Jul 10 2012

Iran and the bomb

Category: election 2012,Iran,Islam,Israel,national securityharmonicminer @ 4:20 pm

Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment program.

A position paper obtained by The Times of Israel, understood to have been used by Iran’s negotiators at last week’s technical-level talks with the P5+1 powers in Istanbul, makes plain the Tehran regime’s unyielding rejection of international efforts to negotiate safeguards and restrictions that would prevent Iran attaining a nuclear weapons capability.

Far from indicating Iranian readiness for a suspension or scaling back of its nuclear program, indeed, the document, made available by an informed source on condition of anonymity, includes references to Iran’s expansion plans. “Facing constant threats, we need a back up facility to safeguard our enrichment activities,” it states at one point, when discussing the Fordow enrichment facility, the underground complex built beneath a mountain near Qom where Iran carries out its 20% uranium enrichment.

A later point, related to the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), refers to the need “for at least 4 other research reactors because of the territorial extent of Iran and the short lifetime of medical isotopes.” The next clause in the document declares an Iranian ambition “to sell fuel complexes to other countries.”

The position paper, dated July 3, first sets out Iran’s objectives in the diplomatic process — which include obtaining international recognition of what it claims are its rights to enrichment activities, and securing “total termination” of all sanctions against it. It then details Iran’s bitter response to proposals from the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) for a negotiated agreement, notably including rejection of the international demand that it shut down its enrichment facility at Fordow.

Israel’s ambassador to the US on the threat:

America is a very large country with very big military capabilities. It’s not threatened with destruction by Iran the same way that Israel is. Israel is a small country with limited capabilities, and we’re in Iran’s backyard, and the Iranian regime never misses an opportunity to say that its finest dream is to wipe Israel off the map. They said it just yesterday again. And so given our capabilities, our timetable is much more limited that the United States timetable is, and it’s not determined by the American elections. It’s not determined even by the tempo of the contacts with the Iranians that have been going on in various capitols. It’s determined by the degree to which the Iranians are progressing on the nuclear program, moving parts of that program into fortified underground bunkers. And those are the clocks that we are looking at, and they will determine our actions.

That sounds to me like Israel has some internal clock running, some point of no return where it will probably attack Iran.  I hope that point isn’t reached before the election of 2012 in the USA, which has the potential of changing everything about how the US and Israel cooperate in heading off an Iranian bomb.

I wish I was so sanguine about the prospects of Iran attacking the USA.  How hard would it be for Iran to put a bomb on board a ship of another registry and sail it into New York Harbor?  Would we even be able to be sure who did it?  What about six or seven ports at the same time, each destroyed by a bomb on board a ship of a different registry?  Again, how would we defend against this, and how would we even know who to retaliate against?

Not that retaliation would be much comfort after such a disastrous attack on the USA.


Jul 09 2012

Death by political correctness

Category: election 2012,freedom,illegal alien,justice,media,national securityharmonicminer @ 4:12 pm

Here is a story about the death of a beautiful, intelligent young woman, a high school student, herself an immigrant, due to the incredible incompetence and immoral laxity of our federal and state governments at simply enforcing US law.

 


Jun 23 2012

Follow the Ideology to discover the real racists


Mar 26 2012

We ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Category: Democrat,election 2012,media,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 2:46 pm

From Jake Tapper:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.
The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what President Obama meant, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue — there always is — in both countries.

A senior administration official tells ABC News: “this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”

 

Translation:  After Obama is re-elected, he will not be restrained by any concern for what the American people actually think….  about much of anything.  He will try to do all the things he’s held back on so far, out of concern for the election.    Since he hasn’t held back all that much on many issues, I think that means we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

In the meantime, how much play and followup will this story get in the major media?  About as much as Obama’s other incendiary comments have gotten, i.e., not much.   The major media know their duty when they see it, and it’s to get their man re-elected.


Feb 11 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder’s stonewalling on “Fast and Furious”

I posted this earlier, but it accidentally went to a PAGE instead of a POST. I’m fixing that now.

