Wednesday assorted links


The NYC law requires Uber drivers to spend less time "cruising" without passengers, in order to reduce traffic congestion. The mayor's heart is in the right place.

But of course, the areas where drivers spend lots of time "cruising" are areas where very few people are trying to get around and traffic congestion is not a problem. Those are probably also areas where public transportation is the least helpful.

The areas where drivers spend very little time cruising are the areas where lots of people are trying to get around. Those are the areas of NYC that are already packed with cars, and have excellent bus and subway access.

The likely result? A law mandating that Uber drivers ignore the areas of NYC underserved by public transit, and instead pack extra cars into the core encouraging people to take cars instead of the subway. But cruising metrics are down, so we've decreased traffic congestion, right?

“The mayor's heart is in the right place.“

Being an authoritarian who creates random laws based upon feels is having one’s heart in the right place?


The mayor doesn't make law you idiot. NYC City Council does. Your brain isn't in the right place.

5: "As far as Iran's involvement in this, that seems pretty damn clear"

You don't say!

Yup, those Drones of Mass Destruction proved pretty good at tonkin' an oil refinery.

KSA is the world's largest buyer of arms. They couldn't stop a small pack of toy drones glued together by goat herders.

5. From the link: "I have to stress that I am not saying they definitely originated from Iranian territory or vessels, although I think that is very possible, but that this unique situation Iran has built for itself must be taken into account going forward. They literally constructed an elaborate deniability mechanism for themselves." What? On the other hand, our Saudi friends did not construct an elaborate deniability mechanism for the terrorist attack perpetrated by Saudis on 9/11 or the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq by Sunni Muslim insurgents supported by the Saudis. Should we attack Iran because Iran may have some undefined but suspected connection to the attack on Saudi oil fields and do nothing about known Saudi supported atrocities against Americans?

What's confusing about that?

They've been giving non-state actors designs and copies of their weapons for a while now. As a consequence, if one of the crashed drones that didn't make it to a target happens to be Iranian, it's unknowable if it originated from Iranian territory.

Anyways I'll let you get back to huffing glue.

Whatever Trump does, they'll viciously oppose.

Related to #1 - They should "pierce the 'corporate' veil and determine that Iran facilitated (made possible) the cruise missile(?)/drone attacks, plus many acts of high-seas piracy in recent months.

5. The attack on Saudi and its broader military significance.
Writing off 2 trillion in fighter development. No human cockpit of any kind below 6 thousand feet of the battle. The battle is lieral drone air to air combat, along with NBC,ABC ans CBS who all have sent their won drones along with a hundred kids in Iraq and Yemen who make drones for fun. We fouled this up big time, every fighter contract is in jeopardy. We have a few billion in F22s sitting on a base in Qatar with no ready defense. An aircraft carrier is ujseless when dealing with swarms of ow cost drone, the skies above a nest of them, at all times.

I have seen videos, a sky full, masses of them i collision derbies at the RC plane fairs. A linux based flight system with GPS and flight simulator is less than $200, ever right off the shelf, low cost, easy to develop and few logistics to deploy them,

As the battle is fought by the drones, our complex systems sit way back, idle, useless except for? Rusty B52s which get adapted to deploy drones, and maybe recover them. The rusty B52 sits way back and loiters while doing its job, like JDAMs. Two bomber development programs, two fighter development programs, two major carrier developments rendered useless. 4T, we will default.

Click through and look at that picture of drones. That is my den, I kid you knot. I got the itch when I noticed web sites talking bout dollar tree foam planes, and for four months I have been uying all DOllar Tee parts, foam boards, glue, litle wood pieces, and making wings and fuselages exactly like you see. That jet engine is a hobby turbo, available for two grans, I run electric, available fo 30 bucks. But those flying chassis and wings are exactly like mine, I laminate , roll and glue the foam as needed, just like they made these with carbon fiber, which hobbyists also do,by the way.

(i) The first jet-to-jet combat occurred in 1944 when a Gloster Meteor of the RAF brought down a V-1 cruise missile.
(ii) The US has had much fun using drones to blow wedding parties to hell for many years.

Yet (iii) the US seems to have developed no useful defences again low altitude cruise missiles/drones. This is breathtaking incompetence. You really ought to shoot the whole of the leadership cadre that has ruled the Pentagon over the last two or three decades. Pour encourager.

'the US seems to have developed no useful defences again low altitude cruise missiles/drones'

It is called Phalanx when used by the USN, and is 4 decades old - Pretty much its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness - it is fully automated, which is not a problem for ships separated by thousands of meters, but it means when the system is active, it will target anything within its parameters. According to a Turkish naval officer, this includes birds - along with anything else that just happens to be in the line of fire when the system goes active. (Yes, people have a lot of respect for the Phalanx in that respect.)

