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Total number of comments: 35 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:36)

tomkovic

Retired firefighter.29 years with CalFire. Current flight instructor. Attended U of M in the 70s so go to A2 once in a while to visit.

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  • The Future of Cool: Electric Muscle Cars at the Detroit Auto Show
    • I'm sold. Definitely getting a Spark EV. Maybe a Volt too for longer distances. I driove a taxi in Ann Arbor for a few years so I'm familiar with your conditions. Out here in Ca. The issue will be AC but the Spark allows you to heat or cool the car while hooked to the charger and you can initiate that through a phone app.

    • How does the Volt do in the Polar Vortex? Does it use electricity from the battery to provide cabin heat? That has to drain them a bit, no? Or does the gas engine start up from a really cold start?

  • Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • The post "Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World" has a header and comment section but the actual content of the post is missing. Evidently it was there earlier since there are comments. I am using Chrome on a PC at the moment.

  • Solar Plane flies from Spain to Morocco, then into Morocco's rugged Interior
    • I like flying too. I teach people to fly airplanes but fuel costs have gone to $6/gallon for aviation grade fuel and it's getting hatder to find customers who can aford that in a floundering economy . There is a small company that has put batteries and an electrc motor driving the prop on a Cessna 172. They can keep two people in the air for an hour. One interesting potential is that electric driven propellers can continue to turn at very high altitudes without loss of power. Electric driven airplanes may be here sooner than we think. They don't have to be solar powered but can use electricity produced by sustainable means elsewhere as batteries improve.

  • Global Disappointment in Obama Actually Rational, unlike in US (Pew)
  • Congress Wants the Department of Defense to Propagandize Americans
    • Propaganda has always targeted the US domestic population. Who else would believe the crapola? Does anyone honestly think the Pentagon was trying to convince the Vietnamese we were there to preserve their freedom or promote democracy? Does anyone think we are fooling the Iraqi population or the Afghans or even trying to? Seriously?

      We are subjected to it constantly. Hollywood churns the stuff out on a regular basis, always thanking the DOD for their "cooperation" in making their recruitment and other films. The press prints it daily either out of misplaced patriotism, laziness or ignorance.

      It's also called Public Relations or advertising. Your product, your candidate, your army, whatever, has a need to be shown in the best possible light while hiding all the nasty blemishes. There are untold thousands with various degrees and job experience eager to go to work on the problem. America has the best bullshit artists on the planet. In this we are unquestionably number one.

      So it strikes me as laughable that there is some kind of sacred principle that the DOD never directs propaganda at the US population. To even say that is itself propaganda of the crudest type, like claiming Kim Jong Ill can dunk a basketball around Kobe.

      To anybody that is "shocked, just shocked" that this can happen I can only say " Where have you been? Are you paying attention?"

  • AH-64 Apache Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan
    • Even if they hadn't crashed it doesn't seem like spontaneous airshows a prudent use of multi-million dollar aircraft. The fact that they did it in plain view of several witnesses apparently without fear of repercussions makes me wonder about the state of discipline with our "Troops".

  • Why don't we have better Reporting on the Afghanistan Army? It is our Best Hope for Getting Out
    • The Afghan army is a creation of the US occupying force as is the Afghan government. Is that arguable?

      Those fighting the US occupation are motivated to remove the US occupation as much as having loyalty to the Taliban. That may be arguable but I suspect it is more and more the case as atrocities against the population mount.

      Regardless of funding and equipment the Afghan army will be acting in US interests and perceived so by the population.

      What can you then say about the character and motivations of this army? What happens to those motivations once the US leaves? What do you think would happen to massive funding given to an army composed of those of a character willing to serve foreign invaders?

      This army will evaporate once the US leaves just as the South Vietnamese Army disappeared when the US left there. It's the same dynamic. An army created by a foreign occupying power falls apart when the occupying power leaves. I don't know why anyone would think differently.

  • Khamenei Takes Control, Forbids Nuclear Bomb
    • It's baffling only if you consider dissemination of information to be the media's purpose.

  • Qaddafi's People's Temple
    • If Jones had been left alone in Guyana, would his religion possibly have become in Guyana something like what the Mormons are now in the US?

    • Gaddafi was captured by government troops. He then turns up with a bullet hole in his head. So, the most LIKELY explanation is that he was killed in a crossfire from his loyalists trying to rescue him? Is that really more likely than one of his captors, having plenty reason to be vengeful, simply shot him in the head? Why is the more elaborate scenario more likely?

  • Al-`Awlaqi Should have been Tried in Absentia
    • Really, that statement - " The killing of al-`Awlaqi differs from that of Usamah Bin Laden because in the latter case a US expeditionary force was confronted with someone who appeared to be going for a weapon, whereas al-`Awlaqi was simply targeted." - weakens any arguments that follow. That expeditionary force was on an assassination mission. I don't approve of either killing but assassinating a US citizen definitely sets a worse precedent than bin Laden's killing. You could have just argued that point. Going for a gun. Just like on TV!

