“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."

Monday, September 08, 2014

Kurds - Damn good reporting by the French news service France24 - This is a must see video if you want to get a real appreciation of what is going on in the fight against ISIS - Long Live Kurdistan !

Will the jihadists' attempt to create a caliphate across Iraq and Syria lead instead to an independent Kurdish state? FRANCE 24’s Roméo Langlois went to the frontline to find Kurds from Iraq and Syria joining forces in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants. The Turks, Saudis and the other shit birds that supported ISIS have some explaining to do. 


  1. The video report demolishes some of the idiotic block-headed and ignorant racist remarks that often appear in the comment section by a few of the commenters on this blog.

    1. What do you expect to happen by the US throwing billions of dollars of advanced military hardware at proxies throughout the Middle East, mush at the behest of Israel using its own proxy Uncle Stupid in its campaign to overthrow Assad and Saddam.
      Perhaps instead of being a military superpower, and exponentially increasing the amount of death and destruction via the mass quantities of arms handed out to questionable characters, the USA could start acting like a humanitarian superpower, and actually try and improve the lives of people around the world? At the very least, it would likely keep our citizens from getting their heads chopped off by people that U.S. Senators were palling around with 6 months ago.

    2. You must be referring to desert rat's infamous statement about the semites being the scum of the earth.

  2. From The Daily Beast

    John McCain and Rand Paul Are Allies on ISIS War Vote
    John McCain and Rand Paul. Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein. Lawmakers you’d never expect to unite on foreign policy are agreed on the threat—but expect more talk than action.
    Strange alliances—and odd rationales—are forming over Congress’s possible vote to authorize military force against the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS, as lawmakers stand at the ready to be briefed about militants but look unlikely to act to counter them.

    The Senate is splintering over whether to defer to the president on war strategy against ISIS, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over whether President Obama needs Congress’s approval, and if not, whether he should even ask.

    The disagreements are a further indication that Congress will punt a formal authorization of the use of force against ISIS in Iraq and beyond.
    Indeed, congressional lawmakers, fresh from their summer recess, appear more interested in hearing about the threat ISIS poses than acting forcefully and swiftly to guide the president’s policy on the militant group.

    Hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered the frank assessment Monday that a congressional vote could hinder presidential power at a time when Obama most needs it to counter ISIS, putting him on the same page as senior Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), both of whom indicated an interest in deferring to the president on war strategy.

    The Daily Beast asked Graham if the absence of a vote reflected congressional acquiescence to the president’s will on war strategy. A vote would be nice, he said, but bringing the issue to Congress could mean all sorts of measures that blunt the president’s response.

    “What if [Obama] comes here and [Congress] can’t pass it? That would be a disaster. And what if you put so many conditions on it that it makes any military operations ineffective? That’s what I worry about,” the senator said. “I think the president has an abundant amount of authority to conduct operations. It would be good to have Congress on board…if Congress doesn’t like what he’s doing, we can cut the money off.”

    Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, cited hawkish former senator Joe Lieberman’s column last week in The Wall Street Journal arguing that the president has sufficient authority to act without Congress.

  3. You can’t trust the ass-stabbing Turks

    As President Obama speaks of a campaign against ISIL that could last years, the role of Turkey is coming into focus as critics accuse the American ally and NATO partner with aiding ISIL's growth.

    Prior to his appearance on Meet the Press, the president devoted much of his speech at last week's NATO summit in Wales to outlining how a 10-nation arm of the alliance would band together to "degrade" and "dismantle" ISIL with help from a broad coalition. While Turkey is one of the countries meant to be involved, American Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was in Ankara today trying to figure out to what extent Turkey can actually be relied upon to act.

  4. And the Saudis are worse:

    The jihadi group surging through Iraq and Syria is using large captured US-made weapons and has access to anti-tank rockets supplied by Saudi Arabia to a moderate rebel group, according to a report published on Monday.

