Monday, December 31, 2007

Pakistan delays election

Pakistan delays election

It could only be expected. In other news, Benazir Bhutto's husband and son were appointed co-chairmen of the PPP, as I predicted.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

[POLL] Are the Patriots the Best Team Ever?

Voting Booth

Are the Patriots the best team in the history of the NFL?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
  
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Friday, December 28, 2007

An Al-Qaeda Assassination?

It appears it may have been either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban who carried out Benazir's Bhutto assassination. It's not completely clear it was either group, but for our purposes, let's assume it is.

Why would Al-Qaeda carry out this attack? Number one, to damage the pro-democracy movement. AQ is fine with Musharraf in power - he's barely even trying to crack down. Bhutto was and other democracy advocates are anti-Musharraf, and AQ wasn't happy about that.

Number two, Al-Qaeda likes a destabilized Pakistan. It's a safer - if there's more chaos, the Pakistani government has other things to worry about rather than cracking down on terrorists.

Number three, is AQ trying to steal nuclear technology or radioactive waste? A destabilized government and military won't be able to control Pakistan's nuclear technology as easily. The military is the main protector of the weapons, and they will be kept busy keeping this crisis under control, and will be even more busy if President Pervez declares martial law, which is a definite possibility.

Even if AQ or the Taliban did not carry out the attack, the perpetrator could have been other Islamists. Unless the government of Pakistan was responsible (and it's possible), Pakistani nuclear technology should be kept under close watch for the next couple weeks.

Sharif's Boycott: Policy Implications

Sharif says his party to boycott Jan. 8 election.

This could help him take the lead in Pakistani democracy movement by taking such a hardline, but it makes you wonder, who will take over on the political front? I see two viable candidates: Bhutto's husband, and one of Bhutto's political rivals that I still cannot remember the name of.

More importantly though, you can see why this complicates the U.S.'s anti-terrorism interests there. Sharif's boycott will totally undermine the elections unless a new, strong leader emerges from the PPP, Bhutto's party. Undermined elections = undermined Musharraf, and Musharraf will be weaker than ever.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

The details are still emerging of this horrific event, but we can make some significant conclusions.

How will this effect the PPP, Bhutto's political party? They no longer have a leader. There are leaders within the party who could take over (their names escape me), but I don't know if they have international democratic recognition.

What about Nawaz Sharif, the other internationally recognized democracy activist and political candidate? This will certainly boost his popularity. Also, this is likely to fracture voters in Pakistan, who were mostly united behind Bhutto.

Will this boost the chance of democracy? Bhutto's been martyred, and is likely, at least for the short term, to boost the calls for reform in Pakistan

Then again, one could look at this the opposite way. The attack could give President Musharraf an excuse to call for martial law.

The other question to ask: Who carried out the assassination?
Was it Islamists?
Was it the Pakistani Intelligence Service?
Was it one of her political rivals?
Was it Musharraf?

We can definitely say this: This will complicate the U.S.'s work in the Middle East.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

[POLL] Mike Huckabee?

Voting Booth

Mike Huckabee?
Crazy Christian anti-evolutionist
He's in tune with god
Other (explain below)
  
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Light Posting Ahead

I have no idea how many posts I'll be able to get out this week, so don't expect too many.

Everybody waiting for the Iowa Caucuses?

Happy political season holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Undecided Republican's New Fad

When I think back to my days in elementary school (or grammar/primary school, for you Brits), one word will always pop into my head: fads. Power Rangers, Pokemon, etc. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s one word the Republicans of Iowa and New Hampshire should keep in mind as well, as Mike Huckabee skyrockets in the polls. Mike Huckabee is just another Republican fad, during their desperate search for the right candidate.

First there was Bill Frist, who decided not to run after a 2006 congressional loss. Then there was John McCain, the maverick from 2000, who fell out of style when the media focused attention on his stand on immigration. Soon after Rudy Giuliani, who was temporarily displaced by Fred Thompson before recapturing the lead. Then, more recently, Mitt Romney looked like he would be the nominee. Had his strategy of going for the early states worked? Had the GOP finally decided on a candidate?

No. Huckabee plodded along at the perfect moment, taking advantage of the doubt at the ideal moment. As the wise old political analysts say, he said the right thing at the right time.

His campaign accelerated in the first week of December, and hasn’t looked back since. Nevertheless, the Huckster has reason to worry – the wise old political analyst is predicting his downfall.

Just a fad
Let’s go through the basics a campaign needs to succeed in any state. First of all, funds. You’re not going to get anything done if you don’t have any cash money to do it with. Second, organization. Hillary Clinton showed us the importance of political organization. Thirdly, support for basic beliefs.

Let’s go through these. Funds? Nope. Organization? Not really. Basic beliefs? Besides Christian fundamentalism, not so much.

Huckabee’s positions on nearly every major issue contradict in basic ways with the fundamental ideas of the Republican Party. His foreign policy in many ways do not correspond with the hawks of his party. He has gone as far as to criticize the President’s international policies, which has not gone unnoticed by other candidates.

All of these facts lead to one and only one conclusion: the incredible Huck is a fad. Republicans are looking for the next Ronald Reagan, and they think it’s Mike Huckabee. It’s not. He’s lucky enough that there are no more debates left to ask him any serious questions, but by the time New Hampshire passes, I can guarantee the Huckster fad will be over.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Note to Readers////FutureGen Clean Coal Plant

Hey - to anybody that subscribed to this RSS for political and geopolitical opinion and analysis: I've got a bunch of good posts about the 08 horse race coming up, along with a little bit of Putin and Turkey (tasty). In other words: don't unsubscribe yet!

--------------------------------
Chicago (TGW) – The FutureGen Alliance has selected a site in Illinois to be the location of its $1.5 billion clean coal power plant.

The plant will use advanced technology to capture and sequestrate carbon dioxide from the coal underground.

FutureGen includes companies from around the world and is funded by the Department of Energy to design and test technology that can turn coal into a gas that can be stripped of harmful emissions, then burned to produce electricity and hydrogen.

Uncertainty about CO2 emissions “"underscores the need for a public-private venture such as FutureGen to advance cutting-edge technology," said Michael Mudd, chief executive of the alliance.

Via :: Reuters

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Energy Bill Phases Out Incandescent Lightbulbs, Increases CAFE Standards, and Expands Renewable Energy Mandate

The House has passed the energy bill passed in the Senate, which had been modified to take out $20 billion in tax breaks for clean energy.

But what are other key provisions of this bill?

CAFE increase

• Increases the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020
• Automakers can trade credits to achieve this standard
• According to government estimates, it could lower U.S. crude oil usage by 2 million barrels a day - 8% - by 2030 and save American families an average of $700 to $1000

Renewable Energy Mandate

• Expands biofuel mandate to 36 billion gallons by 2022, versus 6.5 billion gallons today
• Caps ethanol from corn at 15 billion gallons – the rest must come from cellulosic sources

Efficiency and Research
• Increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, and lighting, carbon dioxide emissions 75 percent, which will save homeowners an estimated $400 billion by 2030
• Incandescent lightbulbs phased out by 2020, cutting energy use from lightbulbs by 60%
• Requires dishwashers and cut water usage 28% and clothes washers by 40%
• Funds carbon sequestration research and renewable energy research

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bali: What was achieved?

