Last post of the year.
Started the blog on 11 Sept of this year. Been fun so far.
As we like to say in our toasts every year at the Simon home:
More and Better
Friday, December 31, 2004
Last post of the year.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
I think it might be useful to look at the current struggle in architectural terms. Lets start with human nature:
The alpha male struggle for dominance.
Here the West has a huge advantage because democracy allows the formation of the collective alpha male. Now all alpha male struggle in a polity of any significant size is about gaining allies. What makes the Western version superior is that within the polity it is done by attraction rather than coercion. Tension rather than compression.
Compressive forces are subject to buckling strength limitations - the span of control in managerial terms. This is expressed as slenderness ratios when speaking of architecture. Tension is only subject to tensile strength limitations and can be extended to any practical limit. Tension allows for independent but coordinated action. People under compression must be watched. And some one must watch the watchers. The internal organization of compressive societies takes a lot of effort that is not required by tensile societies.
In fact the universe its self is held together by the tension of gravity acting on islands of compression: planets and stars.
In a compressive society once there is no one giving orders the society falls apart. In a tensile society the remaining elements simply reform and continue.
The tensile society is defined by its chosen path. The compressive society by its leader. Which can hold together better under the stress of pieces gone missing?
Posted by M. Simon at 12/30/2004 10:43:00 AM
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
This joke has been making the rounds. This is not the first time I heard it. Here is where I copied it from: Brain Terminal.
Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, along with a U.S. Marine assigned to protect them, were hiking through the Iraqi desert one day when they were captured by terrorists. They were tied up, led to a village, and brought before the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq.
Zarqawi said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting the condemned a last wish; so, before we kill and dismember you, do you have any last requests?"
Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili." Zarqawi nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."
Peter Jennings said, "I am Canadian, so I'd like to hear the song 'O Canada' one last time." Zarqawi nodded to a terrorist who had studied the Western world and knew the music. He returned with some rag-tag musicians and played the anthem. Jennings sighed and declared he could now die peacefully.
Zarqawi turned and said, "And now, Mr. U.S. Marine, what is your final wish?"
"Kick me in the ass," said the Marine.
"What?" asked Zarqawi. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"
"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass," insisted the Marine. So the leader shoved him into the open, and kicked him in the ass.
The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled out a 9mm pistol hidden in his cammies, and shot Zarqawi dead.
In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his M4 carbine, and sprayed the remaining terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, they were either dead or fleeing for their lives.
As the Marine was untying Rather and Jennings, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass?"
"What," replied the Marine, "and have you assholes call me the aggressor?"
Posted by M. Simon at 12/29/2004 06:32:00 PM
How about Quasi Intelligent Design?
That is we have a smart designer some weeks but when he is busy they bring in some idiot who hasn't studied the situation and hasn't a clue as to what comes next.
This completely explains what some people call randomness. It is not randomness. It is stupidity. The most common element of the universe.
If you insist on filling the gaps with gods then as the gaps get filled gods get driven out of the gaps.
Making a religion dependent on the tortoises stacked on elephants is sure to disapoint as knowledge advances.
It makes science look smart and religion stupid.
This effort to make religion look stupid is the #1 effort of some types of religionists. To make a weak religion look powerful (for a time) they claim more for religion than can be defended. They chose positions that are dependent on current ignorance.
The fight is caused by stupID religions. Science has no dog in the fight over religion. The way religion avoids the problem is to have no beliefs that can be refuted by facts or be willing to adapt belief to current knowledge.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/29/2004 04:26:00 PM
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
There is Intelligent Design and then there is Super Intelligent Design.
The Intellegent Designer needed to first make the universe. Then he made some kinds of life. Then he made others . Finally he made man. This is the view of some Christians.
Then there is the Super Intelligent Designer. He makes universes so good that all he needs to do is wind them up and all the stuff comes out naturally. No further effort required.
So which do you go with? The relatively dumb but busy Intelligent Designer or the (probably Jewish) Super Intellegent Designer? The Pope likes the super intellegent designer. Me too. But you know the Pope - he is a follower of some crazy Jewish guy. He could do worse.
Darwin only contradicts religions with relatively dumb gods. The really smart religions have really smart gods.
Why any one would choose a religion with a dumb god is beyond me. Both claim man is made in god's image. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
I'm going with the smart god.
But you know - to each his own.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/28/2004 10:04:00 PM
Evidently Hugh Hewitt is defending Intelligent Design (ID) as a legitimate scientific theory. As opposed to Darwin and evolution.
Rand Simberg says a scientific theory needs to be falsifiable. So what should we look for in evolution theory to show facts that it does not adequately explain?
Here is my answer:
A good way to disprove evolution would be if DNA evidence did not correspond to the evolutionary model: accretion of complexity.
So far DNA supports evolution.
What one might look for directly are human remains (or others) from a time period in which evolution says they ought not exist.
Of course since the intelligent designer can do anything one might counter argue that the designer took his time. And did stuff sequentially. From the simplest to the most complicated. However, since evolution also is supposed to work that way you are left with a choice: a natural explanation (evolution) or a supernatural one (intelligent design).
Which one would science prefer?
Posted by M. Simon at 12/28/2004 06:33:00 AM
Big Pharoh says we should be paying attention to how the news media gather the news. Not just the stories they tell. This is in reference to the shooting of the Iraqi election workers.
Big Pharoah comments here.
Belmont Club has been doing an outstanding job of asking questions.
and this bit about The Armies of Darkness
Wretchard provides plenty of links. The bottom line: we must stand in solidarity with the election workers and all those around the world who wish to govern themselves.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/28/2004 03:15:00 AM
Saturday, December 25, 2004
The Secty of Defence Donald Rumsfield visits the troops.
That is when I, without any thought, piped in with "Sir, you can talk to him, he's awake." He told the soldier, named Rob, how proud he was of his service. The soldier was in a bit of disbelief, because he couldn't see with one eye patched and the other swollen shut. He said he wanted to talk to Rumsfeld. That's when I said "He's standing right to your left, Rob, that's his voice you hear. You can talk to him." The kid was nervous at that point, but sputtered out how honored he was to talk to him. Mr. Rumsfeld replied, "No, it's an honor for me to talk to you."With troops and leaders like these the only way we can lose this war is the way we lost 'Nam. The America haters predominate.
Then remarkably, the young soldier, who had just lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion, came to the defense of the Secretary of Defense, stating "Mr. Rumsfeld, I want you to know, that you are doing a fantastic job. I know that you are taking a lot of heat for the problems with getting armor for vehicles. I want you to know that things are vastly improved. Our vehicles are great, and I have never searched through junk piles for scrap metal."
Posted by M. Simon at 12/25/2004 01:39:00 AM
Friday, December 24, 2004
Here is an article that explains why it is so hard to start a business in America that if it fails has no residual value. As opposed to starting a retail store or investing in real estate.
"The way business works here is simple," says David J. Farber. "In America, if you have a potential product, you do research, you try to figure out the size of the potential market. And if it's a totally new, totally innovative thing, where no one has any idea of the size of the market, and there's no guaranteed return on a large investment, well, forget it. No American company will touch it. In Japan, it's usually quite the opposite: manufacturers know that the home market loves new stuff; they'll take risks there, hoping that something will catch fire and take off. The only U.S. company that's doing that is Apple, and, honestly, I don't think that even Steve Jobs, in all of his infinite wisdom, thought that the iPod was going to take off the way it has."I guess I should have been Japanese. Well being a big guy I do like the larger American houses. I suppose if I was a Japanese I'd have been smaller.