But the Saudis could probably place an order for several hundred, and then accept the occasional friendly fire incident as the cost of doing business. After all, this is how the system is designed - 'The CIWS is designed to be the last line of defense against antiship missiles. Due to its design criteria, its effective range is very short relative to the range of modern ASMs, from 1 to 5 nautical miles (2 to 9 km). The gun mount moves at a very high speed and with great precision. The system takes minimal inputs from the ship, making it capable of functioning despite potential damage to the ship. The only inputs required for operation are 440 V AC three-phase electric power at 60 Hz and water (for electronics cooling). For full operation, including some nonessential functions, it also has inputs for ship's true compass heading and 115 V AC for the PASS subsystem. ' Does not sound all that challenging, to be honest - but then, effective military hardware always seems to get ignored when the money is being handed out for things like Patriot systems (which apparently can be fairly easily blinded by targeting their radar with a drone - as reported in 2017. 'While the Houthis could have outfitted the Qasef-1s with explosives or used them for surveillance, Emirati officials indicated to CAR that they were simply purposed as kamikaze vehicles in a bid to damage the radar stations utilized by U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries.'

'You really ought to shoot the whole of the leadership cadre that has ruled the Pentagon over the last two or three decades.'

The system is over 4 decades old, and one member of the 'leadership cadre' responsible for the Phalanx (both development and deployment) retired over the last couple of decades. He is the one who explained that the system is quite clever, as it tracks both its stream of projectiles and the incoming missile, and simply merges the two to occupy the same area - which is not hard with a rate of fire 6000 rounds per minute.

The US army has a land based version of Phalanx. It's been in use in Iraq since 2006.

How can you be 100% sure it was either the Iranians, the Houthis or the Iraqis? I wouldn't bet 100%, but easily 20%, on a friendly strike hypothesis. Cui bono? The Saudis will love higher oil prices, so the strike was def in their interest. Stable Genius wants some foreign aggression as an excuse for war as his popularity is dropping, so the strikes were def also in his interest. And together, these two powers are technically the most able to execute this kind of strike by far.

3. Ross is misrepresenting Mayor Pete's position on abortion, claiming Mayor Pete has the maximalist position (that life begins at breath as stated in the Bible) simply because he quotes it from the Bible, while ignoring the maximalist position of abortion opponents (that life begins at conception even though it's nowhere found in the Bible). For personal reasons, I would not choose an abortion if my wife or girlfriend were pregnant, but I don't claim to know whether God has the maximalist position of abortion supporters or the maximalist position of abortion opponents. Ross may have an internet connection to God's network, but I don't.

Well said. And Douthat is just using a lot of words to restate the obvious: the sane, sensible, moderate position on abortion that a large majority of Americans support (legal in first trimester only, unless health of mother threatened or fetus has no chance of life outside womb) is impossible to discuss because the extremists on both sides that control the debate simply cannot compromise, for fear of the dreaded 'slippery slope'. It's a shame, and will be another contributor to America's slow coming apart (red vs blue).

Well we can go around and around and around about this issue but that aside, you are wrong on the Bible here, and we can show this several ways:

1.) The Church and it’s teachings began orally and proceeded the putting them down on pages of ink by many decades/centuries. We see in the earliest church writing (for ex the didache, letters to barnabas, and all the church fathers that abortion was considered murder and hence a violation of the 5th commandment.

2.) While the word abortion is not used, the concept of conception is, and many times.

3.) It’s quite clear that we are to treat others as we would want to be treated... how many of you would want to have been aborted? So...

I don’t have time to pull together a huge list... this should get you started however:

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place...

Psalm 51

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matt 7:12, Luke 6:31

22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life...

Exodus 21:22-23

Rebekah his wife conceived (twins Jacob and Esau) and the children struggled together within her.

Genesis 25:22

I know your schtick is to believe the anti- position is the logical one, but it all rests on the debatable nature of personhood. So your #3 golden rule example, there is debate on whether a one month old blastocyst is a "we" that can be "treated" in any way like a person.

So yes, it is probably easier to find a scriptural definition of personhood as at conception, but our country is supposed to be based on a non-religious foundation. First trimester abortion only is the correct choice, but impossible to get to, because it's a mushy compromise and not based on absolute first principles.

I almost agree with you. The crux of the matter is whether it’s alive or not. And we know it is living. Personhood is like defining consciousness... it’s not really possible or precise.

Are you a vegan?

Or go you think a dozen human cells have more "life," in a non-religious sense, than a sea turtle?

Yes. One is a genetically distinct human being. The other is food.

For the record, stomping on a nest of sea turtle eggs would result in one getting arrested... because we all know they are not just some clump of cells... the are immature turtles.

...humans aren't an endangered species.

Really, you are saying the lives of sea turtles should be better protected than human beings? That’s pretty out there.


