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Total number of comments: 4 (since 2013-11-28 16:51:11)


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  • Tax Deadbeat Romney Calls Working People Leeches
    • At first I was taken aback by Romney's comments, and then I remembered that he is a famous panderer even by the standard of electoral politics. He may believe what he said or he may have just been trying to solicit donations to his campaign. There's no way to know, and that is really the problem.

      He still hasn't gotten around to effectively explaining why he believes he should be president. All he does is complain about Obama. He seems incredibly incompetent. Last year we had an election in California for governor and Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay had an unsuccessful run where she made pretty much every mistake that Romney has made but in a smaller context. She ran as a business woman but didn't realize that most Americans don't want to elect their boss.

      I almost feel sorry for him and his donors. They are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to win this thing and they don't even stand a chance.

  • Top Myths about Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
    • Dr. Cole, you may be technically correct in stating that Iran has not outright said they intend to build the bomb, but as you yourself have hypothesized, they are likely pursuing a policy of nuclear latency.

      This is equally dangerous IMO because part of nuclear latency is calculated escalation in the event of a crisis, and there are no shortages of crises in the region. Japan doesn't need to go through the escalation process of announcing a weapons program, then announcing a weapon capability, then threatening a test, then conducting a test; because they have a nuclear armed ally (US) to protect them. Iran has no such ally.

      The assertion that Iran is doing this because Israel already has the bomb is not reassuring even if it is true.

      We can only hope that our blessed leader Obama is better at arm twisting the Ayatollahs then he is the house republicans.

  • Obama Plays Hardball and Egypt's Morsi Folds
    • It appears Obama has done a good job through his presidency regarding events in the Middle East, (it is hard to tell in these things whether policy decisions will be good in the long run).

      However, I worry that just as Morsi is playing a very dangerous game in Egypt (navigating left wing and right wing secularists on one side, and right wing Islamists on the other), Obama is playing a dangerous game as well.

      There are two major wars on the horizon that we may get dragged into, both of which could be devastating to America's military and our nation in general. The first is in Syria, where an outbreak into regional conflict involving Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon could prove disastrous. It is easy to see scenarios where a disorderly collapse of the Assad regime forces the US to enter as part of some multinational peacekeeping force but evolves into an Iraq style quagmire. The second is in Iran, where Israel is trying to make us commit to whatever preemptive action they may take. While normally I wouldn't worry too much about right wing rhetoric coming out of Israel, the fact that Netanyahu has decided to inject himself so blatantly into the presidential race makes things seem more serious. It is an extremely dangerous game of chicken.

      And of course the backdrop of all this is the mobilization of street politics across the middle east which we are calling the Arab Spring. While it is romantic to call this phenomena an outpouring of democratic aspirations, the practical effect is that it results in breakdown of government control. We know from painful experience in Iraq that violent extremists thrive on such disorder. Furthermore, the breakdown of centralized government power in these countries means that the US government is able to exert less and less influence over time.

      So I think it is fair to say that Obama is navigating extremely dangerous waters. As it seems almost certain he will be reelected (and for the sake of people living in the middle east), I sincerely hope he is up to the challenge.

  • Is Obama more Klingon or more Vulcan? & Michael Dorn Pitches "Captain Worf"
    • This is going to get very nerdy, (if Cole writes about Star Trek then he is asking for it) but I want to challenge the premise that Worf is a neo-con character. By the end of DS9 and the TNG movies, Warf has mostly abandoned the more aggressive impulses of his youth in favor of rationality. Don't forget that in First Contact, it is Worf who calls out Picard when the captain lets revenge take over his decision making process. Throughout DS9, Worf is constantly taking the role of "moderator" when negotiating with Klingons and other species in matters of security. So unless Worf is going to do a complete 180 as a character, I think it's safe to say he will be anything but a neo-con.

      As to the Klingons in general, I think it is fair to make the criticism that they are frequently depicted as characterizations of Orientalism with lots of overtones of jihad. In fairness to writers though, recent depictions of Klingons have focused on Federation characters deciding that the cultural differences of the Klingons must be tolerated if at all possible, and that reform in Klingon society cannot be imposed from the outside. This is in contrast to the policies of Kirk and earlier Piccard policies where the differences between the Federation and Klingons were irreconcilable and unable to coexist.

      If you're looking for the neo-cons in star trek then look for Section 31 which had a few episodes in DS9 or the Cardassians. Also, Worf probably won't be starting a war with the Romulans as it is implied their home world was destroyed in the 2009 movie.

      I suspect that if they start a new series, it will not be especially concerned with the War on Terror. They already tried to go there with Star Trek Enterprise, and, well, we all know how that went (the series just plain sucked). I would hope that a new series might be brave enough to get into some self examination of the whole "Star Trek project". I think there is a lot of anxiety right now about globalization, which has been represented by the Federation throughout all the series. For example, they could explore the worry that cultural hegemony will lead to the eventual disappearance of distinct cultures.

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