Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Better Deal With Iran

By now probably everybody has seen those TV ads about how Obama's deal with Iran is unacceptable (to Republicans, anyway) because it allows Iran to keep its nuclear program.  Now, the details of the proposed treaty haven't been  published, so I'd like to know how everybody knows what's in it.  I haven't read it;  have you?

I'd agree that leaving Iran with the makings of nuclear weapons is a bad deal.  I'd also agree that Iran can't be trusted to allow outside inspections, or left to develop nuclear power without such inspections.  There's only one country in the entire middle-east that I'd trust with nuclear weapons or the means to make them -- and that country already has them.  Uhuh.  Maybe the worst-kept secret in politics is that Israel has The Bomb, and in fact has had more than one of them for quite a long time -- thirty years, at least. 

Surely Iran knows that too, and, despite the ravings of the local Ayatollahs, the culture of Iran is not piously suicidal.  Iran wants The Bomb not to throw at Israel but simply to make itself the biggest and baddest bully in the middle-eastern neighborhood.  Iran, as any Iranian will tell you, is not an Arab country;  it was originally called Persia, with all that implies, and its people have never forgotten that.  Iranians -- excuse me, Persians -- despise Arabs, and consider them good for nothing except to serve Persians.  Persia was a great empire 2000 years ago, and ruled the entire middle-east, and would love to do so again.  Iran doesn't want to intimidate Israel;  it wants to intimidate all the Arabs -- and yes, that includes the Palestinians.  This is why Iran wants to join the coalition to smash ISIL.  Such are politics in the middle-east.

Well, anyway, the US can't allow Iran to get The Bomb.  And, believe it or not, there's a way to do that.

Okay, sidebar here.  If all you want from nuclear science is to make electric power, there's a much safer and cheaper way than to use Uranium or Plutonium, and that's to use Thorium.  Thorium is radioactive enough to provide heat, to boil water, to turn a turbine, which is how a nuclear power-plant works -- but it's not radioactive enough to reach critical mass, fission, and explode.  It's remarkably common, and cheap.  India and China right now are building Thorium-reactor power-plants to provide them with cheap electricity.  The use of Thorium has been known for more than half a century.  The only reason the US and the USSR used Uranium and Plutonium for their power-plants is that such plants produce weapons-grade radioactive material, which they wanted for their A-bomb arsenals -- bombs which both countries had better sense than to actually use.

So, if Iran really wants -- as it has publicly claimed -- nuclear power only to give it electricity, then Thorium will serve them just as well, in fact much better, than Uranium.  The US could call their bluff: insist, as part of the treaty, that Iran trade us, pound for pound, all their Uranium in exchange for Thorium.  We can even throw in designs for the latest in Thorium reactors.  We could do this largely in secret, revealing such details of the deal only to Congress -- and to Israel -- while keeping them secret from the rest of the world, especially the Arab countries.

Of course, if the State Department is really working on a treaty that involves just that, they'd keep the details hidden from everybody until it was ready to read the treaty to a closed (and sworn to secrecy) session of Congress -- and likewise slip the news secretly to Israel.

In that case, the rest of us wouldn't really know what was in the treaty, would we?

--Leslie <;)))><      

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Not Just Civilians!

In an ironic follow-up to my last post, a few days ago a covert Arab terrorist got into a military recruitment center in Chattanooga and shot up the place, killing five sailors and Marines, and wounding several others.  At least this time the local police  shot the vicious SOB before he could do more, or get away.  Again, the media are pumping the "tragedy", but this time they don't seem to have any target to aim the usual outrage at.

The killer was obviously a Jihadi, whether he was working for ISIL or not, and the media hint about his "radicalization" during his visits to the middle-east, but they stop short of saying the words "Arab terrorist".  Can't say that, no;  it's "racist".  Neither will they say the words "Muslim fundamentalist", because that might cause "religious persecution".  Uhuh.  No politically correct target there.

Worst, the classic target, guns, is totally off the board for this one.  Soldiers, Marines, and even sailors, are supposed to carry guns -- but this time, uncharacteristically, they didn't.  That's what made them vulnerable, and nobody can deny it.  Any Marine of a rank fit to work in a recruiting station, with so much as a pistol, could have drawn and shot the Jihadi thug the minute he started shooting, preventing at least four deaths and an unknown number of injuries -- and nobody can deny that, either.  The uniformed folk in that recruiting station weren't armed because the office was inside a commercial shopping mall, which bans such things.

A few of the media have made fleeting reference to the topic which is obviously absorbing the people of Chattanooga right now: that it's bad enough to disarm civilians in public, but the military too?  They're supposed to be armed and trained to protect the rest of us.  If our soldiers, Marines and sailors aren't fit to carry weapons, who on Earth is?  You can bet that the managers of that shopping mall are getting a lot of flak right now, either openly or behind the scenes, about their 'gun-free zone' policy.  I daresay that in a short while you won't see military recruiting stations with disarmed recruiters inside anymore.

