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facing the paper tiger

Fred Kaplan:

“Take the budget. China officially says it's spending $35 billion on its military, a 14.7 percent increase over last year's budget, amounting to 1.5 percent of its gross national product. (The U.S. military budget is nearly 15 times as large and amounts to 4 percent of our GNP; Japan's and South Korea's defense budgets are larger than China's, too.) The report says that China's growth "sustains a trend that has persisted since the 1990s of defense budget growth rates exceeding economic growth" - but read on - "although the growth of defense expenditures has lagged behind the growth in overall government expenditures over the same period of time." (Emphasis mine.[Author’s])”

“ Finally, Page 40, the next-to-last page of text, contains an eye-opening sidebar that calls into question the report's very premise:

“China does not yet possess the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on the island [Taiwan], particularly when confronted with outside intervention. Beijing is also deterred by the potential political and economic repercussions of any use of force against Taiwan. China's leaders recognize that a war could severely retard economic development. Taiwan is China's single largest source of foreign direct investment. An extended campaign would wreck Taiwan's economic infrastructure.

the web address for the article above is




brown the clown “picking winners”, oldnewoldlabour is as socialist as ever
- the auroran sunset

“At a cost to taxpayers of a mere £2.6 BILLION every single year, Gordo's Small Business Service perfectly illustrates the incompetent arrogance of Big Government.

“Gordo set it up because for some unfathomable reason he believes he can pick business winners, and likes to back his hunches with our money. In particular, he reckoned many small businesses are failed by commercial lenders, who fuss too much over tedious details like whether a business will be able to repay a loan. His new Service would break free of all that to fund the white hot seed corn of the new post-neoclassical endogenous sunlight uplands acorn thingie. Kind of idea.

“The dismal results have just been assessed by the National Audit Office. They find that already, after just a few years, the default rate on loans made by the Service is NINE TIMES that of comparable commercial loans. What's more- surprise surprise- it seems that by favouring the weaker small businesses who can't get commercial loans, Gordo's soft loans actually damage stronger competitors- ie the businesses that actually are the seed corn etc.”

“Picking Winners” was a term used by the socialist government of Harold Wilson to describe their disastrous policy of interfering with the market. That government subsidised large companies such as British Leyland and British Steel. These actions first drove the subsidised companies’ competitors out of business, because these unsubsidised companies were unable to compete in a market where they actually had to sell their goods to make money, but their competition (the subsidised companies) were not so encumbered.

marker at abelard.org

Note that while the ‘winners’ were subsidised, the ‘fat cat’ competition themselves had to pay extortionate taxes. Thus the subsidised companies were ‘out-competing’ fully taxed companies. Meanwhile, business high-flyers were being taxed up to 96% and many decided a better option was to go abroad and work for the overseas competition. This was Wilson’s “super-tax”, charmingly supported with the slogan “tax the rich until the pips squeak”, a slogan adapted from the earlier “squeeze the Germany lemon until the pips squeak”, that had been used to promote the disastrous Versailles Treaty.

These policies are the reason why people like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones went to live abroad.. And why huge amounts of production from these people went into the American economy, rather than the British.. And why things like the British record industry collapsed. Finding himself in this super tax bracket, George Harrison wrote a song for The Beatles called “Taxman”:

“Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman
Yeah, I'm the taxman [...]

“(If you drive a car car) I'll tax the street
(If you try to sit sit) I'll tax your seat
(If you get too cold cold) I'll tax the heat
(If you take a walk walk) I'll tax your feet”

Meanwhile this super tax and swingeing death duties meant that those with stately homes could no longer afford to repair and run them. Nor could they sell them for a reasonable price, because the taxes meant that nobody else could afford to keep them either. Thus many owners never sold these great houses, but just left them to rot. This is why hundreds of British stately homes became worn-down ruins. The Kinks have a song about it - although Ray Davies was apparently a fan of the Labour Party’s destruction of Britain - “Sunny Afternoon”:

“The taxman's taken all my dough
And left me in my stately home
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And I can't sail my yacht
He's taken ev'rything I've got;
All I've got's this sunny afternoon.”

Thus the religion of envy that is socialism not only managed to destroy Britain’s wealth, but also large parts of Britain’s cultural heritage - our very own (anti-)cultural revolution.

marker at abelard.org

Next, after the British competition were driven from business, the subsidised companies were driven variously to ruin or eclipse by foreign competitors. In order to make money, the foreign companies had to make and sell a decent product, and offer good prices and service, while the subsidised British companies stopped innovating and improving because they were paid no matter how bad their product, price or service became. Remember also that many of the top business minds simply emigrated and started working for and building these foreign competitors.

Apparently this ruining of British industry was deliberate: when Wilson was told that the emerging computer industry would generate a lot of new millionaires, he is supposed to have said something along the lines of “that’s the last thing we want”. The religion of envy strikes again.

marker at abelard.org

Wilson, who came to be known as Wislon, makes an impressively horrible example. He was apparently no fool - I’m told by a mathematician acquaintance who had met Wilson that Wilson showed a very good understanding of statistics, something that is unusual even today. Wislon was neither innumerate nor stupid, instead he was a thoroughly dishonest man with aims that were contrary to the interests of the country. His chancellor, Dennis Healey was at one time a card-carrying Communist; a recent previous party leader, Hugh Gaitskell, repeatedly alleged that at least one sixth of the active members of the Labour Party were card-carrying Communists or Communist sympathisers; further, various accusations have emerged from MI5 [Britain’s FBI equivalent] that both the Labour Party leaders, Harold Wilson and Michael Foot, were directly cooperating with the Kremlin. Unfortunately, both the Official Secrets Act, and the propensity for communists to lie for the cause, make it very hard to be sure just how many in the Labour Party were also Communist Party members. Even with today’s Labour Party, ex-Foreign Minister Jack Straw and current Home Secretary John Reid are apparently (former?) Communist Party members.

As I said above, Wilson was not stupid, but rather was highly dishonest. Everyone knew he was a inveterate liar. He regularly went on television to make announcements. Oftentimes he would start a statement with the phrase, “to be perfectly frank and honest”. When the people heard that dreaded phrase, they knew that Wislon was about to lie again.

