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Oh come on - did you really miss this story?? http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20061024-71.html
>The Muslim leaders throughout the Middle East and to a certain extent throughout the Muslim world do not clearly grasp the import of the endeavor in Iraq. I really don't think they have any such troubles grasping it. I think that they don't care for it precisely because they do. >By seeing that there is NOT in fact a "conflict with Islam" but rather a series of distinct (though linked to varying degrees) regional conflicts Jihad is not regional. That's why there are Saudis on Chechen battlefields, Pakistanis in Afghanistan, and Yemenis in Iraq. >If "total war" is the only sort of use of military action you can see as being effective then you may have to resign yourself to the fact that war is not a solution at all. I think the point was that overwhelming and decisive violence was the most humane. That's what ends a conflict; anything less -- "proportionate", if you prefer -- prolongs the conflict and increases every sort of cost. If the invasion of Iraq had used "proportionate" force, it would probably have been measured in months rather than weeks. >But that is not for us to judge .. it is up to Muslim peoples to sort that out for themselves. Why isn't it for us to judge? Are we to abandon our own standards and morals just because someone else's may differ? Are they invalidated just because there exists another? And if their morals require your death because you've chosen to be different, are you still not to judge them? Nonsense. If you have a head on your shoulders, and understand a coherent framework within which you judge, it is certainly for you to judge. >I am saying "Look here - this tree needs pruning, this tree need sprayed with insecticide, this one needs fertilizer, this one just needs to be left alone and this one, regretably, must be chopped down" That sounds an awful lot like judging. >Nearly all prophese that their own particular beliefs are the only way to heaven, God, salvation our whatever, and consequentially, either implicitly or explictly denounce other religions and dehumanize their adherents. And which of them are structurally as xenophobic as Islam? I posted quite a list of examples culled from Islamic scripture for either you or Douglas Carmichael some weeks ago; I'm still interested in seeing rough equivalents from any other religion.
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>Assuming the "war" in Iraq is not lost, what will we have occur to announce victory? If there can be no absolute victory(I win, you loose), then what is the next best thing? A war isn't truly won until your enemy wishes to God it had never happened, and the next best thing is when they just don't want to do it anymore. I think we'll have to settle for for the latter. Unfortunately, I think there's a very real chance that the desired roles will be reversed.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2007 on None So Blind at ShrinkWrapped
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>Hamas did in fact declare (and maintain) an 18 month ceasefire with Israel. I guess that depends on what you consider "maintaining a ceasefire". Personally, I'd define it as not attacking your opponent anymore. Palestinians would not agree with me, however. Their ceasefires are absolutely remarkable - they declare it, they continue attacking, and everyone but Israel seems to agree that the ceasefire holds *despite* their attacks. Unless the Arab definition of ceasefire is that your opponent stops fighting back, I don't get it. Palestinian ceasefires are hudna at their best. Imagine a weathercaster declaring that the beautiful, sunny weather still holds despite the sleet, hail, lightning, and 60kph winds. Apaprently, only the straight news people can get away with that brand of nonsense. >I think the reason that the hardliners (Hamas) will not offer renunciation of violence or unequivocal recognition of Israel as a precondition for talks is simply that the Pals have very few cards in their hand when it comes to negotiations. Not actually. The reason is that the destruction of Israel is their founding principle; it's in their charter ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas ). Asking Hamas to stop trying to destroy Israel is kind of like asking the Knights of Columbus to become secular humanists, asking your cat to become a frog, or asking Pinky & The Brain to stop trying to rule the world. However, it would be nice to see some reciprocity for the considerable concessions that Israel has already given. Unilateral withdrawal of the settlements was rewarded with increased attacks (as predicted), and demands for more concessions from as far away as Paris, Ontario. >One thing is certain, as long as the (Palestinian) issue remains as an open wound, festering on the body politic of the region antisemitism will continue to be a political force. A Canadian blogger that I respect put forth the proposition that most problems can be solved through weaponry of sufficient caliber; I think this is one of them. Slaughter Hamas, then people can talk. >To give this some perspective, how long do you think it will take for racism to vanish completely, as a factor in the US? Racism will never disappear from anywhere. The best that I think you can hope for is a society which generally looks down on the practice, which we nearly have. How long do you think it will take for communist propaganda to vanish completely as a factor in the leftist sphere? >Can you imagime racism fading as an issue (as I believe it is) in the US without the political issues having been addressed to the extent they have? They've been over-addressed. I am discriminated against, in an institutional fashion, in college admissions, jobs, government contracts, teaching positions, scholarships, etc. because of something that people I'm not even related to stopped doing over 100 years before I was born; over 50 years before my family even moved here. I share a skin color with them, nothing more, yet I'm penalized. This, in the eyes of some, legitimizes their belief that they were born victims. In other words, there comes a point where further address of the political issues becomes counter-productive. >The attempt