The student outsmarts the mouse.

Good job!

Student would be more impressive if he had not quoted from a weird translation of Exodus 21: 22-23 that fits his warped view of that passage. Most translations and interpretations have it that when the man injures the pregnant woman what happens is a miscarriage, a lot worse than an abortion. Student is presenting a twisted theological argument.

EdR, you are obsessed. Your anonymous bete noire posts about 10% of the times you think he does. I'm not the mouse conversing with Student. No one cares about your obsessions, except insofar as they pollute this already compromised comment section. Give it a f*cking rest and just converse.

We aren't talking about human beings though. We're talking about turtle eggs and clumps of cells. Potential turtles and humans that aren't even close to either.

Sea turtle eggs are protected because there are very few of them and more are wanted. We don't need any more potential humans, and some clumps of potential human cells aren't wanted by anyone. Since clumps of cells aren't people, there is no reason to protect them.

After 3 months, it gets murkier. So let's draw the line there.

Yes I know your side can't accept that, just as the other side can't accept any infringement of a right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Hence what I've been saying all along, there's no way to get to a common sense, obviously correct compromise.

A clump or fella until what point? You won’t be able to find one. The only logical candidate is when the organism came to be... which we know to be conception.

It’s hard to compromise on this position. It’s kind of like slavery in that regard.

Indeed, and yet I still will try. I already said my 3 month rule isn't supported by rigorous logic from first principles. It's plain common sense though. Before that point our little clump of cells has ZERO chance of survival outside the womb. At 6 months it's a different story. 4 months is probably no go too, but I'm making it 3 so there's no doubt.

As anonymous implies, turtles are living too. And that burger you just ate used to be living. So were the potatoes that made your fries.

"But those aren't people" you would say...well, common sense would say neither is a one month old clump of cells.

Science says they are genetically distinct immature, yet living, organisms of the species homo... In other words, unfully developed human beings.

And this is why the sensible middle is impossible on this issue.

Why aren't you protesting all the fertility clinics who murder unfully developed human beings by the dozens every week?

It’s all bad. The question of legality in a secular society I am willing to be open to discussing... for the sake of peace. But this stuff is getting to be like the matrix. It’s gone to far. Human life is being treated like a disposable commodity or a means to and end. That never seems to go well historically.

OK so you are willing to discuss, and if more of your side would do so we could maybe get to the 3 month limit.

As an obviously devout Catholic, I completely understand why you oppose the death penalty, in vitro fertilization that results in dead embryos, abortion at any age, etc. I don't agree, but I very much get where you are coming from.

You can only have your own beliefs about the sanctity of life, and try to convince others. But clearly there is another side to this, so props to you for being willing to compromise.

Well I’d argue your side needs better arguments tbh. It’s all feelings, particularly the one not being terminated.

There doesn’t seem to be a scientific or theological basis for the pro choice side. It’s just that they want to get it on but don’t want to take responsibility for their choices.

This really does seem like a willingness to sacrifice a human being (again based on biology or theology) on the alter of economic convenience.

The argument seems to be... what if I don’t want to take care of the child I made? Just seems utterly selfish.

The one being terminated has no feelings of any kind. It's not a person, not even an animal.

The science basis of pro choice is simply that, a scientist can define a person in different ways. There's your way, and there are others. The theological basis is that not everyone subscribes to your theology, and you seem to get that in your quote about compromising for the sake of peace.

I know why you have to think a one month old clump of cells is a human being, but the other side simply does not. And common sense is on their side, before 3 months of development.

But as we both have said, there's no bridging this divide.

Student, You're spitting in the ocean. Those people only recognize cites, data, facts that support their murderous positions.

...the other side were as judicious and non-partisan as you are.

Demanding that the United States be a Christian Nation, conforming specifically to your theology of Christianity, is consistent.

I don't believe it's a higher order philosophy.

Government must be agnostic, or it is a slippery slope to theocracy.

But Dick the B and that lot think a theocracy is just fine (if it's Christian, of course)

Oh, they can't be happy with Christian. They slaughtered each other in the thousands, because it had to be Catholic or Protestant.

I think you have misread the article. While several right-wing writers have claimed that this is what Mayor Pete said, it seemed clear to me from the NYT piece that he hadn't: he was simply making the point that the bible is full of things that could be read as giving different answers to the abortion question. Mayor Pete then went on to say that he supports the maximalist position, but he never claimed that it was because of that particular passage. That would have been a remarkably stupid argument, and Mayor Pete (for whom I would certainly never vote) is very intelligent.

As for the "moderate" position you mentioned, it may be popular but it is not what Roe v. Wade means today. Later cases have held that "health of the mother" includes "mental health" and that the decision whether an abortion is needed to protect a woman's mental health is entirely in the hands of the woman and her doctor. Therefore, any woman who wants an abortion and can find a doctor who will perform it can legally have an abortion, even if the fetus and the woman are in excellent physical health and the fetus is full-term. That language in Roe about trimesters is ancient history. Current constitutional law is in fact the maximalist position.

