“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What is wrong with this story?

Iran says it is building copy of captured U.S. drone

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – A senior Iranian commander says the country has reverse-engineered an American spy drone captured by Tehran's armed forces last year and has begun building a copy. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is chief of the aerospace division of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, was quoted Sunday by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying that experts are also recovering data from the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel captured in December in eastern Iran. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone. They have said Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.
Now watch this video, in Farsi, with English sub-titles:


  1. Someone really screwed up here. There are two components to this drone, hardware and software. It is not credible that it was stripped of hardware and being used over Iran or the Iran-Afghan border, so we know that is not true. The software is another matter. Having the hardware comes with so many clues as to the nature of the software.

    The Iranians, releasing this video with all the specificity offered in a three minute clip are sending Washington a message. They have cracked the software, at least some of the memory and they want the US to know it. The loss of this intact RQ-170 to Iran was a huge blunder. You simply cannot spin your way out of such a fiasco.

    The idea that there was no internal way to destroy this drone, at least one that worked, should give pause to anyone considering executing a war against Iran relying on “superior” technology. Shit happens.


    Analysts were split over just how damaging the loss of the Sentinel will be.

    Dan Goure, an analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., compared it to the Soviet shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane, a tactical and strategic disaster for the U.S.

    The capture of the Sentinel calls into question the viability of the very concept of stealthy unmanned aircraft penetrating enemy airspace, Goure said.

    “It kind of undermines the whole argument for replacing manned aircraft with unmanned systems,” he said. “Unless you want to use it as a one-way missile.”

    The capture of a mostly intact RQ-170 by a hostile power like Iran is “the biggest Christmas present to our enemies in probably a decade, at least,” Goure said

    The captured aircraft will help adversaries copy U.S. stealth design techniques, coating materials, engine technology, and UAV command-and-control systems, he said. It will also help them develop countermeasures against stealthy U.S. aircraft.

    Moreover, he said, “Everybody now will get an understanding of our state-of-the-art intelligence collection capabilities.” Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia was more measured in his response.

    “It’s not the end of the world,” Aboulafia said.

    The Iranians will undoubtedly share the technology or even the crashed aircraft with other nations, he said — and Iranian news site Nasim reported Dec. 8 that Russian and Chinese experts were already on their way to visit. But the manufacturing know-how to build such aircraft can’t be duplicated from a captured machine, he said.

    Moreover, even if the coatings were compromised and much of the shaping of a stealth airframe article is already public domain, Aboulafia said, “There is so much more to stealth than the airframe.”

    Most of the mission systems on the captured plane are probably useless to an adversary, he said.

    “From a secrecy standpoint, it’s like dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture,” Aboulafia said. “But I’m sure they can sell it to someone who can get some kind of information out of it. But the mission systems are likely to be too encrypted to be of use to anyone.”

    Still, reverse engineering is inevitable, he said: “Please insert Ethernet cable and download operating instructions here.”

    There are few examples of countries that gained a strategic edge simply by capturing an enemy platform. Soon after World War II, the Soviet Union jump-started its jet-engine program by copying Western technology, but lacking the deep understanding provided by bootstrap developments, never developed an innovative aerospace industry that could go toe-to-toe with the West.

    “It doesn’t work like that,” Aboulafia said. “But it wouldn’t be good.”

    Still unknown is how Iran captured the stealthy aircraft in the first place. Tehran claims to have used cyberwarfare to hack the drone’s systems.

    Schwartz declined to say whether he believed the RQ-170 was brought down by electronic means.

    Goure said the largely intact airframe ruled out the possibility of an engine or navigational malfunction.

    “Either this was a cyber/electronic warfare attack system that brought the system down or it was a glitch in the command-and-control system,” he said.

    If it was a malfunction, it was a spectacular one. Not only did the aircraft lose its command link, it also failed to return to base as it was designed to do in such an eventuality, Goure said.

    Aboulafia pronounced himself flummoxed that the RQ-170 was not programmed to self-destruct.

    “I would really hope they’d have a kill switch. Is the world really that poorly run?” he said.
    - Air Force Times

  3. I’ll tell you what would keep me awake at night. I believe that drone did have a kill switch in it and the Iranians were able to disable it, while it was flying. You also have to ask yourself if the Iranians had access to secret details that allowed them to bring down the drone without it being destroyed.

  4. Some will argue that this was a Trojan War move. Nonsense, never assume conspiracy where stupidity or FUBAR will suffice.

  5. Be careful about emailing your drones. Now we get a history lesson about the wisdom of using “code talkers”.

  6. Israel has put a lot of faith in drones. A rethink may be in order of a strategy that relies so heavily on robots.

  7. 25% of women in this country are on medication for mental illness.

    That's bloody means 75% are running around with no medication at all!!

  8. Tehran has flaunted the capture of the Sentinel, a top-secret surveillance drone with stealth technology, as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States in a complicated intelligence and technological battle.


    Media reports claimed this week that Russia and China have asked Tehran to provide them with information on the drone but Iran's Defense Ministry denied this.

  9. From what I've been reading, the operators may have been taking a 'time out' with some hookers from Columbia.

    Kidding aside, how did it land? They just guided it in to the airport?

    You also have to ask yourself if the Iranians had access to secret details that allowed them to bring down the drone without it being destroyed>

    Some Major Hameini with security clearance in our PC armed forces?

    I know when I'm out of my league, which is most of the time, on a subject,so I leave this one.

    I find it amazing that Frank Sinatra who didn't hardly start high school, and Allan Bloom made similar pronouncements about music. Though Bloom may have of Frank's music. :)

  10. From what I've been reading, the operators may have been taking a 'time out' with some hookers from Columbia.

    Kidding aside, how did it land? They just guided it in to the airport?

    You also have to ask yourself if the Iranians had access to secret details that allowed them to bring down the drone without it being destroyed>

    Some Major Hameini with security clearance in our PC armed forces?

