Recent Comments

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • Buddhism begs to be used in this way by the people who use it this way. From this we learn something about people, and something about Buddhism. Not good things in either case, malgré all the special pleading.

  • Can a Free Internet Survive FCC End to Net Neutrality? (2)
  • World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting (12)
    • America was the first country founded by capitalists. They allowed it to become the first country run by salesmen. Bush Junior and Trump are nothing but salesmen; there is nothing else inside their heads. But even the great liberal presidents were salesmen who did have something inside their heads. Those are your only choices in our social order. It is our national characteristic to only recognize a salesman as a leader and only respond to the techniques of salesmanship.

    • They should have abandoned us during Bush 1 or Bush 2. But the global corporations find America useful as a model for how they want the world run, i.e., Greed Is Good.

      When will the people of the world finally realize that the American corporations used their nation's once-good name to impose their worthless oligopolies on the world through the sheer weight of its almighty dollar: everything from banking to Microsoft Windows? When will the world finally Boycott, Disinvest and Sanction the USA like it once did South Africa? The answer: when it's willing to undergo real pain to stop our madness.

    • Trump prototype Pat Buchanan actually put out an editorial praising AIDS as a good thing because it would remove the scourge of homosexuality from our land. So for right-wingers, Trump and the HIV virus might be very popular for the same reason: they want their enemies exterminated the fastest way possible.

  • From Slights to Kow-Towing, Trump does Ugly American in Asia (2)
  • World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting (12)
  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • There was no Hizbullah proper before '84 or so, but several smaller radical groups, especially Islamic Amal of Abbas Mousawi. The radicals were mainly cultivated by Iraqi Da'wa, though Iran played a growing role over time. See Richard Norton's work.

  • Can a Free Internet Survive FCC End to Net Neutrality? (2)
  • Groping for Manhood: Time for the Bystanders to Challenge the Bullies (1)
    • What? Women have a voice?

      What? Even a powerful man, or a powerful institution, cannot simply impose their will on women?

      What is this world coming to? They never should have been granted the vote on August 18, 1920!

      With The New Climate Regime, new agencies have arisen. The Water Protectors made Water a political actor.

      "Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment" Book by Christopher D. Stone

      "With The New Climate Regime, the same question arises: how to distribute agency by parceling out powers, aptitudes, and capacities among things, gods, humans, and classes, in order to impose one cosmology over another. Everything is reshuffled: the order of nature as well as the political order, and as always, what one must think about religion and who has the right to interpret God's word -- which has since become the word of the Market. The defense of the autonomy of things, like the defense of the autonomy of peoples -- the refusal to let others, whoever they may be, impose their laws on you -- remains the big question, scientific as well as political."

      Quotation from "Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime" by Bruno Latour

  • World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting (12)
    • Trump has accelerated the failure of the US.

      He makes it hard to ignore who we are.

      The social historian Morris Berman wrote a trilogy about the empire collapse. The second volume was in 2006 "Dark Ages America" and the third volume was 2014 "Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline." He didn't start out to write a trilogy, but after 9/11 came the second in 2006, as the collapse continued in 2014, years before Trump, he published the third volume.

      This is the book's overview quoted below. I copied this from amazon.com and only added blank lines to make it more readable.

      "Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of "hustlers" to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country's expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise.

      Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman's trilogy on the decline of the American empire.

      In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase.

      In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy.

      • In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the "why" of it all

      • Probes America's commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history

      • Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country's purpose finally did our nation in.

      Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passé, socially divided, and culturally adrift.

      It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman's study of American imperial decline.

    • At the risk of piling on, how does our nation expect to command respect on the international stage when the POTUS consistently gives in to his juvenile predilection for insults? I can't get inside the man's head but he can't control his mouth. Is it any wonder that other nations scratch their heads and wonder whether the inmates are now in charge over here?

    • Not surprising; most educated Americans are horrified too.

    • His poll numbers are abysmal and he hasn't even blown a hole in the deficit and started a nuclear war yet! I predict by the end of this presidency he'll be more unpopular than the HIV virus.

    • I can picture the teeming crowds at future Trump rallies and their full-throated chant: "We're Number Six!"

      Does anybody remember Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner'?

    • So this is what Trump meant when he said he was going to make America great again....he has got it backwards.

  • Pres. Aoun: Saudi Holding Hariri an Act of Aggression (4)
  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • Agree with Prof Cole on the close connection between Iraqi Da'wa and Hezbollah. Did Iraqi Da'wa also have close connections to Amal 1979-1982? I don't know.

      Iraqi Da'wa and other Iraqi Shia factions ( including the predecessor of what is now called Badr/ISCI/SCIRI); and the Peshmerga began an uprising in Iraq in 1979. And they welcomed Lebanese Shia help. Hezbollah appears to have been more willing to do this than Amal. Is this why Iraqi Da'wa supported Hezbollah? I am not completely sure.

      In any case, didn't Khomeini pay most of Hezbollah's bills 1979-1980s? And most of Iraqi Da'wa and other Iraqi Shia militas? And much of the Peshmerga budget?

      I know that Hezbollah claims they did a better job defending Lebanese Shia from other Lebanese and Israelis than Amal's militia. But wouldn't a fused combined Hezbollah/Amal militia have been far more effective still? I think the Lebanese Shia greatly lost from the split. I think the Lebanese people as a whole lost from the split. [Although some other Lebanese factions might have thought that a Shia fitna was to their advantage; they were wrong.]

