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Total number of comments: 109 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The bottom lines are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      BUT ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why the US needs Electric Cars: Saudi Arabia threatens Pivot away from US
    • The Tesla model-S sedan has a 300 mile range. That is, I can easily drive it from San Francisco to Reno, donate money to the casinos, see a show, stay overnight (recharging the car at the hotel) and drive back.

      I could also drive from Sf to LA on one charge, stay at the Disneyland hotel (overnight charge) drive around to all the theme parks, stay a second night (overnight charge) and drive back to SF. If I was worried about the charge, Tesla has a quick charge station half way between SF and LA on I-5.

      The model-S is about the same size as a Toyota Avalon/Lexus Sedan.

      As Mr Cole notes your information is over five years old.

      BTW - Tesla is also going to make the drive train for the Toyota Rav-4 Electric with similar performance.

    • Politely say goodby.

    • A less expensive alternative is to convert existing cars from gasoline or diesel to CNG since the US has huge stock piles of Natural Gas. Right now the conversion kits cost over $2000, but there is no technological reason for this (it is mostly a bunch of basic plumbing).

      Between electric cars and CNG cars, the US could mostly ignore the cost of oil (the wholesale price of oil and the wholesale price of NG are NOT coupled to each other in any way and NG is mostly a US local price, not a global price)

      Since I have spent a lot of time in Asia, I would caution the Saudis from thinking that China will be their "friend." China will be glad to EXPLOIT the Saudis until they are no longer useful and then throw them away like a used tissue. China's long pragmatic, merchant history has returned. China is not really a communist country, nor is it a real dictatorship. While the leadership is not directly elected by the entire population, the leadership is more a cooperative counsel, not really one man rule and pretty much dedicated to the good of the Chinese people.

      China's goal is to be off oil as much as possible by the 2020 to 2030 time frame. That is why they are building a whole new passenger rail system for the entire country (mostly electric) and upgrading their freight rail system to mostly electric. That is also why China has a huge solar panel production capacity.

      If the Saudis think they will be getting a new "friend" I suspect they will be surprised to learn that they will be considered just another raw material supplier to China until China no longer needs them and if the Saudis think they can stir the war pot with Chinese backing, they are in for a rude shock.

      BTW - China will not drop Iran for the Saudis, but will keep both on a short leash. The Chinese have managed their vassal states very well for 5000 years, so the Saudis are in for a "fun" ride.

  • Top 10 Ways Ted Cruz & the Tea Party Weakened America with Shutdown
    • China is probably going to set the agenda for the final agreements with Iran, not the US. The US will huff and puff and China will tell the US and Israel to shut up and sit in the corner.

      I suspect Obama will not try to fight it much since he has other more important things to deal with, but Bibi is going to go insane.

      I suspect that Bibi is not smart enough to back down when the Chinese tell him to shut up and is going to cause MAJOR problems for Israel. The Chinese are usually subtle and quiet, but if they have to, they can be direct and brutal.

      China has over 5000 years of experience dealing with small crazy groups and it is NOT pretty.

      This could get very messy real quick.

  • Top Ten Ways the US and Iran could avoid a Catastrophic War
    • Actually bill, all nuclear facilities emit tell-tale traces. Even if they are underground, the location will be well known and when any material goes in or out there will be traces that an be detected.

      The real problem is all the real world evidence does not support their irrational fears, just as all the evidence did not support all the irrational fears about Iraq.

      The bottom line is every time the US or Israel gives the IAEA "hard evidence" it always turns out to be FALSE.

      The IAEA inspectors have full access to ALL the Iranian nuclear sites, ALL (do you understand ALL?) and there is no evidence (zero, zip, nada) that there are any unreported nuclear sites.

      All of this is well documented by the IAEA.

    • Every square meter of Iran has been repeatedly inspected by CIA drones, USAF and CIA high altitude aircraft and US military and CIA satellites, all with extremely sophisticated and sensitive instruments, as well as Israeli and CIA operatives on the ground and NONE have found any trace of any "secret" Iranian nuclear program. In reality every gram of nuclear material in Iran is FULLY CONTROLLED by the IAEA.

      This is their frustration. Reality does not support their irrational delusions.

      BTW - that same spying also confirms that Iran is armed to the teeth for a US/Israeli attack and that any attack would be extremely deadly for the attacker. This is why no one in the US or Israeli military wants any attack on Iran, they know they will suffer an extremely bloody defeat.

      The only people delusional enough to want an attack on Iran are a few US and Israeli politicians.

    • BTW - IAEA rules that prohibit access to non-nuclear facilities were written by . . . wait for it . . . the USA because the USA did not want anyone to be walking through US military sites and US war toy production sites.

      If it is not OK for inspectors to wander around non-nuclear sites in the US, why should Iran have to do that?

    • I think that in the end, China is going to set the agenda and the US will be forced to comply.

      The republicans have really shot the US in the head and made the US dollar very unreliable. As a result, an entirely non-US economic system is in the process of being built and soon Iran will be able to launder all the transactions they want through China. While the US will rant and rave, the Europeans and the rest of the world will ignore the US and Israel.

      I suspect that soon the US sanctions will be irrelevant and the US will be forced to let Iran enrich to 4% all they want and Iran will volunteer to stop enriching to 20%, but will keep all the 20% uranium they already have.

      The bottom line is the US has very little to bargain with and Israel does not even have a seat at the table.

      By the time all the negotiations are done, the sanctions will be meaningless, Iran will still have a nuclear program and Bibi will suffer a complete and humiliating loss.

      And if Bib is foolish enough to ignore his military leadership, Israel will find itself completely isolated with the US standing quietly off to the side letting Israel take its lumps.

      When Israel attacks Iran, I suspect that Iran will not counter attack but will go to the UNSC and ask for crippling economic sanctions on Israel. The US will be forced to either abstain, (letting Israel get thrown to the wolves) or veto and lose all global power. After any US veto, Iran, China and Russia will invoke UNGA-377 and after winning an overwhelming vote, override the US veto and severely punish Israel. Regardless which path the US takes, it loses and China becomes the global leader by default.

  • Would Israel's Netanyahu really Drag US into war with Iran?
    • There are only 5 active dolphins each with ten total tubes, so there is very limited fire-power in the subs if non-nuclear warheads are used (I suspect that the subs do not have any non-nuclear cruise missiles loaded).

      As for the sub-launched cruise missiles, they have very limited range (less than 200 km) and very limited payload capacity - they can have either very small conventional explosive capability (several square blocks) or very small nuclear capability (several square miles and lots of crap into the atmosphere).

      In reality, without using nukes, Israel has very limited capacity to damage Iran other than to kill several thousand humans.

      Also the air strikes will be mostly ineffective, except killing thousands of innocent humans. Israel has about 400 F-15 and F-16 aircraft, which have limited bomb load capacity and limited fuel range, even with in-flight refueling, the aircraft can not carry very big bomb loads, so damage from each aircraft will be minimal and as much as 65% of the attacking aircraft will be blown from the sky by Iran. Note: Israel does NOT have any aircraft capable of carrying a "bunker-buster" which rely on a massive explosive capacity in an extremely heavy case.

      Any attack on Iran will be ineffective and could be extremely costly to Israel in losses of aircraft and pilots and possibly sunk subs.

    • Georgia may be somewhat willing, but any attempt by Israel to attack Iran via Georgia just may see a lot of Israeli jets blown out of the sky by Russian S-300, S-400 and S-500 systems that are ringed around Georgia.

      Right about now, I think Putin is in no mood for any crap from Israel or Georgia and would shoot first and tell Israel to go f*** itself after.

    • Joe - While Iran could easily attack US outposts around the world after being attacked by Israel, I suspect they will not unless there is real proof the US helped.

      Iran, with the backing of Russia and China could very easily put the US in a terrible box in the UN, further weakening the US. The US would be forced to either abstain on a UNSC resolution severely punishing Israel (throwing Israel to the wolves) or veto it and destroy all its diplomatic capability. Then Iran, Russia and China would simply use UNGA-377 to over-ride the US veto and further isolate the US. Note that UNGA-377 was designed to over-ride a USSR veto and humiliate them, so Russia would gleefully use the US "weapon" against the US.

      I think that Iran has thought long and hard about what to do when Israel or the US attacks and I suspect they will go for maximum LONG TERM damage to the US and Israel rather than an immediate blind strike. Iran has more than enough missiles that will not be damaged in any attack, so they can afford to torture the US for a few months before striking, if necessary. While Iran can easily destroy all the Mideast oil terminals, since is no practical way for those oil terminals to be protected, they will still be as vulnerable a few weeks after any Israel attack as they are today.

      When Israel attacks, it may damage parts of Iran and kill thousands to millions of Iranians, but in the long term Israel will lose everything. If the US is smart enough to throw Israel to the wolves immediately, it might make it through OK, but any attempt by the US to shield Israel will severely damage the US for decades.

      Note that there is NO US treaty in place with Israel. All there is, is an informal "gentleman's" agreement, which can easily be walked away from. As for those that worry about the US "breaking its word," they should note that during the 200+ years the US has existed, it has "broken its word" almost constantly and screwed over each and every "friend" it has ever had. If the US throws Israel to the wolves, it would be normal and proper behavior for the US (as well as all other countries).

  • Israeli Nuclear & other Arms compared to Iran's
    • Israel’s Samson Option has three components:

      - Medium range ballistic missiles - the Jericho-3 has a range of about 4000 to 6000 km (~3500 miles). The jericho-2 range is much less (3000 km - 1800 miles).

      - Aircraft launched bombs and cruise missiles - the aircraft have very limited ranges without in-light refueling and the weight of either the nuclear bomb or cruise missile causes really bad fuel usage.

      - Sea launched cruise missiles - In both the aircraft delivery and sea delivery of cruise missiles, the launch platform must be within 100 km of the target since the cruise missiles have a very limited range. Israel has five active Dolphin subs and each Sub has 6 (533 mm) and 4 (650 mm) launch tubes. In addition to the ten tubes there is limited space for additional torpedoes or cruise missiles. I suspect that Dolphins are primarily cruise missile launch platforms and may have zero torpedoes. I do not thing dolphins are intended to be used as anti-ship systems.

      - Cruise missiles have very severe weight and size restrictions that limit both the payload and range. If the payload is too heavy, the range is too short. If they go for more range, they have to decrease the size of the payload decreasing the destruction power (yes, I know that even a "small" nuke causes terrible devastation and long term atmospheric damage, but small nukes can cause less deaths). Per the published documents all of Israel's cruise missile have less than 200 KM range.

      So the bottom line is Israel can not really do anything substantial to China if China decided to use its ICBMs to eliminate Israel in retaliation for Israel contaminating China's major food production areas in the south.

      After China got done destroying Israel all that would be left would be the Dolphins which would be on the run trying to hide from just about every navy on earth. The dolphins would not find any sanctuary on earth except maybe the US, but US naval bases that could protect the dolphins would be a long distance away from Israel and the dolphins would be very low on diesel real quick. Note that after millions of deaths caused by Israel, the US might not even be willing to do anything more than let the Dolphins surrender to the US and then let the crews be tried as war criminals and executed.

      In the end Israel's Samson option, while causing massive death will end up being a suicide mission that gets every Jewish person on earth killed, not just the less than half that live in Israel. And after the Jewish culture is destroyed, the surviving humans will go on with life not caring that the Jewish culture was gone, just like the Romans and most of the earth do not care one bit about Masada.

    • Your caution is very reasonable.

      It is estimated that Israel could lose as many as 65% of any aircraft they send to attack Iran. Not only does Iran have thousands of short range hypersonic anti-aircraft missiles batteries, but Iran also has several operational S-300 clone batteries (Iran got an S-300 system from a third party and cloned it).

      You are correct that Israel could be stupid enough to then try to use nukes, but that would very probably make things very bad for Israel.

      Whenever a nuclear air burst happens millions of tons of very bad contaminates are created. Those contaminants travel with the winds and rain down on other countries. What countries are "down wind" of Iran?

      - China which happens to be a nuclear power with more than enough capacity to completely remove Israel from the earth and still be able to tell the US to shut up and sit down.

      - India which happens to be a nuclear power with more than enough capacity to completely remove Israel from the earth. India does not have the capability to attack the US but could make life for the US very bad anyway.

      - Pakistan is also a nuclear power but does not CURRENTLY have the missile technology to attack Israel. But if they are angry enough, who knows who they would give nukes to for "hand delivery" to Israel.

      - Japan - not a nuclear power but would be screaming at the US to defang Israel by force.

      - The USA - Yes after less than a week, all that radioactive junk would be contaminating the US west coast agriculture - a major world and US food source. I am sure US consumers will be thrilled with Israel right about then.

      I suspect that after a day or so of the US trying to protect Israel, the US would throw Israel to the wolves if China had not already eliminated it.

      The bottom line that Israelis do not like to hear is that Israel can NOT win in any confrontation with Iran. Sure Israel can easily kill as many as several million Iranians, but that will just ensure that Israel will never be safe because the Iranians that survive and many of their fellow Muslims around the world will swear a forever blood oath against Jews. It might take them a few years, but in the end, they would succeed. In the real world, Israel can only make their lives much worse.

    • Iran's military strategy since the 1980s has been entirely defensive and can easily be seen by the types and quantity of weapons they buy or design. Look at where Iran has spent their money.

      - after finally defeating Saddam after a long war they were very unprepared for, Iran focused on how to make any future US attack on Iran very costly for the US.

      - Iran looked at the very costly "western" weapons strategies and decided to figure out a way to have lots of inexpensive but reasonably usable weapons.

      - That is why their submarines are small - they can operate where US subs and ships can not operate. Then they equipped their "light weight" subs with very sophisticated super-cavitation torpedoes for which the US has no defense.

