All posts by Rand Simberg

“To My Liberal Jewish Friends”

An open letter:

The president’s sophistry demonstrates a simple but profound truth: his commitment to the progressive values of tikkun olam is governed by its own “red lines,” and is entirely utilitarian. Which again raises the question: what was his purpose in stressing this shared progressive commitment in his address to you, and what was his purpose in subtly reminding you of the costs of failing to abide by its terms?

The answer, I hope, is obvious. On June 30, Obama will likely conclude a nuclear deal with Iran. This will spark a faceoff with Congress, which has already declared its opposition to the deal. Congress will inevitably pass a vote of disapproval, which Obama will inevitably veto. In order to defend that veto from a congressional override, however, he must line up 34 Senators—all Democrats. This calls in turn for a preemptive ideological campaign to foster liberal solidarity—for which your support is key. If the president can convince the liberal Jewish community, on the basis of “shared values,” to shun any suspicion of alignment with congressional Republicans or Benjamin Netanyahu, he will have an easier time batting down Congress’s opposition to the deal with Iran.

Progressive values have nothing to do with what is truly at stake in this moment of decision. Only one final question really matters: in your considered view, should the Islamic Republic of Iran be the dominant power in the Middle East, and should we be helping it to become that power? If your answer is yes, then, by all means, continue to applaud the president—loudly and enthusiastically—as he purports to repair the world.

He was really speaking for President Jarrett, I think.

Video Issues

OK, Linux people. Blender will let me make to edit and export a video as an AVI JPEG, but it refuses to export the synched audio to it. However, it will export the audio by itself as a .flac.

Does anyone know any separate tools that would allow me to synch that audio file with the video?

[Update a while later]

OK, VLC sort of works. Problem is that for some reason it really messes up the title when I add audio. If I were to post the MP4 and .flac files, could someone else try to synch them?

[Update late afternoon]

OK, I tried this:ffmpeg -i RoadToMars.wav -i 0001-9000.avi RoadToMarsAudio.avi
Continue reading Video Issues

Space Settlement

Rick Tumlinson says the concept is taking hold within the space community.

Meanwhile, the Center For American Progress is having a symposium on the past and future of human spaceflight. Interestingly, as Jeff Foust notes on Twitter, NASA isn’t involved. Interesting also that it’s sponsored by a lefty institution. I suspect that this topic may set off a civil war on that side of the spectrum.

Rand Paul

Roger Simon isn’t impressed:

Alas Rand (I had higher hopes for him), like father Ron, has a mega-chauvanistic view of the world. The USA is so big and strong it causes everything, including, at one point, 9-11, and now ISIS, if you can believe that. Never mind that the Islamic State is just another avatar of Islamic imperialism’s desire for a world caliphate that has been going on for centuries, long before our country was in existence — the Battle of Tours (732), the Siege of Vienna (1683) and on and on. The violence has been there forever, too. As any literate person knows, it’s in the Koran and the Hadith. Beheadings were part of Mohammed’s game plan. It’s what he did and what he called for. This was not invented by a cabal of neocons in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 2003.

And of course ISIS is part of a straight line that goes from the Muslim Brotherhood (founded in Egypt in 1928, long before the current crop of Republicans were even alive) to Al Qaeda via Zawahiri and on into the modern age with ISIS, all working from the same ideological playbook, as are Boko Haram, Hamas, al Shabab, al Nusra, etc., etc.

Rand, again like father Ron, is essentially racist in blaming this on America and not recognizing other cultures have belief systems to which they truly adhere and that those belief systems may be dangerous, even evil. America did not evolve Islamist ideology anymore than it did Nazism, but the Islamists have the potential to wreak just as much havoc if they are not stopped. I don’t blame Dr. Jasser for being upset. I’d be furious. People like him, at immense personal risk, have been working for the necessary reform of Islam every waking moment of their lives.

Yes. It is profoundly racist to deny the Arabs (and other people) moral agency, but that’s, of course, always the attitude of the Left. It is sad to see Senator Paul fall for the same thing. On foreign policy, he seems to be running for the wrong party’s nomination.

[Update a few minutes later]

More links from Elizabeth Price Foley.