    The study by the London-based Conflict Armament Research consultancy found that Islamic State (Isis) militants had access to large numbers of US weapons, which they were shifting to key battlefields.

    The report drew no conclusions about how the weapons were sourced. However, the capitulation of the Iraqi army in northern Iraq on 10 June gave the jihadis access to military arsenals in the north of the country, which were full of US-supplied assault rifles and ammunition, as well as heavy weapons.

    The report was compiled from a list of weapons captured from Isis by Kurdish militias over a 10-day period in July.

    Of most interest was the capture of two M-79 rockets that were identical to a batch of such weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to rebels in southern Syria in January 2013. The rockets had been sourced from a Croatian arms supplier and ferried to anti-Assad fighters who were identified as non-jihadis.


  5. I for one, have been calling for an independent Kurdistan since the moment this blog was started.

    What is "occupation" has been asked about Iraq, Iran, Syria & Turkey's occupation of Kurdish lands.

    I also have said it would be a great way to create a stable counter force to those nations as well

  6. If you watch the video, you will see that your opinions are being vindicated.

    Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
    Released July 2014

    The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter- Range Missiles (INF Treaty) was signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, and entered into force on June 1, 1988. Elimination of all declared missiles and launchers under the Treaty was completed in 1991.
    The Treaty is of unlimited duration and bans the possession, production, and flight-testing of intermediate- and shorter-range missile systems. The Treaty required the complete elimination of all the approximately 800 U.S. and approximately 1,800 former Soviet ground-launched missiles with maximum ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (km), their launchers, and their associated support equipment and structures. All such items were eliminated by May 28, 1991.
    The Treaty established a verification regime using national technical means of verification (NTM), notifications, and an on-site inspection regime to detect and deter violations of Treaty obligations. The inspection regime concluded on May 31, 2001, that is, 13 years following the Treaty’s entry into force. The remainder of the verification regime continues for the duration of the Treaty.
    The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.
    The INF Treaty defines an intermediate-range missile as a ground-launched ballistic missile (GLBM) or GLCM having a range capability in excess of 1,000 km but not in excess of 5,500 km. The Treaty defines a shorter-range missile as a GLBM or GLCM having a range capability equal to or in excess of 500 km but not in excess of 1,000 km. A GLCM is defined as a ground-launched cruise missile that is a weapon delivery vehicle.
    Article I provides that the Parties shall not have intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.
    Paragraph 1 of Article IV provides that the Parties shall not possess intermediate-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, or support structures and equipment of the categories listed in the Memorandum of Understanding associated with such missiles and launchers.
    Paragraph 1 of Article VI provides that no Party shall produce or flight-test any intermediate-range missiles or produce any stages or launchers of such missiles, or produce, flight-test, or launch any shorter-range missiles or produce any stages or launchers of such missiles.
    Paragraph 1 of Article VII provides that if a cruise missile has been flight- tested or deployed for weapon-delivery, all missiles of that type shall be considered to be weapon-delivery vehicles.
    Paragraph 2 of Article VII provides that if a GLCM is an intermediate-range missile, all GLCMs of that type shall be considered to be intermediate-range missiles.
    Paragraph 4 of Article VII provides that the range capability of a GLCM not listed in Article III of this Treaty shall be considered to be the maximum distance which can be covered by the missile in its standard design mode flying until fuel exhaustion, determined by projecting its flight path onto the earth’s sphere from the point of launch to the point of impact.
    Paragraph 11 of Article VII provides that a cruise missile which is not a missile to be used in a ground-based mode shall not be considered to be a GLCM if


    The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.

  9. The question is, who are they designed for? They are in the testing phase and have not been deployed so we really don’t know. However, my guess is they are not designed for Europe. Russia would not announce that. It would make the calculation that it would fit their purposes to feint towards Europe but make it deployable to the East and China.