    I know when I'm out of my league, which is most of the time, on a subject,so I leave this one.

    I find it amazing that Frank Sinatra who didn't hardly start high school, and Allan Bloom made similar pronouncements about music. Though Bloom may have been thinking of Frank's music. :)

  11. The Iranians may be, by and large, crazy, but one should not be misled about their abilities in math, science, and creative thinking.

  12. The thinga majiggy has to work on GPS as it is up there for 24 hour runs and most weather conditions. It can’t use radar or it would be detected. The Iranians must have smothered the real GPS signal and replaced it with their own signal that told the poor confused thing it was not heading for Iran but a nice base in Afghanistan. It landed unscathed, "Allahu Akbar”, in Iran.

    The Iranian officer in the video is telling Netanjahu and Obama, "don’t expect a cake walk”. He told them enough to heat up some diodes somewhere.

  13. :) we have to quit meeting like this.

  14. The Revolutionary Guard is yet to decode parts of the software the Sentinel aircraft uses, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the force’s aerospace division, said on Sunday.

    "The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane," Iranian Fars news agency quoted the general as saying. "Our experts have a full understanding of its components and programs."
    The Pentagon stated that the drone’s security will prevent Iranian engineers from cracking its technology.
    Tehran has already copied the Sentinel – as a toy, and sent one to the US as a mocking response to America’s request to hand over the aircraft.

    Iran announced capturing RQ-170 Sentinel surveillance UAV in December 2011. The US believed that the aircraft crashed in Iran’s desolate mountainous area, but apparently Iranian military managed to hack into the drone’s control system and bring it down.

  15. A country of 75 Million, twice the size of Texas, that can launch satellites, build nukes, and decipher your most advanced encryption will, most decidedly, Not be a Cakewalk. Did I mention their 2 1/2 Million Barrels/Day of Oil Exports?

    1. Hmmmm sounds like you are a scared partner!

      What is more scary?

      A country of 75 Million, twice the size of Texas, that can launch satellites, build nukes, and decipher your most advanced encryption will, most decidedly, Not be a Cakewalk. 2 1/2 Million Barrels/Day of Oil Exports severely destroyed by numerous bombings? Whose Oil exports are reduced to zero due to a destroyed Oil infrastructure?


      A country of 75 Million, twice the size of Texas, that can launch satellites, build nukes, and decipher your most advanced encryption will, 2 1/2 Million Barrels/Day of Oil Exports? Will a brand new Nuclear ICBM?

  16. Intrade says Obama has 60% chance of winning. That's tempting, I think he is going to get wiped out.

    1. After 3+ years of Obama, the one bright spot on the economic horizon continues to be gun and ammo sales.

    2. Ain't diversity a hoot?

    3. Obama wins?

      We will get a total middle east clusterfuck

  17. Bob starts another Racist Rant in . . . . 3 . . . . 2 . . . . . 1 . . . .

  18. Iran will not be a cakewalk.

    However Iran is not undefeatable.

    Nor is it's oil indispensable.

    Iran is a paper tiger at this moment. Give it another year? It will have a nuke and then it will be a different story.

    America, under Obama, has green lighted an Iranian nuke.

    Now will Israel do what it needs to do for it's own security? I am betting it will.

    However If it looks like Obama is going down and is going to lose? israel will hold off for a GOP landslide.

    If it looks like another 4 years of Obama?

    War is fur sure...

    War could have been avoided.

  19. War HAS been avoided - no thanks to Republican, and Israeli wingnuts.

    1. War has started years ago by Iran against us.

      It's just the ostrich head in the sand too blind to see what Iran has done and is doing.

      Just keep ignoring Iran, making excuses for it, I am sure the bombings, the rockets and the murders mean nothing to you.

      Selfish nit.

  20. No sovereign nation has ever been prevented from "going nuclear" once it has made the commitment to do so. (possible exception, Iraq - depending on your definition of "sovereignty.")

    1. Try nuking it 1st...

    2. .

      Try nuking it 1st...?

      What a nitwit.


    3. No sovereign nation has ever been prevented from "going nuclear" once it has made the commitment to do so. (possible exception, Iraq - depending on your definition of "sovereignty.")

      What kind of nonsensical question is this? Really.

      Like there are thousands of nations to choose from?

    4. QuirkApr 22, 2012 08:25 AM

      Try nuking it 1st...?

      What a nitwit

      Actually sounds like a good plan

      Iran's nuke site under the mountains? Perfect use of a nuke.

      I bet America dropped a couple of atomic bombs for less reasons...

      shhhh dont use logic...

  21. I would have to consider a nation under the regime of a "no fly zone" Semi-sovereign, at best.

  22. I said the guns were still flying off the shelves that is all I said. I had just read it. Also that housing is down another 2 percent or something.

    You vote for the moslem it is your right, even though he isn't eligible but that means nothing to you.

    Quirk says the moslems in Detroit are fine folk, and they are I suppose, until the numbers go up high enough, then it will be just like in France or elsewhere.

    Did he at all support the protestors in Iran? No.
    In Egypt? Yes.

    Any pattern?

    06:49am above makes a lot of sense.

    No nation has ever been prevented from going what? The vast majority don't want to. No one has ever really tried to prevent it.

    Israel will.

    Obama won't even though he says he will.

    Honestly if his lips move he is lying.

    What's that word, taqqiyya if I spell it right.

    It doesn't take much to buffalo some people.

    1. And if Zimmerman is to have a jury of his peers what better place than that gated community which is about 45/25/20 white black and brown?

      Let the trial be held there.

      Fact is he is being tried for political reasons.

    2. The chances of avoiding war are better with Romney than Obama I would think. I recall how the hostages where released the day before or so Reagan taking office.

      I realize it's not the same situation but the same kind of situation.

    3. .