In those days, Britain had a fixed exchange rate, a game whereby the government tried to frig the value of money so that they could sell things above the market rate to the people in Britain (the British could not buy the cheaper foreign versions, due to the exchange controls, import quota controls, tariffs and the artificially low value of the pound), while setting a competitive rate abroad [1]. With the fixed exchange rate, they would devalue the pound every so often: make the pound worth less. They would do this each time the pressures became too great, and their industries became less competitive under the wonderful policies. At one time, it was illegal to take more than fifty pounds out of Britain! Any goods brought into Britain had a high tax put on it [2].

Private Eye #120, 22 July 1966, Front Cover - Pound Note, your's for 5/-Another of the many things for which Wilson went down in infamy, came in 1967 after a devaluation of just over 14%. He went on television and made a comment something like, “this does not mean that the pound in your pocket is worth any less”, which was of course a complete lie. The 120th issue of Private Eye (22 July 1966) had a picture on the front cover of a pound note with the slogan, “yours for 5/- [3] (in three months time)” [for scans of all the previous Private Eye front covers]. So you will see that we have been here before. Now we see Brown the Clown taxing all the pension funds that have been built up privately following the government's encouragement to save. Everyone who knows what is going on no longer saves like this.

Remember that the inflation taxation effectively taxes away the wages and the pensions. The pounds in your wage packet can buy less foreign goods, because the pound is worth less dollars, euro or yen. The pounds saved up in your pension fund will buy you less food, clothes, fuel, toys, etc. when it comes time to use them. Inflation is a way of stealing from the poor and the ignorant. The rich and wise do things like moving their money abroad, thus avoiding, or even profiting from, the government’s perfidy. Socialism’s claims to support the common man are no more honest than any of the rest the come-ons for that shallow and highly damaging religion.

Like many practiced liars, Wislon appeared to hold those he was gulling in contempt. Probably his most famous saying was “a week is a long time in politics”. In other words, he believed he would never be forced to take responsibility for his dishonesty and damaging actions, because ‘those idiots out there’ would just forget, or not notice - an attitude clearly prevalent in the present British government. Given his three terms (the first and third were only two years each), one could be tempted to think that Wilson had a point.. However, don’t forget that his first term was with a majority of only four and was cut short at two years; he was then kicked out after his second term; and finally he resigned/retired in the middle of his third term.

marker at abelard.org

Lead from TD.

marker at abelard.org


1. This is approximately what China is doing today: it is making the value of the yuan lower in the world markets than its real exchange value. That’s a great deal of why these far-east economies are soaking up dollar bonds: by doing so they take the dollars out of circulation, keeping the value of the dollar up, so that they can sell more goods to people holding dollars. Keeping the value of the dollar up is equivalent to keeping the value of yuan down.

2. The EU is still doing this sort of thing with tariffs/taxes, especially on food. Italy was, until quite recently, playing the same game of devaluation, primarily by printing money. Italy was printing money at a faster rate than much of the EU, which was how it was maintaining its competitiveness. Italy is now in something of a squeeze, because in the Euro-zone, they can no longer inflate much faster than many of the other European countries, and so have to compete without that advantage. However, the Euro-zone as a whole continues to inflate faster than most of their main competitors.

3. 5/- means 5 shillings and no pence. Before decimalisation (used as cover by the British government for further debauchery of the currency), 1 pound contained 20 shillings or 240 pence - so 1 shilling contained 12 pence. A crown was 5 shillings, or 60 pence. A shilling was also called a ‘bob’. Gold pound coins were called ‘sovereigns’. There were also guineas, which were 21s, or £1 1s. £10 3s. 5d. would be 10 pounds, 3 shillings and 5 pence. ‘d’ stands for denarius/denarii, one of the Ancient Roman coins. For a number of years after decimalisation, 2 shilling coins were used as 10p coins. There also used to be farthings (quarter pennies) and halfpennies. There were also various other slang terms, which are sometimes still used, like quid/nicker for a pound, pony for £25, tonne for £100 and monkey for £500.

the web address for the article above is

is a student counter-revolution emerging on american campuses?
(abelard jointly with the auroran sunset)

Since the Seventies, the lefties have steadily infiltrated and taken over the educational establishment in America. It seems that some of today‘s youth are developing into a counter revolution. Democrat Representative, William “Lacy” Clay, speaking at the University of Missouri St. Louis‘s graduation ceremony, deep in the heart of Democrat country, started the usual tirade of moonbattery, only be increasingly booed and catcalled by the students and parents. Some of the parents walked out.

Part of the faculty, in an attempt at moonbat solidarity, stood with arms folded. The booing increased, and one by one they capitulated, backing down into their seats.

It must be a chastening experience for the never-matured, ageing one-time ‘revolutionaries’ to find themselves the butt of a rising generation striving after a better world. Despite determined efforts to pass on the mindless dogmas, the lefties now find the youth supportive of the new world set on crushing the dictators for whom these old-age ‘warriors’ once acted the useful fool.

For the source of this report, see here. That site has a two minute mp3 of a radio interview with one of the students who was there.

See alsothe Protest Warrior movement, mentioned in our news in 2004.

the web address for the article above is

so much for holland’s claim to be civilised - the auroran sunset

Ayaan Hirzi Ali is once again fleeing intimidation and bigotry:

“Under withering criticism, the Dutch immigration minister has agreed to rethink her threat to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born former lawmaker known for her opposition to fundamentalist Islam.

“Minister Rita Verdonk said she acted on the basis of a television program that aired last week in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted lying about her name and age on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage.”

Does Holland have nothing like a presidential pardon? This latest attempt to silence her has apparently been the last straw for Hirsi Ali:

“Hirsi Ali resigned from parliament Tuesday, saying in a sometimes teary voice it would be impossible for her to function as a politician while fighting a legal battle over her immigration status. [...]

“Hirsi Ali has declined to say what she will do next, or confirm reports she will go work for the American Enterprise Institute.”

