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Total number of comments: 174 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)

Spyguy68

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  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban?
    • "Fun Facts" from C. J. Chiver's fabulous (and scary) book, "The Gun" (ISBN-13: 978-0743271738) . . .

      - There are over 100 million AK-47 and equivalent weapons (AR-15, M16, etc.) on earth, with thousands more being made each and every day of the year. This includes not only the licensed versions, but the unlicensed versions (it is not that hard to copy an AK-47 and start your own factory - it was designed to be made by rather primitive methods..

      - That is, there is one AK-47 equivalent weapon for every 50 to 70 humans on earth..

      - The kits or plans needed to convert a "civilian" semi-automatic version of an AK-47 into a fully automatic military version are readily available everywhere on earth.

      Basically the world is awash in very lethal weapons.

      have a nice day.

  • Israel seeks to force 400,000 People from Homes in North Gaza
    • Israelis hubris will cause Israel to go too far and fall over a cliff, and suffer massive damage.

      10,000 years of history says Israel will eventually suffer massive, humiliating defeat and lose everything.

      So sad when people are so blinded by hubris and ego.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)
    • Yes, the US will protect Israel until the pain get too high and then it will stop overnight and throw Israel to the wolves.

      This is the thing Israelis can not seem to understand, the US does not stay bought and when they become un-bought, they get viscous about expressing that.

      I have no idea what the trigger will be, but I can guarantee that the US will eventually not only walk away from Israel but will set it on fire in the process.

      Israel has scorched so much earth, when the US walks away, they will have run out of options. The result will not be pretty, and Israelis will insist that they are "innocent" but will still suffer for their hubris.

      Israel has just accumulated far too many enemies and burned too many "friends."

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • The "key human" theory has been WELL DOCUMENTED to be completely false.

      Every humans is replaceable.

      Sure the replacement will have different skills and may not be as effective in a particular area of expertise, but they will do OK any way.

      Note that if the "key human" theory was valid, the US would fall apart after we replaced the POTUS after a 4 or 8 year period of absolute rule. Notice that the US continues to muddle on.

      This is why, unless Israel kills all 1.5 million humans in Gaza, they will continue to have resistance. In addition, the more Gazans they kill the worse the resistance will become because Israel can not kill its way to peace and security.

    • Some things to think about . . .

      - Except for a 200 year period out of over 5000 years of history, China was a MAJOR regional power and in less that 50 years, China has completely caught up with the "west." Israel has no resources that China can not "borrow," improve and make for much less than Israel. Israelis are no more intelligent than Chinese and there are a LOT MORE Chinese.

      - To lesser extent, India is very similar to China (if the Himalayas hadn't made conquest by either an extremely difficult adventure, they might have fought more).. Again, Israel has nothing India needs that it can't make itself or buy for very low cost from China.

      - Russia has few resources (oil and wood mainly), minimal to marginal infrastructure and a very small population. While Putin has delusions of grandeur, he has done nothing to ensure a long term future for Russia. While Israel might be able to make an alliance with Russia, it would gain almost nothing.

      - Like all large groups of humans, Americans are primarily focused on what is "good for them." Eventually Israel is going to do something that causes Americans to throw them over board. I can guarantee this because Israelis have no clue about the psychology of other humans and even it they understood are so egotistical that they just do not care.
      Over the next 25 years, I think Israel is going to suffer greatly for their "sins" of the last 100 years (the Zionist movement started in the the late 1800s).

      I have no desire to see more humans killed in the ME, but I think that is what it is going to take to unwind the huge mess created by the Brits, French and Americans. Just like the Europeans , Chinese and Indians had to go through many long wars before they learned how to live together, I think the ME will also have to suffer and unfortunately I suspect the Israelis will suffer the most because they have inflicted so much suffering on others.

    • It is long past time for the POTUS to marginalize the Israel hawks in congress by pitting US internal needs against the huge drain by Israel. The after neutralizing congress, the POTUS should publish a full peace proposal for the ME including defined borders for Israel, then point blank tell Israel to remove their citizen from the territory that isn't theirs and follow up with a UNSC resolution.

      The hawks in Israel could scream all they want, but if the US backed sanctions, Israel would have to cave.. Israel is not self sufficient in energy and food and can not survive for long without free trade.

      It is very doubtful that China, Russia or any of the usual suspects would tray to get around sanctions because most countries view Israel as a loose cannon.

      Until the US directly confronts Israel, it will be a festering wound that will make the US less and less able to function in the world.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough
    • if Israel uses even one of its nukes, it will be committing suicide. Not only will every Israeli die, but the survivors of the nuclear exchanges will very probably take their revenge out on any non-Israeli Jew they can find. It would be the end of the Jewish culture, but possibly not the end of mankind. In the real world, nukes are only good for one thing, committing suicide and very few Israelis are interested in committing suicide for their country. In fact when the war gets too hot, as much as half the Israelis will do the same thing all humans do during a hot war, flee.

      As for the US protecting Israel forever, that is a very invalid assumption. Over the last 200 years, the US has broken almost every "treaty" and agreement it has ever had. If Israel causes Americans any personal pain whatsoever, Israel will be thrown overboard in a heartbeat.

      Right now, Israel is deeply endangering the future of the US and as things deteriorate, the US will do what is best for the US, even if that means the complete destruction of Israel.

      I can guarantee the US will NOT protect Israel forever, especially to the detriment of the US. And once the US throws Israel overboard, it is toast becuas no other nation on earth will come to its rescue, ZERO.

      Americans are just as self-centered as all other humans and will happily sacrifice Israelis to protect Americans, count on it.

    • I have seen no indication that there are any Israelis with any intelligence to think beyond the next second.

      Quite simply, what Israelis are doing is just flat out dumb, Over the long term (decades), Israel can NOT "win" in any sense of the word. Contrary to the Israelis myths, Israel can and will eventually suffer humiliating defeat. When that happens, the Israelis that hadn't already fled, will either have to live under Arab subjugation or flee to other parts of the globe.

      BUT the problem is ,by that time, Israeli actions might have so poisoned the world there will be no place they can run to where they will be tolerated, let alone welcomed. The terrible thing is, many innocent non-Israeli Jews may also pay a high price for Israeli's actions.

      I just can not understand why no Israelis understand that every one of their assumptions about the world is invalid and that if they want to survive, they will have to change their world view and completely change their actions.

      Can anyone explain WHY the Israeli think they can continue to treat Arabs inhumanly and not suffer massive retribution eventually? On a global perspective, Israel is actually a pretty powerless nation in that it does not have the resources to fight an all out long term war. Sure, it has nukes, but the second it uses one, it has sealed its fate. Not even the US could get away with nuking anyone these days.

      Are their egos really that overinflated, their paranoia that extreme, and their delusions really that strong that they can't see where this is going?

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • Or the Palestinians could add a simple but reasonably accurate guidance system to their rockets.

      A 32-bit Raspberry Pi computer costs less than US$35 from a wide variety of sources (most NOT controllable by the US or Israel). Couple that with a GPS chip (US$10), any one of several open source real-time operating systems (US$0) and some simple control motors and the Palestinians could be dropping a rocket right on top of Israeli infrastructure and commercial aircraft. Note that the Palestinians only have to blow up one empty B747 sitting on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport to permanently shut it down.

      This illustrates one of the very invalid assumptions that Israelis have about their future - They appear to assume their opponents will not dramatically improve over time, which is a very bad assumption to make.

    • In reality, The Zionist program of ethnic cleansing is going to stop, one way or another, in the not too distant future because it is not sustainable.

      Over the last 10,000 years of human history, exactly ZERO groups have been able to dominate other groups indefinitely. In the long term all the dominate groups always end up being defeated (often brutally) and returning to the bottom of the heap.

      I can not predict the exact timing, but I can predict with certainty that Israel will cease to exist.

      If Israelis want to have a country in the future, they need to change their entire way of thinking. But given the massive stupidity humans are capable of, I suspect that no matter how clearly Israelis are warned, they will continue on the path to their destruction.

    • The Arab Peace Proposal has been on the table for over ten years.

      It calls for a much smaller and much less armed Israel. That is, Israel would have to give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for everything they have done since WW1.

      The Arabs are resigned to Israel existing, but not in the form it is now.

      The problem from the Israelis point of view is that while they would have a "Jewish" state, it would be small and powerless, thereby destroying the Jewish myths of superiority.

    • It is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for Israel to disarm Gaza.

