“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putin saves Obama from looking like an appeaser, a warmonger or an incompetent and allows Kerry to portray the administration as unsurpassed in its diplomatic brilliance.

UPDATE:Syrian Army, free from the threat of a US air strike, attempt to retake the ancient Christian village of Maaloula - These are the people John McCain and John Kerry want to kill



Did Obama Just Get Lucky on Syria?

The Russian escape route may save Obama from waging an unpopular war.
Steve Chapman | September 12, 2013 REASON

In assessing the feasibility and probability of Russia's proposal to secure Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons, one overlooked factor should be paramount in our minds: Barack Obama is the luckiest politician on the face of the planet. If he were tied to a railroad track, the train would levitate and pass harmlessly over him. He's always the windshield, never the bug.
In this instance, Obama got himself into a box that would flummox Harry Houdini. In a procession of careless comments, he said Assad had to go and that if he ever used chemical weapons against rebels, he would face "enormous consequences."
When the Syrian dictator used them anyway, Obama was forced to prepare for a military strike that found scant public support. When he tried to gain the upper hand by asking for congressional authorization, he got an Arctically frigid reception.
So he faced two unpleasant possibilities: Congress would refuse, in which case he would look like a chump. Or it would agree, forcing him to carry out an attack that was likely to accomplish nothing except to wreck his approval rating.
But then along came the Russians to open an escape route. Acting in response to another unscripted remark, from Secretary of State John Kerry, they proposed to place Syria's chemical gas arsenal under international control. The Syrians responded by not only admitting that they had such weapons, but offering to surrender them.
The proposal sounded implausible and impractical, but it had too many things going for it to be passed up. Most importantly, it serves the interests of every important party. It spares the Syrian regime a damaging attack by the United States. It spares the rebels being gassed again. It validates the great power status of Russia -- and might even win Vladimir Putin a Nobel Peace Prize.
Not least, it saves Obama from looking like an appeaser, a warmonger or an incompetent. It even allows Kerry to portray the administration as unsurpassed in its diplomatic brilliance.
"Yesterday, we challenged the regime to turn (its chemical weapons) over to the secure control of the international community so that they can be destroyed," he bragged Tuesday. He neglected to mention that when the Russians jumped at his idea, according to The New York Times, "he replied that he had merely been making a debating point."
Assad, Kerry says, caved because of the military threat. "Nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a hanging," said Kerry. By that point, if Assad was contemplating the gallows, he probably had concluded that the Americans couldn't tie their own shoes, much less a noose.
But he may have found it harder to say no to Putin, his chief ally and his protector in the UN Security Council, where Russia had blocked action against Syria. His regime probably could survive an attack that Kerry had promised would be "unbelievably small." But its long-term prospects would be dim without Russian help.
Valerie Hudson, a professor of international relations at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, told me this turn of events could hardly be better for the president. Once the UN Security Council takes ownership of the deal, she noted, "the United States is off the hook." The heavy lifting to secure and monitor the chemical weapons stores will fall to Russia and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
While the deal won't be leakproof, she argued, that's not crucial. What's crucial is "for Assad to have no incentives to use chemical weapons, but only disincentives." The disincentives are the risk of antagonizing Putin, kissing off Russian support and uniting the Security Council behind military action.
It's an uncannily fortunate turn of events for Obama, but this is the guy who won his 2004 Senate race after his chief Democratic opponent, and then the Republican nominee, fell victim to lurid scandals.
This is the guy who got Osama bin Laden after his own experts said there was only a 40 percent chance the al-Qaida leader was in the targeted building. This is the guy who got to run against John McCain and Mitt Romney, both masters of self-destruction.
Right now, it looks as though Obama's good luck will pay off again by saving him from his mistakes on Syria. In that case, his next memoir can borrow the title of boxer Rocky Graziano's: "Somebody Up There Likes Me."


  1. I couldn’t help but repost a photoshop of Kerry that I did in a 2007 post about Davos.

    Notice Kerry still had wrinkles in his forehead, bags under his eyes, and a jaw that looks to be original issue-unmodified.

    1. Maybe it's Dick Cheney wearing a Kerry mask.

  2. The biggest loser over this entire affair will be AIPAC. They are not going to get a fast track on a US attack on Iran. They lost their aura of invincibility with Congress.

    Israel will be better off in the long run with stability in the region.

    It will be very difficult to get the American public to support another US war in the ME while Obama is president.

    1. All it means is that Netanyahu is going to go it alone. He's already hinted as much when he quoted Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be?”

    2. Or even after Obama leaves office.

      Mr Republican Candidate, whom ever he may be, still faces the 47% bloc that Mr Romney spoke of.

      But even beyond that, there is that 60% of those polled that do not support an expansion of the US targeting portfolio. The 500 to 1 letter count against an AUMF in the Congressional mail room.

      Those anti-intervention sentiments will not change soon.
      Military interventions will have to wait, at least until the economy surges.

    3. Biggest loser will be the SYrian people who die every month.

      But you dont care about them.

  3. Just one li'l quibble, Deuce. It turns out that Obama first breached this idea to Putin at the G20 in Cabos, last year.

    The Russians didn't seems very interested until Putin brought it back up at last month's St. Petersburg G20.

    The Administration was skeptical (and, here's where it gets kinda squirrelly) until Kerry mentioned it in a sort of throwaway line (which his office later downplayed,) and the Russians and Syrians immediately jumped all over it.

    There's some sort of old motivational line about "the more I prepare, the luckier I get," or somesuch. Maybe the O'man should get a little bit of credit here. Or not. :)

    1. I don't care who gets the credit, as long as we don't get involved in another war in the Middle East. Sick of the whole fucking place.

