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Total number of comments: 15 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:20)


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  • German Politicians think Trump is dangerously close to Neo-Nazis, and they Should know
    • Trump would probably not be vulnerable under German laws. Enforcement focuses more on certain explicit acts: displaying the swastika, making the salute (which is why the neo-nazis there use a slightly modified salute), or denying the historical facts of the holocaust. Sascha Lobo's article in the Spiegel, in contrast, describes in great detail how Trump reproduces the arguments and techniques of those who dance around the legal limits, while pursuing the same aims. The coherence and skill of Trump's use of these techniques may actually argue against an interpretation of his actions as being caused by mental illness.

  • Bush and the American Right Wing: Top Ten Ways they are Like the Children of an Alcoholic
    • One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to doubt whether "the United Nations (is) a collective seeking world peace". Is such a claim justified by its membership? Certainly the pretense is quite convenient for what is, in plainspeak, a club of dictators.

  • Phoenix, Az.: Climate Change Denial HQ will be First Urban Victim of ... Climate Change (deBuys)
    • The link for the claim that the 2003 heat wave in Europe killed 70,000 people goes to a pay link at Elsevier link to

      That's not a citation. Please drop the claim, or include a verifiable link. I am not going to pay to confirm your claim.

      The broader issue here is public access to science. The for-profit journals have tried to block and privatize access to knowledge that was created by scientists using the taxpayer's dollar. Open journals like PLOS (Public Library of Science) are turning that trend around.

      Please use open sources, and ignore closed sources. Thank you.

  • Poll: Obama better Represents America!
    • It's interesting that the "represents America" question finds an answer from all but 14% of respondents. That suggests that there really is a shifting picture of an "American".

      On the other questions, which are more directly political, between 16% and 20% refused to answer. These were quite strongly leading questions, but one out of six respondents stood up and said, "I don't have a dog in this fight".

      That suggests that a rather large number of people feel this election presents them with no useful choice. A servant of the 1%, or another one who happens to be a member of the 1%? "None of the above," they answer.

  • Graphic of World Military Spending (Iran's too Small to Show up)
    • Other than "USA" and "Others", there are eight labelled countries, but nine pie chart slices. Why should I believe this chart?

  • Anti-Liberal Netanyahu Slams Arab Spring as Anti-Liberal
    • A survey of the term "liberal" is incomplete without a mention of those for whom the main thing to liberalize is Trade: free trade, globalization, laissez-faire capitalism, and the race to the bottom.

      Sometimes called "neo-liberalism" in English to differentiate it from classical liberalism, this is the most common meaning of the term in European parliaments. See, for example, the German businessman's party FDP, which identifies itself as "die Liberalen". Its current agenda is a tiresome litany of tax cuts and social welfare spending cuts.

      The distinction is clearest when someone like Tony Blair takes a party like Labor, which used to be "liberal" and occasionally do a few things for the 99%, and turns it into a "neo-liberal" party, which now serves only the 1%.

  • Justin Bieber on Sen. Klobuchar's Criminalization of the Internet: She should be put away in Cuffs
    • "Intellectual Property" [sic] long ago became destructive to the progress of the arts and sciences. It now performs an explicitly regressive task, retarding creativity and preventing change in order to help the 1% hold onto the status quo.

      The framers of the US Constitution eliminated all other monopolies as a matter of principle, and made a terrible blunder in exempting this form of monopoly.

      Much of the damage could have been contained by expanding Fair Use and explicitly protecting things like open source software development. However, this new form of "property" has now become a battlefield in the culture wars, and victory now seems likely only through full and complete delegitimization of "IP" in all of its forms.

  • Visiting Liberty Square (Occupy Wall Street)
    • Thanks! - especially for the photos showing a wide range of protester's signs. We've lost any hope of redress through the electoral or legal systems, and we have no chance to communicate through the corporate media. What's left is for us to find a new way to talk to each other directly.

      The protesters seem to be doing everything right. They're talking rather than breaking things, they're rejecting the idea of "one demand", their presence is ongoing rather than temporary, and it's spreading to other cities. I can't wait for it to come to my city.

  • Turkey, Egypt and Israel
    • Re: "But if Turkish identity is about being a moderate, modern kind of Muslim that values multi-culturalism and aspires to be European, then there is no real reason for conflict with Arab neighbors."

