“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Today the US Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. The Israeli Firsters - AIPAC and Bibi Netanyahu will be given the ability to drag the American people into war.

As we approach the centennial of World War I, we will read much of the blunders that produced that tragedy of Western civilization.
Among them will be the “blank check” Kaiser Wilhelm II gave to Vienna after the assassination by a Serb terrorist of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand.
If you decide to punish the Serbs, said the Kaiser, we are with you.
After dithering for weeks, Austria shelled Belgrade. Within a week, Germany and Austria were at war with Russia, France and Great Britain.
Today the Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. Reads Senate bill S.1881:
If Israel is “compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the United States “should stand with Israel and provide … diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in the defense of its territory, people and existence.”
Inserted in that call for U.S. military action to support an Israeli strike on Iran, S.1881 says that, in doing so, we should follow our laws and constitutional procedures.
Nevertheless, this bill virtually hands over the decision on war to Bibi Netanyahu who is on record saying: “This is 1938. Iran is Germany.”
Is this the man we want deciding whether America fights her fifth war in a generation in the Mideast? Do we really want to outsource the decision on war in the Persian Gulf, the gas station of the world, to a Likud regime whose leaders routinely compare Iran to Nazi Germany?
The bill repeatedly asserts that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.”
Yet in both 2007 and 2011, U.S. intelligence declared “with high confidence” that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.
Where is the Senate’s evidence for its claim? Why has Director of National Intelligence James Clapper not been called to testify as to whether Tehran has made the decision to go for a bomb?
Why are the American people being kept in the dark?
Are we being as misled, deceived and lied to about Iran’s “weapons of mass destruction,” as we were about Iraq’s?
The bill says that in a final deal Iran must give up all enrichment of uranium. However, we have already been put on notice by President Hassan Rouhani that this is an ultimatum Iran cannot accept.
Even the reformers of Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009 back their country’s right to a peaceful nuclear program including enrichment.
Senate bill S.1881 imposes new sanctions if Iran fails to live up to the interim agreement or fails to come to a final agreement in six months.
Yet the Senate knows that Iran has warned that if new sanctions are voted during negotiations, they will walk away from the table.
Why is the Senate risking, or even inviting, a blowup in these talks?
When the interim agreement was reached, it was denounced by neocons as “worse than Munich.” Now the War Party piously contends this Senate bill is simply an “insurance policy” to ensure that the terms of the deal are met and a final deal reached.
It is nothing of the sort. This bill is a project of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, designed to sabotage and scuttle the Geneva talks by telling Tehran: Either capitulate and dismantle all your enrichment facilities, or face more severe sanctions which will put us on the road to war.
What terrifies AIPAC and Bibi is not an American war on Iran, but an American rapprochement with Iran.
Who are the leaders of the push for S.1881? Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, the biggest recipients of AIPAC campaign cash.
Last weekend, the Obama National Security Council finally belled the cat with a blunt statement by spokesperson Bernadette Meehan:
“If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action [against Iran], they should be up front with the American public and say so.”
Exactly. For whether or not all these senators understand what they are doing, this is where their bill points — to a scuttling of the Geneva talks and a return to the sanctions road, at the end of which lies a U.S. war with Iran.
A majority of Democratic senators have thus far bravely bucked AIPAC and declined to co-sponsor S.1881. However, all but two Republican senators have signed on.
If, after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the GOP has once again caught the war fever, the party should be quarantined from the White House for another four years.
Press Secretary Jay Carney says that if S.1881 passes, Obama will veto it. The president should tell Congress that not only will he veto it, but that if Israel decides on its own to attack Iran, Israel will be on its own in the subsequent war.
Obama should order U.S. intelligence to tell us the truth.
Is Iran truly hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear bomb? Does Iran have a nuclear bomb program? If so, when did Tehran make that decision?
Or are we being lied into war again?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” 


  1. Sixty-two U.S. organizations delivered a joint letter to the Senate on Tuesday urging it to oppose new Iran sanctions legislation, S.1881, that they say would “critically endanger the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran.”

    The letter, organized by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Friends Committee on National Legislation, and Win Without War, was signed by progressive groups including CREDO, and Daily Kos; pro-Israel groups including Americans for Peace Now and J Street; and religious organizations including the United Methodist Church, according to the NIAC’s website.

    The letter comes just two days after the United States, Iran and other members of the P5+1 agreed on terms to implement the Joint Action Plan over Tehran’s nuclear program struck in November.

