Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 02, 2016

Open Thread 2016-01

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 2, 2016 at 18:44 UTC | Permalink

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I think the best way to prevent a Clinton Presidency is to get Bernie nominated in the Democratic Primary. And note that Bernie performs BETTER than Hillary when running against Trump:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 2 2016 19:00 utc | 1

The indirect message to the 99%

Posted by: nmb | Jan 2 2016 19:16 utc | 2

George Galloway Comment: What is West’s worst crime of 2015?

Mentioned: The West's fake fight against ISIS, the West's continued support for "rebels" in Syria, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians, the continuing war in Ukraine...

Anymore suggestions for the list from MoAers?

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 2 2016 19:28 utc | 3

Chiapas, Mexico - Twenty-two years after the armed indigenous uprising, communities of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) may not have cement houses, digital TVs or latest model pickup trucks, but Subcomandante Moisés declared,
"not only are you better than 22 years ago, your standard of living is higher than those who have sold themselves to the political parties of all stripes."

Caracas, Venezuela - Deep divisions within the opposition came to the fore over the Christmas break, fueled by a polemical interview with opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski published on December 23. Capriles hinted that the priority for the new opposition dominated National Assembly should be the “stabilization of the economy,” instead of pushing for a quick removal of president Maduro from his post via a recall referendum.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 2 2016 19:31 utc | 4

Good succinct statement from Chris Hedges, "The Illusion of Freedom," on the totalitarian nature of Western society, with the added prediction that "Before it is over there will be blood in the streets." Well, there is already blood in the streets. I guess Hedges means that there will be a lot more of it.

Here is to another productive year for MofA.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jan 2 2016 19:55 utc | 5

It is hoped that the beheading of Al Nimr would accelerate the collapse of the Saud family and the end of the Wahhabi regime.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 2 2016 21:12 utc | 6

DUBAI: The whole nation is proud, jubilant and ecstatic on the occasion of the upcoming 10th year Accession Day Anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
President salutes Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's 10 years of leadership
The National - ‎1 hour ago‎
ABU DHABI // The President, Sheikh Khalifa, yesterday congratulated Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President, before tomorrow's 10th anniversary of his accession as Ruler of Dubai. “Today we say to him, 'Thank you, Mohammed bin Rashid, for all ...

Proud of our police, civil defence and ambulance services: Mohammed
Emirates 24|7 - ‎15 hours ago‎
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has praised the efforts by the Dubai authorities to rapidly control the blaze at The Address Downtown Dubai hotel on Dec 31st night ...

Surrounded by negative news, it is nice to see a nation where the press has such a positive attitude.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 2 2016 21:48 utc | 7

RT Interview with Green Party's Jill Stein

On the American political system:

... independent third parties like myself are basically silenced, they try to keep us off the ballot and out of the debate, but if you look at the numbers, there are also twice as many people who have repudiated both of the major parties as there are inside of either party

On Bernie:
...he will be eliminated, his days are numbered, Hillary Clinton is running the show. Her husband, Bill, has already collected a huge number of so-called "superdelegates", so - Bernie will be a victim of what we call the "kill-switch" inside the Democratic party for truly progressive candidates. This is what they always do. They rely on the face of a progressive to bring people back into the party, while the party keeps marching to the right and becomes more and more a party of Wall St., a party of war and big corporations.

... He's saying he's doing it to raise issues, but that he will support Hillary or whatever corporate candidate is finally selected. So, it's kind of a... it's an exercise in futility, and it may be raising issues but then his purpose is to direct that all back into Hillary Clinton's campaign, which doesn't serve the cause. The Green Party, on the other hand, is building a base from which we can continue to build.

On the duopoly populists (Bernie and Trump):
... [it's an attempt] to absorb that breakaway momentum now, they're trying to bring it back into the party ... while they suppress any knowledge and information about independent third parties.... [the system] is ... a house of cards waiting to fall down, and we will be there to lead the way forward when it does.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2016 21:51 utc | 8

@8 jr

I think there is a structural problem that has led to our one-party, so-called two-party, system. How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? We just do it ...

There are some 175 thousand voting precincts in the USA, each comprised of one or two thousand constituents. This seems the 'natural' scale at which to organize to repopulate our representative government and to restructure our government itself as required.

In fact our organization will be de facto the definition of our government's restructure.

As far as elections go our 2-party, single-ballot system has been shown to be optimized for exactly the dysfunctional state in which we find ourselves.

We suggest an alternative, open, poll-till-majority election method. We must simply effect it and choose our representative government, then use our representative government to enact our method as law.

But how can we use a new, 'unofficial' method of election to choose our representative government?

Start now and 'just do it'. Hold our own polls before the 'official' polls in November, and then vote our polls' results in the 'official', November election.

Since we have never held our own polls before, we need to practise. We need to hold elections now, in preparation for our first effective polls in November, 2016. ...

If we'd started in 2004 we'd be done by now.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 2 2016 22:30 utc | 9

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2, 2016 4:51:26 PM | 8

Thank you. Jackrabbit. Jill Stein Green Party the only Pacifist among all the presidential hopeful.

Duopoly again or lesser of the evils, Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders town hall gives US party line when confronted re: #gaza

Dissent on Israel Not Permitted at Bernie Sanders Event

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 2 2016 22:34 utc | 10

If we live in a fractal universe, there'll be an infinite stack of turtles all the way down. And if our fractal universe is embedded among an infinite number of other universes in an all-encompassing multiverse, that's either holographic or simulated or both, then we could be living in a place where “the compass always pointing to Terrapin.”

Seriously though, "Terrapin Station" has gotta be one of the greatest rock songs ever written. Which makes it a crying shame that Rolling Stone has never listed it among the all-time greats:

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 2 2016 22:40 utc | 11

@ 11 Cynthia

Didnt know this song.
Nothing special, sorry. BUT then I saw the Grateful Dead did this song also.
My first click was:

Posted by: From The Hague | Jan 2 2016 22:51 utc | 12

You don't have to vote for Sanders in the general election. What I am talking about is tactical strategy to knock Hillary out of the running by voting in the Democratic Primary for Sanders. I don't see how anyone can argue against that. Don't sit on the sidelines, USE the Democratic Primary. (the powers that be clearly don't want you to do so):

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 2 2016 23:07 utc | 13

@9 jfl what you wrote is part of the problem because it ignores the primaries. I have seen this sloppy thinking or propaganda in articles over and over again where the suggestion is there is only the general election to participate in. In the past I vote in the Democratic Primary and then for the Green Party in the general election. See me voting in this video:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 2 2016 23:12 utc | 14

@10 Jack Smith You don't have to vote for Sanders in the general election. What I am talking about is tactical strategy to knock Hillary out of the running by voting in the Democratic Primary for Sanders. I don't see how anyone can argue against that. Don't sit on the sidelines, USE the Democratic Primary. (the powers that be clearly don't want you to do so):

The powers that be love pushing the manipulative suggestion that there is only the general election to participate in. In the past I vote in the Democratic Primary and then for the Green Party in the general election. See me voting in this video:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 2 2016 23:15 utc | 15

@3 guest

All the suggestions boil down to 'the interference of Western states in the affairs of other countries as well as their warmongering foreign policies', don't they?

