Recent Comments

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
  • Corporatocracy: Al Franken shows Gorsuch Cold-Hearted toward Freezing Trucker (5)
    • Not only that, but the other judges ruled differently from Gorsuch. They were also interested in the meaning of the law.

  • Given Trump's Betrayal, Can we Crowdfund American Aid and Soft Power Abroad? (1)
    • Holdrige challenges the status quo like few others. He lays bare the compromise and indicates a path forward. Let's hear more from his platform.

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • The use of terrorism by a political movement is a sign of weakness, not power. And lack of success inevitably leads to adherents falling away. Because Daesh/ISIS/ISIL is led by delusional radical ideologues, they have made fatal mistakes. Grabbing large swaths of territory without popular support was one of them. As you say, their best hope is foolish policies by their opponents. Unfortunately, many are ready to provide those foolish policies. In a way, it comes down to who is stupider and who is stupid more often.

  • Did Trump loosen Rules? Charges that US Airstrikes Kill 230 Iraqi Civilians in Mosul (1)
    • Merely another campaign promise fulfilled. Besides, those innocents killed, maimed and hopelessly trapped are brown-skinned Muslims, malPOTUS favorite prey.

      link to huffingtonpost.com

      With malPOTUS it’s all about winning, never mind destroying a few countries in the process.

  • Corporatocracy: Al Franken shows Gorsuch Cold-Hearted toward Freezing Trucker (5)
    • Legally correct? The law said he should die? The law says that property is more important than life? If laws do not have a moral component, what is the point of law then? Oppression.

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • Regarding Daesh's potential longevity, would you please address the question of support, if any, they receive from ME elites, particularly the Saudis, and whether that will continue?

  • The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens (18)
  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • As more information is provided about the deranged man who carried out the carnage in London on Wednesday it becomes clear that he was just a common criminal with a violent past before he allegedly converted to Islam and changed his name from Adrian Russell to Khalid Masood. It is tempting to shout “Islamic terrorism” anytime an outrageous act is carried out by anyone with some connection with Islam. As a friend of mine Simon Jenkins pointed out in an interview with the BBC Newsnight, giving so much publicity to such atrocities only aids the terrorists. He says such actions should be treated as crimes, which is what they are, and not to dignify them by calling them something else:
      link to mirror.co.uk
      Here is all we know about him so far:
      link to telegraph.co.uk

  • Grassroots Resistance forces Republicans to Postpone Health Care Vote (2)
  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • ISIS is just a cancerous tumor of Islam. When it has been excised, it will never grow back again. Because Islam is the religion of peace.

  • Top 5 Lessons Saudi should learn from its Failed Yemen War (2)
  • Grassroots Resistance forces Republicans to Postpone Health Care Vote (2)
  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • You make the obvious point of their inevitable decline, but then you seque into their Long Game.....

      It may the end of Daesh as we know it, but the conditions that bred them are not receding, and as certainly as those like Trump persist so shall they. This is the Human Condition.

      Into small ineffective cells; perhaps being rebranded. But also consider how very much a bete noire is needed in this world. If they totally disappeared tomorrow a casting call would immediately go out for the next arch villain, to focus the peoples fears and empower ambitious politicians. I'm just wondering whether it will be The Joker, or perhaps a reinvented, 'existential' Iranian threat.

  • Corporatocracy: Al Franken shows Gorsuch Cold-Hearted toward Freezing Trucker (5)
  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
  • Top 5 Lessons Saudi should learn from its Failed Yemen War (2)
    • Hope Saudi Arabia realizes that they are not cut out to bomb and kill, and that going along with the US and the zionists is a no win situation.

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral (10)
    • The latest maps show the Daesh hold a long, thin swath of land under their control, with a bulge in about the middle. That bulge is Raqqa. If that bulge was taken from them the remains would be divided and cut-off.
      I'm not suggesting exactly how, but take that bulge and bring this mistake of history to a close.

    • Well said, Prof. Cole. Just one small correction - I believe that 1700 is the total of all people killed in road traffic accidents, not just pedestrians.

      I happened to be about half a mile from the attack scene on Wednesday, and I can confirm that London kept calm overall.

  • What's Cuba *Really* Like? (5)
    • Astonishing to me how ignorant (Anon) some of the commenters are about the history of Cuba and the revolutionary period. Ms. Hines article is informative as well as authentic.

  • The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens (18)
    • meanwhile trump is doing a good job prosecuting the bushobama never ending war. killing civilians in great numbers in both syria and iraq at once

    • Right now, they've got the dual distractions of the Gorsuch confirmation and the vote on TrumpCare. If not for that, we might get a series of inane, misspelled "tweets" griping about - oh, I don't know, maybe all the mean people saying mean things about that GOOD Mexican, Mr. Nuñes. Or the UNTRUE! ALL LIES!!! fake news that Melania won't sleep with him anymore. Bad! B-A-A-A-A-D!!

    • And because what Israel does is in plain sight, we must regretfully conclude that a lot of voters are willing to tolerate that. But if Russians connections are kept secret, then how are the voters to make a similar decision?

