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Total number of comments: 118 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:51)


Showing comments 118 - 101

  • Top 5 Signs Trump doesn't Actually Care about Iranian Protesters
    • What sounds good in a bar blaring out Fox News to its patrons likely won't work in reality. I'm assuming that the US will find out what happens when it is run like a Trump Enterprise: Bankrupt, and with nobody willing to do business with us any more.

  • Did the US cause Iran's Economic Protests & will Trump Take Advantage?
    • Dumb idea for the US to make statements supporting Iranian dissidents. The Iranian government will use this as an excuse to brand the dissidents as tools of the "Great Satan."

  • Russia: Permanent Bases planned in Syria to fight Terrorism
    • With permanent Russian air bases and associated defenses in Syria, Israel better be careful about any future air strikes

  • How Trump could avoid another $7 trillion bill in Mideast: Back off war with Iran
    • If Trump goes to war with Iran, I'd expect Russia and China to take full advantage of the situation. This would range from selling Iran weapons to either committing their own forces to support Iran - or taking their own actions to seize land elsewhere.

      Remember, the US doesn't have the ability to fight all-out wars on multiple fronts. All those gold-plated weapons systems need to be replaced once used - and we don't have the manufacturing capability to replace them as the rate they'd be used up in a peer-opponent war. If the US attacks Iran, the Russians could commit their armed forces to support Iran - or they could attack, say, Estonia or Ukraine.

      Meanwhile, China could finish fortifying the South China Sea - aircraft carriers can sink, but islands with big airstrips cannot. China could then seize, say, Taiwan, threaten Japan, and help North Korea reunify the Korean peninsula by threatening to help them invade South Korea.

      Trump would blame his defeat on sabotage by Obama holdovers (who "stabbed us in the back") - and use the anger and humiliation the country would face to finish destroying the Constitution.

      I hope I'm wrong, but I see grim times ahead.

  • Top 5 Reasons why Trump's Threats to UNGA over Jerusalem are Empty
    • Mr. Trump is demonstrating why the solutions so often heard on Fox News, InfoWars, and the like may sound good to the right wingnuts, but don't work in reality. From the sounds of things, Mr. Trump is making America greatly despised. I expect China, Russia, and the European Union will pick up the slack if the US decides to stop funding the UN. If the US leaves the UN, we lose our seat on the Security Council - and our ability to veto sanctions against Israel... or on our own country. The sad thing is, I expect Mr. Putin is quietly encouraging Mr. Trump to take such a dramatic stand - and Mr. Trump's just foolish enough to fall into the trap.

  • Massive worldwide Rallies Condemn US, Courtesy Trump Jerusalem Call
    • The Republican base is motivated by fear, and loves displays of dominance over their political foes. Trump's declaration plays to both of these: it shows contempt for "liberals" and "the establishment", and will very likely trigger some terrorist strikes that will confirm the Republican base's fears. Any such terrorist attacks will be blamed on a failure to ban travel by "the Others" - and will be used as an excuse to implement more bigoted policies. Fox News will, or course, also blame liberals and President Obama for any attacks.

  • Another way Trump will get us Killed: to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
    • Trump needs some terrorist attacks to bolster his followers' fears. This will help instigate terrorist attacks, and make his evangelical buddies happy as well. Next up: blaming Iran for any terrorist attacks.

      One wonders what would happen if there was a new Arab oil embargo... or if Russia, China, the European Union, and the Arab countries declared sanctions against all Trump properties worldwide...

  • World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting
  • Gov. Rick Scott enabled Irma's Fury through Climate Denialism & Should Resign
    • There's an old joke:
      Q: Your roof is leaking badly - why don't you fix it?
      A: It's raining!
      Q: Well, why don't you fix it after it stops raining?
      A: Well, then it's not leaking...

      Plus, too many decision makers treat the economy as a Ponzi scheme, claiming that a constantly expanding population means economic growth. Pity the the physical laws of the universe, such as the law of conservation of mass/energy, conflict with this belief.

      These two memes explain Florida - expanding development means economic growth, but justifying that growth means ignoring any problems until they're actually occurring, and then addressing the emergency itself. Once the emergency's over, go back to ignoring the underlying problem.

    • Rush Limbaugh called Hurricane Irma a liberal plot - before he himself evacuated the state. It sure would be nice if some media folks would ask Governor Scott whether he agreed with Rush Limbaugh's assessment...

  • Trump fires Bannon: Who are the Winners & Losers Globally?
    • I'd say that the answer to North Korea is fairly straightforward:
      (1) negotiate a peace treaty under which any war between North Korea and South Korea would bring in both the US and China. This would guarantee both country's protection against invasion. (Remember, the Korean War started when North Korea invaded South Korea. It ended when the US /UN forces got too close to the Chinese border, and a million Chinese troops poured over the border in support of the North Koreans. Both North and South Korea need reassurance that they won't be invaded by someone.)

      2) Let North and South Korea decide whether to hold a discussion between the two countries about gradual reunification. It seems unlikely that the Kim family would agree to relinquish power in North Korea, and it seems unlikely that South Korea would agree to be ruled by the North Korean government - but that would be up to them.

      The problem, of course, is that North Korea uses the threat of foreign devils to maintain power. (Sort of like the Republicans using the Soviet Union as a threat during the Cold War, and how Bush2 and Trump use terrorists today.) North Korea's Kim family know that they need a foreign devil to keep their citizens' support. Example: when the Soviet Union collapsed, the Republican Party didn't have an external enemy to use as a rallying point. Notice how the Republicans have been careful not to take actions to resolve tensions with, say, Iran. Likewise, the Iranian hard-liners need to keep the Great Satan as a threat. Same tactic, with a long history throughout the ages.

  • "Fire & Fury" or "Shock and Awe": it is always the start of a Quagmire
    • Trump's bluff got called - he's now going to either start a war that the US would lose once China came in, or back down and be humiliated. True, it pulled some news reports away from the FBI's raid on Manafort's house, but Trump's painted himself into a corner from which he cannot escape without losing face with his base.

  • How Soon until we're Using More Than The Earth Can Provide?
    • The big problem with current economic models is that they postulate ever-expanding growth. This is in direct conflict with the Laws of Thermodynamics:
      1) Conservation of Mass/Energy: matter/energy can't be created or destroyed, only its form can be changed.

      2) Entropy increases in a closed system

      3) The universe is a closed system.

      Or, as the frat boys learn it:
      1) You can't win
      2) You can't break even
      3) You can't get out of the game...