    Following are excerpts of the text of the letter:

    The following 62 organizations are writing to warn that Senate passage of new Iran sanctions would critically endanger the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran... We call on you to not cosponsor S.1881 (the “Nuclear Weapon-Free Iran Act of 2013”) and strongly discourage Senate consideration of new Iran sanctions while negotiations proceed.

    The Joint Plan of Action signed between the P5+1 and Iran in November… institutes unprecedented transparency for international inspectors, including daily inspection of Iran’s enrichment facilities.

    However, as part of the agreement, the U.S. has agreed to “refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions” on Iran. Even with the delay mechanisms included in S.1881, U.S. and Iranian officials warn that new Congressional sanctions would kill the deal. The White House has added that new Congressional sanctions would be perceived as a sign of bad faith by allies critical to the enforcement of the sanctions regime, including the other permanent members of the UN Security Council. As a result, new sanctions will erode rather than strengthen our leverage for negotiations. Further, an unclassified U.S. intelligence assessment warns that “new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”

    S.1881 also sets insurmountable demands for a comprehensive nuclear deal by insisting that Iran dismantle its entire “nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities.” Such a demand is a poison pill for negotiations...

    Further, any comprehensive deal will require trading in existing sanctions for Iranian nuclear concessions. But the sanctions provisions included in S.1881 could only be waived by the President for a final nuclear deal if Iran agrees to the zero enrichment demand, effectively eliminating the President’s ability to offer sanctions relief. Rather than attack Presidential waiver authority, Congress should ensure that the President has full authority to lift sanctions as part of a comprehensive deal.

    By foreclosing diplomatic prospects, new sanctions would set us on a path to war. The American people have made it clear that they do not want another war in the Middle East and strongly support pursuing diplomatic prospects until they are exhausted. It would be the height of irresponsibility to step in and undercut diplomatic negotiations before this opportunity has the chance to bear fruit.

    We strongly urge you to withhold co-sponsorship of S.1881 and delay consideration of new Iran sanctions while negotiations are ongoing.




  2. {...}

    National Iranian American Council

    Friends Committee on National Legislation

    Win Without War

    Adventist Peace Fellowship

    American Baptist Churches

    American Friends Service Committee

    American Values Network

    Americans for Peace Now

    Augustinians Province of St. Thomas Villanova

    Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America


    Center for Interfaith Engagement, Eastern Mennonite University

    Center for International Policy


    Come Home America

    Conference of Major Superiors of Men

    Council for a Livable World


    Daily Kos

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

    Evangelicals for Social Action

    Fellowship of Reconciliation

    Franciscan Action Network

    Global Exchange

    Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ


    Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

    International Civil Society Action Network

    Islamic Society of North America

    J Street

    Jewish Voice for Peace

    Just Foreign Policy

    Maryknoll Office For Global Concerns

    Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

    Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice

    Muslim Public Affairs Voice

    Muslims for Progressive Values

    New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

    On Earth Peace

    Orthodox Peace Fellowship

    Pax Christi International

    Peace Action

    Peace Action West

    Physicians for Social Responsibility

    Presbyterian Church (USA)

    Progressive Democrats of America

    The Shalom Center

    Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

    Society of the Divine Savior - American Province


    Tikkun/The Network of Spiritual Progressives

    United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

    United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

    U.S. Province of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit


    Veterans for Peace

    Women’s Action for New Directions

    Young Democrats of America


  3. 'Evangelical Lutheran Church in America'

    Motherfuck !

    This is the reason the ELCA is losing members, is in a state of civil war with itself, and is headed for theological divorce court.

    In politics these days, if the ELCA is for something, it must be wrong.

    Thank you for the reminder.......

    1. Bunch of useful idiots is all they are........

    2. Who's losing members faster?

      Those guys or my Presbyterians?

      (Searchin for love from our Lapsed Catholic Friend)

    3. ELCA has become a political party, or, an advocacy group for certain positions......

      "The folks" are reacting intelligently, and predictably, and are heading for the doors......

    4. We have a real 'horse race' going on that, Doug......

      The big winners are the new 'independent' Protestant Churches popping up all over the countryside.....

    5. Lotsa Christian Sects in favor of Lovin those Twelvers, Quirk.

      Lapsed Catholics ought not take no special offense.

