The passing scene – July 29, 2015

Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? by Eliza Griswold for The New York Times.

26mag-26christians-t_CA2-blog427Christian communities in the Middle East, which have existed since the time of St. Paul and which survived under the rule of Iraq’s Saddam and Syria’s Assad, are threatened by ISIS and other extremist Islamist movements.

I think this is the fruit of U.S. interventions, which created the anarchy in which groups such as ISIS can flourish, and U.S. support of extremist groups to overthrow the governments of Libya and Iraq.

The Balance of Power in the Middle East Just Changed by Peter Van Buren for TomDispatch.

The real reason Israel, Saudi Arabia and neo-cons hate the Iran deal: They fear that Tehran will join the community of nations by Fred Kaplan for Salon.

The sanctions against Iran were never about fear that Iran would develop nuclear weapons.  They were about the fear that the balance of power in the Middle East would change in favor of Iran and against Saudi Arabia and Israel.  But Iran is a more reliable partner against ISIS and Al Qaeda than either of those two countries.

Jewish Americans support the Iran nuclear deal by Fred Kaplan for The Washington Post.

Interestingly, polls show that Jewish people in the United States are more supportive of the Iran deal than the general public.

The New Great Game: The West, Uyghurs and China by Paul Cochrane for The Unz Review.

US “Honest Broker” Zombie Ready for Its Dirt Nap … “Anti-Submarine Warrior” Primps for Its Close-Up by Peter Lee for China Matters.

It’s Official: America Has a China Containment Policy by Peter Lee for China Matters.

mapThe U.S.-China confrontation over territorial claims in the South China Sea appears to be a U.S. attempt to bottle up China’s nuclear-armed submarine fleet.   China is vulnerable to a nuclear attack from the United States.  It is understandable that its government would try to create a means to retaliate after a first strike.

“Are you done?” by Peter Moskos for Cop in the Hood.

On ‘Contempt of Cop,’ Jailhouse Suicide and Sandra Bland by Dan Solomon for The Texas Monthly.

sandra bland 2_1Officer Brian Encina was technically within his legal rights in ordering Sandra Bland to put out her cigarette and get out of her car.  And it is within the realm of possibility that she did commit suicide in the Waller County Jail.   Jailhouse suicides are all too common.

It is still the case that Sandra Bland’s tragic death was due to the lack of professionalism, lack of good common sense and abuse of power by Encina and his fellow police officers.

Why it is misleading to compare exoplanet Kepler-452b to Earth by Elizabeth Tasker for The Conversation.

image-20150724-8442-eyk9gxA newly-discovered planet may be Earth-like according to an astronomer’s definition, but that doesn’t mean it is habitable for human beings or other living things.   Kepler-452b might not have a solid surface, it might not have water, it might not have many other things necessary for life.

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