Skip to content
About these ads

Question time on the FM website. Post your questions and answers!

17 November 2012

Summary: It’s time again for question time — “ask the mineshaft”. In the comments post your questions about geopolitics. And post your answers to other people’s questions.  This is a community exercise, from the German “Gemeinschaft” (see Wikipedia).

Contents

  1. How do open source projects & businesses fare in the Boydian world of competition, rate of change, etc?
  2. Why was the consulate in Benghazi attacked?
  3. What’s the status of peak oil?
  4. Will the Israel-Gaza situation escalate?
  5. If one could “rally” the American people to address any one issue in the US, which would be the most pressing?
  6. What can Nietzsche tell us about America?
  7. Why did cell phones go dead after Hurricane Sandy?
  8. More about a solar flare’s effect on the US power grid.
  9. Brilliant question: E puribus unum was our unofficial motto until Congress adopted In God we trust in 1956. Does this show a shift of our attitudes towards both the rest of the world, and ourselves?
  10. ______

.

About these ads
94 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 November 2012 1:52 am

    How do open source projects, businesses, etc, fare in the Boydian world of competition, rate of change, et cetera?

    It seems counterintuitive to telegraph or advertise your secrets to your competitors, yet many tech companies are successful with this approach… thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Like

    • 17 November 2012 1:58 am

      Good question, to which I haven’t a clue. Perhaps Chet or someone else can comment on this!

      Like

    • robnaardin permalink
      17 November 2012 4:15 am

      I never could really understand any of Boyd’s theory, until I read what he wrote about the Toyota production system.

      chrome://newtabhttps//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Production_System

      Since I don’t have a military background, but I’m familiar with organizational theory, I finally realized he’s talking about centralized vs decentralized decision making.

      Then the shift from 2nd gen to 3rd gen warfare in WW1 by german stormtrooper infiltration tactics
      finally made sense.

      Like

    • Saif Katana permalink
      17 November 2012 5:22 am

      I am not sure how it works with tech companies in specific, but I will take a shot at the idea of open source in general.

      The central theme of strategy is to improve ones own (moral-mental-physical) interaction while isolating the enemy. So while open source does reduce your ability to isolate the enemy, it does in some ways increase your own ability to interact. Morally by giving back to the community, increasing the desire of others to give back to you and others in general. Interaction will also be easier with people with matching world views / orientations.
      Maybe much open source is in a large part not driven by the desire to get material reward, but the opportunity to give something back because you believe it matters. It adds value to the lives of the people participating. I suspect open source projects work because they are founded on the project having intrinsic value instead of it just having instrumental value for something else.
      However this does certainly not mean closed source projects never have any intrinsic value for those involved doing the work.

      From a “People, ideas, hardware in that order” perspective it is about increasing the value of the lives of people first.

      Of the 3 levels (moral, mental and physical), the moral one has the ability to scale the most with such a cooperative mindset. In fact that is one of the main points of morality and reason as shown in the Golden Rule, like was pointed out a few articles ago. In fact there are many situations where keeping (source) information secret actually will work against you, especially on the moral level.

      As for “winners adapt (and shape), losers don’t”, both open source and closed source have their strengths and weaknesses in the area of adaptability and shaping.
      Rapidity and variety are essential for adaptability. But without harmony and initiative they will lead to confusion and disorder. Harmony and initiative without rapidity and variety will lead to predictability and rigidity. The key is balance.
      Open source generally leans more towards chaos and closed source more towards rigidity.

      The information “given away” for free only is useful if it can be understood, connected in someway with the information you already have, and be acted upon to achieve the goals you desire. “Free” information in many ways usually does not all fulfill these criteria. Information is not something existing in a vacuum. Information (re)shapes the environment it comes in contact with, by reorienting the many systems in comes into contact with. If done “correctly” it can shape it to the advantage of the original source.

      Much open source advantages are not caused directly but indirectly. For example, many open source projects do not have any financial profits as their main objective, but monetary and many other advantages do eventually appear when the landscape but more importantly the primary actors themselves have been sufficiently reshaped by their main objective.
      Of course eventually focusing too much on this material success eventually may lead to its own downfall, by forgetting the things that matter.

      Open source is showing others how you became what you are and how you do what you do.
      From that perspective I see Boyd’s work itself as being somewhat open source, free for anyone capable and interested to access. The very small part known and available to us anyway. He could have kept his thoughts just to himself. But I suspect that it was because he interacted and shared his thoughts with others that his ideas could blossom. And the deeper the level of sharing the bigger the growth.
      His legacy wasn’t just ‘his’ legacy but it was one shared with those around him. Trying to shape those around him, he was probably adapting and shaping himself the most. Although we on the receiving end of this information may see it otherwise.

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 4:42 pm

      Thanks for the great response Saif Katana.

      I was struck by this line in particular: “. I suspect open source projects work because they are founded on the project having intrinsic value instead of it just having instrumental value for something else.” Does this imply it works for tech companies and not for other companies? Or, could you explain what it means for a product/service/biz to have intrinsic versus instrumental value?

      Thanks

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 8:21 pm

      Just read this interexting quote from “The 15 Most Fascinating Accidental Inventions: #4 – Vulcanized Rubber“, Business Insider:

      After many patent battles, Goodyear died still in debt. He didn’t start the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. – the American company was instead named in his honor.

      “Life,” Goodyear wrote, “should not be estimated exclusively by the standard of dollars and cents. I am not disposed to complain that I have planted and others have gathered the fruits. A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:29 pm

      How do open source projects, businesses, etc, fare in the Boydian world of competition, rate of change, et cetera?

      I’m not a boydianist. ;) But I’ve seen the open source technology strategy play itself out for a long time, now, and I don’t think it’s a “game changer” from a commercial standpoint except for how it offers a sort of extremely low-cost protest vote that helps customers keep some of their vendors honest. I don’t think it helps the vendors much at all – to the vendors it giveth and taketh away to about equal degree. I don’t think “ooda loops” are a particularly useful way to think about business strategy – it’s all “strategy” and there are plenty of metaphors for thinking about it. For example, one could take the observation of “first mover advantage” and map that into ooda loops if you want, but – so what? By the way, in terms of “first mover advantage” open source erodes it; it tends to act as a leveller of the playing field. It also tends to suck the oxygen (or money) out of the lower-end of the market while always threatening to move up-market if the denizens of the enterprise market don’t have attractive pricing models or engage in predatory business practices. In some cases, simply because of the finances of a particular technology area, “the free is the enemy of the good” – you can get open source alternatives sucking ALL the oxygen out of a market and killing off niche players that were actually excellent. In operating systems, consider QNX as an example of a really good technology that got killed off by the aggressively mediocre linux borg.

