• Biz,  Funny,  Humor,  Iran,  Israel,  Judaism,  Tech

    Friday link clearing

    • Sarah Silverman, Obama, and the Jewish vote – not safe for work, but worth watching
    • Small Banks are doing fine it seems
    • Israel asked Bush for permission to bomb Iran, and it seems Bush refused! Good. No point in throwing away all the gains in Iraq
    • Making money twice – worth reading
    • Who serves in the military? Well worth reading.
    • Jetpacks!
    • The difference between Sunni and Shia in short form
    • And this little nugget – via Ezra Klein

      Dear American:

      I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

      I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

      I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

      This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

      Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

      Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

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  • Iran,  Israel,  Middle East

    The Israel lobby complex

    A question to my many readers

    I recently watched Hillary Clinton basically state that her administration would treat an attack on Israel as an attack on the United States. Charles Krauthammer makes a similar proposal in a column here. He is kind enough to give some reason as to why the US should assume this burden, specifically

    it will be said, because Israel could retaliate on its own. The problem is that Israel is a very small country with a small nuclear arsenal that could be destroyed in a first strike. During the Cold War, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. created vast and invulnerable submarine fleets to ensure a retaliatory strike and, thus, deterrence. The invulnerability and unimaginably massive size of this American nuclear arsenal would make a U.S. deterrent far more potent and reliable than any Israeli facsimile — and thus far more likely to keep the peace.

    If I remember correctly, Israel has nuclear missile submarines, which would make a successful Iranian first strike unlikely.

    The question is, does anyone seriously expect that Iran would be willing to gamble on a sixty percent change of annihilation, but not a 100% chance? Realistically that would be more like a 90% chance due to American political wavering, but let’s call it 100% for arguments sake.

    The obvious answer to this is “The Iranians are irrational” which is a claim not borne out be history. They’ve been quite skillful players of brinkmanship for years now. Evil and harmful yes, irrational and stupid, definitely not. Is there really that much value to pandering to the American fans of Israel?

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  • Funny,  Iran

    Best metaphor ever

    From the War Nerd

    If we couldn’t get people on our side after deposing a monster like Saddam, what chance do you think we have of winning hearts and minds in Iran? The kids in Iran are pissed off at the way the old Mullahs won’t let ’em rock and roll, but the idea that they’ll support an American invasion because they’re bored is totally insane. It’s like imagining that the kids in Footloose would’ve backed a Soviet invasion of Nebraska because John Lithgow wouldn’t let them hold school dances.


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  • Iran,  Middle East,  Military

    Tdaxp on winners and losers in a war with Iran

    Dan Tdaxp has a very good post on the winners and losers of a purely punitive (i.e. we don’t occupy) attack on Iran. It’s well worth reading.

    One thin that is not mentioned is that a take-down of Iran would create sizable about of Indian country, it would also be contiguous with the other large patch of Indian country, i.e. Afghanistan. I have no meaningful speculation on what would ensue from that.

    Now that I think about it, “Land Ocean” might be a better way to refer to large lawless areas.

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  • Iran,  Iraq,  Middle East

    More Iraq

    One oft-repeated trope about Iraq is that Iran and Syria don’t have any interest in an unstable Iraq. Why? While I’m sure that is not their ideal situation, I’m sure that a vibrant pro-Western democracy would be worse in their opinion.

    Also the possible strategy of doubling down (a “troop surge”) is doomed to failure. The Iranians and Syrians can trade off lives and money at a very favorable ratio to them for the foreseeable future.

    However this is a moot point. Enough highly motivated factions are in Iraq to make the eventual breakup a certainty. What we should be doing is facilitating the breakup instead of denying it.

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