      Yes Israel can try to kill as many as possible, but at a certain number of dead (a number that Israel has no way of knowing), the world will permanently tip and severely punish Israel. Not even the US will be able to protect Israel.

      Israel wants to walk up to that line, but not go over because going over destroys Israel. The problem is that line is very vague and changing and Israeli could easily walk off that cliff before they even know they have.

      The BEST thing Israel could do if it wants a future is to stop the belligerence and NEGOTIATE with Hamas.

    • As Dr. Cole noted, war does indeed void most insurance agreements.

      But to make sure the insurance company has no liability, insurance companies usually notify the insured as soon as a risk is knowable. In this case, the insurance companies are proactively telling the insured, they are fully exposed if they fly into Israeli (or Ukrainian) airspace. Since no one wants to be on the hook for $300 to $500 million, the airlines stop flying into documented war zones. Note that El Al can fly because the state of Israel provides back-up insurance, so even though the primary insurance provider has no doubt voided the agreement, the state will cover the full loss. When you can't lose, then just fly.

      You can't really fault the insurance companies because their business model is to collect as much money as possible while paying out none.

      Note that for MH17, I have no doubt the insurance companies will try to avoid paying, but given that all aviation governing bodies thought it was safe to fly at 32000 feet over Ukraine, the insurance companies will probably have to pay eventually (although they will try to avoid that as long as possible).

    • If you "run the numbers" in a realistic way, it quickly becomes clear that Israel does not have the resources for a long term war and the US can not afford to subsidize Israel, especially with tens of thousands of Americans living on the economic edge and elections coming quickly.

      Every war REQUIRES three things:

      - Cannon fodder - that is, lots of humans to die for the cause. A realistic estimate is Israel only has about 3 million humans usable as cannon fodder. The number is probably even less because most humans flee wars and almost half of the Israelis have a second passport and "run funds" stashed away.

      - Material to waste - These are all the war toys that get destroyed. Israel's real numbers are not huge (less than 400 combat aircraft, 3 active subs, etc). In addition to a rather limited amount of stuff, the US has also heavily depleted its own stock, so Israel would have little it could get from the US.

      - Wealth - While Israel is a fairly prosperous country, it does not have a lot of reserves. Any war will immediately stop most economic activity and dry up tax revenue. Again the US will not really be able to help because Americans will deeply resent their cash going to Israel when Americans are starving.

      Israel does not have a very good future if it does not figure out how to get along with the neighbors they CHOSE to live next to.

    • Regardless what the US FAA decides on 23 July, the economics of whether to provide flight service to Israel is fairly straight forward to figure out:

      >> Positives . . .

      - Customer price - El Al (the Israel national carrier) vastly over charges its customers (because they can). As a result, it should be easy for another carrier to charge slightly less and still make a very nice profit (if the costs are manageable - more on this in a minute).

      - Customer service - El Al provides extremely TERRIBLE customer service to all its customers that are not Israelis Jews. Even non-Israeli Jews get terrible service because if they were "real Jews" they would live in Israel instead of mingling with the riff-raff out in the world.. Even carriers that have mediocre customer service can easily be much better than El Al.

      >> Negatives . . .

      - Fuel costs - Because Israel has angered most of the places on earth with oil and gas, Israel has to pay a high premium for oil based products including aircraft fuel. Because "heavy" jets can not land with large fuel loads, any aircraft servicing Israel have only two choices (1) load a full fuel load at Israelis prices (2) load a small fuel load and fly to a close-by airport with lower prices to top up the tanks for the rest of the trip, adding at least an hour to any flight.

      - Security costs - Israeli's paranoia requires carriers to leap through expensive flaming hoops to fly to/from Israel. The carrier has to eat these costs.

      - Insurance costs - This is a MAJOR cost. While insurance companies like to receive insurance premiums, they really hate paying out claims for aircraft damage/destruction and/or passenger and crew injuries or death.. Israel is a known war zone and the danger to the aircraft is huge, so the insurance companies are getting really scared, especially after MH17 was blown from the sky. By the time all the lawsuits are settled for MH17, the insurance carriers and Malaysia Air will probably pay out between $350 and $500 million (a Boeing 777 costs ~$300 million) because there is very little chance Russia will actually accept responsibility and pay it. Note that even an older B747 can cost over $200 million. Right now, every insurance company is re-evaluating their insurance policies and are probably severely restricting them to minimize loss. The brutal reality is, other than El Al which has a blank check for the government of Israel, no carrier can fly without insurance.

      - Air Crew costs - In the past, air crews have typically either refused to fly into war zones or have required "combat pay" and supplementary life insurance policies so if they do get killed, their families are well taken care of. Any airline that tried to force the situation would end up with major union problems and could end up with the entire system grounded because of a strike.

      When the positives and negatives are weighted, it is easy to see most airlines coming down on the "it is not worth the bother" side of the equation.

      As one commentator pointed out, the reason Israel wanted to keep the west bank was to "protect" Ben Gurion Airport from attack. Modern missiles have made a mockery of that idea. The harsh reality is ALL of Israel is now a target zone and when the current Jordanian government falls, Israel will be in the cross hairs from the north, south, east and west. Maybe Israel should re-think how they treat their neighbors.

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity
    • On 22 July, Israelis got a taste of what a major war will bring.

      When real war hits, the huge number of Israelis that will want to flee, may discover that they have no physical way to flee. As I write this, Israel has very limited air service.

      It also appears that there is very little to zero ferry service between Israel and Cyprus. If there is a massive war, I suspect that travel between Israel and Turkey, Lebanon or Egypt would not exist.

      It would appear that those that do not want to be stuck in Israel during a war, might want to seriously think about permanently moving some place else, right now, because once things get too hot, they may not have any options.

    • I am increasingly pessimistic about Israel having any future what so ever. There does not seem to be anyone in Israel with a brain capable of thinking more than 32 seconds into the future. Every one of the assumptions about the world and the future that Israelis appear to be making, are completely invalid and and any actions based on those invalid assumptions will lead to disaster.

      - The IDF can (and will) be defeated. exactly ZERO military organizations over the last 10,000 years has remained undefeated.

      - The Israeli assumptions about themselves and their opponents completely ignores Sun Tzu's admonition that over-estimating yourself and under-estimating your opponent will ALWAYS lead to failure.

      - Eventually the USA will RUN away from Israel, just as the USA has thrown every "partner" in the last 200 years under the coal wagon.

      - Israel does not have enough resources (cannon fodder, material and wealth) to last very long without USA help.

      - When the Israel war gets too hot, at least a third and possibly more than half, of the Israelis will simply do the same thing humans have done for 10,000 years - FLEE the war zone, which will further decrease Israelis availability of canon fodder.

      - Israel will NOT get any help from any other country, no matter how delusionally they think China, Russia or whoever will help. Israel has NOTHING that China, Russia or any other country would find of value.

      Basically Israel is isolating itself and creating more enemies every hour. One of these days those enemies will be much more powerful than Israel, then what?

      "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate" - Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) - So true, yet Israelis never learn.

      Do Israelis even care about their future?

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Over the last 10000+ years, human behavior has actually been fairly consistent. That is, we repeatedly make the same mistakes, even though all of our classical literature (Art of War, Bible, Torah, Confucius, etc) clearly documents what mistakes to avoid. Humans just can not help themselves when their egos, power madness, racism and superiority complexes kick in. Once that happens, all rational thought disappears.

      Right now Israelis are in the middle of a massive paranoid delusion with no capability of rational thought. As a result, they are on a steep downward path that will ensure that Israel does not exist in 30 years.

      History says that most colonial invaders get defeated by the locals and make no mistake, the Jewish Israelis are unwelcome colonial invaders. As many people have pointed out, Israel can not kill its way to peace and prosperity because eventually the humans they are brutalizing will find a way to turn the situation around.

      If one takes a macro view of history, it is easy to see how power constantly flows from one group of humans to other groups of humans over time and no group of humans can retain power for very long. The US and Israel have some power today, but will not be able to retain it. In the case of the US, it may not suffer too much from its decrease in power, but with Israel, the loss of power will very probably lead to the end of Israel and the scattering of most of the Jewish inhabitants to other parts of the globe.

      You are correct that Israel is in the process of self destruction and I see very little possibility of any rational change of behavior. As a result, the smartest Israelis should probably leave sooner rather than later because things will just get uglier.