That's my candidate as well. None of the wars or Western engendered terrorist operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lybia, Ukraine, Mali ... or elsewhere serves any human cause, provides any human benefit. Which brings us to the TPP|TTIP|TSIA which don't even pretend to benefit humans but overtly benefit the TNCs themselves, exclusively. Factoring in the damage purposefully being done to mother earth and the rest of our brother and sister species who live upon her ... the worst criminal - criminal gang - is apparent : the TNCs. And the 'brains' within, the financiers.

The most heartening thing to have happened in 2015 may have been Venezuela Passes Law Banning GMOs, by Popular Demand, on both counts : the law itself, as a model for us all, and the way it arose and was passed by the Venezuelan people themselves. Maybe with emphasis on that second count. Again a model for us all.

Russia's standing up to the TNCs and their governmental instruments, and her taking charge of organizing that opposition at the governmental level, also ranks high up there on the list of alternatives to criminal acts of Western states ... in fact I'd be more interested in a list of other good things brought about by us humans in 2015. There must have been more than two. The list of Western governmental crimes in service to the TNCs is endless.

Maybe we could pair the crimes and their anti-crimes, for instance. I'll start ...

1. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the US' ongoing experimentation with the Ebola weapon there vs Cuba's dispatch of medical personnel, doctors not soldiers, to West Africa to combat the results of Western crime there.

Hooray for Cuba! Another wonderful, ongoing - 63 year - example for us all. In fact, tired as I am of writing to the criminals in the USA, I wrote a letter to Fidel as antidote. It won't be too much longer before i'd have wished I did. Maybe we all should. It's good therapy if nothing else.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 2 2016 23:30 utc | 16

@14 TM

If you'd engage your brain instead of constantly defending the official line and the status quo you'd realize that what I'm advocating are real primaries. I hope you're not the Tom Murphy, my brother Tom's friend, who helped me out for years. He was a very nice guy.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 2 2016 23:43 utc | 17

Some of the MoA'ers were asking about a good socio-financial with a solid twist of geo-political, while always taking in the bigger picture on each blog post. Seeing that the author and commenters in both blogs are very sound, I recommend this one:

Documentary film maker David Malone runs the show, he has been very prolific of late (ran as a Green in last UK elections + other projects)...however, he made a new years day post - and I'm hoping there'll be when the the blog is ON, like here, its pretty electric and void of too many trolls n shills.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 3 2016 0:22 utc | 18

*he hasn't been very prolific

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 3 2016 0:23 utc | 19

I've enjoyed the Moon perspective for about two years thanks. An interesting election scenario would be a four-way race: independents - Trump and Sanders and party candidates Jeb! and Hillary. Only one major independent is a spoiler we know.

Posted by: communitymotive | Jan 3 2016 0:26 utc | 20

May I suggest that you read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States." In my opinion it makes current foreign policy clear ... we've been this way since the crusades... . As a settler state (along with Israel and South Africa) we have simply moved the goal posts from the North American continent to the world in general.

And please, no silly comments about 'getting over' the loss of indigenous autonomy. IT IS OUR HISTORY.
Sorry to the apologists for empire.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 3 2016 0:28 utc | 21

Tom at 14 --

I've had that fight.

It's not about rational calculation of political advantage. It's generally about "Purity of Essence." As any number of graduate seminars on Foucault and Derrida have shown, capital as a coherently discursive meta-narrative presuposes an epitemologic intersubjectivity of a-logical (im)possibility, and will collapse of its own accord due to the ontologically overdetermined contra/dictions of capital. Until this immaculate conception, no compromises. Especially with reality.

As a politico-socio-economic system, of course, it's going gang-busters. It keeps digging graves, but alas, no organized proletariat to provide a gentle push.

I would consider it as a possible tactic only because Saunders has for many years been elected as social-democrat. It has the potential to win folks for a broader change, and this evolution generally takes time. Most folks don't have the "road to Damascus," like Paul. It's more like Luther's "Here I stand, I can do no more."

FTH & Cynthia at 11, 12 --

If I may, my own favorite Dead tune Scarlet Begonias, from Winterland in '74. I'm not a Deadhead (new wave, early electronic, alt-rock), my college girlfriend was, we saw them, ca. 81-83 in Providence and Billerica (a college tour, small hockey arena, super-mellow vibe).

Favorite song from the canon -- The Wheel. I much prefer the pedal steel in the original to any of the live versions.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 3 2016 0:56 utc | 22

In some states, notably California, you can register as a Green and still vote in the primaries.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 1:30 utc | 23

@12 From The Hague,

That's an improvised version of Terrapin, which is pretty darn good considering how hard it is to improvise this song. The Dead understood the level of difficulty in doing this, which explains why they rarely performed it live. I prefer the studio version of Terrapin, simply because it needs a symphonic orchestra to give it power and dimension. Without input from a symphonic orchestra, Terrapin is rendered weak and dimensionless, IMO.

Don't get me wrong, improvising, i.e. jamming, is what truly made the Dead great. The Dead, along with the Allman Brothers, pretty much wrote the book on jamming, at least they did for rock music. Jazz musicians have been jamming ever since the early days of jazz, but rock musicians didn't start jamming until the Dead and the Allman Brothers came along. You'd be hard pressed to find any rock band today that can jam as well as the Dead could back in the day, second only to the the Allman Brothers when Duane was still alive.

I'm from the deep South and we have a great appreciating for jamming. I think it has something to do with it going hand in glove with warm weather and the good ol' outdoor. This is why the Dead was surprisingly popular in the South. I say "surprisingly popular" only because the 60's counterculture, something which was very near and dear to the Dead, never took hold in the South like it did elsewhere in the US.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 3 2016 1:41 utc | 24

3 Jan 2016

Anger after Saudi Arabia executes 47, including Shi'ite cleric

Saudi Arabia's execution of a leading cleric from the Shi'ite Muslim minority drew protests from around the world against the ruling Al Saud family and threatened to further intensify a wave of sectarian conflict in the Middle East.