  10. For those that see things in "Black and White" ...

    U.S.-Designated Terrorist Group Is Helping the Kurds Push Back ISIL

    What is more interesting and less expected was that as the Kurds made gains (with the benefit of U.S. airstrikes), they were also propelled forward by the efforts of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), whose fighters helped the Kurdish peshmerga forces stem the Islamic State's advance toward Erbil, the semiofficial Kurdish capital. As Mitchell Prothero explained:

    Visits to front-line positions Monday made it clear that an influx of fighters with links to the Kurdish Workers Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, had played a major role in driving the Islamic State from key areas within a 30-minute drive of Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government. It was Irbil’s possible fall last week that ended weeks of Obama administration inaction on Iraq.

    This would be a welcome change if the PKK weren't designated as a terrorist group by the United States and other countries ...

    Just like ISIS, Hamas, and al-Qeada, the PKK have been designated terrorists.
    Our NATO allies in Turkey ...


    ANKARA — Turkey's new foreign minister said Monday that the outlawed PKK terrorist group should not receive international weapons meant for use against self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq.

    Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made his remarks at The Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk, where he discussed recent developments in the region, especially the threat posed by Islamic State militant group and the security crisis in Iraq.
    "The Iraqi army is largely dominated by Shias and while providing weapons to them, the army and the reconstruction in Iraq should be taken into consideration and terrorist organizations or the outlawed PKK should not receive international weapons meant for use against ISIS," he said.

  11. People of diverse backgrounds here all seem to agree on this one at least:

    A Kurdish State.

    whoo hoo

    They have been oppressed by the Turks, the Iranians, Saddam even gassed them.....

    It's time.

    1. Why has the Kurdish PKK been designated a terrorist organization by the US?

    2. Designation as a terrorist group[edit]

      The PKK has been placed on the terrorism blacklists of Turkey and a number of allied governments and organisations.[115]

      The military alliance NATO has declared the PKK to be a terrorist group;[116] Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and fields the group's second-largest armed contingent. Closely tied to NATO,[117] the European Union—which Turkey aspires to join—officially lists the PKK as having "been involved in terrorist acts" and proscribes it as part of its Common Foreign and Security Policy.[118] First designated in 2002, the PKK was ordered to be removed from the EU terror list on 3 April 2008 by the European Court of First Instance on the grounds that the EU failed to give a proper justification for listing it in the first place.[119] However, EU officials dismissed the ruling, stating that the PKK would remain on the list regardless of the legal decision.[120] Most European Union member states have not individually listed the PKK as a terrorist group.

      The United Nations only blacklists al-Qaida, the Taliban, and affiliated groups and individuals, pursuant to UNSCR 1267.[121] As such, the PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organisation by the UN, though three out of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council treat it as such on an individual basis. The PKK is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department[18][122] and as a Proscribed Group by the UK Home Office.[123] Additionally, France prosecutes Kurdish-French activists and bans organisations connected to the PKK on terrorism-related charges,[124] having listed the group as a terrorist organisation since 1993.[125] However, French courts often refuse to extradite captured individuals accused of PKK connections to Turkey due to technicalities in French law, frustrating Turkish authorities.[126] On the other hand, Russia has long ignored Turkish pressure to ban the PKK,[127] and the group is also not included in the official terror blacklist of China (PRC).[128]

      The following other individual countries have listed or otherwise labelled the PKK in an official capacity as a terrorist organisation:

      Australia,[129][130] Austria,[131] Azerbaijan,[132] Canada,[133] Germany,[134] Iran,[135] Japan,[136] Kazakhstan,[137] Kyrgyzstan,[138] the Netherlands,[139] New Zealand,[140] Spain,[141] and Syria.[142]

      Notably, the government of Switzerland has explicitly rejected Turkish demands to blacklist the PKK,[143] though it has taken its own measures to monitor and restrict the group's activities on Swiss soil, including banning the collection of funds for the group in November 2008.[144]

      Because they were originally a bunch of idiotic Leninists and used to practice 'the propaganda of the deed', that is to say, they blew some stuff up.

      They were never that big a deal.

