from THE NEW YORKER ONLINE July 16, 2015

our brief analysis will follow at the end of this article

July 16, 2015 Twenty-Five Years After Another Gulf War

By Jeffrey Frank

In the run-up to Desert Storm, Secretary of State James A. Baker III, along with President George H. W. Bush, played a considerably more consequential role than did the Ambassador to Iraq, April C. Glaspie. Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY TERRY ASHE / THE LIFE IMAGES COLLECTION / GETTY When Jeb Bush, not long ago, kept mangling his answers after being asked whether, knowing what we know now, he would do what his brother George did when he launched the ruinous Second Gulf War, in March, 2003, he eventually said that he would not, but also that he didn’t want to “get back into hypotheticals.” Hypothetical questions can be useful, though, and the answers often depend not only upon what you’re asked but when you’re asked. For instance, knowing what we know now, should Jeb’s father, the first President Bush, have launched his Gulf War, in 1991? Operation Desert Storm succeeded in its limited goal—to drive the Iraqis out of neighboring Kuwait, which they had invaded, on August 2, 1990—a quarter century ago. But it also embroiled the United States and participating allies in a conflict that might someday be seen as the start of a baffling, destructive regional war that still continues—and that might have been avoided with better communication. You do not have to agree with Senator Rand Paul’s assertion that Republican hawks “created” the Islamic State to see a link between American interventions in the Middle East and the chaos that followed. For that matter, you do not have to agree that the culpable hawks belong only to the Republican Party. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler revisited the run-up to the First Gulf War a few years ago, and followed a trail of mixed signals that could be traced, in reverse sequence, from April C. Glaspie, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, to James A. Baker III, the Secretary of State, to George H. W. Bush. Glaspie, a career Foreign Service officer, was in Baghdad when Iraqi forces entered Kuwait. A week earlier, when it looked as if an incursion was imminent, she spent two hours with Saddam Hussein, at the Presidential Palace, where she urged restraint but never quite said that the United States would use military force to stop him. Before the fighting began, the Iraqi government released what they claimed was a transcript of their conversation, and which Glaspie has always maintained was doctored: Glaspie: I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait. As you know, I lived here for years and admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. We know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship—not confrontation—regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s borders? Hussein: As you know, for years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement on our dispute with Kuwait. There is to be a meeting in two days; I am prepared to give negotiations only this one more brief chance. When we meet and we see there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death. According to the Iraqi account of the conversation, when Glaspie asked, “What solutions would be acceptable?” Saddam talked about the suicidal 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, during which an estimated half-million people died, and insisted that Iraq, its economy wrecked by the war, had legitimate territorial claims on Kuwait and its oil. When Saddam asked, “What is the United States’ opinion on this?,” Glaspie replied, “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.” In 1991, in conversations with members of Senate and House foreign-affairs committees, Glaspie said that what she’d actually told Hussein was to “keep your hands off this country,” and that the Iraqi transcript included only “one part of my sentence. The other part of my sentence was, ‘but we insist that you settle your disputes with Kuwait nonviolently.’ And he told me he would do so.” But Representative Lee Hamilton asked a key question: “Did you ever tell Saddam Hussein, ‘Mr. President, if you go across that line into Kuwait, we’re going to fight’?” Glaspie replied, “No, I did not.” Still, the suggestion that the United States may have even unintentionally green-lighted Saddam’s war became an embarrassment for Glaspie, and pretty much ended any chance for another diplomatic posting. (She retired from the Foreign Service a few years later.) Kessler’s story in the Post was prompted by a rare interview that Glaspie gave, in 2008, to Randa Takieddine of the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat. In it, she maintained that parts of the transcript of her meeting with Saddam were “invented by Tarek Aziz,” Iraq’s former Minister of Information, who died this past June. As Kessler noted, though, a cable sent by Glaspie to the State Department after seeing Saddam suggested that she’d been more conciliatory than she recalled. Her dispatch, declassified after efforts by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (and later published by Wikileaks), described Saddam’s manner as “cordial, reasonable, and even warm,” and said she had told Saddam that President Bush had “instructed her to broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq.” Saddam, she wrote, knew that America could use “planes and rockets and hurt Iraq deeply,” and had asked that the United States “not force Iraq to the point of humiliation”; his “emphasis that he wants peaceful settlement is surely sincere (Iraqis are sick of war), but the terms sound difficult to achieve.” In the 2008 interview, Glaspie sounded eager to put it all behind her. “It is over,” she said. “Nobody wants to take the blame. I am quite happy to take the blame. Perhaps I was not able to make Saddam believe that we would do what we said we would do, but in all honesty, I don’t think anybody in the world could have persuaded him.” Actually, no one ought to blame Glaspie for what followed. Transcripts and cables tell part of the story, but far from all of it. The roles played by Secretary of State Baker and the President were of considerably more consequence than that of their Ambassador, though neither Baker nor Bush suffered the scrutiny and scorn that was directed toward Glaspie. (When she was asked if “all this blame from Baker and Washington” was unfair, she replied that “President Bush was superb…. He was extremely thoughtful, extremely knowledgeable, extremely worried as he should have been.” The lack of a similar comment about Baker seems notable.) Glaspie didn’t ask if, knowing what we know now, the nation’s leaders should have given more thought to the idea that the task in the father-and-son Gulf Wars was greater than a massive military operation against a third-rate power. She said as much when she told Al-Hayat that “There has to be from the West [a] really deeper understanding than I have seen of the profundity of the animosities in Iraq.” She added, “Past is past; either we learn from it or we don’t.” The nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers, for all the questions it’s bound to face, might be viewed in that light: that something was learned from America’s quarter century in the Middle East and that, as President Obama said, it’s “an opportunity to move in a new direction.” Perhaps, a quarter century from now, someone will ask whether another long, corrosive Mideast war was avoided by all the bickering, posturing, and, in the end, essential faith among the negotiators in Vienna that diplomacy is something other than the exchange of empty phrases. With luck, the answer will be that it was.