    6. Twelver or Imami Shīa Islam (Arabic: اثنا عشرية‎, Athnā'ashariyyah or Ithnā'ashariyyah; Persian: شیعه دوازده‌امامی‎, pronounced [ʃiːʔe-je dævɑzdæh emɑmiː]) is the largest branch of Shī'ī (Shi'a) Islam.

      A majority of Shī'ites are Twelvers. The term Shi'a Muslim may also be used to refer to Zaydis and Ismailis.

      Twelvers share many tenets of Shī'ism with related sects, such as the belief in Imāms, but the Ismā'īlī and Zaydī Shī'ī sects each believe in a different number of Imāms and, for the most part, a different path of succession regarding the Imāmate. They also differ in the role and overall definition of an Imām.


      According to Twelvers, there is always an Imam of the Age, who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first Imam of this line, and in the Twelvers' view, the rightful successor to the Prophet of Islam, followed by male descendants of Muhammad(also known as Hasnain's) through his daughter Fatimah.

      Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, with the exception of Husayn ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.[9] The twelfth and final Imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive, and in hiding.[14]

      In Twelver eschatology, Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn ʻAlī, or al-Mahdi (مهدي transliteration: Mahdī, also Mehdi, "Guided One"), is the twelfth Imam and the Mahdi, the ultimate savior of mankind and prophesied redeemer of Islam.

      Twelvers believe that the Mahdi has been hidden by God (referred to as The Occultation) and will later emerge to change the world into a perfect and just Islamic society alongside Jesus (Isa) before the Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally "Day of the Resurrection" or "Day of the Standing").

      Other Shi'a schools, such as Zaidi, Ismaili and Bohra, adhere to different Imam successions and do not consider Muhammad ibn Hasan the Mahdi as Imam.

    7. Rumor has it that someone down Mississippi way's been hidin ol' Muhammad al-Mahdi somewhere back in the swamps.

    8. :-)

      He's grateful for all the water.

      Usta hafta pee on his patch in the sand for irrigation.

    9. Cross breeder who created the first skunk weed......

    10. .

      The Jewish Lobby.

      Race-baiting and bigotry all the time. Informed comment? Not so much.

      In their first 10 comments, not one comment regarding the subject of the day merely additional insults on major religions.

      Par for the course.


    11. Notice the term our "anti-zionist" (not anti-Semitic) Quirk uses?

      "The Jewish Lobby.

      Race-baiting and bigotry all the time. Informed comment? Not so much."

      Me thinks he protest too much...

      Being against Israel's policies doesn't make you anti-semitic.

      Targeting Jews? Does.

      What a matter Quirk? Getting lazy or sloppy?

    12. .


      I should have taken the time to write it out completely. The Jewish Lobby on this Blog.


    13. .

      Face it WiO, you are so paranoid that to you someone who didn't like bagels would probably be suspect of being anti-Semitic.

      I hope that paranoia and defensiveness you display is not something you pass on to future generations. Hell of a way to live.


    14. .

      Being against Israel's policies doesn't make you anti-semitic.

      Targeting Jews? Does.

      In WiO World, arguing against specific Israeli policies IS targeting Jews. In WiO World, if you refuse to be cowed by charges of being anti-Semitic, it proves you are anti-Semitic.


  4. "An Iranian-American Rapprochement"

    Maybe Hillary can give Kerry that Reset Button!

    The prejudice against Israel in diplomatic matters is as troubling as more crude bigotry against Jews.

    An obscure academic organization called the American Studies Association not long ago voted to endorse a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli universities. The self-appointed moralists were purportedly outraged over the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians.

    Given academia’s past obsessions with the Jewish state, the targeting of Israel is not new. Yet why do the professors focus on Israel and not Saudi Arabia, which denies women the right to drive and only recently granted them the right to vote? Why not Russia, which has been accused of suppressing free speech, or Nigeria, which has passed retrograde anti-homosexual legislation?

    The hip poet Amiri Baraka (a.k.a. Everett LeRoi Jones) recently died. He was once poet laureate of New Jersey, held prestigious university posts, and was canonized with awards — despite being a hateful anti-Semite.

    After 9/11, Baraka wrote a poem that suggested Israel knew about the plan to attack the World Trade Center. One of his poems from the ’60s included this unabashedly anti-Semitic passage: “Smile, jew. Dance, jew. Tell me you love me, jew. . . . I got the extermination blues, jewboys. I got the hitler syndrome figured.” Yet that did not preclude the New York Times and NPR from praising him after his death.