      I would make the case that the Israelis would have left southern Lebanon in 1983 if not for the perceived Hezbollah threat. Israel achieved her strategic aims in 1982 by defeating the Syrian military; and by helping Lebanese Christians and Amal drive the PLO out of Lebanon.

      I am also deeply disappointed that Hezbollah alone has refused to disarm in Lebanon. Hezbollah equipment should be donated to the LAF and individual Hezbollah soldiers should join the LAF. Evan Aoun quietly favors this. Amal and other non Hezbollah Lebanese Shia favor this. Only Hezbollah does not. Hezbollah insists on a state within a state.

  • The Trump/GOP war on Science targets Grad Students (2)
    • Unbelievable! The GOP Masters of the Universe now want to pull the drawbridge up after them. Short-term greed on the part of the GOP that will come back to bite USA in a decade or so.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • My experience, Christians in Myanmar (there are more of them than you might be thinking) share the exact same prejudice and hostility toward Muslims.

  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged (10)
    • Points regarding Israel:

      (A) ISIS oil has been purchased by Israel after being delivered via Turkey to the Israeli port at Ashdod;

      (B) Israel has debriefed Nusra Front fighters receiving medical treatment in Israel for intelligence purposes;

      (C) Israel has benefitted from the Nusra Front and ISIS engagement of Hezbollah militarily - Hezbollah has lost 1,000 fighters killed in action in Syria.

      Al-Nusra Front has been designated as a foreign terror organization by the U.S. State Department and has been linked to at least 57 suicide bombings within Syria; it is not a group that any Western power should be giving material assistance to.

    • Daesh had "marriage of convenience" with the Assad regime in the early years of the Syrian Civil War.

      It purchased Daesh oil and also was supplied from a HESCO natural gas plant manned by Russian engineers:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

      Daesh had received Syrian government air support during clashes with other rebel forces and the Assad regime ceded territory to Daesh in the early years of the civil war.

      Only after the rebel forces lost control of the major population centers did the Syrian Arab Army directly engage Daesh with any serious degree of effort militarily.

  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • Sorry, I should be clear. I'm no expert on Lebanon, I just have casual knowledge on some Shiite history there. I just think you didn't factor the effect of the Israeli invasion.

      The Professor made the concise accurate point and obviously the historic authority here. (I didn't realize there was Iraqi influence on Hezbollah. Always assumed it stayed with Amal).

      Amal was that group for Shias against other sectarian Lebanese groups initially. Israel was invested in the civil war, but that latest invasion was the turning point in Hezbollah's rise.

      Shiites were disenfranchised, Israelis correctly noted. They claimed they were welcomed by the Shiites (I doubt this for all factions), but the nature of military occupation, militias and war, with bloodshed and displacement, that mood would change and meant more conflict. Hope this helps.

  • US Military Budget soars to $700 bn., as much as next 14 Countries (1)
  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged (10)
    • Where would they be locked up?

      Trump did promise to "take the oil".

    • This was a pretty irresponsible move. Unlike President Trump or the British MP Rory Stewart, I do not believe that ISIS fighters should have been killed on the spot link to telegraph.co.uk but I think that they should have been locked up and hopefully sent to some de-radicalization classes. All this shows that all the talk about some Western and Saudi-Israeli support for some of the terrorists was not very farfetched. There have already been some reports about Israel paying the salaries of Syrian rebels link to globalresearch.ca to create a buffer between Israel’s occupied Golan Heights and Syria, although Israel’s original rationale for occupying Golan Heights was that it would create a buffer between them and Syria.

      The point that you make about Trump’s impatience for the YPG Kurds to take over hydrocarbon resources in Syria is also very important and sinister. After the terrible devastation of the past seven years, Syria is in desperate need for reconstruction. Now, Trump wishes to deprive them of their own resources that would enable them to repair some of the massive destruction.

    • There were plenty of opportunities for Damascus to take on Daesh in the course of other nearby campaigns, and it systematically declined them in order to have Daesh become the face of the rebels.

  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • Iraqi Da'wa was probably as or more important in formation of Hizbullah as Iran. It was the Israeli occupation from 1982 that radicalized Lebanese Shiites, and Hizbullah was more effective in defending the South.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • More than 50 years ago I visited Rangoon in (then) Burma. While at the Golden Temple, I saw a man accidentally bump a Buddhist monk. The monk turned angrily and commenced beating the man with a stick, while the man just cowered and took it. I was shocked to realize that there was this streak of human anger and aggression in some Buddhists. The current ethnic cleansing campaign and Suu Kii's failure to address it are , therefore , not a complete surprise.

  • Pres. Aoun: Saudi Holding Hariri an Act of Aggression (4)
    • What about the secondary effects of this? In 1978 Shi‘ite cleric Musa al-Sadr who disappeared on a visit to Libya. After that any political leader would think twice about visiting Libya.

      Will Saudi Arabia suffer the same effect? Will it be fair game on Saudi diplomats from now on?

    • The Saudis and their new best friends the Israelis do not seem to understand that both al-Hashed al-Sha’bi in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon are not foreign forces, and cannot go home. When Israel invaded Lebanon, Hezbollah was the main force to fight against them and force them to leave. When ISIS attacked Syria and Iraq, the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria and al-Hashed al-Sha’bi in Iraq were important components of the fight against the terrorists.