Which means that for the foreseeable future, American technophiles will continue to experience a chronic case of gadget envy. Hey, is that a brand-new buggy whip I see under the Christmas tree?
Well any way it is my contention that America must work harder and spend more to close the innovation gap. Soon I hope.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/24/2004 11:22:00 PM
If they can name a carrier after Bush pere' who is still alive I propose naming a carrier after Rummy. As soon as he retires.
I propose Congress lay down the keel asap. and that it be carrier "X" until Rummy retires.
Prompted by this blog entry.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/24/2004 07:04:00 PM
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
In a previous article I noted that the first sign of an American squeeze on Iran would be building airbases around Iran. Specifically air fields in Adjzerbajan. I was right about the bases. Wrong about the first reported location. The first reported location is Afghanistan.
KABUL (Reuters) - Four military bases the United States is building in Afghanistan (news - web sites) will only be used by the Afghan National Army, an U.S. Army spokesman said on Wednesday, denying that a U.S. base was being constructed close to border with Iran.Evidently this has been bubbling behind the scenes for a little while.
Talk of U.S. interest in obtaining some foothold in Herat broke surface again last August when U.S. advisors and aircraft played a support role to the Afghan army in quashing fighting between provincial forces and a renegade militia commander.An air base? Already constructed? By the Soviets? Manned by Americans?
The fighting had centerd around the sprawling former Soviet airbase at Shindand, close to where a U.S. helicopter crashed after test firing its weapons in the past week.
The squeeze is on.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/22/2004 02:34:00 PM
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The Diplomad has put up a very tasty piece about Ratman. It is very funny. In a diplomatic way.
Not to mention the punch line.
Which I won't.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/21/2004 01:15:00 PM
Sunday, December 19, 2004
A rout of Mullahs and Muftis and Musseins and Caids and Glaouis and Sheiks and Sultans and Holy Men and representatives of every conceivable Arab party make up the rank and file and attend the actual meetings from which the higher ups prudently abstain. Though the delegates are carefully searched at the door, these gatherings invariably culminate in riots. Speakers are often doused with gasoline and burned to death, or some uncouth desert Sheik opens up on his opponents with a machine gun he had concealed in the belly of a pet sheep. Nationalist martyrs with grenades up the ass mingle with the assembled conferents and suddenly ex- plode, occasioning heavy casualties.... And there was the occasion when President Ra threw the British Prime Minister to the ground and forcibly sodomized him, the spectacle being televised to the entire Arab World. Wild yipes of joy were heard in Stockholm. Interzone has an ordinance forbidding a meeting of Islam Inc. within five miles of the city limits.
Wm Burroughs - Naked Lunch - cira1950.
i.e. Nothing has changed
Posted by M. Simon at 12/19/2004 01:16:00 PM
I was reading the UC Alum magazine "Chicago" and came across this interesting article on a UC Alum, Richard Schroeder, who was a field agent in the CIA and now is a member of the board of advisors of the secret CIA spy museum. The article also has a list of shame of UC alums who have gone over to the dark side. The list includes Aldrich Ames and Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall. Katrina Leung also on the list is alleged to have sold secrets to the Chinese.
Schroeder reminisces about the glory days fighting the Communists.
Against the backdrop of the Cold War, “the hard targets were the Russians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and North Koreans,” Schroeder says. “You were really out there on the front lines.” The agency, he adds, expected spouses to join the fight, sometimes putting their careers on hold. “When we got to a new post,” Leah recalls in a recent e-mail, “I had to ‘reinvent myself,’ as Rick is fond of saying.” She helped maintain his cover story, volunteering and entertaining. He laughs, “I can remember showing a Russian KGB officer All the President’s Men.”He also has a bit to say about current events in the world of spies.
...Schroeder defends the CIA against criticism and denounces those who reveal officers’ identities for political reasons, as happened to Valerie Plame. He believes President Bush’s call for creating a director of national intelligence—part of a post-9/11 revamping effort—is unnecessary. “We already have one,” he says of the agency’s director of central intelligence who also has limited control over the larger information-collecting community.
Still, he knows the CIA and espionage have their faults: “It’s never perfect because it all deals with humans.” He’s not above wearing such a message on his sleeve at the agency’s gym—“My friends went to Iraq to look for WMD and all they found was this lousy T-shirt.” It’s a fashion statement, he concedes, not all his fellow exercisers appreciate.
To minimize mistakes and to make room for new recruits, intelligence officers eventually retire. For Schroeder, it’s just as well. “I don’t want to go out now and stand on the corner in the rain at midnight, meeting an agent,” he admits, then zooms off in his sports car to rendezvous with Leah in the Virginia suburbs.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/19/2004 09:40:00 AM
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe explains just how badly the Iraq operation was botched through the eye's of history:
Yes, it is. But liberations are often dangerous and turbulent, less clear-cut while they are happening than they later become in retrospect. There was chaos during the US occupation of Germany after World War II, and journalists were certain then too that military victory was being squandered through postwar blunders. In 1946, leading publications concentrated bad news in articles with headlines like "How We Botched the German Occupation" (Saturday Evening Post), "US seen 'fumbling' its job in Germany" (New York Times), and "Americans Are Losing the Victory in Europe" (Life).Jeff then goes on to describe the situation in Iraq from the Iraqi point of view. This was done by handing out hundreds of video cameras and then editing the tape into a movie:
"Voices of Iraq" is by turns heartbreaking, exhilarating, and inspiring. The war and its destruction is never far from the surface. One of the opening scenes is of a car bombing in Sadr City, and when a little girl is asked by her off-camera interviewer, "What do you want to tell the world about Iraq?" she answers poignantly: "These explosions are hurting everyone." A mother weeps for her son, killed in the crossfire during a fight between US soldiers and looters. There is even footage -- supplied, Drury told NPR, by a sheik from Fallujah -- of insurgents preparing a bomb.Jeff then ends on a more hopeful note:
But bad as the war is, the horror it ended -- Saddam Hussein's 24-year reign -- was worse.
In the film, a young Kurdish mother tells her daughter, who is wielding the camcorder, how she would burn herself with cigarettes to prepare for the torture she knew was coming. A policeman recalls what it was like to arrest a member of the Ba'ath Party. "You'd be scared," he says. "You'd shake with fear." One man explains that Saddam's son Uday "used to come often to Ravad Street -- every Thursday for the market -- to choose a girl to rape." A few brief clips are shown from a captured Fedayeen Saddam videotape: A blindfolded man thrown to his death from a rooftop, a man's hand getting severed, someone's tongue being cut out.
Iraqis haven't had much experience with democracy, but we see the delight they take in the new opportunities Saddam's defeat is making possible. Two women celebrate the freedom to get a passport. An artist talks proudly about work for which he went to prison. A young woman says her dream is to be a lawyer. And one rough-looking fellow says simply, "I wish for a government elected by the Iraqi people."So it may be that Iraq is not irredeemably botched after all.
Yes, it's a liberation. And the men and women we liberated, it turns out, are people just like us. The headlines dwell on the bad news, and the bad news is certainly real. But things are looking up in Iraq, as the Iraqis themselves will be happy to tell you. All someone had to do was ask.