    Trendy multicultural French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is known for his anti-Semitic provocations and for making a gesture that has been described as an inverted Nazi salute. He recently quipped of a Jewish journalist: “When I hear him talk, you see . . . I say to myself, gas chambers . . . a pity.” Auschwitz is now a joke?


    ...Kerry is not rushing into Damascus to stop the bloodletting that has claimed far more lives than all the Palestinians lost in 70 years of conflict with Israel. Syrian president Bashar Assad, Shiite terrorists, and al-Qaeda would not listen politely to Kerry’s pontificating sermons.

    The sort of anti-Semitism we see from buffoons like Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is appalling, but the double standard to which Israel is held in matters of foreign policy by those who should know better is in many ways even more galling.

    1. Totally agree with that last sentence......

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. .

      From Richard Cohen, a writer at the WaPo who is a strong supporter of Israel, speaking of the same boycott and the implications for Israel.

      Israel is a different matter. Exactly because it is a liberal, Western state, ruled by law and not by whim, it can be pressured. It wants to belong to the worldwide academic community and, of course, it should.

      What matters most about the boycotts is what they represent -- widespread and growing antipathy toward the Jewish state. It's facile to attribute this entirely to anti-Semitism, although it surely lurks here and there. But in America at least, anti-Semitism is a spent force -- witness the appointment of the third Jew in row to head the Federal Reserve. A generation ago, more than a few commentators would have mentioned the International Jewish Conspiracy or some such thing. That now exists only in the rattled brain of a Louis Farrakhan.

      Nonetheless, there is a special, worrisome fury directed at Israel. I hear it from people who are not in any way anti-Semitic. (I would hear more of it if many people were not afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic.)

      Sometimes I think the anger comes from having repressed criticism of Israel lest it offend. Sooner or later, though, the emotions come spilling out.

      Whatever the cause, the fact remains that Israel's occasionally harsh occupation of the West Bank has put it on the defensive. One only had to see the extraordinary documentary "The Gatekeepers," in which six former heads of the internal security service, Shin Bet, discuss -- and rue -- the methods they used to maintain control of the West Bank, to see what I mean. This is a film -- academics take note -- that only could have been made in Israel. That's good. But what it says ... that's bad.

      Read more:


  5. Does everybody else get booted up to the top of the post after posting a comment like I have for the last few days?

  6. A Witness, Part I
    The meaning of David Horowitz

    Horowitz's Kronstadt...

    Let me tell it very briefly: David arranged for a woman named Betty Van Patter to work as a bookkeeper at a Panther-run school. Soon, they murdered her. You recall David’s dates for his “life as a leftist”: May Day 1948 until December 1974. That was the month of Van Patter’s murder.

    Get this: “Betty’s friends in the Bay Area progressive community, who generally were alert to every injustice, even in lands so remote they could not locate them on a map, kept their silence about this one in their own backyard.” And here is a confession, or testimony: “My dedication to the progressive cause had made me self-righteous and arrogant and blind. Now a cruel and irreversible crime had humbled me and restored my sight.”

    David’s other Kronstadt, I gather, was Vietnam — the results of that war, I mean. As David himself puts it,

    More people — more Indo-Chinese peasants — were killed by the Marxist victors and friends of the New Left in the first three years of the Communist peace than had been killed on all sides in the 13 years of the anti-Communist war.”

  7. Today the US Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. The Israeli Firsters - AIPAC and Bibi Netanyahu will be given the ability to drag the American people into war.....

    Yawn... Another day, another bullshit thread title.

    Same shit, different day.

    1. Wise up WIO,

      The Senate, not POTUS has the power to wage war. Obama's new Constitution of Positive Rights.


  8. The Dangerously Irrational Iranian Regime

    On Tuesday, the Iranian government announced that it had reached a secret agreement with the West on its nuclear development. The details of the agreement were not released, but suffice it to say that the Iranians could not contain their glee. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani celebrated the deal with an English-language tweet claiming that the “world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will”; Iranian Army Commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi said the diplomatic breakthrough resulted from American military “weakness”; and the Iranian foreign minister laid a wreath at the tomb of the Beirut Marine barracks bomber.

    Meanwhile, President Barack Obama urged the United States Congress to “give peace a chance.” After weeks of sending out his pacifist minions, including faux pro-Israel group J Street, to tell Americans that support for sanctions meant support for war, Obama himself echoed that message.