Source: Reuters

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 3 2016 2:09 utc | 25

I hope we see some documents come out of this:

Iranians storm & set ablaze Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest Shiite cleric’s execution

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 3 2016 2:29 utc | 26

@24 cynthia.. rock musicians were jamming before the dead and allman brothers! not only jazz musicians, but blues musicians have been jamming for a long time too.. in fact the blues were a big influence on many early rock bands including the allman brothers.. why do i find your comments so american-centric? i was just over at ssr reading another very american-centric article by someone named bth.. and i come over to moa tonight and it's all american election talk.. i really don't mind, but jesus - the world does not revolve around the usa, barring my lousy appreciation for american exceptionalism.. bach and mozart were jamming way back when too.. jamming - improv in action.. composition - slow mo improv... jamming - improv - much the same thing to me..

thanks for the link to the dead song btw.. i hadn't heard that before and i liked it! paul buckmaster, the guy who orchestrated the song is from london.. orchestration is another form of slow mo improv' set into a firm approach.. i liked the orchestration on this - very british prog rock like which reminds me of some of the british prog bands that i liked from the past - again - jamming was very central to much of there work and they were doing this as early or more then these 2 american bands you mention.. jamming is like singing.. it has been going on with musicians for forever, although i am sure some folks would like to lay cultural claim to it..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2016 2:44 utc | 27

I enjoy this Californians' take on all sorts of questions...but this one was particularly interesting. A good effort in educating a main strwam audience.

From Muhammad to ISIS: Iraq’s Full Story

By Tim Urban

If you’re not sure what Odd Things in Odd Places is and why I’m in Iraq by myself, here’s why.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 3 2016 2:51 utc | 28

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 2, 2016 6:15:01 PM | 15
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2, 2016 8:30:33 PM | 23

A million thanks Jackrabbit and Tom Murphy.

I'm a Californian in a DEM, REPUG: 50-50 County. In 2014 midterms my Dem Congressman won by a slim margin less than 1% in a recount. My position against DEMOCRATS is loud, clear and unmovable.

For 2016 I’ll again vote all Repug both Houses including Mayor. I’m a life long Pacifist, Progressive Liberal.

I hope you are correct if I change my registration from Independent to Green Party, vote for Bernie Sander in the primary as suggested. In Nov Presidential election I'll vote either Jill Stein - Green Party or Donald Trump - Repug.

Voting Donald Trump to punish the Dem for continues voting the lesser of evils. If choices between Bernie Sanders and Dick Cheney, I'll vote for Dick Cheney a proven war criminal.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 3 2016 3:19 utc | 29

Americans voted for the Democratic CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN candidate in 2008. But we got more of the same: spying, inequality, war, scandal.

I believe that the best 'strategic voting' is to NOT legitimize a corrupt system.

Isn't Sanders just another Obama? If he were to win the nomination he would deliver change at the margins. Obama's signature 'change' was Obamacare - and its a flop because he refused to include a public option. Sanders' attempt to tackle inequality will likely also be compromised. Will Sanders speak out where Obama was silent? Will Sanders NOT bow to the Democratic Party pressure to take corporate money?

But he won't win, as Jill Stein explains in my comment above. Despite her negatives and Sanders improvement in the polls, Hillary gets much better media coverage and already has a substantial lead in delegates (does Sanders have any?). After Super Tuesday's "kill switch" that lead will likely be insurmountable.

As Obama likes to say: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 3:32 utc | 30

Meant to add this:

Lets stop the insanity.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 3:35 utc | 31

Tishrin Dam is on the Euphrates upstream from the much larger Tabqa Dam. It was taken by the rebels in 2012, then by ISIS and most recently by the SDF. It was in danger of collapsing in 2014 when Turkey cut water to the Euphrates and the water levels dropped too low. With the SDF in charge (for whatever reason) the staff has fled, leaving the gates shut. Now the water levels are getting dangerously high and the dam is supposedly in danger of overtopping (and collapsing). The follow-on danger is a failure at Tishrin could cause the much larger Tabqa dam downstream to fail.

This was the link I posted from MiddleEast Eye on Wednesday: Fears that Syria's Tishrin Dam may collapse amid rising water levels

From the New Arab a few days ago:

Islamic State fighters tell residents to flee Syria's Raqqa

...Militants from the Islamic State group are telling local Syrian residents living near the Euphrates river in Raqqa to evacuate their homes, claiming an imminent collapse of Tishrin Dam...

And now, from Syria's National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (yes, they apparently still exist):

Interim Government Warns of Disaster if Tishrin Dam Collapses

"...The ministry warned that the collapse of the dam would lead to a humanitarian disaster. The ministry called for allowing the technical staff to re-operate the dam..."

OK, which is fine... but the SDF shouldn't be blocking anyone from operating the dam. It's not like the technical staff is fleeing the SDF, are they? Keep in mind they were operating the dam just fine while ISIS held it. Why did they leave when the SDF 'liberated' them?

"...To ease pressure on the dam, the ministry contacted the Turkish government to stop the flow of water from the Euphrates River till the dam is re-operated. (Source: Syrian Coalition)..."

Aleppo gets water from the reservoir, and ran out of water last time Turkey cut off water from the Euphrates at the Ataturk Dam just before the Syrian border. Plenty of other people depend on the Euphrates as well. Baghdad comes to mind. So why isn't the Syrian Coalition 'Interim Government' just sending engineers to the now-liberated dam to reopen it rather than tell Turkey to shut off the Euphrates? And how is it that the 'Interim Government' (who are plainly losing to Assad) are making requests on behalf of Syria to Turkey?

This whole situation is very suspicious and pretty much ignored in the West. Since when do 'liberated' dams fail because their staff fled? And why would head-choppers warn their people in Raqqa to flee because Tishrin was going to collapse?

And wouldn't ISIS just have blown the thing if they were going to lose it? Remember: the ISIS supply route across the Euphrates at Tishrin is also the SDF invasion route to ISIS territory. If you can't hold it, you would want to make sure the pursuing army doesn't use it. We've seen ISIS blow up plenty of stuff - it's not like they need much to breach an earthen-filled dam. A small trench is all you need to get the party started.

Something is very wrong with this picture.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 3 2016 3:38 utc | 32

some jamming..

@28 madmax.. thanks for the mildly entertaining article on the horrors of iraq at present... i was just reading Elijah J M's latest post from yesterday... go here - if my link doesn't work.. basically he suggests ISIS is not working out so well at present and it has been a special bitch for the sunni's in spite of ISIS being sunni based, as witnessed for the folks from mosul in tim urban's article you posted..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2016 3:38 utc | 33

@32 paveway.. thanks.. you were mentioning that a couple of days ago and i was mystified.. still am.. thanks for the update..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2016 3:40 utc | 34

jfl | Jan 2, 2016 5:30:07 PM | 9

Okay look I don't want to be critical of you personally. Voting "theorists" like Maurice Duverger (and his wacky "first past the post" "law" have quite definitely been around since the French Revolution. They are all awful as theorists, including almost all of them those up the present day.

They leave me disgusted.

Some proportional representation would be nice, but in itself it will never solve anything. Look at Spain and Greece; they have the most advanced (so far) forms of proportional representation. Where did that get them?

Another thing: In order to overcome the spoiler, two-party effect, people must actually vote strategically (NOT heroically, artlessly).

I have been working on this issue since the re-election of G.W. Bush in 2004. I put more than 2,000 hours into it.