Comments- Arthur Lerman, writing against NORPAC, an “anti-Iran deal” Jewish Group– one of many well funded groups, many non-Jewish, that do not want to see this agreement come to fruition. This blog needs the downside of the Kerry-Iran accord re-explained frequently, because it is simply hard to follow. The upsides are easy.

So Dr. Lerman:

But the alternatives are no controls on Iran at all.

All other nations will eliminate their sanctions.

We may be the only ones continuing them.

This way we’ll be able to keep tabs on them.

And so many in Iran are pressuring their government to open to us and to the rest of the world. The agreement will greatly strengthen their efforts—a reason the right-wing in Iran also opposes the agreement. (Interesting that the right wing in both Iran and the U.S. oppose it—not at all strange bedfellows?)
Why does NORPAC have to be so negative on any attempts to reach out to the other side?

Please be a little imaginative.

Yes, the policy of the Israeli Netanyahu government is to oppose the agreement. But, given the negative record of Netanyahu’s policies overall, what kind of a recommendation is that? His settlement policies, for a most egregious example, have been a disaster for Israel and for world Jewry, turning so many in the world against Israel, and, by extension, against Jews.

His policies provide examples that are used in arguments by anti-Semites. If Israel would be more clearly for peace, and show more concern for those on the other side who also want peace (Palestinian moderates and Iranian youth, for example), it would build their credibility, providing much more security for Israel and the Jews of the world.

And if the Iranians cheat on the deal, then we can return to the sanctions–even increase them–with the support of the rest of the world.

Fear that we won’t discover their cheating? Have you no faith in the Israeli and U.S. intelligence forces?

And so many in the Israeli defense/intelligence community support the agreement.

If it doesn’t work, we can go back to where we are.

But if it works, the whole world will benefit. What do we have to lose? Now and then you just have to try something.

You have to admit, it was amazing that Russia, China, the U.S., Britain, France, the European Union, and Germany were able to sit on the same side of the table in this negotiation. That in itself is incredible.

Reject the agreement and restart negotiations? It was so hard to get them all to where they are now. Do you think you can even get them into the same room again for a do-over–especially when so many forces in all these countries were so against the negotiations in the first place?

Why can’t NORPAC support Israel’s security instead of Netanyahu’s policies that are putting Israel in more and more danger?

Oh! Concerning your statement that you decided to oppose the agreement “after careful review,” it seems that most of those who are opposed decided way before the agreement’s terms were made public.

