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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Putin’s Foray against Syrian’s Terrorists

Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him


Russia is so far winning big in Syria, and making Moscow’s projection of force in the Middle East a reality that the other great powers have to recognize. As Russia has emerged as a major combatant against Syrian al-Qaeda and against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), it is being accepted back into a Europe traumatized by two major attacks on Paris. France is signalling that it hopes to end sanctions on Russia over Ukraine by this summer. While the Minsk peace process is going all right, the motivation here is to ally more closely with Moscow against Muslim radicals in the wake of Russia’s successes against them in Syria.

Russia’s intervention in Syria last October was in many ways a desperate measure and a gamble. It is said that in mid-summer of 2015, Iranian special forces commander Qasem Soleimani flew to Moscow with a blunt message. The Syrian regime was going to fall if things went on the way they were going and Iran did not have the resources to stop it.

syria
Vladimir Putin, still smarting from having lost Libya as a sphere of influence, was determined to stop the fall of Syria.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad has to to control a y-shaped area and set of transportation routes if it is to survive. The ‘Y’ is anchored at the bottom by Damascus, the capital. In its metropolitan area, given shifting population, live around 5 million Syrians who are afraid of the two major forces battling the regime, al-Qaeda (the Nusra Front) and Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

The trunk of the ‘Y’ stretches up to Homs and then veers off to the left, to the key port city of Latakia. The right branch of the ‘Y’ goes up through Hama to Aleppo, a city of 4 million before the war, which is divided in half, with the west in the hands of the regime.

Controlling this huge ‘Y’ where 70% of Syrians live is a tall order. It is vulnerable at several key points, of which the rebels have attempted to take advantage.

1. Deraa province to the south of Damascus is largely Sunni and rural and its clans could sweep up and take the capital, with Jordanian, US and Saudi support. If that happened, game over.

2. The Army of Islam, backed by Saudi Arabia, has strong positions besieging the capital just to its north. If it could come down into Damascus, game over.

3. If the rebels could take and hold Homs and Qusayr in the middle of the ‘Y’, they could cut Damascus off from resupply by truck from the port of Latakia.

4. If the rebels, who took all of Idlib Province in the northwest last April, could move west from Idlib and take Latakia, they could cut Damascus off from its major port and deny it ammunition, arms, even some foodstuffs.

5. If the rebels can move from south of Aleppo to cut off the road from Hama and strangle West Aleppo, they could take all of the country’s largest city, making it difficult for the regime to survive.

(COMMENT - the italics below our our guys!}

Along this Y set of trunk roads, the most effective fighting force has been al-Qaeda in Syria, which reports to 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri. This affiliate, called the Support Front or the Nusra Front, is formally allied with other Salafi jihadis in the Army of Conquest coalition and is tactically allied with many small groups in what’s left of the Free Syrian Army. The CIA has sent medium weaponry, including T. O. W. anti-tank weapons to 30 “vetted” groups in the FSA, via Saudi Arabia. Many of these weapons have made their way into the hands of al-Qaeda and been used against regime tanks and armored vehicles to devastating effect.

So when Soleimani when to Moscow, it seemed that the road from Hama to West Aleppo had been lost and Aleppo would fall. Al-Qaeda had also made advances in the south, taking al-Sheikh Miskin just south of Damascus, and preparing for a push on the capital. Idlib had fallen and Latakia might well have been next.

So when Putin sent in his air force, it concentrated on protecting the red ‘Y’ in the map above. It mainly hit al-Qaeda, the primary threat to regime control of the Y, but also struck at Free Syrian Army groups backed by the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which were tactically allied with al-Qaeda. This move was necessary to defend the ‘Y’. It drew howls of protest from Washington, Ankara and Riyadh demanding to know why Russia wasn’t instead targeting Daesh/ ISIL.
The answer was simple. Except at Aleppo and at a point below Hama, Daesh for the most part posed little threat to the ‘Y’. Al-Qaeda and its allies were the big menace, so Putin concentrated on them.

Air support to a determined local ground force can be an effective strategy. It worked for Bill Clinton in Kosovo. It worked for George W. Bush in Afghanistan in 2001, when the US-backed Northern Alliance handily defeated the Taliban. It worked again in March-April 2003, when US air support to the Kurdish Peshmerga guerrillas, allowed them to defeat the Iraqi Baath army in Kirkuk, Mosul and elsewhere in the north.

And so this strategy has been working for Putin. He appears to have rearmed and retrained the Syrian Arab Army, which has new esprit de corps and is making significant headway for the first time in years. It is of course aided by Hizbullah, over from Lebanon, and by a small contingent of some 2000 Iranian spec ops forces (many of them actually Afghan).

So what has the Russian air force accomplished?

1. It allowed the reopening of the road from Hama to West Aleppo, ending the siege of that regime-held part of the city and pushing back the rebels from it.

2. It retook most of Latakia Province, safeguarding the port. Yesterday came the news that the major northern al-Qaeda-held town of Rabia had fallen to the government forces, meaning that Latakia is nearly 100% in government control. These advances into northern Latakia involved hitting Turkmen proxies of Turkey, which is why Turkey shot down a Russian plane last fall. Likely the next step will be to take back cities in Idlib like Jisr al-Shughour, which fell last spring to an al-Qaeda-led coalition, and which could be used as a launching pad for the taking of Latakia port.

3. It strengthened regime control of Hama and Homs, ensuring the supply routes south to Damascus.

4. It hit the Army of Islam as well as al-Qaeda and Daesh around Damascus, forcing the latter two to withdraw from part of the capital and killing Zahran Alloush, leader of the Army of Islam.

5. It hit al-Qaeda and FSA forces in Deraa Province and yesterday the key town of al-Sheikh Miskin fell to the Syrian Arab Army. This is a Deraa crossroads and its loss affects the rebels ability to maneuver in this province.

The Russian air force, in conjunction with Syrian troops and Hizbullah and a few Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps fighters has therefore profoundly braced regime control of the ‘Y’ where most Syrians live and along which the capital’s supplies flow. If in July through September it appeared that the regime could well fall, and quickly, now al-Assad’s minions are on the march, pushing back their opponents.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I want to underline that the above is analysis, not advocacy. Be that as it may, in the past 4 months, Putin has begun winning in Syria, which means so has al-Assad. And the spillover effects on Russian diplomacy are huge.

88 comments:

  1. Closer to home:


    Highway 395 is blocked at Seneca between John Day and Burns, Ore., by Oregon State police officers the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.© Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP Highway 395 is blocked at Seneca between John Day and Burns, Ore., by Oregon State police officers the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.

    The Oregonian reported that Bundy had been en route to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, with several other members of the occupation, where he was scheduled to be a guest speaker, when authorities stopped his vehicle.

    The newspaper said 43-year-old Ryan Bundy, Ammon's brother, was injured in the arrest, suffering a minor gunshot wound. Authorities did not release the identity of the person killed, but added that he was the subject of a federal probable cause arrest.

    Some 25 miles (40 km) of Highway 395 was shut down in both directions following the incident, a dispatcher for the state department of transportation said. The highway was expected to remain closed as authorities investigate the shooting.

    The occupiers of the wildlife refuge said they were supporting two local ranchers who were returned to prison this month for setting fires that spread to federal land. The ranchers' lawyer has said the occupiers do not speak for the family.

    Burns Mayor Craig LaFollette told Reuters that while he had limited information about the night's events, he hoped the stand-off would come to a peaceful end.


    One dead as FBI arrests Oregon occupation leader and others

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/one-dead-as-fbi-arrests-oregon-occupation-leader-and-others/ar-BBoKsvV?ocid=spartanntp

    Traffic stop gone bad. There will be two sides to this story, as in most stories.

    I will keep The Bar up to date if I see anything interesting in our local press.