      It should be remembered that the Saudis allegedly encouraged Israel to attack Lebanon in 2006, as they seem to be doing again. The Saudis have lost in Yemen, in Iraq and in their support for the Kurdish independence. The defeat of insurgents in Syria, especially Jibhat al-Nusra that the Israelis and the Saudis supported, has made them feel desperate and they are meddling in Lebanon in order to make up for their defeat. Forcing the Lebanese prime minister to resign has robbed the Lebanese Sunnis of their leader and has inadvertently strengthened Hezbollah and the Iranians. Instead of dragging the Middle East towards a major confrontation they should accept their defeat and try to think of some positive policies to bring the regional countries together.

    • The Saudis look like they are getting right off the rails on this one. Detaining the PM of another country?
      Add it to their Qatar blockade and Yemen fiasco. Is petrodollars alone enough to stop their allies from having firm words?

  • From Slights to Kow-Towing, Trump does Ugly American in Asia (2)
    • A man in such obvious, desperate need of the approval of strongmen (father figures) has no business being 'the most powerful man in the world.' On the other hand, the Savonarola-in waiting is even more terrifying. Hard to choose!

  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • Saf, I blame Israeli mistakes in part for the falling out between Israel and Israel's former Lebanese Shia allies. We are agreed on this.

      You are also right that Israel is responsible for Israel's own actions and mistakes; including the consequences of Israel supporting Khomeini 1980-1982 and supporting Amal in Lebanon 1980-1982.

      Amal also bears some blame in the 1988 war between Amal and Hezbollah (although I think Hezbollah deserves more of the blame).

      I still believe that Amal and Hezbollah would have stayed as one fused joint organization if not for Khomeini . . . which has greatly hurt the Lebanese people.

      Saf, you have made many very intelligent comments on this blog in response to many articles and you no doubt know Lebanon a lot better than I do; so please correct me if I am wrong. My understanding is that most of Hezbollah's initial support 1979-1982 came because of deep wide spread sectarian bigotry by Lebanese against Shia Lebanese. The Shia in Lebanon understandably felt they needed powerful militias to protect Lebanese Shia. I think that this reason better explains Hezbollah's legitimacy (while not popular, Hezbollah has a certain degree of legitimacy and respect from fellow Lebanese) in Lebanon than Israel.

      "Most analysts, especially USA based ones, can not seem to understand that a computer with a quad-core, 64-bit, 1 GHz CPU, a decent GPU, 1 GB of memory and up to 32 GB of storage, running FREE Linux OS, costs LESS than US$ 50. Couple that with Open Street View’s very accurate FREE maps and a “hacked” GPS chip (the USA restrictions on altitude and speed have been removed) and a very nice guidance system can easily be built for less than US$ 100. The rest is just basic rocket science and chemistry that is well understood by now." Couldn't agree more.

  • The Trump/GOP war on Science targets Grad Students (2)
    • The Republicans and their masters are nothing short of diabolical in their efforts to destroy the American middle class and American democracy.

  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged (10)
    • They also purchased bulk quantities of black market petroleum at discount rates from ISIS - even though they were a member of NATO.

      Turkey's assistance to ISIS emanated from the fact ISIS was fighting Kurdish elements in northern Syria.

    • Cole: "The Syrian regime only became interested in taking on Daesh once it seemed clear that otherwise the YPG would do the job ..."

      Rubbish. The Syrian government could not take on Daesh while leaving foreign-armed rebels in the government's rear. It's the first rule of military strategy.

  • Just a reminder that Trump has the Nuclear Codes (1)
    • What's most bizarre is Trump's occasional statements that everybody should get nukes to "defend" themselves instead of sponging off the USA or whatever. But of course "everybody" doesn't include any countries that officially oppose the US. So he wants Japan and South Korea to get nukes, and presumably Germany, as if that won't have repercussions.

  • 50% of World's Wealth Is Controlled by Wealthy 1% (2)
    • One day historians will say the real war of the 21st Century was the one between the billionaires and the ordinary people they manipulated. And the latter lost, and civilization fell, not that those barons in their castles minded.

  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • It's not just that simplistic of what was a very messy civil war with changing alliances and splits. It also seems to side-step what this 'falling out' was. The many casualties and displacement by Israel, including of the Shiite populations that lead to the splits, like Hezbollah from Amal (Amal who were initially fighting Paelstinian PLO, some with Israel's support), and the turn in the aftermath of Israeli support of groups like the marauding Phalangists and subsequent invasion of South Lebanon, that made the surviving residents fear that they were going to be the new Palestinians. Israel miscalculated and probably should not have banked on the ideologues in Iran.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • Agree on the whole. However, I do feel these feelings of hate and irrational fears amongst Buddhist fundamentalists and nationalists didn't totally develop in a vacuum.

      I always believed the Taliban in Afghanistan may have in a sense contributed to the rise of extreme Buddhist fundamentalism and nationalism as well. In a sense, what they did lead to bad karma for other Muslim populations.

