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Total number of comments: 41 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:15)

Dave McLane

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  • Obama right not to Release Usama Photo
    • Here's a way to get a better take on what people in Europe think of America and Americans, travel looking like you're a Canadian.

      This happened to me after I did a ocean to ocean tour of Canada in 1976 by bicycle. The only souvenir I kept was a woolen hat as it ended in October was there was snow on the ground. That hat had a small Canadian flag knitted into to the front and from Canada I went to Europe via Icelandic Air which landed in Luxumbourg. I traveled to Paris, ran out of money, worked in Corsica, for the summer saving enough money to hitch through Europe and all over the U.K. and Ireland. That hat got me rides as people loved to complain about America's actions to somebody who didn't look like an American and I knew enough about Canada to pass my self off as one.

      The most repetitive saying was in England: "American's are too over: Overpaid, oversexed, and over here.

    • IMO since there have been cases where U.S. Senators have been duped by a fake bin Laden death photo, not releasing the "true" photo won't be missed. If somebody wants to inflame passions it doesn't really matter if it's "true" or not. The way he was killed/assassinated/removed/rubbed out/gone to meet his maker still stands.

      See link to

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • 'm impressed. While I don't agree with everything you've put together, two things were impressive: 1) That you could come up will all that in less than a month-of-Sundays, and 2) It's clear there is no simple answer to a complex question.

  • Libyan Liberation Movement Strikes Back as NATO Comes to the Rescue
    • I'm always up for something new: stairwell bombs, I've never heard of them but they seem very clever. Sometimes clever beats physically overpowering.

  • It's the Popular Sovereignty, Stupid
    • While the "rule of law and the principle that governmental authority must derive from the people" may have helped the communitarians way-back-when, it doesn't really help deal with the rule of money which is a major force today.

  • Qaddafi Bombards Rebel Cities, Defies UNO
    • Perhaps the most important part of this situation is the unmasking of the Official Suit's double-talk as ordinary people on the ground are able to document what's actually happening on the ground and make it known via the internet on sites like this.

  • Rebels Hold Key Libyan Towns as UN Considers Intervention
    • Wow! Those women aren't what I saw when I traveled across that area in the late '70s!

      They look like what are called "Osaka Oba-chan" in Japan; not to be trifled with!

      "He will be finished, not us" Let's hope so.

  • Japan Nuclear Threat, Libya Oil Crisis, Highlight Need for Renewable Energy
    • Unfortunately, savings for some means less income for others which doesn’t go down well in the U.S., land of the almighty dollar. If more (influential) people were increasing their income through insulating building, homes and garages, it might fly … but saving money? Who benefits from that (as benefits are defined by an increase in income)?

    • This reminds me so much of the Great Hanshin Earthquake on January 17, 1995 when I lived in Japan and wound up making a video as I was stunned at the way people reacted and finally learned the meaning of the oft repeated "gaman" meaning patience, endurance, to persevere.

      link to

  • Qaddafi's Scorched Earth Policy, at Home and Abroad
    • Thanks for your thoughts on "umma" vs. "sha'b." I guess "umma" means believers across social/ethnic/national lines, and "sha'b" means mostly people within country, or one particular frame to reference, although probably not in the sense of Steichen's "Family of Man."

    • I'm curious as to the difference between "umma" (community of believers) and "sha’b" (the people) . Does sha'b include the umma?

  • Hatred against do-gooder American Muslims in Orange County
    • While first amendment guarantees freedom of religion, it also provides for freedom of speech which seems to hinge on whether there is immediate physical acts of violence. Thus while such shouting and carrying on may seem like hate, it's allowed due to freedom of speech.

      First Amendment:
      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      Tough nut to crack ...

  • Bahrain: US Naval Base or Iranian Asset?
    • Wow, this is certainly requisite variety! A welcome change from the all too often Muslim category.

      A bit hard to remember in text format though. If possible, I'd like to see a visual, like a pie chart.

  • Pressman: “Coup with a mass(ive) twist”
    • Elsewhere (TomGram), the main leverage point was the 300 millions dollars that was disappearing each day from the economy which brought in the business class in addition to the military and the revolutionists.