    I will read the letters to the editor here, too.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would expect the anti-government folks here, those complaining about the heavy handed Federals, the militarization of the police, those that remember Waco and Ruby Ridge, to rally around the innocent red white and blue hard working ranchers....but will they ?

      Will they drive to Oregon and join 'the occupation' ?

      Will Quart drive out from Detroit, provisions in trunk, slogans on his lips....

      ;)

      Delete
    2. If there were any innocent ranchers, well, they were not part of Team Bundy's occupation of the Federal wildlife refuge.

      There is no comparison to either Ruby Ridge or Waco, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson

      Delete
    3. Well, Dead Beat Dad, at least they are ranchers, innocent or not, and not frauds like you who never had a cow in your life.

      They fed their daughters too, in addition to their cattle, unlike you, Dead Beat Dad.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete

    5. Come on, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, tell us why you would compare Waco and
      Ruby Ridge to the seizing of Federal property, by an armed group..

      Delete
    6. How a traffic stop and arrest compares to sniping a mother with a baby in her arms or the assault on a building full of children.

      Tell us "Draft Dodger", we all want to hear your muddled reasoning justifying the comparison you made...

      Delete



  2. Air support to a determined local ground force can be an effective strategy.

    It was referred to here at the Elephant Bar as the "Rat Doctrine"

    It worked for Bill Clinton in Kosovo.
    It worked for George W. Bush in Afghanistan in 2001, when the US-backed Northern Alliance handily defeated the Taliban.
    It worked again in March-April 2003, when US air support to the Kurdish Peshmerga guerrillas, allowed them to defeat the Iraqi Baath army in Kirkuk, Mosul and elsewhere in the north.

    And it worked in Ramadi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No.

      YOU pulled it out of YOUR ass and started claiming it as YOUR doctrine.

      This 'doctrine' had been in use before you were born, dumb shit.

      The real 'rat doctrine' is to take credit for something one has had zero to do with and parade around like a fool.

      Delete
    2. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, you are correct in saying I said that providing Coalition close air support to local forces was the only way that Daesh could be defeated.

      That sending in large numbers of US troops had proven to be a failure in securing any long term security.

      That a small US force would be even worse, as is proving to be the case in Afghanistan.

      You lost that debate, about leaving US forces to long in a country, even your touchstone, Quirk, has told you so.

      Delete
    3. And, once again, Robert "Draft Doodger" Peterson, your ignorance of US military tactics is evident.

      Please, if you can, show us even one instance where the US provided close air support to foreign forces, without US troops on the ground, prior to 1955.

      You cannot do it, because it never happened.

      Delete
  3. The counterterrorism unit, or CTS, is the product of an older, dramatically different training program than the current effort. Iraq's counterterrorism troops were chosen after a grueling series of exams and closely trained by U.S. Army Special Forces from 2003 to 2011.

    ...

    The counterterrorism forces were "used as a conventional battlefield force to take and hold terrain, but that's not what you do with elite forces," said David M. Witty, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel who worked in Iraq from 2007-08 and again from 2013-14 as an adviser and trainer for the CTS.

    ...

    Describing the heavy destruction seen in Ramadi from coalition airstrikes, Witty said it's not a model that can be used in other parts of Iraq.

    ReplyDelete
  4. U.S.-backed rebels lose a key town to Russian airstrikes in Syria

    BEIRUT — Western-backed Syrian rebels on Tuesday suffered one of their most significant defeats since Russia’s military intervention in Syria turned the tide of the war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, further complicating prospects for a negotiated settlement at peace talks scheduled later this week in Geneva.

    After a month-long offensive backed by Russian warplanes, government forces and allied ­militias reclaimed control of the town of Sheikh Miskeen, strategically located at a crossroads commanding a southern supply route between the Jordanian border and the Syrian capital, Damascus.

    It was the latest in a string of defeats inflicted on rebel fighters in recent weeks, as Assad loyalists finally start to capitalize on nearly four months of intense Russian airstrikes that have mostly targeted the anti-Assad rebellion.



    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-backed-rebels-lose-a-key-town-to-russian-airstrikes-in-syria/2016/01/26/8c577ed8-c455-11e5-b933-31c93021392a_story.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. January 27, 2016

    Swedish army prepares for war as police flee mob of Muslim ‘migrants’

    By Carol Brown




    According to an internal military document, the Swedish army is preparing for war. Per a Breitbart report, “the chief of the Swedish army General Anders Brännström told men under his command they could expect to be fighting a war in Europe against skilled opponents ‘within a few years’.”

    The 28-page document was directed to soldiers, civil servants, politicians, and guests who will be attending next week’s military demonstrations that will focus on the army’s ability to fight and survive a winter war:




    …the General said the deteriorating security picture in Europe was the main factor behind his warning, indicating the Islamic State conducting military campaigns in Europe and spreading instability from the Ukraine could lead to conflict. Sensationally, he suggested a Third World War was just round the corner. He told the paper:

    “One can draw parallels with the 1930s. A great uncertainty and [political] dynamics which then led to a great war. That time we managed to keep out. But it is not at all certain we could succeed this time”. (snip)

    It is unusual for a serving senior military figure, much less the professional head of an Army to speak out on such political matters in Europe. Yet these comments are not just the General’s opinion, he added, remarking his senior colleagues all held the same thoughts. He said: “this is a serious position shared by most. This is a completely different situation to the one we had ten years ago.

    “There is now a much stronger focus on national defence… it is about preparing for the worst”.

    If the Swedish military is anything like the Swedish police, the battle may be over quickly (if it isn’t over already). Tommy Robinson, ex-leader and founder of the English Defense League, reports that ten Swedish police officers fled a refugee center after being surrounded by a mob of violent “migrants.” The police had been called in after the staff at the center failed to safely transfer to another facility a 10-year-old boy who was being repeatedly raped. The staff’s inability to transfer him was due to a “hostile attitude” from the “refugees” when they made the attempt.

    So not only did the asylum center fail to complete a seemingly simple task (in a normal world), but so did the police. One officer on the scene stated: “Even more people appeared behind us. I was mentally prepared to fight for my life. We were 10 officers in a narrow corridor. And I hear someone yell that there is an emergency exit.”

    News of the debacle was made public after keeping a lid on it for nearly a week, at which time the Prime Minister said the incident underscored the need for more police officers in light of the wave of “refugees” coming into the country.

    Here’s an idea: Stop bringing in 7th century barbarians who hate the West and (1) you won’t need more police, and (2) you won’t need to go to war.

    Who would have thought?

    (Of note, Swedish police weren’t the only members of law enforcement recently seen fleeing Muslim mobs. Last week a mass of violent Muslims, socialists, and anarchists, broke through police lines at the port of Calais and boarded a ferry bound for the UK as terrified-looking officers retreated. And not to go too far off topic, but there is enormous power in mobs and Muslims are taking full advantage of it. The fact that European citizens, and oftentimes the police, are unarmed all but assures chaos and Islamic supremacy reigns supreme.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But back to Sweden.

      The county, as we know, is in very deep trouble. How, or whether, Sweden will be able to extricate itself from the grip of Islamic supremacism remains to be seen. So far there is little evidence to suggest Swedes grasp the nature of that which afflicts them, which in my view began with a complete collapse of national pride – a feeling now replaced with shame. Dhimmitude is as rampant as the savages who wreak havoc. Sweden has allowed itself to be held hostage by the drive to be “multicultural” at all cost, including the death of the nation.

      The West is ripe for the picking. And Islam is grabbing up bunches and bunches of it with each passing day.

      War “within a few years?”

      It is already war now. Would that the West would realize it and fight.