How many oppose it just because they oppose anything Obama does–no matter how beneficial? Is NORPAC just one of the “usual suspects” in this regard?

Art Lerman

Art is quick to recommend postings from The Forward, J Street and Tikkun Magazine—Jewish organizations that strongly support the Iran deal.

Concerning Jewish public opinion:

“J Street wants Congress to know that, despite some loud opposition to the deal coming from Jewish organizational leaders, our polling suggests that a clear majority of Jewish Americans agrees with us and backs the deal,” the group said in a statement.

Here are some other relevant postings:

5 Reasons AIPAC Is Dead Wrong about the Iran Deal


confederate flad         QUESTION MARK

This piece by an EIN news (similar to Reuter’s) correspondent takes (Republican)  Gov. Nicky Haley’s call for a removal of the Confederate flag from the state flag a step further and presents a no holds barred endorsement of the policy. I don’t think, personally, that you can hit “delete” on historical symbols, but if they are displayed in public places and on state flags they have come to be increasingly associated with disrespect for groups who did Not benefit from the Confederacy and its aftermath.

Given the passion with which the Tea Party and Southern hard-liners have attacked “liberals, Washington, Obama” etc., they need to realize that a tough position opposed to theirs can be articulated and you will find one such articulation here. This is not a trampling of the South, which has seen impressive reforms, especially in the past 30 years, shifts in attitudes etc. This might just be the next logical step.


June 22, 2015 By Joe Rothstein

Is the confederate flag a symbol of racism? That debate has gone on for decades. It won’t end because nine people were shot and killed in a South Carolina church. But what’s not debatable is that the confederate flag is a symbol of treason. 

The U.S. Constitution defines treason as levying war against the government and aiding and abetting its enemies. Under the banner of the confederate flag, the deadliest war in U.S. history was waged against the U.S. government. More than 600,000 died, half of all those killed in all wars we’ve ever fought as a nation. Jefferson Davis was charged with treason. Lincoln circulated a list of top Confederate generals he said deserved to be imprisoned for treason. That list even included Robert E. Lee.

There’s a popular sick joke that goes this way: A visitor from a northern state stops in a southern town, sees the confederate flag prominently displayed and engages a local in a discussion about it. “What do you think happened at Appomattox Court House?” he asks. The local’s reply: “The longest ceasefire in history.” For many, the Civil War never ended. And it won’t end while the flag the South marched under continues to be a respectable symbol.

As South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said, in defense of the confederate flag after the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church murders, “It’s who we are. It’s our heritage.”

Eleven southern states tried to secede from the U.S. because they refused to abide by the laws of the land, laws created by democratically elected representatives. Leaders in those states had many alternatives to war. They could have worked to change majority opinion. They could have tried to change the composition of Congress at a future election. They could have banded together to try to elect a president sympathetic to their views. The U.S. Constitution provides multiple road maps for change and public expression. If anything, the founding fathers purposely over-weighted our system of government toward minority view expression and protection.

If their efforts for peaceful change failed the leaders of those 11 states could have done what state leaders before and since have done: accept the will of the majority and adjust to it. But they chose to wage war against the U.S. A century and a half later, many still are waging that war. To listen to the political narratives in many southern states and communities is not much different than listening to the rantings about the U.S. government we hear from Iran, North Korea and other enemies of the U.S. Washington is the enemy. The South will rise again.

In our global society, we often compare the U.S. with other countries. But the U.S. isn’t like any other country. No other country so willing has accepted and integrated immigrants into its society. Few countries permit the range of free speech, religion, and other rights of individual liberty as the U.S. permits. And those that do share our democratic form of government adopted those rights from the U.S. model. Even in Great Britain, home of the Magna Carta, reporters can be jailed for printing articles that routinely show up in U.S. newspapers. That’s why WikiLeaks first appeared in the N.Y. Times rather than the Times of London.

That freedom and diversity expresses itself in many ways. Vast numbers of citizens in the U.S. West are unhappy about the way federal lands are managed. Many who live in states where coal mining is a major industry are aggressively opposed to attempts to control its use. Urban areas struggle to uplift neighborhoods where populations are dense and jobs scarce. To be an American is to be part of a cauldron of interests, often conflicting, where passions and differences create on-going tension.