And these people dare to criticise the United States!

marker at abelard.org

Background on Hirsi Ali.

More background on the disgraceful behaviour of the Dutch (from Christopher Hitchens):

“After being forced into hiding by fascist killers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali found that the Dutch government and people were slightly embarrassed to have such a prominent "Third World" spokeswoman in their midst. She was first kept as a virtual prisoner, which made it almost impossible for her to do her job as an elected representative. When she complained in the press, she was eventually found an apartment in a protected building. Then the other residents of the block filed suit and complained that her presence exposed them to risk. In spite of testimony from the Dutch police, who assured the court that the building was now one of the safest in all Holland, a court has upheld the demand from her neighbors and fellow citizens that she be evicted from her home. In these circumstances, she is considering resigning from parliament and perhaps leaving her adopted country altogether.”

marker at abelard.org

She has recently published a book that looks interesting enough to be currently on my wishlist.

The caged virgin by Hirsi Ali

The Caged Virgin : An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam by Hirsi Ali

2006, Free Press, 0743288335, $12.97 [from amazon.com] /
from amazon.co.uk


the web address for the article above is

keeping the american melting pot melting, plus ... - the auroran sunset

keeping the american melting pot melting

Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, has successfully (63-34) co-sponsored through the Senate James Inhofe’s amendment [National English Amendment (S.A. 4064) to the Senate Immigration Reform Act (S. 2611)] aimed at keeping the great melting pot bubbling:

“This amendment [...] makes English the default language for government communication and redesigns the naturalization exam. The newly designed naturalization exam would require the following citizenship test goals:

  • Demonstrating sufficient understanding of English for usage in everyday life;
  • Understanding of common values;
  • Understanding American history;
  • Attachment to the Constitution
  • Understanding the rights and responsibilities of citizenship”

marker at abelard.org

politicians adjusting to the end of the fossil media

The above explanation of the amendment was taken from Bill Frist’s blog. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Majority Leader, John Boehner, has done a podcast (mp3) interview with the two Porkbuster founding bloggers, Instapundit and True Laid Bear. It is an interesting 15 minutes of talk about the current situation with regard to corruption, spending and activist power. The “lower quality” mp3 is only 1.4MB and more than adequate.

I notice that the New York Times is 12% ‘ahead’ of the fossil media field with its 47% drop in value over the last two years. The times they are a-changin’.

marker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.org

a comprehensive, but awful, search tool for us politics and law

The US Congress has a search engine. It appears to contain full text to all House and Senate bills, amendments and floor debates. However, whether by incompetence or design, the whole site is a serious mess. The biggest problem is that all search results are produced as temporary pages, so there is no way to make links to anything in the database.

The next problem is trying to find something once you have searched for it. I will use the Inhofe amendment as an example. Probably the easiest way to find a bill or amendment is by using its bill/amendment number, 4064 in this case.

So, here’s how to find that amendment:

  1. Find the next-to-invisible search box on the page.
  2. Type “senate amendment 4064” into that box and press enter on your keyboard. That will take you to a page of hard-to-follow links to everything from debates to full legal texts.
  3. In there, click the link after “TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED”.
  4. On the page that takes you to, click the link after “TEXT OF AMENDMENTS”.
  5. On the page that takes you to, click the link on “Page: S4723”.
  6. Inhofe’s amendment is near the bottom of the resulting page - just look for the bold “Amendment 4064”.

Easy huh? If you were doing this yourself, you would have about another twenty clicks in order to check all the other places where it isn’t.

the web address for the article above is

bringing democracy to a tribal society

“If our people see the Americans, we will stop fighting.”

marker at abelard.org

“ "Our only hope is if the Americans hit the Iranians, and by God's will this day will come very soon, then the Americans will give a medal to anyone who kills a Shia militiaman. When we feel that an American attack on Iran is imminent, I myself will shoot anyone who attacks the Americans and all the mujahideen will join the US army against the Iranians.

“ "Most of my fellow mujahideen are not fighting the Americans at the moment, they are too busy killing the Shia, and this is only going to create hatred. If someone kills one of my family I will do nothing else but kill to avenge their deaths."

“Most of the Shia in Yarmouk and other Sunni areas have left and their young people have now joined the Shia militias. So what would Adel do to stop the cycle of violence? "If I have some money I will pay regular salaries to my men, buy three black Opel cars [the preferred assassination car in Baghdad]. We will kidnap members of Badr brigade [the main Shia militia], we will kill some and get ransom on the other and the ransom money will finance more operations and I can have my own mujahideen faction."

“Later he and two friends explain how to distinguish a Sunni from a Shia. One of the friends says: "The Shia are darker. Sunnis have coloured eyes. Shia foreheads are smaller. Sunnis walk with arms away from the body. It's so easy: look at that man, the way he is walking he is obviously a Sunni." ”

the web address for the article above is

here is the hidden world of britain

"IMAGINE A COUNTRY where parents accused of child abuse are assumed guilty
unless proven innocent. Where secret courts need no criminal conviction to
remove their children, only the word of a medical expert, and rarely let
parents call their own experts in defence. Where even parents who are
vindicated on appeal cannot see their children again, because they have
been adopted.

And where the "welfare of the child" is used to gag them from discussing
the case ever after. I live in that country."

the web address for the article above is

charles krauthammer - a clear thinker who is usually worth a read

fukuyama is a liar

“For Fukuyama to assert that I characterized it as "a virtually unqualified success'' is simply breathtaking. My argument then, as now, was the necessity of this undertaking, never its assured success. And it was necessary because, as I said, there is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the root causes of 9/11: "the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world -- oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism.'' ”

seedy oil politics in washington

“In March 2000, the price of gas hit $1.80. Scandalized congressional Republicans shamelessly pushed for repeal of Bill Clinton's whopping 4.3-cent gas tax increase. Now that the president is a Republican, what do you think Senate Democrats are proposing? A 60-day suspension of the federal gas tax. It would cost $6 billion and counteract the only good thing that comes with high gas prices -- the incentive to conserve.”

the web address for the article above is

human rights - un style, and idiots want the un taken seriously!