KUHNER: Obama’s Watergate – Washington Times

A year ago this week, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. He died protecting his country from brutal Mexican gangsters. Two AK-47 assault rifles were found at his death site. We now know the horrifying truth: Agent Terry was killed by weapons that were part of an illegal Obama administration operation to smuggle arms to the dangerous drug cartels. He was a victim of his own government. This is not only a major scandal; it is a high crime that potentially reaches all the way to the White House, implicating senior officials. It is President Obama’s Watergate.

Operation Fast and Furious was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and overseen by the Justice Department. It started under the leadership of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Fast and Furious enabled straw gun purchases from licensed dealers in Arizona, in which more than 2,000 weapons were smuggled to Mexican drug kingpins. ATF claims it was seeking to track the weapons as part of a larger crackdown on the growing violence in the Southwest. Instead, ATF effectively has armed murderous gangs. About 300 Mexicans have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons. More than 1,400 guns remain lost. Agent Terry likely will not be the last U.S. casualty.

Mr. Holder insists he was unaware of what took place until after media reports of the scandal appeared in early 2011. This is false. Such a vast operation only could have occurred with the full knowledge and consent of senior administration officials. Massive gun-running and smuggling is not carried out by low-level ATF bureaucrats unless there is authorization from the top. There is a systematic cover-up.

Congressional Republicans, however, are beginning to shed light on the scandal. Led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Darrell Issa of California, a congressional probe is exposing the Justice Department’s rampant criminality and deliberate stonewalling. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the department’s criminal division, helped craft a February letter to Congress that denied ATF had ever walked guns into Mexico. Yet, under pressure from congressional investigators, the department later admitted that Mr. Breuer knew about ATF gun-smuggling as far back as April 2010. In other words, Mr. Breuer has been misleading Congress. He should resign – or be fired.

Instead, Mr. Holder tenaciously insists that Mr. Breuer will keep his job. He needs to keep his friends close and potential witnesses even closer. Another example is former acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson. Internal documents show Mr. Melson directly oversaw Fast and Furious, including monitoring numerous straw purchases of AK-47s. He has admitted to congressional investigators that he, along with high-ranking ATF leaders, reassigned every “manager involved in Fast and Furious” after the scandal surfaced on Capitol Hill and in the press. Mr. Melson said he was ordered by senior Justice officials to be silent regarding the reassignments. Hence, ATF managers who possess intimate and damaging information – especially on the role of the Justice Department – essentially have been promoted to cushy bureaucratic jobs. Their silence has been bought, their complicity swept under the rug. Mr. Melson has been transferred to Justice’s main office, where he serves as a “senior adviser” on forensic science in the department’s Office of Legal Policy. Rather than being punished, Mr. Melson has been rewarded for his incompetence and criminal negligence.

Mr. Holder and his aides have given misleading, false and contradictory testimony on Capitol Hill. Perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power – these are high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Holder should be impeached. Like most liberals, he is playing the victim card, claiming Mr. Issa is a modern-day Joseph McCarthy conducting a judicial witch hunt. Regardless of this petty smear, Mr. Holder must be held responsible and accountable – not only for the botched operation, but for his flagrant attempts to deflect blame from the administration.

Mr. Holder is a shameless careerist and a ruthless Beltway operative. For years, his out-of-control Justice Department has violated the fundamental principle of our democracy, the rule of law. He has refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for blatant voter intimidation that took place in the 2008 election. Career Justice lawyers have confessed publicly that Mr. Holder will not pursue cases in which the perpetrators are black and the victims white. States such as Arizona and Alabama are being sued for simply attempting to enforce federal immigration laws. Mr. Holder also opposes voter identification cards, thereby enabling fraud and vote-stealing at the ballot box. What else can we expect from one who, during the Clinton administration, helped pardon notorious tax cheat Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists?

Mr. Holder clearly knew about Fast and Furious and did nothing to stop it. This is because the administration wanted to use the excuse of increased violence on the border and weapons-smuggling into Mexico to justify tighter gun-control legislation. Mr. Holder is fighting ferociously to prevent important internal Justice documents from falling into the hands of congressional investigators. If the full nature of his involvement is discovered, the Obama presidency will be in peril.