      - The same with anti-aircraft defense. They worked with Chinese engineers to develop hypersonic missiles for which he US has no defenses. They "acquired" an S-300 system from a third party and cloned it even before Russia withdrew the sale.

      As you look at each weapon system Iran has, they have concentrated on figuring out where the US is weak and developing weapons that can swarm the US systems, causing their defenses to fail.

      Iran MRBM were developed to provide retaliation strike capability against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Note that Iran already has the capability to land very large explosive conventional warheads on Israel.

      As for the war simulations, they were reported in non-US press several years ago and I did not bookmark the original sources. The simulations did point out the use of the swarm technique with low cost, but reasonably deadly systems. The swarm technique is used because every US military defense system has very real (and often very small) limits on how many threats they can handle. Once a US attack system is overwhelmed it can easily be destroyed by relatively simple devices. This is why Iran can sink US ships of the line with a dozen or more fast speed boats (filled with explosives). While the ship may get some of them, some will always get through and put big holes in the ships.

    • What many of the comparisons ignore is that thousands of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles trump a single very, expensive aircraft and pilot.

      These days, it is easy to make hundreds and possibly thousands of missiles for the cost of one single aircraft, pilot and overhead.

      A missile consists of four basic components all of which are now inexpensive and readily available:

      - Propulsion chemicals - well documented

      - Propulsion fire chamber and nozzle - well documented and can be built by any competent machine shop (the Nazis made V2s in primitive shops with slave labor)

      - Explosive warhead - well documented

      - flight control system - well documented and easy to build for less than US$1000. A flight control system primarily consists of a position determination chip (GPS), a single board computer, and operating system and guidance applications. All of these are very low cost or free thanks to the Open Source community.

      So the reality is the 400 or so aircraft that Israel has are not really a game changer when Iran has thousands of very accurate anti-aircraft missiles to blow them from the sky.

      Just as all the US "magic" military hardware failed miserably in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli military is not as formidable as they think they are and Iran packs a bigger sting than most people acknowledge.

      The bottom line is any war would be foolish and would not accomplish what Israel thinks it will. In fact it could lead to massive, humiliating defeat for Israel and the US. I have heard about three war simulations and in all three the US LOST very badly.

  • Iran's Rouhani: Not Seeking the Bomb, Willing to show Flexibility
    • Some "inconvenient" things to keep in mind that both American and Israeli MILITARY leaders appear to know ...

      - Iran has very sophisticated air defense systems, including clones of the Russian S-300 (Even before Russia backed out of the sale, Iran got a complete system from a third party and cloned it). The S-300 has a range of about 100 miles and can intercept aircraft, UAVs and cruise missiles.

      - Israel has only five active subs and each has only four tubes to launch cruise missiles. Each cruise missile has a range of about 900 miles. Given the severe space limits on a Dolphin sub, it is likely that each sub has only four cruise missiles.

      - As much as 65% of any aircraft/cruise missiles that enter Iranian airspace could be destroyed. That is, the "second wave" will be tiny.

      - Israel has about 400 F-15 and F-16 aircraft with limited range and limited bomb load capacity. None can carry a "bunker buster" bomb.

      - Iran has between 200 and 500 MRBM that can reach Israel, plus per the IDF's own published reports, there are more than 50,000 short range missiles pointed at Israel by Israel's neighbors. "Iron Dome" and the other anti-projectile system can intercept a MAXIMUM of 1000 incoming objects, that leaves a lot of destruction raining on Israel.

      - Given the sophistication of the current government in Iran, I suspect that if Israel attacks, Iran will NOT retaliate militarily but go to the UN for severe economic sanctions on Israel(basically bankrupting the country since Israel has no oil income). While the US would try to protect Israel, it would eventually have to throw Israel under the bus or see the US economy dragged under. Russia, Iran and China could invoke UNGA-377, isolating the US and Israel completely.

      - There have been at least three very sophisticated simulations of war between Iran and the US/Israel that I know of. These were done in the US, Israel and Europe. ALL ended up with the US and Israel losing very badly. In all the scenarios, the US lost many warships, including at least one carrier. Israel lost almost their entire fleet of aircraft.

      The bottom lies are ...

      - Almost none of the US and Israeli military leaders want to attack Iran because it is very probably they will suffer major losses.

      - If Iran actually wants nuclear weapons, there is absolutely NOTHING the US or Israel can do to stop them, NOTHING.

      - It appears to me that Obama realizes that the US can not "win" in any sense of the word with Iran and is trying to get the best deal he can while keeping Israel muzzled.

      - When all is said and done, Iran will have a nuclear program and no regime change and Israelis will be very angry but unable to do anything about their anger.

      - The US is going to have to throw Israel under the bus if it wants to avoid a terrible future.

  • Top Ten things Americans need to Know about Syria if they're going to Threaten to Bomb It
    • If Obama attacks without an OK from the congress critters, he will be handing the republicans the best reason possible to impeach him and remove him from office, which is what they have wanted to do since the day a non-white person was elected to POTUS.

      Considering that after the first attack, things will very probably get really ugly (and costly) for the US, the republicans might be able to get a lot more than the 22 additional votes they would need to convict Obama in the Senate (getting the 218 votes to indict Obama is a slam dunk in the House).

      Given that the entire house is up for election in a little over a year, it is doubtful that a war resolution could pass the house since a clear majority of Americans do not want any attack.

    • Considering that Aum Shinrikyo MADE the Sarin gas they used to attack people in the Tokyo subway, any "concerns" about al Qaeda getting Sarin from Syria are spurious at best.

      If al Qaeda wants Sarin, the components are daily available.

  • A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War
    • Some simple realities about "modern" warfare that everyone seems to ignore ...

      - Most command and control systems are designed to absorb heavy bombardment and continue to operate.

      - communication links are based on TCP/IP running over multi-path fibre networks. That is, the survivability of ARPAnet improved. Those that weren't on the original ARPAnet (I was) do not seem to understand the redundancy built into the design so it could survive a massive war.

      - Missiles are extremely inexpensive, plentiful and reasonably accurate, but while military sites are hardened, civilian sites are not. As a result US missiles will destroy mostly non-military sites. It no longer takes a "rocket scientist" to make a rocket - all the technology is well documented and inexpensive. A reasonably accurate guidance system can be made with several US$35 Raspberry Pi modules and and a few other US$2 chips.

      - Everyone has an AK-47 (1947 technology) or equivalent so lots of humans will die. Per CJ Chiver's book "The Gun" (a very good read) there are over 100 MILLION AK-47 type weapons on earth, with thousands more being made each and every day of the week. By now the total is probably closer to 150 million and increasing.

      - IEDs are extremely effective and very, very inexpensive to make. The components can be purchased at any big-box store.

      The bottom line is the US has only two options:

      - ignore Syria and let the situation play out over time like all civil wars do, or

      - Get sucked down the rabbit hole and invade Syria with half a million troops who will get killed by everyone in Syria. Eventually those troops will be force to withdraw in humiliation and defeat.

      The US has simple choice - smart = ignore or stupid = rabbit hole.

  • Wall Street has a Cow as Town uses Eminent Domain to Help Homeowners avoid Foreclosure (Lazare)
    • I wonder if the banks realize that if they sue Richmond, they will make every executive in the bank a target for the witness stand and that all of their internal communication would be subject to discovery.

      After Richmond gets done with discovery and starts roasting the executives alive on the witness stand, I wonder how quickly the banks will fold and slink off into the night?

      I wonder how long the CEO of BoA would last on the stand when he has to tell the truth or plead the fifth?

  • "Whoever Speaks of 1967 borders speaks of Auschwitz": Israel Cabinet not Serious about talks on a Palestinian State
    • If the US is concerned about Israel and China, it shouldn't be.

      While Israelis seem to think that China will be their next big brother, replacing the increasingly unreliable US, it just shows how extremely ignorant they are about China.

      China is ONLY interested in doing one thing - strip mining Israel for technology and IP. Once China has extracted all it can from Israel it will simply walk away. In a country where Mao killed over 60 million people, the Nazis killing of only 4 to 6 million Jews is meaningless.

      And while Chinese engineers don't get the PR Israeli engineers get, they are just as good as Israeli engineers and there are millions more of them.

      If Israelis think that China is their next big market, they might want to re-think that after talking to the many, many US firms that thought the same thing. Chinese people prefer to buy Chinese products ftom Chinese companies. Chinese law prevents any non-Chinese company from owning more than 49% of any joint venture (and they are ALL joint ventures) with the Chinese partner having the option of buying out the "partner" at any time for whatever price the Chinese partner thinks is "fair."

      China will NOT be Israel's savior.

    • If Israel attempted to ethnically cleanse the West Bank, it would ignite a war that would destroy Israel. The US would be forced to either defend the Israeli genocide or step back and let Israel be punished. I doubt if there are very many Americans that would be willing to die for Israel, so I suspect the US would back off.

      Israel can not win a massive war.

    • Another change in warfare ... the Merkavas are extremely vulnerable to a wide variety of inexpensive handheld and subsurface weapons. Note that the US lost tanks and many other vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even MRAPS which are designed to deflect blasts have been destroyed.

      The reality is that there will eventually be an invasion, but before that happens Israel will be pounded for weeks by missiles leaving only rubble and a small number of Israelis willing to fight to the death with hand weapons.

    • It does NOT matter what Israel's borders are if there is war because tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?)of very inexpensive, but destructive missiles will simply fly over whatever border Israel claims. Israel is so tiny, thousands of missiles will simply destroy the entire infrastructure and economy, causing a majority of the population to flee (like all humans do in war zones). Note that the IDF has publicly said that there are over 50,000 missiles pointed at Israel. Basic physics and economics says that over 80% of those missiles will hit population centers in the next war (anti-missile systems are HUGE waste of wealth). The world is awash in inexpensive, destructive weapons that are equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. NONE of the "magic" SciFi weapons Israelis claim to have, exist or are simply science toys in some lab with no real-world capability. Israel has quite simply reached the very real, hard limits of their military belligerence and is very likely to badly LOSE the next war. All those that claim that the IDF is "invincible" are ignoring 10,000 years of history that clearly shows that every military that has ever existed has eventually suffered humiliating total defeat. None have survived. The ONLY long term option Israel has for survival is a NEGOTIATED peace agreement, where Israel is going to have to give up lots of land, water, cash for compensation and apologies for everything they have done for the last 65+ years (they are going to have to eat a lot of humble pie). The Israeli ego is going to have to take a big hit for Israel to survive. Any Israeli that thinks Israel can sustain the "might makes right" past is just flat out paranoid delusional. Dreams die hard, but most of the Israeli dreams will have to be put to death for Israel to survive.

  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
  • Texas Near-Ban on Abortion foiled by People's 'Gallery Filibuster'
    • The puzzling thing to me, is why republicans think that banning abortion is a "win" for them.

      - They are alienating a significant number of women voters. They are pretty much writing off over a third of all voters, not a good thing to do when every vote counts.

      - They are alienating a significant number of voters under 35, which are their potential future base. While about half of the under 35 are women who would be included in the item above, half are men, meaning they are now writing off almost half of the voters.

      - They are alienating the non-religious and marginal religious who now make up well over half the voters. The Evangelical churches are losing members at a fast rate due to many people not liking the "fire and brimstone" and thousands of Boomers dying everyday. Even in Texas, the Evangelicals are less than 25% of the population and most of those are rural. Most of the voters in the big population centers are NOT evangelical.

      When the numbers are added up, it rapidly shows being anti-abortion is NOT a winning strategy for long term growth of the republican party.

      So why are they doing it?

      Any sane, corrupt politician that wants to stay on the gravy train should be able to understand that republicans need to throw the social conservative overboard and move the party to the center to survive, so why don't they do it?

  • The Coming Israeli-Russian War?
    • Russia can easily project both conventional and nuclear force into the Middle east. Remember they have lots of TU-95 and TU-160 long range bombers that can easily reach the US, so bombing Israel is NOT a problem. Russia also has lots of cruise missiles, MRBM that can reach Israel and ICBMs. Russia has all the long range military capability the US and China have.

      If Israel responds to a conventional bombing by Russia with nuclear force, Israel will disappear within hours and the US will be forced to either have nuclear war with Russia and China or sit down and shut up. I suspect that Americans will choose to live and will sit down and shut up, rationalizing that the Israelis were fools to attack Russia.

      Israel has only one option, sit down and shut up because using any force against Russia will be met with even more force. Russia is vastly more powerful than Israel and Russia is NOT afraid of the US. Israel has reached the limits of their military and is now in a deep hole.

      Unfortunately the Israeli Hubris is enormous and they delusionally think they can control the entire world, so they just may be foolish enough to attack Russia.

    • When Iran could not get an S-300 system directly from Russia, they "acquired" one from another source and have cloned it. The early production systems are currently in final test and should be deployed soon.

      And yes, the S-300 systems in Syria will, per the IDF, cover Lebanon, Syria and northern Israel. This means whatever flies over northern Israel will be tracked. Depending on the version of the S-300 in use, an S-300 can typically track 100+ objects in real time and target a significant portion of those. In practical terms, this will mean civilian aircraft taking off from Ben Gurion airport will will have use runway 26 (to the west) or make a sharp right turn to the south if they use runway 08 (east), to avoid appearing to be a military aircraft. The sharp right turn off runway 08 might cause some larger aircraft to get close to Jordanian airspace. Note that Ben Gurion is a shared civilian/military airport, but the military uses runways 03 (north-east) and 21 (south-west). I suspect that Rosh Pina Airport (in the north) might have to be shut down, but the amount of traffic is very small (less than 16,000 passengers in 2011). The rest of Israel's civilian airports are on the coast or further south.

      Another problem for Israel may be the huge increases in insurance premiums for any plane that flies into Ben Gurion now. Many of the non-Israeli carriers may have to re-think whether Israel is an economically viable destination. Just having the S-300 system active in Syria and that area being a war zone, may significantly decrease the ability of people to fly into or out of Israel (effectively a defacto partial economic blockade of Israel).