“Cuba and four other nations accused of widespread human rights abuses won seats Tuesday on the U.N. Human Rights Council, newly created to replace a controversial agency where abusers were often members.

“Cuba's candidacy was viewed as a test case for the fairness of the future Council. Other nations singled out by human rights groups as being unworthy of membership yet still elected were Russia, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”

the web address for the article above is

greedy senators try to pork the troops - the auroran sunset

President Bush has given a $94.4 billion spending bill to Congress. The bill contains approximately $72.4 billion for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, $19.6 billion for hurricane relief and $2.4 billion for
avian flu response. Bush has promised to veto the bill should the Congress try to pad the bill beyond that $94.4 billion.

Despite this, the pork-barons in Congress have added $14 billion for such worthy causes as

“$608 million to facilitate a casino/condo-based redevelopment scheme in Mississippi, $3.4 billion in additional farm subsidies, $967 million for fisheries assistance, $516 million in unrelated highway aid, and even $17 million for AmeriCorps”.

Tom Coburn and other honourable senators attempted to strip the bill of this brazen corruption, but were voted down. Now 35 senators have signed a statement saying they will support the use of the presidential veto for this now hijacked bill.

In an attempt to hang onto their pork, the “appropriators” have a new proposal: cut Bush’s spending for the troops, for hurricane relief and for avian flu response by 13.2%, so that when their $14 billion of graft is added, the bill is magically still within the $94.4 billion limit.

That’s $9.6 billion they propose to steal from our soldiers. That’s $2.6 billion they propose to steal from the poor, hard-hit by hurricane Katrina. That’s $304 million they propose to steal from measures to prevent a flu epidemic that could kill millions.

Most of this added pork comes from Senators from the states worse hit by the Katrina hurricane: Lott of Mississippi (Republican) and Cochran of Mississippi (Republican). In other words, they are not looking after their constituents back home, as they claim when trying to justify their rank corruption, rather they are trying to screw their constituents out of relief in order to fill their friends’ pockets.

Not only are they porking their constituents, they are also porking the troops by using money put aside for the armed forces as backhanders to their friends. Sixty years ago we had a word for such people: they were called “war-profiteers”.

marker at abelard.org

I was prompted to write the above by this very badly written and unclear item in the Washington Times. However, apart from the one quote and the few numbers I did not have to calculate myself, my article bears almost no resemblance to the Washington Times piece.

the web address for the article above is

oldnewoldlabour’s comedy circus gets better every day - this could run and run

These are the inevitable consequences when socialists are taken seriously.

Believe it or not, the ludicrous Margaret Becket has been promoted to replace the ludicrous man of Straw [Jack Straw] as UK Foreign Secretary.

“If you claim a subsidy for your orchard (as you may), you have to prove that your trees are 10 metres apart and that the trunks are one metre in circumference; and if you have more than 50 trees a hectare, you've got to prove to the inspector that the bases of the trees have previously been nibbled by sheep.

“You can grow cucumbers, cabbages and cauliflowers, but not strawberries or mint!

“Think of the new legions of bureaucrats being created, who will have to check whether or not you are running your subsidised nudist colony for more than 28 days.

“Forty thousand new dependents have been created! Untold acres are now under new and pointless subsidy! And they call this reform? No wonder Margaret Beckett was promoted.”

Meanwhile, Kaletsky tells us that Brown the clown could ‘triumph’ if the Straw man, fatty Clarke or Brown the clown act even more stupidly than they did last week, or the week before, or the week before that. You see, a great problem with socialism is you need to be rather dull to espouse it. So finding real talent available in a socialist group is a pretty forlorn task. As the great Keynes said,

“Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion - how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.” (1926)

Now I expect most of you don’t understand Mister Kaletsky very well. Mister Kaletsky is what I call a neo-Keynsian or better, a pseudo-Keynsian. For a cult socialist he is remarkably bright. He can actually do the sums that Keynes developed. In fact, Kaletsy is the best pseudo-Keynesian I have read.

The only trouble is he is no Keynes and he does no't really understand Keynes. This makes his articles an interesting mixture of sense and voodoo. It is a good exercise to see whether you can spot the difference!

There are many writers like Kaletsky, a common pattern especially among some cultists and religious enthusiasts. They tend to write several paragraphs of quite interesting real world facts, and then, without due warning, as you get towards the end of the article, suddenly god appears for no apparent reason, or a tirade on ritual state murder, or a rant on the awful state of the young nowadays.

These articles are ideal fodder for teaching people to read and analyse critically.

Now to this week’s Kaletsky gem:

“But the key lesson of history for Mr Brown concerns the steps he must take to avoid the long-term fate of John Major: to do this he must immediately ditch the Blairite policies most responsible for the present Government’s demise. Mr Blair’s equivalent of poll tax may be legislation on ID cards or hospital reforms, but the policy at the heart of Mr Blair’s failure - the equivalent of the rows and misjudgments over ERM membership under Margaret Thatcher and then under John Major - is Mr Blair’s relationship with the Bush Administration and his policy on Iraq.

“By pulling out of Iraq and breaking publicly with the Bush Administration (which by then will itself be in terminal decline), Mr Brown could win himself so much credit with the Labour Party and the affluent middle classes that he could do almost anything else he might choose with the health service, taxes, pensions or schools. Mr Major’s fate was sealed by the way he stuck to a policy that was doomed to failure - membership of the ERM.

“If Mr Brown heeds the rhymes of history, he will ditch the foreign policy that has been responsible for Mr Blair’s demise. If he does this, he could yet turn a funeral dirge into a song of triumph.”

Never mind that nearly every politician who backed the freeing of Iraq then went on to get re-elected, whereas those who tried to freeload on the coalition went tits up. I note the major party in the UK (the falsely named Lib Dems), which overwhelmingly backed the appeasement of Madsam, are even now sinking in the polls despite the little local difficulties at the centre of the UK government.

