Saw this in my twitter feed earlier today and could not resist a chuckle when I read it.  Enjoy…

Millenium Falcom vs. USS Enterprise
by Maciver.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 30-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

The last few years have seen a more muscular French foreign policy with interventions in its former colonies Ivory Coast and Mali.  France was also the loudest proponent of taking down Gaddafi (probably to overcompensate for its support of the Tunisian dictator and Pharaoh Mubarak at the start of the Arab Spring).

Of course having advocated war in Libya, France (and Britain) ran out of missiles when faced only with Gaddafi’s puny military.

President Hollande has toned down his bellicosity a bit in the aftermath of the vote in the house of Commons.  However, its appears that a handful of French missiles may join the American barrage against Syria.  Quite a turn of events from a decade ago when the Neocons were renaming French fries and referring to “Old Europe.”

Meanwhile in Britain recriminations abound.  Having miscalculated the level of opposition to the war Cameron’s toadies are attacking Labour for endangering the special subservient relationship.

However, for now little has changed.  Even without Britain, Barack Obama’s rush to a half baked war continues.  Looks like the Gallic Rooster will join the American Rooster in its Syrian war.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 29-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Maybe it is time to call them Freedom Muffins.  The haggis eating warm beer swillers in the House of Commons delivered a resounding slap to head poodle Prime Minster David Cameron today by rejecting military intervention in Syria. Even though the vote was not binding, Cameron acknowledged the sentiment in the country and Parliament tersely noting:

It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.  I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”

So much for the special relationship..it cannot work when Britain does not recognize its role as lapdog. In the United States President George W. Bush Barack Obama remained unbowed and indicated that the United States was ready to act alone. Our Congress only wants to be consulted but does not want the responsibility of authorizing the war. The British parliament has learned the lessons of Iraq. Our Washington bubble has not, even though the proposed intervention is extremely unpopular. So, for now the administration is unlikely to suffer the humiliation of David Cameron.

Fareed Zakaria dumbly and stubbornly supported the Iraq war but in the video below cogently sets forth the quagmire and bloodbath facing us (whether or not we interfere).

The do-gooders are united in the need to send Assad a message. Yet apart from a belief in magically identifying in the good guys of the opposition, none of them has identified what the end game is and how we prevent an ethnic bloodbath and install a stable government in Syria. The mistaken urge to maintain credibility is driving us to a war in Syria…and it will do so again in Iran.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 27-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

With Secretary Kerry’s speech Monday American military intervention into the Syrian quagmire seems inevitable.  Last year Barack Obama allowed himself to be backed into a corner by saying that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government constituted a red line.  Last week that line appeared to be crossed as horrific images of casualties from a nerve gas attack near Damascus emerged.

So like Libya, a human rights calamity is driving the United States to war.  The Syrian government and their Russian patron have of course denied that they used chemical weapons.  With the military balance slowly tilting in its favor the use of chemical weapons at this juncture is puzzling.  However the United States enters into a quagmire that it will be hard to extricate itself from.

Stupid comparisons to the Kosovo intervention have started.  The virtues of air power are once again being touted.  Yet in Kosovo the Yugoslav government only capitulated when the exasperated American government intimated that boots on the ground were on their way.  Here boots on the ground have been ruled out.  After the example of Libya the Russians are adamantly against any regime change.

American airstrikes by themselves are unlikely to solve this conflict.  Unlike Gaddafi, the Baath regime is backed by communities like the Alawites who have every reason to fear a massacre.  The Syrian opposition itself is now dominated by radical jihadists so the merits of them replacing the brutal Baathist regime can be debated.

But after a year, the warmongerers have their wish.  America is about to militarily intervene in an ethnic conflict where it has absolutely no idea as to the end result it wants or can achieve.  The suffering of the Syrian people is appalling.  However, the explanations as to why an exhausted America must be the gendarme of the world are not compelling.