Please read what I have recently had to say at this link:

Today's "Democracy" Is Merely A Mask For Tyranny. Why Bother To Vote?
author: blues

It contains a link to one of my blogs. Also a very funny video.

Posted by: blues | Jan 3 2016 4:01 utc | 35

More Tishrin/Tishreen oddness - this YouTube vid from ANHA (no translation or subtitles) shows the dam engineers apparently healthy and on site when the YPG showed up - ostensibly as part of the SDF or whatever they're called today. Turbines are humming and generating electricity, so water was being used.

No reason for reservoir levels to be rising or ISIS to warn anyone of the danger of the dam overflowing. No apparent reason for the rebels to ask Turkey to stop the flow of the Euphrates. It hardly looks like anything was boobytrapped or damaged. The turbine halls have some broken glass on the floor, but the instrumentation seems to be functioning. The engineers don't look too worried about anything.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 3 2016 5:48 utc | 36

We need to spread the word that we will NEVER vote for Hillary (or Trump for that matter) so the Democrats better get their act together and nominate Bernie (having Bernie win the Democratic PRIMARY is the best shot we have of PREVENTING Hillary from being elected) after the primaries we can decide what to do next. We might issue a demand that Bernie offer Jill Stein the VP spot on his ticket or we won't vote for him in the general election. This is what politics is about, trying to push for better and better options.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 3 2016 7:38 utc | 37

jas @ 27 --

I believe she might be referring to the "jam band" genre, Phish probably being the current top act in the field. They never really appealed to me. I do like a little Allman Bros., "Sweet Melissa" especially.

TM @ 37 --

Not an unreasonable campaign plan.

blues at 35 --

And not an unreasonable approach, I would say.

You mentioned "They Live" on an earlier thread. I saw it with my wife when it came out, we had just gotten engaged. Explained the whole "yuppie" thing for us. Two thumbs up. Meant to talk it up.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 3 2016 8:54 utc | 38

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 3, 2016 2:38:39 AM | 37

...We might issue a demand that Bernie offer Jill Stein the VP spot on his ticket or we won't vote for him in the general election. This is what politics is about, trying to push for better and better options....

Are you any chance trying to pull a fast one on me? Absolutely NYET! Democrats any Democrat. I would rather suffer under Donald Trump or a criminal like Dick Cheney.

Twice we got fooled by the Oboma (I didn't votes for the Drone murderer-in-chief). Repeating the same mistakes repeatedly ain't going to change the end results.

I ain't voting for Cheney but voting against people like you.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 3 2016 9:30 utc | 39

Jack Smith, what are you talking about "Cheney"? I never got fooled by Obama: (see that video, I tried to warn people about him BEFORE the primaries)
. You were supposed to try to get Kucinich or Gravel to win the nomination.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 3 2016 9:35 utc | 40

re 32/36

This whole situation is very suspicious and pretty much ignored in the West. Since when do 'liberated' dams fail because their staff fled? And why would head-choppers warn their people in Raqqa to flee because Tishrin was going to collapse?
The flow of the Euphrates is no longer natural. The Turks have been playing about with the quantities of water let through. It being winter, the Turks may also have problems with controlling the water. There have been some heavy storms recently, fronts coming down from Russia onto Turkey.

Maybe the staff left because of difficulties created by the Kurds. That would be the normal explanation. Of course everything is running nicely in a propaganda video.

You forget that there's a second dam on the Euphrates at Tabqa. That would have to break too, before the water hit Raqqa. I don't know who controls it, but probably ISIS. If ISIS are warning people in Raqqa to leave, they mean those living in the low-lying river valley, not the town itself.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 3 2016 9:40 utc | 41

@33 James
Yeah, always good to hear IS losing the hearts and minds of the populace. Reminds me of an article of a particularly nasty flesh eating sore doing the rounds in IS controlled territory afflicting not only the fighters, but the local population as well. It's a pretty solid indictment against the so-called caliphate, not being able to provide simple medicines and sanitation.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 3 2016 9:56 utc | 42

Strategic voting:

For those who habitually vote Republican: Never vote for a Democrat and Never, Never vote for an incumbent Republican.

For those who's habit is voting Democratic: Never ever vote for a Republican and likewise Never, Never vote an incumbent Democrat back into office.

This will make it quite expensive for those who buy politicians; a new crop every two years and with little capacity to run things. The best Congresses on record were those not accomplishing anything of importance. Your greatest leverage will happen in the primaries; the general election is too late.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 3 2016 10:12 utc | 43

@ 43
Please replace who's with whose before the spelling police arrive to investigate typo transgressions.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 3 2016 10:19 utc | 44

I am confused about our so-called democracy. How can Hillary have delegates already committed if we haven't even had one primary yet? Where is the democracy in this system? It is a rhetorical question as I know full well we have no functional Democracy in America.

I have said it for the past 3 election cycles. We as a nation need to do several things immediately before it is too late. Everyone must vote for whomever is not an incumbent regardless of who they are or what party affiliation they may think they have. In the case of the Presidency then Trump, Carson, or Fiorino are the only outsiders. I would go with Trump as he has a ginormous ego and is not motivated by money, power, or women. He is not owned or controlled by anyone. But I believe his motivation is to simply become the Best President in American History as a lasting legacy. That is sufficient motivation to unravel all the idiotic policies of the past 6 Presidents. Ironically, it might be a guy from the top 0.1% who saves the people but only because he is driven to have a lasting legacy. But, we need to make Congress realize that they serve us and not the other way around. If a first cycle of replacement doesn't motivate them then do it again util real changes are affected. At some point they will get the message and start putting term limits and campaign finance reform. I would be happy to see an escape valve of voter referendums so we can bypass these idiots altogether.

The other thing we all must do is to close all of our bank accounts and move to Non-profit Credit Unions. They have the same services and better interest rates and cannot gamble with depositor's money. Close all bank cards and go to cash. Stop buying cars and houses with loans. All of that combined will cripple, perhaps to a failure point, the too big to fail banks. Everyone who has an IRA or 401K must immediately move it to a brokerage firm so you can manage it yourself. Scottrade and all the other big names permit this. Stop paying the enormous hidden fees for managing and gambling with your retirement money. I did all of that back in 2005 and within 10 years had built up enough to retire very comfortably. It is shocking how much we Americans pay out to others and do not realize at what cost to themselves. You may have to skimp but once you get out from under debt slavery you can enjoy complete freedom.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Jan 3 2016 11:28 utc | 45

Breaking news on RT in UK, 150 armed militia (Oath Keepers?) have occupied a government building in Oregon. Any American commenters, is this being aired on US tv?
They are calling for others to join them via social media.

Posted by: Trog51 | Jan 3 2016 12:18 utc | 46

Trog51 | Jan 3, 2016 7:18:00 AM | 46

Yes, the U.S. press is all over this story. It's not new; just escalating...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 3 2016 12:33 utc | 47

Thanks V. Arnold. I asked because the RT report gave me the impression it was being ignored.

