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Total number of comments: 501 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)


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  • Israeli Jim Crow: US-led 'Peace Process' Completely Collapses
    • How can Israel "win" in the long term?

      Sure, Israel is doing OK today, but how long will that last?

      The USA has HUGE internal problems which will, over time, cause Americans to focus internally and walk away from the Middle East.

      While Israel has lots of "war toys," the reality is all of the war toys produced around the globe have all converged on identical capability. That is, the USA/Israel war toys have reached the point of diminishing return (cost vs capability) and all the non-USA war toys are now equivalent to USA/Israel war toys. In other words, Israel has no military superiority.

      While the post-colonial restructuring of the middle east is still currently a mess, over time it will settle down. Arab and Persian states will stabilize and start to cooperate particularly as they are forced to diversify their economies as global energy production changes.

      Just as Australia eventually had to face the fact they are an Asian region country not a European country, Israel will have to face the reality that they are a middle east country not a European country and will eventually have to deal with their neighbors on a peer basis or risk a war they can not win.

      To me, it appears that Israeli are very arrogantly focusing on the present day with no ability to see where their actions will lead in the future. The idea of Palestine may be dead, but what will follow it?

      Based on how power constantly flows over time and how technology has drastically changed the capabilities of all countries, I do not foresee a very good future for Israel.

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  • Can America's Middle Class make a Comeback?
    • The author does not really understand just how much technology has already negatively "disrupted" the middle class and will technology only make the middle class shrink and suffer more.

      While there will be new businesses, they will employ a minimal number of humans because it is now possible to develop and produce most goods and services using technology rather than humans.

      As CGP Grey points out in . . . "Humans need not apply"

      link to

      technology is improving in capability and decreasing in cost EXPONENTIALLY. That is, faster than any human can duplicate.

      I can cite dozens of examples where technology has decimated the middle class and these changes are NEVER going to be reversed. Tesla producing thousands of car with very few humans - AT&T decreasing its workforce by 75% because of technology - Farmers increasing yield by 15% with fewer humans - and the list goes on.

      Just as we changed the nature of work when we made "mechanical muscles," we have now accelerated the replacement of humans with technology by eliminating many human brain activities.

      Few people realize that 85% of the humans in the USA now have more computing power in their hands (smart phones) than the USA combined with the UK had during WW2 and for decades later. The pace of technology displacing humans has been so fast and widespread that humans can not comprehend its seismic shift.

      Today, any person can purchase a $35 Raspberry Pi computer that has several million times more power than the first IBM PC that cost thousands of dollars. When limitless computing power costs almost nothing, there is no need for humans.

      The world will soon discover that less than 3 billion humans plus technology can develop, produce and distribute **ALL** the goods and services that the earth's 8 billion inhabitants need or want.

      So what do we do with the "extra" 5 billion?

  • 6 Signs the Big Global Switch to Solar has already Begun
    • From a human perspective, there are ONLY THREE "permanent" sources of energy, yet any one of the three is capable of supplying much more energy than humans can ever use . . .

      - Geothermal energy - the internal heat of our planet. Although there are technical problems with using this for many parts of the earth it is still usable and very little research has been done with using the earth itself as an energy source and cooling source 24/7.

      - Gravitational energy - the energy made by the movement of the planets and stars. Humans have not really tried to use this energy although it is huge. Tidal systems appear to be a goo way to use this energy 24/7.

      - Solar radiation - This radiation is the most easy to tap into and the cost of technology to do so is getting less expensive by the week. Note that hydroelectric is actually a form of solar energy where the earth moves water from low altitudes to higher altitudes to create potential energy.

      The Chinese government wants to stay in power and to do that they need to do one thing well - IMPROVE THE LIVED OF A BILLION PEOPLE. That is, they need to provide each human with enough CLEAN energy to thrive. The energy can not destroy the air or water and can not bankrupt the nation. Chinese leaders have figured out that making solar energy collection devices as cheaply as possible even if the efficient is low, solves their energy availability/cost and pollution problems.

      Now that the stationary energy situation is being addressed and the costs are decreasing rapidly, the next step for mankind is mobile energy.

      Gasoline has very high energy storage density and "refueling" is easy. So far, non-gasoline vehicles have severe limitations that not a lot of research has addressed. While some exotic energy storage systems have been designed, so far most fail the practical world test. While Teslas sort of work, they fail the practical world test due to very high purchase cost and slow "refuel."

      The best thing countries can do is put economic barriers in place for the continued production of gas vehicles and trigger the innovation.

  • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?
    • You have a binary choice of either Clinton or trump and the math is real simple . . .

      - A vote for Jill Stein (zero chance of becoming president) is a vote for trump.

      - A vote for Gary Johnson (zero chance of becoming president) is a vote for trump.

      - A vote for "none of the above" or not voting is a vote for trump.

      - A vote for trump is obviously a vote for trump.

      - A vote for Clinton is obviously a vote for Clinton.

      ONLY trump or Clinton will be the next president and if you don't want the terrible future that trump will bring, your ONLY other option is to vote for Clinton because as the math shows, voting any other way elects trump.

      Be a responsible adult, hold your nose and vote.

  • When Dems ditched Workers for Professionals, they opened Door for Trump
    • @rbtl - Considering that smuggling and tax evasion are as old as mankind, there is ZERO chance trumper's protectionist band-aids will do anything to help anyone but the already wealthy. Transnational companies have a huge number of ways to evade country laws (note that trumper is just as guilty as other wealthy at doing this).

      The bottom line is the racist, used to be middle class, people that will vote for trumper are being sold a false future, but they are so anger over their lost status and wealth, they will grasp at any delusion.

    • The last cheap labor pool is robots and The “Rust Belt” and agricultural jobs are GONE FOREVER.

      The blue collar manufacturing and agricultural jobs are NEVER coming back no matter what trumper says.

      While some of the jobs went to places with lower labor costs, most have now been replaced by technology. Technology is so cheap and efficient, even humans making 50 cents per hour cannot compete. In fact, right now many Chinese workers are being replaces by robots.

      Some examples to think about:

      - GM-Toyota-Tesla factory in Fremont, CA. During the 60s and 70s GM produced 5000 cars a week with 6500 union workers. From the mid-80s until 2010 Toyota produced 6000 cars a week with 4600 UAW union workers. Now, Tesla produces about 2000 cars per week with about 5000 employees. BUT keep in mind that Tesla builds the cars from raw materials and the GM and Toyota plants were assembly only, using parts made elsewhere by thousands of other workers. Most of the Tesla production is done by robots.

      link to

      - In the 50s and 60s the USA government helped AT&T ensure that virtually every house and business in the USA had land-line phone service. This required EVERY small town in the USA to have a telephone building with a large analog mechanical switching system that required from 10 to 30 humans to keep it going. Then Bell Labs invented the transistor which was used to invent computer–based digital switching systems with 99.99% reliability and self-healing capabilities. These switches required only 10% of the space and 80% to 100% LESS humans to keep them running. In fact all the digital switching systems in the western USA can be monitored by a single office in Texas and some telephone office have no humans in them for months at a time. This is why AT&T employment has dropped by 75%.

      - GPS guided auto driving tractors can now get 10% greater yield per acre and GPS guided auto driving combines can harvest much more accurately. To check the progress of crops, a farmer can launch a GPS guided autonomous drone every morning. Using its infrared and other spectrum cameras, the drone examines all the fields and returns to the farmer. The farmer then puts the memory card in his computer and software analyses the moisture content and other aspects of the growing crops, optimizing watering and harvest planning. All of this automation requires minimal humans.

      BTW – robots and computer-based technology is no longer expensive. The same processor that is in an iPhone 5 can also be purchased as a complete computer system for US$35 and competitors are trying to drive that price down to US$5.

      The bottom line is the USA has a huge number of humans that are unemployable due to technology. The technology evolution is exponential and millions more humans will become unemployed over the next few years and there is absolutely NOTHING the politicians can do about it except transfer wealth from the rich to the poor.

  • Is Tel Aviv Mayor Right that Israel is unique in Occupation & denying Civil Rights?
    • When people have nothing to live for, except more oppression, they begin to think why shouldn't they kill their oppressors before they get killed either quickly or slowly.

      This is what the Israelis can not seem understand - the more thy oppress the non-Jews west of the Jordan River the WORSE every Jews life will be.

      Until Israelis accept that all humans are EQUAL and Jews are nothing special, they will have a terrible future.

      It is long past time for Israel to give every human living west of the Jordan River FULL Israeli citizenship.

  • EU: Israeli Squatter Settlements in Palestine could Lead to all-out War
    • No - and that is the danger for Israel.

    • This is definitely NOT true.

      Technology, especially weapons technology is a thing I know very well.

      There are four things that make your assertion false:

      - Physics and Chemistry - Over the last 100 years both categories of weapons (inter-personal and area) have essentially been optimized to the point that physics and chemistry limit any further development (BTW - this ti the same with most aspect of technology these days). That is, most weapons systems available today are essentially equal with NO COUNTRY having any advantage.

      - Economics - Israel (as well as the USA and several other countries) have opted for extremely complex, expensive but failure prone weapons systems whereas their opponents have opted for much less complex, but very capable weapons systems. The nations that have opted for low cost capable weapons systems get much, much more "bang for their buck." BUT the lower cost weapons systems are JUST AS CAPABLE in battle with the "hi tech junk." For example, While Israel has anti-missile technology, for every anti-missile Israel has, their opponents have over 1000 times as many reasonably accurate missiles. Basically Israel has wasted huge amounts of money to end up with capability that is no better than their opponents.

      - Global communication - Every tactic that Israel "knows" is also well know by the rest of the world. There are no "secrets." Why do you think the USA has LOST wars over the last 50 years? Israel's tactics and intelligence will be no better than the USA.

      - Global trade - Every weapons system is available to every country, even when their trade is supposedly restricted. Right now, China and Iran are producing their own clones of the Russian S-400 system that they reverse engineered from "acquired" S-300 systems then China and Iran exchanged improvements.

      The myth of Israel's military "superiority" is JUST A MYTH with no basis in fact .

      If Israel gets involved in a real war, they will probably NOT WIN. because wars require three things:

      - lots of cannon fodder - Israel has, at the most, 4 million cannon fodder and their potential opponents have 10 to 25 times that.

      - Lots of stuff to be destroyed - Israel also has very limited amounts of material, even if they call on the USA to replace stuff that gets destroyed (the USA is ALSO has very low resources). Because their opponents have chosen to use a "good enough" low cost material philosophy, they have lots more stuff.

      - Lots of wealth to pay for cannon fodder and material - Israel has very limited national wealth and the USA will have severe limits on how much of its wealth it will be willing to spend. Israel's opponents have more wealth.

    • Why did Alexander turn back? because he got tired of war? or because his army was worn out and facing defeat?

      Iran was also controlled by the British empire and I included it because it may also expand or contract as new entities evolve. Over time the internal power struggles associated with the de-colonization of the ME will stop and then the Arabs will shift their focus to Israel. Yes there will be lots of differing entities, BUT they will mostly get along, just as the Europeans do today and Israel will still be a sore point.

      Israel is losing lots of power and is increasingly vulnerable to both internal and external forces of chaos.

    • The subs are detectable and their nuclear cruse missiles have less than a 1000 mile range from the sub. limiting who they can nuke.

      And yes, the sub crews could nuke others in vengeance, BUT they would have no home to return to, nor a refuge anywhere on earth, so they would be committing suicide. They would also ensure that every Jewish person on earth would have a target on them because the survivors of the nuclear attacks would be looking for vengeance in return. Such a scenario could lead to the end of the Jewish people. Note that there are multiple nuclear equipped countries down-wind of likely targets who will be very angry about having their citizens and their food supplies contaminated by radiation..

      It is possible, but I think it is less probable.

    • Because history is never static and no group of humans can sustain any given situation.

      - In reality, Israel has very little power, even over the Arabs they oppress. They have no way to prevent random acts of violence against Israeli citizens from the people they oppress. This will only get much, much worse over time.

      - Israel has no superiority when it comes to weapons and military which is why it keeps losing battles. The whole world is awash in weapons that are equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have.

      - As the USA goes through the process of inevitable decline, Americans will support Israel less and less and no country will replace the USA as Israel's "protector." Soon Israel will be completely alone and unprotected.