      There's a limited amount of EVERYTHING on this planet. Once we're using more of it than we can replace, we're basically living in a Ponzi scheme. Sooner or later, we'll start running out of stuff. At that point, things will get very grim very quickly.

  • Putin's End Game in Syria
    • Another lesson from the Spanish Civil War - war as a place to field-test one's weapons and military doctrines?

  • Trump in Absolute Monarchy during Iran's Election
    • Perhaps the Saudis awarded Donald Trump a medal for giving democracy a bad name?

  • Wind Power Juggernaut Really doing for 100K Workers what Trump only Promised
    • One of the nice things about home solar/wind is that it's decentralized. In these days of disgruntled people having the ability to easily purchase the materials needed to, say, take out high-power transmission lines, having decentralized electric power systems makes us less vulnerable.

      Oil? too easy to disrupt supply chains.

  • Top 5 Hypocrisies of Trump Friday
    • It's more the nature of modern warfare. Mack Reynolds noted this in some 1960s era SF stories: the thing a modern army fears the most is sabotage by insurgents. A modern army is set up to fight other modern armies, not insurgents who can melt into the civilian population and re-emerge to attack soft targets.

      All those smart bombs, stealth aircraft, hi-tech weapons systems are largely ineffective against an insurgent force. Plus, they're very expensive - in a war of attrition, the insurgents can keep pecking away until the mechanized force declares victory and leaves.

      It's no longer acceptable to simply kill off the civilian population, either. The atrocities will merely breed more, angrier insurgents.

  • The Sadism of Racist Exclusion: Courts Temporarily Block Trump
    • I expect it was intended as a "disruptive" move. Remember, Trump doesn't think of anything other than his base - and the far right (and many Republicans) think this is how the US should be acting. One wonders how long it will take Trump to realize that it's not only his base that is reacting to his words and his actions.

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  • All the terrible things Trump plans to do to Women (besides that one)
    • Roe v Wade will be overturned as soon as the Republicans get a chance to do so. If Trump gets to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it'll happen - they'll claim that "life begins at conception", and use that as the basis.

      Even if they don't flat out overturn Roe, the Roberts Court would be fine with an incremental approach under which the Court upholds national laws making it impossible for anyone to actually exercise a right to an abortion. Say, a detectable fetal heartbeat law made national. If the Supremes make it impossible to get an abortion, what difference does it make if they leave Roe technically intact?

  • Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House
    • Yes, for all the mocking of global warming and peak oil, we're in a period of increasing scarcity. Scarcity breeds fascism.

      We're in a period where the fight for resources has begun. It's a "dog in a manger" era, where the haves are increasingly nervous about the have-nots asking whether they can please have some resources. The have-nots are increasingly likely to stop asking and start taking.

      Trump isn't Obama - Trump thrives on surfing the zeitgeist. The current zeitgeist is one of fear and hate, so Trump will be preaching more of both. He'll soon be joined by other world leaders.

  • Will Turkey leave NATO for Sino-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Council?
    • Perhaps Erdogan is seeing the writing on the wall - Russia and China's model of single party rule and business capitalism seems to be ascendent.

  • Is Lt.-Gen. Flynn Right that Islam is not a Religion?
  • Four years of Trump could really sink the planet
    • Trump's a big talker, and an egomaniac - but he's not a policy wonk. Hand him a bill with an applause line title, and he'll sign it.

  • The Hatred that Trump's Lies will Leave Behind
    • I thought Trump's appeal to Republican voters was well documented: where mainstream Republicans dog-whistled, Trump shouted. It's gone full-circle, from Lee Atwater's guidance of replacing explicit racism with coded appeals such as "states rights" and "welfare queens", back to Trump's express racism.

      It's nothing new - during the Reagan Years, the Austin Lounge Lizards wrote a song called "Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs" which satirized how people angry at tax increases and economic reversals needed a scapegoat to blame: teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs. ("They're too lazy to work - and they're stealing our jobs!")

      I'm sure Donald Trump heard that song, and saw it as a campaign blueprint.

    • One wonders how well Trumpski's anti-Semitic ads play in Israel... I suppose it's seen as "Trump being Trump."

  • Another Saudi War Crime in Yemen as 43 Prisoners dead in Airstrike
    • Unfortunately, the days of anyone caring about human rights are about to go the way of the dodo. By implementing the Guantanamo Detention center and torturing detainees at "black sites:, Dick Cheney and his sock puppet George W Bush poisoned the entire concept as something the US hauls out solely for propaganda purposes - but doesn't believe in itself. The Republican obstructionism in Congress, culminating in the rise of Trump, hastened the downfall of democracy as something the people of the world view as a practical governmental structure. We're now seeing the rise of one-party rule with a side of jingoism (charismatic strong man leader optional) as the new archetypal national government. We're in for decades of very dark times, as people fight for ever-scarcer resources.

  • How Far will Americans take anti-Muslim Hate? Making them wear Green Stars?
    • "Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ is the mirror image of Trump at the same thing."

      No, Mr. Trump embraces racism, Hillary Clinton calls racists "deplorable" , which is quite different.

  • Syria: Russia warns of Mideast Apocalypse if US attacks al-Assad's military
    • Or possibly Mr. Putin is becoming concerned about what a President Trump might do. It's one thing to mess with the Americans - quite another to have a Tea Party takeover of the US military.

  • How the JASTA override on Saudi could Bite Americans in the Ass
    • There's money to be made in a bear market, too. Remember the guy who made big bucks by betting the housing prices would fall? I'll bet the financial guys are shorting stocks where the Saudis have big holding right now.

  • The last Time Summer was this Hot, Human beings hadn't yet Left Africa
    • The problem with technological fixes, such as air conditioning, is that they aren't available if society collapses under the strains of mass migration, food scarcity, and scarcity of fresh water. It seems unlikely that humans would become extinct, but we could easily slip back into a total world population of a few million hunter-gatherer tribes by 2200

  • "Pigs! Crusaders!": US-Backed Fundamentalist Militias drive US Commandos out of al-Ray, Syria
    • It's hardly "fleeing" if the folks you allegedly came to help tell you to leave - and you do so.

      To me, it's more indicative of why the US should not unilaterally get involved in Syria. If the UN authorizes a combined humanitarian relief mission, fine. However, the US invasion of Iraq (and the post-invasion dystopian results) permanently destroyed the idea of the US as WW2-style "liberators" in the minds of everyone except the American people.

      This is the real problem: the average US citizen has been raised on the idea that we're the brave WW2 GIs, whoever we're supporting are French Resistance fighters, and our opponents of the day are cartoon Nazis. The rest of the world increasingly sees us as just another large power seeking to impose our will on them by coercion and/or military force.

