Opium Open Thread

mmghosh's picture

Opium production in Afghanistan [url=http://www.areu.org.af/Uploads/EditionPdfs/1122E%20Managing%20Concurrent%20and%20Repeated%20Risks%202011.pdf]is decreasing.[/url]


Things are getting better!  So the Australians are [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/world/asia/australia-to-withdraw-from-afghanistan-earlier-than-planned.html]getting out.[/url]  Notwithstanding [quote]However, the study shows that two other factors have been more important in driving the significant decline in opium poppy cultivation since 2008: the dramatic increase in wheat prices, and the governor’s counter-narcotics stance backed by an increased national and international security presence. The dramatic rise in wheat prices in Afghanistan that took place from mid-2007 to late- 2008 led to growing concerns over food security in Helmand Province and in turn to an increase in levels of wheat cultivation to meet household food requirements. These concerns over food security were in part driven by excessive opium production in 2008 and a consequent growing reliance on wheat flour imports from Pakistan. However, increasing uncertainty over the supply from Pakistan, given the deteriorating security situation across the border, and the imposition of higher transport and transaction costs also played a role.[/quote]


Some [url=http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-26/asia/world_asia_afghanistan-cash-loss_1_kabul-afghanistan-cash?_s=PM:ASIA]discordant notes.[/url]


[quote]"It's hard to estimate exactly how much is going out of Afghanistan, but I can tell you in 2011, 4.5 billion was (flown) out of Afghanistan," said Khan Afzal Hadawal, deputy governor of the bank of Afghanistan.


That is just what is moving out of the Kabul airport. It is estimated $8 billion in cash was lugged out of the country last year by car, private jets and border crossings. That is almost double the entire country's budget for 2011.[/quote]

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One For The List

M Scott Eiland's picture

The list of lawsuits that should get all attorneys involved in filing them disbarred and their clients hammered with their opponents' legal fees and all expenses incurred by the court, that is. The new legal atrocity? Claiming that right to work states are violating the Thirteenth Amendment.

Any judge who does not immediately toss this crap out the window and issue draconian sanctions to all responsible should be immediately targeted for impeachment.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

This really is fascinating

HankP's picture

apparently quantum entanglement is smeared across time as well as space.


So does this argue for or against determinism?



I blame it all on the Internet

Quantum Sigh....(from Comments)

famousringo wrote:
This is why nobody likes you, Quantum Physics. You can't even get causality right.

Quantum Physics goes on Ophra and screams, "Whatever! I do what I want!"


There's no failure of causality here, just a failure of the author to understand the role of the wavefunction and what it represents in the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Guys, Einsten-Podolsky-Rosen was nearly a century ago. We should be beyond the "WOAH IT'S ALL WEIRD AND SHIT!!!" phase.




Wouldn't another way to look at these results be, "The particles knew of their future entanglement before it occurred." In other words, the future event was already set so the present particles acted accordingly. The nice thing about these results is that when looking at the initial states we cannot know if they were the result of random chance or future entanglement.








Well....that was fun!






Best Wishes, Traveller


More importantly...though it is an hour long lecture, the Instability of Nothing...is of some importance to me, even if I don't understand any of this:

Best Wishes, traveller

Sucks To Be You, Mickey

M Scott Eiland's picture

Even if the federal and state statutes of limitations have run on this, that won't stop the Commissioner from dropping the hammer on your @$$ if he's so inclined.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Metta World Assault & Battery

M Scott Eiland's picture

I'd suggest changing your name to "Clueless Goon," dude--it would be more accurate and less mockworthy, given the events of the day.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Darn it

brutusettu's picture

I was going to post that.

Anyway, elbowing a guy after they make contact as he turns around isn't so bad, it's how damn hard he swung at his face that's the problem.

The NBA is not wrestling, but crossfacing the hell out of some idiot JV wrestler that takes a shot from a mile away without even the slightest set-up of any kind did seem damn tempting, just sayin'.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

"The 200 Most Important Events In Sports History"

M Scott Eiland's picture

A decent list, though some will quibble with the rankings or an item or two.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



Munster vrs The All Blacks.



Llanelli v All Blacks

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

In Honor Of 100 Years Of Fenway Park. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .here is one of the very few Red Sox traditions that is older than the venerable park:

In the very first World Series in 1903, Cy Young's Boston Pilgrims (later to become the Red Sox) faced Honus Wagner's Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pilgrims already had a loyal cadre of rabid fans known as "The Royal Rooters," and for some reason they chose "Tessie" as their anthem. They were fond of changing the lyrics of the song to taunt the opposing batters--as Honus Wagner would come to the plate, the Rooters would serenade him with "Honus, why do you hit so badly. . .?" The Pirates took an early 3-1 lead in the Series, but the Pilgrims would later rebound and win the Series five games to three, with the final 3-0 triumph happening in the Pilgrims' home park in front of the delighted Royal Rooters. From then on, though it became more obscure over the decades, "Tessie" was the theme song of the Red Sox. In 2004, a Celtic punk group called Dropkick Murphy's did a tribute song to the Rooters and their beloved song, also titled "Tessie":

The song has become popular among Red Sox fans in the aftermath of the 2004 and 2007 World Championships of the Red Sox--the fifth and six ones for the Red Sox while playing in Fenway Park.