to compare the situation of the Jews in Germany with the position of the Israeli state vis-a-vis the palestinians is really too ludicrous to require comment, but it does illustrate an interesting point in the Israeli pysche. Oh? Well, here's one I suspect you'll like better - blacks in the Jim Crowe south. They had to avert their eyes in the streets when they happened to encounter Whitey, because if they looked him in the eye they might intimidate him. But really, I guess what blacks should have done is asked themselves what they'd done to deserve it, right? >However the political issues surrounding, underpinning or overlying the irrational emotion can and should be addressed. If there were political issues underpinning antisemitism, it would not be racism. It would be a rational aversion, and in any case should be addressed. If there are political issues surrounding antisemitism, then they're unrelated, and should be addressed. If there are political issues overlying antisemitism, they're merely fig leafs for their foundations, a back-filled rationalization of hatred, and trying to solve them accomplishes nothing but making the Jews work to solve a phony grievance, and -- perhaps -- making the Arabs change their justification. The trouble, I think, lies in knowing which is which. >There have been more Palestinian children killed in the last year than total Israel causualties, though I find this sort of "score keeping" distasteful, it does illustrate the way in which the perception of who exactly is a victim can be skewed. If you think that victimhood is awarded on the basis of body count, perhaps. I've never understood the logic behind calling the one who suffers the least an oppressor, however. Are the Israelis to be pilloried for the crime of being successful at defense? And if you'd like a reduction in child victims, then perhaps you can ask Hamas to stop trying to use them as shields. I really don't think the Israelis like killing them, but the alternative is to allow that tactic to be successful. A worse choice. >(isn't there some theory about blogs that you can only discuss any subject for so long before someone mentions hitler? Lets avoid that juvenile trap.) Godwin's Law, and it's not so much blog-specific as it applies Internet debates in general (as the length of an online debate grows, the probability of Nazism entering it approaches one). Tradition holds that the one to invoke Nazism has effectively declared defeat, although Godwin himself pointed out that the problem is that all the superfluous invocations dilute those instances where Nazism is a valid component of the discussion. Invoking Nazis is not, therefore, juvenile by default. Incidentally, you and I had an exchange some months ago, at the end of which the blog posted some of my comments anonymously, and you seemed to think you'd stirred up some sort of American/Canadian animosity. You disappeared for a while after that, so I never knew if you'd gotten my explanation that it wasn't true. If not, here it is. http://shrinkwrapped.blogs.com/blog/2007/02/misunderstandin.html >It is in fact more like the Spartan 300 against the onslaught of the mighty hoards of fanatical, deranged Arabs. That was Persians, actually. >the disease is Islam--the greatest curse ever to afflict humanity I have to relegate it to second place behind Marxism, but Islam could draw even in the 21st century, or even surpass Marxism. Shrink - I love your blog, but absolutely despise that it strips all HTML tags. Is there a way to allow some basics, like em>, strong>, entities, and perhaps a>?
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Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides, they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta. Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. Community, identity, stability! Sorry, it was screaming to be done. "To me the intersting question is, should we build a society - of technology, cars, abstract money, digitalized everything - that only works for part of the population?" I want to build a society that works for me, my family, and my friends. I don't wish ill to most people outside those groups, but their well-being doesn't motivate me. I'm not an ant or a bee. "the K-12 schools and universities are doing a generally poor job in developing the potential that people *do* have" Hear, hear.
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2007 on The Bell Curve and Social Stability at ShrinkWrapped
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"We might agree that it would make sense to reduce the use of fossil fuels simply on the basis that they are finite resources and it would make sense to develop alternatives anyway, to stretch out what remains and so we will be ready when they run out." We do agree. Not to mention that many newer sources are much cleaner. An Israeli firm demoed a hydrogen fuel technology a couple years ago that was simple, cheap, and actually didn't take more energy to produce than could be derived from it. It looks promising for everything up to light automobiles; there are lots of technologies that just need to mature a tad, and should make everyone happier in the long run. I wouldn't count on that "running out" angle working for long, however. Not only are the known reserves enough to keep us going for quite a while, but there's finally an efficient method of extracting shale oil (last I heard it was working on small scale, and expected to scale up well). The world's known shale oil would last a long, long, long time even if we never manage to curb usage. I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. "President Bush has frustrated me because he has been so slow to devise an energy policy that makes us less dependent on other countries for our energy supplies." Well, that's one of those things you can say you're going to do, and then not do hoping that no one remembers. The list of things he committed to do and didn't is disheartening. "Chas has evidently surveyed the field, declared victory (having fired his best shot?), and withdrawn." I don't blame him. You can only discuss something so long until you've accomplished about everything that you're going to. Hasn't the u.n. taught us that? "The Nobel Peace Prize will soon have no credibility whatever, considering its recent laureates." Will?