      - The Europeans are rapidly throwing Israel to the wolves as those born during and after WW2 die off. The younger generations have no guilt about WW2 and do not care about Israel.

      - As I noted, Israeli weapons are nothing special and the global competition is rapidly eating Israel's market share.

      - The same with their "security" products. The stereotype that Asians are really good at "borrowing" intellectual property are essentially true and Asians have no problem reverse engineering stuff Israelis invent, then leapfrogging Israel by making the products even better. Everything that Israel produces can be purchased on the world market from other sources and usually at a lower cost and equal or better quality.

      So basically ALL the current trends in every aspect of Israel's existence are negative and getting rapidly worse.

      - The military is no better than their opponents.

      - The exports are declining.

      - The oppressed are more angry

      Pick a historical indicator and it is negative for Israel.

      I think many Israelis can feel the change happening, but can not make the mental leap to the very tough decision they have to make to minimize their bad future.

    • Does Israel have a long term future?

      Everything I see says no. The long term flow of history has threads that are all negative for Israel.

      - Arab unity - Eventually the Arabs and Persians will fully dismantle the Sykes–Picot Agreement and settle into viable countries. At that point they will turn their attention toward Israel instead of internal power struggles.

      - Weapons technology - Every nation on earth these days has access to all the best weapons. Over the last 100 years humans have fully optimized weapons technology and made the optimized technology relatively inexpensive. Sure the USA and Israel vastly over-spend for worthless junk (F-35 for one), but most nations on earth have now acquired more than adequate weapons for very low costs. Sure Israel has nukes, but they are worthless for anything but committing suicide. If Israel uses their nukes, they will get nuked in retaliation and cease to exist.

      - USA protection - Over decades and centuries, global power constantly shifts. For 50 years the USA has had a large amount of power, but as history documents very well, all those that have huge power for a period of time ALWAYS lose most (or all) of the power. There is no way to prevent this and over the next decade regardless who governs the USA, it will decline in power. This is partially due to global factors and partially due to internal problems exacerbated by the rise of robotics (most humans in the USA are unemployable - that is, there are no jobs for them). As the USA declines in power, it will become extremely reluctant to protect Israel.

      - Israeli arrogance - Israelis are super arrogant and super paranoid (for some valid reasons), but this prevents them from negotiating with the Arabs to minimize wars. Without compromise by the Israelis (they invaded the ME), Israeli will be stuck with wars that they will not be able to win. Note that in the last 10,000 years of history exactly ZERO military have not suffered complete, humiliating defeat. Israel can not escape the same fate over time.

      As much as I hate to say it, I do not see a very good future for Israel. But we should note that this is the CHOICE Israelis are making, either because they are blind to the historical trends or are arrogant enough to think they can defy history.

      I wish there was a way to knock some sense into the Israelis, but they seem impervious to that, so they will just have to continue on their path to destruction while we all watch the train wreck.

  • Saudis warn they will withdraw $750 Bn. from US economy if 9/11 Bill Passes
    • It is impossible for Saudi Arabia to create a global oil embargo.

      The usage rate for oil is DECLINING due to energy conservation technology and the switch to non-oil energy.

      At the same time that oil usage is declining, the global supply of oil is very very high.

      If Saudi Arabia were to shut down their production, Iran , Venezuela, and all the other oil producers would simply ship more at a slightly higher price.

      There would be no huge oil price spike and Iran would be overjoyed at the additional revenue.

      Saudi Arabia no longer has any power.

      They have squandered their wealth and power supporting radical religious nuts and so-called "terrorists."

    • Unfortunately, batteries are NOT going to get much better because of basic physics and basic chemistry. That is, we are just about at the limit of what can theoretically be done.

      I used to design portable electronic devices and had loooong discussions with the battery researchers and they all pointed out the practical limits of battery technology.

      As for renewable energy, that technology is not only practical but is rapidly becoming very inexpensive due to manufacturing research in China.

      Note though that while batteries are not improving very much, there is lots of research on other ways to store energy that look very very probable and practical.

      The BIGGEST problem we have to figure out is portable energy for random transportation (cars, trucks and aircraft that follow random patterns). Train technology is well developed because trains follow a known path and can be powered with well developed technology.

    • Basically, they lose almost everything no matter what they do.

      If they sell USA assets to move their remaining wealth to some other place to avoid the wealth being impounded to satisfy a judgement (which may never come), they lose a large part of their wealth to fire sale buyers, or

      If they stay in the USA they will possible lose assets.

      Note that there are very, very few viable alternatives to the USA for large investments.

    • Worthless threat

      The basic reality is the Saudis (along with lots of others) are heavily invested in the USA because it is relatively safe. While they could withdraw funds from the USA, they would lose a significant portion of their investment because non-Saudi investors (Chinese?) will gladly buy the assets at discounted prices.

      It is LONG past time when the USA should NOT care one bit about what Saudis think. NOTHING the Saudis can do will effect the USA.

      China, Europe and even the USA are rapidly moving away from hydrocarbon energy. The USA, lead by California, put lots of environmental laws in place and not even the republicans can make them go away enough to stop the decline of coal, oil and to a lesser extent gas.

      China has acted like the USA in the unrestrained 1950s and has reaped the same bad result, so they are applying the lessons of California on steroids. This is why the huge solar projects, the huge passenger and freight train projects (most electrified) and all the other major non-hydrocarbon energy work in China. China is not doing it to save the earth , but to save themselves, just as the USA did it.

      The problem for Saudi Arabia is over time, oil will become less valuable and Saudi Arabia is only now starting to think about what happens when their cash cow gets sicker and close to death.

      Right now, oil is still the "best" high density portable energy storage medium, BUT the whole world is racing to find a better way and it is extremely likely oil will become less valuable in the not very distant future.

      The investments in the USA that the Saudis threaten to dump are their ONLY hedge against the future because they have wasted their wealth on pleasure and not invested it in their people and the future. Instead of building lavish palaces, they should have heavily educated EVERY citizen including the Shia.

      We should ignore the Saudis.

  • Brussels: An Older Kind of Terrorism, and the challenge of Airport Security
    • It is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for any group of humans to prevent random acts of violence against members of the group. Until this is understood by all humans, governments will continue to waste resources and decrease liberty (exactly what the attackers desire).

      It is insanely EASY for a small, willing to die, determined group of attackers, to kill a significant number of humans in any enclosed space occupied by a reasonable number of humans.

      This means that it is IMPOSSIBLE to "protect" places like transportation services (aircraft, trains, buses, etc.), shopping malls, theaters, indoor sport arenas (outdoor arenas dissipate explosives too much), or any other well populated enclosed venues.

      Compounding the problem is the fact humans are TERRIBLE at understanding risk. Although so-called "Islamic attacks" are a minuscule part of all the violent deaths in the USA every year, many Americans have deep fear of dying from an attack when they should be worried about getting hit by a car in a big-box store parking lot.

      The REALITY is, other than addressing the causes of alienation and working with the groups that depressed people live in, the only real thing societies can do is clean up the mess and console the grieving without over-reacting. Deadly revenge solves NOTHING as has been shown by almost 10000 years of written documentation.

  • Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC, Demonizes Iran, Palestinians
    • Be real careful about polls showing "support" for Israel.

      A BIG problem with the polls is they only measure superficial feelings and NEVER do a deep dive to question the limits where Americans would throw Israel to the wolves and there will definitely be limits.

      Right now, few Americans realize that their "support" for Israel endangers their lives, but the day that becomes clear, it is very likely that Israel will rapidly see a HUGE drop in support.

      As long as Americans have a deep racist bias against Muslim, Israel may get a pass, but if Americans are ever forced to face their racism and deal honestly with it, Israel may suffer a lot.

      I treat all the polls about Israel as fiction until a polling organization is willing to ask the deep and "ugly" questions, but due to the cultural bias in the USA against asking any questions about Israel, I am not expecting an honest poll any time soon.

    • The Palestinian population is now well aware just how badly mistreated they are by the USA, which is why Abbas is having trouble staying in office.

      Unfortunately, probably within 5 years America's very bad policy of supporting Israel and Arab dictators will blow back very badly. Due to large global changes, the USA is very vulnerable to blowback from 100+ years of very bad behavior.

    • Nothing about Israel is sustainable.

      I think a fair number of USA politicians, including Obama, understand this, but are too cowardly to talk about REALITY and just hope the brown stuff doesn't hit the fan until after they have "enriched" themselves as much as possible and lived as long a life as possible. That is, every politician in the USA is short term focused and unwilling to tell the American public the truth since most Americans are extremely poorly informed and would probably not believe the truth anyway.

      Think about fact that over 25% of Americans STILL think Obama was not born in the USA and/or is a Muslim.

      Taking the long view and following the flow of history predicts a very, very bad future for Israel.

      Due to global trade, global communication and rapid advances in technology, Israel has NO MILITARY ADVANTAGE. In fact the Israeli military suffers from the same "high-tech" syndrome as the USA and is actually very unprepared for the next war which they have a 50% chance of losing.

      Israel also has very severe internal social problems and will suffer a very serious "brain drain" in the near term leaving few tax payers and lots of freeloaders. Why should a young Israelis stay in a hot combat zone when they can easily live a much better life many places on earth. While some parts of the world do have discrimination against Jews, MOST of the world is very open to them. Discrimination against Jews is wildly exaggerated.

      As for trying to forcibly remove Arabs from west of the Jordan River, that would simply lead to massive war and destroy the relationship between the USA and Israel. In reality while many Americans give lukewarm approval of Israel, there are close to zero Americans that are willing to see their way of life damaged by Israel.

      The REALITIES are:

      - Israel can NOT provide a viable chunk of land for Palestine - the "two state" solution is completely dead and if Obama was smart, on his way out the door, he would publicly say that to the next POTUS.

      - Israel can NOT remove the Arabs from west of the Jordan River.

      - Abbas and the PLO will be gone in less than five years (actually probably by the end of 2017) . . .

      - America will lose power to other parts of the globe and will be less and less willing to protect Israel. The other parts of the globe have no desire to protect Israel but simply want to strip-mine Israel for intellectual property and as Asians rapidly eclipse Israel technology, Israel has less and less each day to trade with. Today, most of what Israel trades with can be purchased in equal quality for less many other places on earth.

      Basically, Israelis have boxed themselves into only one long term solution - a bi-national non-religious or ethnic state where everyone has equal rights and eventually the Arabs are a majority and Jews a large (~40%) minority.

      Any other solution is not viable and would lead to massive war which Israel would lose.

    • Hillary and the neocons are on the wrong side of history.

      Sure Israel is "winning" right now, but it will probably not survive in the long term. As Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) noted . . . "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."

      Hillary may think the USA can protect Israel forever, but the second Israel causes Americans any direct problems, Americans will follow their old familiar pattern and summarily throw Israel overboard, along with Hillary if she tries to resist.

      I see this as just another example of Hillary being out of touch with the American people. I do not think Americans want any more war - they just want individual prosperity and peace.

      Sure, many are scared about the so-called terrorists, but the reality is the more the USA meddles in the ME, the worse it will be in the USA. So, any further support of Israel and more wars in the ME, the LESS safe Americans are.

      In REALITY Iran is NOT the problem, but Saudi Arabia is.

  • Mr. President: Weakening Apple's Defenses puts us all at Risk
    • It is 100% IMPOSSIBLE to know the mind of another human, so detecting and preventing most "terrorist" attacks is simply not possible no matter how much we cripple society.

      Keep in mind that the Nazis were extremely brutal people, BUT they were completely unable to stop most of the "resistance" attacks that killed Nazi soldiers and destroyed scarce resources.

      If you want to be "safe" then go hide in a deep underground cave all by yourself (you can't trust any other human to not kill you). If living alone in a cave does not sound very nice, then you just have to accept the fact that you could be killed by a random act of violence at any time.

      Every single day lots of humans are killed for a wide variety of random reasons, of which 99.99% having nothing to do with "terrorism." If someone you know is randomly hit and killed by a car in a big box store parking lot, do you try to find a way to determine which drivers are more likely to kill you?

      The REALITY is "terrorism" is all in the mind of the paranoid that are afraid to live life in an extremely uncertain and random world.

      The bottom line is you HAVE NO CONTROL over most of your life and you just need to accept that and enjoy as much about life as you can until you are randomly killed some day.