      Quirk says the moslems in Detroit are fine folk, and they are I suppose, until the numbers go up high enough, then it will be just like in France or elsewhere.

      Did he at all support the protestors in Iran? No.
      In Egypt? Yes.

      Bob, why do you make this stuff up? Or is just a case of your suffering through a bout of delirium tremems? If the latter, go have a drink and get yourself together. If the opposite, don't have a drink but get yourself together.


    4. .

      Fact is he is being tried for political reasons.

      Right, politically, the country is opposed to stupidity.


  23. You're the one that brought up "diversity."

    Whether he's Muslim, or Christian, or Agnostic, I don't know.

    But, I do know he got us the hell out of Iraq, is getting us out of Afghanistan, didn't put "boots on the ground" in Libya, or Egypt, and seems very unexcited about "action" in Iran, and/or Syria.

    1. he tripled the troops in afpak, changed the rules to allow our solders to die without firing a shot, suicide is up 400% for returning troops and has funded and armed militant moslems across the globe.

      Yep he's hope and change.

      He hope for a Jew free world and he will help change it into same.

      BTW hows that Drone reproduction going?

  24. Meanwhile, the Oil Companies, and their Republican Stooges are flat-out lying to us about the future availability of oil, and other fossil fuels, a tactic that is guaranteed to hit us like a ton of bricks in fairly short time.

    But, Paul Ryan has a plan - "Gut Social Security, and Medicare."

    And, John McCain has a plan - "Kill All Renewables."

    Mitt Romney's Plan, however, is a doozey, also - "Preserve the 15% Tax Rate for Hedge Fund Managers."

    1. Yeah we are running out of coal, natural gas and oil...


    2. The Corporate Plan - gut all environmental regulations in response to increasing energy costs.

      Ref: The Hidden Hand thread @BC

  25. The average person would have to be brain-dead to vote for a present-day Republican.

    1. The average person is brain dead, they VOTED for Obama.

      Now let's hope those average people?

      Are now sleeping in the sticky puddle of Obama giz that he gave them after screwing them with higher prices. Their homes prices are in the toilet, their 401ks are shit and their health insurance costs them a butt fuck.

      ANd those worthless college degrees? That Obama is shoving down their kids throats? Hope they choke on em...

      Hope those "average" folks enjoy the summer riots that Obama gave them too....

      Happy Days are here again!

  26. Most of your renewies simply don't work but you've too much emotion invested in it by now to ever admit it.

    I've been up all night I'm taking a sleeping pill.

    There is that Solyandra building for sale there Ruf, buyer's market.

  27. This is an admittedly miserable paraphrase of a BC comment by someone who claims to be an old intell/NSA hand (he strikes me as legitimate). He writes that the third world is better at software than hardware because the latter requires precision manufacturing that they have not yet mastered. Satellites are one thing but fabricating the shell of one of these drones requires not just a how-to manual for connecting A to B but knowledge of machine tolerances to a very fine level of precision. And repeatability - the difference between a fluke and a process line.

  28. Seven reasons why Syrian protesters have so far failed to topple Assad (Link)

    6. US and Western policy

    Analysts continue to debate whether US and Western policy toward the crisis in Syria is helping or hurting the opposition. Even Syrians themselves are divided on this issue. Some say that a more activist approach that clearly calls for Assad to step down (Washington, Rome, London, and Paris have yet to do so) would constitute the “kiss-of-death” to the opposition.

    Others disagree and have asked for a more assertive US and Western approach that leaves Assad no choice but to leave. A good case can be made for a unified Western policy that unequivocally calls for Assad to step down. Such a stand could encourage the Syrian army to revisit its cost-benefit calculations and possibly decide to side with the protesters.

    7. Fighting against all odds

    It is no wonder the Syrian opposition movement is having great difficulty moving forward. It has to not only fight an adversary that continues to kill and maim but it must also overcome its own shortcomings, while trying to make a believer out of a still skeptical West.

    In this context, the Syrian people are fighting against all odds. However, if they pull it off and manage to oust the Baathist regime, it may well be a more impressive demonstration of people power than that in Egypt – and one more consequential for the politics and security of the entire Middle East.

  29. The biggest liability in targeting incumbents is the quality of the replacement pool.

    From Syrian link above:

    1. Weakness and divisions in ranks

    The Syrian opposition seems to be growing and learning how to organize more effectively to deliver a more consistent political message to the world. Yet that multi-dimensional effort is still severely lacking. Until the protesters attract more followers (especially from the influential Sunni business community), become truly united, and reach the heart of the capital in large numbers, they are unlikely to succeed in toppling Mr. Assad.


    From Politico:

    Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, it is clear who lost—the Tea Party, reports Politico. The Republican Party, which just wrapped up its annual meeting of state chairmen yesterday, is still all establishment, with almost no Tea Party members on its 168-member governing committee. Tea Partiers may have county chairmanships and seats on state committees, but it will take years for them to work their way up the GOP's ladder.

    Which isn't to say that GOP leaders are hostile to the Tea Party—many are quite sympathetic, and they certainly like the Tea Party's enthusiasm. However, many of the Tea Party supporters who did win powerful positions in the GOP two years ago found themselves too inexperienced and in over their heads to make a difference, and many were deposed as quickly as they came in. “The important thing for any group in the party to understand is that you need experience to govern,” says New Hampshire's GOP chair. “Everybody has to start somewhere. It’s just important they learn the mechanics of how the party operates. It doesn’t mean new ideas aren’t welcome.”

    "Experience" is a big word - one that covers a lot of ground and is intractably and intimately correlated with the sociocultural context.

    The Assads appear to be safe.

    But here in this country, the 'lack of experience' argument is highly nuanced, ranging from the "you haven't learned who is important yet" to the (more compelling) "you think you can bully your way past the governing as compromise concept."

    I conditionally support applying some pressure to incumbents for usual and obvious reasons. But the country needs to brace itself for the entirely different class of mistakes and blunders that will come with the replacement team.