It does not bode well for the prospects of war with another country in the region where Barack Obama against his better judgment was compelled by the outcry from the media, the right-wing and the Israeli government to draw a line in the sand – Iran.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 21-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

The Egyptian military appears to have crossed its Rubicon and decided to crush the Muslim Brotherhood.  By arresting the Muslim Brotherhood leadership it will probably cripple the hierarchical organization in the short run.  However, it makes the chance of an Islamist insurgency all that much more likely.  Perceiving themselves cheated of a democratic mandate some Islamists will likely turn to violence.  History never repeats itself exactly, but the Egyptian army appears to have gambled that they will have the staying power to crush an insurgency like Algeria did.  It is a dangerous gamble that will likely have bloody repercussions.  Egypt is much larger than Algeria and at the heart of the Arab world, not a country out in the fringes of the Sahara.

The Egyptian military bears much of the blame for the potency of the brotherhood.  Under the corrupt dictatorship of Mubarak, the secular opposition was crushed.  The Brotherhood was allowed a measure of action and allowed to organize.  This allowed the Pharaoh to point to the emerging Islamist threat for Western aid.  Now the army is out to crush an entity it allowed to develop strong roots during Mubarak’s inefficient and corrupt misrule.

This leaves America in a horrible situation.  On the one hand it tosses half-hearted denunciations of the brutal Baath regime in Syria – the Islamist opposition there not helping matters.  At the same time it will turn a blind eye as its (still) official ally slaughters its opponents.  Even though he knows better this places Barack Obama back with the much maligned American hypocrisy during the cold war.  So far American attempts to mildly criticize both sides have drawn the ire of both sides.  What happens if the Egyptian public turns on the army if there is a repeat of the corrupt authoritarian rule from the Mubarak years (a likely option) is anybody’s guess.

In the short run the public violence in Egypt will likely die down.  In the long run it appears we will see Algeria on the Nile.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 20-08-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Back in 2009 Senator Jim DeMint encouraged opposition to the passage of Obamacare by stating its defeat would be “Obama’s Waterloo.”  The bill passed and was upheld by the Supreme Court.   Obama was reelected.

Now out of the Senate and heading the Heritage Foundation into hackish irrelevance DeMint has been urging the pointless attempts to defund Obamacare by holding the economy hostage.

A couple of weeks back Heritage pushed a poll purportedly showing wide support to repealing Obamacare that was so bad that even partisan hacks like Jennifer Rubin mocked it.  Today DeMint suggested that Obama would plausibly sign a bill defunding his greatest domestic policy victory.

The belief in the utter stupidity of his supporters that this would happen is breathtakingly cynical.  Maybe he is counting on the geniuses who wanted to “keep government out of their Medicare” to fall for this fund raising con job.  It is a sad commentary on the degeneration of the intellectual right.

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 20-08-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The birther rage against Barack Obama was stupid.  Even more so because even if Obama was born in Kenya, he was still a natural born citizen automatically acquiring citizenship thru his American mother.

Now comes along the demagogic wannabe McCarthy Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).  It has been common knowledge that Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother.  Cruz confirmed that yesterday by releasing his Canadian birth certificate. 

Of course this also means Cruz was a Canadian citizen at birth and since he never took the requisite steps to abandon said Citizenship is still a dual citizen.  After denying the obvious Cruz grudgingly said he would take the steps to surrender Canadian citizenship.

Gets even better.  Thru his Cuban father Cruz may also be a natural born citizen of Cuba.  Such a provision likely ensnares the American born Senator Marco Rubio too. 

Birthers let your heads explode.

Note: Cuba does not have dual citizenship so the natural born citizenship clause probably does not apply….but the humor is too good to pass up….particularly given the asshole involved.

Seems appropriate to note the (briefly) Swiss Frau who ran for president last year.

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 18-08-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The right-wing was outraged a few years back when Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos penned a book referring to them as the American Taliban.  Since then the tea party seems commited to proving him right.  Reality does not intrude into their fantasies and the last few years their definition of compromise has been for the other side to accept their policies without any compromises on their part.  The result has been a legislative logjam and veteran Republicans (Bob Bennett, Dick Lugar etc.) who had the temerity to work with Democrats were primaried out of office.