Hat tip LGF.
I'm having one of my extended conversations with a lefty at Matt's place about where the Democrats need to face reality. Matt Y. is one of those "reality" left kinds of guys.
So one of the denizens of that pond challenged me "there is no such thing as med pot" he aproximately told me. Legalize or not was his position.
Here was my reply to him:
As to med pot:
On philosophical and even current research grounds I agree with you (are you familiar with the B. Lutz study of fear and the CB1 receptor?). I even agree with Dennis Peron that all use is medical use. Google - M. Simon drug - to read what I have learned. Or go to my site. I have a list of my drug articles on the side bar. It is quite exciting. I go into genetics, PTSD, the amygdala and more. I also cover all drugs not just pot. And food, and sex, and exercise, and stuff. But mostly the drug war.
All that aside in the minds of a significant part of the electorate there is med pot and recreational pot.
I'm somewhat of a gradualists. It is the best way to fight prejudice. One small part of a wrong belief at a time. So any way, I'd like to see med pot firmly established and then go on to win the next battle. I ain't getting everything I want all at once. Societies need time to adjust long established practices. Even bad ones.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/18/2004 04:14:00 PM
Friday, December 17, 2004
It seems Victor Davis Hanson is on my wave length.
If the moralizing Left wants to be taken seriously, it is going have to become serious about its own moral issues, since that is the professed currency of contemporary liberalism. Otherwise, the spiritual leaders who lecture us all on social justice, poverty, and truth will remain the money-speculator George Soros, the Reverend Jesse Jackson of dubious personal and professional ethics, and the mythographer Michael Moore. And we all know where that leads…
Just wanted to write to you and tell you another story about an experience we had over here.
As you know, I asked for toys for the Iraqi children over here and several people (Americans that support us) sent them over by the box. On each patrol we take through the city, we take as many toys as will fit in our pockets and hand them out as we can. The kids take the toys and run to show them off as if they were worth a million bucks. We are as friendly as we can be to everyone we see, but especially so with the kids. Most of them don't have any idea what is going on and are completely innocent in all of this.
On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street. This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge. The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.
As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK. The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road.
Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place.
It was the heart of an American that sent that toy. It was the heart of an American that gave that toy to that little girl. It was the heart of an American that protected that convoy from that mine. Sure, she was a little Iraqi girl and she had no knowledge of purple mountain's majesty or fruited plains. It was a heart of acceptance, of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through the inconveniences of conflict that saved that convoy from hitting that mine. Those attributes are what keep Americans hearts beating. She may have no affiliation at all with the United States, but she knows what it is to be brave and if we can continue to support her and her new government, she will know what it is to be free. Isn't that what Americans are, the free and the brave?
If you sent over a toy or a Marine (US Service member) you took part in this. You are a reason that Iraq has to believe in a better future. Thank you so much for supporting us and for supporting our cause over here.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/17/2004 05:33:00 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2004
It is my understanding that the people of Iran have decided to beautify their already pretty country by going on a street cleaning campaign. I'm told this is how they will do it:
They will be cleaning the streets with towels. Heads still attached.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/16/2004 06:26:00 PM
Faust tipped me to an excellent piece from the German newspaper die WELT.Some people over at Free Republic have done us the service of a very good translation. Here is a direct link to the translation of the von Mathias Döpfner article.
Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to agreements. Appeasement stabilized communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany in that part of Europe where inhuman, suppressive governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities. Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam's torture and machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush. A particularly grotesque form of appeasement is reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere by suggesting that we should really have a Muslim holiday in Germany.I expect very bad things from a Europe that prefers to sleep while trouble builds. It ia a very old Euro habit.
What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians and directed against our free, open Western societies. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than the great military conflicts of the last century -- a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation but only spurred on by such gestures, which will be mistaken for signs of weakness.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/16/2004 08:05:00 AM
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
James Fallows in the Atlantic Monthly does a war game to simulate relations with Iran. Their conclusion: given the set up of the game an attack by America on Iran is not in the cards.
But they do come up with one point to look for if America intends to provoke Iran into action without actually crossing any borders:
But the President had asked for a full range of military options, and unless his closest advisers were willing to go to him empty-handed, they needed to approve the steps that would keep all the possibilities alive. That meant authorizing the Department of Defense to begin expanding airfields, mainly in Azerbaijan, and to dedicate $700 million to that purpose.So to keep the American options open we must begin expanding the air fields around Iraq. They then go on to evaluate the consequences of such a move. Refering to the regime in Teheran:
This war game shows that expanding the air fields in Adjzerbajan would be a severe provocation. So severe that Iran would need to attack first.
"This is a paranoid regime," Kenneth Pollack said of Iran. "Even if the development of the Caucasus airfields … even if it weren't about them, they would assume it was about them. So that in and of itself will likely provoke a response. The Iranians are not inert targets! If they started to think we were moving in the direction of a military move against them, they would start fighting us right away."
Michael Mazarr, as Secretary of Defense, said he did not want the authority that was on offer to his department. "Tell the President my personal judgment would be the only circumstances in which we could possibly consider launching any significant operation in Iran would be the most extreme provocation, the most imminent threat," he said.
It is always good to be on the strategic offensive and the tactical defensive. It is the strongest position in war.
My guess is that in the coming war Iran will attack first. The first sign? Watch cement, rebar, and diesel futures go up in the Caucasus. A price spike in the price of wood. Especially plywoood.
In a country skitish about another war like the USA is currently it is always good to provoke the first strike. FDR kept squeezing the Japanese. What surprised him was the location and timing of the strike. Not the strike itself.
I do believe the Iranians will surprise us. Think Sinai '73. Then think Suez '73. America will not stop short of Cairo.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/14/2004 07:42:00 PM
Jerome Corsi of Swift Boat Veterans fame is coming out with a book in 2005 on the coming war with Iran. He wishes to prepare the American people.
WASHINGTON — Jerome R. Corsi, a leader of the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth campaign against former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry, is hard at work on his next political project: preparing American public opinion for what he sees as a likely war with Iran.I did a piece here near the beginning of October on Corsi and his relationship to a group of Iranian students: Corsi against Nemazee. An article refrenced at this link has a bit to say about the book Corsi was writing at the time.
"The world cannot tolerate the potential that these mad mullahs would have a deliverable nuclear weapon, even one, secretly developed," Corsi said in a recent interview. "They might just launch on Tel Aviv. The moment the world intelligence community becomes convinced that could happen, either the U.S. alone or the U.S. plus Israel or Israel alone will seriously contemplate a preemptive strike, and I'd be in favor of it."
Mr. Corsi is currently working on a new book that deals with terrorism, oil money and domestic U.S. politics. This book is expected to expose many individuals and will offer evidences of links between some high level members of the Democratic Party and circles affiliated with the terrorists and the tyrannical Islamic republic regime.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/14/2004 10:45:00 AM
Monday, December 13, 2004
Simple logic helps: If the FBI possessed a shred of credible evidence against AIPAC or any of its employees, one has to assume it would not have wasted millions of dollars trying to suborn a Pentagon employee to set the organization up.There is more in the article but that is the essence.