      This dichotomy causes many problems: the US public wants its government to stop the bad guys doing bad things, and can't understand why the folks fighting the bad guys don't necessarily want the US to get involved.

  • "This Parrot is no More": The 2016 Presidential Election did not Take Place
    • TV is more suited to government by sound bite than in-depth analysis. In an electorate of short-attention-span low-information voters, the master of slogans is king.

  • Dragon Rising? China seeks Closer military Cooperation with Syria
    • "Legitimate authority"? That's not how I'd characterize Syria's current government.

      I'd also take issue with the marketing phrases "jihadi revolution" and "Global Axis of Jihad." Yes, a number of the rebel groups are controlled by al Qaeda or Daesh/ISIS. However, the underlying discontent being exploited by these groups was not an urge to jihad, but economic disintegration. Additionally, there is no "global axis of jihad" - no one stereotypic Bond-villain style Supreme Jihadi (with a white Persian cat i his lap) calling the shots. It's a decentralized, "gig economy" model - far harder to stop permanently

      Your underlying point is a worrisome one for folks thinking that democracy is a good thing: authoritarian governments are on the rise, and both Russia and China really don't care about human rights. True, the US violates human rights at times (especially under Republican Presidents) - but at least this is considered disgraceful behavior and the Democratic Party tries to stop it when they can.

      The 21st Century is starting out as the Rise of the Authoritarians - and it shows no signs of stopping. The alternative seems to be local warlords (Boko Haram, etc.) Either way, it's grim times for personal freedom.

  • When Dems ditched Workers for Professionals, they opened Door for Trump
    • This is exactly right - and the problem goes back to George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, and the infamous "Reagan Democrats."

      Remember how the New Dealers kept losing presidential elections to the Republicans because the "Silent Majority" wanted to elect people who would punch hippies? Remember how Bill Clinton won by "triangulating"?

      Starting with Ronald Reagan, the Republicans have convinced the American working class that the elitist environmentalists and the degenerate, unpatriotic hippies have destroyed the US middle class and allowed all the good working-class jobs to be outsourced overseas. Using "God, gays, and guns" as a wedge issue, Republicans convinced many working-class voters to vote Republican.

      It's been 20+ years now, and the media and the voters treat these wedge issues as facts rather than clever propaganda. It sounds as though the Democrats have finally woken up to the idea that they can't ignore the working class any more. Hopefully, it's not too late.

  • Is Russia deepening Cooperation with US in Syria, or hitting US Bases?
    • I expect that such incidents would help encourage closer cooperation, if only to get the ability to discuss targets. What we don't want is each side beefing up their anti-aircraft defenses and shooting at each other. That could lead to unpleasant escalations.

  • On the Fourth of July: None of us has Inalienable Rights if American Muslims don't
    • In a totalitarian regime, one is free to say anything the government wants you to say. In a land ruled by terrorists (such as the KKK), one is free to say anything that the terrorists approve of.

      Freedom is not only the ability to say things that the government does not approve of, but also having the government's protection from those who seek to use force or the color of law to suppress differing opinions.

  • US domestic extremists a bigger risk than foreign terrorism, but guess who Trump & GOP Coddle?
    • As many have noted, Donald Trump isn't saying anything that the rest of the Republican candidates aren't saying - he's merely stating the Republican position clearly.

      My guess is that the racist militias will plan on "protecting freedom" by putting "open-carry" folks in front of the polls in heavily Democratic neighborhoods.

  • Oil Glut Blues and the last hurrah of the Fossil Fuel Bubble
    • Oil is like Ali Baba's cave after the 40 thieves met with their workplace accidents and stopped putting gold into the cave: we don't really know how much treasure is hidden there, but we do know there's only so much treasure, and when it's gone - it's gone. (Remember the First Law of Thermodynamics - conservation of mass/energy?)

      In short, peak oil theory remains accurate - it's not a question of "if" - it's a question of when. Yes, fracking gave us an expensive way to extract more oil - but the laws of physics tell us that it's a limited supply.

      We really don't know how much economically-exploitable oil is hidden under the ground. What we do know is that sooner or later, the wells will run dry.

  • Climate change will kill more Italians and Greeks than Syrians
    • This looks like the deaths related to changes in food crops alone. It does not include deaths resulting from diminished rainfall, rising sea levels, ocean acidification affecting oceanic food chains... Plus, we're running out of resources, so long-haul shipping, availability of pesticides and fertilizers, and other issues will also affect death rates,

  • As Coasts Flood, why isn't the Corporate Press asking Candidates about Climate Change?
    • You left out part D: "Blame it on the Democrats."
      It's only a matter of time before the wingnuts start blaming everything on President Obama...

  • Top 10 Signs the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • It's a variation on an old joke: "you're only called crazy if you're poor - rich people are "eccentric".

      I'd also note that corruption implies illegal activity - it's not technically corrupt to pay someone a fee for services rendered. That said, the current US system of legalized bribery of political officials does the same type damage to our society as that resulting from a system of petty corruption.

  • If Trump can track Muslims, close Mosques, what can he do to You?
    • I wouldn't be so dismissive of Donald Trump - his message of bring America back to prosperity by blaming the woes of the middle class on scapegoats rather than a tax structure designed to encourage off-shoring jobs and re-build a permanent class of ultra-rich people resonates with many.

      As to Hillary versus Bernie, I point you to the George McGovern campaign. Yes, the "I back Tom Eagleton 1000%" statement one day before replacing him on the ticket hurt, but the real damage was done by the press painting McGovern as a dangerous not-quite-Communist.

      I, too, would prefer Bernie over Hillary - but unless Hillary has a Jeb Bush level meltdown (which remains possible) , she's the likely candidate. If Bernie's nominated, the press will put out a steady scream of SOCIALIST between the convention and the election. Remember, you've got to be ultra-rich to own a media outlet these days - and they tend to operate from their gut reaction to advice from their highly-paid sycophants rather than careful, thoughtful analysis.

    • P.S.: Notice how many things that the US religious fanatics and Daesh/ISIS agree on, other than the definition of "the Other", whether the name of their god is "Allah" or "Jesus", and whether to call their Holy Book the "Koran" or the "Bible"? It's like the Ronald Reagan / Ayatollah Khomeini duality - each one had essentially the same message about the other because each one was using the threat posed by an external foe to get otherwise unpopular policies implemented.

    • The cause is quite simple: overpopulation, global warming, and economic pressure.

