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Total number of comments: 16 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:09)

Jason

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  • Solar Car of the Future: Sunswift Solar Two-Seater looks like an ordinary Coupe
    • Solar panels on cars are a gimmick no matter how efficient they are. It makes far more sense to have fixed placed panels in the most optimal places and plug in charging, which means you save the weight of the panels and you get the most efficient energy conversion.

  • Two Canadians Discover the US has become a Police State
    • He did answer the question, though. That's the whole thing -- he answered the fucking question. He was incredulous but he answered it just fine. You reflexive pro-authority guys never even seem to actually listen to the damn tapes and watch the damn videos.

  • The Gospel of Jesus' Wife and Sacred History from Judaism to Islam
    • It is unlikely that there ever was a King David.

      Sounds like you read the minimalists: Baruch Halpern's "David's Secret Demons" would beg to differ. And AFAIK the archeological evidence on Jerusalem does not contradict the idea it was set up as Israel's capital in the 8th century; you may be thinking of Jericho?

  • White Terrorist Plot to Assassinate the 'Commander in Chief'
    • read 'radical /anti/-abortionists, of course.

    • When the DHS put out a report in 2009 identifying white supremicists, radical abortionists and far right extremist military veterans as key terrorist threats, the Republican party kicked up a massive shitstorm, accusing the Obama administration of "slandering" veterans, eventually succeeding in forcing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in true Democrat style, to withdraw the report and apologize profusely. This is part of a general pattern where Republicans have worked extremely hard to shield far right wing domestic terror groups from scrutiny from the security state apparatus they've created, which in their minds should be restricted to monitoring brown people:

      link to thinkprogress.org

      Make no mistake, all the indications are that this is a far-right terror cell, and there's more out there. Expect this to ramp up dramatically should Obama get a second term.

  • What the Laws of War Allow (Madar)
    • It must be pointed out that waging aggressive war itself constitutes a war crime -- and the primary accusation against the Nazi leadership at Nuremberg. By that standard, nearly the entire US political class could be tried for Iraq at least.

  • Israeli Hardliners attack Police over Women's Segregation
    • The word definitely has the negative connotations Mr Cole ascribes to it.

      Today, the word “shiksa” is generally used in good humor, but historically it has a negative connotation. A shiksa was a temptation for a Jewish man; the word was an insult, implying that the woman who was not born Jewish was somehow “unclean.”

      link to pbs.org

  • Gingrich slots MEK terrorists' supporter John Bolton for State
    • Well, yeah, that's the reason he's been able to get away with it, they are the right kind of terrorist organization. Still makes Bolton a total hypocrite.

  • Berube on Libya and the Left
    • Excuse me, [i]was[/i] the left opposed the Libyan intervention? Jame Hamshire's Firebaggers were, but I'm pretty far left, and among my circle, the general opinion was this was the first military intervention they'd agreed with in years. In fact, this was a situation where certain parts of the radical left and other parts of the radical right found themselves in strange agreement, united in their general opposition to anything Obama did.

      I've always found Michael Berube to be one the most disingenuous psuedo-intellectuals on the psuedo-left, so while I'm in full agreement that the Firebaggers should hang their head in shame, I'm afraid Berube is himself not arguing honestly.

      Note how he disingenously claims [i]not[/i] to accuse Kucinich of being "objectively pro-Gaddafi", then does precisely that, when he brings up the constitutional argument. Note how he disingenuously fails to address that argument. In fact, while I support Obama's action, Berube would have to acknowledge Kucinich is precisely right: the Libyan war precedent signals the death knell of the War Powers Clause along with the War Powers Resolution. The constitution has, in actually, been shredded through simple executive lawlessness -- but I don't care, because I think that clause is silly and unworkable anyway.

      The other problem he glosses over is that the Benghazi opposition was indeed not covered in virtue itself. We've already seen the usual reprisal killings, both during the campaign and in the aftermath. These of course include Gaddafi himself. Even Mr. Cole surely accepts by this point that he was simply murdered in custody. Nobody knows at this point how far the score settling is going, but it's entirely possible we've facilitated a massacre as well as prevented one.

      In summary, while I support the intervention I find Berube's determination not to recognize the complexity of the issue dishonest in the extreme. The opposition was not simply "the left", and not all the opposition's arguments were invalid. On balance, the air campaign was justified, but let's not pretend we're in a Hollywood movie here -- the casualties have been the US constitution, and the new leadership in Libya is only an incremental improvement on the old one.

  • Sanctions on Iran will Never Produce Real Change
    • To my paranoid mind the administration seems to be preparing the ground for air strikes against Iran, in a wag-the-dog scenario to start during the 2012 election campaign. Obama is more than capable of this sort of thing.

  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • The moment this story broke, from the smell of it, I immediately thought "they've entrapped some nutty walter-mitty character." I find it frightening that this posturing low-rent criminal and delusional wackaloon might have provided President Perry with his Gulf of Tonkin incident, his rationale for getting us into our third simultaneous war.

