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13 February 2013


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Interesting comments from China media concerning N Korea.
BBC article from Feb 14th had to close on a lighter note: "the ruling Communist Party's news website yesterday denounced Valentine's Day as a breeding ground for decadence and corruption from the West".
What kind of Valentines Day cards have they been seeing?


Yesterday I watched a youtube video of Andrew Bacevich speaking on the topic of "An End to Exceptionalism", and greatly enjoyed it.


Excellent talk overall, but my favourite part begins on 42:00.

Another talk, by John Mearsheimer, exploring essentially the same issue from a foreign relations point of view, "Imperial by Design":


A follow up discussion and a link to the accompanying article can be found below:



William R. Cumming

Wondering how nuturing culture and decline of testerone in the US Congress will play out over the next decades as the gender numbers translate into the future?

I note for the record that I find the comments of the female commenters on this blog often of great interest to me as differing in perspective and analysis from that of the majority of male participants.

I also enjoy Pat's sister role on the Atheneum!

William R. Cumming

As I understand it the 113th Congress did little to reorganize itself and reform its oversight of the Executive Branch. The result is the continuation of key committees having duplication and overlap as to oversight.

Basically Congress not doing its job of investigation and legislative oversight.

Michael Singer

Has anyone read a credible critique or response to the assertions of the architects and engineers for 9/11 truth? I have read their material and find it shocking and I am wondering what other explanations are outstanding which counter their suggestion that the towers were blown up with explosives before or during the airplane attacks?


And now the filibuster of Hagel. The "non-existent" Israel Lobby working over time!

Since I'm a stickler for formality, why don't we forward all US government nominations to the Knesset for a vote?

Maybe Mitt was right. We truly are an "exeptional" nation.


Let's congratulate Pat for continuing to witness. His having exceptional authority to do so makes it all the more valuable. If more people with authority and/or credentials had stepped forward over the past 12 years, we'd be in a less dismal state.

Maureen Lang

Thanks, William R. Cumming- your input on Pat's blogs much appreciated by me as well.

Fun factoid: I would never have started posting/commenting regularly on either TA or SST but for my brother asking me to "mind the store" over on The Athenaeum while he finished his 3rd novel in the "Strike the Tent" trilogy. Heady experience that, emailing, then formatting a series of TA posts for the likes of FB Ali, Michael Brenner, Cieran, John Minnerath, et al. Thank you, fine gentlemen, for all your great content in those couple of years, & all since then.


Brog and Hagee are riling up the faithful at CUFI again, offering pre-formulated 'letters to your senator':

"Tomorrow -- or possibly as early as tonight -- the Senate will cast a crucial vote relating to the confirmation of Senator Chuck Hagel to be our next Secretary of Defense.

This may be our last chance to stop this nominee! ..."

Main accusation is that Hagee doesn't recognise the greatest threat to America - delaying Armageddon, and pissing of the Almighty for not submitting meekly to Bibi's every whim ... err ... Iran!

"Worst of all, [Hagel] seemed to believe that our policy is the "containment" of a nuclear Iran instead of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability in the first place"

Capabilities are capabilities. They may be put to use, or not. The Israelis have chosen to do that, the Japanese haven't. So far, he Iranian nuclear weapon capability is an asserted and theoretical one, and it is a threat only when Iran chooses to build a nuke. So far, there is no indication that they are doing it. US intelligence community sees it that way. So why the histrionics?

The allegation is only plausible when one suspends disbelief and swallows that the Iranians are crazy, evil and suicidal. Why that is plausible beats me. There are no indication to back up that view.

The same sort of crap was levelled against Iraq, and by dogged persistence in reiterating the allegation, and its uncritical adoption by an incurious media, we're getting the same delusional nonsense.

IMO this is not even projection, because I think the Israelis perfectly well understand that this is not about nukes but about Iran's theoretical ability to deter, if they chose to exercise the nuclear option, which is calling into question the dubious strategy that the Izzies have chosen for themselves - that they must rule supreme south of Turkey, or face a second holocaust or, at least something just as bad, like limited room for manoeuvre while they try to elbow the Palestinians out of Greater Israel.

Facts? Ah, no matter. Iran must not have a nuclear fuel cycle (to which they are entitled under the NPT) and, it has recently come to my attention that Iranian universities have PHYSICS DEPARTMENTS - very troubling, unusually troubling indeed!

Iran, "the greatest threat to America" today? What a joke. IMO the greatest threat to America is stupidity of the sort McCain, AIPAC and CUFI spead, certainly not Iran.

Medicine Man

I'm reading that they're filibustering Hagel's nomination and there isn't enough votes for cloture. In hindsight it looks quite clever that AIPAC declined to chime in on this nomination, instead leaving the task to surrogates.


@ Michael Singer..
All i can say is this about their report. If BS was a form of energy, these guys would be nuclear power plants. As someone who is an mechanical engineer and has worked with munitions this group make a ton of assumptions.
The buildings fell not because of explosives which would have taken weeks to coordinate, but because when the twin were builts substandard japaneese steel was used.
The amount of heat generated weakened the upper structure and it failed causing the lower structures to weight default.
Now in my opinion, all 2 cents of it, I believe AQ figured this out and that is way they drove the AC into the uppernfloors rather than nose dive them to the ground floors. Remember the 93 attack did really zero damage to the structural membrane of the tower because the based was reenforced steel.
But what tye hell do i know?


What has happened to Hagel is a crime...


Facts? They don' need no stinking facts...