      The companies that are successful with an open source strategy almost always make their money by either treating the open source as a loss-leader and offering a commercial supported version at a reasonable price, or use it as a predatory mechanism against more established players. In those cases, they’re not tipping their hand to something new; they’re mostly playing catch-up. (E.g.: MySQL versus Oracle) The long-lasting and powerful market leaders are mostly known for innovation and well-executed go to market strategies, not having an open source strategy. That’s more of a detail. First, you need the great idea, then you can worry about those details.

      I don’t think open source changes much, really. No matter how you slice it you have to have an effective go to market strategy and it needs to factor open source (or a competitor going open source) into your analysis, but it’s just another facet of a very many-faceted problem. It’s not a great big game-changer. The place to look for game-changers is by innovating technologically or developing a clever way to squeeze a market’s worth of cost-savings out of an existing market and parasitize it from within.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:50 pm

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks for the reply. I think the motivation behind the idea (for me) was along the lines of what you implied here:

      “The companies that are successful with an open source strategy almost always make their money by either treating the open source as a loss-leader and offering a commercial supported version at a reasonable price, or use it as a predatory mechanism against more established players.”

      I was thinking of it as a disruptive force.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      18 November 2012 9:41 pm

      Open Source (IT version) is not pure and free of commercial influences. On the contrary. It was something that combined dogmatic radical anti-capitalist ideology from academia with slightly less dogmatic technological elitism. And then was taken over by commercial forces! lol.

      In the Open Source world, Microsoft is the Great Satan. MS = Vulgar popularizers of the kinds of IT formerly controlled by the IT Priest-Nerd-Geek classes in R&D, etc.

      Microsoft’s competitors found uses for Open Source on several levels: spiritual, political, commercial.

      Google is of course based on Open Source, and so is Apple to a slightly lesser extent (BSD Unix).

      Java is not strictly open source, but it does provide a cautionary and disgusting tale of how a collective project to provide an “open” (cross-platform) technology can be gobbled up by a nasty, predatory, imperialistic tech company like Oracle.

      Like

    • Saif Katana permalink
      19 November 2012 3:57 am

      @john
      I was describing more the principle of open source in general, using the following definition: “Open source is showing others how you became what you are and how you do what you do.” I don’t have any insights on how this works in the tech industry in specific.

      I was thinking more about open source on a “moral level”. Politics is about the application of morality or the lack thereof in the public sphere. For example a nation following a certain political model (like some form of democracy) could benefit from open source. Showing others how they did it so others are better able to follow their example. Leading from the front, by example. It is never a 1-on-1 fit. But this diversity actually helps improve the original model by presenting it different kinds of feed back.

      The same is true for religious movements or other non-profits. They could, depending on the situation, benefit from open source to considerably scale their impact. Yes I put non-profit, religion and politics in the same category for a reason, to make you reflect upon it.

      A nation doesn’t directly profit from other nations following compatible values, but it has many positive indirect effects. And any nation still needs many closed source ways to stay fit. Therefore open source is just one of many aspects of a fit nation. Just like the body it needs the right balance of interaction (like nutrition and respiration) and isolation (like skin).
      And there are many complex interactions in geopolitics, like “democracies” supporting oligarchies to suppress and oppress popular movements. The same is true for IT as is shown in some of the above comments.

      The open source and closed source are like
      the direct and indirect,
      the conventional and unconventional.
      Both are needed and their meaning depends on their context.
      What is direct or indirect, conventional or unconventional
      depends on what the opponent is thinking
      and what you think the opponent is thinking
      and what the opponent is thinking you are thinking etc.
      What is crystal clear for some is opaque and confusing for others.
      What was once open can be closed.
      And what was once closed can be opened.

      Sometimes doors need to be opened
      and other times they need to be closed.

      Like

    • 20 November 2012 3:44 am

      Open Source: Can be free or non-free. Means that users can see the source code and make changes to it themselves. Does not mean that they can sell their changes or even give them away for free (the software is still owned by the copyright holder). OS X is mostly open source (the Darwin backbone), it is not Free Software in any sense. Lots of software mixes Open Source and Closed Source, have some parts of the code you can see and change and some that only corporate technicians can make changes to.

      Free Software: Software written according to one of many Free Software contracts. BSD licence only applies to the current iteration of the software. BSD software can be used as a basis for copyrighted software that is not released under the BSD license and that is not free to copy. See OS X for example. Gnu Public License requires anyone distributing code written under that license to be to allow the new code to be redistributable. You can charge for GPL software, you just can’t legally do anything if someone takes the software you charged for and starts giving it away on DVD.

      Economics: There aren’t a huge amount of software companies that operate on the “I sell you a box with a disk in it” nowadays. When you buy a Windows license, you expect it to be an ongoing service with bug fixes, upgrades and security patches until the product is sunsetted. When you buy a RedHat package, you are expecting the same thing.

      Other companies are selling you their Network, not their software. Netflix has to make software, but the software is just there to allow you to access their copyrighted movies. They aren’t interested in selling it, that would just create competitors for their core business. There are lots of companies like this nowadays, they aren’t interested, at all in selling you a box of bits. They want you to pay by the month, and are selling content, not software. The software is just a delivery system for the other content. GPL software and other types of Free Software allow them to make small improvements without reinventing the wheel from scratch, and avoid giving money to their competitors. (Valve, for example, is doing a big Linux push because upon the release of Windows 8, Microsoft became one of their biggest competitors. They didn’t suddenly become Leninists or anything. The games they deliver via their network will still be copyrighted and for profit. They will likely be releasing a Linux based “Valve Box” to compete with Xbox soon. The OS won’t cost them anything to build, and they’ll make profits in their core business, video games which will still be commercial software. Though often Open Source, or you wouldn’t have the Mod Community, which has always generated big profits for Valve when they commercialize their output after it becomes successful and popular.)

      Like

  2. 17 November 2012 3:03 am

    Question submitted by email: “Why was the consulate in Benghazi attacked?”

    How can we answer such a question? If the perps confessed and explain, could we believe them?

    An answer requires intelligence, such as from human or electronic sources. Which the government has not released, and could not be considered reliable if they did.

    US geopolitical experts confidently guess about such things. In fact, public US geopolitical analysis consists largely of guessing, with US-friendly conclusions guaranteed.