Socialists never ever learn. You see, it’s the religion that counts, the real world is an irrelevant nuisance!

related material
socialist religions

the web address for the article above is

patriotism & dissent, what jefferson didn’t say - the auroran sunset

Many from the “don’t question my patriotism, because I don’t have any” wing of the US Democratic Party have taken to mis-attributing their own idiocy to the late great Thomas Jefferson, presumably in the vain hope that this will finally get people to stop laughing at them.

Quoted from the Steyn item linked below:

“ According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' ”

Mark Steyn comments:

“Thomas Jefferson would never have said anything half so witless. There is no virtue in dissent per se. When John F. Kennedy said, "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty" -- and, believe it or not, that's a real quote, though it's hard to imagine any Massachusetts Democrat saying such a thing today -- I could have yelled out, "Hey, screw you, loser." It would have been "dissent," but it wouldn't have been patriotic, and it's certainly not a useful contribution to the debate, any more than that of the University of North Carolina students at Chapel Hill who recently scrawled on the doors of the ROTC armory "F--- OFF!" and "WE WON'T FIGHT YOUR WARS!"

“But the high holiness of dissent for its own sake is now the core belief of the Democratic Party: It's not what you're for, it's what you're against. Their current denunciations of Big Oil have a crudely effective opportunism but say to them "OK, what's your energy policy?" and see what answers you get: More domestic oil? Ooh, no, we can't disturb the pristine ANWR breeding ground of the world's largest mosquito herd. More nuclear power, like the French? Ooh, no, might be another Three Mile Island. Er, OK, you're the mass transit guys; how about we go back to wood-fired steam trains? Ooh, no, we're opposed to logging, in case it causes global warming, or cooling, or both.”

Steyn’s “Massachusetts Democrat” is John Kerry, who has been repeatedly repeating the fatuous fake quote over the last week or two.

the web address for the article above is

is a third party viable? (us & uk) - the auroran sunset

A large cross-party section of the American public is, at least for the moment, worried about corruption and uppity Mexicans. Against that background, Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) suggests that a Third Party Candidacy (TPC) would at least stand a chance if done properly:

“As the Rasmussen poll indicates, both Democrats and Republicans face splits over immigration. Each party has substantial constituencies (traditional conservatives in the GOP, African-Americans in the Democratic Party) who have reason to oppose open immigration, and it wouldn't be a surprise if those constituencies abandoned their parties to support a third party that promised a tougher line. But that's just the beginning. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week, the single biggest concern named by respondents, ahead of immigration, was Congressional pork: 39% said that Congress wasn't doing a good enough job of controlling earmarks. Feeling betrayed, some Republican voters are vowing to stay home rather than support a "small government" party where Sens. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Ted Stevens (R-AK) can secure hundreds of millions of dollars for local goodies without much in the way of resistance or repercussions. Democrats might benefit if disenchanted voters sit things out, but that also means that there are a lot of voters that a third party might pick up. And plenty of Democratic voters are less than overjoyed with their party, too.

“The conventional wisdom, of course, is that a third-party candidate can't win. That's been the lesson of recent history. But had Ross Perot been a bit less kooky, he might have pulled off a victory in 1992. And technology for mobilizing disaffected voters has advanced beyond the state of the art then, which consisted of toll-free telephone numbers. Thanks to the Internet and alternative media, reaching disaffected voters and rallying them behind a candidate is likely to be much, much easier than it was back in the 20th Century. (We saw an early illustration of this phenomenon with the insurgent campaign of Howard Dean, who, if he had been a bit less kooky, might have pulled off a victory in the Democratic primaries.)”

A TPC has two large problems:

  1. Should they find an issue that is popular enough to give them a chance of winning, the other two parties are likely to try to adapt just enough to squash the run.

    Even without such a candidate, the leadership of both parties are, currently at least, making a show of curtailing pork, although not a great deal is actually happening yet.

  2. A serious candidate must be found, rather than another Perot/Dean-type kook. Names previously bruited around are McCain and Guiliani.

    McCain’s wooing of the fundamentalist nuts in his party - who kept him out of the top spot last time when he refused to woo them - suggests he thinks he doesn’t need to try a TPC. The plebs say that fighting pork is their number one priority; McCain is one of the top people working with
    the PorkBusters movement. This gives an anti-corruption TPC problems if McCain gets the Republican nomination!

    Guiliani is currently off somewhere trying to get rich(er), I would suspect in order to be prepared when an opportunity comes - whether Republican [unlikely as he is too vocally sane on social issues] or TPC. My impression is that he is positioning himself in terms of a 2012/2016 run not a 2008 run.

    If McCain gets the Republican nomination, I can’t see a TPC standing a chance.

    Any other candidate suggestions?
    I'm trying to think of some Democrats also, but the only ones I can see being tempted are moonbats, and even they are fairly well co-opted into the family.

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A great advantage of the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system used in the UK and US is that the nuts are keep away from power. Third parties have little or no direct say, unless the society changes sufficiently for them to displace one of the big two. A third party in America has the advantage of a freer and more involved populace than available in the UK.

Despite the existence of a persistent 15-30% third party, an outsider party in the UK probably has less hope of reaching the top. There are two reasons for this: they must collect hundreds of serious enough candidates, rather than just one, and a UK party doesnt have as large an internet-savvy and politically-active base to work with.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party managed to displace the Liberal Party on the back of great social change: the rise of a “workers movement” pushed by socialist power-seekers, along with millions dead in The Great War used as a stick to beat the nobs.

Since then, the socialist-invaded husk of the Liberal Party has had unusually high support for a fringe party: both Le Pen in France and Perot in America peaked at around 20%, which seems to be a fairly general limit for such parties. However, even at the LibDems current peak they have only around 10% of the seats and are a largely irrelevant voice in the parliament.

There is some suggestion that Labours current meltdown may be sufficient opportunity for the LibDems to return to its place as one of the two power centres. Given the LibDem record, Im sceptical that they have ability to seize such an opportunity, should it exist. But even if they did, wed quickly return to a two-party system, this time with Labour playing the role of permanently irrelevant fringe.