      In my opinion, the 21st century marks the end of single-event causality as a way of understanding the situation.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
  • Beck: You're Going to Have to Shoot them in The Head
    • I'm beginning to suspect that people like Beck never went beyond high school English even though he may have gone to college.

      Not so unusual, I never went beyond high school English even though I went to college. Even though I learned from the samples that got marked down, it was only after trying to help people with their English (as a second language) that I began to do some research. I see ten books on the subject in the bookcase right next to where I'm writing; the first, and most basic was "The Little Brown Handbook."

      In my opinion Little Brown's Chapter 4, "Convincing the Reader," is the appropriate reference for this situation as it has a subsection titled "Distinguishing fact, opinion and prejudice."

      What's happens all too often is complex sentences get collapsed to simple subject-verb-object -- Dick & Jane -- which totally changes the meaning from what may have been a well founded opinion to who-knows-what. Again, all too often, positive images are replaced by negative. The result are complaints without any offer of a positive solution that helps things move forward. When this happens on both sides of a question, the result is stasis.

      Back when I lived in California, this was called "Arguing in the surf line" where you don't go through the breakers or back to the beach and eventually get slammed by the waves.

  • Ala. Governor Apologizes to Muslims, Hindus, Jews
    • If you're going to go international, why not start with China which has 1 billion people and then go on to India which is, I think, second in total population and has the most Muslims of any country in addition to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and what have you.

      IMO, the idea of brother-sister hood is a red herring. The question is how people of different religions/customs/cultures can get along in the public sphere as citizens.

      Given world history, it takes some time, thousands of years, and it's never been fully settled anywhere. But why not look at areas where people seem to be doing a better job of getting along together instead of pointing the finger at those that are failing?

  • King on Guns, War and Non-Violence as a Social Movement
    • Travis: "But when the mass starts to build, look out."

      According to Chomsky in "hopes and prospects" this generates the "fear of the good example" which stimulates the power possessors to clamp down on not only those who are starting to build, but the reporting of such building by the media.

    • When all else fails to make sense, I get on my ATV and go for a ride in the Date Creek Mountains a mile or so north of where I live which are the result of volcanic activity who-knows-how-many years ago, but haven't lived long enough to be worn smooth like you see on the east coast. I call them "Dragon Mountains."

      My point is that planet earth herself takes violent action, not everywhere, but at certain places at certain times for who-knows-what-reason. Thus the idea of universal peace seems a great fantasy. Perhaps the best we humans can accomplish is peace at certain places at certain times.

  • Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UK
    • According to Wikipedia there are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences, found in the official documents surrounding the adoption of the Bill of Rights. One version was passed by the Congress, which reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

      So yes, the Second Amendment isn't about hunting.

      However, according to what I learned in elementary school in NY, members of the Revolutionary Army supplied their own guns which were long-rifle hunting guns which were superior to the British used smooth-bore muskets. The choice of weapon isn't simple, see link to

      Thus at that time, Militia arms were in fact hunting rifles.

    • "Wikipedia, the majority of gun-related deaths are suicides."

      I Googled the above and got a page that says this:

      "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000.[4] The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides,[5] with firearms used in 16,907 suicides in the United States during 2004."

      Thus if we use Juan's figure of 16,000 murders (violence against others), we can see that it's less matched by suicides (violence against oneself).
Full text: link to

      Two thoughts arise: 1) There's no simple explanation for gun and other forms of violence and 2) Suicide surely brings culture and psychology into play.

    • "Reducing the number of guns in easy circulation is a crucial step in reducing violence .."


      To get some feeling for why many people carry guns, I think if you go out into the BLM back country unarmed and take your chances that no no-legged, two-legged or four-legged critter will take you down even though you haven't intended them any harm.

      This isn't to say that there aren't a lot of people who love guns as "family fun," which may not be appropriate if they keep the family in enclosed/fenced spaces, but we need to realize there are situations where they are appropriate.

      Thus there's no single rule that fits all, which just may be the root of the problem.

    • As for the "number of murders," I can't remember where I read it some time ago, but it was reporting that the difference between "murder" and "natural death" in the U.K. was conflicted as the person who made that decision wasn't trained but simply an ordinary person elected to the position. The conclusion was that many "natural deaths" were in fact murder by poison.

