“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’s Shock and Awe Rocks the Kasbah on the Potomac

12 September 2013 Last updated at 01:44 ET
Crisis: Russia's Putin in personal plea for US caution
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a direct personal appeal to the American people over the Syrian crisis.
In an opinion article in the New York Times, he warns that a US military strike against Syria could unleash a new wave of terrorism.
He says millions of people see the US not as a model of democracy but as relying on brute force.
The US and Russia are due to hold talks in Geneva later over Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
Moscow, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has proposed putting the weapons under international control before destroying them.
Japan used poison gas against the Chinese in the 1930s, Mussolini used it in Ethiopia during World War II, and the Egyptian air force used it in Yemen in the 1960s.
But nothing compared with what happened at Halabja. In March 1988, Iraq's President Saddam Hussein ordered a Kurdish town in northern Iraq to be drenched with mustard gas and nerve gas, killing over 5,000 people almost immediately.
Kamaran Haider was 11 at the time. When the bombardment began, he, his family and others rushed to their shelter. He told me that at first it was conventional bombs that fell. Then they smelt a strange odour of fruit and garlic and they knew at once what had happened.
  1. Why chemical weapons provoke outrage
Damascus has agreed, at least partially, to the the proposal, and US President Barack Obama to put military action against Syria on hold.
The US blames the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack near Damascus last month that killed hundreds. Syria blames the attack on rebels.
As the diplomatic efforts continue, the Syrian army has been trying to retake the Christian town of Maaloula which was overrun by rebel forces - including members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front - at the weekend.
The BBC's Jeremy Bowen, who visited Maaloula on Wednesday, says fighting has been continuing despite earlier reports that government forces had retaken the town.
'Escalation' warning
In the New York Times article, Mr Putin says recent events "have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders".
He warned that the UN could suffer the same fate as its precursor, the League of Nations, if "influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorisation".
"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders," he says.
"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilise the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."
Mr Putin said Russia was not protecting the Syrian government "but international law".
He reiterated Russia's opinion that the gas attack of 21 August was probably carried out by opposition forces "to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons".
"Reports that militants are preparing another attack - this time against Israel - cannot be ignored," he adds.
"It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force."
The article comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to discuss Moscow's proposal. It is not clear how long the talks will last.On Wednesday, envoys of the five permanent UN Security Council members met in New York to discuss the plan.
A UN diplomat quoted by AFP news agency said those present at the 45-minute meeting set out their positions "but there were no real negotiations".
One diplomat told the BBC that the UN envoys' talks were largely symbolic and that the serious questions would be left for Geneva.
Republican Senator John McCain, who has long argued for US intervention in Syria, said he was sceptical about Thursday's meeting.
"Frankly I'm puzzled why John Kerry has to go to Geneva to negotiate with Lavrov," he said.
"Why doesn't Lavrov come to the UN and everybody agree on a resolution and pass it? It's got to be a resolution through the Security Council."
Diplomats predict that talks at the UN Security Council will continue for several days after the Geneva meeting before any resolution can be put to a vote.
France has already been working on a draft resolution that would be enforced by Chapter VII of the UN charter, which would in effect sanction the use of force if Syria failed in its obligations.
However, Russia has already indicated that this would be unacceptable, as would any resolution blaming the Syrian government for chemical attacks.
The 15-member UN Security Council has been deadlocked for months over Syria.
It is facing mounting criticism over what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called its "embarrassing paralysis" over the conflict.
More than 100,000 people have died since the uprising against President Assad began in 2011.
Russia, supported by China, has blocked three draft resolutions condemning the Assad government.
On Wednesday, the US state department confirmed that Mr Kerry would also meet UN-Arab League special envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva.
A team of US arms experts is accompanying Mr Kerry.


  1. Obama brought checkers to a chess game.

  2. In response to the op-ed, a senior White House official told CNN's Jake Tapper “Putin is now fully invested in Syria’s CW (chemical weapons) disarmament."

    In what he qualified as his message "to the American people," Putin also disagreed with Obama’s reference to American exceptionalism during his Tuesday evening speech.

    “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever their motivation,” Putin said.

    Putin praised the United Nations for providing the stability of international relations for decades. And he warned that if the U.S. were to use force against Syrian without U.N. Security Council approval, the move would constitute an act of aggression and desperately undermine the international organization.

  3. “American exceptionalsim” , where did that come from? Let’s take a look.

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuv0K8H8ILM

      Whittle's idea of American Exceptionalism

    2. He's not a Christian either.

  4. There are easy answers and most are probably wrong.

    I think it is safe to say it is simply a from of self-righteous Christianity but hardly unique in human history.

    It is the ultimate rationalization for war.

    It cleanses moral indelible stains.

    The Romans used it and the Old testament of the Bible glorifies it to justify every possible atrocity and evil known to man. God in all his lovely glory demanded all of it except for the parts where the devil made us do it.

    The British Empire, Manifest Destiny of America and would be German Empires all made claim to being exceptional and used the belief as they conquered, cowered and cleansed the less than exceptional that impeded the goal. Cleansing is always a necessary component.

    Islamists and radical zionists both believe that they are superior and exceptional and draw heavily on history and god for the cause. God is great. All the “isims” vie for their “exceptionalism". Exceptionalism is not free. Someone always pays for somebody else’s exceptionalism, usually with their life, liberty or if they get off easy, their property.

