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Is Bush totally out of his mind?

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:36 pm
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Is Bush totally out of his mind? 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:19 am
It causes me some pain to be civil, but I will endure it in an effort to keep this thread unlocked ... I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings SawSS1, but your original tone suggested you were made of tougher stuff.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Nuclear Weapons:
Of course, no government builds the Device for any reason other than to futher it's own gains. And you are correct, it was done to, as you say, "close the door," due to the US (and later NATO) policy of "right to first use" and the corresponding Soviet policy of "retaliatory deterrent," the placement of these weapons in the European theater in a stance indicating thier purpose as "battlefield assets" meant exactly that "If the USSR invades Europe it will precipitate nuclear war on a global scale." Which never meant that anybody believed that such an exchange would be limited to the European continent, as implied by the post I was refuting (Cowboy's).

I disagree. The original placement of those weapons in Europe intended to ensure that a nuclear theater of war, between the USSR and the USA, was kept outside of the continental USA. There were no ICBM's around at the time of this policy's enactment, so your argument that their placement intended to block a global exchange doesn't hold water. It was only after the advent of the reality of a global exchange that the reason for keeping nukes in Europe had to be re-assessed ... those big boys with their big toys had to invent a new "tactic" to be allowed to keep the status quo.

Ok, lets move onto the three links you gave me. Which fully satisfied my demand by the way, thank you, but let's look at them a little more closely. Perhaps I should have included the word "credible" in there somewhere. But I didn't, so you win, mea culpa.
SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Demographics:
"a fraction of the population and not enough to make a demographic dent."
http://www.newsobserver.com/24hour/worl ... 8609c.html

Most of this somewhat interesting document talks about how a tsunami does not appreciably reshape coastal outlines. In the very last paragraph we find your reason for choosing it as an example supporting your original premise that demographics remain unchanged by the event.

This paragraph includes the words "experts say" ... a particular favorite of mine because there is no mention of who the experts are or what they are expert in. So we could stop right there. It also treats Indonesia's population as a homogenous block and completely ignores the fact that Indonesia is a conglomerate of many different peoples (some of whom appear to want out of the conglomerate, take Ache, the epicenter of the disaster, for example).

So it annoys me when people read this sort of poor information and trade on it as "fact".

Next one ...

This one is talking about major industries, however it is quite clear on it's demographic point as summarised for example in this line I extract from it.

"Even as it has destroyed the livelihoods of millions of families in South Asia, the tsunami will shave only a few points off the region's economic growth this year."

Third one ...
SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Here's an article from an Indian news agency which gives some local demographic statistics:
http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/ne ... Tamil+Nadu

This was published on Jan 3, before the full impact was realised. It turned out that of all mainland India communities affected by the event, the state of Tamil Nadu was hardest hit with thousands of families turned instantly into refugees completely dependant on outside aid. So I would argue that the demographic of the coastal areas of this region was severly affected.

Of course India has a population exceeding 1 billion (I don't have the actual figure on hand, but the point is that it is a very large number). But to look at the effect of the tsunami on the peoples of the state of Tamil Nadu in the light of the entire population of the country is to dismiss them as a statistical insignificance. Also, all of the sources quoted in the article you cite are governmental or unspecified ... there are no references to non-governmental assessments at all, which are infinitely more trustworthy because they don't have a stake in the perception of an unchanged status quo.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
I should think that a biologist would understand enough about populations to know that 150K in well over a billion is an insignificant fraction. It's about 1 in 1000

Your treatment of enormous numbers of peoples living in widely disparate regions and practising a large number of different cultures as a single homogenous bloc is on the one hand an admirable statement to the effect that "all peoples are one", and yet on the other a significant generalisation which avoids the inconvenience of realising that the coastal communities affected were a large number of recognisably different populations (demographics). Several of which have been permenantly changed by the disaster. It's why we call it a disaster.

Next ...
SawSS1Jun21 wrote:

Interesting links and factual, thank you. However, the greater danger comes not from ingested isotopes but from external isotopes. Just to keep things even I'll give you a newspaper reference which highlights that aspect ... it also notes an associated significant demographic change which took place and remains in effect to this day (I know that this isn't the thrust of your argument here but it is a nice link to the earlier stuff). Here's the reference-

http://www.gci.ch/Communication/DigitalForum/digiforum/ARTICLES/ENS_2001/countingchernobyl.html

Here's one of the isotopes germane to our discussion ...
Plutonium 239, according to greenpeace (to use one of your preferred sources) is used in nuclear warheads, has a half life of over 2,400 years.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
...as such, the detonation of <500 weapons in a few days is in fact comparable (to within an order of magnitude or so) to over 1000 events in 40 years. True, the total global radiation will increase from present levels to two- or three-fold, and yes, millions will die. The population of earth is over 6 billion today. We're still talking about something on the order of 1 in 1000. It certainly doesn't mean that "everyone in America will die from the fallout," as suggested in the post I was refuting (Andy's)


I don't disagree that Andy's suggestion is unsupportable. But you responded in something I interpreted as equal or greater hyperbole. If you are allowed to respond to Andy's then perhaps I am permitted to respond to yours.