Fast and Furious is even worse than Watergate for one simple reason: No one died because of President Nixon’s political dirty tricks and abuse of government power. But Brian Terry is dead; and there are still 1,500 missing guns threatening still more lives.

What did Mr. Obama know? Massive gun-smuggling by the U.S. government into a foreign country does not happen without the explicit knowledge and approval of leading administration officials. It’s too big, too risky and too costly. Mr. Holder may not be protecting just himself and his cronies. Is he protecting the president?


Oct 09 2011

Tom McClintock telling it like it is

RealClearPolitics

Note: Congressman Tom McClintock delivered the following speech to the Council for National Policy: 

I want to welcome this groundbreaking scientific expedition to the savage lands of the Left Coast. You are here in California to answer an important theoretical question and now you have your answer.

Yes, this is what Barack Obama’s second term would look like.

Study it. Fear it. And then go home and make sure that it never happens to the rest of the country.

Of course, in spite of all of its problems, California is still one of the best places in the country to build a successful small business. All you have to do is start with a successful large business.

Laugh if you will, but as you whistle past this cemetery, do heed the medieval epitaph: “Remember man as you walk by, as you are now so once was I; as I am now so you will be.”

Mark that well, because if we lose this struggle for the future of our country, you too someday will live in a California – only without the nice climate.

Bad policies. Bad process. Bad politics. Those are the three acts in a Greek tragedy that tell the tale of how, in the span of a single generation, the most prosperous and golden state in the nation became an economic basket case.

When my parents came to California in the 1960’s looking for a better future, they found it here. The state government consumed about half of what it does today after adjusting for both inflation and population. HALF. We had the finest highway system in the world and the finest public school system in the country. California offered a FREE university education to every Californian who wanted one. We produced water and electricity so cheaply that some communities didn’t bother to meter the stuff. Our unemployment rate consistently ran well below the national rate and our diversified economy was nearly recession-proof.

One thing – and one thing only – changed in those years: public policy. The political Left gradually gained dominance over California’s government and has imposed a disastrous agenda of radical and retrograde policies that have destroyed the quality of life that Californians once took for granted.

The Census bureau has reported for the better part of the decade that California is undergoing the biggest population exodus in its history, with many fleeing to such garden spots as Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Think about that. California is blessed with the most equitable climate in the entire Western Hemisphere; it has the most bountiful resources anywhere in the continental United States; it is poised on the Pacific Rim in a position to dominate world trade for the next century, and yet people are finding a better place to live and work and raise their families in the middle of the Nevada Nuclear Test Range.

I submit to you that no conceivable act of God could wreak such devastation. Only acts of government can do that. And they have.

We conservatives espouse principles of individual liberty, free markets, constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, the protection of natural rights – not out of some slavish devotion to ideology, but because all human experience has shown these principles to be the most certain means to achieve a prosperous and happy society. If you want to see the opposite of that – come to California.

James Madison said the trickiest question the Constitutional convention confronted was how to oblige a government to control itself. History records not a single example of a nation that spent, borrowed and taxed its way to prosperity; but it offers us many, many examples of nations that spent and borrowed and taxed their way to economic ruin and bankruptcy. And history is screaming this warning at us: that nations that bankrupt themselves aren’t around very long, because before you can provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty – you have to be able to pay for it.

California may not have invented deficit spending but we certainly refined it into a science. Before the crash of 2008, when California was taking in more money than ever in its history, it was already running a nine billion dollar deficit, under a Republican governor elected on the pledge to “cut up the credit cards.”

Federal spending increased 26 percent in the last three years literally consuming and squandering the wealth of the nation at the worst possible time. Yet consider this: from July of 2005 to July of 2008, California increased its spending by 31 percent, under a Republican governor elected on the pledge to “stop the crazy deficit spending”. You can see how well that’s worked for us.

If stimulus spending, massive deficits and burgeoning government bureaucracies were the path to economic prosperity, California should be leading the nation from the top rather than from the bottom. After we lost the nation’s triple-A credit rating this summer specifically because of chronic deficit spending, it should surprise no one that California suffers the lowest bond rating in the nation for precisely the same reason.