      It seems they have since moderated somewhat.

      Unlike your good buds, the Hamas, who keep on keeping on launching rockets at civilians in Israel.

  12. Good question, but I assume you know the answer.

    1. You are welcome to read my answer if you wish to do so.

  13. Turkey designated them as a maoist group and NATO supported the Turks. It was all about the secession of the Kurds.

    1. That is the idea in guerrilla warfare, you fight a much more powerful adversary and your only chance of survival and success is to do the fighting on your terms like blowing up a hotel lobby filled with English officers.

    2. We too fought a type of guerrilla war against the English.

      India, however, got rid of the bloody English peacefully, for the most part.

      But the situation was entirely different.....

      Guy Fawkes, back in the day, a Catholic, even plotted to blow up Parliament.

      He is still celebrated in places on Guy Fawkes Day.

      You can buy Guy Fawkes T-Shirts on line.

      Quirk has a whole wardrobe.

  14. The Obama Administration was for a while talking as if The Tea Party was a terrorist organization.

    That would be ME.


    I'm way too lazy, and also too wise, to get involved in terrorism. As are all the other old geezers in The Tea Party.

  15. RUFUS, riding at the head of an anti-ISIS Partisan Group, is stopped at a border crossing station on the Syrio/Iraqi Border -


  16. The US has hailed the announcement of a new government in Iraq ahead of a drive to organise an international coalition against Islamic State (IS).


    President Barack Obama congratulated Mr Abadi by telephone on Monday.


    The secretary general of the Arab League meanwhile urged its members to confront Islamic State on all possible levels.

  17. .

    Any group looks good when compared to IS. In my opinion there is no excuse, justification, or rationalization for purposely attacking and killing innocents. But that is what terrorists do and the PKK is a terrorist organization.

    They were never that big a deal.

    It seems they have since moderated somewhat.

    Unlike your good buds, the Hamas, who keep on keeping on launching rockets at civilians in Israel.


    Hamas and the PKK were formed within a few years of each other. Both had the same objective, an independent homeland for their respective people.

    Never that big a deal?

    I've seen it estimated that between 1984 and the 2013 cease fire, fighting between the PKK and affiliated groups in Turkey
    and the governments there resulted in about 40,000 deaths, most of them Kurds. Since that is no big deal, I'll leave it to you to compare it with the deaths that have occurred during the same period between Israel and Hamas.

    The video was nice but there is no denying that the PKK is/was a terrorist group just like Hamas, just like IJ, just like Irgun, just like Lehi. They used the same techniques, bombings, suicide bombings, attacks on government troops and facilities, attacks on tourists, assassinations, kidnappings, killing of civilians, assassinations of alleged collaborators, funding through drugs or ransom, etc.

    The difference on which you are called, an insurgency or a terrorist organization, depends on which side your on. Whether you are an ally or a terrorist depends on the cost benefit analysis, on what have you done for me lately. The Kurds of all people should know that after we left them hanging after the 1st Gulf War. They were not the first nor the last. We did it to the Hmong. We did it to Ghadaffi.

    Will there be a formal, recognized Kurdish state?. I doubt if we will see it in my lifetime. First, you have 4 countries that likely would not welcome it. One of those states has a military in the top 10 in the world and is a member of NATO with treaty rights to back it up. And while the cooperation we see in the video is satisfying given the current conflict, we have to ask how long it will last. Kurdistan is spread over four nations and there are probably a dozen or more political parties all with different ambitions and different visions. Prior to the current cooperation noted in the video, the groups often worked at cross purposes or in opposition to each other.

    I can seeing the Kurds in Iraq getting more autonomy and economic freedom but I think their own state is not in the cards. The only other state where I see a chance would be in Syria if the place goes to hell even more than it has already. Turkey and Iran? I don't think so.

    Bottom line: If you are on our side and can do something for us, you are an insurgency. If you are helping our enemies, you are a terrorist. If you are a terrorist and lose, you remain a terrorist organization and are despised. If you are terrorist organization and you win, you are declared a freedom fighter and are allowed to form a political party in the new government.


