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Everything posted by patcalhoun

  1. It's very simple. Pakistan is a country of over 160 million people, one of two available land thrusts into Afghan territory and the only available point of entry available to US general purpose forces by sea and air. With that in mind, and the fact that Pakistan is dependable enough to swallow the meat and potatoes of Enduring Freedom's objectives if not the vegetables, then the Administration's measured reliance on Pakistani cooperation and willingness to occassionally act without it is entirely understandable. After all, the alternatives are to buy into zy's fantasy of a Pakistan committed as our Western allies on the global war on terror or view Pakistan as a hostile. We can argue until we're blue in the face whether or not the Administration has deftly or incompetently handled Pakistan, but there's nothing profound about mulling over a characterization of US-Pakistani relation that is so blatantly obvious.
  2. Then you run into the same problem as you have with the London analogy. If our Western institutions of law and order (and CONUS forces, apparantly) are for whatever reason less capable than...say Canada's..., then we are no longer living in reality. We're living in a parallel universe where either the US government has the circumscribed domestic power and reach of a third world kleptocracy or the country has managed to slip into a second civil war. Why not? We've bombarded our own shores in time of war before, and with the heaviest naval gunfire we had at the time. We used to slaughter other Americans by the thousands just to take a field, burn entire villages and the agricultural base of entire counties to the ground. I imagine there would be some outrage; we've definitely had our fair share of it during the Civil War, the Indian Wars and various insurrections as a result of violent Federal action. On the other hand, for the most part the public accepted that the United States was in a state of war within its own borders. What you're analogy asks us to accept are the conditions of a lawless, wartorn US interior without public acknowledgement of that fact. Does your conclusion rest entirely on this nonsensical analogy where we magically transport al Qaeda to some Western country and pretend that the public doesn't notice, doesn't care, is unable to do anything about it, but is unwilling to admit its impotence for one reason or another. If so, the what exactly isn't naive[/i] and frankly slanderous about you accusing Westerners of generally devaluing Pakistani lives vis a vis their own.
  3. Unless you'd care to reveal some closely held knowledge of not only the inner thoughts of the command authority behind the attack but also the those of the case officers who collected the targeting information and their sources, how can you tell us "what it really comes down to?" Or, perhaps, the intelligence provided was sufficiently time critical to warrant an air strike. The point is you've pieced this whole narrative together out of whole cloth, with nothing more substantial than an unexplained deep contempt and disrespect for the shooters and authorities involved. The risk of killing innocents to protect the US is nowhere near as brutal as it was sixty years ago, despite facing an elevated risk attack on US soil. Exercise your judgement as you see fit, but I sincerely doubt you can make a stronger moral case that further restraint is necessary absent a convincing argument for a less costly, risk neutral alternative. You suggested that the Pakistani security forces are sufficiently reliable or trustworthy to police their western and northern frontiers when they've singularly failed to do so prior to 9/11 (a responsibility they continue to eschew in Kashimir). I don't impugn President Musharrefs motives or the fundamental interests of ISI, but your incredulous faith in the ability of Pakistani police to control its pourous and lawless hinterlands is hard to take seriously. Perhaps that's because industrialized countries have functioning institutions for preserving law and order, whereas failed states or teetering ones like Pakistan do not. This is why your London analogy sucks. How often is far too often in wartime?
  4. Out of curiousity, where did you get that idea?
  5. Yes, at least as permissible as it was for the Allies to "collaterally kill" far more liberated women in the process of beating back German aggression in Western Europe. Far more so, since civilian cost of war has dropped measurably since. As far as I'm concerned, that's an admirable standard to meet. At least as good as the Allies sixty years ago, and probably far more so in that the West has innovated and applied military means to better discriminate between military targets and civilians. Also a measure of the admirable humanity of the Western warfighter. That's where the bad guys are. We wouldn't have to because the UK is not the lawless frontiers of Central Asia. Your analogy could only be more specious if it invoked government sponsorship of al Qaeda and Jerusalem as a central nervous system of international Islamic terrorism.
  6. You've seen plenty of definition. Time is a dimension, one parameter among many used to specify locations of events in some sort of spacetime. If you need a deeper explanation, then you've stepped into the domain of philosophy and definitely out of the realm of physics