      Hat tip: Atlas Shrugs, Gateway Pundit


      According to an internal military document, the Swedish army is preparing for war. Per a Breitbart report, “the chief of the Swedish army General Anders Brännström told men under his command they could expect to be fighting a war in Europe against skilled opponents ‘within a few years’.”

      The 28-page document was directed to soldiers, civil servants, politicians, and guests who will be attending next week’s military demonstrations that will focus on the army’s ability to fight and survive a winter war.


      …the General said the deteriorating security picture in Europe was the main factor behind his warning, indicating the Islamic State conducting military campaigns in Europe and spreading instability from the Ukraine could lead to conflict. Sensationally, he suggested a Third World War was just round the corner. He told the paper:

      “One can draw parallels with the 1930s. A great uncertainty and [political] dynamics which then led to a great war. That time we managed to keep out. But it is not at all certain we could succeed this time”. (snip)

      It is unusual for a serving senior military figure, much less the professional head of an Army to speak out on such political matters in Europe. Yet these comments are not just the General’s opinion, he added, remarking his senior colleagues all held the same thoughts. He said: “this is a serious position shared by most. This is a completely different situation to the one we had ten years ago.

      “There is now a much stronger focus on national defence… it is about preparing for the worst”.

      If the Swedish military is anything like the Swedish police, the battle may be over quickly (if it isn’t over already). Tommy Robinson, ex-leader and founder of the English Defense League, reports that ten Swedish police officers fled a refugee center after being surrounded by a mob of violent “migrants.” The police had been called in after the staff at the center failed to safely transfer to another facility a 10-year-old boy who was being repeatedly raped. The staff’s inability to transfer him was due to a “hostile attitude” from the “refugees” when they made the attempt.

      Delete
    2. So not only did the asylum center fail to complete a seemingly simple task (in a normal world), but so did the police. One officer on the scene stated: “Even more people appeared behind us. I was mentally prepared to fight for my life. We were 10 officers in a narrow corridor. And I hear someone yell that there is an emergency exit.”

      News of the debacle was made public after keeping a lid on it for nearly a week, at which time the Prime Minister said the incident underscored the need for more police officers in light of the wave of “refugees” coming into the country.

      Here’s an idea: Stop bringing in 7th century barbarians who hate the West and (1) you won’t need more police, and (2) you won’t need to go to war.

      Who would have thought?

      (Of note, Swedish police weren’t the only members of law enforcement recently seen fleeing Muslim mobs. Last week a mass of violent Muslims, socialists, and anarchists, broke through police lines at the port of Calais and boarded a ferry bound for the UK as terrified-looking officers retreated. And not to go too far off topic, but there is enormous power in mobs and Muslims are taking full advantage of it. The fact that European citizens, and oftentimes the police, are unarmed all but assures chaos and Islamic supremacy reigns supreme.)

      But back to Sweden.

      The county, as we know, is in very deep trouble. How, or whether, Sweden will be able to extricate itself from the grip of Islamic supremacism remains to be seen. So far there is little evidence to suggest Swedes grasp the nature of that which afflicts them, which in my view began with a complete collapse of national pride – a feeling now replaced with shame. Dhimmitude is as rampant as the savages who wreak havoc. Sweden has allowed itself to be held hostage by the drive to be “multicultural” at all cost, including the death of the nation.

      The West is ripe for the picking. And Islam is grabbing up bunches and bunches of it with each passing day.

      War “within a few years?”

      It is already war now. Would that the West would realize it and fight.

      Hat tip: Atlas Shrugs, Gateway Pundit


      Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/01/swedish_army_prepares_for_war_as_police_flee_mob_of_muslim_migrants.html#ixzz3yRsde4pd

      Delete
    3. Sweden's fucked.

      Too much smoking skunk.

      And some here want to flood the USA with this crap.

      Delete
    4. The US Congress disagrees, "Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      The Republicans will not even provide the President with an AUMF to take on the Islamic State.

      There is no war, the GOP says so by their lack of action.

      Delete
    5. You think the Republicans in Congress are all smoking dope, that's your current stand?

      Delete
  6. :)

    If the Southern Poverty Law Center says this guy in 'unhinged' he just might be onto something -







     AdChoices


    Self-avowed anti-Islam activist arrested in connection with the Oregon 'militia' investigation



    Business Insider
    Business Insider



    Bryan Logan

    3 hrs ago




    SHARE




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    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed a series of emergency managers whose authority superseded even that of the elected city council of Flint.

    Flint could have saved money without using corrosive river water, some…


    22, 2015, photo shows a Planned Parenthood in Houston. A grand jury investigating undercover footage of Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, by the abortion provider, and instead indicted anti-abortion activists involved in making the videos that targeted the handling of fetal tissue in clinics and provoked outrage among Republican leaders nationwide. The footage from the clinic in Houston. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

    Experts: Activists' indictment shows disapproval of videos




    Jon Ritzheimer© REUTERS/Jim Urquhart Jon Ritzheimer
    A self-avowed anti-Islam activist who allegedly participated in the militiamen occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon has been arrested.


    Authorities released a statement Tuesday night announcing that the FBI's Phoenix Division took Ritzheimer into custody Tuesday night "on a federal charge related to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge."

    According to the statement, Ritzheimer surrendered to police in Peoria, Arizona, after the militia's leader, Ammon Bundy, and several others were arrested in eastern Oregon.

    Police say Ritzheimer was taken into custody without incident.

    He's being held on a felony charge in connection with the takeover of the federal facility in Oregon.

    Ritzheimer posted a Facebook message Tuesday night asking for donations and legal help before surrendering:



    Ritzheimer FB post 2© Facebook/Jon Ritzheimer Ritzheimer FB post 2
    In the post, he says he returned to Arizona to visit his family, and acknowledged that "The Feds know I am here and are asking me to turn myself in."

    Federal authorities had been watching Ritzheimer closely in recent weeks, after he aligned himself with the militiamen who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early January.

    In an interview with The Washington Post, Heidi Beirich with the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project called Ritzheimer "unhinged," and said "he's potentially very dangerous ... He's rabid about everything."

    Ritzheimer first became nationally known in May last year when he organized an anti-Islam rally that was held in front of a mosque in Phoenix. At the time, Ritzheimer called it a "freedom of speech" rally to "push out the truth about Islam," and encouraged participants to "utilize their Second Amendment rights" while at the gathering.


    When local government and civil rights groups overwhelmingly denounced the rally, Ritzheimer declared "I can't let my kids grow up in a society where tyranny is reigning over," and asked for donations so his family could "go into hiding."

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/self-avowed-anti-islam-activist-arrested-in-connection-with-the-oregon-militia-investigation/ar-BBoKU9t?ocid=spartandhp


    I'm still a-waiting for Quirk etal. to announce the arrival of Mooselim 'refugees' into their homes and walled compounds.

    What's the delay, folks ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, why don' you edit your submissions?
      All that dead space, the SHARE buttons that do not function, it's like looking into your brain.

      Get up to speed.

      Delete
    2. Why don't you go fuck off ?

      Why don't you support your children, Dead Beat Dad ?

      Why do you lie on every post ?

      Why aren't you down in Panama working on your super secret project with the CIA, NSA, Defense Department ?

      Why are you no hat, no cattle, all cow pies ?


      Huh huh huh ?

      Go back to your basement.

      Mom is calling you....

      Delete

    3. Why didn't you teach your daughter about "Situational Awareness">
      You could have kept her from being raped.

      Delete

    4. Why didn't you teach your daughter about "Situational Awareness"?

      Delete
  7. Trump: I didn’t like Fox News’s wiseguy press releases so “most likely” I won’t be doing the debate; Update: Campaign manager says he’s out


    posted at 7:21 pm on January 26, 2016 by Allahpundit

    Share on Facebook
    41



    41 SHARES


    Via Conservative Review, here’s one more reason to dread a Trump presidency. The sheer amount of petty drama would be exhausting after two weeks. Fox News alone would probably be barred from and then readmitted to White House press conferences half a dozen times in the first year depending upon how flattering their coverage was of His Yugeness at any given moment.