Happy 100th anniversary, Fenway.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Sign Of The Times

M Scott Eiland's picture

Spotted this captioned photo on Facebook:


It occurred to me that until late 2009, you could have put that caption on a photo of Tiger Woods (who, in case anyone has forgotten, is himself black, white, and Asian), and almost anyone who wasn't Rick Reilly (who was the head of the "Tiger Bashing Aging Hack Sportswriters Society" back in the day) would have nodded and said to themselves, "Tiger's got a point" before going about their business. Man, it's been a rough two and a half years for Tiger--he's even losing jobs now to overweight lazy critters who can't even figure out how to use their genitals properly without a room full of Zoology PhDs to point them in the right direction.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Lucky 21

M Scott Eiland's picture

29 year old journeyman right hander Phillip Humber of the Chicago White Sox throws the twenty-first perfect game in the history of MLB. To the surprise of no one in the state of Washington, it was against the Seattle Mariners.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

So there I was,

Bird Dog's picture

driving around, picking up some patio furniture, and tuned into the Mariner game from about the 3rd inning onward, hearing all the different ways the announcers were saying that he was throwing a no-hitter and perfect game without actually saying "no-hitter" and "perfect game". Historic. Too bad it wasn't the Mariner pitcher throwing that gem. Only took 92 pitches. Pretty amazing. Even against the anemic-hitting M's.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Heh. Baseball superstitions....

Jay C's picture

I know it's an old tradition for the players on a team to avoid mentioning the subject when a pitcher is no-hitting a game (to the point of usually treating the lucky hurler like a leper til the final out/first hit), but the sportscasters....?


Anyway, it was no surprise that it was Phil Humber who notched that perfect game: his resume contains that magic phrase that is virtually an ironclad gurantee of future greatness, and a trip to the record books:


"Traded away by the New York Mets"

It Makes More Sense In Some Places

M Scott Eiland's picture

When taking in a game at Dodger Stadium, someone who has never been there before will quickly realize that they are hearing the voice of Vin Scully coming from all around them--a substantial number of fans are listening to the game on the radio as they sit in their seats. The fans from other teams who mock this practice are just jealous that Vin Scully isn't *their* local institution. :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

BD, it's bad enough being a Seahawks fan

HankP's picture

being a Mariners fan is just a whole other level of masochism.

I blame it all on the Internet

I used to say that I was a...

Bird Dog's picture

...long-suffering M's and Seahawks fan, but "long-suffering" is redundant. 


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009



And after the Sox threw away a nine run lead to lose to the Yankees, I know which game I should have watched.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Valentine Looks Old And Tired

M Scott Eiland's picture

He'll turn 62 next month and looks a lot older than a lot of septuagenarians I see on a daily basis. I wasn't old enough to have seen it happen live, but I've read the story of what happened when Johnny Keane--a successful manager who won the 1964 World Series with the Cardinals--took over the 1965 Yankees at a time when they were clearly aging (and victimized by key injuries). The older players reacted badly to his style, and the team basically blew up--he was fired early the next season and was dead of a heart attack less than a year after that, at age 55. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but there's a pretty widely held school of thought that the stress helped to kill him. I can easily see Valentine going out the same way if he sticks it out in a bad situation with a hostile team and lets the stress pile up. Maybe family or friends should take him aside and convince him that going back to that nice cushy broadcasting job wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


M Scott Eiland's picture

This illegitimate power grab needs to be a major campaign issue, with Romney vowing to consign this ill-conceived document to its appropriate function as toilet paper once he is elected.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Do you know why Cape Cod is called that?


How many fisheries need to collapse, how many dead zones do we need, for you to understand that the ocean needs to be regulated?


And yes, it's complicated. It's the coastline of one of the world's largest countries. It goes through nearly every climate region, type of habitat, and resource pool. It is the home of most major population centers, shipping lanes, different geological conditions, etc.


The market has no ability to protect the oceans, because no market mechanism can protect any commons, be it the air or the sea, and we have seen the results of this over and over again.


So I welcome it as a campaign issue. Let's talk about this.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.



take a look at a few of the pictures in this article if you want to see the inevitable result of unregulated maritime spaces.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

It's neither illegitimate, nor a power grab.


Sounds more like a fearmongering campaign strategy short on facts and long on paranoia.