On Wednesday we published an article, “What to Expect at Bali: Nothing, or Worse”. The good news is we weren’t wholly wrong in our predictions (you can still trust us). The better news is we were wrong in some of our predictions.

What wasn’t achieved
As we predicted, nothing on the scale of the Kyoto Protocol was produced. The European Union wanted a mandated 25%-40% carbon cut in developed nations, but the United States blocked any chance of that.

One ‘achievement’ that we predicted did not come into realization: a weak carbon mandate. We had predicted the possibility that the U.S could force the world into a weak, non-binding climate treaty, setting back the possibility of a real treaty probably more than a decade. Luckily, this type of treaty did not come into fruition. The U.S. had not even one country standing beside it by the end of the talks.

What was achieved
There still is a possibility for carbon caps. The deal sets a framework to create a subsidiary committee at the U.N. Views of the committee will be sought by April next year, and the deal commands a full carbon cap deal on the scale of the Kyoto Protocol be completed by the end of the 2009 U.N. Copenhagen summit.

This is the story the media is reporting, but they are missing the most important news to come out of this conference: the deforestation pact.

20% of anthropogenic emissions are from deforestation – it’s arguable the worst humanity has done for the planet. So when deforestation was barely mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol, many were surprised.

Delegates corrected that mistake this time around. A $300 million grant program was assigned to be created at the World Bank, to assist developing countries with planting new trees. The real achievement was REDD: reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, a pay-and-preserve program.

"It is one of the substantial achievements of this conference,” said EU Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

It’s not one of the substantial achievements; it is the most substantial achievement of the conference.

You can probably see why it is a good thing: we were wrong in saying nothing would be accomplished.

To infinity, and beyond?
The reason I’m quoting Buzz Lightyear (If you don’t understand the above quote, go out to Blockbuster right now and get Toy Story. Or order it on Netflix. I don’t care. Just do it. Now) is to ask, “Where do we go from here?”

Buzz Lightyear knows exactly where he is going, but do we?

The framework set out at Bali mandates a deal be completed by early 2009. For most of the short timeframe the Bali roadmap provides for a deal to be agreed upon, George W. Bush will be president of the U.S. He was willing to make concessions at this summit because essentially no countries stood at the United States sides. It showed that the U.S. is in fact vulnerable to international pressure

That means the real question is: will the pressure be maintained?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

[POLL] What did you Think of the Bali Climate Conference

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What did you think of the Bali climate conference?
Disappointed
In the middle
Happy
Other
  
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What to Expect at Bali: Nothing, Or Worse

Written in coalition with Thoughts on Global Warming, Environmental Graffiti, Thoughts on the World, and The International Relations Blog.

The Bali climate conference taking place right now is one of the most important climate conferences, if not the most important, since the conference at which the Kyoto Treaty was designed. This conference has a potential to achieve something, relative to other recent conventions.

Throughout late 2006 and early 2007, global warming was high on the public’s mind, especially in the U.S. Global warming was an easy target; it could be blamed for just about any weather related disaster. And after the hurricanes of 2005 and skyrocketing oil and gas prices, the public needed something to blame. Not only that, but Inconvenient Truth was bring the real science of global warming into the eyes of the public. Al Gore was riding high. Many Floridians, who hurricanes had hit the hardest, were probably regretting a vote or two from a couple of years back.

This climaxed in early 2007, when negotiators from developing and developed countries announced the current climate convention in Bali, Indonesia.

So what can we expect at this year’s climate conference: nothing, or worse. That is my prediction – and give me a chance to back it up.

What?!?!?!
After May of this year, things started to cool down a little bit. Although oil prices skyrocketed in September and haven't come down, and sea ice hit a record low in August, there have been some disappointments. Number one: hurricanes.

Just as a disclaimer, I don’t live in Florida or down south (though I have at one point). Hurricanes are just such a huge natural disaster it can’t help but be noticed when an abnormally large amount of super storms hit. And people noticed in 2005 and 2006. But then this year, an uncharacteristically high number of intense storms were predicted, but they never showed. That’s only case number one. I’m sure I could find other examples, like ski resorts doing very good business this year, but I think I get my message across.

Let me say something else: though this has weakened public resolve to fight global warming, that doesn’t mean every environmentalist caught the plague. Public support for a climate solution is still stronger than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. But relative to a year and a half ago, global warming has fallen to the edge of the radar. It’s still there, but not as obvious.

This leads me to another point: the economy. The economy in the U.S., and therefore China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, is slowing down. Emissions cuts APPEAR to be hard enough to achieve in good times, but in bad economic times, there is less public (let alone political) support for emissions cuts. This is a much bigger issue than my first point, even if it is a shorter read – in other words, this is more important and don’t forget it!

This is evidence for my assertion that ‘nothing’ will be achieved at the climate conference, but you probably wonder what I mean when I say ‘or worse.’

Well, given the fact that the U.S. and China would like to get out of binding carbon caps for as long as they can, the governments could collaborate to produce a very weak climate framework. This framework would theoretically set unenforceable benchmarks for emissions. Once this framework would be in place, it would be unlikely to be replaced for several years. And during these several years, President Bush will be replaced, meaning that there is a possibility that the U.S. could soon have a totally different environmental policy during the lifespan of the framework. Not to attack the president over the top, but it would give him a legacy many would remember happily – until they see the effects of global warming really get going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chuck Norris Endorses Huckabee, Huckabee Surges in Polls - Correlation?

October 22: Chuck Norris endorses Mike Huckabee

Hmmm… This is interesting. Take a look at this graph of the presidential candidates poll positions in Iowa, starting with October 22, the day of the endorsement:




Huckabee is in black, if you can't read the key. It appears that after October 22, Huckabee’s campaign really takes off. Hmm. Interesting.

By the way: Chuck Norris doesn’t endorse presidential candidates, he ALLOWS them to be president.

Cash Money

Days after I publish my analysis concluding the U.S. will use the NIE to work with Iran over Iraq... Well what do you know... More U.S., Iran talks next week

Monday, December 10, 2007

Iran and the NIE: Where We Go From Here

We’ve talked a lot about the recent National Intelligence Estimate, and rightly so. It is having a tremendous impact on U.S. foreign policy on the foreign policy of any great power. What we have not yet discussed is where we go from here.

In Iraq
As I’ve pointed out before, the NIE can be and most likely will be exploited as a tool to solve the crisis in Iraq. To summarize, the U.S. needs Iran on board to have a politically stable Iraq, and Iran needs the U.S. to allow Iran to influence events in Iraq in Iran’s favor. You might want to read that sentence twice. The biggest obstacle since negotiations have begun stopping the U.S. from getting what it wants has been Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons program. Iran has been using its nuclear program as a bargaining chip; if they surrender on the nuclear issue, they would expect to see concessions from the U.S. on the Iraq issue.