    • Israel has a demographic problem around he world. A large majority of the people that have any sympathy for Israel are (naturally) dying off. As the US and European "boomers" die off, they will be replaced by humans that view WW2, the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel as ancient history. All this next generation has lived with is constant Israeli war and they are long ago tired of it. As the older generation dies off, Israel will be dealing with people that will view Israel as a inhumane aggressor and will simply ignore the old slur of "antisemitism." As more and more people publicly defy Israel, the "antisemitism" slur will become worthless and Israel will not be able to shut down discussion like they have in the past. As more discussion takes place, Israel will look worse and worse..

      The coming generations are NOT going to tolerate Israel, causing Israel to have a very bad future.

  • Gaza: Netanyahu, Goaded by Israeli Far Right, Risks Breaking Int'l Law
    • Meanwhile, in the REAL WORLD . . .

      - IDF leadership KNOWS that it is impossible to "defeat" Hamas, no matter how many Gazans are killed.

      - Even if it were possible to "defeat" Hamas, what leadership would replace it? Probably not Fatah, which has achieved exactly zero over the last 60+ years. The most likely replacement is some organization that can finally get Israel to stop its oppression (or at least die trying).

      - I suspect that ISIS would gladly extend its power base to include the entire area around Israel.

      - Bibi has publicly stated that there is zero chance of two states.

      In the end , Israel has painted itself into a very deadly corner. No matter how many (or how few) people thy kill, eventually they will face a very hostile future with few chances of survival as a state (NOTE: that does NOT mean the end of the Jewish people or even a massacre of Jewish people, but simply the end of the state of Israel - the people will either live as a minority in the area or migrate to other places on earth).

      I suspect that Israel will have to negotiate directly with Hamas sooner or later.

  • Netanyahu's Last Stand: Why he Cannot Win by Bombing Gaza
    • Abbas might want to think carefully about finding a new home a long way from Palestine because I think his days as a "leader" are coming to a close. Abbas always genuflects to the US and Israel and never accomplishes anything for Palestinians. Once Abbas is gone, Israel and the US will deeply regret treating him like a stooge because the leadership that fills the vacuum will NOT be as accommodating as Abbas.

      In the long term, the Palestinian population is so radicalized, I can not see a very good future for Israel.

      This is going to just keep getting worse and eventually Israel is going to see the "best and brightest," who can easily live much better lives in other parts of the globe, leaving in large numbers. Once the "best and brightest" start to leave and the Israel economy craters, then what?

  • How its Iran Sanctions hurt US Economy: Cutting off your Nose to Spite Your Face
    • Business 101 . . .

      - ALL humans needs and wants will be fulfilled for fun and profit and no political entity can prevent it.

      - Evading taxes, tariffs and blockades for fun and profit succeeds very well most of the time. In fact some cultures are largely based on smuggling and evasion.

      The US has had complete US sanctions on Iran since 1979 and it has achieved nothing at all.

      Since the US sanctions do not work at all, the US has tried to use third=party sanctions. That is, punish third parties who trade with Iran. This worked for a while, but as noted above, those sanctions are rapidly falling apart because most of the world resents the US trying to prevent them from making profits.

      By the end of 2014, no matter how much the US congress critters weep and wail, most of the third party sanctions will be gone. and the US will be completely blocked form imposing any more.

      China wants to create a new banking system to replace the US controlled one and they are quietly using the very heavy-handed US manipulation of the global banking system to try to punish Iran to convince other countries to join with them. The goal is to dump the US dollar as the reserve currency, or at least make a parallel reserve currency, so the US loses all power to us the banking system as a weapon.

      The bottom line is Iran has stuff to sell that others want to buy and Iran wants to buy stuff that other make and the US has zero ability to prevent that over the long term.

      I suspect that Obama understands the life of the sanctions is very limited and that is why he is trying so hard to get the best deal he can with Iran before all the US leverage is gone.

      In reality, Iran will continue to be a regional power and will have the ability to make as much nuclear fuel as they want and there is absolutely nothing Israel or the US can do about it. If Israel attacks Iran, it will fail and might even end up being mortally damaged.

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • Since you seem to think the current situation can continue, how do you envision that happening in the real world?

      Eventually there will be no "moderate" Arab leaders, so Israel will have constant low level war where it will have to dedicate huge resources and raise taxes very high to keep the oppression in place.

      As that goes on, more and more of the "best and brightest" Israelis are going to realize they can live much, much better lives outside Israel. Just as the evangelical religions are bleeding members, Israel will have the same problem. and as the "best and brightest" leave, the tax revenue base decreases.

      I can see no way that Israel can sustain the current situation for very much longer.

    • How can the green Arabs "disappear?"

      What would happen to the millions of non-Jewish humans?

      This is the problem with the Israeli fantasy of a "greater Israel."

      - Israel can not "transfer" them to someplace else because no one else will take millions of mostly poor humans, not even the USA (if you think the current "US border wars" are horrific, just multiple that by millions).

      - Israel can not kill the Arabs without causing massive war they will probably lose (the myth of the undefeated IDF is just a myth).

      - Israel can not keep them oppressed because oppressed people ALWAYS rebel after a while and that would lead to massive war, which Israel loses.

      Basically, Israel is in a no-win long term situation with an inability to emotionally, politically and militarily to deal with reality.

    • If we look at the situation from a basic game theory situation point of view, we have the following conditions:

      - A bounded area which can not get any larger (but could become smaller).

      - Group "A" that wants all the land.

      - Group "B" that wants all the land.

      With this situation there are ONLY three possible long term outcomes:

      - DIVIDE - The two groups divide the land in a fair and equatable manner. Neither side will get what they want, but will each get something.

      - SHARE - the two groups intermingle. Over time, mixed couples will pair bond creating a mixed culture.

      - GENOCIDE - one group successfully eliminates the other group.

      These are the ONLY long term solutions for Israel, not matter what the Israeli fantasies are.

      As you noted, the DIVIDE option is no longer possible unless Israeli leadership is willing to have a civil war where lots of settlers are killed. In fact, since the settlers make up a significant part of the IDF and have access to ALL the IDF weapons, it is unlikely that the Israelis leadership, even if it had the political will, would have the military power to forcibly remove the settlers, clearing enough land for Palestine to exist. Even though the settlers are only about 20% of the Israeli population, the majority is unwilling and unable to counter the settlers.

      As for the GENOCIDE option, if Israel tried it, the ME would explode, the US would be neutralized and Israel would eventually lose, everything.

      From what I can see, the SHARE option is the only somewhat viable option. Israel would have to give every human living west of the Jordan River citizenship and the courts would have to sort out who actually owns what with the settlers or the state having to pay out billions in compensation. Over time, as much as half the Jewish population would migrate back to Europe and the US, leaving the remaining Jewish Israelis as a large minority, but a minority. In other words, Israel would end up looking more like Palestine from the early 1900s than it does today and the global Jewish diaspora would just get larger and remain mostly outside Israel for many centuries.

      This is a tough nut to crack and I see no way Israel can "win" in any sense of the word "win" over the long term.

      Right now is the best time to negotiate because the situation is deteriorating and Israel will never get a better deal.(US turning elsewhere, Arabs getting more powerful, etc.).

  • Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing
    • No one has ever accused Israelis of long term thinking or any understanding of long term power dynamics.

      You are correct in that the long term prospects for Israel are NOT very good.

    • @Jane - Think long term. Over the long term, will Americans tolerate having so much of their wealth being drained away by Israel and the Middle East? One of the reasons Rand Paul may be a somewhat viable POTUS candidate is he is tapping into the American desire to keep our wealth here and help Americans.

      The assumption that Americans will fund Israel forever is not valid. Eventually Americans will stop all support for Israel as a result of some internal forces (continued middle class recession, etc.). I can not predict what those forces will be, but based on 10,000 years of human history I am very sure something will happen to cause the US to walk away from Israel.

      For example, there are very valid reasons why Obama is trying to focus on Asia and walking away from the middle east. One of those reasons is the re-emergence of China as a regional power after a 250 year period of power loss. Prior to the mid 1700s, China had a 5000 year period of regional power. From a global perspective, North America, Europe and Asia are the major power centers with the Mid east, Latin America and Africa as distant also rans. The US needs to re-balance global power with Europe and Asia, so the middle east is an unwelcome sideshow.

      Note also that congress critters are well known to not stay bought. That is, they follow the money and votes. If Israel becomes a liability, congress critters will drop Israel in a heart beat.