Rep. Don Young (R–Alaska) explained the new bureaucracy to his constituents during an April 3 Alaska field hearing as “a complicated bureaucratic scheme which includes a 27-member national ocean council; an 18-member governance coordinating committee; 10 national policies; nine regional planning bodies—each involving as many as 27 federal agencies as well as states and tribes; nine national priority objectives; nine strategic action plans; seven national goals for coastal marine spatial planning; and 12 guiding principles for coastal marine spatial planning.”


“Are you confused yet?” Young asked the crowd.

Yep. Fearmongering. "Oh my God it takes, like, dozens of people to oversee twelve thousand miles of coastline!" Meanwhile 

“The National Ocean Policy does not create any new regulations,” added Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “It is a planning process, it’s not zoning.”

So you guys go ahead and run with that. I'm sure the Obama campaign will welcome the chance to bring up the Deepwater Horizon disaster again, and talk about what the administration is trying to do to prevent an entire fishery from getting shut down for months. Feel free to help us prove that R Money is objectively pro-shrimp tumors.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Meanwhile. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .one Obama Administration minion's ability to repeat the company line doesn't mean anything--and it doesn't deal with the fact that Congress has repeatedly declined to regulate in this area, making Obama's actions, yes, a power grab--and the fact that you're making political arguments (Obama wants to bring up his inept handling of the oil spill? Oh please please, follow through with that threat) is points for the "illegitimate" side of things as well.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Congress has repeatedly declined...


And with your party running it, will continue to decline.


You could have stopped right there. That's all anybody needs to know, really.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Congress Has Repeatedly Declined To Declare War On China

M Scott Eiland's picture

That wouldn't make it legitimate if some President decided that was wrong and decided to do so on his own "authority."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Congress hasn't declared war since 1941


Hasn't seemed to stop many wars, has it?

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

"No new regulations"


so yeah. Made up fearmongering right wing garbage. Is there no end to it?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

On Obama's word--which isn't worth a moldy cigarette butt.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Because Romney's word is so consistent?


This is the easiest GOP candidate in decades to show as a flip-flopper of Olympic proportions. Go with the word meme, that will really work wonders.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Pointless To Threaten That

M Scott Eiland's picture

The unhinged clowns running his campaign (and offering aid and comfort to it in the media) are already resorting to "what happened to the Romney family dog on a vacation thirty years ago" as a campaign attack (and, amusingly, getting their teeth kicked in for it)--reminding everyone that Obama's word isn't to be trusted will help diminish the impact of the flip flop attacks that are already out there and which will certainly escalate.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Good luck with that. Mitt Romney's Black Helicopter Tour


will play great with that part of the country that gets its news from chainletters. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

My Presumption Of Competence May Have Been Premature

M Scott Eiland's picture

Prosecution fumbles its way through the bail hearing.

I wonder if the plan was for Zimmerman to get out on bail and hope the New Black Panthers do their thing before the prosecution actually has to put on a case. If not, it's hard to see how this clown show is going to convict anyone of anything, much less an already shaky murder two charge.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No biggie.

aireachail's picture

Premature presumption happens to just about everybody at one point or another.

Yes, I Watched the Whole Hearing....



...I was shocked speachless to see Zimmerman on the Witness stand...and he may have hurt himself, not in the court of public opinion, but legally hurt himself. This was...a bold move, but who knows how this will play out long term.


I though O'Mara was very good...but these are, as the Judge noted, everday events, something argued all the the time. Even though I don't do criminal law, I've done a dozen of these myself for one reason or another.


So, Zimmerman was always going to get bail...


What shocked me even more was how unprepared the prosecution was. The testimony of the dective was just terrible....if this continues, there is no way that Zimmerman takes a hit on this.


Best Wishes, Traveller

I don't think the prosecutors were prepared


for the defense to come out cross-examining their evidence & hacking away at their case in a bail hearing. Maybe they should have been, but maybe, on the other hand, this is the defense trying for an early KO.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

One Of The Links In The Article I Linked. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .goes to the Talk Left diary on the subject, the highlight of which is our old friend Armando (Big Tent Democrat, for those here who weren't at Tacitus for the glorious, hyper-Shatneresque phenomenon that was Armando's time as a commenter there) saying (more or less) over and over again: "WTF just happened?" He's not a criminal law specialist, so he's pretty straightforward about not being able to tell what the prosecution has in mind.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

$150,000 bail seems more than reasonable


an outcome, given the case. There's enough doubt about Zimmerman's story to take meaningful precautions, but more than enough doubt about the prosecution's case to leave the kid in stir while they get their act together. I'm not that surprised by the half-ass prosecution showing here. I'll remind you again: people have been convicted and executed in this country - recently - on similarly scanty evidence.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Thanks For Sharing, Mitchy

M Scott Eiland's picture

Why don't you go sit in the "no way in the world I'm getting the nod for VP" corner with Remington Sheffield the Eighth, mmkay?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Memo To Harley

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's been a weird April. Last week, Aaron Harang struck out more consecutive batters in a game than Dazzy Vance, Sandy Koufax, or Fernando Valenzuela ever managed, and now Curtis Granderson manages a single game batting feat that none of the guys on those monuments--or any other Yankee--ever accomplished.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Dear Spoiled Malingering Punk--STFU

M Scott Eiland's picture

Dwight Howard reportedly saying that he won't play for Stan Van Gundy any more.