      "Terrorism" ONLY works when people are afraid of their own shadows and are unable to deal with the randomness that is our entire world.

  • An Offer we can't Refuse: Trump threatens "Riots" if Brokered Convention Sidelines Him
    • Trumper can threaten all he wants, but he has a lot less power than he thinks he has.

      Sure he has been able to tap into the anger of the downwardly mobile white racists, and they can indeed riot, but all that will accomplish is ripping apart the republican party and ensure Clinton becomes POTUS.

      While Bernie followers will be disappointed if Clinton get the nomination, they will not riot nor will they stay home, especially after the images of republican riots fill the TV screens scaring the heck out of them.

  • If it's Trump versus Clinton, what does it Mean for Iran and ISIL Policy?
    • Bernie is very, very weak on foreign policy. In fact Clinton easily bruises him anytime foreign policy is brought up.

    • The USA military leaders (and also the Israeli military leaders) KNOW that Iran is a formidable opponent and that any military action against Iran would turn out very badly for the USA and Israel.

      Hilary and Trumper can rant all they want about Iran, but they will NOT be able to accomplish anything real. The USA military is worn out and any additional military action will just deplete the USA military further. Not only is the military manpower decreasing due to budget restrictions, BUT also because fewer people are willing to spend the rest of their lives in continuous hard combat. To actually do even a small portion of the military action either envisions, the USA would have to return to conscription which is complete political suicide.

      Both should also note that there is a LARGE part of the American public that wants and needs social programs like SSA and Medicare and that any attempt to transfer money form the social programs to the military would also be political suicide.

      Unless either is willing (and congress agrees) to raise taxes on the rich to pay for a larger military (the middle class is rapidly shrinking so only the rich have money) and to restart conscription, there is little they can actually do but rant.

      BTW - Obama was more of a hawk on Syria until reality punched him in the face. It appears that Putin suffered from the same Syrian delusions and has since changed his mind.

      Both Hilary and trumper should remember that ALL wars REQUIRE three things:

      - LOTS of cannon fodder to die "for the cause." The USA does NOT have this and most Americans do not want this to happen.

      - LOTS of war toys to be destroyed - the USA does not have this and what war toys the USA has, are completely useless. In fact the 1960s OV-10 has been put back in test service because it works much better against ISIS than "modern" aircraft.

      link to

      - LOTS of wealth to waste - Since the USA taxation is at an almost all time low, there is no wealth to pay for wars.

      I can understand why trumper is so misinformed about reality, but I don't know why Hilary is such a war hawk given that she must be well aware of the reality.

  • The FBI's outrageous assault on the 1st Amendment and Apple
    • Access restrictions and encryption use the same technology and as I noted, this technology is readily available for all three major operating systems. As a result, even if the government "wins" its fight with Apple, it will be a Pyrrhic victory where regular non-technical folks will have their devices and communications totally unprotected while the "bad guys" will still have all the tools they need.

      As I noted, the global governments LOST the encryption technology battle long ago and there is no going back. The USA can pass all the laws it wants, but they will be meaningless.

      The global open source community tends to get very angry when governments try to interfere with their activities and they take it as an intellectual challenge to make the lives of governments as miserable as possible.

      As John Oliver noted on Sunday (after I wrote the stuff above) there is a very thriving global market for security technology for personal devices and much of the most secure technology is NOT from the USA (people in other countries have had long experience with nasty governments).

      link to

      As for the three operating system vendors having access to personal data, IF people don't like that, then they can pick different products. Right now most people on earth appear to be less concerned about OS vendors having some of their data than they are with the government getting access.

      The bottom line is for most people, the situation will not change all that much, but the same will be true for the government. The whole reason people use encryption and secure access is to make the cost of getting data as costly as possible (both time and finances). Given enough time, money and resources, any security technology can be cracked, BUT by the time the data is in "plain text" the value is usually close to zero.

      In fact the ONLY value the iPhone that Apple and the government are arguing about are the tools the government is trying to force Apple to build. the actual data on the phone is of no value what so ever.

      I suspect that the government has already reverse engineered all three operating systems and developed tools, so in reality what they want from Apple is cover for what they have already done.

      If I could write a de-compiler fresh out of college, the government can build a much better one. (I had to de-compile a terminal driver that no-one had the original source code for, so we could update it for newer devices).

    • For all practical purposes, the USA government, as well as ALL governments, have already LOST this battle. So, no matter what sort of "con job" the USA government does on technologically ignorant judges, strong encryption, that requires many months to many years of super-computer power to crack, is simply a fact of life. Nothing the USA government can do will put that toothpaste back in the tube.

      The global open source community has invested lots of energy in developing encryption tools that will completely frustrate all governments and because the basic programming (source code) is freely available to anyone that wants it, there can be no "back doors." If governments try to add a "back door," it is immediately discovered and removed (and the submitter is black-listed).

      The simple reality is the "bad guys" already have full access to "unbreakable" encryption and will continue to do so no matter what USA courts decide.

      The down side of the USA government attack on Apple is that if the USA government "wins" it will cripple USA companies on the global market where every country is trying to make their local companies the "winners" in the global market.

      I have seen this first hand . . .

      Many years ago, I worked for a company that made its own operating system. Because of USA law at the time we were prevented from shipping our operating system outside the USA unless we stripped out encryption. Our customers outside the USA were NOT happy about this and threatened to switch to similar products from other parts of the globe. Our solution was to remove our encryption module from the operating system and create an interface between our operating system and a separate encryption engine (all three of the "standard" operating systems now use this design). Although we never "officially" documented the interface between our operating system and our now separate encryption engine, somehow the information "leaked." As a result, while our USA customers got the encryption engine for "free," our non-USA customers still purchased our operating system and then purchased one of the several encryption engines that had been developed (without our help or "consent") outside the reach of the USA government. For some reason, the best of these "independent" encryption engines plugged right into the same place as our encryption engine the USA government prevented us from shipping outside the USA. We were in strict compliance with USA law, but our customers still had very strong encryption.

      BY giving the customers the ability to have encryption, we saved our global market. If we had prevented our non-USA customers from having encryption, like the USA government wanted, we would have lost most, if not all, of our non-USA sales.

      Note that there are several non-USA smart phone makers that are more than willing to provide highly secure smart phones . . .

      link to

      While the USA can try to keep these phones from being sold in the USA, given the small size and the tremendous amount of trade and human traffic between the USA and other countries, most of the people that would want secure phones will have little trouble getting them. Note that although iPhones have limited sales channels outside the USA and Europe, iPhones are used all over the globe - they are simply purchased in other countries and smuggled.

      Another example is Xiaomi smart phones. Technically Xiaomi does NOT sell in the USA, but it is very easy to purchase a Xiaomi GSM phone from many sources and have it shipped to the USA and use it on either the AT&T or T-Mobile networks.

      BTW - there is already an very active market that provides additional security technology for both the iOS and Android based phones, so even if the USA tries to cripple iOS and Android, the tools are readily available to stop the USA government cold.

      The bottom line is the USA government spies and law enforcement have LOST and they may as well just accept REALITY instead of wasting lots of time and money. Communication devices are global and the USA has no control over any devices that people use.

  • The Saudi-Russian Oil Price Freeze is about Power, not Money
    • This is another meaningless market agreement.

      Saudi Arabia is (literally) burning their future. While the demand for oil is going to decrease over time due to non-carbon energy increases, the oil supply will also decrease over time due to excessive pumping. By selling "cheap" oil today, KSA is literally selling their future for no real political gain.

      Iran's actual production costs are as low as KSA's and because Iran has not been selling very much oil and what oil they did sell, was sold at very deep discounts from the world prices, their fiscal policies are much more frugal than KSA's. Basically, unless the selling price of oil approaches zero (not likely), every dollar Iran makes is just added revenue.

      Basically, KSA is shooting itself in the foot out of political spite and their actions will backfire.

      It is LOOOOOONG past time for the leaders of KSA to grow up and be responsible global citizens. They need to get over their ego problems and do what is best for the world (and ALL their own citizens).

  • Iran: The New China?
    • While Iran spends about 3.9 percent of GDP on defense, the spending appears to be much more financially efficient than USA, Israeli or Saudi spending. That is, Iran gets far more "bang for its buck."

      This is an interesting by-product of the long USA sanctions (since 1979). After eventually defeating Saddam, Iran's military and political leaders essentially re-thought the entire process and technology of defense.

      Iran made several choices . . . (1) Make not buy. That is, create the industrial infrastructure to design and build most of their defense systems. (2) Use new technology to build less expensive, but practical and efficient weapons.

      For example, instead of extremely expensive aircraft, design and make thousands of low cost, but efficient missiles designed for specific purposes. BUT instead of making new designs, evolve existing designs from around the world (steal the IP if necessary) to make them more efficient and less costly. For example, when Russia refused to sell Iran S-300 systems, Iran acquired a "sample" system from another source then collaborated with China to create an improved version that is equivalent to the Russian S-400/500. Iran (and China) now manufacture their own, lower cost but efficient versions. When a powerful Raspberry Pi computer costs about US$35, there is no reason to spend millions on missile control systems like the USA does.

      Iran's leaders have completely re-thought the defense processes for Iran, making Iran very capable of defending itself against a "bigger" foe that wastes far more resources.

      BTW - some other things that Iran does different =

      - Small subs designed to operate in stealth in the shallow Persian gulf. They are armed with 200 MPH torpedoes that are hard to defend against. A very well designed systems.

      - Low cost "fast boats" that can be remotely controlled. Using a "swarm" technique, these can be used to easily sink most ships.

      While many may discount Iran's defense systems as "toys," they are actually very deadly while being low cost.

      Fighting with Iran could prove to be a very costly problem for any foe.

  • Rhetorical Terror: GOP Candidates Pledge War Crimes, Carpet-Bombing, Asian Land Wars
    • Any of the presidential Rambos will be shocked at how quickly our very, very expensive war toys blow up.

      Something for them to think about , , , Even though Saddam had all the USA weapons he could ever want, including illegal chemical weapons, and Iran was not supplied weapons by anyone, Iran STILL defeated Saddam. Since then, Iran has developed a very, very good weapons infrastructure.

      The Persian Gulf is protected by multiple layers of subs, swift boats and anti-ship missiles. USA ships can not operate in the Persian gulf once the shooting starts (and neither can any other ship).

      Iran has a wide variety of attack missiles, such that most USA, Israeli and Saudi land based war infrastructure is extremely vulnerable and would likely be destroyed fairly quickly. Once the Saudi oil infrastructure is destroyed, Saudi Arabia will have little to no cash flow for at least a year.

      Flying over Iran, no matter how "stealthy" an aircraft is supposed to be, is very deadly. Iran has a multi-layer air defense network. S-400 clones provide 200 miles interception range. This is backed up by shorter range BUK clones and older short range anti-aircraft system.

      The bottom line is while Iran can not directly attack he USA homeland, anyone attacking Iran will suffer LOTS of death and destruction.

      Iranian leaders are somewhat paranoid and have been anticipating a massive USA attack for over 35 years, so during that time they have carefully researched how to defeat the USA and made very innovative solutions to making the lives of USA attackers very BAD.

      A USA attack on Iran will be much worse for the USA than Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq2.

  • Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian 'Strategic Partnership'
    • Not really Obama's fault.

      After WW2, the USA could have just let the old empires die and be friends with the new nations, BUT instead the USA decided to try to take over the dying empires.

      Now, even if the USA vastly changed it behavior the nations that have had to fight so hard to throw off the empires, will not trust the USA for a long time. BUT a MAJOR problem is there are many delusional voices in the USA that refuse to change the USA behavior.

      In a rational world, the USA would throw Saudi Arabia and Israel overboard with a giant anchor tied to them, but USA delusion about the past prevents this, so the USA will continue down he rotten path regardless who the next president is.

      Delusional inertia is hard to overcome.

    • Except that out carriers can not get within 1000 miles of China (and possibly Iran) without sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

      China has developed (and possibly shared with Iran) a "carrier killer" missile that the USA has no possible defense against.

      Even if the carriers avoid sinking, the extra 2000 miles of flight time plus the need for at least TWO in-flight refuelings per aircraft, makes the carrier very inefficient war toys.

      Then there is the problem that more and more nations (especially China and Iran) have very efficient anti-aircraft systems that physically damaged pilots (excess air time) can not avoid.

