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Total number of comments: 447 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)


Showing comments 447 - 401

  • Putin: Turkey was protecting ISIL oil Smuggling; Russia urges Assad-Kurdish Alliance
    • Erdogan has really stepped in it.

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

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

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

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

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

      Israel has several problems:

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

      - High performance Linux is free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      So you are completely WRONG when you say :

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Americapox: The Missing Plague

      link to

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

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

      This is the basic question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

      This really mystifies me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      So just who does Israel think they will nuke?

      If Israel nukes . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Israel has NO REPLACEMENT for the European market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      BUT . . . .

      That is all in the distant past.

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

      - Personal weapons -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Israelis seem to suffer from double hubris:

      - Very delusionaly vastly over-estimating their ability, and

      - Very delusionaly vastly under-estimating their opponents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • I do not think Israelis have thought this through.

      What are is the Israelis end-game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Religious people have a simple choice:

      - participate in a multicultural society without discrimination, or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • A slight difference of opinion . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      In the REAL world, Israel has no valuable assets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      link to

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

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

      link to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      When will this paranoid delusional stupidity stop?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Any solution imposed on the locals will ALWAYS fail.

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

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

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

  • Is Israeli military using Barak in struggle w/ Netanyahu over Iran Deal?
    • The REALITY that the IDF is dealing with:

      - Israel has about 400 medium range fighters. Each fighter has less than five hard points on which to hang munitions and each munition must not weigh more than several hundred pounds. Note that the munitions add a lot of drag to the aircraft, causing the fighters to use fuel like it was pennies a gallon (it actually costs a lot more) and drastically shortens the range. Any attack on Iran would require multiple aerial refueling for each aircraft , increasing the mission length and pilot fatigue (fatigue causes massive errors).

      - Israel has less than 10 aerial tankers, which drastically limits the number of aircraft that can be on the mission. While an aircraft is refueling, others have to burn fuel waiting for their turn. It is a vicious cycle.

      - The conventional munitions the fighters can carry are only capable of blowing up surface structures and killing lots of humans. None of the munitions Israel can use will do any damage to Iran's underground facilities.

      - Israel does have nuclear weapons that can be carried by a fighter, but the consequences of useing nukes would probably get Israel destroyed before the USA could even think about stopping the destruction.

      - Iran has a multi-layer overlapping aircraft/cruise missile defense system based on long range S-400 clones they developed in conjunction with China after Russia screwed both on S-300 sales and medium range, high altitude BUK clones and several short range Iranian designed missiles. Regardless which route they take, any Israeli pilot entering Iran after a long, stressful, multiple aerial refueling trip will be very fatigued and is going to be facing a 65% chance of death.

      So what the IDF leadership is looking at is a very high probability of very heavy losses followed by massive retaliation by Iran. Sure the USA might intervene at some point, but the destruction of Israeli infrastructure and economy could be pretty severe by that time. Even if the USA tries to help, the rest of the world will probably push back real hard on the USA and Israel, therefore the USA may have to decide that Israel isn't worth the damage to the USA economy.

      Basically an Israeli attack on Iran has far too high a chance of dismal failure for any competent military leader to agrees to it.

    • Actually a "dirty bomb" can easily be made with ANFO and any long half-life nuclear material. I do not want ot give details on a public forum, but it is insanely easy to build a very bad "dirty bomb" with materials that are readily available in most countries. A "dirty bomb" does NOT require a nuclear enrichment cycle.

      And yes, 3% enriched uranium is very dangerous which is why nuclear power plants which use fuel enriched to only 3%, have many meters of shielding.

  • Trump Takes on the World
    • Trump may not win the republican nomination, but all of his stunts and the counter-stunts that the others cook up to try to take away the limelight form Trump could make any republican unelectable.

      Currently only about 30% of American self identify as republican, mostly concentrated in the south and Midwest and areas of low population density. Whites are less than half the population overall, but again are mostly concentrated in only some areas of the USA.

      By writing off most non-whites, most female humans and most of the younger voters, republicans have a huge demographic hill to climb. If the democrats can get the people that dislike the republicans to actually vote, there is little chance that there will be a republican president.

      BUT . . . the democrats have a hard time getting people to actually vote, meaning the republican minority often wins.

      In November 2016, I suspect that it will be Clinton versus Walker, but a lot can happen between now and then.

  • Good Earth News: Are Tar Sands & Fracking Doomed by Long Oil Glut?
    • The demand side of the equation will probably level off.

      As noted a major driver for demand was China, BUT the Chinese government has made a very deliberate choice to move away from carbon based energy as much as possible. They would like to have zero carbon energy usage by 2030 to both drastically lower their energy costs and to eliminate air pollution.

      One of the side benefits of the massive Chinese investment in non-carbon energy is, it is driving the cost of that type of energy lower for everyone on earth, causing a large implementation increase across the globe.

      Depending on how fast the countries on earth implement non-carbon energy (more for the long term cost benefits than the environmental benefits), big oil may not have a rosy future.

      Note also that while it will cost Iran to rebuild their oil infrastructure, the added costs will still leave Iran as a low cost producer and Iran's goal is to also use non-carbon energy for domestic consumption, so most of the oil they produce can be sold for a nice profit for a long time.

      things could get real interesting.

  • If it's going to push us to War, is it time for AIPAC to register as foreign Agent?
    • As I have noted in several other postings here, Israel, AIPAC and the congress critter bombers have ALREADY LOST.

      Once the UNSC signed off on the deal as representatives of the entire UN, the deal was cast in concrete. As of right now, the entire world, except for the USA and Israel will openly trade with Iran while the IAEA continues with its boring inspections.

      While the congress critters can whine forever on fox news, there is nothing they can actually do that will make any difference.

      - If congress critters threaten other countries they will be laughed at and told to shut up and go sit in the corner.

      - If congress critters actually start a trade war, USA companies will permanently loose access to most of the global markets and European and Asian companies will reap the benefits.

      - If congress critters try to use the financial transaction banking network as a bludgeon, the rest of the world will simply switch over to the new Chinese network and quit trading in dollars, drastically lowering he USA standard of living.

      - Sure the congress critter could declare war on Iran, but that will not go very well, especially since both Russia and China have publicly stated they would help Iran.

      The best thing to do now is simply treat the congress critter antics as entertainment, although we should force all the Israelis that are prodding the congress critter to be even more ridiculous than normal to register as foreign agents.

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  • The Nuclear Deal has turned Tehran into Diplomatic Capital of Mideast
    • The greatest fear of Israel and KSA is that Iran will become the political and economic hub of the Mideast.

      Iran has the finances of Saudi Arabia and the science and technology skills of Israel.

      A fully functioning Iran could figuratively bury both KSA and Israel making them irreverent to the rest of the earth.

      Global power is shifting from the USA to Asia and Iran is poised to be a major partner with Asia (which is what Israel wants, but will never have).

  • Obama Says Netanyahu’s Interference in American Politics “Unprecedented”
    • USA companies have no chance of buying any Iranian oil (or Iraqi oil for that matter) because China has signed lots of very nice long term contracts for oil all over the world. China uses their wealth to buy friends rather than trying to use brute force like the USA.

      Not only that but the USA sanctions put in place in 1979 prevent USA companies from trading with Iran and it is unlikely the USA congress critters will remove USA sanctions on Iran any time soon (they are just as worthless today as they were in 1979).

      BTW - unless Israel and the Saudis start a war with Iran, The current supply/demand projections are the world will have sufficient oil through the 2020s. The price will fluctuate somewhat as the high cost producers try to get the price up to where they make a little profit and the low cost producers try to keep market share.

    • Under USA law (passed by congress and signed by the POTUS), Israel is the only country exempt from the foreign agent laws.

      That is, it is illegal for any country (UK, France, Saudi Arabia, China, etc.) to do the things Israel gets away with.

      Israel is treated even better than most USA states and territories. For some reason (probably lack of knowledge) the states and territories put up with the situation.

      I wonder how many states would love to get $3 billion a year with no strings attached?

    • Obama is neither a naive fool nor a tool of Islam (whatever that is).

      What Obama is, is a realist that understands the limits of USA power and that Israel is a mere pipsqueak of a nation that many times is more bother than it is worth.

      Obama has to do what is BEST to the USA and if that means throwing Israel overboard, so be it. That is how all nations operate and the way the USA has operated for over 200 years.

      In the grand scheme of history, there is no real difference between Israel and any other country and Israel should not get any special consideration.

    • First of all, Iran is NOT a "terrorist nation." If any nation could be called a "terrorist nation" it would be the USA which has unilaterally destroyed more humans than any other nation on earth during the last 50 years. In particular, the USA in 1953 destroyed the democratic government of Iran and installed a brutal dictator who killed thousands until he was removed by the people of Iran in 1979.

      Note also that Iran has NOT killed all that many Americans, the Al Qaida and ISIS Sunnis funded by the Saudis really take that prize.

      Then there is the slight problem that the USA has no right to tell any nation how to spend its money, nor can the USA prevent other nations form trading with Iran and enriching Iran. Note that only a small portion of the money Iran is owed is controlled by the USA - the rest is owed by other countries that will return the money regardless what the USA wants.

      It appears that you do not understand that making a demand and expecting capitulation is NOT a negotiation and is a sure way to have the other side tell you to go f*** yourself and once they do that you have no other options expect accept that you have failed. Keep in mind that no country has ever been successful long term trying to impose its will on others by force. the person using the force ALWAYS LOSES.

      As Powers noted, this negotiation was ONLY about one thing - limiting the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Nothing else was really on the table because quite frankly the other things were never going to be agreed to and would just muck up the one thing that needed to be negotiated.

      The most important lesson I learned from my late wife and Sun Tzu is "pick your battles." The battle here was nuclear weapons, not the rest of the stuff you are so angry about. We can try to negotiate about the other stuff, but Iran would be well withing its rights to expect that the USA and Israel would give up a lot in return.

      Iran is NOT going to capitulate and if you think brute force will get you what you want, you are welcome to put your own life on the line to try that, but when you get killed, do not expect a funeral.

  • Top Iran General Endorses Nuclear Deal with US, UNSC
    • Because of what the USA and UK did in 1953 (and the USA continues to do today around the world) , Iran's leadership has been extremely paranoid about another USA attack for over 35 years.

      As a result, Iran has indeed been thinking very, very hard about how to best hurt the USA with the fewest resources (classic asymmetric thinking).

      So yes, Iran is well prepared for USA and/or Israeli attack.

      As for attacking the USA homeland, Iran will not do that because it is not very effective and uses lots of resources. And quite frankly why do it when there are literally thousands of soft USA targets much closer to Iran.

      As for the Russian S-300 sales, they are physically less important than most people realize because Iran has already designed, produced and deployed a clone of the Russia S-400 system (in partnership with China) and the Russian BUK system. That is, Iran already has air defenses equal to those around Moscow and Beijing (this is why the IDF and USA military have been beating up USA and Israeli politicians that are advocating war).

    • Nukes are only good for committing painful suicide and keeping the USA from attacking you.

      Any nation that first uses a nuke will, at the very least, be committing economic suicide, but will very likely suffer nuclear retaliation from multiple sources. It seems that nations down-wind of nuclear explosions get a bit peeved when their people and food sources are contaminated by radioactive debris,. much of which has a half-life of thousands of years, making some places inhabitable.

    • First of all . . . there is no such thing as a "suitcase nuclear weapon."

      The nuclear materiel used in a nuclear weapons is highly radioactive and needs some very heavy shielding otherwise any humans near the weapon would quickly die of radiation poisoning.

      Both the simpler "shot gun" bomb design and the implosion bomb design require lots of physically heavy stuff for the bomb to be able to function. Uranium and Plutonium must be highly compressed over a very short time period and if the compression structure is not sturdy enough, the bomb fails to ignite.

      All of this means that even "small" kiloton bombs still weigh over a hundred pounds and are definitely not transportable by a single human in a suitcase.

      As for Pakistan, it is indeed strange that Israelis paranoia ignores Pakistan . . .

      - Pakistan has lots of very well designed and efficient nuclear weapons.

      - The Pakistani "quick launch" solid fuel Shaheen-III medium range ballistic missile can reach most of the Middle East INCLUDING Tel Aviv from Pakistan.

      - Pakistan has a fairly large extremist Sunni population and funds lots of Sunni extremists around the world.

      Then there are the Saudis that Israel also ignore . . .

      - The Saudis have purchased and deployed Chinese "quick launch" solid fuel DF21C medium range ballistic missiles, supposedly with "conventional" warheads, but . . .