Just another reminder that even if Stan Van Gundy was replaced with his celebrity doppleganger Ron Jeremy, Dwight Howard would still be the biggest p***k ever seen in Orlando.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It still depends on Stan, to a degree.

brutusettu's picture

Stan isn't striking me as a head coach to get all pissy over though.

Although couches completely consumed with pushing buttons and effectively never coaching deserve eternal hell fire.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Sometimes Pushing Buttons And Sitting Back Is The Way To Go

M Scott Eiland's picture

Meet Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy--the "push button manager." Seven World Series rings ain't a bad run.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Joe won some games? I guess I have to give him his due

brutusettu's picture

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Postscript In The Name Of Balance

M Scott Eiland's picture

Howard opts for back surgery--out for rest of season, playoffs, and Olympics. Odd how he made that decision just after another story started breaking that would have started another tidal wave of "Dwight Howard is an utter tool" stories. He claims to have been drugged during the time that call was alleged to have been made--in vicodin veritas?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Can you be a creationist and a widely-quoted philosopher?

mmghosh's picture

For those of you keeping track at home


Weekly unemployment has increased significantly, the 4-week average is now at its highest level since January and Obama and Romney are essentially tied in the polls. 


I've been watching the correlation between presidential polling #s and economic indicators. My guess has been that Obama's falling numbers are snapshots of a softening economy.


If that's accurate, expect economic news that's released the rest of this month to indicate softening growth and employment.


March's low jobs #s will turn out to not be an abberation but a multi-month pattern.

Then it's President Romney


But I am not as sure as you. Retail figures were good a couple of days ago. Building permits were also up substantially, YOY.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

As Hank points out, it's too early to tell


who will win the election. The economy could absolutely pick up by the fall.


I agree the economic reports are currently mixed.


But I'm using Obama's sinking poll #s as an indicator that once most of the economic data for the past month or so are released, we'll confirm that there's been significant softening during this period.


Obama squandered an amazing # of opportunities his first term and left everything up to luck for his re-election.

India has the real thing...


India tested a long-range missile successfully, capable of delivering nuclear warheads to about 3100 miles, so any part of China, for example.


What is interesting is that this missile is the real thing. It uses solid fuel like any decent modern missile, and it is compact and mobile. In other words, it's a real military weapon that when operational (apparently by 2014) will be launchable within minutes, 24x7.


In comparison, the North Korean rocket wasn't merely a failure, it was also liquid fueled, and huge. It requires slow fuelling and a team of controllers. Thoroughly useless as a military weapon today. It's like an Atlas ICBM in the 1950's. Except that today, with constant satellite surveillance, such a monster and the preparations to launch it are impossible to hide. If the country is a threat to anyone besides its own people, I am not seeing it.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

That's not the delivery system....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....I'd worry about, alas.  But hopefully their semi-dud nukes are also the size of a house.

Sad news indeed

HankP's picture

Levon Helm is in “the final stages of his battle with cancer". I was lucky enough to meet the man and have a drink with him (his was club soda as he had fought his battles with alcohol in the 70s). It sounds like a cliche , but he really was one of the nicest people you could spend some time with. Personable, funny, and not really impressed with himself or his career. Of course, his music career was phenomenal, as the clips below show








what he showed in his career in The Band, as well as his solo career, was a real dedication to the idea of American roots music. The fracturing of music in the 20th century, a result of radio and the recording business, obscures the fact that up until 1900 or so there wasn't a real separation between country, blues, and folk music. Levon Helm certainly left his mark on the attempt to reconcile and re-meld them.

I blame it all on the Internet

The battle is over...


from his website:

[quote]Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon. He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul.[/quote]

I'm glad he was able to pass in peace like that. Too many people these days aren't afforded that gift. He will be missed.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Death comes to us all

HankP's picture

he left more of a legacy than most.


One of the things that's wrong with this country is that Dick Clark's passing got about 100X the coverage that Levon Helms did. Nothing against Dick Clark, but he wasn't nearly as influential or contributed as much to quality music as Levon Helms did.

I blame it all on the Internet

I've met a few people who've met him...


and they've all said the same thing about him. He will be missed.


I think The Band is the godfather of all the roots/Americana music out there. Heet is right: the band remains a vastly underappreciated group of musicians.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

I was woefully ignorant of


I was woefully ignorant of The Band until my wife, some years after we'd been married, started playing her "best of" cd.  Talk about an underrated band!  Thanks for these videos!

