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some comments from gray on simmons’“twilight in the desert” [lite item]

on the clear and coming problems in the middle east....

“Simmons's analysis suggests that the current phase of worldwide industrialisation is crucially dependent on the uncertain reserves of a single Gulf kingdom facing vast and potentially insuperable challenges. As he shows in a superb digression, the most formidable of these is population growth. The kingdom's current population of roughly 22 million is expected to rise to roughly 50 million by 2030, and unless there is a large and sustained rise in the oil price, living standards are bound to fall steeply - as they have been doing since the early 1980s. The Saudi rentier economy is facing a Malthusian crunch, and against a background of already high unemployment the result so can only be a condition of chronic instability. If the most obvious effect of our dependency on oil is a series of resource wars, another could be an upsurge of revolutionary movements in oil-producing countries. While it would be an error to think that the Saudi regime is on the brink of collapse, in a few decades the kingdom could well be an Islamist republic - or, perhaps more likely given its origin as an artefact of the colonial era, another failed state.

“Simmons makes a formidable case for the pivotal importance of Saudi Arabia, but he may actually have understated the impact of peak oil. One reason is the central role of oil in intensive farming. Contemporary agriculture relies heavily on oil-based fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. At bottom, the green revolution was about the extraction of food from petroleum, and a peak in world oil production could trigger a peak in world food production. A second is climate change. As oil supplies are becoming scarcer and less secure, many countries are looking to other fossil fuels such as coal. New technologies can make coal much cleaner, but a large increase in coal use alongside continuing dependency on oil could magnify the greenhouse effect. In other words, peak oil could accelerate global warming.”

[John Gray writing on Matthew R. Simmons]

Recommended long, related piece of reading from 1994.

“The degree to which Van Creveld's Transformation of War complements Homer-Dixon's work on the environment, Huntington's thoughts on cultural clash, my own realizations in travelling by foot, bus, and bush taxi in more than sixty countries, and America's sobering comeuppances in intractable-culture zones like Haiti and Somalia is startling. The book begins by demolishing the notion that men don't like to fight. "By compelling the senses to focus themselves on the here and now," Van Creveld writes, war "can cause a man to take his leave of them." As anybody who has had experience with Chetniks in Serbia, "technicals" in Somalia, Tontons Macoutes in Haiti, or soldiers in Sierra Leone can tell you, in places where the Western Enlightenment has not penetrated and where there has always been mass poverty, people find liberation in violence. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, I vicariously experienced this phenomenon: worrying about mines and ambushes frees you from worrying about mundane details of daily existence. If my own experience is too subjective, there is a wealth of data showing the sheer frequency of war, especially in the developing world since the Second World War. Physical aggression is a part of being human. Only when people attain a certain economic, educational, and cultural standard is this trait tranquilized. In light of the fact that 95 percent of the earth's population growth will be in the poorest areas of the globe, the question is not whether there will be war (there will be a lot of it) but what kind of war. And who will fight whom?"

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#saudi_280705


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islam melange

Note the contrast between the comfortable classes in the West and the working people of Sharm el Sheik. The future for Islam is critically dependent upon the reaction of the street, against the spoiled idle foolish young men, manipulated and exploited by power seekers.

Note also that many of the teeming young men of the Gulf oil states live on a form of oil dole, while the countries import people from poorer states to perform any real work. These men are narrowly and poorly educated, often spending much time in resentment and big-talk plotting in the coffee shops. As other wisdom has it, the devil makes work for idle hands.

  • egyptian workers express outrage at jihadists

    “More than 1,000 Egyptian hotel workers, bedouin sheikhs and foreign dive school instructors marched through Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday to condemn bombs which killed 88 in the Red Sea resort.

    "There is no God but God and terrorism is the enemy of God," chanted the Egyptian protesters, including hotel chefs, technicians and road sweepers, as they marched along the main road of Sharm el-Sheikh, hit by three bombs on Saturday.

    “ "The feeling is very sad and very angry. We are not going to be scared by the bombers," said Sherif Saba, an Egyptian investor in the diving and beach resort.”

marker at abelard.org

  • assessing the dangerous scale of alienation among uk muslims

    “YouGov sought to gauge the character of the Muslim community's response to the events of July 7. As the figures in the chart show, 88 per cent of British Muslims clearly have no intention of trying to justify the bus and Tube murders.

“However, six per cent insist that the bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified.