 


Our regulatory burdens are also years ahead of the rest of the nation – we’ve had our own version of Cap and Trade on the books for five years now, and even though the bulk of these restrictions yet to take effect, investors make decisions every day anticipating their impact.

 

This has already proven utterly devastating to energy generation, cargo and passenger transportation, cement production, construction, wine making, agriculture and manufacturing. When he signed this legislation, Gov. Schwarzenegger promised that this would produce a cornucopia of new green jobs.

How’s that working out? Up until the autumn of 2006, California’s unemployment rate tracked fairly steadily with the national unemployment numbers. But beginning in that quarter, California’s unemployment rate moved steadily beyond the national numbers. Today it stands at 12.1 percent – three full points above the national rate. You can’t blame the national economy for that – you have to find something specific to California that occurred in the autumn of 2006 to explain this divergence. I submit that the only significant event in that period was the signing of AB 32.

And I should note that although we’ve devastated California’s once recession-proof economy with these ridiculous regulations, the Earth stubbornly continues to warm and cool as it has for billions of years.

I mentioned water and electricity so cheap that some communities didn’t meter the stuff. There’s a reason for that: California had embarked on an aggressive program of hydroelectric and nuclear power construction that promised an era of clean, cheap and abundant electricity. But beginning with the first “small is beautiful” administration of Jerry Brown, these programs were abandoned in favor of “green energy.” We now have the most stringent renewable energy requirements in the nation.

Which helps explain why California is the home to such stunning green energy success stories as Solyndra. We have among the highest electricity prices in the continental United States. We have the lowest per-capita electricity consumption in the nation as well. And every day, our government spends part of our sky-high electricity bills to lecture us to conserve more.

We completed our last major dam in 1979. Last year, environmentalists diverted 200 billion gallons of water from central valley agriculture for the enjoyment and amusement of the Delta Smelt – a three-inch long minnow that has become the environmental left’s pet cause. This single action destroyed thousands of jobs and laid waste to a half million acres of the most fertile farmland in America. It is no coincidence that four of the ten metropolitan areas suffering the highest unemployment rate in the country are all in California’s Central Valley.

Meanwhile, up north on the Klamath River, California has found a new partnership with the Obama administration as they proceed to tear down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams capable of producing 155 megawatts of the cleanest and cheapest electricity on the planet — enough to power 155,000 homes. This is due, we are told, to the decline of the salmon population. The Iron Gate Fish Hatchery on the Klamath produces 5 million salmon smolts each year – 17,000 of which return as fully-grown adults to spawn – but they don’t include them in the population count. To add insult to insanity, when the Iron Gate Dam is destroyed, we will lose the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery.

We have the most aggressive mass transit program in the country – although we have not added significant capacity to our highway system in a generation. Californians consistently pay among the highest taxes per gallon of gasoline in the country and yet make among the lowest per capita expenditures on our roads. And what a surprise: we also have among the highest congestion rates in the country.

We have the largest population of illegal aliens in the country, consuming somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion in direct state expenditures. A few years ago, the Los Angeles County Sheriff reported that fully 25 percent of the jail inmates were illegal aliens. For years, California has provided in-state tuition for illegal aliens at the expense of California taxpayers – and with the signing of the California Dream Act four days ago, they will also have access to taxpayer-financed grants. Meanwhile, CSU has increased tuition 22 percent in just two years.

I’ve noticed a few of you on your cell phones no doubt checking to be sure that your return reservations are confirmed.

But I need to remind you that the Obama administration is pursuing exactly the same policies nationally – and so far with the same results. When you step off the plane back in your home state, just remember that all your plane trip will buy you is a couple of years if we lose the fight in 2012.

The second act of this morality tale is how bad process accommodated and amplified bad policy.

The Left loves to throw the term “dysfunctional” at our governing institutions. In the last week, the Democratic governor of North Carolina seriously opined that we ought to postpone congressional elections so that congressmen would “do the right thing.” Peter Orzag this week wrote of wanting to shift even more decision-making from our elected representatives to elitist boards appointed by our betters.

