Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Re: Vietnam

Seems to me that over time systems evolve to become efficient out of necessity.  The ATP cycle in biology involves more than a dozen steps to get the maximum energy from a single electron.  The first biological organisms probably only had one step, but they were replaced by organisms that stumbled onto how to be more efficient.  

On Jul 29, 2014, at 12:48 PM, "<larry.r.trout wrote:


'Ho Chi Minh would be appalled if he could see Vietnam now.


Well, perhaps not appalled—he was less doctrinaire than the likes of Vladimir Lenin and Fidel Castro, and even hard-line ideologues can become more flexible over time—but he certainly wouldn't recognize it.


The Doi Moi market reforms that began in 1986 (a mere eleven years after the fall of Saigon and national unification under the Communist Party) and a general slackening of state micromanagement have transformed the country out of all recognition.








'Mosul's remaining Christians were fleeing the city yesterday after the brutal ISIS occupiers told them to convert to Islam or face summary execution. In a statement read out at the city's mosques, the Islamists told Christians that they had until midday to either convert or pay a "jizya" – a tax on non-Muslims. Those who refused to comply would be killed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014



Fwd: Iran

'Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.


Meanwhile, revolutionary guards announced new missiles which could destroy Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.



Fwd: Iraq

'There is a mass exodus of Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. The Muslim fanatics who have taken over the city, calling themselves the Islamic State, issued an ultimatum to the city's Christians earlier this month, saying that if they did not leave by Saturday, July 19, they "must convert to Islam, pay a fine, or face 'death by the sword.'" As of Tuesday, most of the city's estimated 3,000 Christians had fled.


Russians are living in an alternate reality.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fwd: Ecudor

'In 2008, Ecuador's National Assembly approved a new constitution that
recognizes unfettered mobility across borders as a basic human right,
advocating "the principle of universal citizenship, the free movement
of all inhabitants of the planet, and the progressive extinction of
the status of alien or foreigner as an element to transform the
unequal relations between countries, especially those between North
and South."…

First, in June of 2008, he announced the abolition of visa
requirements so that anyone could enter Ecuador for up to 90 days. But
rather than encourage reciprocity from other countries, as expected,
the measure unintentionally benefited human smugglers. By December of
that year, almost 12,000 Chinese had entered Ecuador—roughly six times
the volume during the first half of the year. Many were headed to the
U.S. via human-smuggling networks.


Fwd: Gaza

'The IDF on Monday released declassified photos showing how Hamas uses hospitals, mosques, and playgrounds as rocket launch sites.


The images were taken from the northeastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaia, which was the scene of heavy fighting in recent days.


Israel's army said it had been targeting militants in the clashes, charging that they had fired rockets from Shejaia and built tunnels and command centers there. The army said it had warned civilians to leave two days earlier.'



Fwd: Airport Security

'The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is allowing illegal immigrants go around airport security to catch planes without a photo identification required of all other passengers, a high-level DHS source tells Judicial Watch.


It appears to be part of an Obama administration plan to expedite the transfer of tens of thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC)—mostly from Central America—that have entered the country through Mexico in the last few months. They are mostly coming in through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and authorities there are incredibly overwhelmed by the sudden influx.


To ease the load, the Obama administration is transferring the UACs—more than 53,000 by the government's count—to other parts of the country, including Florida, Nebraska and Massachusetts. Apparently a large number of UACs are being transported to their new destination on airplanes. Most don't have a valid identification and are being allowed to board aircrafts with a slip of paper, JW's Homeland Security source says.


Specifically, JW's government source reveals that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is letting the illegal aliens surpass security at the El Paso airport in Texas. "They are catching airplanes at EP Airport, TSA is letting them go around security," the DHS official confirms. "No picture ID, just a slip of paper." This indicates that the passengers' true identity has not been clearly established. It's not unreasonable to conclude this could present a national security threat.


In the meantime, American citizens and legal residents must present a valid photo ID, provided by a certified government agency, before setting foot on a plane at any airport in the United States. The TSA, the famously inept agency created to protect the nation's transportation system (mainly airports), after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also makes law-abiding passengers take off their shoes, jackets and empty their pockets. We have come to accept this as a necessary national security measure.