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"In Kevin Costner's last decent movie, Field of Dreams" Robin Hood came after Field of Dreams.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2007 on "Field of Dreams" Diplomacy at ShrinkWrapped
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"I am going to start by agreeing with you that the Palestinians have been in many cases their own worst enemy .. and that they have been poorly lead." Their second-worst enemies are their Arab brethren like Saddam Hussein who egg them on and applaud them, but stand well back and let them bear the repercussions. They're poorly used as well as poorly lead. "BTW it is nieve to belive that Israel was not fully aware of this tendency and did not use it to their advantage." Of course they knew, and they planned for it (or so says Leah Rabin), but that's not quite the same as using it to their advantage. For example, I'm sure they expected well before 1967 that there would be another conflict, and I'm sure they decided long in advance that they should take and keep the Golan Heights whenever it happened. But what kind of a moron would have given it back? "Here, keep shooting at us with impunity, please" I think they would be happier if their predictions had a habit of being wrong, but they would have to be struck blind by stupidity not to take the opportunity to mitigate their circumstance whenever it happens. "If you simply look at a series of maps depicting these changes and ask yourself which state or potential state here seems to be in danger of ceasing to exist the answer is not Israel." If you interpret that in a vacuum, perhaps you would. As luck would have it, we know much more about it. For example, Israel was once just 8 km wide at its narrowest point (and still isn't much wider). The country could be cut in half in the blink of an eye. This is what's referred to by "defensible borders", and it's why Israel will never go back to pre-1967 borders. They're surrounded by hostiles, and they need to be able to defend themselves. The more they're attacked, the more it proves their need for defensible borders. Yet despite this, they've freely given back the majority of territory that they ever took. Which map shows that? "If an innocent man goes to jail because he has an incompetent lawyer that does not lessen his innocence or his right to redress." The Palestinians are hardly an innocent man. Your innocent man would have to incessantly kill and maim people for that analogy to work. And harbor bigoted hatred deep enough to be genocidal. It must be noted that they aren't exactly reluctant to follow their lawyer, either. "Fatah and Hamas have (finally) formed a "unity" government and there is some hope that sanctions against the Palestinian government may be lifted or at least eased." Which they did by agreeing to focus their murderous aggression against their common enemy instead of each other. No kudos from me. "Of course to have any real chance of success the current confrontational atmosphere needs to moderate. I can't see that happening until the US and possibly the Israeli administration changes." I really don't think the U.S. administration matters. It isn't confrontational towards the Palestinians, they don't kill Jews because of the US administration, and I can't imagine a new administration that would deter them. I don't think the Israeli administration makes a lot of difference either, for that matter. They're the ones firing rockets over the wall; the climate of confrontation is signed and dated by them. Over 40% of their population is under 15 years of age; that means that nearly half were indoctrinated in hatred and murder from birth, and are too young still to have independent ideas about it. There's a famous-ish video where two Palestinian girls of about 12 or so are interviewed about Palestine and Israel, Arabs and Jews. At one point they're asked which is better - full rights and peace for all Palestinians, or martyrdom. They didn't even hesitate - martyrdom. And why wouldn't they? Martyrs are their rock stars, saints, and action heroes all rolled into one. They collect shahid trading cards and wear shahid medallions. New administrations in the US and Israel aren't going to have much affect on their will to kill. Raising children who want to live would help, though.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2007 on Misunderstanding Paranoia at ShrinkWrapped
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"Um, how about that the model is wrong? Which may be essentially the same thing." It is in my book. Even if reality and the model agreed the model could still be wrong, but if they disagree it definitely is. "Rising sea levels--in the MIDDLE AGES? AGW, do ya think?" Well surely you're aware that today's SUV's are the descendants of the "Olde Humme Vee", which was a horrible polluter, and may be responsible for weakening people's immune systems in advance of the plague. Erik the Red is believed to have driven dozens of them across the ice bridge to Greenland, which is probably how it melted and made the sea levels rise.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"Geologists have known for some time that you cannot tinker on such a scale with something so basic as the dynamics of a large, flowing water body." Shh, don't tell the Netherlands. "That's silicon dioxide, which is chemically inert, cheap as earth, and readily crushable to the size we want," LOL! Let's fill the atmosphere with very fine abrasives; THAT won't have any downside! Let's just launch a giant umbrella to stay between the Earth and the sun. "OK so now scientists are being swayed by those who award grants! And who is manipulating the awarders of grants? and who in turn is manipulating the manipulaters?" This isn't exactly a new observation, Chas. Billions of dollars get channeled to people who say there's impending doom, but research can stop it. People who say there's no doom, or that we can't stop it... not so much. On the other hand, only millions go to opponents of the theory, and they're the ones branded as venal. "There is only one conspiracy I can think of that would be able to sway such a large proportion of informed scientific opinion." Of course. And the earth is flat, the sun is a fiery chariot that orbits it, the Barbary lion is extinct, the giant squid is a myth, women don't orgasm, we can't break the sound barrier, and the earth is going to freeze. Or are you just being selective with your large proportions of scientific opinions? "On the effect of solar variation. There is such an effect, but it is small." "Some proponents of the idea counter this by saying that thru some unknown or unproven mechanism small changes in solar variation produce large changes in atmospheric temperature." Have you seen the cosmic ray theory? Decreased solar activity decreases the sun's magnetic field, so we're less shielded by it. Increased cosmic rays result in increased cloud formation, giving us cloud cooling as well as less solar radiance. And the reverse, of course - increase activity comes with decreased cloud cover. That isn't an unknown mechanism, and it has been proven on a small scale. It was done on the author's expense, however, and I think you won't find grant money going towards repeating it. "In all the models CO2 concentration remains the largest single factor." *In the models that support AGW* perhaps it remains the largest factor. If you dismiss out of hand any model that doesn't agree, do I need to point out the flaw in this argument? "The main problem with all these modifiers is that if you take values for them adaquate to accout for current warming and add them into historic climate graphs they make nonsense out of the known temperature values." Kinda like how it works without them. Funny that. "When we see people claiming that there's something we don't know about reality BECAUSE it doesn't agree with the models, we have moved through the looking glass." I must have made that trip. If the model doesn't reflect reality, does reflect what we think we know about it, and the two are in disagreement, then what explanation except that there is something we don't know?