Now, the U.S. has a real chance to turn Iraq into a stable, democratic country that can be a model for the whole region. The U.S. could possibly even imagine achieving the goal of the Iraq invasion: a safe, friendly, democratic country in the Middle East. This possibility can only come into fruition if we continue negotiations with Iran over Iraq, and take advantage of the fact that now Iran has lost its biggest bargaining chip.

At the U.N.
Though the threat of Iran has appeared to diminish, the need for global political pressure is still necessary. Iran still has the capability, though no longer the intentions, to restart its weapons program and to build nuclear weapons. Therefore, the need for continuing pressure and sanctions is twofold: one, to ensure Iran does not restart its weapons program and two, to possibly coerce Iran into giving up its civilian nuclear program.

The need to guarantee Iran’s weapons program is never resurrected is self explanatory. We need to continue sanctions at the U.N. until Iran allows full open inspections of its facilities. Until then, there is always the possibility that Iran could restart its weapons program, and we cannot allow that to happen.

The reasoning behind compelling Iran to give up its civilian nuclear program is not as simple. The logic behind this requires an understanding of the broader Middle East and its countries. When it became public that Iran had worked on a nuclear weapons program at one time, the neighboring countries, especially those with majority Sunni populations, reacted with fear. The possibility of a regional arms race quickly became clear. This hit a high point in late 2006 when several regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, expressed ‘interest’ in nuclear power.

A world where the highly volatile region of the Middle East constantly has nuclear missiles pointing at each other would be unacceptable. As unacceptable as that would be to us westerners, Saudi Arabians would find a nuclear Iran even more unacceptable. Not only that, but it is unlikely Saudi Arabia, or any other Middle Eastern country, would find an Iran with civilian nuclear power any more bearable than an Iran with a nuclear weapon. A country often can claim it is developing civilian nuclear power, when in actuality, it is developing nuclear weapons, hidden from the eyes of U.N. and U.S. weapons inspectors.

And if there were to be a regional arms race?

If you thought a single country going nuclear was bad…

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On My NIE Analysis

I would just like to say, as a disclaimer, that I have no experience in government intelligence or at think tanks or anything like that. Although, I do feel I have read enough news reports and enough news analysis so that I think I have a good feel for what's going on in the world.

Shane has questioned the basic thesis of my analysis: that the NIE report will be used in negotiations over Iraq. Let me say this: This isn't why the intelligence was produced, but how it will be used.

Also, the thesis makes perfect sense. The government could have hushed up the report and never had it released. Or, they could have had it released, but criticized and attacked it and ripped it to shreds. But they haven't.

More on the NIE:
On My NIE Analysis
[POLL] Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

[POLL] Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?

Voting Booth

Do you think the Iranians have a nuclear weapons program?
Yes
No
Other
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On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why The NIE Should Be Trusted

I'm willing to trust the report for two reasons:
1. It was approved by the DNI, who in turn was appointed by the President
2. It doesn't make sense that Iran would have a nuclear program

I will elaborate more on the second. As I've argued before, as did the NIE, Iran is guided by 'cost-benefit analysis'. In an attempt to build a nuclear weapon, they would have to recognize, before it was completed, the program would be attacked and most likely destroyed bye either the U.S. or Israel. And Iran, guided by 'cost-benefit analysis' would realize it does not have the military might to stop an attack.

From this, one can draw the logical conclusion that Iran would only build a nuclear weapons program because it wants the U.S. or Israel to attack. One reason could be is that they need a reason to strike at Israel. This argument cannot stand because, first of all, Iran would not be able to carry out the attack. The U.S. and/or Israel would first take out major military installations so that Iran cannot retaliate. And even if Iran could retaliate, it would spell doom. A U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear weapons would only take out nuclear and military installations. Iran - if they could - in retaliation,would be sure to strike civilian centers. The U.S. and/or Israel would then wipe Iran 'off the map'. And if Iran is basing its decisions off of 'cost-benefit analysis', they would realize this, and would never retaliate.

The only other reason Iran would build a nuclear weapons program, other than looking for a fight (which we just proved makes no sense), is that they would be looking for a North Korea-like deal. They would expect some economic or geopolitical aid in return for the shutdown of weapons.

Iran is different from North Korea. In North Korea, they had already spent a huge amount of money developing their weapons program. Iran hasn't. North Korea wasn't planning from the beginning to ask for economic aid in return for its weapons program. It was planning to use its weapons program as a threat against South Korea. Also, North Korea is ruled by a crackpot dictator who loves attention. If Iran is basing its work on 'cost-benefit' analysis, the cost is much different from North Korea's cost. The benefit would not outweigh the cost in Iran's case, unlike in North Korea's case.

Iran could be looking for 'geopolitical aid' in return for the shutdown of its weapons program. But once again, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. The 'geopolitical aid' Iran would receive from the U.S. would almost definitely be in Iraq. Iran would be given more influence there. But the geopolitical cost of even having a nuclear weapons program would be huge.

And remember, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the U.S. never has to give Iran any aid at all. The U.S. could just say, "Nope, we're not giving you anything," and give Israel the go ahead to blow up Natanz and other nuclear facilities. That would mean Iran gets a negative return. They spend all their resources building facilities, and in return, get their infrastructure destroyed.

Is it worth the cost? No.


On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

The Significance of the NIE

I left this out of the first post on this topic, so I'll include it now.

The significance of this report is not that we can stop pressuring Iran, but 2 different points:
1. Going to war with Iran would be pointless and dumb.
2. Iran is guided by 'cost-benefit analysis'. They're vulnerable to international economic and political pressure.

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

About time I wrote about this. Iran nuclear weapons report finally released, and says Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program, etc., here comes the analysis.

It is important to consider the use of this report by the Bush Administration. Far lefties *cough* DAILY KOS *cough* have been milking this for all it’s worth. It’s a big dent in the Administration’s policy towards Iran, and the far right isn’t going to get a war with Iran. It’s huge. But in fact, I’d say this helps Bush more than it hurts him. Are you skeptic? You should be. But I won’t need a National Intelligence Estimate to convince you.

Uses by the Administration

1. To discredit Hillary Clinton based on her vote to classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists - HIGHLY UNLIKELY
2. To pass the problem of a nuclear Iran on to the next administration - UNLIKELY BUT POSSIBLE
3. As an excuse for NOT going to war with Iran - LIKELY
4. To take away Iran’s biggest bargaining chip - HIGHLY LIKELY

Iran’s biggest bargaining chip
As you can probably tell, numbers three and four are the most important. Number one I’d reserve for hardcore Clinton supporter conspiracy theorists.

We’ll start with use number four. To understand this, we have to take Iraq into the equation. Iraq is the President’s biggest concern right now. He may not show it in public, but it’s his biggest worry. It’s his legacy. He’s not going to be remembered for denuclearizing North Korea, or an attempt at Israeli-Palestinian peace. He’s going to be remembered for the invasions of both Afghanistan and the disastrous invasion of Iraq. And with little more than a year left in his presidency, it’s more on his mind than ever.

Consequently, he’s been working hard in order to improve the image of how successful the coalition of the willing has been in Iraq. He’s hired General Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert, and has willfully engaged in talks with Middle Eastern states over the situation in Iraq. One of those states has been Iran.