  • Sadrists to Demonstrate in Baghdad against US Troops Remaining
    • It will be interesting to see how the planned protests are portrayed in the US media. I wonder if the demand that US troops leave or the existing SOFA will be mentioned. My bet is that it will be "Pro- Iran Shiite Extremists" and that they hate us because we're beautiful or something to that effect.

  • China offered Qaddafi Armaments in midst of war
    • I deeply respect Prof Cole's insight on Mideast issues and I congratulate him on the ultimate vindication of his early stance in favor of the NATO intervention. He knows of what he speaks.

      That said I am disturbed by the rift between him and Cockburn. Alex is more accurately described as Marxist or leftist than progressive. He is against anything that helps the American empie succeed including a successful NATO intervention. He argues against human caused global warming, not global warming per se. Although the evidence for the warming being human caused is certainly compelling it is not an air tight case and someone who is skeptical is not automatically a crank.

      Cockburn is a very good writer and thinker and I encourage everyone to read his most recent Counterpunch piece dissecting the 911 conspiracy nuts. He is wrong about Libya and is not above saving face and that is regrettable but does not disqualify him from being taken seriously.

      Stop choosing up sides and fighting for Team Cole or Team Cockburn. Read what they say, consider their arguments and see how the facts bear them out. It's not football.

  • Top Ten Green Energy Good News Stories
    • The declining price of solar PV makes me and others hesitant to commit to investing in a solar array . Because of the large initial outlay costs are recovered over the span of years in the form on reduced electrical payments to the utility company. The analysis that I have been presented with called for a break even point 10 years into the future, assuming utility charges rise at their current rate. At the end of 10 years I would then be saving money on electricity but would only have a 10 year old solar array as equity. Think of what a ten year old computer is worth. If I wait for the price and capability of solar PV for another few years I would have a more valuable array and for less cost then buying one now. Since the initial outlay would be less then I would still reach the break even point at the same point in the future as if I bought today. So why buy now?

  • Top Ten Myths about Bin Laden's Death
    • Well, you're wrong about one thing.

    • As for this - "You know, if the military were involved they wouldn’t have kept him there; they would have kept him 100 miles away from that place." , well one would think that Bin Laden would have done that as well. The argument's logic neither supports nor conflicts with the military hiding him. If the military was hiding him then having him close by would make the job a bit easier when it comes to monitoring him and his visitors and such.

      Juan, aren't the Pakistani people, military and government of many minds when it comes to Bin Laden? Is it not possible that a faction decided to keep Bin Laden under wraps for various reasons?

      As for the details of whether his wife was shielding him or if he was going for a gun, etc. - how the heck can anyone know for sure who wasn't there? I personally think they would have been justified shooting him in his bed asleep.

  • Wisconsin is not Broke, "Budget Crisis" a Fraud
  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • How can you call a crowd of peaceful demonstrators who are shelled with artillery and tanks "combatants"? Did you follow the news at all over the past few weeks? If a man beats his wife is his wife 50% responsible because she put up her hands to deflect some of his blows?

  • Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone
    • It would seem that the UN forces would be providing the rebels with secure communications and targeting devices for precision munitions in a close air support role. These weapons can be dropped from high altitude so the whole thing can be plausibly denied. It would be the quickest way to bring this to a conclusion. I'm not all that happy about our being there but if we are, let's make it quick. There must be those in the military and Obama administration coming to this same conclusion.

  • Top Ten Ways that Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003
    • Why ten? Are you going on Letterman or are those just all the reasons? They all seem pretty solid though. You might have added that the Pottery Barn rule doesn't necessarily apply here. Once the Libyan government is broken we don't own it. Libya's own people have given a pretty convincing demonstration of their desire to self govern. And you don't have the sectarian divisions you described in Iraq. But maybe that's restating things.

      Just curious , as in Egypt, to what extent would the country's military and bureaucracy be willing to take orders from elected officials?

  • How the No Fly Zone Can Succeed
    • I pretty much agree with Juan. All uses of military force should go through congress but that notion has pretty much fallen into the category of "quaint notions" by now.

      I also object to the operation for fiscal reasons. My pension is being threatened supposedly because the country is broke and yet here we go again.

      That being said, once we have begun this thing we had damned well better finish it and the quicker the better. I would go further than Juan and say that the rebels should be given the means to integrate with close air support and precision weapons targeting so that they can advance quickly . The faster this goes the more likely it is that pro Qaddafi forces will cut and run. I think everyone understands that a prolonged standoff is not an option.

  • French Jets Defend Benghazi
    • I think neutrality is impossible with any kind of country that is experiencing internal conflict. Non- action can aid the side that is ahead. Letting this whole thing play out can prolong the suffering of the population. In real-politic terms however the most important thing is to get this over with and get that almighty oil flowing. Qaddafi will withhold production to punish the west.