      It is not in the American nature to critically question our own behavior, only others.

    • Chinese culture stresses playing the "long game."

      Why confront the USA directly when, if China is patient, China can quietly subvert USA power, until the USA eventually wakes up one day to discover that it has very little power and the USA starts to eat itself alive trying to find some one to blame without admitting their own terrible behavior caused the decline.

      Why waste your own resources to directly fight an opponent, when you can subtly cause your opponent to waste all their resources destroying themselves?

      China very selectively pokes the USA ego and the USA over-reacts using tremendous resources to essentially commit suicide.

      Americans immaturely want results immediately, whereas the Chinese culture tends to be far more patient. Sort of the difference between a child and an adult.

      Over the last 5000 years, Chinese leadership has made every bad mistake humans can make, but now they seem to have learned from many of those mistakes and function on a more mature level.

    • What the USA does is meaningless.

      USA has had sanctions on Iran since 1979 out of pure mean spite because Iranians threw the USA's puppet out. Those sanctions did make life difficult, BUT even with USA sanctions, Iran was able to modernize.

      It could even be said that the sanctions caused Iran to completely re-think modern warfare and helped them develop more fiscally efficient defense systems.

      The ONLY reason Iran finally came to the negotiating table is the sanctions that Russia, China and the EU put in place and NOW those sanctions are pretty much gone and will probably never return no matter what the USA does.

      Over time, global power CONSTANTLY shifts, so over time the USA will become less and less powerful as it eats itself from inside (as Lincoln pointed out). Except for a short 200 year period, China was a regional powerhouse for over 5000 years, so after making the necessary transitions (thanks to massive knowledge infusions from the "west"), China is now once again a very powerful nation and with that increase in power, USA power decreases.

      The bottom line is, USA sanctions only hurt one nation - USA. BUT they give most of the other 200 or so nations on earth an opportunity to successfully trade with Iran.

      The USA is basically shooting itself in the foot (with a shot gun) because of an overblown ego and with all ego driven hubris, the USA will fail and will be unable to understand why.

      Like all humans, Iranians respond very well to friendship and avoid those that irrationally hate them, so the USA will eventually regret its immaturity and hubris while the non-USA part of the globe prospers.

  • Out of Gas in Iranian Waters
    • It should be noted that the US Navy and Coast Guard regularly stop, board and detain many boats that approach USA waters. Sometimes hundreds of miles away from the USA. The US military makes extensive video of each encounter and have often released the edited video to the news organizations either because the US government wanted to send a message or because of a FOI request.

      Essentially, the Iranians followed the exact same standard procedures the US Navy and Coast guard follow and released the US sailors after quick negotiations, just like the USA does to some of the boats it intercepts.

      On the other hand the USA does prosecute the people on the drug boats it finds in Mexican territorial waters (often many hundreds of miles from the USA).

      As mister Roskin notes, the most probable causes for the incident were mistakes by the USA crews - Running the fuel level down too low and not turning away from Iran when it was obvious he fuel was too low. Iran is now well aware that the crew messed up, but is not pushing the issue to avoid further problems and he US Navy will very, very quietly discipline the crew over their mistakes.

  • People in Lead-Poisoned Flint Still without clean Water
    • I am very, very surprised that no lawyer has filed a MASSIVE class action personal injury lawsuit against the state of Michigan.

      The state is clearly guilty and the lawyer would probably easily be able to use discovery to get copies of every state document and might even be able to have a receiver appointed to take possession of all the state property (like the governors mansion, the legislative building, etc.) to ensure the state would pay the resulting claim. The receiver would be needed because there is no way to force the legislature to actually pay any claim when the state loses because judges are reluctant to lock legislatures into a warehouse until they pass legislation to fund payments (legal, but drastic).

      Over the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if any law suits get filed and how the legislature panics.

  • Airline apologizes for letting Racist Israelis force Palestinian-Israeli passengers off Plane
    • Around the world, it is a recurrent theme that airlines forcibly remove minority humans because some racist passengers yell and scream and flight crews panic, then the airlines have to issue a "sincere" apology later.

      A SIMPLE solution is to remove the complaining racist passengers instead of having to make hollow and meaningless apologies after the minority humans are injured.

      If racist passengers do not think it is "safe" to fly, they should simply get off the plane and walk to their destination (of course they could easily get attacked during their walk because simply being human on this earth is a dangerous situation).

      If the airlines start "booting" the racist complainers, then there will be fewer people complaining.

  • Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric Nimr Al Nimr Under “Terrorism” Charges
    • Saudi jets are worthless against Russian and Iranian S-400 systems.

      Russia has S-400 systems in Syria making it very dangerous to fly anywhere over Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Israel.

      Iran not only has surplus Russian S-300 systems, BUT thanks to a partnership with China, Iran ALSO has their own clones of the S-400 system. Iran also has lots of BUK clones as a second layer, with a third layer of older anti-aircraft systems. In other words, it is very, very dangerous to fly near Iran (or Iraq) without Iranian permission.

      Saudi Arabia has less than 300 active attack aircraft, so they can not afford to lose very many. I suspect that after a few Saudi jets get blown from the sky, the "elite" Saudi Air Force will be very careful about where they try to fly.

    • The reality of large investments is once they are made, there is no realistic way to get out of them.

      Sure the Saudis could try to liquidate their holding . . .

      BUT they would lose most of their wealth and would provide lots of people with opportunities to own high value stuff for pennies on the dollar.

      The Saudis can do nothing with piles of cash and there is nowhere else on earth for them to invest the cash.

      Realistically, Saudi divestment is a myth.

    • As Dr. Cole notes, nuclear fusion is not viable at a commercial level and probably will not be for many decade, if ever.

      BUT . . .

      It is possible to build much, much safer nuclear fission power stations. The current "light water" design is extremely primitive and was designed for ships and subs that have the whole ocean to provide cooling. Experimental designs that can NOT fail dangerously like the "light water" design are currently in small scale operation in many countries. The much safer designs should be refined and put into commercial production.

    • If that is the Saudi's plan, they are making a fool's bet.

      Even though the Saudis have some of the best war toys junk the USA can build, Iran has actually invested far more wisely in war toys AND military leadership. So, Saudi Arabia is probably going to be on the losing side.

      As for the USA defending Saudi Arabia, that is questionable at best since a majority of people in the USA appear to believe in a "pox on both their houses."

      Then there is the whole Russian/Iranian connection which could constrain the USA even more.

      I THINK China will just stay out of it and pick up the power after the Russians and Iranians defeat the USA and Saudis. BUT they just might tip the scale toward Russia/Iran because of USA interference in the South China Sea.

      If the USA is stupid enough to follow Saudi Arabia down the rat hole, the USA could really lose badly.

      The BEST thing the USA could do is pull all USA forces completely out of the Mid East and brew up lots of beer and cook kettles of popcorn and watch from a safe distance.

      Side note: Saudi Arabia has DF-21C MRBMs (do not know how many) and has supposedly acquired nukes from Pakistan which fit very nicely on the DF-21C, so things could get real messy, real fast.

    • Just to point out the obvious . .

      If Iran, North Korea, Syria, Burma, Afghanistan, France, the UK or just about any other nation on earth, except Saudi Arabia, brutally executed a political opponent, the USA congress critters would be screaming at the top of their lungs on every media outlet they could access.

      Notice that because the USA "hates" Shia, there is just mild rebuke from POTUS and virtually NONE from the congress critters.

      Considering that Al Quaida and ISIS are derived from the Wahhabi state religion of Saudi Arabia, in a reality based world, Iran would be a USA ally and Saudi Arabia would be shunned and punished by the world.

      Note also that Israel wants to be secret buddies with Saudi Arabia because . . . Iran.

      The USA has lots of sources of low cost oil, so the USA should cut ties with Saudi Arabia and throw them to the wolves. Saudi Arabia wants WW3 (at least some of the leadership does - maybe not the king directly).

      When will the USA leadership do what is best for the USA instead of following the old empire pathways that have been PROVEN to be terrible for the USA.

      Over the last 200+ years, the USA has screwed over each and every ally it has ever had, so there is no reason the USA can't just walk away from Saudi Arabia (and Israel and Turkey and pretty much all of the Mid East).

      As I noted, it is OBVIOUS the USA is backing the WRONG monsters in the Mid East and many other places on earth.

  • Flash Point: Could Turkey block Russian access to Mediterrranean?
    • No

      Keep in mind that "international agreements" are actually only valid as long as all parties agree that there is an agreement. If the members of NATO think that it is not in their best interest to go to war with Russia, they may only make some verbal noise and then let Turkey get pounded. WW1 taught nations that agreements must be viewed through the lens of "what is best for us" instead of being absolutely binding.

      BTW - the USA has casually "walked away" from thousands of "international agreements" over the last 200+ years when it was convenient to do so. For example, due to internal politics, the USA may "walk away" from the new Paris Climate "international agreement" (very foolishly).

      Unlike basic contract law in most countries, where you can take a person to court and get "justice" over a broken agreement, "international agreements " have no such mechanism - "international agreements" simply exist until they do not and then there is no path to resolution except re-negotiation.

    • Is Turkey stupid enough to start a war with Russia?

      Impeding Russian transit to/from the Black Sea is sure to drive Russia to war and Turkey could quickly find itself on the end of a wobbly plank that is being sawed off by the west.

      Given the situation on the rest of the earth, it is very doubtful that the USA, China and/or Europe would help Turkey at all and might even help Russia. Turkey could end up losing the territory permanently to Russia.

      Turkey is vastly over-estimating its importance to the west and is going to get burnt to a crisp if it keep on the path it is on.

      Turkey is suffering from basic egotistical hubris and need to get real, real quick.

  • Sign of new Intifada? Majority of Palestinians support knife attacks
    • What do the Palestinians have to lose?

      Over time, basic human behavior is fairly predictable. One of the clear lessons of history is when a group is brutally oppressed for an extended period of time, they can reasonable be expected to seek revenge with whatever method is available.

      Israel has painted itself into a corner with no options except painful, humiliating retreat. Sure, Israel can use even more brutal force, but based on thousands of years of human behavior, such a response will just make things worse for Israelis, NOT BETTER.

      Israel has two BIG problems:

      - Israelis still do not understand that the settlers are a massive problem, but even if they did, there is no longer any way to solve the settler problem because any attempt to roll back the settler situation would lead to massive, bloody civil war in Israel.

      - The non-Jews living west of the Jordan river are NOT going anywhere even though a significant number of Israelis think they can simply "round up the usual suspects" and ship the problem off to some other place on earth. Any attempt to "round up the usual suspects" (millions of humans) will be met with violent resistance and could lead to massive war that Israel would lose. But even if Israel could "round up the usual suspects," where could they be sent? There is no country on earth that will accept Israeli's "rejects" and if Israel tired to just ship them, the nations that Israel would try to send them to would react violently against Israel.

      Basically, Israel has created a hopeless, violent situation that hey have no ability to fix, let alone calm down.

      In an "ideal" world, Israel would simply force the settlers out of the West Bank, create large areas of contiguous land for the non-Jews and try to manage them with the minimum of oppression so the non-Jews feel that they may have a future.

      BUT that would be political suicide in Israel .

      So Israelis can just look forward to more violence along with lots of worthless verbiage from Israeli politicians.

      2016 is probably going to be an ugly year for Israelis and the number of Israelis that leave versus those that arrive could grow dramatically (decreasing the overall Jewish population in Israel) - why stay in violent combat zone when Jews can live and thrive in so much of the world these days?

  • With Oil at $36/barrel, Have Democrats just Won the Presidency?
    • China is facing the same problems California faced decades ago, but on a much bigger scale. Fortunately for China, California has already shown the way forward, so over the next few years, China will make huge investments in non-carbon energy so that pollution is reduced and china has long term, stable, non-carbon energy.

      The conversion to non-carbon energy will cost China some economic growth, but in the long term, China will come out of the transition much stronger (and with breathable air).

      One of the "by products" of China's energy transition will be the availability of low cost non-carbon energy technology that Chinese companies can use to make nice profits around the globe. The internal Chinese market will give large economy of scale, so Chinese companies will have a market advantage.

      This means that in the long term, carbon energy will face decreasing demand, so even if production levels fall, market forces will keep prices low.