It appears one Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department drone under threat of losing his job, was compelled to pass "classified" documents to two AIPAC employees. The documents spelled out an immediate threat to Israelis supposedly in Iraq.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/13/2004 09:49:00 PM
Doglas Feith gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post:
The US hopes that Iran will follow Libya's lead in abandoning its nuclear program, but nobody should rule out the possibility of military action against Teheran's nuclear sites if it does not, US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview.I do not think the Iranians are going to go for it. Here is some proof they are playing with fire:
Feith stated that the US is now concentrating on "a process to try to get the existing international legal mechanisms – the nonproliferation treaty [and] the International Atomic Energy Agency – to work, to bring the kind of pressure to bear on Iran that would induce the Iranians to follow the path that Libya took in deciding that they were actually better off in abandoning their WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programs."
But strikingly, whereas British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last month ruled out any possibility of military action against Iranian nuclear sites should the diplomatic path lead to failure, Feith said that "I don't think that anybody should be ruling in or ruling out anything while we are conducting diplomacy."My prediction?
War in August.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/13/2004 09:16:00 PM
Here is a bit that didn't get much play when it came out about a week ago:
Hundreds of Iranian students gathered at the occasion of the official and governmentally sponsored "Students' Day", at the Tehran Technical University's amphitheater, in order to denounce the persistent repression in Iran and to request freedom. Thousands more gathered in the campus and in front of the university's doors.Now here is where the feminists should come in:
The protest action was made despite heavy security presence.
Slogans were shouted against the regime and its leaders during officials speeches, such as, the one made by Mohammad Khatami. "Freedom, Freedom!", "Enough lies", "Shame on you!", "Student is Angry, It's Rejecting Khatami!" were heard at several occasion forcing an angry and often threatening Khatami and other official speakers to cut each time their speeches.
Several female students protested against the mandatory veil, one of the basis of the regime's gender apartheid, by carrying placards condemning the chador and showing it as a prison for women (see attached pictures).Where are our feminist friends supporting their sisters? Against gender apartheid in Iran?
Posted by M. Simon at 12/13/2004 09:02:00 PM
Tribute to the troops.
This is a shockwave short feature about 4.5 Megs. Worth it even at 28.8
Posted by M. Simon at 12/13/2004 05:58:00 AM
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Strategypage has a nice recap:
December 11, 2004: Many Iraqi Shias are hostile to Iranian attempts to influence the upcoming parliamentary elections. This has resulted in some of the Iranian backed Iraqi political leaders getting threatened or killed. Iran, in the meantime, denies such interference. Iraqis know about the oppressive religious government in Iran and don't want religious police running around Iraq.There is more, go ye and read.
December 10, 2004: An increasing number of students, and young Iranians in general, are visibly fed up with attempts to peacefully reform the cleric dominated government. At the same time, the number of young men joining the Islamic militia forces has declined. The reformers still have the support of over two thirds of the population. But the Islamic conservatives still have the guns.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/12/2004 10:29:00 AM
I'm not talking about the cell phone bombs that are a Mossad specialty. The kind that give you a wake up call and a severe headache.
This is the cell phone revolution encroaching on North Korea. The information revolution. It is tearing at the control structures of North Korea.
North Korea is facing growing unrest propelled by uncontrolled movement of news via new cell phone networks. North Korea has always tightly controlled information. Radios must be manufactured so that they only receive government stations. Anyone found with a radio that can receive foreign stations is tossed into a labor camp, or worse. Few North Koreans have telephones, and fewer still have computers or Internet access. But several years ago, Chinese telephone companies began bringing cell phone service to areas along the North Korean border. At first, coverage was spotty. But a year ago, new transmission equipment was installed along the border, making it possible to use the Chinese cell phones all along the North Korean border.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/12/2004 09:38:00 AM
This received from an unidentified correspondent in the Department of Defense.
Recently I received a warning about the use of this politically incorrect term.
Please try to pay attention.
We have been informed that the Islamic terrorists do not like to be called "Towel Heads" since the item they wear on their heads is actually a small folded sheet.
Therefore, from this point forward, please refer to them as "little sheet heads."
Hat tip to Faust
Posted by M. Simon at 12/12/2004 08:21:00 AM
Friday, December 10, 2004
It is about the Free Speech Movement. I was there in '64. I was in the Navy at the time.
I especially liked the refrence to Bob Avakian.
I remember "Free Bob Avakian" spray painted on walls all over the Bay Area.
There is nothing quite like the early morning fog on Treasure Island. Especially as the sun burns it off and the Golden Gate Bridge becomes visible. ET school was there before it was move to Great Lakes.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/10/2004 02:56:00 PM
The Washington Times has a story about the Larry Franklin,AIPAC case. It is alleged that Larry through AIPAC was passing American secrets to the Israeli Embassy. It still seems to me that this is no ordinary espionage case.
In 2001, the FBI discovered new, "massive" Israeli spying operations in the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey, said one former senior U.S. government official. The FBI began intensive surveillance on certain Israeli diplomats and other suspects and was videotaping Naor Gilon, chief of political affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, who was having lunch at a Washington hotel with two lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby group. Federal law enforcement officials said they were floored when Franklin came up to their table and sat down.What is so strange about this is that after the Pollard Affair Israel claimed it undertook to shut down all spying efforts against America.
AIPAC has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the affair. In a public statement, the group said its continuing access to the White House and senior administration officials would be "inconceivable...if any shred of evidence of disloyalty or even negligence on AIPAC's part" had been discovered.So it looks to me like some one is playing a deep double game. This is especially true in light of the recently announced American/Israeli free trade zone. And the obvious alliance between America and Israel in the current war. Who benefits from a strain in American/Israeli relations?
.... a former federal law enforcement official said Israeli spying against the United States had been "widespread" for many years, and that during the Cold War, Israeli penetration of U.S. operations was second "only to the Soviet Union."Now the question is how such information going to an ally could damage American interests? In the normal course of events allies keep an eye on each other. Such spying is usually never considered serious and is often overlooked. There have been incidents of the British spying on America. This usually got a hand slap and a two to five year jail term if it ever came to official notice. The most notorius British spy, Kim Philby, who was actually a Russian Agent was officially the British liason with the CIA. Which would make him a mole rather than an ordinary spy.
"Few people realize that the Israeli Counterintelligence Desk at the Bureau was second in size only to the CI Soviet desk," he said.
A former very senior CIA counterintelligence official told UPI that in 1998-99, the CIA discovered an Israeli couple, who were subcontracted to a U.S. phone company, were working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.
"They did incredible damage -- they got incredibly sensitive data, including key words identifying individuals or projects," this source said, adding he himself gave the case to the FBI.
Perhaps the most notorious Israeli operation was the recruitment of Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, who was convicted in U.S. federal court and sentenced to life in prison for selling military documents to Israel. UPI reported in 1987, quoting FBI officials, the FBI had traced stolen Pollard data up into the Eastern Bloc where it was traded in return for the Soviet Union raising the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.This brings up a point I made earlier about this affair being an FBI effort to see that Pollard does not get released from prison.I had some ideas on this a few days ago.
In the Washington Times article a CIA man comments on the FBI:
Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief, who has good ties with law enforcement officials said, "The FBI was extremely displeased."Yet at the same time the Sibel Edmonds case of what seems like Arab infiltration of the FBI is going no where. From Anti-War.Com which I would normally consider the home of libertarian moonbats comes this recent bit by Edmonds:
An FBI consultant told United Press International: "The FBI were hopping mad. The FBI had been kicked very hard in their macho. They are very, very macho."