Exempting illegal immigrants whose true identities are unknown to federal authorities seems irrational to say the least. In the last few weeks JW has reported, based on information provided by inside government sources, some of the desperate measures taken by the administration as it tries to cope with the barrage of UACs. From the start the influx created an out-of-control disaster with jam-packed holding centers, rampant diseases and sexually active teenagers at a Nogales facility, according to JW's sources.


Military bases—including Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and the Ventura County Naval Base in Southern California—across the country are being used as makeshift shelters and infectious diseases largely eradicated in this country are spreading like wildfire. This includes swine flu, dengue fever Ebola virus and tuberculosis, according to a U.S. Congressman who is also a medical doctor. JW obtained a letter that the lawmaker, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, wrote to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlining the "severe and dangerous" crisis and demanding information on how the agency is handling the situation.'




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fwd: oil

'The Eagle Ford in Texas has surpassed the Bakken as the nation's second most productive oil field and is closing in fast on the Permian, which stretches across Texas and New Mexico. All this is occurring as Texas has surpassed Iraq, OPEC's second largest oil producer, and the U.S. is closing in on Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.


The fracking technology that has made the U.S. the world's leading producer of natural gas is having the same impact on oil. Almost half the country's oil now comes from North Dakota and Texas, where fracking and horizontal drilling are now the predominant technology. At 8.4 million barrels per day, we have now returned to the levels we were at just after crossing "Hubbert's Peak" in 1970. To date the rate of growth shows no sign of slowing down.'



Fwd: Russian Training

'While that remains to be seen, in June, NATO's top general said that Russia had provided "anti-aircraft" training inside Russia for Russian separatists that involved "vehicle-borne" surface-to-air missiles.

At a June 30 Pentagon news conference, NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove said Russia had been providing air defense training to Russian separatists on its side of the border with Ukraine that focused on "vehicle-borne" surface-to-air missiles. A vehicle-borne capability would involve a surface-to-air missile with a longer range than portable shoulder-fired missiles known as MANPADS.


Fwd: Ukraine

'Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday blamed the Ukrainian
government for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, saying the
state bears some responsibility for fighting that may have led to the
jet's apparent downing by a surface-to-air missile.

"I would like to point out in this regard, that this tragedy would not
have occurred if there was peace in that land, at least, if
hostilities had not resumed in the South-East of Ukraine," Putin said.
"And without question, the state over whose territory this took place,
bears responsibility for this awful tragedy."


Fwd: From Russia with love

'Multiple videos posted on YouTube and appearing in Russian-language media today apparently depict militants firing Grad rockets into Ukraine from Russian territory.

Grads are Soviet-developed rockets sometimes fired from a truck-mounted missile battery. They can carry warheads weighing up to nearly 40 pounds a distance of up to 13 miles, although next-generation grads can travel nearly 25 miles.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fwd: Ukraine

'The agreement comes after five Ukrainian troops and hundreds of pro-Russian separatists were killed as government forces engaged in more than 100 clashes since late Monday night when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ended a unilateral, 10-day cease-fire…


U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said Russian cooperation will be needed to enforce any cease-fire and stop the fighting…


Pyatt repeated U.S. assertions that Russia has provided fighters, tanks, anti-aircraft missile systems and other equipment to insurgents in east Ukraine. Those supplies began after Feb. 24, when former president Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Russia, Pyatt said.


"This is a manufactured insurgency supported by the Russian government against Ukraine," Pyatt said. The cease-fire agreement "is only going to work if there are two parties," Pyatt said, referring to Russia and Ukraine.'




If you are able to kill hundreds of insurgents and only lose 5 soldiers, you should keep doing what you're doing until the other side lays down arms…



Why does it matter that it is family owned?

Ethanol may be causing elevated air pollution in Brazil, scientists report in a peer-reviewed study. The study may have public policy implications in the United States, where federal law requires the transportation fuel mix to contain approximately 10 percent ethanol.

The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman

Many libertarians appear to believe that libertarianism can be stated as a simple and convincing moral principle from
which everything else follows. Popular candidates are 'It is always wrong to initiate coercion' and 'Everyone has the
absolute right to control his own property, provided that he does not use it to violate the corresponding rights of
others.' If they are right, then the obvious way to defend libertarian proposals is by showing that they follow from the
initial principle. One might even argue that to defend libertarian proposals on the grounds that they have desirable
consequences, as I have done throughout this book, is not only a waste of time but a dangerous waste of time, since it
suggests that one must abandon the libertarian position if it turns out that some coercive alternative works better.