  5. “Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.” ― George Carlin

  6. One man’s exceptionalism is another man’s treason:

    EU lawmakers nominate Snowden for Sakharov human rights prize

    Members of the European Parliament have officially nominated whistleblower and former CIA employee Edward Snowden for the prestigious prize, which celebrates freedom of thought.

    Edward Snowden "deserves to be honored for shedding light on the systematic infringements of civil liberties by US and European secret services," leaders of the parliament's Greens group Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms said in a statement. "Snowden has risked his freedom to help us protect ours."

  7. It just keeps getting better an’ better:

    Snowden was put forward as a candidate by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left faction.

    Christian Engstrom from the Swedish Pirate Party, who co-nominated Snowden for the award, said that the whistleblower has paid “a heavy personal price” for his “heroic” actions.

    The prize is named after the Soviet dissident scientist Andrey Sakharov and honors people and organizations for their work in defending human rights and freedom of thought.

  8. Wouldn’t you love to be in your twenties, living in Stockholm, a member of the Swedish Pirate Party, playing lead trumpet in some jazz dive, celebrating your own pussy riot?

  9. Thought for the day:

    We should all be grateful that Romney was not president.

    1. Damned right we are.

      Even more so with regards to John McCain

  10. The introduction of the New York Times’s new star columnist, Vladimir V Putin, this morning should provide Barack Obama with a few useful tips on how to make a persuasive argument to the American people about tackling the Syrian crisis.

    By contrast with Mr Obama’s unfathomable televised address earlier this week, Mr Putin, whose day job is running Russia, managed to set out a lucid and powerful argument on why the West should proceed with caution on Syria.

    Like any good polemicist, Mr Putin indulges in a degree of journalistic licence in his article entitled "A Plea for Caution from Russia." On what basis, for example, can he claim that the chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21 was carried out by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants rather than the Assad regime?

    That said, Mr Putin and his team of Kremlin helpers are to be congratulated on their ability to present a cogent and forceful argument on the perils of unauthorised military intervention in Syria in a way that they will clearly resonate with the American people.
    At a time when, thanks to Mr Obama’s dithering on the issue, the majority of Americans are confused about how best to respond to the Syrian crisis, Mr Putin has helpfully given them some pointers, the most obvious being that any action undertaken must have UN approval.

    Now, thanks to Mr Putin’s helpful suggestion earlier this week about disarming Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons, there is a realistic prospect that such backing may now be forthcoming.

    Read more by Con Coughlin on Telegraph Blogs
    Follow Telegraph Blogs on Twitter

  11. Vladimir Putin has taken to trolling the United States – and you have to admire his guts. On 9-11, a sacred day in the US, the New York Times released an op ed written by the Russian leader in which he not only told Americans than the Obama administration is wrong on Syria but that their country is not quite as exceptional as they think. The key quote:
    It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

    Ah, but some are more equal than others, Vladimir. It’s troubling to meet a former KGB agent who doesn't know his Orwell.

    There is much about the op ed that simply stinks. Putin denounces war while conveniently forgetting the horrors of Chechnya, and he gives the impression that Assad's opposition is composed entirely of al-Qaeda when it actually contains many good democrats. Also, no mention of all the bombs and guns that Russia has sold the Syrian dictatorship. But where Putin scores highly is in his reminder that his position is at least consistent and logical: opposition to foreign intervention overseas matched by a long-term commitment to resisting Islamism at home. Putin has a policy. Obama just has knee-jerk reactions that jerk from one position to the next, spreading chaos across the Middle East.

    War hawks insist that we have to do something in Syria if only to put Russia in its place. If we really must see the world in this simplistic, bipolar way then the hawks have done themselves no favours – right now the score is Putin: 146, Obama: 0. Putin has taken a straightforward position and stuck to it. Obama by contrast has a) refused to do anything in Syria for two years, b) been goaded by the British and French into action, c) arbitrarily drawn a "red line" in a press conference, d) denied drawing said line, e) asserted his privilege as President to pursue military action, f) then asked Congress for permission to pursue military action, g) forced congressional leaders to parade in front of the cameras pledging support, h) realised at the last minute that he's not got the votes in the House to win a vote, and i) decided to do basically what Putin always said he should do by returning to the themes of diplomacy and asking Assad nicely to hand over his chemical weapons. "I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria," wrote Putin. That translates into Russian as, “I welcome the president's capitulation to Russia on Syria."

    This is the confusing pattern of Obama's approach to foreign affairs. Supporting "democracy" in Egpyt while bankrolling the army. Pulling out of Iraq but surging in Afghanistan. Being a voice for human rights while keeping Guantanamo open. Fighting a war on terror but giving tacit support to an opposition in Syria that does indeed include some Islamist terrorists. Simply by holding firm while Obama changes his mind daily, Vladimir Putin has emerged looking like a stronger, cleverer world leader. That he has managed to establish himself as the protector of the world's oppressed Christians is even more galling. Western policy seems to have no concern for our co-religionists who are being butchered in their thousands; Russia is quietly filling the moral vacuum that we've left behind.

    1. Obama parks a couple of Destroyers off the coast of Syria, and Putin/Assad start squealing like little girls, and begging for dispensation. And, Obama's getting "out-played."

      Give me a break.

      This op-ed is a good thing. Pooty-poot wants the approbation of the civilized world? Great. He can write another op-ed in a few day regarding his actions on the new Russian anti-gay laws.

      Followed by an op-ed on Russian Censorship of the press. And, their actions in Georgia. It's always a good thing to get these psychopaths talking. Ask any hostage negotiator.

    2. .

      I disagree.