Roses are red,
Violets are glorious,
Don't try to surprise
Oscar Pistorious

William R. Cumming

Some indications that both S. Korea and Japan now believe the most recent N. Korean nuclear test has given them de facto green light to be fully nuclear capable by end of this decade [are they already?]!


Got to wonder what DIA/MSIC is saying about the land or sea based launch vehicles? That is the key here...


PS: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL34256.pdf


I enjoyed your article on the Huffington Post re America of Fear. I thought for some time that too little attention has been paid to the possibility that the entire nation, or most it, and certainly, the leadership that ran, *literally*,sans personal belongings, out of the Capital and White House et al are suffering from a type of mass PTSD. If one examines the clinical elements of that disorder, along with the legal elements that have to be present, in a case of intentional infliction of emotional distress, you will, I suggest, at least see the patterns. It was the element of PERCEIVED physical danger to you, or your loved ones, that is the central element. A lot of people in DC and NYC had it. When it spread to PA, more people were brought into calculation. And for few hours....as Bush was rather unceremoniously shuttled from god's knows where to god knows where...he, in theory, experienced it too. This attack, perceived on TV, yet experienced as possible imminent physical danger, on such a wide spread scale, was, and is, unprecedented. And little studied. You bet Professor, the adrenaline still flows.


I beleive Popular Mechanics responded to the truthers some years ago. There are other problems with the official version of 911 worth investigating. One is an airline pilot saying the second planes turn into the tower is too fast and tight for an inexperienced pilot to perform.


There was a meteor shower in central Russia- near an area with many nuclear facilities, including the major reprossessing facilty of Mayak. The people must have been terrified, thinking WWIII had started. Check the video from Russian TV...




But what tye hell do i know? Not much.

(1) Substandard japanese steel? In 1973, Japan was the world's largest producer of steel. Do you honestly want us to believe that the world's largest producer of steel produced a substandard product and that its global customers accepted that over safety standards?

(2) The buildings were pre-wired in 1973, according to Paul Laffoley, who worked on the interior design of both towers, in a 2007 interview. As he said, all the buildings in Manhattan were pre-wired for demolition then in case they had to take them down. Google for his mikehagan.com interview. It's about 32 minutes in and it's incidental to the conversation. It just comes out.

(3) British Steel, in concert with European safety organizations, commissioned a three-year study around 1995 on the effect of fire on multi-story steel-framed buildings at its large-scale test facility in Cardington. They built office buildings with core columns and steel girders, cement floors, elevators, and filled them with office equipment. Some had fire insulation, some didn't. Then they used fuel to ignite the fires that burned hotter in their tests than the temp NIST says burned in the WTCs. Your assertion that "The amount of heat generated weakened the upper structure and it failed causing the lower structures to weight default" is completely disproven by their three-year results, which structural engineers now rely upon as definitive. Google for the info. Don't have time to do a link hunt. They have pictures, too.

(4) You assume a jet fuel (kerosene) fire can cause a building to snap at 30 degrees 25% from the top, vaporize for the next 50% of the floors, and then fall into its footprint in less than 10 seconds. Snap, crackle, pop, hunh?

(5) In their FAQs, NIST says
6. What caused the collapses of WTC 1 and WTC 2?

Based on its comprehensive investigation, NIST concluded that the WTC towers collapsed because: (1) the impact of the planes severed and damaged support columns, dislodged fireproofing insulation coating the steel floor trusses and steel columns, and widely dispersed jet fuel over multiple floors; and (2) the subsequent unusually large number of jet-fuel ignited multi-floor fires (which reached temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius, or 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) significantly weakened the floors and columns with dislodged fireproofing to the point where floors sagged and pulled inward on the perimeter columns.[...]
(There are cooking woks in Hong Kong restaurants that reach 1800 F for eight hours a day, day in and day out. The woks and stoves don't melt, and the restaurants don't implode.)

NIST is expecting me to believe that a 1800 F fire (completely negated by the British Steel 3-year Cardington structural fire experiments) can fell and vaporize 43,600 windows
, 600,000 sq ft of glass
, 200,000 tons of structural steel, 5 million sq ft of gypsum
, 6 acres of marble
, and 425,000 cubic yds of concrete (according to ABC Nightly News) in less time than it takes me to count to 10 on my fingers. Go on. Count out 10 seconds.

Apparently you believe this, too.

BTW, fire raged from the 11th to the 16th floors for six hours in one of towers in 1975 or 1976. Zip happened to the structure of the building, and it had 94 floors of weight above the fire floors.

John Minnerath

Glad to see someone mention this event.
It wasn't a shower, but a single large random meteor.
Very significant one though.
Probably around 10 meters in size and released several kilotons of energy when it heated up in the atmosphere and exploded.
Some estimates are that there are ~100 million such pieces of rock floating around us.
They impact earth on occasion, usually over uninhabited regions and go unnoticed.
Russia also had another similar occurrence, the famous Tungusta event in 1908. That one still poses questions as to it's source.

Mark Logan

Man, does this place needs a feel-good story.

One damn smart dolphin:

(The upper video has the divers narration, the lower has more footage of the incident.)


"So Long, And Thanks For Getting That Damn Line Off My Fin!" -Doug Campbell?

Maureen Lang

Thank you, John! Was hoping someone on SST would bring up the Russian meteor shards blast. Earth being situated in a cosmic shooting gallery- just a matter of time before one of them zeroes in. Sky & Telescope brings up some good points on possible lessons to be learned from today's event:

A quick question for you: any suggestions for best places online (besides NASA site) to view photos/video of today's Asteroid 2012 DA14 fly-by?

John Minnerath

Space Weather
Has some excellent video links for the Russian event and also links and info on 2012 DA14.

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