      - There are very STRONG indications that the Saudis have paid AQ Khan to build nuclear warheads for the DF21C (simple for his organization to do since they have already built MIRV warheads for the Shaheen-III). It appears that at least one has been built, but no one knows WHERE it is. It could still be in Pakistan or it could be already in KSA and if it is in KSA, is it in a warehouse or already bolted to a DF21C?

      - KSA funds a large number of Sunni extremist around the world, including Al Qaida and ISIS. Right now ISIS is trying to solidify power over a fair amount of real estate, but once things calm down with the inter-Muslim fighting, Israel is the next thing on their list (not the USA or Europe as Israelis pontificate about).

      Note also that both Russia and China consider Israel a threat, because Israel has the capability via the nuclear tipped Jericho 3 ICBM and its nuclear tipped sub launched cruise missiles to attack both.

      So while Israel is obsessing about Iran, there is a very high probability that as many as FOUR nations have nuclear tipped missiles targeted on Israel right this very moment.

      So Israel whines about Iran while ignoring much worse threats.

      BTW - before anyone brings it up, It does not take a nuclear fuel cycle to create a "dirty bomb." This can easily be done using ANFO and any handy nuclear waste such as the Cesium used in nuclear medicine.

      In reality, Iran is NOT a military threat to Israel unless Israel attacks Iran first (then they will retaliate in the manner that most hurts Israel and the USA - which my be economically not militarily).

  • If Germany can get 27% of its Energy from Wind/Solar, why can't US?
    • The USA has a very poor energy future due primarily to lack of political will. That is, a very ignorant population coupled with an extremely corrupt government.

      There are no technical reasons to stop or limit the USA from getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources, all the problems are caused by social/cultural reluctance.

      One of the things that could be done by the government would be to use tax policy to make carbon-based energy extremely expensive and non-profitable. For example, tax oil, gas and coal companies at 105% of their profit and use the oil, gas and coal taxes to heavily subsidize other forms of energy infrastructure. Due to the corruption in the USA where large companies can control the governing structure, this will not happen.

      Note that there is already lots of PROVEN, USABLE technology to get energy from non-carbon based sources, but to use it, the energy infrastructure in the USA will need to be almost completely rebuilt, which requires investment.

      Investments, Americans are unwilling to make for several cultural reason:

      - fear of "socialism"

      - Lack of ability to plan for the future. Americans have historically never done anything until it is a "pants on fire" emergency.

      - Unwillingness to heavily regulate business.

      - Unwillingness to have national policies, especially when those nationals policies hurt some regions of the USA. Instead of treating the USA as a whole, it is treated like a loose collection of individual fiefdoms.

      Since the problems are cultural not technical, and Americans are terrible at understanding how badly they screw themselves, change is highly unlikely.

      Americans have extremely misplaced priorities. Instead of basing voting decisions on important things like the energy future of the country and whether there will even be food and water in the future as climate changes dries up the earth, Americans fight about meaningless things like abortion and homosexual humans.

  • Obama: Opponents of Iran Deal are Warmongers
    • Which is what everyone in the USA should have and would have if the USA had a sane national energy policy. But due to our "rugged individual" stupidity and our total inability to plan for anything beyond next Tuesday, the USA will run full sped into that rock wall and wonder why no one told us we were in danger of hitting a rock wall.

      Given the huge amount of non-carbon energy available, there is no reason not to use it. All we have to do is INVEST in making the non-carbon energy ubiquitous, which we could easily do if we quit having super expensive wars and quit buying worthless war toys like the F-35 (it is so complex, it will totally fail in the real world). BTW - Iran has figured out that for the cost of one F-35, they can make hundreds (maybe thousands) of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles - definitely enough to drop that F-35 from the sky with lots left over.

    • Something no one seems to understand is that the Saudi oil infrastructure is all one-off, hand built and once it is blown up, it would take years to replace.

      There is no "Home Depot" for oil infrastructure anywhere on this earth where the Saudis could get off-the-shelf infrastructure, nor are there hundreds of thousands of trained infrastructure builders (there are only a few thousand on the entire earth).

      If Iran gets pushed into war, the BEST thing they could do is stop all ship traffic in the Persian gulf, then if the USA didn't back off, just destroy the Saudi oil infrastructure which would send the price of oil through the roof. This would benefit the oil producers in the USA who could sell their oil for high prices to the rest of the world (you don't actually think they would be "patriotic" and keep it all in the USA, do you?).

      Basically, war with Iran would gut the USA leaving it with very little power and a huge debt.

      But as Sun Tzu pointed out, extreme hubris and stupidity has never stopped anyone from doing the worst possible thing.

      I suspect that once the USA starts the war, it will be less than six months before the USA public is looking for a way to hang the USA leaders that lead them down the garden path, because the costs will be so high..

    • I think China has put all the infrastructure in place so the USA no longer has any control, and will have no problem with having Iran join SCO.

    • Not true - The USA has a LOT MORE to lose in any trade war than any other nation. Also note that China and Russia are looking for ways to seriously degrade the USA power. GWB handed them lots of ways to peel off power and starting a trade war would just further hammer the USA. Your arrogance blinds you to reality that the USA can NOT control the world by force, which Obama appears to understand. As I noted in another post on this topic, the USA has run out of "lever" to pull and has to abide by what the rest of the world thinks. You may not like the fact the USA is losing power, but that is just how the world works and how it has worked for over5000 years - power never stays in one place very long. After WW2 the USA had lots of power, but as history clearly shows, it has started to flow away. Get used to it.

    • Keep in mind that Iran has a LARGE, MODERN weapons industry, that has already cloned the very deadly Russian BUK, the equally deadly Russian S-400 (in collaboration with China), and the Russian 200 MPH supercavitating torpedo (and designed a sub especially for the Persian gulf).

      Iran already has a very deadly multi-layer air defense system that rivals those of Russia and China. All attack simulations I am aware of from BEFORE 2010 show that the USA could lose as much as 65% of the attacking aircraft. Note that the US military and the IDF are well ware of the danger of attacking Iran and have very bluntly told the political leadership in the USA and Israel that an attack would be suicidal. This might be why Bibi has not attacked, even though he whines about doing so - his generals would probably shoot him first.

      In addition to the air defenses, Iran has designed very deadly sea defenses, including the previously mentioned subs, fast attack boats and lots of shore to ship missiles based on advanced French and Chinese technology. Iran already has clones of the DF21C MRBM, so it is very probable that it also has at least one clone of the DF21D "carrier killer."

      Then there is the "grunts" problem. Iran's standing army is LARGER than the USA army and marines and is equally battle-hardened. BUT in addition, Iran has over 30 MILLION military capable humans. Per the USA army's own doctrine, the USA would need a MINIMUM force of ONE MILLION USA soldiers to take and hold Iran for more than 30 days and the casualty rate would be thousands every week.

      Keep in mind that Iranians have been EXTREMELY PARANOID about a USA attack for over 30 years and have dedicated lots of resources and time to making sure that any USA attack would be extremely painful for the USA.

      As Rummy would say "piece of cake, what could go wrong?"

    • You do not appear to understand just how little power the USA has in the real world.

      There are many different types of sanctions, of which the USA very little real power to control:

      - Direct USA/Iran trade sanctions - These have been in place since 1979 and are totally worthless since the USA and Iran have no trade or financial transactions. BUT even with USA direct sanctions in place, Iran has been able to freely get critical USA goods by using the fine old ancient skills of smuggling and money laundering. For example, Iran recently purchased, via the ancient skills, FOUR brand new USA built helicopters and all the necessary repair parts. Oops, so much for USA sanctions. The Helicopter company followed all the rules - they just got scammed by the old skills.

      - Third-party sanctions - That is, TEMPORARY non-USA sanctions on trade with Iran. To get Iran to the table, the USA persuaded the P5+1 to put their own sanctions in place. The BIG PROBLEM is those other countries have made it very, very obvious that those TEMPORARY sanctions are going to disappear by the end of 2015, regardless what the USA does. The USA has NO POWER to keep those third-party sanctions in place. If the congress critters try to use trade restrictions on non-USA companies, the countries that those companies call home, will retaliate against USA companies and soon IBM, HP, Google and many other USA-based multi-national companies will be stringing up congress critters and beating them with metal baseball bats. Keep in mind most other countries are just looking for a handy excuse to close their countries to USA companies and limit their markets to "friendly" companies. The USA has no way to control any other country - even war will not work because as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of smaller wars have shown, the USA can NOT control other countries by force and the risk of war with Russia or China is a staggeringly obvious BAD IDEA.

      - Financial transaction restrictions - That is, using the USA/UK controlled SWIFT international banking system to limit financial transactions with Iran. The USA has done OK with this UP UNTIL NOW, but the brute force the USA used, has angered lots of countries who have a severe case of "There, but for the grace of of the USA, go I." As a result, China has been able to convince virtually all of the world to create an alternative to the USA controlled international banking system which is coming on-line right now and will be fully functional by early 2016. Once the Chinese banking system is running, anyone that wants to do financial transactions with Iran will be able to do so with zero interference from the USA. And if the USA tries to get nasty about it, the USA will drive most of the global transactions out of the SWIFT system and to the Chinese bank system with does NOT use USA dollars, causing the USA dollar to lose value (so much for your standard of living ).

      So basically at this point, the UN has OKed the deal and most of the rest of the globe are going to drop all sanctions on Iran and freely trade with Iran and there is absolutely NOTHING the USA congress can do about it other than whine like a spoiled brat.

      So, NO the USA has no way to "increase the sanctions," let alone keep the current TEMPORARY ones in place.

      The question that should be asked is "why would any reasonably intelligent American think the USA ruled the earth?"

  • Iraqis Divided on Iran Deal: Sunnis say, "The US sold us to Iran"
    • De-colonization is always a messy (and often bloody) situation and outside meddling just prolongs the process.

      So you are correct that the BEST thing the USA could do is withdraw all support for all parties in the Middle East (including Israel and Saudi Arabia) and let them sort out the post-colonial power structures.

      Yes, the squeamish will hate it because there will be lots of deaths, but the good news is the deaths will be LESS the shorter the process is.

      Yes, there is the very real possibility Israel will disappear in the process, but they are European colonial crusader invaders and historically the invaders usually get thrown out. Note though, Israel could avoid this fate by negotiating to give up lots of land, water, cash [compensation for past deeds] and apologies [for past deeds].

      The USA can NOT control the end result, but ONLY prolong the process. The locals have to sort out the situation.

      The same goes for Iraq [the result of random lines drawn on French and British maps]. Since the Sunni have badly mistreated Shia for many centuries, it is not surprising that Shia do not want any further Sunni rule. The Sunni will not give up power until the Shia make them, which will be a messy situation for a while.

      A similar situation between the Protestants and Catholics in Europe caused many centuries of wars until finally most people decided to ignore religion and try not to kill each other and live decent lives. Eventually something similar will happen in Muslim Middle East.

      But while all that power restructuring happens, the BEST thing for the USA is to spend its money at home and ignore what happens in the Middle East.

  • As GOP fumes re: Iran, Russia & China are outflanking West with New Eurasia Silk Road
    • Israel is grasping at straws.

      The emotional hold Israel had on Europe and USA after WW2 is literally dying off (due to old age, the WW2 and early post WW2 generations are actually dying off).

      Now Israel has almost no power over the generations that are slowly taking power in Europe and USA and with the loss of power, Israel is losing the protection it had and the world is more and more expecting Israel to conform to international norms and stop its belligerence. Israelis have a big historical ego problem - they want to be part of the international leadership, but due to their very miniscule size both physically and economically, the rest of the world is ignoring them more and more and it drives Israelis crazy.

      Because Europe and to a lesser extent USA are more and more using economic weapons against Israel, it is frantically trying to find other partners, BUT . . .

      The big problem for Israel is those partners are just in it for the economics and there is no emotional tie like with Europe and USA after WW2. It should be noted that Israel is a small market with very few unique products to sell. In fact, the reality appears to be that India and China are basically using trade to strip-mine Israel of intellectual property.

      So, think about it from an Indian or Chinese perspective. Iran is over 10X the size of Israel, has 100X the wealth of Israel and 10X the intellectual capacity of Israel and Iran is eager to trade while Israel throws in all sorts of emotional baggage to any trade situation. Which is the better market partner?

    • This is why Congress should just shut up, OK the Iran agreement and turn their wrath on Wall Street for screwing up the US economy.

      Here is some brutal REALITY that Americans tend to ignore . . .