      And ultimately, if you want to be all judgmental about that, then how about comparing what the Israel-lobby voters support for a domestic agenda to what this bizarre new White Power bloc supports, based on their admiration for Putin, LePen, and every racist crypto-fascist in Europe? It turns out the former include millions who support very liberal policies at home, from universal health care to strong civil rights for minorities, which makes their blind allegiance to Israel's growing Apartheid sickening. But the latter are very consistent in what they want at home and abroad: a Master Race whom the government subsidizes with undeserved favors, while it persecutes women/Moslems/non-Whites/the poor. Either you should stop pretending the Trumpites are pro-union egalitarians, or you should make clear your own agenda for domestic politics.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • Like I told Sherm, I've been looking for this simple statement of what's what all day. Can't tell you prof how much it's appreciated. I will contribute!

    • It seems the worst thing that could happen would be for citizens to understand FISA law and the 702 amendment. And with any more depth it'll happen! Snowden's explained it (not perfectly IMO but he didn't have all the time in the world). EmptyWheel.net explains it; man is that site cornfusing (if it's not your full time hobby). I was looking for this COGENT rundown of Juan Cole's ALL DAY! This article I thought pretty good too link to tcf.org

    • New York Times cartoonist Patrick Chappatte makes a mordant observation about Comey's role:

      Link: link to nytimes.com

  • The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens (18)
    • Diversion? I wouldn't bet against Trump kicking sand in Cuba's face. What did Fidel ever do for him?

      It comes with much lower risk than eyeball to eyeball with Kim, and if Trump is half the businessman that he claims to be (probably just about half) he can evaluate. risk.

    • Regarding the thickening (and the outing) of the plot, Graydon Carter recently wrote in Vanity Fair,

      "Sprawling, complex stories like Watergate—or Kremlingate, for that matter—are anything but straightforward affairs, and for the reporters trying to make sense of things, it is akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle in the dark. It takes time, but eventually the puzzle comes together. And as it was more than four decades ago, you’ve got two great news organizations, The New York Times and The Washington Post, in complete rut over who will get the goods first. The Post wants to reclaim the position it had after it toppled a president, in the wake of Watergate. And the Times is out to make sure that the Post doesn’t have a repeat. When the dust settles, the real history will begin.… (I)n the end, proper historians and serious journalists will descend in droves to mop up the lies, the half-truths, and the criminality."

      LINK: link to vanityfair.com

  • Corporatocracy: Al Franken shows Gorsuch Cold-Hearted toward Freezing Trucker (5)
  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
  • The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens (18)
    • Similar to Nixon , Trump will throw everybody under the bus.
      Unlike Nixon, he will have to be physical removed from the White House.

    • I'm still waiting for the there there. We tried to influence Russian elections in the Yeltsin era - and we stuck our tongue out at Russia after the Cold War, and commenced to encircle them, after promising not to. Look, countries hire lobbyists to influence on their behalf. What's the problem?! Until I see a smoking gun, I wish this country would move on discuss serious issues like truly universal health care and climate change. These truly matter in our everyday life. Raising the tensions with Russia over this 'fake' news is not worthy of great democracy coping with serious problems!

    • Thanks for this additional info. One thing I think you implied, but could have added explicitly. Deripaska couldn't have achieved his dominance not only without nefarious means, but also it would have required the approval and probable collusion of the Putin government. I suspect Putin and cronies got big kickbacks for helping him and he also feels beholden to Putin and would act as Putin's agent whenever asked.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • "By revealing one (the Clinton server investigation) but not the other (the probe of Russian ties to Trump insiders), he tipped the scales in favor of Trump."

      The difference was that an ongoing publicly-disclosed Congressional committee investigation was addressing the Clinton matter - but not so with the Trump campaign-Russia ties being looked into by Comey's FBI.

      Comey's long history of large GOP campaign contributions (downloadable on the public Federal Elections Commission website) may set off some warning bells - but it was a Catch-22 situation for him since suppressing the ongoing Clinton server investigation from his communications with the Congressional committee members would have led to attacks from the GOP if later revealed.

      The ethics investigation and firing of FBI Director Wm. Sessions in 1993 by President Clinton was viewed by some to be politically motivated and retaliatory since he was (A) originally a GOP appointee, and (B) involved in investigating possible CIA violations of law in the Agency's facilitating a 4-billion-dollar FDIC-insured loan from the Atlanta branch of an Italian bank to the Iraqi government that was later defaulted on.

      Anything that James Comey does in these regards will place him under scrutiny from competing Republican and Democratic political factions. He finds himself in the same stead as Wm. Sessions in the early days of the Clinton administration.

    • The FBI knew well that Russia has us by the balls. Our security is illusion. News, banking, physical control of industry, your very city depends on the internet. So does the military.

  • The Russian Job: The Plot Thickens (18)
    • Devil's Advocate:

      You've got a guy who was lobbying for a Russian business man with ties to Putin eleven years ago and has undertaken various similar tasks since; obviously someone specialising in the sort of PR nation states and multinationals employ to promote or massage their image among US lawmakers and public, the sort of thing many nations do and which Israel has developed to a fine art. Is it so surprising that Manafort would know Trump or, since he did, that Trump would call on his expertise when faced with the unfamiliar demands of handling a presidential campaign?

