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Total number of comments: 6 (since 2013-11-28 16:44:27)

Joel Roth

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  • Has Trump quietly surrendered to Russia and China?
    • > Russian hacking scandal of the election past

      The vulnerabilities and election-hacking-friendly design of US voting matchines means that Russian manipulation, if it occurred, was orders of magnitude less than efforts by domestic players, who have much more to gain, and the advantage of insider knowledge of the voting machines.

      The dominance of the Russian tampering in US elections meme tells me that those pushing this story probably overlap those who are guilty of various election "irregularities." The dramatic differences recorded between exit polls and reported precinct results is a strong indicator of tampering, and took place in the states and precincts known to be critical to swinging the election yet all such stories are virtually dead in the water.

      These stories about the chaotic administration seem to cloak the equally frightening story of business as usual in the United States political/economic system, which now more than ever is insulated from popular discontent.

  • Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism
    • If some Christians are hypocrites with regard to their own religious tenets (e.g. Thou shalt not kill) perhaps they will project that hypocrisy onto followers of other religions. The way it works is that a lot of political decision makers are either hypocrites, or can find ideological loopholes to justify values and behaviors that are tribal (us/them) rather than spiritual or religious. Each tribe buys into the mythology they maintain about their own principles, while rejecting the mythologies of other tribes.

  • Legalize Pot, Save Public Education, and end Student Indebtedness
    • @GREGG: Alcohol is not an innocuous drugs, nor is tobacco, but both are legal in the United States. Due to the nature of the black market, it is easier for school children to get marijuana, than for them to get alcohol and tobacco.

  • Syria Veto and the Revenge of the BRICS
    • Thanks for the link. Do you have opinions on this?

      I would expect scholarly commentators to link to primary reference materials where available.

    • If a British journalist is embedded with the opposition fighters in Homs, doesn't that imply that these fighters are funded and supported by NATO countries?

      In that is so, then the reported violence of the Syrian government against the opposition is of a different flavor than violence against a poorly armed domestic insurrection.

      Prof. Cole, do you have any response to Pepe Escobar's commentary on this subject at Asia Times (link to

  • Iranian Navy Menaces Oil Exports from Hormuz
    • If Iran can enrich uranium to 3.5 percent for nuclear reactor fuel, it could in theory use its centrifuges to enrich to 95 percent for a bomb.

      This is something that shrill voices tend to emphasize, without any perspective of the huge difference in scale.
      Climbing a hill in your neighborhood means you could potentially climb Mt. Everest, but the first doesn't imply that the second prospect is near or practical.

      The Manhattan Project used centrifuges to provide slightly enriched uranium that was fed to "calutrons", essentially mass spectrometers applied to enrichment for successive levels of separation. Whichever modern approach Iran's engineers might use, they would still have to "turn the whole country into a factory" (Niels Bohr's phrase) in an energy-intensive process that would be highly visible, as Dr. Cole mentions.

      It would be ludicrous to seek to prevent Iran from climbing the backyard hill of low levels of uranium enrichment, any more than we could prevent people from making flashlights or guns.

      Even if Iran had a stockpile of 20% enriched uranium (which it wants for legitimate medical uses), physicists can tell you that this initial effort is still only the tip of the iceberg. A highly visible massive ramp up would still be needed to get to the 90% and higher enrichments needed for a uranium bomb.There is no simply no urgency until unmistakable signs of an all out effort to make a bomb are visible.

      On the other hand, there are always corporate sponsored hawks looking to promote a war that will unleash spending. Wars have always been as much about profits as about conquests. This issue appears more about projecting power and profits than protecting people from aggression.

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