We have reached this point not because of a failure of our republican institutions, but because of a failure to respect those institutions.

 


Again, California is a pioneer, but the rest of the country is fast catching up. In the 1960’s, California’s legislature was respected throughout the country as the model for others to follow. It was professional, it respected process, and it worked. It did a few things, but it did them exceedingly well. It left local schools, local governments and local revenues in local hands. But beginning in the 1970’s this began to break down.

 

The humility that kept Sacramento from sticking its nose into the business of local governments gave way to the hubris that the state knew better what was important to local communities than those communities themselves. The appalling breakdown of federalist principles at the national level now geometrically compounds this problem.

But at the core of this breakdown was the abandonment of our basic republican structure of government – and it began right here.

Our parliamentary institutions have evolved over centuries to distill diverse viewpoints to a common direction within constitutional boundaries. When this process is applied, it works extremely well.

For a quarter of a century, I watched as these brilliant checks and balances that had produced reasonably punctual and reasonably balanced budgets for over a century, and nurtured the most prosperous economy in the nation, were gradually abandoned in the name of liberal efficiency.

Slowly, inexorably, decision-making that had been done broadly and independently by the two houses of the legislature — involving the active participation of every elected representative — was usurped by an extra-constitutional abomination called the “Big Five.”

See if any of this sounds familiar: The “Big Five” is essentially a super-committee that meets behind closed doors outside the scrutiny of the public, sidelining the legislature, short-circuiting the independent judgment of the two houses, and then in the eleventh hour drops its decision into the laps of the legislature for a take-it–or-leave it vote that cannot even be amended.

I know I don’t have to connect the dots for anybody here. Ladies and gentlemen, it does not work. California’s plague of chronically late and chronically unbalanced budgets coincides quite clearly with the disintegration of the legislative process and the replacement of parliamentary institutions with handpicked super-committees.

Which brings me to the third act of this Greek Tragedy – bad politics.

Last November, while the rest of the country was celebrating historic Republican gains (including a shift of 63 U.S. House Seats, six U.S. Senate Seats, 680 state legislative seats, 19 state legislatures and six governors), the statewide Republican ticket in California – despite massively outspending the Democrats in the best Republican year since 1938 – lost every statewide race and even lost ground in the state legislature.

Republicans nationally now hold more state legislative seats than in any year since 1928. In California, they hold fewer than at any time since 1978!

That is not because the voting population of California has lost its collective mind and it is not because the state is divinely ordained to be run by morons.

It happened because Dick Armey is right: “When we act like us we win, and when we act like them we lose.”

Republicans lost the 2006 and 2008 elections not because voters abandoned Republican principles, but because they looked at the Republicans and concluded that the Republicans had abandoned Republican principles.

During the Bush years, Republicans had increased federal spending at twice the rate of Bill Clinton; they left our borders wide open; they approved the biggest increase in entitlement spending since the Great Society and that turned record budget surpluses into record deficits to launch this brave new era of stimulus spending.

I last visited with the CNP in Washington in May of 2009. What a depressing meeting that was! Obama enjoyed 66 percent public approval. The week before, a conference of self-appointed Republican leaders had concluded that “we had to put the Reagan era behind us” and we had to be “mindful and respectful that the other side has something and that we have nothing and you can’t beat something with nothing.” (I won’t mention names, but his initials were Jeb Bush.)

Thank God House Republicans didn’t take that approach.

In the aftermath of that debacle, House Republican leaders resolved to restore traditional Republican principles as the policy and political focus of the party and they achieved something no one at the time thought possible: they united House Republicans as a determined voice of opposition to the Left and they rallied the American people.

Republicans rediscovered why we were Republicans, and Republican leaders rediscovered Reagan’s advice to paint our positions in bold colors and not hide them in pale pastels.

The result was one of the most dramatic watershed elections in American history.

California Republicans did exactly the opposite, and ended up replaying the disaster of 2008 while the rest of the country was enjoying one of the greatest Republican landslides ever recorded.

In California, the Democrats attacked Republicans for imposing the biggest state tax increase in American history. The Democrats attacked Republicans for obstructing pension reform to protect the prison guards union. These attacks had the unfortunate element of being true.