      As for Putin's billionaire cronies, that's normal these days when the world is more or less run by billionaires who expect to exert influence. Look at those who support AIPAC. Russia, like most ancient nations, tends, after periods of social upheaval, to revert to a more or less familiar ruling structure; Putin a latter day Tsar, Sisi a Pharaoh, and Xi Jinping an Emperor. None have ever been poor, they couldn't do it if they were, nor is running a nation a task for a those of too fastidious financial integrity. Look at poor Obama, clean as a whistle and totally hopeless. I knew a young priest many years ago, Trevor his name, fastidious he was, wore a biretta. He was also a social worker and one day assigned a household about which his department had some concern. There he found a elderly man living alone in a house filled 3 to 4 feet high with old newspapers he had been collecting since the war, through which were only enough passages left to move about his business. Trevor was appalled, he gathered a group of well-wishers from his church and spent the weekend clearing and cleaning the old man's house. He was totally taken aback when he called a week later to find the old man stone dead in his unfamiliar surroundings.

      Is it yet clear that Putin had even the faintest influence on the US election, or that Trump ever sought such a thing?

    • A little fleshing out of our mogul's history:

      Deripaska, 49, notably made his fortune in the cut-throat metals industry, where contract killings were so common the struggle for assets became known as the "Aluminium Wars."

      Deripaska emerged unscathed, at one point acquiring almost 100 percent of Russia’s aluminium production -- a feat few believe could have been achieved without adopting some of the darker practices of the time. He still owns the vast aluminium company RusAl.

      In 2007, the U.S. State Department denied Deripaska a visa; though it declined to say why, U.S. officials at the time told Reuters he was denied entry to the U.S. amid concerns about his links to organized crime.

      Deripaska doesn’t deny he has, at times, had to collaborate with suspected mafia figures. In 2012, he settled a $1 billion court case with a man he said had acted as his mafia cover in the 1990s. Deripaska said he had no choice but to work with the man. Such were the times, he said.

      link to abcnews.go.com

    • Some additional tidbits- would be good to have the full details filled in by knowledgeable people:
      --Manafort's payment was to be 10 million a year; according to Rachael Maddow last night we don't know when it ended;
      --Yanukovych himself was fabulously rich and corrupt;
      --some of the oligarchs had KGB (now FSB) ties;
      --Tillerson apparently was the one who negotiated the oil deal...
      Further:
      Environmentally, Obama had effectively stopped 3 huge pipeline projects which Trump will re-start: Keystone XL,
      DAPL, and the Russia one, stopped by the sanctions. The Russia one involves Arctic drilling. All 3 represent enormous environmental disasters, for global warming, oil spills and
      otherwise.
      The political/global power play situation has many aspects. One side of this is the very real fears Russia can have from NATO aggressively expanded to its borders, with military maneuvers in Poland and so on. Another is fascist influences in the new Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe. Another aspect are the possibly legitimate fears by people in the Baltic states, Poland and so on of Russian expansionism- but how real is that? It may be hard to judge, but if one just pretends that Russia under Putin is not expansionist, it could come to a situation where it is too late- a long game is being played. And "sphere of influence"
      can have different aspects.
      I remember when the Wall came down in Germany: there was such a rush to unify, and many things were badly done.
      The opportunity was there to combine the best aspects of West and East; instead the laws of the West along with rapacious capitalism, stress, materialism were all simply
      glued on top. But there was an overwhelming feeling on the part of Germans- mostly unvoiced- that we better get this over with quick before Russia changes its mind, who knows what will happen later on. Hence the rush.
      To be sure there are many sides to the story of Eastern Europe: Soviet oppression; Russian oppression; terrible aspects of life in the FSU; "good" aspects of life there which were wiped out by the corporate capitalism that was imported whole hog; disastrous "shock therapy" economics; stupidity and organizational maladroitness of the EU; unfortunate involvement of the US dragging NATO into the Middle East; vice versa for Libya...
      Then there is the incredible corruption of the Russian "kleptocracy" in the words of the former ambassador who mysteriously died recently in Washington; a host of other mysterious deaths associated with these questions...
      Then there is the geopolitics of US/China relations as well...
      and the Syria situation...and North Korea...and and...
      This all makes for an extremely complex situation, and Trump and Co certainly are exactly the wrong people to be in charge at this extremely difficult and delicate time. We
      can't trust anything they say, much less their motives, and anything they do.

      -

    • The Trump administration will have a diversion. Will it be North Korea? or another outrageous executive order? It is tempting when cornered to do something really stupid and dangerous. I would not be surprised if something wild happens.

    • No.1...Certainly Putin and his mob are somewhat desperate to have sanctions lifted. They knew Trump, ever the business man, if there is something in it for him, was the better choice to lift the sanctions. (Don't be surprised if there are Russian sweetheart deals for Trump inc in the future.")

      No 2...Rep. Gowdy told us repeatedly that "leaking classified information is a crime." However, yesterday Nunes ran to "Daddy Trump' like a school boy and told Trump and the press he had information that exonerated Trump of collusion. Here is what Politico reported..."A Republican source with knowledge of the situation claimed the information that Nunes talked about was from the intelligence community and not the White House."

