Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Heat Wave in Europe

Some wonder how in the world Paris can be 45°C (or 113°F), but there's a simple explanation.

I ran into an old Bedouin a day or two ago, and he told me how he'd been riding his camel through the desert when he saw something sticking up out of the sand. He wondered what it was, so he had his camel lie down and got off and went to find a bottle covered with writing in a language he could not read (he took a picture on his cellphone, but I couldn't read it, either, and I've never seen writing like that before, and neither had the old man).

He said he began rubbing the sand off the bottle, and somehow broke the seal, and a huge marid (a very powerful kind of jinn) came out.

'What year is this?' asked the marid, I was put in that bottle by King Shlomoh.'

'King Shlomoh?' asked the Bedouin.

'Oh,' said the marid, 'you're Arab, I think you call him King Suleiman. Unless you're a Christian Arab, in which case you'd call him King Solomon.'

'King Suleiman died more than 3,000 years ago,' said the Bedouin.

'For freeing me, I will give you one wish. Ask, and it shall be granted.'

'Well,' said the old man, 'I've heard that the weather in Europe is much nicer than it is here. I wish the weather here was like Europe.'

'That is impossible,' said the marid, 'Europe is 20 degrees of latitude north of here. It cannot be done. Ask me anything else.'

'OK,' said the old man, 'I want to understand women.'

'Your wish is granted,' said the marid, who then disappeared, never to be seen again.

And now Europe is just as hot as the Sahara.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Trump and Iran

Trump had (in his own mind, and that of all the Trumpeters) a great success with the DPRK. Trump tweeted that, if the DPRK did not surrender, he'd nuke them. Moon worked with Kim, and managed to set up a meeting of Trump and Kim. Trump announced he had solved the DPRK problem once and for all. And the Trumpeters all accept that Trump is telling the truth.

Actually, after the talk, Kim released some prisoners and returned the remains of some US soldiers killed in the Korean military action (under the US Constitution, it's not a war unless the Congress calls it a war, and they haven't done that since WWII). Kim stopped all his military tests of nukes and missiles.

So what did the US establishment press say? That Trump gave Kim the farm, and got absolutely nothing in return. And all the #NeverTrumps 'know' that, since the establishment press said it, it must be true. Trump may be a big liar, but the establishment press is an even bigger liar.

Trump got more out of Kim than any of his predecessors, and gave them absolutely nothing. The US continues its military games practising for a military regime change in the DPRK (though there was a brief delay, with some scheduled games delayed for a very short time). Trump continued all the sanctions. And the establishment press lied, 'The DPRK still has nukes. Trump's predecessors made great progress, but Trump is a complete failure.' Trump didn't care, since the Trumpeters believe him, not the establishment press. (Of course, after a year of no sanctions relief, Kim tested one missile, but no new nuclear bomb tests. For now. Still much more than any of Trump's predecessors accomplished, but the establishment press still says Trump got absolutely nothing from the DPRK.)

So he tried for a repeat with Iran.

In 1945, the US joined the UN, and signed the treaty to abide by all Security Council resolutions (didn't seem like a big deal, since the US has a veto over all Security Council resolutions it does not like). Under Obama, the Security Council passed the JCPOA, that US sanctions on Iran would be lifted if Iran stopped trying to build a nuclear weapon and allowed UN inspections.

There's a bit of history that Iran ignored. Clinton got Saddam and Kim's father to agree to get rid of all their WMD with UN inspections, promising sanctions relief. No sanctions relief at all, but Bush, Jr knew he could force regime change in Iraq and the DPRK, which was what Clinton had in mind. Bush, Jr stated in his 2003 State of the Union address that the 9/11 attacks were ordered, funded by, and planned and organised by Iran, and carried out by their co-religionists, Saddam and his Republican Guard, the Taliban led by Mullah Omar, and the DPRK led by Kim's father, and the US had already forced regime change in Afghanistan, and would also force regime change in Iran, Iraq, and the DPRK. So Kim's father, the big liar, set off a nuke, and Bush, Jr ordered the US military to force regime change in Iraq and hand Saddam over to a lynch mob. Great work on Bush, Jr's part, if one reads the US establishment media, which ranks that State of the Union address as one of the very best State of the Union addresses of all times, and they all say Bush, Jr transformed Iraq from an impoverished, brutal dictatorship and state sponsor of terror into a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous paradise. But regime change in the DPRK had to be put on hold.