Meanwhile, the Republican ticket attacked Arizona’s immigration law. Republicans attacked the Proposition that would have stopped AB 32 – California’s version of Cap and Trade.

The sad truth is that we were more like the Democrats than the Democrats.

A few days after the election, a Republican leader whose mission in life has been to redefine the Republican Party in the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger said he just couldn’t explain the results.

I can. We didn’t need to redefine our principles. We needed to return to them. House Republicans did. California Republicans did not. Any questions?

Great parties are built upon great principles and they are judged by their devotion to those principles. Since its inception, the central principle of the Republican Party can be summed up in a single word, Freedom.

The closer we have hewn to that principle, the better we have done. The farther we have strayed from that principle, the worse we have done.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln warned the nation that two incompatible and irreconcilable philosophies, freedom and slavery, competed for our future and reminded us that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” “I do not believe the house will fall,” he said, “but I do believe that it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

Today two incompatible and irreconcilable philosophies — freedom and socialism — compete for our nation’s future and the stage is set for one of the greatest debates in the history of the American Republic.

We are winning that debate. But we have to stand firm.

What has happened to California and now is threatening our country is the inevitable consequence of bad policy, bad process and bad politics – and the good news is, that’s all within our power as a people to change.

I believe that if Californians rediscover these self-evident truths, Jerry Brown will be to California what Barack Obama has been to the rest of the country – a giant wake-up call. And if Americans rally behind these truths, together, we will write the next great chapter of the American Republic: that just when it looked like America would fade into history as just another failed socialist state, this generation of Americans rediscovered, revived and restored those uniquely American principles of individual liberty and constitutionally limited government, rallied under a bold banner held high by the traditional party of freedom, and from that moment America began her next great era of expansion, prosperity and influence. 

Tom McClintock is the U.S. Representative for California’s 4th congressional district.


Sep 29 2011

ET coming to eat us?

Category: humor,illegal alien,national security,science,technologyharmonicminer @ 9:55 am

If ET exists, we may or may not want to make contact.

Here’s more on the topic:

Hoping to Contact Extraterrestrials? Think Again

Astronomers who have been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence for decades are suddenly saying such an encounter might not be a happy one.

Aliens might destroy life on Earth or plan to eat or enslave humans if they sense our civilization was expanding too rapidly and could harm others, according to a latest study.

The scenario was brought up in a joint study by Seth Baum, Jacob Haqq-Misra and Shawn Domagal-Goldman.

Researchers say extraterrestrials might behave the way we humans have behaved whenever we have discovered other previously unknown intelligent beings on Earth, like unfamiliar humans or chimpanzees and gorillas.

“Just as we did to those beings, the extraterrestrials might proceed to kill, infect, dissect, conquer, displace or enslave us, stuff us as specimens for their museums or pickle our skulls and use us for medical research,” according to the study, which was published in the journal Acta Astronautica.

Why should we worry about aliens? The simple reason is that if they can find us, they would be more advanced than humans.

“A core concern is that ETI will learn of our presence and quickly travel to Earth to eat or enslave us,” the study says.

The authors speculate that extraterrestrials might try to spread their beliefs through evangelism or to use humans for entertainment.

Just because an ETI civilization holds universalist ethics does not mean that it would never seek our harm. This is because ETI may be quite different from us and could conclude that harming us would help maximize whatever they value intrinsically.

For example, if ETI place intrinsic value on lives, then perhaps they could bring about more lives by destroying us and using our resources more efficiently for other lives. Other forms of intrinsic value may cause a universalist ETI to seek our harm or destruction as long as more value is produced without us than with us.

Aliens also could harm or destroy us if they believe we are a threat to other civilizations. Rapidly expanding civilizations may have a tendency to destroy other civilizations in the process, just as humanity has already destroyed many species on Earth.

Though this scenario might seem unlikely given the likelihood of our technological inferiority relative to other civilizations, we would be at the receiving end if ET thinks that our resources could be used more efficiently to generate or retain other civilizations.