Treating millions of localized deaths as trivial in the face of billions of lives world-wide is a severe over-generalization. This is, of course, my opinion. It's based on the observation that large scale devastation of a society has a general (world-wide) affect directly in proportion to the role that society plays in the general (world-wide) sense.

Would Europe regard even a limited nuclear strike on the USA as a mere blip on the radar? I doubt it. Would the reverse also be regarded as a statistical insignificance? Unlikely.

To bring this thread back to the Madness of King George. It was a catastrophe on the scale of a few thousand deaths in 2001 which has brought the world to it's current state of hightened anxiety. I guess I just take issue that you, as an American citizen, can trivialize with statistics deaths on the order of hundreds of thousands or even millions, when you come from a society which - when challenged with the local demise of two or three orders of magnitude fewer people - has responded with deadly force in distant lands to disrupt and destroy societies it feels threatened by.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
.Etiquette:
I am not going to jump through any more hoops for a guy whom demands proof when his own "forensic discourse" is composed entirely of unsupported argumentative prose seasoned by personal attacks. Do your own research from now on. Shucks, Doc, you're supposed to be a SCIENTIST! Go ahead and reply because I know you feel you must, but I am giving you the last word because unlike yourself I am not bored, I have much work to to.

I rather hoped that you might find the time to continue our debate, in whatever tone you would prefer.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Allesandro:
Of course, everyone should help. I was simply providing an example of how even though thousands of people have died, that part of Asia is still has a vibrant and significant population.

As does NYC, just another demographic which has not been significantly altered by it's localized disaster. Or has it?

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:21 pm
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
I don't disagree that Andy's suggestion is unsupportable.........


I did concede that this was over stating the effect in a later post, but then other points have been made with their foundations built on equally unstable ground. The point is that there would be an impact on mainland US from almost any nuclear exchange in Europe and that there is no such thing as a confined or local nuclear conflict. A limited conflict was a nuclear scenario that a lot of Americans believed to be possible (some probably still do), for the most part this fallacy has been replaced.

Dr_Keith_H wrote:
As does NYC, just another demographic which has not been significantly altered by it's localized disaster. Or has it?


This is an interesting point, how is it possible to argue that the deaths of 150,000 people will have little effect on a population while the deaths on 9/11 have had an impact around the world. Is it that American lives are much more important than the rest of us?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:37 pm
My reference to your suggestion was in the context of accepting an off-the-cuff remark, despite its obvious absurdity, as being something you truly believed. It was apparant to me that you were merely drawing focus to your point, but it was something that SawSS1 apparently latched onto and decided to reinterpret your context. Oh well. I got to do that too.

(shrug)

Andy wrote:
This is an interesting point, how is it possible to argue that the deaths of 150,000 people will have little effect on a population while the deaths on 9/11 have had an impact around the world. Is it that American lives are much more important than the rest of us?

Bingo. It's all about perspective, apparently.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:49 pm
Yeah, I don't think that NYC demographic was significantly reshaped by 9/11 either. And I think that the entire situation could have been handled much better. And I think the current administration continues to have a LOT of serious misconceptions.

I didn't mean to cause you pain, Doc (or cause you to cause yourself pain), but I am much more inclined to continue any discussion in the current tone than otherwise; however I really do have a lot of work to do right now. Perhaps I can come back to it in a couple of days. Thank you for changing your tack, even though you did it for Sigurd and not for me.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:07 pm
SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Yeah, I don't think that NYC demographic was singificantly reshaped by 9/11 either. And I think that the entire situation could have been handled much better. And I think the current administration continues to have a LOT of serious misconceptions.

Well, I guess that's an opinion I'm unlikely to change. But I saw the devastation for myself and the people it affected. I worked in CT between 98 and 02, a colleague of mine (at the time) has a husband who works (worked?) quite close to the towers (that was one desperate day for her as you can imagine, it took him quite a while to reach her and demonstate his continued "alive-ness"). According to him things remain on many levels to be quite changed (some tangible some not so). Particularly the aspect associated with living under a clearly unwanted administration continuing through foreign policy to paint an ever larger target on them for future mayhem. So my opinion, as you may have guessed is quite different. But please don't think that because I am a foreigner that I don't have something of an informed opinion.

SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
I didn't mean to cause you pain, Doc (or cause you to cause yourself pain), but I am much more inclined to continue any discussion in the current tone than otherwise, but I really do have a lot of work to do right now. Perhaps I can come back to it in a couple of days. Thank you for changing your tack, even though you did it for Sigurd and not for me.

Well ... he is the admin. You're a mere [WORD REMOVED], just like me. See you in a couple days fellow [WORD REMOVED]. Perhaps we can continue to beat the [WORD REMOVED] out of each other like a couple of real [WORD REMOVED].

DKH

P.S. Sigurd! Self-restraint is too hard ... let me know when can go back to being my old self.

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