      Of course this transition from carbon energy to non-carbon energy is only possible because the Chinese government can forcibly change market conditions such as demanding the changes.

      Unfortunately the USA political system is not capable of long term planning, but must rely on much slower and less reliable "market forces." As a result, the USA may be much more reliant on carbon energy than the rest of the world for an extended period of time, but will benefit form lower oil prices because of the better behavior of the rest of the world.

  • Obama: "Who will rid me of this Troublesome 'caliph'? Someone? Anyone?
    • When I first learned Marketing, I was told to always try to understand the customer in detail and ask "what does the customer get out of the deal?" It turns out this is hard to do unless you actively discard your assumptions and really ask the customer.

      In general at the most basic human level, people buy things for just a few simple reason:

      - Satisfy the need to have power over other humans (everyone wants to be the "top dog").

      - Satisfy basic economic greed by increasing wealth (everyone wants more wealth even if they have nothing to spend it on).

      - Remove pain, frustration, etc.

      - Save money (if you can't increase wealth, decrease costs while keeping or bettering your living conditions.

      - Increase joy

      It is VERY obvious that US policy makers are completely delusional with absolutely no understanding of the various factions in the Middle East.

      If the USA would actually discard their totally invalid assumptions, several things could happen:

      - The USA could join Russia and figurative whack Turkey up side the head, forcing the Turkish government to close its borders and stop the oil trade completely, while stopping its aggression against the Kurds.

      - The USA could make life miserable for the King of Saudi Arabia until he cleaned house in his country and withdrew all support for ISIS. To help get the message to KSA, the USA should actively and publicly work with Iran.

      - The USA, Russia and China should introduce a resolution in the UNSC recognizing Kurdistan and defining it s boundaries (taking chunks form Syria , Iraq and Turkey). When Turkey complains, the USA, Russia and China should "knee cap" them.

      The bottom line is the post WW1 lines on the map have never been valid and it is foolish to try to keep them intact. The USA should work with the locals to define new borders. Yes this will create a new Sunni country from parts of Syria and Iraq, but over time, that new country would have to figure out how to get along with the world or starve, meaning ISIS would either govern better or get replaced by a more moderate government.

  • ISIL/ Daesh can be Starved of Oil Revenue: Here's How
    • Wars can not exist in a financial vacuum. Most groups eventually lost their wars when they run out of money.

      While there are a small number of disaffected young people that will gladly act as cannon fodder, without minimal funding, they quickly die of starvation or run out of ammo.

      The bottom line is to have a war, both sides need THREE THINGS:

      - lots of dumb cannon fodder willing to die for the "cause" (usually vague rah-rah garbage). Since there is always a supply of dumb humans trying hard to win the Darwin Award, cannon fodder can usually be found. Note that the pool of dumb humans is not very large and after a short period of time in a war zone, many humans either get killed or try to get away from the carnage (ISIS already has deserters).

      - Lots of war toys to be destroyed. When one side runs out of war toys, it loses.

      - Lots of wealth to waste on cannon fodder, war toys and high living for the "leader." Notice how he leaders of every war live very nice lives even when the war ends up on their doorstep?

      So while destroying ISIS wealth will NOT end ISIS, it will severely cripple ISIS and decrease its ability to get cannon fodder and war toys.

    • I mentioned drones because the people are dangerous but protected by the King, so the USA would get no cooperation from KSA in stopping them.

      If there were any intelligent people in Turkey, htey woudl negotiate with the Kurds to break off part of Turkey to form a Kurdish nation and have a good relationship with the new country, Kurdistan will exist eventually, so why not negotiate instead of losing it via a war that Turkey can not win?

      BTW - targeted assassination is a very reliable tactic that has been used for centuries. The only difference now is we can do it remotely instead of endangering our assassins.

    • The USA has all the tools it needs to completely stop ISIS oil trade, BUT . . .

      To use them would require the USA to close the Turkish border and severely whack the Turkish government which is fully complicit in ISIS oil trade and in supporting ISIS with weapons and allowing safe transit of ISIS fighters from to/from the west and ISIS held territory.

      In addition the USA would need to target Saudi Arabian oil brokers and bankers that facilitate the wealth of ISIS with drone strikes. This would anger the Saudi King, but it is his own family that needs to be killed to cripple ISIS.

      The "bad guys" in this fight are ISIS, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, not Assad, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Sure Assad is a terrible ruler, but he is no worse than many other leaders around the globe that the USA happily supports. For example, the King of Saudi Arabia and the President of Turkey regularly kill their own citizens with hardly a peep from the USA.

      Once again the USA has picked the wrong side of history because the USA does not want to "offend" its current "friends."

      Russia and China (currently not in the ME) have no problem dealing with problems in a straight forward manner and throwing "friends" to the wolves if the "friend" is causing problems for Russia and/or China.

  • Top Seven Myths about Muslims
    • Actually, Baher Kamal is CORRECT. There are approximately 6 million Jewish people in Israel and there are about 7-9 million much smarter Jewish people living very nice lives outside the Israeli war zone (mostly in North America). Only about 40% of the Jewish people live in Israel and the political leadership in Israel does NOT speak for the non-Israelis. In fact, most of the non-Israelis are much, much less conservative than Israeli leadership. Note that the TOTAL number of Jewish people is LESS than 1% of the total number of Muslims and less than 0.2% of the entire global population.

  • Right-wing Israeli groups "raid" 3rd Holiest Muslim Shrine
    • Does anyone in Israel understand that if the Jewish extremists succeed in taking over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel will have ignited a war that Israel can NOT win in any sense of the word? Sure, Israel will control the "temple Mount" for a short time, but by the time Israel loses the war, there will be nothing left and Jewish people will have been driven entirely out of the middle east.

      And before anyone posts the huge Jewish super-warrior myths, let me tell you why they are NOT TRUE.

      - Personal weapons - the AK-47 (and similar weapons) has optimized personal warfare and there are over 100 million of these weapons on earth with more being made each and every day. Israel does not and will never have any better weapons and the body armor developed by the USA has shown to be ineffective in preventing injury to limbs. A wounded soldier is actually worse for an army than a dead one because it ties up resources quicker.

      - Group weapons (cannons, missiles, aircraft, etc.). As with the AK-47, the whole world is awash with weapons that are equal to or better than anything Israel will ever have. All weapons are based on universal and well known principals of physics, chemistry, electrical and thermodynamics and there are NO MAGIC WEAPONS.

      - Leadership - Most countries have similar leadership capability. The only real difference is the amount of hubris the leadership has. All of the battle proven techniques for defeating Israel are well known by a wide variety of Israel's opponents and given the technical restrictions on Israel (previous weapon choices, etc.), Israel has only limited but well known ways to fight a war and the USA has already taught the world how to defeat those techniques over the last 10+ years in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      The bottom line is, Israel can be defeated by the existing opposition and the USA population may be very reluctant to follow Israel into defeat.

      Israelis should probably think long and hard before they let Jewish extremists plunge them into an awful war.

  • Senators McCain & Lindsay want to “Reoccupy” Iraq and Invade Syria: Should We?
    • Everyone should write Senators McCain & Lindsay and remind them that part of the JOB of being a senator is to write and introduce declarations of war into congress.

      I will even help them write it . . .

      (Section 1) the USA will raise the taxes on those that make more than 1 million dollars per year to 90% on ALL income over one million regardless of source (sell stock and pay 90% tax, take a bribe and pay 90% tax, etc). The tax increase can not be lowered until ALL the vets from the war have died of natural causes (that is ~80 years after the end of the war).

      (Section 2) Reinstate the draft with NO EXCEPTIONS. Every human between 19 and 25 would be drafted for a period of two yeas or death, whichever comes first. No exceptions , means NO EXCEPTIONS - both genders get drafted - medically marginal people get drafted and sent to the war (if they are breathing, they go) - No national guard or reserve loophole - college kids get to be shot at - NO EXCEPTIONS, period. When we run out of cannon fodder between 19 and 25 we should then draft all congress critters over 25.

      (Section 3) War toy makers can no longer make any profit on anything they sell to the government and the companies can not pay any dividends nor can they pay anyone in the company more than 125% of the average wage for the entire company. Any executives doing violating the rules would be drawn and quartered in the public square or shipped to the front with a butter knife.

      (Section 4) Declare war on ISIS in plain, simple language.

      Once it is written, all they have to do is get it passed and have the President sign it, then we are free to kill Americans and non-Americans in large quantities.

  • Putin: Turkey was protecting ISIL oil Smuggling; Russia urges Assad-Kurdish Alliance
    • 1) is a nit-pick because the Turkmen are fully supported and possibly controlled by Turkey.

      2) the audio tape was faked up after the fact according to Russia -pick who you believe.

      3) Russia was bombing ISIS oil convoys protected by the Turkmen, so in reality, Russia was actually attacking ISIS or at leas their source of wealth.

      Turkey's hands are very, very dirty which is why Turkey is back-pedaling so fast.

    • Erdogan has really stepped in it.

      Now Russia will be sealing the Turkish/Syrian border and they have pointedly told Turkey any interference will be dealt with by deadly force. This is bad for Turkey because Russian military is now spoiling for direct retaliation against Turkey for the killing of two Russians. I would not want to be flying a Turkish military aircraft anywhere near Syria because it is now open season by the Russian military.

      I suspect that a few Turkish jets will fall from the sky before Turkey capitulates and lets be frank, Turkey will capitulate and close its border with Syria and throw ISIS to the wolves much to the displeasure of Saudi Arabia.

      Note that while the USA has reservations about bombing ISIS oil infrastructure, Russia does not, so soon ISIS will have almost no revenue - selling antiquities is a low volume, one-time deal and extorting money from the people they conquered will poison the well quickly. Once the locals get tired of the extortion, they will use the same techniques that drove the USA out of Iraq on ISIS fighters - IEDs anyone?

  • The GOP Race as America's Hunger Games
    • The BIG problem the republicans have is about 30% of their base is certifiably wacko, racist and hates women and to get the republican nomination, that extremest base must be pandered to just enough to get them to vote but not drive the eventual candidate so extreme that he is permanently wounded.

      The BEST thing the republican establishment could do is throw the wackos overboard and move to the center which is where most of the actual votes are.

      Then the wackos would have a simple choice: (1) vote republican and get a minuscule part of the wacko agenda or (2) not vote and get zero of the wacko agenda (the wackos will never vote for a democrat).

      Note that currently the numbers do NOT work for republicans. Trump is getting the biggest share of the republicans (~30%), but even if you combine all the wacko vote it is still less than 50% of the republicans which translate to less than 25% of the probable national vote. can the republicans win with 25%-35% of all the votes?

  • Angered that EU labels Squatter W. Bank Products, Israel suspends EU from "Peace Process"
    • Actually, it is easy to get just as good "Orwellware" for lower prices from a wide variety of non-Israeli sources.

      I am a technologist that is very familiar with the "war toys" and "Orwellware" stuff that is available these days and know very well there is lots of stuff available from other sources.

      Israel has several problems:

      - Cheap (under US$ 35) 32-bit multi-core systems are readily available all over the world (Raspberry Pi anyone?)

      - High performance Linux is free.

      - GPS clones with the USA height and speed restrictions removed are readily available for low cost.

      - High quality video analysis software is readily available from the Open Source community, which can innovate far faster than any company or country can.

      In fact virtually all the hardware and software components to clone anything Israel makes are freely available over the entire world.

      Even if some Israeli somehow comes up with something totally unique, as soon as they sell one product, it will be ripped apart and cloned because it is really, really easy to deconstruct any electronic devise ( I of curse, have never done that because I respect other people's intellectual property rights - yes I do).

      So as I said, Israel makes NOTHING that can't be sourced from someplace else for lower cost.

      BTW - I really like the term "Orwellware" (TM) - can I use it with your permission in future discussions?

    • Once again, Israel is cutting off its nose to spite its face . . .

      Nothing Israel produces is unique and Europe can easily buy anything Israel might produce from other sources, often for less money. Europe can easily function very well without trade with Israel.

      On the other hand, Israel will suffer economic harm without trade with Europe. There are no "magic" markets just begging for goods and services from Israel.

      Sure, Israeli apologists will claim that Intel and many other products can't exist without Israel , but everything they say is provably FALSE.

