Do we really need more military spending than we have?

I don’t agree with raising the Pentagon’s budget.It is already the size of the next 17 largest militaries in the world according to one report.

How to pay for the nation’s defense spending could lead to another showdown.
nytimes.com|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Posted in Middle East, Politics and Economics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Iran: the enemy of our enemy is our friend

If you are following this topic, I recommend you read Tom Friedman first. Then one of the many excellent comments, one of which is here:
Mark Thomason
NYT trusted commenter Clawson, MI

“Not enough attention is being paid to the regional implications”

Friedman skips around the biggest regional implication. He mentions the Saudis, but he does not mention Israel.

Israel has become a problem to the US, even more so than the Saudis. It is become such a problem deliberately, as a policy choice to defy the US and defeat US priorities.

A better relationship with Iran is a good alternative to both of those troubled relationships. At the very least, it will shape them up by putting them on notice we have other options to shape the world to our priorities.

That potential impact on regional relationships motivates the hysteria about the terms of a deal that is otherwise pretty much what anyone would expect. They just don’t want any deal at all, not because of the bomb, but because it is a deal with Iran. That is exactly the most important reason for the US to do a deal with Iran.
104 Recommended

What’s at stake in the nuclear deal with Iran?
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman
Posted in Foreign Policy, Middle East, Thomas Friedman | Tagged | Leave a comment

Amanda Knox: Auguries of Innocence | One observer’s view of the Amanda Knox case

The following piece is by an anonymous blogger who goes at WordPress by Lenroot, and signs his bio:  LM. I found this, when I asked the other god Google, what are the arguments for the innocence of Amanda Knox.   -David

“So, let’s play a game. What do Dr. Carla Vecchiotti (Italy), Dr. Bruce Budowle (U.S.) and Dr. Peter Gill (U.K.) have in common? Well, each is a highly respected forensic geneticist within his/her own country (Budowle and Gill are world renowned). Each has also reviewed the DNA “evidence” in the case thoroughly, and each firmly opines that it provides absolutely no reliable indication that Amanda Knox is guilty.

Unfortunately for the honor of Italy and its courts, problems with the evidence go well beyond the fraud and other insurmountable problems with the DNA. I’ll cite some of the more egregious examples.

Evidence that was lost, destroyed, or went missing

Suppressed Interrogation Tapes. Although news reports indicated that the tapes of Amanda’s initial interrogation were being transcribed, they suddenly went missing, accompanied by a blizzard of the-dog-ate-my-homework excuses. The defense has consistently maintained that the tapes would reveal precisely how police bullied and manipulated Amanda into making false statements.

Destruction of Computer Hard Drives. The hard drives on four different computers were damaged or destroyed by police “experts.” Several drives were vital to the defense, including one containing photographs and video that gave the lie to speculation that Amanda and the victim did not get along. The police explanation as to how the drives were compromised was absurd and it is likely the damage was intentional.

Suppressed CCTV Video. Suppressed video from a strategically placed CCTV camera would, with a very high degree of probability, have conclusively established whether or not Amanda and Raffaele ever left his apartment on the night of the murder. Again, the various police excuses for not producing the video were contradictory and absurd—we didn’t check until it was too late—the camera was broken—the camera was turned the wrong way, etc.

Destruction of the Knife DNA. In a clear violation of accepted protocol, the knife DNA sample was improperly handled and, in effect, tested out of existence. It cannot now be reexamined by either defense or independent experts as would normally be required.

Destruction of the Bra-Clasp Evidence. The bra-clasp was accidentally-on-purpose stored in an entirely inappropriate manner with the result that reexamination by defense and independent experts became impossible. Given the well documented deceit and malfeasance associated with the clasp, it is hard to believe that the destruction was merely accidental.

via Amanda Knox: Auguries of Innocence | One observer’s view of the Amanda Knox case.

Posted in Bullies and Scoundrels, European Issues | Leave a comment

Is the New York Times keeping Palestinian Hopes Alive?

Here is a surprisingly weak New York Times editorial, followed by many clear, articulate and outraged comments. It is time to stop handing 3 billion dollars a year to the government of Israel, if that is the actual number. Other causes deserve the money far more. Let the Israeli government destroy any chance of peace without our financial backing.

It’s hard to tell where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually stands on the concept of two states, but it remains the best alternative to violent confrontation.
nytimes.com|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Posted in Middle East | Tagged | Leave a comment

Growth of ISIS makes Edward Snowdon look not so heroic.

NYT reports that in Yemen, the Houthis, allied to ISIS, take over much of Saga Province, including the capital Sana.
“….after the disclosures by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, officials say it has become much harder for spy agencies to monitor what terrorists are saying and plotting, as militants have moved to couriers or communication networks the N.S.A. has yet to crack.

“We have less and less insight into terrorist planning because of the spread of encryption technology and the shrinking opportunity for human intelligence sources when it comes to troubled spots,” Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a speech last month.”

The evacuation of Special Operations advisers from Yemen is the latest blow to the Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign, which is already struggling with significant setbacks in the region, officials said Sunday.
nytimes.com|By ERIC SCHMITT
Posted in Law and Order, Middle East | Tagged | Leave a comment

Eco tourism comes to Vu Linh, Vietnam

Eco tourism, or Ecologically focused tourism, is coming. Necessity is mother of invention.

The owner of a lodge in an ethnic-minority area says it is meant to blend tourism, ecologically minded agriculture and employee education.
nytimes.com|By Mike Ives
Posted in Travel in Vietnam | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bill and Melinda should read Dan Brown’s Inferno. Overpopulation is the main disease.

I’m reading Dan Brown’s Inferno for the second time. Bill and Melinda should read it. Brown dares to bring up the idea that overpopulation is the main disease, and all the other problems are symptoms. It is true that the world took 2 to 5 million years to get to one billion people. Then it took only 100 years to get to two billion. In the next 100 years we went to four billion. In this next 100 years, we will go to eight billion. If we can’t stop our out of control reproduction, we need the plagues that Bill Gates wants in this op-ed to make war on, to save us from Dante’s nine rings of hell, right here on earth. Throughout the history of China, cannibalism became normal during times of excessive famine or drought. As Colin Turnbull reported in his book on the Ik’s of Africa, when food and water get scarce, social norms disintegrate. The graph of world population looks either  like ______/   or this    _____| .     !

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Here is the article by Bill Gates in the NYT.
We need a global warning and response system for infectious disease outbreaks.
nytimes.com|By Bill Gates
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment