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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

24 June - Morning Politics Amid Calamity

Afghan National Army soldiers preparing to boa...Image via Wikipedia

How to Prevent Your Computer from Overheating (and Why It's Important)

Google's Court Victory is A Big Win for Uploaders and BitTorrent Sites

 As long as web entities offer to work with copyright holders to prevent infringement when it's found, they are protected against claims of infringement by the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 Analyzing Food and Beverages With Magnetic Levitation

The scientists describe development of a special sensor that uses maglev to  suspend solid or liquid samples with the aid of magnets to measure their density.

 Australia has first woman PM as Gillard replaces Rudd

Julia Gillard has been sworn in as Australia's first female prime minister after a surprise leadership vote in the ruling Labor Party ousted Kevin Rudd.

( Replacing the figurehead #1 ) 

Replacing McChrystal Doesn’t Change Anything


( Replacing the figurehead #2 )

 A number of well-informed critics say that in Afghanistan, several prerequisites for success are missing—in particular a central government with credibility, a large-enough force for the size of the country, and a local force (the Afghan Army and police) to hand things off to. “This briefs well in D.C. but you can’t operationalize it in Afghanistan,” says one critic of COIN, a military scholar who is engaged in the debate inside the Pentagon but would talk about it only on condition of anonymity so as to avoid the fate of McChrystal.
The outcome, these critics say, could be the worst of all possible worlds: no prospect of “winning” at all in an endlessly prolonged and bloody conflict in which we deceive ourselves for years that we are winning. Something like Vietnam, in other words. “It’s kind of sad and ironic that the fall of McChrystal will result in the reaffirmation of a highly problematic strategy,” says John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. As one general who served in Afghanistan told me back in 2006, for a NEWSWEEK piece called “The Rise of Jihadistan”: “This standoff could go on for 40 or 50 years. It’s not going to be a takeover by the Taliban as long as NATO is there. Instead this is going to be like the triborder region of South America, or like Kashmir—a long, drawn-out stalemate where everyone carves out spheres of influence.”

What General McChrystal's Comments Really Tell Us

The "command climate" in the general's headquarters suggests that a gulf has opened between Washington and McChrystal on what's possible in Afghanistan.
( Try likely...and differing criteria. )

Rolling Stone writer didn't expect general to be fired

While Hastings never intended for his article to bring the general down, he told Mackey Frayer he it helps send the message to America and its allies that there are grave flaws in the counterinsurgency strategy here.
"And more than removing the top commander from the job, he simply wants people to know that the strategy here is failing," says Mackey Frayer.

( The crux of the matter : publicly saying Afghanistan is a cock-up. That interferes with politics of perception : the selling of the snow job to Americans. )

Gates advocated keeping McChrystal

Obama went on to explain that it was understandable to have disagreements or tension within his security team, but when those disagreements turn petty, that does not serve the men and women fighting for the mission. 

( It would seem the General is not the only one with an awkward turn of phrase. ) 

Afghans do not expect change from U.S. shake-up

Afghanistan expressed regret on Thursday at the removal of the U.S. commander credited with reducing civilian casualties in the war against the Taliban but said it did not expect the shake-up to bring strategic changes.

Earlier this month, some 1,600 elders and religious leaders met in Kabul for a peace "jirga," or conference, where participants agreed the only way to end bloodshed was to reach out to the insurgents.*
Apart from agreeing to start negotiations with the militants, the jirga also recommended a review of the cases of all prisoners in Afghanistan, including suspected insurgents, and a removal of Taliban figures from a U.N. sanctions list.
Completing a four-day visit to the country, ambassadors from the 15-nation U.N. Security Council said they were reviewing the 137-name U.N. blacklist case by case.
At least five of those named are former Taliban officials who serve in parliament or privately mediate between the government and insurgents battling NATO-led forces and their Afghan partners.
(  Just a reminder : the Taliban was the government that the U.S. unilaterally decided to replace, regardless of its history in becoming that government, and despite the U.S. disregarding offers of cooperation. As such, it contains the experienced bureaucrats who know HOW to run government, regardless of outside - biased - opinion of its policies. Media have a habit of painting misleading characterizations and exaggerations of local governments they want to vilify. They certainly twist foreign sentiment to the disadvantage of the local authority necessary to provide leadership that will not be violently resisted. Forceful overriding of locals brings out all kinds of sabotage : a tradition of Resistance everywhere.
Criticism of Taliban policies ignores one fact : violence spreads indiscriminately  to create widespread destruction and suffering. Yet where is informed opinion ? Certainly not in the readership of puff pieces following the actions of military leadership instead of local concerns. It's quite the opposite of 'keeping one's eye on the ball'. 
In fact, the military presence is its own giveaway. It's there to 'screw things up' from local perspective : by main force as routine, not backup.

* The pejorative designed to desperately deny legitimacy. )

Report: U.S. hikers seized by Iranian police in Iraqi territory

Reason#4: What we have here is a failure to communicate 

Because we are not encouraged to think for ourselves, we are expert 'yes-people' to the people who we view as the mamas and the daddies that put food on our tables: corporations, political associations, churches, etc.

Those who even attempt to clearly communicate an alternate perspective are pigeoned-holed as 'lesser-than-people', or the black sheep of the group at best.

 This week when Commander of multinational forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, was dismissed by US President Barack Obama after critical comments about senior administration officials.

Helen Thomas, Palestinian-American journalist at the forefront of her profession for over half a century, apologized for intemperate comments in which she said that Jewish Israelis should go back to Germany and Poland. 

Often, in the moment, people cannot accept the truth.  Hurricane season is here and the possibility of oil arriving on south Florida beaches looms steadily each day the gush from the gulf continues to flow.  Yet and still, many on these very shores are in denial the BP spill will have a long-term impact on our lives.
It's not that people are dumb, people are fearful.  We are reactive instead of proactive because we are not taught how to be leaders in our own lives.  Lacking such wisdom, we seek power through greed, insurance policies and powerful associations which only reinforces the cycle.

We are at the precipice of a great time in human history.  Everything is in flux.  We can choose to either be swept away by the oil, the hurricane, the earthquake and the tsunami, or take a good look around, see everything for what it is, and get a grip.

All For One and One For All

The Real Consequences of An Ocean Floor Collapse. 

In this article I wrote back in 2007: Fire and Ice The Day After Tomorrow there's a bunch of collected articles which includes one about the THE LAKE NYOS GAS EXPLOSION, CAMEROON 1986

John Barnes, in his fiction novel, Mother of Storms, described the release of vast quantities of methane as the trigger for a global superstorm that nearly destroys the earth. 

: 5.2 Earthquake Dead Center In Gulf Of Mexico - Precursor to a New Madrid Big One? Just read it and think about it. 

History Channel Mega Disasters - Methane Explosion

We have to deal with Gulf Coast Toxicity Syndrome which could kill and/or disable millions.  

We are most definitely heading straight into a "clash of civilizations" though it is not at all what is being touted. It is a clash of normal humans with pathologicals and right now, they have all the assets (which they have by trickery, cunning, cheating). 

Gulf residents awash with ingenuity
"People here are realizing that we're not getting the kind of response we need," says Nancy Johnson, a Mobile County spokeswoman. "They're no longer going to sit and wait and hope that their environment is protected by someone else."

Children at Greatest Risk From Oil Spill
# Kids are very different -- and more vulnerable -- than adults when it comes to toxics.
# Besides petrochemicals, the oil spill is creating toxic psychological stress.
# Even unborn children are affected via expectant mothers and would-be fathers. 

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