You are making my case for me. The 'moderate position' if impossible to get to in this partisan world, and on this moral issue. Even though this position is the common sense one, the anti- crowd cannot budge from believing a fertilized egg is a person (they do not seem to mind all those people killed by in vitro pregnancy procedures), and the pro- crowd cannot countenance any restriction on abortion. Both extremes are insane.

"is impossible" not "if"

I don’t see how a woman’s right to choose is in any way extremist. Comparing that to condemning women to a lifetime of being barefoot and pregnant is what qualifies as insane.

A woman has the right to change her mind in the second trimester or third trimester. Almost always, 99%+ of these is due to severe deformations or genetic illnesses that cannot be detected until the second trimester.

Bodily autonomy is not extreme. Once upon a time this website leaned Libertarian.

It's the commentors that lean more MAGA.

Third trimester abortions are an abomination. If you can't figure out by the 5th month what needs to happen, tough luck. And preferably the third month, unless there are severe problems that turn up after that date (this would be very rare).

I don't think Ross is "ignoring the maximalist position of abortion opponents" -- in fact he acknowledges it explicitly.

Ross is claiming that one side's maximalist position (conceived/not conceived) is less arbitrary than the other side's maximalist position (breathing/not breathing), and that the middle ground is more defensible than the latter maximalist position (e.g., sentient/not sentient, viable/not viable, etc.). In fact, breathing/not breathing (says Ross) is about the *least* scientifically defensible line one could possibly draw. How did the party that claims to be the "party of science" manage to pick the *least* scientifically defensible position?

That's what Ross is saying.

An assorted link that isn't one of Tyler's: - "Bigger cities boost 'social crimes'"

Rape and robbery super-scale with city size (proportionately more of both in larger cities).

Another one for the scrap book against the metropole scaling effects, in light of - 'Big cities feed on their hinterlands to sustain growth', which suggests positive scaling effects much more accounted for by migration biases than thought.

Maybe on balance, negative scaling effects to large cities win?

3. Ross. /yawn.

Does ‘unintended consequences’ just mean ‘bad consequences’ at this point? It’s hard to argue they’re really unintended, given how direct and foreseeable they are. What sort of mental model does it take to use a phrase like that? Is it about Walzerian double-effect? Or is there an assumption of benevolence we given fellow humans as a courtesy? I like the latter more than the former but I’m up for other explanations, too.

"It’s hard to argue they’re really unintended, given how direct and foreseeable they are. "


On the Saudi attack, the Rogoway piece is interesting and informative, but leaves out some items. He does not declare that the Houthis could not have done this, and indeed his arguments that we cannot tell the original takeoff point of the drones (or whatever) from where they hit on the facilities leaves open that it might have been the Houthis and not from Iran, despite various US officials making strong statements that the Houthis could not have done it, even as the Saudis and Trump continue not to make a firm judgment.

Yesterday Juan Cole pointed out that Houthis really do seem to have the capability. In May they definitely were responsible for a drone attack on a Saudi oil pumping facility at al-Duwadimi. That is over 800 miles from Sana'a in Yemen, the center of Houthi control. The Khurais and Abqaiq facilities are only about 100 miles further from Sana'a than al-Duwadimi, and an Iranian Shaned 129 drone apparently has a range of 1100 miles. So, Iran may have supplied the drones, but in contrast to some clearly overblown statements from various officials, the Houthis look like they have the capability, although they may not have it for a cruise missile attack if that was involved, as Rogoway says might be the case.

And, of course, there is no mention that for five years the US has been supporting the massive Saudi bombing campaign against the Houthis, probably the most violent ongoing military conflict in the world right now. The Houthis have nothing to lose and huge motivation to do this.

Furthermore, to the extent Iran is involved, and it is likely that it at least helped supply some or all of the drones or whatever (although some have argued that the Houthis may be capable of building these themselves), it is the US that initiated the rising hostilities in the Gulf by withdrawing from the JCPOA while Iran was in full compliance and imposing some of the harshest economic sanctions ever imposed on a nation. This is being conveniently ignored in the current discussions.

"while Iran was in full compliance"

Is this a fact? I've seen arguments for and against (admittedly, both from pretty partisan sources). Got a non-partisan link?

Of course this is not true. There's been evidence since the beginning of the deal that they were cheating, and were never really expected to follow it. Latest news:

Both of you are just completely full of it, repeating Israeli lies and other bs. There were a few minor technical violations, Iran briefly going over enrichment limits a couple of times, quickly corrected. Of course they have recently gone out of compliance very openly, after a year of staying in compliance failed to get other nations to undo Trump's ilegal and shocking actions, even if people who watch Fox News all the time think what he has done is just great. Even some who have supported his actions may now be rethinking their stupidity, such as the Saudis.