      Hitler would have stayed a fringe nutjob, except for the economic turmoil Germany faced due to crushing World War 1 reparations. The French occupation of the Ruhr humiliated all Germans, and the austerity measures required to pay back the crushing foreign debt resulting from reparations, coupled to make people angry and desperate.

      Angry and desperate people look to a strong leader to "make their country great again." Look at the average US citizen: jobs are harder to find, and pay less, fewer opportunities for their children, and the future looks grim. Prime breeding ground for a charismatic leader who gains support by blaming all these problems on scapegoats.

      Note, please, that this also explains the rise of Daesh/ISIS: it's so easy to blame one's problems on a scapegoat - especially when the scapegoat is operating armed drones overhead, or enforcing sanctions against you.

      When times are good, very few listen to the scapegoating. It's only when times are tough that we see these problems - and times are tough all over right now. Messages of hate, fear, and of taking the fight to the Others who are seeking to destroy our traditional way of life will grow increasingly popular for many years to come.

  • Paris at Midnight: Attempt to push France out of anti ISIL coalition in Syria?
    • Perhaps a cleric in Saudi Arabia would be willing to declare a fatwa against DAESH/ISIS for their violations of the Koran's language regarding targeting innocent civilians.

  • Aqsa Crisis: PM Netanyahu wants Israeli Forces to use Live Fire against Rock Throwing Demonstrators
    • I expect Netanyahu is well aware of the US evangelicals' Rapture fantasies, and is exploiting them. (As to humans intentionally acting in a way as to cause the End Times to occur - would an all-knowing, all-powerful Supreme Being really be so easily manipulated?)

  • Germany seeks Talks with Russia over Syria as Putin conducts Naval Maneuvers off Tartous
    • The real problem is that Mr. Putin is in a Ronald Reagan / Donald Trump frame of mind: "Make Russia Great Again" is written on Mr. Putin's baseball hats.

      President Obama, however, faces a problem similar to that which faced Great Britain in the late 1930s: a military strong enough to confront one powerful foe - but not two, widely separated foes. For Great Britain, it was Germany and Japan - confronting German expansion meant leaving Singapore, Australia, and India vulnerable - and confronting Japan meant giving Germany an opening to expand in Europe. At the time, there wasn't much taste in Great Britain to expand the military after the financial and human costs of World War 1.

      Today, the US has a powerful military - but not powerful enough to oppose both Chinese expansion in the South China Sea and also Russian expansion in Ukraine and Syria... especially if Iran gets involved. A US - Iranian confrontation would make Iraq a very messy place.

      And so, insertion of Russian troops into Syria to strengthen its bargaining position has little downside for Mr. Putin: he can tell his people that "Russia Is Back", confront the US and declare victory.

      President Obama faces a much tougher challenge: George W Bush's Iraq Adventure cut off our ability to criticize others for doing whatever the heck they want based on their military force capabilities. The Bush Administration's treatment of Russia and China drove them into a cooperative stance - and it would be naive to think that China wouldn't take advantage of a US - Russian confrontation in Syria to further consolidate its holdings in the South China Sea. So, President Obama must tread a delicate path.

      Meanwhile, the Republicans want to imitate Mr. Putin and "Make America Great." This brings back memories of the way World War 1 started. Fun times!

  • What if Kim Davis Refused to License Marriages of Inter-Racial Couples?
    • What if the Obama Administration, citing the core Christian belief of taking care of the less fortunate, ignored Supreme Court rulings regarding ObamaCare? If Kim Davis gets to pick and choose which laws she follows based on her self-proclaimed religious beliefs, can President Obama do the same?

      Oh, I forgot - rights are only for the Right.

  • Enter the Bear: Does Russia plan air strikes on Daesh/ISIL in Syria?
    • It'll be interesting if Putin uses significant military force in Syria. Imagine what happens if Russia has military forces in Syria, and the Republicans/Israelis attack Iran.

  • Egypt's al-Sisi and Putin Pledge Common Front against Terrorism
    • Putin and Al-Sisi agree that if anyone is going to terrorize the citizens, it should be government goons...

  • Defending Natalie Portman on Holocaust: Sometimes it can be subverted to fear-mongering
    • Re: the mention of Japan's history books: Any time I hear someone mention that Japanese history books give students a sanitized version of the Japanese Government's behavior in World War 2, I always think of the Texas School Board, and also about how history books in the US now portray the Civil War as about state's rights rather than slavery...

  • Youth Revolts are back-- Lebanon, Iraq Shaken by demand for Services, end to Corruption
    • If the US Government really wanted to stop wide-scale violence in Iraq, they'd cut a deal with Elon Musk to install solar power with battery backups on Iraqi homes. Decentralized power systems are difficult for terrorists to attack... and there's lots of sun in Iraq.

      (There's a company called Ecoppia which sells robotic solar panel cleaners to remove dust from solar panels - and they don't use water, either. link to

      Reliable local energy wouldn't solve all Iraq's problems - but it'd be a start at making people's lives better. This would help reduce the cycle of violence.

  • Obama: Opponents of Iran Deal are Warmongers
    • One other factor to consider before attacking Iran - we wouldn't be the only major power involved this time. Russia and China would be players as well, either directly or indirectly.

      Russia could either ship arms and equipment to Iran overland via Azerbaijan, or across the Caspian Sea... or they could instead wait until the US forces were tied down in Iran, and strike elsewhere.

      China could also supply high-tech weapons to Iran (a great place to test their "carrier killer" missiles). Alternatively, they could make aggressive moves in the South China Sea, secure in the knowledge that the US lacked the power to support its allies in that region while fighting in Iran.

      Teddy Roosevelt said "talk softly, and carry a big stick." The far-right's version seems to be "Scream loudly, and re-enact Pickett's Charge on a global level."

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • Alternative thought: how many Republican primary voters like cage match fights, professional wrestling, unlimited fighting bouts, etc.? Loud, testosterone-fueled braggarts posturing for the crowd are increasingly popular these days.

  • Omar Sharif didn't have to Play a Terrorist
    • I'd say two factors:
      1) The 1960s were a time of perceived abundance, in which people thought there was plenty for everyone. These days, people are more worried about keeping their own lifestyle (plus feeling that the "bad guys" are planning to take resources away from them - even though we stole the resources fair and square).

      2) In the 1960s, the "bad guys" were the Soviets (the "Rooskies"). These days, the favored boogieman with which to frighten voters are the "Mooslims."

      Given these two factors, it's not surprising that someone who can be typecast as a "bad guy" is so treated. As another example, look at the types of stereotypic roles Sidney Poitier was so often offered, and would be offered today.