“Six per cent may seem a small proportion but in absolute numbers it amounts to about 100,000 individuals who, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do.

“Moreover, the proportion of YouGov's respondents who, while not condoning the London attacks, have some sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried them out is considerably larger - 24 per cent.”

and considerable further detail.

This poison grows in a medium of poor education and self-regard. It has nothing to do with real or serious political issues. It has a great deal to do with power brokers seeking to control and manipulate ignorance and idleness to their own advantages. These power brokers are a form of venal mafiosi cult-imam manipulators, it is not them who foolishly blow themselves up in the market places.

marker at abelard.org

  • "When it was pointed out that Germans were not blowing up Poles to get back lost parts of East Prussia nor were Tibetans sending suicide bombers into Chinese cities to recover their country, such analogies were caricatured.

“When the call for a "Right of Return" was making the rounds, few cared to listen that over a half-million forgotten Jews had been cleansed from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and lost billions in property.

“When the U.N. and the EU talked about "refugee camps," none asked why for a half-century the Arab world could not build decent housing for its victimized brethren, or why 1 million Arabs voted in Israel, but not one freely in any Arab country." [Quoted from nationalreview.com]

This is a short, serious, useful but complex article on the never-ending rash of excuses and apologetics for Islamic violence. Recommended reading.

related material

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#islam_melange_250705

battered-left syndrome

“The aftermath of the London terrorist bombings has demonstrated that the antiwar Left is severely afflicted by the political equivalent of battered-wife syndrome. With each new beating, the scarred and bruised victims of spousal abuse tend to excuse and rationalize the actions of their tormentors. A stubborn unwillingness to accept the proposition that their partners are violent louts plunges these woeful women into a morass of self-deception that spawns only further violence.

“The far Left has similarly proved unable to liberate itself from the web of rose-tinted delusions that it has spun about the nature of Islamic extremism. After each al Qaeda outrage, leftist ideologues are quick to castigate their own countrymen for a catalogue of sins, both real and imagined. With a perverse combination of self-loathing and adoration of the enemy, the radical Leftist mantra preaches that if only we were nicer, the jihadists could not fail to love us. It's our own fault if Osama bin Laden doesn't realize what good people we are.”

related material
denialism (believing impossible things to serve a concealed motive.)

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#battered_left_230705

change in north korea?

“From the start, North Korean officials made clear to their U.S. dinner companion what was on their mind: assurances the U.S. had no plans to attack and that it recognized North Korea's sovereignty.

“U.S. diplomat Christopher Hill obliged during the "steak and cheesecake" dinner at a government restaurant and soon heard the ranking North Korean at the table say his government was willing to resume nuclear disarmament talks this month.”

“By getting rid of its nuclear weapons program and having that verified, North Korea should be able to count on substantial economic help from the China and South Korea as well as the U.S. and Japan.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#north_korea_120705

blaming the ‘outsider’ and the appeasement of ignorance

The Amazon is under continuous and increasing attack.. Meanwhile, the common excuse for failure and bad governance turns to blaming the outsider.

“But in Brazil, a recent poll sponsored by Renctas, a group that combats animal trafficking, found that 75 percent of the people believe their country runs a real risk of being invaded by a foreign power that covets the country's vast natural riches.” [Quoted from news24.com]

Interesting reading in greed and nonsense.

marker at abelard.org

And the same again, the failures of the Middle East are attributed to those who have very little to do with the mess.
Another 4 yak analysis from Victor Hanson:
Four GoldenYak (tm) award at abelard.org

“In WWII we didn't care much whether in fighting Bushido some thought we were in a war against Buddhists. We weren't, and that was enough.

“We knew the enemy were Nazis, not simply Germans, and didn't froth and whine to prove that distinction.

“But not now.

“To criticize Islamic fascism is supposedly to be unfair to Islam, so we allow on our own shores mullahs and madrassas to spread hatred and intolerance, as part of our illiberal acceptance of "not offending Islam.”

“ [...] But more often they are dictatorial like the Syrians, Pakistanis, Saudis, or Egyptians, who all, in varying degrees and in lieu of reform, have come to accommodations with the terrorists to shift popular anguish onto the West and the Jews.”

