It’s All About the Spin (and I don’t mean centrifuges)

Some of the reformists [in Iran] have indicated that the burden of proof of the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program now rests with Iran, due to its past mismanaged policies and reckless statements. Thus, they favor more intrusive and comprehensive inspections. But even advocates of the status quo seem poised to accept more limited stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium and more flexibility in allowing inspections, in return for an end to sanctions. The latter group, led by Khamenei, is really insisting that whatever the nature of a possible agreement, the Islamic regime must be allowed to declare victory.

The Ayatollah in His Labyrinth, Abbas Milani, Foreign Policy

The Alternative Energy That’s Dependent on Conventional Energy

Nuclear power, which we might mistakenly think does not rely on fossil fuels, is actually totally dependent on them. Leaving aside the uranium mining problem, nuclear power requires exacting conditions to operate safely and reliably that include diverse and reliable general and specialized supply chains, a stable electrical grid, near-certain physical security, and many other social, political, and economic conditions that directly or indirectly dependent on thermodynamically-cheap fossil fuels. … there is no indication that a safe, reliable, large-scale nuclear power based energy system would be possible without the heavy use of relatively cheap fossil fuels.

The submerged mind of Empire, Greg Mello, Forget the Rest

Will the Boston Marathon Bombing Only Isolate Us Further?

Terrorism poisons if not destroys our public spaces and the physical and psychic experiences we share with one another while in such spaces. … We must be vigilant about finding and punishing the perpetrators who terrorized Boston. But we must be equally vigilant about refusing to surrender our public places and events, for doing so is … fatal to our collective identities.

Another victim of bombings: public spaces, Thomas Schaller, the Baltimore Sun

An Advanced Degree in Atrocity

The costs of the terrorism inspired by the [Iraq] war include much more than the number, however horrifying, of lives lost. The terrorists who have been drawn to Iraq since 2003 and survived have been battle-hardened after fighting the most sophisticated military in history. … They have developed expertise in counterintelligence, gunrunning, forgery and smuggling. [We have] left behind, after seven bloody years, not only a shattered nation but also an international school for terrorists whose alumni are now spreading throughout the region.

Iraq: Where Terrorists Go to School, Jessica Stern, the New York Times

Sound Familiar?

Without [Tony] Blair’s charismatic thespianry and false hopes, without even the Shakespearean drama of Brown’s blighted leadership, an atmosphere of deathly, affectless decadence has settled over the [British] Labour Party. Populist but not very popular, Labour has become a dead mechanism animated by a blind drive: win elections. It is an election-winning machine which can barely win elections, and which has long ago forgotten why you would want to win an election in the first place. By contrast, the Tories have a feverish sense of purpose. They serve ruling class interests even when not in power by dragging the ‘centre’ ground to the right. Once in government, they impose their policy agenda at high speed, without majority or mandate, retrospectively justifying it, if they bother to justify it at all, with the kind of “debate” we saw last week.

The Happiness of Margaret Thatcher, Mark Fisher, Verso Books Blog

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