  • No, GOP, biblical Marriage was not between one man and one woman
    • We could also bring up the consumption of bacon-wrapped shellfish by the folks claiming that the Bible is the literal word of God. Weren't both shellfish and bacon banned from human consumption in the Bible's dietary laws?

  • Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
    • Pam Geller and Daesh/ISIS are two sides of the same coin: both are trying to instigate violence as a path to implement their otherwise unpopular agenda by creating an "Us vs Them" mindset in the population. It's a very old strategy, probably first used when someone observed that the lack of mammoths in the area was undoubtedly caused by the immorality of the tribe in the cave across the river.

  • European Islamophobic Networks influenced Roof to Kill in Charleston
    • You left out "Christian" - it's a sign of the times that anti-Muslim propaganda resulted in the killing of devout Christians who the killer viewed as "the Other." It hearkens back to the First Crusade, where the first victims of Crusaders boiling over with anti-Muslim hatred were the local Jews in Europe. After reaching Constantinople, they found a village of people who looked different and killed them all... later finding that the villagers were also Christians. (Not that this bothered the Crusaders.)

      So it seems history is again repeating itself: folks seeking temporary political advantage by using religion and fear of a group of convenient scapegoats to gain power set off an uncontrolled avalanche of hatred: first individuals, then small groups, and eventually armies of fanatical killers. It works best when people realize that resources are scarce - and more and more people realize that resources are becoming scarce.

  • Israel releases 16 Squatter Youth suspected in arson of Church of Loaves & Fishes
    • Somehow, I expect these youths were not subjected to the same interrogation tactics used against young Palestinians.

  • Why Rand Paul is right to Kill the So-Called PATRIOT Act: It was never about Terrorism
    • After 9/11, the NSA's big lever over politicians was: "let us conduct these searches, or we'll make sure that you're blamed for the next terrorist attack." And, yes - ever since the Warren Court reined in warrantless searches searches through the exclusionary rule, conservatives have been looking for a way to start doing them again. From

      Wolf v. Colorado338 U.S. 25, 69 S. Ct. 1359, 93 L. Ed. 1782 (1949)
      Brief Fact Summary. The petitioner, Julius Wolf (the “petitioner”) was convicted by a State court of conspiring to commit abortions based upon evidence allegedly obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure clause.

      Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause does not prohibit the admission of evidence obtained during an apparently illegal search and seizure in State courts.

      The exclusionary rule was established in 1961:

      Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
      Suspicious that Dollree Mapp might be hiding a person suspected in a bombing, the police went to her home in Cleveland, Ohio. They knocked on her door and demanded entrance, but Mapp refused to let them in because they did not have a warrant. After observing her house for several hours, the police forced their way into Mapp's house, holding up a piece of paper when Mapp demanded to see their search warrant. As a result of their search, the police found a trunk containing pornographic materials.

      Note: Acording to the police, the pornographic materials were found in Dollree Mapp's dresser drawer during their search for a man wanted as a bombing suspect. How many men are small enough to hide in a dresser drawer?

      Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former prosecutor, knew how often the police conducted warrantless searches without suffering any consequences (unless they kicked down the door of someone rich and/or powerful).

  • What the Police Broke in Baltimore (Political Cartoon)
    • Quick, find one of the other folks we arrested and cut them a deal if they say she broke her own neck... After all, what's more trustworthy than a jailhouse informant?

  • Iraq: Why it doesn't Matter if Ezzat al-Douri was Killed
    • A decapitation strategy is a short-term strategy, designed more for generating good-looking metrics for reporting purposes than actually achieving a goal. (The "body-count" metric of the Vietnam War is an example of the problems inherent in choosing metrics based on ease of measurement rather than stepping stones on the path to success.

      For example, consider the decapitation strategy as employed in the "War on Drugs." There have been any number of triumphant notices proclaiming the killing or capture of top drug cartel leaders - notice how the flow of drugs seems largely unaffected by such notices? Some short-term disruptions, maybe some turf wars, but no long term effect.

      If one doesn't address the root causes of a problem, treating the symptoms won't solve anything.

  • Do GOP Frontrunners have an Iran policy besides Sanctions and Bombs?
    • Which is why the REAL Republican is to bomb. It's simple:

      1) While waiting for the bombers to get into position, say that sanctions never work;

      2) Impose unilateral sanctions which the rest of the world deems inappropriate and ignores;

      3) Say: "See, we told you sanctions don't work"; and,

      4) By this time, the aircraft carriers, etc. are in position - so the Republicans can proceed with their real plan: to bomb...

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • We're already seeing Palestinian water sources being fouled by excessive Israeli pumping causing salt water intrusion, etc. My guess is that we're going to see a caliphate without caliphs - where large numbers of lawless gangs use "caliphate" as their brand, but there's no central command and control. Anarchy, sabotage, and chaos - something a modern army has real trouble fighting.

  • As state Sinks, GOP forbids Fla. State Enviro workers from saying "Climate Change"
  • Can Plants teach us how to make Better Solar Panels?
    • If they can also capture the hydrogen given off after the water molecules are split, the hydrogen could be burned as fuel for evening use...

  • Why Obama is Right to avoid double standard about Modern Christian Atrocities
    • Today's Kristian* Right thinks "the least of them" meant the 0.1%.

      *Christians believe in and follow Christ's teachings. Just as "Krab" is a poor imitation of real crab, Kristians are imitation Christians, preaching divisiveness and hate in direct contradiction to Christ's teachings.

    • This is the big problem with "religious exceptions" - religions typically encourage tribal-type thinking, which leads to acts which hurt people considered outside the tribe. This is especially true when religion mixes with politics.

      Ask an Irish Catholic about Oliver Cromwell's behavior, for example - or ask Protestants about the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. For that matter, the ongoing battles between the remnants of the Irish Republican Army and the Protestants in Northern Ireland are a modern example of what happens when one mixes religion and politics.

  • 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn
    • You left out the Nixon strategy. Nixon let the far-right wing Goldwater faction run against LBJ in 1968. When they lost, Nixon's operatives swooped in and gained control of the Republican Party. The man who famously told the press that "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" then ran a successful Presidential campaign in 1968.

