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Total number of comments: 55 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:51)


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  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • We're already seeing Palestinian water sources being fouled by excessive Israeli pumping causing salt water intrusion, etc. My guess is that we're going to see a caliphate without caliphs - where large numbers of lawless gangs use "caliphate" as their brand, but there's no central command and control. Anarchy, sabotage, and chaos - something a modern army has real trouble fighting.

  • As state Sinks, GOP forbids Fla. State Enviro workers from saying "Climate Change"
  • Can Plants teach us how to make Better Solar Panels?
    • If they can also capture the hydrogen given off after the water molecules are split, the hydrogen could be burned as fuel for evening use...

  • Why Obama is Right to avoid double standard about Modern Christian Atrocities
    • Today's Kristian* Right thinks "the least of them" meant the 0.1%.

      *Christians believe in and follow Christ's teachings. Just as "Krab" is a poor imitation of real crab, Kristians are imitation Christians, preaching divisiveness and hate in direct contradiction to Christ's teachings.

    • This is the big problem with "religious exceptions" - religions typically encourage tribal-type thinking, which leads to acts which hurt people considered outside the tribe. This is especially true when religion mixes with politics.

      Ask an Irish Catholic about Oliver Cromwell's behavior, for example - or ask Protestants about the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. For that matter, the ongoing battles between the remnants of the Irish Republican Army and the Protestants in Northern Ireland are a modern example of what happens when one mixes religion and politics.

  • 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn
    • You left out the Nixon strategy. Nixon let the far-right wing Goldwater faction run against LBJ in 1968. When they lost, Nixon's operatives swooped in and gained control of the Republican Party. The man who famously told the press that "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" then ran a successful Presidential campaign in 1968.

      He was helped in large part by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. I expect Mr. Romney figures that:
      * by 2020, Rupert Murdock (who hates Romney) will be in a sulfur-scented afterlife rather than controlling Fox News content;
      * The economy will be in deep trouble, as post-peak oil and vanishing resources make virtually everyone worse off than they were 4 years ago - weakening the then-incumbent;
      * If everything collapses, and massive riots sweep across the country, perhaps it would be easier to escape to one of his remote boltholes if he doesn't have to first escape from mobs attacking the White House. (link to

  • After Paris attacks, could David Duke style Racist Parties Sweep to Power in Europe?
    • Yes, desperate times call for charismatic leaders blaming society's problems on scapegoats and folks they can characterize as immoral degenerates who betrayed the right-minded people and allowed the scapegoats to attack. It's a tried-and-true path to power.

    • From the sounds of things, Europe's austerity programs are working just as well today as they did in the 1930s. When times get tough, humans get tense. Folks who can blame problems on scapegoats gain power by exploiting these tensions, and can only keep it by staying one step ahead of the angry mobs they themselves generated.

      The reason we're seeing a generalized rise of extremism is the growing competition for resources. Jobs paying a living wage are increasingly scarce, oil is harder to find, fresh water and arable land are in short supply... all of which makes the populations ripe for someone to stand up and blame The Others. Today, the Muslims are the scapegoats for the West (Israel and US play that role elsewhere). However, we're also seeing "multiculturalism" showing up in scapegoating, so we'll soon see pogroms against folks with the wrong politics, as well. Today, the Revolution - tomorrow, the Terror.

  • French Far Right Poised to Exploit Paris Attacks for Political Gain
    • How about the Christian fundamentalists? After all, a bunch of folks from the various militia movements drove to the Bundy Ranch and took up arms against the federal government... do we hold Christianity as a whole responsible for the fundamentalists' crimes unless and until they destroy their growing crusaderist cancer?

  • Why the US should welcome Palestine Pres. Abbas joining Int'l Criminal Court
    • One would think joining the World Court, and thus submitting to the rule of law, would be something to be encouraged. For example, Israel could charge Hamas with war crimes for supporting terrorism against civilian targets. Alas, the US and Israel don't believe in the rule of law - unless they get to both make those laws themselves, change them at will, and ignore those same laws when they become inconvenient.

  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • The idea that government officials thought a movie could initiate regime change in North Korea sounds more like studio-generated buzz than reality.

    • I doubt it's a black flag attack - it seems far more of a "round up the usual suspects" blame game.