A non-partisan source? I would say the IAEA that has done the inspecting and certified their compliance. I also note that all the other signatories of the agreement have agreed with the IAEA, and even the US has not really offered any refutation of that. Trump has simply said he does not like the deal, with anybody with any brains knowing it is part of his pathetic ego war with Obama. He wants to kill the agreement because it was the great diplomatic triumph of Obama, and it was a great diplomatic triumph, and Trump's actions have been incredibly stupid and destructive and viewed with contempt by the leaders of all but a handful of nations. .

I don't follow this that closely, but I did hear a statement from someone in Iran saying that they had limited themselves to "reversible violations" before the US withdrew from the deal.


And perhaps we should have been clever enough to get the reversals rather than break the deal.

Bibi? Hahahaaaaaahaha. Right.

Hopefully is bye bye bibi time. Lock him up.

Hey Barkley, clean the spittle off your monitor and pay attention. TMC is the partisan hack, I just asked a simple, non-trolling question about Iranian compliance, wanting to see some credible facts about it. I didn't repeat any lies, Israeli or otherwise.

Typical Blame America 1st BS. Of course we were told that the Iran nuclear deal was only supposed to be about Iran's nuclear program. Attacking Saudi Arabia is a ridiculous response to Trump decision's to abandon a deal he had no obligation to uphold because it was not a treaty ratified by the Senate, and it was not submitted as a treaty because it would not received a simple majority in favor, let alone the 2/3rds majority necessary for ratification. Bomb Iran!

You neocucks are truly Saudi Arabia's bitches.

As opposed to quislings like Juan Cole and your lot?

No, as opposed to motherf*ing George Washington who warned us hundreds of years ago not to involve the country in useless foreign entanglements. Nothing there is worth one American life. Nothing. If you want to defend Saudi Arabia, give up your American citizenship and leave. America is not your bitch.

"[A] passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification."

1796, George Washington

Washington was not a foolish isolationist like you. One need not love Saudi Arabia to see what a continuing menace Iran has been since 1979.

Was Gabbard right when she opposed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 or when she later put on her Hawaiian flip flops and started to support the deal?

If you want to jump on Saudi cock, you, Trump, Kushner, and the rest of the neocucks can take the first camel to Riyadh. America's military is for defending the nation and its interests and nobody else.

Afghanistan? Keep on trolling.

And another for the more scholarly folks:

+1 to Rosser. These are the same neocon clowns that wanted war in Iraq. Anybody push back or humiliation of these chickenhawks is richly deserved.

Here you go. Another from 2017:

None of these are exactly conservative sites.

"It is well established that Tehran has consistently denied IAEA inspectors access to military sites and other research locations. This is in direct contravention to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and bipartisan legislation set out by Congress, which compels the president to verify that “Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement.” Yet, according to the Institute for Science and International Security, as of the last quarterly report released in August, the IAEA had not visited any military site in Iran since implementation day.
For its part, the IAEA has been complicit in allowing Tehran to circumvent the agreement and act as a law unto itself. Consider that after the deal was negotiated with the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, it was revealed that Tehran and the IAEA had entered into a secret agreement which allowed the Iranian regime to carry out its own nuclear trace testing at the Parchin complex, a site long suspected of being a nuclear testing ground, and would report back to the IAEA with “selective” videos and photos. This arrangement, which went behind the back of Congress, is especially suspect when considered in light of the Iranian regime’s history of duplicity."

I was never over there looking. Didn't they just recently finish destroying all the chemicals weapons though?

Excuse me, but who is the source for this, please? The Hill prints all kinds of statements by members of Congress, many of whom have opposed the JCPOA all along and do not hesitate to lie about it. This is in contradiction to what pretty much everybody in the world says who is not Israeli or a GOP member of Congress. Sorry, you will have to do better than this. It is crap.

Also, all of you, the evidence looks awfully strong that it was the Houthis, not the Iranians, although the latter probably gave them the drones. Notice that even as of now neither the Saudis nor Trump have said definitely it was the Iranians. Too many of you are stuck in a Fox News bubble of lies.

There are pictures circulating of the Houthis posing with their drones *and* cruise missiles.

As the author says, plausible deniability has been established.

If we hadn’t pulled out of the nuclear deal, none of this would even be happening. Who bombed the facilities?

Trump did.

Step 1 - create crisis by acting crazy.
Step 2 - deescalate the crisis you created.
Step 3 - the trained seals will bark and clap.

Can't wait for the democrats to get to step 2. Thought they were going to skip it entirely when they went right from #1 to #3.

Trump is kind of an idiot for escalating this every step of the way. When you play chicken, sometimes you crash out.