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"Even at current prices many enviromentally sound replacement technologies do pay back in terms of energy efficiency. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescents is a good example." Nothing that saves energy is going to get an argument from me. But I'd advocate it on grounds of reducing other emissions than CO2 (and saving money, of course). "It is puzzling to me why you find evidence of warming on distant planets so compelling when you resist much more accurate measurements from your own home world. You must be aware that any such measurements are subject to much wider margins or error and have a very short history to demonstrate trends. We cannot get tree ring samples from Triton!" It's equally puzzling that you ignore it. I don't know if the margins are necessarily wider, but I'll concede that I'm not convinced that our methods for measurement are much more proven than climate prediction methods on Earth. In fact, I'm not even sure what specifically those warming trends refer to - reflected heat? Surface heat? Atmospheric heat (where applicable)? Even still, it's hard for me to see how increased heat phenomena across the solar system can be chalked up to a giant set of unrelated coincidences. The overwhelming majority of energy that enters our environment comes from one place; other places that share the same relationship with that source are showing similar experiences; how can that be dismissed as irrelevant? It's ok about the tree ring samples, I don't think they'd tell us much anyway. But what measurements have I resisted? Measurements in fact play an important role in my skepticism. For example, the greenhouse theory requires that the greenhouse effect should produce atmospheric warming from the surface into the upper atmosphere. The IPCC predicted this atmospheric warming as well. Yet when they got a planet full of balloon and satellite data together, there was little to no atmospheric warming in evidence except near the surface. Once again: there's something that we don't know, or we don't understand. We can't keep being this wrong without something important being missing. And I'm still not convinced that we've done enough to establish that increased CO2/GW is an altogether bad thing (I'm quite open to it, but all I've seen is focus on the negatives). I think it's rash to start rounding up virgins to appease the volcano god just yet. "I've addressed this twice now but I will repeat. Even if changes in solar radiation were the sole cause of GW (a very unlikely conclusion) lowering carbon emissions would still be an effective counter." I've addressed this also, but I guess I'll repeat too. We have no idea if it would be effective, since we don't seem to know how much of a role it plays in heat retention. What you posit hangs on an assumption that we do know, and that it's an important role. If warming is due much less to greenhouse retention than advocates claim, then reducing emissions would still have some effect, but I think there's a realistic chance that "effective counter" is an inaccurate description of it. I saw a cartoon once that demonstrates this pretty well. I was going to describe it, but Google came to my rescue - http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/gallery/math/math07.gif As long as that miracle's in place, the reasoning is solid. I'm not comfortable relying on miracles. "Unfortunately it is already too late to have any realistic hope of holding temperature rises at anything below 3 degrees." We don't know the impact of CO2, we only have guesses as to how much we can reduce it (although I think they're probably good guesses), we might not even know (or maybe just aren't acknowledging) all of the contributing factors to warming, so where does a statement like that come from? I'd say the proof relies a little too much on a miracle. "I don't remember the exact figures, but in rough numbers the costs were about half the benefits." Thanks for that. I suspect that the benefits were those measured directly in monetary terms then, or were quantified in ways that I might find suspect. Some other benefits that I recall are that we don't all get skin cancer, or cooked alive. If I'd been the one to put dollar values on those, the benefits probably would have outweighed the costs.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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I started coming to the same sort of conclusions about international assessments of health care a few years ago. I finally took the time to pick through one particular study, because I wanted to know where our health care system came up short, why others like the French system seemed to always rank better. What I found was that things like mortality rates were not key metrics for ranking them. They were more interested in how well the system took care of your wallet than how well it took care of your health. Silly me, I had thought that a good health care system was one that gave you the best chance of survival... but nope. Public contribution to payments apparently matters more than that.