      As for Israel shifting toward Asian markets, there are NO ASIAN MARKETS for Israeli products. Asia is a competitor for virtually everything made in Israel and if Israel gets too nasty, Asians will simply copy Israeli's intellectual property and undercut Israel in the global marketplace. Asians tend to want to buy from Asians, not Israelis (or Europeans or Americans).

      Israel just keeps shooting itself in the foot in a desperate attempt to avoid reality.

  • Turkey reels as Putin imposes Stiff Economic Sanctions
    • Russia can buy favor from Europe and isolate Turkey by selling gas and oil to Europe this harsh winter at a slight discount. Sure they will make slightly less profit, but the political payback will be worth it.

    • Russia was not violating Turkey airspace and even if it was, Turkey should know that shooting down a Russian aircraft would land them in a pile of crap.

      I think, like the leader of Georgia,, turkey has an over-inflated ego and Turkey will pay a big price for its stupidity.

    • The Turkmen are helping ISIS sell oil.

  • Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism and GOP Candidates
    • Since the woman and the fetus occupy the same exact space and time, ONLY ONE can have "rights" and the other MUST be subservient with no rights.

      So you are completely WRONG when you say :

      "Attempts to reduce abortions are, or the most part, made not with reducing women’s rights in mind, but with protecting the right to life of the unborn child." (there is no child until it is born).

      Any rights you try to give to the fetus automatically subtract from the woman's rights. So you are either disingenuous or you do not value live human females.

      You can NOT have it both ways. either you value human females and provide no "rights" to a fetus, or you value the fetus and dehumanize the humans female, making them into just a birthing machine.

      As for minimizing abortions, that is easy as Colorado has shown - simply provide **FREE** IUD and other long term contraceptives to all human females over 12 years old (yes there are sexually active 12 year olds). The more contraception there is, the fewer unintended pregnancies and the fewer abortions will be necessary.

      If you are serious about minimizing abortions then push hard for **FREE** universal birth control.

      NOTE: abortions cannot be eliminated because they are medially necessary a significant number of times and there are no medical alternatives.

    • Americapox: The Missing Plague

      link to

    • Abortion discussions are really about power and whether women are full humans.

      The simple reality is when there are two things occupying the same space, ONLY one can have power and the other MUST be subservient.

      This is the basic question:

      Is a female humanoid a sentient full being just like a male humanoid? If it is, then it has all the power over self just like a male has, including full control over any parasitic objects.

      What "christian" extremist want is to give all the power to the parasite, rendering the female into a sub-human category. No man would ever tolerate being rendered sub-human

      So my big question is "WHY do women tolerate this at all?"

      Women are over 50% of the humans on earth, yet they allow men to horribly mistreat them constantly. And once again, women are not beating up the presidential candidates over their views.

      Until women FORCIBLY tear power away from men and assert their humanity, they will be subject to being treated as sub-human.

      I am a man and would NEVER tolerate any mistreatment of myself, so why are women so passive? Why do they let religious extremists mistreat them constantly?

      This really mystifies me.

  • 'Very Soon' US forces will Arrive in Syria; Russia bombs near Turkey
    • The oil is "re-branded" in Turkey and re-sold on the global market as oil from some other place. Rumors are that Israel is buying a lot (they may or may not know it is ISIS oil). Israel has quietly purchased a lot of "re-branded" oil through Turkey for many years.

  • US think tank says Israel has around 115 nuclear weapons
    • Any amount over five or so is a waste of resources.

      I suspect that the 115 number is "in the ball park."

      Right now, three of Israel's five subs are operational and each sub has four tubes capable of launching nuclear-equipped cruise missiles with a range of about 500 miles. My best guess is that no more than four nuclear missiles are loaded to minimize the chances of a major accident.

      An unknown number of Jericho III ICBMs and Jericho II MRBM are operational. Each one has a single nuclear warhead and gives Israel the ability to strike ANY part of the globe, including the USA.

      As to "why?" Israel would need the ability to strike Europe, the USA and the rest of the globe, that is probably caused by their extreme paranoia (they really need a good psychiatrist).

      The rest of the nukes are probably small enough to carry on fighter-type aircraft for ME attack (Israel fighters have limited range and Israel has few re-fueling aircraft).

      So just who does Israel think they will nuke?

      If Israel nukes . . .

      - Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine or Sinai, they will essentially be nuking themselves contaminating their own people and food sources.

      - Egypt, Iraq or Iran, they will lose protection from the USA and may be nuked by countries "downwind" of the targets. At the very least they will immediately suffer from a total economic blockade causing massive internal social problems. At that point, the world will reject all refugees from Israel even worse than they are rejecting Syrians right now.

      - Saudi Arabia, will very likely counter-nuke Israel. Saudi Arabia has large number of very reliable, very accurate quick lunch DF-21C missiles (purchased from China). Per international "rumors" Saudi Arabia has "purchased" nuclear warheads for the missiles from Pakistan. Some dismiss this, but I do not. I strongly suspect that the warheads are in Saudi Arabia, if not already loaded on the missiles. Saudi Arabia has lots of internal instability so it could be done without "official " government knowledge.

      - Europe, Russia, Pakistan, India and USA are nuclear powers and Israel would be completely destroyed by nuclear counter-strikes. In other words a suicidal move.

      The bottom line is while Israel probably has about 115 nuclear devices, they are essentially useless because if Israel actually uses any one of them, it will be committing either slow economic suicide or immediate destructive suicide - in either case, Israel would be no longer.

      Maybe it is time for Israelis to learn how to live in the real world instead of fighting reality.

  • Top 10 Reasons Governors are Wrong to Exclude Syrian Refugees
    • ISIS does NOT have any capacity to shoot down a plane that is above 10000 feet altitude.

      The Russian plane went down due to a 1 kg charge placed in the baggage area of the aircraft. Since modern bomb scanners can easily detect such a device, that means either the baggage was not scanned or someone walked the bomb around the scanner - that is, human malice.

  • Why EU Labeling of Israeli Squatter Goods could Affect Israeli Economy
    • The USA and UK control the SWIFT network, so it is unlikely that Israeli banks would be effected in any way. But if there was any possibility of a problem, Israel could do what most other countries have done; join the Chinese sponsored international trade bank network (the same one Iran joined to get around USA financial transaction restrictions).

    • There is no "Asian market" for Israeli products.

      There is NOTHING that Israel produces that Asians can not get from other places, with equal or better quality and usually for much lower cost.

      Then there is the Asian cultural problem Israel can not change - Asians like to buy their own products for the most part. Yes they buy high end European and American products (iPhones, etc.) but they buy mainly for the status and there are few products they will do this for and NONE of the products Israel produces have the cache of European and USA products.

      In particular, all China wants to do with Israel is strip-mine it for intellectual property and throw away the dry husk. China has the ability to reproduce anything Israel can think of and then vastly improve the item, while producing it for a lot less than Israel can ever hope to match.

      Because most people that live outside Asia have zero knowledge about Asian history they often fall into the centuries old European stereotypes of Asians. BUT, except for a short 200 year period of European empire rule, Asia has a 5000+ year history of innovation and mercantilism unmatched by Europe.

      Now that Asia, lead by China, is rapidly catching up from 200 years of European oppression they are on track to be vastly more innovative than the so-called "west," including Israeli.

      As a result, Asia simply has no possible need for any products from Israel. They can source most stuff within Asia or just make it themselves.

      Israel has NO REPLACEMENT for the European market.

  • What Obama should tell Netanyahu this Week (But won't)
    • While Obama does have restrictions, the biggest one is his own inability to simply publicly humiliate Bibi.

      Obama could easily point out what a liar Bibi is and why the USA should not ever trust Israel. Sure congress would go crazy, but Obama has already put up with their racism for 7 years, so he should be well used to their ire.

      Instead of humiliating Bibi, the pictures I saw today was Obama laughing at one of Bibi's jokes.

  • Obama gives up on Israeli-Palestinian peace during his Administration
    • Unfortunately that is Israeli's future. . .

      Either bloody civil war between the main Israeli population and the settlers and religious extremists or . ..

      a bloody war with the Arabs that all of Israel will lose because Israel no longer has military superiority (although they delusionally think they do).

      As for Israel losing USA support, that is guaranteed by the past 200+ years of USA behavior, especially if the economic gains stay with only the USA 1%. The USA "middle class" will not give a darn about Israel if their own economic situation is dire.

      A note about the civil war - the settlers make up a large part of the IDF, so the settlers have access to ALL the weapons the IDF has, so both sides in a civil war will be heavily armed and reasonably trained - it will be a terrible war.

    • What the USA should do is very, very quietly work with the Europeans, Russians and Chinese to come up with a UNSC resolution that defines Israel's borders with Palestine, Lebenon, Jordan,and Syria. The Europeans should introduce it and then the entire USA delegation to the UN should go out to a long lunch while the rest of the UNSC voted on the resolution which would pass 14-0 with the USA not present.

      Then when Israel failed to comply, the same gang should pass sanctions while the USA was once again "out to lunch."

      Sure, the USA Israel supporters would howl, but there would be exactly zero they could do. Since it takes only 34 votes in the senate to derail an impeachment, Obama could finish out his term while causing massive upheaval in USA politics where support for Israel would be unmasked for Americans to see just how much the USA foots the bill.

      It is long past time for the USA to play really hard ball with Israel.

  • Shimon Peres doubts Israel can win Permanent war or Survive Annexation of West Bank
    • The key word is "PAST."

      Yes, Israel ** HAD ** better weapons and military leadership in 1967 (The cannon fodder was no better than the opponents).

      BUT . . . .

      That is all in the distant past.

      As I noted, every country in the ME has equivalent weapons and tactics.

      - Personal weapons -

      Every person in the ME (and most of the world for that matter) has an automatic assault weapon. That is, an AK-47 or its local equivalent. Yes, Americans and Israelis have better body amour, BUT that only keeps soldiers somewhat alive enough to cause a huge burden for the others still alive. It can actually be a detriment in a fire fight. As the USA found out in Iraq and Afghanistan, firefights are a toss up as to who loses less (no one "wins:). Israel's opponents are equal to Israel.

      - Group weapons (aircraft, missiles, cannons, etc) -

      Israel has spent their money on whiz-bang high tech, high complexity (and very high cost) war toys, whereas there opponents have spent their money on lower tech, lower complexity, lower cost and much higher reliability war toys. Because of basic economics and the technical law of complexity = high failure, Israel's opponents actually have a MAJOR advantage. Per the IDF there are more than 50,000 reasonably accurate missiles pointed at Israel, but Israel only has the capacity to stop less than 1,000 of these. The rest will turn Israel into a rubble heap. Israel has only about 400 active attack aircraft, yet their opponents have thousands of very accurate and reliable anti-aircraft missiles, from MANPADs that can kill planes that are at less than 10,000 feet altitude to BUK and S-300/400 that can kill a B-52 at 50,000 feet altitude.

      When all of the capabilities are taken into account, with the realization that thousands of inexpensive missiles easily trump a few hundred aircraft, it becomes clear that not only is Israel not "superior" but the shift in weapons technology employed by its opponents has actually caused Israel to be less capable.

      As for leadership, Israel again no longer has an edge.

      Partially this is political, because the Israeli political leadership has been ignoring the IDF leadership for years and doing things that will make the problems worse, not better. The military KNOWS that occupying the west bank is counter productive and dangerous, but the political leadership ignores them. The IDF leadership knows that they no longer have a military edge, but the political leadership still rattles sabres and provokes conflict.

      The other change has been caused by communication technology. Now, the opponents know exactly how Israel is vulnerable and what techniques will work. The USA has been training Israel's opponents for over ten years by invading Iraq and Afghanistan and letting Israel's opponents discover what works and what does not work. Israel's opponents are extremely battle-hardened and well trained (thanks to the USA neocons).

      The bottom line is TODAY, Israel has no military advantage and in some ways is at a disadvantage because of their inability to re-think their weapons and strategies.

      Past "glories" are no predictor of future "wins." Israel's opponents have taken advantage of the weapons and tactics advancements over the last 30+ years whereas Israel has not. In the next war, it is NOT a "safe bet" to pick Israel as the "winner" (actually the less loser because the war will be terrible for everyone).