      - The population in the Americas and Europe is now static at about ~2 billion. At mid century Asia will have grown to ~5 billion and Africa to ~2 billion. Other than Africa, the income per family will be similar across the globe. That is, the biggest viable markets are in Asia.

      link to

      - Computers. global communication (the Internet) and global inter-modal transportation (ships, trains. trucks and planes) have eliminated millions of jobs around the world leading to a glut of humans. That is, it takes less than 3 billion humans to provide all the goods, services and food 7+ billion humans want and need.

      link to

      - Most humans fall into a narrow range of intelligence and talents. No country has lock on innovation or entrepreneurial talent. USA engineers are NOT more creative than Chinese engineers and China has lots more engineers than the USA, which actually has a decline in native engineers due to wage stagnation.

      - Most humans tend to buy products that cost the least and prefer local sourcing. As a result, most American products lose out to Asian products in Asia.

      The bottom line is if Americans want to maintain their standard of living, they will have to focus on producing unique products in the USA so it has something to trade with.

      Basically the USA economic model has shot itself in the foot by focusing on short term profits while the rest of the world is trying to create a better future.

      Congress is acting like buffoons while the ship sinks and the world moves on.

  • Security Council Defies GOP, AIPAC on Hill by Approving Iran Nuke Deal
    • Yes, the new Chinese trading bank - dang typos.

      BTW - I love irony and I find it funny that Israel is trying to join the Chinese banking system, even though they will have no power and the new bank will prevent the USA from using money as a weapon (which is exactly what China wants). That is, Israel will be helping to decrease the power that their protector uses to protect them.

      The other thing I find funny is how Israelis think that if they are nice to China, China will protect them after the USA throws them overboard. The only thing China wants from Israel is to strip-mine it for IP.

    • I wonder how long before congress realizes they are totally irrelevant and no matter what they do about Iran is meaningless?

      Some of the egotistical congress critters are going to be really mad when they discover that they are completely powerless when it comes to Iran.

      - The rest of the world will simply ignore anything the congress critters do. There is a market of 80 million mostly well educated people and Iran has lots of resources to sell (not just oil, but also technology).

      - If the congress critters try to use the USA controlled banking system to "punish" countries that ignore congress, much of the international banking will move over to the new Chinese trading ban, leaving the USA bankers high and dry.

      - If the congress critters try to punish non-USA companies, the countries that host those companies will simply retaliate against USA companies. Google, HP, IBM, Caterpillar, etc. have a lot to lose if other countries respond to the USA trade war.

      The reality is the ONLY option the congress critters have is to unilaterally declare war on Iran, which will violate the UN charter and cause most counties on earth to try to sanction the USA (the USA will veto it in the UN, just like Russia has done many times). Of course if the USA did declare war on Iran, the results would be terrible for the USA and as a consequence, most of the congress critters that voted for the war would probably be jobless in January 2017.

      By the time this all plays out, many congress critters are going to have very bruised egos.

      Israel has LOST big time and congress critters are going to be exposed as shills for Israel and powerless. Only a few smart congress critters are going to quietly back Obama and try to avoid any public comments.

  • The Real Reason Critics Hate The Iran Nuclear Deal
    • As several nuclear experts have pointed out, no one on earth is capable of "cleaning up" any secret nuclear activity within six months, let alone 24 days, especially when modern instruments are extremely sensitive.

      Heck, the USA has tried to clean up several nuclear sites for environmental reasons and FAILED. Johnston Atoll is a fine example of that failure.

      Cenk Uygur is correct that this is all about money and power. Once Iran can accumulate more wealth, it will be better able to help the people that are oppressed by the colonial puppets (Israel and Saudi Arabia). Note that Saudi Arabia could easily have fewer problems if it treated its Shia minorities much better and shared the wealth, but that would get the government in trouble with the religious extremest the government made a terrible deal with many years ago.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
    • The simulations were done several years ago and were documented in non-US sources.

      The cautions by the IDF leadership have been documented in Israeli press.

      As Prof Cole points out, the USA press is extremely biased and most Americans are too lazy (or too delusional) to seek out other sources. Since every news source on the globe now has a web site and many have an English edition (English is the language of business), there really isn't any reason to not have a better knowledge about what is happening. I follow multiple sources from Europe, the Middle east and Asia. I do not bookmark stories because over time I would just have a huge jumble of bookmarks that are impossible to find stuff in.

      But if you are convinced I just made up what I wrote, then try doing a little research on your own. Look for something like "Millennium Challenge 2002" (which the USA LOST) or the follow-on simulation done in 2007. Here is a non-US story about the 2002 simulation:

      link to

      It is IMPORTANT to understand several things about Iran:

      - Because of over 150 years of brutal oppression by the UK and USA, Iran has been extremely paranoid about a USA attack for over 35 years.

      - Iran has a very large and deep knowledge base. That is, lots of creative engineers who are equal to any the USA or Israel has (basically all humans are equally intelligent no matter what egotistical Americans and Israel think)

      - Iran has carefully studied the USA and developed very deadly, but inexpensive defense strategies and weapons. Any attack on Iran will have a very HIGH COST.

      As for Israelis fleeing the war, that is just common sense based on over 1000 years of human history. Every time there is a war, as many people as possible flee and over half the Israelis have been planning ahead by getting a second passport so they have a place to legally flee to. Many Israelis appear to remember what happened during WW2 when non-citizens were refused entry into "safe" countries - now they will be able to enter as citizens of the "safe" country.

      As I noted, based on the publicly available information, the USA and Israel military and spy services are well aware just how bad a war with Iran would be, but the public does not and the political leaders just throw matches around to remain in power.

    • The IDF leadership is very well aware just how deadly any war with Iran would be for Israelis. They have seen all the simulations that show Israel and the USA getting severally defeated and just how little Israeli infrastructure would remain after the war started. Israel is has enough conventional weapons pointed at it, to turn most of the population centers into ruble and completely destroy the Israeli economy. The IDF leadership also know that once the extent of the damage starts becoming clear over half the Israelis will simply flee leaving no one to fight or keep the country functioning. BTW - the anti-missile technology that everyone is so hyped about, can only deal with about 5% of the missile pointed at Israel.

      The IDF and Mossad have repeatedly sharply rebuked the Israeli political leaders, but the Israeli political leaders are so full of hubris and hatred, they will not listen.

    • Keep in mind that trump only polls about 12% of the 30% of Americans that admit to being republican. In other words, trump has the attention of less than 4% of all Americans, which is well within the margin of error for any statistically valid poll.

    • In reality, congress critters are completely powerless. All they can do is belch hot air.

      - Iran no longer needs the money USA confiscated as they have long ago replaced it with many more assets and with virtually all sanctions disappearing by early 2016, they will just get wealthier.

      - USA companies are going to doing one of two things (a) severely beating up congress critters, some privately and some very publicly. (b) turning a blind eye to the inevitable smuggling and money laundering that get their products into Iran and the profits out. I noted several months ago, my experiences with "restricted products" being smuggled in to places we could not sell products - we just documented what happened to the USA government and quit doing business with the guilty non-US.companies. There was nothing the USA government could do about the smuggling because they could not tell us to not sell our products.

      - As for parts for the aircraft Iran already has, they have been getting them all along just fine. But now, there is a glut of used aircraft on the market, so Iran will be able to get newer models for bargain prices. If the USA aircraft leasing companies will not sell direct to Iran from the storage facilities in the USA, then Chinese or other business people will simply buy the aircraft, mark them up and re-sell them to Iran.

      So yes, the other ~200 countries on earth will just do the same thing with Iran that they have done with Cuba for over 50 years -make lots of money and laugh at the stupidity of the Americans. BTW - Iran has a LOT MORE stuff to trade than Cuba has had in the past, BUT interestingly now that there is a possibility of oil under Cuba, many in the USA want to open trade with Cuba.

  • European Companies poised for Iran Gold Rush but will Hill Keep US Out?
    • There are ~200 countries on this blue marble that barely clings to life in the void of space. The USA congress controls JUST ONE of those countries. All the rest are perfectly free to do whatever they want with Iran no matter how much the congress critters belch up hot air.

      Sure, congress can somewhat control the global SWIFT banking network, BUT China has been extremely unhappy about that (along with many other countries), so China is bringing on-line an entirely separate banking system that the USA has zero control over nor even any ability to track transactions. Chinese bankers will be able to "launder" financial transactions between Iran and other countries (for a small fee per transaction) and the USA will have no ability to do anything about it.

      Even USA companies can have an account at the Chinese bank and could conceivably clandestinely trade with Iran.

      Note though, that smuggling and money laundering have been successfully done for thousands of years and no matter how oppressive countries have been, the smuggling and money laundering continued on.

      A fine example of this is, several months ago, Iran was able to buy and import FOUR brand new American-made helicopters and spare parts. It was done using fake companies and multiple trans-shipments. The USA company got its full price and lots of plausible deniability and Iran got what it wanted by paying a little extra in transaction service fees.

      Now, most countries on earth will either sell their own products to Iranian customers or will buy USA products through fake companies and resell them to Iran for a nice profit. Even countries that may be reluctant to "officially" drop all sanctions on Iran will simply close their eyes to any actual trade. As a result, most countries on earth will trade with Iran and the USA will be stuck with the same stupid, completely useless policy it has had with Cuba for over 50 years, except that Iran, unlike Cuba, has lots of valuable stuff to trade to other countries. In particular, oil and gas to decrease Russia's monopoly over Europe.

      This is "free enterprise" at its finest and republicans should be thrilled when USA products might be resold to Iran.

      BTW - Congress could try to use brute force to keep the non-USA sanctions in place, but all that will lead to is a massive trade war where the USA will lose very badly. There are lots of countries on this earth just looking for any plausible excuse to kick USA companies out of their countries so the local businesses can thrive without the USA competition. If congress goes too far, it could lead to a massive shift in global trade with the USA losing out.

      The USA is NOT the only country on earth with intelligent , creative, productive people and giving the non-USA entrepreneurs a chance to take business away from USA companies is a foolish thing to do because the change in trading patterns could become "permanent," harming the USA.

      Basically the USA congress is going to once again be caught between the ideologues that want to "punish" Iran for wanting to remove all traces of the brutal British and USA colonial rule and the practical USA business people that can count the potential profit dollars in the Iranian market. It will be fun to watch as the two sides battle it out. I suspect that by early 2017, many of the congressional ideologues are going to be unemployed and the business people will be counting the dollars of profit from trade with Iran.

  • Obama: No more US troops to fight Daesh/ ISIL, but more Training
    • THIS IS THE KEY PROBLEM that no one seems to understand.

      The problem with fighting ISIS is NOT a technical problem that can be "fixed" with training, BUT an emotional problem that will require massive cultural changes that training can NOT accomplish.

      No amount of "war toys" and technical training can compensate for lack of will to fight.

      Many Sunnis in western Iraq and parts of Syria see ISIS as the lesser of many very bad evils, That is, none of the Sunni alternatives are seen as "better" than ISIS and the Shia are definitely not a "better" alternative.

      The reality is Iraq and Syria are artificial countries created by the French and British empires that must go through the very painful de-colonization process. The USA does nothing but prolong the process by trying to "train" one faction.

  • The Ghost of Soviet Collapse haunts the West: Military Hegemony isn't what it Used to Be
    • All military organizations on the earth have reached the limits of their power.

      Basically, every military has similar weapons and similar leadership ability.

      This is because of :

      - Global trade - The entire earth is a single weapons market with all the weapons makers competing heavily. When many suppliers compete, product designs rapidly become optimal. This is how we got the AK-47, the most versatile personal killing tool.

      - Global communication - Thanks to the Internet, now every human on earth can have access to all the knowledge of mankind. Now, when a fighter in Iraq figures out a better way to kill heavily armored humans, that knowledge is rapidly spread over the entire globe. Basically there are no secrets - every human can know everything.

      - Cheap technology - All weapons are based on existing technology and now, not only is technology ubiquitous (every human has the same technology), but also very, very inexpensive. Because of things like Raspberry-pi computers (a US$35, 32-bit ARM multi-core CPU system with gigs of memory), clones of GPS chips (with safe guards removed) and lots of free, high quality software (Linux and more), it is possible to make a "good enough" missile guidance system for less than US$1000.

      - Basic Physics and Chemistry limits - There are no "magic" weapons quite simply because over the last 5000 years, all weapons have been optimized (cheap technology and global information sharing, strike again). Even the knowledge of how to build a nuclear weapon is well documented. Once weapons are optimized there is no way to go beyond what is physically possible. And once all weapons are optimized and everyone has similar weapons, winning is essentially a coin toss.

      The bottom line is, today, all that war can accomplish is to kill lots of humans very efficiently and waste lots of wealth that would be better used to improve lives. Sure, some line drawn on a map may move a little, but it is just as likely that within a few years that line will move back.

      The ancient urge to be the dominant monkey has run up against the brick wall of equal ability to fight. That is, none of the monkeys can be dominant any longer and they all have to get along.