  • Thousands Protest in Syria as Emergency Law is Lifted
    • How lovely really are those principles of free speech in the Syrian constitution? I'm not sure how good the translation is, but these look like those lovely "give with one hand, take with the other" clauses so familiar in constitutions without actual teeth. You have the right to "freely and openly express your views", but then again, you only have the right to participate in "supervision" and "constructive criticism" that "strengthens the socialist system." It reads an awful lot like the sophistical version of free speech, where you have the "right" of freedom of speech, but no right to be free from the consequences of said speech, such as being arrested and shot. Similarly rights of assembly and free press are hedged with "in accordance with the law", which usually means "you have these rights, unless we choose to legislate them away."

      If reverting to this mealy-mouthed pack of hedged and qualified psuedo-rights constitutes progress, it just shows how bad things are now.

  • Libyan Liberation Movement Strikes Back as NATO Comes to the Rescue
    • @Susan:

      [i]I am dismayed by the lack of “solidarity” or even vague “rooting for the underdog” I am seeing in the various website I visit wrt to the Libyan rebels … is this because they do not have the access/infrastructure to allow the twitter/facebook exposure to make their story “real” and immediate.[/i]

      No, it's because they are Muslims, and there's a deep current of colonialist racism in the current "anti-war" faction (both left and right) that assumes that the Arab nig-nogs are just tribalists who can't handle freedom and need a strong hand like Gaddhafi to keep them in line. The old "stability" argument for keeping a despot because it's the devil we know. Of course, if that principle was applied consistently, there'd never be any democratic progress anywhere.

  • Top Ten Achievements of Mideast Democracy Protests this Weekend
    • Can I just say Juan, thanks for all your effort lately, you've been practically a one-man middle east bureau. I mean that literally, it must take forever to pull all this together.

  • Popular Army to March on Tripoli, as Qaddafi Massacres Protesters
    • @Hala

      The Libyan army is a small, poorly trained and equipped force of around 40,000. The real military power resides with Qadaffi's various paramilitary groups, the revolutionary gaurds and his mercenary forces (and, of course, his 40-woman strong "Amazonian Guard" of supposedly beautiful virgin bodyguards -- is Qadaffi emulating a cheesy Bond villain, or what?)

      So all the Libyan military could defect, and Qadaffi's position would still tenable militarily, so long as he keeps the loyalty of his paramilitaries.

      The defecting army units are still highly disorganized and appear to have low morale as well. According to the Telegraph:

      link to telegraph.co.uk

      [quote]
      But Mohammed Ali Abdullah, deputy leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a leading exile group, said he was concerned that the parts of the army that had defected had shown no sign of willingness themselves to take the revolution on.

      "We aren't seeing the army's different brigades trying to reinforce themselves to take on the Khamis Brigade and the mercenaries," he said.
      [/quote]

      The reality is we are probably not going to see much for at least a another week from the rebel army, and that's assuming everyone is competent. If Qadaffi still has nothing more than his 3,000 strong revolutionary guards, that's enough to defend an urban centre like Tripoli against 10,000 poorly trained and equipped troops. I'm still looking for reports about the state of his air force -it seems he might already be low on fuel and ammunition by this point.

      However, I don't believe there's a lack of determination in the opposition forces, just training, material and organization. I wonder if the rebels are talking to Egypt about sourcing weapons and ammunition? Or even the EU or the US? Some foreign military "advisors" would also be incredibly helpful, if the polical fallout could be managed -- Egypt again?

      @Burton Horton
      Supposedly ex-justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil has just formed an interim government in Benghazi, but how much it is recognized by, or coordinating with, the remainder of the country is another question. Factionalism being the other bane of revolutionary movements. Again, I would give it another week at least.

      I can't see Qadaffi can possibly win this one, but it will still take some time if it comes down to a conventional civil war. Without foreign intervention, that is.

  • Qaddafi invokes Phony Al-Qaeda Threat as he Massacres Protesters
    • I'm not in any way expert, but I'd be very surprised if the opposition is in any position to be mounting offensive operations at this stage. There is no central leadership -- each city is in the hands of a different group. Aside from the defectee military units, most opposition forces are completely untrained an unorganised spontaneously formed militia that would require time to organize for offensive action. Qaddafi still has air assets that can interdict enemy columns moving on Tripoli, and the rebel forces simply have no logistics chain to supply a beseiging army. They probably have no armour or heavy artillery or air defense, and very poor antitank capability. Moreover, they are undoubtedly hoping Qaddafi's coalition will collapse with no further military intervention, through his supporters seeing the writing on the wall.

      Now if this was to drag out for months, eventually I would expect to see offensive action. But in every revolution, there are always immense difficulties for the rebel side in pulling together forces for the civil war phase. If I were the opposition, I would be furiously consolidating control, getting a national leadership together, organising militia units, getting my local economy working again, and lobbying foreign governments for material and diplomatic support (such as the mooted no-fly zone) for an eventual offensive.

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