      I hope Rep. Gowdy will call for an investigation to see if Nunes broke the law by leaking classified intelligence.

    • here's real news. Israel and netanyahu interfere in plain sight in US politics and try to sway elections. that's what comey should be investigating. all political actors are on the take in DC, from Israel, from defense contractors, from anyone with money.
      manafort's connections with fat cats is not news. it is an attempted coup by the CIA and the permanent government to unseat Trump.

    • thank for guide..

    • Certainly won't fall on their pens, which are mightier than swords...

  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage? (12)
    • "Does Trump’s slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage?"

      In a word, YES

      Between trump slashing the aid and the state department budgets, China will have an open field to do whatever they want, which will be making as many friends as possible by spreading all their excess dollars around via major investments that will better the lives of he people instead of making it easier for the government to make war.

      Just like when USA companies PAID Chinese companies to take the USA IP, the USA is now handing the world to china on a gold platter with a big, ornate "T" on it.

    • But how much more?

      Why make bad loans to trump when an equal amount will deliver HUGE benefits when loaned or given to other countries?

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
  • Isolated Saudi Arabia pivots to Asia; but will it spread Extremism There? (2)
    • The Atlantic recently ran a very detailed article about the Kingdom's apparent efforts to spread its brand of Islam to Indonesia, using the "hajj quota" as leverage. Not a positive development for a country with such a rich and varied cultural heritage.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • @Gary Page

      Largely--I think the debate about the emails is secondary or even immaterial to all the lies, deceit and scandal of Trump. However, I don't like it when we insist nothing was wrong about the emails. Internal State Department reviews under then Secretary of State John Kerry state that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not have received permission to use the private servers for emails if she ever asked for permission for such an arrangement:

      link to nytimes.com

    • @Gary Page

      Going forward, the amended Federal Records Act makes it difficult for government officials to use private servers for emails: at the bare minimum it is required now to forward the records promptly to the official government messaging service. One can argue as you suggest that this was not the case then with former Secretary of State Clinton. If one cares about the historical record, which I hope commentators here do, then the new amendment is welcome. Prior to the amendment, the spirit of Federal Records Act was still to the effect that emails should not be culled through individuals other than the national archivists. Your comment: "However, I find it unlikely that the attorneys who did it would have intentionally violated the law as it would have put them at great risk professionally and they must have been well versed in the law before they acted..." is speculative. The entire purpose of the act is to remove doubt with regards to the authenticity of the archives. That's not possible if individuals use private servers and cull whichever records they chose.

      As I stated in the previous comment, one can take the view that no law was violated through former Secretary of State Clinton's use of a private server: a view that others might have grounds to contest. What I think any reasonable person would have to concede is that the use of a private server and not allowing national archivists to determine which records are relevant for the archives did violate the spirit of the Federal Records Act.

  • How Foreign Powers Could Try to Buy Trump (4)
  • Isolated Saudi Arabia pivots to Asia; but will it spread Extremism There? (2)
    • So. Oil, Trump, Russia, Tillerson, the Saudi Opec agreement to lower production and raise prices. This all seems to be about keeping oil in power, defusing the momentum for alternatives, Paris accord. Why isn't this the main entree on our what the hell is happening menu?

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
  • Top 4 Worst pieces of Climate News from WMO in Age of Trump (5)
    • Something which I think is often overlooked is the possibility of widespread famine. Climate change is likely to disrupt deep ocean currents which will radically change weather patterns that have been the basis for much of world agriculture over centuries and longer. For example, if the monsoons are disrupted in India, that could have catastrophic effects on their agriculture. Similarly, most major Indian rivers are fed by Himalayan glacier melt and monsoon rains. What happens if the monsoons are disrupted and the glaciers disappear? What happens if the US Middle West become too hot for grain crops? One of the main reasons for mass famine in Africa is the desertification of areas south of the Sahara. Same with the Gobi Desert in China. In both areas, the desert is increasing up to a half mile per year because of climate change. Combine that with rising sea levels making many coastal areas uninhabitable and we could see mass die offs of hundreds of millions of people and mass extinction events among flora and fauna. The dire effects cannot be overstated since there will be likely additional unpleasant effects that cannot be foreseen.

  • Why Trump loves both Torture and Fake News: Doing Violence to the Truth (2)
    • Torture is also quite effective at reasserting a lost sense of power and control, which are psychologically indispensable.

      Its a way of doing something, especially when faced with a situation for which one has no real preparation, like 911.

      Without something to respond with, one might go absolutely mad with frustration and impotence.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • Maybe you didn't see this, but it came out that Clinton actually discussed this with Powell before she took office and he did not counsel her against it. In fact, he sent her an email giving her advice on how best to use her private PDA. See link to usatoday.com
      Also, the whole email issue came out only because of the Benghazi hearings. Even Republicans admitted that the whole purpose of the Benghazi hearings was to try and stop Clinton from winning the presidency since she seemed to have it locked up at that time.