    The fact that he won’t absolutely commit to skipping the debate even in the clip below, when he’s pretending to throw down the gauntlet over how mean the Fox News staffer who wrote today’s press release was, tells you there’s still a 95 percent chance that he’ll be there on Thursday.....

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/01/26/trump-i-didnt-like-fox-newss-wiseguy-press-releases-so-most-likely-i-wont-be-doing-the-debate/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More empty space, you really do not know how to do even the most basic editing, do you?

      Or do you want to emulate your brain, here at the Elephant Bar?

      Delete
    2. Here is how this should be edited:

      Trump: I didn’t like Fox News’s wiseguy press releases so “most likely” I won’t be doing the debate; Update: Campaign manager says he’s out


      posted at 7:21 pm on January 26, 2016 by Allahpundit

      Via Conservative Review, here’s one more reason to dread a Trump presidency. The sheer amount of petty drama would be exhausting after two weeks. Fox News alone would probably be barred from and then readmitted to White House press conferences half a dozen times in the first year depending upon how flattering their coverage was of His Yugeness at any given moment.

      The fact that he won’t absolutely commit to skipping the debate even in the clip below, when he’s pretending to throw down the gauntlet over how mean the Fox News staffer who wrote today’s press release was, tells you there’s still a 95 percent chance that he’ll be there on Thursday.....

      http://hotair.com/archives/2016/01/26/trump-i-didnt-like-fox-newss-wiseguy-press-releases-so-most-likely-i-wont-be-doing-the-debate

      Delete
  8. More than 20 people, including Syrian officers and enlisted men, were killed and over 100 wounded when a suicide bomber and a car bomb exploded next to a Syrian army checkpoint in the city of Homs on Tuesday afternoon. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Winning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Without a follow on attack, without troops read to take that check point ... There is no gain for the terrorists.

      The Syrian Army, with Russian close air support, is taking territory from the terrorists, the terrorists, now reduced to merely sowing terror, while losing.



      Delete
    2. Without a follow on attack, without troops ready to take that check point

      Delete
  9. Other than Obama, who has a little ego wrapped up in the project, no one gives a fuck about Syria.

    Iraq, on the other hand, is important;

    and the Iraqis, with the help of the coalition, are kicking the headcutters' stinking little asses.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another opinion as to whether it's good or bad for The Donald to pass on the debate:


    Trump drops the mic


    posted at 9:21 am on January 27, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

    Share on Facebook
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    2 SHARES


    Allahpundit covered the big Trump Walk Out last night, but judging by my social media feeds, the conversation continued well into the morning. When I flipped on my television while making coffee this morning it was pretty much the only topic being covered on cable news. Gee… I wonder if that was by design? In any event, following the brouhaha that AP described during the war of words between the real estate mogul and Roger Ailes, the Trump campaign came out with the official decision. At least for the moment, the Thursday night debate will have to go on without its frontrunner.


    Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games. There have already been six debates, and according to all online debate polls including Drudge, Slate, Time Magazine, and many others, Mr. Trump has won all of them, in particular the last one. Whereas he has always been a job creator and not a debater, he nevertheless truly enjoys the debating process – and it has been very good for him, both in polls and popularity.

    He will not be participating in the FOX News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allahpundit described this circus as one more reason not to support Trump because it might be emblematic of the “drama” which would surround a Trump presidency. To each their own, I suppose, but when Ed and I were going back and forth on this last night I came away with a somewhat different view. The first question to answer is whether or not The Donald will go through with the new plan. Fox will no doubt leave the door open for him to show up if he decides to. (How could they not? You don’t kick the headline band out of the concert and run the opening act alone unless you have to.) But at this point I would put the odds of him changing his mind at very, very low. From the Trump side of the equation, he’s drawn a line in the sand and it centers on Megyn Kelly. If she’s still there and he shows up, that’s basically a case of running up the white flag which is simply not Trump’s style. From the perspective of the Fox camp, they’ve already backed down to too many of Trump’s previous demands and come off looking the worse for it. Kelly is one of their flagship air personalities and I can’t imagine them throwing her under the bus at this point.

      So if he doesn’t show, how does this work out for Trump? As I read the cards, he’s got one job in front of him right now: beat Ted Cruz in Iowa and then move on to win as many more states as possible. As things stand, the debate was going to be yet another situation where he would have to stand up on center stage while the rest of the candidates took shots at him. Without him taking part the debate will be the rest of them taking shots at an empty podium. It will be all about Trump either way. Meanwhile, the debate would have pulled in 22 million viewers or more if he showed up. Now there will be an event featuring Trump and only Trump taking place at the same time. Fox won’t cover it, but you know that the other networks will be cutting away to the Trump rally. They just can’t help themselves. He’ll get the coverage he wants with crowds of screaming fans cheering him on rather than a pack of opponents criticizing him.

      I’ll ask the same question again now… how does this work out for Trump? Well, I’m here talking about it this morning. Every other political site I’ve looked at is covering it. CNN, MSNBC and, yes… Fox News are talking about it. With less than a week to go Trump has once again sucked every last molecule of oxygen out of the room. The only coverage the rest of the candidates are getting is to ask them what they think about Trump refusing to show up. Can anyone explain how this is a losing proposition for Trump?

      I said it last night and I’ll say it again. The conventional wisdom is that the candidates have to debate. Unfortunately for the rest of them, Trump has once again torn up the rule book and moved the game to his own turf. People will call him a chicken and all manner of other names, predicting all sorts of doom and gloom. Meanwhile, the number of Trump supporters who abandon ship over this decision will probably be exactly the same as the last twenty scandals and outrages we’ve covered: zilch. If anything, Trump’s numbers will tick up in the early states if history is any guide because let’s face it… it’s hard to beat somebody at a game of chess when they keep flipping the board over on you.

      http://hotair.com/archives/2016/01/27/trump-drops-the-mic/

      If The Donald passes on the debate, by God so am I !~

      I'm tired of the whiny voice of Ted Cruz, and The Ben is losing....

      And Rand Paul is being challenged now by the Mayor of Lexington. He best get back to Kentucky.

      Delete
  11. Here's another reason to vote against Hillary.

    She says she's open to appointing O'bozo to the Supreme Court.

    She wants, of course, the 'Department of Justice' to protect her from the FBI.

    So she sucks up to O'bozo.

    ReplyDelete
  12. .

    Losing?

    It depends on your definition of losing.

    From the beginning, it has been obvious that ISIS is just a terrorist group, although admittedly, more successful than most. The vacuum created by the Syrian civil war and the incompetence they encountered when invading Iraq allowed them to quickly capture territory (mainly desert) and villages, towns, and cities. This fueled pretensions of a caliphate although most of the cities they captured were/are being held by only by a couple thousand fighters or, in most cases, less.

    When Russia entered the conflict and things got serious, as their finances were reduced and the bombs started falling more quickly, they started to give back territory. However, even though their claim to a caliphate is shown to be ephemeral bluster, they remain what they have always been, a terrorist group.

    In the future, even if beaten back, they will simply change their name for the seventh or eighth time, adopt new tactics as needed, continue to metastasize, absorb or be absorbed by anther group or groups and move on. It's the nature of the beast.

    The US will declare victory and go home as they have done so many times before.