    Like

    • WTF permalink
      18 November 2012 9:54 pm

      Part of the puzzle: Wikipedia entry about the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi — Excerpt:

      Government campaign to disband militias [after the attacks]

      On September 23, taking advantage of the growing momentum and rising anger against the militias evinced in the earlier anti-militia demonstrations, the Libyan president declared that all unauthorized militias had 48 hours to either disband or come under government control.

      …It has been noted that previously, handling the militias had been difficult as the government had been forced to rely on some of them for protection and security. However, according to a Libyan interviewed in Tripoli, the government gained the ability to push back against the militias because of a “mandate of the people.”

      …Across the country, militias began surrendering to the government. The government formed a “National Mobile Force” for the purpose of evicting illegal militias. On the same day as the declaration, various militias in Misrata held meetings, ultimately deciding to submit to the government’s authority, and handed over various public facilities they had been holding

      …Hundreds of Libyans, mainly former rebel fighters, gathered in the city centers of Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government on the 29th of September.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 10:10 pm

      WTF — I suggest caution citing information Wikipedia concerning controversial matters. These entries are non-exerts — often highly biased — summaries of material from often dubious sources.

      Like

  3. whirlwind21 permalink
    17 November 2012 3:09 am

    Any news on the peak oil and the on going collapse front? Because it seems happy times will never be here again.

    Like

    • 17 November 2012 3:42 am

      West Texas Crude is $86, down 40% from the July 2008 of $145 nd you say that “happy times will never be here again”. Some people are so difficult to please, so quick to panic. It’s the love of doomsterism that animates so many today. Perhaps from enui, perhaps some latent eschatology popping out again in new form.

      As for peak oil, it remains where I have said it was so many times during the past give years: in the future. When, we do not have the data to determine.
      Perhaps nobody has the full data necessary.

      • We don’t know the extent to which tight oil fields can be developed in other nations as it has in the USA, providing substantial new supplies.
      • We don’t know how quickly and how far Iraq’s oil production will increase.
      • We don’t know when the Siberian or Saudi fields we peak, nor how quickly they will decline.

      Like

  4. slapout9 permalink
    17 November 2012 3:30 am

    Will the Israel-Gaza situation escalate?

    Like

    • 17 November 2012 3:44 am

      Define “escalate”. Is it escalation if Israel sends troops into slaughter men in Gaza? If they kill women and children? Would anyone care?

      Might Egypt get involved? That would be escalation! It seems unlikely in the short term, but probably inevitable if Israel continues its current policies. Historians will consider it suicide.

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 4:12 am

      Probably. And as FM says…Would anyone care?

      Demographically, Israel is putting off the inevitable. This is a country in very serious trouble.

      Breton

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 4:58 am

      I agree with Breton. For details see The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2006:

      Summary: Part two in a series of articles about grand strategy in a 4GW Era. This chapter shows (1) the difficulty of distinguishing strong from weak in 4GW, and (2) that choosing a wrong grand strategy can be terminal for a state. It could easily prove fatal for Israel. This was written on 8 February 2006 and revised on 28 July 2006.

      Like

    • slapout9 permalink
      17 November 2012 4:17 am

      I should have said send in ground troops but you figured that out. To continue if Egypt gets envolved what do you think the US response would be?

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 4:50 am

      “if Egypt gets envolved what do you think the US response would be?”

      Great question! Cry? That would mark the end of an era in the Middle East, and the beginning of a new chapter — a massive loss for Israel. It would be “Egypt’s Back!

      Like

    • Drake West permalink
      18 November 2012 2:30 pm

      a massive loss for Israel

      This is inevitable in a general sense, but what is the loss? Israel lives daily with the premonition of sustaining massive loss. Note how it does not in any way deter them from being the strongman in the region. Loss does not deter Israel in any way from projecting its decades long policy. They do not soften for a reason, they are ready to lose soldiers and structures. It puts the fear in countries like Syria and Egypt. Note how in the 21st century, no Arab nation dares to posture themselves a direct combatant against the IDF. Even Iran with all their tough talk positions no Iranian troops or equipment in a direct threat to the IDF.

      I am always surprised an non-Zionists who say that Israel is f’ed. Why don’t you go and live in Tel-Aviv for a month and then become an expert on how Israel is failing as a state. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In a nation where a terrorist rocket COULD hit any city, they do not wilt.

      There is threat of civilian casualties of course, but there are committed and tough people. Much as Americans have been over the decades. But they are defending their homeland. Nothing is a stronger bond in this world than the courage and Israeli exhibits when facing attacks in their homeland.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 7:58 pm

      Drake reminds us all dark deeds done in our world have cheerleaders. Israel treats the people in Gaza like cattle, steals the Palestinians’ land, and violates with impunity the laws we created for the post-WWII world. Our complicity in Israel’s deeds of the past 40 years probably has ruined the great international realm we attempted to create.

      “there {sic} are committed and tough people. Much as Americans have been over the decades”

      Cheering evil, as we stand side-by-side. But the rest of the world watches and sees clearly what we’re doing. Only Americans, blinded by the lies of the news media, remain ignorant. We can only guess about the future, but our collision with reality might be painful.

      As for Israel, Drake and company can cheer Israel’s killing. Exalt in the dead women and children, collateral damage in the construction of the Greater Israel. My guess is that those days have long gone. For details see The Fate of Israel.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:30 pm

      In the last 2 days the answer appears to be “yes.” See? Hindsight is great for this kinda question.

      Like

    • guest permalink
      18 November 2012 9:12 pm

      “Even Iran with all their tough talk positions no Iranian troops or equipment in a direct threat to the IDF.”

      I am always a bit baffled by this constant “Iranian military threat to Israel” argument.

      The shortest trajectory between Iran and Israel (border to border) represents 1000 km, and crosses at least Iraq and Jordan (and possibly Syria). How on earth is Iran supposed to position troops and equipment in “direct threat” to Israel?

      The only way to “position troops and equipment” would be to send the puny Iranian navy to the Mediterranean — which, given the anguished cries raised every time a single Iranian warship sails through the Suez canal, will never happen.

      Like

    • Drake West permalink
      19 November 2012 5:19 am

      FM, please refrain from admonishing Israel for attempting to root out known terrorists, which undermine the peace process much more than the “warmongering Zionists” It is beneath the intellect you show in so many other areas. Hamas cannot possibly deserve any sympathy for their mistreatment of their own women and children which have uses which bounce between “missile launcher shield” and “Victims parade for Western Media”

      Please do not consider a Westernized nation, with UN sovereignty, which successfully defended itself from illegal wars and an ongoing terrorist war for more than 30 years to be a doer of dark deeds. That is just pathetic antisemitism. Yeah I am calling that reply to my post just that. Cheerleader for evil deeds? Are you kidding me? The United States has sided with Israel for many reasons for so many years, not all of them moral or just. Our beloved country is most closest allies with them nonetheless. Are you calling 10 straight presidential administration wrong? Misguided? Fooled? Evil in cahoots? What judgement are you passing here? Your call out is definitely the most telling pandering you have ever done.

