Comments Posted By andy
Displaying 131 To 140 Of 258 Comments

IN DEFENSE OF FEMINISTS. . . OR AT LEAST THEIR BREASTS

For in the end, most feminists (indeed, most women), do not understand the male member of the species.

I wonder if your wording here was intentional!

Comment Posted By Andy On 17.09.2006 @ 13:07

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT AYATOLLAH BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Rick,

I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but it seems like I have to point this out after every single one of your posts on the CIA: THE CIA IS NOT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY!

The CIA is (or was) the coordinating agency for NIE's. An NIE is not CIA analysis, it is the analysis of the entire intelligence community. The fact is, the experts on nuclear proliferation are not resident in the CIA itself but are in the military services, the DOE, and agencies such as DTRA. The CIA's expertise is not in nonproliferation issues, though they do some reporting and analysis in that area.

Estimates related to Iranian and other nuclear programs are inherently inaccurate because you are trying to predict how soon a country will master a difficult technology. It's the most difficult estimative analysis there is because certain assumptions must be made about Iranian scientific and technical capability. We know intimately well the science and engineering involved in developing nuclear weapons. We know what difficulties lie ahead for the Iranians. It's impossible to know how quickly or easily Iranian scientists will be able to overcome the future technical hurdles they face. This explains the diverging estimates with regard to the Iranian program.

This has been visited before. Congress doesn't know WMD or other technologies from its own ass, yet they consistently criticize the estimates given when they don't meet their preconceived notions. The exact same thing happened in 1995-1998 with the ballistic missile NIE and the hearings that followed. It turned out the NIE was correct and the Rumsfeld commission was completely off in its estimates. Policy people who have access to intelligence data seem to think they can make better judgments, but they typically cannot (there are rare exceptions).

Now, back to the HEU found on equipment at Natanz. You're behind the curve on this one. I don't have time to find you a link now, but that HEU was in a centrifuge feed tube that was bought from Pakistan. The HEU was tested and determined to originate in Pakistan when the centrifuge was used in the Paki program.

If you read the latest IAEA report, there was a further discovery of HEU in some storage containers. Testing on this sample is ongoing, but it's probably residue from spent reactor fuel that was stored and moved in the containers during the Iran-Iraq war. Iran has an American-built 5MW research reactor that used 90%+ enriched uranium as fuel. The reactor was converted in the late 80's to LEU, but some of the spent fuel from the original fuel load is still stored in Iran. When the Iraqi's were attacking Tehran industrial facilities with airstrikes and SCUDS during the 80's, the spent fuel was moved.

Anyway, that's all I have time for now.

Comment Posted By Andy On 14.09.2006 @ 14:07

AIR BRUSHING HISTORY

Ah, how soon we forget.

It may seem obvious in hindsight that those supposed "missed opportunities" were a huge screw-up. Hindsight is like that. You also neglect to mention that an attempt was made on Bin Laden which failed. Finally, even if we killed Bin Laden, it's no guarantee that 9/11 or a similar attack would not have taken place.

Comment Posted By Andy On 5.09.2006 @ 23:10

FOR LOVE OF JUSTICE

Tom,

I supposed those who were against detaining Japanese-Americans during WWII were "making it a lot harder to win" that war too, eh? As a member of the armed forces, I fight for the values and ideals of this country which are decidedly contrary to many of our actions at Guantanamo. I think that compromising values and ideals to "win" the war will only ensure that war is lost. It's obvious from the propaganda of our enemy that the fiasco at Guantanamo caused by us “gaming” international and domestic law is a net loss for us in this war. The Jihadi recruiting propaganda uses Guantanamo and other f*ck-ups like Abu Ghraib to beat us over the head daily and increase recruiting. We are losing the propaganda war in the Muslim world, where it's now a given that we are racist hypocrites. Consistency in ideals and morality is critical component of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations as anyone who knows anything about said operations knows.

Comment Posted By Andy On 2.09.2006 @ 19:13

OUR WHOLE ROTTEN, SMELLY, SEWER OF A GOVERNMENT

I used to live in the DC area (N. VA). I loved the two hour commutes. It was either that or spend 500k for a townhouse near a metro station. There may be money there, but the cost of living is really high, and it's probably the worst place to commute if you don't take the metro.

I was just there recently visiting a friend who lives in Louden county actually. He's a mortgage broker and is making a killing on the skyrocketing real-estate. He's selling his house - it went from $600k to $900k in three years. $100k a year and all tax-free since he lived in it.

The Dulles corridor is a huge tech mecha and DC is pretty diverse, but I am dreading the day I will have to go back and live there.

Comment Posted By Andy On 30.08.2006 @ 22:01

IT'S GOT TO GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER

My thought before OIF started was that this was a huge gamble. I was not worried about our capabilities, intentions or performance - I was always worried about the loyalty of the various groups to a central government after Saddam. That is is the most critical issue here. It seems to me that my worries were justified - that we have not been able to engender loyalty to this new government. And so, from that perspective, the war was basically a gamgle on the Iraqi people having the gumption to want freedom enough to fight for it. Many Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Most have not.

All hope is not lost, but this is, by nature, is a long conflict. Loyalty is not earned quickly or easily. True loyalty by the various groups is probably a generation or more away provided we succeed.

The only way forward is through a long, tough, counterinsurgency campaign. The common people must be won over. The mid-level fighters must be co-opted or killed (preferably co-opted), and the leadership of these groups must be arrested or killed. Killing insurgents and doing round-robin security operations all over the country is not a winning strategy - it's a holding strategy. It seems to be we are keeping the lid on the teapot and not much more.

The big question is, will the American people be patient enough to see this through? My guess is probably not, but then I'm a cynic.

