International and Interstellar, News Update

Here’s the “remainder” for the week.  Just a short blurb and be done with it.

No fence yet for W from Big D.

Former President George W. Bush is officially living in Dallas, as our own Lori Stahl reports.

But a security gate scheduled to be erected on Daria Drive near in Bush’s Preston Hollow home on cul-de-sac Daria Place has yet to go up on the public street.

In fact, Dallas officials say, Bush’s camp has yet to submit gate plans to City Hall’s public works and transportation department — a necessary step before its installation.

Hmmm…him without a gate and me with all these old shoes…what to do…what to do…

Fix the Electric Box. Currently I’m stuck on 14, but should get it eventually.

The Earth as the Moon. Have you ever been on a satellite and seen the Earth eclipse the Sun?  Now you have, thanks Japan!  [peep the video…yes…the Sun is that bright.]

The Galaxy may be full of “Earths”.

The focus of the mission is finding planets in a star’s habitable zone, an orbit that would ensure temperatures in which life could exist. Video Watch a NASA scientist explain the search for habitable planets »

Boss, who serves on the Kepler Science Council, said scientists should know by 2013 — the end of Kepler’s mission — whether life in the universe could be widespread.

Finding intelligent life is a very different matter. For all the speculation about the possibility of other civilizations in the universe, the question remains: If the rise of life on Earth isn’t unique and aliens are common, why haven’t they shown up or contacted us? The contradiction was famously summed up by the physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950 in what became known as the Fermi paradox: “Where is everybody?”

The answer may be the vastness of time and space, scientists explained.

“Civilizations come and go,” Boss said. “Chances are, if you do happen to find a planet which is going to have intelligent life, it’s not going to be in [the same] phase of us. It may have formed a billion years ago, or maybe it’s not going to form for another billion years.”

Luckily, there’s more “people” on this planet than you can ever meet and more organism than you can ever study, so we’re pretty much set as it is.

Heading over the Pakistan…it’s getting shaky.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld bans on former prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, from elected office.

Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party holds power in Punjab province. His brother is chief minister but must now step down.

Nawaz Sharif accused President Asif Ali Zardari of being behind the ban.

Mr Sharif said it was because he would not back down in his campaign to have judges sacked by ex-president Pervez Musharraf reinstated.

The hard part about this one is that it is the new judges that made the ruling.  D’oh!

What to do?

Riot!!!

Thousands of supporters of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif protested in Pakistan Thursday, angered over a court decision banning him and his brother from elected office.

Sharif denounced the Supreme Court ruling, blamed President Ali Asif Zardari, and called for more protests at a rally near the eastern city of Lahore in Punjab province. Around 20 lawmakers gathered outside the Punjab provincial assembly were detained.

Smaller protests also erupted in the capital, Islamabad, where police fired tear gas at a mob trying to block the highway to Punjab province.

[full story]

Pakistan is on the brink.  Believe it.

Japan is sending the ninja after the pirates. You may have thought we put all the ninja to bed during WWII, which we did.  But ninja are tougher than that.

An anti-piracy bill that the government plans to submit to the Diet early next month will enable the use of force by Japan in deterring pirate activities, it has emerged.

The move is expected to spark controversy as the use of force is prohibited under the Constitution. The Self-Defense Forces’ use of force during overseas deployment has been limited to legitimate self-defense and averting imminent danger.

Under the bill, Japanese vessels and foreign vessels will be protected under the anti-pirate measures. Coast guard officials will play a major role in cracking down on pirate activities, and the SDF will only assist them in cases that are beyond the control of the coast guard.

The government seeks to apply Article 7 of the law governing policemen in the line of duty, which enables police officers to use force in order to attack suspects in heinous crimes when they resist or try to flee. By applying the article of the law, the officials to be dispatched for anti-pirate activities will be allowed to use force against pirate ships that refuse orders to stop.

Gotta love loopholes (in bold).

Japan’s PM is also in a bit of hot water for (admitting to) losing to the Americans.

Prime Minister Taro Aso will not retract his remarks that World War II started with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, it has emerged.

The government decided in a Tuesday Cabinet meeting not to correct remarks that Aso made in a video interview for the Dec. 4, 2008 edition of the Aso Cabinet’s weekly e-mail magazine.

In the interview, Aso remarked: “World War II began with the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, but perhaps no one at that time could have imagined that we would have the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty a decade later.”

Sure, WWII actually started with Hilter invading Poland in Europe and all that, but for us and the Japs, the Day of Infamy was the real start of Global Conflict: The Sequel.

Mass layoffs in January.

WASHINGTON – Employers took a large ax to their payrolls in January, the government said Wednesday, and the cuts are likely to get worse over the next few months.

The Labor Department reported that mass layoffs, or job cuts of 50 or more by a single employer, increased to 2,227 in January, up almost 50 percent from the same month last year. More than 235,000 workers were fired in last month’s cuts.