      When they deliberately attacked and bombed the historic Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001, months before 9/11, which were really remarkably untouched during all those years of civil war, but then destroyed based on extreme Sunni Deoband Muslim fundamentalism, I think it kind of raised the sense of threat of most Buddhist populations across the globe of how their civilization was wiped out (and unfortunately this act was received with mixed reactions amongst Muslims, most indifferent, some condemning, and some supporting, whether Islamic or not).

      You kind of hear some anti-Muslim folks everywhere, including some local right-wing Asian Buddhists propagating about the 'Muslim scourge' that destroyed past civilizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not a bit different than how some Hindu nationalists frame all Muslim migrations as invasion of India.

      But regardless. The ethnic/religious cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims is a real crisis, with worse and worse news coming out like the mass rapes reported recently. Probably should never have pinned hopes on Suu Kyi who probably always was an illiberal religious and ethnic supremacist that folks didn't seem to realize and confused her want for human democratic rights for the majority against militarism with liberalism and minority rights. Not a surprise there are more democracies now...which are illiberal.

  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged (10)
    • Didn't Turkey serve for years as a major transit hub for ISIS fighters, funds and arms? Chutzpah!

    • People in the region have the right to be angry, including Turkey, despite their own hypocrisy of letting ISIL terrorists get through and gain power in the first place.

      Decent folks would want most of these monsters to be caught and held accountable or be put down (I read a CTV News special feature on one young Yazidi woman who was an ISIS victim but made it to Canada as a refugee. It was just sickening, wished I hadn't read it even though the article had a warning that it would be distressing to most readers). Unfortunately justice is unlikely going to happen for the majority of the victims who'll have to witness many of these sick criminals getting away and integrating into different populations, either planning for the next attack or living their full lives freely.

      However, can't fault those who are on the ground to cut deals to reduce as much bloodshed as possible, which included lives of children as well (could care less about some ISIL women, considering their own roles in the heinous crimes), though the intent was mostly on saving soldiers and manpower.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • The 100000 missile amount came out in budget negotiations in the Israeli legislature, so since all military leaders tend to hype the threats when asking for money, I discounted the amount by 50%.

      Either amount is more than enough to make most of northern Israel into one big rubble heap. This would destroy the Israeli economy since a majority of the population and industry is within range of the missiles.

      You are correct that the missile technology has gotten MUCH, MUCH better since the early 2000s. This is because the basic weapons technology has gotten BOTH better and cheaper. In some cases, a country (other than the gold plating ones like USA and Israel) can get three very accurate missiles now versus one less accurate missile at the start of the 2000s.

      Most analysts, especially USA based ones, can not seem to understand that a computer with a quad-core, 64-bit, 1 GHz CPU, a decent GPU, 1 GB of memory and up to 32 GB of storage, running FREE Linux OS, costs LESS than US$ 50. Couple that with Open Street View's very accurate FREE maps and a "hacked" GPS chip (the USA restrictions on altitude and speed have been removed) and a very nice guidance system can easily be built for less than US$ 100. The rest is just basic rocket science and chemistry that is well understood by now.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • Aung San Suu Kyi harbors her own racist views regarding the Rohingya, believing them to have no role to play or proper place in modern Myanmar. This has been her view for a long time. There is not enough international will to confront Myanmar and move it further into China's embrace.

  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged (10)
    • This is very interesting. It's an ironic reversal of roles: a couple of years ago in Kobane, it was the YPG accusing the Turks of giving free passage to ISIS fighters...

      But the idea that the regime `only became interested in taking on Daesh' because of the contest for Deir Ezzour is way overstated. What about the contest for Palmyra? It was seized by ISIS in May 2015; retaken by Assad/Russia in May 2016 (after which a Russian orchestra played there); briefly recaptured again by ISIS, & then by the regime. That was 2 years of straight fighting between ISIS & Assad+Russia -- no US/SDF involvement.

  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation (7)
    • I am sorry, but this is simply not true. Mulla Omar never made such an offer. A council of Afghan ulama urged this step, but they are not Taliban and had no power.

  • Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin (6)
    • Jerry Brown decided it was a good time for jokes.

      AMY GOODMAN: So they said, “Keep it in the ground.”

      GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah.

      AMY GOODMAN: And you responded by saying, “Let’s put you in the ground.”

      GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah.

      AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what you meant?

      GOV. JERRY BROWN: That was a joke. Now, Amy, don’t use your media outlet for this kind of silliness. That was an ironic remark in the face of a noisy demonstration when it’s very hard to even hear, much less keep your thought there. And—

      AMY GOODMAN: But it was Native Americans, and they took it very seriously. Do you—

      link to democracynow.org

  • Prince Charles baffled no US President will take on Israel Lobbies (5)
    • The screams of outrage following the publication of Prince Charles' letter should tell him pretty clearly why the United States has never challenged the Israel lobby or Israel - and may never.

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • How quickly we forget. The US intelligence agencies DID NOT "blow it" on Iraq. Their conclusions were that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons, nor a significant nuke program. Iraq was in compliance with, and permitted, IAEA inspections. This didn't fit with the Cheney/Bush narrative, so data was cherry-picked, stove-piped, and distorted to make a bogus case for intervention.

      As Mueller's investigation keeps illustrating, the intelligence community was right about Russian interference, too. And complicity looks even more likely.