      Someone who professes to seek repair of our Republic cannot also denounce the struggle of Israel at the same time.

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 5:35 am

      Drake,

      The illegal settlements continue on Palestinian land. Israel continues to run Gaza as a concentration camp. Israel illegally wields massive force against people in their occupied territory. You can close your eyes and sing, but it does not erase these deeds.

      Their neighbors see, and that makes the rise of democratic governments (or at least more representative ones) an existential threat to Israel. One that they cannot bomb or assassinate.

      It’s a suicidal course.

      Like

    • Drake West permalink
      19 November 2012 5:43 am

      I will agree with you that Israel in 2012 is in a bad state of affairs. They have made mistakes along the way that have led them to untenable situations in Gaza and West Bank. Astutely you point out that the rise of democracy makes Israel “not the only game in town” and that further weakens their special sauce with the West.

      However, your answer does not address the atrocities which were carried out AGAINST Israel in almost every decade except now the last. This is the tragedy of the assessment of Israel. The settlements in the West Bank are the RESPONSE to something. The wall, the use of overwhelming ground and air power to wall in hundreds of thousands of civilians are because of how the history of Israel has been.

      I would add that almost no path Israel could have taken would have created the admiration in the West to overcome inherent antisemitism which is proven real. The USA keeps MFN (most favored nation) status for a variety of reasons, but there are plenty in this country which think it is a mistake and waste.

      Widen your mind a bit on that last paragraph. THERE IS NO COURSE OF ACTION OVER THE LAST 15 years which would have put Israel in better shape worldwide.

      Like

    • guest permalink
      19 November 2012 8:42 am

      “Israel continues to run Gaza as a concentration camp.”

      For the sake of accuracy, I would state that the model Israel is following regarding Gaza is definitely not the concentration camp, but the ghetto — the institution which culminated in the 1930s-1940s: overcrowded, gated, impossible to leave, all supplies, including foodstuff and medicines, strictly controlled and limited — finely computed by Israelis to let the population remain on the edge of survival, leaving only smuggling through underground tunnels to compensate –, income from trade confiscated by the Israeli authorities, and frequent incursions killing inhabitants and destroying buildings.

      Gaza is not Dachau or Neuengamme — rather, it is more like the ghettos in Lemberg or Warsaw. Let us stop designating Gaza as a concentration camp, and let us accurately talk about the Gaza Ghetto.

      “THERE IS NO COURSE OF ACTION OVER THE LAST 15 years which would have put Israel in better shape worldwide.”

      What about abiding by international conventions and the Oslo agreement, and not expanding colonies in occupied territories — or even dismantling those illegally set up after the Oslo agreement was signed?

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 1:46 pm

      Guest,

      Correction noted! I hate to make these comparisons, because they are problematic on many levels. But they have to be made. the NAZI-run ghettos for Jews are a better analogy for Gaza than concentraton camps.

      Like

    • Alex permalink
      19 November 2012 3:52 pm

      “the NAZI-run ghettos for Jews are a better analogy for Gaza”

      Do you mean that for every child born in Gaza 42 children dying from starvation and diseases?
      Are you Holocaust-denier?

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 3:59 pm

      Alex,

      Are you kidding, trolling, or (difficult to believe) serious.

      For the record, in case of #3 – To make a comparison among historical phenomenon does not imply that they are identical in magnitude.

      In fact, they are almost *never* of the same magnitude.

      Like

    • Alex permalink
      19 November 2012 5:25 pm

      And it is not “magnitude” issue of course either. Because if I would ask you to count Gaza’s children died as a result of starvation during the all years of “blockade” you would fail to bring here even one case.

      So in the end of a day that “Gaza Concentration Camp” thingy is nothing more then leftwing/muslim/neo-nazi anti-semitic propaganda.

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 6:27 pm

      It’s sad to see Alex’s defense of Israel’s actions. I wonder what he’d been writing about at the time about the biggies — Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot — given his enthusiastic defense here of killing civilians in defiance of the laws of our time.

      Anyway, to resume this pointless slog thru the obvious — no historical comparison is exact. Israel has not cut off food, so there is no starvation. However they’re quite “kinetic” in their use of firepower, a stage reached only in the end-game of the NAZI ghettos. And, of course, the Gaza people are fighting back — albeit in a stupid and largely ineffectual manner.

      To state more of the perfectly obvious (except that is, to the morally blind, like Alex), and repeat what I said before, historical comparisons are a search for similarities in order to understand current events — each of which is unique in many ways. Their use does not imply identical magnitude in terms of any scale — deaths, injuries, or moral turpitude.

      The other interesting aspect of Alex’s comment is that he uses a technique that’s become quite popular recently: attempts to deligitimizing opposition. As we see in the charge of “denier” of climate science (which in fact refers to the selective use of climate science research, the primary propaganda tool of both sides in the public policy debate).

      Alex uses it is a particularly despicable manner, using the bodies of past victims of injustice to justify today’s injustice. But that’s how these people work. Then, now, tomorrow. Killing for advantage, with cheer-leaders providing cover. We see them cheering America’s killing and Israel’s killing. We see them in the Islamic world cheering the Taliban’s horrific deeds, and the routine oppressions in the Gulf States.

      They are brothers in kind. They are our enemies.

      Like

    • Alex permalink
      19 November 2012 8:47 pm

      Israel dropped 1000 bombs on the most densely populated place on Earth and as a result 100 people were killed. If “killing civilians” would be the goal of the operation then body count would be on dozens of thousands at that point.

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 11:20 pm

      Alex,

      Your comments continue to be irrational.

      (1). Who said “killing civilians” was the goal? It is, quite obviously, a means. It is seldom a goal. Even for hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot — among the closest to pure evil in history, IMO — killing was a means to an end.

      (2). The estimate of 105 dead is 10% more than US dead on 9-11, proportionate to population. I don’t know what point you are attempting to make. It reads as if you consider that a low number. Don’t go into any red neck bars in the US and tell the crowd that.

      That’s (from memory) aprox 30 to 1 Israeli dead from Gaza rockets. That’s very roughly the ratio the US inflicted on Iraq, which was — like Gaza — a bystander in the quest for hegemony over the Middle East being sought by US-Isreal.