      He was helped in large part by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. I expect Mr. Romney figures that:
      * by 2020, Rupert Murdock (who hates Romney) will be in a sulfur-scented afterlife rather than controlling Fox News content;
      * The economy will be in deep trouble, as post-peak oil and vanishing resources make virtually everyone worse off than they were 4 years ago - weakening the then-incumbent;
      * If everything collapses, and massive riots sweep across the country, perhaps it would be easier to escape to one of his remote boltholes if he doesn't have to first escape from mobs attacking the White House. (link to

  • After Paris attacks, could David Duke style Racist Parties Sweep to Power in Europe?
    • Yes, desperate times call for charismatic leaders blaming society's problems on scapegoats and folks they can characterize as immoral degenerates who betrayed the right-minded people and allowed the scapegoats to attack. It's a tried-and-true path to power.

    • From the sounds of things, Europe's austerity programs are working just as well today as they did in the 1930s. When times get tough, humans get tense. Folks who can blame problems on scapegoats gain power by exploiting these tensions, and can only keep it by staying one step ahead of the angry mobs they themselves generated.

      The reason we're seeing a generalized rise of extremism is the growing competition for resources. Jobs paying a living wage are increasingly scarce, oil is harder to find, fresh water and arable land are in short supply... all of which makes the populations ripe for someone to stand up and blame The Others. Today, the Muslims are the scapegoats for the West (Israel and US play that role elsewhere). However, we're also seeing "multiculturalism" showing up in scapegoating, so we'll soon see pogroms against folks with the wrong politics, as well. Today, the Revolution - tomorrow, the Terror.

  • French Far Right Poised to Exploit Paris Attacks for Political Gain
    • How about the Christian fundamentalists? After all, a bunch of folks from the various militia movements drove to the Bundy Ranch and took up arms against the federal government... do we hold Christianity as a whole responsible for the fundamentalists' crimes unless and until they destroy their growing crusaderist cancer?

  • Why the US should welcome Palestine Pres. Abbas joining Int'l Criminal Court
    • One would think joining the World Court, and thus submitting to the rule of law, would be something to be encouraged. For example, Israel could charge Hamas with war crimes for supporting terrorism against civilian targets. Alas, the US and Israel don't believe in the rule of law - unless they get to both make those laws themselves, change them at will, and ignore those same laws when they become inconvenient.

  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • The idea that government officials thought a movie could initiate regime change in North Korea sounds more like studio-generated buzz than reality.

    • I doubt it's a black flag attack - it seems far more of a "round up the usual suspects" blame game.

      Pretty much any hacktivist type could have targeted North Korea using, say, the network time protocol security hole:

      A vulnerability in the "monlist" feature of ntpd can allow remote attackers to cause distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) via forged requests. US-CERT and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC) have both observed active use of this attack vector in recent DDoS attacks.
      Source: US-CERT website

      The North Korean government may or may be involved - but the rush to publicly blame them seemed so politically convenient that it raises my suspicions.

      Regardless, perhaps someone should put some money into real Internet security? I realize the NSA loves the ability to snoop through our underwear drawers for tasty secrets, and wants to maintain the ability to attack other nations infrastructure through known security holes. However, it's a bit too much like spending all one's defense funding on bombers while blocking research into better air defense systems. One hopes that this era is coming to a close, and that people will start securing their networks.

  • Police Accountability more important than Bodycams
    • Bodycams are a good way to see what happened from the wearer's point of view. However, there also has to be accountability - if the bodycam shows the officer acted improperly, and the officer is not held accountable for what the bodycam recorded, they're of little use.

      On a side note, if the officer turns off the bodycam just before the instance of claimed wrongdoing, the presumption should be that the officer is guilty.

  • Syrian regime Propaganda coup as Israel Downs Syrian Plane over Golan
    • I suspect the Israelis would find a radical group controlling its border with Syria an even more convenient target for ramping up jingoism in its population than Hamas. More lawns to mow - plus, it would be easier to keep the Golan if there's no Syrian government seeking its return.

  • Elon Musk's Nevada Gigafactory may Save the World
    • I guess I must be silly, then - this is the analysis I did when I decided to buy against buying either a Volt or a plug-in Prius - in favor of a standard Prius. I live in an apartment, like lots of people... and there's no electrical outlet in my building's garage. If I move to a different apartment, I may only have on-street parking as a choice.

      My point is that buying a Volt makes sense for people who own their own homes (and can install solar) - but there are lots of people who don't fit that mold: thus making the pool of potential customers smaller. Throw in general insecurity, resistance to change, and factors such as "I can't give it to any of my kids if they go to college, because they won't be able to charge it in the college parking lots", and you've got a good idea as to why many people are choosing to stay with gas guzzlers or the Prius rather than jumping to the Volt.

      If I buy a house, my next car would be a Volt, a plug-in Prius or an all-electric car - but not until I own my own home and can make sure I'd be able to have somewhere to plug it in.

    • The main problem from my point of view is that unlike the Prius, the Volt's gas engine cannot be used to charge the batteries. To get the benefit of owning a Volt (or a plug-in Prius), one needs to be able to plug it into a charging station. This typically means a garage - and this rules out many urban dwellers. Suburban dwellers who have converted their home's garage into a spare room are also ruled out - unless there's an electrical outlet within reasonable extension cord reach of one's parking place.

      And so, the Volt is not only expensive expensive up-front, it also has drawbacks for people who either don't have an easy way of recharging it, or worry that they may not have such in the future.

  • Top 5 Reasons "Labor Day" isn't for Laborers Anymore
    • Combine this with the increasing number of jobs where workers can be replaced with computers, and you get the future: the ultra-rich and their immediate staff live in fortified mansions, drones kill anyone intruding on their estates, and the rest of us starve and die in the wastelands

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • That's the entire reason Israel's acting now - the upcoming midterm elections.

    • It's no accident that the current Israeli attacks are occurring during an election year. The Israeli far-right wants the US far-right back in power...

  • Pastor Hagee: It's not Climate Change, It’s The Return Of Christ
    • That was my thought as well - perhaps the human activities causing massive pollution and global warming are angering the Supreme Being. Wasn't there something in the Bible about God destroying the Earth with fire next time? Doesn't fire make things warmer?

      For that matter, the "Tribulation" which was scheduled to occur right after the Rapture involved things such as plagues and natural disasters sweeping the globe. Perhaps there is a God, and that God designed the natural laws of the universe in such a way as to automatically punish the profligate ways of greedy humans... by, say, having wasteful use of petrochemicals trigger global warming.

  • Solar Power for the Global Masses: The Next Revolution
    • For countries where much of the population is not connected to a central power grid, it makes sense to put in solar and wind... especially if there isn't an entrenched set of lobbyists paid to push petrochemical-powered centralized power stations.

      It's also better from a political instability point of view. Centralized power grids, being centralized, can more easily be shut down by the government, or taken down by terrorists. Large numbers of decentralized/distributed power generation stations make much more sense from a security standpoint.