    2. When we're so close to being victorious throughout the region, WHY do you want to give up???

    3. Every time we "win" another secular state in the Middle-East wraps their women in burquas or makes them ride in the back of the bus or bans them from singing at the Western Wall. That's why.

    4. Step by step, Doug, step by step.

      Back in the day I was championing ...

      Landing the 4th ID in Haifa and drive to Baghdad!
      When that did not happen ...

      As the offensive in Iraq was grinding to a halt in Anbar ..
      "On to Damascus!"

      But now, a decade, a couple trillion dollars and 8,000 or so US dead later...

      Congressmen and Senators tell US that our military is incapable of striking the Syrians, without an end to the sequestration of the DoD budget.

      That the US military appears worn and tattered, much like the HMS Resolute when she was salvaged off the ice flow, in need of a refit...

      Those Congressmen were telling US that we can no longer ...
      ... "Stay the Course!" ...

      Not even a two day campaign of "Shock and Awe" against the last Baath standing.

    5. Now even the Republican rank and file Congressmen wouldn't back a two day military air campaign against an "Evil Doer".

      A subordinate member of the "Axis of Evil".

      The next Hitler.

      The people of the United States looked at the reports from the battle space and shrugged.

      Neither side of the actual civil strife was on our side. The combat forces of the supposed US proxy, the Free Syrian Army, were and still are not a self sufficient and independent military force within the rebel command structure.

      The people saw that the US would be aiding and abetting al-Qeada in the Syrian conflict.
      A solution that most folk find repugnant, at least.

      The "War on Terror" is more than over, Doug.

      The Republican House members just buried it.
      The Democrats were singing the hymns.

    6. That Obama sung and danced his way out the "Box" ...

      Either masterful brinkmanship ...

      Or plain dumb luck ...

      Reality meeting somewhere in the middle.

      "Amat Victoria Curam"

    7. Wouldn't a Standing Baath be a shower?

    8. Teresita "makes them ride in the back of the bus or bans them from singing at the Western Wall. That's why."

      Can you name this nation?

      Since you cant be talking about Israel since there is no ban on women at the Western Wall nor are women FORCED to ride in the back of the bus.

      Please post any current laws that suggest this

    9. Back-of-the bus seating for women on any public transport in Israel will soon be outlawed, the justice minister said on Thursday, pledging sweeping legislation to stop Jewish zealots trying to enforce gender segregation in many spheres of life.

      "Discrimination against women in public places, in public services, cannot be allowed," Tzipperdoodles told Army Radio. ""Women in Israel won't sit at the back of the bus. Women in Israel will participate in state ceremonies and their voices will be heard on radio stations and in the army."

      Still waiting for that.

  4. Maybe The Boardwalk Should be Rebuilt w/Concrete?

    ...good thing Christie's Fat didn't get lit off with those winds.

  5. It seems war is the best fertilizer. Then again, I’ve always said the politicians were full of it and the war-mongers shoveled it.

    War. That thing those in power use to instantly solve their immediate problems or world political crisis.

    War. The most profitable industrial empire of all time.

    Toll Of War

  6. Replies
    1. Therefore send not to ask for whom the war tolls, it tolls for thee.

  7. A Muslim has died whilst training to be a skydiver. The BNP School of Diving said they had no idea why his snorkel and flippers did not open.

  8. On this day in 1984, Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden set the single-season record for strikeouts by a rookie with 246, snapping a 30-year-old record held by Herb Score. Mr. Gooden finished that season with 276 strikeouts and two years later helped lead the Mets to the second World Series title in the franchise’s history.

    1. Doc: A Memoir

      A bruisingly honest memoir of addiction and recovery from one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

      With fresh and sober eyes, Dwight Gooden shares the most intimate moments of his successes and failures, from endless self-destructive drug binges to three World Series rings. Known for his triumphs on the baseball field and his excesses off of it, Gooden was a soft-spoken, dominating wunderkind who tallied a mountain of strikeouts while leading the 1986 bad-boy New York Mets to a World Series win. Even at that pinnacle, Gooden had already succumbed to a cocaine addiction that would short-circuit his career and personal life.  
      Gooden’s story transcends baseball, from his childhood in Tampa raised by a father who was an alcoholic womanizer, to the recent experience of overcoming his own demons on the show Celebrity Rehab. Along the way, Gooden offers a unique perspective on Yankees owner and stalwart supporter George Steinbrenner and some of the greatest baseball players of all time. Doc is the definitive look at a life equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking.

  9. Implications of AIPAC’s Lobbying on Syria
    by Brent E. Sasley Sep 12, 2013 4:10 PM EDT

    Last week I argued that Syria wasn’t a priority for AIPAC, but that if the Obama Administration asked it to lobby Congress to authorize strikes against Syria it probably would. But I contended that “providing information and talking points to members of Congress at the request of the president on an issue it either doesn’t feel strongly opposed to or even agrees with isn’t the same as fighting over a policy it views as a priority.”

    I was wrong. Turns out AIPAC decided to lobby hard for a Congressional yes, and to be very public about it. In its own forceful words, “The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons” because “[t]his is a critical moment when America must also send a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah.” It is a “momentous vote,” a “critical decision” that if not enacted could “greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies.”

    Many questions have been asked and conclusions drawn about this episode. The most interesting and important are: Why is AIPAC lobbying so publicly? What will the effects be on that organization after the dust settles? And what does this say about the current and future state of Jewish advocacy on Middle East issues?

