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Unraveling the Iran Deal (or How to Put Iran's Nuclear Program Into Overdrive)


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#141 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 07:08 PM

So here we are almost 60 years later and planning another Bay of Pigs?

What could possibly go wrong?
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
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#142 LFC

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 11:27 AM

More stupidity as Trump doubles down on his favorite foreign policy move; ranting, screeching. and breaking things like a spoiled child.

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In an unprecedented step to ramp up pressure on Tehran, the Trump administration is planning to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization.” The move is expected to further isolate Iran and could have widespread implications for U.S. personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The Trump administration has escalated rhetoric against Iran for months, but this will mark the first such designation by any American administration of an entire foreign government entity. Portions of the Guard, notably its elite Quds Force, have been targeted previously by the United States.

Officials informed of the step said an announcement was expected as early as Monday.

Two U.S. officials and a congressional aide confirmed the planned move. They were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, seemed to anticipate the designation, saying in a tweet Sunday aimed at President Donald Trump that Trump “should know better than to be conned into another US disaster.”


At least the U.S. is all powerful so what could possible go wrong?

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Although the Guard has broad control and influence over the Iranian economy, such penalties from the U.S. may have limited impact. The designation, however, could significantly complicate U.S. military and diplomatic work, notably in Iraq, where many Shiite militias and Iraqi political parties have close ties to the Guard. And in Lebanon, where the Guard has close ties to Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government.

Without exclusions or waivers to the designation, U.S. troops and diplomats could be barred from contact with Iraqi or Lebanese authorities who interact with Guard officials or surrogates.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#143 LFC

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 02:54 PM

Over at TAC there's a piece called America Just Declared War on Iran and Nobody Blinked concerning the naming of the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group. This basically opens them to non-Congressionally approved attacks, same as ISIS. Under a normal administration this might sound like overstatement but we've got Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton all of whom are busying sucking off Israel and Saudi Arabia. What are the odds that the U.S. is NOT going to attack at some level?
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#144 JackD

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:15 PM

Clearly, the U.S. attacking the Revolutionary Guards would be Netanyahu's desire.

#145 LFC

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 04:42 PM

Still more evidence that Trump is simply insane. I wonder what right-wingnut source he got this particular bit of stupidity from.

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President Donald Trump on Thursday revived a months-old attack against former Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing him of violating a law that prohibits Americans from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the country without proper authorization. A spokesperson for Kerry said in response that “everything” Trump asserted Thursday was “simply wrong.”

While answering a reporter’s question in the White House about whether the United States would engage in a military confrontation with Iran — “I don’t want to say ‘no,” Trump replied, defending his decision to move the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the region — Trump zeroed in on Kerry.

“John Kerry speaks to [Iran] a lot,” Trump said, without explaining himself. “John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly he should be prosecuted on that, but my people don’t want to do anything that’s— Only the Democrats do that kind of stuff.”

(Attorney General William Barr, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee recently, wouldn’t answer Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) question about whether “anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone.”)

“He’s talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many phone calls, and he’s telling them what to do,” Trump added, referring to Kerry. “That is a total violation of the Logan Act.”

A spokesperson for Kerry told CNN’s Michelle Kosinski that “everything” Trump said Thursday “is simply wrong, end of story.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#146 LFC

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 05:05 PM

Larison says Trump and his merry band of war mongers want complete and total surrender by Iran. Nothing less will do.

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Today Trump made a disingenuous offer to negotiate with Iran:

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“What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, a fair deal, we just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons – not too much to ask. And we would help put them back to great shape.”

When Trump says things like this, it confirms what we knew all along: the administration’s rhetoric about negotiating a “better” deal is empty posturing. If all that the administration wanted was for Iran not to have nuclear weapons, there would have been no escalating U.S. sanctions pressure campaign over the last year. If keeping Iran from building nuclear weapons was Trump’s only concern, he could have kept the U.S. in the nonproliferation agreement that ensured that Iran would be unable to build nuclear weapons. Instead, Trump reneged on the deal, reimposed sanctions without cause, and issued a series of absurd and unrealistic demands that no self-respecting government would accept. Once he reneged on the agreement, Trump proved that he couldn’t be trusted to keep any promises, and he gave Iran every reason not to negotiate with a government that broke its word.