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I think there's an additional reason to prevent Iran from gaining nukes. If they do, Israel WILL hit them. I'm firmly convinced of this. Israel has had a siege mentality for many years, and I don't think they can permit those weapons to exist "outside the walls". Do we want to risk where things go from there? "This has actually exposed what's going on in Europe to Americans." I'd credit the internet. It's been going on for decades, and no similar events exposed it in the past. More Americans have access to more Europeans is all. If you're a reader, try Jean-Francois Revel's "Without Marx or Jesus" from the early 70's (out of print, but should be tons of used copies on Amazon.com). He's French and socialist, but that's only two strikes. His observations seem faultless, and his critical analysis of both continents looks fair, if a bit idealized on the American side. What becomes clear is that what we hear from across the pond is just same old same old. It bears little on what we do, and more on what we are. And what they are. "He's also invited the US to Islam twice, do you believe he means that, Chas?" I do. I think it's a sincere invitation, I just don't think he sincerely wants us to accept. There's no danger of that, anyway, so why not? "I am certainly open to rethinking Israel, but at this point it seems to me to be part of the problem, never offering multi-nation leadership in the ME but always wanting to go it alone plus the US." Go what alone? Every summit that I can recall has been multinational, although often lead by the US. Oslo was multinational. The Saudi peace plan was multinational. The only unilateral actions that spring to my mind are building the security fence and withdrawing the Jewish settlers from Gaza; you'll need to refresh me on any others. Israel's been supportive of a two-state resolution for years. At least since Yitzak Rabin was PM. At EVERY withdrawl, at EVERY instance of Israel making concessions, the (Palestinians? Arabs? Hamas & Co.? Term of your choice, I guess) interperet that as a sign of weakness and step up assaults. EVERY cease-fire has been a hudna. Their goal is not peace; their goal is the removal of Israel. The "occupied territory" isn't West Bank and Gaza, it's from Jordan to the Mediterranean. It goes all the way back to their initial war of independance. When that was finally settled, Israel was still attacked routinely. In fact, this is why they kept the Golan heights after the 6 Day War - Syria took potshots into Israeli towns from the Golan Heights by sniper and artillery for 19 years. When that was taken away, they licked their wounds and then found other ways to harass Israel. Anyone old enough remembers the emergence of middle east terrorism in the 70's. There's already a great deal of history behind such a young country, and I guess my point is that the loudest western critics of Israel tend to know little of it. I believe that you can't understand the present without understanding the past. If any of this stuff is new to you, bone up on it. "Mine starts with the idea that a US go it alone approach to world problems will not work." One popular alternative is "go nowhere together". I know which one's been more effective thus far. Luckily, we prefer "go it with dozens of other nations". Repeating "go it alone" over and over doesn't make it true, and really, it's a slap in the face to the people who went with us - some 40 allies. Just because it was against the interests of France, China, and Russia doesn't mean we were alone. "At this point the democratic youth movement, quite real and attractive, may not want our help. My belief is that "every opportunity" is correct, and means admitting that we made a mistake in invading Iraq, it means strongly supporting a bi-national approach to Israel and Palestine, it means slowly withdrawing from oil dependence yet realizing that the ME is in trouble without the income." It all sounds good, except the mistake part. Mistakes were made in the execution, but removing Saddam was an important part of those previously mentioned cultural changes. In addition to the sundry other justifications for regime change (I know you've heard them, and won't rehash them), I've harbored one more from the beginning: he was an icon. Hated by many of his own people, yes, but to others in the region he symbolized Arab resistance to Western agression, which has long been a persistent theme of heroism even in the absence of any western agression. No one cared about the mass graves he filled, political opponents he killed, or the people that died under sanctions he could have ended; "The Lion of Baghdad" was a strong Arab male who stuck his finger in the eye of the west, America in particular, and kept it there. He was a living recruiting poster. *That* had to be overcome. It would have been nice if the u.n. would have put its foot down, but France, Russia, and China weren't interested in seeing u.n. resolutions mean anything. I also think the Iranian youth won't necessarily want to be *associated* with us, but I think they'd accept most of whatever help we could quietly offer. I think that visibly having our backing would be a problem for them. "The notion that Canada is continually exporting its raw material riches to the United States is a dominant theme in Canadian political dialogue: The United States is viewed as a bully and an exploiter." We exploit Canada by buying what they sell? Have you been exploiting a crackhouse? It's not as if we're sneaking in, loading up trucks, and running away with it - they EXPORT it! No one's making them do that. They could stop selling tomorrow if they chose, but honestly, I'd prefer that our oil money go there than most other places. "We think many of the northern states (and Florida) will be joining Canada soon anyway!" Why don't we trade? Say, Washington, Minnesota, and New York for Alberta and a city to be named later? "Canadians create part of their quite thin national identity by their condescending and paranoid attitude toward America." I've lived roughly 35 years on the border, and always thought that the Canadian identity could be summed up as "not American". But what would I know, I'm fat, lazy, and stupid. "Gaza is not a state .. it is certainly well fenced, more like a prison. The same is true of the West bank. You all, in turn, seem very dismissive about the Palestinians .. they are people too and have as much right to peace, security and a future as anyone else." And yet they discard every opportunity to have it. No matter how good the deal on the table is, they have to sabotage the process. That's because they don't want peace with Israel - they want Israel gone. The "prison" is one of their own making. Israel has no obligation to be victimized. Before the wall, there were weekly, and often daily, suicide attacks on Israeli citizens. After the wall, none. That's justified in my book.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2007 on Misunderstanding Paranoia at ShrinkWrapped