      Having spent some months in the U.K. (and Europe) and even longer in Japan, in general people in rural areas cluster together in villages whereas in the U.S. farm houses are set in the middle of the property. This was noted by De Tocqueville in "Democracy in America" and obviously part of the reason the stand-alone farmer and his family were killed as reported in "In Cold Blood." Thus part of the equation leading to the differences is because security is left to the individual in the U.S.

      Where I live, the general rule for many people is if somebody knocks on the door after dark, you ask who's there from behind the closed and locked door with your gun at the ready. If you decide it's not safe, you can call the county sheriff who will send somebody to help you, in about an hour. Then there are the javelinas, and if you're near edge of the flat desert, the mountain lions.

      This is not to say that these factors "cause" the difference, just that they are part of the reasons.

      IMO, one of those other reasons is that guns or all sorts are a fetish in the U.S., especially among, but not limited to, to the definition of the male gender. While it's difficult to quantify how much influence this has on the general situation, I think it's also part of the equation.

  • 24 Dead in Tunisia Clashes; US Ambassador Called In
    • "... the American mass media is largely ignoring this story. Ordinarily if it bleeds, it leads ..."

      Well said, I think.

      The only thing I would add is not only "... keeping ordinary people divided and distracted" but frustrated as well.

  • Naw, There's been no Right Wing Extreme Rhetoric
    • Perhaps the high numbers for the U.S. is due to (only) to the availability of guns, but I feel that it’s way too simple and explanation. Do guns create vitriol? Do guns create frustration? It seems that there would be some relation, but I doubt that any one of them is the cause as the real world is more complex than that.

    • Going back to "Suppose they gave a war and nobody came" the question is why do so many people watch (and at least verbally) copy these guys?

      My old friend Tom Stine's answer was "American's love a cheap dog fight" which sounds on the mark yet doesn't answer the question why do so many people love a cheap dog fight?

      My current thought is one step deeper: There are a lot of frustrated people in America which, once again, begs the question: why are there so many frustrated people?

      Going one step deeper than that is one possibility: many people believe everybody can become rich, that is, have relatively more money, goods, and services than others. Yet rich is relative, not absolute, so basically while some people can become richer than others, not everybody can become rich. The collision of these two incompatible ideas results in frustration.

      I suspect there is at least one step deeper, but that's enough for now.

  • White Terrorism
    • It's not satisfying because two wrongs don't make a right, at least that's what my mother was always on about.

    • "Let’s leave the alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering to politicians who feel the need to use it for the purpose of their own reelection." Sounds good but I don't this is the fundamental reason: instead it's what's been called "infantile dichotomies" which divides the complexities of actual life into two, completely separate, parts.

      From this comes the attempt to completely obliterate the part that (subconsciously) brings anxiety or dread, with the attention being focused on the obliterating the offending part, not on coming to some understanding as to why it offends.

    • In case you haven't noticed, it's the people ... only kind of kidding. If look at a population map of AZ you can see that except for Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, there are huge areas with almost nobody. I live 60 miles from Phoenix in an unincorporated Census Designated Area. It's a great place but you're on your own. Makes for a certain kind of culture ...

    • The surprise is that people are surprised: this kind of action is the cost America has to pay for it's (so-called) Free Speech.

      If you take the time to read the style of language used by other Not-So-Free societies (like in Japan where I lived for 18 years), you find that there is far less metaphorical violence than in Free-Speech America.

      Problems arise because there are a fairly large segment of any population that is considered sane but has trouble distinguishing metaphorical from literal. Thus even though those who use violent language in ways they consider metaphorical, there are others who take those same words as literal.

      The phenomenon is demonstrated time and time again in the Western Gunfight where the highly skilled gunfighter uses words to generate anger and frustration on the part of the less highly skilled who then draws first and is gunned down while the shooter walks free as, after all, the other guy "drew first" (see Shane and The Magnificent Seven).

      Thus Palin and other users of this linguistic device will walk free and condolences will be forthcoming from all.

      Note: I live in Arizona which has long been an open carry state, and has recently become an open concealed-weapon state along with some others. IMO you take your chances if you're not armed.