      The basic theme of the article, as I read it, is that Obama has been outplayed politically by Putin. There is little doubt its true. It is not dependent on who is the 'good' guy and who is the 'bad'. It is not dependent upon on how clever Putin is.

      All Putin has to do to win this race is to merely stand there and watch Obama as he shifts around aimlessly first in one direction and then the other.


    3. Well, Obama does have to deal with Congress so his shifting isn't necessarily simply arising from his ...shiftiness.

    4. I mean, Quirk, what do think Obama should do - be strong like Putin and send in the military to win one for our side in the ME?

    5. .

      Jesus, Ash, you go away for days or weeks at a time and then come back asking these stupid questions. Had you been around more often, you'd know my answer to your questions.

      I mean, Quirk, what do think Obama should do - be strong like Putin and send in the military to win one for our side in the ME?

      Where do you come up with this shit? My comment above was on the political aspect of the exchange between Obama and Putin and their influence on world opinion. And if you haven't noticed it is Obama that is demanding military intervention in Syria not Putin. And if you are blaming Congress for Obama's fecklessness, you are loonier than Canadian money. Throughout this thing Obama has been amateur hour personified.


    6. .

      Kerry argues that it is in America's 'national interest' for the US to launch a bombing attack on Syria that will be 'unbelievably small' but not a 'pin prick' in order to 'send a message' to Assad rather than help initiate 'regime change' so that he will know it is unacceptable to use chemical weapons.

      Not even bothering to argue the legitimacy of the case the administration has 'talked about' presenting, I would argue that US prestige, influence, and 'national interests' have been damaged much more by Obama' foolhardy pronouncements and schizophrenic performance on Syria than they could ever be by Syrian chemical weapons.


    7. I agree that the initial establishment of the chemical "red line" was misguided but that has been a standard of US POTUS talk for many a year now - stating to various 'bad' governments what they shall and shall not do (i.e. Iran and nukes, NORK's and nukes, China and Taiwan ect.)

      Once that "red line" had gotten out there Obama hasn't really vacillated unless you consider going to Congress a vacillation. Going to Congress on this matter makes sense to me in that US national security is not imminently at risk thus requiring fast action by the commander in chief so the action better be authorized by Congress. Some have said that not securing the votes before announcing going to Congress was 'amateur' but I think the ability, especially in today's Congress, to get the congress critters support in advance is unlikely.

      Given popular opinion and Congress not likely to vote in favor of action Obama is smart to take the lifeline thrown by Putin.

      I would be interested to see what you would have done differently Quirk aside from not issuing the "red line" in the first place? Would you have preferred Obama simply ignored the crossing of the "red line"? Would that make it less amateurish?

      On another note - have been watching any of the America's Cup racing? I've seen the first 3 races so far (on Youtube) and it is really good sail boat racing!

    8. .

      When talking about 'amatuerish', I am talking about this whole fiasco from beginning to end and the performances of Obama and the three stooges, Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey.

      Ash we have been going through this for weeks. I'm not going to waste time going over each individual item in detail over again. Given your question, I assume you haven't watched the actual hearing in Congress nor closely followed the evolution of this administration's policy.

      A power point chronology

      . The original 'red line' statement during the election.

      . Subsequent statements by Obama that the US would be supplying arms to the rebels because Assad had used chemical weapons numerous times.

      . Failure of Obama to supply arms to the rebels.

      . The August 21 attack.

      . Obama declaring primarily through his surrogate Kerry that the US would launch an attack against Syria in response, one that would be 'proportional and limited in scope and time' and which would be intended to teach a lesson to Assad but not effect regime change (something Obama has been calling for the past two years.)

      . Obama's coalition of the willing quickly evaporates leaving the US alone to carry out any strikes.

      . Polls prove the American public is dead set against intervention is Syria.

      . Left with no meaningful support, Obama takes the only politically viable step available to him in order to cover his ass, and decides to have Congress vote on it.

      . He sends the three stooges, Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey to the Congressional hearings to demand Congress authorize the use of force even though they contend that they do not really need Congressional authorization. All three proceed to make asses of themselves. Kerry tries to make the case that our 'national interests' are at stake but all he can do is try defending an international 'norm'. Yet, he ignores the fact that the attack would be against international 'law'. Dempsey, when asked what our end-game objective was in Syria said he didn't know. When asked for the actual proof on the number of deaths and that Assad was responsible, they say that info is 'secret'.

      . In subsequent classified hearings, participants come out saying they are even less convinced of the governments case.

      . Seeing that their case was going nowhere with Congress or the American people, they bring out not additional facts or evidence but rather a compilation of YouTube videos showing the victims.

      . When confronted with questions about unintended consequences and being drawn in, Kerry states the attacks will be 'unbelievably small'. The resulting backlash requires Obama to come out and say the US military doesn't do 'pin pricks'.

      . Obama then states he never set a red line, it was a Republican Congress years ago, nay the entire world that set that red line, thus eliciting smirks from today's Congress and much of that same world.

      . Seeing that he was going down to defeat on the Obama proposal Harry Reid decided to delay the vote in the Senate.

      . When asked what Syria could do to stop the attack, Kerry gave his sarcastic remark about Syria giving up its chem weapons.

      . To the administration's surprise the Russians and then the Syrians purportedly agree in principle.

      . This prompts Obama to go on national TV and ask that the vote in Congress be delayed thus eliciting more ridicule.

      . Today the kabuki continues.

    9. .