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"I fail to understand your paranoia. Reducing carbon emissions does not equeal the end of civilization, and, although I admit to being on the left, I think that the best and most creative solutions are likely to come from corporations and industry." Hobbling western civilization was an exaggeration to contrast against the equally exaggerated 6% -> 5.999% figures. My point was that if someone wants to make a case for reducing carbon emissions, we need to know 1) what the cost will be, and 2) what the benefit will be. If the cost is huge and the benefit is negligible, then it's senseless. As you reduce the cost and increase the benefit, gradually it will become a more and more acceptable proposition. I haven't seen anyone even try to present either of those pieces of information, and I quite suspect that's because no one really knows. While the greenhouse theory is still sound, it doesn't seem to play out as advertised anywhere from Venus to Earth. Venus is hotter than it "should" be, Earth is cooler than it "should" be, and so far as I can tell we still have no idea just how much impact X tons of CO2 actually has on the environment. I'm not convinced that there's a worthwhile benefit in reducing emissions, and while I don't know the costs of making significant reductions either, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that it isn't trivial. If we erased the human-generated portion of CO2 entirely, how much difference would that make? Would it even be noticeable? Anyone answering "yes" or "no" is more likely to be delivering the answer they suspect or prefer, rather than what they know to be true. One other case that I haven't really seen either side present is whether the effects of CO2 are necessarily a net negative. CO2 is one of the fuels that drive our ecosystem, isn't it? Are we gaining benefits from increased CO2? Are they being contrasted against any negatives? Do they even outweigh them? I don't know, probably because no one is "allowed" to discuss such things, and I'm too lazy to go try to find out myself. "I am delighted to see your concern for the well-being of other planets .. perhaps it will lead to consider the well being of your own a little more seriously?" And perhaps it will expand your understanding of causation, or at least lead you to question the implications of correlational data. What all those stellar bodies have in common is not Exxon-Mobile, but the incomprehensibly titanic fiery orb that pumps out immeasurable energy in the middle of them. What these observations should make us question is if we've under-estimated the sun's effect on climate across the board. Our models prove that we don't understand *something*. Another competing "sun theory" is that the cosmic rays that its magnetic field protects us from play an appreciable role in climate change. There are centuries of data that make it look credible that the varying field does play a hand, but the AGW's won't have any of that. It may fit the data better, and even improve their models, but that diminishes the contribution of CO2, and that can't happen. It's CO2 or bust. "Industries should pay the costs of the enviromental damage they cause, and be encouraged to mitigate that damage. That is not punishment, it is simply regognising the true costs of producing a product." I agree. Show damages. "If an industry is obliged by law to clean up the water it discharges into a river it is not being penalized." The damage done to the river by pollution isn't that hard to figure out in this day and age. Sample the water and wildlife, look at the impact on anyone downstream - there are means to establish what happened, how to fix it, and work out a fair way of getting it corrected. What's proposed is more like making that industry clean up the water without making sure that any river problems have anything to do with the company in the first place. If fish are dying, making the industry clean their emissions won't help if their emissions aren't killing the fish in the first place. Making changes to or replacing our cars, trucks, planes -- heck, almost the entire transportation industry -- power generation facilities, facilities in other emitting industries, rock concerts, etc. is a pretty sweeping proposition which will cost jillions. This cost will be borne by people, nations, and corporations that have been successful. And for much of the left, that's half the point (the other half is to be a hero). They're not interested in assessing effects and damages, or determining whether it will even make any worthwhile difference, they're interested in pillorying Halliburton. What else are "carbon credits" but a mechanism to milk the successful? "As far as converting vegitarians goes, why not kill two birds with one stone and just eat them?" You, sir, may have your faults, but you are an under-appreciated genius. The flaw in that plan is that it doesn't reduce methane, but in certain circles I think it would be well-received anyway.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"Nothing will change for a people until that which is in their hearts changes" Touche.
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"I purposely started this post with some comments about the UN, an organization that represents the apotheosis of the international community's conviction that talk is always the answer." And one of the very first issues to be placed before the u.n. was Israel. Look how well that's worked. "You seem to be suggesting that we shouldn't defend ourselves because we'd make more Japanese (or Muslims) mad at us than there were before." You know, if we would have just left the Nazis alone, Nazism would have fizzled out for lack of manpower. Really! All that D-Day, the re-taking of Paris, and all that bombing did was create more Nazis! Actually, we did it the right way. You don't merely defend yourself; you defend yourself with such savage vigor that your enemies wish to God you'd never done so, and three generations later still get squeamish around guns. I'm not sure yet if that works for Islamists too, but I'm all for trying. "Of course people in the middle east are angry at Israel. Look at the way the US has reacted to Cuba, or Nicaragua, or Chavez." The state of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948. That day, it was attacked simultaneously by all of its neighbors. Overtly and covertly, the intentions of Israel's neighbors towards Israel have mostly the same (notable exceptions - Egypt and Jordan. Savage vigor changed their attitudes) for 60 years - the destruction of Israel. Israel had much of the world's sympathy until 1967, when Israel had the unmitigated gall to not merely sit back and be a victim to an imminent repeat of that first assault, but to smash all the troops lined up on their borders, humiliating the Arab allies in just 6 days. That's when the nauseating idea that the Arabs were the victims of the conflict started to become popular. Hamas was founded explicitly for the annihilation of Israel (it's right in their charter), but people who tend to sound like yourself ("Of course people are angry at Israel! They have the nerve to survive!") place much stock in their charity organization veneer. Cuba, Nicaragua, and Chavez couldn't be more unlike Israel. If you think there's an actual parallel to be found there, you'll need to work at it a bit harder. It isn't obvious. "Iran is highly secular" Erm, which Iran? The Islamic Republic of Iran? 'kay. "Look at how the US has treated Iran, from the Shah," Did you mean the incitement that helped put him back on the throne? How is that poor treatment of Iran? Anyone who does things that anger Islamic fundamentalists like he did could only be good for Iran. "the Iraq Iran war" And exactly what SHOULD our position have been, given Iran's instant hostility to us from day one of the Republic? After seizing our embassy staff and holding them hostage for over a year? Kittens and Hallmark cards? You're maddeningly vague. Please stop relying so much on implication and just say what you mean. "Back to the question why do you and others think that force and diplomacy can work?" You didn't ask me, but I'll chime in anyway. I think that what's needed is fundamental cultural and ideological change. I think that force can help with this, but it can't possibly do the job alone. Diplomacy can help to some extent too; not everywhere, but in the right places. What's needed is to foster changes in the region in any way we can, for example by supporting the democratic youth movement in Iran. If radically different values are embraced across the region, the terror apparatus will be dismantled. We need to capitalize on every opportunity in every form to make that happen.