    1. Do political parties ever reform themselves? They can evolve but in most cases would normally outlive their usefulness. In the United States the system is so rigged for the two parties that a normal Darwinian process is precluded from happening. The greatest outrage against and democratic process is when the majority say “no”but the system places into power a candidate that got less than 51% of the vote. Systems that require run-off elections when there is no clear majority are more likely to help the evolution process.

    2. True.

      Political imperfections float benignly until neglect of the lower/middle classes crosses a line, which it did in 2008 (with healthy assist from 2001.) I have said this repeatedly - this country had achieved the near miraculous feat of balance. All the social classes were moving along. (That is a generalized statement - wages started to stagnate around 2000 under GWB but I'm trying to make the argument in an ideologically agnostic context.)

      That's no longer happening. To what degree our political class understands the difference remains to be seen. If I may indulge - the Dems seem to "get it" in their own kooky way but the Republicans worry me, ala Rufus above, with their plans to "solve" the present imbalance by gutting (the very successful) SS program, maintaining regressive tax policy, and creaming the enviros with the last clutch of their cold dead hands.

  30. Sometimes news stories contain unintended expositions of absurdity. Take this one:

    Israel forces 'ready to hit Iran if ordered'
    (AFP) – 3 hours ago
    JERUSALEM — Israeli forces are carrying out more special operations beyond the country's borders and will be ready to attack Iran's nuclear sites if ordered, the chief-of-staff said in an interview on Sunday.
    In an extract from an interview with the top-selling Yediot Aharanot daily, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said that 2012 would be a critical year in efforts to halt what Israel and much of the international community believe is an Iranian nuclear arms programme.
    "We think that a nuclear Iran is a very bad thing, which the world needs to stop and which Israel needs to stop -- and we are planning accordingly," Gantz said.
    "In principle, we are ready to act.
    "That does not mean that I will now order (air force chief) Ido (Nehushtan) to strike Iran," he added in the interview which will be published in full on Wednesday, on the eve of Israel's 64th anniversary as a state.
    The United States says it does not believe Iran has so far taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon, or that the time is right for military action, preferring to give international sanctions time to work.
    But Israel, which sees a nuclear Iran as a threat to its very existence, claims Tehran may be on the cusp of "breakout" capability -- when it could quickly build a nuclear weapon -- and it does not rule out staging a pre-emptive strike of its own.
    Gantz said he had increased the number of Israeli special operations in other countries but did not give details.
    "I do not think you will find a point in time where there is not something happening, somewhere in the world," he said. "The threat level is also higher."
    "I'm not taking the credit," he added. "I'm just accelerating all those special operations.”

    A small country of 6 million, in business for all of 64 years is going to dictate to a nation of 75 million that has been around for 4000 years. As Max might say, “what could possibly go wrong?"

    1. .

      "Sometimes news stories contain unintended expositions of absurdity. Take this one:" [referring to the following quoted opinions from Western diplomats]

      The most detailed account [of negotiations in Istanbul} is from Laura Rozen. There we see a “Western diplomat” explaining that “The morning session was very positive: the vibe ... was, 'wow, they are engaging.’” Rozen reports that a “European diplomat” happily noted to her that EU foreign minister Lady Catherine Ashton “rebuilt a rapport with [Saeed] Jalili,” the Iranian negotiator. “The Iranian delegation body language when Wendy [Sherman] spoke was direct and engaged,” a European diplomat told Rozen. Such nonsense must make the Iranians smile. Indeed, one would love to see the Iranian version of Tomseth’s cable, explaining the ingenuousness of American and other Western negotiators: seeking personal rapport and good vibes, committed to the value of the process itself, and wanting above all to prevent a “breakdown in negotiations.”

      The Negotiations

      I agree with Ruf. If Iran wants a nuclear weapon bad enough, they will eventually get it. Going to war to prevent the inevitable for a couple of years doesn't seem worth the pain that is sure to ensue from an attack now. That being said, anything you read regarding the current negotiations this year has to be taken with a hefty grain of salt. It is highly likely that Iran is merely hoping to drag the negotiations out to buy more time, either to get closer to producing a bomb or to strenghen its bargaining position in the negotiations. Likewise, our government will put whatever positive spin they can on the negotiations. Right now it's all politics.

      After the election, hard to say. If Obama wins, maybe he feels he has established his 'commander-in-chief' bona fides sufficiently with his Libyan adventure and will continue to temporize on Iran. Maybe not. He will, after all, no longer be constrained by the need to be reelected. The same applies to Romney. He has voiced his support for Israel and determination that Iran will not get the bomb. But then, how many times has he said something and then rationalized away the comments latter on. Along the same lines, he will need to worry about getting elected again.

      I don't think the odds are we will go to war with Iran; but perhaps that is more hope than anything else.


    2. Who's in charge?

      The fatwa issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei forbidding the production, proliferation and use of nuclear bombs is to be considered a political milestone in Iranian history and one which can salvage the Islamic nation from the spate of external threats and plots.

      Fatwa is a religious decree issued by a Muslim leader against a specific issue and it is incumbent upon all Muslims to abide by it. However, in this particular case, the issuance of the fatwa has not only religious but political force as well as the leader in the Islamic Republic is the prime decision-maker.


      The US government is morally and financially indebted to Iran. What seems to be the right course of action to be taken by the US government is that Washington should make it clearly known to Iran that it entertains good intentions about the Iranian nation and that it is resolute to compensate for the agony and havoc it has wrought upon Iran. In other words, it is Washington which should take first steps to dispel ambiguities as to its intentions.