    The first question is the toughest to answer. Lobbying is a multi-faceted activity, which takes place both publicly and privately. Successful advocacy organizations know how to shape the external forces around a decision-maker (such as public opinion) as well as gain access to those decision-makers to present their case directly.

    Despite all the conspiracy theories about AIPAC and the Jewish community’s power over American foreign policy, most have little clue about and information on the decision-making processes in these organizations. It’s difficult, then, to know exactly why the organization decided to make a public effort.

    At first glance it appears that going public on the Syria vote is less beneficial than the quieter approach. Americans are staunchly opposed to strikes on Syria; indeed, opposition has grown in the last week from 48 percent to 63 percent, as people have shifted from the undecided to the no column (support has remained more or less steady at 28 percent). There was little chance that AIPAC could bring public opinion around to the Administration’s position, because none of its arguments (chemical weapons norm, punishment, humanitarianism, Iran) resonated enough with the public on this particular issue.

    For their part, members of Congress talk to each other all the time. It’s the direct communication that matters here: Congresspeople want groups with expertise in a given area to help them understand issues and even frame an appropriate response. In personal meetings AIPAC can present the arguments clearly to “key contacts” that would then call up their colleagues and try to convince them. Going public wasn’t going to convince members of the urgency of authorizing the use of force; it might even have made them more nervous about taking a public stand on a controversial and unpopular idea.



  10. {…}

    Theories on the high profile of the AIPAC effort range from sheer hubris, to a desire to showcase its power and/or its support for the strikes, to a simple miscalculation.

    Most likely, AIPAC decided that the risks of a public intervention (getting members’ backs up, opening themselves up to “the-Jews-want-war-again” accusations, turning their failure to get the yes vote out into a public spectacle) were simply worth the benefits. Getting a Congressperson on the public record as supporting a strike would make it harder to walk back or even change his or her mind. And forcing them to take a stand would imprint their decision in the public record, which could then be referred back to during the next election. Earning the gratitude of lobbyists is a time-worn practice in politics.

    The second question—whether a victory or, especially, a loss will affect AIPAC’s future advocacy abilities—is much easier to answer. Obama has asked Congress not to vote just yet, to give the Russian proposal to transfer Syria’s chemical weapons out of regime hands more time to play out, but assuming a vote is held and Congress authorizes the use of force, AIPAC will clearly have won big. It will have demonstrated its ability to advocate effectively, but more importantly it will have helped a president with whom it has had serious disagreements in the past. Not only will the White House have to reciprocate the help, but AIPAC will have proved useful to a Democratic party that seems to have been growing more suspicious of and distant from it.


  11. {…}

    Of course, before Obama delayed his request, it seemed as though Congress was leaning toward a no vote. Preferences might shift a little if the diplomatic route fails, but it’s still not clear it would be enough. What most observers have wondered, then, is whether a no vote would diminish the allure of AIPAC, tarnish its reputation, and weaken its power.

    This seems unlikely. AIPAC is much more than a single vote. Its core mission—to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship—is anchored in a network of security, political, economic, and cultural ties. That relationship easily survived Obama’s first term, though certainly there were tensions and rocky moments. But that bedrock remains stable and strong, and AIPAC’s work builds on it. This vote won’t affect how the public or Congress views Israel or American military ties to Israel, and I don’t think it will have a major effect on Iran policy. Americans view Iran as a more serious threat than Syria, and nuclear weapons are considered more dangerous than chemical weapons. Moreover, Congress has long been hawkish on Iran, willing to push the Administration to take a tougher stance on sanctions. AIPAC’s ability to work within these conditions won’t be affected by a negative vote on Syria.


  12. {…}

    Finally, the Syrian case does tell us something about the nature of Jewish institutional advocacy on foreign policy, by highlighting divisions both across Jewish Zionist organizations and within them.

    The pro-Israel Jewish organizational landscape has become far more complicated since the 1990s. There are more advocacy groups and there is more polarization. On obvious partisan issues, like elections or presidential nominations, there tends to be a split between right-leaning and left-leaning groups. But on an issue like this—which has an impact on American policy toward Israel and toward Iran—the divisions are less political.

    All of the big mainstream organizations have supported the president’s effort to lobby Congress to vote yes on the authorization of force, including the Conference of Presidents, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Congress. Rightist organizations have been split, with the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has long mocked Obama’s Middle East policies, supporting the use of force but the Zionist Organization of America seemingly ignoring Syria and criticizing Obama for ignoring Iran.

    On the left, J Street and Americans for Peace Now represent the preference to not take a specific position on U.S. strikes. The Israel Policy Forum has taken a middle position, calling for a diplomatic solution but declaring that “in the absence of a truly credible diplomatic solution, we fully support President Obama’s decision to resort to taking appropriate military action.”

    The most intense internal division appears to be within J Street, between leftist activists and board members who preferred to avoid endorsing the use of force and pragmatists who wanted to support the president. But there are even splits within AIPAC.

    All these divisions provide further proof that the myth of the monolithic “Israel Lobby” is just that. Jewish groups are divided according to the consciences of their members, their political affiliations, their ultimate objectives, their relationships with politicians, the nature of their connection to grassroots supporters and the broader Jewish community, and their particular attachments to Israel and their understandings of Zionism.



  13. {…}

    All the organizations took some time to declare a public position on U.S. strikes. There was, in the immediate aftermath of the August 21 chemical weapons attack, general silence in the Jewish establishment. This was due to fears of being seen as taking sides between the two parties in the U.S. and, we now know, because some of these groups were internally divided on how to proceed. It was only after the Obama Administration asked for help that most groups took a public position.