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In recent local elections in the UK, both the Dhimmi National Socialist Party (a.k.a. Respect) and the British Nazi Party (a.k.a. BNP) made gains. Both now have small geographically concentrated areas of support that could lead to a seat or two in national elections (the Dhimmi National Socialist Party already has one parliamentary seat).

Neither party has any chance of winning anything even remotely close to overall control under FPTP. However, if for example the British Nazi Party continue to gain, it seems likely that the serious parties will take steps to undermine the British Nazi Partys anti-immigration leadership, for example by making their own anti-immigration noises. Meanwhile, the Labour Party has already adopted parts of the Dhimmi agenda.

In other words, fringe parties may have (usually overwhelming) difficulties in reaching power, but they can sometimes change the society by infecting or pressuring the parties in power with their agendas. C.f. both parties in America and Cameron in the UK now pushing the green agenda, despite the Green Party never gaining serious support in either country, and largely without the Green Partys socialist and Luddite baggage.

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In the current American situation, both sides deserve to lose. It seems likely that large numbers of Republicans will stay home in November, just as millions of Tories stayed home following John Majors socialist takeover. However, the Democrats are in no position to exploit this, being just as free-spending and corrupt and just as untrusted by their constituency - they are even alienating their moonbat wing by talking sense with regard to Iran. It seems likely that the November election will be a contest to see which party can alienate more of their own voters, thus persuading them to stay home.

This alienation within both major parties certainly seems like fertile ground for a Third Party Candidacy. However, a midterm congressional election is a very different proposition to a presidential contest with a heavy-weight like McCain holding one of the big two nominations.

The pork-busting pressure must be retained until the appropriators/perpetrators crack. Porkbusting is the number one national priority amongst the voters after only eight months of a campaign started by two bloggers (Instapundit and Truth Laid Bear). This is not an opportunity to be wasted. Hence my interest in a third party candidacy at a time when the leadership of both parties are attempting to maintain business as usual.

the web address for the article above is

no wonder the new realities of the middle east are hated by both jihadis and socialists

Seven countries, four years in:-

“Far messier - but far better”, Victor Hanson

[Afghanistan] “The Taliban is gone. In its place is the unthinkable - a parliamentary democracy that welcomes an open economy and foreign investment. Afghanistan is plagued still by drug-lords and resurgent terrorists, but after a successful war that removed the Taliban, the country hardly resembles the nightmare that existed before September 11.

Iran is closer to the bomb than ever, but there is at least worldwide scrutiny of its machinations, in a manner lacking in the past. Tehran is in a death struggle with the new Iraqi government, trying to undermine the democracy by transplanting its radical Shiite ganglia before a constitutional, diverse Iraqi culture energizes its own restive population that supposedly tires of the theocracy.”

[Iraq] “The thousands who died yearly under Saddam’s killing apparatus in Iraq have been followed by thousands killed in sectarian strife. Yet Saddam and his Baathist nightmare are gone from Iraq, offering hope where there was none. After three elections, a democratic government has emerged. Despite a terrible cost in American lives and wealth, so far elections have not been derailed, open civil war has not followed from the daily terror, and Americans are looking to reduce, not enlarge, their presence.

“Libya is perhaps the strangest development of all. The United States is slowly exploring reestablishing diplomatic relations. Moammar Khadafy is giving up his WMD arsenal. And the country is suddenly open to cell phones, the Internet, satellite television, and is no longer a global financial conduit for international terrorism.

“Pakistan is still run by a military dictator. But as a result of American bullying and financial enticement, it is slowly weeding out al Qaeda sympathizers from its government, which on rare occasions attacks terrorists residing in its borderlands. Indeed, al Qaeda seems to hate the present Pakistani government as much as it does the United States.

“Saudi Arabia has gained enormous leverage as oil skyrocketed from $30 to over $70 a barrel. Yet under American pressure it has cracked down on al Qaeda terrorists and has cleaned up (somewhat) its overseas financial offices - perhaps evidenced by a wave of reactive terrorist attacks against the Riyadh government. American efforts to urge liberalization have met a tepid response - given Saudi reliance on the oil card, and its sophistic argument that for the present an autocratic monarchy is the only alternative to a terrorist-supporting theocracy.

“Syria is out of Lebanon by popular pressure. It still supports terrorists against Israel - and now Iraq too - but judging from its rhetoric it must be feeling squeezed by a democratic Turkey, Iraq, and Israel on its borders, and a new tough stance from the United States.”

the web address for the article above is

roman senator dick cheney offers friendly advice to brother russia
- the auroran sunset

First, a story known to every Roman child:

“Once upon a time there was a very bad and nasty King of Syria named Antiochus. [...] Even though Syria was a rich kingdom, King Antiochus IV lusted after the neighbouring kingdom of Egypt [...] so King Antiochus IV invaded Egypt, capture Pelusium, marched down the Delta to Memphis, captured that, and began to march up the other side of the Delta toward Alexandria.

“Having ruined the country and the army, the brothers Ptolemy and their sister-wife, Cleopatra II, had no choice but to appeal to Rome for help against King Antiochus IV, Rome being the best and greatest of all nations, and everyone’s hero. To the rescue of Egypt, the Senate and People of Rome (being in better accord in those days than we would believe possible now - or so the storybooks say) sent their noble brave consular Gaius Popillius Laenas. Now any other country would have given its hero a whole army, but the Senate and People of Rome gave Gaius Popillius Laenas only twelve lictors and two clerks. However, because it was a foreign mission, the lictors were allowed to wear the red tunics and put the axes in their bundles of rods, so Gaius Popillius Laenas was not quite unprotected. Off they sailed in a little ship, and came to Alexandria just as King Antiochus IV was marching up the Canopic arm of the Nilus toward the great city wherein cowered the Egyptians.

“Clad in his purple-bordered toga and preceded by his twelve crimson-clad lictors, all bearing the axes in their bundles of rods, Gaius Popillus Laenas walked east. Now he was not a young man, so as he went he leaned upon a tall staff, his pace as placid as his face. Since only the brave and heroic and noble Romans built decent roads, he was soon walking along through thick dust. But was Gaius Popillus Laenas deterred? No! He just kept on walking, until near the huge hippodrome in which the Alexandrians liked to watch the horse races, he ran into a wall of Syrian soldiers, and had to stop.