"Read this in Chinese"

mmghosh's picture

When it gets to "pay for this in Chinese"

HankP's picture

then we'll have to worry.

I blame it all on the Internet

After read

mmghosh's picture

I think the saying is 'inwardly digest', or to be modern, eat your lunch. Are American tourist spots labelled in Japanese or Chinese?

Sea Tac airport

HankP's picture

which is the main airport in the Seattle area, has signage and announcements in both English and Japanese.

I blame it all on the Internet

It's A Dog Eat Dog World. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but only if Air Force One doesn't call for take-out Fido that night.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Thomas Freidman everybody, these berries taste like burning

brutusettu's picture

[url=http://www.eschatonblog.com/2012/04/one-true-wanker-of-decade.html]eschaton link[/url]

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

If, seeing stars after collisions = brain damage, uh-oh for me

brutusettu's picture

[url=http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7825358/dominic-raiola-detroit-lions-expects-memory-loss-sue-league]Former Detroit Lions center, Dominic Raiola seems to think possible memory loss from collisions was common knowledge[/url].

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

As long as drinking doesn't cause brain damage, I'm OK nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

I'm pritty shore dinkin dosn't caws...


...what were we talking about?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I've Been Maybe Wrongfully Hard on Military Killings.....



...in Afghanistan.


Nursing myself back to health after some dental work, I took some time to wander through a bunch of videos from the combat...and the stresses on soldiers and civilians....are fantastically high...for both.


I have a better appreciation for everyone wanting to kill everyone else...soldiers killing civilians and civilians in name only killing soldiers.


I even have a better appreciation of that US Soldier that went out and killed women and children in the night, twice. (we all want to say he was insane...but was he? When Afghan soldiers kill NATO forces...it is about the same I sense).



A fourteen minute video, not much happens as when I've posted firefight videos....this is just the daily grind of being killed by IEDs.

And, the night raids, effective from a US and NATO perspective, but from the local population's view...this must be unhappy.

(the video I wanted to post has been removed already..hummm...there is so much footage out there, I'll try this)

And note in conclusion that war, the killing of people, is best done quickly and terribly...since it is always terrible.

Best Wishes, traveller

And to what point?

HankP's picture

the Romans went into Germania for decades and killed tens of thouands of barbarians, and for what?

I blame it all on the Internet

Kept them on the other side of the Rhine.....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....for a good, long while.  I mean, look at what happened when they started letting them in.

But that's not how it started

HankP's picture

the Romans (specifically Julius and Augustus) tried to subdue the area and turn it into another province. It was only after those attacks that the Germans became a threat.

I blame it all on the Internet

They became a threat.....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

...when the combination of population growth, some tough winters and even nastier people to the east pushed them westwards.

Come on, Bernard

HankP's picture

if Julius and Augustus hadn't slaughtered them by the thousands, they wouldn't have been setting up huge ambushes, wiping out entire legions and capturing Varus' regimental Eagles.

I blame it all on the Internet



We went to them before they came to us, or even cared whether we existed or not.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Um? MA, who is 'we' here?


Are you taking your handle too seriously?  With Irish and a small dash of German blood in my veins I'd have to call myself a 'them' in this case.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

The West


With regards to the Middle East and Muslim World, the West in general. Countries with direct military intervention include at least the US, UK, France, and Italy, plus the semi-west Soviet Union, Russia really. Then there is Western economic dominance, the fingerprints are everywhere. Germany has made a lot of money, for sure.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Who am us, anyway?

HankP's picture


NSFW !!!!!

I blame it all on the Internet

Who knows the ramifications

brutusettu's picture

Not that the Romans vs Germanics is way out of touch.

The [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajmal_Kasab]merde just stinks to high heaven[/url] for indirect reasons.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

It's Just too Long....Unlike the 100 Years War, England....



...for generations got to loot wholesale the wealth of France. Win or lose didn't much matter, English manor homes and castles were built from the booty stolen in France. This was a very profitable war for England, though, of course, history books record that the Maid of Orleans helped defeat the British in the long run...but for England, so what? They got wealthy...this is also in the better history books.


I have no brief against war...have at it, it can be a tonic for a society, gives direction and purpose to young men....but 10 years in without any reason...has distorted this thing into something terrible.


There was nothing in Germania at the time to want...so the Romans made the border at the Rhine. Smart by the Romans at the time, smart by England at their time....I just want the United States to be smart now. Maybe later, but now, today, in these circumstances, time to leave...as are the smart Australians.



But who's making the money in the Afghan wars?

mmghosh's picture

[url=http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175530/tomgram%3A_dilip_hiro%2C_how_to_trump_a_superpower/]This is from a biased antiwar site[/url] but the facts are not in dispute.


[quote]the Afghan War is being fought by a fuel-guzzling U.S. military in a landlocked, impoverished South Asian country with almost no resources of any sort.  Just about everything it needs or wants -- from fuel, ammunition, and weaponry to hamburgers and pizzas -- has to be shipped in by tortuous routes over thousands of exceedingly expensive miles.