Now to be fair and balanced, there are many on the left unhappy with the tendencies of certain centrist democrats.  The key difference has been a lot of the ire against the Max Baucuses and Blanche Lincolns was for sabotaging their own party prior to negotiating with Republicans as opposed to the concept of compromise.  In the tea party world any compromise or legislative deal making is a sin.

Witness the gem included in letter sent to Senator Lamar Alexander this week urging him to retire:

Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous. America faces serious challenges and needs policymakers who will defend conservative values, not work with those who are actively undermining those values.

How exactly do these nihilists expect any legislation to be passed without compromise and bi-partisanship when the Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency leaving the Republicans with only the House (and the Supreme Court)?  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Republican Party at present does not appear interested in governing.  The House Republicans made fools of themselves two weeks ago when they discovered that Paul Ryan’s budget fantasy left it to them to identify budget cuts – and there are cuts unpalatable to even Republicans (particularly when the Military-Industrial Complex is untouchable).  And now for the third time in as many years the tea party and conservative nut jobs are threatening a default on American debt if they don’t get what they want (the target right now is Obamacare – an originally conservative proposal that has somehow morphed into a socialistic attack on our freedoms).

The tendency of the establishment stenographers to lump both parties together and blame President Obama for not having a magic wand to overcome Republican obstruction has allowed the American Taliban to avoid the consequences of their irresponsibility.  This does not bode well for the fall.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 15-08-2013
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

The video below explains why.  Enjoy:

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 15-08-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Last year I commented that the Egyptian alliance appeared to have run its course.  Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood have since been toppled in the coup that we dare not call a coup, but the same sentiment holds true.  Once again in the Middle East we are faced with the ugly reality that elections do not constitute democracy.

Morsi was popularly elected and the Muslim Brotherhood in large part because of Pharoah Mubarak’s policies was the largest political grouping in Egypt.  But he was a thin skinned leader who was intolerant of dissent and like other majoritarian ballot box despots like Hugo Chavez had little regard for the minority groupings.  Worse he mismanaged Egypt’s economy (though conspiracy theories about the role of Mubarak supporters abound).  By the time he was toppled the public mood had changed.

Yet the coup in all but its name left America in a precarious situation.  Having belatedly supported the Democratic transition from Mubarak, the Obama administration twisted itself in loops trying to support an elected if authoritarian and incompetent government but trying not to trigger the ban on American aid required by law after a coup.  The result satisfied nobody on the Egyptian street.  The anti-Brotherhood supporters were outraged that Obama appeared to support Morsi.  The Brotherhood who did not believe in democracy to begin with was outraged that the rules of electoral legitimacy don’t apply to them and took to the street.

The result has been violence and distressing signs of early 1990s Algeria (where the army voided an Islamist election victory resulting in years of turmoil and violence).  The Egyptian army which never cared for the Brotherhood to begin with has been extremely hamfisted and brutal in clearing the street.  Hundreds were killed in yesterday’s assault on the protestors camps.  Nobel Laureate and Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest after the crackdown.

The army’s actions highlight once again just how little leverage the United States has in the region and how absurd it is for the United States to twist itself into knots over trying to preserve an aid package it appears the Egyptian establishment does not care about.  Trying to have it both ways once again leaves America exposed to charges of hypocrisy – i.e. we don’t care about bloodshed as long as it is our guys doing the shooting.

At this point it is time to stop the ridiculous tap dance about the coup and acknowledge it as such.  Egypt’s army may have a point that the Brotherhood is not willing for talks, but that is no justification for the bloodbath it unleashed.  The Arab Spring continues its bloody turn and once again highlights the importance in institutions and respect for the rule of law (even by the rulers) in keeping a democracy functional.  Just as important is time and patience to get these established.  On all these points, Egypt has failed.  And so Egypt bleeds.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More