      What I would have done differently? One's words have meaning. While most people discount what the pols say during election campaigns, some words can came back to haunt you especially when you are president of the US. Obama was really reluctant to get into Syria, yet when the 'red line' he had established was crossed, he was forced to try to save face.

      First, I would be more diplomatic in the words I choose leaving myself as much flexibility as possible to respond to changing circumstances.

      Second, if I decided that an attack was necessary, I would settle on a single approach. I would either attack under my own authority using the War Powers Act as an excuse something numerous recent presidents have done, or I would have gone to Congress and abided by their decision. I would not have used the schizophrenic approach Obama has, demanding that he get Congressional approval to cover his ass but maintaining that he really doesn't need it.

      Third, under either scenario, I would do the following:

      . Provide actual evidence, proof that chemical weapons were used, what those weapons were, and proof that Assad authorized their use.
      . A clear and convincing case that US national interests are threatened by Assad's use of chemical weapons and what those specific national interests are.
      . The legal case for going to war not merely the moral case.
      . Provide a clear rationale showing in convincing fashion why the attacks can be expected to provide more benefits than cost, in terms of collateral damage, loss of lives and treasure, and providing aid and comfort to enemies whose worldviews are inimical to ours.
      . Before I tried to make my case, I would make sure that everyone in my administration knew the party line and I wouldn't be undercutting them by changing the message on a daily basis.

      I am not alone in calling Obama amateurish. He has been called such by both sides of the aisle in Congress, by pundits in numerous publications, and worst of all, by comedians like Leno and John Stewart.

      As for taking the lifeline offered by Putin and Assad, that was the political thing to do given the situation he was in. As I've pointed out before, there are numerous reasons to believe this proposal may never fly; however, we will have to wait to see how it plays out. Hopefully, it will work out. If it keeps us from launching a pointless attack on Syria, I am all for it. However, at this point I am highly skeptical it will result in anything but a stall for time. We'll see.


    10. .

      As for the Americas Cup, I haven't seen any.

      One was on a few days ago, but I was switching back and forth between a football and baseball game and missed it.

      When is the next one?


    11. Forget watching it on TV. Start at Race 1 on Youtube. You can skip forward to just the race if you don't want to watch all the preamble. The preamble helps set up the people and the boats and the rules but if you want to get to just the racing you can skip to the 'pre-start'.

      The first bunch of races are really good (attempts to get the other boat to foul, tacking duels and lead changes) and those boats are marvels of technology and the Youtube channel provides the BEST in viewing (full control and the fully produced show)


    12. As to your "what I would do..."

      Yeah, good stuff, point(s) taken.

  12. GOP “doves” exposed as total frauds

    Conservatives opposing both Obama's military and diplomatic options only want his failure. They're fooling no one

    When the full story of the Obama administration’s clumsy involvement in, and (possible) disengagement with, Syria is told, we’ll have a clearer sense of whether it was bungled all the way, or whether a diplomatic resolution was actually the product of a credible military threat and clever negotiating. Or maybe a bit of both.

    But whoever tells that story should reserve a footnote for the handful of politicians and public figures who did a complete about-face from opposing President Obama’s proposed military strikes to mocking — and even rooting against — an unexpected diplomatic alternative.
    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, opposed the military campaign, and now rejects the idea of a negotiated disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons.

    So now we are asked to trust Putin and Assad?

    — JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 10, 2013

    Maybe Cornyn actually hopes for a massive, unpopular military campaign, or a military and diplomatic disengagement in Syria, and his opposition to both of the courses Obama has proposed reflects a genuine policy disagreement. But it looks a lot more like domestic politics. Which is probably harmless so long as Obama’s operating in diplomatic channels where Congress can’t tie his hands. But it lends credence to critics who claim that the GOP’s only solution to disputes abroad is to launch deadly wars.

    When all you own is hammers, every problem looks like a nail.

    1. .

      No link?


      Looks like something E.J. Dionne or Paul Krugman might dream up.


    2. Salon, Q.


      By Brian Beutler

  13. $900 bucks ain't nothin'!

    Kristen Stewart accepts $500,000 offer from Middle Eastern prince for 15-minute chat

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/kristen-stewart-accepts-500-000-offer-middle-eastern-prince-15-minute-chat-article-1.1452669#ixzz2eggJJ6n7

    1. No prob. Gasoline is up $0.04, today.

  14. There is always the oil game in the Middle East.

    "Keeping the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in place in Syria also serves another Russian interest. A government friendly to Russia would prevent Qatar, the resource-rich Gulf state, from making good on its proposal to use Syria as a conduit for a gas pipeline to Turkey and on to Europe. Europe is a major market for Russian natural gas."


    1. actually, the whole article is pretty good:

      "On Syria, Putin runs rings around Obama Add to ...


      The Globe and Mail

      After two years of being blamed for blocking the road to peace in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears now to be in the driver’s seat while U.S. President Barack Obama is stuck on the passenger side looking for a map.

      Obama administration officials argue that it was the U.S. threat of force that brought Russia forward with its proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. But it appears that the prospect of Mr. Obama losing his bid for congressional approval of military action against Syria had a lot more to do with it, prompting Mr. Putin to throw him a lifeline.

      For the Russian leader, it’s a chance to appear statesmanlike for a change, while still safeguarding his country’s own interests. Not only is Syria an old client state, dating from the time of the former Soviet Union, it also is an ally of Iran. Syria and Iran share the goal of keeping the Sunni jihadists out of Damascus.

      Russia has the same goal. “Russia has had enough trouble with jihadists in Afghanistan and Chechnya and doesn’t want another jihadist state in the region,” said Adnan Abu Odeh, a former Jordanian diplomat.