Iranian leaders aren’t going to take the risk of negotiating with the U.S. again, especially not when this president is still in office, because they were burned so badly by the last experience and because they can’t believe promises of sanctions relief when earlier promises were arbitrarily revoked. Supposing that Zarif or Rouhani did call Trump up, what would they possibly have to talk about? Iran won’t accede to the administration’s preposterous demands, and Trump has shown no interest in lifting sanctions until Iran capitulates (and perhaps not even then). Iranian officials have made it clear that there won’t be negotiations on any other issues until the U.S. returns to the JCPOA, and that will never happen as long as Trump is the president. Even if Trump were sincere in his desire to negotiate now (he isn’t), he already burned those bridges a year ago when he violated the agreement.

The truth is that Trump and his officials have never wanted any kind of “deal” with Iran, and they objected to the current nuclear deal because it represented a compromise with the Iranian government that reduced international pressure on the regime. They believe the nuclear deal was “horrible” precisely because it took some Iranian interests into account, and they don’t accept that Iran has any legitimate interests. The administration is never going to seek a deal that would require an end to their pressure campaign, and they are not interested in reaching a mutually acceptable compromise on the nuclear issue or anything else. The Trump administration wants Iran to surrender on everything, and failing that they intend to strangle Iran into submission no matter how much damage that does to tens of millions of innocent Iranian civilians. The administration isn’t going to get what they want, but in the meantime they will keep escalating tensions and increasing the chances of a war that would be disastrous for all parties.


The result of this is, of course, they have given the Iranian government no incentive to talk to them. Trump violated the treaty (and lied over 10,000 times to our nation) so there's zero reason to remotely consider his word, verbal or written and signed, as anything but garbage. They now seem to have two courses of action they can take; get other nations to blunt the damage of the sanctions or start their nuclear program back up. They really have no incentive to do anything else. Good job, Trump.

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A year after the U.S. started violating its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has taken minimal measures to protest the fact that it is getting virtually nothing that it was promised:

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Iran said Wednesday it will stop respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a landmark 2015 deal unless other powers help Tehran bypass renewed US sanctions, amid rising tensions with Washington.

The move was part of a package of measures announced by Iran in response to the sweeping unilateral sanctions reimposed by Washington in the 12 months since it quit the agreement, which have had a severe effect on the Iranian economy.

Because the U.S. has been violating its part of the agreement for a year, Iran is within its rights under the deal to take these steps. Iran is otherwise still fulfilling its end of the bargain. The Iranian government’s goal is to pressure the other parties to the agreement by raising the prospect of the collapse of the deal in the future. The important thing to bear in mind is that this is a very limited set of measures, and it shows that Iran doesn’t want to exit the deal if it doesn’t have to. Tightening U.S. sanctions in spite of its compliance for the last three years have made it increasingly difficult to justify remaining party to an agreement from which it derives no benefits. The Trump administration has been relentlessly pushing to make Iran abandon the deal, and that means that U.S. sanctions are responsible for provoking this response.

The Trump administration wants to force Iran out of the deal, so a measured response from Iran doesn’t give them what they have been looking for. Iran hawks have always hated the deal because it deprives them of a pretext for conflict, and that is why they have been trying so hard to wreck the deal from the beginning. Hard-liners in the administration want a crisis with Iran over the nuclear issue as soon as possible. The Iranian government is still giving the Europeans, Russia, and China time to give them an incentive to stay in the deal, and they are assuming that the other parties want to avoid a crisis as much as Iran does.


F***ing idiots.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#147 Rue Bella

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:10 PM

Trump is simply looking for an excuse to bomb someone (any dark-skinned, non christian nation will do) if the congressional contempt charges, obstruction, etc gets too hot for his side. He is unstable, irrational, and to be feared.
What is wrong with these people? ~ PG

No longer politically correct

#148 JackD

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 09:21 PM

It may be more the courtiers than the king. Trump said today( I think) that "they" were tru]ying to suck him into a war in Venezuela. Iran? I'm not sure.