Posted by: Trog51 | Jan 3 2016 12:41 utc | 48

Please replace who's with whose before the spelling police arrive to investigate typo transgressions.
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 3, 2016 5:19:53 AM | 44

Most of which could, imo, be attributed to failure to proofread. Newspapers don't ask authors to proofread their own scribble because it takes a finite number of minutes for the mind to clear, and a proofreader can correct many unfamiliar articles in the time it would take an author to dispassionately and accurately proofread one of his own.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 3 2016 13:06 utc | 49

well, when the highest court in the land deems that corporations are people, i guess that means they're entitled to 'vote', right?

i'd be vaguely pleased to have a president who, 1)didn't commit treason, and 2)didn't get away with it when he did

as they all have



everyone's lying about it

Posted by: john | Jan 3 2016 13:46 utc | 50

re 42

Reminds me of an article of a particularly nasty flesh eating sore doing the rounds in IS controlled territory afflicting not only the fighters, but the local population as well.
Are you talking about Leishmaniasis, which has been written about for Syria? I've had that. It's not so easy to cure as you suggest. The cure involved three hospital stays, and specialist treatment.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 3 2016 13:53 utc | 51


Today's "Democracy" Is Merely A Mask For Tyranny. Why Bother To Vote?

We used to have something of a democracy. That changed due to neocons and neolib influence. The State doesn't represent the people anymore, it represents wealthy corporate and imperial interests.

Some will quickly point out that the State has *always* served powerful interests. But there is a qualitative difference today.

We used to have Parties on the Left and Right. Today the Parties are different flavors of the same neolibcon establishment. We have the Party of "No" and the Party of Compromise-The-People.

Those who think Hillary is the problem are wrong. She is (mostly) a craven opportunist. The real problems are the duopoly along with campaign finance law and corporate control of media.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 15:03 utc | 52

The Dead died when their muse and leader Jerry Garcia said happy trails.
The rest of the band were amateurs.(I saw them twice back in the early 70s,I know.)
Get the Led out any day,along with the Beatles,the Stones,da Who,Humble Pie,Ten years After(Alvin Lee would have made Jerry pine),Metallica and the boys from down under,AC DC.Angus!
The early Dead,with Turn on Your love LOight was more my style,while The Airplane were my favorite SF band,with Creedence and the early Quicksilver Messenger Service.
And yes,the Allmans were great musicians.light years ahead of the Dead,as was Lynnard Skynard,who might be my favorite all time American band.
And the Doors,of course.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 3 2016 15:08 utc | 53

Or a Congress that doesn't commit treason either. Then we have the issue of war crimes. I would love it if someone with some balls, perhaps Trump, goes ahead and forces the signing and ratification of the International Criminal Court then promptly arrests both Clintons, both Bush's, Cheney, Obama, (and many others) for war crimes and extradites all of them to the Hague for trial. We have been sending a lot of people to trial there but refuse to be compliant ourselves. In every sense the US is a rogue nation and it is high time the criminals get prosecuted. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to see?

I love the International Maritime laws we keep harping about regarding the Chinese yet once again we have never signed no ratified those treaties either.

Then we have the issue of the US deciding just who can have nuclear weapons. Of all the countries of the world only the US has proven itself to be irresponsible with these weapons being the sole nation to have used them against another.

Unless we make some enormous changes both inside and outside our country we are going to cease to exist. Many countries are now waking up to the fact that only one country continuously attacks others and has conducted 50 regime changes and attempted to assassinate over 50 democratically elected leaders. Just exactly how many countries are we at war with now (without any official or legal declaration)? By that I define it as we are bombing or killing people in a sovereign nation without their permission. Last I looked it was 8 countries.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Jan 3 2016 15:08 utc | 54

The only one's talking about the corruption of our political system are third parties and Trump.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 15:12 utc | 55

Old Microbiologist

You forgot to add Climate Change.

I'm convinced that Gore lost because the oil companies would not allow the election of a President that would do something about global warming.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 15:16 utc | 56

50;Yes,Cream came to my mind also,on jamming.Dat spoonful.Check out Ten Year After's version of Spoonful,you won't be disappointed.More straight up,but Alvin was blistering.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 3 2016 15:16 utc | 57

Dat spoonful

unabridged version

Posted by: john | Jan 3 2016 15:28 utc | 58

the *pivot* that nobody talk about...its to counter those chicoms in africa, they'r very aggressive and pernicious competitors with no morals.”

Unlike other countries, ‘America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier to look the other way and keep the resources flowing


Posted by: denk | Jan 3 2016 16:10 utc | 59

Louis Proyect, self-described "unrepentant Marxist", blames the victim.

He rails against "Debt relief... as panecea for the left." Without noting that the odious nature of the loans.

He uses anarchists and communists as strawmen and then castigates the Greek people:

No matter how desirous readers of the Marxist press were for the abolition of capitalism in Greece, there were worrisome signs that the average Greek was not up to our lofty standards

Proyect's coup-de-grace is here:

For those of us trying to build revolutionary parties, it is essential to keep in mind the social and economic realities we face.

We should accept what neoliberalism hath wrought! ... Because Lenin! who saw a unique opportunity to remake the Russian economy into a socialist paradise while making the transition to an industrial economy.

Proyect suggests that MAYBE there is hope in the internet. He is ready to give up the State... ignores state control of the internet and media... etc.

For Proyect and Yves, morality and democracy seem tieriary. The problem is not the undemocratic EU or feckless media or neolib ideologues but Yanis or Tsipras or Syriza.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 16:38 utc | 60

@30 Jackrabbit If people were paying attention and did some research they would have see the right choice was Kucinich or Gravel. I knew Obama was BS because I listened to what he said:

I never got fooled by Obama: (see that video, I tried to warn people about him BEFORE the primaries.) You were supposed to try to get Kucinich or Gravel to win the nomination.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 3 2016 18:00 utc | 61

@50 john... yeah - cream are another good example... blues based too... ginger baker - jazz education, but innovative rock drummer either way..

@57 dahoit.. 10 years after - another great jam band with alvin lee on guitar.. don't know the years they were active..

@60 jackrabbit.. louis yukyuk is a sad kettle of fish..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2016 18:32 utc | 62


I was shocked to see the latest map of the positions of the U.S. nuclear carrier fleet published by SouthFront. In normal circumstances about half of the 10 Nimiz class nuclear aircraft carriers are out to sea, while the rest are in port or in maintenance. On December 31 only CVN-75 USS Harry S. Truman is in the Persian Gulf waging the phoney war against ISIS.

The U.S. carrier fleet is good for waging neocolonial wars against third world countries. It is less useful against superpower enemies like Russia and China. In a hot war with with Russia all U.S. carriers within striking distance from Russia would be sunk in the first hours of the war by Russian submarines or air-launched long-range missiles.