      Multiple S-300 system in Syria will indeed handcuff Israel.

    • Per numerous non-US sources, it appears that the first S-300 system is on the ground in Syria.

      Note that the systems are self contained and it takes a Russian crew less than 30 minutes to make it operational.

      It is very likely that an S-300 system is already operational in Syria.

    • Per NATO test with a "borrowed" older version S-300, YES.

      Remember, Israel is used to having complete control of the skies and when Israeli aircraft and pilots start falling from the sky it will cause massive social problems in Israel.

    • The rhetoric coming out of Israel reminds me of the rhetoric coming out of Georgia just before Russia whacked Georgia.

      Just like the leader of Georgia, the Israeli leadership has massive ego problem and think that they can make Russia back down, but they appear to forget a few things:

      - Russia is not afraid of Israel or its nuclear weapons. If Israel attacks Russia with conventional weapons, Russia will counterattack Israel and devastate the country. If Israel tries to nuke Russia, Israel will be entirely gone within minutes. Russia is much more powerful than Israel and is perfectly willing to use that power.

      - Russia is not afraid of the US. If Israel starts a war with Russia, the US will have to quickly decide just how badly the US wants to lose, because any type of war with Russia would destroy the US economy. I suspect that in the end, the US will have to walk away and let Israel suffer the consequences of their actions.

      BTW - When the US walks away, there will be stunned silence in Israel because they think they own the US lock, stock and barrel.

  • Revenge of the Bear: Russia Strikes Back in Syria (Cole @ Truthdig)
    • @ JTMcPhee - The reality is nukes are almost worthless.

      Israel actually has no one they can nuke that will not cause a response that will end the state of Israel. In effect if Israel uses any of their nukes, they will be committing suicide.

      - If Israel nukes Lebanon, they will contaminate their own food supplies and citizens. There is also a probability that other, more powerful nations may take revenge on Israel on behalf of the Lebanese.

      - If Israel nukes Syria, they will contaminate their own food supplies and citizens. There is also a probability that other, more powerful nations may take revenge on Israel on behalf of the Syrians.

      - If Israel nukes Jordan, they will contaminate their own food supplies and citizens. There is also a probability that other, more powerful nations may take revenge on Israel on behalf of the Jordanians.

      - If Israel nukes Egypt, they will contaminate their own food supplies and citizens. There is also a probability that other, more powerful nations may take revenge on Israel on behalf of the Egyptians.

      - If Israel nukes Gaza or the West Bank, they will be directly committing suicide, although it is doubtful that any other, more powerful nations will take revenge on Israel, because no one on earth cares about the Palestinians (for example the Saudis could fix this problem overnight by forcing the US and Europe to whack Israel).

      - Israel might be able to nuke Iran or Iraq without immediate contamination, but down-wind of both countries are three nuclear powers that will probably be really upset with Israel after having their citizens and food supplies contaminated. Note that after a week or so that same contamination would hit the US west coast agriculture - I wonder how Americans will like that?

      - If Israel nuked Saudi Arabia, it would be all over for every Jew on earth as almost 2 billion Muslims would be looking for every Jew to get their revenge, even though over half the Jews on earth do not live in Israel nor are responsible for any foolishness that Israel does.

      - If Israel nuked anywhere in Europe, it would get nuked in return. Same goes for nuking Russia or China.

      - past this point the list get ridiculous.

      In reality, nukes are pretty much only good for one thing - committing suicide.

    • Israel has reached the limits of their military and does not know what to do.

      Anyone that has read Sun Tzu's definitive 3000 year old document on power, could have told Israel that they were going down a dead end that would cause them to have a dreadful future.

      Because Israel has relied on extreme belligerence for over 60 years, they have no way to easily change direction and use diplomacy. Their political culture has locked them into constant war, but as Tom Friedman has correctly pointed out, the world is FLAT when it comes to technology and information, meaning Israel no longer has any edge when it comes to warfare (no matter what they think), since all weapons system are based on technology - Technology that everyone on earth has.

      Today, it is incredibly easy for any country to build thousands of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles or buy them on the open market. Thousands of inexpensive missiles make extremely expensive, manned aircraft functionally obsolete, while IEDs that can be made from stuff purchased on the web or at Walmart have made armored vehicles obsolete.

      As Israel's neighborhood changes, their future is becoming more and more questionable, especially since the US has lost all power to influence the rest of the world (more beacuae of GWB, not Obama, although Obama has done his share).

  • How America Became a Third World Country (Kramer & Comerford)
    • The USA is actually two countries ...

      ~75% of the population, living on less than 25% of the land, is fairly progressive and not religious.

      ~25% of the population, living on ~75% of the land is mostly white, racist, fake religious (complete hypocrites), socially conservative and losing power fast.

      The basic problem is the Constitution and subsequent rules in congress were written to allow the regressive minority to set the agenda. This was somewhat OK while everyone in congress was willing to negotiate compromise. Now the minority is seeing their power being taken away so they have decided to use a scorched earth policy to hang on as long as possible. As the Boomers die off, the minority power base will rapidly shrink.

      The majority has been slow to respond to the power grab from the minority, partially because of delusional disbelief (witness Harry Reid actually swallowing the BS from the republicans about the filibuster).

      Because power constantly shifts around the globe and in countries, I am somewhat optimistic that eventually the majority will get control back and many of the worst problems caused by the minority will get fixed.

      Note that California has finally neutered the republicans and the state is on its way to fiscal health with adequate services for most citizens.

  • Why Obama doesn't want to intervene in Syria
    • Regardless who eventually rules Syria, I can GUARANTEE these things:

      - the Syrian people and the government will hate the US.

      - the Syrian people and the government will hate Israel.

      - the Syrian people and the government will eventually forcibly take back the Golan from Israel.

      It is also likely that the government will be friendly with Lebanon and maybe even Iran.

      Obama is smart to stay out and in fact should publicly tell the congress critters that want intervention they are fools and it can not be done in any way, shape or form.

      Obama should tell anyone that wants intervention that he will give them an AK-47, thousands of rounds of ammo and a free one-way ticket to Syria. He should really force Graham hand and publicly shame him.

      Unfortunately, Obama is a wimp and completely incapable of playing hard ball.

  • How Washington Dropped the Ball on N Korean Nukes while Obsessing about Iran (McShane)
    • The reality is Israel's nukes are pretty much worthless.

      Who exactly can Israel nuke without making their own situation much worse?

      - If Israel nukes Lebanon, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes Syria, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes Jordan, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes Gaza, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes the West Bank, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes Egypt, it will contaminate its own people and food supplies and cause extreme anger around the world.

      - If Israel nukes Iraq or Iran there will be no direct contamination of Israel, BUT down-wind of both countries are three NUCLEAR POWERS and lots of US citizens (and eventually the winds blow on the US west coast). China, Pakistan and India are NOT going to be very happy about having their people and food supplies contaminated by Israel, and China is NOT afraid of the US, so China could decide to attack Israel in retaliation - Israel would lose badly in any war with China and the US would have to choose between losing a war to China or sitting down and shutting up - I suspect that Americans will not choose to die for Israel.

      - If Israel nukes Saudi Arabia, over 1.5 BILLION Muslims would be looking for every Jews on earth, not just Israelis, to get their revenge. The US would be unable to protect more than a few thousand Jews, if that.

      So who else could Israel attack with nukes?

      - Russia? Russia would simply destroy Israel.

      - Europe? Europe would simply destroy Israel.

      - The list gets pretty ridiculous after this point.

      The bottom line is, unless Israelis want to commit suicide, their nukes are worthless. The nukes will not even prevent conventional weapon attacks.

      I suspect I am not the only one to figure out Israel can never use its nukes unless it wants to die in a blaze of glory, therefore the likelihood of a massive conventional attack on Israel increases daily as Israel's ACTIONS alienation more and more humans and the US power decreases.

      Given that over the last 10,000 years exactly ZERO military have remained undefeated, maybe it is time for Israel to realize that it can not keep the land by force and needs to negotiate a fair agreement to have any hope of a future.

      Yes, Israel will have to give up lots of land, water, wealth (money for compensation) and apologies for all their past ACTIONS, but at least it will have a future. The path Israel is on right now has no future.

  • Palestine PM Fayyad Resigns, a Victim of Israeli and US funding cut-off and backlash against Austerity
    • Just who do Americans think will replace Abbas when he leaves in the near future after many years of utter failure?

      Hint: it will not be a "moderate."

      As for the Israelis, they need to remember that old cliche ... "be really careful what you wish for."

      Once the PLO disappears because of powerlessness, the Arabs are NOT going to simply disappear, but be even more radicalized.

      The bottom line is the Israelis ACTIONS are sending Israel down a suicidal path. Eventually the Israelis are going to step over the edge of the cliff and discover too late that they are going to crash into the rocks and the US can not and will not try to save it.

  • Israeli Right: Obama Undermined Netanyahu, Endangers Israel with Call for Palestinian State
    • Bill, No country, not the US, not the UK, not China, not Israel, not any country, has a "right to exist."

      political groupings of humans (we often use the term country) simply exist until they do not.

      While mankind has pretty much agreed INDIVIDUAL HUMANS have a "right to exist" there is no such right for groupings of humans.

      If some humans want the entity called Israel to exist, then they had better figure out how to get along with the people that live in the same neighborhood. If Israeli can not figure out how to live by the neighborhood rules, the last 10,000 years of history shows that the neighbors will eventually make them leave no matter how much Israelis think they have some "right" to be there.

      This is the hard reality that all the rhetoric tries to obscure, "might makes right" ALWAYS FAILS eventually. A bunch of Europeans invaded the ME during and after WW2 against the wishes of the natives and they are now paying the price for the arrogance of that invasion. You can try to cloak that invasion in all sorts of fancy language about "rights" but in the end it was just brute force and eventually in the flow of history such moves usually get reversed.

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • Look at the paranoia of John Foster Dulles.

    • The US had a bad habit after WW2 of trying to perpetuate the colonial brutality of the British, French and others.

      - The US tried to take over for the French in Vietnam after supporting the Vietnamese in their fight against the Japanese.

      - The US took over from the Brits in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and much of the middle east.

      - The US took over from the French in Lebanon.

      The bottom line is the US tried to continue the empires of the Brits, French and others after the old empires started to fall apart. As a result, the hatred for the Brits, French and other colonial powers just got transferred to the US. Most of this was because of the paranoia of John Foster Dulles that thought that if the US let the former colonies be independent, they would become "communist" and join with the soviet union in opposition to the US. This just illustrates that JFD had no understanding that the former colonies just wanted to be free of all control, not throw off one type of control for another (soviet union).

      At this point in time, the BEST thing the US could do is stop trying to suppress nationalist feelings in the former colonies and let them choose how they want to live.

  • WaPo says Gasoline Price Increase Mysterious, Ignores US blockade of Iran Oil!
    • WaPo (and most Americans) are living in the past when there was much more oil than demand. Also, WaPo (and most Americans) are completely clueless about Asia in general and China in particular. I suspect that less than 1% of Americans realize that for other than a two hundred year period (1800s and 1900s), China was a MAJOR global power for over 5000 years and it is now progressing rapidly by making a five hundred year leap in less than 50 years. Note that for most of that 5000 years, China had a very innovative, entrepreneurial and vibrant "Merchant" (middle) class. Because Americans are so blind to their own failings, they can not comprehend just how innovative China is and how much energy China needs.

      BTW - the production data for Saudi Arabia for the last 15 years clearly indicates that the Saudis are either at or past peak oil production, so it is impossible for the Saudis to help cover global shortfalls.

      Until Americans start interacting with the real world instead of the fictional worlds they have conjured up, they will continue top be surprised.

      Note though that the neocons only care about one thing, the supremacy of Israel, regardless how much the US gets damaged in the process. The good news is the neocons are blind to the fact that US "support" for Israel is very shallow and once Americans realize that Israel is harming them, Americans will throw Israel overboard in a heartbeat. Israelis are also living in a delusional world and will be shocked at how fast and viciously Americans will turn on them.

      Things could get real interesting soon.

  • On How Americans are being Gouged and Made more Unequal by the Internet Monopolies (Moyers Video Interview)
    • For some reason, the MSM has no desire to report on the vast difference between the US internet infrastructure and the rest of the world.

      Since I do technology consulting all over the globe, I am well aware just how bad and how costly US internet service is.

      It is particularly frustrating when I see the low prices of terminal equipment. A used, 48 port DSLAM can be purchased on eBay for as little as US$ 600 (US$ 12.50/port)

    • The "Internet effect" is all around you, but like most people you fail to see it because it is very subtle and the changes have taken place over a somewhat long period.

      I have been on the Internet since 1974 so may be more aware of the sociological and economic changes brought about by the Internet.

      The Internet has brought wealth to many, from the usual suspects of internet entrepreneurs to farmers in Africa that can now sell their products direct to wholesalers in Europe instead of to local price gougers. There are many, many examples where better communication and information resources has vastly improved many lives, especially in the countries that have chosen to treat the Internet as a national resource and forced local communications vendors to provide high quality service at reasonable prices.

      Basically most countries other than the US have discovered that having an extensive and high quality communications infrastructure provides the basis for many improvements to the lives of the people in the country.

      The internet has also improved the rate of innovation as scientists, engineers, doctors and other professionals around the globe can now collaborate in near real-time on discoveries. When my late wife got cancer, her oncologist and I used the Internet to discover the latest research on her illness. In the past, this information would not have been available to us. While we did not find any better treatment, it helped us avoid doing things that would have just caused pain with no help.

      While the Internet can be a great toy, it also means I can provide consultation to clients all over the world without spending my life on airplanes.