That’s the price we pay to avoid having a master or master group telling us what to do and what’s best. We win. We lose. We accept, but reserve the right to continue trying to steer matters in our preferred direction.

What we don’t do is take up arms against the government. Millions of Americans opposed the Vietnam and Iraqi wars. They marched in the streets. Many sought arrest to highlight their protest. Likewise the anti-nuclear arms movement of the Cold War. The Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s. What violence occurred during those uprisings was limited, condemned and punished. Hopefully, there always will be high levels of dissent in the U.S. Hopefully, we will continue to be free enough and caring enough to express our concerns with public action. There’s hardly a stronger agent for positive change than demonstrations by active citizens.

All of this happens under one flag. The American flag. The proper symbol for a free people who use that freedom to try to make lawful change. 

The confederate flag is the antithesis of that. It symbolizes armed revolution by those not willing to abide by the law and defend the Constitution. It’s treason. And the more we coddle those who fly that flag and wear it on tee shirts and belt buckles the longer we contribute to the notion that Appomattox was a cease fire rather than an ignominious defeat. 

It’s time to put an end to the romance of the confederacy. It was a horrible war that took an incredible toll in human life and resulted in a legacy of another hundred years of virtual servitude for African Americans. As long as we tolerate it we will have dreadful incidents such as the murder of people during Bible study. 

Lindsey Graham says it’s “our heritage.” He’s right. And an ugly, treasonous one. It’s time to call it what it is.

(Joe Rothstein can be contacted at




Sen. Warren zeroes in on my Bank President Jamie Dimon’s patronizing remarks. Need we say more?



warren_dimonElizabeth Warren just dropped the mic on JPMorgan Chase CEO
byWalter Einenkel

You can’t buy class.
A couple of days ago, JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon thought it would be funny to take a pot shot at Senator Elizabeth Warren. He was trying to undermine her and other Washington lawmakers’ investigations and proposed regulations of the financial district.
“I don’t know if she fully understands the global banking system,” Dimon, speaking Wednesday at an event in Chicago, said of the Massachusetts Democrat. Still, he said he agrees with some of her concerns about risks.
Warren, a Senate Banking Committee member, has won popular support and gained influence in her party by openly challenging the size of large lenders and their political power. She has said it was a mistake for the U.S. government to refrain from breaking up big banks, such as Citigroup Inc., after the 2008 financial crisis. Last month, as firms including JPMorgan pleaded guilty to resolve probes into market-rigging, she criticized regulators for granting waivers that let the companies continue operating certain businesses.

Elizabeth Warren addressed Dimon’s comments on “So, That Happened” Podcast:
“The problem is not that I don’t understand the global banking system. The problem for these guys is that I fully understand the system and I understand how they make their money. And that’s what they don’t like about me.”




Georgia flood: Tbilisi residents warned over zoo animals after devastating flood

    • 14 minutes ago


Media captionRayhan Demytrie reports from Tbilisi Zoo on the devastation caused by the flood

Heavy flooding in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, has killed at least 12 people, with officials warning people to stay indoors to avoid animals that have escaped from a zoo.

The missing animals include tigers, lions, bears and wolves. Three of the dead people were found within the zoo.

A hippopotamus was cornered in one of the city’s main squares and subdued with a tranquiliser gun.

Rescue workers are searching submerged homes to check for trapped residents.

Dozens of people have been left homeless.

‘Hellish whirlpool’

Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze told InterPressNews agency that three bodies had been found in the zoo, including those of two employees.

A handout picture provided by the Georgian Prime Minister's press office shows a runaway bear sitting on the window of the second floor of a building on the flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia on 14 June 2015
People have been told to stay indoors until the animals have been found
A man shoots a tranquilizer dart to put a hippopotamus to sleep at a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, 14 June 2015
The hippopotamus was tranquilised, but some animals have been killed
A municipal worker sits near the body of a lion at a flooded zoo area in Tbilisi (14 June 2015)
A lion was among the animals who died
Deer in Tbilisi zoo (June 2015)
It is still not clear exactly how many animals remain on the loose

She said the grounds had been turned into “a hellish whirlpool”.

Ms Sharashidze said wolves, lions, tigers, jackals and jaguars had been shot dead by special forces or were missing.

The bodies of a lion and a pony lay near the zoo.