Is the U.S. saving its carriers by keeping them safely in port. Is the U.S. Navy preparing for World War 3?


For comparison, see this map from November 20, 2015: five carriers are out to sea.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 3 2016 18:55 utc | 63

@61 TM 'You were supposed to try to get Kucinich or Gravel to win the nomination.'

Yeah. I was with Mike Gravel. Still have his bumpersticker on my scoot. I did what I was supposed to do. That's what I mean by sticking with the official line and going with the status quo. There's no fuure there. There is no possibility of change along the line of business as usual. We are just going to have to effect real change ourselves, if it's going to be effected at all, and pushing aside the whole mobbed up political class is at the base of real change. That's how it seems to me, at any rate.

Mike had the right idea with his Ni4d, although I think he missed the boat on disintermediation and majority rule.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 3 2016 20:10 utc | 64

@63 PK

I saw and noted that, too. Although I thought is was home for the holidays and not hide 'em away for WWIII. Pretty amazing to realize their major naval assets are worthless during wartime though, isn't it? If ya gotta ask how much it costs to maintain two Wehrmachts, one for 'peacetime' and one for war ... you can't afford it. No one can.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 3 2016 20:14 utc | 65

Off topic

best music

continue streaming no talk

Posted by: From The Hague | Jan 3 2016 20:32 utc | 66

in re 60 --

I thought we had demonstrated that you lack any stated credentials sufficient for you to attempt to heresy-hunt amongst us reds. Especially given your text filters.

Again, understanding reality, and saying that doing so is important, is not endorsing reality.

Let me begin by noting Proyect does state, unlike some here, a tactical and strategic orientation. While one may or may not approve, he's honest enough to spell it out. Let me be clear, I do not share the particulars of his diagnosis and treatment; I often find Proyect superficial in his occasional posts here. His reception is typically quite poor; with others doing most of the heavy lifting, I seldom chime in on it.

But he does make the practical point -- if your factual understanding and theoretical guidance are inappropriate, bad actions result. People you're trying to help are going to suffer, and the blame is on you. Deal with it before or after, as you will.

Most Marxists are more inclined to accept the dialectical realities that Marx described in the Critique of the Gotha Program: “What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.”

If we are ready to accept a communist society stamped with such birthmarks, does that mean that a communist Greece would have met our expectations? For those of us who had a chance to see Nicaragua in the mid-1980s, we would have gladly accepted a new Greece, warts and all.

You clearly misread Proyect on the need for political struggle (his cite of economism is a broad hint to any experienced Trotskyist factionalist, for a start).

Not only does he consider the prospects of KKE for state power, he discusses the political line of Syriza and Antarsya ("Front of the anticapitalist, revolutionary, communist left and radical ecology", the acronym means "mutiny") and the KKE itself, the Greek Communist Party. "If by some miracle, the KKE had been voted into office, what would be the outlook for a communist society plus warts (and under such a grotesquely Stalinist sect, they would be plentiful)." As Proyect rightly notes above, they, Antarsya and potentially Popular Unity (I would think, especially if they'd made it into parliament) were the communist left.

One thing you need to understand about the left is that when we criticize, as Proyect does, the consciousness of the masses, we are in effect criticizing ourselves for a poor intervention. Syriza's policies before the diktat disarmed the masses -- and I would include the Left Platform/Popular Unity faction in this. They all kept the struggle within parliamentary parameters and put off using the masses too long. Especially after the July referendum.

I thought his characterization of the consummation of the Troika negotiations as "the infamous deal that amounted to a new round of debt and austerity" was sufficiently odious, given the focus of the essay on the theoretical and political response.

I don't really mind the I-told-you-so tone he takes against the critics, whether he's right or not. The dearth of sympathy for the poorly-led Greek masses is, I must agree, rather annoying.

He has a complex, somewhat technical analysis of the economics and theory, discussing Argentina and Venezuela as relevant models for "Grexit" and would that have worked as economics.

I'd have to actually work this afternoon to try to figure that out. Hey, given capitalist control of the means of finance, maybe, perhaps, probably not. But what would the political impact of that resistance have been? Tsipras could have forced a general election in the summer on defiance, but he did so in the fall for compliance.

Given he's an IT pro of some sort, techno-determinism must be allowed for. But again, that's work, for another day, perhaps. But he is right in bird-dogging Robison on Reform Is Not Enough to Stem the Rising Tide of Inequality Worldwide. I'd seen the article at Truth-Out, still haven't had a chance to weigh some of the issues it raises.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 3 2016 21:40 utc | 67

Laguerre@41 "...Maybe the staff left because of difficulties created by the Kurds. That would be the normal explanation..."

I would have expected all of the staff to flee because of the difficulties created by lead perforation. The guys shown locked inside in the video were apparently 'techs' or some lesser authority than the engineers normally controlling the dam. The disturbing fact seems to be that days later, the engineers are still nowhere to be found. These would have been engineers working for the Syrian state government. If the CENTCOM YPG is claiming the dam permanently as spoils of war, then the engineers may have left until someone can guarantee them a paycheck.

If Tishrin Dam defines the new southern border of a CENTCOM Rojava Kurdistan, than the massive land/oil/infrastructure theft from the rest of the Syrian people is truly astounding. That means CENTCOM is following the Barzanistan playbook for resource theft in Iraq to claim as much as possible before the West attempts to break up - in this case - Syria.

"...Of course everything is running nicely in a propaganda video..."

My point was there isn't any obvious signs of wholesale destruction or flames pouring out of the equipment, and there seems to be electricity at the dam itself = generators were working. That video was apparently shot right after the CENTCOM YPG took the dam.

"...You forget that there's a second dam on the Euphrates at Tabqa. That would have to break too, before the water hit Raqqa. I don't know who controls it, but probably ISIS. If ISIS are warning people in Raqqa to leave, they mean those living in the low-lying river valley, not the town itself.

I didn't forget. I wasn't the one warning anyone in Raqqa - ISIS was. Tishrin reservoir is about a tenth the volume of the water that Tabqa holds back. In some of the reports (mangled through Google translate), it seems that ISIS was warning the families to be prepared to evacuate to higher ground. I assume - as you said - these are the people in the low-lying plains next to the Euphrates in Raqqa.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 3 2016 21:47 utc | 68

Ol' Micro at 54 --

"In every sense the US is [becoming] a rogue nation and it is high time the criminals get prosecuted."

Now those are some grim realities we all have to deal with.

I've amended it, as I have hopes that it can be stopped. Because it needs to be.

And you'll note, the last part is unqualified; Cheney and Rumsfeld would make a fine start. Maybe we can eventually get to the heavy backlog, folks like Pointdexter and North.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 3 2016 21:50 utc | 69


I thought we had demonstrated that you lack any stated credentials sufficient for you to attempt to heresy-hunt amongst us reds. Especially given your text filters.
No, you haven't proven anything.