“ Bin Laden has so far only made one mistake: He took down the entire World Trade Center rather than the top floors, and had the misfortune of having George Bush as president. Thus he lost Afghanistan and ended up with
democratic reform from Iraq and Lebanon to the Gulf and Egypt. Train bombings in Madrid and bus explosions in London, like the carnage in Iraq, are preferable, since they are enough to terrify and demoralize the Westerner but not quite enough to knock sense into him that only military resistance and victory will save his civilization.”

marker at abelard.org

And a substantial item from Charles Moore on the disease of appeasement:

“Yet there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal.”

“ From time to time, perhaps, he will kill for a specific reason - to take power in one country, to drive foreign troops out of another - but, in principle, there is no end to his killing until everyone who does not share his particular version of truth is exterminated.”

“ The second reason is that the leaders are frightened. In private conversations with the moderates, one is always told that they are under "enormous pressure", that they risk losing control of their own people, and therefore they cannot say very fierce things against the extremists. One must accept that this pressure exists, which only goes to show how serious the problem is.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#blame_110705

on ‘wmds’ and un legitimacy
page 1 page 2

“On March 18, 2003, the day before ground forces entered Iraq, the president confronted a broad range of concerns regarding Saddam's weapons programs, his connections to terrorist organizations, his history of aggressive behavior, his use of poison gas, and his failure to comply with the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire agreement and subsequent U.N. resolutions.”

“ On top of this were the findings contained in detailed U.N. reports. For example, on March 6, 2003, the United Nations issued a report on Iraq's "Unresolved Disarmament Issues." It stated that the "long list" of "unaccounted for" WMD-related material catalogued in December of 1998--the month inspections ended in Iraq--and beyond were still "unaccounted for." The list included: up to 3.9 tons of VX nerve agent (though inspectors believed Iraq had enough VX precursors to produce 200 tons of the agent and suspected that VX had been "weaponized"); 6,526 aerial chemical bombs; 550 mustard gas shells; 2,062 tons of Mustard precursors; 15,000 chemical munitions; 8,445 liters of anthrax; growth media that could have produced "3,000 - 11,000 litres of botulinum toxin, 6,000 - 16,000 litres of anthrax, up to 5,600 litres of Clostridium perfringens, and a significant quantity of an unknown bacterial agent." Moreover, Iraq was obligated to account for this material by providing "verifiable evidence" that it had, in fact, destroyed its proscribed materials.”

“In the coming weeks, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Reform will be releasing another report related to its investigation of the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program. It should shed much more light on Saddam's efforts to undermine the sanctions regime and on what role governments played in "eroding" the very same sanctions they voted to enforce in numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

“Daniel McKivergan is deputy director of the Project for the New American Century.”

Good job that PNAC care enough to defend the West!

Meanwhile, let actions have consequences says Victor Hanson:

“Rather than worry about the supposed new unpopularity of the United States from Canada to France, or constantly badger supposed allies to at least be neutrals, we should very gently strengthen our alliances with nations that are self-confident and without neuroses of various sorts. That would mean to accept that an ankle-biting Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Mexico, or Turkey has a perfect right as a neutral to distrust the United States and craft its own independent path.

“If they all see statism, socialism, and big government as the better solutions to their own problems, or Islamic fascism as largely an American bogeyman, again more power to them all. In the meantime, we should begin to draw closer to true allies - a Japan, India, Australia, Britain, a very few Eastern and Western European countries, Taiwan, and Israel - who agree that the world is a scary, often crazy place, with the United States far better and more reliable than the alternatives.”

“[...] Indeed, lately an Afghan Karzai or Iraqi Jaafari sounds a lot more understanding of the United States than does a Schroeder or Chirac. So mostly on our own we must press the war to its conclusion against the anti-democratic jihadists and forget any hope that the U.N. or old Europe will do much of anything substantial - other than getting psychological satisfaction from our occasional setbacks.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#wmd_un_070705
 

on understanding the usa and international treaties

“A treaty of global scope that omitted the U.S. was once unthinkable, but it's now thirteen years since the first time that the rest of the world, in exasperation, just decided to get on with an international treaty, leaving America to sign up whenever some subsequent administration sorted out the politics in Washington. That was the Law of the Sea Treaty, rejected by the Reagan administration in 1982 but brought into effect in 1994 after 140 other countries ratified it. The U.S. Senate is still struggling to ratify it, but in the rest of the world it is already law, and in practice the U.S. usually goes along with it. It just has no say in how it is administered.”