    Equally relevant is the main reason for the decisions to support the president’s effort to prevent the use of chemical weapons. Certainly it is true, as many have noted, that when the White House asks for a favor, you don’t say no. But for many the particularly cruel nature of their effects was also a call to action. “Never again should mean something,” as one official from one of the mainstream groups put it. Support for the strikes came not from the desire to fight on Israel’s behalf, but rather out of genuine humanitarian concerns underlined by Jewish emphasis on making the world a better place; in the case of war, that means doing what can be done to make it less brutal. If a credible military threat is needed for that, so be it. This was recently underlined by both Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of The Forward, and Martin Raffel, Senior Vice President of the JCPA.

    That Jewish institutions did not jump out in front with a position on an issue that touches on but is not directly about Israel is probably an indication of the recent and future complexities of American policy toward the Middle East in the wake of the Arab uprisings. And as the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and the creeping expansion of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank continue, the alliances between the different organizations and the shared concerns that bind members of each together might fray and disrupt advocacy efforts.

    Apart from AIPAC, observers have wondered about the impact of J Street’s non-position on its relationship with the president and its ability to advocate effectively. Some, such as Jeffrey Goldberg and Ron Kampeas—both with close networks throughout the Jewish community—suggest that J Street has undermined its credibility.

    It’s possible. But it’s also possible this is simply part of a longer learning curve. Think how long AIPAC had been around before it became the powerhouse that it is today. And it was the very public defeat in the fight against Ronald Reagan’s sale of AWACs to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s that directly contributed to changes in AIPAC’s organization, strategy, and lobbying. Losses and being excluded from wins are strong motivations for change.

    It’s too early to know if there are specific trends here, but one consequence seems to be that the influence of smaller groups, particularly on the right, is shrinking. While very vocal, their circle of supporters has declined as issues on which to advocate have become more complex and multi-faceted. They require nuance, difficult choices, and trade-offs; and small groups ideologically committed to a single purpose or party cannot function effectively under these conditions or have an impact on issues that cross party divisions.

    The organized Jewish community is working to find its footing in conditions of change: change in America’s position in the world, in Israel itself, and in new dynamics in American politics. This will force the organizations to have to make difficult choices and trade-offs—and that’s what the Congressional vote on Syria has demonstrated.

  14. I think the article is fairly balanced.

    Make no mistake about two things, unofficially Congress rejected an American President’s request to support his declaration of war. That has never happened before.

    Secondly, we just witnessed a successful stealth anti-war movement by the American Public. It was a jury nullification of The War Party and MSM. The days of a Washington EZ-pass to war just may have ended.

    1. A few months back, AIPAC was crowing about how their prowess in being able to summon every single member of Congress for "consultations".

      AIPAC decided to go all in with McCain and Obama to attack Syria. If they had their way , we would be at war with Syria, with the US Air Force killing the soldiers trying to defend Christian villages from al Qaeda.

      So far, the campaign has blown up in their face. they backed a political loser and the American Public opinion cut them, MSM and the War Party down to size.

      Sorry to disturb you with the news that I noticed.

  15. For context on the author, I found this:

    If Barack Strikes Back

    Brent E. Sasley | November 9, 2012

    Some pundits and analysts argue that Barack Obama’s reelection was in part a referendum on the future of U.S.-Israeli relations and Israeli foreign policy. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the thinking goes, will now face increased pressure from the United States: Obama will seek revenge for Netanyahu’s shoddy treatment of him, push Israel to make concessions toward the Palestinians or perhaps contain its interest in striking Iranian nuclear facilities. Nicholas Kristof, for example, tweeted, “One loser in the 2012 election is Netanyahu. If you’re going to meddle in US politics, Bibi, don’t bet on the loser.” It’s been retweeted over five hundred times.

    These assertions rest on a misunderstanding of decision making in U.S. foreign policy and the nature of presidential authority in the Middle East, including over Israel.

    U.S. presidents are dominant in the nation’s execution of foreign policy, but they are not the only players in that game. Congress can intervene as well, particularly through its control of the purse strings, but also in the considerable normative pressure it can channel. And while the Democrats may have done better in this election, they will have to fight for reelection in two years again. Given continuing interest-group pressure and public-opinion trends, it’s unlikely they’ll want to see a confrontation between the United States and Israel.

    Indeed, Obama’s first effort to push the peace process forward by convincing Israel to adopt a settlement freeze as a precondition for talks failed abysmally. Given his domestic constraints, this is likely to make him more cautious about dramatic new policies on the issue.

  16. Until recently, Israel maintained a careful distance from pronouncing on the Syrian civil war, except to note that it would respond to any attack on the Jewish state. But the New York Times reported Sept. 10 that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reaching out personally to some congressional leaders at Obama’s urging.

    Neither the Israeli Embassy nor congressional leaders would confirm the Times report. But Israel has grown more vocal in supporting a response that would degrade Syria’s unconventional weapons capability.

    “Israel agrees with President Obama that the use of chemical weapons is a ‘heinous act’ for which the Assad regime must be held accountable and for which there must be ‘international consequences,’ ” Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, wrote last week on a Facebook message. “Israel further agrees with the president that the use of chemical weapons promotes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and encourages ‘governments who would choose to build nuclear arms.’ ”

  17. Meanwhile, Assad inks the deal that would give him some UN cover:

    The United Nations said Thursday that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has signed a legal document confirming that his government will comply with an international ban on chemical weapons.

    But the announcement came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had rejected Assad’s earlier pledge to sign the agreement and begin submitting data on his chemical weapons one month later, in keeping with the usual practice under the pact. Kerry said the usual rules cannot apply to the current situation, and he demanded speedier compliance.