Iran is crucial to the stabilization of Iraq. They have influence over much of the Shiite population, their leaders, and their weapons. It will be impossible to have even semi-stable state in Iraq without the support of Iran. The good news, Iran would love to see a friendly, stable Iraq under Shiite control. To get a friendly, stable, Shiite Iraq, Iran needs the U.S.

It may sound like a win-win situation, but like everything geopolitical, it’s not that simple in any way. It’s complicated by bad U.S.-Iran relations and uncooperative presidents on both sides. Iran wants a more Shiite dominated, Iranian influenced Iraq than the U.S. would care to give them. But Iran has had one huge bargaining chip the U.S. hasn’t been able to ignore: its nuclear weapons program.

Up until a few months ago, when the current NIE was being finalized, it appeared Iran had a weapons program (the last NIE thought the same). Iran didn’t mind; it gave them a huge bargaining chip. So, behind back doors, it played along.

But now Iran has lost this influence, because of this report. The U.S. could have the upper hand in Iraq negotiations, and Bush could receive a more favorable view from historians than even appeared possible six months ago.

Use number three, “an excuse for not going to war with Iran,” has just as much to do with Bush’s legacy as use number three. A third war on the president’s report card would be given an ‘F’ by historians, and could possibly an expulsion (read: impeachment) by the school administrators even before that.

Of course, this is a very oversimplified version of the situation. There are many more players involved: Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Effects
Now that we’re done with all that, it’s probably a pretty good idea to see the consequences of the report. These, compared to the reasoning for the report, are simple.

1. Repercussions at U.S.-Iran discussions over Iraq (as discussed above)
2. Allies less likely to pursue sanctions at the U.N. (specifically Russia and China)
3. Virtually no chance of war with Iran
4. Cheney very disappointed (just kidding)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months ahead.

On My NIE Analysis
Do You Think the Iranians Have a Nuclear Weapons Program?
Why The NIE Should Be Trusted
The Significance of the NIE
How Will the Bush Administration Use the NIE Report?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Iran Article Coming Tomorrow

Because I've been too sick to write anything decent that involves my brain.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works

Part of a series


5. You can have one in your backyard.
The cost of having a geothermal system in, literally, your backyard, for a 4,000 square foot house is estimated to be $15,000 to $20,000. The payback would only take 5 to 10 years, as well. [reference]

4. Maintenance costs are low
Geothermal pumps have very few parts and require very little maintenance. Once up and running, the system can be mostly left alone to produce energy without the need to repair parts of the system.

3. The amount of land needed is low
Unlike nuclear power plants, wind farms or solar farms, a geothermal pump does not require much land. Like mentioned in #5, if you live in a suburb, you could install one in your backyard tomorrow. Larger pumps for commercial electricity generation have also been built, and those too require very little land.

2. Energy output is unaffected by changing weather conditions
Unlike wind power or solar power, there will always hot magma under the surface of the Earth. It’s predictable when one source is cooling down. You can’t predict when the wind is going to stop blowing.

1. It’s renewable
This is pretty self explanatory. Geothermal power produces no greenhouse gases, except in production of the machinery and in any possible maintenance.


The are only benefits. We haven’t talked about disadvantages. Why? Because there are very few. The three most common are:
1. They produce greenhouse gases during production and maintenance (though very few).
2. They could affect their surrounding environment (but they take up very little land).
3. If a system is too large for its site, the energy could dry up (so don’t make them too large…).


More Alternative Energy Series:


Why Corn Ethanol is Bad
The Temporary Solution: Coal
Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels
5 Reasons Solar Power Works
The Wind Power and Solar Power Combination
Another Look at Nuclear Power - Nuclear Waste
What's So Special About Hydropower and Hydroelectricity?
Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works

Sunday, December 02, 2007

[POLL] Who Won the Republican Youtube Debate?

Voting Booth

Who won the Republican Youtube debate?
Rudy Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson
  
pollcode.com free polls


And please don't choose Ron Paul...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Republican Youtube Debate: Best Quotes

“…the way Ronald Reagan did it.”
Rudy Giuliani

“Ronald Reagan used to talk about that.”
Ron Paul

“[Ron Paul’s attitudes toward Iraq] That kind of isolation caused WWII.”
John McCain, which came with both boos and cheers

“I came in with Ronald Reagan.”
Duncan Hunter

“I was the third ranking official in the Reagan justice department.”
Rudy Giuliani

“Not to follow Hillary Clinton to the left, but the path Ronald Reagan blazed.”
Mitt Romney

“There is move towards a North American Union… Our national sovereignty is under threat.”
Ron Paul

“The first thing I would get rid of is the Internal Revenue Service.”
Mike Huckabee

“I was wrong.”
Mitt Romney

“Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office.”
Mike Huckabee

“None of us believe we should go pluck out our eye.”
Mike Huckabee

“…after September 11th”
Rudy Giuliani

“Not bad to have a Republican that can beat Bill Clinton.”
Rudy Giuliani

“When I was mayor of New York City the Yankees won 4 championships.”
Rudy Giuliani

“We waited 87 long years…We hate the Yankees.”
Mitt Romney

“We’re not going to do what Pol Pot did.”
John McCain, referencing torture

“I need the support of anybody I can get.”
Mike Huckabee

“Maybe Hillary could be on the first rocket to Mars.”
Mike Huckabee

“I just want to throw something at the TV.”
Mitt Romney

“Governor McCain.”
Anderson Cooper

“Governor Thompson.”
Anderson Cooper





Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Annapolis Conference: More Hurtful Than Helpful?


Yes, then Israelis and Palestiians appear to be finally making some progress. But it is hard to be optimistic. Beyond the Cusp (a fantastic blog/blogger) takes a cold, hard look at reality. What happens if Annapolis does succeed? He goes on to make 3 main points:

1. Implementation of the agreement would be extremely difficult
2. Once Israel withdraws from the Palestinian territories (which will be certainly part of the agreement), Hamas will take power from Fatah and declare any agreement invalid.
3. If the agreement appears unsuccessful, Iran and/or Syria could take advantage of the situation and could possibly invade Israel, leading to a regional war.

Hits the nail on the head.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fart Offsets

Written in correlation with Thoughts on Global Warming, Thoughts on the World, and The Statistics Monster.


Humanity is facing quite a serious epidemic: farts. Humanity’s gaseous eating habits are causing methane and CO2 to be released into the atmosphere. Your buttocks are like factories wearing pants.

The average human farts 12-18 times a day. That means, every day, the average human produces 45 milliliters of CO2 and 35 milliliters of methane. Methane, by the way, is 25 times as potent of a greenhouse gas as CO2.

That is a lot of gas. Therefore, my friends, I have come up with a solution to our flatulence-epidemic.

Every time one farts, one must turn off one lightbulb for thirty seconds to offset the greenhouse gases produced by one’s anus.

Simple as that. We don’t even need oversight or regulation. Just keep track for yourself, like the guy in the picture.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

[POLL] Should Australia Sign the Kyoto Protocol?