“Over one-tenth of Americans live in California. Another sixth live in other states and cities that have pledged to cut emissions back to 7 percent below 1990 levels over the next seven years -- a deeper reduction than the European Union has committed itself to. President Bush will once again say no to action on climate change at the G8 summit in Scotland this week, but it just doesn't matter as much as it used to.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#treaties_060705

at last, a sane response to fossil fuels and carbon

“Under the scheme for "domestic tradeable quotas" (DTQs), or personal carbon allowances, presented to the Treasury this week, everyone - from the Queen to the poorest people living on state benefits - would have the same annual carbon allocation.”

related material
replacing fossil fuels, or the scale of the problem

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#energy_credits_050705

sandra o’connor to resign from the us supreme court

As many will realise the make up of the USA Supreme Court is of considerable political moment. The judges not only ‘interpret’ law and the constitution, recently they even got to appoint the president!

Bush nominates replacement members. A president can thus attempt to tip the balance of an essential centre of US power, but the nomination will be subject to very considerable haggling.

This is a political event of high moment.

An article that sets out the basic issues in a reasonable manner.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#supreme_court_040705

degradation, corruption and decadence in the russian army

“The other rationale is that conscripts, at a few dollars a month, are so cheap. (A smaller army would also, of course, need fewer senior officers). But another powerful reason is that the system is highly lucrative for some. Young men unfortunate enough to be drafted provide illicit forced labour; those canny or rich enough to escape the draft can be more profitable still. Only a small minority of 18-27-year-olds (9%, says the defence ministry, though this is disputed) actually serve their two years. The rest are exempted on medical grounds, or receive educational deferments which bring huge bribes for doctors and universities. Ilya, from Moscow, paid $2,000 for an exemption to a recruiter, who never gave him the certificate. Ilya's conclusion? Better to have paid $400 to a doctor. "This is life," comments General Mazurkevich.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#russian_army_030705

freedom of the press versus security considerations

And what else lies under this stone?

“Monday's decision comes as many news organizations are tightening their sourcing policies after several high-profile reporter scandals in which sources were found to be questionable or even fabricated. But the ruling also prompted calls from news outlets, media experts and legislators for passage of a federal shield law now before Congress.

“ "It is up to Congress to recognize that an informed citizenry and the preservation of news sources are of vital importance to a free society," said Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association.”

“Miller and Cooper were held in contempt for refusing to reveal who leaked to them the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. But neither was central to outing Plame's identity, which can be a felony in some cases. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak, citing an unidentified Bush administration official as his source, first revealed Plame's identity in a 2003 piece." [Quoted from usatoday.com]

“Novak said "two senior administration officials" had told him the information. It can be a crime for government officials to disclose such facts.

“Even as Miller and Cooper prepare for jail, Novak remains free. Neither he nor Fitzgerald will say why that is so.” [Quoted from iht.com]

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#press_freedom_290605

corruption and hope within the iranian theocracy

“Aliya, who represents Tehran in the Majlis, noted that Ahmadinejad's victory signals the start of a decisive confrontation against corruption, discrimination, racism, inefficiency, and extremism, adding that the main reason behind Ahmadinejad's victory was that the electorate viewed him was a common man just like themselves.”

“The secretary general of the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organization called on the new government to create an open atmosphere for political and social activities.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#iran_theocracy_280605

fundies to the left of me, fundies to the right of me, once more trapped in the valley of idiots?

“Yet if the polling numbers on matters of faith carry some warnings for the Christian right, they carry many more for the Democrats. If the last election proved anything, it was that middle America found an overtly religious party much less weird than an overtly secular one. Few lines got Mr Bush a bigger cheer on the stump than jeering at Mr Kerry's "Hollywood values".

“Some liberal types now want to claim the mantle of the religious left. Hillary Clinton recently made a speech complaining about the number of abortions. The new Clintonite Centre for American Progress has a faith and progressive policy project. Jim Wallis, a chummy anti-war evangelical who wrote the best-seller, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left doesn't Get it", points to the huge audiences he gets around the country as evidence that many Christians want a more varied version of moral politics than just abortion and gay marriage.”