      Pretty much any hacktivist type could have targeted North Korea using, say, the network time protocol security hole:

      A vulnerability in the "monlist" feature of ntpd can allow remote attackers to cause distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) via forged requests. US-CERT and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC) have both observed active use of this attack vector in recent DDoS attacks.
      Source: US-CERT website

      The North Korean government may or may be involved - but the rush to publicly blame them seemed so politically convenient that it raises my suspicions.

      Regardless, perhaps someone should put some money into real Internet security? I realize the NSA loves the ability to snoop through our underwear drawers for tasty secrets, and wants to maintain the ability to attack other nations infrastructure through known security holes. However, it's a bit too much like spending all one's defense funding on bombers while blocking research into better air defense systems. One hopes that this era is coming to a close, and that people will start securing their networks.

  • Police Accountability more important than Bodycams
    • Bodycams are a good way to see what happened from the wearer's point of view. However, there also has to be accountability - if the bodycam shows the officer acted improperly, and the officer is not held accountable for what the bodycam recorded, they're of little use.

      On a side note, if the officer turns off the bodycam just before the instance of claimed wrongdoing, the presumption should be that the officer is guilty.

  • Syrian regime Propaganda coup as Israel Downs Syrian Plane over Golan
    • I suspect the Israelis would find a radical group controlling its border with Syria an even more convenient target for ramping up jingoism in its population than Hamas. More lawns to mow - plus, it would be easier to keep the Golan if there's no Syrian government seeking its return.

  • Elon Musk's Nevada Gigafactory may Save the World
    • I guess I must be silly, then - this is the analysis I did when I decided to buy against buying either a Volt or a plug-in Prius - in favor of a standard Prius. I live in an apartment, like lots of people... and there's no electrical outlet in my building's garage. If I move to a different apartment, I may only have on-street parking as a choice.

      My point is that buying a Volt makes sense for people who own their own homes (and can install solar) - but there are lots of people who don't fit that mold: thus making the pool of potential customers smaller. Throw in general insecurity, resistance to change, and factors such as "I can't give it to any of my kids if they go to college, because they won't be able to charge it in the college parking lots", and you've got a good idea as to why many people are choosing to stay with gas guzzlers or the Prius rather than jumping to the Volt.

      If I buy a house, my next car would be a Volt, a plug-in Prius or an all-electric car - but not until I own my own home and can make sure I'd be able to have somewhere to plug it in.

    • The main problem from my point of view is that unlike the Prius, the Volt's gas engine cannot be used to charge the batteries. To get the benefit of owning a Volt (or a plug-in Prius), one needs to be able to plug it into a charging station. This typically means a garage - and this rules out many urban dwellers. Suburban dwellers who have converted their home's garage into a spare room are also ruled out - unless there's an electrical outlet within reasonable extension cord reach of one's parking place.

      And so, the Volt is not only expensive expensive up-front, it also has drawbacks for people who either don't have an easy way of recharging it, or worry that they may not have such in the future.

  • Top 5 Reasons "Labor Day" isn't for Laborers Anymore
    • Combine this with the increasing number of jobs where workers can be replaced with computers, and you get the future: the ultra-rich and their immediate staff live in fortified mansions, drones kill anyone intruding on their estates, and the rest of us starve and die in the wastelands

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • That's the entire reason Israel's acting now - the upcoming midterm elections.

    • It's no accident that the current Israeli attacks are occurring during an election year. The Israeli far-right wants the US far-right back in power...

  • Pastor Hagee: It's not Climate Change, It’s The Return Of Christ
    • That was my thought as well - perhaps the human activities causing massive pollution and global warming are angering the Supreme Being. Wasn't there something in the Bible about God destroying the Earth with fire next time? Doesn't fire make things warmer?

      For that matter, the "Tribulation" which was scheduled to occur right after the Rapture involved things such as plagues and natural disasters sweeping the globe. Perhaps there is a God, and that God designed the natural laws of the universe in such a way as to automatically punish the profligate ways of greedy humans... by, say, having wasteful use of petrochemicals trigger global warming.

  • Solar Power for the Global Masses: The Next Revolution
    • For countries where much of the population is not connected to a central power grid, it makes sense to put in solar and wind... especially if there isn't an entrenched set of lobbyists paid to push petrochemical-powered centralized power stations.

      It's also better from a political instability point of view. Centralized power grids, being centralized, can more easily be shut down by the government, or taken down by terrorists. Large numbers of decentralized/distributed power generation stations make much more sense from a security standpoint.