There is a ticking time bomb here, and it’s when these workers unemployment runs out.  If they can’t find jobs, any jobs, by then…things get nasty…quickly.

Oh, and I wanted to do something about this story. It’s actually a really big story…something I need to read a bit more about.  I’ve lived through some of it personally, and investigated professionally (yea…I know this one) another bit of it.  Need to take some time to tell the story correctly.  Maybe this weekend, but it’s a big part of Chapter 11 in my book.  And yes, I’m probably going to quote that article in the my chapter.  It came along right when I wanted it, curiously enough.

And there’s another one making the rounds about a new diet study that says, basically, you are energy and if you eat more energy than you burn, you will get fatter.  If you eat less, you will lose weight, which is painful.  Story at 11.

A Bit or Twenty About My Political Views

[this is an excerpt from a private conversation with a friend, who wish to remail anonymous, I think]

This is a much more civilzed conversation, but I really do prefer to have these conversations in public, as, you know…I’m a struggling writer. Really struggling.

To summarize…I’m not a Democrat and don’t follow their agenda. I saw Obama admitted a mistake with Dashle, which is why I like Obama. Bush couldn’t think of a mistake he made after four years…which was a sad joke.

I think both Cavuto and Olbermann are loud mouthed windbags who treat politics like college football. Cavuto is damn near retarded and Olbermann is a pompous windbag.

I enjoy watching and responding to, the Sunday morning talkers. NPR is one of the better sources of info. I usually scan Google News, which is run by an AI and then research from there to do my writing.

I don’t think News and Opinion should be mixed, which is why I think Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. are a joke. Cronkite could say more with the raise of an eyebrow than most of these modern schlubs can say with a ten minute rant. All of them are first and foremost a BUSINESS and in the media game to make money. They are not after Truth, at all, they go after ratings, which is why they suck.

I blame Bush and Cheney for making a series of huge strategic blunders that pushed our country to bankruptcy. That was the goal of AQ, BTW, to bankrupt the country. It worked. Bush is an anti-intellectual fool who picked party over principle again and again and again. He picked image over substance and should be in jail for endorsing and pushing torture.

Morals are still important. 9/11 didn’t change that. We’ve killed tens, if not hundred of thousands of innocent people in response. That, I feel, is very immoral.

I’m against torture because I have friends in the military. I also believe in the Golden Rule, as it has been “discovered” by every major religion on the planet. If one endorses torture for others, they endorse it for their friends. I don’t want anyone tortured and think there are much better ways to get information. Study how we “interrogated” German and Japanese Generals during WWII for some good examples.

I can, and have, sat down with people, been honest with them, and have had them telling me their secrets in under 20 minutes. Torture only makes people tell their torturers what the tortoree thinks their torturers want to hear. It’s not a good avenue to get at the truth. It’s torture, and it’s wrong. No matter who does it. Jack Bauer is a fictional character and a number of lecturers at the U.S. War College had to make a public statement about it, because of bunch of keyboard commandos think we should torture more people.

It won’t work, and you also might want to read up on the Japanese we executed for war crimes after they water-boarded Americans. It’s just not right. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” He got assassinated for that view.

I’m not a big fan of Clinton. He sold his soul to be President. Watch, or read “Primary Colors” to see how that worked.

I’m currently reading McClellen’s book on Bush, and consider it to be one of the more accurate readings on what went on in that White House.

I’ve also read two of Obama’s books, and consider him to be a very intelligent, very well read, and very good leader. I don’t agree with the Limbaughian traitorous stance that seems to be dominating the GOP. I also think “Joe the Plumber” is a tard and have written extensively about him.

I’m curious about your view of Islam, which I have a great deal of respect for, and am also critical of in my book.

BTW, would you like to buy a book? I hate to give my writings aways for free to people, as I believe them to have real value. I am an independent thinker, and wish to stay that way.

Regardless, I hope this finds you well. And I VERY MUCH appreciate the more respectful tone this conversation now has.

Peace,
-Roy

Regarding World War II and the Great Depression

I put together a video of an argument last night that I would like to share with you.

If you are a youngin’ and completely lacking in historical context, here’s a bit of it…

That’s it for now, as I went out and about after finishing the video and am now somewhat incapable of consistent coherent thought. I might flesh out the argument tomorrow with more typing, but I hope the video speaks for itself.   If you have any questions, please feel free to put them forth.

UPDATE: Here’s another video of some of the destruction of Germany.  The text of the video makes it VERY clear that the entire purpose of the U.S. bombing campaign was the destroy Germany’s industrial infrastructure.  It was the destruction of the Germans and French and Russians and English and Japanese and Italians and Chinese that allowed the U.S. to establish a naturally advantageous (i.e. still in existence after the war) industrial and economic position that persisted for nearly 60 years.