    George Bush committed us to an endless conflict with his WOT and he hasn't been disappointed.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why you are so maddening, Quirk -

      From the beginning, it has been obvious that ISIS is just a terrorist group

      just a terrorist group that captures....

      territory (mainly desert) and villages, towns, and cities

      however -

      they remain what they have always been, a terrorist group

      that

      In the future, even if beaten back, they will simply change their name for the seventh or eighth time, adopt new tactics as needed, continue to metastasize, absorb or be absorbed by anther group or groups and move on


      Jesus Christ, talk about incomprehensibility...




      Delete
    2. .

      The post wasn't meant for you, Idaho Bob. I certainly have no expectations of you understanding anything.

      .

      Delete
    3. And the neo-Nazi survive still, today, Quirk.
      In eastern Ukraine, especially.

      To say nothing of Fascism.

      War is not about defeating an ideology, it is about controlling the ground.
      To defeat radical Islamic terrorism, well, that takes economic growth and development.
      Which the US has a hard enough time producing in the US.

      Delete
    4. It should have been western Ukraine, mea culpa

      Delete
  13. Highlights

    The outlook for the housing sector just got a boost from a sharp jump in new home sales, up 10.8 percent to a 544,000 annualized rate that is 44,000 over the Econoday consensus and 24,000 over the high estimate.
    The gain, however, may have been boosted by discounting as the median price slipped 2.7 percent to $288,900 for a year-on-year rate of minus 4.3 percent.

    With builders slow to bring new homes to market, low supply remains a central factor holding back sales. Supply did rise 6,000 in the month to 237,000 but supply relative to sales fell back to 5.2 months from 5.6 months. A reading of 6.0 months is considered to be the balance point between supply and demand.

    Regional data show a 32 percent sales surge in the Midwest where the year-on-year rate of 39 percent is the strongest. Sales in the West and Northeast both rose 21 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate in the West, which is a key region for new housing, up 22 percent while the Northeast, which is a very small region in this report, down 6.5 percent on the year. The South, which is the largest region, shows a fractional gain in the month and no change on the year.

    For full year 2015, new home sales rose 14.7 percent to 501,000 from 437,000 in 2014. Sales of new homes have been noticeably higher than prices, suggesting that prices have room to accelerate. This report follows special strength in existing home sales with both perhaps benefiting from December's warm weather but with both pointing nevertheless to new momentum for 2016.

    New Home Sales

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jack HawkinsWed Jan 27, 08:45:00 AM EST
    Without a follow on attack, without troops read to take that check point ... There is no gain for the terrorists.

    The Syrian Army, with Russian close air support, is taking territory from the terrorists, the terrorists, now reduced to merely sowing terror, while losing.



    So dying is WINNING?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      The terrorists reduced to being terrorists?

      :o)

      .

      Delete
    2. No, the Caliphate reduced to nothing.
      Without territory, as you noted above, Q, there is no Islamic State.

      That is what the fight is about.
      As for winning and losing, that is about territory, not lives of the combatants.
      Ask the Russians. Their experience in WWII is illustrative of that reality.

      As was the US experience on Okinawa ...
      (April 1—June 22, 1945) involved the 287,000 troops of the U.S. Tenth Army against ... and the Allies had suffered more than 65,000 casualties—including 14,000 dead.

      Delete
    3. Did the US lose on Okinawa, in your opinion?

      Delete
    4. .

      No, they didn't.

      And perhaps I was a bit too flip in downplaying the importance of territory; but only in the sense that it is mainly important to a certain sub-group of Islam, the radical Salafist jihadis who have a fundamentalist belief in Islamic millennialism. You can't be a Caliph without a caliphate. Now, Baghdadi could argue, 'Hey, we have groups who have subordinated themselves to us in Nigeria, Yemen, Egypt, Philippines, Libya, etc.' but that argument isn't likely to fly with the base.

      However, my view is that IS is not actually a state, it is instead a terrorist group occupying a large amount of territory.

      Some convention in the past came up with a definition of a state that included four criteria: a permanent population, a defined territory, an effective government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other States. In recent history though, there were a couple of other qualifications that seemed to have been added, one is independence and the other legitimacy.

      You could argue against IS actually having a couple of these characteristics but the one I always based my opinion on was the last, legitimacy. And it is not just the fact that IS is not recognized as legitimate by any other states and most Islamist groups but that it is also now occupying large swathes of two existing states Iraq and Syria neither of which has agreed to cede IS the territory.

      In the end, no matter what you call IS, in my opinion the choking off of funds to IS will ultimately be what diminished it the most. It takes money to run a state and though they have a large bank account, it's not inexhaustible.

      Russia seemed to be the first to take that obligation seriously with its bombing of the oil convoys. The US is late to the party in this respect though now they seem to have been forced into action by the Russkies. We also have the power to place sanctions on any state supporting IS though we haven't actually done it as far as I know.

      In the end, I suspect Baghdadi's delusions of grandeur will be exposed and he will simply admit to what he has always been, a terrorist. An when that time comes, we may see al Queda back on top again.

      .

      Delete
  15. Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day,

    Never forget, never repeat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is not a day observed in Iran.

      Delete
    2. E never remember. Just another "have a nice day." What a crock of shit. I figured that out when I was 20 years old in Viet Nam. What is the universal message if the practice is mot observed anywhere by anyone? We always repeat.

      Surely, we must love holocausts.

      Delete
  16. We can't clear out the moslems quick enough. Vote Trump!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are seriously deranged. You just posted:

      Idaho BobWed Jan 27, 01:28:00 PM EST

      Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day,

      Never forget, never repeat.


      You follow up with:

      Idaho BobWed Jan 27, 01:31:00 PM EST

      We can't clear out the moslems quick enough. Vote Trump!


      Delete
    2. That's three minutes between sorrow and piety to revenge and ethnic cleansing.

      Delete
  17. If anyone seriously cared a crap about the Holocaust, would we have this?

    25 Years of the US at War in Iraq: Tragic Legacy, Dubious Prospects

    Janet Weil, January 22, 2016

    Saturday, January 17, marked 25 years – a full generation – since the 1991 launch of a U.S.-led mostly air war, “Operation Desert Storm,” that devastated Iraq, including extensive damage to Iraqi electrical, water and sewage infrastructure, with terrible public health consequences.

    A quarter-century later, the U.S. is still bombing, and 3400+ US troops are in country.

    War rages in northern Iraq and Syria, with a ferocious, merciless entity driving the destruction: ISIL.

    The countries of the region, and to a lesser extent European countries, are overwhelmed by the largest refugee crisis since World War II. One tragedy in particular has awakened our minds and hearts to the catastrophe: the little body of Aylan Kurdi,washed up on the shore of Turkey as he and his family tried to find refuge. His brother and mother also drowned. They are among the thousands of refugees who died seeking freedom and a new home in 2015.

    Continuing warfare, including US bombing; increased jihadists terror attacks around the world; the Middle East awash with and contaminated by weapons; a refugee crisis; murdered and traumatized civilians: all these make for a grim legacy stemming from the US war of aggression in 1991. A new United Nations report on Iraq reveals that 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq in the past 21 months, and that 3,500 women and children, mostly Yazidis, have been enslaved by ISIL, with immense suffering and actual slave markets reported.


    As American citizens and taxpayers, and as people with hearts, we have 2 serious responsibilities in response to the blood-soaked chaos in Iraq and its neighbor, Syria. We need to start acknowledging the real human costs of war, including the Iraqi and Syrian violent death tolls, the trillions of our tax dollars wasted and the damage to our troops deployed to the region...


    http://antiwar.com/blog/2016/01/22/25-years-of-the-us-at-war-in-iraq-tragiclegacy-dubiousprospects/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  18. "When ‘Made In Israel’ Is a Human Rights Abuse
    By EYAL PRESS JAN. 26, 2016

    Just before Christmas, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, sent the White House a box of holiday gifts with a pointed political message. Inside were items (body lotion, halvah, olive oil) produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Or rather, as Mr. Dermer put it in an accompanying letter, in Judea and Samaria — the term used by religious nationalists who see the settlements as no less a part of Israel than the Galilee or Tel Aviv.