      Keeping the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in place in Syria also serves another Russian interest. A government friendly to Russia would prevent Qatar, the resource-rich Gulf state, from making good on its proposal to use Syria as a conduit for a gas pipeline to Turkey and on to Europe. Europe is a major market for Russian natural gas.

      To make sure the threat of a U.S. strike against Syria doesn’t soon return, Russia has already insisted that any United Nations Security Council resolution that would authorize the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons not include the threat of military consequences should the plan fail. U.S. and French diplomats have called for such a provision.

      The decommissioning plan will succeed, Mr. Putin said this week, “only if the U.S. and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force.”

      “It is difficult to make any country – Syria or any other country in the world – unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration.”

      Mr. Obama may have little choice but to accede to that demand. If this plan never gets off the ground, he may not find any more support in Congress than he had a few days ago for military action. After pledging to seek congressional approval to punish the Syrian regime for its alleged gas attack on civilians last month, Mr. Obama is also unlikely to launch a strike without that support.

    2. Mr. al-Assad also appears to have emerged a winner, or a survivor for the moment. Mr. Obama, who declared back in 2011 that the Syrian dictator had to go, has said repeatedly since the Aug. 21 gas attack that he wants to carry out a limited strike on Syria to degrade its chemical weapons capabilities, not to effect regime change.

      Members of the Syrian opposition have expressed bitterness that Mr. Obama’s latest position is only to declare war on Syrian chemical weapons, not on a regime that has killed tens of thousands of its own citizens by other means.

      The new focus on diplomacy, and the Syrian government’s stated willingness to go along with the Russian plan, has left the main U.S. ally in the Gulf off balance. Saudi Arabia has been trying for a year to push the U.S. military machine into gear in support of the anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

      The Saudis see themselves as the religious leaders of the Sunni Muslim world and, as such, have two goals, Mr. Abu Odeh said. The first is to stop Shia Iran from encroaching in the Arab world, and the second is to reduce the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood who oppose monarchies such as the House of Saud.

      Mr. Obama disappointed them when he dropped his support of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and then supported the Muslim Brotherhood leadership that replaced the Egyptian dictator. Now, he has chosen to pull his punches when it comes to Iran’s ally in Damascus.

      “The Saudis see Iran’s Shia influence as the greatest evil,” Mr. Abu Odeh added, “greater than the threat posed by Israel or anyone else.”

      That influence extends from Iran to its Hezbollah followers in Lebanon. “Syria is a lynchpin that connects Iran to its Shia followers in Hezbollah,” he said. “Pull out that pin and Iran’s forces become weaker.”

      That is likely why Mr. Putin was willing to give up Syria’s chemical weapons – because it ensures that Mr. al-Assad or any succeeding pro-Iranian leader will remain in office.


  15. A poll recently released by the Pew Research Center flies in the face of Barack Obama’s attitude toward the Palestinian people world and their desire for peace. The poll, which was conducted among 11 different nationalities comprised of large Muslim populations, found that there was unanimity among them in their opposition to suicide bombings-with one exception.

    One question asked whether suicide bombings could ever be justified. The possible answers were "Never," "Rarely," "Sometimes," "Often" and "Don't Know." Unlike their Muslim brethren, 62% of those from the "Palestinian Territories" (the areas of Palestinian Authority-controlled Judea and Samaria, and the area of Gaza) said suicide bombings were “sometimes” justifiable. The next largest group approving was from Lebanon, with 33% approving. Of those who said the suicide bombings were “often” justifiable, 37% of Palestinians approved. The second highest group was from Senegal, at 11%.

    Interestingly, the group most opposed to suicide bombings was from Pakistan, where Al Qaeda and the Taliban have almost exclusively focused the bombings on other Muslims.

    Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), said:

    The Palestinian Authority, through its religious establishments, has been presenting the killing of Jews as an Islamic imperative for many years. Just last year the [Palestinian Authority-appointed] Mufti of Jerusalem quoted the Hadith [Islamic teaching] which was quoted throughout the intifada period, saying that the end of days will only come when the Muslims kill the Jews.

    The constant brainwashing of Palestinians by their leadership... that killing Jews in the name of Islam is a duty, has clearly influenced them. People do not give enough attention to the phenomenon of incitement to religious hatred. The continued teaching that Allah wants Jews to be killed... leaves us with a situation where Israel's neighbors, the Palestinians, believe they have a religious obligation to kill Jews,

    1. There is a strong current in American life that glorifies the sacrifice made by the military with the ultimate sacrifice, and hence the ultimate glory, being the loss of one's life. This sentiment really isn't that far from committing suicide to further political goals.

    2. Taking two to tango, there are strong cultural biases on the Jews part, too.

      They teach their kids that Palestine does not and never did exist.
      That the Arabs are just savages and without the basic human rights granted by God to all mankind.

      One just has to read "What is &quot" to see the results of such cultural identity 'education'.
      He advocates for genocide against the Palestinians.

      It appears to be a cultural and one can surmise a religious bias.
      Bigotry that permeates the publicly exposed backside of Judaism.

    3. AshThu Sep 12, 12:36:00 PM EDT
      There is a strong current in American life that glorifies the sacrifice made by the military with the ultimate sacrifice, and hence the ultimate glory, being the loss of one's life. This sentiment really isn't that far from committing suicide to further political goals.


      blowing up one's self to erase another's civilians is not even in the same universe.