  • DOJ Subpoenas Twitter Account of Wikileaks Volunteer and now Iceland MP
    • “maybe we should all sign up for some social media based in Europe or in the global South (Orkut is now completely based in Brazil, though owned by Google), to stop the rush toward de facto Facebook- and Twitter- internet monopolies, which then are in turn tools of US government control"?

      Maybe we should realize that whatever is written online is only secure when it's written as the rules change over time.

  • Wainwright: Taseer's Assassination Lays Bare Contradictions in Pakistani Islam
    • As so often happens, invoking simplistic rhetoric carries the day with large numbers of those whose mindset includes infantile dichotomies (AKA lack of requisite variety).

      We only have to look at the history of the United States to see that such debates can go on for over a hundred years and still not be decided.

  • Senate Repeal of DADT in Global Context
    • Having just been re-reading Kaplan's "female perversions," I suspect the basis for all of the above instances come from overly simplistic "infantile dichotomies" which divides the complexities of actual life into two, completely separate, parts. From this comes the attempt to completely obliterate the part that (subconsciously) brings anxiety or dread, with the attention being focused on the obliterating the offending part, not on coming to some understanding as to why it offends.

      Thus as Prof. Cole has suggested, when one example of this mindset loses the battle, one can expect it to focus on another instantiation as in Protestants vs. Catholics, Whites vs. Black, Straights vs. Gays … Abrahamics vs. Muslims.

      Time to strike up the (Boy, Girl, Whatever) Scouts Marching Song, "Be prepared …"

  • Former CIA Official Ray McGovern Defends Assange
    • @Citizen One of the first things I learned from my father who was a lifetime news photographer (Acme News Pictures & New York Daily News) has three parts: First to capture or create a factual event (re-staging if necessary); Second to give the public what it like to read to increase circulation; Three to keep the advertisers happy as they're the ones who pay the rent. The pittance the public pays for the information is only a sop.

      Thus the corporate and main-stream journalists are doing their job quite well.

    • Essentially McGovern is following my mother's wisdom: Just because everybody says 2+2=5 doesn't make it so.

  • Mubarak: W. Naive, controlled by Subordinates
    • I agree that certain circumstances need a “tough, strong military officer who is fair” as leader. For example, when those being led have yet to reach maturity, as with children. Or when a group has to pull together quickly in order to survive as with wagon masters across the prairies.

  • Paul Defends Wikileaks: Neocons Don't Like Losing Grip on Empire
    • While I agree that Lying is Not Patriotic, it sure is the way that people who claim to be patriots operate. And it works! So many people would rather believe a simple lie than have to wrap their brains around a complicated truth.

  • Blair, Hitchens Debate Religion
    • IMO both the religious and secular rest on and are interpreted by prevailing social values which are, in turn, modified and conditioned by the prevailing economic situation as noted by Robert Wright in "The Evolution of God."

      The attempt to conclude that one thing or the other is the sole reason is an indication of an infantile dichotomy as noted by Louise Kaplan in "female perversions" or Lack of Requisite Variety as laid out by David Andrews in "The IRG Solution."

  • Palin: "We must support our North Korean Allies"
    • That's why she's so popular; millions of people are like this.

      Check it out: what percentage of Americans read a book after they graduate from high school/college?

      "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." - Mark Twain (1835-1910)

      Can't read, but vote. WTF

  • Top Ways 9/11 Broke Islamic Law
    • Not only did "Bin Laden wanted a big fight between the Muslim world and the United States. He wanted the US mired in Afghanistan.... And now, instigated by the Republican Party, US society is moving toward an Islamophobia that could well set it at odds with 1.5 billion Muslims." but the US is mired in debt to people in countries like China and Japan.

      Perhaps this could be a good thing if only all the (so called) Muslims and (so called) Christians could be placed on the field of battle and have at it, while the rest of us learn how to get along while believing what we believe without requiring others to believe what we believe.

  • Top Stories More Important than Quran-Burning Nut Job
    • I don't know why, but my RSS hasn't been picking you up but today I got 14! So good!

      Having read Hofstadter's Paranoid Style in American Politics, Terry Jones is just yet another nut-job to be avoided. What's been disturbing me is how much front-page press he's been getting so I'm happy to see there are some people of importance presenting alternative views.

      This is not the time to stand up and do battle with the nut jobs -- which is useless and has no positive outcome -- it's time to stand up and present another possible future.

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