    “My preference is for peace and diplomacy,” the apparent flower-child-in-chief stated. “And this is one of the reasons why I’ve sent the message to Congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions. Now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.”

    He said that a rational, reasonable Iran would be “willing to walk through the door of opportunity that’s presented to them.”

  9. Jews in Space

    Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.

    1. 4. Sarah Schulman, U.S. writer. Schulman, a lesbian novelist and playwright who teaches at the City University of New York, is the leading promoter of the insipid concept of “pinkwashing” – the claim, which in the last couple of years has gained traction in the American and European academy with alarming speed, that Israel markets its liberal gay-rights record as a way of distracting from an illiberal policy of oppressing innocent Palestinians.

      Schulman, who comes from a family of Holocaust survivors and whose psychopathology I’ve pondered at this site more than once, has marched with members of Hamas (no big deal, she says, pointing out that she’s also “marched in the same gay pride parade with gay Republicans for decades”) and has responded to expressions of concern about the treatment of women and gays in Muslim societies by saying: “right now, that is not my job.”

      Is she really as thoroughly, spectacularly ignorant about Islam as she seems to be, or is she simply in full-scale, ideologically driven denial? Given that she’s equally thick-headed, ill-educated, and utterly in thrall to hard-left orthodoxies, it’s hard to say.

    2. You can't do anything about dictatorships, so complaining about their human-rights record is like farting in a hurricane. But Israel fancies herself the only democracy in the Levant, hence the criticism. Maybe they'll move on it.

    3. You really want to put Israel above Pootie and the Muzzies?

  10. Replies
    1. WASHINGTON — As a young lawmaker defining himself as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama visited a center for scholars in August 2007 to give a speech on terrorism. He described a surveillance state run amok and vowed to rein it in. “That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens,” he declared. “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.”

      More than six years later, the onetime constitutional lawyer is now the commander in chief presiding over a surveillance state that some of his own advisers think has once again gotten out of control. On Friday, he will give another speech, this time at the Justice Department defending government spying even as he adjusts it to address a wave of public concern over civil liberties.

    2. .

      Power corrupts.

      Once you have the power its hard to give it up. Ask Frodo.


  11. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama urged the United States Congress to “give peace a chance.” After weeks of sending out his pacifist minions, including faux pro-Israel group J Street, to tell Americans that support for sanctions meant support for war, Obama himself echoed that message.

    "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." -- Yeshua bar Yosef.

    1. Peace, love, and Fuck the State.

      So, hey, T:

      Do you get booted to the top every time you comment?

      I'm using Chrome, what do you use?

    2. My IE now takes about 60 seconds to load Google.

      ...a Masterwork from Seattle.

    3. Re: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." -- Yeshua bar Yosef.

      Nicea declared that god was the son of god. Poor Joseph was left paying the child support.

    4. "We are all bull to our own mother and father of ourselves, no child support."

      from an old gnostic credo

  12. Israel will not attack Iran - not today, or tomorrow, or in December.

    1. There's a window of opportunity then from Saturday through November.

    2. Israel is being attacked by Iran, thru it's proxies.

      Now the question is how can Israel defang Iran? According to the Art of War? Let the Sunni's from Egypt to Arabia do it.. And they are...

      Do not be surprised however if funny things happen to Iranian assets, quietly.

      Obama has decided to appease Iran, it is now American foreign policy, Liberty, Justice and Freedom are outdated concepts. Now? America the cuckhold is the NEW American policy. Obama demands we kneel before our betters and bow our heads... LOL

      Get used to it.

      As long as Obama and company are in charge? America the inferior is the new tag line.

    3. Bob,

      Israel's military is built to do one thing, primarily, and a second thing as last resort.

      The IDF can field a large army within hours of reserve activation. This military machine has one purpose: the swift defeat of any threat coming from any player or group of players in its region. Fighting within a tight communications network, the IDF has not been defeated. There is no fear of that happening today.

      What the IDF is not is a global military. It lacks the wherewithal to strategically affect outcomes outside its neighborhood. Iran is well outside Israel's neighborhood. If by some miracle, Israel could attack Iran, it could not defeat Iran or break its will to fight. Israel certainly could not put boots on the ground. And most importantly to this thread, it could not halt Iran's nuclear ambitions because it cannot maintain a lengthy campaign. Therefore, Israel will not attack Iran.