    • The first instincts of a political animal such as a congress critter is to survive and increase power. In the absence of any countervailing force, the Israel (actually Likud) lobby is strong, but as I noted, the Israel support in the US is shallow and if support for Israel causes congress critters to lose votes, they will flip-flop very quickly. The Israel lobby can deliver money, BUT it can not deliver votes. A majority of US Jews are liberal and even then, their numbers are miniscule (there are more Mormons in the US than Jews). In addition the Zionist Evangelical Christians are rapidly decreasing in numbers. A victim of the younger generations dislike of fundamentalist religion. In many ways, the Israel lobby is a generational thing, with most of the support in the boomers and their parents who remember and feel some guilt about WW2. Those people are dying off and the later generations have no guilt or even memory of WW2 (it is ancient history that they were forced to study in high school). This is the major problem Israel has - the people that might care about Israel are dying off and being replaced by people with no emotional attachment to Israel, that only see Israel as a huge pain in the rear, no different from all the other stupid hell-holes that they have to deal with. Sometime in the next few decades, Americans are going to tell Israelis to just go f*** themselves and may even switch over to supporting the Arabs. Obama's frustration with Israel mirrors the frustration many of his generation and younger around the world feel. Israel is on a long term slide to oblivion.

    • The amount of gas in the fields off of Israel is actually miniscule compared to the Israel's needs. In fact, Israel is nowhere near being energy self sufficient because it just has not made the investments in non-hydrocarbon energy. A major cause of the underinvestment is the HUGE cost of the constant war, caused by Israel's emotional inability to get along with their neighbors.

      Desalination requires tremendous amounts of energy and as I noted, Israel's energy supply is shaky at best. Also, ALL major infrastructure projects require lots of cash and Israel just does not have it since they spend most of their money on war toys and cannon fodder. Israel will lose too many citizens if it raises its taxes too much more and getting the cash from the US is becoming very iffy given the economic problems the US already has.

      As for technology advances, there will be none. It is a MYTH that Israel is some technology powerhouse. The real world FACTS show that it is not. By any measure of technology, Israelis pretty mediocre on the world stage and it will fall further behind as Asia continues on its path. Most of the world's technology is coming out of Asia now.

      As others have noted, there is close to zero chance of any new massive migration to Israel because virtually all the remaining Jewish people on earth either have OK lives or have many other choices besides moving to a permanent war zone. Not only that but there is already a quiet, slow out-migration from Israel by the "best and brightest. because they can easily live much better lives outside Israel (in fact there is a big debate in Israel about how to stop the outflow and get some of the ex-parts to return).

      The bottom line is TODAY is the best day for Israel to NEGOTIATE with its neighbors. From this point on, Israel's future will only gets worse. Without Israel giving up lots of land, water, cash and apologies to the Arabs, Israel has no long term future.

    • @zandru - Try thinking longer term. American sheltering of Israel will not last. Americans, like all groupings of humans, are primarily focused on their own survival and well being. The instant that Israel causes a sufficient number of Americans personal pain, the very weak limb Israel is sitting on, will be suddenly and permanently hacked off. When it happens, Israelis will be in deep shock at the quick reversal of fortune. This is one (of many) very invalid assumptions Israelis are making about their future. Just because the US has protected Israel during their short lifetime, they assume that the protection will continue indefinitely, completely ignoring that during America's short 200 year history, America has screwed over EVERY so-called "partner," repeatedly! I do not know what the internal or external trigger event will be that causes the US to completely screw Israel, but KNOW it will suddenly happen and Israelis will lose everything. Most of the population of Israel will be in full panic mode in the hours following the change.

      BTW - I think that the "broad" support Israel appears to have in the US population is not very deep. That is, it is more a "feel good" expression rather than a deeply held conviction and when Israel causes any personal pain, will flip in a heart beat. But if a candidate did bring up dumping Israel and made a good case, they could tap into that shallowness of support. The argument would probably have to be based on economics in that Israeli have a better life than Americans because the US gives Israel money (Rand Paul's isolation argument).

    • The leaders that replace murdered leaders are NEVER more moderate, but apparently there is no one in Israel with the knowledge of social power structures to understand this. And make no mistake, ALL murdered leaders will be replaced. Never in history has a power vacuum been created that was not filled because in reality all humans are essentially equal in that there is no such thing as a irreplaceable unique leader.

      In addition, there is a limit to the number of humans Israel can kill before a majority of the world turns from quiet indifference to massive rage against Israel. Israel has no way of knowing what that number is and once it crosses the line, it will be unable to go back and will suffer massive damage. The switch from indifference to massive rage is instantaneous and irreversible.

      I see Israelis making a lot of very bad, invalid assumptions about their future that is going to cause them massive damage eventually.

      As Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) noted very perceptively, "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."

      Right now Israel is accumulating a lot of enemies and losing friends and without friends, Israel can not survive.. Israel is not self sufficient in food, energy or anything else. It can not even make all the weapons it needs to randomly kill others.

      The other thing that Israelis seem to be unable to understand is that global power distribution is NOT static. That is, centers of power shift constantly. So, while the US and Israel have some power today, 10,000 years of human history say that sometime in the future, they will be stripped of that power. The Arabs will NOT remain powerless forever and Israel will lose most of its power eventually. When that happens, all the enemies Israel has accumulated will destroy Israel.

      I think the basic problem that Israelis have is megalomaniac ego. They so much want to be "big boys" but have no way to do that. Israel will always be a small, relatively powerless country that the bigger nations on earth will mostly ignore. The Jewish tribe is miniscule in comparison to the rest of the tribes on earth and unless they want to grow their group by adding hundreds of millions of new members (a cultural anathema), it will always be miniscule. The israelis want to be world leaders and the world just ignores them.

      Based on the "flow" of power throughout human history, it is a safe bet that Israel will eventually get overpowered and will be made to pay for its arrogance. I do not know when, but do KNOW that it will happen. The sad thing is, I suspect that many Jewish people around the world who have nothing to do with Israel, will also be paying.because they are a member of the tribe.

      Israelis are vastly miss-reading history and power to their future detriment.

  • Iraq: Al-Baghadi Criticizes Wealthy Gulf Leaders, as Russia, Iran, Gun for Him
    • One thing that needs to be done is to dry up ISIS funding as much as possible. This might require the "neutralization" of some of the Saudi princes that are doing the funding. While the US seems to be reluctant to do this, Russia may not be so reluctant. The King of KSA has not controlled his domestic situation very well and ISIS could very badly damage the Saudi Royal family. ISIS is drastically changing the entire ME situation.

      I think Israel is going to have a very rough future and the US just may have to take some difficult stands against Israel to protect US interests.

      I think when the dust finally settles, the big winner will be Iran and the biggest losers will be Israel and Saudi Arabia. We shall see.

  • Oil-Rich Iran Planning To Spend $60 Million On Solar PV This Year
    • The Intersolar trade show is in San Francisco this week. In the panel mounting components area, there are a good number of US companies. BUT in the core components (PV panels, Inverters and water heating) well over half the exhibitors are non-USA. Americans are going to be paying other countries for their long term energy supplies.

    • Nicely put since it slights everyone in the middle east in one short sentence - Both Arabs and Persian (Iranians).

      BTW - As I pointed out at the start of 2014, the third-party sanctions on Iran are falling apart more each day. Since smuggling and nullifying trade laws has been around as long as humans have been here, there was zero chance the US sanctions would survive very long. This is just basic business 101 - Every market opportunity will be fulfilled, regardless of draconian laws. The only thing the laws do is raise the profit of those that ignore the laws, which is why prohibition laws are worthless.

      Just as the Brits completely failed to control the trade in the colonies, the US will fail to control trade with Iran. In fact by restricting Iranian oil trade and causing the other oil suppliers to deplete their stock quicker, the US may have dramatically increased Iran's long term wealth!

    • Note that while non-oil energy production technology is progressing OK, energy storage technology is essentially stalled, meaning that solar and wind must be heavily augmented, usually with hydrocarbon and nuclear technology. Maybe this is an area where Iran could apply its technology innovation.

      Of course the US could also do this if it was willing to actually FUND the research. Very likely in the coming years, Americans will be providing a large profit to many other countries because the other countries will invest in research and the US will not. I wish Iran well with their investments in non-oil technology. It would be ironic if the US eventually had to pay a premium for Iran energy technology.

    • Since the future value of oil will be far higher than present day oil (primarily for petrochemicals, not fuel), it only makes long term economic sense for Iran to use its current wealth to convert most of the country to non-oil energy (nuclear, wind and solar) and leave as much oil in the ground for future wealth production as possible. Oil left in the ground is literally long term wealth storage, so this is a very, very good long term economic plan.