      There seems to be little hope the upcoming talks will bear splendid fruits unless the US dismounts its mule of obstinacy, puts an end to its animosity towards the Islamic Republic, forsakes its morbid cynicism and acknowledges that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

      The fatwa of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution can well serve as a beacon of light for Washington in order to find its way out of darkness and ignorance.

      by Ismail Salami

      The cognitive dissonance in this article is that the writer begins with the fatwa against nuclear weapons and then proceeds to describe in great detail the justification for the rage of the Iranian people - against USA more than Israel. Even though we hate your guts, our religious leaders have instructed us to take the high road.

    3. what is "occupation"Sun Apr 22, 02:12:00 PM EDT

      deuce's bias showing thru says: A small country of 6 million, in business for all of 64 years is going to dictate to a nation of 75 million that has been around for 4000 years. As Max might say, “what could possibly go wrong?"

      If you are going to give Iran credit for being around for 4000 years then you should give the same standard to Israel, a people whose nationhood is JUST as long.

      But deuce cant do that. His hatred of Israel is just to great.

      He also compares population as some sort of standard of likelihood of value and or success.

      We my bigoted pal deuce, according to iranian/islamic standards? 6 million Jews are worth about 600 MILLION iranians, arabs and or moslems.

      Israel has the right to self defense. Iran has been attacking Israel for decades thru proxies. I know you will say that doesnt count, but unlike you Israel seeks to survive. You seek to just be a pussy.

      I hope Israel does not rely on the USA. The USA, under Obama is throwing them to the wolves.

      Just hope that Israel has a few tricks up it's sleeves to deal with the entire world's genocidal wishes against Israel. Not the 1st time AMerica or the world has fucked the Jews, wont be the last.

      Just hope Israel can make those that are trying to wipe it off the planet pay dearly....

      A few mountains in Iran destroyed by a few nukes? I can live with that.

  31. .

    For 500 days Wikileaks has been suffering under a financial embargo of American companies like Visa, MC, certain banks, Paypal, etc. The intent is to close it down by drying up contributions from supporters.

    In response, a new organization is being formed to facilitate the flow of contributions to Wikileaks.

    I say good.

    Wikileaks Funding [link]


  32. Stupid bullying in the financial markets by an overreaching US Government only invites the formation of an alternate currency and banking system based on privacy and assured predictable integrity. Ironically this will come from China and will be welcomed in many quarters.

  33. Mitt Romney's newly appointed foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell has only been on the job a couple of days, but already he's drawing plenty of heat from both sides of the aisle. The left is upset with Grenell's tendency to make sexist attacks on women, particularly on Twitter, reports Raw Story. Rachel Maddow seems to be a popular target of Grenell's, with him tweeting a year ago that she "needs to take a breath and put on a necklace," and more recently calling her a Justin Bieber "#DeadRinger." In addition to Republicans' usual female targets, such as Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, Grenell has insulted Callista Gingrich repeatedly—“do you think callista’s hair snaps on?," snarked one tweet—and has said that the Obamas' children should be fair game, too.

    But Grenell has also alienated many on the right, mostly just by being openly gay, notes Buzzfeed. Bryan Fischer, an analyst for the American Family Association, said that Grenell's appointment was a clear "message to the pro-family community: drop dead." While Romney distanced himself from Fischer, many Democrats seemed to be delighting in the Republican in-fighting caused by Grenell. "Let them have at it," says a former Clinton aide. "Fun for the whole family."

    What was that Rufus said about the Republicans doing something stupid?? So much time.

  34. Rachel Maddow looks like Justin Bieber.

    That's just wicked.

  35. .

    Some here have argued that the US manufacturing sector has for a number of reasons been in decline for decades and will not be coming back.

    That might be true on the basis of the number of jobs involved; however, the following article argues that there is nothing so inevitible as change and what once provided an advantage to developing countries, such as abundant and cheap labor, may one day be no advantage at all.

    A Third Industrial Revolution


    1. I mentioned the subject of 3D printing elsewhere and was curtly informed that was 50 years in the future.

      I knew then (about a year ago) that was wrong but you get tired of arguing.

      None so blind as the committed.

    2. what is occupationSun Apr 22, 02:14:00 PM EDT

      I just bought one of those... dont try to tell people here anything...

    3. No, not here, WiO, @BC.

      Just to keep the record straight.

  36. .

    There is a general dissatisfaction in this country with most large institutions, big business, local government, federal government, academia, etc. However, as argued in the following editorial, some may benefit from and actually encourage that dissatisfaction.

    The Fringe Base on Both Sides Benefit from the Current Level of Dissatisfaction in the Country


  37. I wonder how much of the next generation of manufacturing is coming out of the weapons production labs.

  38. An ex. of all this: Solyndra was conceived, designed, and funded when $6.00/Watt seemed to be in the ballpark.

    Today, Solar Panels are selling for $0.85/Watt. An almost 90% decrease in selling prices before they could reach full production.

    1. What is OccupationSun Apr 22, 02:15:00 PM EDT

      wow and I pay 11 cents a kilowatt for coal...

      gee I can hardly wait for Guvernemt Energy Corp.

    2. No, you pay $0.11 per Kilowatt-Hour for Coal.

      And, ten years from now you'll probably pay $0.16 per Kilowatt-Hr, and 20 yrs from now you'll probably be paying thirty or forty cents per Kilowatt-Hr.

      BTW, a Watt capacity in, say, the Southwest would turn out approx. 91,000 Watt/Hrs, or 91 Kilowatt Hrs over the next half a century.

      Keep in mind that 40% of our thermal coal comes from the Powder River Basin, and those mines are expected to be pretty well used up within twenty years.

  39. Walter Rusell Mead blames "everything" on the collapse of "The Blue Model." I tried to locate his seminal essay but it's taking too long. Here is his take on manufacturing and jobs.

    Part I (Link)

    Part II (Link)


    Walter Russell Mead on Religion (Link).


    For Rufus:

    WRM on Healthcare (Link)

    The trendlines are pointing in the direction of individuals bypassing traditional systems to take control of their own health care. This will happen even faster if we have a health care system that makes cost a factor for consumers.