    • I have some expertise in this area. I was the head of the City of San Diego's records management program, which was modeled on the Federal program, and I had a top secret clearance while I was in military intelligence. I agree with Professor Cole. No laws were broken and what Clinton did was only slightly different from what Colin Powell did in that she had her own server. We have since found out that many government officials have used unsecured communications for possibly classified materials. The charge that she had classified materials stored on that server is technically accurate, but not a chargeable offense as Comey concluded. All but 3 of the classified materials were classified AFTER she received them. Those that were classified were improperly marked and the violation would be by the person(s) who sent the improperly marked classification, not on the recipient. I dealt with top secret materials on a daily basis and would not have recognized that the improper marking was, in fact, a classification mark. You cannot convict someone of mishandling classified materials if they weren't classified when you were using them. In fact, I think that would fall under the Constitutional ban of an ex post facto law. I use the analogy of someone driving through an intersection which has no controlling sign, having a stop sign put up the next week and then being charged with running through a stop sign for the previous week before the sign was up. Finally, the shelf life of most intelligence is very short, sometimes weeks, rarely more than months. What is important is if the intelligence reveals sources and methods, which none of the materials on Clinton's server did, to my knowledge. I think Clinton made a political mistake by having her lawyers go through her server and remove non-record materials, which, by the way, is different from non-governmental materials. Many government records need not be kept or may be discarded after 2 years. Instead, she should have had officials from the National Archives do it. However, I find it unlikely that the attorneys who did it would have intentionally violated the law as it would have put them at great risk professionally and they must have been well versed in the law before they acted.

  • Palestinians shocked at craven UN climbdown from report on Israeli Apartheid (4)
    • "ESCWA, which is comprised of 18 Arab states, said in the report that Israel was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of imposing apartheid policies against Palestinians.
      Israeli officials were quick to denounce it, comparing it to Nazi propaganda and calling for Guterres to publicly reject it"

      Well, there is only one way to know the truth. By the UN seeing firsthand the way in which the Palestinians are treated. The UN would also bring the news media so that everyone can see the truth. Just as we have inspectors on the ground checking for WMD, so too we should have them for anyone who treats others worse than animals. The Israeli government will pay dearly for what they are doing. ..it's only a matter of time and millions of Arabs will never forget.

  • Top 4 Worst pieces of Climate News from WMO in Age of Trump (5)
    • Interesting and worthy of note regarding Anthropogenic Climate Change - Solar output is currently in a state of decline, the weakest in a century.

      link to space.com

      Yet, Earth temperatures continue to rise faster than at any time in history.

      link to epa.gov

      Please note that in the U.S. warming is occurring faster than the ROW. And selling the EPA to the fossil-fuel industry to become a public-private partnership won’t be the least bit helpful.

    • there is an article in the Atlantic about a Pleistocene park that is being created in Siberia to bring back and restore the Mammoth ecosystem in the grasslands below the artic circle. Rather interesting since it deals with the problem to maintain the permafrost frozen becuse if it thaws we are in big, big trouble.

    • Trump will repeat, parrotlike, "Fake news. Fake news." Meanwhile the deniers in Congress fall back on, "I'm not a scientist, but...." Nothing will improve for the next 4 years unless a Trump property is utterly demolished by what is undeniably climate-caused.

      Until then, the working model is Louisiana where politicians kowtow to the oil & gas industry (job creators, ya know), ignoring the perils to health and wealth that they represent.

  • Gorsuch Refuses Chance to Condemn 'Dark Money' Lobbying on His Behalf (2)
  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • Worthy of note: VPOTUS Mike Pence is a Seven Mountains Dominionist or a 7M, an authoritarian political movement hiding under a religious cloak.

      Here is some 7M theocracy to consider. - “We must use the doctrine of ‘Religious liberty’ to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies liberty to the enemies of God.” – Gary Kilgore North, 1982.“

    • The Federal Records Act was amended in 2014 (after Clinton left office) so that any communication on a private server must be forwarded to the official electronic messaging account within 20 days. Unrelated, there is security liability. Regardless of whether or not government servers are less secure than private servers, if one keeps a private server, then one is assuming liability for the security of any classified information (even if such information is classified retrospectively). On the other hand, if it's in government servers, then the onus is on the government to ensure security of it's servers.

      The Federal Records Act and Section 1924 of Title 18 aren't just empty words or laws: they place profound restrictions on our government officials in the manner they communicate via email. Even if one genuinely believes that no laws were violated when former Secretary of State used a private server, the spirit of the law was disregarded. This disregard for the law might not mean much, when placed into context of all of Trump's lies, deceit, and scandal, but we shouldn't mitigate what was done for political expediency. Former Secretary of State Clinton acknowledges that it would have been wiser to not use a private server.

    • One may split hairs about this 'till the cows come home but she had done things with her communication arrangements which were felt to demand investigation. That's where it started. Until recently such lapses would likely pass unnoticed, or at any rate unregarded, but today with media and public sniffing sniffing all over like basset hounds, it behooves officials to be more careful, at any rate to keep ever in mind the 11th commandment, Thou shalt not get found out.