BTW, this fortuitous situation also fed into the “Project For a New American Century” and their plans to keep this dominance going for another 40 or 100 years.  As we all know now, the centerpiece of that global strategy, invading and controlling IRAQ, was a clusterfuck of such massive proportions it has greatly accelerated the trend to a more level playing field.  Which is to say, screwing up Iraq will be seen in history as the biggest single reason for the end of U.S. economic dominance.   It was not the not the whole of it, but it did serve as a rather large piece of straw on a montrously laden camel.

UPDATE: 2/17/09:

Well, it looks like that move to leveler playing field happened a lot quicker than even I expected.  And the War in Iraq seems to be gone from the economic discussion.  Does not one realize that is why Bush, et. al. had to let the shennanigans on Wall Street continue so long?  Without the myth of great wealth, we couldn’t fund his War.   And that’s where the other 3 trillion went.

Does no one remember that Bush took the deficit from this…

Instead, the president explained, the $5.7 trillion national debt has been reduced by $360 billion in the last three years — $223 billion this year alone.

This represents, Clinton said, “the largest one-year debt reduction in the history of the United States.”

To this…

Are you surprised? Times Square’s National Debt Clock, which has been tallying up money owed by the U.S. government since 1989, is running out of spaces.

In September 2008, the digital dollar sign was eliminated to make way for an extra digit—the “1” in $10 trillion (the national debt is currently $10.2 trillion). Now, a new clock is in the works that will make room for a quadrillion dollars of debt, according to the Associated Press. Anticipated completion is early 2009.

A little history on the clock: It was created in 1989 by Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst to inform the public about the nation’s snowballing national debt (back then, it was $2.7 trillion). Seymour died in 1995, and the clock is now owned by his son, Douglas Durst.

Bush ran up a $4,500,000,000,000 tab.

Lest we forget…

Some of The Reasons I Can’t Vote for McCain

The Associated Press: McCain outlines vision of Iraq victory

“By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won,” he told an audience of several hundred here in the capital city of a general election battleground state.

I though we were going to be done with the “it is the way I say it is, reality be damned” attitude. Bush and the Neocons tried that “we make reality” thing, and we’ve seen the horrific results.

If he was saying, “By 2013, I expect oil to cost $201.30.”, then maybe I would believe in his prognostication skills. And for some reason I still don’t personally understand how it is my freedom being defended in Iraq (i.e. the frontline of the War on Terror). We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iraq was completely incapable of posing a mortal threat to the U.S. A mortal threat is the ONLY type of type for which pre-emption is even a slight, remotely possible useful strategy. Self-defense only works after the guy pulls the gun, not while he’s looking at the catalog.

And above all else about his “2013 or Defeat” stragedy (yes, that is spelled correctly) is that the Iraqis adamantly want us out by 2011.

Later, as he drove to the airport on his “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus, McCain was peppered by reporters with questions about the timetable. He and his aides insisted there was a difference between ending the war and bringing troops home and, as they criticize the Democrats, announcing a withdrawal upfront without regard for the military endgame.

“It’s not a timetable; it’s victory. It’s victory, which I have always predicted. I didn’t know when we were going to win World War II; I just knew we were going to win,” McCain said.

When this guy talks about World War II in the present tense, like he was there…it’s because he was. How old is this dude again?

The Vietnam veteran added: “I know from experience, you set a day for surrender — which is basically what you do when you say you are withdrawing — and you will pay a much a heavier price later on.”

Yes, much like how when we finally pulled out of Vietnam, Communism swept the world and now we are on our knees in front of the Global Communist Domination of SouthEast Asia, and there are Vietnamese blowing themselves up here nearly every day in their quest to kill the U.S.

Oh, wait…you mean we are at peace with them, and have good relations?

(CNN) — Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam are struck by its frenetic pace, by the modern skyscrapers, by stores bulging with goods and by streets teeming with industrious Vietnamese.

At night young men and women cruise the neon-lit streets of the former Saigon on shiny Honda motorbikes, gathering in coffee bars, discos and restaurants where they are serenaded by the beeps and chirps of their cell phones.

[full story]

I wonder if McCain forgot all about that stuff and has some sort of alternate history in mind when he used Vietnam as a good reason to stay in Iraq.

And speaking on 9/11….

In particular, he sees a world in which the Taliban threat in Afghanistan has been greatly reduced.

He added: “The increase in actionable intelligence that the counterinsurgency produced led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden, and his chief lieutenants. … There still has not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.”

We’ve already killed about 7 number threes, so this has happened already. I wonder if McCain was napping. The fact that he’s still talking about the Taliban points to serious issues regarding how bad Bush sucked…and why McCain sticking with Bush’s war policy is retarded at best.

There is one place McCain divides from Bush however…

McCain also pledged to halt a Bush administration practice of enacting laws with accompanying signing statements that exempt the president from having to enforce parts he finds objectionable.

You mean the Bush administration practice of wiping its ass with the Constitution? Yea, we should certainly stop doing that…I’d have more respect for the “Maverick” if he intended to prosecute them for those indiscretions, but my guess is a pardon is much more likely. And that’s why I can’t vote for him.