      This is similar to most non-US countries that are trying to lower the cost and increase the availability of non-oil energy in their countries fro long term economic viability. The US is pretty much the only illogically blind country on the earth when it comes to non-oil energy. One of the reasons solar energy is decreasing in cost is because there are so many countries both implementing non-oil energy and so many researching better solar technology. Given the technology base in Iran, I would not be surprised if Iran comes up with some new solar technology. Right now China is the leading producer of older solar technology, leading to very low production costs, but other than manufacturing innovation, I have not seen a lot of NEW energy technology innovation breakthroughs from China.

      Since the US has used Iran's nuclear energy program to create a boogieman, I wonder how Iran's solar energy program will be used by the US for propaganda.

  • Top Things you need to know about the next Israeli-Palestinian crisis
    • More short-term myopic thinking in Israel. The more Abbas is seen as a eunuch by everyone, including most of the Palestinians, the sooner he will leave power, to be replaced by . . . ? The Israelis are playing a short-term game that will result in their eventual massive loss. The human psychology is such that, humans can be oppressed for only so long before they find a way to take their revenge in excess. Right now the Arabs are powerless, but history shows, REPEATEDLY, that powerlessness, just like power, does NOT last forever. While Bibi might succeed in splitting apart Fatah and Hamas, it will be a Pyrrhic victory resulting in the end of Abbas' rule and the creation of thousands of violent rebellion cells. Overthrown, ineffective, "moderate" leaders are NEVER replaced by a "moderate." I think when people look back on this time from a 100 years in the future they will see the Israelis as arrogant, brutal fools and not have any problem understanding why Israel ceased to exist.

      If there are any Israelis with even half a brain that want Israel to exist in the future, they should be trying to consolidate the country, giving up land, water, cash and apologies to reach an agreement with the Arabs. Further attempts at expansion will lead to a very, very bad future for Israel.

      It is frustrating as an interested non-combatant watching Israel do EVERYTHING WRONG because of arrogance and stupidity. their egos are going to lead to a very bad future.

  • As Israeli Vigilantes pursue revenge killing of Palestinian Children, Troops Go on Unlawful Rampage
    • Actually this tit-for-tat can not go on forever as the world is dramatically shifting under Israel's feet.

      Soon, most of the world will not only not tolerate Israel but will actively turn against it. Almost 80% of the humans on earth were born AFTER WW2 and they do not care one bit about what happened in WW2 (it is ancient history to them) and they definitely do NOT have any guilt about what happened. Even the Germans will soon tell Israel to go away and quit asking for gifts. Even the younger population in America will tell Israel to go away and shut up. As the generations change in Congress and Americans become more populist, Israel will lose out.

      At the same time Israel is becoming more isolated, the Arabs will slowly sort out the post- colonial power structures in the ME and quit fighting each other just like Europe, North American and most of Asia have done over the years. Once the Arabs get sorted out, Israel will be facing massive, well armed and battle hardened opponents.

      With strong opponents and no fiends, Israel will discover they are in deep brown stuff and threatening to nuke everyone will just make everyone angry, not afraid.

      The bottom line is Israel only has a few short years to reach a reasonable negotiated agreement with the Arabs which will probably require Israel to give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for their past behavior. But the more Arabs Israel kills, the harder it is going to be to get a negotiated agreement and if Israel waits too long, the world is going to impose a draconian agreement on Israel that they will have no choice bu to accept.

      Israelis like to think of themselves as "real important people" but the REALITY is Israel is a very small and very powerless nation dependent on many other nations for its survival (US protection, European trade, etc.). Once Israel makes enough other country angry, they will be in a very bad position.

      Will this happen overnight? probably not, BUT as has been demonstrated many times in the last 100 years, overnight changes are not impossible.

      The constant killing of Arabs has a limit and Israel will only discover it when they go too far and discover they have gone over the cliff and they have no way top recover. Once Israel has gone too far, they will be no way to moderate the negative consequences.

    • Is there no one in Israel with half a brain?

      How on earth do Israelis think they can "weaken" Hamas?

      Virtually the entire history of mankind has shown that trying to "weaken" a hopeless group of humans only straightens the resistance. Sure, the oppressors can kill a few leaders, but all that does is cause the resistance to morph into a different leadership structure which leads to more resistance. With each attempt to kill off a hopeless group, the hopeless group learns new ways to survive and punish the oppressors.

      Why does no one in Israel think about what will replace Hamas? It certainly will NOT be a "moderate" leadership because that is just not how human behavior works.

      The harsh reality that Israelis can not seem to grasp is they can NOT kill their way to peace and comfort. The only way to have peace is to NEGOTIATE a fair agreement that most people are OK with and to forcibly deal with the radical elements on their own side by severely restricting their behavior. In other word, each side will have to restrain their own idiots.

      In Israel's case this would mean severely constraining the settlers. That is, 75% of the population would need to severely constrain 25% of the population for the good of the majority.

      Unless Israelis accept that they have to learn to live by the neighborhood rules, I see no future for Israel because it lacks the manpower (AKA cannon fodder), material and wealth to sustain their long term war (65+ years so far). Eventually Israel will run out of one or more resources and lose and their dreams of a Jewish country will be permanently dead.

      Why is there no one in Israel that can see that the path they are on leads to a deadly cliff?

  • As Hundreds of US Troops are Sent to Iraq, Fears of Mission Creep
    • Congress critters that are concerned about "mission creep" have a very well documented and easy way to ensure that nothing happens. Any Senator or House person can write and introduce a bill to clearly limit the number and scope of involvement any US forces should be restricted to.

      Every congress critter that wants to limit involvement in the ME should throw a bill into the hopper and every congress critter that wants to kill lots of cannon fodder (AKA = American soldiers) killed and tons of treasure wasted should also put a declaration of war bill into the hopper.

      Just as Obama has told Boehner to "so sue me," Obama should tell Congress to come up with a war or peace plan. Obama, like Johnson, is emotionally incapable of standing up to the military, so rather than go out on a thin unsupported limb, he should force congress critters to commit to a course of action so no matter what the outcome, congress critters get the blame or fame.

      Obama is a fool to go down the path to war without a huge majority of the American people behind him and given the current mood, there is a close to zero chance that Americans will support any involvement if another ME conflict with either US cannon fodder or treasure.

      President Obama - dump this on congress!

  • In the Deaths of 3 Israeli Teens, Likud Policies are also Implicated
    • Does Israel even have a future?

      Israelis might want to think seriously about a few things . . .

      - There is ALWAYS a bigger bully with a bigger hammer.

      - EVERY military that has ever existed eventually has suffered massive, humiliating DEFEAT and the IDF will NOT be the exception. Eventually the IDF will be defeated, then what will be left of Israel. Anyone that thinks the IDF is invincible is just flat out delusional.

      - The world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will have.

      - Thousands of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles trump a single very, very expensive aircraft.

      - There are no "magic" weapons.that only Israel has. As Friedman has correctly noted, the world is very flat when it comes to technology, knowledge and weapons based on technology.

      - The non-Jewish humans living west of the Jordan River are NOT going to "magically" disappear on night. Whenever anyone suggest this, I ask the simple question "where will they go?" Israel has no ability to get other nations to take millions of poor human refugees that Israel does not want. Jordan and Egypt will simply close their borders and refuse the people, no matter how much Israel screams. Then the UN will agree with Jordan and Egypt. And when the US objects (because it is a puppet of Israel), Jordan, Egypt and the rest of the world should simply tell the US to take the refugees if they care so much. The REALITY is the non-Jews living west of the Jordan River are NOT going anywhere.

      Basically I see Israel making all the classic empire builder/invader mistakes that almost ALWAYS leads to the demise of the invader. Why they think this will turn out different this time, I can not figure out, since basic human behavior has not changed for thousands of years. This is why Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" still applies today.

  • Dear Neocons: Why we're not Sending Combat Troops to Iraq no matter how much you Pout
    • If Obama wasn't such a wimp, he would dump this whole mess on Congress, just as the Constitution requires. Because it is an election year, I suspect that most of congress would be backpedaling faster than the speed of light. The next time McCann opens his mouth, Obama should go on national TV and publicly tell McCann to draft a Middle East War bill and submit it to congress. The bill should have THREE components: (1) a massive tax increase of at least 2 TRILLION dollars to pay for the war and its aftermath (VA, etc.). (2) reinstate the draft with NO EXCEPTIONS. That is, every 19 year old American regardless of gender, marriage, school, religion or any other excuse would have to report for the US military. EVERY 19 year old man and woman would become cannon fodder. (3) an open ended declaration of war. Obama should promise to Veto any bill that did not have all three components, so it would require 67% of both houses to go to war without the draft and taxes to pay for it. I suspect that the bill would never reach the floor or get a vote. They every time anyone opened their mouth, the POTUS could say "well where is the bill?" and laugh. Obama lacks the"killer instinct" and lets the republicans and neocons hog the airwaves. Obama is just too nice and wimpy.

