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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
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BBC NEWS: America's secret engagement with Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution

Khomeini wanted the US to know "our" economic interests would not be threatened if he took over, but he needed Carter to help calm the Iranian military to make the transition peaceful.

This doesn't sound like the raving fanatic presented in our press at the time or since.

Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh made similar conciliatory overtures to the United States before we spent decades try to assassinate Castro and going on a decade long killing spree in Vietnam.

Even Iran after Khomeini and before the Obama peace deal reached out to us after Bush invaded neighbors on either side of Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq, and they said everything was open to negotiation.

Russia and China are now about as capitalist as any other countries in the world. Do we really need to ramp up a new cold war with them if enemies we had far less in common with were willing work with us on very amicable terms?

We have a bigger military than the rest of the world combined, so talking rather than fighting isn't a matter of cowardice, it's a matter of having friendly relations with less powerful countries without forcing them to be the absolute slave of corporate and banking interests.

Doing so might allow us to cut that massive military spending a bit too since fewer countries and groups would have grievances with us.

I think I could live with that.

From his home in exile outside Paris, the defiant leader of the Iranian revolution effectively offered the Carter administration a deal: Iranian military leaders listen to you, he said, but the Iranian people follow my orders.

If President Jimmy Carter could use his influence on the military to clear the way for his takeover, Khomeini suggested, he would calm the nation. Stability could be restored, America's interests and citizens in Iran would be protected.

At the time, the Iranian scene was chaotic. Protesters clashed with troops, shops were closed, public services suspended. Meanwhile, labour strikes had all but halted the flow of oil, jeopardising a vital Western interest.

Persuaded by Carter, Iran's autocratic ruler, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, known as the Shah, had finally departed on a "vacation" abroad, leaving behind an unpopular prime minister and a military in disarray - a force of 400,000 men with heavy dependence on American arms and advice.


What will Republicans do if Trump implodes either before the convention or after?

I don't think there's much chance he could lose the support of low information voters since by definition they are impervious to information, but what if wealthy patrons of the GOP decide he is too much of a risk and embarrassment?

What happens then?

TOM TOMORROW TOON: Even more primary phenomena

I'm embarrassed the first one didn't occur to me before.

Do voters in the last primaries deserve to have ANY say in who the nominee is?

However you do the math, even if Bernie has a near impossible path to victory that might include swaying some super-delegates, do those of us in the last few primary states have a right to vote for the candidate of our choice?

Or should Bernie drop out so Hillary and Trump can get right to debating Bill's affairs, Hillary's email, Trump's imported wives, dealings with the mafia, and many bankruptcies (with maybe a side of light issue coverage)?

Bernie's better poll performance RUINS excuse for DLC/New Dem/Third Way existence

The stated reason a sizable chunk of Democratic politicians "had" to adopt conservative economic, foreign policy, budget priorities, giveaways of the commons through privatization, and essentially making government subservient to corporate interest because Reaganomics was just SO popular with voters.

Now that Bernie Sanders is beating Donald Trump in the polls by far more than Hillary is, shouldn't the DLC/New Dem/Third Way either shut down OR admit that serving corporate and Wall Street interests is more important to them than winning elections or passing progressive policies?

Cashing in On Charter School Failure

If Hillary truly has the nomination sewn up and wants to win the enthusiastic rather than grudging supports of progressives, one way she could do it is by admitting Wall Street driven K-12 public education "reform" is a failure and corrupt to the core, and that she will put education policy back in the hands of educators and academics not sociopaths on Wall Street pushing methods they would never tolerate at the pricy schools where they send their own kids.

If the DLC/New Dem/whatevers picked just one or two policy areas where they wouldn't let their big donors and past and future employers set the agenda, they might be able to hang onto power for another election or two.

You get what you pay for, right? When it comes to online charter schools, apparently not.

Despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from California’s taxpayers, California Virtual Academies (CAVA), the state’s largest provider of online public education, is failing key tests used to measure educational success. According to an investigation by The San Jose Mercury News, fewer than half of the thousands of students who enroll in CAVA schools graduate, and almost none of them are qualified to attend the state’s public universities. All the while, the publicly traded corporation that owns the network, K12 Inc., continues to rake in massive profits.

Online charter schools — also known as “cyber” or “virtual” schools — are funded like charter schools with physical buildings and face-to-face interaction. When a student enrolls in an online school, the school receives most of the taxpayer funding that would have gone to the student’s local public school.

Without strong oversight, this can be a windfall for companies like K12 Inc. The Mercury News investigation reveals that CAVA teachers have been asked to inflate attendance and enrollment records used to determine public funding—students who spend as little as one minute during a school day logged into company software can be counted as present. And while records show that the company’s employees started each of K12 Inc.’s 17 online schools in California, the applications they filed to open the schools described the founders as a “group of parents,” none of whom were named.


will Democratic party take vote suppression and rigging seriously in November?