#149 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 08:48 AM

View PostLFC, on 25 September 2018 - 03:50 PM, said:

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Trump blasted what he called Iran’s “corrupt dictatorship” and accused its leaders of enriching themselves through massive embezzlement and raiding state coffers to spread “mayhem” across the Middle East and around the world.

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“If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay,” he was to say according to prepared remarks released by the White House.


Every accusation is a confession.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#150 LFC

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 04:03 PM

Moving Saudi tanker news over here since the administration is already embarking on the Iran blame game, likely with zero evidence. Larison warns us and the media to doubt the connections being made without clear evidence.

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The Wall Street Journal reports some unsubstantiated speculation coming from a single anonymous administration official about alleged sabotage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf:

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An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. official said, a finding that, if confirmed, would further inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The assessment, while not conclusive, was the first suggestion by any nation that Iran was responsible for the attack and comes after a series of U.S. warnings against aggression by Iran or its allies and proxies against military or commercial vessels in the region.

The U.S. official, who declined to be identified, didn’t offer details about what led to the assessment or its implications for a possible U.S. response.

We should be extremely skeptical of anything coming from administration officials about supposed foreign threats, especially when it concerns Iran. The president and top officials have lied so often about Iran in the last two years that nothing they say about this can be trusted. An anonymous official unwilling to offer any details about murky events is just about as unreliable a source as one could have. It is an open secret that National Security Advisor John Bolton is gunning for confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, and he has been exaggerating and distorting intelligence to do it. For all we know, this lone official telling this story is a Bolton ally trying to ratchet up tensions. The American public has been burned often enough with dishonest claims and shoddy justifications for war over the last twenty years, and this feels like another phony pretext for a conflict that many in our government have been trying to start for a long time.

Attacking civilian tankers would be extremely foolish, and Iran has good reason not to fall into the trap that Bolton is trying to set. The WSJ article goes on to acknowledge that no other government has endorsed this finding, and other officials doubt that Iran would have been involved:

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#151 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 10:22 AM

View PostLFC, on 14 May 2019 - 04:03 PM, said:

Moving Saudi tanker news over here since the administration is already embarking on the Iran blame game, likely with zero evidence. Larison warns us and the media to doubt the connections being made without clear evidence.

Here's an interesting comment to Larison's piece.

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Oleg Gark says:
May 13, 2019 at 10:51 pm
The perpetrators of this sabotage have to be the most conscientious terrorists ever. No deaths, no injuries, no spilled oil, and no damage that can’t be repaired. Also, no witnesses and no apparent motive.

It’s as if the terrorists deliberately fired a Weapon of Mass Confusion at the American public. Trump needs to send over some B-52s right now to put a stop to this nonsense and bring clarity to the situation.

So to sum up Iran has no reason to attack these ships. the bombs almost surgically limited the damage, and now we have a report that there's no visible damage at least from above the water line. Hmmmmmm.

On the flip side we know that the administration violated the treaty with Iran, has been escalating tensions with them since Trump got in, pushed for updated invasion plans, and now is evacuating non-military personnel from Iraq as if some big attack by Iran was imminent. Oh, yeah. Bolton and Pompeo. People are raising the specters of the Gulf of Tonkin and the Maine. I tend to shy away from conspiracy theories but I think the evidence that the Trumpies are looking for an excuse for a war with Iran is now vastly greater than Iran pushing for that war.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#152 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:19 PM

Josh Marshall warns that John Bolton is far worse than most people realize. He wants war. He ALWAYS wants war. He is the classic bully who wants to browbeat every other nation into kneeling before him, er, uh, the U.S. And unlike the rest of the Trumpies he's not a moron.

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Looking at the escalating (US-created) crisis with Iran, one thing I realize is that a lot of people do not quite know who John Bolton is. They assume – rightly – that anyone in the Trump orbit must be either a moral weakling, a crazy person or someone with one foot out the door. All true. But John Bolton is a unique and uniquely dangerous character.