  7. That's incredible. I see you've posted this exact same letter over at Naked Scientists, and you've been promoting EPS around USEnet. I'm not the industrial behemoth GE is, but are you sure you don't want to take some of my money? I can promise you more if you throw in a few more fancy examples of your correspondence with Seward.
  8. As should be perfectly obvious after 9/11, what happens in the remote wastelands of Asia--or in any other area of the world characterized by failed states and barbarism--matters a great deal. That's besides the point. You decided to frame a moral and factual equivalency between American operations in the unpoliced territory of a nearly failed state with a hypothetical attack by a Communist autocracy on secure, enduring and peaceful democratic state of the West. Or put another way, if conditions in the US mirrored those in Central Asia, if China was a powerful force for good in this world, and if I were something better than an unwashed, ignorant peasant with a hard on for beating women and slaughtering infidels, then I most certainly would appreciate such an intervention.
  9. So when do we get to the part where you ask me to write a check?
  10. The answers to any question depend on personal opinion. Question is whether offered opinions are equally valuable. I'd bet there's little value in either law or politics for "depends on your personal opinion" where it concerns Roe.
  11. All right, so we're left with this impression you've formed based on a couple of documentaries and faith in some thrust of human depravity due to despair. Nobody said you did, and why you keep protesting this point is beyond me. Which you did, and subsequently revealed it has no basis in fact. That was the point I sought to get across. I don't care what standard your opinion is validated against unless we're talking about the factual record. And in this case, your opinion--which ascribes a heinous point of view to obstensibly civilized men and women--is wholly without merit. If you said 1+1=3, I might. By building high, secure fences, which is precisely what the Israelis are doing. I've seen nothing that substantiates this "absence of peaceful coexistence breeds widespread genocidal sentiment" theory of yours, period. So of course I don't think its relevant. I think there is clear evidence of what various groups and peoples are thinking in this conflict. Just no evidence for the views you've ascribed to members of the IDF. I'm contesting your depiction of the general range of views in the population, period, let alone your equally unsubstantiated claim that the Israeli military is a representative cross section of its society. No, it is definitely reasonable in the sense it follows from the unestablished propositions you put forward. In the end, though, it is an unevidenced mess.
  12. Although you're still not offering up the evidence, I won't dispute this point. Why? It's entirely irrelevant to the claim that the position of some members of the IDF is that mass murder is the only solution to Palestinian terrorism. This is a completely unevidence sociological claim, but also entirely irrelevant to the question of how members of the IDF perceive endgame. This is relevant, and it would help me better appreciate your point if you actually presented some supporting evidence to the purported fact. But you are attributing to them a position that as far as I can see has no basis in fact. Is there a violent insurrection in American cities that we haven't heard of? And considering that Iraqi civilian casualties (30,000 killed and 45,000 wounded) far outstrip Palestinian casualties (where we don't have a consensus breakdown between militant and civilian casualties readily available), exactly why is the American public so tolerant of what you would also describe as "general disregard for innocent civilian populations." Perhaps even this accusation of indiscriminate violence against civilians has no foundation in fact. I have no interest in your two questions or the line of discussion they aim to open. Just this claim about what members of the IDF believe and evidence supporting it.
  13. You claim that "members" of the Israeli military believe that mass murder "is the only solution." I've yet to see a shred of evidence that this is the position of any IDF officer or enlisted person, let alone the position of any significant IDF personality. So what is the basis for the claim? I'm not interested in anything else except for this.
  14. I expect you to support such an accusation with evidence. Otherwise, this smacks of irresponsible conspiracy-mongering.
  15. I don't intend to address the moral equivalency points in this post or the purported consequences of that preferred reality. I just want to address one glaring issue of fact. I think there isn't a shred of documentary evidence--which should be easy to produce--showing that a single high ranking participant in Israeli politics since the beginning of the 20th century has ever advocated the mass murder of Palestinians. On the other hand, the Palestinian political leadership--even the Palestinian national identity--was born out of an explicit and publically detailed mission to "destroy Israel." So I have absolutely no idea what the basis is for your belief that Israel and Palestinian political leaders are similarly culpable of conspiracy to commit war crimes.
  16. patcalhoun


