Good Question, Terrible Answers

Digby asks the question I keep asking:

Everyone is aware that Russia is still a nuclear power, right? And that we spent more than 30 years avoiding war with it? #WTH?

— digby (@digby56) August 31, 2014

In all seriousness, I think the mindset of the National Security Elite has changed. First, Exceptional people [...]

“Labor Day Musings” : Ian Welsh, 2007

Ian’s long Agonist post here from September 2007 starts:

Given that it’s Labor Day weekend let’s have a chat about labor – organized labor. If you take a look at the map[ here ], something may jump out at you, as it did me. Where Labor is strong – Democrats tend to win. Where Labor [...]

Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem

New York Times, By Isabel Kershner, August 31

Jerusalem — Israel on Sunday laid claim to nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land in a Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem — a step that could herald significant Israeli construction in the area — defying Palestinian demands for a halt in settlement expansion and challenging world [...]

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

China rejects open nominations for Hong Kong leadership

AP, August 31

China’s legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong’s leader, a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub.

The legislature’s powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than [...]

Russian troops have entered Ukraine, Ukraine president says

AP, August 28

Ukraine’s president called an emergency meeting of the nation’s security council and cancelled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that “Russian troops were actually brought into Ukraine,” as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.

President Petro Poroshenko summoned the council as the strategic southeastern Ukraine town of [...]

It’s Always Nice . . .

. . . when another state steps up to the plate and makes Texas look less stupid. In this case it’s Ohio:

Science educators have recognized that teaching science as a large compendium of facts, without reference to the scientific process and theories that bind them together, simply leads to uninterested and uninformed students. So [...]

Strategery

I wishes to engage in a bit of “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”

It was a bad idea to bomb Assad and I said so last year.

Read today’s headlines and fucking weep:

US giving Syria intelligence on jihadists, sources say

The key to successful   strategy is to always have more [...]

A Green Desert

I’ve never seen Trans-Pecos Texas so green. I’m 43 years old and admittedly I’ve been coming out to the Big Bend area since my late twenties so that’s not a very good statistical sample.

Be that as it may: I’m glad that the West of Texas isn’t in hardcore drought like it has been in [...]

The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google

The Intercept, By Ryan Gallagher, August 25

The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents provide [...]

Obama Despair

It seems like so very long ago, many of us here at The Agonist gave up on Barack Obama. It was long ago – six years now – which is a long time considering the progress the United States could have made had Obama been the leader he promised to be. My disillusionment was almost [...]

For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

Washington Post, By Craig Timberg, August 24

Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.

The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, [...]

US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria

White House will ‘take action’ against threats as Turkey comes under pressure to halt flow of jihadists across its border

The Observer, By Toby Helm & Martin Chulov, August 23

The United States was said to be considering air strikes aimed at eliminating individual leaders of Islamic State as Turkey came under mounting pressure to [...]

For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad

New York Times, By Laurie Goodstein, August 23

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and [...]

Puerto Ricans flock to U.S. mainland as island’s political and economic crisis worsens

AFP, August 23

The island of Puerto Rico is depopulating, as residents stream to the US mainland fleeing the island’s economic crisis and political gridlock in search of jobs.

Since 2009, more Puerto Ricans have been living pn the American mainland than on the northeastern Caribbean US-territory, a trend that has accelerated in the years [...]

Iceland volcano: Bardarbunga eruption sparks red alert

BBC, August 23

Iceland has issued a red alert to the aviation industry for the Bardarbunga volcano, meaning significant ash emissions are likely.

The Icelandic Met Office has warned that a small eruption under an ice cap has begun at Bardarbunga.

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