I have reviewed the recently released redacted and unclassified version of your department's audit of the FBI's Foreign Language Program. Your report helps to bring badly needed attention to serious problems within the FBI's translation department; problems that must be corrected for the department to be effective in its role on the frontline of the war on terror. As you are aware, over two years ago I reported serious issues and problems within the FBI's translation units, with serious consequences to our national security and the war on terror. I am still awaiting the results of your long due report on the specific cases and issues I reported to your office and to the United States Senate. On one hand, this report draws attention to the problem of the backlog of untranslated intelligence by putting forth shocking numbers. On the other hand, other equally or more serious problems with even more significant consequences were completely ignored. Inaccurate translations due to incompetence and/or intentional acts, intelligence sabotaged by high security risk translators with questionable loyalties, criminal activities ranging from serious security breaches to facilitating the acts of sabotage, corrupt hiring practices, and serious mismanagement are among those issues that greatly impact the reliability and integrity of intelligence gathered and analyzed on the front lines, for as you state in the report.Now my question in all this is: have our enemies compromised the FBI such that they turn a blind eye to Arab infiltration and instead focus on imaginary Israeli spies? Now here is an interesting Iranian connection to all this. The Edmonds letter goes on with a question:
What is the number of "translated documents/audio" that were inaccurately translated due to incompetence and unqualified translators?Curioser and curioiser.
Example 1: Three Iranian translators were given the task of translating sensitive intelligence (both audio and documents) in another Middle Eastern language for over five years. These translators were not qualified in that language (had no training, had no background) in any way, and repeatedly refused to submit to proficiency exams requested by FBI headquarters. The agent in charge of that particular Middle Eastern country repeatedly complained and then notified the FBI of the potentially dire consequences that could result from inaccurate translations performed by these translators. Tens of thousands of pages inaccurately translated (mistranslated) by these individuals over the years are considered translated in your audit and by the FBI, and are thus misleading. Exactly how many pages are these mistranslated documents/audio, which should be added to the backlog your report depicts, since these documents have to be reviewed/retranslated?
Roger Simon has more plus a link to this piece.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/10/2004 05:02:00 AM
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
In America we pride ourselves on the fact that we have eliminated almost all forms of arbitrary discrimination in our political and criminal justice systems. I think this is a good thing and in many ways makes America so much better than the rest of the world. For example it is very difficult no matter how long you or your ancestors have lived in Germany for a "non German" to become a citizen. The same is true in Japan and many other countries of the world. Adapting to the language and the laws of your adopted country is not enough if your heritage is not correct. It is attitudes like these that made the fascism of Germany and Japan so vicious. The fascism may be gone but many of the attitudes that spawned that fascism remain.
Yet America, improving though it is, is far from perfect. There is one form of discrimination that is very popular among the majority of Americans. That discrimination is no different from racism which is in effect a genetic discrimination. This discrimination that is so popular is also a genetic discrimination but it's marker is not as obvious as skin color. It's marker is addiction. To sex, to food, to alcohol, to tobacco, to illegal drugs. When it comes to those marked by genetics for a possible illegal drug addiction we come down on them with the full weight of the law. We put them in jail, we steal their property, we make them subject to what can only be called gestapo raids at 3 AM in the morning. And like the good Germans we are, not only do we say nothing for fear of the gestapo coming to our doors, some of us actually applaud this effort to make the country safer from the Jews. I mean addicts. The horror of the effort to eliminate the Jews of Central Europe is not that it was a crime unique to Germany. The horror is that given the right propaganda it can be done by any government any where. Even in America.
The genetics of addiction is a very interesting subject. There appears to be a number of genes involved depending on the addiction. In some cases there are not enough copies of a gene to protect the body from addiction. This seems to be the problem in the case of tobacco addiction and the TPH 779C alle. In addition a version of the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3-9) seems to protect people to some extent from tobacco addictions. Carriers of this gene who do start the tobacco habit find it easier to give up than those who have a different version. In addition those with the D 2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) in addition to the SLC6A3-9 gene had even fewer problems with tobacco.
Another interesting finding in relation to the tobacco metabolizing protein that is controlled by the CYP2A6 alle is that there are different types of that gene in the body depending on whether one is Caucasian, Asian, or African American. So we see that for tobacco "addictions" there may actually be racial differences that align with genetic differences.
Let us look at the mutation of another gene the FAAH 385. This gene helps produce an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). This enzyme is responsible for neutralizing cannabinoids that naturally occur in the body. These naturally occurring body chemicals are the same as the psychoactive component of marijuana. So the body can produce it's own marijuana and destroy it. All without the intervention of drug dealers and the police. Roger Pertwee, professor of neuropharmacology at Aberdeen University says that if you have a mutated copy of the gene you may need more cannibinoids than the body produces to feel normal. He says that this may be one of the reasons that cannabis use is so popular among ten to twenty percent of the population. He also says that genetics accounts for about one half of the nature of addiction.
Let us see if we can account for the other half. A study by the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich reported here and here shows that one of the functions of the cannibinoid system in the body is to help deal with painful memorizes. Now from an evolutionary stand point remembering painful memories can be very helpful if that memory keeps you out of further danger. It is also true though that remembering them for too long can paralyze the ability to act even when necessary. So it is good to remember the pain but generally it is also good, if the pain is not repeated, to gradually forget the memories so a person an "get over it" and get on with life. For some people without the cannibinoid receptor (in the study mice were used) or with out enough cannibinoid production or possibly a system that destroys the cannibinoids prematurely pain memories can be a problem.
In dealing with the human condition we now have a name for those who have problems dealing with long term pain memories. We call them PTSD sufferers. We see them as victims of war, domestic violence, child abuse, and on the job trauma such as firemen and police officers. We know that not all of them have trouble even with very painful memories and now we know why. There is not only a trauma component but also a genetic component.
So in the end it comes down to this. We are making war on people based on their genetics and their suffering. I can think of nothing so unAmerican and unChristian. And yet, sadly, it is not the first such episode in America. I think it is incumbent on us all to make sure it is the last.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/08/2004 07:59:00 AM
I think it is time to take a closer look at the biochemistry of heroin. Heroin is an opiate. Opiates are drugs that come from the opium poppy or are chemically similar to that drug. Included in that drug category are drugs such as morphine, heroin, and synthetic analogs such as Demerol, Methadone and OxyContin. Drugs in this family are excellent pain relievers and can be, among those genetically disposed, highly addictive.
Here is what we know about the biochemistry of those drugs. They bond to the endorphin receptors in the brain and by doing so relieve pain and give a sense of euphoria. In other words they make you feel good.
What is most interesting about the human body is that it will under various circumstances produce endorphins on it's own. The human body in other words is a drug factory. However it is best to keep this fact a secret in order to stay on the right side of the law. We certainly don't want police breaking down our doors at 3 AM just for feeling good.
So just to be on the safe side we need to find out under what circumstances the body produces these heroin like substances, these endorphins. One relatively hard way to get the job done is to exercise. Hard sustained exercise will cause copious endorphin production. This produces what is commonly known as runners high. In those so disposed it produces exercise junkies. These are no different from heroin junkies except for the source of the chemicals that fill the endorphin receptors. I guess this would make exercise machines drug paraphernalia. Not to worry. So far they are not illegal.