Or will this be a rerun of 2000 and 2004?

John Kerry made noises about fighting it in 2004 after the regulation irregularities of 2000 but did nothing.

The GOP has far more incentive to cheat this time. They are unlikely to win fairly and demographics make it more and more unlikely each passing election so they have to grab power while they can.

Since Hillary is cut from the same Establishment Clause as Carrie and Gore I suspect that she will do little about this as well.

However the stakes are too high to do nothing. The invention of the Tea Party and rise of a candidate like Trump are no accident. Some portion of the financial Elite realize they can't hold power through fake democracy for much longer and rather than give it up they will cheat or resort to force. And if they get it either fairly or by cheating they have a great incentive to hold on to it by force which is why I think they created the Tea Party. Not because tea party politicians have different policies but because they are more extreme in their tactics and frankly too stupid to think of the possible negative consequences for themselves if they pull the trigger on full fascism.

I think something like that was in the pipe during the bush years but too many republican politicians are gun shy about full fascism not because of democracy but because they understood what would happen to them if they fail.

Corporate Democrats do not seem to act like this is a possibility even when Republicans make it clear this is their intent and when they brag about vote suppression.

Some Democratic Lawmakers Are Open to Removing Lobbyists as Superdelegates

MAYBE Democrats shouldn't have corporate lobbyists as superdelegates?

Whoever came up with having them in the first place is so far in the pocket of corporations that they don't even think about what the rest of us would think of it.

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS HAVE declared that they will work to get money out of politics, but only a few are interested in getting rid of a Democratic Party system that allows corporate lobbyists to select the party’s presidential nominee, potentially thwarting the will of voters.

Democratic National Committee rules allow for 712 so-called superdelegates to vote at the nominating convention, alongside the 4,053 pledged delegates who are selected directly by primary voters and caucusgoers.

Most of the 712 superdelegates, who are not bound to the decisions of voters, are elected Democratic politicians. But a significant number are individuals in the private sector. As we reported previously, several superdelegates are former politicians and party insiders who now work as lobbyists for banks, oil companies, foreign governments, and payday lenders, among other special interests.


Ted Cruz thinks Bush torture memo is US law:

To set up an interview with a former Abu Ghraib interrogator who wrote a confessional book, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now played clips of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz answering whether waterboarding is torture.

Trump, as usual said he would do much worse.

Ted Cruz' answer surprised me, not in that he approved of torture, but that he used the Bush era torture memo definition of torture as if it were the law of the land.

SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, under the definition of torture, no, it’s not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing—losing organs and systems. So, under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.


From John Dean's article on the torture memo:

The memo defines torture so narrowly that only activities resulting in "death, organ failure or the permanent impairment of a significant body function" qualify.


The Army's own Interrogation Manual has a pretty simple rule of thumb for figuring out if something is torture:

If your contemplated actions were perpetrated by the enemy against US Prisoners of War, you would believe such actions violate international or US law.


You would think the son of a pastor might be familiar with the concept of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

What if Saudi is rushing to sell oil before it's worthless?

Possible explanations for Saudis high production that's driving down prices haven't quite made sense.

If they were doing it to help US foreign policy squeeze oil rich countries like Russia and Venezuela that aren't following our orders, that is a pretty big hit to take for the team, given that they have a finite amount of oil.

Putting tar sands and shale oil out of business also doesn't quite make sense for the same reason.

Slowing demand would be a good reason to cut or at least not ramp up production until demand increases.

But what if they realize they are selling whale oil for lanterns when everyone is about to switch to kerosene? Or more on point, they are selling gaslights when everyone else is about to buy their first lightbulb?

Then slowly doling out your product to maximize profits would make no sense. You would want to get whatever you could for it before it's worthless.

That makes more sense than other explanations, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving, medieval, terrorist-supporting royal family.

Here’s a simpler hypothesis: Maybe the
Saudis aren’t cutting production in the face of low prices because huge portions of their oil reserves might eventually become worthless. That’s what James Rowe, an environmental studies professor at the University of Victoria, thinks.

If that happens, today’s oil prices won’t look low — not when there’s an overabundance of an asset that can’t be sold. But oil prices are the lowest they’ve been in 12 years, you say. How could they ever be considered high?

This explanation relies on two related ideas: a carbon bubble and stranded assets. The carbon bubble refers to the fact that energy companies around the world are sitting on five times more fossil fuels than can be burned, the research nonprofit Carbon Tracker estimates. Those assets, worth about $2 trillion, are referred to as “stranded assets.”

So what does that mean for an oil company that controls a state? It might as well sell as much oil as possible while still can.

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