  • Jon Stewart v. Hannity on Bundy & Law Enforcement: "Proportionality"
    • Funny how Mr. Hannity claims to love this country, while opposing everything that it stands for.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • The problem, of course, lies not with our politicians but with the folks eligible to vote (and who are not prevented from doing so by Republican laws intended to make it difficult for people in Democratic-leaning demographics to vote.)

      People don't have to listen exclusively to AM hate radio or get their news exclusively from the Rupert Murdock/Roger Ailes propaganda machine. If enough of them do, however, we get Republicans voted into office on the promise that they will take away health insurance from anyone sick enough to need it (i.e. repeal ObamaCare, and again allow insurers to cancel the policies of the chronically ill).

      Of course, the Republicans also promise to defund programs that protect these voters if they happen to lose their jobs, or are hit with a natural disaster - but they tell the voters that such cuts will only affect the "moochers", and enough voters believe these puerile arguments that such Republicans win elections in their heavily-gerrymandered districts.

      But, hey, it's still a democracy - the influence of money to buy TV ads only works if people are simple enough to believe those ads.

  • US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism
  • Palestine's Abbas finally says will Go to UN over Israeli Squatters
    • Negotiating with the Israeli right wing is pretty much the same as negotiating with Republicans. For each concession you make, they express a willingness for you to make more concessions. Any request for them to make concessions in return is treated with scorn and disbelief.

  • Whether Princesses or Paupers, Long Road to Saudi Women’s Rights
    • Wouldn't such a step anger the Wahhabi clerics, thus threatening the monarchy's support among the religious conservatives? The Saudi royal family seems to have many of the same issues with the Wahhabi that the Republican Party has with the Tea Party. There's no doubt that Saudi women are cruelly oppressed under the kingdom's current laws - but I'm not sure King Abdullah could change those laws and still remain in power.

  • Tea Party Opponents of Muslim Cemetery Claim Islam is not a Religion
    • I'll bet these same Tea Party fanatics get angry when Christians are attacked on religious grounds:

      "Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed.

      While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence. Sawan Masih now has 30 days to appeal."
      Source: BBC News Sawan Masih: Pakistani Christian gets death penalty for blasphemy

      Christian mobs attacking Muslims, Muslim mobs attacking Christians - it's not about religion, it's about gaining political power by creating and channeling fear and hate in the general population. It's an old trick, but it still works depressingly well.

  • Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders
  • CAR Muslims Risk Ethnic Cleansing: What if Thousands of Christians were forced out of a Muslim Country?
    • What would really help would be for the US to take an active stand against the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the CAR. Remember how apathetic we were when Muslims were being persecuted in Bosnia, and how this was used to whip up anti-US fervor?

  • Netanyahu Tells Kerry he will Grab 13% of Palestinian West Bank
  • John McCain and Lindsey Graham Want to invade Falluja Yet Again
    • The main reason Senators McCain and Graham want President Obama to send troops to Falluja is so they can then impeach him for taking their advice.

  • Obama will Veto new Iran Sanctions, Israel War Mandate pushed by AIPAC Senators
    • This sounds like a lesson from the Cold War: if your political party's brand is to protect the citizens from the dire threat posed by the Soviet Union, you need the Soviet Union to remain a threat. I've always thought that the Iranian hard-liners and the AIPAC hard-liners had a tacit agreement to threaten each other in ways that maintained a state of tension short of major combat. Both side's hard-liners profit from this state of affairs, and routinely say much the same thing: "How can we deal with those evil people that pose such an existential threat to our way of life?" Of course, anyone attempting to lower the threat levels, from either side, is viewed as an even greater threat.

  • Solar would be Cheaper: US Pentagon has spent $8 Trillion to Guard Gulf Oil
    • There's always the simple approach to storing solar: hydroelectric dams and reverse-pumping. It's been done for a while: one uses electric pumps to put water back into the reservoirs during periods of lower demand for electricity, and use the water to run generators during high demand (or at night, when demand tends to be lower anyway).

      That, conservation, and some other tricks should greatly help lower demand for fossil fuels. Remember, too: all that oil, coal, etc. is actually stored solar power...

  • GOP: No Climate Change because, Bible
    • Last I heard, the Bible promises that God won't destroy the world by flooding it again. Instead, some fundamentalists, God will destroy the world with fire.

      Has anyone pointed out to these folks that fire makes things warmer?