    • Remember that China's culture has 5000 years of experience. They have already made (and mostly learned from ) all the mistakes Americans insist on making.

      Americans have some MAJOR cultural flaws that cause major social problems:

      - Failure to invest in the future because that decreases the money to have fun with today.

      - Nothing gets done until the need is super-critical and only the minimum needed to do a quick patch is done.

      - Too much "me, me" and not enough what can we do for "us."

      Americans short-term thinking and excessive "rugged individualism" is reflected across society.

  • Demonizing as Policy: Washington Elites divided over which state to declare Enemy No. 1
    • The USA can demonize China all it wants, but China has a 5000 year head start on the USA and the USA can not win in the long run. In fact this highlights the very big problem Americans have - short term thinking.

      The simple reality is the USA empire is mostly the result of the USA trying to prolong the life of the already dying French and British empires.

      Vietnam was the direct result of France trying to reclaim their empire after WW2 and failing because the locals did not want to be part of any empire. After the French got mauled, the US decided to take over (and got mauled).

      The same situation in the Middle East, further exasperated by Israeli belligerence. If the USA had simply let the locals throw the Brits and their puppets out and sort out the new power structures on their own, things would be probably be much much better now. Instead the USA tried to extend the control over the ME and has now screwed everything up badly.

      In the mean time, China learned long ago that controlling resources by force always fails in the end, so they have used "soft power," consisting primarily of simply paying for what they need.

      Instead of demonizing China, maybe Americans should just let go of what is left of the USA empire, bring most of our troops home and rebuild the USA economy and industrial capacity. If the USA has stuff to trade, China is very willing to trade rather than fight.

  • Tehran Press on Talks: From "Iran will be US Strategic Ally" to "US Sanctions here to stay"
    • The truthful answer for Scarborough is "not a darn thing."

      The USA has reached the limits of its military power unless Americans want to die in huge number in a foreign land where there is no possibility of a "win."

      I would be glad to sit down with Scarborough and explain why we would be stupid to do anything about Iran. But I am just some guy off the street with a little bit of experience in a losing war and a fair knowledge of world history.

      The bottom line is no one in the USA media has the guts to attack the idiots trying to start another war.

    • I am sure your tongue was firmly in your cheek, but the REALITY will be terrible for the USA.

      BUT, unfortunately there is a lot of extremely delusional thinking in the USA and Israel.

      Iran has had over 30 years to study every aspect of the USA and Israeli military and has invested in many counter-tactical systems that will devastate any USA or Israeli attack. Then there is the fact that both the USA and Israel have attacked so many other people, the Iranians got lots of opportunities to see the the USA and Israeli military in action and see how others have defeated them.

      Iranian (and Chinese) engineers are every bit as capable as American and Israeli engineers (something egotistical Americans and Israelis can't seem to understand) and the Iranian engineers will be defending their homeland, not just making war toys to sell at inflated prices.

      The first American or Israeli pilots that enter Iranian airspace are going to get the extreme shock of their soon to be short lives.

      The real “shock and awe” will be just how few attacking aircraft ever make it home.

      BTW - unless the USA keeps its carriers at least 800 miles from Iran, there is the very real possibility they will be sunk by DF21D "carrier killer" missiles Iran has purchased from China.

      Note that adding an extra 1600 miles to a combat mission will exhaust the pilots and require at least two in-flight refueling sessions. and trying those refueling session within 100 miles of Iran makes both the attack aircraft and the refueling aircraft S-400 targets. Ooops.

      This is going to be a short brutal war with the USA in rapid retreat very quickly after the start.

  • Iran Talks Down to the Wire: Diplomatic Breakthrough or Prelude to War?
    • Regardless whether there is an agreement or not, most of the third-party sanctions will be gone by the end of 2015. That is, the situation will become similar to the Cuban sanctions where only the USA will actually continue to have sanctions on Iran (the same ineffective ones that were put in place in 1979). Most of the nations on earth will either openly drop all sanctions or will keep some in place, but simply ignore any violations by companies based in the country.

      To facilitate financial transfers without interference of the USA, most of the money will flow through the new Chinese international trade bank. This will happen regardless whether the Yuan joins the USA Dollar, the British Pound, Euro and the Japanese Yen as an official trading currency in October 2015. Note that the Chinese bankers will earn very nice transaction fees by facilitating trade with Iran.

      Note that the USA has no way to control or even monitor transactions via the new Chinese banking system, so any attempts by the USA to manipulate the old SWIFT network will become meaningless (and could drive more transactions to the Chinese system).

      Note also that for every product made on earth, there are multiple countries that can and will supply that product, so any USA products that can't simply be smuggled into Iran will just mean that non-USA companies will reap the reward.

      The bottom line is the USA needs to have an agreement soon or global events will simply overtake the USA and the Iranian markets will be opened up without USA companies participating. Once the rest of the world starts to trade with Iran, there is NOTHING the US congress critters can do. Congress simply has no viable options, not even war.

      Note that congress is unable to even vote for war against Syria or ISIS because to do so would end all their careers. Voting for war with Iran, which would quickly become a huge, costly mess would get most of congress fired very quickly and congress critters know this. So while congress critters will talk a lot about war on Iran, they know that actually doing it would be career suicide.

      Both the US military and the Israeli military have very bluntly told most of the politicians in both countries that war with Iran would be extremely costly and that the USA and Israel would lose.

      In the end, there will be an agreement that congress critters will hate, the rest of the world will heavily trade with Iran and neither the USA nor Israel will attack Iran. Of course Bibi will rant like a drunken sailor, but he is powerless to do anything but rant.

  • Can the GOP live down Donald Trump's Middle East "Policy"?
    • Actually - not true - Trump will gladly follow tyhe advise from Addeison.

    • Actually many of the super wealthy are really idiots with no social redeeming value, who are occasionally lucky and are good at scamming other gullible, greedy humans with low self worth.

      Human capabilities actually fall into a very narrow range with over 90% of humans being equally mediocre, so valuing someone that claims to have more wealth is a false value.

      BTW - there is no actual documentation that Trump's personal wealth is more than US$1.50. All indications are his claims are just a bunch of lies.

      In other words, you have been a victim of a scam. How does that make you feel?

  • Pres. Erdogan sees Syrian Kurds' advance against ISIL as "danger" to Turkey
    • @Jackthedogg - One of the things I learned from doing four successful start-ups (and two not so successful) is that sometimes it is best to radically re-think perspectives.

      The USA has been basically trying to extent the functionality of the British and French empires long past their "do not buy" date.

      Given the fact that China has awoken from a two hundred year sleep and is on track to once again be a major regional/global player like they were for 5000 years, it is time for the USA to completely re-think its relationships like a mature human. This includes cutting off negative relationships and figuring out who is best for the future .

      The USA should quit NATO and the Europeans need to figure out if Turkey is someone they want to go to war over. Europe has had this tangle of war treaties for hundreds of years and all it has gotten them is needless wars. Europe should tell Turkey that being stupid voids any war treaties.

      That being said, I did not say anything about attacking Turkey inside its borders, but did say the USA should use air power and the Kurds to shut down the Syria/Turkey border to starve ISIS for money and fighters. To facilitate that border closing, we should withdraw from Turkey and use other resources.

      Over the last 200 years the world has VASTLY changed, yet the USA approach to the world has not changed. We are still trying to follow the old British Empire script and that has accomplished nothing except continue the British/French examples of wasting huge resources the USA should be spending on its own citizens.

    • Pull the US troops out of Turkey leaving a nice big economic hole in turkey (US bases pump MILLIONS (and sometimes BILLIONS) into local economies. Once Turks see the USA pulling out, they will either cheer (doubtful) or get real unhappy with Erdogan - In either case the USA "wins." If the USA wants to have an aircraft launch platform in the area, use Lebanon (and tell the Israelis to shut up and go away) or park a USN carrier in the eastern Med. If the USA wants to better supply the Kurds, there are other ways to do it besides through Turkey. Erdogan is treating the USA and EU terribly, so we should treat him the same way.

    • Why is Obama putting up with Erdogan?

      There are several very simple and effective things the USA could do to close the Turkey/ISIS border and stop the flow of oil from ISIS:

      - Oil pipelines are fixed objects that can not be protected, especially from bunker-buster bombs on buried sections and regular smart bombs on pumping stations. Every pipeline from Syria to Turkey should be destroyed. This will cripple both Assad and ISIS because neither has the resources to repair a massively broken pipe system. With the world glut of oil, the price of oil would not be effected the for more than day.

      - Oil trucks are easy to spot and easy to blow up. Sure some may get through, but many will not and it will dry up ISIS resources.

      - The USA should tell Turkey to either close the border tight, or the USA will do it by carpet bombing the border area, and if Turks get killed, so be it.

      It is time for the USA to make Turkey either cooperate or be punished. I suspect that most people in Turkey will want to cooperate rather than get in a fight with the USA and Europe, leaving Erdogan on a narrow, slippery plank.

      The USA is seen by a bully by many so we may as well use that reputation as an advantage. Sometimes situations call for just being nasty.

  • Adelson Tabloid slams Obama for Listening to 'Court Jews' in Questioning Israel's Credibility
    • @Bill Bodden - Israel-Saudi cooperation is a temporary thing because the underlying social structures basically dislike and do not trust each other (the Zionist and Wahhabi sects).

      Even if they somehow succeed in subjugating the Shia, there is not enough room in the middle est for both sets of egos. Once there is no shia opposition, they will turn on each other. Also keep in mind that vast parts of the middle east middle class and lower class do NOT like the Saudi rulers.

    • Yes - over time Israel is screwed unless it drastically changes its ACTIONS.

      BUT you are WRONG when you say that the Arabs will never agree to a peace agreement and allow a Jewish nation in the middle east. In fact there has been a comprehensive proposal on the table for over ten years that guarantees a Jewish nation in the middle east. The Israelis don't like it because it will give them much less land and water than they want and a lot less power than their egos think they deserve.

      As for my opinion, I think Israelis are being foolish to think they can ignore 50,000 years of human behavior. They can not achieve what they want and are putting themselves in a no-win situation. I hate to see humans suffer when there is no need to, if they would just not let their egos lead them down a known foolish path.

    • Simple answer is NO.

      (1) there are no scientific "secrets" and Israel has no better brains than any other part of the globe. In fact, Israel has even fewer resources to invest in science than most of Asia and Europe (the USA has the resources, but chooses to not use them for basic research due to politics). Israel has no special IP.

      (2) all scientists are proud of their work and to be advanced in their professions, they must be valued by their peers. Work done in deep secret does not earn scientists value. Then there is that annoying thing called the web which now makes ALL (and I do mean ALL) human knowledge freely available nearly instantaneously to almost every human. There are NO SECRETS.

      (3) all weapons are based on science and technology and because there are no science secrets, and because all weapons system have pretty much reached optimal design, Israel has no military edge at all.

      (4) when it comes to personal weapons, the AK-47 and its clones are pretty much the optimal design (for a deeper understanding, see CJ Chiver's book "the Gun), and there are well over 100 MILLION on earth with thousands more being made each and every day. That is, there are enough AK-47 on earth so that one person out of ever 50 humans could have their very own.

      (5) As for "throwing rocks" (anti-area weapons - AKA bombs and missiles), because of computers and well understood chemistry and physics, virtually every nation on earth is equal. The only major difference is the USA and Israel continue to build massively expensive and complex (AKA prone to failure) "rock throwers" while many other countries have realized that reasonably accurate, reasonably reliable very inexpensive systems completely trump the USA and Israeli systems. Why throw one cheap missile at a USA F-35 when you can throw four at it for not much greater cost and ensure that the F-35 will fall from the sky (no manned aircraft can survive multiple smart missiles targeted on it - the G-forces required to even try would kill the pilot).

      (6) there are no "magic weapons," even though some Israelis like to pretend there are. High power lasers have MAJOR physical and practical restrictions that limit their use in warfare. The same goes for "rail guns," EMP bombs, Neutron bombs, "suitcase nukes,"etc. In fact many of these can not actually exist because of physics and chemistry.

      So, Israel has reached its military limits and over the long term, it will not be able to survive by force. The IDF can and WILL be humiliated and totally defeated one of these days.

      Note that over the last 50,000 years exactly ZERO military organizations have avoided total humiliating defeat and the IDF will not be the first in 50,000 years to escape that fate.

      The bottom line is unless Israel NEGOTIATES a fair agreement with its neighbors, it is screwed.

    • Sheldon Adelson might want to tone it down because if he annoys China too much, they will simply strip him of all his wealth in Asia. The Chinese government is not happy with him and the more he causes problems, the more likely they are to make his life very miserable, especially if he is dumb enough to actually visit Asia. I find it amusing how many people discount China these days - all who dismiss China will come to regret that action.