      Israel should pray that when the Arabs get equivalent military force, which they probably will — eventually — they don’t seek to even the score. That’s how these wars propagate down through the generations.

      Like

    • Alex permalink
      20 November 2012 3:00 am

      Arabs had that force in 1973 delivered from arsenals of Warsaw Pact. And some staff like heat-seeking missiles that was not even fielded by USSR for their own forces. They had it all guided and manned by soviet advisers and mercenaries on the ground. And all that was enough to produce 6 hours of sustained offence. When we will suck the last drop of oil out of their land and leave them on their own devices they will return back to what they always were – caravan robbers stilling women and raping camels.

      Like

    • 20 November 2012 3:21 am

      This just in: 1973 was almost 40 years ago. The Arabs have had two generations to learn modern military tactics, to use modern military equipment.

      Where will they be in another 20 years, especially if they shake off the western-backed tyrannies that keep these societies in stasis?

      As for oil, third world nations squander their resources. That’s what makes them poor despite their natural wealth. The natural, Darwinian, test in process will determine if the Gulf states are First or Third world States.

      They see the challenge, and fear “camels to helicopters to camels in five generations”. The Saudi Princes’ decision not to increase oil production is a smart move. Their defeat of al Qaeda (my guess is that they were a major — or the major — force) was another success. They’ll need to make many more such steps to build a secure long-term foundation for their people.

      We can guess the outcome, but only time will tell. For Israel, the Arabs, as well as us.

      Like

  5. gaiasrequite permalink
    17 November 2012 5:03 am

    If one could “rally” the American people to address any one issue (so many discussed on this blog) in the US, which would be the most pressing?

    Like

    • 17 November 2012 5:49 am

      My nomination: rally the America people around the slogan “We are the Republic. We bear the responsibility for America.” We are obsessed with rights and have forgotten our responsibilities. No nation can so endure.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      17 November 2012 5:32 pm

      So, would you say one of our responsibilities is voting? If so, what is your take on the uninformed voter? Are they helping in maintaining our republic or is the involvement of the uninformed counter productive?

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 10:29 pm

      “If so, what is your take on the uninformed voter?”

      In some sense most of us are overhead to society at some point in our lives, in some way.

      Like

  6. 17 November 2012 6:09 am

    You mention Nietzsche from time to time on this blog. Earlier today I read this piece about him. “America’s Superman” by Adam Kirsch, Prospect, 16 November 2011 — “Nietzsche has appealed to Americans on the right and left for over a century. They have looked past his dark reputation to remake the German philosopher in their own image.”

    So my question is, what can Nietzsche tell us about America?

    Like

    • 17 November 2012 6:35 am

      Great question, but too big for this context. Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind spends dozens of pages on that subject, just scratching the surface.

      Can you narrow your question?

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:32 pm

      It’s important to remember that Nietzsche’s dark image was because, in the more christianized society in which he was writing, his work was quite a bit more shocking than it is, today. In a sense, like Voltaire, the argument that he was making is less relevant because of how thoroughly he won the battle he was fighting.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 7:44 pm

      Nietzsche’s philosophy is, in my opinion, dark almost beyond my ability to imagine. I wonder if his madness resulted from staring into the dark abyss too long, He journeyed into the void to bring us back terrifying, priceless insights. The human adolescence requires grappling with these things.

      Like

  7. 17 November 2012 5:16 pm

    Why Cell Phones Went Dead After Hurricane Sandy“, Bloomberg, 15 November 2012

    The short version: cell phone networks failed because the small-government, business-friendly GOP blocked FCC efforts to force telephone companies to build resilient networks (reversing generation-old US policy).

    Like

    • whirlwind21 permalink
      17 November 2012 7:43 pm

      Should say the same thing about our powergrid which will get wiped out by a solar EMP and how they are doing nothing about it.

      Like

    • 17 November 2012 10:01 pm

      Whirlwind21, you are consistently wrong — to a degree seldom seen in the 26 thousand comments on this website.

      The danger of the solar storm to the power grid was not well-appreciated until the 2009 National Academy Report, funded by NASA and produced after a growing body of research indicated the need to marshal resources to prepare for this.

      Fixing something as large and complex as the power grid is not like children doing chalk drawings on your sidewalk. Especially when the grid itself needs major redesign for the new demands of the 21st century (ie, creating the “smart grid”). Thought, research, and planning for these multi-billion-dollar projects takes time. So despite the children yelling “nothing is being done”, something is being done. Probably not as fast as it should be, but then nothing is.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      18 November 2012 4:21 am

      Also whirlwind21, it is not a solar EMP (electromagnetic pulse) It’s a CME (coronal mass ejection). And against this type of cataclysmic event there is little we can do because of technological barriers.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 4:43 am

      gaiasrequite is, of course, correct.

      See the National Academy of Sciences report, Section 7 – Future Solutions, Vulnerabilities, and Risks (pp 76-85). They describe mostly uncertainties about the probability of a severe solar event, and about the possible ways to mitigate its effects.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      18 November 2012 5:22 am

      In short…there is very little we mere mortals can do to prevent the wrath of Ra, it is developing a means to address the damage if and when it occurs, quickly and efficiently.
      And, as FM stated, there is quite a bit of money and man hours trying to calculate the breadth of that type of damage and how to repair it.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      18 November 2012 5:59 am

      And, because whirlwind21’s very next statement is so utterly vague and open door. And because he seems to possess a knack for the ridiculous…..I am afraid I can not help my self…..

      Utterly off base, the Hatter has tea at 2 not 4 and the “unbirthday” was in fact invented as a decisive effort by the “Bloody Red Queen” to further the madness that has permeated Underland since her accent 5000 years ago….

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:35 pm

      there is very little we mere mortals can do to prevent the wrath of Ra, it is developing a means to address the damage if and when it occurs, quickly and efficiently.

      For most of us, it’ll amount to replacing a few pieces of consumer electronics. Short of extreme scenarios – in which case if we’re hypothesizing extreme scenarios let’s hypothesize an asteroid strike and be done with it.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 7:20 pm

      “let’s hypothesize an asteroid strike and be done with it.”

      In Arthur C. Clarke’s stories, that does happen in the 21st century. Which leads to the creation of SPACEGUARD. Mars-based radars plus ships mapping the solar system, prepared to shift dangerous asteroids or comets that might hit the Earth. That seems like a realistic scenario, as sci-fi goes.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      18 November 2012 7:03 pm

      Actually, if we want to talk “doomsday” events both CME’s (Wikipedia) and asteroids which could hit earth, NEAs, (Wikipedia) deal with mathematical probability, leaving us with the “IF and WHEN” scenario. If there is a threat to us that should be mentioned it would be one that removes the “IF” from the scenario leaving us with only the “WHEN” these are not external, but internal threats such as supervolcanos (Wikipedia) and impending glaciations (NOAA page on Glacial-Interglacial cycles).