  • Celebrating Dirty Gas & Oil is Our Planet's Funeral (Klare)
    • And if you believe these rose-tinted predictions, I've got some stock to sell you. This looks more like a pump-and-dump operation than a valid prediction. I'm sticking with the Laws of Thermodynamics - fossil fuels don't just magically appear, they were laid down over millions of years. This means we're going to run out sooner or later.

      Besides, what do we do about peak water? It takes water to frack, and we're running out of fresh water. I suppose we could use sea water, but pumping salt water into aquifers doesn't seem like such a wonderful idea, either.

  • Iran's Leader "Optimistic" about Rowhani's US Diplomacy, but Skeptical of Washington, Israel
    • Given the ongoing revelations of NSA spying, and the actions by the Republican Party in both advocating for a government shutdown and then blaming the Democrats for the shutdown ("Now look what you made me do..."), I'd say that duplicity is built into the political process generally. After all, it's why we find this phrase amusing: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you"

  • Not Markets but the People are making the Green Energy Revolution
    • Solar power in particular is a very good thing - it's largely decentralized, making it less vulnerable to disruption. Today's electrical grid relies on a small number of large centralized power generation systems. This is a result of the physics behind these generation systems (the bigger the dam, the more efficient the turbine, the bigger the petrochemical-powered plant, the more efficient the generator, etc.)

      Small-scale solar installations, however, are highly efficient. This makes decentralized power systems possible. Failure of any one generator can easily be compensated by other generators. This makes solar an excellent hedge against natural disasters or terrorist attacks. One wonders why the folks so frightened of terrorist attack don't point this out to people that go out and purchase inefficient home-sized conventional generators.

  • NSA abuses include Stalking ex-Girlfriends
    • Indeed - one wonders whether the unwavering support for the NSA demonstrated by many politicians has anything to do with some embarrassing secrets the NSA has agreed to keep quiet. As Hannibal Lector observed: "Quid pro quo, Clarisse, Quid pro quo"

  • How the GOP Libya Witch Hunt Made us Close our Mideast Embassies and Crippled US Diplomacy
    • The neocons are using Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a role model. Mr. Ahmadinejad used fear of the Great Satan as an excuse to justify otherwise unpopular domestic policies and maintain the loyalty of their conservative base - and the neocons use fear of Iran and al Qaeda for the same purpose.

  • PRISM: The US Government is mad at Bradley Manning for doing to it what it is Doing to All of us
  • Terrorism and the other Religions
    • One wonders whether singing traditional Irish drinking songs such as "By The Rising Of The Moon" and other pro-Irish Republican Army songs would be considered material support for terrorism under today's laws.

      Interestingly, one of the most virulent US politicians espousing military tribunals for "terrorists" used to condemn Great Britain - for failing to try accused IRA members in civilian courts.

      It's the terrorist/freedom fighter thing.

  • Working America's 40-year Decline (Garson)
    • And the real problem, summed up nicely, was tat they all knew they were destroying the economy, but thought they could make money doing so:
      "Greenspan answered: 'It’s not that they weren’t aware that the risks were there, I mean I spoke to them. It’s not that the people were dumb. They knew precisely what was going on. The vast majority of them thought that they knew when to get out.'”

  • Eyeless in Gaza: When will Israel let its People Go?
    • The purpose of the Israeli air strikes is to trigger Palestinian counter-attacks, which can be characterized as "terrorist attacks" and used as justification for more land grabs.

      It will stop when a Palestinian Gandhi leads an effective passive resistance. Rock throwing and homemade rockets make matters worse, a daily march of unarmed civilians to reclaim their homes (and thus highlighting Israeli oppression) will defeat the Israeli occupation.

  • Kerry Cajoles Afghanistan and Iraq, as Bush's former colonies decline to Toe the Line
    • The Cheney definition of "democracy" is using whatever means one can get away with to ensure your supporters get elected. Dick Cheney wanted to remove an uncooperative dictator and replace him with a more obedient dictator through rigged elections - and call it "democracy."

  • Israel Lobby asks Congress to Approve Attack on Iran & to Exempt Israel from Sequester
    • The most serious action a nation can take is not "going to war" - it is a tie between enacting regulations on banks and/or raising taxes on the rich. So sayeth the Republican Party.