      Rather than aspiring to "be" European, it seems that Turkey is reshaping the Middle East using the good things about the European idea.

      Europe fell short of its own good idea by turning away from Turkey. Instead of turning inward over the snub, Turkey responded dynamically by expanding its trade and influence to the East. This remarkable Eastern energy contrasts with Western Europe's condition of economic arthritis and political paralysis.

      Who is the "Sick Man Of Europe" now?

  • Top Ten Good News Green Energy Stories
    • Yes, both lighter turbine blades and dropping PV prices are good news. I merely wished to point out that the linked article's specific claim of dramatic efficiency gain from "wind lenses" was unsupported.

    • "A Japanese technical innovation has the potential to double or triple the power generated by wind turbines."

      Sadly, this breathless article bears all the hallmarks of a vaporware hype piece. No numbers are given. It claims that "prototypes are already in use" at Kyushu University. Are they a foot across? Two feet?

      This becomes worthwhile news when someone builds a full scale or half-scale prototype - or even secures the money to do so. Until then, it falls squarely into the category of things that are not real and are not going to happen.

  • Paul, Santorum and the Sixth War (on Iran)
    • I find the term "right anarchist" unhelpful, and prefer to call them "libertarians", as indeed they call themselves.

      As in, "the difference between anarchists and libertarians is that anarchists want to get rid of government because it's one of the ways people stomp on each other, while libertarians want to get rid of government so the rich can stomp on the poor more efficiently."

      But libertarians DO want government to guarantee property rights. Boy, do they want that! It's those riches themselves that are instrumental to the stomping fantasy. So it's a mistake to accept their word for it that they would like to get rid of government. I know it's shocking, but they are simply not telling the truth. And they are not anarchists of any chirality.

  • Downgraded US Credit Rating: What comes of Coddling the Super-Rich
    • I fear you understate the malefactor role of Standard & Poor, which collaborated in a system where they were effectively being paid to provide fake AAA ratings for bad securities. After they helped crash the economy, the ratings agencies should have been dissolved and the individuals involved should have gone to jail. If we're to go on reputation, what is theirs?

      You also understate the malefactor role of the President, who was under no obligation to sign those extensions to the Bush tax cuts. In fact, he had campaigned and was elected largely on his promise NOT to extend those tax cuts - any of them. The fact that he did so, combined with his giveaways to the banks and medical insurance companies, and his actions tending to the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, lead to the conclusion that we were sold a malevolent Ronald Reagan in FDR's clothing.

      Blame where blame is due.

  • Green Energy in 20-40 Years?
    • This is one of the realistic proposals, meaning they base their conclusions on reasonable wind, wave, and solar resources. Notice what is missing: no bogus "biofuels".

      A number of unrealistic proposals ignore the basic facts about "biofuels", which cannot cover any meaningful part of our energy consumption and which compete directly with food production. From a pure energy perspective, a car eats for twelve people. These are lobbyists for "biofuel" subsidies, like the infamous ethanol subsidy. The most dishonest of them will make claims such as "(my kind of) biofuel won't compete with food production", which is a flat lie. "Biofuels" will come only at the expense of starving humans, and cannot address our energy problem anyway. Any and all plant-growing land should be reserved to feed the world.

      Yes: wind, wave and solar can do the job - provided that we follow the example of the Germans and start investing in them.

  • The Battle of Brega: Qaddafi Compared to Netanyahu in Arab Press
    • No one in West or East wants foreign soldiers on the ground in Libya, and preferably not in the air either. In fact, it seems the survival of the Libyan revolt hinges on something rather different: money and weapons.

      Where are the proposals for an oil and weapons blockade, specifically stopping ships to Sirte and Tripoli, while letting those to the rest of Libya pass? Of course, under international law a blockade is an act of war. The Chinese (whose leaders obviously feel great kinship with Ghaddafi) may prevent any resolution in the UN Security Council. But what is there to stop other countries from implementing a blockade with the justification of the thousands of lives to be saved by shortening the Libyan Civil War?

      It may be war, but there is a clear and obvious distinction between an oil blockade on the one hand, and a ground/air intervention on the other. Public opinion is not so stupid that it can be confused over this distinction.

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