Up until last November, more than 30% of the basic supplies for the war came by ship to the Pakistani port of Karachi and were offloaded onto trucks to begin the long journey to and across the Pakistani border into Afghanistan.  Late last November, however, angry Pakistani officials -- as Dilip Hiro describes below -- slammed that country’s border crossings shut on American and NATO war supplies.  Those crossings have yet to reopen and whether they will any time soon, despite optimistic U.S. press reports, remains to be seen.

The result has undoubtedly been a resupply disaster for the American military, but you would never know it from the startling lack of coverage in the mainstream media here.  All supplies now have to be flown in at staggering cost or shipped, also at great expense, via the Northern Distribution Network from the Baltic or the Caspian seas through some portion of the old Soviet Union.

Soon after this happened, there were brief reports indicating that the costs of shipping some items had gone up by a factor of six, depending on the route chosen.  Back in 2009, it was estimated that a gallon of fuel cost $400 or more by the time it reached the U.S. military in Afghanistan, and that was by the cheaper Pakistani route.  How much is it now?  $600, $800, $2,400?

We don’t know, largely because coverage of the Afghan war has been so patchy and evidently no reporter bothered to check for months.  Only in the last week have we gotten a Pentagon estimate: a rise in shipping costs of about 2½ times the Pakistani price.  (And even such estimates are buried in wire service stories on other topics.)  In other words, for months no reporter considered the border-closing story important enough to make it a feature piece or to follow it seriously.


Is it really of no significance what money we pour into our wars?  Is no one curious about what the Pakistani decision has meant to the American taxpayer?[/quote]


I'm interested in that modern wars no longer seem to be fought with soldiers living off local supplies.

Wars of conquest & plunder are now illegal.


I believe this change began happening in the late 19th century, but in any case the old concept of right-of-conquest has now been deprecated to the point where it is a literal war crime under Geneva conventions for soldiers to dispossess local inhabitants. Modern high-tech & motorized armies can't be supplied in situ anymore anyway...there's nearly always a long tail supply line of fuel, munitions & high tech replacement parts. Finally in Afghanistan, there really isn't enough local plunder to get by on, and even if their were, it would probably be a bad idea given that we're trying in theory to win over the locals and get them to turn on insurgents who *are* living off of plunder. The enemy, such as it is, has nothing worth taking.


What does this all mean?


It means that in stark contrast to Napoleon's Grande Armee, which not only funded itself completely from conquest but even sent untold wagonloads of gold & art treasures back home, modern militaries effectively have to plunder the home front in order to stay in business. We prefer not to think about it, but we all foot the bill for these overseas adventures. In the last year we've all bought several hundred MREs; I've helped install an Apache avionics system. 


This is the genius of "small wars." They're a contractor boondoggle of the first water. The actual cost divided among the home population is too small to incite a revolt, but Halliburton and Lockheed-Martin Exxon and all the other suppliers make out like highwaymen. 


Any large-scale war is going to bring this financing scheme to a grinding halt. Can you imagine the cost of fielding a modern army one or two scales of magnitude larger than the NATO forces in place today? It'll make the cost of WWII look like a bargain bin.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Who said anything about dispossessing?

mmghosh's picture

I cannot see why purchases can't be made locally - at least food and other such.  It would stimulate the local economy.  You could even bring in local neighbouring countries as suppliers.  


Agreed, the amounts are small, a few hundreds of billions, which is small change in the context of your economy.  And if you are going to fly/truck/train in a mass of sophisticated weponry, adding a pizza box or some burgers is not a big deal to you.  But it would mean a lot to a local businessman.  Hearts and minds, etc.

I believe that is being done already, not sure at what


scale in Afghanistan. One problem, somewhat embarrassing after 10 years: it can be hazardous to your health to be a paid contractor for NATO forces.


In any case, there is zero chance that Afghanistan can provide a substantial portion of the supplies needed by the occupiers. Plunder, or legal purchase, isn't a feasible supply option.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Supplying a couple of hundred thousand troops?

mmghosh's picture

Come on.  You forget the Taliban are supplying themselves, too.  They're buying from the local community, and stimulating it.


If Afghan peasants are able to supply ISAF at Western prices, there would be a stake in support.

I guarantee NATO buys locally 50 times what the Taliban do


albeit without making a dent in their supply needs.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Heh There was an "Afghan First" policy

mmghosh's picture

a couple of years ago.




That, I think, is behind the record amounts of cash being smuggled out of Afghanistan as reported in the CNN clip!  


In other words, a cash-to-contractors policy.  There must be plenty of smart people in NATO who can figure out ways, via co-operatives, or credit unions, e.g. to get the money to the producers and peasants, who would form the actual bulwark against the Taliban. 