    • Nukes are pretty much totally useless. Any country that uses nukes, especially Israel, will essentially be committing suicide. Realistically Israel can not nuke Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine or the Sinai without contaminating themselves and their food supplies. While they could nuke further out, they will be either counter-nuked (Saudi Arabia) or will contaminate other nations down-wind of the destruction that have nuclear capability and the means to counter-nuke Israel (China, Pakistan, India and in the near future Japan). Note that NONE of the nations that may counter-nuke Israel has any fear of the USA. That is there is nothing the USA could do to prevent a counter-nuke. All the USA could do is yell at the counter-nuker after the fact, who will simply tell the USA to go f*** itself.

      So as you noted, nukes will NOT protect Israel from internal conflict nor from external attack.

    • Even a "quick and dirty" look at the last 50,000 years of human history on this rock will show that exactly ZERO belligerent groups have avoided eventually suffering total, humiliating DEFEAT and the IDF will NOT do any better, so Peres has a very, very valid point. Either Israel gives up lots of land, water, cash for compensation and apologies for Israeli behavior over the last 100 years or Israel will be defeated either militarily or culturally. In either case, Israel as a "Jewish nation" will cease to exist.

      From a military point of view, Israel has no advantage over its opponents. The world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have and most of the weapons that Israel's opponents have are much, much more cost effective (more "bang for the buck"), so Israel can not afford as many "war toys."

      The myth of the Israeli "super warriors" is entirely a myth. The IDF has no better leadership, nor better soldiers.

      As for the mythical "magic weapons" the "super brainy" Israelis supposedly have - they DO NOT EXIST because they violate the basic laws of physics, thermodynamics and chemistry.

      The bottom line is, if Israel keeps relying on the sword, it will die by the sword because it can not sustain their belligerence forever - they will run out of money, war toys and cannon fodder long before their opponents.

      Israelis seem to suffer from double hubris:

      - Very delusionaly vastly over-estimating their ability, and

      - Very delusionaly vastly under-estimating their opponents.

      This can not turn out well unless someone knocks some sense into the Israelis.

  • Why ISIL is a Vast Exaggeration: & No, it can't Shoot down Planes
    • "cut off their economic support"

      The USA cousl do this fairly easily, BUT . . .

      It would require bombing vehicles moving into and out of Turkey and using drone strikes in Saudi Arabia to kill the financiers.

      The oil ISIS sells is "white washed" by Turkey and the brokerage is done partually in Saudi Arabia.

      The USA could bleed ISIS dry financially but it would require getting very deadly with our so-called allies.

      The bottom line is Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the main instigators of ISIS.

    • The most likely scenario is a bomb internal to the aircraft. Aircraft are structurally very strong so it takes a lot to break them apart in the air. For example, a Hawaii Air 737 lost over 15 feet of the roof and still landed safely.

      An external explosion is unlikely because of the altitude. Above 20k feet something like a BUK or an S-300 is required (and after the fiasco with the shoot down of the civilian aircraft I doubt if Russia would let anyone use their stuff). The smaller, MANPAD type missiles have a range much less than 20K feet and do NOT have any real guidance system unlike a radar and infrared controlled BUK or S-300. When I flew in Vietnam we stayed above 3000 feet because most humans can not accurately hit an aircraft at that distance with a personal weapon (AK-47, 50 cal, etc) and there were no MANPADS.

      When the investigation is done, I will be surprised if it wasn't a bomb.

  • The new Chinese Century? Can a Green China with no Mideast Entanglements Surpass US?
    • Human groups need THREE things to survive:

      - Energy for the human body - That is, sufficient calories of food energy to sustain life and health (proteins, sugars, mineral, vitamins, etc.)

      - Energy for human tools - that is, transportation communication, knowledge acquisition, etc.

      - Population management - that is, carefully managing the population to ensure that the population does not over-use either personal energy sources or tools energy sources.

      If China succeeds in their goal to be entirely on to renewable energy, combined with their population management , they could very well succeed in becoming the dominant community on earth, especially since about half the global population will be in Asia by 2050.

      Because the USA has NO ABILITY to tackle tough, unpopular problems at all, it is destined to be relegated to be a backwater culture over time.

      The USA population has no ability to see beyond its own ignorance and petty prejudices and the political structure is such that a vocal, delusional minority can completely screw everything up.

      The USA desperately needs to strip the sparsely populated, reactionary parts of the USA of their excess power (as California has done) and tell them to just cry in their beer and quit annoying the regular people.

      BUT because the way the Constitution is designed, the "wrong" parts of the USA have power causing a majority of the people to have very little power.

      If you look at the USA history, there does NOT appear to be any time when Americans actually planned ahead and didn't have to tackle problems until after they became an extreme emergency.

      BTW - Chinese brains are every bit as good as American brains and China has a LOT more brains.

  • 'Putin of Arabia' hugely popular among Iraqi Shiites
    • As usual, the USA is on the "wrong" side because it chose to try to continue the UK (ME), French (Vietnam and ME) and Spanish (Latin America) empires instead of helping the locals fully de-colonize.

      After WW2, the USA could have helped Ho Chi Min finish throwing out the French instead the USA replaced the French until the Vietnamese could eventually drive the USA out, wasting huge amounts of USA wealth and over 50K American lives.

      The USA leaders may not like it, but de-colonization is going to happen so the best thing the USA could do is just let it happen instead of trying to control it.

      It is long past time that the USA follows Russia and China's example and pick the other side.

  • Syria: Will US arming of Kurdish-led Northeast Rebels Provoke Turkey?
    • Air drops can be very, very unreliable even when the aircraft comes close to crashing because it is so low. But even if the "cargo" is picked up by the intended group, there is no reason to expect that the "cargo" will stay with that group for more than a few minutes. Humans have been selling weapons for fun and profit for thousands of years.

  • Does Obama have a Syria Strategy? Putin Does.
    • Basic resources that all humans need are energy to power their environment and food to power their bodies. Solar, geothermal, winds and tidal provide more than enough energy for every human to have an overabundance and with huge amounts of energy, there is the ability to generate more than enough food for every human. There is no need to have resource wars on the earth. Just invest the wealth currently used by military toward local energy production and everything will be OK.

      Well, except for human greed and human belligerence driven by ego and an inferiority complex (small penis problem).

    • Remember that humans have been selling "free" stuff to others for fun and profit for thousands of years. This munitions could just as easily be used BY ISIS as against them.

    • The USA should just quietly withdraw from Syria and let Russia bomb the heck out of the Saudi Arabia and Turkey backed al-Qaeda and Daesh.

      No one in Congress is even willing to discuss Syria, let alone authorize war, so why should Obama waste USA resources on a war started by Saudi Arabia?

      The USA should NOT support in any manner the wars started by Saudi Arabia (or Israel).

      Is Assad a "mean man?" Yes he is, but he is no worse that the Saudi King or any of the other "mean men" around the globe. It is long past time the USA quit trying to clean up the world and just let the locals deal with their local problems.

      Why the heck should the USA care who rules Syria this week? In the grand scheme of things it does NOT make one bit of difference to any American's life.

      That being said Obama should just say to the press that Americans have spoken through the republican congress and said that they do not care about Syria.

  • Far Right wing Israelis rally for more Land Theft, destruction of Palestinian homes
    • Keep in mind that the number of missiles pointed at Israel actually came from the IDF during budget negotiations, so I discount that number to about 50,000. (all military lie to get bigger budgets and more war toys).

      But . . . there are only about 10 "rust dome" batteries in the entire country of Israel and they each have only 60 missiles. So, to be generous, lets assume that Israel can intercept and destroy at least 1000 incoming missiles. that leaves only about 49,000 missiles to make Israel into a rubble heap of epic proportions.

      BTW - missile technology is very well understood and a decent industrial base can crank them out for very little money (only the USA and Israel vastly over pay for war toys). As for the missile control systems, it is very easy to get modified GPS chips (with the USA restrictions on speed and altitude removed) and 32-bit quad-core computers can be purchased for as little as US$50 (yes, your cell phone uses the same technology and has profit margins of 75%).

      Basically, due to the PC and cell phone technology revolution, the whole world has access to all the same weapons technology Israel has. That is, Israel has no military advantage.

    • I do not think Israelis have thought this through.

      What are is the Israelis end-game?

      There are historically very well understood possible outcomes to the Israelis actions , ALL of which are terrible for Israelis:

      (1) Israel ends up with half the population west of the Jordan River (non-Jews) being subjugated by the other half (Jews). This is NOT sustainable and as history has very well documented, this will explode causing massive deaths for both groups and eventually driving most Jews out of the ME (the Jews are physically unable to win a massive war to the death - for those that don't understand this I will answer any questions posted here).

      (2) All of the humans west of the Jordan River become FULL citizens of a SECULAR Israel where Jewish and Muslim religious leaders lose power. Since no group of humans willingly give up power, the ultra religious on both sides will cause massive social unrest, but given that most of the population just want to live OK lives, the religious extremest will eventually be suppressed. Long term, this is probably the best that Israelis can hope for.

      (3) Israel tries to round up all the "usual suspects" (non-Jews) from the area west of the Jordan river and expel them. That is, create millions of refugees. Israelis should NOT think about trying this, since we have an on-going example of how the world will react to Israel trying this (Syrian refugees). The world will NOT take Israel's "rejects" and will quickly punish Israel economically. For some reason, Israeli do not understand just how interconnected their economy is with the rest of the world nor how fragile it is. If Europe and Asia decide to put economic sanctions on Israel, the economy will sink like a stone. Note that the USA will NOT be able to protect Israel, will not take any refugees and might even join the sanctions regimes.

      (4) Israel has now completely eliminated any possibility of a "two-state solution," because it is physically impossible to remove all the land squatters from the West Bank without massive, bloody civil war in Israel. It took the Arabs over three decades to finally figure this out, but it appears they are finally facing the facts.

      Basically it appears that Israeli have been extremely delusional during this entire land squatter process, never thinking beyond the end of next week, even though there is 5000 years of history that says what they are trying to do will fail miserably and leave them worse off.

      As the older generations die off in the USA and Europe, attitudes will go massively against Israel. As a result, I think Israeli will face an extremely BAD future and I suspect that many of the young people in Israel will see better futures outside Israel and will simply leave, gutting the economy.

      Without a drastic re-think in Israel, I do not see a very nice future for Israelis.

  • Kathleen Turner: The Real Target of the Planned Parenthood Attacks
    • 100% total misogynist BS.

      Women are humans with FULL equality and reproductive rights are part of that equality.

      Birth control is extremely expensive and just like male health services, should be 100% covered by health insurance and public services.

      Religious people have NO RIGHT to say anything about any other human's behavior and if they are participating in public transactions they can NOT use their religious misogyny to discriminate against other humans.

      Religious people have a simple choice:

      - participate in a multicultural society without discrimination, or

      - If they are unable to get over their extreme prejudices, they should withdraw from society and live in religious enclaves.

      If you want to live in society, follow society's rules and do not discriminate.

      Women are humans too and deserve all the rights men have.

    • The republicans are extremely foolish to side with the anti-abortion, anti-birth control MINORITY.

      In the medium to long term, the anti-abortion MINORITY can NOT WIN and in fact will lose everything due to some basic facts:

      -For over 50,000 years human females have used birth control to minimize pregnancies. The only difference between then and now is we now have much safer and effective technology.

      -For over 50,000 years human females have terminated pregnancies. The only difference between then and now is we now have much safer technology.

      Human females will NOT change this 50,000 year behavior.

      - No matter how draconian the laws become, abortion and birth control will continue. Recently RU-486 "abortion" pills were sent via balloons over the border into a country that has strict antiabortion laws.

      - When the laws become draconian enough, the republican party will be almost wiped out.

      - almost half the women in the USA know at least one woman (themselves of a close friend or relative) that has had an abortion and most will not tolerate restrictive laws.

      - The younger women are waking up to the fact that they need to use their political power to defeat the antiabortion folks once and for all. The republicans will NOT get any of those votes.

      The bottom line is while the republicans may be able to use abortion to get some votes right now, in the mid term they will have to either completely throw the antiabortion folks overboard with an anchor around their neck or suffer massive defeat.

      Just who do the republican think is the constituency for antiabortion laws? As I try to count the numbers I can't get over about 25% of the population.

      From a purely practical point of view, the republicans should tell the antiabortion folks to shut up and go sit in the corner and never bring up any more antiabortion laws because the topic is a mid term loser.

  • Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria?
    • Keep in mind that the REPUBLICAN congress has CHOSEN to not authorize active warfare against ISIS. They will NOT even discuss it.

      While Putin, as a virtual dictator, can just order up war any time he wants, the POTUS has very limited war making ability. Per the USA Constitution, Congress MUST authorize and fund ALL war making that the USA engages in.

      The reason the USA has not been able to accomplish very much is the POTUS has no leverage and the so-called coalition is not really interested in stopping ISIS and in many cases (Saudi Arabia and Turkey) are actively helping ISIS.

      Obama is NOT the blame for the situation with ISIS. Most of the lack of action rests squarely on Congress.

      That being said, the congress critters have a very valid reason for not even discussing ISIS - If congress authorizes war on ISIS, most congress critters will lose their job and a few might even be strung up on the nearest light post.

    • No one in the USA ever thinks that far ahead or if they do try, they are completely delusional.

      Right now, the only group strong enough to replace Assad is ISIS.

    • A slight difference of opinion . . .

      I do not think Iran will attack Israel, but its growing influence in the ME and the world will severely decrease Israel's power and restrict its belligerence.

      I think the main target of Iran is Saudi power. Iran wants to decrease it so that the extremely radical Saudi version of the Sunni branch of Islam will be muted. The USA should welcome the this because it is the Saudi Arabian version of Islam that funds ISIL and Al Quaida which are a danger to the USA, EU, Russia and China.

  • With Iran deal, & Russia in Syria, is Israel being Boxed In?
    • Massive displacement and civil wars are a well known byproduct of de-colonization.

      The middle east and Africa are the last places on earth where the native populations have to go through the power restructuring process and eventually life will be much better for everyone in those areas, but the process is indeed terrible and is actually made WORSE by the outside meddling of people that "just want to help."

      The bottom line is the situation was mostly caused by the global powers (UK, France, USA, etc.) and the solution can NOT be imposed by the global powers, but MUST be sorted out by the locals.

      In the REAL WORLD, there is NOTHING the USA and EU can do except provide humanitarian help to the refugees and NOT help any side in the fight.

    • The Dolphin nuclear missiles only have a range of about 500 miles. There are four to eight on each submarine.

      Again, while Israel could use their nukes, the day after would be extremely terrible for every Israeli and many Jewish people around the globe.

      Note also that down-wind of Iran are THREE NUCLEAR NATIONS which ALL now have the capability of nuking Israel in retaliation. Chin, India and Pakistan will be very, very unhappy when their citizens and their food sources are contaminated by radioactive debris.

      Yes, in addition to the ICBM capability of India and China, Pakistan has recently put in operation their ICBM that allows them to nuke all of Israel. Which, of course, begs the question why Israel is so concerned about a Iranian "Muslim" nuke when Pakistan already has the capability of nuking Israel.

      BTW - Saudi Arabia also has DF21C MRBM and has supposedly contracted for nuclear warheads for them - At this point in time, no one is publicly talking about WHERE those war heads are.

      All Israel's nukes are good for is committing suicide like at Masada.

    • The Israeli nukes mounted on the Jericho 3 ICBMs are worthless.

      The Russians, Chinese, Europeans and Americans will simply point out to any Israeli leader stupid enough to threaten to use them that ALL of Israel would simply disappear within minutes. Then the nations of the earth would put crippling economic blockades on Israel and starve the Israelis into submission.

      Israel has no ability to be a world leader on its own and any nation that might partner with Israel can (and will over time) simply throw it overboard after the major partner has determined that Israel is no longer useful.

      In the REAL world, Israel has no valuable assets.

      - no physical wealth (mineral, harbors, cheap labor, etc.).

      - no unique Intellectual Property that can not easily be duplicated (and improved). IP is more easily "strip mined" than physical resources.

      The bottom line is Israel can huff and puff all it wants, but in the end, it will always be a second or third tier nation.

    • Israel's future is extremely cloudy and heavily restrained due to the vast shifts in global power taking place and the technological forces that are reshaping the world.

      - Weapons are based on technology and these days due to the vast global communication network and global trade, EVERY NATION has the same access to weapons and no nation has any better weapons than any other nation. In fact, due to Israel's bias towards USA high-tech weapons (vastly over-priced), Israel actually has LESS war toys capability than its more frugal neighbors.

      - Due to global markets, personal weapons (AK-47 and equivalent) have evolved to the point that every soldier is equally capable of killing vast quantities of humans. Human protection has evolved to the point the trunk and the head (somewhat) can be protected, BUT the extremities are easily removed, causing lots of battle field "friction."

      - Due to the same market forces, the military "rock throwing capability (AKA artillery and missiles) has also evened out across the globe.

      - Today, extremely expensive military aircraft are easily destroyed by very in expensive, but very accurate missiles. In the real world "stealth" aircraft are actually very visible and vulnerable.

      - Nuclear weapons are useless, especially for a small powerless country like Israel. If Israel ever uses it nukes, it will be completely destroyed. The bigger problem is the humans that are left on earth will hunt down and punish all Jewish people in retaliation for the actions of Israel. That is, take the Islamophobia of today and multiply it by thousands.

      The reality is Israel no longer has any military "superiority" and can NEVER have it in the future.

      Israel has reached the limits of its military power and no matter how much it spends, it can NEVER improve the situation. All it can do is bankrupt its citizens.

      Note also that Israel has a social problem in that the "best and brightest" have lots of options to escape the crushing Israel taxes and over-priced goods. As it becomes more obvious to the "B&B" that Israel has a very dim future, more and more will simply leave. It is very probable that Israel's demographics will become more negative over time with fewer productive citizens paying increasing taxes toe support the military and religious fundamentalists.

      Israel has no military future and if ti wants to survive, it will need to swallow a huge amount of pride and negotiate with its neighbors.

  • Islam Hysteria: 14 yr old Muslim Student Invents Digital Clock, is Arrested
    • The rural parts of the USA are already dying due to several factors:

      - Walmart and the other big box stores have eliminated most of the economic activity that kept small towns alive.

      - Technology has eliminated most of the farm/ranch jobs (try hiring a competent real cowboy these days - it is real hard, as my late wife's family discovered on their cattle ranch). As noted by CGP Grey, technology, global communications and robots have made most humans unemployable.

      link to

      That is, very few American farm/ranch workers are needed to supply all the food needed by Americans.

      - Containerization and global trade means marginal USA farm land can't compete. As noted by Tom Scott, containers have completely changed global trade.

      link to

      Just drive across the USA on the old US-xxx highways and you will see a huge number of abandoned farms, ranches and towns as the kids of past farmers leave and are not replaced.

      The very few white people that remain in the rural areas are angry about the massive changes that are making their old way of life disappear. Rather than just adapt reality, they are striking out at their lack of future.

      Note that over 70% of Americans live in multicultural cities. As a result, eventually the cities will completely overpower the rural areas.

      To see this in action today, look at the political landscape of California. Most of the population in California is concentrated in the cities, therefor most of the land in California is nearly vacant. A few years ago, using the referendum process to side step the legislature, California minimized the ability to gerrymander the state. As a result, the low population parts of the state, with massive amounts of near vacant land, have almost zero ability to affect any political situation in the state. The cities ALWAYS WIN. This has caused large parts of the state to want to brekl apart the state so the rural parts could have some control back in their lives (this completely ignores the fact that mini Californias without the wealth of the cities would die economically).

      the bottom line is the rural areas will eventually be forced to lose all power leading to a better USA. But in the mean time as their future becomes even more scary, the underpopulated, poor states will strike out in anger.

    • It has been well documented that once information is in the national criminal database that it can not be removed.

      This is actually a MAJOR problem with all large databases because there are quite literally no humans involved with data base maintenance. Once the data is entered, the data remains because the systems have been designed to prevent data loss (which is what the systems think manual removal is). Even if a human tries to manually over-ride the system, the system will sense the "data loss" and reconstruct the data the next time the data base integrity is checked.

      This is why no matter how much you sue the credit agencies and no matter how hard they try to scrub their data to make it "accurate" after losing a law suit, the bogus data keeps coming back. The robots really have already won.

      Note also that even Security clearance checks have been heavily automated (can't be spending money on human salaries when you can just buy more robots). As a result, by the time a hiring manager gets the report, it will just be an automated result that the young man turned aspiring engineer has no way of reading let alone disputing - he just will not get the job.

      Already most large companies use Resumex or its equivalent so there is no human analysis of a job application. The computer quietly rejects 99% of all applicants and the hiring manager only sees the three to five the computer has deemed as "acceptable." This non-human selection process is supposed to avoid racial, age and other discrimination but in reality it just ensures that the "acceptable" job applicants look and act exactly like the hiring manager.

      So the likely situation for the young technology "criminal" (who will never go to trial) is that Resumex and/or the security clearance system will access the national criminal database (or its commercial equivalent - check out and reject his application without any human intervention. The only way he might get hired is if the hiring manager happens to have actually met him and manually retrieves his application from the HR robot.

      I know this all sounds terribly impersonal, but you must remember that the function of the HR department is NOT to find the magic jewel, but to make 99% of the hordes of job seekers quietly go away. It really is a culling process, not a search for greatness.

    • BTW - I have traveled all over the world with prototype equipment that often looks far scarier than what the kid made and I have NEVER had the travel security folks freak out and throw me in jail. Probably because I am a white engineering professional rather than a non-white student in racist Texas. If I can get prototype electronics in and out of China with no hassle, then a student should be able to take a electronic prototype to school without everyone freaking out.

    • @Nap very nicely demonstrates just how technologically ignorant and delusionally paranoid far too many Americans are.

      The USA would have a much better future if more kids put together electronic devices and shared them at school. Those "Internet of Things" (the computer in your toaster) will not come from American as long as people like @Nap make being innovative and scientifically curious a crime.

      There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING DANGEROUS about the small device the young man made and to think otherwise shows extreme ignorance.

      Right now I have several Embedded system prototypes in my office and in the trunk of my car is a huge box of circuit boards and other electronics stuff waiting to be dropped off at the recycling center - should I be arrested for that because some people are extremely stupid?

      The boy did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG and anyone that thinks other wise needs an education.

    • So, in Texas any non-white kid with a Raspberry Pi, Arduino or Intel Atom kit can be arbitrarily arrested for thinking while non-white?

      Since the kid's fingerprints and mug shot were taken, they are now in the national arrest data base and he will be permanently marked for the rest of his life because there IS NO WAY TO REMOVE fingerprint data from the database. Even suing the US government can not get it removed.

      As a result of now having a "record" he may never be able to get security clearance to work on many projects, including for NASA. That is, if he is lucky, he might be able to work for a US company that does no US government work, but his best chances will be to work outside the USA where intelligence is rewarded not punished.

      I hope his parents bankrupt the school district and the police force.

      When will this paranoid delusional stupidity stop?

      BTW - Anyone that doesn't know what a Raspberry Pi, Arduino or Intel Atom kit is, has a MAJOR technology problem.

      Fun Fact - a very accurate missile guidance system can be built using two or three Raspberry Pi modules (US$35 each), free software and a re-engineered GPS chip (that is, the USA height and speed restrictions have been removed) .

  • 14 Years after 9/11, US, Israel Tempted to ally with Al-Qaeda in Syria
    • "Regime change" NEVER turns out as envisioned by the people wishing for it.

      Power restructuring in any country will generally be very messy and bloody with an outcome no one envisioned.

      The USA is foolish to try to make "regime change ' happen anywhere on earth because the USA has very consistently FAILED in the end.

      - The USA forcibly changed the regime in Iran in 1955 and ended up with a very anti-USA government today.

      - The USA forcibly changed regimes all over Latin America after WW2 and now most of Latin American governments are very much anti-USA.

      The bottom line is the USA would have a far better future if it just let the locals fight it out with no interference by the USA and then deal with the aftermath in a rational manner.

      Any solution imposed on the locals will ALWAYS fail.

      Will the civil war in Syria be brutal? Yes it will because all civil wars are brutal.

      Am I saying we should just turn a blind eye to the destruction? YES, because NOTHING the USA does will matter in the end and will just make it harder for the USA to deal with the aftermath.

      One of the hardest lessons I had to learn in life is that it is often better in the long term to just let people fail miserably so they restructure their lives on their own than try to "help" them.

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