related material
home schooling, christianism and politics in the usa

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#fundies_everywhere_270605

the mindless destructiveness of the left in the writings of sartre

“The French have not recovered from Sartre and perhaps never will. For they have had to live with an intellectual establishment that has consistently repudiated the two things that hold the country together: Christianity and the idea of France. The anti-bourgeois posture of the left-bank intellectual has entered the political process, and given rise to an elite for whom nothing is certain save the repudiation of the national idea. It is thanks to this elite that the mad project of European Union has become indelibly inscribed in the French political process, even though the people of France reject it. It is thanks to this elite that the mass immigration into France of unassimilable Muslim communities has been both encouraged and subsidised. It is thanks to this elite that socialism has been so firmly embedded in the French state that no one now can reform it. And it is thanks to this elite that, even today, when the ordinary French citizen has had the anti-bourgeois message up to the eyeballs - ras-le-bol - the intellectual agenda remains unchanged, with transgression as its dominating purpose.”

“If you look at Sartre's philosophy in that way, you will see through it to its ultimate origins in Rousseau. Moreover, Sartre's invocation of the workers recalls Rousseau's invocation of le peuple, to whom the intellectual is supposedly bound by a compassionate zeal. And just as Robespierre used Rousseau's philosophy to justify the greatest attack on the people that the modern world had witnessed, so did Sartre use his philosophy to justify the totalitarian regimes that had done most to ruin the hopes of the working class [...].”

Shame about a silly comment on R.D.Laing, but otherwise interesting reading.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#sartre_260605

steyn continues to mock the mindless left

“The passionate hostility of Miss Short and co to action - to getting things done - is remarkable, but understandable. Getting things done requires ships and transport planes and the like, and most Western countries lack the will to maintain armed forces capable of long-range projection. So, when disaster strikes, they can mail a cheque and hold a press conference and form a post-modern 'Task Force' which doesn't have any forces and doesn't perform any tasks. In extreme circumstances, they can stage an all-star pop concert. And, because this is all most of the Western world is now capable of, 'taking action' means little more than taking the approved forms of inaction”

“ [...] Eight 20ft containers of Diageo drinking water shipped via the Red Cross arrived at the Indonesian port of Medan in January and are still there, because the Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork. Five hundred containers, representing one quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on 26 December, are still sitting in port in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed. At Medan 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.”

related material
tsunamis: tsunamis travel fast but not at infinite speed

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#steyn_240605

bush oil junta tries the tobacco strategy - denial, denial, denial

Washington has systematically removed any references to global warming, health and related damage from fossil fuels.

“The documents show that Washington officials:

· Removed all reference to the fact that climate change is a 'serious threat to human health and to ecosystems';

· Deleted any suggestion that global warming has already started;

· Expunged any suggestion that human activity was to blame for climate change.”

The science of climate change is not the same as the politics of climate change, the science being too complex for a full judgement of it to be formed at this time. However, in my view, the evidence is such as to pose severe concerns.

As far as I am concerned, fossil fuels are filthy in their own right, with the fossil fuel industry externalising filth while posing considerable resource and geo-political issues. I am increasingly disturbed by the consistent writing out of the probable (or potential) nuisances attendant upon fossil fuel exploitation.

In my view, there are probably better ways to provide energy for our societies, and I want to see serious pressure for replacing fossil fuels on the current scales of usage.

To paraphrase an old comment:
“The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stone.”

I would rather we set about ending the oil age, despite all fossil fuels are not yet consumed.

For related analysis see
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem
and
global warming

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#us_oil_junta_220605

drug dealers fear ban will cut addition to cigarettes and thence profits

“The problems have emerged as Ash has circulated a memo exchanged between executives at Philip Morris, the cigarette manufacturer behind the Marlboro brand, which shows the tobacco industry has for years been worrying that a public ban would see possibly hundreds of thousands of people breaking their addiction. The document makes it clear the effects a blanket ban would have on the tobacco industry's profits. Written in 1992 and titled 'Impact of Workplace Restrictions on Consumption and Incidence', it summarises the results of its long-running research into the effects of a ban.

“ 'Total prohibition of smoking in the workplace strongly affects industry volume. Smokers facing these restrictions consume 11 per cent to 15 per cent less than average and quit at a rate that is 84 per cent higher than average,' the document notes.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#drug_dealers_210605


who has the highest real growth rate in the world?