What else can we do to produce endorphins? Sex produces them. In huge amounts. It is one of the reasons that people who have just had sex have very dopey looks on their faces. They are in fact doped up. Of course there are the inevitable sex junkies who would rather make their drugs by sex rather than injecting them in a vein. At least there are no puncture wounds to give the sex addict away.
There are a number of other things you can do to get the body to produce endorphins, but I'd like to talk about the most popular among young and old, rich and poor, the well educated and the ignorant. Eating.
What foods are especially good at promoting endorphin production? Sugar is one. The sugar high is well known as are the withdrawal symptoms when the sugar levels in the body decline. This gives rise to the well known and widely remarked sugar addict. Another food type that is really good at promoting endorphin production are fats. This may be one of the reasons that our many fast food emporiums often provide the customer with a whole day's worth of fat in one sitting. It makes the customer feel good and like any junky the customer keeps coming back for more when the food fix wears off. Another great food that really supercharges the endorphin system is chocolate. With it's mix of sugar and fat it really cranks endorphin production. This is very popular among chocolate makers because it produces chocolate addicts who keep coming back for their next fix. The fast food and candy companies really do take advantage of the addictiveness of food. Once they get you started you really are hooked.
What does this tell us about how we regulate opiates in America?
Given the current popular understanding of addiction a Big Mac = a shot of smack.
This either points up the futility of the drug war or the need to greatly expand it. Please don't tell the DEA, because they may decide that controlling heroin is not enough to keep the so called "drug epidemic" in check. You may soon have agents patrolling the parking lots of fast food joints looking for eaters. We will all have to be on the lookout for food snitches and you may have to get a doctors prescription for a burger, shake, and fries. I suppose if it prevents one addiction it is worth it. At least that is what they tell us when heroin is involved.
It is almost enough to make you want to move to France.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/08/2004 01:48:00 AM
I was over visiting the Euro Pundits . Nelson the #1 Pundit on the site says the new Pirelli calendar is out and features four Brazilian girls.
The calendar is not work safe unless you are an Euro.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Martin Kramer has a number of interesting news links up at his site. I have already cribbed one or two. He deserves credit.
This particular article features a lefty teaching English in Damascus. A Kerry all the way supporter. He is surprised to hear this from his students:
I asked them if they knew who was nominated by the two main parties to run for president. "John Kerry was nominated by the Democratic Party, and George Bush was nominated by the Republicans," replied one of the brightest in the class, a veiled Muslim engineering student named Rahaf. "Very good," I said. "Now, who do you think will be elected?" "Bush," cried several of the students at once, smiling. Abandoning my lesson plan for the moment, but curious at this sudden display of interest in the election, I ventured: "Who do you want to win?" "Bush," said Rahaf, while a number of others nodded in solid agreement. I pressed them further for a few minutes, asking individual students why they liked Bush. The same ideas came up again and again: he is a strong leader, an honest man, and, most of all, a believer. Like the winning margin of American voters this year, these Middle Easterners related to Bush's sense of religious conviction and his confident steering of a nation and culture they admired.There is more. Read the whole thing.
"But doesn't he scare you?" I asked finally, unable to contain my personal feelings and throwing the lesson plan out the window. "Because of Bush's ideas many people in my country think that all of you are terrorists." Rahaf and most of the others just shrugged. Maybe that was all true, they said, but he was still a good president.
What this tells me is not every one in the Middle East is an enemy. For a number of different reasons people like Bush.
Osama had the "strong horse" theory down.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/07/2004 09:50:00 AM
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the FBI set up the American Israeli Public Affairs Comittee (AIPAC) in the "Franklin Affair" in which AIPAC was accused of transferring classified information to Israel.
FBI agents used a courier, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, to draw two senior AIPAC officials who already knew him into accepting what he described to them as "classified" information, reliable government and other sources intimately familiar with the investigation have told the Post.
One of the AIPAC pair then told diplomats at the Israeli Embassy in Washington about the "classified" information, which claimed Iranians were monitoring and planning to kidnap and kill Israelis operating in the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, the Post has been told.
It is unclear whether the "classified" information was real or bogus.
I wonder if this is some kind of back door effort to keep Jonathan Pollard in prison despite serving a sentence quite out of proportion to sentences usual in cases like his?
Posted by M. Simon at 12/07/2004 06:21:00 AM
Monday, December 06, 2004
Scientific American has a great article this month on the relationship of cannabioids, endocannabinoids, and long term pain memories and lots of other stuff about this important class of chemicals in the functioning of the brain.
Recent discoveries have also begun to precisely link the neuronal effects of endocannabinoids to their behavioral and physiological effects. Scientists investigating the basis of anxiety commonly begin by training rodents to associate a particular signal with something that frightens them. They often administer a brief mild shock to the feet at the same time that they generate a sound.Another study from the Max Plack Institute suggested this might be the case as well. I reported on it in August of 2002. At the time I was really excited because I thought that based on other stuff I had found that the keys to chronic drug use (what is often mistakenly called addiction) were being given to us. I discussed it here as well as here. It looks like I'm going to be vindicated sooner rather than later. Although we probably still have some ways to go.
After a while the animal will freeze in anticipation of the shock if it hears the sound. If the sound is repeatedly played without the shock, however, the animal stops being afraid when it hears the sound--that is, it unlearns the fear conditioning, a process called extinction. In 2003 Giovanni Marsicano of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich and his co-workers showed that mice lacking normal CB1 readily learn to fear the shock-related sound, but in contrast to animals with intact CB1, they fail to lose their fear of the sound when it stops being coupled with the shock.
The results indicate that endocannabinoids are important in extinguishing the bad feelings and pain triggered by reminders of past experiences. The discoveries raise the possibility that abnormally low numbers of cannabinoid receptors or the faulty release of endogenous cannabinoids are involved in post-traumatic stress syndrome, phobias and certain forms of chronic pain. This suggestion fits with the fact that some people smoke marijuana to decrease their anxiety. It is also conceivable, though far from proved, that chemical mimics of these natural substances could allow us to put the past behind us when signals that we have learned to associate with certain dangers no longer have meaning in the real world.
Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has some thoughts.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/06/2004 11:37:00 AM
Here is an interesting article on how we fight. It covers a number of topics including Ambush,
and Green Troops
plus quite a few more.
Here is what to do when the enemy booby traps corpses.
'The enemy was known to booby-trap their own dead...The way to combat this...trick was to always use a covering team, which would aim at the suspected dead man while the search was being conducted...Then, if available, a rope...would be placed around the body so that it could be dragged off the grenade without killing any of the search team.Here is a bit about city fighting:
The last method used to search the dead was to physically pick up the body and...slam it back down...giving the grenade spoon time to fly and...using the body to absorb the explosion.'
from: The Monk and the Marines
p107 'You find yourself moving down one side of a street being careful where you put your feet...all is quiet except for the clink of gear as the men move.'
Hat tip: Faust
Posted by M. Simon at 12/06/2004 04:39:00 AM
Friday, December 03, 2004
By 1949, three years after Winston Churchill warned that an "iron curtain" had descended across Europe, Schlesinger could write in The Vital Center: "Mid-twentieth century liberalism, I believe, has thus been fundamentally reshaped ... by the exposure of the Soviet Union, and by the deepening of our knowledge of man. The consequence of this historical re-education has been an unconditional rejection of totalitarianism."This time I think the answer is no. We do have a deepening understanding of the nature of man. DeSoto in"the Mystery of Capitalism" shows that man is by nature a capitalist animal. I think this understanding is fundamental.