      Just the fact we are able to have a better understanding of the world by reading this web site, is an example of the benefits of the Internet.

      As transportation costs increase over the next few years, the Internet will allow a better exchange of goods.

      P.S. - Yes, I have really been on the Internet for over 35 years - I was lucky to attend one of the universities that helped start up the Internet and then worked for two companies that were also part of the original network. I used the original Mosaic web browser long before "normal" people did.

    • Susan Crawford gets some of the details wrong.

      - The fibre, twisted pair and coaxial copper networks are NOT expensive to build, because over 85% is ALREADY built and paid for (actually most of it has been paid for several times over because of arcane tax and regulatory laws).

      - Virtually all of the backbone copper has already been replaced by fibre because fibre is more cost effective in the backbone. This fibre paid for itself via lower maintenance costs within three years AND was also used as a tax deduction for ten years (in other words, it has been paid for multiple times).

      - While it can be very expensive to change the last few hundred feet of twisted pair or coaxial copper to fibre, it is NOT technologically necessary, since short distance of copper can carry very high bandwidth. Copper's problem is the loss over long distance. For example, many business offices have no problem delivering 100 MBPS over several hundred feet of copper.

      - The cost of a fibre to copper terminal device is less than US$25/port - a ONE TIME COST. These terminal devices can easily be installed on every street corner to provide high capacity bandwidth to homes and businesses (which is exactly what most other countries are doing).

      - All telco and cable central offices have vast amounts of excess space since most of the buildings were built prior to 1960, so there is plenty of room for very inexpensive fire equipment.

      The bottom lines are:

      - the cost of the fibre/copper from the telco/cable central office to a home or business is US$ 0.00/month for over 85% of the US since it has already been paid for multiple times.

      - The cost of the fibre/copper terminal device at the curb, spread over 36 months is LESS than US$ 1.00/month.

      - The cost to run the data switches (shared by all internet users) is leas than US$ 3.00/month.

      - The cost to provide the CEO a big jet and a luxurious life style while screwing Americans is about US$ 50/month.

      The reality is the actual cost to provide wired broadband service is less than US$ 5.00/month, including a reasonable profit.

      Note that wireless data is a different story because converting to LTE wireless data does require a complete rebuilding of the physical wireless network, but the cost of the LTE equipment is not so high as to require extremely high wireless bills.

      BUT note that even with LTE, the wireless data service will fail in a few years due to basic physics and Shannons Law. It is physically impossible to provide LTE data service to every human on earth, especially in metro areas.

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • What will we do about gun violence?

      Absolutely nothing.

      What could we do about gun violence?

      - Better health care where mental problems are identified and treated early and often. It will cost money but it is money well spent.

      - Use the laws of physics and chemistry to define acceptable and unacceptable weapons ...

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

      -o- weapon should be designed so that it can not be modified to fire more than one projectile every 30 seconds. If the design can be "worked around," the CEO of the manufacturer goes to jail for ten years.

      -o- The weapon should be designed such that it can not fire more than four projectiles before reloading and the design should make it impossible to add a larger capacity. If the design can be "worked around," the CEO of the manufacturer goes to jail for ten years.

      -o- The mass of the projectile should be severely restricted such that projectiles with too much mass are prohibited and anyone possessing such a prohibited projectile is presumed guilty and goes to jail for ten years.

      -o- The energy used to propel the projectile should be severely restricted such that projectiles with too much energy are prohibited and anyone possessing such a prohibited projectile is presumed guilty and goes to jail for ten years.

      -o- the muzzle velocity of the weapons should be restricted to "X" feet per second. If a legal projectile exceeds that muzzle velocity, the weapons is prohibited and must be destroyed and the CEO of the manufacturer goes to jail for ten years.

      All of these things are readily measurable with standard physics and chemistry tests, so the weapons and ammo manufactures would have no possible loop holes. either their weapons passed all the physics test, or it didn't and when it didn't the CEO of the company woudl pay a heavy personal price. This would cause CEOs to ensure their products stringently met the laws.

      The past laws defined the prohibited weapons explicitly so the manufacturers just changed the name of the products and legally sold the new products.

      Basing the law on physics and chemistry, means no matter what name the manufacturer slaps on a product, if it does not meet the law it is illegal and the CEO goes to jail.

      Note also that when illegal weapon are defined by their physical characteristics, it is easy to round up "gang bangers" for possession of an illegal weapon and send them to jail for a long time.

      The idea is to get dangerous weapons off the streets while still allowing sport weapons.

  • Morsi Emerges as Key Power Broker in Gaza Conflict
    • There is also a very nice military airfield just south of Gaza that could be turned into a commercial airport for Gaza.

      I really think if Egypt thought a little bit entrepreneurial, that opening the border with Gaza could be a nice net profit for Egypt and a net loss for Israel.

      For example, Egypt could get the US government to build a nice gas fired power plant just south of Gaza and use some of the gas it currently sells to Israel to power the plant and have the international community pay for it.

      If Egypt is worried about a refugee problem, then have two borders with a trade zone between them. That is, an Egyptian/Gaza border with fairly free flow of people and goods and a second border 30km to 50km inside Egypt that would have very stringent crossing requirements. Gazans could enter the trade zone in Egypt, but not enter the rest of Egypt.

      Note that this is similar to what the US has in most of the southwest - a "controlled" border with Mexico and 30m to 50m inside the US a second border where people and goods are checked again. Both I-5 and I-15 have these secondary borders between San Diego and Los Angles.

      I suspect that given a chance to build businesses connected with Gaza, Egyptians will build them and make nice profits. Egyptian politicians just need to see Gaza as a business opportunity instead of a burden.

    • If (big IF) the Saudis actually cared about the Palestinians (they do not), they could "fix" this whole thing real quick.

      All they would have to do is on Wednesday 21 November at 1500 eastern US time put a story on the international business wire that they are stopping oil production until Israel is gone. For the next hour, the oil trading market in NYC would go crazy driving the price of oil through the roof at the same time the US stock markets would be headed for the basement. At 1600 Eastern US time, the markets would close and US traders would have no way to trade in the US until Friday 23 November at 0900, because of the US holiday. BUT, at the same time the international markets would continue to operate on Thursday 22 November and would probably cause massive losses for US firms. By mid day Friday, most Americans would cheerfully throw Israel overboard to feed the sharks.

      The good news for Americans is the Saudis and virtually everyone else on earth either do not care one bit about the Palestinians or actively hate them, so the US can "safely" protect Israel for a few more months (maybe even years) before Israel drags the US into a needless terrible war that cause every American to have a really bad rest of their lives.

  • Wagging the Dog in Gaza: Netanyahu's Skirmish of Fear (Sternfeld)
    • While this is "normal" behavior for Israel, they appear to have misinterpreted the current feeling around the globe and in particular just how most Americans may react.

      While most of the congress critters are still bought and paid for by Israel, the American public just might react very positively to the Obama administration coming down hard on Israel.

      There is the very real possibility that this will lead to Palestine getting more than 180 votes (out of 193)for recognition in the UNGA, forcing the US to either be on the embarrassing losing side or to abstain.

      In the grand scheme of things, Israel is becoming more and more of a major problem for the US and Obama will probably have to have a severe confrontation with the congress critters to save the US from further damage. I suspect that if Obama frames the discussion correctly the public will back him and the Israeli control of the congress critters will be damaged.

  • Creepy Israeli Planning for Palestinian Food Insecurity in Gaza Revealed
    • There is no functional airport in Gaza, BUT ...

      If any countries actually cared, they could send food to Gaza via Egypt. There are good roads from the Egyptian ports to the Gaza border. There is also a decent Egyptian military airport just south of Gaza in the desert. Of course if planes start landing at the Egyptian military base, the Israelis will go crazy and threaten to invade the Sinai again. Any planes landing at the Egyptian airport would also have to contend with "mock attacks" by Israel aircraft violating Egyptian air space (which they already do), designed to scare the pilots delivering food.

      If any countries actually cared, an alternative is to park war ships off the Gaza coast and protect any cargo ships that want to dock in Gaza. If enough countries parked their war ships off Gaza, the US and Israel would be forced to back down.

      But ...

      the bottom line reality is no country on earth cares enough to spit on the US and try to minimize how many Gazans starve. The Saudis could easily fund food for Gaza and could put together a sea force to protect the ships, but they will not. They are all talk and no action.

  • Israeli President Peres Smacks down PM Netanyahu on Iran Attack, Supports Obama
    • Obama should simply privately lie to Israel, then after he wins publicly tell Israel "tough luck, I lied to prevent a needless war" and let Israelis get upset because at that point there is nothing Israel can do to Obama. Heck, Obama may even have a more willing congress, so Israel may not even be able to get stuff passed in congress so easily (I can't believe I wrote that considering that all of congress, regardless of party, is bought and paid for by Israel).

      Sure Israel could still try an attack, but I think Israel vastly underestimates Iran. Behind all the false bravado, Iran actually does have very significant defensive resources that could make an Israeli strike a major debacle for Israel with massive loses. If Iran could cause major damage to the Israeli attackers, then politically Iran "could work the house" and isolate the US and Israel rather than counter-attack. Long term the damage to the US and Israel might be vastly more satisfying then simply bombing Israel. In the end, the US could face a choice of throwing Israel to the wolves or losing what little power it still has on the world stage.

      The bottom line is any attack on Iran causes Israel to lose.

  • Hajizadeh: If Israel attacks Iran, it will be Destroyed
    • What if the Iranians have come to the conclusion that there is nothing they can do to prevent a US/Israel attack and it is now only a matter of time before it happens and they should plan on making the attack as painful as possible for the US/Israel?

      This might not be a declaration of war on the US, but an acknowledgment that the US/Israel have already secretly declared war on Iran.

      It is important for Americans to remember that Iran has been preparing for US attack for over 30 years, especially after the US gave Iraq billions of dollars of WMD support during the Iraq war on Iran and then the US later invaded Iraq.

      At this point in time, Iran is pretty much just waiting for the attack so they can punish the US/Israel to the maximum amount (and Americans will quickly discover to their utter despair just how stupid they have been and how their lives will be much worse for generations because of their foolish actions).

  • Low Life Expectancy tracks with Opposition to Obamacare (Map)
    • Utah is an anomaly primarily because many Mormons actually practice "the Word of Wisdom" (link to, which advises how to live a healthy life. Although it was written in the 1800s, it advises a lot of the stuff we now know to be true (low fat, etc.).

      Also, the LDS Church has an extensive welfare program, so many of the people that would need a public healthcare system are taken care of by the LDS church on an as-needed basis.

      So in effect a majority of the people in Utah already have a "single payer" healthcare system run by the LDS church.

  • Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)
    • Is Israel suicidal?

      That question really needs to be answered because Israel does not appear to understand just what will probably happen if they ever uses any nukes.

      - If Israel nukes any of the close countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan or Egypt) the radioactive byproducts from the blasts will contaminate Israel, killing many Israelis. They will also contaminate southern Russia which could cause the NUCLEAR WEAPON capable Russians to nuke Israel.

      - If Israel nukes any other countries in the Mideast, they will contaminate all the countries down-wind of the blasts. The countries down-wind include THREE countries with NUCLEAR WEAPONS, with the will to use them in retaliation and two have the capability to nuke Israel (maybe all three).

      - If Israel nukes Europe, they will contaminate much of Europe and Russia. In addition to the NUCLEAR WEAPONS capable UK and France, Germany has US nukes in country. These three plus Russia will very probably nuke Israel in a heart beat.

      - Note that ALL of the nuclear capable countries will point blank tell the US to shut up and sit down while they nuke Israel and the US will have to shut up and sit down or face annihilation, since most of the nuclear nations have the capability of nuking the US completely.

      The bottom line is if Israel nukes anyone, they will be sealing the fate of most of the Jews on earth, not just the ones in Israel, because whoever survives the nuclear devastation will very probably hold all Jews responsible (not fair, but standard human response) and hunt down all they can find.

      So the question is "are Israelis Suicidal?"

  • Iran, UNSC talks have the effect of Averting War
    • This is entirely a power play by the US and Israel.

      If Israel is afraid an "unstable" Muslim county might target Israel with a nuclear weapons, then Israel should be worried about Pakistan instead of Iran.

      Pakistan ...

      - has nuclear weapons - they have demonstrated them for the entire world, including Israel, to see.

      - Has missiles capable of reaching Israel - they have demonstrated them for the entire world, including Israel, to see.

      - is a somewhat "unstable" Muslim country - they have demonstrated this for the entire world, including Israel, to see.

      - can NOT be controlled in any manner by the US - they have demonstrated this for the entire world, including Israel, to see.

      In other words, Pakistan is everything Israel says that Iran is, but actually isn't!

      Israel's delusional paranoia is going to cause it a lot of problems in the coming years, especially as the US loses the capability of protecting Israel from the consequences of its actions.

    • It is 100% impossible to prevent Iran from selling its oil.

      Oil is very fungible and the "nationality" of oil is easily "changed" with a few low cost bribes (just the cost of doing business). As a result, as Professor Cole notes, Iran will easily be able to make a nice profit on their oil for a very long time because it is impossible, short of a global financial collapse and massive starvation, for the price of oil to decrease very much. Currently, the global demand for oil is more than 90% of the global supply of oil and there is NO SPARE CAPACITY. Without Iranian oil on the market, the global demand could quickly exceed the supply causing massive price increases for EVERYONE on earth.

      As for Iran having the "luxury of imprisoning and executing people for political and religious reasons," that accusation applies to ALL COUNTRIES on earth, INCLUDING the USA. Iran is no worse than any other country.

  • Legalize Pot, Save Public Education, and end Student Indebtedness
    • @super390 - You are probably partially correct about the problems of the US university systems, but China also has the incentive of wanting to educate more of its population than US universities could ever do.