  18. An excellent primer on the Koran and ISIS - video top ten Koran verses for understanding ISIS


  19. Most People Are Not Doing Well in Today's Economy

    Tuesday, 09 September 2014 04:41

    That's not exactly news, but Neil Irwin does a nice job summarizing the data in the Fed's new Survey of Consumer Finance. The item that many may find surprising is that median wealth was lower in 2013 than it was in 2010 in spite of the boom in the stock market over this period. As Irwin explains, this is due to the fact that most middle income families own little or no stock, even indirectly through mutual funds in retirement accounts.

    For people near the middle of the income distribution their wealth is their house. In 2010 house prices were still headed downward. The first-time homebuyers tax credit had temporarily pushed up prices. (The temporary price rise allowed banks and private mortgage pools to have loans paid off through sales or refinancing, almost all of which was done with government guaranteed loans.) After it ended in the spring of 2010, prices resumed their plunge, especially for homes in the bottom segment of the market.

    Price began to turn around in 2013, but adjusting for inflation they were still about even with where they were in 2010. In many areas the prices of more moderate priced homes were still well below their 2010 levels. This would explain why wealth for families near the middle of the income distribution would be below its 2010 level.

    Dean Baker

    1. Basically, you can't have "recovery" without a turnaround in housing, and you can't sell houses to people that have no money.

  20. Deuce ☂Tue Sep 09, 12:39:00 AM EDT
    That is the idea in guerrilla warfare, you fight a much more powerful adversary and your only chance of survival and success is to do the fighting on your terms like blowing up a hotel lobby filled with English officers.

    Put history in context.

    The jews? having just been murdered and cleansed from all of europe with millions and millions murdered where having their last stand in "palestine"

    The Jews fighting for their lives for the most part did not 'escape" from hitler to settle can liberate/create the modern state of Israel they lived in through I time where they saw the world murder Jews as easy as sipping a tea.

    The Brits? Were foreign occupiers. The hotel was a military target.

    The sad fact the Jews called and warned the hotel that a bomb was planted and set to go off..

    The jews are and were fighting for their survival. The Brits? Were holding on to their conquests.

    1. Situational ethics. We all get that. The objection is the sanctimony of “moi?”

      The Palestinians and the people in that video are also fighting for their survival.

    2. .

      Lehi also referred to themselves as 'terrorists' and may have been one of the last organizations to do so.[27]

      An article titled "Terror" in the Lehi underground newspaper He Khazit (The Front ) argued as follows:

      Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat. We are very far from having any moral qualms as far as our national war goes. We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: "Ye shall blot them out to the last man." But first and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier. We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.[28]

      Jewish 'freedom fighters' have been guilty of every offense you accuse Hamas of. That is not a defense of Hamas. It is merely a statement of fact.


  21. But the Ashkenzi have no claim to the land.
    No historical claim, no genetic claim, no valid claim, at all.

    They are merely invading Crusaders, terrorists.
    Looking for God in all the wrong places.

    1. What claim do you have to AZ?

      What claim does America have to America?

      The MAJORITY of the Jews of Israel in 1948 were born in Israel and ancestors had lived there for 3000 years. Others came from the arab controlled lands, driven out by the arabs. The majority of Ashkenzi? Lay rotting in mass graves.

      One day you claim the Jews of Israel are not real, one day you call them Ashkenzi..

      It's hard to keep straight which lies you are going to argue from each day, do you use a database to organizes the lies?

    2. Get with the program Jack, the overwhelming majority of Israelis are BORN in Israel.

      Israel IS.

      No matter what you want, wish or hope for, no matter how many times you hold your breath, no matter how many times you slander and lie...

      Israel IS.

      And it's growing and getting better and stronger every day..

      Even the 4,500 rockets your pals shot off didn't destroy it...