    From a biblical perspective, this view may be tenable. From a legal and moral perspective, it is not. As documented in a new report by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s occupation has grown into a lucrative business, exploited by companies as part of a system that is unlawful and abusive.

    Like the settlers, these enterprises receive benefits from the Israeli government — preferential access to land and water, low rents — that make the occupied territories an alluring destination. It is another story for Palestinians, who are routinely denied permits to open their own businesses, cut off from their land and hemmed in by restrictions that, according to the World Bank, cost the Palestinian economy $3.4 billion a year.

    All of these businesses are operating on illegally occupied land. A significant amount of land, it turns out. There are roughly 1,000 factories in the chain of Israeli-administered “industrial zones” strung across the West Bank. The geographic footprint of these commercial enterprises, together with shopping centers and agricultural projects, exceeds the built-up areas of settler housing.

    Some Israeli officials have argued that Palestinians benefit by working in settlement businesses, producing what one factory owner calls “goods of peace.” But many work in settlements only because Israel’s stifling of the Palestinian economy has deprived them of alternatives. Because the government rarely conducts labor inspections, Palestinian workers often earn less than the Israeli minimum wage. If workers complain, employers sometimes retaliate by fabricating a “security incident” that will deprive Palestinians of their work permits, according to the H.R.W. report.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To view goods made under these conditions as no different than products made within Israel requires going blind to such indignities. Unfortunately, that is exactly what new legislation that will soon land on President Obama’s desk would require the United States government to do. Under a provision of a larger piece of legislation, popularly known as the Customs Bill, that has been approved by the House and is expected to soon pass the Senate, American officials will be obligated to treat the settlements as part of Israel in future trade negotiations.

      The ostensible reason this provision was added to a bill on international trade is to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a grass-roots campaign that seeks to pressure Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians. But under existing law, Washington already forbids American companies to cooperate with state-led boycotts of Israel. Under the guise of an antiboycott provision, the Customs Bill extends similar protections to “Israeli-controlled territories” — meaning settlements. For American trade negotiators, the industrial zones dotting the occupied territories would have the same status as the high-tech industry in Tel Aviv, just as settler zealots insist.

      This potential, and largely unnoticed, shift in American policy comes just as frustration with the stalled peace process and Israel’s deepening grip on the occupied territories is leading to more targeted pressure on Israel’s settlements. This month, the pension board of the United Methodist Church decided that five Israeli banks that fund construction in the settlements are ineligible for its investment. In November, the European Union, Israel’s largest trading partner, declared that products made in the occupied territories should be labeled separately from Israeli goods.

      As the H.R.W. report makes clear, these steps are consistent with international law. Since all companies that do business in or with settlements inevitably contribute to human rights violations, they should stop. And since no country recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territories, all of Israel’s trading partners should insist that the label “Made in Israel” be removed from products from the settlements.

      The Palestinian Authority has described separate labeling of settlement goods as a useful step. (The authority supports boycotting these goods.) Not surprisingly, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagrees. In the letter Mr. Dermer sent to the recipients of his holiday gifts, he claimed that the European Union’s push to differentiate settlement products casts Israel as a “pariah state.” He neglected to mention the petition signed by over 550 prominent Israelis that welcomed the union’s decision and called on other nations to follow suit. Among the signatories was Avishai Margalit, a former recipient of the Israel Prize in philosophy, and Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Knesset.

      The Obama administration has made it clear that it does not accept the conflation of the settlements and Israel. When the Customs Bill reaches his desk, Mr. Obama may take the rare step of issuing a signing statement objecting to its pro-settlement language. But if this provision becomes law, it will be a major victory for the Israeli right, albeit one that it may come to regret. The more the line between Israel and the occupied territories is blurred, the more likely the rest of the world will be to question the legitimacy of not just the settlements but Israel itself. In the long run, this will not prevent Israel from being depicted as a pariah state, but instead will provide powerful ammunition to those who see it as such.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/opinion/when-made-in-israel-is-a-human-rights-abuse.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

      Delete

    2. The more the line between Israel and the occupied territories is blurred, the more likely the rest of the world will be to question the legitimacy of not just the settlements but Israel itself. In the long run, this will not prevent Israel from being depicted as a pariah state, but instead will provide powerful ammunition to those who see it as such.


      Hear, hear !

      Delete
    3. Paul Bronfman ‘outraged’ over pro-Palestinian mural at York University

      Tu Thanh Ha
      The Globe and Mail
      Published Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 2:25PM EST



      Upset by a mural at York University that he finds offensive to Jewish people, Paul Bronfman, a leader in the film and TV production industry, has told the Toronto school that his company will no longer help its arts students.

      Mr. Bronfman’s decision is the latest twist in a long-running controversy over a pro-Palestinian acrylic painting hanging since 2013 over one of the entrance foyers of the campus student centre. It depicts a person wearing a scarf with the Palestinian flag, palming a couple of rocks and staring at a bulldozer as it nears a tree.

      Mr. Bronfman is a director of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), a Toronto-based foundation that has been critical of the mural.

      In an interview, he said he heard about the mural from a weekly FSWC e-mail. “It outraged me,” he said, adding that he hoped other people would join him and “put some pressure on York.”

      FSWC president Avi Benlolo said he had heard a number of business people mulling over whether to keep helping the school, and of Jewish families who no longer want to enroll their children at York.

      Mr. Bronfman said he had contacted the university administration and warned that he would withdraw his support if the mural did not come down. He said he was told that the administration had no authority over what was displayed in the student centre.

      “They gave me a bunch of political rhetoric … a bunch of political nonsense.”

      His company, William F. White International Inc., provided free filmmaking equipment to York students, and also invited them to training seminars.

      “Mr. Bronfman has notified York University of the withdrawal of this support,” university spokeswoman Joanne Rider confirmed.

      She said legal and human-rights experts advised the administration that it cannot force the removal of the painting.

      The mural falls under the jurisdiction of the student centre, said Gayle McFadden, vice-president, operations, of the York Federation of Students.

      “This artwork is not hateful and is the artist’s depiction of the resistance to the occupation of Palestinian land,” Ms. McFadden, who is also chair of the York University Student Centre, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

      “This painting is not anti-Semitic, as it is merely critical of the state of Israel and its continued occupation of Palestine.”

      The dispute comes within a broader context where Jewish students say criticism of Israel on campuses is so relentless that they no longer feel safe.

      “I pass by the mural almost every day – it’s located in one of the most central, populous areas on campus,” said York student Danielle Shachar, who has complained about the painting and says it is symptomatic of a toxic campus climate against Jewish students.

      Some students are no longer willing to wear overt displays of their faith, such as Star of David necklaces or kippas, Mr. Benlolo said.

      He said the mural, with its depiction of a person holding rocks, “is inciting hate against Israel, it’s inciting violence.”

      Delete

    4. While acknowledging the distinction between criticizing Israeli policies and anti-Semitism, Mr. Benlolo said the attacks on Israel by campus activists are so focused and one-sided that they amount to singling out Jews.

      Mr. Bronfman echoed the feeling in his interview. “This mural has nothing to do with criticizing Israel. It’s purely anti-Semitic, hate propaganda. It not only infuriates me as a Jew but mostly as a Canadian. It should outrage Canadians.”

      In a statement, the school thanked Mr. Bronfman for his support but said it valued freedom of speech and had no power to remove the mural. The statement said the administration “continues to explore all available options to address the concerns” but provided no specific details.

      The mural was conceived as part of an arts contest in which about 20 murals adorning the student centre were picked by a jury of students and faculty, Ms. McFadden said.