As much as I truly hate many of the social policies of Bush - he gets it. His "Opportunity Society" initiatives are in harmony with what we have learned from DeSoto. He wants to make everyone who is interested an owner. There is no way a society can rail against "the capitalists" if everyone is an owner.
As to confronting the fascists there is no doubt that Bush has set us on a path similar to the path Churchill suggested in 1947 with his "Iron Curtain" speech. Bush has set the path for the next 50 years at least with his "Axis of Evil" speech.
And where are our friends on the left on these issues? For all practical purposes they have excommunicated Joe Lieberman who is in line with what we now know about the nature of man. Joe is in fact for the most part unwelcome in his own party. Every time I bring Joe up with my leftist friends he gets slammed in no uncertain terms as "not a real Democrat". I think this points out that what I suggested in "the Death of Socialism" is right on track. The left is wedded to fascism as a means and socialism as an end. I think this was best explained by Hayek in "the Road to Serfdom" as the natural end of socialism.
Those great Democrats like Harry Truman, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and Walter Reuther saved the Democrats temporarily from the slide into fascism. They for a time managed to square the circle. They struggled to keep their socialist ends without fascist means. They did the impossible. There are in this day and age no Democrats of such extrodinary ability and stature. Doing the impossible is no longer an option.
And so it looks like the Democrats have joined the other side. Their slide is slow now but inexorable. Reports after the election show that although Bush got only 52% of the vote 56% of the electorate is satisfied with the outcome.
The Democrat Party is now for all practical purposes dead. The odds of shock therapy reviving it are small. The Democrats of 1949 are a dying breed. They are not reproducing. As Zell Miller said, his principles have not changed. It is his party which has changed.
To which I'd like to add, "I'm a liberal, not a leftist". As a liberal I support Bush on the war against fascists and in his economic initiatives. I intend to fight him tooth and nail on what I call his Republican Socialism. His attempt to force his religion down our throats. His anti-gay initiatives. His drug war. His idea that sex education ought to be based on faith. I will support him on the war against fascism and the Opportunity Society. At this point in the transition in American politics I'd have to say that two out of three ain't bad. In time the middle will re-assert itself and Republican Socialism will decline. I trust America. The greatest country on the face of the earth. Those standing with Bush on the war and economics will be counted as not just the Greatest Generation but as "the Greater Generation" because we did what we had to do despite having to fight fascist lovers not only abroad but at home as well. Who stands with us now stands for all time on the side of the good against the side of evil. If you look at our numbers they are small in relation to the world. We will none the less prevail.
So again let me leave you with the new war cry of the middle, "I'm a liberal, not a leftist".
Posted by M. Simon at 12/03/2004 01:10:00 PM
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet yesterday called for new security measures to guard against attacks on the United States that use the Internet, which he called "a potential Achilles' heel."I agree with George about our Internent vulnerability. I disagree that we need more "governance and control" to solve the problem.
"I know that these actions will be controversial in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society with no control or accountability," he told an information-technology security conference in Washington, "but ultimately the Wild West must give way to governance and control."
The way the Internet was built might be part of the problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said.What George is saying is that the Inherent Design of the internet is not compatible with infrastructure security. Duh.
Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously, he said.
What we actually need is less stupidity.
What we need to do is to provide more security for our networked systems. The Internent is not the answer to infrastructure control problems. It is inherently insecure. As a controls engineer I have been arguing this point for at least five years. Well before 9/11.
Wiring up a factory to use the Internet Protocol (IP) for in factory and inter factory control is a stupid idea. Since the IP is well understood using it to destroy a facility would be rather easy. Nothing new to learn except the control settings of the individual factory or company.
Worse is controlling a factory with wireless internet. With that kind of setup you don't have any fire wall between your operations and the outside world. In fact you don't even need to know IP or wireless protocols to cause trouble. All you need is a jammer to bring a factory to its knees. And the jammer need not be on continuously. An intermittent jammer could wreak havoc with sensitive factory processes.
Some current and future aircraft designs are using IP as a communications protocol instead of a custom one. Aircraft. Stupid.
My prescription: all factory intercommunication ought to be done with custom protocols done over hard wires or better yet fiber optic cable. Control functions need to be separated from data collection. Fire walls are essential - several levels of fire wall in fact.
This does not need new Internet rules or governance. It just needs an end to stupidity.
Tell the neighbors.
As soon as I can find a worthwhile topic or two.
I have some ideas.
Inspired by this.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/03/2004 01:58:00 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Unable to either understand or transform the world, the Left predictably lost its bearings. It was entirely predictable that they would seek to explain their repeated defeats by claiming fraud, or dissing their own candidates, or blaming the stupidity of the electorate. Their cries of pain and rage echo those of past elites who looked forward and saw the abyss. There is no more dramatic proof of the death of the Left than the passage of its central vision — global democratic revolution — into the hands of those who call themselves conservatives.Now I'm having this ongoing e-mail argument with a lefty and I keep going back to the idea that the left of 40 years ago stood for deposing tyrants. He never has an answer for that. Ledeen has it right. The left is no longer progressive. At least in the way it once was. They now take what was once the conservative position. Leave the bad guys alone. It is expensive and it will just annoy them if we keep pushing for change.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/02/2004 05:01:00 PM
I was discussing the drug war over at The Captains Quarters and the subject of the B. Lutz study of cannabinoids, mice and fear came up.
I'm going to recap a lot of what I said there here so if you want to continue the discussion I'm available.
If drugs cause addiction it is wise to keep them tightly regulated or even prohibited.
If drugs do not cause addiction (as a DEA pamphlet on pain stated - before the pamphlet was withdrawn at DEA insistance to the chagrin of the team of Doctors who wrote it) then this whole fighting drugs is non-sense.
IWe are gaining knowledge about drugs. That knowledge is pointing to a two factor theory. Chronic drug use is caused by severe trauma and a genetic susceptability. Protiens in the amygdala.
If that is the case we are fighting something that does not exist. If the common explanation that drugs cause addiction is wrong.
Heroin in fact was initially thought to be non-addictive because the first ten people it was tried on had no interest in continued use. People not in pain do not like the effects of pain relievers.
If it is chronic pain locked in the amygdala that causes chronic drug use then the fight against drugs is not only a waste. It is a persecution of people in pain.
I'm probably not Christian enough to understand why persecuting people in pain is a good idea.
Science: Endocannabinoids extinguish bad memories in the brain.
"Dr. Pankaj Sah, a neuroscientist at the Australian National University in Canberra said in a comment the latest findings may explain why some people with psychiatric problems try to find relief with marijuana. He suggested that people with certain psychiatric problems perhaps are self-medicating in an attempt to help their brains extinguish some painful or traumatic memory or thought."
OTOH B. Lutz who did the study thought marijuana was not specific enough. Anecdotal evidence suggests that though not specific it does work.
From the same url another bit of news you will not be hearing from the "marijuana is not medicine" crowd.
"(2) The possible role of endocannabinoids in the inhibition of colon cancer growth was examined in healthy and cancer tissue obtained by means of biopsy from humans. Both healthy and cancer colon tissue expressed CB1 and CB2 receptors. Anandamide and 2-AG levels in colon cancer tissues were about twice as high as in healthy colon tissue. Moreover, anandamide dose-dependently inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells, which was blocked by a CB1 receptor antagonist. (Abstract by Vinzenzo di Marzo et al.)"