“King Antiochus IV of Syria came forward, and went to meet Gaius Popillius Laenas.

“‘Rome has no business in Egypt!’ the King said, frowning awfully and direfully.

“‘Syria has no business in Egypt either,’ said Gaius Popillius Laenas, smiling sweetly and serenely.

“‘Go back to Rome,’ said the King.

“‘Go back to Syria,’ said Gaius Popillius Laenas.

“But neither of them moved a single inch.

“‘You are offending the Senate and People of Rome,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas after a while of staring into the King’s fierce face. ‘I have been ordered to make you return to Syria.’

“The King laughed and laughed and laughed. ‘And how are you going to make me go home?’ he asked. ‘Where is your army?’

“‘I have no need of an army, King Antiochus IV,’ said Gaius Popillius Laenas. ‘Everything that Rome is, has been, and will be, is standing before you here and now. I am Rome, no less than Rome’s largest army. And in the name of Rome, I say to you a further time, go home!’

“‘No,’ said King Antiochus IV.

“So Gaius Popillius Laenas stepped forward, and moving sedately, he used the end of his staff to trace a circle in the dust all the way around the person of King Antiochus IV, who found himself standing inside Gaius Popillius Laenas’s circle.

“‘Before you step out of this circle, King Antiochus IV, I advise you to think again,’ said Gaius Popillius Laenas. ‘And when you do step out of it - why, be facing east, and go home to Syria.’

“The King said nothing. The King did not stir. Gaius Popillius Laenas said nothing. Gaius Popillius Laenas did not stir. Since Gaius Popillius Laenas was a Roman and did not need to hide his face, his sweet and serene countenance was on full display. But King Antiochus IV hid his face behind a curled and wired wigbeard, and even then could not conceal its thunder. Time went on. And then, still inside the circle, the mighty King of Syria turned on his heel to face east, and stepped out of the circle in an easterly direction, and marched back to Syria with all his soldiers.”
p.265 - 266, The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough, Avon, reprint 1991, 0380710811,

$7.99 [amazon.com] {advert}


related material
mccullough on the horror of school in the bad old days, plus various book reviews

Now go and read Roman Senator Dick Cheney’s excellent speech in Lithuania. Here are the most important extracts:

“The end of the Cold War did not usher in an era of quiet and tranquility. A new enemy of freedom has emerged -- and it is focused, resourceful, and rapacious. This enemy perverts a religious faith to serve a dark political objective -- to establish, by violence and intimidation, a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. To that end, the terrorists do not seek to build large standing armies. Instead, they want to demoralize free nations with dramatic acts of murder, and to gain weapons of mass destruction so they can hold power by threat or blackmail. We need not have any illusions about their ambitions, because the terrorists have stated them clearly. They have killed many thousands in many countries. They would, if able, kill hundreds of thousands more -- and still not be finished.

“This is not an enemy that can be ignored or appeased. And every retreat by civilized nations is an invitation to further violence against us. Men who despise freedom will attack freedom in any part of the world -- and so responsible nations have a duty to stay on the offensive, together, to remove this threat. We are working to prevent attacks before they occur, by tracking down the terrorists wherever they dwell. We are working to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw states and their terrorist allies. We are working to prevent any nation from becoming a staging ground for future terrorist violence. And we are working to deny the terrorists future recruits, by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East.

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“America and all of Europe also want to see Russia in the category of healthy, vibrant democracies. Yet in Russia today, opponents of reform are seeking to reverse the gains of the last decade. In many areas of civil society -- from religion and the news media, to advocacy groups and political parties -- the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of her people. Other actions by the Russian government have been counterproductive, and could begin to affect relations with other countries. No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation. And no one can justify actions that undermine the territorial integrity of a neighbor, or interfere with democratic movements.

“Russia has a choice to make. And there is no question that a return to democratic reform in Russia will generate further success for its people and greater respect among fellow nations. Democratization in Russia helped to end the Cold War, and the Russian people have made heroic progress in overcoming the miseries of the 20th century. They deserve now to live out their peaceful aspirations under a government that upholds freedom at home, and builds good relations abroad.

“None of us believes that Russia is fated to become an enemy. A Russia that increasingly shares the values of this community can be a strategic partner and a trusted friend as we work toward common goals. In that spirit, the leading industrialized nations will engage Russia at the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg this summer. We will make the case, clearly and confidently, that Russia has nothing to fear and everything to gain from having strong, stable democracies on its borders, and that by aligning with the West, Russia joins all of us on a course to prosperity and greatness. The vision we affirm today is of a community of sovereign democracies that transcend old grievances, that honor the many links of culture and history among us, that trade in freedom, respect each other as great nations, and strive together for a century of peace.

“Our cooperation is vital, because democracies have great duties in today's world. The challenges of a new era require concerted action by nations and peoples who believe liberty is worth defending. For the sake of our security, we must act decisively against known dangers. And to secure freedom and peace for generations to come, we must be true to the democratic dreams of others, and remember our brothers and sisters who have kept their hopes in exile.”

the web address for the article above is

on the ego failure that destroys societies - the middle east

Bernard Lewis has been around a long while and has studied the Middle East most of his life.

“[...] he reaffirmed the Vice-President’s deep conviction that the jihadists believed that the US could not last the course [...]”