  • Jon Stewart v. Hannity on Bundy & Law Enforcement: "Proportionality"
    • Funny how Mr. Hannity claims to love this country, while opposing everything that it stands for.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • The problem, of course, lies not with our politicians but with the folks eligible to vote (and who are not prevented from doing so by Republican laws intended to make it difficult for people in Democratic-leaning demographics to vote.)

      People don't have to listen exclusively to AM hate radio or get their news exclusively from the Rupert Murdock/Roger Ailes propaganda machine. If enough of them do, however, we get Republicans voted into office on the promise that they will take away health insurance from anyone sick enough to need it (i.e. repeal ObamaCare, and again allow insurers to cancel the policies of the chronically ill).

      Of course, the Republicans also promise to defund programs that protect these voters if they happen to lose their jobs, or are hit with a natural disaster - but they tell the voters that such cuts will only affect the "moochers", and enough voters believe these puerile arguments that such Republicans win elections in their heavily-gerrymandered districts.

      But, hey, it's still a democracy - the influence of money to buy TV ads only works if people are simple enough to believe those ads.

  • US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism
  • Palestine's Abbas finally says will Go to UN over Israeli Squatters
    • Negotiating with the Israeli right wing is pretty much the same as negotiating with Republicans. For each concession you make, they express a willingness for you to make more concessions. Any request for them to make concessions in return is treated with scorn and disbelief.

  • Whether Princesses or Paupers, Long Road to Saudi Women’s Rights
    • Wouldn't such a step anger the Wahhabi clerics, thus threatening the monarchy's support among the religious conservatives? The Saudi royal family seems to have many of the same issues with the Wahhabi that the Republican Party has with the Tea Party. There's no doubt that Saudi women are cruelly oppressed under the kingdom's current laws - but I'm not sure King Abdullah could change those laws and still remain in power.

  • Tea Party Opponents of Muslim Cemetery Claim Islam is not a Religion
    • I'll bet these same Tea Party fanatics get angry when Christians are attacked on religious grounds:

      "Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed.

      While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence. Sawan Masih now has 30 days to appeal."
      Source: BBC News Sawan Masih: Pakistani Christian gets death penalty for blasphemy

      Christian mobs attacking Muslims, Muslim mobs attacking Christians - it's not about religion, it's about gaining political power by creating and channeling fear and hate in the general population. It's an old trick, but it still works depressingly well.

  • Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders
  • CAR Muslims Risk Ethnic Cleansing: What if Thousands of Christians were forced out of a Muslim Country?
    • What would really help would be for the US to take an active stand against the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the CAR. Remember how apathetic we were when Muslims were being persecuted in Bosnia, and how this was used to whip up anti-US fervor?

  • Netanyahu Tells Kerry he will Grab 13% of Palestinian West Bank
  • John McCain and Lindsey Graham Want to invade Falluja Yet Again
    • The main reason Senators McCain and Graham want President Obama to send troops to Falluja is so they can then impeach him for taking their advice.

  • Obama will Veto new Iran Sanctions, Israel War Mandate pushed by AIPAC Senators
    • This sounds like a lesson from the Cold War: if your political party's brand is to protect the citizens from the dire threat posed by the Soviet Union, you need the Soviet Union to remain a threat. I've always thought that the Iranian hard-liners and the AIPAC hard-liners had a tacit agreement to threaten each other in ways that maintained a state of tension short of major combat. Both side's hard-liners profit from this state of affairs, and routinely say much the same thing: "How can we deal with those evil people that pose such an existential threat to our way of life?" Of course, anyone attempting to lower the threat levels, from either side, is viewed as an even greater threat.

  • Solar would be Cheaper: US Pentagon has spent $8 Trillion to Guard Gulf Oil
    • There's always the simple approach to storing solar: hydroelectric dams and reverse-pumping. It's been done for a while: one uses electric pumps to put water back into the reservoirs during periods of lower demand for electricity, and use the water to run generators during high demand (or at night, when demand tends to be lower anyway).

      That, conservation, and some other tricks should greatly help lower demand for fossil fuels. Remember, too: all that oil, coal, etc. is actually stored solar power...

  • GOP: No Climate Change because, Bible
    • Last I heard, the Bible promises that God won't destroy the world by flooding it again. Instead, some fundamentalists, God will destroy the world with fire.

      Has anyone pointed out to these folks that fire makes things warmer?

  • Celebrating Dirty Gas & Oil is Our Planet's Funeral (Klare)
    • And if you believe these rose-tinted predictions, I've got some stock to sell you. This looks more like a pump-and-dump operation than a valid prediction. I'm sticking with the Laws of Thermodynamics - fossil fuels don't just magically appear, they were laid down over millions of years. This means we're going to run out sooner or later.

      Besides, what do we do about peak water? It takes water to frack, and we're running out of fresh water. I suppose we could use sea water, but pumping salt water into aquifers doesn't seem like such a wonderful idea, either.

  • Iran's Leader "Optimistic" about Rowhani's US Diplomacy, but Skeptical of Washington, Israel
    • Given the ongoing revelations of NSA spying, and the actions by the Republican Party in both advocating for a government shutdown and then blaming the Democrats for the shutdown ("Now look what you made me do..."), I'd say that duplicity is built into the political process generally. After all, it's why we find this phrase amusing: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you"

  • Not Markets but the People are making the Green Energy Revolution
    • Solar power in particular is a very good thing - it's largely decentralized, making it less vulnerable to disruption. Today's electrical grid relies on a small number of large centralized power generation systems. This is a result of the physics behind these generation systems (the bigger the dam, the more efficient the turbine, the bigger the petrochemical-powered plant, the more efficient the generator, etc.)

      Small-scale solar installations, however, are highly efficient. This makes decentralized power systems possible. Failure of any one generator can easily be compensated by other generators. This makes solar an excellent hedge against natural disasters or terrorist attacks. One wonders why the folks so frightened of terrorist attack don't point this out to people that go out and purchase inefficient home-sized conventional generators.

  • NSA abuses include Stalking ex-Girlfriends
    • Indeed - one wonders whether the unwavering support for the NSA demonstrated by many politicians has anything to do with some embarrassing secrets the NSA has agreed to keep quiet. As Hannibal Lector observed: "Quid pro quo, Clarisse, Quid pro quo"

  • How the GOP Libya Witch Hunt Made us Close our Mideast Embassies and Crippled US Diplomacy
    • The neocons are using Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a role model. Mr. Ahmadinejad used fear of the Great Satan as an excuse to justify otherwise unpopular domestic policies and maintain the loyalty of their conservative base - and the neocons use fear of Iran and al Qaeda for the same purpose.