You're right in that matters have changed in some ways.  The USA no longer actively and openly supports non-state terrorism in the way that it did in the 1980s - which is a major advance in itself, something we, and others, could learn from, too.

Illegal, just what do you mean by Illegal?



...has anyone from Iran stood trial for sending boys armed only with blue prayer tokens into Iraqi mine fields to clear the way for regular troops?


Has Putin been arrested for leveling Grozny in Chechnya? And Bush the lesser in the dock with Blair?


Not to be cynical, but war crimes are for losers and the weak.




The Geneva Conventions make it illegal to dispossess


civilians (i.e., to requisition their homes & property). Used to be called plunder, now it's called a war crime. War crimes may be for losers, but you've got to admit, even the most powerful countries tend to respect their limits.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I do not!


War crimes may be for losers, but you've got to admit, even the most powerful countries tend to respect their limits.


On this planet? I have to admit no such thing. If anything, the most powerful countries are the worst offenders, as eeyn points out.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

You and eeyn are being silly,


though I didn't have time to explain why yesterday. We were comparing the law of war, 18th century vs. now. In that context, the major powers practice a far more restrained version of war than, say, Austria or the Papal States at the time. Throughout history, up until the early 19th century, it was customary for armies to live off plunder. During a campaign, they would seize food stores, animals, supplies, billet troops in civilian houses, and demand tribute or taxes from the populations. Napoleon financed most of the campaign against the First Coalition (that is, the entire war, not just his own army) by plundering the cities & city-states of Northern Italy. He sent entire wagon caravans loaded with gold, jewelry, and other valuables back to Paris - including much of the collection now housed in the Louvre. The depradations of individual soldiers - rape, casual murder, theft - were far more common (as in, nearly universal) than they are today. And official pillaging was expected.


The rules of siege warfare were particularly brutal. A city refusing to yield to a besieging army could expect no quarter if the siege was broken, and it was up to the whims of the commanding officers whether, to what degree, and for how many hours or days civilians would be turned over to the sword, the sack, and mass rape. 


These customs have changed drastically.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Customs haven't changed, just necessities and methods


Yeah, armies used to live off the land and local population,  but then there weren't any other choices prior to modern transportation and food preservation.   They don't do it now because it's not necessary,  and I doubt our troops want to live off gritty dates and mutton.


Napoleon ... sent entire wagon caravans loaded with gold, jewelry, and other valuables back to Paris - including much of the collection now housed in the Louvre


That's because Napoleon had some appreciation for the finer things.   Here's how we deal with the loser's cultural artifacts in modern times: just allow rampant looting and destruction.  I'll concede though, that destroying stuff isn't the same as plundering it, if you want to consider that an improvement.


As MA already mentioned we have two recent instances of cities resisting sieges and the results were essentially total destruction.  But classic sieges don't happen much anymore because cities can be, and frequently have been, destroyed from the air.   Maybe one can make a case that bombing a civilian population is a moral improvement over sending in soldiers to do one-on-one rape and murder.   We certainly seem to believe that,  I'd guess that if Bales had deliberately called in an airstrike to kill 17 civilians instead of shooting them one at a time we'd have heard less about it. 


You mentioned commanding officers.   It used to be that the losing head of state and military commanders often got a dignified surrender ceremony, and could frequently get off with giving up some treasure/ransom, prior to going into retirement.   Compare what happened to (say) Napoleon, Robert E Lee, Kaiser Wilhelm, etc after their losses to what happened to Qaddafi, Hussein, or Iraqi generals.   As far as the leadership is concerned things have gotten harsher in modern times. But then maybe that's not a bad thing.

Are you suggesting CENTCOM looted the Iraqi Museum,


or that we now have all of those Sumerian & Babylonian treasures squirreled away in Washington? Or that said looting even begins to foot the bill for the 30-day invasion? 


The basic facts are these: in classic warfare, the defeated population was always made to bear the costs of war (in tribute, in food & supplies, in slaves, etc.). In modern warfare, the *home* population bears the costs of war, and extracting subsistence from occupied populations is generally considered a crime. 


About 20% of Fallujah was destroyed, and about 0.4% of the population were killed. Compare the Swedish invasion of Pomerania & Bavaria, during which some 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns were razed, along with wholesale & wanton loss of life (30% of the German population). The buildings destroyed in Fallujah were military objectives...the intent was not to destroy the town or punish the civilian population, but to win. Grozny is a better equivalent to Napoleonic warfare, but again Russia has always been an exception to current norms in this regard. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Finally, wars used to be fought for clear reasons

mmghosh's picture

plunder is a reason.  But why there was a war in Iraq at all was unclear from the beginning.  Making money for some favoured contractors, or even personal enrichment (which is what it turned out to be) is hardly a good enough reason.

Falujah, Grozny


The effective ROE in both of those was essentially "level it, kill every male of military age, torture the prisoners".