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2007 on Misunderstanding Paranoia at ShrinkWrapped
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"Income can of coure be expanding and concentrating at the same time. It could also be that they are both increasing. Expanding has to do with the total wealth of a population, whereas cocnetration has to do with whom within the population has the ownership. So far do we agree? Then we can add some numbers." We might be close, but maybe not quite. Income (which isn't synonymous with wealth, btw) can expand and concentrate at the same time. We agree on that much. A concentration of any sort - wealth, mass, power, what have you - necessarily draws from one or more places to reduce their stock in order to increase stock of other places. If wealth were expanding, say, only in the upper class, while the lower classes reduced wealth, then that could be concentration - would be for certain, if the reduced lower class wealth flowed to the upper class increase. If the lower classes stayed essentially static while the upper expanded, that would be a sort of pseudo-concentration, and we could agree for the sake of argument that the word will fit closely enough. But it isn't static or reducing in the lower classes; it is increasing, along with standards of living. Every decade, average families in each class have more wealth than the decade before. They own more land, more homes, more cars, more gadgets and appliances, and send more of their children on to college. That isn't a concentration.
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You know, I just did a little thinking, and I believe that I might have another alternative solution to the issue. You know what else has been increasing more every year? The popularity of vegetarian lifestyles. I have to wonder how many millions of tons of CO2 aren't getting converted to oxygen due to the excessive quantity of plants murdered to cater to the lifestyle choices of vegans and vegetarians. And how many tons of methane are being pumped into the atmosphere every year by the cows that they refuse to eat? That's a greenhouse gas too, you know! I think the u.n. needs to found an IPDC (International Panel on Dietary Change) so that we can establish an international framework for converting veggers to meatism to save the planet! Who's with me?
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"PLEASE, this time, someone tell me why the reaction from the politically conservative (in the US especially) to global warming science is so markedly different than it was to ozone depletion? or acid rain?" I'd say mostly because the "anthropogenic" side of the issue was adopted very early on by the left and hard left as a bludgeon to punish anyone who's been so brazen as to succeed. If they had harbored any geniune concern about greenhouse gas emissions warming the earth, then Kyoto would have been more about reducing emissions than establishing international wealth redistribution. It would have addressed rampant and growing polluters like China and India. Note how common it is to hear GWB blamed for "turning his back on Kyoto", even though it had been a dead deal in all but name since the 90's. Even without any better reasons, conservatives would be deeply suspicious of this issue simply because leftists are pushing it so recklessly hard, but in addition to that, punishing success and wealth redistribution are both anathema to conservatives. For the left, anthropogenic global warming remains today a means of establishing themselves as being the "good" in a contest between good (green leftists) and evil (corporations/oil/successful nations/SUV drivers). Having staked their self-image on something they really only understand in the simplest terms, if at all (I've lost count of how many people have told me that Kyoto was about cleaning up pollution), they really can't afford any critical examination of their position - by others, certainly, but most importantly not by themselves. Since the thrust of their assertions are founded on what others have told them, or what they'd prefer to believe, they're unable to defend it for long, so debate can't be permitted; alternate theories can't be permitted; contrary evidence can't be permitted; and above all, it MUST be established that there is a supreme arbiter (scientific consensus) who has already weighed in, and cannot be questioned. The whole "shut up and subjugate your independant judgement to the the will of the collective" angle really rubs the more libertarian types the wrong way, and in today's conservative spectrum there are lots of those. Or to simplifiy, the harder the left will push to ram it down the world's throat (even if they would take the trouble to establish that the world needs or wants it), the harder the right will push back just because it's the left doing the pushing. "There is NO rational arguement for ignoring this issue." There is no rational argument for calling it settled and trying to hobble civilization given the current state of it, either. There are way too many unanswered criticisms of the theory for my comfort, and far too little attention given to alternate theories - you would think that folks so concerned about heating the planet would be keen to give those some scrutiny, just in case there's some merit. As it happens, the international left has found the answer that it likes best, and it must not be challenged. CO2 can be hung around the neck of every one of their enemies, and that's how they like it. "Wrong .. even if the cause of climate change were solely the result of variations in Solar radiation it is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that is the largest determinant of how much of that heat is retained." Kinda. Maybe. Venus, whose temperature the greenhouse theory was formulated to explain, is actually now believed to be warmer than absorbed solar radiation and a greenhouse effect can explain. "and in spite of an undisputed regognoition that CO2 is a greenhouse gas there is a reluctance to consider the possibility that releasing vast quantities of it might just have some effect .. but, no matter what the cause, reducing carbon emissions would help moderate the effects." Well, that's going to depend on just how much of an impact we're talking about, isn't it? If we're talking about crippling modern civilization to reduce a 6% increase to a 5.999% increase, then it's probably not worth it. Warming is occurring on bodies with lots, little, and no atmosphere; the top of Jupiter's cloud cover is warming, and who knows what's going on beneath it. Pluto, with no appreciable atmosphere, is observably warming even as its orbit takes it away from the sun. Mars is warming, despite its thin atmosphere, and warming has also been observed on Triton. Reducing CO2 doesn't do much at all for these latter three, since they have practically none, but they're warming similarly to the first two - what would CO2 reduction do for us? Besides decreasing farm output. "We used to shoot traitors." Actually, I think we hanged them. Have we run out of rope?