  • Iraq Crisis: It's the Oil, Stupid!
    • Being greedy ALWAYS leads to losing. Maliki has never seemed to understand that buying off your opponents ALWAYS works better than trying to suppress them. Maliki should have read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" so he would have governed better. Now he has permanently lost both the Kurdish area and the Sunni areas and the state of Iraq will be much, much smaller.

  • Why you need an EV: Radicalism in Iraq Menaces the World's most Important Oil Fields
    • JT you are correct that C4 and many short distance stuff can do equal damage to oil infrastructure. I referenced missiles because they allow someone to be several miles away and still make things go boom. basically anything that can crack some metal and ignite the gases and fluids that leak will do a fine job. Note that Egypt was never able to stop people from blowing up the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel and Jordan and has now given up (now they can get a better profits by sending he gas to Europe via their existing LNG terminal).

  • Opportunities Abound in Iraq to Reset US Middle East Policy
    • Unfortunately, the Saudi government does NOT have the political will to suppress the religious extremists that contribute funding and support for the ISIS and similar organizations. I suspect that the King of KSA realizes that he needs to drastically reshape the culture of Saudi Arabia if it is to survive the coming switch to non-oil energy.

      While the US lags way behind, most of the rest of the world, led by China is moving quickly toward non-oil energy.

      Right now KSA is wasting over half its human resources by suppressing their women. Additionally a large part of their male population is incapable of contributing due to marginal education, work ethic or in the case of Shia, oppression.

      Eventually the oil economy will decline but due to KSA's rather primitive culture, KSA will have nothing to replace it with. I think the King know this but can not figure out a way to get rid of the ultra conservative religious leaders that stifle the country.

  • Iraq: Radical Shiite Militia fights Sunni Extremists as US Carrier reaches Gulf
    • Any attempt by the US to impose any government on Iraq will FAIL. Neither the Sunnis nor the Shia will accept any government that goes from the US. BTW - Petraeus appears to want to stay out of the whole mess - I suspect he knows that he could only lose.

  • Elon Musk on Tesla Electric Car: “All Our Patents Are Belong To You”
    • Per news reports, several global car companies are very interested and are already talking to Tesla to license their charger design and put more charging stations around the US, Europe and Asia. basically Tesla will get enough other car makers to use their design so it becomes an industry standard and jump starts the number of charging stations. GM and ford my balk, but Toyota will probably quietly join the bandwagon because Toyota quietly owns part of Tesla and has contracted with Tesla to design and build the power system for a Toyota electric car (which is why Tesla needs a battery factory).

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • Using the "Samson Option" would mean not only would all the Jews in Israel commit mass suicide, but it would also make every non-Israeli Jew on earth (55%+) into targets as the victims of the nuclear devastated earth look for revenge. Basically, nuclear weapons are ONLY good for two things - committing mass suicide and keeping the US from attacking. On a positive note, Israel does not have that many delivery systems. the four active subs each only have about 6 nuclear cruise missiles with less than 500 range. Israel also has about 100 Jericho missiles. It is very likely that before Israel got too many launched, Israel would cease to exist. BUT then there is the "slight" problem that current modeling of nuclear war has shown that as few as FIVE nuclear air-bursts over large cities would trigger nuclear winter. Personally, I do not think that most Jewish people are that suicidal and that Samson Option is a bluff.

    • Thanks. Based on "normal" human reaction to oppression, I would expect that Shia should be even more fierce about resisting Sunnis than they have so far exhibited.

    • If Americans actually cared about our future, we would completely ignore Israel. Israel created its own problems and they can waste their own cannon fodder and wealth to lose everything because of their stubbornness.

    • There is ONLY one sure-fire guaranteed way to lower the profit margin of oil, DECREASE THE DEMAND. While fracking has temporarily increased supply (at huge long term cost), the ONLY way to lower the profit is to decrease the demand by rapidly moving the world to other forms of energy, especially portable energy (cars, trucks, trains and aircraft). If the US had taken the TRILLIONS it has wasted in the ME wars and converted transportation to electric, the profit in oil would be much less. Note that the cost of production in the ME is so low, it would be very hard to drive the profit to zero, but the oil billionaires in the ME have such high living costs, just lowering the profit a little would devastate their lifestyles. Unfortunately Americans have always been extremely short term focused (what is lunch today), and do not have the political will to sacrifice a little today to have a better future.

    • If I remember correctly, don't the Shia vastly outnumber the Sunnis? The Saudis may have ignited a war they can not win in the end. Granted right now the Shia seem to be terrible cowards, but over time, especially with Iran guidance, things could drastically change. This will be fun to watch from afar as the region finally sorts out the long term power structure (just as Europe and Asia had to do through wars over many centuries). The US has no dog in this fight and we should simply pop some popcorn, open a beer and watch this on our HDTVs.

      If some in the US want more war, Obama should invoke the US Constitution and force both houses of congress the authorize war, pass massive taxes to pay for it and reactivate the draft to provide sufficient cannon fodder. Obama should dump this in the lap of congress and watch them back peddle like crazy in an election year. Very quickly I suspect, Obama will be prohibited by congress from any help at all to anyone.

  • 9 Questions about the 1%, the Unemployed and why the one produces the Other
    • The BASIC REALITY is the US (and the world for that matter) has a huge excess of humans that are not needed to produce the goods and services needed by 7 billion humans. Back in the 1960s there was a big fear that technology would obsolete humans and the reality is that fear has been realized, although it took place gradually over 50 years. If you look around you will see the result of technology replacing humans.

      Some quick examples . . .

      - Telephone offices. At one time every community in the US had a telephone office that employed a minimum of 25 humans. While most of those buildings are still there, they are now mostly empty because modern telecom systems take up less than 10% of the space that the equipment did in the 60s. in the past setting up service was a manual task, now every home and business in the area is hard wired to a terminal device and all the set up is done by remote computers. Now the telecomm buildings are "lights out" most of the time and rarely visited by a human. As a result, the combined employment by all the telecomm companies in the US, including the newer wireless companies is less than 15% of the number employed in the 1960s. The telecomm systems are vastly more efficient and getting even more so, but require very few specialized humans to keep them working. Those jobs are never coming back and more will disappear.

      - GM/Nummi/Tesla car plant in California - When Nummi was in full production of Toyota and GM cars, it produced TWICE as many cars per month as GM ever produced in the SAME plant with less than HALF the SAME UNION WORKERS. The increase in quality and decrease in workers was directly connected to the introduction of second generation robotics. Now Tesla produces 5000 cars a month with even fewer workers per car by using current state of the art robotics (check out the Tesla factory video to see how few humans there are). Tesla has no need for very many humans when computer based robotics can do most of the work.

      - The "standard" office. Up until the late 70s, every group of 10 or so office workers and managers had at least one secretary. Then everyone got a PC and started doing their own typing, data entry, etc. Now there MAY be one administrative assistant for 50 or 75 workers/managers. In fact for many sales people, they don't even have an office, but work from their home and hotel rooms.

      And the list goes on. With raspberry-pi computers costing less than $50 while running Linux on an ARM 32-bit CPU, the chances of very many humans being needed for any activity is decreasing by the day.

      The bottom line is the US has an excess of productive humans that no amount of training will fix. So, the big question is WHAT will we do with the excess that we can NEVER employ again?

      BTW - Every nation, especially China is facing the SAME PROBLEM. with current technology less than 3 billion people can make all the goods and services needed by the 7 billion humans on the earth, and it will get worse as technology get better exponentially.

  • The NSA Effect: China tells its banks to remove IBM servers as Spyware
    • China has very valid concerns given how much the NSA has hacked into Google, Microsoft and the other US tech giants. Already the "cloud computing" concept is taking a major hit because people outside the US fear the NSA will read all their data when it is stored in the "clouds" provided by US companies. personally, I would NEVER store anything in the "cloud."

