Archive for September, 2011

I watched the entire Tea-Party / Republican debate (Link to video of the debate). I wish I had taken notes so I could write-up the dumbest statements made by each candidate. It was a lot of jingoistic nonsense, self-contradictory positions, infighting, and delusional stuff about radically cutting taxes. It has renewed my disgust of Republicans, much more than I had expected it would.

I think one of the lows was hearing a candidate say that tax-incentives (for example, to encourage alternative energies like solar and wind, which would help the US gain energy independence) were really just “corporate tax loopholes” and tax loopholes needed to be closed (you know, because everybody hates corporate tax loopholes), then he went on to talk about the importance of US energy independence. Presumably, the candidate thinks that US oil can provide all the energy the country needs and it will last forever.

The reality is that the US has proven oil reserves of 21 billion barrels (source) and “Services under the U.S. Department of the Interior estimate the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in the United States to be roughly 134 billion barrels.” (source). U.S. oil consumption is 21 million barrels per day (source), which works out to 7.6 billion barrels of oil consumed per year. In other words: if the US uses only US produced oil, we’ll be out of proven reserves in 3 years, which is before that candidate is even done with their first term! Assuming we could tap into all the presumably undiscovered oil (and it will take more than 3 years to bring it on line), we’ll be out of oil in 17 years.

Herman Cain’s dumbest statement was his 9/9/9 plan. He wants a 9% Federal Sales Tax, 9% Federal income (flat) tax, and 9% corporate tax. In other words: raise taxes on the poor, reduce taxes on the rich, reduce taxes on corporations, and dramatically cut the tax money coming into the federal government. It would radically reduce income tax to much lower levels than it’s been anytime in the last 80 years.

Michelle Bachmann complained about HPV vaccines and the next day made statements about the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation. She also championed the fact that she fought against raising the debt ceiling (that’s retarded), saying that congress gave Obama a $2.5 trillion dollar blank check (apparently, she doesn’t understand that “$2.5 trillion” and “blank check” are mutually exclusive).

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Bin Laden Documents

I stumbled on this today – back in November 2001, a journalist tracked down some computers used by Al-Queda in Afghanistan. In this 2004 article, he includes excerpts of documents on the computer. It’s interesting to see Bin Laden instructing Mullah Omar, when talking to the media, to talk about grievances against Israel and Iraqi sanctions. But, the private correspondence includes a wider variety of “enemies”. For example, I didn’t know how much Bin Laden hated the UN:

April 11, 2001
From: Osama bin Laden
To: Mullah Omar

… I pray to God—after having granted you success in destroying the dead, deaf, and mute false gods—that He will grant you success in destroying the living false gods, the ones that talk and listen. God knows that those [gods] pose more danger to Islam and monotheism than the dead false gods. Among the most important such false gods in our time is the United Nations, which has become a new religion that is worshipped to the exclusion of God. The prophets of this religion are present in the UN General Assembly … The UN imposes all sorts of penalties on all those who contradict its religion. It issues documents and statements that openly contradict Islamic belief, such as the International Declaration for Human Rights, considering all religions are equal, and considering that the destruction of the statues constitutes a crime …

(The statues he refers to in the last sentence seems to be the Buddha statues in Afghanistan that were destroyed by the Taliban in March, 2001.)

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