The flooding began when heavy rains caused the River Vere – normally little more than a stream – to burst its banks.

Thousands of people have been left without water and electricity while others have had to be airlifted to safety.

Mayor Davit Narmania said the situation was “very grave”.

Several main roads have been destroyed while small houses and cars were swept away.

Coffins in a city cemetery have reportedly been washed out of the ground and left lying on the mud.

Flood damage at Tbilisi zoo
A large part of the zoo in Tbilisi remains under water
A damaged area near a flooded zoo in Tbilisi, Georgia (14 June 2015)
The flooding has also caused major damage to roads and property

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has called on residents to stay indoors until the animals have been found.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili has visited affected area and extended his condolences to relatives of the victims.

It remains unclear how many are animals missing. Helicopters are circling the city as part of a search and rescue operation.

Vice-mayor Irakly Lekvinadze estimated the preliminary damage at $10m (£6.43m).

In May 2012, five people were killed in Tbilisi after another river flooded.

Princeton Trained Political Scientist Savors Thomas Piketty




Our own Prof. Arthur Lerman! I would add as a preface to his concise book notes, that Piketty translated into English is remarkable in 2 ways: 1. he is very light on economic jargon, 2. is is thick with references to literature and history–as Art says– and not exactly the trend in economic writing these days on this side of the Atlantic.~~ f.l.s.

I just finished Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014). This is what I understand to be (some of) his basic argument:
The free market system automatically moves towards economic inequality.
The more wealth one has, from inheritance or other income, the better the advice on how to invest it one can afford. So  the wealthier fortunes almost always grow more rapidly–and more securely– than their lesser counterparts.
Concerning salaries and other compensation for work, income inequality is encouraged by CEOs who–in conjunction with docile boards of directors–have the power to set their own incomes. (One way to counter the setting of obscenely high salaries is a progressive tax–which becomes confiscatory as incomes become too high. In such cases the CEO finds that all his/her extra salary will go to the government, so there will be no incentive for sky high compensation.)
Only something like progressive taxes (on wealth better than income) can make for a fair distribution of economic resources in society.
And the tax system has to be international–regionally, or better,globally–so that wealth cannot be transferred to other countries to avoid the taxes.
And Piketty backs this up with voluminous statistical date–enhanced by all sorts of other sources, even fascinating references to the economic circumstances of the characters in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

JFK and Don Draper


From My Political Science 367 class, answer to comment 1st, then comment:

Well Kennedy was human for sure, but so was Kaiser Wilhelm. Not comparing, but… I’d like to revisit the Context of these quotes. Remember that this was the period of “MADMEN” and adult males were not as housebroken as today.

Author: Valerie Lovo Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 10:10:17 AM EDT Subject: RE: DISCUSSION 2 COLD WAR 1961-69

“I would rather take my television black and white and have the largest rockets in the world.”

A nice provocative quote from JFK. I personally like John F. Kennedy and think that he was a wonderful president, especially during the time of the cold war. He possessed traits that were unseen in any presidency before. Among the quite I chose, there’s too many from JFK that were provocative and quite controversial. I think the statement above that he made was clever and a bit witty as well. At this point in time we have people such as Richard Nixon stating that “we were ahead in color television” and people like JFK ridiculing him. JFK believed that the United States was losing the cold war at that they had gone soft in physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. I like how even in a tense time with the Soviet Union, the president was able to express himself in a free way that was unlike any other. JFK couldn’t have been a better spokesperson for this considering his exuberant charisma and good nature. I believe that the United States had good chances in recovering from their “softness” because they had a leader who was driven. 

This is probably unrelated to the Cold War itself, but it is another clever and provocative quote from JFK during the times of the cold war. He states “who gives a sh*t about minimum wage”. Even in foreign affairs president Kennedy proved his toughness. I think this post would be good in describing the people who stated these quotes and their tenure during the cold war. Without a doubt, the cold war was controversial in itself, but the leaders of the world within that time also had their fair shares of controversy.

Here are some highlights of the GOP budget: from Campaign for America’s future



Campaign for America's Future
Republicans aren’t ashamed or embarrassed. They have big ideas to remake America and they are gearing up for a fight.Here are some highlights of the GOP budget:

  • 11 million families, seniors and children lose food stamps.
  • 35,000 children cut from Head Start.
  • 133,000 poor families denied housing assistance.
  • $1.2 billion cuts from education. That’s 4,500 schools 17,000 teachers!