And once active military is allowed to be armed, why not Reserves?  Why not active National Guard?  Why not veterans, who have obviously had training?  Why not civilians who have bothered to obtain state concealed-carry permits?  The pendulum is swinging back, at long last.  'Gun-free' zones are beginning to erode, and a few more Jihadi shoot-ups will finish them.

One can almost see the media mourning for their lost cause, and their lost influence.  Michael Moore should be crying in his beer.         

You can be sure the Marines won't cry.

--Leslie <;)))><  


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jeanne Assam, and Turning the Stampede

Who is Jeanne Assam, you say?  She's a middle-aged cop who was working as a volunteer security guard at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs on December 9, 2007, when a murderous lunatic named Matthew Murray, who was wearing a flak-vest and toting two pistols and a rifle, began shooting up the parishioners as they left the church after services.

He killed two church-goers and wounded three others while the rest of the congregation fled back into the church.  Jeanne Assam moved against the tide to get to the church door just as the lunatic was coming in.  She drew on him and announced herself as a cop.  He fired at her but missed as she ducked into cover.  She fired twice, hitting him in the flak-vest, which knocked him down.  He fired and missed again, she fired at him again -- higher, above the vest -- and took him down.

She was hailed as a hero in the local, county and state (not national, for some reason) media, but that didn't last long.  The police department she worked for subjected her to sexual harassment, then fired her for trivial reasons when she filed a complaint.  The state media then did an 'expose' about Assam losing her police job. An agent supposedly helping her write a book about the shooting 'accidentally' revealed to the New Life Church's pastor that she was a lesbian, whereupon the church she had rescued asked her to leave.  The local media glibly reported that, too.  The book deal dried up, no other police department in the state would hire her, and she wound up on Unemployment.  To all accounts, she's still there.

For some reason, no other church seems to have drawn the obvious conclusion from this story.  On June 17, 2015, a vicious racist named Dylann Roof sneaked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, shot up the church, killed nine people and wounded several others.  He escaped, though he was caught and arrested later.  There was no armed security guard, no Jeanne Assam, at that church to prevent the slaughter.  The mass media never drew the connection between the two incidents, but commentators on the Internet did.  A large and growing number of them spread the story, and there are rumors of churches making  tentative offers to hire Jeanne Assam full time.  Let's hope this is true.

But perhaps this is the reason that the national media haven't quite treated the Charleston church-shooting quite the way they usually cover mass shooting cases.

Oh yes, the papers, TV and radio stations have done the usual -- in fact, downright cliched -- emotion-stirring articles about the Horrendous Tragedy, with thumbnail biographies of the slain, weepy interviews with the survivors, et al.  But this time there's a difference in direction.  Usually, when following up a multiple-shooting story, the media quickly move into editorial demands for "reasonable gun-control", steering all that stirred-up emotion into political support for ill-thought-out and at least partly unconstitutional laws.  This time, instead, the media homed in on Dylann Roof's blatant racism -- then broadened that into decrying modern racism in general, and finally narrowed their aim onto, if you please, public showing of the Confederate flag.

Now just how banning a piece of cloth, which has not commanded any troops nor had any power for more than 150 years, is supposed to reduce racism in America is a really puzzling question.  All that this media campaign has done, really, is provide a target for all the emotion they so thoroughly stirred up.  It has the feel of a stampede that the media started for one purpose, and then suddenly decided they had to turn away to another, harmless, use.    

Could it possibly be that all those stories in the unofficial media -- blogs on the Internet -- about the 2007 shooting and Jeanne Assam, actually made the managers of the media stop and think?  Could they possibly have realized that all recent polls have showed at least 57% of the population opposed to further gun-control laws and instead insisting on arming potential victims?  Could they have guessed that the same old tricks wouldn't work in this case, and would actually make the public distrust them further?  Could it finally have dawned on them that The Fourth Estate doesn't really have power -- the ability to force others to do one's will -- but only influence -- the ability to make others listen seriously to what one has to say -- and that if they continued to lie and manipulate so obviously, in the face of facts that everyone knows, that they just might lose that influence altogether?  It has, after all, been more than a century since Hearst's newspapers were able to manipulate the US into waging a war;  Americans today have a lot more sources of information, and are a lot more jaundiced and cynical, than they were back then.  We'll know if they continue to pull in their horns on their formerly-cherished campaign for disarming the public.

It will also be interesting to follow up the story of Jeanne Assam in the next few weeks and see if she got a job again.

--Leslie <;)))><   )O(