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australia: The First Election Decided Because of Global Warming

300th post

Today, Australians went to the polls and voted for a new direction. They voted out the incumbent, John Howard, and voted in Kevin Rudd.

The opinion is held wisely that Howard was voted out because of his failing economic policies – wait, excuse me, I’m being handed a note by my producer. It appears that – no! Howard’s economic policies were hugely successful! High economic growth, low unemployment, relatively low interest rates, tax reform, a more flexible workplace, zero Government debt, excellent international credit rating, strong investment in defense force funding, the list continues. This is strange…

Why was Howard voted out? Because of global warming. Australia is the only major industrialized country other than the U.S. not to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Howard was the staunchest backer of the Bush administration’s environmental policy. Australians seem to be very displeased not with the economic direction of their country, but the environmental direction.

Why? One report suggests that Australia, because of its geographic position and natural climate, will be hit hard by global warming.

Okay. Maybe there were one or two other policies the Aussies didn’t like. Like his support of the Iraq war, and his decision to send troops there.

But it is pretty safe to say that one of the major issues this election was global warming. Hopefully, the environment will be just as important in other elections.

Friday, November 23, 2007

To Return, or not to Return?

Nawaz Sharif has announced that he will return to Pakistan on Sunday, begging the question: will General Musharraf allow him to stay?

Last time Sharif attempted to return, he was promptly shipped back out. Then, Musharraf had not declared martial law, was on good terms with Benazir Bhutto, and was not politically isolated.

Does that make Musharraf more likely to kick out Sharif once again? On one hand, Musharraf seems increasingly desperate to hold onto power. On the other hand, the General needs to placate the West in order to continue receiving our support. What will Musharraf do?

Decisions, decisions…

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you enjoy this crummy happy holiday post.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Russian Opposition Presidential Candidate Shot

Russia gets worse by the day. Coming out today: Russian opposition candidate shot.

Farid Babayev, who will lead the regional list for the liberal anti-Kremlin Yabloko party was in a serious condition in hospital, RIA novosti news agency reported after an unidentified gunman fired on him in the regional capital Makhachkala.

This comes as Putin continues his maneuverings that will essentially allow him to stay in power indefinitely. He has dissolved parliament recently, and appointed a close ally prime minister. He has promised to take part in parliamentary elections, with victory assured. He will be elected prime minister. From there, Putin will either sap powers from the presidency making the prime minister’s office the most important one (which has no term limits, by the way), or will manipulate the lame-duck president from the shadows.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kosovo Independence Worries E.U. Leaders and Sets European Precedent

Yesterday I wrote that “Kosovo declaring independence would be bad, because it would anger Russia, who the U.S. needs to help sanction Iran at the Security Council.”

One thing I didn’t mention at all throughout the article is another reason some are concerned about Kosovo declaring independence. Countries of the E.U. are worried that, should Kosovo break away, it will set a precedent for break away regions in their own countries. Specifically:
• Catalonia (Spain)
• Basque (Spain)
• Ossetia (Georgia)
• Abkhazia (Georgia)
• Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
• Transnistria (Moldova)

Not mentioned on this list, but making many more headlines than these regions, is Kurdistan. Though the countries which Kurdistan has ‘citizens’ in are not part of the European Union, the Kurds will be affected just as strongly by a declaration of independence.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Russian Manipulation in Kosovo and Iran

Kosovo partial official results confirm Thaci win

This is very interesting. Hashim Thaci, besides being the newly elected prime minister of Kosovo, is the president of the political party PDK, Democratic Party of Kosovo. But what is even more interesting is that he headed an ethnic-Albanian guerilla group, the Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought for independence from Yugoslavia and Serbia in 1990’s. In other words, he is very much an Albanian nationalist. Kosovo has said it will declare formal independence in December if a deal cannot be reached.

So Kosovo might gain independence. What’s the big deal? The region of Kosovo exists in Serbia, which Russia supports extensively. Russia is very much pro-Serbian, and has made its position very clear to both the E.U. and U.S. The U.S. Russia has given special attention to because the U.S. has a large amount of influence over Albanians.

Once again, so the Russians care. What’s the big deal? Well, it’s kind of a big deal that the Russians control a permanent veto-wielding seat on the U.N. Security Council.

The United States needs the United Nations, specifically the Security Council, to impose sanctions on Iran, so Iran can be isolated (once again, coming back to that in a couple of weeks). The sanctions will only be effective if the United States can prove international unity on the issue, which right now it has not, primarily because of Russia and China.

Let’s recap. Kosovo declaring independence would be bad, because it would anger Russia, who the U.S. needs to help sanction Iran at the Security Council.

Expect to see Russia flexing its muscles for two reasons in the coming days and weeks. One, to send a message Mr. Thaci and the rest of Kosovo. Two, to publicly remind the U.S. Kosovo declaring independence would not help the American cause at the U.N.

Want more on Russian influence? Check out last week's post Russian Chess

Quote of the Day


“There seems to be a pattern here. It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush.”
-Hillary Clinton

Sunday, November 18, 2007

[POLL] Who Won the Nevada Democratic Debate?

The consensus seems to be Edwards flopped, Obama didn't attack enough, and by default, Hillary won.

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Who won the Nevada Democratic Debate?
Joseph Biden
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Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
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Bill Richardson
  
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

I speak, therefore I am annoyed.
-Me

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nevada Debate: Expect Hillary to be Attacked

Expect Hillary to be attacked. Over and over again. Obama and Edwards will be gunning to kill at tonight’s debate.

Hillary has a solid 20+ lead, and those numbers are not going anywhere. After not so successfully attacking Clinton at the last debate, they will be trying even harder to expose her flaws.

Especially since illegal immigration is a huge issue in Nevada, Clinton will be attacked on her position on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. This will be the primary source of ammo for Clinton’s opponents.

Most likely, Clinton will also be assaulted for planting questions at a campaign stop.

I think it will be interesting to see if Hillary will respond with the whole boys-are-attacking-me thing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We Really Need to Fix This...

Seeing that Veteran's Day was this weekend, I'll leave this post at this:

Later Army test finds more mental health issues

U.S. soldiers are significantly more likely to report mental health problems six months after returning home from combat than on initial assessments, Army researchers said on Tuesday.

Soldiers reported greater concern about interpersonal conflicts, post-traumatic stress, depression and alcohol problems in the second mental health screening, the researchers said.

They also found that one in five active-duty soldiers and almost half of reserve soldiers were receiving or in need of mental health services after combat.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Top 5 Reasons Ron Paul's an Idiot

5. He wants to get rid of the U.N.

But supports peaceful solutions to conflicts?


4. He wants to allow prayer in public schools

Please no…


3. He thinks we’d be safer without the CIA

And he’s a conspiracy theorist.


2. He wants to get rid of the EPA


After the Bush Administration’s 8 years of butchering the environment, I think many of us environmentalists would have a heart attack if this happened.


1. He wants to leave abortion up to the states, ban funding for stem cell research, stop campaign finance reform, end the minimum wage, and he doesn’t support gay marriage

Yeah, that’s more than one. I wanted to only have 5, and so I had to condense this into only one. That shows how bad he is. Check out his votes at On The Issues, it’s all true.


