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Total number of comments: 19 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:28)

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  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem
    • OK, let's accept Brooks' idea that borders have been settled since Yalta. Doesn't that mean the Crimea never was really part of the Ukraine and that the Ukraine should in fact still be part of Russia, a Russia defined by the historical boundaries of the U.S.S.R.?

      An aside, my own courageous, fearless Prime Minister has just sent a few RCAF CF-18's to Poland. I bet Putin heard about that and wet his pants - laughing. It reminds me again how grateful I am that Harper wasn't in power during the run up to the second Iraq war.

  • State Department Official Freaks Out That Declassifying CIA Torture Report Might Make The World Angry
    • Well, everyone with an interest in the topic already knows a lot about the torture though perhaps there are some new even more repugnant and shocking details in the report but I figure the reason they're desperate to keep the report classified is that that way there's probably not even a slim chance that it can ever be used as evidence in a court. The idea that keeping the report classified will prevent some vaguely defined "danger" to America arising out of anger generated by the information in it becoming public is puerile.

  • Dear Arab Liberals: The Enemies of your Enemies aren't Necessarily your Friends
    • "Democracy can only triumph if it’s founded on the middle classes"

      You know, that could be interpreted as having some rather questionable implications if taken out of context...

  • When it is Feinstein being Spied on, Suddenly she Squawks
    • Yes Feinstein has been insufferable and hypocritical and lacking in ethics. On the other hand if she actually makes a serious attempt and hopefully manages to accomplish something in reigning in the so called security and intelligence agencies I will be delighted.

      When the current regime came in and made a point of doing nothing to punish those who committed war crimes, torture and illegal spying did they really think that those responsible wouldn't simply keep getting bolder and bolder? That's about as likely as the bailed out financial institutions changing their ways instead of doubling down on them after they profited massively, got rescues and given a get out of jail free card. Actually they were lavishly paid to accept a get out of jail card when you come down to it.

      Anyone else think that the existence of the CIA and NSA are basically incompatible with the idea of the US being a democratic republic?

  • Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail
    • As reasons for pushing green energy the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea has to be way WAY down the list. Not making the whole damn planet nearly uninhabitable has got to be a lot more important than any transient political situation short of a nuclear war.

      I'm deeply suspicious of everything I read about the Ukraine at the moment. I still seethe with rage when I think of how I was taken in when the USSR went into Afghanistan (admittedly I wasn't even ten years old so that can somewhat excuse my gullibility) and bought the whole line about it being a savage, unprovoked act of brutality by the intrinsically evil Russians. I suspect that if the EU and US neocon brain trust have their way here it will turn out every bit as well as that did.

      As an aside, just try to imagine what all that money that has been essentially vaporized in the recent past with two wars that were utter fiascos, the financial crisis and it's subsequent bailout could have achieved if it had been used for renewable energy development, better electrical grids, better transport networks, research on batteries and fusion power.

  • Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" video Decried as Blasphemous by Some Muslims
    • This song offends me as a musician far more than it could ever offend me for any religious or cultural reasons.

  • The Great Solar Car Race begins in Australia: Can it save Humankind?
    • Well, when they get a good enough range on a pure electric vehicle I likely will buy one. With the progress being made now that there's finally more than negligible R&D going into this area I believe it will happen. (Just imagine what the money spent on the current wars, financial bailouts - and the bailout that will probably follow the next crash - could have brought us if it had been spent on research in solar tech, battery tech, fusion and infrastructure building)

      Right now, the long trips I still use a gasoline engined car for and for the short urban trips my bicycle is nicely suited to them.

  • Russia: Iran is ready to Cease Enriching Uranium to 20%
    • This is a tenuously related question but I hope someone can direct me to resources that can answer it:

      Why is all the talk concerning the nuclear programs of, shall we say "outsider nations" (the ones who, we are supposed to believe are interested in making "evil" bombs as opposed to the "good, peaceful" bombs of the U.S., France, Israel, Great Britain etc.) always concerned with Uranium enrichment? Aren't most fission bombs and initiators for fusion bombs constructed to use Plutonium? I recall concern back in the 70's that the pushing of fast breeder reactors and the use of reprocessing to provide mixed oxide fuel for commercial power reactors would dramatically increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation as it would mean even an ostensibly pure civilian would have the means of producing and separating Plutonium and a legitimate reason for doing so. Now all we hear about is the enrichment of Uranium past a certain level being dangerous.

  • The Lotto Symbolizes the False Promises of Barracuda Capitalism, and it Won't make you Happy to Win
    • Since we've seen extensive evidence of manipulation of all sorts of markets recently I would say that the stock market is only a slightly better place for those of us who aren't well connected insiders to put money than the lottery:-)

  • Working America's 40-year Decline (Garson)
    • This just reminds me of how so many of my 20 to 30 something friends look back at the idea of not "selling out" or becoming a faceless cog with a secure but boring, soul destroying job with wonder and disbelief. They DREAM of a world where being a faceless drone but relatively secure financially was an option.

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • I went to this film with friends who, unlike me aren't old enough to remember the events it is based on. I did point out what did happen, what didn't happen, etc.