Rank Country GDP - real growth rate (%) Date of Information
1 Iraq 52.30 2004 est.
2 Chad 38.00 2004 est.
3 Liberia 21.80 2004 est.
4 Equatorial Guinea 20.00 2002 est.
5 Venezuela 16.80 2004 est.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#iraq_growth_190605

the first law of the looney left - the lesser the justification, the greater the hysteria generated

“And would caving in to those negative perceptions lead to any better press from the Guardian or Le Monde? Nobody got killed in Gitmo [Guantanamo Bay], so instead America is being flayed as the planet's number one torturer for being insufficiently respectful to the holy book of its prisoners, even though the Americans themselves supplied their prisoners with the holy book, even though the preferred holy book of most Americans is banned in the home country of many of the prisoners, even though Americans who fall into the hands of the other side get their heads hacked off, even though the prisoners' co-religionists themselves blow up more mosques and Korans than Americans ever do, and even though the alleged insufficient respect to the prisoners' holy book occurred at a rate of one verified incident of possibly intentional disrespect per year. But sure, go ahead, close Gitmo and wait for the torrent of rave reviews - right after the complaints that it is culturally insensitive to rebuild the World Trade Center when it's the burial site of ten devout Muslim flying enthusiasts."

Now to search for the second law of the looney left....

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#loony_left_law1_120605

an interview with ‘stratfor’ - the real world [1]

The interview is based on one man’s speculative opinion. That opinion (George Friedman’s) is vastly better than most of what sullies the fossil media and elsewhere.

“ "The president of Uzbekistan is probably smarter at his job than you are. You're not president of Uzbekistan. So before you declare him stupid, try to figure out what he is doing," Friedman said.”

“ "The caricature of the Iraq war is as though a psychotic was facing a moron. The journalists never captured the idea that Osama knew what he was doing and made rational choices. In the same way they never understood that George Bush was a shrewd, relentless player who may well have made mistakes but never made frivolous moves." ”

“ "We knew there was no way the U.S. was invading Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction. If you know, you don't announce a year in advance. You do what the Israelis do -- hit and apologize. His (President Bush's) explanation was transparently preposterous.

“ "Our job is to analyze the real reasons. The U.S. government realized the Saudis knew a great deal about al-Qaida. But they weren't cooperating with us. So the question was how to persuade them to cooperate with us.

“ "The Saudis didn't believe we would invade Iraq," Friedman said.”

George Friedman also noted that after years of weak responses to earlier terrorist attacks and our failure to take out Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, we were seen as weak and not willing to take casualties.

“ "The president couldn't say that. The media never captured the strategic goals because the administration wouldn't tell them." ”

Another interview with Friedman on the same subject, reading the two interviews together gives a more rounded understanding of his position.

Remember that such people rely somewhat on ‘being controversial’ in order to ‘sell the product’. There is also a 4-minute sound/video excerpt from one of his lectures, clickable at the latter link.

This is George Friedman’s book on the subject:

America's Secret War by George Friedman

America’s Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies by George Friedman, 2004, Doubleday, 0385512457, hbk, $17.13

 

At amazon.com, there are reviews and some peeks inside the book.

end note

  1. stratfor - Strategic Forecasting.
the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#friedman_110605

china cited as interfering with human rights objectives

“The biggest impact on US national interests is China's willingness to invest in and trade with problem states" such as Iran, Sudan and Burma, Hill said in written testimony.

“We are concerned that China's need for energy and other resources could make China an obstacle to US and international efforts to enforce norms of acceptable behavior," Hill said.”

“[...] For all of 2005, China will consume an estimated 7.2 million barrels per day, with demand rising to 7.8 million bpd in 2006, the EIA said.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#china_ethics_090605

us democrats talking to themselves

Lakoff is one of the few on the left who has anything of depth to say:

“Oddly, neither attacks Lakoff at what would seem to be his central weak point, namely his conflation of politics and parenting--identifying "conservative" values with "the strict father" and "liberal" values with the "nurturant parent." ”

To call Lakoff’s stimulus/response verbal analysis linked to deep rooted personal style cliches,“his central weak point”, looks more like wishful ‘thinking’ than clear thinking.

marker at abelard.org

I particularly liked the characterisation by Cooper of the comfortable moneyed lefties as those who “aren’t much affected by whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House”.

“But that's not really MoveOn's job. Groups like MoveOn are fundamentally echo chambers for Volvo Democrats whose lives aren't much affected by whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House, and who think it's a politically significant act to go with an audience of like-minded souls to view a flockumentary like Fahrenheit 9/11 or Outfoxed, to set their TiVo to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, or to pass around lefty spam containing fiery warnings of creeping fascism. A far more challenging exercise after the election would have been for MoveOn to order its troops to meet with and listen to ten people who disagreed with them -- instead of talking, as usual, only to one another.”