  • PRISM: The US Government is mad at Bradley Manning for doing to it what it is Doing to All of us
  • Terrorism and the other Religions
    • One wonders whether singing traditional Irish drinking songs such as "By The Rising Of The Moon" and other pro-Irish Republican Army songs would be considered material support for terrorism under today's laws.

      Interestingly, one of the most virulent US politicians espousing military tribunals for "terrorists" used to condemn Great Britain - for failing to try accused IRA members in civilian courts.

      It's the terrorist/freedom fighter thing.

  • Working America's 40-year Decline (Garson)
    • And the real problem, summed up nicely, was tat they all knew they were destroying the economy, but thought they could make money doing so:
      "Greenspan answered: 'It’s not that they weren’t aware that the risks were there, I mean I spoke to them. It’s not that the people were dumb. They knew precisely what was going on. The vast majority of them thought that they knew when to get out.'”

  • Eyeless in Gaza: When will Israel let its People Go?
    • The purpose of the Israeli air strikes is to trigger Palestinian counter-attacks, which can be characterized as "terrorist attacks" and used as justification for more land grabs.

      It will stop when a Palestinian Gandhi leads an effective passive resistance. Rock throwing and homemade rockets make matters worse, a daily march of unarmed civilians to reclaim their homes (and thus highlighting Israeli oppression) will defeat the Israeli occupation.

  • Kerry Cajoles Afghanistan and Iraq, as Bush's former colonies decline to Toe the Line
    • The Cheney definition of "democracy" is using whatever means one can get away with to ensure your supporters get elected. Dick Cheney wanted to remove an uncooperative dictator and replace him with a more obedient dictator through rigged elections - and call it "democracy."

  • Israel Lobby asks Congress to Approve Attack on Iran & to Exempt Israel from Sequester
    • The most serious action a nation can take is not "going to war" - it is a tie between enacting regulations on banks and/or raising taxes on the rich. So sayeth the Republican Party.

  • Walsh (Republican): No Pregnancy Ever threatens a Mother's Life (Young Turks Video)
    • Here's another fact to throw in the mix:

      link to

      (CNN) -- The mother of a pregnant leukemia patient who died after her chemotherapy was delayed over anti- abortion laws is accusing doctors of not putting her daughter's health first.

      The 16-year-old's plight attracted worldwide attention after she had to wait for chemotherapy because of an abortion ban in the Dominican Republic.

      Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy -- a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. Some 20 days after she was admitted to the hospital, she finally started receiving treatment.

      She died Friday, a hospital official said.

  • California gasoline crisis shows Desirability of Hybrid, Electric Cars
    • For those of us living in apartments, or who lack a parking place near an electrical outlet, electric cars and plug-in hybrids remain unusable. (Infrastructure change will happen at some point, but it'll take some time.)

      However, I'm getting 54+ MPG in my hybrid car, and live within walking distance of a light rail station. I'm not much affected by the spike in gas prices, either.

      The Wall Street Journal articles showing negative cost/benefit analyses for purchasing hybrids are looking increasingly silly.

  • Extreme Oil: Costly, Dirty and Dangerous (Klare)
    • Our planet's oil reserves are much like the gold in the 40 Thieves' cave after their rather unfortunate experience with hot oil treatments at Ali Baba's house. Ali Baba had a cave containing treasure (just as we have a planet containing oil). Ali Baba and ourselves face the same dilemma: we don't know how much treasure/oil is left. Living is easy while the treasure/oil lasts - but what to do when it's gone?

      In the story, Ali Baba was smart: he used the part of treasure to set himself up in business, and left the rest as a reserve. The equivalent for us would be to use the oil reserves as a stopgap until we can set up a self-sustaining renewable energy economy.

      What the oil companies are pushing is ever-increasing efforts to extract the last of the treasure form the cave - leaving us with nothing to fall back on when the oil's gone.

      And it will be gone, sooner or later.

  • Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots
    • Also, (as many have noted) isn't it interesting that the National Rifle Association isn't loudly proclaiming that if only these two victims had been armed, they could have "defended themselves" from their attackers?

      It seems these people have watched too many Westerns, where the reluctant good guy picks up a gun and successfully defends himself against a large number of attacking bad guys. Funny how the subject of "collateral damage" or shooting an innocent person by mistake never comes up.

  • Could Electronic Communication Cooperatives Protect Us?
    • Back in the day of land lines, the police could use "pen registers" to log which telephone numbers were calling other telephone numbers. This did not require a warrant, as the content of the communication was not disclosed and the telephone numbers dialed pass through the telephone company's billing systems (no reasonable expectation of privacy). (Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 99 S. Ct. 2577, 61 L. Ed. 2d 220 (1979))

      These days, the Roberts Court would probably rule that nobody has any reasonable expectation of privacy any more, so the 4th amendment is largely meaningless.

  • Top Developments in the Arab Spring this Weekend
    • Your description of the Salafis reminds me of the descriptions of the radical right 30 years ago. What is it about humans that we so willingly follow people whose claim to leadership is how well they can demonize "the other."

      Look at India, Pakistan, Iran, China, the US, Europe, South Africa, and elsewhere: there's always someone condemning "them" for their country's woes. Only the name used for "them" changes.

  • Top Ten Myths about Bin Laden's Death
    • Pop quiz: how many armed drones are sent over the Pakistani military's equivalent of West Point?

      Side note: the Viet Cong used to dig complex tunnels to create bases underneath US bases... this was their best protection against bombers. Does this prove the US was secretly aiding the Viet Cong?

  • Can 'Desperate Housewives' Defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia? Wikileaks
    • My guess is that the Chinese model of censorship will get more popular: unlimited consumerism, zero tolerance for dissenting political views.

  • Worst Reporting on Green Energy of the Week
    • One wonders whether the article corrected for all the various tax breaks given to the petrochemical industry.

      It may be that a given site isn't a good match for windpower - what about solar? Putting solar cells on every house plus some kind of energy storage system (batteries, hydrogen generation, etc.) would give us a less centralized energy grid. Decentralized systems are less vulnerable to disruption from natural disasters and/or terrorist attack.

  • Cutting off Aid to the Lebanese Army Hurts US Interests
    • If Israel wants South Lebanon's water - what better way to justify an invasion and "temporary" occupation of the desired areas that to keep Lebanon's army too weak to control Hezbollah - and to keep provoking Hezbollah?

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