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“But as he enters his tenth decade, Lewis is most alarmed not by the Arab world - where he detects signs of hope - but by what is happening in the EU and specifically in his native land. "The very composition of society is at stake," he warned me. "The rate of immigration from parts of the Muslim world is altering the way in which society is run. And the Muslim populations of the EU, many of whom started out as quite moderate in their native lands, seem to be indoctrinated by some of the worst elements of their own co-religionists. Central to this is the oil money of Saudi Arabia, funding extreme Wahhabite doctrines." ” [Quoted from timesonline.co.uk]

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“If the peoples of the Middle East continue on their present path, the suicide bomber may become a metaphor for the whole region, and there will be no escape from a downward spiral of hate and spite, rage and self-pity, poverty and oppression, culminating sooner or later in yet another alien domination-perhaps from a new Europe reverting to old ways, perhaps from a resurgent Russia, perhaps from some expanding superpower in the East. But if they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences, and join their talents, energies, and resources in a common creative endeavor, they can once again make the Middle East, in modern times as it was in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, a major center of civilization. For the time being, the choice is theirs.” [Quoted from fletcher.tufts.edu]

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“The principle illness of the Balkans: Each nation demands that its borders revert to where they were at the exact time when its own empire had reached its zenith of ancient medieval expansion.”
Robert D. Kaplan in Balkan Ghosts, page 57.
thanx to Limbic

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“[...] Cynics might even say that dependency doctrines have been Latin America's most successful export. Meanwhile they are bad for effort and morale. By fostering a morbid propensity to find fault with everyone but oneself, they promote economic impotence. Even if they were true, it would be better to stow them.
David Landes in The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, 0316908673, p328

the web address for the article above is

the steadily growing success of the bush policies

“Some European governments that were patently anti-American - Chirac's in France or Schroeder's in Germany - are either gone or going. The European public no longer thinks that the threat of Islamic fascism was mostly something concocted by George Bush after 9/11. American supporters in Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom were returned to power. Finally a parliament is meeting in Iraq. There have been open elections in two regions of the Arab Middle East. In one place, terrorists were voted in; in the other place - the much more criticized one - terrorists are being hunted down.

“Hamas wanted power; the Americans didn't interfere, and they got elected. Now they can galvanize their people for their promised war against Israel (that they will lose), or they can find a way to evolve from thuggery to governance - it's their call. It is not the decision of the United States, which, after fifteen years, is finally freed from subsidizing West Bank terrorists masquerading as statesmen.”

“I spent recent days recovering from emergency surgery for a perforated appendix in a Red Crescent clinic in Libya. I owe a great debt to the skill and confidence of a general surgeon, Dr. Ayoub, who was roused at 3 A.M., and saved me from a great deal worse, along with Dr. al Hafez who offered his medical expertise and care that allowed me to get back to California. Throughout all this, I did not experience a shred of anti-Americanism, but instead real kindness from Libyans from all walks of life. There is sometimes perhaps hurt and confusion over America's intentions - but also grudging acknowledgement that for the first time in memory there is real hope for something different, something far better in the future of the Middle East.” [Quoted from victorhanson.com]

marker at abelard.org

Meanwhile, Sh-irak and his appointee are increasingly involved in sharp practices:

“May-June 2004: Anonymous source sends lists of false bank accounts to investigating judges
December 2005: Judges conclude Clearstream list is a fabrication

“March-April 2006: Judges raid offices of General Rondot, the intelligence service, the Defence minister and others

“March 28: Rondot tells judges that de Villepin ordered Sarkozy investigation, according to judges’ leak

“April 28: de Villepin denies that he ordered any investigation into Sarkozy. Chirac issues more ambiguous denial”

Further ‘analysis’ and background for the seriously dedicated.

As you may see, ‘they’ are now referring to Sh-irak as “l’Escroc” - the Swindler. [In the ‘Clearstream’ item]

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on growing oil realism

“As this wealth transfer from consumer to producer takes place, consumers will either buy less gas or allocate more disposable income to gas. Over time, the same consumers will opt for more efficient automobiles. They also will figure out ways to consume less gasoline if the rise in the price of gas offsets the falling prices of other consumer goods. At the same time, the burgeoning resources of energy companies will be deployed
to increase the supply of gasoline and/or develop alternative fuels. (Full-page advertisements by British Petroleum currently document such efforts.)

“In truth, this wealth-shift adds to our rising standards of living - even though, in the short run, it means we have to forego some discretionary spending. If gas prices were to remain low, then consumption would rise and oil would (in the long term) be depleted before alternative energy sources were developed. But as long as the price of oil stays high, we can be confident that innovation, conservation, substitution, and increased supply will provide for the ultimate fall in energy prices. This relationship is well known to economics students, but not to politicians who rush to artificially push gas prices back down.”

Well, not exactly, but he has the right idea. Energy is likely to become a somewhat larger factor in production costs for a good while forward now. Doubtless this will do the driving he suggests, but not necessarily by driving energy prices down.

marker at abelard.org

Now from a fellow with a somewhat better detailed grasp:

“Recent data on production, retail sales, and employment are stronger than expected. The latest durable-goods report shows huge gains in orders for big-ticket items like airplanes, transportation, metals, machinery, and computers - even cars and parts. These orders suggest that the economic boom will continue as far as the eye can see. And there’s more: The backlog of unfilled orders, the best leading-indicator of business activity, gained 12 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter. With this kind of real-world corporate activity in the pipeline, highly profitable businesses will be doing a lot of hiring in the months ahead in order to expand plant and equipment capacity. Just what the doctor ordered.”

“ Indeed, bashing big oil won’t create a drop of new energy. Nor will confiscating Lee Raymond’s bank account. Actually, over the past fifteen years, ExxonMobil’s total investment has exceeded the company’s earnings, according to Washington analyst James K. Glassman. Meanwhile, all the evidence from time immemorial shows that gas prices are set by market forces, not manipulation at the production level. So-called price gouging is nothing but a political red herring. Windfall profits taxes and special tax subsidies will only diminish energy investment, not increase it.”

the web address for the article above is

a suitable case for treatment?

How much longer can or will the West play footsie with the theocrat loons of Iran?

Is it necessary to remove this nuisance before fissionable bomb material can be shifted to other locations, or will Iran choose to behave?

This data is in part posted to correct the foolish impressions, several times expressed in the fossil media, that Western data on Iranian mullahs playing with fire is inadequate.

Prime aim point:

Landsat image showing nuclear research plant in Iran. Image from Global Security.org
Natanz nuclear enrichment plant in Iran.
For larger image, click on image above.
Image from
Global Security.org

“[...] the facility located about 24 miles south of city of Kashan and about 17 miles northwest of the town of Natanz.”

the web address for the article above is
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