      The artist, Ahmad Al Abid, a 2013 graduate, did not reply to a request for comment.

      On the website of the student centre, he explained: “My inspiration for this piece is the ongoing issue in Palestine where illegal settlement expansions have become common.”

      Lorne Sossin, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, posted last fall on the school website a rebuttal to Mr. Benlolo.

      Noting that he was “a proud member of York University’s community and the Jewish community,” Mr. Sossin criticized “the idea that any group … should be able to unilaterally declare the views of others in our community as ‘hate’ and call on the university to censor them.”

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/film-exec-pulls-support-for-york-university-over-pro-palestinian-mural/article28396804/

      Delete
    5. Rocks vs a Bulldozer ...

      It is illustrative of Israeli hate of Palestinians

      Delete
  19. They are streaming Trump live on Youtube. I think the Republicans have their man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

      They most certainly, sure as shooting, do.

      Delete
    2. Talk about your match made in heaven. :) :) :)

      Delete
  20. I had to laugh. Trump was complaining that the Iranians had arrested the 10 heavily armed US troops that illegally crossed into Iranian waters. (This was after Trump complained that no one does anything about illegal immigration into the US). Trump complained that they had their arms taken from them, were on their knee with hands in the air. He did not mention that they were later photoed munching on apples and returned one day later.

    Trump then said that we should never have returned to Iran , Iran’s money. He keeps claiming we are giving them 150 billion as if it were our money. He then thought it unfair that the Iranians were buying Airbus planes rather than those from Boeing.

    This will be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boeing did not even go to the meeting.
      The folks from Airbus did.

      They got an order for 114 planes of assorted sizes.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, we have a law on the books that, evidently, makes Boeing selling planes to Iran somewhat problematic.

      Delete
    3. Well, they can sell the Iranians spare parts for the grounded portion of Air Iran's fleet.
      About 100 planes.

      Event organizers blamed “visa problems” for Boeing’s absence — a hard pill to swallow given that 85 aerospace companies and indeed several western journalists managed to get their paperwork in order. A more plausible explanation is that the US State Department urged Boeing not to attend the summit, mindful of the political sensitivities surrounding any perceived payoff from the nuclear deal. Pitching rapprochement with Iran to a skeptical US public is challenging enough; headlines about multi-billion dollar aerospace contracts would hardly soften the blow.
      ...
      ... with aircraft already flying off the shelves in Toulouse, Boeing executives are working tirelessly behind the scenes to schmooze Iranian officials and secure their slice of the pie. Khodakarami previously said that Iran will “purchase planes from Boeing and Airbus in equal numbers” — a clear invitation for both companies to sweeten their discounts if they want to tilt the order-book in their favor.


      http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinrivers/2016/01/27/quietly-does-it-boeing-keeps-a-low-profile-in-iranian-aircraft-bonanza/#51059c2e1c8a

      Delete

    4. Sales of the latest version of the iconic jumbo have been abysmal, prompting Boeing to halve production rates this month. Iran Air’s Parvaresh told me in 2014 that his engineers, who have worked on 747s for more than three decades, would “prefer to have” 747-8s in the fleet. The low fuel-efficiency of the four-engine type makes it a tougher sell than two-engine widebodies. But political will often trumps commercial logic.

      After all, if the politicians are looking for a symbol of Iranian-American cooperation, it is hard to imagine a better one than America’s most loved aircraft rolling off the production line in the colors of Iran’s most patriotic flag-carrier.

      Delete

  21. Details surrounding the death of Finicum, 55, who was from Cane Beds, Ariz., were unclear. A man claiming to be a driver during the traffic stop says Finicum was charging police when he was shot. Finicum’s daughter, meanwhile, posted on Facebook that her father’s “hands were in the air and he was shot in the face by the American authorities.”

    Law enforcement has declined to release details, citing an ongoing investigation.


    Will there now be a "Mormon Lives Matter" movement?

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Australian - ‎

    Rebel negotiators said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had told them they might have to accept Bashar al-Assad as part of a future Syrian government of national unity.

    ReplyDelete
  23. January 27, 2016

    Why Sharia Is Incompatible with American Values

    By James Arlandson


    You and I don't like sharia, while hundreds of millions love it. Chillingly, it's still making inroads in American society.

    Who's right? Are we stuck in relativism? Worse, is the side with the strongest military right?





    How do we break the deadlock? Any objective – timeless and transcultural – moral truths out there?

    It's time to go deeper and figure out what's happening in us that makes us recoil at it.

    ISIS and many Islamic nations believe, because original Islam teaches, the following:
    •Mosque and state are not separate.
    •Apostasy, or leaving Islam, is outlawed up to the penalty of death.
    •Speaking against Islam is outlawed up to the penalty of death.
    •Jihad or qital (military war only) to force conversions or submit to a tax is allowed.
    •Having sex with female prisoners of war is allowed.
    •Drinkers and gamblers may be flogged.
    •Adulterers and fornicators may be flogged (and adulterers may be stoned to death).
    •Bearing false witness about sexual sin (a "crime" in Islam) can incur flogging.
    •Homosexuals may be flogged or executed.
    •A woman inherits half of what a man does.
    •Domestic violence is allowed.
    •A woman's testimony counts as half of a man's testimony.
    •A man may divorce his wife by pronouncing three times "you are divorced" outside a court of law, and the divorce is legal and final.

    It should be pointed out that sharia has laws that look like those of any other system (e.g., don't murder, steal, or traffic drugs).

    And it is true that in seventeenth-century American society, the punishments were harsh, but we have worked hard to move away from the past.

    America has improved on that list and the whole tone of sharia, like head coverings for women.

    Specifically, our Constitution by itself eliminates most of those sharia laws. The First Amendment offers freedom of religion, without government intrusion, and free speech. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

    Our state laws also eliminate them. Domestic violence, for example, is illegal. A woman can inherit as much as a woman can, if the last will and testament says so. Her testimony counts equally to a man's. Divorce, though lax in some states, has to be done through a court.

    Our military does not allow an army to attack people to "strongly encourage" conversion or impose a second-class citizen tax if the conquered foes don't convert.

    Once again, I would still like to go a little deeper than these written laws to the uncodified moral law, or perhaps just to universal values.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Declaration of Independence proclaims:


      We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      Let's put it in a simple (but not simplistic) formula, the arrow meaning "leads to" or "produces":

      Life + Liberty → Pursuit of Happiness

      Self-evident means America didn't invent those universal and timeless values; she only discovered them.

      Happiness at first glance appears completely subjective, but it is actually confined within limits, because it's different from pleasure.

      Aristotle rightly teaches that happiness is achieved by living life in balance and in excellence. Extreme behavior like licentiousness on the one side and apathy on the other is a vice; temperance is in the middle or the Golden Mean between the two vices is a virtue. One lives in excellence when one has temperance (is not a party animal), and excellence leads to happiness.

      That's for the individual.

      Socially, life and liberty lead to happiness. You get to live in freedom, and now you can create your own version of happiness. But it must be done within individual limits – and individuals make up a nation.

      On the Islamic side, religious law that suppresses liberty does not permit a life to develop, and thus, happiness is denied. This religious, legal system denies the freedom of conscience and movement and viewpoints, for example, and is oppressive.

      Here is a variation on the formula, the arrows again meaning "leads to" or "produces."

      To me, Islamic law and society look like this:

      Extreme religious laws → Control → Oppression → Misery

      The more restrictive and extreme Islamic laws are, the more controlling and oppressive they are, which leads to personal and social unhappiness.

      It is difficult for Islamic clerics and legal scholars to see that their laws are extreme and therefore oppressive because they believe that the laws came down from Allah himself; if only humanity would follow them, it would be submissive to him and eventually be happy (if happiness is even a goal for them, so let's instead say "social harmony"). But they don't have a broad enough perspective.