Here’s the worst of his record from On The Issues (h/t Hanlon):


# Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)


# Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)

# Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)

# Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)

# Voted YES on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998)

# Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. (Mar 2006)

# Voted YES on withdrawing from the WTO. (Jun 2000)

# Voted NO on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. (May 2007)

# Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)



# Voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads. (Sep 1999)

# Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)

# Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)

# Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)

# Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)

# Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax (”death tax”). (Apr 2001)

# Voted NO on establishing “network neutrality” (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Does ANYONE Agree With Me?

On Friday, I wrote that the current situation in Pakistan is a Bhutto-Musharraf power play. More famous pundits have not been discussing this theory as much, but there is a growing number of blogs that are stating the fact that Bhutto isn't the democratic savior she is made out to be.

The Boston Globe, as well, essentially agrees with the theory I described, as does fellow blogger Frank Hagan.

[POLL] Would You Vote For Ron Paul?

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And the Candidate Least Like Me Is...

...Ron Paul. Surprise surprise Stat :D.

In the USATODAY quiz I took, none of my answers matched Paul's.

Chris Dodd was most like me, mainly because he agrees with me that the best way to solve global warming is through a carbon tax.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pakistan State of Emergency -- A Bhutto-Musharraf Power Play

While Pervez Musharraf attempts to calm Pakistan after his declaration of emergency rule (effectively a declaration of martial law), Benazir Bhutto waits eagerly and the U.S. waits nervously.

That just about sums up Pakistan’s most recent conflict. But we need more detail.

Musharraf
If you aren’t living under a rock, you know that this is at its most basic level an attempt to hold on to power by President Musharraf.

Musharraf has been in a continuous power struggle with the Pakistani judiciary ever since the 1999 coup which brought him into power. The issue at the forefront of the confrontation has been the fact that Musharraf holds both the office of President and of Chief of the Army, constitutionally illegal. This struggle escalated this year, with the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry being suspended, reinstated, and suspended again during the current crisis.

The motive of the suspension was widely (if not universally) seen as a move to hold on to power by Musharraf. Elections were coming up in October, and it was essentially assured that the Supreme Court would not allow the Pakistani President to hold on to both his military and political posts.

The elections in October overwhelming went to Musharraf, though the election has yet to be certified by the Supreme Court. That decision was expected to come Monday, and was also projected to not be in favor of the President.

This led Musharraf to make the decision to declare martial law.

Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto has been cast as the democratic savior of Pakistan by hopeful analysts in the U.S. and hopeful citizens in Pakistan. But Bhutto is still a politician, and a corrupt one at that. She presided over two administrations overflowing with corruption and human rights abuses.

She is hoping to gain a third term as Prime Minister in the recently delayed parliamentary elections, though laws created by Musharraf block her and other former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from seeking third terms. This forced Bhutto to try to cut a power sharing deal with Musharraf to secure her position as prime minister, which appears to have been successful.

While the full details have yet to emerge, a consensus among analysts has emerged: the deal has hurt Bhutto’s image as a democratic leader and threatened her credibility.

This was the setting for the current power play. Rumors were swirling that Bhutto was aware of Musharraf’s emergency plans, and this was only the next step in their plan. They are both losing power and popularity, and know it. They had to take this step in order to have a chance at staying in power.

In fact, Bhutto knew well enough last week that there was a possibility of martial law being declared. But she left for Dubai anyway, after ‘delaying’ her trip temporarily.

Yes, Bhutto has been leading protests. But that is all to put on her democratic public face. Though she leads protests, she is still in league with the General.

Expect to see Bhutto in power next year, alongside Musharraf.

The U.S.
This is a military and diplomatic nightmare for the U.S. After months of diplomatic pressure, in Pakistan, a nuclear armed state teeming with Islamic terrorists, the President effectively declares martial law solely in order to hold on to power. Anything elections Musharraf’s government holds, any attempt to reconcile with political opponents, the sincerity of anything he does will be questioned.

Nevertheless, the U.S. must continue to rely on Musharraf. Even if Pakistan was not the hiding place of Osama bin Laden, withdrawing the support of General Musharraf would send the country and its multiple nuclear missiles into total anarchy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Right's Bloodlust

gulianiiran.pngWe’re not going to war with Iran. Get over it.


Hawks on the right are screaming for war, and it’s scaring a lot of people. The good news is the Bush administration isn’t listening.


No war

After years of ignoring advice from anybody but itself, the Bush Administration is accepting the fact that it cannot do whatever it wants with no respect for the wishes of other nations and cultures. The Administration and its allies are realizing diplomacy is the first step before war. See: North Korea.


The same tactics we successfully applied to North Korea we are applying to Iran, for the same reasons. We are isolating them internationally through sanctions at the U.N. and public statements hinting at military action. The right’s lust for blood has only made the threat of war seem more real.



Once the Iranians are completely isolated, as the North Koreans were, we will offer them a deal diplomatically, as we did with the North Koreans. But that is not the point of this article. The point is how easily extremists on the far left and particularly on the far right have fallen for this faux threat of war.




Blood Lust


Not since November 3, 2004 have so many Republicans wet their pants. Candidates have been giddy, bloggers have been going wild, and Fox News is throwing a never ending fiesta (no illegal immigrants allowed, of course).


Maybe if they sat down seriously, thought about it, and maybe even read this article, they'd realize we're not going to war with Iran.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In Case of Global Warming

The outrageousness of climate 'skeptics':

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Borat Makes an Endorsement for President

"I personal would like the basketball player, Barak Obamas to be Premier"
-Borat, endorsing Obama for President

Monday, November 05, 2007

Colbert Campaign - Over

Colbert released a presidential statement today (he won't have a show tonight):

"Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history - only 10 votes - I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle. It is time for this nation to heal.

I want to say to my supporters, this is not over. While I may accept the decision of the Council, the fight goes on! The dream endures! ... And I am going off the air until I can talk about this without weeping."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

[POLL] Would You Vote Colbert?

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Open Letter to Waring Howe, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman

This is the guy who said he'd allow a Colbert campaign over 'my dead body'. Please copy this and email it to him at waringsh@bellsouth.net or call him at 843-722-8269! (change your name obviously)


Dear Mr. Howe,

I'd like you to reconsider your rejection of the Colbert Campaign. You are missing a huge opportunity that is unlikely to come again unless we vote in another president as unpopular as the current president.

By denying Colbert even the chance to run, you are effectively throwing away the youth vote. By allowing Colbert to be on ballot, the percentage of young voters would increase beyond what it has been for years. This has been proven through the '1 Million Strong for Stephen T. Colbert' Facebook group, which, at the time of this writing, has over 1.3 million members. Yes, 1.3 million members.

Second, you are denying South Carolina the chance to be a powerful primary state. A Colbert campaign in the state would bring unprecedented media coverage. Not only the media, but a new candidate with such media attention would cause campaigns locked in the lead to consider the possibility of a poll shake up.

If Stephen T. Colbert does not get his well deserved spot on the ballot in January, trust me, he will collect the signatures to get on the ballot in general election. And that can only hurt the Democratic party.

Carrots and sticks, Mr. Howe.