      Today? Israel is expanding it's hold on the land by building...


      BUILDING homes for arabs and Jewish citizens of the Jewish state.

      The quality and standard of living for the moslems of Israel keeps rising all the while the standard of living and quality of life is improving for the historic and rightful owners of the lands.. The Jews.

      Israel LIVES.

    3. News reports that Hamas is continuing to round up and execute it's own, paranoia runs deep in your family Jack.

    4. Dancing like a "Puppet on a String"
      You're doin' "The Worm".

      Keep up the wiggle, "O"rdure.

    5. Is that your new answer when you are exposed as a fraud?

    6. The only wiggle we see is you...

      Living on lands in AZ and pointing your fingers at Israel

      How laughable.

      Your ancestors? Didn't live there. Made no roads, built no nations...

      My ancestors?

      Well, you haven't been there so you have not a clue.

      But let's say the reason the arabs are pissed at Israel and facts on the ground?

      israel aint creating them, they are UNCOVERING them.. Every week another discovery...

      Very exciting...

      Very historic...

      Very real...

      The Jewish existence in Israel is thousands of years in length.

    7. The "Ashkenazi" are not thousands of years old'.

      They are a relatively 'new' people.

      They have no claim to the land of ancient Israel.
      The Ashkenazi are not the 'seed' of Moses.

    8. Really, you should give that 380 acres of rich river bottom land back to the American Indians, Jack 'rat' Hypocrite.

      They were there for thousands of years before your 'seed' came along and stole it.

    9. William ShakespeareTue Sep 09, 11:04:00 AM EDT

      “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
      It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
      The meat it feeds on.”


    10. “Envy is for people who don’t have the self-esteem to be jealous.”

    11. Come on, Bob, not only are you da ho, but the Real Estate magnate, a well.

      Entire subdivisions, platted and recorded, but ...

      ... there is no housing market for the farmland.

      As our most failed Real Estate developer, Bob, you can lead the way on laying claim to land in Egypt.

  22. #1 Sign that you're in an economy that's getting ready to Crash:

    This Statement: Credit-card lending rose for a fifth straight month.

    followed by

    THIS Statement:

    But households didn't spend more. "But oddly, July’s jump in credit-card borrowing wasn’t accompanied by a spike in household spending. Sales at retailers and restaurants were flat from June, and overall consumer spending fell 0.1% in July, according to the Commerce

    Borrowing, just to "stay in place." Bad Mojo.

    Meet the New Boss, yada, yada

  23. Ted Cruz's Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life

    In the summer of 2013, with the Affordable Care Act about to begin enrolling its first customers in the new health-care exchanges, Ted Cruz warned Republicans that they were facing one final chance to kill the law. Once Americans had grown accustomed to the sweet comfort of affordable health insurance, Cruz foresaw, they would never give it up: “[Obama’s] strategy is to get as many Americans as possible hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar. If we get to Jan. 1, this thing is here forever.”

    Cruz may have been completely misguided in his belief that this logic dictated that Republicans instigate a government shutdown, but on the political economy of Obamacare, he was completely right. Indications of Cruz’s prescience are popping up everywhere.

    In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell — who had vowed publicly and privately to “repeal this monstrosity” — was asked whether he would repeal the insurance exchange in his own state, and replied with word salad (“I think that’s unconnected to my comments about the overall question here”). When asked about repealing his state’s Medicaid expansion, he replied, “I don’t know that it will be taken away from them.”

    Unpopular Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett recently agreed to accept Medicaid expansion. Four more Republican governors — in Tennessee, Utah, Indiana, and Wyoming — have taken steps toward following suit. In Washington, the river of attacks against Obamacare issuing from Republicans has slowed to a trickle. (The number of Congressional news releases attacking the law has fallen by 75 percent this summer from last.) The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson is warning darkly of an “anti-repeal wing” within the party. “Root and branch repeal is starting to look more like twig and leaf,” concedes Reason’s Peter Suderman.