    Contextualizing healthcare as a matter purely as a matter of economic choice or contractual obligation is very narrow. The General Welfare is being eroded as the corrupt basis for Mead's "Blue Model."

    It's all the progressive Democrats' fault.

    What's wrong with this story?

  40. The problem with healthcare reform - and it's a big one - is that - end of the day - government will have to be involved, but the current political environment is strongly in the roll-it-back camp. Entitlement tit-suckers et al.

  41. Being a problem of The Commons which the invisible hand of capitalism solves not at all well, despite tortured efforts to prove otherwise.

  42. I'm sorry, Max; I tried. I got through the first link, and most of the way through the second, but then, somewhere around the point where we were all going to make a living clipping each other's toenails, and printing our own crack, my mind started to wander, and I couldn't get it back.

    I've always had a problem reading authors with 3 names. I wonder why?

    1. I've always had a problem reading authors with 3 names. I wonder why?


      It's a good thing I couldn't locate his piece where he blames the decline of western civilization on Democrats.

      Many of the analysts on the Right are very "wordy." In point of fact I think the verbal assault is a function of the philosophical underpinnings of ideology as the thematic subject, which means that the Right is in high gear because they see this period of history as their window of opportunity to roll-back FDR's progressive government.

      WRM is very popular among conservatives (I was going to venture into hyperbole and suggest that he sits on the right hand side of God but ...) so one gets a good sense of post-Buckley conservative thought. And it's pretty nasty, IMO, which is why I added the health care link where he advocates pure market capitalism as an adequate, if not optimal, solution, when in fact it is anything but.

    2. .

      I've always had a problem reading authors with 3 names. I wonder why?

      Attention span?

      I disagreed with a few things on the margin, but all in all, I thought he did a good job defining the problem.

      [Although the idea of printing our own drugs makes me think he knows a lot more about that marijuana he was talking about than he lets on.

      We may reach that point technically some day, but there are too many vested interests involved to expect it to ever really happen.]


  43. Good Healthcare is Much Better than any time before, and Much more expensive.

    Thus, the only way the poor will get "Good" healthcare is if the Rich pay for it. Surprise, surprise, they don't want to do that.

    Solve "Human Nature," and you've solved "healthcare." You think you'll need till Friday?

    1. More and more I am thinking it's a damn shame that Pelosi over-ruled Rahm Emanuel who favored a compromise approach to health care. Not sure of all the details but the Dems recognize that the price they (and by extension the country) paid for ACA is very steep, as per Barney Frank's assessment. Reform should have been phased in but the Dems were in full reform mode. (I say that not with smug 20/20 hindsight for, at the time, I opposed the government plan, favoring instead targeted expenditures for economic stimulation since "this time was indeed different.")

  44. Replies
    1. Many in the pundit class identify religion as something of a regressive tendency, embraced by the less enlightened, the less skilled, intelligent and educated. Yet some scholars, such as Charles Murray, point out that religious affiliation is weakening most not among the middle and upper classes but among the poorer and less educated who traditionally looked to churches for succor and moral instruction. Secularism may have not hurt the uber-rich or the academic overclass so far, but it appears to have helped expand our lumpenproleteriat.

      Some might be surprised to learn that religious affiliation grows with education levels. A new University of Nebraska study finds that with each additional year of education, the odds of attending religious services increased by 15%. The educated, the study found, may not be eschewing religion, as social science has long maintained, even if their spiritual views tend to be less narrow, and less overtly tied to politics, than among the less schooled.

      From Maxine's link.

      I haven't read Mead before.

    2. heh, it worked if I use the reply I can make two posts in a row without the first being obliterated.

      This is bad for you.

    3. Now it is four in a row for bobbo your are in trouble

    4. I haven't read Mead before.

      Oh are you in for a treat.

      Let me just make one point on his treatment of religion instead of trying to tie it all together into a full-throated rebuttal.

      As is common in conservative thinking, WRM places religion in a psychological context where the dumb cling to religion while smart people somehow know better. This is shallow (one is inclined to say disingenuous with intent to play political ball) and to use a term raised by Peter last thread "childish religiosity." The smart-dumb dichotomy maps very clearly onto organized religion as a trance-inducing mobocracy vs a metaphorical interpretation of ancient teaching and texts as (potential) templates for life in this world (as I have stipulated on several occasions.) WRM pushes all the political buttons which makes me suspicious of his intent, not to mention depth of thought on this subject.

      In WRM's formulation, religion correlates with class structure/education/IQ and not with a reasoned consideration of the (im)balance between organized religion and religious thought. In my view religion does not translate well from the individual to the collective where the core of the spiritual teaching is compromised by political pressure and a media-driven appeal to human ego. But with conservative thinkers, their first line of rebuttal is always intelligence. Unfortunately Obama's "clingers" remark fanned those flames. Nice if both sides would grow up a bit.

    5. In bobbo thought it is certain kinds of illuminative experiences at the core of it, that gets well watered down in translation. This seems reasonable enough: see William James on the ineffable. Words don't go there.

      bobbo coinage: DPS = disappearing post syndrome

  45. Of course, the well-educated (hence, "rich") have more to be "Thankful for."

    Also, goin' ta Sunday School is just good business (or, at least "claiming to" is.) :)

  46. Joe Lieberman on Election 2012: "I'm going to try something different this year. I'm going to try to stay out of this one. I'm enjoying not being involved in the nastiness of campaigning in America these days."

    The Blood Sport getting old.

  47. Link


    Time and again last year, House Republican leaders faced a nearly in­trac­table opponent: the very freshman class that propelled them into the majority with the historic 2010 midterm elections.

    Rebelling from the outset of the 112th Congress and later wreaking internal havoc during talks to increase the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow funds, the freshman class repeatedly created problems for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), according to a new book.

    The freshman resistance caused feuds among Boehner and his lieutenants that led some to fear a mutiny, heightened several showdowns with President Obama and eventually led to fissures among the rookies, pitting those who seldom trusted the leaders against those who reflexively did, according to “Do Not Ask What Good We Do,” an account of the freshman class’s impact by Robert Draper.

    The infighting reached such a point in the fall that some newcomers requested that the weekly freshman meetings be disbanded because they had turned into shouting matches, with freshmen loudly criticizing the leaders.

    “You’ve created a monster,” Rep. Renee L. Ellmers (R-N.C.), a former nurse elected in 2010, warned House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), according to Draper’s book.


  48. Of course, the well-educated (hence, "rich") have more to be "Thankful for."

    Walt Whitman never had hardly a dime. Nor Roethke.

    It is not that, not that at all.

    1. heh, took some looking -

      Q. What does Religion mean to you?

      A. It means nothing; and it seems, so far as I can observe, useless to others. I am sixty-seven years of age and have resided in X. fifty years, and have been in business forty-five, consequently I have some little experience of life and men, and some women too, and I find that the most religious and pious people are as a rule those most lacking in uprightness and morality. The men who do not go to church or have any religious convictions are the best. Praying, singing of hymns, and sermonizing are pernicious- they teach us to rely on some supernatural power, when we ought to rely on ourselves. I teetotally disbelieve in a God. The God-idea was begotten in ignorance, fear, and a general lack of any knowledge of Nature. If I were to die now, being in a healthy condition for my age, both mentally and physically, I would just as lief, yes, rather, die with a hearty enjoyment of music, sport, or any other rational pastime. As a timepiece stops, we die- there being no immortality in either case.

      Q. What comes before your mind corresponding to the words God, Heaven, Angels, etc.?

      A. Nothing whatever. I am a man without a religion. These words mean so much mythic bosh.

      Q. Have you had any experience which appeared providential?

      A. None whatever. There is no agency of the superintending kind. A little judicious observation as well as knowledge of scientific law will convince any one of this fact.

      Q. What things work most strongly on your emotions?

      A. Lively songs and music; Pinafore instead of an Oratorio. I like Scott, Burns, Byron, Longfellow, especially Shakespeare, etc., etc. Of songs, the Star-spangled Banner, America, Marseillaise, and all moral and soul-stirring songs, but wishy-washy hymns are my detestation. I greatly enjoy nature, especially fine weather, and until within a few years used to walk Sundays into the country, twelve miles often, with no fatigue, and bicycle forty or fifty. I have dropped the bicycle. I never go to church, but attend lectures when there are any good ones. All of my thoughts and cogitations have been of a healthy and cheerful kind, for instead of doubts and fears I see things as they are, for I endeavor to adjust myself to my environment. This I regard as the deepest law. Mankind is a progressive animal. I am satisfied he will have made a great advance over his present status a thousand years hence.

      Q. What is your notion of sin?

      A. It seems to me that sin is a condition, a disease, incidental to man's development not being yet advanced enough. Morbidness over it increases the disease. We should think that a million of years hence equity, justice, and mental and physical good order will be so fixed and organized that no one will have any idea of evil or sin.

      Q. What is your temperament?

      A. Nervous, active, wide-awake, mentally and physically. Sorry that Nature compels us to sleep at all.

      If we are in search of a broken and a contrite heart, clearly we need not look to this brother. His contentment with the finite incases him like a lobster-shell and shields him from all morbid repining at his distance from the Infinite. We have in him an excellent example of the optimism which may be encouraged by popular science.

      Varieties of Religious Experience

      tis Brother Rufus!

    2. We have in him an excellent example of the optimism which may be encouraged by popular science.

      Which is in itself an example of a little pit bull competitive spirit.

      From wiki:

      Deism ... is a religious philosophy which holds that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an intelligent creator(s). According to deists, the creator rarely, if ever, either intervenes in human affairs or suspends the natural laws of the universe. Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending instead to assert that a god (or "the Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by intervening in it. This idea is also known as the clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own.

      I'm not sure the deist world view can be reduced to "optimism" so much as a practical Plan B in the case that god directs neither this life nor the next.

    3. Which is in itself an example of a little pit bull competitive spirit.

      That was unclear. I meant referring to what is essentially deism as little more than "optimism." It is (a little) more than that.

      The statement is truculent in its brevity.

    4. Didn't quite mean that the way it came out either. Something about the pat brevity of the "optimism of natural science" struck me as a little ... off in some way. Smug, as in you think you can do it without me you puny humans? I'll stop digging now.

  49. The first bailout by the European Union and IMF for Greece, in May 2010, was for €110 billion, an impressive amount at the time for a country whose entire gross domestic product only totaled around €225 billion.

    Europe's crisis commitment has grown to more than €1 trillion, including additional bailouts of Ireland and Portugal, a second Greek aid package, the creation of Europe's rescue fund, national loans to the IMF and the ECB's purchases of more than €200 billion in government bonds. That doesn't include the €1 trillion in cheap, three-year loans to banks from the ECB since December.

    "I'm always surprised when I read that Europe hasn't done enough," Klaus Regling, head of Europe's bailout fund, said Friday.

  50. I wish; alas, I am as cowardly as any craven, worrywart soul on earth.

    To be that it wasn't so.

  51. Here’s how Reuters recently summed up the race for the White House: “The 2012 presidential election is more than six months away, but here is what we know so far: It is going to be close, it is going to be nasty, and the outcome could turn on a series of unpredictable events.” The argument that followed was balanced and intelligent, and nicely captured today’s conventional wisdom.


    The Reuters piece quoted above points out, sensibly enough, that “a tepid economic recovery, voter pessimism about the future and a job approval rating largely stuck in the danger zone below 50 percent mean Obama could have a hard time matching his performance in 2008, when enthusiasm for his promise of change propelled him to victory over Republican senator John McCain with 53 percent of the vote.” Even in 2008, this reminds us, Barack Obama was able to get only 53 percent of the vote, winning by about 7 points.