  • Top 4 Worst pieces of Climate News from WMO in Age of Trump (5)
  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • An at least partial explanation came out at the hearing and news commentary afterward. (I've been soaking up so much of this stuff I don't remember where exactly.) A key fact is that the Trump investigation is ongoing. By some accounts, counter-intelligence investigations tend to take a long time. Comey did not want to violate FBI procedures and jeopardize the investigation by letting on that it was taking place before all the work was done.

      Whereas, the Clinton investigation was a much smaller affair that, as I recall, had been complete when first announced. The next two announcements had something to do with a promise to Congress that any further developments would be followed up if they were to occur, as they did.

      I'm not making excuses for Comey. But I think it's true, as you've implied, that he was faced with a tricky navigation problem. I've heard numerous times that not commenting on ongoing investigations is standard procedure. If only the Clinton case had been more complicated and time-consuming, then perhaps Comey would have said nothing till after the election and the investigation(s) were complete.

      A week or two before the hearing---before it had even been arranged---"Ranking Member" Schiff mentioned his frustration with Comey about standard FBI priorities having to do with prosecutability. Hush hush until the whole case is in order. Whereas Schiff, as a Congressman, felt that national security issues were more important. Given the huge pile of highly suspicious circumstantial evidence that had been gathered, Schiff was itching to let everyone know about it, even if resulting court cases might be weakened as a result. My impression is that Schiff's concerns with respect to Comey have been mostly, if not entirely satisfied by the hearing.

      Such an ugly, horrible, frightening mess.

  • What's Cuba *Really* Like? (5)
    • Typo above:

      America's low life expectancy is because most Americans choose not to exercise nearly enough. America spends more on "HEALTH CARE" per person than any other country.

    • H. Patricia Hynes, Cuba has a very serious racism challenge, especially against people of African American descent.

      Your counter argument might be that every country in the world has a major challenge of racism against people of African descent. While there is something to this argument, that doesn't excuse the very real problems of racism inside Cuba. It is extremely difficult for Cubans of African descent earn a middle class income, let alone become part of Cuba's military leadership, political leadership, intellectual leadership, economic leadership.

      Your implicit endorsement of Cuba's lack of civil rights, freedom of speech, ability to select Cuba's leaders, oppression of LBGTQ is troubling. As is the way you gloss over the fact that a poor healthy young person in Cuba has far fewer economic opportunities than similar young healthy poor people in India, China, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, or just about any free market pro business country.

      Why is it acceptable to you that young Cuban people don't have the same economic opportunities as young people in Asian tigers or Latin American tigers (Chile, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica)?

      "One hallmark of Cuba’s achievements is its free health care system, recognized as one of the best in the world" . . . this is an obscene lie. Cuba spends very little on health care per person. What you might argue is that Cuba has a very high rate of return on health care spending. However, Cuban health care is by no reasonable definition "good quality." Cuba doesn't have any hospitals comparable to modern hospitals in Mexico, Chile, India, Thailand, Indonesia, or other modern countries. [Acknowledging that Cuban hospitals are available to poor Cubans while most quality hospitals in developing countries are available only to paying customers.]

      "reflecting the fact that our country invests much less of our GDP in education than does Cuba". The US spending on education as a percentage of GDP and in real terms are among the highest in the world:
      link to cbsnews.com

      While Cuba spends a higher percentage of GDP on education; spending as a percentage of GDP isn't as important as real spending. The reason Cuba can't afford quality education and quality health care is because Cuba is a poor country (relative to the rest of the world.)

      Cuba use to be a relatively rich developed country in 1959 by global standards. However real GDP growth in Cuba has been slower than the global average. Cuba has fallen behind.

      Cuba's abysmal economy is a global laughing stock. The Cuban people deserve better.

      Fidel Castro and Raul Castro have both strongly criticized past Cuban leftist economic policies and called for free market reforms. H. Patricia Hynes's dishonest defense of Cuba's disastrous former leftist economic policies seem designed to disrupt and undermine Cuba's current efforts to become more pro business.

      America's low life expectancy is because most Americans choose not to exercise nearly enough. America spends more on education per person than any other country.

      Cuba's high life expectancy has much more to do with healthy exercise (and possibly dietary choices) than with the health care system, which isn't all that good by global standards.

      “Our “free” national elections are determined by money – the biggest spenders win” The evidence does not support this allegation at the US national level. Recent elections have seen strong electoral results for Donald Trump, Kasich, John McCain (2008), Huckabee (2008). These are candidates that raised very little money for their campaigns. What is true is that publicity is very helpful to win elections . . . much more useful than money.

      “disproportionate number of African Americans unjustly incarcerated”. Is there evidence for “unjust” incarcerations? Isn’t it more useful to discuss how to encourage young people not to commit crimes in the first place? For example, how to improve education outcomes for African Americans. Prison reform to facilitate education and normal career prospects for inmates in prison. Including encouraging entrepreneurship, prisoners starting VC backed start-ups, prisoners working high end jobs, ups while serving their sentences in jail?