  • United Tells Muslim Woman Passenger 'No Soda For Terrorists'
    • If United actually cared about discrimination against Muslims, there are several simple actions they could take:

      - Tell their partner (it was a contracted flight) to fire the flight attendant for demonstrated racial prejudice.

      - Find out the name of the passenger that verbally assaulted the woman and delete their United Frequent Flyer account (United can legally do this for any reason they want).

      - United should notify the man that did the assaulting that United will no longer carry him as a passenger, but United should not submit the name to the TSA. That way United no longer has to deal with him, but he could still fly. Of course, given all the date sharing that goes on, the man could end up on the TSA security risk list anyway even if United does nothing. Once he gets on the TSA list, he will be subject to serious delays at every airport. And this will increase now that TSA has been publicly shown to be terrible at its job.

      - United should publicly state that the woman was clearly discriminated against by both the flight attendant and the other passenger, highlighting the BAD behavior.

      As to what United will actually do; United will try to ignore this as much as possible because it is OK in USA society to discriminate against Muslims.

  • Kaplan: An Impish Desire for Imperial Déjà Vu
    • One of the BIG advantages of having a 5000 year old culture is China has tried pretty much every scheme possible in international relations. They have come to understand that empires based on force ALWAYS cost more than they benefit and always fall apart.

      BUT playing on the other sides greed works every time.

      Why conquer an area when you can just buy what you want while manipulating the exchange currency.

      All the commentators keep pointing out how much bigger the US military is, but fail to understand that the huge, scary US military frightens everyone and just lets China be the "friendly good guy with cash in his pocket."

    • Kaplan is going to be real depressed when many of those french and British empire borders disappear, which is what will happen as the de-colonization process continues.

      Also there is NOTHING the USA can do about the de-colonization process, other than get lots of Americans killed for no good reason, no matter what Kaplan thinks.

      The past 10,000 years of human history shows that the region will sort out its borders and power structures through often bloody conflict and then one day everything will stabilize and the USA will be equally hated by everyone.

  • If Iran Nuclear talks fail, Sanctions on Tehran Could Unravel
    • Per this BBC article . . . "China's currency may become a global reserve currency by the end of 2015. . . . The final decision will be taken at an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in October."

      "The move would mean the yuan joins an elite group of currencies including the US dollar, euro, pound and Japanese yen."

      As noted in the video, if the USA tries to block it, China will just increase its ability to trade with the whole world (including Iran) via their own global banking system, completely outside the control of the USA.

      link to

      Either way, bye bye sanctions on Iran.

      As noted here, the USA empire is disintegrating fast as the "natives" throw off the old colonial controls and power is rapidly shifting from the USA to other parts of the globe. BUT no one should be surprised because throughout all of human history power has constantly shifted and never stayed in one place for very long.

      link to

    • There is no "could" about it.

      Most of the sanctions on Iran will disappear by the end of 2015, no matter what happens with the negotiations.

      - By the end of 2015, the Chinese alternative to the US controlled global banking system will be on-line and most of the nations on earth will be participants (causing the USA much unhappiness). This will allow any participating nation to freely trade with Iran without USA knowledge of or interference with financial transactions. Note that these financial transactions will NOT be in USA dollars but a basket of currencies (decreasing the value of the USA dollar).

      - Given the amount of oil in Iran and the huge and rich potential market, most countries will either drop all sanctions (China, Russia, India, Japan, etc.) or ignore any national companies that violate sanctions (many European countries).

      - All the USA direct sanctions that were put in place in 1979, and that are completely ineffective, will remain in place.

      - If the congress critters try to punish non-USA companies for trading with Iran, the nations where those companies call home will start to punish USA companies. Note that there are many countries around the globe that would love to have an excuse to kick USA companies out of their national markets and congress critters starting a trade war would be just that excuse to punish Google, HP, Boeing, etc.

      As Michael T. Klare points out, the USA no longer has any ability to control what happens on earth.

      link to

      After 60+ years of trying to take over and continue the dying British and French empires, the USA has lost control because the "locals" do not want to be controlled.

      I suspect that Obama realizes that he only has a few more months to get a deal with Iran before it all falls apart and the USA is left looking like a fool.

      Unfortunately there are lots of Americans that are not capable of understanding that the empire is dying and will be very upset when the world treats Iran like it belongs to the family of nations.

      Soon the congress critters will be slapped in the face with their own impotence and they are not going to like it.

  • US Kneejerk support for Israeli Nukes Torpedoes UN Disarmament Talks
    • Basic hubris and extreme arrogance. American and Israeli exceptionalism at its "finest."

      When nukes were first developed, we knew nothing about them other than they made a bigger bang. Heck, we even tested them in the open air close to Las Vegas and other population centers in the USA (I still wonder if the tests in Las Vegas were a trigger for my late wife's cancer since she saw several of the blasts as a child). It took us over a decade to realize that open air testing was contaminating our own food sources and it took many decades after the tests stopped, for the contamination to decrease to the point no one in the USA is seriously concerned about it.

      Basically nukes are only good for one thing - committing suicide. If Israel ever uses its nukes, it will simply disappear and most of the non-Israeli Jews (who can not control Israel) will unfortunately be hunted down in retribution by any survivors left on earth. If the USA ever uses its nukes, all of the USA population centers will disappear and all of the land will be contaminated, as will most of the northern hemisphere (since the northern and southern hemispheres do interchange atmosphere, even the southern area will eventually become contaminated, but people there might live long enough to regret living.

      The bottom line is humans crave power over other humans and nukes are seen as a big "male organ" in the power pecking order, even though from a practical point of view they are worthless.

      Just listen to all the belligerence coming from every human leader on earth towards at least some other group of humans. Every human on earth has an inferiority complex and is afraid some other human will have a slightly better life then them.

      This is why, even though intellectually many leaders realize nukes are dangerous, their egos will not let them make the first move. They are afraid of appearing "weak." It is the same school yard games on an adult level.

    • There is no such "magic weapon" as a “super-pulse” one-megaton hydrogen bomb. What you are proposing is to nuke Iran and kill hundreds of thousands to millions of humans with blast heat and radiation.

      BTW - within 7 days, tons of highly radioactive stuff will be raining down on the USA food production areas of the west coast and midwest. Given how much Americans freak out about GMO food, they will be really thrilled to be eating irradiated food. Strontium 90 for dinner anyone?

      So if you want to slowly kill yourself with radiation, go ahead and nuke Iran, but keep in mind that China, India and Pakistan are directly down-wind of Iran and may not be too thrilled with you nuking them by proxy. They just may nuke you in return.

      There are NO MAGIC WEAPONS.

      ALL, repeat ALL, nuclear weapons produce tremendous heat, radiation and millions of tons of deadly debris. Note also that current atmospheric modeling shows that as few as five nuclear blasts over large cities could lead to nuclear winter...

    • For some reason the "fearless" USA media has chosen to ignore that completed missile base and the Chinese DF21C MRBM positioned there and the rumors of AQ Khan made nuclear warheads.

      For some reason the USA media is focused on Iran while ignoring the situations in Saudi Arabia, Israel, India and Pakistan. Note that Pakistan has everything it needs to nuke Israel except the IRBM and India has the ICBMs and nukes to enable to to nuke most of the known world (India has successfully put many satellites into orbit which requires the same missile technology as an ICBM).

    • The Saudis are going to freak.

      Israel and the USA have just made a very bad strategic error and China and Pakistan are going to make a ton of money because or it.

      Saudi Arabia currently has state-of-the-art Chinese DF21C quick launch solid fuel MRBM that supposedly have non-nuclear warheads, BUT . . .

      The Chinese DF21C is ALSO capable of carrying nuclear warheads and very strong rumors going around in security circles is that the Saudis have paid AQ Khan to build nuclear warheads for the DF21C. The BIG question these days is where those warheads actually are. Are they still in Pakistan? Are they in a Saudi warehouse? Or are they bolted to a DF21C? Note that neither the USA nor Israel will take the chance to attack either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia to disrupt any shipment because the world would come crashing down on Israel. Right now Saudi pilots are getting lots of combat experience in Yemen (as are Iranian pilots in Iraq), meaning that an attack on the Saudis or Iran could be very problematic for Israel.

      Note that the Saudis have simply paid top dollar for nukes on the black market instead of trying to build their expertise inside the restrictions of the NPT.

      It is long past time for the USA to shove Israel overboard and to do what is BEST for the USA because following Israel down the dark path they are on will just drag the USA into hell.

      The nuclear genie (along with all the other technology that mankind has developed over the last 50000 years) is out of the bottle and the ONLY way to contain it is to have global negotiations where everyone (INCLUDING Israel) is forced to comply.

      In the long term this is BAD for the USA.

  • Why does the Iraqi Army Keep Running Away from ISIL?
    • Define "communist" and explain why that matters these days considering that Russia, China, Cuba and most of the other "communist" counties are not really "communist" anymore. Why should anyone care? Communism, socialism and all the other "isms" are just alternate ways to govern a country and no single way to govern is any better than any other (that is, all forms of governance have MAJOR flaws, especially the USA method of governance)

    • BUT . . . the situation is where it is, because one (minority) sect ruled Iraq for decades creating lots of anger.

      The Kurds and Shia were badly mistreated by the Sunni minority for decades, so we shouldn't be surprised by the current situation.

      Given that Iraq is an artificial "country," we should just do what Biden suggested many years ago, encourage the split up of Iraq into three countries: Kurdistan, a Sunni nation and a Shia nation.

      The Shia in Iraq are Arab not Persian so they will want to be separate from Iran, but allied with Iran.

      Once the borders are defined, then the non-ISIS Sunni in the new"country" will have to decide what to do about governance, which I suspect will lead to the end of ISIS.

    • In the real world, where an 8 year old can be taught to "spray and pray" with an AK-47 in less than an hour, there is very little training actually needed. the smart ones avoid getting killed while killing lots of the other side. The dumb ones have always received the "Darwin Cannon Fodder Award."

      The whole USA training Iraqis thing was just stupid arrogance on the part of American politicians.

      BTW - American soldiers receive just 10 WEEKS of basic combat training and then 4 to 52 weeks of specialty training. In that ten weeks the USA soldiers learn how to stay alive long enough to kill some of their opponents and once they are getting shot at, they quickly figure out how to increase their own odds and decrease the lives of their opponents (and yes, I have been in combat)

      FYI - If you want to know much more about modern personal weapons, read CJ Chivers book, "The Gun."

      link to

      "Fun Fact" from "The Gun" - there are over 100 MILLION AK-47 and equivalent weapons on earth with thousands more being made each and every day of the year. That is, there is roughly one AK-47 for every 50 humans on earth. Have a peaceful day.

    • It is important to remember that "national" borders in the entire Middle East were drawn on a map by a small number of extremely arrogant British and French empire builders, NOT by the locals. There is absolutely no reason why the borders in the Mid East shouldn't be redrawn by the locals however they want. This is just part of the whole decolonization process where power gets restructured along locally logical patterns. The decolonization process is ALWAYS bloody and messy, but the more the USA meddles, the longer, messier and bloodier it will be.

      The BEST thing the USA could do is just grab a beer, wine or soda and some popcorn and watch the action on our HDTVs while making "gentlemen bets" on what the final result will be.

      NOTE: no matter what the USA does, the final result will be defined by the locals. All the USA can do is get beat up by all sides.

  • US admits it has no Idea who it is Assassinating by Drone
  • Pakistan as Hong Kong West: China's New Silk Road & US Failure
    • Note that China already has lots of engineering experience with building at very high altitudes, so building rail lines from western China to ports in Pakistan should be fairly "easy." Note also that the new "Silk Road" rail system from China to Europe could also connect with the China to Pakistan route in western China giving Pakistan access to Europe via land as well as sea.

      Over time, China's "Silk Road" rail system is going to be a major game changer for both China and all of Asia.

      BTW - The Chinese "Silk Road" rail system could also be extended to Iran , allowing Iranian trade with most of the world via China. That is, European and American goods can be "laundered" in China for transfer to Iranian customers and Iranian products could become "Chinese" and sold to the world. Of course, China profits from all this trade (as does most of the rest of the world for that matter). The only group that does not profit is the USA because of its super weird global policies.

      Note that most of China's passenger rail and freight rail systems will be fully electric by 2030. Only some lines such as the Himalaya line that is difficult to electrify will remain as diesel powered.

  • If U.S. Bombed Iran What Would Actually Happen?
    • No war declaration against Iran possible and IF Obama can listen to the military and ignore Bibi and congress there will be no attack on Iran.

      So far the record of congress critter actions is not good . . .

