Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, the political battle in Kuwait is growing increasingly more tense over Twitter. At the current rate, Kuwait will soon be able to compete with neighboring Bahrain in the number of prosecutions brought against Twitter users. Within weeks of the February 2011 uprising, Bahrain had arrested large numbers of people using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti authorities also apparently decided to intimidate their critics and others through the arrest and trolling of influential Twitter users. In addition, tens of protesters have been arrested during the opposition’s dignity marches and in demonstrations by the country’s stateless community. The government, it seems, is no longer interested in defending Kuwait’s reputation as the ‘most democratic’ state in the Gulf.
Via News One
The group of hackers known as “Anonymous” has shut down several neo-Nazi websites owned by Jamie Kelso, a former John Birch Society member, assistant to David Duke and moderator for the white supremacist website, Stormfront.
“Anonymous” claims to have recovered emails from Kelso that prove that Ron Paul has regularly met with members of Jamie Kelso’s neo-Nazi political party American Third Position and even was on several conference calls with their board of directors. Here is a statement from “Anonymous” from one of the neo-Nazi websites they shut down.
In addition to finding the usual racist rants and interactions with other white power groups, we also found a disturbingly high amount of members who are also involved in campaigning for Ron Paul. According to these messages, Ron Paul has regularly met with many A3P members, even engaging in conference calls with their board of directors. Ron Paul’s racist politics and affiliations are already well known, being viciously anti-immigrant, anti-abortion and against gay marriage — not to mention having authored the
racist “Ron Paul Papers” and receiving financial support from other white power groups (pictured with Don Black from stormfront.org). Hard to believe Ron Paul draws some support from the left and the occupation movements, especially now that it is confirmed Ron Paul hangs out with straight up racist hate groups.
Mr. Derman’s particular thesis can be stated simply: Although financial models employ the mathematics and style of physics, they are fundamentally different from the models that science produces. Physical models can provide an accurate description of reality. Financial models, despite their mathematical sophistication, can at best provide a vast oversimplification of reality. In the universe of finance, the behavior of individuals determines value—and, as he says, “people change their minds.”
In short, beware of physics envy. When we make models involving human beings, Mr. Derman notes, “we are trying to force the ugly stepsister’s foot into Cinderella’s pretty glass slipper. It doesn’t fit without cutting off some of the essential parts.” As the collapse of the subprime collateralized debt market in 2008 made clear, it is a terrible mistake to put too much faith in models purporting to value financial instruments. “In crises,” Mr. Derman writes, “the behavior of people changes and normal models fail. While quantum electrodynamics is a genuine theory of all reality, financial models are only mediocre metaphors for a part of it.”
Or, as Stephen Hawking said, “While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior … I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.
This video perfectly captures my feelings about our 18 month presidential election process:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Indecision 2012 – The Awakening|
In his essay The Roots of Europe’s Cultural Masochism Frits Bolkestein asks “How did we come to lose confidence in our own civilization?”
Europeans weren’t always so self-hating. The 19th century saw the high tide of imperialism, and Europe was then brimming with self-confidence. What has happened since then? The past century witnessed the cataclysm of World War I, the rise of collectivist dictatorships during the interbellum, World War II and the Shoa, Stalinism and the societal chaos of 1968 and the years thereafter. These events seemed to erode all our cultural certainties and ushered in the era of multiculturalism, which enjoins us “not to judge” that which is different.
The other foundation of our current condition is, ironically, the very Christianity that modern generations have been so eager to cast off. Whether we like it or not, our civilization remains deeply marked by Christianity. Consider the Gospel of Saint Matthew, which states that “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (23:12). Friedrich Nietzsche characterized this as “slave morality.” But one does not have to go that far to realize that this saying, along with instructions to “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile,” do not exactly prod people to stick up for their own.
If Islamic civilization may be described as a shame culture, Christianity can be deemed a guilt culture…
Christianity may be a guilt culture, but current European/Western self-hatred is based more on our proven destructive and self-destructive tendencies than on any lessons from the Bible. This fear of ourselves and the pacifism this fear inspires took hold after WWII and the use of nuclear weaponry. Of Hiroshima, Robert Oppenheimer said: “We knew the world would not be the same. Few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
In those days, we only had nukes to destroy the planet, but now we’ve got viruses, pollution and lots of world-wasting technology that we probably don’t want to face up to. We’re pessimistic about our culture because one aspect of it is that we literally can be death, the destroyer of worlds.
That doesn’t stop us from fighting each other, or from destructive behavior – we don’t fight real wars anymore, we just fight proxy wars, using weaker, less-guilt driven terror states like Saudi Arabia and Iran as proxies to fight trade/policy wars with nuclear armed nations like Russia and China. Islam is a warrior’s religion – they have no tradition of peace but their prohibitions against innovation cripple their technological and social development, so (we hope) they can’t cause as much damage as we can. We call these low-scale terrorist proxy wars ‘peace’ and ‘stability’.