Two rebellious cities that got the 19th century treatment in return.


Also, plunder? Look at the oil law we got passed in Iraq. Or IP law to favor the likes of Monsanto. Who is going to get sweet oil deals in Libya?


Modern fighting forces don't waste time with small change. Plunder simply moved up.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I'm sorry, it's just nothing like having an army of


100,000 rape, pillage, burn and plunder its way through Saxony. The Red Cross estimated that approximately 800 civilians were killed during the 2nd Battle of Fallujah, while around 90% of the population was allowed to evacuate before the attack. Civilians killed as "collateral damage" are entirely different from the deliberate horrors routinely inflicted on civilians for weeks & months *after* battles had ended in previous centuries.


WWII is the major exception to my general point that civilians tend to be exempted from direct military action. Chechnya is also an exception, although the Russians have never really abandoned 18th century warfare, so you might say Russia is an exception.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'm going to have to go with Jordan on this one

HankP's picture

as far as the actions of the armies on the ground are concerned. Of course, total war as practiced in the 20th century achieved much the same results as more primitive armies by bombing civilian populations (the firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden being good examples). But the wholesale rape and slaughter of anyone in front of an army in the field is just not on the same level that was considered normal before the 18th century.

I blame it all on the Internet

Thanks Hank, I can agree with you without having to say


I agree with Jordan.  Whew!  That's a bullet dodged.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Oh Darth, you and Jordan are so much alike

HankP's picture

it's like watching a terminal case of sibling rivalry.

I blame it all on the Internet

Well, I'm sure Jordan is quite flattered.


Though the last time I heard the phrase 'you're just like him.' 'Him' being me, a fight broke out.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


HankP's picture

I was trying to compliment you.

I blame it all on the Internet

I'm thinking there's got to be a PRV in here somewhere. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



War crimes may be for losers, but you've got to admit, even the most powerful countries tend to respect their limits.


Let's just take the most powerful country and the last ten years.


Torture - check

Unprovoked invasion - check

Massacre of civilians - check

Defilement of corpses - check

Humiliating and degrading treatment - check

"carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court" - check

Taking of hostages - check

EDIT - Failure to prosecute those responsible for above - check


PS mild punishments given to low level scapegoats don't get us off the hook.


I do See That Today, Jack Staw is Being Sued for Rendition


You Whip Me Manish Like I'm a Disobedient Servant Boy...



....you  batter me with indisputable facts...I agree master, I know you are right, years and years ago I thought that a broad liberalism brought to the Afghan people was a worthy endeavor...


But I abase myself now, we had not the will nor the wisdom of a Caesar or even a William of Normandy...


Help me leave this torturous  road, Master, Help Me!


(actually, I know how to leave, just no one ever listens to me)


Best Wishes, Traveller

Greetings from Boulder CO

HankP's picture

Nice town, last time I was here was about 30 years ago. It was nice then, it's nice now but quite a bit more expensive. We'll be touring UC Boulder tomorrow, then off to Loveland to visit the wife's sister. Lots of hipsters and old hippies and lots of homeless living in the parks.

I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture

My kid is just a few miles down the road in Golden. He absolutely loves it there. 300 days of sunshine and a moderate climate, all quite appealing after growing up in this cloudy, wet area.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I've been hiking in Golden

HankP's picture

it's a beautiful area (despite the Coors brewery, which can be seen for miles). We just got back, checked out UC Boulder and spent time with the wife's sister in Loveland. It is sunny there, but it's also really, really dry. I must have drank about a gallon of water a day.


But I think my daughter is going to pick Oregon State. She was a lot more impressed with the academic approach there.

I blame it all on the Internet

Riiiiiiiight, a gallon of 'water'


Hey, ever hear of the Gothard Sisters?  They are a celtic/Irish band from up your way that may be at the PA Celtic Fling in June.  I may attend so I'm looking for what bands I need to catch.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Oh, I drank plenty of bourbon too

HankP's picture

but seriously, the dehydration was ridiculous. It's not like Seattle or Louisiana, where if seed falls on the carpet you'll have a small plant growing there the next day.

I blame it all on the Internet

Jeebus Hank, 'Drank' is a disgusting word


'am drinking' is the preferred phrase.  'Drank' implies one is dead.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


HankP's picture

"drank" is the past tense of "drink". As a conservative, I guess you prefer the archaic form "drunk".


I never figured you for a grammar nazi.

I blame it all on the Internet

Green Party candidate


Chomsky endorses Jill Stein for president: http://www.jillstein.org/chomsky?recruiter_id=53258


Will Stein be a factor in 2012? I have no idea.

Green's Last Presidential Nominee Was Cynthia McKinney

M Scott Eiland's picture


There's nowhere to go but up for them.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Funny, I didn't even remember


I was too busy getting suckered by the Obama people into thinking they actually wanted to change the status quo.