Fear and Loathing in Saudi Arabia | Foreign Policy

Then there are Saudi fears about the oil market. Everyone seems to believe that the Saudis are purposely not cutting back production to kill off North American shale producers. But that is absolutely not what the Saudis are saying, either in private or public. Instead, they are saying that they can no longer control the oil market because there are too many other sources and all of the OPEC countries cheat like crazy whenever Riyadh tries to orchestrate a production cut. This has happened to them repeatedly over the past 20 to 30 years. They try to cut production to prevent oil prices from dropping, and the rest of OPEC takes advantage of it to pump as much as they can, contrary to what they promised and agreed to. The result is that there is no overall supply curtailment and the Saudis lose market share. This time around, they have stated that they cannot realistically control the OPEC oil supply, so they are not going to try to do so. Instead, they are going to fight for market share. But doing so means having to win a race to the bottom, with the result that their oil revenues are plummeting.

via Fear and Loathing in Saudi Arabia | Foreign Policy

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Buggy Subway: A Metaphor for the 2016 Election?

Straphangers go berserk after woman tosses bugs in subway car


Buy my bugs.


Then buy my worms.

Yuck. We don’t want either of them.

You have to choose, one or the other.


Agh! They’re all over the place.

Stop the train!

Oh the humanity! We’re trapped in the mess we created..

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This 28-Year-Old Is Running For Congress To Try To Destroy U.S.-Saudi Relations

“I’ve met a lot of voters sick of both parties and entrenched interests … they look at Obama and Paul Ryan having the same position on Saudi Arabia,” he said. “You don’t have a lot of lawmakers honest with their constituents about it.”

There’s “a notion that voters are stupid,” the candidate continued. “Voters are generally aware. It would be disingenuous to say they know the details … but they’re generically aware that Saudi Arabia often acts adverse to our interests.”

Beinstein traces his own fixation on the kingdom to May 2015, when he first read journalist Gerald Posner’s Secrets of the Kingdom, an indictment of the U.S.-Saudi partnership that explores hundreds of alleged Saudi misdeeds, including ties to 9/11. That was before Beinstein even considered a political career.

Now, his “number one desire” if he makes it to Congress is to win a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He would use the perch to implement a three-pronged plan: add Saudi Arabia to the list of state sponsors of terror; subject it to sanctions that would help break economic ties between the kingdom and the U.S.; and freeze the assets of Saudis found to have any links to terror.

Beinstein says he expects bipartisan support for that policy. He pointed to Democrats like former Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.) who have raised questions about Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11 and the broader War on Terror.

The libertarian Beinstein is not much of a party man in any case

via This 28-Year-Old Is Running For Congress To Try To Destroy U.S.-Saudi Relations

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No Saudi Money for American Mosques :: Middle East Forum

The Saudis have been arrogantly indiscreet about spending to promote Wahhabism. For example, a 2005 Freedom House report reviewed some of the extremist literature provided to the public by Saudi-funded institutions and concluded that it poses “a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim community itself.” The monarchy has also given multiple and generous grants to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most aggressive and effective Islamist organization in the United States.

This discrepancy, a version of which exists in every Western country, demands a solution. Some Western governments have taken ad hoc, provisional steps to address it.

• In 2007, the Australian government turned down a Saudi request to send funds to the Islamic Society of South Australia to help build a new mosque. “Obviously we don’t want to see any extremist organisation penetrate into Australia,” explained then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Eight years later, Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks affirmed the kingdom’s intense interest in influencing Islamic politics in Australia.

• In 2008, the Saudis offered to finance construction of a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Moscow, prompting three Russian Orthodox groups to write an open letter to then-King Abdullah suggesting that his kingdom lift its ban on churches.

• In 2010, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre turned down Saudi funding for a mosque on the grounds that the Saudi kingdom lacks religious freedom.

via No Saudi Money for American Mosques :: Middle East Forum

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Fission vs. Fusion – What’s the Difference?


The word fission means “a splitting or breaking up into parts” (Merriam-Webster Online, http://www.m-w.com). Nuclear fission releases heat energy by splitting atoms.  The surprising discovery that it was possible to make a nucleus divide was based on Albert Einstein’s prediction that mass could be changed into energy.  In 1939, scientist began experiments, and one year later Enrico Fermi built the first nuclear reactor.


The word fusion means “a merging of separate elements into a unified whole”. Nuclear fusion refers to the “union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous amounts of energy” (Merriam-Webster Online, http://www.m-w.com). Fusion takes place when two low-mass isotopes, typically isotopes of hydrogen, unite under conditions of extreme pressure and temperature.

Fusion is what powers the sun. Atoms of Tritium and Deuterium (isotopes of hydrogen, Hydrogen-3 and Hydrogen-2, respectively) unite under extreme pressure and temperature to produce a neutron and a helium isotope. Along with this, an enormous amount of energy is released, which is several times the amount produced from fission.

via Fission vs. Fusion – What’s the Difference? | Duke Energy | Nuclear Information Center

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What Talking to a Syrian Refugee Taught Me About Palestinian Anti-Normalization –

She turns away from me, and, still speaking in English, talks to herself. “The [Syrian] governments taught us to hate Jews. I met Jews here, and they are kind. They taught us to hate Israelis — but this lady [referring to me] is OK, a bit like me and has children like me…and she’s Israeli. The government that brought this war on us, they killed my husband. Because of them, I am a refugee. I won’t believe anything that any government tells me anymore…”

via What Talking to a Syrian Refugee Taught Me About Palestinian Anti-Normalization – Opinion – Forward.com

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Erdogan’s War on Cigarettes

erdogan1Like most attempts to legislate morality this gives Erdogan an excuse to stalk and harass his victims citizens:

For Erdogan, grabbing cigarette packs from citizens is a political act, the aim of which is to impose himself on Turks as their “father” — a figure who decides what is right and wrong for them, who shapes their lives and shows them the way. No doubt, he is an overbearing father who has little tolerance for objections and expects full obedience.

The child’s treatment Erdogan accords to Turkish citizens he spots smoking or carrying cigarettes is a means of erecting new pillars to fortify his repressive rule. He extracts promises of quitting, takes away their cigarette packs and feels no need to pay compensation for them — liberties only a father can take.

In Middle Eastern tradition, smoking in the presence of one’s father is often perceived as bad manners. Erdogan is effectively telling the smokers, “You are not supposed to smoke in my presence.” And the more his targets accept this “fatherhood,” the more they reduce themselves to children — Erdogan’s children.

Smoking is not the only realm in which the psycho-politics of Erdogan’s authoritarian and overly conservative role are manifested. In 2013, for example, he slammed unmarried young men and women sharing student accommodations and mobilized the security forces against coed housing. He also grumbled that women he used to see on a Bosporus quay from his office in Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace were dressed immodestly.

As long as Turkish society fails to reject Erdogan’s fatherhood claim, there is nothing to stop him from advancing it.

Read more –

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