Friday, October 12, 2012

Why Should We Believe That Iran Is Planning a Nuclear Weapons Program?

Isn't it amazing that the American and European media and governments declare in unison that Iran wants a nuclear weapon and is planning to make one? Do they know something that we don't know? Or is this just the dance of the lemmings, blindly following each other over the cliff again? Is this just Saddam's WMDs again?

There is no information available on the Internet that shows any ANY evidence that Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons, much less that it has initiated a nuclear weapons program. There is ample evidence that Iran has decided that it will not pursue nuclear weapons. Ayatollah Khameini wrote a fatwa declaring that owning or building nuclear weapons is a mortal sin, and that declaration has been repeated continuously by the Iranian government for the last 8 years. They have opened all their nuclear facilities to the IAEA inspectors. They have not been found in violation of any IAEA rules. The only place where Iran has refused access to the IAEA is not a nuclear facility, but rather a weapons and ammunition factory in a military base. Iran contends that has nothing to do with a nuclear program. The IAEA inspectors have found no diversion of uranium and nothing else that indicates Iran is planning to build a bomb.

But every article in all the mainstream press assumes that Iran is now or will soon build nuclear weapons. There is no debate about whether or not Iran, left to itself would build nukes. Everybody says it would. There is debate over the right way to deal with the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The press and governments are not perfectly aligned on what should be done now or what should be done later, but the base issue of whether Iran has nuclear weapons pretensions is never questioned. But I see no evidence that there is any Iranian interest in a nuclear weapons program. Where are the translated discussions among Iranians officials debating the advisability of nukes? They don't even talk about it.

So, could all these people in the allied governments and media who assume the worst know something that we don't know? Well, it’s impossible. If all those reporters and state dept. types know that Iran has a nuclear weapons program based on evidence that they have seen, then that evidence would be accessible somehow or other to us as well. Heck, my friends and I at r/EndlessWar knew about the Ray Davis disaster the day after it happened, three weeks before it hit the western press.

The chorus has seen no evidence but they believe anyway. Could the insiders with high security clearances have intel that, upon leaking would jeopardize sources? And could the reputations of the insiders in media and government who expound the narrative of Iranian a-bombs be enough to convince other journalists and government officials who don't have the requisite security clearances? The answer to that question is definitely yes. That is what is happening. There is a blind chorus that repeats the narrative of the Washington/Tel Aviv/London insiders, without any evidence at all. "Serious men" with access to Top Secret intel, such as Mr. Panetta, state unequivocally that Iran has a clandestine plan to build nukes. Does that signify that he and the rest of the Washington/Tel Aviv/London insiders are telling the truth? Does it signify that their intel is any better than the speculative fantasies that were presented as evidence in 2002 and 2003? The answers to those two questions are no and no.

Why there isn't any doubt expressed in the media? Even the Huffington Post and the Nation and other liberal media repeat the Iran/nuclear talking points. The only media that questions it is paleo-conservative, libertarian or socialist.

So how can we get the attention of more people and convince them that we are about to go to war for no reason whatsoever? Again.

The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats think that government employees work hard to help the American people. They think that government employees are generally competent, honest and dedicated to making a net positive difference for the people of the USA. However, they may be a little leery of armed, uniformed government employees, who they see to be potentially dangerous, an inefficient waste of money and a possible assault on our liberty.

Republicans think that armed government employees (AGEs) work hard to help the American people. They think that armed government employees are generally competent, honest and dedicated to making a net positive difference for the people of the USA. However, they may be a little leery of unarmed, un-uniformed government employees, who they see to be potentially dangerous, an inefficient waste of money and a possible assault on our liberty.

Members of both Parties (or both sides of the Oneparty) love government and trust government’s employees with great authority over themselves. I have had plenty of dealings with both armed and unarmed government employees. They are all a waste of money. Every intelligent one of them realizes that his job is counterproductive and that it spends an inordinate amount of money for little or no return. If Americans do not soon realize that the Democratic and Republican Parties are just two flavors of the same ice cream, then the USA will devolve into a totalitarian state. Its on its way.