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2007 on Two Vignettes at ShrinkWrapped
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"Yes, there has been wealth expansion (if measured in dollars) but there is also a clear concensus that wealth and income concentration have been increasing in almost all countries, including the US. If you deny that we need some numbers." This is a contradiction. Even a thing as poorly understood as wealth can't be concentrated and also be expanding everywhere. It may be expanding faster at the upper end than the bottom, but it isn't being concentrated. Show me all the numbers that you please; if they're factual (and complete), they won't show anything different without a seriously biased approach to interpretation. It isn't contingent on how you choose to measure it, either - dollars work fine, but yen, euros, shiny beads or pounds of granite would all work too as long as their values are consistent. Incidentally, a consensus is an agreement of opinion, and has no force to impose upon reality. Not so long ago, there was a medical and scientific consensus that female orgasm didn't exist. It had been around for centuries. You won't impress me with consensus - facts and analysis work much better.
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"The increase in wealth concentration in the US was well under way." "Wealth expansion" would be more accurate. Wealth is not static, or zero-sum. It isn't necessarily shifted from one point to another as the class war-cry has it ("the rich get richer and the poor get poorer") - wealth, incomes, and standards of living have continued to increase across the board for decades. Demagoguery notwithstanding.
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"Remember the millenium bug?" With the exception that the millennium bug was indisputably real, and had a tangible solution that could be implemented with realistic quantities of treasure and manpower.
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2007 on Irrational Terror at ShrinkWrapped
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"But the brunt of it seems to be that at least some you guys want to have a war on the whole Islamic world because of what is said in the Koran?" Sorry, but that missed the mark (wide left). Much of the Islamic world is at war with *us* -- either in actual fact, or in their hearts and minds -- because of what is said in the Koran. Those bits of the Islamic world that don't have any particular animosity just need a teensy bit of nurturing from an Imam to teach them how to read the Koran properly. If the Koran didn't instruct to hate me and subjugate everyone I know, I probably wouldn't care at all what's said in it, much less want to have a war about it.
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That's a really nice, un-sourced wikipedia entry. CAIR couldn't have written it better themselves. Not to be out-cut-and-pasted, here's a few gems sourced to the Koran and hadith - "Allah is an enemy to unbelievers." "On unbelievers is the curse of Allah." "Oh ye who believe! The non-Muslims are unclean." "Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find harshness in you." "Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter." "Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme." "Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it." "If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered." "You must not think that those who were slain in the cause of Allah are dead. They are alive, and well-provided for by their Lord." "Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil." "But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them." "O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people." "O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding." "It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land." "Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers." "Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters (The non-Muslims) wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush." "Believers! Know that idolators are unclean." "Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled." "O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end." "Fight unbelievers who are near to you." "When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens." "Muslims are harsh against the unbelievers, merciful to one another." "Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers." "Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate." "The unbelievers among the People of the Book [Jews, Christians] and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." "Oh believers, do not treat your fathers and mothers as your friends, if they prefer unbelief to belief, whosoever of you takes them for friends, they are evil-doers." "Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute." and from the Charter of Hamas - "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up." "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." "After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying." Is there anything on par with this from those dastardly Christians? As for the globalization spiel - are you now on record as lamenting that we don't keep all that nasty capitalism for ourselves?
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"I hoped the point was to invent parallels between nazi attitudes towards jews and neocon attitudes towards arabs." There, it now reads correctly. "totalist thinking, "all x are like y", that seems so powerfully negative, distorting" You mean kinda like "all neocons have racist, xenophobic stereotypes against Arabs"? In case you're curious, that smell is irony. "I have never seen it refered to as a Christian assault on the Jews. Nor does anyone refer to the Vietnam war as an American Christian war on non-christian Asians." Because in neither case was "Christian" the defining characteristic of the groups that you reference. Islamists aren't politically motivated people who just coincidentally also happen to be Muslim - Islam is their driving force. That's why so many horrific events are accompanied by cries of "Allahu akbar!", and none by "Pie Jesu domine!" "Are Caliphate and Empire (or Imperialism) basically synonymous?" Loosely, yes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliphate "What of Bush's "for us or aainst us"?" That's "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Unless you dispute that silence accedes, or that terrorists will interpret it as doing so, I'm not sure what you're asking. I started skimming about halfway through that giant church spiel - was there anything in it about killing and enslaving the infidels, raping their women, and taking their property for the glory of Christ, or did you just want to point out that Islam isn't the only religion that recognizes the concept of an infidel?
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