      At first glance, people might think that China wants to be able to teach in Chinese, but that isn't true. Most university students in China are expected to read, speak and write English and many of the classes are taught in English.

    • Free or low-cost college education for everyone that wants one, is the cheapest investment a country can make in its economic future.

      The American taxpayers paid for both my AA and BA engineering degrees (Vietnam vet) and it was a bargain for them. The computer you are using at this very moment has one of my patents in it and much of the technology that has been invented over the last 50 years has been done by men and women that got their education paid for by the public.

      Yes, Gates and Jobs did not finish college, but they hired hundreds of thousands of WW2 and Vietnam vets that got their education from the taxpayers. The same thing happened in other segments of the economy.

      One of the reason the SF Bay Area has such a vibrant economy is because there are over seven WORLD CLASS universities in the area, most of which are PUBLIC universities. There is a very good reason why the city of Modesto fought so hard to have the newest UC campus. They understand the economic BONUS that comes from having a university. Every major university in the US has hundreds if not thousands of businesses started up around them, leading to vibrant economies.

      A recent example is BYU Idaho. Since it has come on-line, many new business, off shoots of university activities, have sprouted up.

      Free/low cost education is a cheap investment in a future, which is why China is spending billions on building a world-class university system throughout China. Chinese leaders understand what American leaders do not - education expands the economy.

      BTW - the taxes I have paid over the years because of the rewards for my engineering degree have more than offset the money the taxpayers spent on my education.

  • Why India blew Hillary Clinton off about Iran
    • All global oil production and discovery data shows that the global supply of oil is probably nearing peak production and that there is no more spare capacity.

      India would be foolish to decrease Iranian oil imports, especially since Iran is so willing to negotiate. Unlike China, India has not really invested in non-oil energy, so to keep its economy going, it has to import oil and why pay global oil prices when they can get all the oil they want from Iran at discounted prices. To get the discount, all they have to do is tell the US to go pound sand and that is easy to do.

      This is the BIG fallacy of the US blockade, oil has more buyers than sellers and Iran will always be able to find buyers. In the end all the US blockade of Iran accomplishes is the diplomatic isolation of the US as more and more countries discover they can spit on the US and get away with it.

      In the end, more and more countries are going to be willing to tell the US to go pound sand and the US will either have to change its terrible behavior (and throw Israel under the bus in the process) or lose more and more power. I suspect the new governments in Europe are going to be very willing to tell the US to go away and the US blockade of Iran will fall apart.

      Note that as the US blockade of Iran falls apart, the US will be forced to either attack Iran and suffer humiliating defeat or put a muzzle on Israel.

      We live in interesting times.

  • Israeli Spy Chief Condemns Netanyahu for Iran Hype, Messianism
    • A quiet side note that shoots holes in Bibi's rantings ...

      Pakistan has now successfully tested a MRBM that gives them the ability to reach Israel with the nukes that Pakistan openly acknowledges.

      So, while Iran also has missiles that can reach Israel, the missiles are NOT capable of lifting a nuclear warhead, NOR does Iran have a nuclear warhead NOR does Iran even have a nuclear weapons program.

      Bibi is just flat out crazy over something that is not a threat, while ignoring all the other threats to the future of Israel, such as the demographic time bombs of ultra conservatives Jews and Arabs between the Jordan River and the Med Sea and the replacement of the Arab dictatorships by democratic governments that can not be controlled by the USA.

      It appears that most of the military and intelligence leadership in Israel know that attacking Iran is suicidal, but so far the Israeli public still seems to be going along with Bibi, regardless how many sane people (both in and outside Israel) warn them that Bibi is just plain nuts.

  • Israeli Peace Marchers Protest Iran War Talk in Tel Aviv
    • Sam, there is a "slight" problem with nuking Iran (or even blowing up the operating nuclear facilities, which is essentially a "dirty bomb").

      If you look at a map, you will quickly discover that nuking Iran , ALSO nukes Afghanistan (any Americans there?), Pakistan (how happy will they be?), India, Myanmar, Thailand The PI and everyone downwind of Iran. The only ones that may escape being irradiated are the Chinese because the Himalayas may be high enough to stop most of the radioactive debris.

      Of course, if enough dust is blown into the upper atmosphere, no one in the northern hemisphere will need to worry about global warming because the debris will create "nuclear winter." BTW - the current calculations are that as few as five nuclear air bursts over cities in a short time frame, may be enough to trigger Nuclear Winter.

      I wonder how the folks in Oz will feel about all those radioactive refugees trying to escape the nuclear winter?

  • The US Congress's UNESCO Problem: Daily Show
    • Basic hubris ...

      They are so convinced that they are right and so confident that they can easily bamboozle mere clowns.

      Of course they never understand that Stewart, Colbert and their staffs are actually quite intelligent and perceptive and often much, much more in tune with society than the people being interviewed are.

      As all the religious and philosophical documents show, PRIDE always leads to the downfall of men.

      But look at the bright side, if we didn't have these people full of hubris, we might not have any comedy (or tragedies).

  • Top Ten Dangers for Obama of Iran Sanctions on behalf of Israel
    • Realistically, the US has zero options to control other humans on the earth, just like others have no options to control Americans.

      This is the way it should be, since no group of humans has any right to control any other group of humans. Until another group of humans do actual physical harm to you, you have no right to do anything to them.

      So, yes in what is probably your thinking, Iran has to nuke Israel before we should do anything,

      BUT ...

      the reality is Iran is NOT going to nuke Israel (unless Israel attacks Iran first), so there is no danger. If Iran having nuclear technology makes Israel nervous, the entire world should tell Israel to just shut up and sit down until Iran actually does something. Israel can be quietly nervous all it wants, but until Iran does something, Israel has no reason to act.

      The bottom line is all this "low grade" war can only escalate to "hot" war, which the US will lose. It is long past time for Americans to completely re-think their place on earth and their future, because the current path the US is on, will just lead to massive failure of the "American Experiment."

      Iran is NOT a threat to the US and we should just leave Iran alone.

  • 71% of Americans think Iran already has the Bomb (Also we used to have pet triceratops)
    • If you think the Iranians should allow open access to theri bases, then why did the US and Russians put the exemption in the IAEA rules?

      Yes folks, the IAEA is prohibited from entering military bases because the US and Russians do NOT want that to happen to their own bases.

      The IAEA KNOWS there is no nuclear material on the bases because they have the instrument readings, so there is zero reason to enter the base except to spy for the US and Israel on Iranian military capability.

      There is NOTHING in the NPT that says countries can not do weapons research, even high explosive research.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu attacks Gen. Dempsey as Servant of Iran
    • Obama should keep the meeting with Bib, then on live international TV point out to the world that Bibi is a crazy warmongering idiot and the Israelis need to have regime change within 24 hours. Then Obama should announce the end of all ties between the US and Israel because Americans do not want to die for Israel.

      Sure, the bought and paid for US congress critters would scream, but the deed would be done and Israel would be hanging out to dry.

      I suspect the reaction in Israel would be complete shock and fear causing many Israelis to flee and the rest to want to lynch Bibi.

      If congress tries to impeach Obama all he has to do is ask Americans how many want to die for Israel and tell those that don't want to die for Israel to tell their congress critters.

      It would permanently shatter the US/Israel relationship but should prevent the war and protect America.

      Sometime bold action is needed to stop catastrophe.

  • Top Ten Ways Iran is Defying US, EU Oil Sanctions and How You are Paying for It All
    • It is an indication that another oil production area is right on schedule for the Hubbert Curve. All production data indicates that virtually all global production areas are at or past their peak production, meaning that global Peak Oil just may hit in 2020 as many have been predicting and China has been using as a planning date.

    • To meet its contractual obligations, Saudi Arabia is having to reactivate their oldest wells even though they produce very little.

      All production data from the last five years clearly indicates that the Saudis are at their Peak Oil moment. It is very likely that the Saudis will never produce any additional oil and in fact over the next year production will start to decline no matter what technology they try.

      I suspect the King has known for a few years which is why he has tried to neuter the religious fundamentalists and tap into the only other resource KSA has, its people (all the people - both male and female!).

  • The Generals try to stop an Iran War
    • Professor Cole's numbers are far too low.

      Per the US Army's own planning documents, a fairly submissive population requires one US soldier for every 20 humans to be oppressed. That is, taking and holding Iran would require a MINIMUM of 3.5 MILLION US soldiers. Using any less would just mean the Americans would be pure cannon fodder.

      BUT ...

      note the little note that these planning numbers are for a "quiet" population with no major weapons access. Iran should probably be considered to be a very HOSTILE place with over 35 million potential combatants, so the number of troops needed would be closer to one US soldier for every TEN humans to be oppressed (over 5 million).

      Also per the US military, it costs between USD 500,000 and USD one million per year for every pair of US boots on the ground in the ME. This is the cost of fuel, material, food and all the other stuff that a soldier needs to do their job.

      If we just multiply 500k times 4 million, the number is USD 2 TRILLION MINIMUM for one year.

      As far as deaths and major injuries per month, one percent is a very conservative number. Assuming 4 million soldiers that equals 40,000 per month. Given how effective IEDs are and how many AK-47s are on earth at this moment, it is very reasonable to there to be thousands of death/injuries every month.

      Per C. J. Chivers well researched book on modern personal weapons, there are over 100 MILLION functional AK-47s on earth, with thousands more being made every single day of the year. This is about one AK-47 for every 50 humans on earth.

      Of course when the war mongers are faced with these numbers, they immediately fall back on using only aerial weapons. The problem is aerial weapons will NOT stop the Iranians from destroying the world energy economy, only a massive invasion can do that.

      The bottom line is no matter how the numbers are manipulated, the US and Israel can NOT "win" in any sense of the word and will in fact end up destroying both the US and Israel.

      Iran has successfully checkmated the US and Israel and the US is going to have to forcibly muzzle Israel to keep the US from being destroyed.

  • GOP Candidates Harm Israeli Security by Pushing for Impractical "Greater Israel"
    • One continuing MAJOR problem in the "west" is a complete lack of LONG TERM thinking.

      From a very short term (less than five years) perspective, Israel is following a successful policy. Use military might to oppress the natives.

      BUT ...

      Taking a more long-term Asian type perspective, Israel is ensuring its eventual demise and the expulsion of all Jews from the ME for many generation's (maybe another 2000 years).

      - "might makes right" NEVER works in the long term. As Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) noted "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate." This means that the IDF can NOT win every battle, forever and when the IDF loses, Israel ceases to exist.

      - Over the long term, power shifts around the globe, meaning that any powerful friends Israel has today will be powerless over time.

      - There is no such thing as "friendship" between groups, just temporary alliances. Over the last 200 years, the US has screwed (often repeatedly) EVERY FRIEND it has ever had.

      The basic problem Israelis have is NONE of the assumptions they have made about the future is valid ...

      - Israel can NOT maintain military superiority forever. For example, thousands of cheap, reasonably accurate missiles trump an air force with expensive planes and pilots.

      - The US will NOT be able and/or willing to protect Israel forever. Eventually the disconnect between US needs and Israel's demands will become so large that the US will abandon Israel.

      - The US puppet regimes in the ME can NOT survive forever. As the US puppets die off (either naturally or assisted), the countries around Israel will become increasingly hostile toward Israel.

      - Israel will NOT be able to "control" Europe via guilt over WW2. Every day, more and more people that remember WW2 are dying off to be replaced by people to whom WW2 is ancient history (and meaningless to their lives).

      - Israel will NOT be able to find a protector to replace the US because the probable future power brokers either do not care one bit about Israel or actively dislike Israel.

      Any deep analysis of the future, shows that it is past time for Israel to get the "best" deal they could and every day they delay, the worse the deal they will get. If the Israelis stall long enough, there will be war, the IDF will lose and Jews will be driven from the ME.

      NOTE: there will NOT be a "second holocaust," although a number of Israelis will be killed in the war. Once the war starts and Israeli start to realize they they "might" lose, most Israelis will flee Israel (almost half of Israelis hold dual citizenship).

      What I find tragic, is if Israelis would just be willing to fairly divide the land between the Jordan river and the Med sea, Israel would probably exist for centuries and could provide the basis for the ME to be a stable economic block, similar to the EU, North America, China and Asia.

      By trying to take all the land and water, Israel is dooming itself, because the more it humiliates and traumatizes the Arabs, the more revenge the Arabs will want when they can defeat the IDF.

  • Can Europe's Oil Boycott Really Sink Iran?
    • As Professor Cole very well documents, the world is right on schedule for Global Peak Oil around 2020. That is when the total global production of oil will be on the down-hill slope of the Hubbard Curve.

      In other words, Iran has checkmated the US and Israel.

      Over the next year it will become increasingly obvious the US has zero power to do anything about Iran and Israel will become increasingly paranoid.

      As Professor Cole notes, the Saudis have zero ability to produce any more oil. In fact, all the production data for the last five years indicates that the Saudis are past their peak production and from this point forward their production will NOT increase, but will actually decline just like every other production area has, following the Hubbard curve.

      Things are going to become very unstable.

  • Israeli Ads against Marriage with American Jews are Part of a Population War
    • Some basic realities ...

      - For probably the next decade, Israel will be a combat zone with low grade war 24/7 with occasional flare-ups.

      - As Juan notes, the non-Jews in the west bank and Gaza are NOT going anywhere. The problem will just continue to fester until Israel is forced to absorb them as full citizens (two states is no longer possible unless Israel gets a leader with sufficient political and military power to forcibly remove half a million Jewish settlers from the WB).

      - Global Peak Oil will happen and will change the balance of power in the ME and make Israel much poorer.

      - Jews can be and are very successful and safe all over the world.

      The bottom line is when a Jewish person rationally looks at where they can have the best life, Israel rapidly drops to the bottom of the list. This is why more and more Jews do NOT live in Israel. The things they give up to be in the mythical land are just not worth it.