The House GOP plan replaces Medicare with a system of coupons. They slash services.  That’s 500,000 fewer rides to doctors and grocery stores.  These are our parents and grandparents.

Campaign for America’s Future has heard these terrible ideas before. We’ve exposed them and helped defeat them. We’ve done this for almost 20 years.

Can you help us fight the GOP’s dangerous and dishonest plan for America?

This is a fight we undertake together.  We don’t have major corporations or billiionaires paying for these campaigns.  We have peopel like you.  If you are struggling, use your voice and tell your friends and neighbors what is going on.  If you can afford to make a donation of any amount, know that it truly does make a difference and that we never, ever take you for granted.

Thank you for your commitment.




It is 1975. You are president of the United States. There has been a thaw in relations with the USSR (Nixon) but both side still have about 12,000 nuclear warheads each. Most of these can reach their targets via submarine, bomber, or ICBM within 60-90 minutes. If all of the weapons were launched based on a crisis or, worse, a misperceived attack by one side, the explosive power released would be 1 million times that of the a-bombs dropped on Japan.
Now, think carefully. All of your intelligence services confirm that for some in credible reason, about 1,000 Soviet missiles have been launched and headed for the US. This would average about 20 H-bombs per state, more than enough to end 99.999% of all life in the US. Cities and towns would be burned to a crisp (yes, Alaska, too). The rural areas would received a toxic soup of radiation that would finish off even people in remote areas within a few weeks. As Khrushchev once said, “the survivors would envy the dead”.
Again, You hold the power to act in this very short time. Your country is finished– almost certainly, within 2 hours. Done deal. What do you do?
The answer may not be as easy as it looks, and there may be more than one answer, but probably only one GOOD answer. No penalty for whatever answer you choose. Reward for thought-ful answers.

Author: Andrew Moran Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 2:07:35 PM EDT Subject: RE: THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO
Drat, the date is 8 years before I could go with Plan A: . Particle beams aside…This scenario comes down to “Well, we’re dead so how many people do we take with us?” My first thought would be fire more nukes at the incoming nukes! However that’d kill a lot of people very quickly.
You’d figure the nuclear warheads would meet over the ocean. Well, mission accomplished, sure a lot of dead fish and a lot more unusable water, however we live, right? Nope, first the contaminated water would spread. Also, there were a set of tests called HANE (High-Altitude Nuclear Explosion). The USSR and America wanted to see what would happen if nuclear missiles were used at high altitudes. Turns out it results in a much bigger and quicker spreading explosion and the radiation spreads faster and travels much greater distances.
I bring this up because this means we’re all dead anyway if I go with this option. The warheads would meet and explode in the air and then kill us and most likely anyway.
Plan two, Launch our nuclear weapons and take Russia out. This means countries next to them would also be effected, so goodbye China, Ukraine, and Poland.
Plan three, flee the country and leave my citizens unaware of the threat until they all die. Let’s just scrap this idea right now.
Plan four, attempt to open diplomatic channels with the USSR and hope they disarm the warheads and let us live.
I think I’d go with plan five. Launch 10,758 nuclear warheads at Russia. Then divide the remaining 1,242 warheads and launch three at each countries capital, two in their most populated area, and lastly ten into the moon because at this point, why not? I’d leave Canada alone, this is simply because this is my hypothetical and I like moose. Now every country (besides the moose-rich Canada) has two hours to talk to each other and come about a peaceful solution that doesn’t mean the end of earth. I’d call this my bigger stick policy. Where I run loudly and carry a large nuclear stockpile and all of my warheads have a single stick painted on them.
This would mean either everyone disarms their nuclear stockpiles or we all die (except the moose). While this goes on I would inform my citizens. This would cause one of two results. First, they all do as we, the government have taught them and run to the nearest school and hide under their desks and we all know desks stop nuclear warheads. Second, mass looting and panic. At least I can say I’m honest and up front with the people of my country.