    1. As the law shocked detractors last spring by exceeding its enrollment targets, the anti-Obamacare community fixated on a final hope: that consumers looking to enroll this fall for next year would encounter soaring premiums. Not only has the hoped-for premium shock failed to materialize, rates seem to be coming in actually lower than this year. In a market where annual large price hikes have occurred for decades, the result is almost unfathomably positive.

      A more telling development may be a behind-the-scenes fight within the Republican Party over a simple message vote. This National Review editorial, which is an attempt to persuade Congressional Republicans to stiffen their anti-Obamacare spines, contains the only reporting I’ve seen about this episode. The subject of the fight is a prospective Republican bill to repeal something called “risk corridors,” which are a temporary program to balance out the actuarial risk insurance companies face. If an insurer turns out to enroll disproportionately healthy customers, the risk corridors force them to pay back some of their profit to the government; if their consumers turn out to be disproportionately sick, they get money back from the government. Risk corridors are based on a similar program created by George W. Bush’s Medicare expansion, which was uncontroversial then and now. Since it’s part of Obamacare, conservatives have attacked it as a sinister corporate plot. Last year, Republicans learned of its existence and started calling the program an “Obamacare bailout” and demanding its repeal.

    2. Aside from the merits of the case against risk corridors, which are extremely weak, the fascinating thing is that Republicans in Congress are now encountering resistance to attacking the “Obamacare bailout” from their own party. “Some Republicans say that the insurance companies should not be penalized for the defects of the law,” comments the frustrated conservative magazine. “The balkers also raise the worry that Democrats would accuse them of trying to cause premiums to increase.”

      All this is a way of saying that Republicans in Congress worry about passing bills that would harm consumers and companies that are participating in Obamacare. The repeal of risk corridors is, of course, just a “message bill” — President Obama obviously would not sign it — which makes the reluctance all the more telling. Vulnerable Republicans have calculated that the message no longer helps them. It mobilizes more potential victims against them than it mobilizes potential anti-Obamacare voters. National Review’s editorial concludes, “If Republicans aren’t willing to break with the insurers over this issue, then in what sense do they oppose Obamacare?”

      The Republican crusade against Obamacare is not ending; rather, it is shrinking and mutating. The party base will demand a presidential nominee who promises to repeal the hated law, just as it did in 2012. But the next Republican candidate will be running in an environment where repealing the law would create millions and millions of now-identifiable victims. Since the start of the year, Obamacare has gone from a weakness Republicans were salivating at the chance to exploit to an issue they no longer want to talk about. Two years from now, matters could . . . . .


    3. Democratic candidates for the Senate for the most part are running away from Obama and ObamaCare.

  24. President Sisi’s Gift

    September 9, 2014 by Caroline Glick 13 Comments

    Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit

    Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-SissiOriginally published by the Jerusalem Post.

    Something extraordinary has happened.

    On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

    Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

    On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

    According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

    In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

    In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”..................

    Interesting must read article.

  25. White House
    ABC News/Wash Post: President Hits a New Low for Leadership
    A Majority of Americans Say Obama's Presidency Is a "Failure"........................RealClearPolitics headings

  26. ISIS declares war on Twitter: Terror group warns employees they will be assassinated for closing down Islamist propaganda accounts
    Jerusalem-based group connected to ISIS tweeted threat to Twitter
    Called on 'lone wolves' to assassinate employees for closing accounts
    Issued specific warning to staff at headquarters in Silicon Valley
    The social media site is a key platform for the group's propaganda

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Now this goes too far.

    This will piss everyone off.

    Who in the hell do they think they are?

  27. The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

    Presidents inherit national strategies, and they can modify them to some extent. But the idea that a president has the power to craft a new national strategy both overstates his power and understates the power of realities crafted by all those who came before him. We are all trapped in circumstances into which we were born and choices that were made for us. The United States has an inherent interest in Ukraine and in Syria-Iraq. Whether we should have that interest is an interesting philosophical question for a late-night discussion, followed by a sunrise when we return to reality. These places reflexively matter to the United States.