Think of all the people that prohibition has killed. Because prohibition killed the research into how cannabinoids might be useful in medicine.
I know a Navy man with Crohn's Disease. A very painful ailment.
He smokes pot like a chimney.
This article explains how colon inflamations can be relieved with cannabanoids. It is a .pdf
He is probably helping ease his pain with pot. Not in a general way - although for some it does that. But specifically.
The research was not done in America.
Here is the proper link to the brain study done by B. Lutz on fear, cannanoids, and mice.
He has two different kinds of mice genetically. Those that quickly forget what he calls fear. What I call pain. And another strain that does not forget so quickly.
As I have said a two factor deal. Trauma and genetics.
You know if it wasn't illegal the stuff would be considered a wonder medicine.
And of course our fabulous American drug companies are interested in preventing all research that shows the good pot can do through the government's moral crusade against all drugs. And pot too. (what is called in political economics the Baptists and Bootleggers phenomenon)
And they are supporting this government effort because we have to be able to differentiate between "ethical drugs" which pharmaceutical companies sell and those nasty street drugs (the unethical kind) sold by street dealers and pushers.
They really, really, want to protect you from unethical drugs. Really.
It has nothing to do with rent seeking.
Really. Just ask them.
Short Final has some thoughts on the subject.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/02/2004 09:32:00 AM
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
I got an e-mail the other day suggesting I visit this site and learn more about the Ezekiel Water Project. (there is an outstanding picture at this url)
It seems like a very good idea. Take water from the Mediterranian and let it flow into the Dead Sea which is 400 meters below sea level.
It is called the Ezekiel Project because the prophet Ezekiel saw this in a dream 2,500 years ago.
Ezek 47:3-12The project would renew the Dead Sea. Allow aqua culture. Generate electrical power. And enable the construction and powering of desalinization plants.
3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in-a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?"
All in all a very good deal.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/01/2004 02:24:00 PM
The ratchet just clicked another notch in America's move towards war with Iran.
Bush reiterated U.S. demands that the suspension must be verifiable.
"I viewed yesterday's decision by the Iranians as a positive step, but it is certainly not the final step and it is very important for whatever they do to make sure that the world is able to verify the decision they have made," Bush said.
"It is taking a long time to get to the stage where Iran is willing to suspend," he added.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/01/2004 09:11:00 AM
Here is a piece I did for Winds of Change when Joe was just starting to have guest bloggers.
Let me start this little essay with an idea. A very simple idea. An idea that strikes at the very heart of the drug war and its moralistic foundation. The very idea that those who use unapproved drugs are the lawful subjects of religiously motivated government persecution.
What we call addiction is in fact self-treatment of undiagnosed pain. I know from experience that this idea is hard to accept, so let's talk about some concrete examples.
Take this article, for instance: "Experts say U.S. soldiers likely will suffer emotional trauma." This article discusses the shell shock (now called PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) that will need to be dealt with in the aftermath of the war. This issue has never been a factor in the post war reconstruction from previous wars. In so many ways, we are doing much better in this war than previous wars. What this article fails to mention is that a lot of PTSD sufferers turn to drugs such as pot, heroin, or alcohol to ease their pain. The Israelis get it and are trying to do something about it.
Soldiers aren't the only ones with this problem. We also have victims of sexual abuse. About 70% of female heroin users are victims of sexual abuse.
Police have this problem as well. It causes drug use, alcoholism, and divorce. It is a huge problem for them.
This whole drug enforcement and anti-tobacco regime amounts to a kind of genetic discrimination against pain sufferers. Some people get over their PTSD in a short amount of time. For others the problem is life-long. The time it takes for pain memories to decay depends on the severity of the trauma and the genetic make up of the individual. About 20% of the population can have long term problems.
Here are some good articles on the decay of pain memories. It varies with the level of pain and the genetic makeup of the individual. All humans show fear reactions to dangerous situations. However, in the case of one out of ten people (surprisingly the same percentage of people who are susceptible to substance addiction) the fear does not die down in the absence of the dangerous situation. The fear stays at debilitating levels even in the absence of danger. These people have a definite, if ordinarily invisible problem.
Here is what the professionals think. What they think is that there are two components of addiction (as opposed to habituation which is a short term phenomenon and is fixed by a detox regimen) trauma and genetic susceptibility.
Of course, if as I posit addiction is just another form of self treatment for pain, then what the DEA is doing is simply malicious rather than helpful. That concept comes through most clearly when The DEA makes war on sufferers of physical pain to "protect" them and others from addiction... for example, their prosecution of "medical marijuana" cases where the drugs are used by cancer and AIDS patients. I contend that the difference between these cases and "ordinary" addiction is merely one of circumstance.
Look at what people other than drug addicts do for their pain. Think endorphins. Think runners high. Think food. Greasy sugary food. It ain't pretty.
On Wednesday, you heard what a police officer familiar with all the above material had to say about the drug war.
The drug war is unwinable. People in pain will do almost anything to relieve their pain. That's why torture gets confessions. Even untrue confessions.
Drugs are about relief from pain. Any one who believes that after 80+ years of fruitless effort we can now succeed in reducing the flow of drugs is delusional. All we accomplish is to provide a price support mechanism for drugs, which by its very nature funnels significant funds to all kinds of criminals and terrorists.
The whole drug business is a perfect example of socialism vs capitalism. The capitalists are winning. Supply always meets demand at a price. No surprise there. What is so surprising is that so many pro-capitalists support the socialist system of prohibition. Ironic. Do they misunderstand the nature of drugs, or the nature of capitalism?
Posted by M. Simon at 12/01/2004 06:23:00 AM
I was visiting Jane Galt's where she was discussing the dysfunctions of the poor.
What surprised me was her complete misunderstanding of why people chronically take drugs. Here is my response to her article.
Uh. People take pain relievers chronically to relieve chronic pain. PTSD mostly.
The #1 cause of PTSD in civilian populations is physical and sexual abuse of children.
The chronic pain caused by the abuse could probably be best dealt with by teacing people the cause and letting them get the drugs that give them relief at reasonable prices.
Such a sea change in our understanding and dealing with the issues of chronic drug use are very unlikely to be dealt with any time soon. For the same reason that contraceptives were such a hot button issue for so long.
People believe in addiction and do not wish to have the beliefs of a life time overturned.
In addition overturning the belief in "addiction" would mean that a lot of folks who think of themselves as caring compassiionate people would have to face the fact that they have been persecuting victims of what amounts to childhood torture.
This has been a hobby horse of mine for a very long time. The connection between child abuse and chronic drug use was first brought to my attention by Dr. Lonnie Shavelson.
There are also various mental health departments in Massachusets that explicitly make the connection and teach the facts to various police departments.
The trouble is there is no national conciousness of these facts. The above article is ample proof of that fact.
Instead of trying to heal or at least ameliorate the pain of the abused the prescription is to house them in mental health facilities against their will.
Drug prohibition is morally one of the ugliest things America is doing. And it has exported that ugliness to the rest of the world.
There is no doubt that by now those in a position to know do know the facts. The truth is out there.
If you want to learn more Google - PTSD drug. If you want to read some of what I have had to say on the subject add - M. Simon - to the search.
Posted by M. Simon at 12/01/2004 05:05:00 AM