Then Bush, Jr made the same deal with Muammar of Libya and Kim's father (again) and both agreed. Same result. No sanctions lifted, regime change in Libya by Obama, and Kim's father and then Kim set off more nukes, so regime change in the DPRK had to be put on hold. Again.

So Obama made the same deal with Iran (he'd given up on the DPRK), no US sanctions lifted (the US let China, India, and the EU trade with Iran, but only in cash, since the US sanctions on SWIFT were still in place, so no interbank transfers allowed). Obama's idea was that President Clinton would force regime change, once she was assured by the UN inspectors that Iran was in full compliance and had no WMD. She would have said the JCPOA was a great deal, but Iran was in violation, as revealed by US intelligence, who know much more than the UN inspectors, and the US media would have said she had no choice but to force regime change and cheered her on.

The US media hated Trump, and condemned him for saying the JCPOA was a bad deal and he was reneging.

Trump's idea was, of course, exactly the same as the DPRK: Trump would tweet that he was ready to nuke Iran, Iran would agree to a meeting, and Trump would proclaim a complete and total victory, disirregardless of whatever really happened, and all the Trumpeters would believe him, and agree he'd kept yet another of his promises, and ask themselves (yet again) why do all the #NeverTrumps hate Trump and ignore his great accomplishments?

Only Iran looked at what happened to Saddam, and Muammar, and Kim, and saw that there would be no sanctions relief, just Trump proclaiming to the Trumpeters that his meeting with Iran was a total success, and the US could move on. So Iran says they will never meet with Trump until they get some sanctions relief, and they'll shoot down anything that enters their air space or territorial waters. Trump says, if they do, he will obliterate Iran.

There is, of course, one teeny, tiny problem with obliterating Iran. In 1988, Reagan ordered the US military to sink the entire Iranian fleet and shoot down an Iranian plane. The idea was that the US Navy would shoot down some Iranian military plane, but a passenger jet was handy, so they shot it down (and gave medals to the sailors who shot it down for great shooting). Iran could do absolutely nothing. But they vowed to build up their military so, if the US ever tried that again, they could shoot back.

The US military are, of course, incredibly powerful, destructive idiots. Every day in Vietnam, they said they'd managed to kill at least 10% of the entire North Vietnamese Army. They bombed cities and villages, and killed lots of civilians, but the military were hidden. After killing 10% of the entire North Vietnamese military every day for 10 years (and seeing dozens of US soldiers killed by the entirely destroyed North Vietnamese military every day), the US pulled out.

And now they say, in 30 minutes or less, the will destroy the entire Iranian defences. Only, like the North Vietnamese and North Korean and Chinese militaries, those defences are mostly well hidden. So, after 100% have been destroyed, several thousand missiles will hit the US fleet, the US military bases in the region, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

After that, the US military will bomb all the Iranian cities (losing a lot of planes, but they have plenty) so Iran will be destroyed, but the cost to the US will be quite a few trillion dollars, a lot of ships, planes, and military bases.

Iran, like the DPRK, won't start a war, since they know that any war with the US will destroy Iran, but they say, if the US starts to destroy Iran, they will shoot back, and the cost will be far more than the US can afford.

But the US military keep saying they can destroy Iran without losing a single American or any American assets. And they believe it. Even if Iran got extremely lucky and somehow managed to shoot down a $130,000,000 stealth-protected drone, surely, they can't possibly do it again.

So it looks like Trump plans war with Iran. Maybe.
Tucker Carlson, the best commentator in the US media, said Trump won with a coalition that includes some anti-war types who liked his promise of no new wars, and he'd lose all those voters if he starts a war with Iran (he'd still have the racists, of course).

Since Trump won in 2016 by a paper-thin margin, he can't afford to lose any of his base, so starting a new war is certain to guarantee his defeat in 2020.

So we have a slender hope that Trump will listen to Tucker Carlson and tweet lots of nukes at Iran, but no actual bullets or bombs. The Democrat running against Trump will promise war with Russia to punish them for stealing the 2016 election (as Secretary Clinton promised to do for their trying to steal the election). Every Democrat is sure Russia stole the election since Obama and Mueller said they had irrefutable proof (classified, so no patriotic American would ever ask to see it). So if Trump avoids war and can run on an anti-war platform, he might pull a repeat in 2020, something that will be impossible if he listens to Bolton and Pompeo.

It's not much hope, but it's all we have.