 04/16/2018 at 9:01 pm with 1 replies May be dense, but, in the main, do not see how US attack on computer privacy of US citizens helped the Russians hack. The US government accessing US citizen private data does not seem to equate with facilitating Russian access. I can see the connection only insofar as it involves US pressuring a company like Apple to weaken encryption. That aside, to the extent the US government accesses individual data, the hacking by Russians seems only to be as good as it is able to hack American intelligence (which is not the same as the DNC). If the US government adequately guards its records from foreign governments, there does not seem to be a problem as far as US data collection compromising US security. Not saying I agree necessarily with US access or compromising of US citizen data, but the pressuring of Apple aside (maybe no small matter), I am having a hard time seeing the connection. Seems strained. Also, it seems the main issue with Apple was not so weakening security/encryption, but allowing US government to have access to it, which again does not necessarily equate with access by foreign governments. I am far from pleased with how Comey conducted himself as FBI director, including public announcement about Clinton invest windup, and then Weiner and the reopening. Seems to me he overplayed his role. That he seems still not to get. At the same time, his firing by Trump seemed to be a big event, an indication perhaps that Trump was concerned that he might not have been "corruptible." It also seems to me that in evaluating the actions of these long time public officials in high positions, their commitment to duty aside, it seems people do not appreciate the importance of staying on the job and even rising more. People say they can make millions in private practice and such, but that often is not what they are more interested in. There are issues of legacy, the value/importance of the institution, and trying to do a decent job under trying circumstances. And, whatever one things about McCabe, with him running to White House and such and keeping close friends there, his firing one day before he was due to pension out was an abuse of very high order, designed to intimidate any public official who would stand up. These FBI folks may not be sympathetic figures, but it seems more perspective may be needed in making comparison with Trump and his inner circle. gmoke 04/16/2018 at 7:01 pm Robert Mueller is not a civil libertarian hero either, no matter how well he may do in bringing justice to Trmp (or not). super390 04/16/2018 at 6:14 pm in reply to Travis Bickle You need the good liberal education, and more, to accept historical evidence that your biases and blind spots are dangerous and eventually you will pay a price for them. America is all about charging ahead and grabbing everything in sight, and then looking back to see if you've gotten away with it. If you've been trained by the short-term bias in capitalist society to devalue future consequences more and more until they're essentially meaningless, then this is not an illogical way to behave. Iraq on Syria Strikes: We've seen this Movie and it doesn't End Well (13) David 04/16/2018 at 3:27 pm It is worth keeping in mind that if this had escalated into a broader US/Iran war Iraq would quickly become a major battlefield. The opposition of Iraqi parties to this is likely based les in ideology, though the Syrian rebels are less than popular with Iraqi Shia, as it is on a simple desire not to see their country become a battleground yet again. Will Bolton and MEK pull an Iraq War-like Chalabi-type Scam on Iran? (5) Kathleen 04/16/2018 at 2:41 pm Thousands if not millions of us who petitioned our Reps in person, protested, marched and did everything we could to legally stop the invasion of Iraq were influenced by former head of the IAEA's inspections in Iraq, El Baradei, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Bill and Kathleen Christison, Brzezinski, Carter and others who were questioning the validity of the Bush administrations so called intelligence. Reporters like Seymour Hersh, Julian Borger, Jason Vest Landay and others were also questioning including Prof Cole. We tried like hell to do what we could without any success at all. We could smell another human disaster like Vietnam. Then Obama and Clinton's decisions to go into LIbya and arm unknown rebels in Syria added to the human disasters. Still the Iraq war hawks move us closer to some kind of a military intervention in Iran. So called liberal outlets like MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Joy Reid, Andrea Mitchell have provided platforms for Bill Kristol, Max Boot, and others to push for stepping away from Iran deal and pushing for using military might.