    Insofar as we're trading our personal impressions of how the Courts handle equity, here's my view. Western law and long embedded procedures in legislative and executive political business are powerful restraints on excess. In OECD nations vis a vis the rest of the emerging world, political conflict rarely leads to violence (and the American and English civil wars were conducted under a comparatively and surprisingly resilient framework of law adhered to by the participants), widespread native perception of corruption or injustice, or insecurity surrounding political application of power in domestic affairs. If we look inside any particular sphere of law, say in the United States, differences of political opinion on equity weigh less on the minds of the public than on every day executive, legislative and judicial concerns involving crime, protection of property and liability. That, to me, is a sign of a system that works pretty well.
  17. patcalhoun


    I see the link's not working. Here. Read the paper. I do know that in the majority of 5-4 and 6-3 decisions that the splits correlate with identifiable partisan divisions. That is to say I've as much evidence of political division in the Court as I do of political division in the Congress; my point ceases to be idle opinion. Then perhaps I don't understand your definition of opinion. I certainly don't label other well supported claims such as [imath]\nabla \cdot \mathbf{D} = \rho [/imath] or "changes in a population's allele frequency occur over time." If there is, then by all means share it with us. We also hear of Democratic congressmen voting "conservative" and Republican congressmen voting "liberal." The current literature recognizes that not so profound observation that party affiliation tracks closely but not exactly to the more fine grain scale of political preference. Yes, just as it is possible that the Congress is not voting with an eye on politics at all, at least according to the evidence. The Congress achieves an order of magnitude or more unanimous or bipartisan votes than it does partisan ones. The same pattern can be found in the Supreme Court. The point I'm making is your fairly empirical claim that the Courts are less political than the Congress is falsified by the unsurprisingly similar outcomes of their decisionmaking processes. I do not know if this trend continues further into the federal judiciary, but the question now also varies regional political concerns as well as national partisan ones; we'd have to set up a similar model for the Congress. I think the onus is on me to clearly state the theory and its supporting evidence. You can critique it, and there are definitely avenues of criticism available to you. I think something a bit more sophisticated than "it's your opinion" is in order. Mentioned what? Very same thing as what? Where did you get the idea that the ABA tests for ideological adherence? What is possible? Yeah, and others believe there is such as thing as preferred rest frame. I'm not in the business of caring what they consider opinion. Stop being dramatic. This is dry discussion of a very dry topic, are the Courts comparably political (in some quantifiable way) to the Congress. If you're going to label any discussion beyond that which is profusely abutted by insincere demotions of evidenced poisitions to mere opinion, then I don't think we have all that much to talk about. In that case, would you mind moving on?
  18. You're performing a limit here, which doesn't change the fact that we cannot define a rest frame for a photon.
  19. patcalhoun


    How would you compare? Conflicting circuit rulings and 5-4 and 6-3 decisions to party line votes? Well, of non-unanimous cases yielding a majority opinion in the Supreme Court between 1994 and 1998 ended in 6-3 or 5-4 splits accounted for 107 (or ]55 percent of the total). And the Supreme Court hears a lot less cases per year than Congress votes on unanimous consent requests. Vetoes are even rarer. I know. I just jumped on the point of most interest to me. I don't think so. You've definitely addressed some issues we can tackle in a quantifiable way. After all, if the Court is more objective or less partisan than the political branches in practice, then we might gain some insight by doing as the author of the paper I provided suggests--using spectral analysis to better understand how majorities form on the Courts. In this case, the substance of the disagreement doesn't matter, just the fact that particularly disputes keep occuring between politically classifiable groups in the Court system. These are all issues actively researched in political science, so I see no reason to think that this should boil down to a mindless exchange of idle opinion. I'm the second poster in this thread, and as best as I can tell the topic is free for any reasoned, civil discussion related to the contemporary judiciary. Sometimes threads don't have a core focus, and I don't think Jim even attempted to outline one. EDIT: Here's an excellent resource for professional and amateur legal researchers out there. Lawson grabbed the US Supreme Court Database from here. Registration is free and the dataset isn't restricted. Just if you use it, abide by their terms of use.
  20. patcalhoun


    No. Citing the case list might be construed as an argument from ignorance on my part, but there is no doubt you've argued and continue to argue that the Court is "the last bastion of objective, independent authority". "Last bastion" does exclude the executive and legislature from this realm of objectivity you've defined. I've generously restated that view in a far milder form: the Courts are structurally more rational than the legislature or executive. Now that's a strawman, especially in a thread where I've already heaped praise on the beautiful science that is law and my hard on for its application. Different from what? The executive? The legislature? Ben and Jerry's? This isn't that profound an observation. On the other hand, you did express a particularly strong view of the Courts superior rationality compared--presumably--to other arms of government. If I'm wrong in this, please show me where. Democrats and Republicans congenially agree to unanimous consent requests on the Senate and House floor everyday. I don't think it follows that the legal profession is special because its participants show remarkable restraint in obstructing the interests of their opponents. BTW, don't be offended if I didn't answer what you saw as your larger points. I wasn't interested at all in your discussion of ideologues and politics and whatnot, only your perception of the judiciary as "the last bastion of objective, independent authority."
  21. In some frames of reference, a two dependent events along a space-time path may appear acausally. It's easy to show that it would not by looking at the interval. A null-like path in 1+1 dimensions is [imath]-dt^2 + dx^2 = 0[/imath]. Since photons are most definitely not at rest with respect to any reference frame, then dt cannot be zero.
  22. patcalhoun


    It's possible, but it didn't happen with either Breyer (confirmed 87-9) or Ginsburg (96 to 3).
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