Trump is an idiot but Woof Dog is smart, even though Trump is POTUS while Woof Dog is spanking the monkey at his keyboard alone in a darkened room.

I guess Obama was smart too then.

Fear and/or anger do not drive good solutions.

Anyway, I thought 5 was good, and nests with what I've been seeing.

It seems that Saudi's crazy war with Yemen is starting to generate global risk.

#3..."So it’s striking that with Roe perhaps threatened by the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court (perhaps!)"

The decision is about 40 years old. We don't need unelected judges deciding to reverse such a long standing ruling. The solution is called an Amendment. You gather enough support to amend the Constitution. The policy of putting judges on the Supreme Court in order to reverse a particular opinion is contrary to the idea of having a Constitution. You need to appeal to the people, not the judges. It makes no difference how hard it would be. That's the point. In order to amend the Constitution it takes a principled method of appeal that doesn't lend itself to back and forth amendments all the time, in the same way it's not good if the court is seesaw on important decisions. Instead of trying to get the Supreme Court to change a decision, try and get your fellow citizens to agree with you about abortion. If it's such an obvious view, you shouldn't have much trouble. If it's not possible, maybe that's because it's hard for people to decide what to do, and your vehemence, in and of itself, isn't convincing.

I don't think it's that simple. I don't think there's any serious question that if Roe v. Wade had been brought any time in the first 150+ years of the Republic, it would have been decided the other way- that it is perfectly constitutional to ban abortion.

So if someone with an unusual amount of foresight had brought a test case during that time, to you it would ever after be unassailable. But since they didn't, the opposite decision is now unassailable. So the key is to get the right judges appointed and then determine as many important cases as possible while you can?

Yes, that logic is tenuous.

I doubt DP will think it's necessary to get a Constitutional amendment to re-instate abortion if the current court were to strictly limit it.

Oh yes I would. Look, I'm against the electoral college. It needs an amendment. I'm against gerrymandering. it needs an amendment. If it gets overturned, it would need an amendment to reinstate it. You can't have judges making decisions back and forth. Plus, big issues need amendments.

Nor can it be left up to the states. Could slavery have been just left up to the states? To the people against it, the answer was no. The same goes for abortion. How could something considered murder be left up to the states if you believe that's what it is?

"But since they didn't, the opposite decision is now unassailable"

No it's not. It simply takes an amendment. Get working. The decision was legally delivered. You can't say if only...there is no if only. Why did the Founder's even set up the amendment process if not to decide such issues? Take a look at the amendments proposed by the Hartford Convention.

"Oh yes I would."

In that case, I don't necessarily agree with your argument, but I certainly respect your opinion.

I need to think more about your argument of abortion being a Constitutional amendment level issue. I don't think it can be, because it's not really a binary issue, even if the advocates on both sides make it out to be that way. Whereas, most Americans lie somewhere in the middle.

I don't really see us having a Constitutional amendment that specifies exactly 13 weeks as the allowable period for an abortion, or some such number.

On the other hand, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. So you do have a solid point.

The only thing we need to do is pack the court to 21 justices under the next Democratic administration and Congressional control.

Gerrymandering becomes unconstitutional, with carve outs for CRA
Voter suppression becomes unconstitutional
Undocumented migrants gain the right to vote in local and state elections
Freedom of movement becomes constitutionally enshrined
Right to no taxation without representation (DC/PR as statehood)

I would not be for that.

Call me conservative, but I don't want a lot of amendments. I also want the Supreme Court to make limited rulings, that's conservative and prudent.

Sorry, but among the many flaws in the Constitution is the ridiculous difficulty of passing an Amendment.

In our political era I would say it is impossible to pass any non-trivial Amendment. It would probably require something like a 90% consensus to do so.

Even before now, it was extraordinarily hard. We have twenty-seven, of which ten are essentially part of the original document and three were adopted as a result of the Civil War. Several are purely procedural. We have what, six Amendments, counting both Prohibition and its repeal, that have substantive policy content?

Glad to hear it's a flaw to be ignored. So, can I change gerrymandering and the Electoral College without an amendment? See, it's a constitution.The rules of the game, as it were. The rules are exactly what can't be ignored.

You do realize that the Supreme Court has the power to effectively change the constitution? And this is why conservatives care about it so much.

Maybe the US would be a better country if both parties weren’t trying to control the courts so as to effectively change constitutional law, but that is the world we actually live in.

You have a point.

The left also cares.about the SCOTUS. The left has come unglued over Obama's failure to select a justice while Trump seated two conservatives. The left wasn't concerned about Supreme Court power when Kagan and the "wise Latina" were confirmed.

Now that notorious RBG is at the edge of the precipice the left is having fits. If only notorious RBG can hold on until 2021 ...