  • Former Trump NSC Adviser Flynn Accused of $15M deportation Deal with Turkey (4)
  • Breitbart Goes to Bat for Roy Moore Amid Sex Scandal w/ Teenage Girl (4)
  • Former Trump NSC Adviser Flynn Accused of $15M deportation Deal with Turkey (4)
  • 50% of World's Wealth Is Controlled by Wealthy 1% (2)
  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims (7)
    • Buddhism has always been a religion of peace, compassion, and tolerance. But like many other religions, it has been poisoned by extremists, who many suspect are doing the bidding of foreign entities, with their own devious agenda.
      Sri Lanka also a Buddhist nation, is also contending with tensions between the majority Buddhists (70 percent) and the Muslims (9 percent). Strangely the same propaganda being spread in Myanmar, has been used to cause fear and suspicion among the Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the same false stories of Muslims taking over the country (statistically impossible), Muslims converting Buddhist women, and that the candy given free at Muslim shops make Buddhist women barren.
      These far fetched stories are believed by the uneducated, and the racists, turning them against the minority.
      This could mean the same evil forces behind this organized anti Muslim campaign are behind both nations. Both Myanmar and Sri Lankan campaigns were started, and these lies spread, by terrorist Buddhist monks, who make hate speeches, lead the mobs, and attack Muslim shops, Mosques, and homes. In both nations the Buddhist leaders say and do NOTHING to stop the murders, attacks, and harassment of the minority.
      Suu Kyi does not utter one word of condemnation either.
      So far, the problem in Sri Lanka is minor compared to Myanmar.

      Why are the western nations that condemn the massacre in Myanmar not condemning Israel and other nations for selling the weapons that kill these innocent civilians, and used to threaten, rape, and kill babies? Israel must have trained this brutal military to use the weapons they sell. Where there is trouble around the world, you will find the fingerprints of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, or the US.
      Unlike the Muslims, all Buddhists are not deemed violent, and their religion deemed "evil", despite the massacre, rape, and violence, against unarmed civilians by extremists, which is how it should be.

  • Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin (6)
  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • "After the events of 1979, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards helped to establish a local resistance movement against the Israeli Occupation of Lebanese territory"

      Yes Khomeini established Hezbollah. The reason was that Amal was too nationalist and independent for Khomeini (Amal was more resistance to Khomeini's blasphemous claim of Vilayat-e Faqih . . . or to be the first perfect human since 874 AD, with full control over the temporal and spiritual affairs of all humans.) Khomeini wanted a pliable client force that he controlled in Lebanon to advance Khomeini's interests; whatever they happened to be. [Initially Khomeini did not order Hezbollah to attack Israel.] Khomeini simultaneously also supported Amal.

      From 1979 to 1982, Khomeini secretly allied with Israel. If not for Israeli intervention, Saddam Hussein would have defeated Iran 1980, 1981 and 1982.

      Israel initially intervened in Lebanon in 1982 in part to help Israel's Shiite Lebanese allies and Phalangist Christian allies against the PLO in Lebanon's ongoing civil war. Later Israel had a falling out with her Shiite Lebanese allies. Khomeini stabbed Israel in the back by ordering Hezbollah to attack Israel . . . at a time when Israel regarded Khomeini, Iran and Hezbollah to be secret Israeli allies.

      Israel was deeply hurt by Khomeini and Iran's betrayal and that sense of betrayal and hurt continues to dominate Israeli thought and policy to this day.

      Khomeini used Hezbollah to mass murder Lebanese Shia (including the nationalist patriotic Amal militia) in 1988 and for a series of other nefarious activities.

      If Khomeini or Khamenei ever really wanted to help Lebanon, they would have disarmed Hezbollah and flowed a large scale FID effort directly into to the LAF.

      "And Israeli ground troops would not fair very well either as Hezbollah is very battle-hardened with very good leadership with lots of depth (the death of a single leader would not stop the resistance)." Hezbollah has suffered heavy losses in Syria. Plus many Hezbollah forces remain deployed in Syria. Withdrawing them from Syria now would breath new life into ISIS and Al Qaeda. Hezbollah would not find fighting the IDF easy in another war. The IDF also has a very deep bench of officers and NCOs.

      A war between the IDF and Hezbollah would turn the rest of Lebanon against Hezbollah. I don't think Nasrallah wants that.

      For that matter, why would Israel want to invade Lebanon right now? What possible Israeli interest is advanced?

    • The estimates of the number of military-grade missiles possessed by Hezbollah currently is as high as 100,000.

      Israel's military experts opine that the number of Israelis who might become fatalities in a war with Hezbollah under current conditions could be in double or even triple digits daily.

      Hezbollah only had 12,000 rockets in its inventory during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when 165 Israelis died - 112 of them members of the Israel Defense Forces.

      Furthermore, Hezbollah now has an extensive inventory of guided long-range surface-to-surface missiles that it did not have in 2006.

      A guided Waad surface-to-air missile fired by Hezbollah at an IDF transport helicopter on 2006 destroyed it an killed the entire crew. A surface-to-sea Chinese Silkworm missile with a radar guidance system fired from the Beirut-area Mediterranean coastline disabled the Israeli navy warship Herat in that war, while killing five sailors aboard that ship.

  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation (7)
    • The Taliban did offer in October of 2001 to turn over Osama Bin Laden over to a third party in exchange for the United States ceasing bombing of Afghanistan; this was contingent upon the U.S. providing proof of his complicity in the 9/11 attacks:

      link to theguardian.com

      The U.S. rejected the offer.