  • Gingrich Urges War with Iran and Skyrocketing Oil Prices
    • Juan,

      Unfortunately, Robert and Tino (above) are actually fairly representative of just how delusional many Americans are when it comes to energy. I have had long detailed discussions with many people and they are JUST NOT CAPABLE of understanding.

      Part of the problem is a complete lack of knowledge of basic science, especially basic thermodynamics, and high school mathematics.

      Most Americans can not understand that oil is a finite resource and that once it has been extracted as much as humanly possible, there is effectively no more (yes scientifically there is still some left but no amount of technology and/or money will bring it to the surface).

      You and I both know there is not enough oil left in the US to make any difference in our future, but NO ONE is willing and able to explain this to the general public (Carter tried, but was ignored and Ronnie Raygun changed all of Carter's policies).

      As a result, the US public keeps believing the scams like the Bakken myth and the Natural gas myth, the hydrogen myth and all the other "cheap energy" myths that are out there. Every one of the myths has been soundly debunked but Americans continue to believe them (like Tino and Robert).

      The general consensus (outside the US) is that Global Peak Oil will hit about 2020 and that is the date China and most countries are using for their planning date (if it hits a few years later, all the better). Unfortunately the US has NO PLANS for Global Peak Oil, zero, zip, nada.

      I really wonder what it will take for Americans to realize a very, very bad (but preventable) future is rushing at them.

      Iraq proved that the US can NOT take oil by force because the oil production infrastructure is easily destroyed and hard to protect, so going to war with Iran will just destroy the US economy, no matter what that [self censored] Gingrich may delusionally think.

      Robert and Tino will deny there is a problem until long past the day they can't get any gasoline for their cars.

    • Reality checks ....

      - The US passed peak oil production in the 1970s and regardless of the technology we try and the depths of water we drill, the US production has DECLINED every year since then. There is no way to increase US oil production more than a miniscule amount and the COST of that slight increase requires oil to be well above USD 85/bbl.

      - The US imports ~75% of the oil it uses. Even if every square yard of the US was drilled that number only decreases to ... 70%. That is, full out drilling of the US, completely ignoring the environmental damage and the production costs would ONLY meet 5% of the US needs.

      - There is no possible way for the US to effect global market prices of oil unless it stopped using oil altogether (killing its economy).

      - The Bakken reserve has been in production for over 30 years (it is NOT new) and even with the use of horizontal drilling and fracking, the production has not increased very much because the pools are trapped in hard rock, are small and frequently dry up before the well even pays back its drilling costs. Not only that, but the "report" everyone cites is actually part of a stock scam and has long ago been discredited.

      - When Global Peak Oil hits (absolutely, mathematically guaranteed to happen), it will take the US tens of years and TRILLIONS of dollars to completely rebuild its energy production, distribution and usage infrastructure. Since, unlike China and most other countries, the US has completely FAILED to put energy transition plan in place for GPO, the US will have ten to twenty years of extreme economic collapse.

      - The current US energy infrastructure was built over a period of 150 years and has to be completely re-built to address future energy needs. The US KNEW in the 1970s that oil was going to disappear but has WASTED over 40 years doing absolutely NOTHING.

  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • The rumor is that Iran got a complete S-300 system from a non-Russian third party. As a result, Iran has announced that they have been able to successfully clone the S-300 system and it is currently in production and deployment in Iran. Since Russia is currently replacing the S-300 systems with S-400 systems and a few S-500 beta test systems, there are a significant number of S-300 systems surplus.

      Israel has three ways to deliver explosive ordnance to Iran

      - Israel has three Dolphin class subs equipped with Cruise missiles sitting in the Indian ocean. Supposedly some of the cruise missiles have nuke warheads, but given the size of the cruise missiles, they would have to be low yield
      nukes. Iran has no direct defense against the cruise missiles, but can detect and destroy the subs.

      - Intermediate range ballistic missiles (Jericho) with either conventional of nuke warheads. This is equivalent to the IRBMs that Iran has targeted on Israel. Both Israel (iron dome) and Iran (S-300) have limited capability of shooting down the IRBMs before they can explode.

      - About 200 fighter/bombers with small bomb payloads because of the need to carry external fuel tanks. These planes would have to overfly many other countries and would need to be refueled twice (going and returning). Israel has limited refueling capacity. Iran has both the long range S-300 system sand thousands of short range hypersonic anti-aircraft missiles. Israel has limited defense against the S-300 and near zero defense against the hypersonic missiles.

      The reality is Israel would not be very effective attacking Iran and could lose a fiat number of very expensive airplanes and subs along with highly trained crews.

      Of course Iran will retaliate by doing one or more of these:

      - launch their own IRBMs and Hezbollah's 40,000 missiles at Israel, destroying most of Israel's infrastructure (and their economy). The 40K number comes from Israeli intelligence.

      - launch more of their IRBMS to destroy all the oil infrastructure in the ME, crippling the Saudis and the US. In the process the US economy will be destroyed.

      - sink a few commercial oil ships to ensure the insurance companies void the policies, to make sure no oil in transit leaves the gulf.

      Note that China and Russia are wild cards. China gets ~10% of their energy from Iran so any disruption of that supply will anger them a lot. While China prefers to quietly stab people in the back, they are perfectly willing to directly confront the US and Israel. I suspect that China would even be wiling to nuke Israel given enough provocation because they know the US can not risk nuclear war with Chins over Israel (China would wipe out the US).

  • Should Professors in Public Universities Give up their Email Addresses?
    • Juan, I am a technologist and am well aware just how unsecure email can be (in fact it was never designed to be secure, this is why it is so easy for spammers to exploit it).

      For example, every packet of information you send or receive transits through a router that can be set up to record everything you do (I have done this in the past to investigate intellectual property theft).

      If Google gets a court order, especially from the US government, they must give the court everything in your email account without telling you they did it (your court system at work).

      And the list goes on of the ways people can tap your email both legally and illegally.

      We can debate what is right and proper, but from a practical perspective, unless you make the effort to mask your identity, your email is completely open to all that want to see it.

      I am not condoning the actions that some people take to access your data, but only pointing out that it is technically very easy and often legally easy.

    • No one should ever use their "business" email for anything they don't want published in a public court transcript.

      It is ALWAYS best to assume that your enemies will have unrestrained access to every email account they know about.

      That is why I have "throwaway" email accounts all over the world. I can express myself freely with minimal chance that anyone will know my real name and location.

      You are good to use non-business email accounts.

      Note that the Bush administration understood this well, so they used lots of non-government email systems to conduct their business such as invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Green Energy in 20-40 Years?
    • Americans will have no choice but to either give up their cars for public transportation or replace their cars with battery or hydrogen powered cars when oil prices make gasoline/diesel powered cars too expensive to operate.

    • The hard reality is, the existing energy infrastructure used in most places on earth can NOT continue for more than a few more years, so regardless whether people want to change or not they will be forced to just to survive.

      Global Peak Oil is absolutely 100% guaranteed to happen. That is, at some point in time, the global demand for oil-based energy will exceed the global production capacity. This has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt by most of the production areas passing peak production and declining. Today, over 75% of all the oil production areas are past peak production and no major oil fields have been found to replace the declining fields. The ONLY thing open to discussion is WHEN Global Peak Oil will happen. a few say it is happening NOW. A majority of "experts" think it will happen by 2020 (the date that most countries on earth, other then the US, are using for their national energy planning). And a few think it will happen later, but only a miniscule number think it will happen after 2030.

      Using the 2020 date means that the US energy infrastructure that was built over a period of 150 years will have to be completely replaced in about NINE years. I suspect that the US will FAIL at this task.

      Then what?

      Basically the US economy will be decimated, with transportation almost completely crippled. Note that with minimal transportation most US food and goods distribution will fail, leaving most of the US without food since over 50% of all Americans live in cities and have no way to produce their own food.

      What could replace oil-based energy?

      For the short term, fission reactors could be used, although the situation in Japan has shown just how dangerous light water reactors are. Fortunately there are safer experimental reactor designs (but none are currently in commercial production). BUT ...

      Fission reactors suffer from the same raw materiel constraints as oil-based energy, the earth dose NOT have enough nuclear energy to power the entire earth for more than a few decades.

      The basic reality is there are ONLY THREE "permanent" sources of energy (from a human perspective anyway):

      - broad spectrum energy from the Sun. Most existing forms of energy (oil, hydro, wind, etc.) are derived from solar energy.

      - Internal energy of the earth, mostly in the form of heat.

      - gravitational interaction of planets, suns and other objects, mostly in the form of tides on earth.

      Until these forms of energy are fully harnessed by ALL humans on earth, humans will have a lot of problems after the oil becomes to costly due to lack of supply and high demand.

      Note that a BIG problem area for the US is transportation, although it is solvable by using stored energy in the form of batteries and hydrogen. The hydrogen would need to be produced by "cracking" sea water using electricity provided by one of the three "permanent" energy sources.

  • Japan Nuclear Threat, Libya Oil Crisis, Highlight Need for Renewable Energy
    • One problem is the US electric grid can not decouple the generation point from the usage point enough so that nuclear power plants can be located on "safe" land.

      For example, right now large solar plants have the problem of the places where large solar plants make economic sense are also a long ways from where the power will be used and connecting those two points is politically unacceptable and costly economically. One man's empty desert is another man's scenic vista and putting more power lines across that vista is hard to do.

      As for the "safe" land idea, that is actually a myth because ALL of the US is riddled with earthquake faults because what we think of as "solid ground" is actually a think crust of cold lava floating on a sea of molten lava and is constantly moving.

    • Light water reactors are, by design, extremely UNSAFE. This is because the fuel in the rods is ALWAYS hot - hot enough to melt the rod without constant water cooling, even when the control rods are in place. This is why "depleted" rods must be stored in large concrete pools of water and spaced a wide distance from each other.

      BUT ...

      There are reactor designs that can not overheat. They are typically much smaller than the big light water reactors, so when they are used as power stations there has to be a lot more of them, leading to higher construction cost per kilowatt of power.

      As for the waste, that can also be managed by designing better reactors.

      BUT ...

      the result would be more material that can be used for weapons.

      BUT ...

      The real problem with nuclear reactors is the same exact problem we have with using carbon-based energy, it is FINITE! That is, the amount of raw uranium on the earth, just like oil and coal, is very limited. As a result, if humans ignore the risks of nuclear energy and try to replace all the carbon-based energy with nuclear, within less than 50 years the earth will again face an energy shortage.

      The reality is there are ONLY three energy sources that are "permanent" from a human perspective (thousands of years):

      - The earth's internal energy (we saw last week just how much energy is inherent in the earth). Although it is hard to harness the energy of earthquakes and plate movement, it is very possible to harness the heat coming from the earth.

      - Gravitational interaction with the earth's neighbors. This is most visible as tides.

      - Broad spectrum energy from the fusion reaction in the sun. This noy only includes PV cells, but also wind and rain (hydroelectric) because the sun's energy interacts with the atmosphere.

      For the long term, humans should be moving to using "permanent" sources of energy, instead of the short term energy sources like coal, oil and nuclear.

      For 7 BILLION humans to survive on earth, we must have sources of energy because without lots of inexpensive energy, we are doomed to a massive die-off of humans.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    • Even though the US declined in power over the last few decades, Obama is still the most powerful person on earth, so the question is why does he allow People like Mubarak and Netanyahu humiliate him?

      What is wrong with Obama's mental state that keeps him from just having the CIA launch a Hellfire missile from a Predator at Mubarak and his new vice-president (and head of the secret police)? Sure there will be some people on the earth that will be upset that the US "terminated" the Mubarak Presidency, but that number will probably be very small and it isn't like the US hasn't already been killing lots of people with hellfire missiles launched from Predators.

      It is long past time that the US did what was best for the US rather than what is best for the country that can not be named.

      BTW - I notice that as soon as Rand Paul brought up stopping all foreign aid, especially to Israel , the Senators on the Israeli payroll started squawking about how terrible that would be, even though lots of Israelis say they don't need the aid because Israel is doing so good economically.

      I am getting pretty sick of getting screwed because of a dinky country in the ME that has delusions of grandeur.

  • Iran's Oily Revenge on US Drivers, US Troops
    • Global production data for the last five years indicates that the Saudis probably do NOT have the spare capacity that Dr. Cole and many others assume they do.

      In fact, there is the very real possibility that the Saudi oil fields are PAST their peak production and will now decline in production, no matter what technology is tried to extend the life of the oil fields.

      Global Peak Oil is absolutely guaranteed to happen because just about every square meter of this earth has been investigated for oil, usually by multiple groups, multiple times. There have been no major new discoveries since the 1970s, so there are no "new" oil fields to replace the aging oil fields that are past their peak production.

      The ONLY disagreement among oil experts is the exact date when Global Peak Oil will happen. The majority consensus appears to be about 2020. This is the date China is using for their energy planning - This is when they want to have their entire energy production and usage infrastructure rebuild.

      Iran really does not have to work hard to convince the OPEC countries to restrain production and let prices rise over time, because most OPEC countries are past peak production and they want the price of oil to increase so they can continue to get as much wealth as possible for their lower production.

  • Movement for Palestinian State gains International Momentum, to Dismay of US Congress
    • Obama is POTUS. He has more power than any other person on earth. He could have Bibi captured, drawn, quartered and water boarded and no one would be able to prevent it. At best, there might be a mild protest from a few places on earth. I suspect that for most people on earth, there would be loud cheering.

      In other words, Obama could fix this whole problem overnight, BUT he has chosen to just let it fester.

      Unfortunately, because of the lack of will by all the POTUS for the last 65+ years, the US will pay a terrible price when the ME explodes, which it will withing the next 15 years.

      Israel was a really, really bad "solution" to a very real refugee problem at the end of WW2 and that mistake is going to eventually hurt the US a lot.