You reds are doing a bang-up job aren't you? And you're so proud of yourself for it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 22:44 utc | 70


You clearly misread Proyect on the need for political struggle.

You are clearly reading in too much.

Proyect blames everyone but the neolib establishment. He's previously spent much time attacking the lack of attention to IT details of a Grexit. But the fact that the "left" had virtually abandoned Syriza escapes his notice. LOL!

Why was there so little support for Syriza?? It seems to me that the establishment had scared off the fake lefties who passed on their "insight" to others. Talking down Syriza leadership and talking UP their inevitable failure.

That led to the wierdness of 'lefties' attacking Yanis/Tspiras/Syriza along with the establishment-friendly, corporate-owned MSM. LOL!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2016 22:58 utc | 71

JR at 70

You have no stated political experience, particularly on the left, and demonstrate little knowledge of its history or principles. You are an interloper, a posuer, a dilettante.

As I have long said, you are not serious thinker, though you take yourself far too seriously.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 4 2016 0:32 utc | 72

Simple may not have been the term to describe treatment that would have been afforded to most in Syria prior to 2011.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 4 2016 2:08 utc | 73


Nobody has to prove themselves to you, an anonymous contributor...

... that has excused State murder.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I didn't know there was a litmus test.

Please tell us more about that.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 2:40 utc | 74

in re 73 --

You are anonymous, but not without a store of credibility. You have no known experience in politics, especially socialist politics. People will judge that as they will; it has made a poor impression on me.

And so rather than deal with the case before us, you would go back to something you distorted months ago. Some great imagined victory, I believe you claimed.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 4 2016 3:37 utc | 75

We are both anonymous. Nice try at turning around my point, though. Very slippery.

You can take back your laughable defense of Israeli State murder at any time. As you point out, you've had months to do so. But when this comes up, from time to time, you just stonewall the issue. Sad.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 3:55 utc | 76

@36 Partition could happen. There are indications that US has plans for that.

Contingency plans made long ago. Ready when you are.

Posted by: j | Jan 4 2016 6:09 utc | 77

Have you guys seen this crazy german journalist, just one of many comments by him:

Posted by: 2dawn | Jan 4 2016 9:48 utc | 78

@ 54 Trump has openly talked about perpetrating what would be crimes such as "taking" the oil Iraq, ANd If Trump was so great, why isn't he calling for the prosecution of US war criminals?

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 4 2016 11:38 utc | 79

in re 75

I never defended any murder. You typically brandish your "proof" of that during your repeated agitation to get me banned. Which you do every time I show you to be -- well, let's call it analysis-challenged. I'm still here.

One may be anonymous, but one still builds a reputation. You have no discernable political experience; your posts reflect that. You don't do issues, you do personal attacks. You may recall, you demanded a precis of my views on the Middle East, and I complied. It seems I don't rate the consideration when I ask for experience or education that gives you your undeserved, self-imagined aura of superiority.

You attacked Proyect wrongly. I responded on that, noting areas where your lack of political education shows. Now YOU want to change the subject.

As I said, fundamentally, a political and intellectual lightweight.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 4 2016 12:55 utc | 80


More stonewalling.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 15:33 utc | 81

James Poulos reminds me why I don't read the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, or a number of other sites that are just echo sites intended to amplify one point of view over all the others

Posted by: Les | Jan 4 2016 16:02 utc | 82


Proyect blames everyone BUT the neolib establishment. He previously criticized Syriza for lack of attention to the IT issues of a possible Grexit. But the intimidation of the left - which derailed support for Syriza has gone unnoticed by him.

Debt relief was a major part of Syriza's agenda. Tsipras was promised major debt relief when he agreed to a new Memorandum. Now Proyect says that the left should not pursue debt relief.

Proyect suggests Internet activism instead. But pursuing Internet activism doesn't preclude Internet activism! Proyect uses Lenin to make his Internet activism argument more appealing to the left. But the relevance is questionable.

Michael Hudson disagreed with Yves depiction of Syriza in the Spring, and I would guess that he would take a dim view of Yves re-posting of Proyect's prescription as well.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 16:13 utc | 83

That should be: "But pursuing debt relief doesn't preclude Internet activism!"

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 16:14 utc | 84

2016, Predictions. One: Ukraine. (Two will be Syria.)

The frozen conflict in the Donbass will continue …see my previous posts.. Russia cannot invade, can only provide covert support. Kiev’s political and military clout is not enough to take over, genocide, win, whatever, that region, it has been soundly defeated in all of its military attempts. The US-EU will not provide significant help for this endeavour (it is up to Kiev, everyone knows ‘trainers’ and the like don’t mean squat) and bit by bit the Donbass will become an autonomous region turned to Russia - it already is in many ways, albeit informally.

Minsk 2 cannot be implemented in full, it is a move to keep the conflict under a lid, while corporations squabble with Ukr. oligarchs about what assets they could control, and how. It was, is, an attempt at a best solution (acceptable to Russia, EU, and with silent approval, aka no opposition, from the US.) It would permit a halt, while waiting various matters out. It would ultimately - this is too long to explain - regulate for good the Crimea matter, it would become ‘recognized’ as Russian, and award a special status (buffer zone) to the Donbass, the DPR, LPR.


1) Ukr. oligarchs and foreign corps quarelling about what they can control and how

2) Ukr. is alive, if on terminal support, because of its anti-Russian stance, and cannot give that up, both on the inside and to the outside

3) the Donbass can now only accept autonomy or possibly reversion to Russia

4) The Donbass is even in a kind of position of strength - some version of ‘Federation’ would provoke other regions to use, and implement, more autonomy (see the success of all regional candidates in the last elections)

5) Ukr. is a failed state and the Gvmt. no longer has the power to properly enforce, control its own territory, it has nothing to offer, lacks the political and other structures needed.

Deeper down - speculation - Russia is probably not interested in a ‘buffer zone’ though it has intimated it will accept it, but imho as a pis aller, the best in a bad situation. The EU - US are, reciprocally, not interested in a ‘rump’ Ukr. Kiev cannot afford to lose more territory. It is pretty much all or nothing, from all sides. Stasis.

Ukr. will break up but probably not in 2016, it will be 2017, that might be an unfortunate (yet at least comprehensible) result. The alternative, for Ukrainians, is total Bad Lands, a ‘unitary’ territory which is completely savage...