      Incidentally, the British government conceded that there was insufficient proof of Bin Laden's personal complicity in the 9/11 hijackings to warrant his criminal prosecution. This was, however, before, Bin Laden admitted such complicity in a video just before the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

    • Al-Qaeda was Brigade 55 of the Taliban. They weren't guests.

    • you have a much better grasp of the relevant facts than me.
      But I think I remember something about the Taliban telling us to provide evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks before they would consider extradition.
      .
      link to irishtimes.com

  • Former Trump NSC Adviser Flynn Accused of $15M deportation Deal with Turkey (4)
  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose (10)
    • It is very likely that most Israeli MILITARY leadership is against any invasion of Lebanon because, as the IDF has publicly noted, there are over 50000 missiles pointed at Israel.

      If Israel starts a war with Lebanon, most of northern Israel would become a rubble heap. And Israeli ground troops would not fair very well either as Hezbollah is very battle-hardened with very good leadership with lots of depth (the death of a single leader would not stop the resistance).

      Israel has less than 1000 anti-missile missiles, so after they are all expended, Israel is a sitting duck for the tens of thousands of missiles that would follow (Yes, anti-missile technology is a complete failure).

      In the long term, the Saudis and Israel are setting up their demise.

  • Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin (6)
    • From a purely economic opportunity standpoint, "fixing" climate change is the next huge economic opportunity that the USA will completely miss out on.

      While the Luddites in the USA are ignoring reality (staring them in the face), the economically ambitious are racing to reap the profits of converting from carbon energy to non-carbon energy.

      The world NEEDS energy for humans to function, LOTS of energy, so the non-carbon energy market is HUGE.

      BUT . . . .

      The USA is totally ignoring that market and letting Europe and Asia solve the problem while making the profits.

      Eventually there will be only a minuscule market for carbon energy and the USA will have almost zero income from carbon energy while at the same time be years behind in the non-carbon energy markets where Europe and Asia will have essentially shoved the USA out of market and the USA citizens will have to buy their non-carbon energy resources from Europe and Asia at high cost.

      There is no future in carbon energy markets and the USA is dooming its economy by not rapidly walking away from carbon energy.

    • Senator Jim Inhofe used to be the lone despicable nut, trying to represent the dissenting view from the US, at these type of conferences.

      Now they are the ones in power and criminally doing everything they can to undermine progress and screwing everyone.

    • America's falling from power may be all Trump, but its "last laugh" is on all of us . . . .

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • How much kompromat does Russia have on the GOP?
      Why is the GOP so obsequious to Russia?
      How much Russian funding goes to dark money PACs?

  • Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin (6)
    • This is a perfect example of America’s falling from power. With Trump’s conquest to trash everything and all things Obama, and in Trump’s terms ‘Obama’s leading from behind’, with Trump in charge this is where America will lead in it’s decline. The future of dealing with climate change is the biggest prize of them all, but Trump’s narrow minded base doesn’t get it that way. Trump and his followers feel that climate change is a hoax, but the last laugh will be on them. The Paris Climate Accords is the right place to perform a country’s leadership abilities, but don’t tell Trump that, because then you are ‘fake news’.

  • GOP Tax Breaks for Billionaires would Help Trump Appointees Most of All (1)
    • Trump, the current leader of what used to be the Republican Party, has no problem with going bankrupt.

      link to money.cnn.com

      As long as the wealthiest get WHAT THEY PAID FOR from the Republicans in Congress and the White House, the real consequences of these horrendous "tax plans" on a MAJORITY of our citizens and our nation means absolutely nothing to Republicans.

      Both the House and Senate Tax Plans are flat-out WELFARE FOR THE 1% and BETRAYAL for anyone else.

  • Former Trump NSC Adviser Flynn Accused of $15M deportation Deal with Turkey (4)
    • While operating as a Russian intelligence asset, the Trump campaign also became a kidnapping for hire crime cell. Those involved found their way into the West Wing as President Trump's closest advisors.

  • Prince Charles baffled no US President will take on Israel Lobbies (5)
  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation (7)
  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
  • Prince Charles baffled no US President will take on Israel Lobbies (5)
    • 'A Clarence House spokesperson said in a statement that the opinions expressed in the 1986 letter were “not The Prince’s own views”, '

      It sounds like the prince (or his spokespeople) are afraid to take on the Israeli lobby.

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • Except for bravely shoving aside the prime minister of Montenegro, "tough guy" trump folds like a broken ladder when actually faced by another foreign leader. It began on his first trip to Mexico City where he wilted before Enrique Pena Nieto. All that aside, it's very obvious that Vlad holds a very special sway over trump. He holds the tools of castration.

    • Trumpanzees are in deep denial believing Trumpty Dumpty’s lies about no collusion!

  • Prince Charles baffled no US President will take on Israel Lobbies (5)
    • I don't see how anything Charles said re: Israel and U.S. politician's lack of ability or desire to stand up to pro-Israeli lobbying is a bumbling or "silver foot in mouth" comment. Likewise, his comment re: modern architecture.