    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office said that it has received a letter from Syria’s government saying Assad has signed a legislative degree providing for accession to the 1992 Convention on the Prohibition, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

    The secretary general “welcomes this development” and “hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community,” Ban’s office said.

    Hours earlier, at a news conference in Geneva after a meeting on the Syria situation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kerry noted that Assad said a 30-day lead time after signing the agreement would be standard.

    "There is nothing standard about this process," Kerry said, because Assad has used his chemical weapons. "The words of the Syrian regime in our judgment are simply not enough."

    Kerry added, “Only the credible threat of force and the intervention of Putin and Russia … has brought the Syrian regime for the first time to acknowledge that it even has chemical weapons and will now relinquish them."

    “Together we will test the commitment of Assad to follow through with his promises,” Kerry added.

    He cautioned that a U.S. military strike could occur if Assad doesn't agree to dismantle his chemical arsenal properly.

    "There ought to be consequences if it doesn't take place,” Kerry said.

    Lavrov said the dismantling "will make unnecessary any strike against the Syrian Arab Republic."

  18. Fascinating stuff. Who is luckier Assad or Obama?

  19. Assad agrees with the UN to dismantle his chemical weapons.
    Some questions:

    * What is the size of Syria’s chemical arsenal compared to that of Iraq?

    * How long has it taken to safely dismantle Iraq’s chemical weaponry?

    * If Syria is responding to the UN agreement, how can the US supply arms and support to an al Qaeda backed insurgency?

    The answers hogtie US efforts to undermine the Assad regime while they are complying with the process. For technical reasons alone, the World Body cannot expect Assad to accomplish faster that which the US and Iraqi government achieved especially while a war is going
    on in Syria.

    Assad would be wise to request UN protection for his teams assigned to do the work.

  20. UPDATE:

    I added a video showing the Syrian Army, unrestrained from the fear of a US attack, working to recapture Syria’s ancient Christian village of Maaloula.

    1. The Syrian Army is on the side of Christians. It's the rebels (our guys) who are burning churches and forcing conversions to Islam at gunpoint.

  21. Most of the village's 3,300 residents have fled to safer parts of the country, although some have remained, hunkering down in their homes, activists said.

    Maaloula, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Damascus, had until recently been firmly in the regime's grip despite being surrounded by rebel-held territory. The village was a major tourist attraction before the civil war.

    Some of its residents still speak a version of Aramaic, a biblical language believed to have been used by Jesus.

  22. Keep in mind, that if John McCain, AIPAC and John Kerry would have had their way, the Syrian citizen-soldiers trying to free this Christian village would be bombed by US Air Force and US Navy warplanes, fighting on the side of al Qaeda.

    1. Those citizen-soldiers fighting for the Assad regime have already been attacked by the Israeli war machine.
      The Israeli have already been flying combat operations for al-Qeada.

      Better the Israeli than US.
      If Bibi and Company want to intervene in Syria, they should get right on it and stay right on it.

      The US should remove the Patriot missile batteries that have been forward deployed in Israel if they do.

      The US could then observe from afar, using NSA technologies.

    2. Keep in mind, during WW2 America fought along side of the Communists, a group that murdered tens of millions of people.

      And while your Father was fighting the Nazis in Europe those "christians" were supporting Hitler in Syria.

    3. 90% of the job of stopping Hitler consisted of feeding Russians into a shredder for three years before we opened a Second Front. People in the West natural focus on Patton and Normandy but know very little of Barbarossa, Stalingrad, the Kursk salient, Bagration, etc.

    4. WWII is now history. Other than an occasional footnote, it has little relevance to the events in The Middle East, USA, Iran and Syria in 2013.

    5. It is in Israel's interest to convince the US that Israeli policies and concerns are congruous with US interests. They are not.

    6. DeuceFri Sep 13, 08:26:00 AM EDT
      WWII is now history. Other than an occasional footnote, it has little relevance to the events in The Middle East, USA, Iran and Syria in 2013.

      That's where you are incorrect.

      It's goes back further.

      Try the league of Nations. Who drew the borders of the arab "nations"? When?

      Who invented "Saudi Arabia"?

      who invented "Pakistan"?

      Wh INVENTED the arabs that call themselves "palestinians", after all there never was an "arab palestinian" until 1948....

  23. Al Qaeda calling in the targets.

  24. Interesting read ...


  25. After the UN accepted documents from Damascus concerning Syria joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria has “legally” become a full member of the treaty, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.

    "Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the convention," Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters in New York.

    According to Jaafari, President Assad signed a legislative decree that "declared the Syrian Arab Republic approval to accede to the convention" and that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem had written to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to notify it of Syria's decision, which is enough to legally join the convention.

    Earlier on Thursday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed that they had received the documents necessary for Damascus' accession.

    "In the past few hours we have received a document from the government of Syria that is being translated, which is to be an accession document concerning the Chemical Weapons Convention," Haq said.

    However, on condition of anonymity several UN diplomats expressed their doubts that Syria fulfilled all the conditions for legal accession. "I think there are a few more steps they have to take,” a UN official told Reuters.

    Within a few days Damascus was expected to submit to the United Nations all documents required for joining the treaty and a month after the convention is signed, Syria will start handing over information on its chemical weapons to international organizations, Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.

    “Syria is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision because of Russia,” Assad said. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfil the obligations and that’s it. It’s a bilateral process aimed, first of all, at making the US stop pursuing its policy of threats against Syria.”

    Meanwhile, during the first day of Geneva talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Kerry has expressed doubts that Syria is ready to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and said President Assad has 10 days to join the treaty.