      The links I provided should give a bass understanding into each as well as “lighten the load” of fears surrounding each event.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 7:33 pm

      About Shockwaves

      There are many high impact, low probability scenarios. And more discovered as we understand more about the Earth’s history. We could go broke attempting to prepare against them all. Instead we allocate resources as we do against other dangers: irrationally. We spend hundreds of billions against terrorism, while our cities remain vulnerable to ordinary storms. Some diseases are fought with massive research, others (often more common and deadly) receive relatively little attention (eg, breast cancer vs. prostate cancer). Meanwhile 30 thousand people die in auto accidents per year, and nobody cares.

      You’ll find more data and analysis in these posts:

      1. We are so vulnerable to so many things. What is the best response?, 30 December 2008
      2. About our certain doom from the Yellowstone supervolcano, 11 January 2008
      3. My nomination for a top priority shockwave, 19 January 2009
      4. A serious threat to us – a top priority shockwave – a hidden danger …, 20 January 2009
      5. What about all the hype, the extreme warnings, about swine flu?, 3 September 2009
      6. More about shockwaves of the volcanic kind, 21 April 2010
      7. How good are our global senses, watching our changing world?, 15 October 2010

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      18 November 2012 8:04 pm

      So…in short…again. Both internal and external “cataclysmic” threats, are getting quite a bit of funding for research and solutions to these issues if and/or when they occur.

      I would have to say however, our greatest “doomsday” threat does not derive from either God, or Gaia, but ourselves. Which I believe (correct me if I am wrong) is the real purpose of the FM website. To discuss geopolitical events and not only inform but, perhaps also discover, a way to recover from the madness that seems to be infecting our governments it’s leaders and the people they govern.

      I would have to say our most mathematical probable threat is humans sparking a nuclear world war three. And then there is the research going into the development of anti-matter, which I hear can also pack quite a punch.

      Like

  8. whirlwind21 permalink
    18 November 2012 12:21 am

    Well I’ll admit I’m wrong then but I sure haven’t heard anything being done about it just a list of recommendations. Have you heard anything?

    Like

    • 18 November 2012 12:36 am

      Whirlwind21,

      Re-read my comment. It was quite clear about the scale — of complexity, cost, and duration of the project to re-build our power grid.

      Especially since we have little data about the probability and magnitude of the danger, since our knowledge of solar cycles is quite limited — and knowledge of solar mechanics even more so.

      Like

    • whirlwind21 permalink
      18 November 2012 1:59 am

      The Carrington Event of 1859 which caught telegraph stations on fire and allowed operations to send messages even when not hooked up to their batteries. Granted we don’t know how often such an event happens but still. Also the Quebec 1989 solar storm which disrupted power in Quebec. I’m sure we know the danger, no one wants to do anything about because it costs to much and the like.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 3:23 am

      Whirlwind21, you have no idea what you’re talking about. As usual.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 4:24 am

      A question for anyone complaining that insufficient funding is devoted to their favorite shockwave scenario (ie, a high impact, low annual probablility scenario): name one shockwave scenario where those studying it say there is too much funding to prevent/mitigate it. There must be a few such instances, but I’ll bet they are rare.

      Yet we cannot adequately fund every shockwave. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 5:37 pm

      name one shockwave scenario where those studying it say there is too much funding to prevent/mitigate it.

      We are in danger of a “punditpocalypse” – I saw someone on Fox News talking about how if there’s a hiccup in the system the streets will be filled with roaming hungry pundits. It’s a pretty scary scenario and I think that the federal government should establish a pundit-management bureaucracy so we’ll have a government failure to complain about if it all happens. And if it doesn’t, we can complain about government waste. So either way, it’s a win.

      Like

    • 18 November 2012 7:18 pm

      “We are in danger of a punditpocalypse ”

      Perhaps we could allow hunting to cull the herd. Or introduce natural predators into the news media ecology, such as cynics and philosophers. But balance must be restored!

      Like

    • david jones permalink
      18 November 2012 10:37 pm

      nice!

      Like

  9. 19 November 2012 1:26 am

    @ Fabius Maximus

    “E puribus unum” – or “out of many, one” was the unofficial motto of the United States until 1956, when Congress adopted “In God we trust” as the official motto.

    Do you think this is indicative of a major shift of our attitudes towards both the rest of the world, and ourselves?

    The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a socialist who supported equal rights for all races and women. The words “under god” were inserted in 1954. Again, do you see this as an indicator of changing attitudes?

    Like

    • 19 November 2012 4:29 am

      Why did we add religion to the US national slogans in the mid-1950s?

      It’s an important question, indicative of powerful social forces at work in American, and a question I believe has received too little attention.

      My guess: America (as hegemon) faced a powerful ideological competitor — Communism — attractive both at home and abroad. Part of our response was an intellectual retreat, a return to home doctrines. But many of these had become problematic, so we turned to “God” as a (to use mixed metaphors) a flag we could rally around. It was bland, safe, unthreatening — a useful totem.

      Quite unlike the sayings of that Jesus guy in the Gospels. Fortunately few pay attention to Him, or society would be turned upside down. Imagine him in our banks! Fortunately there are crosses all across America. The good citizens would use one of them. Again.

      Like

  10. genericman permalink
    19 November 2012 7:36 am

    Why are you so opposed to the concentration of wealth and growing income inequity in the US? Aren’t these things usually good for a nation, as they encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?

    Like

    • 19 November 2012 7:42 am

      (1) There is no evidence that they do such things.
      (2) There is a large body of evidence that increasing concentrations decrease social stability.
      (3). There is some evidence that increased concentrations decrease growth, perhaps due to rich people’s increased propensity to save.

      For examples of the results of increased concentrations of wealth and income, look at Latin America. When did someone last say “Rich as an Argentinian”?

      Like

    • guest permalink
      19 November 2012 8:44 am

      (4) There is strong evidence, based on decades of empirical studies, that inequality decreases the overall health of the population — including the health of its wealthier members.

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 1:49 pm

      guest,

      Thanks for the addition to the list!

      There are major institutes for the study of inequality at many major universities in the US. The body of research on this subject is immense. It’s astonishing that GOP propaganda has so well established myths about the benefits of inequality.