    4. Rat the chickenshit says "anonymously"

      AnonymousThu Sep 12, 02:11:00 PM EDT
      Taking two to tango, there are strong cultural biases on the Jews part, too.

      They teach their kids that Palestine does not and never did exist.
      That the Arabs are just savages and without the basic human rights granted by God to all mankind.

      One just has to read "What is &quot" to see the results of such cultural identity 'education'.
      He advocates for genocide against the Palestinians.

      It appears to be a cultural and one can surmise a religious bias.
      Bigotry that permeates the publicly exposed backside of Judaism.

      Please show ONE example where I advocate "gencide against the Palestinians". Please do not stoop to your moronic exercise to say that if I dont agree with a person's self declared identity that that is "genocide". Stick to the accepted meaning that is accepted by nations and people across the globe. Genocide, the purposeful murder of a people with the goal of wiping them from the world.

      Bet you cant?

      You know why?

      Cause you are a lying sack of shit, that's why.

      So post the QUOTE? or shut the fuck up...

    5. No, "What is &quot" there are no quotes for you.

      Your history is apparent and well known to all that read this blog.

      You have denied that the Palestinians are a people.
      That denial is, according to the international standard, is in and of itself part of the attempted genocide.

      To deny the existence of a people, as part of an attempt to destroy those people, is genocide.

      We all know you "What is &quot" for the racist genocidal bigot that you are.

  16. Coming up: public beheading is Syria


    Thought from my niece---

    "They are all crazy, Uncle Bob"

    That is her opinion.

    She ain't crazy.

    1. When my niece and I go to Vegas

      we will watch and laugh


      Those crazy muzzies killing each other


      I must wire her the money so she can come

      come with me

  17. The media is just lost. They were all geared up for a "war," and all they got was a bloodless victory.

    Syria delivered the signed papers to the U.N. this morning. They are now signatories to the Chemical Weapons Treaty.

    1. Yep, it turned into a BIG win for the President.

      Despite the kabuki, despite the perceptions of ineptitude, Obama and the US come up winners.
      No Constitutional crisis, when Obama orders the strike without Congressional approval.
      There will be no military strike.

      The President fully earned his Nobel Peace Prize.

      Syria agrees to eliminate its chemical weapons program, no use of force required.

      Seems that the US intervention in Iraq does have some carry forward value.

      Despite the worries and frets, the US is still the "Big Dog" on any block.
      Even with sequestration, long may it reign.

    2. Sending those helicopters into Pakistan to take out the Chief Terrorist, and putting Khaddafi in the dirt didn't hurt, either. :)

    3. People happy with the outcome:

      1) Rachel Maddow

      People unhappy with the outcome:

      1) The rest of the world.

      I'm going with Rachel. :)

    4. Libya was probably as great an influence on Assad as any other US action.

      Toppling a long time US enemy without a single boot sole touching the ground in Libya, an impressive accomplishment, especially if you are the next name on Obama's "Hit Parade"

      Putin really likes that Mediterranean seaport he's got.
      Exerted a lot of pressure on Assad so they can keep it.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Assad left in power due to Putin throwing Obama a lifeline while killing thousands and thousands of his country men and ceding the field to Russia a victory? Hardly!

    7. On the other hand, we may not end up directly responsible for giving Al Queda a Country.

    8. That is not the reality, ash.

      The reality is that Obama created the crisis.
      Knowing full well that Sarin nerve agent was already 'out of the box', the President used its further deployment as an excuse to threaten Assad.
      He did this intentionally. Speaking of the "Red Line" issue.

      Then either an idiot Assad, the Saudi backed al-Qeada rebels or some unknown third party, possibly an Army field commander, utilized more of the chemical weaponry in Syria.

      The US blustered, moved some war ships, and blustered some more.
      In the US Obama played to all sides. Unilateral action, bi-lateral action, UN sanction of the Use of Force, all were discussed.

      The Congress when asked to authorize the strike, dithered instead of acted.
      The President said he'd go it alone, if need be to keep the US credible.

      Mr Kerry, in a side remark, mentions a way out. Syria could disarm, turning over its chemical stockpiles to the International Community. The Russians pounce on the idea, twisting Assad into acceptance of a serious proposal.

      With Putin knowing full well that if the US strikes Syria, he loses his naval port rights.

      As to killing thousands and thousands of their fellow countrymen, every nation state on the planet does so. The Israel, 20,00 killed per year. In the US it is closer to a million per year.
      The Russians, well north of 100,000, every year.

      In the end, at least shall we say to this point in time, Obama wins one for the US.
      Syria is closer to becoming a member of the civilized world, participating in arms control treaties and the like. They may even decommission a lot of the obsolete weaponry.

      This leaves Israel, once again, the outlier when the issue of international arms control is raised, as it will be. Time and again in international forums and such, at the UN and across the other outlets used by the "International Community".

    9. Assad in power in Syria allied with Russia is NOT a foreign policy goal or success. To claim otherwise - silly.

      I agree Obama played the hand the best he could on the domestic front and succeeded in pinning the Republicans but, even then, his clout in Congress is even further diminished and the current situation in Syria is not to America's advantage.

    10. Across the board, everyone wins.

      Putin maintains his Mediterranean naval base
      Assad gains legitimacy offered by the US, no further calls for regime change in Syria are made, publicly.
      Obama disarms the Syrians, without a shot being fired. Proving that the US is still the "Big Dog".

      Obama got the Republican leadership to endorse a horrifically unpopular authorization for the President to utilize military force, then pulled the rug out from beneath them.

      Leaving the GOP sputtering ...