      “as a society, come to terms with structural racism, our segregated cities and segregated urban schools” Is this why you believe that Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans are far less likely to be in prison and far more likely to be in the middle class and upper middle class than African Americans? Do you think this is because Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans practice “structured racism” against African Americans?
      Do you believe that the reason Asian Americans, muslim Americans, Arab Americans are better educated, wealthier, have better career prospects, and less likely to be incarcerated than Caucasian Americans is because of “structured racism”?

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage? (12)
    • I work a lot with USAID. They actually do work on poverty alleviation. The more relevant question is whether those programs are effective. Most poverty in developing countries is structural and/or the result of political conflict and feudal-like or post-colonial exploitation. USAID has little impact on those situations except palliative assistance. However, in less dysfunctional countries, USAID (and other donors) has funded local organizations (esp.NGOs/CSOs) that effectively address poverty and empowerment.

  • Why Trump loves both Torture and Fake News: Doing Violence to the Truth (2)
    • There is a use for torture in authoritarian regimes. It is used to instill terror in the citizens as a means of controlling an unfriendly population. One of the best examples is Argentina after their Freidman economics inspired coup egged on by the CIA, Ford Motor Co., et al. The new regime tortured labor leaders and other progressives where the screams could be heard by other members of the city as intimidation.

  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage? (12)
    • The US bombs, China builds. All interventions have severe negative downsides for the intervenee and the intervenor. But if the choice is framed as "Bomb or Build" it is easy enough.

  • What's Cuba *Really* Like? (5)
    • Can't quarrel with most of the article though, for a long time, there were virtually no Afro-Cubans in the top ranks of the government of the country. Cuba was also infamous for its persecution of gays, something that has recently changed though only Cuban gays can say how much. But one real test of a system like that of Cuba is if it can deliver economically in the long term and Cuba has been struggling since it lost its subsidies from the Soviet Union. Finally, as a leftist, I most definitely do not believe in dictatorships for life nor hereditary ones.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • I think a waste of time investigating Trump and his "connections " with Russia. He has a more serious problem: Conflict of Interests.

    • One of the most interesting things about Hillary's emails is the fact that NO ONE in authority at the State Department seems to have questioned her use of a private server.

      There are thousands of her emails (both to and from) and anyone the least bit computer savvy would have noticed that her mails did not come from or go to the official State Dept. server. Her private server address was:

      HDR@clintonemail.com

      All other State Dept. employees with whom she exchanged correspondence had a different address:

      @state.gov

      All of the hair pulling and cries of "lock her up" by her adversaries is the height of hypocrisy. Her server may have been private but it was certainly NOT a secret. And it obviously did not attract the attention of State Dept. officials.

    • The conspiracy-minded might conclude that Comey is a Pence supporter, and has cleverly maneuvered Pence into a position where he has a shot at the presidency if Trump is forced out over the Russia scandal.

      Hopefully, any group seeking to get rid of Trump will wait until after the 2018 elections to give the Democrats a chance to take back the senate and/or the house - not that they will be any great improvement. Other than a nuclear or other war with Russia or Iran, it is difficult to contemplate anything worse than a President Pence supported by Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

    • During yesterday’s hearing held by the House Intelligence (?) committee Rep. Adam Schiff stated unequivocally that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. Unfortunately, FBI Director Comey didn’t ask Schiff to provide his evidence to assist with the FBI’s investigation into the matter.

    • Several things. Comey was deputy counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1996. I have seen it speculated that he grew to dislike the Clintons and felt that they were getting away with wrongdoing. That is mere speculation, of course. The other thing is that Rudy Giuliani seemed to know ahead of time that the FBI was going to announce the finding of Clinton emails on Weiner's computer. Many believe that Giuliani, who used to be US Attorney for New York, has extensive ties to FBI agents in New York and that a cabal of right wing agents in New York were forcing Comey's hand and keeping Giuliani informed. Here are some pertinent links. link to vox.com and link to huffingtonpost.com then link to m.huffpost.com

    • I agree with you. Why is it taking so long to investigate the Trump-Russia connection. One would think that a case such as this would warrant the FBI's more serious attention and supported with heavy resources. There must have been some evidence of of the connection to justify opening the investigation in the first place. Maybe not a smoking gun, but at least a warm gun.

      And at the hearing Comey stated he had no idea how much longer the investigation would take. Almost get the impression that the case has been given to a very busy agent to add to his "to do" list, but no rush.

      At the conspiracy theory level, the evidence might be so conclusive and damning that revelation must be delayed until some plan is developed to cope with a leadership problem that makes Watergate look like a parking violation.

  • How Foreign Powers Could Try to Buy Trump (4)
    • What if Trump's foreign assets are surrounded by protesters, or attacked? His first thought will be to send in the Marines to protect them.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • If you are looking for a hero, or any good guy or gal inside of our Beltway look no more, because your not going to find one. The American citizen has been reduced to their becoming an audience. Everything you see is a performance where we are to be entertained to no end, by the in house fighters. McCartney & Lennon had it right, "Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about."

    • Currently, FBI Director James Comey is the tip of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that is intent on thrusting our country back to 1946. Comey’s Hatch Act violating actions toward Hillary Clinton and in favor of Trump could not be any more obvious.