Mitch McConnell is a public disgrace, He created a tradition that began with him about not allowing the current President to pick the nominee. That kind of partisanship is just what we don't need. And then he talks about the tradition of the filibuster being overturned? A less principled person is hard to imagine. As Edmund Burke believed, ideologues are the bane of politics precisely because they can't compromise, and compromise is the basis of a functioning political system where different views are allowed to compete for acceptance.

Best post in the thread, +5 internet points

The rules most certainly can and will be ignored if the courts, congress, and the executive branch all say they can be ignored.

> The solution is called an Amendment.

Yeah, which is what they should have done instead of using unelected judges to infer a right in the constitution in order to then infer a right to access an abortion.

The legal footing for Roe v. Wade is shaky at best. Ironically everything in your comment supports the argument for overturning Roe v. Wade -- given that it has no clear basis in the constitution (the text of the decision cites two possible amendments that the decision might follow from), and that it was a decision established exactly by an appeal to activist judges.

> Instead of trying to get the Supreme Court to change a decision, try and get your fellow citizens to agree with you about abortion.

You're not on the court. A legal decision was made. That's it.Now it needs an amendment. How hard is this?

5. The two serious aspects seem (1) what to do about Saudi Arabia and Iran, and (2) strategic planning for the drone wars.

1) Support any factions ready for peace talks?

2) We need some serious war games in Nevada. Red teamed by some smart hackers very disrespectful of the status quo.

It is very obvious what is needed for peace talks to happen: the US returns to complying with JCPOA and ends its illegal economic sanctions against Iran. Then there will be negotiations on how to make changes to that agreement.

Of course there is still the other problem that the U"S is supporting the stupid and horrendous bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. Stopping doing that would also help.

Some of you here really need to get real.


Whoever kicks the Orange Man to the curb needs to immediately rejoin the nuclear deal.

Sanctions are an act of warfare, and all sanctions without explicit UN Security Council approval must be immediately dropped. This includes Russia, and probably North Korea. Sanctions against a peaceful country, who has not started an offensive warfare since antiquity is the epitome of American foreign policy.

Iranians are a peaceful people surrounded by hostile neighbors and face a country and people intent on its destruction. Israel is completely committed to the ruin of Iran and her innocent people.

The tail wags the dog, and as the squad says, “it’s all about the benjamins.”
Trump allies with the 9/11 attackers and agitates for war against an innocent people.

Vote Blue across the board. For peace. Iran has never hurt an innocent person. The US has killed millions since 2001. They have the moral high ground.

But you couldn't help yourself...oh well. All finished then?

I think he nailed you mouse! Lol!

I'm the 'start posts with a sentence fragment' guy. Your boyfriend anonymous is a different guy.

The main problem with the nuclear deal was that it didn’t end the struggle for geo-political supremacy between KSA and Iran, so anyone with any sense should have known that sooner or later the deal would fall apart because Iran did something even the more dovish parts of the blob couldn’t abide.

So short of Iran and Saudi Arabia ending a half century of hostilities, no peace deal is possible. And given that the Saudi’s and Iranians are the principal belligerents in the conflict, the US has very little power to effectuate a peace deal. Certainly a return to the nuclear arms deal won’t end the war; both KSA and the Iranians pumped money and arms into Syria and Yemen both before and after the Iranian nuclear deal was signed.

Which is to say that some kind of isolationist response is probably the best the US can do. And signing and honoring the nuclear arms deal with Iran is an isolationist response, and one that I support.

What a stupid remark. The deal was working fine until Trump withdrew from it for no good reason.

The main supposed proxy war between Iran and KSA is in Yemen. But that has been going on since before the JCPOA was signed. Nothing to do with it, and Iran has no troops there. The Saudi-Houthi conflict is an old one really independent of Iran, and the Saudi conduct there has been a total disgrace, as is US support of that. The Yemenis have every justification for fighting back, as it appears they have done.

If you think that the problem is Iran having nuclear weapons, as opposed to Iran and Saudi Arabia taking actions that leads to hundreds of thousands dead and millions of refugees, than I would politely suggest that you hold the stupid opinion.

This is even stupider. Did you let your brain fall out of your head onto the sidewalk?

Given the Zionist control of this forum and the deleterious effect said Zionist control has had over the free expression of opinions and the free and unencumbered exchanged of ideas, which is the whole point of dialoguing, I have decided to withdraw from this forum.


The plan is working.

It just means he will only use his 'American' names from now on

I don’t know what you mean. I’m merely an innocent pro-Brazilian optician from Wisconsin.

"The Department of Defense was ridiculously asleep at the wheel regarding this threat and is now scrambling to play catchup. Anyone who says differently is straight-up lying"

Still haven't...
#5...Donald Pretari
November 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

I was using a bit of black humor to point out that people haven't really thought this through. I don't actually believe that the main problem with drones is the chance of being beheaded by them.

Never bought the "money doesn't make you happier" crap. Money is disposable. Freely disposable. I know a place in Jersey where you can drop your money off if it makes you so sad. Message me if you are interested.

I'll give Ross the benefit of the doubt on this one: for somewhat calling out the piety of a gay, militaristic, Episcopalian without using such terms.

Can't imagine the amount of boiled over frustration and conflict within Mayor "prudish" Pete. Probably throws around the Christian card as some cynical focus group inspired strategy anyways.

4. Seems convincing

1. I seem to recall Kahneman making the distinction between "happiness" and "satisfaction" explicitly when reading TF&S a few years ago, which this study confirms. Is this new news?

#4 - Highly incomplete and overly heavy on politics. Nothing about HK identity and status, which are key drivers of the current situation.

Easiest way out of this is:

1) Beijing and related parties create room for HK moderates to express a degree of sympathy with the protester's complaints, if not with the protesters themselves and their methods. Without this, moderates will self-censor and you'll be left with an ongoing fight between hard-liners on both sides. Also reduce antagonistic moves like searching the phones of every young Hong Kong person who enters China.

2) Moderates begin to speak up, bit by bit taking the role of negotiating with the government over general public demands (mostly relating to police behavior and general alienation between government leadership and the public). Their credibility is based in their support for these demands, hence why Beijing needs to give them room to do so. In exchange they get to deal with a negotiating party that renounces violence.

3) HK government immediately awards these initiatives with quick but minor wins, helping the moderate camp to gain credibility, reduce public anger, and isolate violent protesters from their (currently substantial) public support. All efforts should focus on direct protester demands, not perceived root causes ("This is why I think you're REALLY protesting, so I'm going to address that instead of listening to what you're explicitly saying").

4) Continue until the public mood has significantly calmed down, then focus on root causes, including and especially the spectacularly high cost of housing. Inevitably this will go hand in hand with efforts to further integrate HK identity with mainland Chinese identity. This should be done with a light touch, ideally through promoting Chinese businesses like WeChat in Hong Kong, softening the hard Google/Facebook/WhatsApp/YouTube vs. Baidu/WeChat/TikTok/Taobao barrier at the Shenzhen River and giving HK and mainland Chinese people more of a shared life experience.

Overall, the hard backlashes against any speech in support of the protesters aims is silencing moderates and leaving radicals as the only public voice supporting aims shared by most of the public. The next move towards resolution is Beijing's to make.

If Beijing is consistently making moves that sideline and silence moderates while energizing hardliners, perhaps one should conclude that ...

Your analysis is off the mark. China is not looking for a "way out". They're actually in no hurry to resolve this situation.

Hong Kong's economic importance to China is diminishing, and booming Shenzhen is right next door.

In fact, economic harm for Hong Kong would even be beneficial to China in a sense, to the extent that it creates an object lesson for mainland citizens about the negative consequences of disorderly protests.

The protesters are creative and courageous, but their pressure tactics won't work because China will simply not engage with them, other than the occasional pro forma stern warnings. China will let the hapless local authorities cope with the mess. There is absolutely no hope for Hong Kong to break away politically, which is all that China really cares about here.

It's difficult to say how much Beijing wants to resolve the situation - it's like trade war assessments, where you can make a strong case either way. I think it's safe to say that Beijing WISHES Hong Kong was not economically important, but whether that actually is the case at the moment is another story.

Either way, I don't make an assumption that they want to resolve it, only that IF they do, they need to give moderates room to express their opinions as a precondition. Even then, it's not guaranteed to work - many of the consequences of even the slightest pro-protest speech stem from the reactions of the mainland public, not the government. Ironically, you would need to utilize the CCP censorship machine to stifle THEIR speech in order to enable freer speech for HK moderates.

5. This incident dooms efforts to ban "killer robots" globally. Lethal autonomous weapons systems will happen. That right there is the broader military significance.

Everybody now knows that drone attacks work. Defensive countermeasures will be attempted and attack drones will have to maneuver past them. No more flying in a straight line to some GPS coordinates.

Swarms of attack drones will need to evaluate the target's defenses and bypass them in real-time without human assistance. They may have dogfights with defensive drones, for instance.

So attack drones will start to incorporate robust AI capabilities and defensive systems will have to do likewise. Just as in chess, human operators will be no match for the machines.

In this AI arms race, the West will have an enormous disadvantage: public opinion. The EU will just say no, and the US may do the same as its politics drift leftward. Even without a government ban, private companies will find it impossible to resist pressure tactics from activists and their own employees.

Meanwhile, China and Russia and Iran will move full speed ahead. At some point they may be able to impose unequal treaties.

Oddly enough, I didn't see the terms "AI" or "A.I." or "artificial intelligence" or "robot" used anywhere in the linked article, or in the comments on this page.

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