  26. My niece writes to me that men are just really really dumb, I being the exception of course.

    She says Deuce is really dumb, so is Quirk, and Rufus and Doug and even Sam and surely rat and even Miss T.

    She thinks the only brights here are WiO and me.

    She is a darling.

    She works in brain science and doesn't follow the day to day.

    She may fix you blindness some day though.

    1. .

      Bollywood 'Brain Science' a cautionary tale brought to you from the desiccated mind and inveterate musings of a libertine faux famer broadcasting from his double-wide deep in the sticks of Ideeeho. A daily reminder of the ravages of time on a failing libido and a growing dementia.


  27. My Doctor is going from 1,800 patients to 400.

    I will pay an extra $1,600 a year so I can be among the 400.

    Doctors across the nation are cutting patients due to the reporting requirements under Obamacare, and cost of same.

    1. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free.

    2. .

      I have indications my insurance will more than double. Should know soon when the new rates come out.


    3. In Canada having "free health care" has driven down costs by giving the government some control over what the suppliers can charge. In America the suppliers can, and do, charge what the market will bear. Obamacare appears to increase demand. On top of that, insurance companies have a vested interest in paying higher prices because they use the cost to determine their actuarial tables which, in turn, determines what they charge for premiums. Insurance companies, I believe, work on a mark-up basis as opposed to a fixed charge so the higher cost leads to higher profits hence the vested interest.

  28. Ah I smell peace in our time...

    What a collective bunch of Chamberlains...

    Becareful of your isolationist stance.

    America is not the "fortress" it once was.

    1. All she needs to shore up the fortress status is an extension of the No Fly List to everyone in the Dar al-Islam.

    2. Explain to us how US interests are served by killing Syrian citizen-soldiers trying to free a Christian village from al Qaeda.

      The lies and exaggerations, the unproven allegations, The War Party, The senile old bastard John McCain, the Saudis, the Turks, AIPAC and Netanyahu couldn't make it happen. Good.

    3. Explain to me how we accomplished anything of lasting value by the support, murder and mayhem in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, The Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya and turning on Mubarak in Egypt.

    4. Explain to me how we have done NOTHING to stop Syria, Iran, North Korea from acquiring weapons that can wipe out tens of thousands of people in a second.

      How does that make the world more secure.

    5. The "Fear Monger", quot, just cannot fathom that the US has no permanent enemies.

      That while sticks and stones may break bones, calling folks names does not hurt them.

      That nothing that has been written on the blog ever constituted a threat.
      That to think that there were actual threats, a sign of an unsound mind and faulty mental capabilities.

      That anyone who felt threatened by the writings on this blog has no basis to do a threat assessment for the United States. The fear and paranoia that would lead someone to feel threatened by what they read here, disqualifies them from making a rational analysis of threats to the United States or the world.

      The fear that envelops their lives disqualifies them from rational decision making and threat assessments.

    6. Why should "we" be responsible for what the North Koreans do?
      Or the Iranians, Pakistani, Russians, Chinese or Syrians.

      The US helps to fund the killing of 20,000 Jews each year in Israel.
      Certainly that is a greater real threat to the lives and welfare of more real people than the North Koreans wasting their resources on building weapon systems that will never be used against the US or anyone else.

      We are not and should not be the piece keepers for the world.
      We should not attack foreign countries because quot is afraid of the dark.

      He and his fellow travelers will just have to man up.
      If they are afraid, they'll have to pull their socks up, themselves.

    7. The US has killed more people with nuclear weapons than all the other nations of the globe, combined.

      Maybe the UN or International Community should disarm the US.

      The US has given cause to those foreign political entities opposed to US policies to be afraid, very afraid of US aggression.

      The "Big Dog" can deliver weapons, nuclear or conventional, with pinpoint accuracy.
      The North Koreans cannot.
      The Syrians cannot.
      The Iranians cannot.

      People around the world should not be attacked, by US, because quot is afraid of the dark.

      The US should not be burning villages in foreign lands to save them.

    8. Rat, seek medical help asap. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    9. No need to quot.
      I am fine and dandy.

      The position you advocate is not rational and you cannot support it.
      As your response indicates.

      You want to make the desert rat the issue.
      When the desert rat is inconsequential.

      Your desire to make the discussion about the bloggers and not the issues at hand ...
      Just another indicator that you do not understand the issues.

    10. We agree on something, You are meaningless.

    11. DeuceFri Sep 13, 08:37:00 AM EDT
      Explain to us how US interests are served by killing Syrian citizen-soldiers trying to free a Christian village from al Qaeda.

      Ask the 100,000 the already killed...

  29. Throughout history, there has never been anyone that has been able to keep an exclusive hold on military technology.

    The US kept the secrets to nuclear technology for less than six years until the Goldberg's gave it to the Soviets. Pakistan and India became nuclear powers within two years of each other.

    Al Qaeda converted four civilian aircraft into cruise missiles that has a 75% success rate.

    Israel is not going to retain nuclear exclusivity forever. Because it has it now, such adversaries as Iraq and Syria developed poor man's WMD using gas.

    1. Never let an opportunity pass to blame a Jew.

    2. What is "Occupation"Fri Sep 13, 10:17:00 AM EDT
      Never let an opportunity pass to blame a Jew.

      Let’s see, if I refer to the person who took the NSA data base, it is ok for me to mention “Snowden”, The Pentagon Papers , Ellsberg is Verboten? What about Pollard, how should I refer to him? Timothy McVeigh, ok to mention him?

      The Goldberg’s, should I say “the couple from Brooklyn”?

