Posts from our progressive community

Forget Iran, This Is What We Should Worry About.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 13:19
What if ISIS, the Islamic State, Daesh - call it what you will - becomes a serious presence in Pakistan?

Why should anyone worry about that?  Because, first, ISIS is already making inroads in Afghanistan and, second, a senior Pakistan army general says there's nothing to worry about, ISIS does not present a threat to Pakistan.

Corps Commander Lieutenant General Hidayat-ur-Rehman on Saturday said Middle Eastern terrorist group Daesh (also self-styled as the Islamic State) poses no threat to Pakistan.

Speaking to journalists alongside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Mehtab Khan Abbasi, Gen Hidayat said there was no need to fret about Daesh or its potential emergence in the country.

“For us it’s just a change of name, and there is no need for Pakistanis to worry. There are several defections in the Taliban now, which are becoming part of Daesh. But we’re well aware of the situation and are able to tackle them effectively,” said the Peshawar Corps Commander.

Gen Hidayat rebuffed the perception that the terrorist group was silently spreading across the country, saying that the army and security forces were in control of the situation.

He added that security forces had been dealing with the Taliban for over 12 years, and Daesh was no different to the TTP.

Here's One Way to Fund Badly Needed Infrastructure Projects

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 12:50
It's the Colorado way - weed.  Since legalizing the production, sale and recreational use of marijuana the state has been raking in a tidy sum in new excise taxes.

Colorado's marijuana users are helping to buy new roofs, boilers and security upgrades for public schools across the state as the first round of special pot taxes gets allocated later this year.

The state's voters in 2012 legalized pot sales – and taxed them heavily – in part because the constitutional amendment promised that $40 million dollars a year would go toward school construction across the state. In the first full year of sales, however, the state expects to collect only about $17 million in special school taxes levied on the marijuana industry. Still, it's better than what the state collected the year before: nothing.

"The people who were smoking marijuana before legalization still are. Now, they're paying taxes," Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

The state expects that tax revenue to go nowhere but up as new permits are issued.  Just think, that money used to go straight into the pocket of organized crime.

The Value of Pi

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 12:38
Happy Pi Day - 3.1415.. 3 (March). 14 (today).. 15 (this year).  It ain't gonna happen again, so enjoy!

In Today's Washington Post - Perpetual, Endless War Against Iran America's Best Option

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 11:52
C'mon, it's the Washington Post, a relatively (by American standards) prominent and credible newspaper that has gone a fair distance in recent years in purging its weirder instincts.  Yet that it hasn't gone all that far back to the world of sanity was revealed in an op-ed by a veteran neo-con, Joshua Muravchik, the paper ran today advocating perpetual, endless war by America against Iran.

Obama’s stance [on a negotiated agreement] implies that we have no choice but to accept Iran’s best offer — whatever is, to use Rice’s term, “achievable” — because the alternative is unthinkable.

But should it be? What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.

Such visionary regimes do not trade power for a mess of foreign goods. Materialism is not their priority: They often sacrifice prosperity to adhere to ideology. Of course, they need some wealth to underwrite their power, but only a limited amount. North Korea has remained dirt poor practicing its ideology of juche, or self-reliance, but it still found the resources to build nuclear weapons.

...only military actions — by Israel against Iraq and Syria, and through the specter of U.S. force against Libya — have halted nuclear programs. Sanctions have never stopped a nuclear drive anywhere.

Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes, although an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would entail less need for boots on the ground than the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State, which poses far smaller a threat than Iran does.

Wouldn’t an attack cause ordinary Iranians to rally behind the regime? Perhaps, but military losses have also served to undermine regimes, including the Greek and Argentine juntas, the Russian czar and the Russian communists.

Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary. Of course, Iran would try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program, so we might have to find new ways to discover and attack them. Surely the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.

Much the same may be said in reply to objections that airstrikes might not reach all the important facilities and that Iran would then proceed unconstrained by inspections and agreements. The United States would have to make clear that it will hit wherever and whenever necessary to stop Iran’s program. Objections that Iran might conceal its program so brilliantly that it could progress undetected all the way to a bomb apply equally to any negotiated deal with Iran.

And finally, wouldn’t Iran retaliate by using its own forces or proxies to attack Americans — as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — with new ferocity? Probably. We could attempt to deter this by warning that we would respond by targeting other military and infrastructure facilities.

Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes. Wrenchingly, that might be the price of averting the heavier losses that we and others would suffer in the larger Middle Eastern conflagration that is the likely outcome of Iran’s drive to the bomb. Were Iran, which is already embroiled in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza, further emboldened by becoming a “nuclear threshold state,” it would probably overreach, kindling bigger wars — with Israel, Arab states or both. The United States would probably be drawn in, just as we have been in many other wars from which we had hoped to remain aloof.

Sourcewatch and Wiki reveal this guy Muravchik has been running with the neo-con warhawks since the days of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) whose members played such a major role in dragging the US into its disastrous adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Closer Look at Oil and Climate Change.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 10:13

Stephen Harper will not be pleased.  The Carnegie Endowment is fingering his cherished Tar Sands.

Not all oil is created equal.  Sweet crude, of the Saudi sort, comes out of the ground almost ready to use.  It's pumped out of the ground easily, free of most contaminants (sulphur, water, sand, natural gas).  The amount of energy required to extract and refine a barrel of oil is modest.  That, then, provides the benchmarks by which other oils from other places can be judged.

A new report from the Carnegie Endowment, "Know Your Oil: Creating a Global Oil-Climate Index," evaluates the major oilfields around the world in the context of their respective climate change impacts.

This is research Harper can't suppress.  It's available online and it's free of charge.  Why does this report matter?  It clearly identifies the highest-carbon oil fields, such as our own bitumen fields.  If we're to have much hope of avoiding runaway global warming, the highest carbon stuff will have to be left in the ground.  These are the "stranded assets" the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, recently warned about.

For Canada overall there's good news along with the bad.  While Athabasca fields are at the upper end of the scale for greenhouse gas emissions, the east coast Hibernia field is second to the lowest.  Bad news for Alberta.  Good news for Newfoundland & Labrador.

Jason Kenney Shows His True Colours

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 09:39
And they're the colours of a serial liar.  Methinks he's over his head as minister of defence but maybe he's just practising for the job he really wants.

We've been told by Kenney and his aide of Russian fighters buzzing a Canadian frigate in the Black Sea.  Worse yet, according to Kenney a pair of Russian warships confronted HMCS Fredericton.

A high-speed, low-altitude pass over  a warship by a less than friendly warplane is an act of aggression.  Not necessarily illegal but provocative nonetheless.  For domestic consumption it can evoke the tank barrel to tank barrel confrontations we saw when the Berlin Wall was erected.  It's another beat of the war drum.

Except it's not true.  After Kenney and his minion spread the story, Canada's defence department wouldn't comment.  I wonder why?  Instead they told reporters to contact NATO.  It turned out that the Russians didn't buzz any Canadian warship.   The Russians did overfly the Canadian ship but at altitude. As for the menacing confrontation by Russian ships, NATO said there were some Russian ships that could be seen far out on the horizon but they never approached the NATO task force.

My guess is that Jason Kenney is merely demonstrating that he has the lying skills necessary to be the natural successor to the Prince of Darkness himself, especially if old Beelzebub has to bail quickly during the Duffy trial.


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