      - Libya - the Congress critters avoided any war declaration. Obama did that on his own and I think learned a valuable lesson when the congress critters yelled and shouted, but did not actually do anything.

      - Syria - Obama started this on his own, but backed off and forced the congress critters hand by telling them to vote on a war resolution. Notice that no war resolution has appeared even though years have gone by. McCann and other fake warriors still blow hot air, BUT none of them will actually do their job and introduce a war resolution.

      - ISIS - The congress critters yell every chance they get about how bad ISIS is, BUT has even one of them tried to get a war resolution passed? Every time a congress critter opens their mouth, it should be pointed out that one of the perks of their job is they get to write and introduce bills about anything they want, INCLUDING starting wars.

      - Iran - notice that all we have is lots of hot air. If the congress critters really want to "bomb Iran" all they have to do is pass a bill and over-ride the POTUS veto (and try to avoid all the people in the streets looking to tar and feather them).

      Obama just needs to SAY NO to war and every time he has a microphone in front of his face, he should point blank ask the American public if they want their kids to die in the middle east and if they don't, they should yell and scream at the congress critters telling them to shut up and let Obama do his job.

  • Australia's new Super Solar Cells Double Efficiency
    • Efficiency does not mean anything.

      The real VALUE is what technology has the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour of energy.

      This is why China is producing lots of low efficiency solar panels for very low cost. Sure, more panels are needed to convert the sunlight to the energy needed by a house or business, BUT if the total cost per energy used is the lowest possible, then it does not matter how efficient the panels are.

      This is the classic engineering myopia to drive to perfection regardless of cost. This myopia is what killed Solydra. The Solyndra system was super efficient, but was also super expensive. For very low cost a business could get equal energy from lots of cheap solar panels made with low efficiency silicon.

      In the real world, the cost per energy delivered is what matters and so far all these theoretical super technologies fail to deliver while China cranks out millions of kilowatts of real usable energy.

      When any of these "gee wiz" technologies can deliver solar energy for close to zero dollars, I will get excited, but until then they are just toys in a lab.

      And as a technologist myself that has brought some "interesting " products to real markets, I have learned to be extremely skeptical of the egotistic claims of laboratory dreamers. Show me real production, in large quantities, that delivers real profit for a low consumer price and I will be impressed, but until there is a real commercially successful product I will ignore the noise.

  • Has the World's Rush to Recognize Palestine come too Late?
    • No I am not Palestinian.

      But I have seen just how poorly they are treated by the whole world and as humans they deserve at least some actual help instead of pious rhetoric.

      - Right now there is no economically viable contiguous land for a Palestinian state.

      - Israel has been allowed to take all the land. Now Israel just needs to clear the land so they can use it.

      What will Israel do to clear the land? So far they have concentrated millions into Gaza where Israel can keep them in sub-human conditions.

      - The solution to Gaza is simple. All those 80% that "support" Palestinians have to do, is park their war ships off Gaza and start unloading all the material the Gazans need. Sure Israel will complain, but if enough big war ships are there, Israel will be forced to back down. Do you see any nations actually helping gaza?

      I really hate to see brutal bullies "win," but the power differential is so huge, that there is no way for Palestinians to fight Israel, at least right now. In a few years maybe, but they have to stay alive in the interim.

      Exactly who on earth will actually do anything for the Palestinians other than speak hollow words? Right now all the money that was pledged for Gaza is vaporware.

      Those 80% could easily take a figurative baseball bat to Israel if they wanted to, but no one will beat up Israel.

      Rhetoric is extremely cheap. I see no one taking any ACTION to help the Palestinians or to hurt Israel. The entire world is giving Israel a pass for their terrible actions.

    • The HARSH reality is, it is now physically impossible for there to be a Palestinian state anywhere on earth. All the land is defacto "occupied" by some other state and no one is going to physically remove other humans to make room for a Palestinian state.

      While 80% of the world's population my wring its hands over the statelessness of Palestinians, NONE are going to forcibly remove the Israelis from the land that is needed for there to be a real Palestinian state.

      The world should have beat up the USA and Israel many years ago, but now the damage is irreversibly done and pious rhetoric does nothing.

      This is why I think the Palestinians should just confront the world about their plight and ask the countries on earth which ones are going to take all the Palestinian refugees before the Israelis kill them all.

      If the world actually cared about the Palestinians, it would sanction the USA and Israel until they capitulated and Israel and the USA forcibly removed all the settlers.

      But that is not going to happen. There are ZERO people in Israel that will forcibly remove the settlers (and force is what would be needed - many of the settlers will fight to the death, they are that fanatical). The USA will protect Israel from any attempts by others to force Israel to capitulate.

      I am very pessimistic about the plight of the Palestinians. Israel wants the land and will do whatever it takes to "cleanse" the land for Israelis including mass killings if they think they can get away with it.

      I hate to see Israel's massive belligerence be rewarded, but I also feel that the best thing for each individual Palestinian is for the rest of the world to resettle them with enough resources to start a new life. Israel and the USA should be forced to cover the entire cost of the resettlement.

      Israel has won their brutal ethic cleansing. They will get away with it for a while.

  • After Israel elected 78 MPs opposed to 2 States, what can Palestinians Do?
    • The Palestinians should publicly admit defeat, disband the PLO and tell the USA since Israel will now slaughter them, the USA and Europe should absorb every non-Jew that wants to leave before the Israelis exterminate them.

      This will put the Americans, the Europeans and the other Arab nations on the spot because all of a sudden there woudl be millions of stateless refugees that the world would have to deal with as Israel shoved them off the land.

      While it is probable that tens of thousands woudl die, eventually the globe would focus it wrath on Israel because it would be good local politics in the USA, EU, etc. to beat on Israel rather than take in millions of refugees.

      The two-state "solution " is completely dead and the Palestinians should work now to either find new homes or force Israel to give them FULL Israeli citizenship.

      It is sad that the Israelis might "win" by ethnically cleansing the area, but the reality is over time the Israelis will actually lose everything, especially as the younger generations discover that they can live better lives outside Israel, and as China dwarfs Israel in innovation.

  • Netanyahu slips, Reveals reason for Opposition to Iran Deal
    • No country on earth has any "right to exist." Counties simply exist until they don't.

      The USA has no "right to exist."

      The UK has no "right to exist."

      Russia has no "right to exist."

      China has no "right to exist."

      Just like every other country on earth at this moment (it will change over time), Israel has no "right to exist."

      It is generally accepted that INDIVIDUAL HUMANS have a "right to exist," but that does not apply to the groupings that those humans may adopt time to time.

      It is easy to turn Israel's vapid argument on it end and then demand that Israel MUST agree to that Palestine and Iran have a "right to exist," but Israel will never agree to that.

      Over the last 50000 years humans have created thousands of city/states and most of them have disappeared (for example the Hebrews ceased to be a state thousands of years ago - that is just what happens throughout history).

    • While Tom Friedman gets a LOT wrong nearly 100% of the time, but he is VERY CORRECT that the world is flat when it comes to technology. When very efficient 32-bit computers cost US$35 and 64-bit multi-core computers will soon be less than US$100, and most of the earth is tied together by a very efficient digital communications network, every part of the earth has access to all of mankind's technology and information. There are no secrets.

      Since all weapons are based on science and technology, that means that everyone on earth has pretty much the same weapons and the same battle knowledge.

      This means the natives that used to be at a disadvantage compared to the "global" powers are no longer at a disadvantage. The locals can now very effectively kill the invaders with AK-47s (currently there is one for every 50 humans on earth) and IEDs (you would be amazed at what people can do with stuff from Walmart).

      This is the problem the "global" powers (and Israel) are hitting like a brick wall. The USA, Israel and other invader nations are at their limits and can no longer win even if they are willing to kill all of their own citizens in the process.

      This is where the delusions of the neocons and Israelis is so dangerous. They really believe they can still "win" and therefore do extremely foolish things. Even after losing very decisively in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans still think they can win the next war. I do not know just how badly the USA is going to have to lose before Americans understand they are only a small part of the globe and can not push other nations around.

      Unfortunately it appears that the Israelis egos are far too large, the hubris far too extreme and the delusional myths are so in grained, that Israelis will not give up until they lose everything.

    • Look down-wind of Iran.

      Israelis can be really dumb sometimes, but I suspect if they think about it, they will realize what countries are downwind and how they will react to having Israel contaminate their citizens and food supplies with radioactive debris from attacking Iran.

      Hint: China has nukes and the missiles to deliver them to Israel. India has nukes and the missiles to deliver them to Israel. Pakistan has nukes but no missiles to deliver them to Israel, BUT they woudl find a way to retaliate against Israel.

      In REALITY, first strike nukes are ONLY good for one thing . . . committing suicide.

    • FYI - "Iron dome" is more like "rust dome."

      ALL anti-missile systems are very limited in functionality and capacity with terrible economics.

      An "iron dome" battery consists of three launchers with 20 missiles each for a total of 60 per battery and an acquisition and control system. Each battery costs about $50 million, while each of the Tamir interceptors cost as much as $100,000. After the 60 missiles are launched, the battery is worthless until it is reloaded several hours later.

      Basic physics determines that about 75% of the iron dome missiles fail.

      Of course Iran has a simple solution to Iran dome and similar anti-missile systems - make thousands of very inexpensive but reasonably accurate missiles and "swarm" (overload) the defensive systems.

      Israel has 10 iron dome batteries which means, with extremely optimal conditions (never possible) it can stop a maximum of 600 incoming missiles. This means that over 49000 of the missiles the IDF says are pointed at Israel would get through. The situation in Saudi Arabia would be no better.

  • Do GOP Frontrunners have an Iran policy besides Sanctions and Bombs?
    • I do not know of any "journalist" that is willing to call a "guest" a liar to their face (which is what should be done).

      Of course I am a firm believer in "skin the rascals alive" type of journalism. I think public figures should be treated like scum every chance there is such that they dread running for political office.

    • Except that while countries can pretend to agree with the USA, they can simultaneously look the other way and plead innocence. I noted my own experience with trade embargoes that did not work here:

      link to

      Actually the USA has almost zero leverage over third-party sanctions, especially as the Chinese international trading bank comes on-line because it will hide all financial transactions from the USA. It is very, very easy to create shell companies around the globe to shield international companies from USA retaliation. All they have to do is show that they sold to the shell company in good faith and promise to never sell to that shell company ever again (real easy to do because the shell company had served its purpose and had long disappeared). All the USA will be left with is egg on its face.

      So how do you set up a "reasonable" shell company you ask? First find a company that has existed on paper someplace on earth for several years. The company just has to exist for a reasonable amount of time without having any legal problems. Then you buy it for a reasonable price. You may even keep it running. then buy stuff from American companies and have it shipped to your long standing address. Then it gets "stolen" from your location. After it is safely out of the country, you may even report it to the police so that you can continue to buy for American companies. After all,there is a LOT of theft in your country (especially of American stuff that sells well on the "secondary" market), so you can't be responsible for stuff that gets stolen. Note that the American companies get paid, so they have no complaint, they just have to cover their rears from the US government.

      As you can see there are LOTS of ways to get around anything the USA congress critters try to prevent. This is because as long as political entities have been trying to regulate trade, the traders have come up with ways to totally ignore the restrictions which means the smugglers and money launders WIN EVERY TIME.

      The bottom line is there are ZERO ways for the USA to enforce third-party sanctions in the real world. For example, Iran recently purchased FOUR brand new American made helicopters along with all the spare parts by using the old shell company trick.

      Also as I noted, option "A" is highly;y likely not because the other countries want to have a trade war with the USA, but have been waiting for a plausible excuse to cripple USA companies in their country in favor of local companies. If he USA gives a country a handy way to kick Google out, all the better.

      Americans are pretty egotistical and have no clue how much other countries would love to shaft the USA while wearing a big friendly smile.

    • Every time a republican opens their mouth, every journalists should loudly point out that republicans have NO SOLUTIONS. It is really down to this deal or no deal and Iran does what they want.

      Every republican should be repeatedly asked HOW?

      - HOW can the USA put any further direct sanctions on Iran when all the possible direct sanctions were put in place in 1979?

      - HOW will the USA keep third-parties from dropping most of the existing sanctions? USA laws are meaningless outside the USA.

      - HOW will the USA convince China, Russia, India and most of the rest of the world to increase sanctions on Iran when most woudl rather drop the sanctions that are now in place (they will not put new ones in place, no matter how much the USA begs).

      - HOW can the USA use the global banking system as a bludgeon when most countries on earth are joining the Chinese global banking system because they are angry about the USA control of the current banking system?

      - HOW soon after most of the earth switches most of their financial transactions to the Chinese banking system will the USA dollar drop through the floor, taking the USA economy with it?