Cooper goes on:

“Seeing oneself as a cool metro in a struggle against square retros is, unfortunately, a deeply entrenched and self-defeating reflex on the American left. In their just published Nation of Rebels, the liberal Canadian professors Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter argue that an essentially self-gratifying "idea of the counterculture" has turned into "the conceptual template for all contemporary leftist politics," and that "counterculture has almost completely replaced socialism as the basis of radical political thought" (socialism understood, that is, as class-based politics rather than cultural expression).” [Quoted from powells.com]

It is an interesting notion that the socialist rhetoric of vegetarianism and yoghurt knitting has replaced the traditional socialist interest in the poor. Of course, this idea is not sound. Although often using the rhetoric of the poor, socialism has mostly been based in unionised labour - the same class which was better-off than the real poor in earlier decades. Then as now, the poor are vaunted by insincere hypocrisy from pseudo-academics.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#us_democrats_090605

a precise summary of the situation in the middle east Five GoldenYak (tm) award

Victor Hanson’s best effort so far. Why the West must ignore the mindless appeasers and smash jihadism.


"Imagine that a weak Hitler in the mid-1930s never planned conventional war with the democracies. Instead, he stealthily would fund and train thousands of SS fanatics on neutral ground to permeate European society, convinced of its decadence and the need to return to a mythical time when a purer Aryan Volk reigned supreme. Such terrorists would bomb, assassinate, promulgate fascistic hatred in the media, and whine about Versailles, hoping insidiously to gain concessions from wearied liberal societies that would make ever more excuses as they looked inward and blamed themselves for the presence of such inexplicable evil. All the while, Nazi Germany would deny any connections to these "indigenous movements" and "deplore" such "terrorism," even as the German people got a certain buzz from seeing the victors of World War I squirm in their discomfort. A triangulating Mussolini or Franco would use their good graces to "bridge the gap," and seek a "peaceful resolution," while we sought to "liberate" rather than defeat the German nation."

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#middle_east_060605

david willets on vouchers

A devastating critique of statist socialism in UK education and health care , by a possible Conservative Party leader candidate.

“Limitations on supply are why spending more money hasn't worked. But equally such limitations would obstruct our agenda for spreading choice. Choice needs more capacity too. If you promise people choice but no more school places or better hospitals are provided then you end up with frustrated consumers. MPs have a stream of people coming to their surgeries saying "you promised that I could choose the school my child goes to but the school I have chosen is full so I can't get my child there." That is why the crucial feature of the new Conservative agenda for reforming the public services is that we are committed to liberating providers at the same time as strengthening choice. Empowering the users of services and liberating the providers have to go together.”

“Similarly, in education, if we want choice, then we will need more spare capacity. Currently capacity utilisation in British schools runs at 92%. This is much too high to allow real mobility and choice. In pursuing so-called efficiency and eliminating surplus places we have been undermining choice. We will scrap the surplus places rule and allow for an expansion of school places. We are providing the money so that what parents choose can be realised. That's why our funding plans assume that as many as 10% more places would be demanded by parents. Under the Conservatives these places can be created as parents demand. This is evidence of how serious we are about choice. Some of our critics are shocked that we have not said that we would reduce Labour's planned growth in spending on health and schools. They point out, quite rightly, that there is lots of waste and inefficiency there. It is not that we are not serious about waste. It's that we are just as serious about choice.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#vouchers_030605

us political extremists, left and right, taken down a peg

John McCain strengthens his claim to the Republican nomination for 2008

“Because politics is the ultimate zero-sum game, John McCain's role in brokering the deal over President Bush's court nominees makes him the big winner from a mixed result.

“The senior Republican senator from Arizona was the moving force on his side of the aisle for the compromise that angered both parties' extreme elements.”

Also see

“By uniting in defense of America's historical commitment to consensus on issues of great national importance, they proved that moderates possess political muscle and are not afraid to use it judiciously and effectively. As a result, President Bush's judicial nominees will get the up-or-down votes they deserve, and the Senate can turn its focus from procedural matters back to the important challenges facing our country.” [Quoted from washingtonpost.com]

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/politics0506.php#us_politics_020605

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