Perhaps ETI is observing rapid and destructive expansion on Earth and could become concerned at our trajectory.

ETI might prefer that our civilization change its ways to survive, but if it doubts that our course can be changed, it may seek to preemptively destroy us to protect other civilizations from us.

A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand.

“Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. via greenhouse gas emissions), which therefore changes the spectral signature of Earth,” the study’s authors say,

Human civilization affects ecosystems so strongly that some ecologists have begun calling this epoch of Earth’s history the anthropocene, a new and unprecedented phase in the planet’s history.

If the goal is to maximize ecosystem health, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form. Since at least some humans believe so, invoking universalist ethical principles, then it is likely that ETI might agree.

But since we don’t know what kind of aliens we will end up meeting, there are certain steps humans should take when making contact, the authors urge. Those steps include not sharing details of our biology and DNA structure, and not appearing as if we are rapidly expanding off the Earth.


Aug 24 2011

China’s military buildup

Category: China,military,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:53 pm

China on track for modern military by 2020: U.S.

China appears on track to forge a modern military by 2020, a rapid buildup that could be potentially destabilizing to the Asia-Pacific region, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Fueled by its booming economy, China’s military growth in the past decade has exceeded most U.S. forecasts. Its aircraft carrier program, cyber warfare capabilities and anti-satellite missiles have alarmed neighbors and Washington.

Some China watchers, including members of the U.S. Congress, note with apprehension that rising Chinese defense spending coincides with Washington’s plans for defense cuts.

This is nothing new.  Amuzikman has already posted here the gist of an exchange between Obama and Chinese Premier Hu on the occasion of Hu’s visit to the USA.

All chuckles aside, this is really no laughing matter

I think this recent news shows that China is a more serious problem than some want to admit.  Given that it is the Pentagon that produced this report, and it is the Pentagon that has been listening to Thomas P.M. Barnett (perhaps rather more than it should have been), maybe this is a sign that some degree of realistic understanding is developing of the long term nature of Chinese intentions.

The Chinese think LONG TERM, in a way almost no American can quite understand.  

One thing I don’t get about the folks who think China isn’t a big problem is this:  intelligence types talk about both capabilities and intentions.  It used to be we mistrusted Chinese intentions, but didn’t think their capabilities were close enough to ours to be a real danger.  Now that Chinese capabilities are growing fast, analysts like Barnett seem to want us to think less suspiciously of Chinese intentions.  That kind of wishful thinking seems a poor substitute for actual, hard planning about what we’ll do as a nation regarding a China with high capabilities AND bad intentions.

Given that we KNOW who China supports, who China funds, what China wants, and what China’s history is in the last 50 years of working against US and western interests, this notion that all China really wants to do is sell us stuff, and they’re only building a modern military to increase their self-esteem, seems like whistling in the dark to me.

I keep thinking about this.


Jul 24 2011

Goldfish

Category: Congress,economy,media,national securityharmonicminer @ 11:05 pm

The Powerline contest for media illustrating the debt crisis facing the USA is done, and here is one of the top entries (not a winner, but highly rated):

I’m thinking most of us are the fish.

I’d feel better about it if the video had a disclaimer: NO GOLDFISH WERE HARMED DURING THE PRODUCTION OF THIS VIDEO.

Just kidding.


Aug 24 2010

Russian roulette across the border

Category: Mexico,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:47 pm

Drug war sends bullets whizzing across the border

The first bullets struck El Paso’s city hall at the end of a work day. The next ones hit a university building and closed a major highway. Shootouts in the drug war along the U.S.-Mexico border are sending bullets whizzing across the Rio Grande into one of the nation’s safest cities, where authorities worry it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt or killed.

Mr. President Obama, sir…..  what do you think is your responsibility in this?  Do we have to wait until an American citizen is actually killed by bullets coming across the border?  Or might you find it in your imperial wisdom to consider doing something about it NOW, before lives are taken?

I wish I believed you took this seriously.  But given your reluctance to do anything about it when Mexican nationals come into the USA and directly kill people after entering illegally, I don’t suppose you think think playing Russian roulette across the border is any big deal.

 

 


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