  13. Replies
    1. Giving Obama his due, he is succeeding brilliantly in Syria.

      He could have gone in and made a real mess of things.


    2. New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims

      By Matthew Schofield

      McClatchy Foreign StaffJanuary 15, 2014 Updated 12 hours ago

      This image provided by Shaam News Network on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting. It purports to show bodies of victims of an attack on Ghouta, Syria


      BERLIN — A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.

      A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

      Separately, international weapons experts are puzzling over why the rocket in question – an improvised 330mm to 350mm rocket equipped with a large receptacle on its nose to hold chemicals – reportedly did not appear in the Syrian government’s declaration of its arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and apparently was not uncovered by OPCW inspectors who believe they’ve destroyed Syria’s ability to deliver a chemical attack.

      Neither development proves decisively that Syrian government forces did not fire the chemicals that killed hundreds of Syrians in the early morning hours of Aug. 21. U.S. officials continue to insist that the case for Syrian government responsibility for the attack in East Ghouta is stronger than any suggestion of rebel involvement, while experts say it is possible Syria left the rockets out of its chemical weapons declaration simply to make certain it could not be tied to the attack.

      “That failure to declare can mean different things,” said Ralf Trapp, an original member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a former secretary of the group’s scientific advisory board. “It can mean the Syrian government doesn’t have them, or that they are hiding them.”

      In Washington, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said its assertion of Syrian government responsibility remains unchanged.

      “The body of information used to make the assessment regarding the August 21 attack included intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition. That assessment made clear that the opposition had not used chemical weapons in Syria,” it said Wednesday in an email.

      But the authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

      Read more here:

      Nice map included in article.

    3. OBama is doing exactly he set out to do...

      Destroy us.

    4. I agree.

      Did you see all the news about Benghazi yesterday?

      He knew exactly what was going on from the very beginning.


      Seahawks vs. San Francisco this Sunday. Also Patriots vs Denver.

      If you like football this is your weekend.

    5. Quirk will be at the Seattle vs San Francisco game, played in Seattle.

      He sent me this, showing off his new Huge Polar Bear Coat, of which he is so proud......'s+Polar+Bear+Coats+-+pics&qpvt=Men%27s+Polar+Bear+Coats+-+pics&FORM=IGRE&id=F0240DB65393C9A4E7297267C0FFAB86C910A426&selectedIndex=59#view=detail&id=674A3677DDDF053A4A3DA7969D6C09DF49F092E7&selectedIndex=29

    6. Farmer BobThu Jan 16, 10:40:00 AM EST

      "Giving Obama his due, he is succeeding brilliantly in Syria.

      He could have gone in and made a real mess of things."

      You continuously advocate action against Iran yet you chortle about Obama not going into Syria. Obviously you don't realize that most who advocate action against Iran also advocate for action against Iran's ally Assad in Syria. Classic 'down the rabbit hole' with Farmer Bob!

    7. .

      While I have criticized Obama's foreign policy for being at best ad hoc, I have approved of some of his recent moves as with the negotiations with Iran and his backing off from his 'red lines' in Syria. However, I question his apparent complete withdrawal from diplomacy on the personal tragedy being wrought on the civilian population is Syria. He has wisely withdrawn from his previous 'red lines' and backed off from military action; however, since that time, he has said or done virtually nothing in trying to help the starving, dead, or dying there.

      The following article describes the horrors currently being suffered by residents of a Palestinian refuge camp there.

      There isn't much the Palestinian people haven't suffered. But the use of enforced starvation against them by the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad at the Yarmouk refugee camp breaks new ground in cruelty. Hundreds are said to be facing imminent death by starvation, lack of water and medical care, and the loss, for almost a year now, of all heat and electricity.

      The article is mainly focused on the Assad regime and its allies in Hezbollah and Iran and the new tactic they are employing: starvation. The article centers on a particular Palestinian refugee camp but the tragedy there is just a reflection of the suffering of all the civilian populations throughout Syria. Likewise, the same arguments could be used against the other players there, al Queda, the FSA, the other paramilitary forces who are mostly surrogates for countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It indicts all the players in the region as well as foreign powers for doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of civilian populations.

      Some have argued that there is nothing anyone can do.

      All the MPs heard stories like the ones I described – and, believe me, listening to them at first hand is not the same as reading them in a newspaper. Naturally enough, our reaction was that something must be done: something big enough and decisive enough to be adequate the tragedy.