      Maybe it's an indication of how little I expect from Hollywood now but I was pleasantly surprised that they did at least put a little historical context into the film with the introduction. Given the times we live in I was pretty much expecting the film to give no more background for what is going on than saying Iranians are inherently evil.

      For the most part it does what most Hollywood films do with history: make the Americans look better and more important, simplify and dumb things down and play with facts to make it more dramatic. It's a real problem given that we have voice demonizing Iran and trying to gin up support for a war right now.

      Zero Dark 30 is an order of magnitude worse as it plays false with history in order to justify and champion the illegal and unethical action of torture.

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • Although I live in a country in which access to firearms is considerably more restricted than the U.S. and am happy that I do, even though I do enjoy target shooting I would point out that:

      "-o- weapon should be designed so that it can not fire more than one projectile every 30 seconds."

      ... would outlaw just about any firearm ever made, including even the Brown Bess musket.

      Also, any firearm powerful enough to be acceptable for hunting even medium sized game would also be quite capable of killing a person. Since "self defense" seems to be widely accepted by the population of the U.S. as a primary reason for owning firearms (not that I think that that's a good thing) I see little likelihood of any law that would prohibit ownership of a firearm capable of killing a person being passed.

      Short of a huge change in culture in the U.S. and an alteration of the 2nd amendment (since we all know this is the only part of the Constitution that the GOP and their supreme court are interested in empowering) I think the most that would be likely to succeed in the near future would be something like the previous "assault rifle" bill being put back into law.

      While that is being worked on we can contemplate things like the comment here by FrmrSteve. I think that addressing these issues would be even more effective in preventing these sorts of crimes than any form of gun control. The painful thing about this is that any effort in this direction would also be strongly opposed by many of the same people who oppose any form of gun control. Of course these are the same people who have no problem with the government monitoring all their communications, strip searching them, attacking citizens assembling to protest, lying the country into a few wars, kidnapping and torturing people at will or even obliterating buildings filled with people on the say so of the president but consider the prospect of federal action to make health care more affordable to be an outrageous action heralding the beginning of an oppressive dictatorship.

  • Palestinian Legal strategy against Israel: The Real Prize is Europe
    • I'm ashamed to know that the government of my own country (Canada) voted against recognition. I'm also embarrassed by the utterly pathetic "reasons" they gave for voting against it. Given who the P.M. is though, I'm not at all surprised. I think that under any of the previous Conservative party P.M.'s there would have been a good chance that they might have actually voted yes, but not with Harper calling the shots.

  • Solar Plane flies from Spain to Morocco, then into Morocco's rugged Interior
    • Solar powered aircraft have been around for decades making flights of up to 3000Km and climbing over 50,000ft. They're called sailplanes. Admittedly they usually use gasoline or diesel fuel via a winch, towplane or self launch engine for the first five minutes or so. Electric motors for self launch and solar power to charge the batteries already exist though as do electric winches.

  • Changing Iran's Nuclear Calculation with Green Energy: Buonomo
    • If it is really about regime change (and it seems to me that the evidence certainly points that way), it won't matter a damn thing what the government of Iran does with nuclear technology. It didn't matter with Iraq, did it? They had no nuclear weapons program, the U.S. intelligence services knew they had no nuclear weapons program. The brain trust in charge of the U.S. at the time repeated endless lies stating that they DID have a nuclear weapons program and they were about to (somehow) kill millions of Americans. Millions of Americans believed them and presto: war! Think of it this way: imagine there was some magical way in which a spell could be cast over Iran, the result of said spell being, while nothing else would change, it would now be absolutely impossible for them to acquire nuclear weapons, EVER. Do you really see those clamoring for war on Iran right now changing their minds? I don't. I think they would just start making new justifications for it.

  • Netanyahu 1992: Iran will Have the Bomb by 1997
    • Amazing how the people who have been proven right time and time again by events are consistently ignored while those who are repeatedly dead wrong about what will happen (but who are wrong in the "correct" way) keep getting listened to. It's enough to make you want to gnaw yer own head off.

  • Israel - Iran Military Comparison
    • Yeah! I want my pony! Wait, I'm Canadian... Well, maybe prez McCain would have triumphantly annexed Canada, made me an honorary U.S. citizen (because I'm of northern European descent) and given me a pony to win my heart and mind. Damn you liberal media!

      (You know, the problem with trying to use sarcasm and irony these days is that I'm sure you wouldn't have too much trouble finding a number of people that would voice these same opinions in earnest. I think of it as "Disappearing over the Colbert Event Horizon")

    • What would a comparison of Lebanon and Israels relative military strength look like? After all, the Israelis couldn't accomplish any of their goals the last couple of times they attacked there. (I know the article here is trying to point out how silly the idea that Iran poses a threat to Israel is, not vice-versa but I do think it should be considered just what would likely happen if Israel and the U.S. were actually stupid enough to go ahead and attack Iran). In the lead up to the second Iraq war I tried to point out to some acquaintances how ridiculous the idea of Iraq being a threat to the U.S. (indeed the whole world according to the neocons) was by pointing out their performance against Iran (and that was done without the handicap of losses from a previous war and a decade of crippling sanctions).

  • Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UK

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