      Not bad for a fella that was written off, his effective tenure said to be over by some of the leading lights here on the blog, just yesterday.

    11. Rat equates abortion with murder.

      i wonder if the courts of the land would agree. I wonder if the courts would find rat guilty of murder when he used that .45 to dispatch a couple in the back of the head?

      No rat lives in a alice in wonderland world. Changing legal definition to fit his mental masturbation.

      Now abortion is the same as offing someone.

      Well by that standard? rat is a mass murderer.

    12. Yesterday, or maybe the day before ...

    13. Depends upon which land, and at what point in time, quot.

      Murder is a legal term.
      It means different things in different place at different times.

      I know that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel equates abortion to murder, so in the Judaic realm the judges agree that abortion is murder.

      The Pope, he equates abortion with murder, but as for judges and land, who's to say how much influence he has. And judges, does the Catholic Church even have judges? I have never heard of it, but I'm no Catholic.

      The US, prior to 1977 let the individual states decide whether abortion equated with murder, in most of them the states did find the equation to be justified. Both morally and legally.

      Times change, as do definitions.
      Laws change.

      Meanings, too, upon translations.

      Did God tell Moses ...

      Thou shall not kill
      or was it ...
      Thou shall not murder

      The two are not the same.

    14. ash, the fact remains that Assad was in power.
      There were estimations, made publicly, that he would not hold power but for a short priod of time, made in 2011.
      They were mistaken estimates, to be sure.

      As for Assad remaining in power, as opposed to ...
      al-Qeada gaining power?

      Assad is a better option, for the US, for the world.
      Especially a better option for the pagans and Christians of Syria.

      as opposed to ...
      A "democratic' Syria?

      A pleasant dream, a parlor discussion perhaps.
      But where are these democrats, where is their army engaged in combat with Assad's?

      Who represents the rebel forces engaged in the Battle of Maaloula?
      That is where the civil war rages.

      Assad vs who, exactly?

      Is that unknown element, those forces actively engaged in the Battle of Maaloula, who the US would be supporting?

    15. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun

      Who has the guns?

    16. Assad is the political client of Russia and Russia is renewing/continuing the old cold war competition for power in the ME. Russia won this battle.

    17. Like I said, Rat has no ability to answer a question in a straight line. When Rat types? Bullshit appears.

      Pure nonsense.

      He should have been a lawyer and not some washed up horse abuser.

    18. Only if by maintaining the status que is considered a victory.
      The Russians and Syrians gained nothing.

      Assad is still embattled.
      The Russians have what they had.
      The US will have gained the disarmament of the Syrian chemical weapon capability.

      Now, if the whole things just peters out...

      Then I'd agree that the Russians got a slightly better piece of the deal.
      But if Assad does disarm, the US remains dominant.
      Militarily and politically.

      There is no doubt, now, that the center in Egypt is holding.

      The al-Qeada elements exposed and vulnerable.
      Syria will now slide below the fold.

      How many doughnuts to an Amero that the Russians make up the bulk of the Piece Keepers?
      Or at least the leadership roles, may get the Pakistani to send the troopers.

    19. .

      Forget it Ash, in rat-World, the Obama-slappy can turn any disaster into a genius play and Obama into Machiavelli.

      Could be the toads.


    20. .

      Both sides are playing this for all it's worth.

      Russia and Syria are pushing the deal since it will help prevent a change to the status quo, one in which Assad currently has the upper hand. They are seeking guarantees that there won't be strikes or attempts at regime change.

      The hawks in the US are as well as the administration are pushing for authorization to strike in the event this proposal doesn't work out, something they had no chance of getting prior to the proposal.

      On a personal basis, I don't think Obama for numerous reasons actually wants to get involved in Syria but his back is against the wall.

      Just my personal opinion, but I doubt this kabuki will change the opinion of the American people enough to give Obama a mandate for going to war. It may shift some votes in Congress.


    21. .

      Syria is an existential battle for Assad (and a good chunk of his people).

      While he is fighting he is alive and kicking.

      Where he to lose, he would be a dead man walking, either from sectarian revenge or the international criminal court. I doubt there will be a negotiated settlement agreed to that calls for him to step down.


  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. By the time a man is 60 he should realize that sometimes life cold-decks you. A hand that has to be played, but that cannot "win."

    The best that you can pray for at such times is to wriggle out with a minimum loss.

    I think Obama, AND Putin were in somewhat this type of situation as regards Syria.

    At some point they probably quit hoping for a win, and started praying for an "escape."

  20. There is no doubt at al,l quot, that the Israeli kill 20,000 Jews each year through abortion.

    The only debate, is whether that killing amounts to murder.

    The Chief Rabbinate of Israel equates abortion to murder.

    There is no debating the deaths, no debating that there is killing. Only whether it amounts to murder, or not.

    Murder is a legal term, killing a physical one.

    That the Israeli kill 20,000 Jews per year, totally factual. Whether it is murder, or just a medical procedure, a matter of legality based upon power.

    The Judaic judges deem abortion murder, only an outlier outlaw, a pagan or apostate would disagree.

    1. tell you what, when you PUT your ass under the authority of the Chief Rabbinate, respect ALL of his dictates?

      then lecture us about what he says.

      But until then?

      Shut the fuck up

    2. No, quot, I do not bow to Judaic law, figureheads or judges.

      Neither do you.

      I am not an apostate Jew.
      Same cannot be said for you.

      You brought up the subject of Israel, abortion, murder and judges.
      I think I will just keep on riding it, for a while longer.