      - HOW soon will they actually pass a declaration of war on Iran over a POTUS veto? (considering they are afraid to pass a declaration of war on Syria or ISIL, it may be a while).

      - HOW many dead Americans are they OK with when the USA attacks Iran?

      - HOW soon will they authorize a draft to triple the size of the USA military so it is comparable to Iran's current active military? (this ignores the 25 million military capable humans in Iran that have a 50:1 advantage over the USA)

      - HOW soon will they triple the taxes for the wealthiest Americans to pay for the war with Iran?

      - HOW soon after the USA loses the war will they apologize for being so stupid?

      basically the republicans are delusional about the real world. They appear to think all we have to do is snap our fingers and the world will obey blindly, whereas in the REAL WORLD countries like China, Russia, India, Japan and even many in Europe will do what they want, when they want and will defy the USA and there is ZERO the congress critters can do about it.

      Journalist should do their job and point out how delusional republicans are, but given how meek most journalists are, I do not expect very much. For example, Bibi's interview this weekend was basically an uncontested rant full of lies.

  • What if US & UN Sanctioned Israel over its Nukes as they did Iran over Enrichment?
    • Not as fictional as many might think.

      Israel is facing a huge generational demographic time bomb around the globe. The humans born during and just after WW2 are rapidly retiring and becoming less active in national power dynamics and even more important, they are dying off due to age related causes.

      To the population born in the late 1960s and later, WW2 and the establishment of Israel is ancient history and given all the strife caused by Israel, many consider Israel to be a bad nation. The younger population is also much less religious than the older generations and tend to discount any discussion points based on religion.

      As the younger generation moves into positions of power around the globe, Israel's standard messaging is going to fall on deaf ears and attitudes about Israel will shift, slowly at first, but once it reaches a tipping point, Israel's future will become very dark, very quickly.

      I suspect that Bibi will be the last Israeli leader to have any audience outside Israel because the USA republican party is also facing the same demographic time bomb. The weird thing is some of the republican leadership knows they are facing a dark future but can not figure out how to move the party away from the extremely disliked values the party currently has. Even though the social conservatives are a declining part of the USA population, the republicans can't figure out a way to tell them that they can no longer set the republican party agenda and they will just have to learn to live in the 21st century.

      While the scenario will probably not play out as Mr. Cole writes, I think Israel is going to have some rude shocks in the near future and will discover that 7 million people eventually have to bow to the will of 7 billion. Yes, Israeli egos are going to take quite a hit.

  • Elon Musk: Solar Energy, Electric Cars will avert Wars for Oil
    • If we can bring the cost of non-hydrocarbon energy down far enough, we can easily use that energy to make usable fresh water from the oceans.

      Right now nuclear ships and subs "make" their fresh water from sea water using electrical energy from the reactors. The process is fairly straight forward, but it uses energy. So cheap non-carbon energy would allow us to "make" fresh water and pipe it to wherever it is needed.

      Using low water usage farming could yield more than enough food for the entire globe.

      Yes, we would pretty much have to rebuild the global water and food infrastructure, but it is very doable with current technology.

  • Netanyahu on Iran Deal: threatens ‘survival of Israel’, ‘horrific war’
    • Per The Nuclear Threat Initiative ( there are some nukes that are "missing" from the global inventory. NTI is a reasonably balanced view of the global nuclear situation.

      Then there is the Pakistani entrepreneur, AQ Khan, who sells nukes to pretty much anyone (Pakistan "promised" he wouldn't do that). The Saudis went shopping with him when they needed something to put on top of their brand new DF-21C MRBM they purchased form China (DF-21c is a quick-fire solid fuel missile with a 30 meter accuracy - of course who needs that much accuracy when it is topped with a nuke). If the Iranians were not so paranoid about sourcing weapons from third parties, they could have had a nuke long ago.

      As others have pointed out, Israel is a target for many REAL WORLD nukes (Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and possibly India, Pakistan, the UK or France), so why is it so worried about Iran, which does NOT actually have a nuke yet?

      Yes, I know people will see that list and say I am smoking something, BUT all of those are probable. Far too many Israelis think the "Samson Option" is a great idea. Israel has developed ICBMS that can reach all of Europe, Russia, ME and parts of China. Therefore, Saudi Arabia and Russia are obvious. China always targets known threats and Israel is a threat. It is also reasonable to think the UK and France have target plans for a rogue Israel. India certainly has the nukes and the ICBMs to nuke Israel, but unless Israel's actions harm India, it is unlikely to nuke Israel. Currently Pakistan's MRBM can not quite reach Israel, but the next version probably will (or Pakistan can simply buy ICBMs from NK) and Pakistan certainly has the nukes.

      So yes, the "problem" of Iran someday getting a nuke does seem to be over blown. The real reason probably has to do more with balance of power in the ME. Israel can not survive very long if they can't scare others and Iran having nukes would take away the scare factor. There are many in the USA that are still angry that our Iranian puppet was thrown out by the people of Iran and "our oil" was sold to China and others. And of course the Saudis have made a terrible deal with ultra extremist Muslims, so they have to oppose the "other Muslims." In reality this is more about who has the bigger male sex organ than about nukes.

    • How does Bibi think the USA can get a "better deal?"

      Lets pretend Bib succeeds in using the USA congress critters to derail this negotiation, what does he think will happen?

      - More sanctions? - China and Russia have very publicly said there will be no additional sanctions. In fact if the USA congress derails the negotiations, China and Russia will drop all their current sanctions. In addition, while most European countries may not "officially" drop sanctions, many will turn a blind eye to any infractions and when the USA complains act like Sgt Schulz on the US TV show ("I know nothing ...."). Once most of the sanctions are gone, the USA will have zero leverage over Iran and no partners to help.

      - More banking restrictions? - The Chinese are very angry about USA control of the global banking system. This is one of the reasons the new Chinese trade bank has zero USA participation and does not use the USA dollar as the trading currency. The new bank is designed to provide an alternative to the USA controlled banking system. The new bank will NOT have any restrictions on financial transaction with Iran and will hide any such transactions from the USA. It will very effectively launder all Iranian transactions. The more the USA congress critters try to use the USA controlled banking system as a club, the more countries will abandon the USA system in favor of the Chinese system. The USA has zero leverage over China, who will simply tell the USA to go suck an egg. BTW - The Israelis are so naive about this bank, they are trying to join, indirectly helping Iran.

      - More trade retaliations by the USA against other countries to get compliance? - Sure, congress critters could try to punish non-USA companies, BUT that works both ways. There are many countries that would love an excuse to punish USA companies and favor local companies. They have avoided this to keep from starting a trade war with the USA, BUT . . . if the USA starts it, they will be glad to go along. Very quickly, USA companies and products will be under financial attack around the globe and those USA companies will know exactly who the beat up - the congress critters. Once started, this would be hard to stop and even when the congress critters tried to undo the damage, they might not succeed. This would of course ensure no one listened to the USA about Iran.

      - Military force? - As noted elsewhere in Dr. Cole's very valuable site, this would be catastrophic for Israel and the USA and has a 90% chance of failure. Obama is very aware of the consequences of attacking Iran and is doing all he can to avoid that. He is actually being helped by congress since none of the congress critters want to actually vote on any more war. Congress has avoided voting on a Syria war and an ISIL war. It is doubtful that congress critters would vote to attack Iran, especially given that two governors that recently made unpopular decisions were forced to publicly back down in humiliation (sure they tried to put a nice face on it,but they felt the humiliation). I suspect that even with the Knesset, Bibi could not get a war authorization either, which is why he is trying to get the congress critters to do it.

      So the bottom line is, this is the BEST deal Bibi is going to see and anything he does to derail it will be terrible for Israel. Just getting this deal has used up all the political capitol the USA has and the world will not listen any more if this falls apart.

      Bib has LOST and he should just accept it.

  • War with Iran, by the Numbers
    • The DF-21D has a range of only about 800-1000 miles, so USA carriers are "safe" as long as they stay that far away.

      Of course that does cause a "slight" problem for the aircraft based on the carrier, because the jets have a very limited flight range, especially when carrying a heavy bomb load. This means that the carrier will have to also launch a lot of refueling aircraft or have the USAF launch a lot of refuelers from "safe" (and distant) land bases. In either case, this just increases the cost of each mission by 5x to 10x and wears out the pilots at a very fast pace. In-flight refueling is routine by now, but still increases the stress level and fatigue of the pilots and fatigued pilots make lots of mistakes.

      Of course that long distance flight path gives the S-400 systems (range ~ 200 miles) guarding the borders lots of time to acquire and destroy the incoming jets. Note that Iran and China have refined the S-400 design so it is not only more accurate , BUT also easier and less expensive to manufacture. This is key to the Iranian concept of "swarming." That is, target each attacking device with enough counter measures to over load the defenses and ensure that the incoming attacker is destroyed. To do this the Iranian weapons must be very inexpensive but reliable, which they are.

      As far as I know, China is not selling the DF-21D to anyone, BUT China and Iran have an informal agreement to share weapons technology. Both China and Iran have benefited from this arrangement with Iran giving China some nice improvements to several designs in return for China giving Iran the initial designs. So there is a very good chance that Iran will be able to develop their own version of the DF-21D, if they have not already done that.

    • Trying to blockade Iran would cause the USA huge harm economically and most of the rest of world would side with Iran.

      Yes, tankers would stop traveling in the ME areas, BUT Iran has pipelines to many other places and some oil will flow (mostly to China).

      BUT the bottom line is, the USA power has been checkmated by Iran.

      As for your rosy invasion scenario, are you going to be one of those cannon fodder you are so willing to send to their death in Iran?

      The number of ways to kill Americans has been very well refined over the last 20 years (thank you GWB). Plus there is the "little problem" that Iran's ACTIVE army is well trained, well equipped, very loyal and lead by battle tested generals. It is also three times the size of the US army and marines combined. Remember that Iran is currently beating ISIS in Iraq and Hezbollah is doing OK against ISIS in Syria. Then there is the other "slight" problem that Iran has 25 MILLION military capable people who will gladly kill every American they can find. It is highly probable that American invaders would not get anywhere close to the key nuclear facilities let alone dismantle them.

      You have fallen into the classic trap Sun Tzu told us about over 3000 years ago - vastly underestimating the opponent combined with extreme hubris about your own strength - A guaranteed and historically proven way to lose.

      You will NOT like the results of any USA invasion, nor will you like what happens to you if the USA tries to blockade Iran.

    • Iran wants a decent deal and Israel has no ability to attack Iran without committing suicide.

      The IDF has already explained this to Bibi many times and he still opens his big mouth while ignoring the IDF advice.

      No one in the IDF or Massad want any war with Iran. In fact on 31 Mar, the IDF publicly warned that war with Lebanon would be very deadly for Israel and everyone in Israel is freaking out that the IDF would even say such a thing.

    • It is even worser than you think.

      - To stop shipping, all Iran has to do is torpedo any ship in the Persian gulf. While a tanker would make great video as it burned, keep in mind that any USN ship in the gulf is a sitting duck for Iranian subs, because the subs are equipped with super-cavitating torpedoes for which the USN has no defense, especially in the narrow gulf. Once one ship is sunk, all the marine insurance policies will be canceled and no ship owner will want to risk losing a multimillion dollar ship. Tankers will evacuate the gulf overnight.

      - If Iran thinks the Saudis are a danger, they will blow up all the Saudi oil terminals causing KSA to lose most of their revenue for at least two years. Oil production infrastructure is all hand built in place. There are no "spare" infrastructure just sitting in a field ready to replace stuff that gets blown up. Of course with KSA oil off the market and with the USA no where self sufficient in energy, the USA economy would collapse.

      - As for the USA invading and occupying Iran, that would require a MINIMUM of 3 million USA troops (big draft) and the death rate for the USA troops would be a minimum of 1% a month. I am sure the American public would be "thrilled" about both the death rate and he huge financial cost (between the energy costs and the war costs, the USA would be bankrupt very quickly)

      Iran has been planning for a USA attack for 35+ years. They have looked for every weak point the USA has and have developed technology and strategies to exploit those many weak points. An attack on Iran will be terrible for the USA and the USA will retreat in defeat very quickly as the costs escalate.

    • Anyone worried about "loose canons with nukes," should keep in mind that Pakistan ALREADY has nuclear weapons and has the Shaheen III MRBM with a range of up to 1700mi, which could enable it to reach deep into the Middle East. The next version will be able to reach Israel. Of course, Pakistan could just buy Taepodong-2 missiles from NK and easily reach Israel. Note that China will probably not sell Pakistan any DF-3, DF-4 or DF-31 because they would not trust Pakistan to not use them on China.

    • The USA neocons have never met an opponent like China who they are VASTLY underestimating.