      Americans do.

      How?

      By comparison, it is believed that the Law of Moses came down from God with its harsh punishments and severe restrictions, but the New Testament wrestles with religious law. The wisdom of the New Testament, which is also revealed by God (as Christians believe), teaches a new path that goes higher than the Law of Moses (go here, here, and here for the theology).

      Suffice it to say, the New Covenant moves away from excessive religious law and toward freedom.

      Nearly all of the eighteenth-century Founders were Protestants, so they were steeped, willingly or not, in the freedom of New Testament theology. They believed, for example, that people should have the freedom to worship one God, twenty gods, or no god. Let persuasion, not threats or coercion, bring them over to your point of view

      Of course, Islam's defenders say online that America wallows in licentiousness, and this is true in some ways. However, we have also learned to let moral law take care of private behavior that does not seep out into public and disturb the peace. Written law should deal with unruly citizens.

      So now let's figure out where we should live between these two extremes:

      Sharia ----------------------------------X------------- Anarchy

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    2. ...............

      continued below....

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    3. Well, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, when the Christians want to invoke the Laws of Moses, posting the 10 Commandments in Court Houses and such, it's one and the same as Sharia Law, which is merely the Laws of the Book of Leviticus, written in Arabic.

      We in the US have rejected the Laws of Moses, each and every one, replacing them with the Laws of Man.

      After the New Testament, there is no need for the Laws of Moses, Jesus fulfilled them.

      Delete

  24. After reading this article, I fell into some sort of swoon, and fell lightly asleep, and I found myself conversing with Jonathon Swift and a Herd of Houyhnhnms, and listening to them speaking of utilitarianism, Jeremy Benthan, and John Stuart Mill.


    We know that Quirk is deeply moved by human suffering, even more so than the rest of us sheeple, so he so often implies.

    Sometimes the conviction comes that Quirk must have a Human Suffering Calculator is his home which the rest of us lack.

    If so, I wish he would:

    1) Calculate the human suffering that has occurred in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, in the last 1400 years or so, caused by Islam, and give us a numerical value in each case.

    2) Calculate the human suffering that will be caused in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, in the next 1400 years or so, caused by Islam, and give us a numerical value for that, in each case.

    3) Calculate the human suffering that would be caused in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, if weapons of mass destruction were used to wipe out the total human population in each of these cases. This suffering would be intense, but 'short lived'.

    When we have numerical values for 2) and 3) we would be able to subtract 3 from 2 and arrive at an idea if overall human suffering might be reduced if the action outlined in 3) were carried out.

    The area could then be repopulated by some sane humane group, say, Swiss or Jewish or Poles or Spanish or Australians and the amount of human suffering would be reduced in the world, which is, or should be, I am certain Quirk would agree, the goal of all humane people.



    .


    ReplyDelete
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    1. Why not calculate the damage done in Afghanistan, China Turkey and India by British colonialism exemplified by the scourge of opium the British facilitated.

      Delete
    2. Why not quit following me around ?

      Why not go back to mom's basement ?

      Why not send your daughter some money ?

      Why not work on your super secret project with the CIA, NSA and Defense off the coasts of Panama ?

      Why not shoot yourself and put yourself and everyone else out of your misery ?

      Delete
    3. The decade of the 1830s witnessed a rapid rise in opium trade, and by 1838, just before the First Opium War, it had climbed to 40,000 chests. The rise continued on after the Treaty of Nanking (1842) that concluded the war. By 1858 annual imports had risen to 70,000 chests (4,480 long tons (4,550 t)), approximately equivalent to global production of opium for the decade surrounding the year 2000.
      ...
      by 1838 the number of Chinese opium addicts had grown to between four and twelve million

      The Communists ended the trade and eventually even forced the British out of the colonies they had taken by force of arms.

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      Delete
  25. It is Megyn Kelly Day on Fox today, for sure, to which I am returning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you do not want to interact, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, quit posting.

      Delete
    2. I just read this, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, and thought it fit you to a "T"

      "Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this."
      —Gustave Flubert

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  26. France’s justice minister, Christiane Taubira, resigned yesterday because of what she described as “a major political disagreement” over stripping French people convicted of terrorism of their nationality.

    ...

    Ms Taubira was the only remaining representative of the left of the socialist party in the Valls government.
    Three like-minded ministers resigned in protest at “austerity” policies in the summer of 2014.

    ...

    Ms Taubira and other left-wing opponents of the amendment say it will de facto create two classes of French citizens: dual nationals and those who hold French nationality only. In most cases, the former also hold Algerian, Moroccan or Tunisian passports, and would become second-class citizens before the law, it is argued, since their French nationality could be stripped from them.

    ReplyDelete
  27. A short history and timeline of Opium -

    opium throughout history


    c.3400 B.C.

    The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia. The Sumerians refer to it as Hul Gil, the 'joy plant.' The Sumerians would soon pass along the plant and its euphoric effects to the Assyrians. The art of poppy-culling would continue from the Assyrians to the Babylonians who in turn would pass their knowledge onto the Egyptians.


    c.1300 B.C.
    In the capital city of Thebes, Egyptians begin cultivation of opium thebaicum,grown in their famous poppy fields.The opium trade flourishes during the reign of Thutmose IV, Akhenaton and King Tutankhamen. The trade route included the Phoenicians and Minoans who move the profitable item across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, Carthage, and Europe.


    c.1100 B.C.
    On the island of Cyprus, the "Peoples of the Sea" craft surgical-quality culling knives to harvest opium, which they would cultivate, trade and smoke before the fall of Troy.


    c. 460 B.C.
    Hippocrates, "the father of medicine", dismisses the magical attributes of opium but acknowledges its usefulness as a narcotic and styptic in treating internal diseases, diseases of women and epidemics.


    330 B.C.
    Alexander the Great introduces opium to the people of Persia and India.


    A.D. 400
    Opium thebaicum, from the Egytpian fields at Thebes, is first introduced to China by Arab traders.


    1300's
    Opium disappears for two hundred years from European historical record. Opium had become a taboo subject for those in circles of learning during the Holy Inquisition. In the eyes of the Inquisition, anything from the East was linked to the Devil...........

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/heroin/etc/history.html


    An attempt to clear up rat holes misperceptions about the history of opium.

    Opium far preceded the British, who did trade it a lot.

    Mr John Kerry's grandfather made good in the shipping industry by running opium to the east.



    Many have made it plain, rat hole, that they do not wish to 'interact' with you.

    One of the first we know of was your wife, who, upon 'dropping the kid', took off away from you as fast as her legs could carry her back to Central America.

    Now kindly leave me, at least, alone.

    Go bother someone else, Ash, say, or Quirk.

    Thank you.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, you are the object of my affection and will remain so.

      As to the history of opium, what does that have to do with British Imperialism causing the human suffering that has occurred in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, Turkey, India, Burma and China, to name but a few places the British wrought death and destruction with their pursuit of profit from forcing opium into the colonies they established?

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. .

    Sometimes the conviction comes that Quirk must have a Human Suffering Calculator is his home which the rest of us lack.

    Only if you consider common sense the equivalent of a Human Suffering Calculator.

    I find it strange that you would dream of conversing with Jonathon Swift. I would have thought you would have had a more compatible conversation with Gulliver. Perhaps, you got them confused what with all them Houyhnhnms running around.

    As for the questions you ask, why look to the past? You might as well ask for a calculation of all the human suffering endured in the West over the past 1400 years due to Colonialism, National Socialism, Communism or, more to your point, Christianity. You would need a super computer just to come up with the equations and algorithms.

    Past as prelude? Shakespeare conjuring up his inner Dr. Phil.

    If you need a simple equation try this oldy but goody,

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    .

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