August 31, 2013
How Obama could deal with Syria. Play the long game and make Assad do it. Invasion seems pointless. Everyone appears to be at war with everyone else – want to join in? Get the chemical weapons out of the equation
President Obama drew a red line in the sand and to maintain any dignity he has to make good his threat. That is yesterday’s thinking. The need to retaliate for the use of chemical weapons by someone in Syria points to one thing. Syria has illegal weapons and he needs to be made to get rid of them. Not by invasion, that is too expensive. Not by trying to blow Damascus into the ground – you would kill large numbers of civilians, too.
But by negotiation. Imagine this?
President O: President Assad, you are guilty of possessing chemical weapons and they are being used. We suggest that you have lost control of your weapons and are therefore now a danger to the world. You have to now stop your war and we have to destroy your weapons or the world will force my hand and we will have to hunt you down. Your crimes against humanity are well documented, both before and largely since the war.
President A: We will never hand over our weapons. If you attack us, we will defend ourselves.
President O: We have heard that one before, and look what our generals did to Saddam. Now we have nothing against the good people of Syria. We have a problem with you harbouring and allowing or using deadly gas against any people. We can destroy them safely and if you hand them over now, we will do it for no charge and help the new Government rebuild.
President A: I will never agree to this.
President O: Then I would not stand so close to the window, Bashar. [CLICK!]
Twenty years ago, that would be pure paranoid conspiracy. Today, that is probably how this will pan out. Bombing Damascus would simply be sad. It is not the fault of the inhabitants. Destroy Syrian air=power – now if that was achieved then more chemical weapon attacks would be a significant risk. The only strategy is to force the most influential actor in this, Assad, to rid Syria of Chemical Weapons so when he inevitably faces trial for his crimes against humanity, there would be something positive in the balance.
August 24, 2013
Extraordinary and very interesting Maori TV Documntary that explains what “land occupation” really means for one of the original native tribes of Brazil.
August 13, 2013
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city
– NY Times
This stop and frisk is seen by many city officials as the central driver behind a reduction in murders as a direct result of the removal of many weapons from circulation. That officers would stop and frisk people based on their race is racial profiling, but if it is the weapons that they are going for and they are found to dominate in certain communities and not others.q
In this way the Second Amendment is limited in that some are not welcome to carry weapons when others are but that seems the face of it.
The nature of the ground underneath us is that it is not the singularly solid mass we perceive. Our point of view is relatively spec like tiny and the size even of a country is hard to encompass as a personal experience. There is a lot of ground underneath us and drilling out ancient residues and making big empty caves may result in a few ground sinks but what are the effects of explosions followed by mass removal of part of the ground that we live upon?
To pretend there is definite scientific evidence that there are absolutely no risks of earthquake or ground damage is the stance of the Prime Minister. His advisors clearly are very pro-fracking and have said that there are documents that show there are minimal risks. I am sure that someone has studied them properly.
Now. it would only take a fairly minor earthquake – about 6 on the Richter scale – and thousands would be killed. The underground could be affected, it could be wrecked. Overnight London would cease to function. It may happen anyway, but fracking means letting off explosives underground and removal of solid matter that supports us. It probably will not cause earthquakes but the fear in the average person may turn to fury if something does go wrong.
There simply needs to be published proof that fracking poses no threat and not lurch into an industrial scale venture that many are convinced that may destroy entire communities,
The Prime Minister has a responsibility to do more than promote this as economic miracle – he needs to convince the electorate that the economic plans of multi national companies do nothing that endangers the lives of any citizens of the land.
If you search for the wonderful headline Quake Britain: UK overdue a massive tremor that could kill scores of people at any moment, warn experts you will find an article all about it.
August 2, 2013
President Obama told key members of Congress on Thursday that he was “open to suggestions” for reforming the National Security Agency surveillance programs that have embroiled his administration in controversy. Guardian article
President Obama wants to pull back the NSA’s far too extensive phone tap of the world and internet.
It is uneconomic activity. American values are offended by this data collection. The rest of the world is now in fear of the totalitarian juggernaut overwhelming the world with its moral values. In the last seven years it has prevented one terrorist attack. Acts of love and kindness may have well prevented another, natural causes may have prevented another, and the predator assassinations of the Al Quaeda leadership may have prevented a larger number of terrorist attacks. But if you spent the billions this programme must be costing on education, health, foreign aid and development and energy you would save far more lives.
Yes aid has been argued against as the results of it may not always be progressive. The tax system has not always benefitted the individual or hospitals always saved lives, but water and food production internationally is about to become increasingly significant in the future wars which will not be about religion.
The NSA data collection of intimate details of our private lives is every bit as scary as terrorism. And this incredible investment could be driven into into energy renewables that could slow the fatal decline into the global weather catastrophe that will lead to mass starvation and sunken cities.
August 1, 2013
If the USA is actually spying on all internet activity then they will know this probably before you read it. The difference here is that you do not work for the NSA or have to read thousands of pages or scan mountains of material before you can go home, mentally exhausted from exposure to so many secrets it would do your head in. Somehow when you wake up in the morning you are ready, on time every days for work. The spy sat system notices however that today you change your route and computations that the master programmer called threat assessment comes into sharp play. That such an international abrogation of privacy exists we can thank history.
Not the bit of oft quoted, most revered document in America, The Constitution. It allowed for constitutional amendments. But lets juts say that I am not much of an American expert, but this is not the profile of the American species. It is the isolation of “Americans” as different to others that is the symptom of colonial empire rule. A deeply personal inner belief keeps reassuring me that they all know what they are doing. But rationality tells me that is simply not the case. On one side there are sadistic warriors who are so extremely fascist in their reputation and actions. And on the other wide the technocratic military might Because of war there is much money to be made, witness the bulging opium trade out of Afghanistan. The huge amount spent on weapons world wide. And what does it achieve, Syria has devastated their cities for no reason other than the Government would not respond to a citizen protest.
This entire spying on the human race exercise is not a surprise. America has always stretched the boundaries of what is possible the most efficiently in the past. They may not be doing very well at the moment but how much is that due to the wars on its plate (mainly Afghanistan) which unlike Iraq, was justifiable. Yes those Predators are truly a breach of humanity if not other conventions, but less civilians have died as a result of their use than have from large scale warfare to eliminate the leaders of a terrorist outfit or by whatever name they decide is appropriate to their enemies.