      China alone has over 20% of the global population and will do what ever it takes to protect them, including beating the USA to a bloody pulp. China is NOT afraid of the USA, but because Americans have zero understanding of the 5000 year old culture, they miss-read China's traditional polite subtle messages for weakness. China has a very deadly iron fist inside that velvet glove.

      SCO is not going to be broken up, but will get stronger much to the detriment of the USA.

      Once again the USA lack of real world knowledge about other cultures combined with extreme hubris, is going to blow up in the USA face.

    • Who is to say Iran hasn't already purchased one of the many "lose nukes" that are floating around the world? Per, there are some nukes "missing" from the global inventory.

      The Saudis did buy their nukes instead of building their own, just like they purchased the DF-21C MRBM to put them on. AQ Khan is a busy man and still selling nukes even after Pakistan "promised" he would not do that.

      Iranians are so paranoid they insist on designing and building their own war toys - Saudis just buy their war toys from the many global suppliers.

    • It is impossible for the USA to occupy Iran for more than a few months. The death rate for Americans would be huge. As i noted above, the ratio is 50 Iranian fighters for each American.

      Then there is the problem that Iran supplies about 10% of China's energy. I suspect that China would not be happy about the USA stopping that flow. In fact they just may severely punish the USA. possible by driving the US dollar through the floor and bankrupting the USA. Yes that would also hurt China, BUT a lot less than losing the Iranian energy.

    • As I pointed out here . . .

      link to

      Israel and/or the USA would quickly deeply regret attacking Iran.

      Some things to remember about Iran:

      - It is pretty much self sufficient in weapons design and production. They are just as advanced as the USA in weapons design, except Iran knows how to make very effective weapons for a tenth of the cost of the USA.

      - Iran has spent the last 35+ years trying to make an inevitable USA attack as painful as possible for the USA. Iranians, remembering their history, are sure the USA will once again attack Iran, just like they have in the past. Iran is very prepared.

      - Iran has figured out that thousands of inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles easily trump a single very, very expensive aircraft. Keep in mind that a single USA carrier only has 60 or so aircraft and each aircraft has less than five munitions hard-points on each aircraft and those hard-points can only support several hundred pounds each and for every pound hanging on a hard-point the distance the aircraft can fly drops substantially. This means the pilots must often refuel multiple times for each mission leading to pilot fatigue. Missiles don't get fatigued and make deadly mistakes. Note that Iranian missiles are so inexpensive, Iran can easily afford to fire two or three at each incoming aircraft making it almost impossible for the US pilot to survive. This is the "swarm" technique Iranians like so much.

      - Once the air war fails, the US will be forced to either withdraw in humiliation or escalate to a ground war. Iran is well prepared for this also. Iran has carefully taken notes on how the Vietnamese, Afghans and Iraqis defeated the USA ground military and has developed even better techniques.

      - Iran has over 25 million military capable humans and the personal weapons to support them (Iran makes thousands of AK-47s every month and can easily buy more on the global market). The entire USA land fighting force is less than half a million, so they will be vastly outnumbered (~50 to 1) by Iranians. Most Americans will die rather quickly. Of course the congress critters could restart the draft but may not like the reaction they get from the voters.

      Then there is the "slight" problem in that both Russia and China have said very plainly that they would be extremely unhappy if the USA or Israel attacks Iran and they have the ability to make American and Israeli lives very BAD.

      The bottom line is the USA would be extremely foolish to attack Iran. As Dr. Cole points out, the basic numbers are terrible for the USA for any attack.

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • Over my 25+ years political discussion, I have tried very carefully to avoid invoking "Godwin's Law." BUT . . .

      Ted Cruz's methods just strike me as very similar to the techniques another famous psychopath used to gain power in Germany in the1930s.

      Cruz is no dummy and he carefully crafts his image and messages to trigger all the hate-filled responses possible. I suspect he knows the messages he sends are internally inconsistent, contradictory and unworkable in the real world, but they trigger the responses he desires.

      Unfortunately critical thinking is in very short supply in the USA (and around the world for that matter), so he will be able to get a fair number of people to follow him over the cliff.

      While most of the republicans are simply mindless clowns, Cruz may be more dangerous since he seems capable of using the rubs to gain power.

  • The rise of the Israeli far right & the future of Palestine
    • The key problem for Israel is in your last line . . . "will continue to occur as long as the majority of Americans tolerate their government’s inaction and indifference toward the human rights of Palestinians."

      While it is true that Israel has literally gotten away with mass murder for over 50 years, the global conditions that allowed them to do that, are changing fairly quickly.

      - Power is inevitably shifting away from the USA (the USA could never retain the power it had after WW2 - that is just how the global power shifts constantly).

      - The generation that lived through WW2 and the immediate aftermath is dying off and all their memories are fading into oblivion.

      - The next generations in the USA, Europe, Asia and the ME have vastly different views on Israel - mostly very negative.

      - The entire globe is awash in weapons that are equal to anything Israel will ever have. Israel has lost its military edge (as has the USA, no matter how much we spend on F-35 white elephants).

      So, yes Israelis can do all the things you list, BUT . . . in the long term, it will only cause them to have a more massive and painful failure.

      As I noted above, humans have a terrible habit of fighting the inevitable loss of power, no matter how much damage they do to themselves in the process. Very few humans will accept defeat gracefully. So unfortunately the path to the future will be really ugly and ultimately very painful for Israelis.

    • My desire would be for Israel to undergo social change via economic persuasion and social action., BUT (there is always a but), as a realist, I think the change will be because of violence. Humans just do not give up power willingly, they always fight to the death for it. Jewish people have wanted lots of power for thousands of years and now that they have a little bit, they do not want to give it up. It is that very egotistical delusions of power that drive Bibi to lecture the POTUS and the UN.

      In another article on Dr. Cole's site he imagines a war in the un-holy land. While I quibble with the details, the broad outlines are probably what will happen.

      It is sad that humans so badly screw up their own lives just for the delusions of power.

    • Sadly, there is no possibility of a Palestinian state.

      The settlers have got their wish of Israel having all the land west of the Jordan River. There is no possibility that any Israeli leader would start a civil war to remove the settlers from the area needed for Palestine.

      But Israelis have painted themselves into a corner with a future that is going to cause them lots of pain.

      Now that Israel has all the land, their next delusion is they can severely oppress the non-Jews and the non-Jews will simply flee the area.

      Of course their delusion glosses over the fact that the non-Jews living west of the Jordan River have no place to flee to. What other place on earth is going to take millions of very poor, angry humans? Certainly not Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The Saudis may have a lot of wealth, but they have no desire to share it with Palestinians. The USA is so racist when it comes to Muslims and is so lacking in jobs, it will never take the non-Jews.

      When ever I ask Israelis where the non-Jews are supposed to go, I get blank stares or they say Jordan and when I ask what happens when Jordan refuses to take them I get more blank stares.

      The REALITY is the non-Jews living west of the Jordan river are NOT going anywhere and will not allow themselves to be oppressed forever.

      this means that eventually Israel as a "Jewish" state will cease to exist, being replaced by a secular state with a very large Jewish minority.

  • How GOP threats against Iran have Guaranteed end of European Sanctions
    • But it can also improve the individual economies of those that are assigned to monitor the sanctions.

      there is lots of bribe money flowing, which is why sanctions are a farce.

    • It is a leader generation problem.

      Most of the current leaders in Europe were born just after WW2 and still have memories of that period.

      Once the current leaders transition to the next two generations, things will very probably change very rapidly.

    • The Mideast desperately needs to go through a de-colonization and power restructuring to get rid of the last of the French/UK/USA empire garbage.

      Until that happens, the area will continue to be unstable and unable to move into the 21st century.

      It is long past time that the European drawn borders are restructured and the Sunni/Shia power alignment fixed.

    • I have already experienced the end run around US laws . . .

      Many years ago, I was the customer care manager for a company whose products were restricted from being sold to China, BUT . . .

      I soon discovered that many of our products were actually being used in China (I got the support questions).

      So how did our products get to China you ask - by the ancient techniques of smuggling and money laundering. I was able to trace some of the serial numbers and discovered that we had sold our products to companies in Asia that appeared to be legal, fully functional companies and they paid in US dollars through legitimate Asian banks. We shipped to legitimate addresses in Asia. Then our products "fell off the edge of the earth." That is, our products "disappeared" from the ship-to address and some time later "magically" appeared in China.

      In reality, our USA company had no way to really verify which companies in Asia would violate USA law and forward ship our products to China.

      Even if we quit selling to all of Asia (causing us a loss of a lot of profit), we could not guarantee that some customer, some place else on earth would not also trans-ship our products to China.

      In the end, to cover our own rear ends, we reported the "illegal" transfer" of our products to the US government, stopped sales to the companies that appeared to have done the transfer and moved on.

      Of course, all the smugglers did was create lots more "legitimate" companies (often by buying a company that had existed for many years and turning it into a front), who purchased our products until they were caught. Wash, rinse and repeat.

      When I was at another company, we had customers in northern Mexico that preferred to buy our products direct from us in San Diego, CA USA and "transport" the products across the border instead of dealing with our reseller in Mexico because the reseller had terrible customer service. Again the USA company did nothing "illegal," it was the customer.

    • Americans are very ignorant about the rest of humanity, but especially ignorant about Asia and China in particular.

      China has a 5000 year history of mercantilism. This is why there are significant Chinese communities all over Asia.

      Americans appear to only vaguely know the last 200 years of Asian history when the Europeans expanded their empires, but for thousands of years prior to the European empires, China would be considered a "regional power" in our modern way of thought.

      One of the things the Chinese learned over their 5000 year history is conquering and trying to control people is very costly and it is usually less expensive to co-opt people economically.

    • Americans do not appear to understand that humans have spent the last 10000 years coming up with ways to circumvent trade restrictions put in place by tribal rulers. In the end the tribal rulers ALWAYS lose the the smugglers and money launders ALWAYS WIN.

      You are correct that the congress critters will rant a lot and lose big time in the end (as will Americans that want jobs).

    • Not only will most, if not all, third-party (non-US) sanctions disappear, but by using the US/UK sponsored SWIFT banking network as a club, the USA has inadvertently helped China to bring their alternative to SWIFT on-line quicker. China now not only has membership commitments from most of Asia, but also many European nations. Within a few months, there will be two parallel banking systems on the earth. One mostly controlled by the USA and one mostly controlled by China. The SWIFT network uses the US dollar as the trading currency, BUT the Chinese equivalent uses a basket of currencies (but NOT the USA dollar).

      If most of Asia and Europe decides to move most of their trading to the Chinese system, to avoid dealing with the USA treasury, the US dollar could be hit hard and many USA multi-national companies may decide to use the Chinese system to hide most of their trade transactions from the USA government (but not the Chinese government).

      As a result, while the congress critters can make thousands of laws trying to control the rest of the earth, USA companies and non-USA companies will simply evade US rules by using the Chinese system. The congress critters can huff and puff all they want, but they will accomplish nothing except making lots of other people angry at the USA.

      Someone should remind congress critters that over the last 10000 years, as political leaders have tried to control trade and money, humans have devised ways to smuggle goods and launder money for fun and profit. The congress critters simply can NOT win at this game. They can only lose or lose really, really badly.

      The congress critter egos are going to take a BIG whack up side the head real soon.

  • Old GOP Realist James Baker's hard Ride among Neocons
    • Violent racism by a minority against a majority can only work for a limited amount of time. In the end the oppressed majority always gets their revenge and I do not know of any oppressed majority that has been gentle when they finally take power.

    • BUT . . . the white Evangelical Christian segment of the USA population is rapidly decreasing in size because, as their members die off due to age, they are not being replaced replaced by younger members. In fact, All religions in the USA (and Europe for that matter) are decreasing in size. Even those people that profess to be "religious" usually do not actually practice their religion. Only a very small part of the USA population attends church per the attendance numbers of the churches themselves. this is why many of the Evangelical Mega Churches have had to consolidate or close.

      This is the BIG problem the republicans have. All their core constituencies (Evangelical Christians, white racists, elderly, social conservatives, misogynistic men, etc.) are decreasing in size and the constituencies that are increasing in size strongly dislike the republicans ideals. Right now, republicans tend to have lots of vacant land, but very few people, whereas the democrats tend to have the population centers. For an example of where this leads look at California.

      There is a very good reason why the rural counties of California want to form their own (poverty stricken) state. The rural counties are powerless because the population centers which trend democratic now have enough population and wealth to control the entire state mechanism. As the rural areas of the USA further de-populate a similar thing will probably happen in the USA, no matte how gerrymandered the districts are.

      Israelis are stupid to align themselves with the republicans because the republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb that will blow up in their face.

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