      That equation is understandable, but misplaced. Public policy should be proportionate to an achievable goal, not to how upset we feel. Every refugee we met wanted Western strikes against the Assad regime; it would have been bizarre if they hadn’t. But it doesn’t follow that Anglo-American military intervention in Syria would do more good than harm.

      For what it’s worth, I’m not sure the same applies to neighbouring states such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE. These countries received tens of billions of dollars worth of US military aid, and could deploy it proportionately – to enforce a no-fly zone, for example – without the negative repercussions that would follow from a Western intervention. That, though, is not in our gift.

      Which is really my point: there are things beyond our control, problems without solutions.

      The author might be right. However, some are now arguing that the fighting in Syria might go on for a decade or more. The rebel forces are adamant they have no intention of quitting. Assad has no intention of quitting. To do so would mean his death.

      The Syrian Peace Conference is schedule for January 22 and about 30 countries will attend. The UN has raised the issue of civilian suffering in Syria and, hopefully, it will be a key subject for discussion. However, I simply doubt it.


    8. .

      The Syrian Peace Conference starts on January 22. However, one of the key players, Iran, will not be attending because of the US precondition that says Tehran can participate only if it agrees to earlier diplomatic agreements that any transitional government in Syria would not include President Bashar al-Assad or his close allies.

      Iran refuses this pre-condition. Obviously, Assad would not agree to it.

      Predicted outcome for the conference: Another conference will be scheduled.


    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    10. Ash, my dear precious friend, read closely, I USED to advocate action against Iran. At this point I simply don't know what is best, as I explained one other day.

      I suspect they may already have their nuke......

      Though if USA did go in you wouldn't be hearing criticism from me. And if the Israelis do go in - Allen insists they won't - I do think USA ought to back them up, at the least.

      As for Syria, I once THEORETICALLY argued, at that time, that more lives might be saved than lost by going into Syria and dividing the place up into safe zones for the various groups. For this daring thought, I was EXCORIATED by one and all - especially by Quirk - as being a war thug, when all I was doing was conducting a thought experiment

    11. .

      Apologies, Farmer Bob.

      But on the other hand, you know what usually happens when you start to think.

      (Kidding. Just kidding.)


    12. Apology accepted, my Noble Hero.

      Though you could have made the apology 'abject'.

    13. .

      Don't get uppity.

      The fact is I couldn't do without you. I consider you like that dirty, old, beat up slipper that I refuse to throw out, you the right one and Rufus the left.


  14. Having unscientifically consumed massive quantities of authentic German beer, I believe it could capture a sizeable chunk of the American market if permitted. However, permission is the problem. So-called German beer imports into the US are not of the same quality as the beer consumed by Germans. No self-respecting German would think of drinking 4% gutter swill. To get the real joy of German brew the alcohol content must be considerably higher. Any beer lover who has had the pleasure of imbibing great beer will agree with me, I believe.


    1. I agree with you. And that Heineken from where ever isn't bad either.

      Our stuff is simply warm piss in comparison.

      If Rufus ever got onto real German beer he'd be a goner.....

  15. The Israeli lobby’s efforts to pass a new sanctions bill against Iran have stalled in the US Senate, according to reports.

    The sanctions legislation was introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) last month and has gathered 59 cosponsors in the 100-member upper chamber.

    Republicans overwhelmingly support the measure. So far 16 Senate Democrats have broken with President Barack Obama who has threatened to veto the bill if it passes Congress.

    However, despite insurmountable pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Democratic leaders have yet to agree to bring the measure to the floor, the Inter Press Service reports.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who controls the floor calendar, has for now backed away from a previous commitment to permit a vote on the bill sometime over the next few weeks.

    As a result, the powerful pro-Israel lobby is now reportedly hoping to get Republicans in the House of Representatives to take up the Senate version of the bill this month to pressure the Senate to act, according to IPS and Roll Call.

    The House overwhelmingly passed its own sanctions bill against Iran last year, but that was before diplomatic efforts yielded an interim agreement with Tehran over its nuclear energy program. Iran and world powers, including the US, struck a nuclear accord in Geneva on November 24.

    “Up until this week we wanted to hold firm,” a GOP source told Roll Call. “But we think if we get that done in the House, that adds to the momentum and it can get to the president’s desk.”