    • Actually IBM servers consist of lots of IBM hardware AND software. The "hardware" often consists of physical chips PLUS firmware that can easily be hacked by the NSA. On top of the hardware is a very complex Operating system that the NSA has very probably hacked, then on top of the operating system are all the applications which could also be hacked by the NSA. In reality, China is quite correct to be concerned because the NSA has full access to all aspects of IBM servers. As for Linux, there are several very good Chinese versions from companies in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and there are indications that Linux has a fairly good acceptance rate in China. As for Windows, it has also probably been heavily hacked by the NSA, so most of the world is an open book for the NSA.

  • The Obama Effect? Are Iran/ Saudi-and-GCC no longer on a war footing?
    • Saudi Arabia has a very iffy future for several reasons:

      - the global energy mix is changing - not as fast as some would like, but it is changing much faster than is comfortable for the Saudi future.

      - Saudi Arabia has wasted its massive human resource pool by using expat labor for oil extraction and severely oppressing over half their population (women). Saudi Arabia is poorly positioned to transition to another source of wealth. (given the abundance of solar energy, they should be harvesting as much as possible and converting it to more portable forms such as hydrogen and artificial hydrocarbons)

      - The extremely oppressive religion in the kingdom makes it very hard to make the necessary social changes needed for a vaible future.

      - Unless the kingdom can find a way to share power with Iran (which I think would be willing to share power), the Saudi wealth will be drained away by lots of low-level warfare and arms race where Iran will have a cost advantage because they have developed their human capitol and can make excellent weapons for a lot less than the Saudis can buy them.

  • Is Israeli PM Netanyahu's Case against Iran Collapsing?
    • The simple reality is Bibi has completely LOST because the US is trying to get the "best" deal they can before all the third-party sanctions fall apart before the end of 2014. Business 101 clearly states that ALL market and trade opportunities will be filled for fun and profit and that smuggling to avoid barriers to basic trade has gone on as long as humans have traded. The US can not enforce third-party sanctions on Iran's trading partners without eventually heavily endangering US trade organizations and severely hurting the US economy. It is very likely that after the US 2014 mid-term elections, the US will sign agreements with Iran and lift most of the sanctions (long after they become completely in effective). Sure Bibi will howl, but no one other than a few US right-wing entertainers will listen and US companies will welcome the additional trade (if the Chinese and Europeans have left any). Bib may even threaten an attack, but the IDF leadership KNOW that any such attack would fail terribly and would drastically weaken Israel. As a result, the IDF (which is already very short of cash) will let Bibi rant, but not actually let him do anything. The IDF know that Israel could lose as much as 60% of any aircraft they use to attack Iran, leaving Israel critically un-defended. No one is buying what Bibi is selling which is probably frustrating to a small relatively powerless nation that aspires to be another China or US.

  • The Coming Holy War over al-Aqsa Mosque/ Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    • Actually @Jay L, there is the very real probability that the Israelis would lose badly for some fairly straight forward reasons. (1) In reality, very few Americans are willing to die for Israel. Note that less than 1% of Americans have died for the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and virtually none of the US military would fight another war in the ME and any attempt at a draft would fail. (2) The IDF is mostly conscripts and not well trained. If a major war breaks out, many Israelis will desert and flee. Note that in every war, most humans flee the war, not rush to the front. Israel probably has less than 2 million people to fight a war with. 1% of all Muslims is over 15 million. (3) missiles are cheap and plentiful. Per the IDF there are over 100,000 pointed at Israel right now (I discount that by 50% because it was said during budget discussions). Rust dome and the other "defensive" systems can only stop less than 1000 incoming projectiles, so at least 49,000 are going to make big rubble piles (causing more people to flee). (4) Israel has no "magic" weapons and the rest of the world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will have. (5) Nukes are only good for one thing - committing suicide. If Israel uses nukes, at a minimum its economy would collapse but the most likely scenario is Israel would get nuked in retaliation, especially if it nukes Saudi Arabia (who probably has nukes on-site). In the real world, a country of 7 million people always loses to a group with 1.5 billion. Also remember that Israel will run out of fuel for its tanks and planes real quick because the global oil markets will be shut down. The bottom line is Israel is actually a miniscule country with very little real power and starting a war with Muslims would be the dumbest thing they could do.

  • Is Obama right that America's Future is in Asia, not the Middle East?
    • In the REAL world, Israeli military war toys are no better than any other countries. Per CJ Chivers, there are over 100 million AK-47s and equivalent weapons on earth with thousands more being made each and every day of the month. Today a reasonably accurate (within 50 meters) missile guidance system can be made for less than US$ 1000 (Actually I can make a nice one out of four US$ 35 Raspberry Pis running a stripped down version of Linux). Antitank weapons are easy and cheap to build and can easily kill any Israeli (or US for that matter) tank. That is why the US military had to go to MRAPS to try and keep some of its soldiers alive. And the list of stuff that can mess up the IDF goes on. Then there are the tens of thousands of battle hardened Muslims that will slice through Israeli defenses, just like they sliced through US defenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for nukes, the REALITY that few seem to understand is that nukes are only good for ONE THING - committing suicide. The first country that uses nukes will have a terrible future. At a minimum, the country will starve from economic devastation, but the more likely situation will be nuclear devastation. Thanks to the PC revolution and the Internet, it is now easy to produce thousands of very effective, reasonably accurate weapons for very little cost.. If Israel starts a war, its enemies will run out of stuff to turn into rubble heaps before the run out of things to throw at Israel. Israel is far out on the plank over a deadly pool of boiling oil and they still believe their own myths. Israel is NOT going to like the results of the next war. BTW - If you have not already read "the Gun" by CJ Chivers, you might want to pick up a copy - it is a well documented, chilling read about the state of personal warfare these days.

    • CAUTION: The myth of Israeli "technology" is just a worthless myth. In the REAL WORLD there is vastly more and better technology coming out of Asia, Europe and the US than out of Israel. I am a technologist and am well aware of what parts of the world are contributing the most technology and the reality is Israel contributes almost zero compared to Asia. Germany and Spain have far more advanced solar technology than Israel. In the real world, Israel has little value to the US.

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • @Bill - Get real and learn some basic physics.

      Supercaviatating torpedoes travel at over 200 MPH and the Persian gulf narrows to 35 miles at the straits. Of that 35 mile width, only about a 2 mile shipping channel is usable, forcing ships into a killing box. If we assume the longest torpedo shot would be 25 miles, that means a us war ship would have to detect and destroy the incoming torpedo in LESS than 10 seconds. Look at the second hand on your watch for ten seconds, then tell me that the US war ships would be able to defend against an Iranian Hoot torpedo. The US military is no where as good as American myths say it is and can and will be defeated by Iran. As Sun Tzu points out the surest way to lose a war is to believe your own myths and ignore the reality about your opponents. All the rah-rah from delusional Americans is NOT going to keep the US from being defeated.

    • China has actually publicly stated that they will defend Iran and I for one take their word for it, especially knowing their 5000 year old culture. You might want to keep in mind that China is NOT one bit afraid of the US. While China prefers to use stealth and deception to achieve their objectives, they have no qualms about using raw brute force when necessary. I STRONGLY CAUTION Americans from assuming that China will sit by while the US destroys over 10% of their energy supplies.

    • Per the US military's own manuals (FM 3-24.2 - available on the web for you to read), a quick rule of thumb for invading and holding an area with a WILLING population is one US soldier per 20 locals. This is the BEST CASE and would require a MINIMUM of 3 MILLION US soldiers to hold the entire country of Iran.

      Of course, the Iranian population would be extremely hostile to US troops, so the US can either only try to hold a small area (Similar to Fort Apache surrounded by angry hostiles) or increase the invasion force by many millions more. A ten to one ration would require 7.5 MILLION US troops

      Iran's trained and battle hardened military is currently BIGGER than the US trained and battle weary US military and Iran has over 30 MILLION military eligible humans that are not already in the military. Iran also has more than enough AK-47s, ammo and IED material to turn every one of those people into a major problem for any US invaders.

      Then there is the US causalities. The US would have to expect a MINIMUM of 0.1% causalities per month. That is, 3,000 causalities per month for 3 million soldiers. The good news is most of those would be maimed, losing one or more limbs, instead of deaths. Of course there is the "slight" 50+ year economic burden on the US for all those maimed soldiers.

      Of course, since the real world is much worse than the theoretical world, the US would suffer much worse and lose much worse.

      Be ready to open your check book because no one else on the earth will help pay for this war.

      Not only will China not lend the US any money, but they just may join Iran in the war, then things will get really bad for the US.

      Aren't you glad you are not as pessimistic as I am?

    • Currently Iran does not have any ICBMs (Russia, China, UK France and India do) so any missiles coming at the US will not be Iranian.