    3. If the Chief Rabbinate of Israel did not want the world to discuss equating abortion to murder...
      They would not publish a public letter to that effect...
      Each and every year that the killing of Jews by the Israeli government continues.

      The phraseology used in those letters by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel becoming more strident as the years roll by.

      Used to be the Rabbinate called it ...
      ... murder of Jewish souls ...
      This year it was just ...
      ... MURDER ...

    4. desert ratThu Sep 12, 03:58:00 PM EDT
      No, quot, I do not bow to Judaic law, figureheads or judges.

      Neither do you.

      I am not an apostate Jew.
      Same cannot be said for you.

      You really do show yourself quite on a regular basis to speak well above your paygrade.

      Thanks for the entertainment. You are quite amazingly ignorant and now the public and those that know can see it as well.

      Those words you type you own. And to watch you pontificate using google as your databank it telling.
      Once again, thanks for proving what a moron you are.

      And no, I will not point out your inaccuracies and misstatements.

      Those that KNOW will see you for the clown you are.

    5. Now go back to your bong and firearms.

      you are dismissed.

    6. What a funny child you are.

      I have no pay grade, dimwit.

    7. Let's see, you never actually earned a living, you just killed people for hire...

      That doesnt come with a pay grade?

      You certainly aint a armed services retiree. They had pay grades.

      So you actually never served, you killed people, now you live on some land you dont own and smoke pot and shoot weapons..

      What's not to love?

    8. Not at all, quot.

      Workers, the proletariat, they have pay grades
      Socialists, folk that work for the government, they have pay grades.

      A capitalist has no pay grade, dimwit.

    9. I never claimed to be a retiree from anything, quot.
      Certainly not the armed forces of the United States.

      Did six years of that, it was more than enough socialism, for me.

      As you say, now I have land I do not own, that I am paid handsomely to use in my best interests.
      Really is something to love.
      Watching the grass grow, the cattle fatten and the beef prices rise.

      It is a lifestyle, more than a career.

      Holding a few Deeds of Trusts ain't a bad deal, either.
      Even after seven years the debtor still owes over 90% of the principle.

  21. Replies
    1. On Tuesday, Stewart praised John Kerry for bumbling, Magoo-like, into the potential solution by proposing it off-the-cuff as a ridiculous scenario that could never happen.

      But when Syria seemed to take the "dickish offer" seriously, there was no celebrating at Fox News. Instead, the network quickly went into shame-spin cycle, characterizing the development as embarrassing and giving Russia the upper hand in our never-ending global pissing contest.

      This was apparently, quite enough for Jon Stewart, who launched into a breathless rant:

      I get that Fox opposes the Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless, irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic, succubus like existence, BUT... sorry, I blacked out for a second I was saying something?

  22. .

    John Boner says he was 'insulted', you heard me, 'insulted' by Putin's op-ed piece.

    I didn't think the guy could be insulted by anything.


  23. The House voted, today, for the 41st time, to repeal Obamacare.

    1. The AFL-CIO may want to repeal Obamacare.

    2. They may want a lot of things.

    3. .

      I can't believe even the Big O would have the balls to grant the unions an exemption, not after he has already granted everyone else an exemption, well everyone but Joe Six-Pack that is.

      I used to think this was a wealth transfer from young to old and from rich to poor; however, now it is obvious that is merely a wealth transfer from the average Joe to everyone else, rich and poor alike.


    4. I think he might do something about the tax on "Cadillac Health Care Plans" that the Unions are pissed about. That might not have been a terribly well thought-out idea.

    5. .


      Good, lord. That, plus the cut in Medicare funds, plus the 'Doc Fix' which will never happen, was how he was going to pay for the whole friggin thing.

      Wasn't 'terribly well though out'?

      Hard to argue with that.



  24. Had McCain or Romney been president, it would be worse, far worse.

    1. LOL

      I doubt it.

      But that the thing about "what if's" it's not reality.

      What is reality?

      We have Obama.

      Now that should make you puke.

    2. Why?

      US combat deaths are way down.
      The US will have the bulk of its forces out of Afpakistan next year, on schedule.

      The US Security Partner in Egypt is doing quite well.
      The US is in the process of disarming the Assad regime of its chemical weapons.
      The US was pivotal in the elimination of Colonel Q from the International Community.

      Things are chipper on the Middle Eastern front, and in Syria or Egypt, not a shot has been fired either at US or by US.

      Obama has done well in the Middle East, comparative to the last US administration.
      Apples to Apples.

    3. Is that what you are reading for information now a days, quot?
      Comic books.

      Are you projecting, again?

      I much prefer, as you have noted before, to use Google, Haaratz and the JPost.
      You should try those sources, rather than comic books.
      It would help your writing, noticeably.

      You should at least step on up to graphic novels.

    4. Not only that, but he has managed to:

      cut George Bush's budget deficit by 60%,

      bring the auto industry back to prosperity,

      resuscitate the Housing Industry, 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.

    5. And, he has increased our Oil Production by about 40% since taking office, and has enabled/pushed a huge surge in Alternative Energy Production, and Jobs.

    6. All Obama doesn't do ...

      Whistle Dixie!

    7. He just won't lick his lips, pucker up and blow!

    8. Nope, so far he's pretty much "gone for his guns." :)

    9. You've pretty much lost what little sense you might still have had.

  25. Gee, Rufus:

    Fracking (On PRIVATE LANDS) is both a flash in the pan and evidence of Obama's greatness.

    ...in your skewed "mind."

  26. 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.