      Like

  11. 19 November 2012 11:56 am

    Ever notice how Reagan was apparently the first Republican president ever? From listening to the GOP, you wouldn’t know that Republicans even existed before him. It seems the GOP has rejected their own founding principles… which means all the great Republican presidents, like Lincoln and Eisenhower – are either ignored or outright hated by modern Republicans.

    It was a sound strategic decision for the Democrats to support the Civil Rights Act, and its helped them survive up to the present day, even with all of their mistakes.

    But why would the GOP – which has consistently supported civil rights since Lincoln – suddenly switch to support a demographic group (old religious white males) – only after it was clear this demographic group would lose? Both numerically (birth rates, immigration) – and ideologically (younger white people are increasingly not racist, and less likely to attend church).

    As a direct result of this change in policy, they’ve consistently alienated other demographic groups that could have easily been recruited wholesale into the Republican base – notably Hispanics, who tend to be more religious and family-centric.

    Even more baffling is the war on women – how does it make sense wage war on a demographic group that is more than half of the population, AND votes in larger numbers than males? Obama took 55% of the women vote. And how does Romney respond? By whining that Obama won by “giving away gifts” to young women voters. Not being a pompous douche trapped in the 1950s probably helped too.

    This sounds like a serious failure in Grand Strategy.

    This last election also sounds like a textbook case of a broken OODA loop. Instead of learning from their mistakes and rearming for 2014, Romney supporters instead are publicly insulting every non-white demographic group that leaned towards Obama. How to win friends and influence people!

    Like

  12. genericman permalink
    19 November 2012 5:02 pm

    Do you think America’s political system has an inherent benefit in regards to European political systems given that it is extremely stable and closed off, thus making it very difficult for radical change to infect the system? Has it made the US immune from the actions we see going on through Europe?

    Like

    • genericman permalink
      19 November 2012 5:09 pm

      Sorry, meant ‘in comparison to European political systems’

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 6:34 pm

      genericman asks an important and complex question! Too big for this format. Here are a few quick thoughts.

      The US government makes different trade-offs than parliamentary governments in terms of flexibility and representativeness. Neither is more or less than the other in these terms, but they provide them in different ways.

      Perhaps the biggest difference is that the US chief of state is also the prime minister. That gives him a different stature than any EU statesman. My fear is that will prove to be a very bad weakness in the US polity, making it easier for a leader to take power.

      Especially given the history of US Presidents ignoring the law. Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Truman, Johnson, Reagan, and Bush Jr are the major examples. Note the increasing frequency. The trend is not our friend.

      Like

    • tiradefaction permalink
      19 November 2012 6:44 pm

      It always amazes me when Americans think they are somehow immune from the same industrial action/protests/riots that has happened in Europe as of late. If anything, they may get even more intense here, given there’s no real more open democratic conduit to release those aggressions like there is in Europe.

      Like

    • 19 November 2012 11:04 pm

      I second tradefaction’s comment. Guessing, one reason for the government’s massive fiscal and monetary response to the crash was fear about social instability is they attempted to use hard times to force social reforms.

      How well could we have sustained long stress such as Spain? Not as well, is my guess.

      Like

  13. genericman permalink
    20 November 2012 10:09 pm

    Fabius, I’d like your opinion on this article http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2012/05/15/polarization-is-real-and-asymmetric/ You seem to deny the polarization of American politics of extreme left and extreme right. Why is this when the evidence clearly suggests it exists?

    Like

    • 20 November 2012 10:39 pm

      Genericman,

      The meaning of these complex terms depends on context. The DW-nominate data is VERY accurate. But in a technical sense. The ideological realignment of the parties following the GOP’s southern strategy resulted in polarized parties — with respect to each other.

      The polarization along the ideological spectrum relative to each other occurs only in a certain class of issues.

      They differ little on the core issues of interest to the 1%. Almost identical positions with regard to national security and economics, as seen in the votes.

      They have small difference,for example, on tax policy. But the Dem’s do not advocate large tax increases, or return to the highly progressive post-war era (when we were growing), or taxing unearned income at the same rate as wage income (commie!).

      They differ on the magnitude of the cuts to our social welfare system, already far smaller than those of our peer nations, and oppose alternative reforms (eg, radical health care reforms on the model of more successful European mixed public-private models).

      They differ on social issues, such as who does what to who in bed, and how to cope with the consequences of birth and divorces. The 1% seldom care how the proles live, and these debates hold people’s attention away from issues of greater importance to the 1%.

      Like

    • genericman permalink
      25 November 2012 6:48 pm

      Sorry for the late reply, the holidays kept me away.

      (1) “The ideological realignment of the parties following the GOP’s southern strategy resulted in polarized parties — with respect to each other.”

      What does this mean? I do not understand.

      (2) “They differ little on the core issues of interest to the 1%. Almost identical positions with regard to national security and economics, as seen in the votes. ”

      That’s not true at all. The Democrats and Republicans are vastly different on economics. Obama during his first two years when the Democrats controlled Congress pushed forward a hardcore liberal agenda, and got his ass kicked in the 2010 midterms for that.

      (3) “But the Dem’s do not advocate large tax increases, or return to the highly progressive post-war era (when we were growing), or taxing unearned income at the same rate as wage income (commie!).”

      But they do…?

      (4) ‘They differ on the magnitude of the cuts to our social welfare system, already far smaller than those of our peer nations, and oppose alternative reforms (eg, radical health care reforms on the model of more successful European mixed public-private models).”

      Their health systems are putting them in debt though, and our social welfare system (Social Security, Medicare) need to be cut drastically.

      Like

    • 25 November 2012 7:01 pm

      genericman,

      (1) FM: ““The ideological realignment of the parties following the GOP’s southern strategy resulted in polarized parties — with respect to each other.”
      Your question: “What does this mean? I do not understand.”

      I didn’t express that clearly. Two parties can be polarized, but with only slight differences in views. Think of the fierce debates that characterize far Left parties. Such as pure Marxists vs. Trotskyites vs. Maoists.

      (2) FM: “They differ little on the core issues of interest to the 1%. Almost identical positions with regard to national security and economics, as seen in the votes. ”
      Your reply: “That’s not true at all. The Democrats and Republicans are vastly different on economics. Obama during his first two years when the Democrats controlled Congress pushed forward a hardcore liberal agenda”

      Please cite some examples of their “vastly different” economics, please.

      (3) FM: “But the Dem’s do not advocate large tax increases, or return to the highly progressive post-war era (when we were growing), or taxing unearned income at the same rate as wage income (commie!).”
      Your reply: “But they do…?”