  • Obama Should Let the UN apply Economic Sanctions to Israel
    • Based on Obama's actions for the last two years, I do NOT think he has the ability to do anything for anyone. Obama is afraid of his own shadow, so all Congress (for Likud) would have to do is tell him he was being a bad boy and he would completely humiliate himself. Even though sending the entire US team at the UN out to "lunch" every time any vote comes up for Israel would be extremely easy to do for a President with even a minimal amount of conviction to do what is best for the US, Obama does not even have even the minimal ability to do so.

      I do not think it will not be too much longer before the Democrats start having presidential candidates for 2012 coming forward and getting lots of support. I will not be surprised to see Hilary quit as SOS and start running (although she is a poor choice because she is also owned by Likud and would go to war with Iran the day after she took office).

  • Can 'Desperate Housewives' Defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia? Wikileaks
    • There are some things about humans that are absolutely certain and apply to ALL humans:

      - ALL humans are hypocrites - that is, they will conform to social rules in public and violate every rule in private.

      - ALL "pious" people are NOT, (at least in private) no matter how they act in public.

      - When the only way to exercise political power is via a "religious" organization, that is what people will use.

      - When there are multiple ways to exercise political power, the religious groups rapidly become marginalized since most humans do NOT want to live as the religions preach (but do not practice).

      So I partially agree with Dr. Cole. Initially the Saudi Arabia and Egypt despots will be overthrown by religious groups because they are the only groups that can organize political power under the despots. BUT they will NOT be able to hold power for very long because ALL the people are hypocrites and will want to live the "good life" without the extreme religious restrictions. Note that even the "religious" regime in Iran has moderated its most extreme religious practices to remain in power. Power has a way of corrupting all religious leaders who are ALWAYS hypocritical and want the "good life." All humans, especially religious leaders, lust for sex, drugs and rock n' roll. (Yes, we really are all that human)

      BTW - This is where the US went wrong in both Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US had just used bombing raids to kill OBL and Saddam (and his sons), the locals would have sorted out the power structures over time and would probably not been all that anti-American. Iraq is now where it would have been if we had just eliminated the Sunni leadership instead of invading - it would have saved us seven years and lots of money. Eventually a moderated Taliban will be part of the government in Afghanistan. In other words if we had just killed the Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership and armed the non-Taliban and sat back and watched, we would have gotten to where we will be in a year or so, over ten years ago.

      Sorting out post colonial power in countries is mess and the locals kill each other a lot, but eventually it gets sorted out but US meddling only prolongs the mess. It is long past time for the US to step back and let the kids fight it out to see who runs the post-colonial countries. It is NOT the place of the US to determine how groups want to government themselves. the US only gets to watch and make nice to the winners, whoever they are.

  • Cole in Truthdig: Iran is Winning, Israel Losing
    • Now that Obama has put himself in a position where the democrats in congress may hand him a tax defeat after he very inadvisedly ripped into the democrats instead of lambasting the republicans, I wonder how he will react when the nation of Palestine comes before the UNSC and there are 14 yes votes.

      Will Obama abstain, making AIPAC and Likud very mad or will he veto the motion completely isolating the US and Israel? The 7 December Rachel Maddow show wondered if Obama may have made himself irrelevant.

      link to

      Obama may have shot himself in the foot one too many times.

  • Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks
    • Given that the US has oppressed Iran for over 55 years, your supposition that any future government of Iran would be "friendly" is mistaken at best and completely delusional at worst.

      Do you really think the people of Iran will be "friendly" after we have tried to destroy their economy with sanctions?

      As for the current government being unpopular, you might want to re-read many of Mr. Cole's earlier analysis that shows that the reality is, other than a very vocal, but very small minority that is showcased in the western press, the people of Iran's attitude toward their government runs from toleration to very much liking it.

      Note also that virtually ALL factions in Iran support the Iranian nuclear program which means the US can never be "friends" since Israel will not tolerate that.

      Given how the US and the UK have terribley mistreated Iran for over a century, it is extremely unlikely that Iran will every be "friendly" unless the US and UK pay MAJOR reparations and grovel a LOT - Given the arrogance of most Americans and Brits, it is extremely unlikely either will ever be humble enough for Iran to trust either for hundreds of years. Remember the people of the ME STILL remember the Crusades like it was yesterday (and dislike Europe).

    • With most of the ME governments "on record" for attacking Iran (even though their own people do not support it), I would not be surprised if Iran is no longer hesitant about destroying all the oil terminals and military bases in the region if they are attacked. Iran has mastered the art of making lots of cheap, reasonably accurate missiles and has more than enough to easily overload the US missile "shields" (actually Swiss cheese), so destruction of the oil terminals and bases would be pretty massive.

      As BP was so cleverly demonstrated so effectively, oil infrastructure is insanely easy to destroy and very expensive in both time and money to rebuild. In fact, it is even more expensive and time consuming if it is constantly under attack. No oil infrastructure in the ME translates directly to no oil for the US (the US imports over 75% of its oil and buys most of it on the world market)

      I am sure that America will retaliate by destroying Iran's oil infrastructure if it didn't do that in the initial attack. BUT, this will only make the oil shortages even worse, PLUS, it will make China very, very mad (China gets 10% of its energy from Iran). Once China is provoked, the US may discover that it has stepped on the wrong tiger's tail. At that point, the US will have the choice of losing to Iran, losing to China or having most of the US starving because there is no fuel to transport food. I suspect all three will happen and China will NOT provide any humanitarian help for the US.

      Attacking Iran would be the worst thing the US could do. It would destroy the US economy for many years if not generations.

      Of course Israel would be "collateral damage" during the destruction of the US. That is, Israel would cease to exist and most Israelis that lived through the devastation would migrate to other parts of the world. Why Israelis can not see that the destruction of the US will directly lead to the destruction of Israel, is something I can not understand. Is it because both the US and Israel believe their myths of invincibility?

      If I were Iranian, I know exactly how I would react to an attack - exactly the same way Americans reacted to the minor attack on 9/11 - massive counterattack on US vital interests. (and yes, in the grand scheme of history, less than 3000 people out of 300 million is a minor attack - especially when attacking Iran could kill millions out of 75 million)

  • Looking for PETN, Scanning Grandma at the Airport, and the Future of Air Travel
    • BTW - It appears that the International Energy Agency's annual World Energy Outlook documents that global peak oil production happened in 2006! It is all down hill from here, so Professor Cole is correct that airline traffic may soon be too expensive for most people.

      link to

    • Piny said

      "If the TSA were allowed total control over every passenger’s person, then there would be no terrorist attacks."

      This is 100% false.

      The reality that no one seems to want to face is ...

      It is absolutely, completely, totally impossible for any group of humans to protect members of the group from random acts of violence, no matter how repressive the group is.

      Keep in mind that even in Saddam's Iraq, that was one of the most repressive and controlled regimes on earth, people still died from random acts of violence, not all of them perpetrated by the government.

      In Nazi Germany, that was extremely repressive and controlled, the resistance still killed German soldiers and civilians.

      In Stalinist USSR, random acts of violence against the leadership still happened!

      No matter how oppressive the TSA becomes, it will NEVER be able to provide 100% aircraft security.

      A simple example: there are workers servicing airplanes that are undocumented non-US citizens! Requiring the airlines to use only US citizens would cause a labor shortage and add a lot of expense to the airlines. As it is, TSA and the airlines just look the other way.

      There are literally thousands of ways to damage a plane, most of which are NOT covered by the TSA (non) security procedures. For obvious reasons I can not detail them on a public forum, but rest assured, if I know about them, there are thousands of others on this earth that also know.

      Virtually ALL the TSA security procedures are WORTHLESS and are all for show, to delude fearful, ignorant Americans into thinking they are "safe," even when they can NEVER be "safe" (at least no where on this earth while they are still alive).

    • In reality it would take a lot of PETN very correctly placed in an aircraft to actually knock it out of the air.

      Detonating an amount of PETN less than a coke can size, in the passenger cabin would probably only depressurize the cabin, but would leave aircraft control systems intact. Most aircraft these days are fly-by-wire with the communications paths multiply redundant, so even if on path is damaged, the systems automatically switch over to the undamaged paths. Note that Myth Busters did an entire show on aircraft decompression and destruction and had to ultimately fake it up with LOTS of explosives (100 grain shape charge).

      link to

      Even if the explosive amount amounted to the volume of multiple coke cans, it is possible the plane would still be flyable.

      Modern aircraft are surprisingly rugged things.

      Civilians never see this because civilian pilots never get the plane any
      where close to their operating limits. I have flown on the military versions of some of the civilian aircraft in combat zones where we stressed the planes a lot, to the point that the humans on board were pushed right against their physical limits and the planes functioned just fine.

      Americans are basically extremely overly fearful.

  • On How War with Iran might Destroy the United States
    • Actually no.

      The launchers are all portable and are well protected and widely distributed.

      Remember that each plane carries a limited amount of munitions and it could take as many as 1000+ missions to get all the Noor missiles (assuming there are only 1000)

      In the process of 1000 missions, the US military will lose a significant number of aircraft.

      Not only that but Iran has developed and deployed thousands of very cheap, robotic boats filled with explosives. These boats attack in swarms to overload war ship defenses. So, while a US war ship might be able to fight off most of a swarm of these boats and might be able to survive, civilian tankers would not be able to. All Iran has to do is sink one tanker and the rest will stop trying to travel the Persian Gulf - Most ship owners will not take the financial risk of running the blockade until the price of oil is high enough, but by then the US economy will be completely dead and buried.

      The reality is Iran can not only close the Persian Gulf to oil traffic, they can also destroy most of the critical oil infrastructure.

      I have been in combat and am well aware just how deficient the US military is. The US has wasted trillions of dollars on high-tech weapons whereas Iran has gone the Walmart path on weapons systems - lots of cheap, "good enough" weapons. As the Talaban has shown in Afghanistan, lots of cheap "good enough" weapons combined with hit and run tactics completely trump high-tech weapons.

      BTW the US revolutionaries defeated the "high-tech" British army by using realty inexpensive weapons very effectively via hit and run tactics.

      Professor Cole, you have too much blind faith in the US military.

    • While the US certainly has the capability to bomb the heck out of Iran, killing thousands if not hundred's of thousands of humans and destroying lots of structures, the ONLY way to prevent Iran from massively retaliating against the US would be for the US to invade and hold Iran.

      Per the US military's own planning manuals (partially written by Gen David H. Petraeus), the MINIMUM number of US soldiers that would be needed to invade and hold Iran would be ... 3.65 MILLION! This assumes one US soldier for every 20 humans that need to be conquered. This also assumes a somewhat docile population (which is probably NOT a valid assumption in Iran). The reality is the US would probably need closer to one US soldier for every 10 Iranians meaning the US would have to draft over 7 MILLION people. If the US tried to invade with only a million or so US soldiers, they would get slaughtered.

      Of course since Iran is such a major threat, I am sure Americans will be more than willing to sacrifice 7 MILLION young Americans in a fight to the death. (sarcasm)

      Attacking Iran also assumes that China and Russia will remain neutral which is very probably a completely invalid assumption, especially after the US kills lots of Russian and Chinese citizens in Iran. Both Russia and China have the capability to stop the US in its tracks militarily and economically.

      Every Iran war simulation that has been done so far, has totally ignored the reaction of Russia and China and in every one that I know about, the US (and Israel) lose very, very badly.

      As for stopping the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf area, that is actually easier than Professor Cole thinks it is. Ever since the Iraq invasion of Iran, Iran has been concentrating on designing and manufacturing thousands of inexpensive, but fairly accurate missiles. Iran now has more than enough missiles to destroy ALL the oil production capability in the Gulf.

      One of the things that BP very cleverly demonstrated in the Gulf of Mexico is how insanely easy it is to destroy oil production infrastructure and how expensive and time consuming it is to try to replace it, especially if someone is trying to keep it destroyed. Thousands of cheap missiles TRUMP expensive airplanes and anti-missile systems.

      Also keep in mind that the moment that US bombs fall in Iran, every insurance policy on every ship anywhere near the Persian Gulf IMMEDIATELY expires. That is, the ships will have no insurance (acts of war are an immediate termination of insurance). I doubt if very many ship owners will be eager to risk their large investments. I suspect most ship owners will simply "get out of Dodge" and wait for the dust to settle, thereby spiking the world price of oil, even if Iran dos not destroy the oil infrastructure. Note that the Persian Gulf is very shallow and ships have very little maneuvering room, so they are easy to target with all those cheap, accurate supersonic missiles Iran has.

      If the US nukes Iran, then the US is done for, because China will NOT like losing 10% of its energy supply nor the resulting nuclear contamination that will flow over China (BTW that massive nuclear contamination will ALSO reach the US within a few days, so we would literally be nuking ourselves).

      The bottom line is there is no upside to the US going to war with Iran, ZERO. No matter what type of war the US starts with Iran, the blow-back will be so devastating the US probably will not survive. It certainly will NOT thrive.

      Some little side notes for everyone to think about ...

      - How high would the price of diesel fuel have to go before the entire US transportation system stops? All US trucks and virtually all the US freight trains require diesel fuel to move even one foot.

      - How much of your food is transported by diesel fuel? Unless you live on a farm, the answer is near 100%.

      - When the price of diesel gets high enough to stop the trucks and trains, how long before you run out of food?

      Think about that and decide if going to war with Iran is worth it.

      Personally, I think we should remove ALL sanctions on Iran, provide them with all the nuclear fuel they want and have full and complete trade. 50 years of embargo on Cuba have not worked and trying to "punish" Iran will not work either and going to war would be even worse for the US.

  • Renewed Conflict Looms as Israel-Palestine Talks still in Limbo
    • I find it "interesting" that Richard Falk's comments to the UN General Assembly annual review of human rights situations around the world that "Israel's policies imposed in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have transformed its occupation into de facto annexation of the territories," were completely ignored by the US and EU press.

      In other words, without the forced removal of over 500,000 Israelis land squatters, it is completely impossible for there to be a nation called Palestine. Going to the UN to force a definitive boundary between Israel and Palestine may be the last option left. Once a definitive boundary is drawn by the UN, then Israel will have the choice of defying the world or complying (and having a civil war). Why the Israelis thought they could get away with the land grab is beyond me.

      The big question will be once the resolution is before the UNSC, what will the US do? The US will have no good options because it is likely that a majority of the UNSC would vote for the resolution leaving the US the hard choices of:

      - abstain, meaning the resolution passes and the UN will start to sanction Israel.

      - veto leading to massive security and economic problems for the US. At that point it will be the US and Israel against the world. Not a very good position for a country that is just barely surviving economically. Saudi Arabia might even be forced to use its oil card and embargo oil to the US (China would love that).

      More and more Israel is becoming a terrible tar baby for the US and the people of the US will be facing some hard choices fairly soon. Given that Israel has wide but very shallow support in the US, there is the very real possibility that Americans will quickly throw Israel under the bus and drive the bus over it repeatedly when Americans have to choose between their own lives and Israelis.

      Israelis seem to be betting that Americans are not as selfish as they really are. Israelis do not seem to understand that Americans are nice only as long as it benefits them and as soon as the benefits go away, they will turn on a so-called friend in a heart beat. A casual review of America's 200+ year history will show that it has screwed EVERY friend it has had, in some cases multiple times, when it benefited Americans. Israelis could very well be next on the list.

  • The Closing of the Zionist Mind
    • Considering that a huge number of Israelis hold dual citizenship and carry both Israeli and non-Israeli passports, a significant number could just leave tomorrow for the other place they call home.

      As for the ones that are descendants of the original colonists, they could go to the country their families originally came from.

      Of course, Israel could just give up lots of land, water, cash and apologies for 1947 and beyond and a much smaller Israel could probably continue to exist and accommodate those that had no other place to go to. After all, Afrikaners still live in South Africa, even though they have a lot less power and wealth. Jews could have a "Jewish state" by giving the original inhabitants most of the land and wealth, or the Jews can end up being a large minority in a Muslim controlled state.

      In the end there are ONLY FIVE possible outcomes to the whole Jews in the ME situation:

      (1) Two state - Jews given up lots of land, water, cash and apologies.

      (2) one state - Everyone has equal rights and Jews end up as a big minority with minority power. This will lead to lots of real estate law suits since the Israeli state has quite illegally taken lots of property from Arabs and given it to Jews.

      (3) Gaza to Egypt and small parts of the WB to Jordan - Neither state will let it happen as it would result in the overthrow of the existing governments.

      (4) Israel ethnically cleanses the entire area of all non-Jews. This will just lead to massive war and solution (5).

      (5) The Arabs/Muslims forcibly remove all Jews from the ME. While this may not be completely possible today (or maybe it is), the Arabs are gaining power and Israel is losing power as a consequence to the normal, constant shifting of power throughout history. My estimate is that the Arabs might be able to easily defeat the IDF within five years.

      Personally I would like to see scenarios 1 or 2, but both require Jews to give up their dreams of power and wealth and few groups do that willingly. As a result, I suspect that scenario 5 will be the end game, which is a shame since so many people will lose their lives and so many people without dual citizenship will again become refugees. Maybe this time the Jews will be allowed into the US instead of rejected like they were during and after WW2.

  • Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy
    • Anan, you are dangerously mistaken about the quantity and quality of the Iranian military.

      Sure the Iranian politicians spout off all the time, but behind that rhetoric is a vast, modern weapons development and manufacturing capability.

      The Iranians have reverse engineered every technology they can get their hands on and have dramatically improved what they found.

      The Iranian version of the sunburn anti-ship missile is even more deadly than the original Chinese version (it is rumored that Iran has shared the improvements with the Chinese).

      You have fallen into the classic trap that Sun Tzu warned about, vastly under-estimating the other side.

      The Iraq invasion of Iran and the lack of help Iran got from other countries while the US gave Iraq everything it could, convinced Iran's leaders that they needed to be as self sufficient as possible, so since that war (which Iran effectively won against enormous odds), Iran has invested a lot of their wealth in weapon design and manufacturing.

      The US/Israel will get a lot of very nasty, deadly surprises when they attack Iran.

      I expect the US to surrender fairly quickly.

    • How does your food get to you?

      Unless you live on a farm,virtually 100% of your food is transported to you via diesel trucks and trains. What happens when the price of diesel triples? Will the food be transported to you? Will you be able to afford it? What happens if there is not enough diesel fuel at any price? How will Walmart stock its shelves when trucks can't roll?

      While Iran can NOT attack the US homeland directly, it can remove almost 50% of the world's oil supply. As the folks at BP have very cheerfully demonstrated, oil production infrastructure is insanely easy to destroy and takes lots of both time and money to replace. A few well placed missiles fired from Iran at oil infrastructure around the Gulf would stop a lot of oil production within minutes. As for the shipping, ships need insurance to move (owners do not want to risk their massive investments), but insurance companies will get real scared if just one tanker is sunk, which it turns out is easy to do with a swarm of small boats filled with explosives and driven by a martyr.

      The run up to US$150/bbl oil a while back exposed the fact that even with the very high price, the world could NOT produce any more oil. That is, there is NO SPARE CAPACITY any more. So if Iran removed 50% of the world's oil production, the price would have to go up, way up! And it would stay up for a long time.

      Since oil is traded on a global market, the countries that did have oil to sell would not necessarily sell to the US, especially if China was offering CASH (which they have a lot of).

      The US can only produce 25% it its needs internally, so what usage would have to stop to allocate that 25% for all the usage in the US?

      Can anyone see the problem? Not only would US businesses not be able to ship any goods, but none of their employees could get to work. Sure some people can do their jobs from home, but not the entire US work force. The US economy would definitely sink to the bottom. But then the starvation would set in because how would the food get to the stores?

      All of these consequences are just from stopping the flow of oil, then there are all the other things that Iran could do.

      In the end, the US would have to surrender to Iran.

      Realistically, it would be far better for the US to muzzle Israel and throw it under the bus, remove all sanctions against Iran, open up full diplomatic and trade relations with Iran and GIVE Iran the fuel it needs for its reactor (nuclear fuel can NOT be used for weapons).

      War with Iran would be the stupidest thing the US could ever do.

      That is why, I fully expect the US/Israel to do it. Hubris and pride are at record levels in both countries. Most people in both countries think they are super-humans and all the rest of the world should bow to them. They will have to suffer massive humiliation before they re-learn the lessons of history ... the prideful are always severely humbled, always.

  • Why Economic Sanctions on Iran will Fail
    • "devil’s advocate?"

      More like death advocate.

      If we attack Ian many more than "... thousands of people may die."

      As I pointed out above, the deaths could end up being in the many millions, if things go out of control in the worst way. You are advocating world war by advocating attacking Iran.

      Do you think Iran is just going to meekly cower in the corner after being attacked? Would you? The answer to both questions is a resounding NO.

      Iran will counter attack using every weapon and technique they have developed. Remember, Israel and the US have been threatening Iran for years (the US even attacked Iran already using Saddam as a surrogate), so Iran has had lots of time to develop some formidable weapons and the Iraq and Afghan wars have shown the world how to defeat the US and Israel. Both the US and Israel will suffer tremendously for being stupid enough to attack Iran.

      Of course, this totally ignores China. While China likes to do things in a very stealthy way, they are perfectly willing to use overt, brutal force if they have to. An attack on Iran which cuts off 10% of China's oil could cause China to become very, very nasty to the US and Israel. China would have no problem nuking Israel and telling the US to just ignore the disappearance of Israel and unless the US wanted to lose a war with China, it would just look the other way. Yes, China can defeat the US, especially now that the US has severely depleted its military and is bankrupt. China has no desire to go to war with the US, but will not back down either. For those that understand Chinese culture, it is very obvious that China has been telling the US (in a coded way) to stop this nonsense. Note that China is "downwind" of Iran so any attack will not only cause China to lose its oil, but China's people will also be collateral damage.

      Recently several simulations of an attack on Iran have taken place in the US and Israel. In all cases the situation goes very bad for the US and Israel and NONE of the simulations included China!

      If (big IF) Iran gets nuclear weapons that is NOT a problem, especially for any country more than 3000 km from Iran. It is definitely NOT a problem for the US. The only real problem for Israel is not that Iran would nuke them (they will NOT), but that Israel would no longer be able to threaten to nuke the Arabs and a significant part of the Israel population (which hold two passports) would just leave Israel for better, safer places. In other words, the bully would be cut down to size and would no longer be able to bully the world.

      Note that IF Iran really wants nuclear weapons, they have chosen the least efficient way to get them. It would have been far less expensive and a lot quicker to just buy loose nukes on the black market. As both Obama and have pointed out, there is lots of unaccounted for and barely guarded nuclear material around. After getting screwed by the French (paid for, legal material was never delivered) and Russia (paid for, legal material was never delivered), Iran wants to be self-sufficient in everything that effects their future and Iran is well aware of the peak oil process and wants to use all their oil for export rather than internal usage. Nuclear power helps solve both situations.

      Unless you want to have a miserable life, I strongly urge you to rethink your gleeful joy about attacking Iran. An attack on Iran could shorten you life to just a few more hours after the attack.

    • Are you suicidal?

      ANY attack on Iran will cause your life to deteriorate drastically, if not kill you.

      Why is it so hard for people to understand that attacking Iran will cause:

      - 25 to 40% of the world's oil to disappear from the world market overnight because no insurance company will ensure any tanker in the ME and tanker owners will NOT move their ships without insurance. This is even before tankers start sinking.

      - Less oil production means HIGHER oil prices - basic supply and demand economics. If you are in the US, this means Walmart can not fuel their trucks and can not restock their stores (Walmarts have only a few days stock of most items) and when Walmart can not restock their stores, Americans start starving.

      - Iran will devastate Israel with conventional High Explosive weapons, of which Iran has lots - no need for a few nukes when lots of HE will do the same job and is much harder for anti-missile technology to counter.

      - At that point it is very possible that Israel will start throwing nukes, contaminating the whole northern hemisphere and if they throw enough, nuclear winter (at least global warming will be "fixed").

      The outcome of attacking Iran will be terrible at best for Americans and could be extremely, awfully terrible.

      As far as Iran getting nukes, so be it. They will not use them because they are not suicidal (most humans like to live the good life, not kill themselves, even so-called "religious nuts).

      This is a power-play by Israel and it is long past time for the world to shut down Israel's games.

      If you want to grab your AK47 and invade Iran on your own, go for it. As for me, I have zero desire or need to attack Iran .

    • James Speaks:

      The problem for the US is, while the US has been squandering its treasure and alienating billions of people because of needless wars, China has been quietly buying up all the contracts for oil production around the world (including Alaska!) AND investing heavily in non-oil energy development and implementation.

      The US has known about global peak oil since the 1970s, yet has done exactly ZERO to prepare for it.

      Iran's oil from now until the last drop is pumped is already sold to the highest bidder, China.

      Worse still, as the US has found out in Iraq, it is impossible to control oil by force when the locals don't want that to happen. An interesting "feature" of oil production infrastructure is that it is insanely easy to destroy and very expensive (both time and money) to rebuild. Whenever the locals don't want THEIR OIL stolen by an invader, it is very easy to destroy the oil production capability and then concentrate on killing the invader (using the techniques "invented" by the original US minutemen - Yes, the original minutemen were terrorists - read up on it). If the invaders try to protect the oil infrastructure, they need to use millions of soldiers, who also become great targets for the insurgents. Either way, lots of invaders get killed and the oil stays in the ground until the invaders are gone. The US has no way to control Iranian oil, it will have to out-bid others to buy it and China has a lot more wealth than the US.

      As I noted in a post yesterday, the US could stop this whole mess right now by treating Iran better than we treat our "friends" in Europe, but to do that, we would need to burn Isreal really bad and the US has a blind spot to doing that.

      In the end, I expect the US will shoot itself in the foot (with a shotgun) rather than burn Israel. As a result, by 2016 everyone in the US will deeply suffer economically because of our inability to act in our own best interest.

  • Gates Worries about Iranian Nuclear Research, while Khamenei blasts US for Hiroshima
    • If he actually wanted to , Obama could "fix" the Iran problem very quickly by:

      - Having MULTIPLE sources give Iran all the nuclear fuel it needs for its reactors (ie have the US, Russia AND China provide fuel) Note that properly designed fuel can NOT be used for weapons.

      - The EU could help Iran build numerous modern, safer reactors (EU design is way ahead of US design), so Iran's internal energy usage would be non-oil based so Iran could export more oil needed by China and the rest of the world.

      - The US could lift all embargoes and sanctions and integrate Iran completely into the world economy.

      - The US could formally apologize for destroying democracy in Iran in the 1950s (naming the people in the CIA that were responsible) and supporting the vicious dictator (yes, the US should demonize the Shah) and letting the Shah die in peace and wealth when the US could have ensured he was hung in shame in Iran (Carters big mistake).

      If the US quit being so upset that the Iranians threw out US oil companies and did what was actually best for the world, things would calm down rather nicely (except for whining from Israel, which the US should just ignore).

      Basically the US has no other viable option other that integrating Iran into the world. Bombing will just cause the Iranians to spend every dime they can get their hands on to build as many nukes as possible as quickly as possible. The only way to prevent that would be to invade and occupy Iran and per the US military's OWN requirements, this would REQUIRE a MINIMUM of 3.5 MILLION troops to occupy and control Iran (20:1 ratio).

      Where would the US get 3.5 MILLION soldiers and how would the US pay for them?

      A draft and toilet paper money?

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