Comment Posted By Andy On 30.08.2006 @ 08:49

IT'S ALL ABOUT EYEBALLS

My only source of news is the RightWingNuthouse. If it's not here, it doesn't exist. ;)

Comment Posted By Andy On 29.08.2006 @ 14:51

SAVE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!

Rick,

I'm not sure who your last comment was directed to, but I'd like to say that I don't think party politics should play into this at all and I'm certainly not basing my arguments on that premise.

Comment Posted By Andy On 29.08.2006 @ 20:31

I really don’t think the President of the United States should be elected by 30-35% of Americans, the result of this California type elector award. The office is too powerful, extreme candidates would arise and our pluralism would diminish.

Like I said in my long comment above, the only reason this doesn't happen now is because there are only two candidates. If there were 3 relatively even candidates under the CURRENT SYSTEM, then they could get the Presidency with 30-35% of the EC vote and even less of the popular vote. So that is not a strike against direct voting, it's a strike against the two-party system.

Comment Posted By Andy On 29.08.2006 @ 16:15

Wow,

I have to say that I think most of Dupont’s arguments and yours are largely specious.

Let’s go through them in order:

First, the direct election of presidents would lead to geographically narrower campaigns, for election efforts would be largely urban. In 2000 Al Gore won 677 counties and George Bush 2,434, but Mr. Gore received more total votes. Circumvent the Electoral College and move to a direct national vote, and those 677 largely urban counties would become the focus of presidential campaigns.

This is largely the situation we have now except that the “important” voters are from the so-called battleground states. In the last election, Republicans in California and Democrats in Texas might as well have not voted. Candidates didn’t spend any time there because what was the point? Everyone knew where those electoral votes were going, so no one bothered to campaign there. That was the fact in a solid majority of the 50 states. What you had in 2000 and 2004 was all the money in a few battleground states representing a minority of the US population. In other words, a few hundred thousand republicans in New Hampshire were worth more than all the republicans in California. DuPont seems to think that today’s elections are somehow geographically wide – they are not.

Rural states like Maine, with its 740,000 votes in 2004, wouldn’t matter much compared with New York’s 7.4 million or California’s 12.4 million votes. Rural states’ issues wouldn’t matter much either; big-city populations and urban issues would become the focus of presidential campaigns. America would be holding urban elections, and that would change the character of campaigns and presidents.

That may be true, but as it stands now, New York’s and California’s voters don’t matter because everyone already knows who will win those State’s electoral votes. In essence, the minority party of these states gets screwed, to say nothing of independent candidates. Direct voting would make some voting blocks less important, but that condition exists now. And the poor rural folk who supposedly won’t be important anymore will still have money to donate to ensure candidates pay attention to them.
Fraud concerns: This is about an even split I believe. As it stands now, a relatively few fraudulent votes in one state can swing an election – Florida 2000 being the prime example. Admittedly, monitoring fraud nationwide would be more difficult for everyone, but if we actually had a decent voting and registration system in this country then this would be much less of an issue. Voting fraud has nothing to do with the electoral college – it’s a problem in its own right that still needs to be solved.

Third, direct election would lead to a multicandidate, multiparty system instead of the two-party system we have. Many candidates would run on narrow issues: anti-immigration, pro-gun, environment, national security, antiwar, socialist or labor candidates, for they would have a microphone for their issues. Then there would be political power seekers—Al Sharpton or Michael Moore—and Hollywood pols like Barbra Streisand or Warren Beatty. Even Paris Hilton could advance her career through a presidential campaign.

This is the kicker here. What is constitutional or desirable about the two-party system? The only thing Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on is ensuring that no other parties or candidates should ever be able to run. The founding fathers never intended for this to be a two-party system. The examples he uses are BS. People would still have to get on the ballot in all the states. And besides, what’s so bad about having a candidate that you actually want to vote for instead of choosing the lesser of two evils? Maybe the pathetically low turnout and registration rates in this country would improve, but I’m sure Du Pont wouldn’t support that – think of the chaos all those new voters would cause!

Finally, direct election would also lead to weaker presidents. There are no run-offs in the Interstate Compact—that would require either a constitutional amendment or the agreement of all 50 states and the District of Columbia—so the highest percentage winner, no matter how small (perhaps 25% or 30% in a six- or eight-candidate field) would become president. Such a winner would not have an Electoral College majority and therefore not be seen as a legitimate president.

BULLSHIT. The reason that candidates now have an Electoral College majority is because there are ONLY TWO FREAKING CANDIDATES! So one will always have more college votes than the other! That doesn’t somehow make them strong or popular – it means they were the least worst choice. I voted for Bush in the last two elections mainly because I couldn’t stand the Democratic ticket. I’m not alone in this regard. What if we kept the Electoral College and had 4 candidates? You know what, then one of those candidates could win with as little as 25.1% of the Electoral College vote! I wonder what Du Pont thinks of that? Oh, I already know – he thinks there should only be two parties to choose from in the first place. I bet he’s a big supporter of the primary system too: We get two candidates chosen by a small minority of the most partisan voters in 4-6 states that run in elections that are decided by a minority of voters in 10-15 other states. Great system.
There are problems with a direct-election system, but I don’t see them as any worse than what we have now, which is a completely flawed system. At least with direct elections we’d actually have national campaigns, instead of those focused on a few key demographics in a few key states. More important than the Electoral College, however, is breaking the duopoly of power the two parties have. Since they control all the state election organs, plus redistricting, and blocking any election reform proposals, it’s pretty much impossible for other candidates to compete. I think a strong third party would go a long way to solving a lot of these issues.

Comment Posted By Andy On 29.08.2006 @ 11:59


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