Don’t vote for either side of the Oneparty. If you’re a lefty, vote Green Party. If you believe in the free market and individual liberty vote Libertarian. Do not believe the “wasting your vote” slogan. Voting between red and blue is wasting your vote for certain. Let’s try to deconstruct Leviathan before it is unstoppable.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KETO Breakfast — spicy fricassee of cabbage and eggs

I have been on a keto or Paleo diet for four months now and I’ve lost 16 kilos or 35 pounds. There is a great discussion about this diet on reddit. I have much more energy, I’m more alert, feel stronger and better in every way. I never feel the hunger pangs caused by the body craving a replacement of the carb rush that it just consumed.

So on a keto diet you avoid carbohydrates, especially processed or purified carboydrates like sugar or flour or white rice or anything that comes in a package with lots of fancy colors. Real food doesn't come in colorful packages. You can eat meat, fish, tree nuts, eggs and certain vegetables as well as some fruit in controlled quantities. Stay away from grain, beans and potatoes. Don't even think about refined sugar.

This blog entry is not meant to explain the diet, but rather just to offer a recipe for a delicious Paleo diet that everyone in my family likes even though they don’t share my diet. I just wanted to give a little background so that the reader might know what I am talking about. If you are interested in more information on this diet, follow the links above. And one warning: if you use this diet, make sure that you are eating plenty of fat. The only danger on this diet is that very low carbohydrates plus low fat will cause your body to metabolize muscle tissue as well as fat for its sustenance. Eat fat. It’s good. Lose the weird new-age anti-fat morality. In fact lose all the weird new-age morality.

So here’s the recipe for two people

Spicy Fricassee of Sausage and Cabbage

Chopping board and a good knife
Wooden spoon
Heavy bottomed sauce pan

- ¼ of a head of cabbage chopped up coarsely
- ½ of a medium onion cut in strips
- 150 grams of fresh mushrooms broken into pieces
- 3 tablespoons of lard (real lard, from a pig)
- 1 or 2 hot chiles, Jalapeños are OK, but I prefer Thai, Vietnamese or habanero chiles seeded and chopped fine OR 1 or 2 Tablespoons of yellow Thai curry paste
- 100 grams of meat – I use whatever is in the house. It needs to have fat on it or in it. Good salami is OK, leftover pork roast, bacon or Spanish chorizo.
- ½ cup of heavy cream (some fanatics want to avoid all dairy)
- 2 eggs
- Salt

1.- Melt the lard and sauté the onion and mushrooms until the onion is translucent. If the meat that you are using is raw it needs to be added at the beginning, if its cooked, add it after the onions are sautéed.

2.- Add the chiles and the cabbage and sauté on medium-high heat stirring occasionally until the cabbage starts to get soft. About 8-10 minutes

3.- Pour in the cream and put it on high heat. Let the cream boil and reduce, stirring occasionally until the cream thickens a bit, then

4.- Add the two eggs and stir the mixture around for about a minute, not more than two

5.- Season with salt

Mmmmmm good!
If you make this for one person, save half and eat it for lunch or dinner. It will be even more delicious later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Should the US/NATO Do In Afghanistan Now That The War Is Unwinnable?

Most of the discussions in the western press about what we should do in Afghanistan before getting out and coming home, make suggestions about military strategy, institutions and training without taking the political/historical/cultural situation of the country into account.

Let's start with the most important fact that is never discussed in mainstream American discussions about the political future of Afghanistan and that is the geographic-tribal reality. Afghanistan was never ruled as one country. It has always been an archipelago of small fiefdoms organized in tribal regions, which were loosely organized under a hereditary monarchy in the 18th century. At that time the Kingdom of Afghanistan only encompassed Pashtun areas south of the mountains. The central government of the Kings had very little real power outside of Kandahar, although they received enough tribute to be figureheads for the "nation" of Afghanistan. The Kings were able to unite the tribes to throw out the British Empire twice, they made Kabul their capitol and in the 20th century they built some roads and power lines but the Kings never ruled over most of the country, especially not the non-Pashtun areas north of the mountains, which were only nominally Afghanistan.