Sincerely,
Simmons

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Intense Debate Goes Live!

Intense Debate has gone out of the beta-ish phase and moved into beta. Comments systems for all!

Sign up at IntenseDebate.com

Russian Chess

IHT: The United States is prepared to offer concessions to Russia to soften its position on Iran and Kosovo

This is much bigger than most news organizations seem to realize. Russia has gotten exactly what it wants. Is this bad? Actually, it could lead to an end of the Iranian nuclear program.

What Russia wants
If one is to make any analysis, geopolitical or not, you have to look at what both sides want. In our case, the two sides are Russia and, of course, the U.S.

Russia is primarily looking to expand its sphere of influence back to the borders of the Soviet Union. The Russians realize they have a short window of opportunity to regain influence while the U.S. is bogged down in the Middle East.

But there are two serious roadblocks to expansion: the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The Russians want these treaties amended.

The only problem: this is not in America’s interest.

Consequently, Russia has had to use leverage to attempt to force America into signing amended treaties.

Russian leverage
Russia has used this leverage, essentially geopolitical blackmail, in two primary areas: Iran and Kosovo.

On Iran, it has blocked all but very weak sanctions at the U.N., supplied Iran with weapons and resources, and been a total irritation. As I plan to write about in more detail next week, the purpose of Iranian sanctions is to isolate Iran more than anything else. Therefore, with Russians blocking sanctions, Iran cannot be successfully isolated.

On Kosovo, Russia has appeared to even consider recognizing Kosovo. This has become more and more problematic and the deadline for a deal approaches (December).

And that brings us to today’s program.

So is Russia an ally?
Hell no. There’s still the INF treaty, which is Russia’s least favorite treaty. Moreover, there’s another treaty the Russians love, and would like to see extended.

But will Russia be more assisting in our efforts at the U.N.? Most likely.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How High Would Stacking the Cost of the Iraq War Be?

Stat blogs at The Statistics Monster. If you would like to blog here, send us an email at worldthoughts(at)gmail(dot)com.



Cost of Iraq War (as of this writing): $464,160,000
Height of 1000 1 dollar bills: 4.3 inches
Height of 1,000,000 1 dollar bills: 358.3333 feet
Height of 1,000,000,000 1 dollar bills: 678.661 miles

Height of 464,160,000: 315,007.576 miles

That’s enough to (remember, this is the bills laying on their side, so it looks something like this: ||||||||, except for the moon):
• Go from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West Coast 105 times
• Wrap around the Earth 12 times at the equator
• Go to the moon and halfway back

101 Greatest Stephen Colbert Quotes

1. The truthiness will set you free!
2. And don't think you're off the hook, voters, you're the ones who made this bed. Now you're the ones who are going to have to move over so a gay couple can sleep in it. Tomorrow you're all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones, created in a stem-cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax-and-spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio, and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh, and everybody's high! You know what, I've had it! You people don't deserve a Republican majority! I quit!
3. In success, you wouldn't be able to say I'm conservative or liberal. I'm part of the blame-America-last crowd.
4. I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.
5. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in 'reality.' And reality has a well known liberal bias.
6. Hey, what if we pulled out of our own civil war? We'd still have slaves! Why do you hate black people? Air tight logic!
7. Have you ever looked at a cloud and thought it was something else? Then stop...smoking...dope!
8. Lemme just talk to you for a second about something that I think is good for America: caramel apples ... I had one last night. Delicious. Not talking about candy apples. I think candy apples are a danger! You crack 'em, they're very sharp. You candy apple crowd need to wake up!
9. Now we all know that Fidel Castro dressed up like Marilyn Monroe and gave JFK a case of syphilis so bad it eventually blew out the back of his head.
10. Like O'Reilly, we'll grab the most important word out of every sentence, ... `The,' for example. Also, I'll say, `I'm angry,' and the graphic will read, `Colbert angry.'
11. I want to thank Comedy Central for picking up the show, but more importantly I want to congratulate Comedy Central for picking up the show,
12. The show is about me in that when you give opinions, you're saying something about yourself,
13. I can't prove it, but I can say it.
14. In order to maintain an untenable position, you have to be actively ignorant, ... One motto on the show is, 'Keep your facts, I'm going with the truth.'
15. My character is self-important, poorly informed, well-intentioned but an idiot, ... So we said, `Let's give him a promotion.'
16. Bush has a real problem on his hands here, John: What honor should he bestow on Karl Rove?
17. As God said to Job, Checkmate
18. I swallowed 18 condoms full of Truth and I'm heading over the border.
19. Knock Knock. Who's there? The Truth. No joke.
20. Move over Oprah you fat bitch, tonight every member of my audience receives a priceless gift... the Truth.
21. Forgive me Father, for I have Truthed.
22. Get some ice, I've pulled my groin. My enormous groin.
23. Hey America, nice ass!
24. Side effects of tonight's show may include euphoria, patriotism, and painful urination.
25. When I think about Truth, I touch myself...
26. The Colbert Report's terror level has been elevated to brown, somebody spilled coffee on the chart...
27. No animals were harmed in the recording of this episode. We tried but that damn monkey was just too fast.
28. Hey partridge in that pear tree. Stop eating all those pears.
29. Caution: You are about to watch me enter a no spin zone!
30. A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y? Consonant or vowel? Make up your mind, we're at war.
31. Happy Birthday. Charles Darwin ... in hell.
32. February, if you had any balls you'd be three days longer.
33. Librarians are hiding something.



For the rest, please visit Stephen Colbert For President 2008

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Don't Be Hatin' FEC


Cross posted with Stephen Colbert For President 2008.

Recently several news sites have published doubts concerning the legality of Stephen Colbert’s campaign. Today we’ll take an in-depth analysis of this issue.

The ‘problem’
Supposedly, according to the so-called ‘legal experts’, federal law prohibits corporations from backing political campaigns. Therefore, they ‘conclude’, Doritos is not allowed to sponsor the Colbert campaign.

The other ‘problem’ is that Comedy Central isn’t ‘supposed to’ give a whole show to Colbert himself.

"The real problem comes in the fact that he actually has his own show, talking about his campaign, paid for by a network," Lawrence M. Noble, a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission said. "These are the kind of things on slow days you'd debate until the late afternoon at the FEC, but there are serious questions that come up. In theory, he could end up having some campaign finance problems."

Oh c’mon, are you serious?
I’ll give some historical president precedent. When Ronald Reagan was elected, was he blurred out of his movies? Was Bill Clinton edited out of Secretaries Gone Wild? I think not.

Don’t be hatin', FEC.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Moderate Islam Statistics

First of all, I apologize for the ongoing light posting. Besides a busy schedule (which lightens up for the next few weeks) I have lime disease :(, so I'm constantly tired and not always able react quite like I might normally. But that should be gone soon as well.


My debate with Roger continues at Political Grind

Roger says:

The above statistics were drawn from two different sources: "The Sacred Age Of Terror", Benjamin and Simon and "Menace in Europe", Claire Berlinski.
I'd suggest that you read both.
By the way -- where are the links to your facts and statistics and sources? Oh, I forgot. You don't have any.
So I decided I go statistic hunting. Stat over at Statistics Monster is pretty good at this type of thing (he takes requests for statistics) but I decided I'd do this myself.