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 4 2016 16:15 utc | 85

Correction: r@79

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 16:16 utc | 86

Tom Murphy @78

Is Sanders calling for prosecution of US war criminals?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 16:18 utc | 87

so how did the *demcrazies*, meaning the *good* guys, counter the threat of those *aggressive, untterly immoral and pernicious chinese* ?

three case studies,

nepal's king birendra was *bumped off* right after his trip to beijing in 2001,
the whole royal family was wiped out in a palace massacre.
the official story said it was an *accident* but nepalese were convinced it was a cia/raw joint hit,

maldives prez yameen narrowly escaped 3 attempts on his life.
watch your back buddy ! [1]

sri lanka's ex prez Rajapaksa was ousted in jan 15 by a fukusi[ndia] engineered regime change.
he is luckier than the other two, so far no attempts were made on his life yet,but the unhrc is breathing down on his neck , they wants to get him on a charge of war crimes during the last three months of the civil war.

the three gents committed a cardinal sin in zwo's eyes...they were getting too cozy with those *aggressive, immoral, pernicious * chinese !




the UnitedNitionHumanrightsCommission , a very potent zwo weapon.
it was the one who proposed a no fly zone during the zwo's attack on libya.

Posted by: denk | Jan 4 2016 16:25 utc | 88

@86 Jackrabbit, you have some poor reasoning skills. I was responding to a comment saying "Then we have the issue of war crimes. I would love it if someone with some balls, perhaps Trump, goes ahead and forces the signing and ratification of the International Criminal Court then promptly arrests both Clintons, both Bush's, Cheney, Obama, (and many others) for war crimes and extradites all of them to the Hague for trial."

And if you notice I am not talking about how wonderful Sanders is, I am say that strategically in order to keep Hillary from winning that at this point the best action is to VOTE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY for Sanders. We can worry about what to do after that.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 4 2016 16:55 utc | 89

USA Pres. elections, a major topic, it seems, in this thread.

Does anyone seriously imagine that US foreign policy and even internal policy would differ, besides insignificant but obfuscatory details? It is question of alternative genocide(s) and war(s), under Trump, Bernie, Hillary (ok, more hawkish than many others), Jeb Bush or anyone else.

The trick of renewal, a new face, was pulled with Obama, the anti-Iraq-war prez, the champion of new health care (in fact a sop to private insurance cos, cleverly calculated), more on the side of immigrants and workers (not), non-interventionist (not) an effort at a new image - a ‘black’ youngish upright and elegant man, married to a ‘black woman’: what a glorious high step forward from a wonderful, non-racist, beacon on the hill, democracy? Nobel prize and all! Feted world wide. (Some of my family travelled to California to party, love on all sides…)

It bought the US some time, tremendous support from all non-white peoples. It can’t be done again, certainly not with the mantra of a ‘woman prez.’ Hillary it too well known.

These ppl are paid-for, compromised, maybe even manipulated controlled etc. puppets.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 4 2016 17:18 utc | 90

Tom Murphy

OK, I didn't realize that you were responding to a specific point. And I understand your voting strategy, even if I disagree (as I've expressed above).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2016 17:35 utc | 91

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4, 2016 11:18:44 AM | 86
Tom Murphy @78

Yes Tom, do you think Bernie will prosecute US war criminals?
Let me put it bluntly, since Israel has the right to defend itself, do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves too? Should US continue providing weapons including financial aid at the tune of 5-8, 10 more or less billions support an apartheid state and continue Palestinian genocide and land grabs?

I believe almost everyone will agree. Israel practices of apartheid far worst than in South Africa, including bombing children under UN protection openly for the world to see?

(Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well more than $140 billion in 2003 dollars.)

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 4 2016 17:37 utc | 92

@78, Tom, No one has brought up that issue, nor will they. Why should Trump?

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 4 2016 17:49 utc | 93

Posters have decried a general switch of allegiance present in formerly progressive online sites, and an egregious example of this occurred on counterpunch this morning with the publication of an article by Colin Todhunter presumably sponsoring a Gandhi-like approach in India to extraction of undefined mineral wealth at the same time (supposedly) as promotion of organic farming. There's even a charming picture of Ghandi being hugged by two female attendants - can Vandana Shiva be far behind?

"But what caught my attention was Charles Devenish’s commitment to a Gandhian model of rural development. The model of mining he is proposing seems a long way from those stories we hear about people being driven from their lands as big corporations move in to destroy the landscape and ecology courtesy of corrupt back-room deals done with officials. The aim is to keep farmers on their lands and provide them with additional sources of income, not least from mining."

Caught my attention too, Colin. Not least? I sure hope the Indian agrarian movement is smarter than the average pundit.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 4 2016 17:51 utc | 94

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 4, 2016 11:55:07 AM | 88

...And if you notice I am not talking about how wonderful Sanders is, I am say that strategically in order to keep Hillary from winning that at this point the best action is to VOTE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY for Sanders. We can worry about what to do after that.

Smart move, if I vote Bernie during the Dem primaries and he beat Trump or whoever, once in the WH, do you expect me to believe he'll be any different from Obomo or any Dem?

Canada voted strategically and removed Harper, once in did Trudeau change or just surface appease the liberal?
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 4 2016 17:53 utc | 95

The only way to find the truth is to Questions More who are the apologists and Neoliberal. (I watch RT 7/24). Can't afford cable TV.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 4 2016 18:00 utc | 96

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 4, 2016 11:55:07 AM | 88

May I conclude if we put Bernie in, he's the lesser evil while Hillary the most evil? Repeating the same mistakes repeatedly and expect Change or different results?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 4 2016 18:22 utc | 97

re 68

So we're mainly in agreement.

Tishrin reservoir is about a tenth the volume of the water that Tabqa holds back.
That's the point, isn't it? An overflow from Tishrin is unlikely to break the Tabqa dam. The Turks have been cutting the water, and the Tabqa lake is unlikely to be as full as it was planned to be back in 1974. ISIS were frightened without justification.

Mind you, the Iraqis would be happy to see a bit more water behind the Haditha dam. They're the ones who are losing out.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 4 2016 18:33 utc | 98

@Tom Murphy

Watches RT 7/24, whenever Thom Hartmann show came on, switch off immediately.

You sound just like him, attack, attack the Repugs, blames everyone but Dem. Thom tell poor suffering (fucking) soul like myself, what we wanna hear the evils of Repug.

Tom good job, I am not buying it!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 4 2016 20:00 utc | 99

@85 noirette

What are "Russia's choices" for the Donbass : Federate with Ukraine, Buffer State, Part of Russia.

Part of Russia would put the 'crazy neo-NAZIs' (aka the NATO front) right on their border. They presumably do not want that at all.

Federate with Ukraine, the poor people of Donbass do not want that at all under Ukraine's terms. Who can blame them? Takes two and more to federate.

Buffer State. Nobody likes it. Everybody is getting used to it. Over time perhaps the rest of Ukraine will fragment, as you speculate. Maybe all the fragments, if there are eonough to qualify Kiev as just another, can come to terms. I hope so.

Meanwhile Russia is helping out as much as she can with aid, passports, energy ... and Russia has succeeded in moving the confrontation with the US to the Middle East, and on her terms. Interested to see part 2 ...

And @90 ... agree completely, of course. I'm ready to move forward, do what just has to be done ... from Thailand. Pretty ridiculous, I know.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 5 2016 1:34 utc | 100

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