The last King, Mohammed Zahir Shah (ruled from 1933 to 1973) united the country more than any of his predecessors. In order to unite the north slope of the Hindu Kush with the Pashtun areas south of the mountains, the King enlisted the help of the Soviets in the early ‘70s. That decision was one of the ingredients of his downfall and the demise of the monarchy. and the series of crises that Afghans have faced since 1973 when the King was deposed by Mohammed Daud Khan, who was subsequently deposed and killed by his allies in the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. As soon as the PDPA grabbed power in 1978 they requested Soviet assistance and rolled right over the Hindu Kush on the road the Soviets built five years before.

Afghanistan's geography is separated into myriad little districts that are divided by uninhabitable deserts and huge imposing mountain ranges. The country is not interconnected like the USA or Europe, and this is especially true in the division between Afghanistan north of the Hindu Kush and south of the Hindu Kush. Until the Russians built their road and tunnels over the mountains in the 70s, there was no way to travel from one side of the mountain range to other in the winter.

The two geographic divisions are also tribal/cultural divisions. North of the mountains there are very few Pashtuns. The population is predominantly Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara. South of the mountains it is predominantly Pashtun. Way over 90% of the attacks on NATO are committed by Pashtuns. The Taliban are all Pashtuns. The Afghan Army is just the old Northern Alliance, armed by the USA.

Here is a map of cultural distribution.
(click on the images to see them in larger format)

And a map of the physical characteristics of Afghanistan.

Please note how the cultural and physical areas coincide.

So Afghanistan is really two countries and that is the key to solving the problem of what happens when the USA inevitably skedaddles. While NATO still has some time it needs to design its strategy based on what Afghanistan IS, rather than what the US and NATO wish Afghanistan was.

Unfortunately NATO and the US continue to follow the policy from ten years ago. That policy aims to convert Afghanistan into a western style republic with a strong central government that is democratically elected and which fields a national army and police force to maintain order and combat tribal rebellions, otherwise known in the western press as terrorists. The people who promote these strategies don't know Afghanistan. They know the military bases and they know the insider-Washington, upper-echelon conferences about Afghanistan, but they would not keep advocating the exact same policies that have failed for eleven years if they knew anything about the country in question. Continuing the Obama strategy will mean a humbling defeat and a new Taliban Afghanistan.

There is a possible strategy for a NATO exit that doesn't repeat the Vietnam disaster.

Divide Afghansitan into three independent states which could be associated in some loose federal structure that maintains the name Afghanistan, but which are really independent states, each with its own armed forces. Those three states would be Northistan (I would hope for a better name) on the north side of the Hindu Kush and extending to the border of Iran a few hundred miles south of Herat. The capitol would probably be Mazar i Sharif.
The second state would be Pashtunistan. It would occupy most of Afghanistan not taken by Northistan. Its capita city would be Kandahar.
The third country would be the Emirate or Canton of Kabul and it would occupy the land in the mountain valleys from Bamian in the west to the Pakistan border, including Jalalabad.

Instead of arming the Northern Alliance (Afghan National Army) any further, begin reducing their number drastically and only train the best recruits in order to form the armies of the Canton of Kabul and Northistan. Since the Taliban will be the government of Pashtunistan, they will field their experienced soldiers as the Pashtun Army.

Once the borders have been defined, allow the three countries to choose their own government in THEIR OWN MANNER. If the Pashtuns want to use the Loya Jerga system, thats what they ought to do. In the Canton of Kabul, the US/NATO should probably continue to support Karzai. As the head of state of a little country sandwiched between two warlike countries, he would be happy to have a small US presence and his borders would probably be defensible. He might be able to maintain power with limited American support and he could manage American contacts with all three countries. I believe that the Taliban would be ready to deal with the US on this basis to develop resources, pipelines and infrastructure in Pashtunistan.

This outcome would make Russia and the Stans happy. They don't want a Taliban government on their border again. It would also make Pakistan happy because they would have Pashtunistan as a friendly neighbor to their west. They would not feel squeezed in between a US proxy on the west and India to the east. Iran would be happy to see Afghanistan cut into manageable pieces and would be an ally of Northistan.

There would be massacres of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbecks in Pashtunistan and massacres of Pashtuns in the north until people figured out that they should move to a country where they are safer. Kabul could conceivably remain multicultural and continue to guarantee more rights and opportunities for women.

But for some reason that may have to do with worshipping the state, the Washington elite do not think that making smaller, less multicultural states is a good idea. So this idea that could turn Washington's nightmare into a decent outcome will never happen.