Since the Russians and Chinese are also deterred by MAD and their own ability to lay waste to all life on the planet, this guilt is not just a western thing..
Christian issues with towards pacifism and guilt probably influenced our current belief that the only solution to our inability to deal with newfound destructive abilities was that “The people of this world must unite or they will perish”. This pacifist, Christian ‘lion laying down with the lamb’ idea is entirely a fantasy of faith. It can never exist in the physical/natural world. We may as well have said that the only way we can live with nukes is to evolve into cloudlike, hunger-free conflict-free energy-based life forms. We’ve set ourselves up to fail.
We are capable of destroying the world that’s know to us, but the universe is still a challenge. Like most problems we have nowadays, I think the only real solution is to treat earth as a harbour, not a home; to explore and to fight the conflicts that will inevitably result, in space. The development of nuclear weapons was the our signal that we’ve outgrown the planet. Currently, we’re like big kids who refuse to acknowledge that kindergarten graduation happened years ago. We refuse to change, we sit cramming ourselves into chairs that have gotten too small, drawing happy pictures of a peace and ecological harmony that can never be, believing that if we can convince everyone to join and sing in Circle Time everything will be ok. It’s not guilt that will destroy us, it’s denial. We need to get up and move on…
It was a cute and silly idea, but then again, where else can a coffee shop waitress get such generous tips?
The overreaction to it was crazy. Sorry to hear that it’s closing:
In this short video, the filmaker introduces us to some of the women who worked at the coffee shop and examines their reasons for doing so. (Note: NSFW, brief pictures of topless women)
The story—not really an “article”—covers Soldiers from 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Afghanistan. A handful of Soldiers were accused of murder. It does in fact appear that a tiny group of rogues committed premeditated murder. I was embedded with the 5/2 SBCT and was afforded incredible access to the brigade by the Commander, Colonel Harry Tunnell, and the brigade Command Sergeant Major, Robb Prosser. I know Robb from Iraq. Colonel Tunnell had been shot in Iraq.
The brigade gave me open access. I could go anywhere, anytime, so long as I could find a ride, which never was a problem beyond normal combat problems. If they had something to hide, it was limited and I didn’t find it. I was not with the Soldiers accused of murder and had no knowledge of this. It is important to note that the murder allegations were not discovered by media vigilance, but by, for instance, at least one Soldier in that tiny unit who was appalled by the behavior. A brigade is a big place with thousands of Soldiers, and in Afghanistan they were spread thinly across several provinces because we decided to wage war with too few troops. Those Soldiers accused of being involved in (or who should have been knowledgeable of) the murders could fit into a minivan. You would need ten 747s for the rest of the Brigade who did their duty. I was with many other Soldiers from 5/2 SBCT. My overall impression was very positive. After scratching my memory for negative impressions from 5/2 Soldiers, I can’t think of any, actually, other than the tiny Kill Team who, to my knowledge, I never set eyes upon.
The online edition of the Rolling Stone story contains a section with a video called “Motorcycle Kill,” which includes our Soldiers gunning down Taliban who were speeding on a motorcycle toward our guys. These Soldiers were also with 5/2 SBCT, far away from the “Kill Team” later accused of the murders. Rolling Stone commits a literary “crime” by deceptively entwining this normal combat video with the Kill Team story. The Taliban on the motorcycle were killed during an intense operation in the Arghandab near Kandahar City. People who have been to the Arghandab realize the extreme danger there. The Soviets got beaten horribly in the Arghandab, despite throwing everything including the Soviet kitchen sink into the battle that lasted over a month. Others fared little better. To my knowledge, 5/2 and supporting units were the first ever to take Arghandab, and these two dead Taliban were part of that process.
The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement. Law and ROE are related but separate matters. In any case, the killing was well within both the law and ROE. The Taliban on the back of the motorcycle raised his rifle to fire at our Soldiers but the rifle did not fire. I talked at length with several of the Soldiers who were there and they gave me the video. There was nothing to hide. I didn’t even know about the story until they told me. It can be good for Soldiers to shoot and share videos because it provides instant replay and lessons learned. When they gave me the video and further explained what happened, I found the combat so normal that I didn’t even bother publishing it, though I should have because that little shooting of the two Taliban was the least of the accomplishments of these Soldiers, and it rid the Arghandab of two Taliban…
Reporters with no military experience probably misunderstand battlefield events in the same way that people with no aviation experience misunderstand ordinary events during flight – everything is alarming and/or horrific to them..
Slice is all about the Pizza. Recipes, restaurants, regional styles, seasonings and pizza maps.
Featured today: an interview with Del Posto’s Mark Ladner, who wrote a cookbook featuring recipes from the West Village pizzeria “Otto”. His favorite places to eat include Izakay Ten’s Japanese pub food. At home he cooks with his Big Green Egg…