      Please cite some examples of Democratic party leadership proposing any of these things.

      Like

    • 25 November 2012 8:53 pm

      Genericman,

      I forgot number 4!

      (4) FM: “They differ on the magnitude of the cuts to our social welfare system, already far smaller than those of our peer nations, and oppose alternative reforms (eg, radical health care reforms on the model of more successful European mixed public-private models).”
      Your reply: “Their health systems are putting them in debt though, and our social welfare system (Social Security, Medicare) need to be cut drastically.”

      The problems of Social Security and Medicare are quite different. Social security requires relatively small additional funding; on their website they list several alternatives. Our health care system is profoundly disfunctional, but saying it needs “cuts” is deeply wrong. It needs process reforms. Our peers have different forms of mixed public-private systems, that provide equivalent outcomes at costs from 1/2 to 2/3’s of ours.

      Like

    • genericman permalink
      2 December 2012 1:39 pm

      Sorry again for the long delay. Life’s been keeping me busy

      “Two parties can be polarized, but with only slight differences in views. ” I don’t know, the Republicans stand for theocracy, where the Democrats tend to be pretty secular. That’s a very drastic difference.

      “Please cite some examples of their “vastly different” economics, please.”

      Well for one, Democrats stand for nationalization of key industry, full unionization, the end to private business, and extremely high taxes.

      “Please cite some examples of Democratic party leadership proposing any of these things.”

      Nancy Pelosi anybody?

      “Social security requires relatively small additional funding; on their website they list several alternatives.”

      Cutting it is the best option. And the most centrist option.

      ” Our health care system is profoundly disfunctional, but saying it needs “cuts” is deeply wrong.”

      It does though. Greece had to find this out the hard way.

      “Our peers have different forms of mixed public-private systems, that provide equivalent outcomes at costs from 1/2 to 2/3′s of ours.”

      European health systems, by any objective measure, are crap. They cost more, and use technology from the 1930s. Free Market healthcare is the only sane (Centrist) path.

      Like

    • 2 December 2012 4:49 pm

      Genericman,

      By cite evidence, I didn’t mean repeat lies you’d heard on Fox News. Cite evidence.

      Life is too short to sort through your misinformation (and experience shows it’s probably a waste of time), so I’ll give just two examples.

      (1) “Cutting {social security} is the best option. And the most centrist option.”

      Polls have almost uniformly shown large majorities opposed to cutting social security benefits. Such as this Gallup Poll, showing 34% in favor and 64% opposed. A large body of research shows that Social Security is quite easy to fix with relatively small changes.

      The vast majority of the US government’s unfunded liabilities are from health care costs, resulting from our dysfunctional system — which costs almost 2x that of our peers, but delivers no better results.

      (2) “It does though. Greece had to find this out the hard way.”

      Greece’s problems had nothing to do with their health care system. To say that displays ignorance on stilts.

      Like

    • 3 December 2012 8:55 pm

      “European health systems, by any objective measure, are crap. They cost more, and use technology from the 1930s.”

      genericman,

      Please provide some evidence supporting that amazing statement.

      It looks like one of the most ignorant statements ever made among the 27 thousand comments posted here during the past five years. And the competition is fierce for that designation of being on the bottom rung.

      In fact the health care systems of our peers in Europe (eg, Swiss, France, German, Scandinavia) provide broadly equivalent outcomes at 1/2 to 2/3s the cost. There are several posts on the FM website citing supporting data.

      It’s sad to see the effect of the Right’s sustained campaign of lies has had on so many Americans. Broken OODA loop, perhaps a broken nation.

      Like

    • 4 December 2012 12:07 am

      Genericman,

      Here are some posts about our health care system, to get you started at discovering the truth:

      Like

    • tiradefaction permalink
      3 December 2012 11:50 am

      While Genericman essentially spews silly nonsense, the belief he’s espousing, that the Republicans are far right theocrats, and the Democrats far left socialists, seems to have gotten traction in recent years (despite being erroneous). FM, it may be worth making a decent article dissecting this belief, as it may gain in popularity in the coming years.

      Like

    • 3 December 2012 2:28 pm

      “it may be worth making a decent article dissecting this belief”

      I’ve written dozens of such articles about delusions of the Right — and the Left. Most about very simple matters of fact, not values or complex issues. The comments show they have no effect. Nada, zip, zero. That’s an important aspect of our disfunctionality, what I call our broken OODA Loop.

      Like

    • tiradefaction permalink
      3 December 2012 8:33 pm

      “I’ve written dozens of such articles about delusions of the Right — and the Left.” But I’m not referring to the “left” or the “right” of America, but the “center” that Genericman claims he(?) represents. These people say they’re neither left nor right, and that the Democratic party are “Socialists”, and the Republican party are “theocrats” (IE, they’re a page out of John Avlon/Thomas Friedman). They claim that the real problem in America is this polarization between ‘dueling extremes’, and if only we had “reasonable centrists” (usually defined by a mix of social conservatives and economic free marketism), then America would be a ok again. Maybe it’s just me, but I see this line of (erroneous) thinking becoming more popular.

      Like

    • 3 December 2012 8:45 pm

      tiradefaction,

      You might be correct about genericman. But other than the opening sentence, the remainder is straight-line Fox News-type nonsense.

      My guess is that we have here a Right-winger pretending to be a centrist, a common type found in comments.

      These folks were the typical Tea Party-ers. Right-wingers, often extreme right, pretending to be independents.

      Long hard experience shows that they’re almost always so indoctrinated that no amount of facts — on even the most simple, clear matters — can change their mind by the least iota.

      Like

    • genericman permalink
      3 December 2012 9:48 pm

      Fox News type nonsense? Hardly. I criticize the Republicans on a regular basis, calling them out to be insane theocrats. Hardly “Tea party” type, which are a group of insane theocrats. I follow the likes of John Avlon, Thomas Friedman, Angus King, and Michael Bloomberg. Interesting how you felt the need to peg me as a “Right winger”, despite me being an ardent Friedman centrist.

      Like

    • 3 December 2012 11:53 pm

      genericman,

      Your statements are not found in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, AP, or Reuters. They’re found in op-eds on Fox News, on talk radio, and in extreme-right wing blogs.

      More evidence: you cannot support your statements. You don’t even try. When contrary evidence is given, you move on. These are all reliable indications of far-right indoctrination, feeding your mind at sources that systematically lie to you.

      We cannot help you, but you can help yourself. Spend 20 minutes with google to verify your statements. The truth is our there, and you can reconnect with the real world.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,487 other followers

%d bloggers like this: