Lees and Orts

Much like Americans have We, The People…, folks in the UK also have a means of directly petitioning their government/parliament.

Like We, The People, anything that garners over 100,000 signatures is guaranteed an official response.

What do you imagine is the leading petition at the moment? That’s right, it is a movement to block Donald Trump from entering the UK based on hate speech.

And it has gathered over 200,00 signatures, thereby guaranteeing not only a government response, but that parliament will debate the subject.

You gotta love the cousins, amirite? 1

Lees and Orts

Hillary blows off the progressives in her party (MoveOn). Doubt that goes down well… 2

Lees and Orts

At least one millennial won’t be voting for Hillary:

Hillary’s plan for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is characterized by five main flaws:

1) Unilateral action against ISIS, where the United States ignores borders of sovereign nations in order to track down military targets, makes us look like an invading force to the locals. Most of the MENA region views the United States with at least skepticism, and at most outright hostility.

2) A significant number of ISIS recruits did not join up because they hold radical Islamic beliefs, but rather because it is a solid paycheck in an area of the world where your other option is slave wages.

3) The members of ISIS we kill have family and friends. To them, it doesn’t matter why an American bomb did the killing, just that it was an American bomb that did the killing.

4) We don’t know where every bomb will blow, and who might become a victim. How many children will we kill? How many will die as a direct result of our intervention? More than 500,000 children have died in Iraq. This gets back to No. 3, but for every life we take, we risk radicalizing that person’s friends and family — people are people, and grieving people will seek an outlet. ISIS is more than happy to be that outlet.

5) We do not fully understand the culture of the people we’re fighting, or the culture of the people we’re trying to help. This should have been one of the most important lessons of the Iraq War. How can we hope to win hearts and minds when we still characterize ISIS as a plague that we can wipe out, and everything will be fine. ISIS is a symptom of larger regional issues.

Hillary’s approach to ISIS is remarkably similar to that of George W. Bush with al-Qaida, and it has characterized her “experience” with foreign policy throughout her career. As much as she says her Iraq War vote was a mistake, it is consistent with the decisions she made at the State Department. From the failed intervention in Libya to the removal of the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, due to his ties to Hugo Chavez, and his replacement with a murderous fascist regime.

A trendy, persistent theory is Bill Clinton (or one of his cabal) convinced/bribed/blackmailed (fuckin’ Clintons!) The Coif to run for President in order to leech votes away from the GOP next fall. Why? Well, a Hillary coronation win. Hey! It’s not that farfetched! Jeb! believes it

In any event what no one considered was the millennials; if they vote their disgust en bloc next fall, writing in Bernie Sanders at each and every opportunity, that might be enough to swing the election back to the GOP.

Which, as it currently stands, would result in a Trump presidency.

Lees and Orts

Still all pouty America sent his presidential aspirations packing, Scott Walker slithered back to Wisconsin just in time to bankrupt the state’s food pantries for Christmas.


Lees and Orts

Two very different origin stories for Syria’s continuing civil war and collapse.

Lees and Orts
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and xkcd‘s Randall Munroe: Are We Alone in the Universe?

CH  -We talk about UFOs, about discovering life on other planets. But nobody intuitively understands what a billion means. If you talk to the average person and say, “What’s the difference between three billion and four billion?” your gut answer is, “One.” When we start talking about the Earth being four and a half billion years old, and the universe being around for nine billion years before the Earth was even formed – how do you start to put that into the context of the search for other forms of life? For the unfathomably huge distances we’d be talking?

RM  -It’s not just that we’ve been bad about educating people about numbers. This is a hard idea! There’s an inherent difficulty in connecting it all up. Maybe it takes going into space, flying around and staring at the world, before you can begin.

CH  -We are potentially right on the cusp of discovering if we’re alone in the universe or not. The discoveries we’ve made in the last couple of years, of other places where liquid water exists – on Mars, on [Jupiter’s moon] Europa, on [Saturn’s moon] Enceladus – where there’s enough heat to keep the water liquid. Anywhere on Earth you have heat and water, you have life. So we may [soon] be able to see if we’re alone in the universe or not. That’s exciting to me.

RM  -And on top of the exploration of our own solar system, the explosion in [the discovery of] exoplanets has just thrilled me. Even if we’re a little way away from some of the really good answers, it’s like, no matter what we do, we’re going to be making cool discoveries with it. What else excites you about the future?

CH  -Our ability to communicate thought – the democratisation of thought. The printing press sort of started it. The telephone took it to the next level. But the internet? Social media? It expands it to a level that’s unprecedented. There’s a chance now, especially with the level of literacy that we’ve achieved in the last 25 years, and the decrease in infant mortality – we’re at the point now where we are not wasting very much human potential. The brightest minds in the world are at the point, now, where almost all of them can access the sum knowledge of the world. That’s pretty exciting, the self-accelerating nature of giving knowledge to people who have the ability to crack it and turn it into new inventions and ideas.

RM  -Yeah. I’m always a little wary of assuming that technology is going to make things better, though.

CH  -Right.

RM  -I feel like a lot of people who are in my world look at climate change, for example, and say, “This is just a technical problem. We need to solve it.” When I think, at the moment, it’s a political problem first and foremost. People in my world can be disdainful of political and social problems and solutions. But we’re never going to stop needing those.

CH  -I think part of what motivates me and, I think, you, is that if you want to have an effective discussion of technical issues they have to be fact-based. And how do you get voters and politicians to make the issues fact-based? If the only way that you present [arguments] is to other nerd royalty, then you’re not going to make a convincing case. What’s important to me about the way you express complex ideas in your cartoons is that it allows people access to a complex idea, and maybe helps them make an informed decision. For me, it’s like: “I think my thinking on this issue is clear.” And then I look at some of your descriptions and I realise I only had a bunch of nebulous thoughts. I love it when someone else has taken a thought deeper than I have.

Lees and Orts

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Time’s Person of the Year ought to be Suzanne Kelly, who initiated this petition. Well done, lass. Well done!
  2. Forgive me…

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