      So, given that neutrality is an illusion and the goals of a quick end I would think that UN forces will go after Qaddafi's armor and in fact may coordinate with rebel forces in true ground support fashion. The rebels radio in coordinates or designate targets with lasers and GPS or laser guided munitions fall on the targets without ever seeing the planes from the ground. Air power is just that awesome now. Witness the first Gulf War and the so-called 2nd Iraq war. In the second action the real "war" fighting was over in a few days. What happened after that was not a war but an occupation. There should not be a need for an occupation of Libya, given the ready and willing rebels to take that function on.

      Sure, it stretches the UN mandate and is disruptive to peaceful principals in the long term but it gets it all over with quickly.

      All this makes sense to me but it occurred to me yesterday, "What the hell are we doing running the world like this?" The conservatives cry that the country is broke and we cannot afford basic services in this country and that a severe austerity program is necessary but then we have the resources to be running the whole world? I think that is the danger here. That the operation goes quickly and smoothly so that the first order question of our role in the world as chief enforcer is never asked.

  • Qaddafi's Scorched Earth Policy, at Home and Abroad
    • Dr Dave,

      The US may well do as you say but that does not mean it wouldn't be crazy. I just don't see the military allowing a ground invasion of another country right now. They just don't have the capability. As for air strikes, even that takes a lot of logistical positioning as the Libyan air defense would have to be taken out. Lots of problems there with collateral damage, possibly allowing Qaddafi to make anti-American appeals to defend the homeland. A lot more can be done with subtlety such as arms embargoes, asset freezes logistical and intelligence support to the rebels, etc. No need to go to the full crazy. You also have to consider the effect an overt response would have on the confidence of other American client dictators. Not that I care about them but the US foreign policy establishment sure does.

    • There are many ways the US and other countries can intervene without sending in the bombers and marines. There was a very good analysis of this on Counterpunch - link to counterpunch.org

      The article explains that being truly neutral in another country's civil war is difficult if not impossible if only because doing nothing favors the side with the immediate advantage. The trick for the US is to provide weaponry and intelligence and such that is helpful to getting rid of Qaddafi quickly so that oil contracts can be negotiated with the resultant government before chaos ensues but not so overtly as to scare all our other client dictators. Got to try to keep that empire from fraying completely you know.

    • titakjang,

      I do believe that he has worked a deal with the Italian government to take back African refugees not just Libyan refugees. It's widely reported ( here is one. There many - link to wsws.org) and not difficult to imagine. I forget what he gets in return. I do not approve of this, I was just explaining what some of his references in his speech were about. Of course he will say or promise anything to save his ass. It's just that in regard to accepting intercepted refugees there is some truth to it. He is appealing to European anxiety about uncontrolled immigration. That will resonate with some.

    • My understanding is that Libya has been cooperating with Berlusconi in accepting African refugees bound for Europe and intercepted by Italian authorities in the Mediterranean while the refugees attempt to enter Sicily and other points. He has been accepting them regardless of their origin which makes it much easier for Italy to stem the flow of immigrants. I think he is alluding to this assistance in his speech.

    • Even an obsolete shoulder fired SAM can down an airliner.

    • That is crazy. Not to say the US has not been crazy before, witness Iraq. But no, that's just nuts.

  • The Gates of Hell Have Opened in Tripoli
    • Brian, You are assuming the US govt does not want to protect the Libyan status quo and that it cares about Libyan civilians. Not sure you can.

  • Alimagham: What Egypt & Tunisia Tell us About Iran
    • I think if the gov't puts down an insurrection then no revolution has occurred. I don't see any problem with the statement

  • Egypt After Mubarak: Cole on Russia Today
    • "Let's see.. he's a professor of History at U of M"

      No need to mention he's lived and studied in Egypt or founded and is the head of Middle Eastern studies at that same U or that he speaks Arabic, etc.

      Not that I like argument by authority but they might have given Juan a little better intro just so people know where his opinion comes from.

  • Egyptian Protests Swell in Response to Ghonim
    • Getting Aljazeera back on in Egypt is a key step to taking control away from the regime. Very encouraging. A bigger step would be the seizure of state TV by the protesters. Do that and it's game over.

  • Cunningham: Every Uprising is Different
    • I would disagree a bit about the internet's role vs other media. With traditional newspapers or TV there are a limited number of sources which need to be controlled. With the internet everyone with a digital camera and a computer can put their story out for all to see. It makes it harder to conceal things without shutting down the internet. It really makes a qualitative difference.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    • Gee Juan, tell us what you really think.

      I agree with all the unloading on Israel and US policy you just delivered and I can't blame you for your anger.

      Seeing the protests makes me think of home. Since the US provides aid and comfort to the oppressors of the people of Egypt those people are ultimately protesting against the same people who are oppressing us all here in the USA. We have common enemies. More should be made of this.

Showing comments 35 - 1
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