One problem with deducing libertarian conclusions from simple libertarian principles is that simple statements of
libertarian principles are not all that compelling. Lots of people are in favor of initiating coercion, or at least doing
things that libertarians regard as initiating coercion. Despite occasional claims to the contrary, libertarians have not yet
produced any proof that our moral position is correct.

A second problem is that simple statements of libertarian principle taken literally can be used to prove conclusions that
nobody, libertarian or otherwise, is willing to accept. If the principle is softened enough to avoid such conclusions, its
implications become far less clear. It is only by being careful to restrict the application of our principles to easy cases
that we can make them seem at the same time simple and true.

The easiest way to demonstrate this point is with a few examples. In order to define coercion, we need a concept of
property, as I pointed out at the beginning of this book—some way of saying what is mine and what is yours. The
usual libertarian solution includes property rights in land. I have the absolute right to do what I want on my land,
provided that I refrain from interfering with your similar right on your land.

But what counts as interfering? If I fire a thousand megawatt laser beam at your front door I am surely violating your
property rights, just as much as if I used a machine gun. But what if I reduce the intensity of the beam—say to the
brightness of a flashlight? If you have an absolute right to control your land, then the intensity of the laser beam
should not matter. Nobody has a right to use your property without your permission, so it is up to you to decide
whether you will or will not put up with any particular invasion.

So far many will find the argument convincing. The next step is to observe that whenever I turn on a light in my house,
or even strike a match, the result is to violate the property rights of my neighbors. Anyone who can see the light from
his own property, whether with the naked eye or a powerful telescope, demonstrates by doing so that at least some of
the photons I produced have trespassed onto his property. If everyone has an absolute right to the protection of his own
property then anyone within line of sight of me can enjoin me from doing anything at all which produces light. Under
those circumstances, my 'ownership' of my property is not worth very much.

A similar problem arises with pollution. Libertarians sometimes claim that since polluting the air over anyone else's
property is a violation of his property rights, pollution can be forbidden in a libertarian society except when the
pollutor has the consent of the owners of all affected land. This argument is used to attack schemes such as effluent
fees (discussed in Chapter 26), which are designed to limit pollution to its economically efficient level—the point at
which further reductions cost more than they are worth—but not to eliminate it.

Here again, the problem is that an absolute right to control one's property proves too much. Carbon dioxide is a
pollutant. It is also an end product of human metabolism. If I have no right to impose a single molecule of pollution on
anyone else's property, then I must get the permission of all my neighbors to breathe. Unless I promise not to exhale.
The obvious response is that only significant violations of my property rights count. But who decides what is
significant? If I have an absolute property right, then I am the one who decides what violations of my property matter.
If someone is allowed to violate my property with impunity as long as he does no significant damage, we are back to
judging legal rules by their consequences.

A similar problem arises if we consider effects that are small not in size but in probability. Suppose I decide to play
Russian roulette, with one small innovation; after putting one cartridge in my revolver and spinning the cylinder, I
point it at your head instead of at mine before pulling the trigger. Most people, libertarian or otherwise, would agree
that you have every right to knock the gun out of my hand before I pull the trigger. If doing something to someone (in
this case shooting him) is coercive, then so is an action that has some probability of doing that something to him.

But what if the revolver has not six chambers but a thousand or a million? The right not to be coerced, stated as an
absolute moral principle, should still apply. If libertarianism simply consists of working out the implications of that
right, then it seems to imply that I may never do anything which results in some probability of injuring another person
without his consent.

I take off from an airport in a private plane with a cruising radius of a thousand miles. There is some (small)
probability that my instruments will fail, or I will fall asleep, or for some other reason I will go wildly off course.
There is some probability that the plane, having gone off course, will crash. There are things I can do which will
reduce these probabilities, but not to zero. It follows that by taking off I impose some (small) probability of death and
destruction on everyone through whose roof I might crash. It seems to follow from libertarian principles that before
taking off I must get permission from everyone living within a thousand miles of my starting point.