    And we’re not in 2008 anymore. Candidate Obama is now President Obama.

  52. 'e would be toast, fer sure, but for his secret weapon -


  53. Separate reports on the confidential Libyan papers show that MI6 set up a mosque in a major European city – without telling its EU allies – with the intention of luring Islamic extremists into unwittingly providing "information on terrorist planning".

    A double agent with close links to al-Qa'ida operations in Iraq, codenamed "Joseph", was recruited in late 2003 without authorisation from the security services of the unnamed country in which he lived.

    A secret message from MI6 to the headquarters of Moussa Koussa – the Libyan intelligence chief – published by The Sunday Telegraph, underlined the sensitivity of the mission. "We told 'Joseph' that under no circumstances was he to tell the [national intelligence service of the country he was going to operate in] of his involvement with us and the Libyans," it said.

  54. In a 2011 interview, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that legalization is “not likely to work” because “there is just too much money in it.” Clinton was talking about cartels, but the same holds true for the legal industries that owe their profit margins, market shares, and—in some cases—very existence to the war on drugs. Here are four industries you might not realize profit off the drug war.

    4.) The Drug Testing Industry

    One of the highlights of President Barack Obama’s 2012 Drug Control Policy report is a section encouraging drug-free workplace programs, which the report touts as “beneficial for our labor force, employers, families, and communities in general.” The report also alludes to the administration’s commitment to funding research for an oral drug test that can be conducted alongside a urine analysis.


    3.) The Alcohol Industry

    Marijuana legalization advocates like to point out that pot is safer than alcohol, if for no other reason than no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. They also like to point out that the booze industry has been working to subvert drug policy reform for decades, at least going back to the early 90s when the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) FOIA’d the donation records for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and found that it had accepted large donations from Jim Beam and Anheuser Busch.


    2.) The Private Prison Industry

    Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the country’s largest private prison company, has donated almost $4.5 million to political campaigns and dropped another $18 million on lobbying in the last two decades. The company, and others like it, is up to its elbows in drug war spending.

    Drug War

  55. Two Mexicans are stuck in the desert after crossing into the United States , wandering aimlessly and starving. They are about to just lie down and wait for death, when all of a sudden Luis says.........

    "Hey Pepe, do you smell what I smell. Ees bacon, I theenk."

    "Is, Luis, eet sure smell like bacon. "

    With renewed hope they struggle up the next sand dune, & there, in the distance, is a tree loaded with bacon.

    There's raw bacon, there's fried bacon, back bacon, double smoked bacon ... Every imaginable kind of cured pork.

    "Pepe, Pepe, we ees saved! Ees a bacon tree!"

    "Luis, maybe ees a meerage? We ees in the desert don't forget."

    "Pepe, since when deed you ever hear of a meerage that smell like bacon...ees no meerage, ees a bacon tree!"

    And with that, Luis staggers towards the tree. He gets to within 5 metres, Pepe crawling close behind, when suddenly a machine gun opens up, and Luis drops like a wet sock. Mortally wounded, he warns Pepe with his dying breath....

    "Pepe... Go back man, you was right, ees not a bacon tree!"

    "Luis, Luis mi amigo... what ees it? "

    "Pepe.. ees not a bacon tree. Ees....






    Ees..... a ham bush...."

  56. An actual sign at a golf club in Scotland













  57. Wine does not make you FAT ....

    - it makes you LEAN .....
    (Against tables, chairs, floors, walls and ugly people.)

  58. President Nicolas Sarkozy was thrust into a fight for his political survival after lagging behind Socialist candidate François Hollande in the first round of France's presidential poll.


    Mr. Hollande has said his goal would be to heal rifts in France and turn a page on what he described as Mr. Sarkozy's "divisive" style.

    Heading into the second round, Mr. Hollande can rely on support from Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left candidate who took 11.1% of the vote.

  59. But Democrats have not reckoned on the resilience of social conservative forces. The Roman Catholic bishops under the formidable leadership of Cardinal Timothy Dolan are just beginning to mobilize against the contraception/sterilization/abortion-pill mandate as a direct threat to the religious freedom of Catholics.

    And Obama and his team may be on the verge of putting an explicit commitment to same-sex marriage into the Democratic platform, which would make gay marriage a fully polarized issue this fall after the Democratic National Convention.

    There is a demographic reason why social issues of this type have (in the 1980s and in 2004) favored Republican nominees in presidential elections: Swing voters in the pivotal heartland states are more conservative socially than they are economically—a mirror image of swing voters in the Northeast and Pacific Coast. Democrats may relearn this lesson after it is too late, assuming Republican elites—and the Republican nominee—take the minimal steps necessary to allow these issues to be part of the debate in the campaign leading up to Election Day this November.

  60. "We suggest that the surface waters of the Arctic Ocean represent a potentially important source of methane, which could prove sensitive to changes in sea ice cover," the researchers write. "The association with sea ice makes this methane source likely to be sensitive to changing Arctic ice cover and dynamics, providing an unrecognised feedback process in the global atmosphere-climate system," they say.

    Climate scientists are concerned that rising temperatures in the Arctic could trigger climate-feedbacks, where melting ice results in the release of methane which in turn results in a further increase in temperatures.

    "We should be concerned because there's so many things in the Arctic where the warming feeds further warming. There are many things in the Arctic that do respond to warming," said Euan Nisbet, a methane expert at Royal Holloway University of London.

  61. The Girl In The Picture Is The 'Levitation Picture of the Day' Girl

    It's one of the best pictures she's done, that I have seen.

    Article is about a long study on the use of psychedelic drugs to ease anxiety of death in cancer and other patients.

  62. The Girl In The Picture Is The 'Levitation Picture of the Day' Girl

    It is one of the best pictures she has done that I have seen.

    Long article about recent studies about how psychedelic drugs may lower death anxiety.