    The White House has cast the anti-Iran efforts in stark terms, saying that the passage of fresh sanctions would represent a “march toward war” and challenging those members of Congress who support the bill to acknowledge that they favor military action against Iran.

    - FFP

    1. DeuceThu Jan 16, 11:34:00 AM EST
      However, despite insurmountable pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Democratic leaders have yet to agree to bring the measure to the floor, the Inter Press Service reports.

      insurmountable pressure

      ...obviously incoherent contradictory sentence...

      AIPAC, like Judaism, gets far more credit than warranted by facts. Is it conceivable that the past duplicity of Iran might give lawmakers pause? Could the bellicose, grandiose noise coming out of Iran recently be a concern?

      Iran is going nuclear. It has made that clear to all but the deaf. It is time to consider other options for dealing with this loose cannon.

    2. I noticed the 'insurmountable pressure' misuse myself.

      Harry Reid is not so easily surmounted.

      (he is my candidate for overall sleeziest politician in D.C.)

  16. It's taken an American to expose the brutal truth of Britain's military decline

    Britain is no longer a global military power. It could best be described as ancillary (handmaid; little sister). It will have the chance to prove me wrong in the Falklands before long.

  17. .

    Ed Levine, an arms control specialist who worked for both Republican and Democratic senators for 20 years on the Intelligence Committee and another ten on the Foreign Relations Committee, has written a detailed and devastating analysis of S. 1881, the Kirk-Menendez bill, for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation on whose advisory board he currently serves. We have reproduced it below, but it makes clear that, contrary to claims by the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 is designed to torpedo the Nov. 24 “first step” nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. Passage of the bill, Levine concludes, would “leave the United States closer to a Hobson’s choice between going to war with Iran and accepting Iran as an eventual nuclear weapons state.”

    Indeed, it’s quite clear from Sen. Mark Kirk’s reaction (as well as those of other Republicans, including that of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor) to the implementation accord between the P5+1 that the entire purpose of the bill is to derail the Nov. 24 agreement, as opposed to acting as a “diplomatic insurance policy” to ensure that its terms are fulfilled, as Sen. Menendez argued last week in the Washington Post. Indeed, Senate Republicans, all but two of whom have co-sponsored the bill, are clearly doing the bidding of AIPAC and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in trying to subvert the Nov. 24 agreement, while the 16 Democratic senators who have signed as co-sponsors have insisted that the bill is intended to support that accord...

    Levine concludes his analysis with

    Taken as a whole, these requirements, however desirable in theory, build a bridge too far for the E3+3 to reach. If they are enacted, all parties to the negotiations will interpret them as barring the United States from implementing the sanctions relief proposed in any feasible agreement. Rather than buttressing the U.S. position in the negotiations, therefore, they will bring an end to those negotiations. Worse yet, they will create large fissures in the E3+3 coalition that has imposed international sanctions on Iran. Thus, even though the bill purports to support sanctions, it may well result in the collapse of many of them.


  18. .

    Woman has painful 3 hour orgasms. Dumps her boyfriend for that guy with the 4 hour hard on.


    1. Three hour orgasms, two week hard-ons, the women of our nation queuing up for a "4 hour Q", what's this nation of ours finally coming to?.......

  19. There is an old joke about the Jewish mother attending the inaugural ball of her son, America’s first Jewish president.

    Someone says to her, “You must be very proud of your son.”

    Mom replies, Yes…Have you met my son Irving? He’s a doctor…Irving, come here, darling; I’ve got someone I want to you meet.

    You will never see a gloating Jewish mother introducing her son, the potential suicide bomber.

    There is a message there.

  20. Three hour orgasms, two week hard-ons, the women of our nation queuing up for a "4 hour Q", what's this nation of ours finally coming to?.......

    I have a strange condition where I have an orgasm every time I sneeze. I'm taking pepper for it.

    1. So THAT'S what was going on at last week's game, when I saw you sneezing so many times into Q's polar bear hanky !

  21. Regulators took another swing at tamping down the riskiness of big U.S. banks, proposing new requirements for boards and executives and laying the groundwork for swifter enforcement for missteps.

    In guidelines proposed Thursday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency detailed risk-management standards for firms with more than $50 billion in assets, putting the onus on board members to ensure the rules are followed...

  22. this is great...

    al jeezra tv arabs arguing that the french occupation of syria and Israel are more humane than arab/syrian armies...