To give some perspective, back during George W. Bush’s second term, Bush nominated Bolton to serve as UN Ambassador. That was in 2006 and with a GOP majority in the Senate. Bolton was seen as so manifestly ill-suited to the position that he couldn’t get confirmed. He had to settle for a pity recess appointment.

All respect to the UN and the UN Ambassadorship. But it is of course a vastly less consequential position than Defense Secretary or CIA Chief or National Security Advisor. Bolton couldn’t even get confirmed in a Republican Senate for the simple reason that he was just too big a warmonger to be a safe pick even for UN Ambassador.

Bolton is a caricature of a militarist and warmonger. He is sometimes classed with the so-called “neo-conservatives” who played the central role getting the country into the Iraq War. This isn’t really correct, either in classification or historical terms. For all their shortcomings many of the leading neoconservative policy hands and intellectuals were big on democracy promotion – often in foolish ways, usually only when it was convenient and mainly in Europe. But this is at least part of the worldview. (If you think I have a sympathetic or rosy-eyed view of these folks, I do not. Read this article from the eve of the Iraq War to get a sense of that.) Bolton doesn’t come from that worldview, as limited and as disastrous as it has proven. In really every context he is for hard US dominance, unilateralism and war as the preferred course of action. Again, he’s really the caricature of a militarist, the kind of one-dimensional, clownishly hawkish type who gets described in small circulation left-wing magazines but can’t possibly exist in real life, only he does exist and his name is John Bolton.

The second point is equally important. He’s no fool. He’s a very bright guy. And – critically important – he’s a master of bureaucratic politics. The main failing of the top Trumpers is that they are mostly ill-prepared clowns. Ill-prepared clowns can do immense damage. But there have been numerous instances in the last couple years in which big Trump administration initiatives got derailed or delayed simply because of bad lawyering or bureaucratic ineptitude. There are lots of examples of that on the immigration front, for instance.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#153 HockeyDon

    Mind blown...

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:27 PM

https://www.youtube....h?v=QqXzZKtCFGc
Well, fuck.

How can I be expected to distinguish BS from reality when so much of my reality is utter BS?!

"There seems to be a lot of people dying of ignorance while living in the information age." my sister-in-law.

#154 golden_valley

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 07:23 PM

Trump is supposed to save us from a Bolton war in the Middle East? That's a faint and ridiculous hope. The Saudis and maybe even the Israelis might want war too. Whatever will Jared Kushner advise?

I have to wonder if this is an attempt to change the subject from Congressional investigations.

#155 Bact PhD

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 07:25 AM

View Postgolden_valley, on 15 May 2019 - 07:23 PM, said:

Trump is supposed to save us from a Bolton war in the Middle East? That's a faint and ridiculous hope. The Saudis and maybe even the Israelis might want war too. Whatever will Jared Kushner advise?

I have to wonder if this is an attempt to change the subject from Congressional investigations.

Sounds like a plot worthy of Hollywood...
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

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#156 LFC

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 07:44 AM

View PostBact PhD, on 16 May 2019 - 07:25 AM, said:

Sounds like a plot worthy of Hollywood...

Is that where National Lampoon shot its movies?
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#157 AnBr

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:27 AM

John Bolton: ‘An Attack On Two Saudi Oil Tankers Is An Attack On All Americans’
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

— Carl Sagan


Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#158 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:02 PM

View Postgolden_valley, on 15 May 2019 - 07:23 PM, said:

Trump is supposed to save us from a Bolton war in the Middle East? That's a faint and ridiculous hope. The Saudis and maybe even the Israelis might want war too. Whatever will Jared Kushner advise?

WWJD. What Would Jared Do?
Reality is a hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

Only Satan can rebuke sin. The righteous don't know enough.

God is not dead. He was merely voted out of office.

You can do anything with anybody if you just save them the trouble of thinking.

#159 baw1064

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:22 PM

View PostAnBr, on 16 May 2019 - 11:27 AM, said:


These days it's really hard to tell what's The Onion and what isn't!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss

#160 LFC

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:23 PM

View PostAnBr, on 16 May 2019 - 11:27 AM, said:


LFC: The Hiring of John Bolton Is An Attack On All Americans
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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