  • Walsh (Republican): No Pregnancy Ever threatens a Mother's Life (Young Turks Video)
    • Here's another fact to throw in the mix:

      link to

      (CNN) -- The mother of a pregnant leukemia patient who died after her chemotherapy was delayed over anti- abortion laws is accusing doctors of not putting her daughter's health first.

      The 16-year-old's plight attracted worldwide attention after she had to wait for chemotherapy because of an abortion ban in the Dominican Republic.

      Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy -- a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. Some 20 days after she was admitted to the hospital, she finally started receiving treatment.

      She died Friday, a hospital official said.

  • California gasoline crisis shows Desirability of Hybrid, Electric Cars
    • For those of us living in apartments, or who lack a parking place near an electrical outlet, electric cars and plug-in hybrids remain unusable. (Infrastructure change will happen at some point, but it'll take some time.)

      However, I'm getting 54+ MPG in my hybrid car, and live within walking distance of a light rail station. I'm not much affected by the spike in gas prices, either.

      The Wall Street Journal articles showing negative cost/benefit analyses for purchasing hybrids are looking increasingly silly.

  • Extreme Oil: Costly, Dirty and Dangerous (Klare)
    • Our planet's oil reserves are much like the gold in the 40 Thieves' cave after their rather unfortunate experience with hot oil treatments at Ali Baba's house. Ali Baba had a cave containing treasure (just as we have a planet containing oil). Ali Baba and ourselves face the same dilemma: we don't know how much treasure/oil is left. Living is easy while the treasure/oil lasts - but what to do when it's gone?

      In the story, Ali Baba was smart: he used the part of treasure to set himself up in business, and left the rest as a reserve. The equivalent for us would be to use the oil reserves as a stopgap until we can set up a self-sustaining renewable energy economy.

      What the oil companies are pushing is ever-increasing efforts to extract the last of the treasure form the cave - leaving us with nothing to fall back on when the oil's gone.

      And it will be gone, sooner or later.

  • Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots
    • Also, (as many have noted) isn't it interesting that the National Rifle Association isn't loudly proclaiming that if only these two victims had been armed, they could have "defended themselves" from their attackers?

      It seems these people have watched too many Westerns, where the reluctant good guy picks up a gun and successfully defends himself against a large number of attacking bad guys. Funny how the subject of "collateral damage" or shooting an innocent person by mistake never comes up.

  • Could Electronic Communication Cooperatives Protect Us?
    • Back in the day of land lines, the police could use "pen registers" to log which telephone numbers were calling other telephone numbers. This did not require a warrant, as the content of the communication was not disclosed and the telephone numbers dialed pass through the telephone company's billing systems (no reasonable expectation of privacy). (Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 99 S. Ct. 2577, 61 L. Ed. 2d 220 (1979))

      These days, the Roberts Court would probably rule that nobody has any reasonable expectation of privacy any more, so the 4th amendment is largely meaningless.

  • Top Developments in the Arab Spring this Weekend
    • Your description of the Salafis reminds me of the descriptions of the radical right 30 years ago. What is it about humans that we so willingly follow people whose claim to leadership is how well they can demonize "the other."

      Look at India, Pakistan, Iran, China, the US, Europe, South Africa, and elsewhere: there's always someone condemning "them" for their country's woes. Only the name used for "them" changes.

  • Top Ten Myths about Bin Laden's Death
    • Pop quiz: how many armed drones are sent over the Pakistani military's equivalent of West Point?

      Side note: the Viet Cong used to dig complex tunnels to create bases underneath US bases... this was their best protection against bombers. Does this prove the US was secretly aiding the Viet Cong?

  • Can 'Desperate Housewives' Defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia? Wikileaks
    • My guess is that the Chinese model of censorship will get more popular: unlimited consumerism, zero tolerance for dissenting political views.

  • Worst Reporting on Green Energy of the Week
    • One wonders whether the article corrected for all the various tax breaks given to the petrochemical industry.

      It may be that a given site isn't a good match for windpower - what about solar? Putting solar cells on every house plus some kind of energy storage system (batteries, hydrogen generation, etc.) would give us a less centralized energy grid. Decentralized systems are less vulnerable to disruption from natural disasters and/or terrorist attack.

  • Cutting off Aid to the Lebanese Army Hurts US Interests
    • If Israel wants South Lebanon's water - what better way to justify an invasion and "temporary" occupation of the desired areas that to keep Lebanon's army too weak to control Hezbollah - and to keep provoking Hezbollah?

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