    3. Look at the totality of your posts.

      On a daily basis you blame Jews, Israel, AIPAC and zionism.

      If the shoe fits?

      Wear it.

      It's would be refreshing if you were at least honest about your jew hatred and bias.

      The only one you are fooling is yourself.

    4. If AIPAC is interested in flooding the zone in Congress, I take notice.

      When Netanyahu hoists a poster with a nuclear time bomb as a prop, I take notice.

      When Israel assassinates a scientist or bombs anthe country, that is of interest.

      If you don’t want to be in the media, stop making news.

    5. I have never made an analysis but I’ll bet 90% of your comments mention Israel or Jews.

    6. I’ll bet 99% of mine never mention the word "Jew”.

    7. .

      I would take that last bet.


      (But not the first.)


    8. wiggle wiggle wiggle

      thou dost protest to much.

    9. DeuceFri Sep 13, 11:45:00 AM EDT
      I’ll bet 99% of mine never mention the word "Jew”.

      No I bet if you add up the words: Israel, AIPAC, Zionist, Bibi, Jew, Judaism, european colony?

      You will find that you have posted subject about Jews, concerning Jews, Jewish, things that Jews care about far more than any other people on the planet.

      Look in the mirror.

      You say you're not an "anti-semite", you just think Israel is a cancer, a european colony..,,.

      Truly sickening. Hey but that's your right as an American, to hate anyone you choose.

      Not to worry, MANY of us GET your message. Loud and clear.

  30. It' good to have O'blunder at the helm.

    And, awake.

  31. Might as well eat huckleberries.

    It's that time of year.

    Might be last chance.

    You like huckleberries, Miss T?

    1. Only when I'm hiking, I found they don't keep.

    2. They can keep a day or two if you know what you are doing.

      Pick for personal use is best, like boogers.

      Don't ever EVER buy Huckleberry Jam.

      That is just berries and sugar and cream mixed up by that FRAUD QUIRK.

      Don't fall for that, at $40 a tin.


  32. This recent Syrian thing kinda highlights the power of WMD's and the utility in having them.

    Syrian recent history:

    - revolution starts in Syria.
    - Assad regime tries to quell revolution
    - revolution and rebels gain ground and start winning
    - big powers step up involvement
    - Assad regime uses WMD on those revolting
    - Everyone sits down at the negotiating table

    1. Total agreement. They are useless as an offensive weapon but the ultimate defensive weapon. WE have incentivized Iran to develop or buy a nuclear weapon. Personally, I believe they already own some.

    2. .

      Hell, everyone has them or can get them. Simple chemistry, though I would imagine as dangerous as a meth lab in the forming. Sarin is basically an insecticide on steroids.

      A supposed expert on chemical weapons suggested it could take 5 - 10 years to gather up all of Syria's chemical weapons and destroy them even if no one cheats. That is why I am skeptical, well that and the fact they hope to do it in the middle of a civil war.

      The US and Russia started destroying their chemical weapons three or four decades ago and they are still not done.

      It's much easier to make these things than to destroy them.



    3. I think nukes in the hands of the mullahs ain't a little backyard Dow gone wrong.

      That is where you smart boys are so wrong.

    4. Smart boys:

      shit hole from Arizona

    5. .

      You should stick to the things you know about, old man, 'boogers and huckleberry jam'.


  33. "The man, Roman Pirozek Jr. of Woodhaven, Queens, had been operating the large model — measuring several feet end to end — when it hit him and the top of his head was sliced off, the police said."


    Always have a tube of Super Glue taped to your chest when flying.

    Just in case it's needed.

  34. Al Qaeda converted four civilian aircraft into cruise missiles that has a 75% success rate.

    It relied on the cooperation of the passengers and the suggestiong they would survive the flight if they sat down and remained calm, which is why Flight 93 didn't reach the target (information about the other attacks got through), and why there would be a zero percent success rate today. It was a sucker punch.

  35. .

    This might possibly prove embarrassing.



  36. .

    More sharing of Americans' personal information, this time with the Israelis.

    Total Bullshit.



  37. consider the source.


    May the Israelis are SHARING with the American.

    1. fuck WiO, did you even read a paragraph of the article? Obviously not when you make statements like that.

      fool! It concretely reveals you for the propagandist that you are. ole boobie is a fan of you though - bully for you.

    2. .

      Don't be silly WiO.

      The article provided a link to the actual 5 page memorandum of understanding.

      The US provides Israel with all the raw data and Israel agrees to be good boys and not abuse the info they are given. The US asks for nothing but Israel's word.

      The problem is of course that it is not the government's to give. It's the private communications of American citizens.


  38. It's actually scary to watch you folks dance to the turn the media and others put out.

    1. .

      Well, let's see.

      So far the US government has not denied that any of the released date is authentic. In fact, they have complained about its release for the very reason it is authentic.

      And who would you suggest we listen to instead, James Clapper?

      On the other hand, I can kind of see why you might think it was scary.


  39. Putin saves Obama from looking like an appeaser, a warmonger or an incompetent and allows Kerry to portray the administration as unsurpassed in its diplomatic brilliance.

    This is what Obama meant by waiting until after the election to have more flexibility.

  40. There is something very interesting happening;

    The American Public bitch slapped Washington, the media and the permanent war party. We told Washington another war is not happening.

    Now another front of people power is opening up from below.

    The AFL-CIO, rank and file, is letting their bosses know that if Obamacare is going to cost them, they are out. This can be catching.

    1. They're thinking of their Cadillac benefits. Greed is good. Greed works.

    2. .