      Then there is the "slight" problem that anti-missiles systems are almost worthless with a over 75% failure rate.

      This is because of basic physics. the anti-missile has to get within five meters of a small object that is traveling at hyper-sonic speeds and is programmed to evade anti-missiles.

      Remember the two objects are closing at over Mach 5, so any slight change in flight path will cause a miss.

    • Actually, YES, Iran has more than enough military capability to stop all ship traffic in the Persian Gulf, including US war ships. The Persian Gulf shipping channel is narrow and full of hazards, so all ships have to navigate slowly. The ships are sitting ducks for . . .

      - Iranian super cavitation torpedo launched from small Iranian subs designed specifically to function very well in the shallow gulf (US subs are too big and bulky to operate in the Persian Gulf). No ship in the world can defend against an attack by a super cavitation torpedo. NONE.

      - Iranian shore to ship hypersonic missiles. While US war ships can defend against one or two missiles at any given time, the Iranians use a "swarm" technique and overload the US war ship defenses, such that one missiles always gets through and destroys the ship. Of course tankers have no defenses at all. Iran has thousands of these missiles on portable launchers.

      - Iran has high speed attack boats. These are low cost, "narco" type high speed boats filled with explosives. Most are remotely controlled, but suicide drivers can also be used. Four or more of these boats "swarm" a ship and at least one will explode against the side of the ship, causing major if not fatal damage.

      - Iran only has to sink one tanker to cause every insurance company in the world to VOID every ship insurance policy out there and no sane ship owner will move a ship within a thousand miles of the Persian gulf without insurance. Tankers cost BILLIONS to buy and no amount of smuggled oil can ever cover the loss of a ship without insurance. The US may try to indemnify ship owners, but I suspect that few will trust the US to actually pay if their ship gets sunk.

      So the bottom line is once Iran says the Persian Gulf is closed, very few ships will move and the ones that do move will likely get sunk.

      Iran also has MRBM missiles with High Explosive (HE) warheads which can devastate every oil terminal in the region. When there is no way to load the tankers, there will be no need for tankers. Note that oil terminals are NOT "off-the-shelf" items. There are no spare oil terminal components anywhere in the world. Every oil terminal is custom hand built on-site. Once an oil terminal is destroyed, it can take as much as several years to re-build it. Note also that oil terminals have lots of very explosive oil in them, so it does not take very many missiles to totally destroy an oil terminal. All the missiles have to do is start the chain reactions.

      If the US attacks Iran, it will lose very badly and have permanent, severe economic damage to the US.

      BTW - over the last five years there have been at least three war simulations that I know of and in all three, the US LOST very, very badly.

      Remember that Iran has spent the last 35 years observing the US military (often close up in Iraq and Afghanistan) and has carefully planned how to defend Iran from the US. Iran has built its own MIC and has the engineering expertise to defeat the US. In fact its engineering expertise is so good, many of the enhancements they have made to Russian, Korean and Chinese weapons systems have been sold back to the original designers, they are that good!

    • One of the immediate consequences of any actions by the congress critters (an alien, non-human life form), will be the end of most third party sanctions. That is, most countries will begin to trade with Iran and when the US tries to enforce its sanctions by threatening other countries, many will simply ignore the US and if the US takes any actions, US companies will immediately be severely punished. Other countries know all too well just how vulnerable the US is economically and will NOT be reluctant to retaliate for any US actions. In other words, a full blown trade war where the US population suffers.

      Also from a military perspective, while the US can definitely kill lots of Iranians and destroy a lot of structures, Iran also has very sophisticated defense system, so the US military will pay a very heavy price for every bomb that is dropped. And once the US withdraws in defeat, Iran will rebuild including building nuclear weapons. to protect itself from further attacks from Israel and Saudi Arabia (both of which already have nuclear weapons).

      Yes the Saudis have nuclear weapons in country. They purchased them from Pakistan and put them on some extremely old (and unreliable) missiles pointed at Israel and Iran.

      The bottom lines are:

      - the US has to get the best deal it can TODAY, before the sanctions fall apart (probably by the end of 2014).

      - The US can not put any more direct sanctions on Iran because there is no trade between the US and Iran.

      - any further third-party sanctions will be ignored and will lead to the end of existing third-party sanctions.

      - The US can NOT win in any sense of the word "win" in a war with Ira. The US can only lose badly or extremely badly.

      The worst thing the congress critters could do is derail the US negotiations and send the US down the path to war and economic ruin.

  • "The Iranians are Coming!" Derangement Syndrome over 1 Destroyer in Atlantic
    • Iran's military systems (both naval and land -based) are designed to make an attack by the US, Israel and/or Saudi Arabia as costly as possible for the attackers, while costing the Iran military budget as little as possible. That is, Iran gets far more "bang for the buck" than the US, Israel or Saudis do. Because Americans are so enamored with the "high-tech" (and outrageously expensive) US military "war toys," they fail to understand just how deadly Iran is.

      Those Iranian weapons systems can kill lots of American attackers and destroy lots of US hardware.

      Iran's military is NOT designed to project power (other than tweak the nose of US "news" organizations), but to defend Iran from US, Israel and/or Saudi attack, for which they are well designed.

  • New Congressional Sanctions on Iran Will Backfire . . . on Congress
    • Regardless what the US does, the third-party sanctions will fall apart by the end of 2014. While the US can put whatever direct sanctions on Iran it wants to, the reality is there is zero commercial interaction between the US and Iran, so they are meaningless. Right now there are numerous third-party sanctions where the US is threatening third parties that do business with Iran. These will fall apart for a few very simple reasons (1) China wants to move the world away from the US dollar as the reserve currency and will use US threats to get other countries to join their move away from the dollar. (2) China and many other countries want to develop an alternative to the US/UK dominated SWIFT financial transaction network so that the NSA can not spy on transactions. When it is fully operational, US commercial companies will either have to force SWIFT to allow free transactions with the alternative network (which will hide all "unwanted" transactions) or US companies will have to pull out of SWIFT and go to the new network so they can trade freely with friends and enemies alike. (3) For very valid domestic reasons, most of the countries outside the US and parts of Europe will increase their trade with Iran, especially since Iran is discounting their oil from the global market price (set in NYC and London). Basically, the US has to get the best deal with Iran it can at this moment before most of the third party sanctions disappear and Iran is free to trade with most of the world without consequences. Any further third-party sanctions will NOT only be ignored, but the third parties will severely retaliate against US companies. Any further sanctions will hurt US companies and the US economy and China will become stronger. I suspect that Obama has been told that he either gets this done now or it will never happen and any attempt to attack Iran will lead to massive defeat for the US. Unfortunately too many members of congress can not understand that the US empire is dead and the US military can be humiliated and defeated.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
    • @rbtl- Israel has about 400 F-15 and F-16 aircraft that have a very limited range and limited bomb load capacity depending on the amount of fuel that is loaded (weight is weight, whether it is fuel or bombs).

      Israel has no aircraft capable of carrying a "bunker buster" type bomb (they weigh 5,000 pounds or more).

      For Israel to attack with aircraft would require Israel to use every tanker they have (5 converted Boeing 707s & 3 converted KC-130). Note that only a small number of aircraft can be refueled at one time. In other words, Israel would only be able to put a small fore over Iran.

      BUT ...

      Iran has formidable defenses. For long range, Iran has copies of the Chinese FD-2000 which they make themselves. Th FD-2000 is a Chinese re-engineering of the Russian S-300 system. The Chinese re-engineering makes the FD-2000 equivalent to the S-400/500. In other words a very deadly defense. BUT there is more!

      Iran believes in a multilayer, swarm type defense where each target is "swarmed" by multiple defenses at the same time, overloading the attackers defenses.

      So to back up the FD-2000, Iran has thousands of short range, supersonic anti-aircraft missiles and is making more (Iran just brought a new Sayyad-2 factory on-line)

      The other options Israel has are their small number Jericho-3 MRBM and sub launched short range cruise missiles. While the Jericho-3 can carry about 1000 pound of explosives, that amount of power is not very effective over a large area. Since the cruise missile have a short range, the subs would have to be close enough to Iran for the Iranians to detect and destroy them.

      The bottom line is Israel could indeed start a war and kill a fair number of Iranians, but over time, Israel would suffer large losses with their aircraft and subs being destroyed.

      Then on top of the losses during attacks, Israel would suffer from either direct counterattack or economic attack from most of the world.

      The bottom line is Israel can NOT win, but only lose or lose very badly.

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