Patrick Cockburn (pron. Coburn) is a journalist who has been covering the Middle East for many years. Seymour Hersh calls him “quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today.” Truthdigger today discusses his latest book “The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising,” It’s a good source.
Here’s Andrew Bacevich on what to do about ISIS.
If you thought that Ferguson, the Ukraine and ISIS were enough bad news for the year, there is now the imminent possibility of an eruption of the volcano of this name in Iceland. Most attention has been given to the results of another eruption, different volcano, in Iceland in 2010 which disrupted air travel in Europe for weeks. (We were forced to extend our visit to Florence for several days, with the additional costs paid by travel insurance.)
Others recall that yet another Icelandic volcano in 1783 opened a large fissure that released obnoxious gases for many months, causing an extreme and extended winter worldwide that may have killed six million people, mostly from famine. The Mississippi froze down to New Orleans and there was floating ice in the Gulf of Mexico.
Will the survivalists have the last laugh?
William Pfaff raises the issue in his latest column. It would be almost impossible to discuss this in the US press. I don’t know what to make of it. It certainly gives us more insight into the current attitudes in Europe.
Is the US corporate tax too high? It turns out, like everything else, to be a complicated isue. Here’s some input from today’s NY Times
We’ve spent the week on vacaton on Isle La Motte in the northern reaches of Lake Champlain. It’s a family get-together celebrating our sixtieth wedding anniversary next month. Lots of activity – swimming, kayaking, bicycling and eating. (We are fortunate to have several good cooks in the family, including one superb professional chef.)
I’ve been the least athletic of the lot and have been concentrating on my reading. Early this year I read “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America” by Colin Woodard, The author believes that each of the colonial areas in North America had a distinctive culture which they carried with them as they migrated into the nation. He also believes that important aspects of these distinctive cultures can be found in the various regions of the Continent today and that this is a useful tool for understanding our history and current politics.
I found the book fascinating and persuaded my book club to read it this month. So I’m rereading it myself in preraration. I recommend it to you if you want a fresh look at our history. It was published by Penguin in 2011.
The Daily Kos is a left wing propaganda organ that is sometimes useful, although they have a tendency to exaggerate a bit at times. However, here is a note full of useful facts. The author seems to think they could be used to educate the ignorant right wing, but I doubt that is possible. They are interesting facts, though, and might influence the undecided.
Jessica Matthews has an article in The NY Review of Books with that title. It’s worth reading, given the failure of the press to present he whole story.
She is the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the daughter of Barbara Tuchman.
The sense of William Pfaff’s latest column is summed up in the first paragraph.
I find it very disquieting that so few among the West European and American commentators on the Ukraine crisis, private or public, seem concerned that the United States has started this affair, and that it is not inconceivable that it may end in a war.
Given the fact that the neo-conservatives were responsible for our Iraq war, one would have thought that their ilk would be banned from policy-making positions in the Obama administration. Now it turns out that our policy in Europe at the State Department with respect to the Ukraine has been in the hands of such as Victoria Nuland, a prominent neo-conservative, and that her husband, Robert Kagan, an even more prominent neo-conservative, has been a foreign policy advisor to the Secretary of State. Evidently no one felt this was newsworthy.
And who was that Secretary of State? None other than our future Democratic standard bearer, Hillary Clinton. The Republicans who have tried so hard to make an issue of Beghazi have really missed their opportunity here. But of course they are complicit in neo-conservatism and dedicated to the idea that nothing the US does can ever be criticized. Nor can too much blame ever be attributed to the Russians.