  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation (7)
    • There's a lot of interesting stuff in this article.
      It starts by giving an overview of the reasons that we have not yet won the war in A'stan,
      then focuses in on one central reason that explains all the other failures: the Opium problem.
      But overall the article is fundamentally false, wrong, misleading.
      It misrepresents what the war is about.
      .
      It is hard for someone, anyone who supported the invasion of A'stan at first to reassess that debacle. We invaded with the intention of righteously avenging the attack on the USA on 9/11.
      But instead of attacking the folks who attacked us,
      we attacked the then-functioning government of A'stan, the Taliban.
      These are the same folks that we supported in their insurgency against Soviet occupation 1979-1989.
      .
      The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11.
      In fact, the Taliban said they would consider extraditing the leadership of al-Qaeda to the USA, if we would just provide evidence that they were the ones who attacked us.
      Maybe they would have, maybe not.
      But for reasons not acknowledged by our government, we chose to destroy A'stan rather than follow the rule of law.
      .
      This article says that we teamed up with “Afghan warlords” to depose the Taliban. Actually, we teamed up with the Northern Alliance. Gloss that over and you will never understand what's happening in that country.
      This article refers to the Pashtuns who oppose our occupation and colonization as “insurgents.” In reality, they are a legit Resistance.
      .
      We have done all we could to instigate and sustain an ethnic conflict, between the majority Pashtuns and the minority Northern Alliance of Tadjiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. What you refer to as the “government” of A'stan is the puppets we installed and continue to prop up. This is the Dari-speaking minority.

      It is time to stop trying to subjugate the Pashtun people. They will never give up and allow us to give their land to their adversaries. Let our puppets sink, or swim, or move to a place where they will be safe.
      .
      So, will this solve the Opium problem ?
      What the article fails to mention is WHY poppy growing was so low when we invaded.
      Remove the cancer of brutal foreign occupation military forces and the body politic in A'stan will slowly return to normal.
      .

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • Juan: This is an old acquaintance, David Cook, more or less stumbling on this piece from a Facebook scan. Made me realize I miss you and your thinking. So please get me back on your email newsletter. I just turned 89!

    • What hasn't been suggested is that Trump doesn't want to poison his opportunities for investments in Russia once his term as President is over.

    • You have already heard - and doubtless will hear eve more - criticism of the intelligence community's findings. The argument boils down to, `Well, you blew it badly on Iraq so why on earth ought we believe you now.' Painting with too broad a brush leads to sloppy results. Yes, US intelligence failed in Iraq. That doesn't mean that they're brain-dead and got it wrong here. What with the recent revelations by Twitter, Google and Facebook, the evidence of a Russian campaign to sway last year's election in Trump's favor is very persuasive. At this point, nobody's claiming that Trump ordered his subordinates to collude with Putin's KGB operatives. But let's not allow the past to color our reading of the the evidence that's being brought to light today.

    • Sherm - per your last sentence. Putin obviously has something very damaging on Donald J. Trump or someone close to him sufficient for our President to defer to Vladimir Putin without exception?

      Trump allowed his campaign for President to become a full-blown Russian intelligence asset with freelanced skullduggery for sale even when forewarned of compromise, officially.

      Donald Trump has now made himself and his followers unwitting de facto agents of Russia.

      Worthy of note: Previous Presidents have gotten on the 'wrong side' of the "intelligence community," none benefited.

    • There are many lines of evidence that Trump is compromised in his dealings with the Russian govt. But his obsequiousness towards Putin is probably the least of these indicators.

      Mueller's investigation has already, just from what we know publically, discovered that Trump's campaign received at least two sorts of stolen goods from Russia: e-mails illegally hacked, and the value of these e-mails as an unreported campaign contribution from a foreign power. Less clear, but probable and more compromising, the Trump business seems to have been involved for years in laundering money for friends of Putin.

      In contrast, to draw any conclusions at all from the words of a man who suffers from dementia with behavioral disturbance is to tread on very shaky ground. In answer to Brennan's second point, of course Trump is easily cowed by anyone with any power, as Trump understands power. Trump was a bully even before he became demented, and the fact that he demeans everyone else on the planet does not in any way make it unexpected for him to be obsequious towards someone he sees as an equal, or from whom he wants something. He doesn't demean people out of rage at them, but because he can, and treating others like dirt establishes that he is the alpha. But Trump understands that Putin is different from perhaps anyone else on the planet in this, that he has a source of state power that Trump cannot obviously undermine (as he can that of a Ryan or McConnell). Someone whose mind wasn't so far gone into dementia would understand that in reality all the domestic and foreign actors he deals with have power that Trump cannot undermine, that they can get back at him if only subtly and in the long term. That's why conventional politicians are so careful in word and deed, to avoid offense towards anyone. Trump's mind no longer does subtle or long term, but in the case of Russia, not only is its power objectively greater than that of other foreign powers, but it is greater especially in Trump's shrinking mental universe, thanks to all those years of profits and capitalization from money laundering for the Russian regime acting so powerfully to shore up the Trump business.

      Some of Putin's power over Trump may indeed be compromat, but you don't have to invoke any sort of compromat to understand why Trump doesn't try to bully Putin, but instead tries to stay on his good side.

      And if you look at this from Putin's point of view, even if it's true and Putin has compromat that he threatens Trump with, it's not at all clear that a blackmailer in Putin's position would want Trump to be openly deferential. That public obsequiousness compromises Trump's ability to act favorably towards Russia on substantive matters. Repealing the Magnitsky Act, for example, might have been accomplished if it were something that could be done in a backroom deal, but Trump makes it less and less possible to get that done covertly every time he flatters Putin in public.