      In providing cover on behalf of a foreign power for the already compromised Trump presidency, Comey keeps his job rather than being on the docket for high crimes.

      And we haven’t seen anything, yet.

  • Trump picks fights with US Allies: Germany, NATO, EU, Britain etc. (21)
    • No. Trump's foreign policy with regards to the EU is clear to me even though it's execution is ham-handed hence will become counter-productive if that continues.
      In order to create the millions of jobs which candidate Trump has promised he must cut down or ideally eliminate serious competitors on the world markets. Russia is not a competitor hence needs no attacks. China of course is a big competitor and candidate Trump all but vowed to cut it to pieces. He has placed that into the political refrigerator when he realized how big that task would be. If the anti-EU campaign is successful it will be taken out again and Bejing knows it.
      There will eventually be measures against outsourcing to low-wage, low-tax countries.
      However, the biggest and potentially the most powerful economic competitor is the EU. It needs to be cut down and if Russia can help Russian help is welcome. Insulting Great Britain is stupid because Brexit helps cutting the EU down too.
      The new axis is to be Washington-London-Moscow. Weird!
      Within the EU Germany is the biggest competitor. Its position on the world markets will decrease if it needs to up it's NATO contribution faster than anticipated. Merkel said no. Hence the Trumpian cold shoulder.
      Trump's foreign policies are not crazy when viewed in the economic-financial framework. They may be dumb but they are predictable.

  • How Foreign Powers Could Try to Buy Trump (4)
    • POTUS sold-out to the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to get elected. Vladimir Putin was permitted to interfere on his behalf, unscathed, during our national election. It’s a safe bet Donald J. Trump is already far too compromised to be loyal to his country.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
  • How Foreign Powers Could Try to Buy Trump (4)
  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • "There was not actually anything suspicious about a private server. As for the charge that her personal server was more at risk of being hacked than a government one, this is not true in any way that matters."

      I will know people who are very severely hurt by Trump's travel ban: people that I work with or even closer to heart. Some of Trump's policies will directly negatively effect me, and Clinton would never carry out such policies. We shouldn't mitigate the facts on the ground with regards to Clinton's private email server due to our dislike of Trump. These are two very separate issues.

      There is a lot wrong with Clinton's use private email server more than what you highlight in your post: (1) it is against the law and (2) it is not up to Clinton's team to parse through her emails and decide which ones should be sent to government archives as this tarnishes the historical record. Separately, with regards to email security, what you have stated is not sufficient to establish that private servers are just as secure as government servers. The rate of hacking in private servers like Clinton's is likely to be higher than dedicated State department servers. If not, that is all the more reason why our government officials should dedicate more resources to establish securer governmental servers instead of using their own servers which provides further disincentive for our elected officials to make our government servers secure.

      Contextualize Clinton's private email server fiasco with regards to all the lies, deceit, and scandals of Trump, but don't claim that Clinton's use of a private email server is not against the law or at the very least against the spirit of the law or that it simply doesn't matter. The Federal Records Act requires agencies to hold onto official communications: Clinton circumvented this by keeping a private server. This was wrong.

    • Wasn't Comey in a Catch 22 and whatever he did was going to look wrong to some. One distinction may have been that there was no question Clinton had used an unauthorised mail address and server so that was an unequivocal No No. He'd have been in even deeper water if he'd found serious security leaks later, particularly if he had found them on Weiner's machine after having told Congress all was clear. On the other hand Trump etc. might or might not have been in contact with Russian officials so there was really no reason to tell anyone...yet. Perhaps the answer is for officials in sensitive positions to go by the book in these matters.

  • Trump picks fights with US Allies: Germany, NATO, EU, Britain etc. (21)
    • How can the European command structure trust the Americans in their midst? If the Russians attack what will the Americans do, fight them, fight the Europeans, or just stay neutral?

  • What's Cuba *Really* Like? (5)
  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage? (12)
  • It is Comey who should be Investigated (30)
    • Comey's last minute ditch to help Trump win, has hurt the nation. The emails he released (despite being advised not to) turned out to be nothing, but it may have hurt Hillary too much.
      Today we are cursed with a President, who has only divided the nation, but acts like he has no class, education, or dignity, and has lied almost daily to the American people. It would have been good to hear someone in the panel address this, and ask him if he though he did the right thing then.

  • Is White Supremacy Making A Comeback? (2)
    • Hunter S. Thompson was utterly unable to conform which endowed him with the clear perspective of an actual contemporary visionary by way of his literary artform known as “Gonzo journalism.” A “Gonzoesque” description of the artform - Part fact, part implication and supposition mixed with cold humor but enough substance to be useful, sometimes prophetic. “Fear & Loathing in America” (ESPN.com, 2001) is an amazing example of his art.

      link to openculture.com

      With his passing, he instructed that his ashes be formed into aerial fireworks to be fired from a cannon to celebrate his life. Boom.

      link to espn.com

  • Palestinians shocked at craven UN climbdown from report on Israeli Apartheid (4)
    • I always thought it funny that so many people thought that a two state solution could be a permanent solution to the problem. We need a more permanent solution to our problem.

  • Does Trump's slashed Foreign Aid Budget give China the Advantage? (12)