Really droll and provocative, Andrew and I won’t show all my cards at once. I may need to read through this again but I want to stress: 1. It is not what the president does With Himself that is the point (think Henry Fonda, FAILSAFE) but what he does as president on behalf of the country and the World/Mankind., 2. Help me understand the benefit of the pinpoint targeting of the USSR to take out an additional 200 million or so lives, or, more likely, ensure that 90% of the World’s population will die fast or worse slow deaths. Just checkin’. Good work.
p.s. absent a technology you don’t mention, there is close to zero chance that any warheads would meet and explode in the air. Just as when the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide in 4 billion years, the is almost no chance that any 2 stars will collide (law of large numbers/distances).
pps right, scrap #3 because the President could not make it much past the White House heli-pad before the nukes hit the fan
scrap # 4 because they no can disarm missiles in the air in 1975 (reliably, if Ever), much less open up diplo- channels.

What do we do with Inequality and what does that mean to You ?


  1. MuscootHousePITTSBURG SLUMS
  2. Blog post on What do we do with Inequality and what does that mean to You?This is the first of an ongoing series, with some dialogue and comment, we hope. It is are that we will take an extended passage from a journal and launch a discussion series based on this. But I encountered a rare passage from an author in MONTHLY REVIEW (not always the most vivid of progressive publications) that I found so compelling that I want the first “cut” to speak for itself. Imagine at a very practical level, what it is like to “grow up with advantages” in modern America—and without them. See how this passage captures that, and drawing implications should follow. Our source is from Michael Yates in the March 12, 2012 issue of MR, pp. 9-10 in an Article entitled “The Great Inequality,” … he quotes at length from his own book, Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012) pp.58-59… (Yates is co-editor of Monthly Review and an economist, formerly of the U. of Pennsylvania): In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I lived for many years, there is an extraordinarily wealthy family, the Hillmans, with a net worth of several billion dollars. One of their homes, along once fashionable Fifth Avenue, is a gorgeous mansion on a magnificent piece of property. About three miles east of this residence is the Homewood section of the city, whose mean streets have been made famous by the writer John Edgar Wideman. OnNorth Lang Street there is a row of three connected apartments. One of the end apartments has been abandoned to the elements to the rodents and drug users. This is gang territory, and if you are African-American, you do not go there wearing the wrong colors. Poverty, deep and grinding, in rampant on this street and in this neighborhood, which has one of the nation’s highest infant mortality rates. Consider two children, one born in the Hillman house and another in the North Lang Street apartment. In the former there are two rich and influential parents. In the latter there is a single mother working nights with three small children. Let us ask some basic questions. Which mother will have the best health care, with regular visits to the doctor, medicine if needed and a healthy diet? Which child is more likely to have a normal birth weight? Which child is likely to get adequate health care and have good healthcare in early childhood? If the poor child does not have these things, who will return to this child the brain cells lost as a consequence? Which child is more likely to suffer the ill effects of lead poisoning? Which child is more likely to have an older sibling, just 12 years old, be responsible for him when the mother is working at night? Who will be fed cookies for supper and be entertained by an old television set? If the two children get ill in the middle of the night, which one will be more likely to make it to the emergency room in time? Which child will start school speaking standard English, wearing new clothes, and having someone at home to make sure the homework gets done? Which child will travel, and which will barely make it out of the neighborhood? As the two children grow up, what sort of people will they meet? Which will be more likely to meet persons who could be useful to them when seeking admission to college or looking for a job or trying to find funding for a business venture? Which will be more likely to be hit by a stray bullet fired in a war over drug turf? Which will go to the better school? Which will have access to books, magazines, newspapers, and computers in the home? Which one will wear worn-out clothes?  Which will be embarrassed because his clothes smell? Which will be more likely to have caring teachers who work in well equipped and safe schools? Which will be afraid to tell the teacher that he does not have crayons and colored paper at home? Which will learn the grammar and the syntax of the rich? Which child will join a gang? Abuse drugs? Commit a crime? Be harassed by the police because he is black? When these two children face the labor market, which will be more productive? 

    To ask these questions is to answer them. And when we considered that the poor child in the United States is better off than two thirds of the world’s population, we must consider that most of the world’s people live in a condition of deprivation so extreme that they must be considered to have almost no opportunities at all. They are almost as condemned as a person on death row in a Texas prison.



    Strong words? Yes. Mr. Yates would not back down from a single one of them, nor would we. Please let us know what You think.