      That said, perhaps Putin is as demented as Trump, and actually prizes making people grovel in public over getting anything of substance from them. Not impossible, of course, not even really improbable, but there are better and more direct means of understanding Trump's and Putin's behavior than all of this psychological speculation. Let's stick with following the money, if for no other reason than to avoid the impression that the psychiatric speculation is the best our side has.

    • A thumb in the till is OK. A thumb on the scale is not. I believe the Russians tried to interfere, why wouldn't they if they could? But Trump is something the American people have done to themselves

    • I agree with all except for one part. Trump does understand civilication in a significant way. He knows what furthers his avaricious hubris and what works against it. He knows who to intimidate and break down in order to advance it. He knows how to break down a person; see his business dealings for evidence of this. He's now working to intimidate and break down the system and ethic that has mostly governed the world since the successful suppression of the fascist element by 1945. That fascist element is on the rise again, with Russia taking the lead. Trump is fine with that and wants to break down any opposition to greater authoritarian control in the U.S. and abroad. Just look at his behaviors and alliances. So Trump does have an understanding of the world, simplistic though it is. And he wants to co-lead the world back into authoritarianism. The Putin flattery is a sideshow, meant to distract from the breakdown of democratic participation and control within the U.S. It's working currently.

    • It's very clear that Putin and Trump and the Republicans share the goal of the dissipation of American democracy (specific-voter voting rights reduction, diminishing non-fascistic democratic participation, oligarchic/plutocratic participation increasing, elimination of checks and balances, et al).

      Another Trump goal is to continue to hide his later-stage enrichment from Russian oligarchic and likely criminal sources and to continue and maximize his ability to do so.
      He needs to commandeer and neutralize American investigative and prosecutorial apparati to maintain his power, therefore.

      There may be other more personal reasons for Trump's apparent toadyism to Putin, besides the shared white supremacist beliefs and fascistic tendencies, but mostly it's no mystery whatsoever. Trump and the Republicans are in the process of forever altering what made America what it is, even the bad parts, though in Trump's America the bad parts will only get worse, much worse.

  • Trump's Bluster meets the Afghanistan Reality amid Troop Escalation (7)
  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • Trump and a lot of folks on the far-right are being played by Putin, IN FACT -

      Russian hackers operate from DALLAS, TEXAS! Not Moscow or St. Petersburg.

      XBT Holding, with operations in Dallas, was instrumental in the hack of leaked Democratic Party emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton and fellow Democrats.

      XBT is remotely-run by a successful Russian tech startup expert, Aleksej Gubarev.

      link to dallasnews.com

      So, Putin is correct in parsing his words "it was not a Russian State player" but it was private Russian enterprise which duped some dumb••• Texans into doing their dirty work for them.

  • Top 5 reasons Roy Moore could still Win, despite Sex Scandals (18)
    • Since "scriptures" are a collection of MYTHOLOGY and supertstitions, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is believed de fide , states that Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth for all her life.

      I don't make this stuff up. The church does.

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • I think another factor might be that Putin is substantially smarter and world wise than Trump. Trump has not done anything in office that demonstrates the slightest understanding of the extremely complex organism we call civilization. Nor does he publicly indicate a need to study up. So as others have said, Putin gets by by flattering the huge ego and bullshitting the intellectual void (or joking about tapes he's seen of the wild Moscow parties Trump has attended).

  • Prince Charles baffled no US President will take on Israel Lobbies (5)
    • Remember Ann Richards' great convention speech when she said of George H W Bush, "Poor George! He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

      Charles appears to have the same condition. Expressing his disapproval of modern architecture in London he famously said, "You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble."

      I suspect Queen Elizabeth will live forever if that's what it takes to make sure her dopey son never becomes king.

  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat (18)
    • When Trump announced his tax plan he said, "My accountants tell me this bill will be very bad for me personally. But I want to do the right thing!" That was a bald face lie he only promotes his own self interest.

      Cowing to Putin is, for whatever reasons, in his own best interest.

      Kompromat...the word of the day.

    • Thank you, thank you so much for pointing this out, Juan.

      It's been so obvious, there is literally one person on this increasingly heated earth who Trump defers to and shows obsequious behavior to. And his name begins with P, and that rhymes with T, and that spells trouble (to reference a classic bit of American musical theater history).

  • Saudi failures, from Qatar to Yemen, bode ill for its Success in Lebanon (1)
    • Hezbollah again shows it is the regional master of coalition politics - meaning the building of local coalitions between Lebanese factions, not one monarchy pushing around other monarchies - in flipping the narrative by proclaiming its rival Hariri to be a kidnapped patriot. Suddenly everyone locally seems to be seizing on that storyline to avoid the civil war that Saudi Arabia is trying to force upon them. Maybe the Lebanese haven't forgotten what civil war is actually like.

  • Top 5 reasons Roy Moore could still Win, despite Sex Scandals (18)
  • Nasrullah: Saudi has declared war on Lebanon (19)
    • Whatever it's longer term purpose, this stage looks like an attempt to humiliate Hariri, his family, and Lebanon, while running roughshod over basic diplomatic convention. He must feel he's got someone covering his back

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