      It would take the better part of a day on google to come up with the hundreds (well over 1000) waivers that have been offered on Obamacare. Large businesses, small businesses, individual states, non-profit groups, Congress, etc. Many of the groups that supported Obamacare (AARP for instance) received waivers so it wouldn't surprise me that they would want to waive the 'Cadilac Tax'. I predicted it at the time they were passing Obamacare. However, after all the publicity about the various waivers Obama has granted, I don't know if the public will let him get away with it this time.


    3. Don't forget:

      Rufus is part of the American Public.

      They can serve up Shit on a Shingle, and he'll call it Sushi.

    4. After all, he and many others are aware that Pelosi is not only ethically pure, but unsurpassed in her knowledge of medical science.

    5. I'm not sure, but I'm beginning to think that there's a little more to his Union deal than you're (or I am) aware of. We'll see.

      Anyway, as for those "waivers," the ones I'm aware of went to outfits like McDonalds that had those goofy little $3,000.00 Annual Limit pseudo-plans that couldn't make the cut. They were given another year to try to get something together that could pass muster.

      Doug has never mentioned that the original "Romney/Obamacare" Health Plan was enacted in Hawaii many years ago, and that it is, seemingly, pretty popular with the folks.

    6. "Romney/Obamacare" Hawaii, all exactly the same, for all practical purposes.

      ...in your Ethanol Soaked Dreams.

    7. I did notice one big difference; Hawaii-care requires businesses with over 20 employees to provide insurance (in Obamacare it's 30.)

    8. I guess that just Destroyed Business, and Healthcare, in Hawaii, eh?

    9. That 20 should be "hours worked," not employees.

      20 hrs worked whereas under Obamacare an employer with over 50 employees must provide healthcare to those that work 30 hrs/wk, or more.

  41. Rufie thinks the Stock Market is the result of Obama's Genius and Hard Work for The American People.

    Bernanke Digitally Delivering Billions to Banks to "Invest" in Wall Street?

    Not a factor.

    1. I am aware of who reappointed the Bernank, and for whom he works.

    2. Rufus IIThu Sep 12, 06:20:00 PM EDT

      "...but he has managed to almost triple the stock market,:

      and, in the next few years, Thirty Million Americans will have the ability, for the first time, to buy Affordable Health Care.


      Free Lunch For All!!!

    3. Not a "free lunch," just a very large insurance pool.

    4. The Bigger, More Centralized, The Better!

      Worked Great for The Soviet Union.

    5. Them illegals are in there to freshen up the big pool.

    6. It's worked great for all the other major industrialized countries in the world.

      We Are the only OECD country that doesn't guarantee healthcare to all of its citizens.

    7. Yep, England's healthcare is unsurpassed, and not a single Canadian has ever traveled South for Treatment in the USA.

    8. And, not a single American has ever flown to India for heart surgery, or a hip replacement.

    9. I'm sure as Hell not going to!

    10. No doubt Everyone in India has "Equal Access" to healthcare, right?

    11. India:

      The Paragon of Fairness, Equality, and Liberty!

    12. Umh, yeah. :)

      As a matter of fact, India does have Universal HealthCare.

    13. "In south India, even poor people use private health care more often than public health care.

      This is one of the findings of new research by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC),
      Bangalore, the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Centre for the Study of African
      Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford. In addition, nearly 70 % of poor people’s health care
      expenditure is on private health care."

  42. DougFri Sep 13, 06:59:00 AM EDT
    My Doctor is going from 1,800 patients to 400.

    I will pay an extra $1,600 a year so I can be among the 400.

    Doctors across the nation are cutting patients due to the reporting requirements under Obamacare, and cost of same.

    1. Maybe you should find a different doctor, one who doesn't blow smoke up your ass.

    2. Your state, is already, only slightly behind Massachusetts in percentage of people insured.

    3. Perhaps I can better choose my own Doctor than you or Pelosi.

    4. Choose away. But don't complain about the smoke wafting out of your ass.

    5. I'll let you have the last word; I'm going to bed. 19 days till "sign-up."

    6. Sign up?

      Clue me in:

      I thought Seniors are not affected, but remain under Medicare?

      (not that I have been, yet)

    7. no, I'm not affected. I do have Medicare (and, VA.)

      I am interested in how successful they will be in signing people up. I suspect it might be a pretty tough lift.

  43. India: A nation's bad health reflects worst of rich and poor

    With an abysmal record on health care spending and one of the world's poorest populations, you'd expect India to be a sick country. But what's surprising is that the situation is arguably getting worse faster than it's getting better.

    Consider this:

    According to an article in the Times of India Thursday, about 37 percent of Indian deaths are still caused by "poor country" diseases like tuberculosis and malaria--or plain old diarrhea. But as many as 53 percent of deaths are now caused by "rich country" problems like heart failure and diabetes--suggesting that lifestyle-related health problems are multiplying faster than the country can eliminate diseases related to vaccination programs and hygiene.

    Perhaps worse still, the country is hardly making any progress against those "poor country" problems, considering its rapid economic growth.

    "Even Bangladesh, with no economic superpower claims, has managed to reduce maternal mortality rate (MMR) from 320 per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 by 2010. In India, MMR continues to be as high as 212," writes TOI.


    Every year, 1.73 million "children under five years die in India, most of them before their first birthday. The infant mortality rate of 50 deaths per 1000 live births in 2009 is inching down — it was 58 in 2005 — but look at Bangladesh: they have reduced it from 102 in 1990 to 41 in 2009."

    Despite the crisis, the government appears to be doing virtually nothing.

  44. India should run the world.

    My niece says they are quite sane, once you get past the male female shit.

    After all she says she is running back to me.

    What is wrong wrong with this?