1. Iranian opinions
A Terror Free Tomorrow poll (with a margin of error of 3.1%) published in the Wall Street Journal found:
• 61% of Iranians were willing to tell the pollsters -- over the phone no less -- that they oppose the current Iranian system of government.
• 79% of Iranians support a democratic system.
• Iranians across all demographic groups oppose the unelected rule of the supreme leader in favor of electing all their leaders. While these views run stronger in Tehran, they are also held across all provinces of Iran, and in both urban and rural areas.
• 80% of Iranians favor Iran offering full international nuclear inspections and a guarantee not to develop or possess nuclear weapons in return for outside aid.
• Close to 70% of Iranians also favor normal relations and trade with the U.S.
• In exchange for normal relations, a majority of Iranians even favor recognizing Israel and Palestine as independent states, ending Iranian support for any armed groups inside Iraq, and giving full transparency by Iran to the U.S. to ensure there are no Iranian endeavors to develop nuclear weapons.


2. Palestinian opinions
A Near East Consulting Institute poll (with a margin of error of 3.5%) published in Al-Jazeera found:
• 73% of Palestinians want the newly elected Hamas movement to drop its call for the destruction of Israel.
• 84% of those surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip want a peace agreement with Israel.
• 86% want Mahmoud Abbas to remain in his post.
• 84% support a peace agreement with Israel.
• 77% of Hamas voters also wanted a settlement


3. The Muslim world in general
A 2005 Pew Research study that involved 17,000 people in 17 countries showed:
• Support for terrorism was declining in the Muslim world
• The belief that Islamic terrorism is a threat to one’s country grows.
• Large and growing majorities in Morocco (83%), Lebanon (83%), Jordan (80%) and Indonesia (77%) – as well as pluralities in Turkey (48%) and Pakistan (43%) – say democracy can work well and is not just for the West.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The False Threat of Islamic Extremism

Over at Political Grind, Roger challenged me this:

Simmons -- instead of always looking for new ways to be offended by my choice of language, instead of being so concerned about staking out and defending your personal political position, why don't you just address the issue? In what way have I mischaracterized this Muslim threat to our Western culture and our impotent reaction to it?

I responded:

There are moderate Muslims. Not all Muslims are extremists. And the Muslims that are extremists ARE NOT STRATEGIC THREATS TO THE U.S.

I think some people are taking this whole thing a little far. Islamic terrorists have launched one successful attack on our soil, and relative, it really was not as horrible as an attack as we would believe. Yes, it was horrible, but compared to any other wars the U.S. has ever fought, it's nothing.

9/11 was significant because it changed the U.S.'s foreign and domestic policy SIGNIFICANTLY.

Right now, no terrorist group, I repeat NO TERRORIST GROUP, has the ability to strike at the U.S. with even the force it did on 9/11. They could EASILY carry out attacks that could kill around 5 people EVERY DAY on the scale of the IRA, but they haven't. What's that show? Many American Muslims have assimilated.

Foreign terrorists are still trying to kill us, yes, but after invading Afghanistan, it's not really that bad here.

Yes, Europe is worse. Muslim populations there are growing rapidly. Hopefully assimilation policies will be enacted. Not forced assimilation like some are proposing.

But 'the homeland' is safe.

Anyway, my point is that some are exaggerating the extremist threat and its capabilities to damage our strategic interests. To sum it up :).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

War With China? I Think Not - Chinese Weapons Statistics

Stat blogs at The Statistics Monster. If you would like to blog here, send us an email at worldthoughts(at)gmail(dot)com.


Number of Chinese aircraft carriers: 0
Number of American aircraft carriers: 11 plus one under construction

Number of American nukes: 9938
Number of Chinese nukes: 130

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chuck Norris Endorses Mike Huckabee

Chuck Norris Endorses Mike Huckabee
It's over.


But seriously, unless you're a Ron Paul loony supporter, Mike Huckabee is the best Republican candidate. (EXTRA: See Obama take a swipe at Republicans)

Rudy Giuliani supports nation building.

Fred Thompson has even more conservative views than Huckabee.

McCain is the bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran guy.

Romney's the conservative suck up.

Duncan Hunter wants to nuke Mecca.

Tom Tancredo is an immigration extremist.

At least Huckabee is an environmentalist.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Israel's Syrian Target Was Nuclear: The One Theory That Answers All the Questions

After the September 6 Israeli strike on Syria, I concluded that my ‘bet [on the reason for the Israeli strike] is on destroying Syrian arms headed towards Hezbollah’. Although the majority of those polled agreed with me at the time that North Korea was not giving Syria nuclear technology, I might be forced to retract that view as I write this post.

After the strike, we were left with many questions that needed to be answered:
• What did Israel strike?
• Why isn’t Syria commenting on the attack?
• Why aren’t the U.S. and Israel commenting on the strike?
• Why aren’t other Middle Eastern states complaining?

After much analysis, I have come to a new conclusion: there is only one theory that answers all the questions in a suitable way. Syria was developing a nuclear reactor based on North Korean technology, most likely for weapons purposes.

To answer the questions:

What did Israel strike at?
Syria’s nuclear reactor, obviously.

Why isn’t Syria commenting on the attack?
Syria could be compared to small boy, caught in the act of cheating on the test. They don’t want to say anything to their friends because they’re embarrassed.

Why aren’t the U.S. and Israel commenting on the strike?
This is where it gets complicated. Normally, you’d think Israel and the U.S. would use this extensively as a P.R. tool against Syria, Iran, and basically all radical Middle Eastern countries in general. But they’re not.

This actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. North Korea’s image is a huge part of its foreign policy. This is semi-understandable if you think about Kim Jong-Il. He’s very concerned about his image, which makes sense, once you remember he’s a fat midget with a funny hairdo (not to offend any fat midgets with funny hairdos out there, of course!). Anyway, North Korea takes its image very seriously. Any offensive name calling by Japan is taken as a declaration of war. Just kidding. Writing about fat midgets puts me in a lame-geopolitical-joke mood.

Who cares if North Korea’s got self-image problems anyway, right? Well, right now, we care, a lot. Christopher Hill just pulled through with one of the greatest successes of the Bush administration and North Korea is disabling its nuclear program. Any announcement of a Syrian nuclear program, aided by North Korea, could seriously piss off North Korea.

Yes, it is true Kim Jong-Il knows what’s going on in Syria. But as long as the U.S. doesn’t make any public statements concerning the nuclear program, the midget stays happy.

Why aren’t other Middle Eastern states complaining?
This is pretty interesting as well. The other states of the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and probably even Shiite Iran don’t mind a rival nuclear program taken down by the Israelis. Of course Iran is taking this as a serious threat, but in some ways, this attack was not an unforgivable move by ‘The Great Satan’.

Other great Syria-Israel analysis:
Security Dilemmas
Foreign Policy Watch
Middle East Analysis
Beyond the Cusp
Attending the World




Yup, that is just an awesome picture for no reason.