    The American strategy is fixed: Allow powers in the region to compete and balance against each other. When that fails, intervene with as little force and risk as possible. For example, the conflict between Iran and Iraq canceled out two rising powers until the war ended. Then Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to overturn the balance of power in the region. The result was Desert Storm.

    This strategy provides a model. In the Syria-Iraq region, the initial strategy is to allow the regional powers to balance each other, while providing as little support as possible to maintain the balance of power. It is crucial to understand the balance of power in detail, and to understand what might undermine it, so that any force can be applied effectively. This is the tactical part, and it is the tactical part that can go wrong. The strategy has a logic of its own. Understanding what that strategy demands is the hard part. Some nations have lost their sovereignty by not understanding what strategy demands. France in 1940 comes to mind. For the United States, there is no threat to sovereignty, but that makes the process harder: Great powers can tend to be casual because the situation is not existential. This increases the cost of doing what is necessary.

    The ground where we are talking about applying this model is Syria and Iraq. Both of these central governments have lost control of the country as a whole, but each remains a force. Both countries are divided by religion, and the religions are divided internally as well. In a sense the nations have ceased to exist, and the fragments they consisted of are now smaller but more complex entities.

    The issue is whether the United States can live with this situation or whether it must reshape it.
    The immediate question is whether the United States has the power to reshape it and to what extent.
    The American interest turns on its ability to balance local forces.

    1. Sounds almost Churchillian, almost English.

      It was always English policy, according to Churchill, to support the weaker side on the Continent. Make alliances against the current Continental Bully, whoever that might be.........


    2. Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent.


  28. Press Review
    Will the Uneasy Ceasefire Last?

    In Minsk on Friday, a total of twelve steps leading to a permanent political solution to the civil conflict in southeastern Ukraine were agreed upon, which included adopting an amnesty law prohibiting the prosecution of anyone with regards to the conflict and the continuation of an inclusive dialog. Media sources have quoted several senior policy analysts who believe the meeting has paved the way to peace, but it will be hard for Poroshenko to restrain warmongering politicians in Kiev.

  29. Peeples is perverse.

    The Southern Europeans want to stay in the EU, even though the Euro is killing them, and the English want the Scots to stay in the UK, even though they are a drag on the British economy.

    1. Mississippians rail against the fedral guvmint, and expound their hatred of the despicable Northeners, all the while cashing the checks from those blue states - checks that are the only thing separating Mississippi from Zimbabwe.

      In a rational universe Ms would be electing all democrats, and giving blue staters blow jobs in the parking lot.

    2. Of course, in a "rational" universe the fine folks of Massachusetts, and NY would have cut off those checks, long ago, and would be hiring agitators to go down to Jackson, and hand out secessionist pamphlets to their southern cuzzins, on an around the clock basis.

    3. I defy anyone to give me one good reason why the United States is better off having as one of its parts, Mississippi.

      The same, of course, applies to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Arkansas. And, Idaho.

    4. .

      If you didn't have it, there would be a big hole you would have to drive around.


    5. It would make a Hell of a lake.

    6. :)

      And I'll drink to your addendum.

      I'll vote secession.

      As long as I don't have to join The South.

  30. Jack HawkinsTue Sep 09, 10:29:00 AM EDT
    The "Ashkenazi" are not thousands of years old'.

    They are a relatively 'new' people.

    They have no claim to the land of ancient Israel.
    The Ashkenazi are not the 'seed' of Moses.

    And yet? your own grandfather, a nazi SS member, had no problems considering them good enough Jews to murder….

    1. How is it that your own "SEED" could murder, rape and loot from the Jews for centuries and now you claim somehow they are not "real" Jews?

    2. What in the world?

      "O"rdure, you are quite confused.
      You seek equivalency with the neighbors, you seek equivalency with the most savage terrorists of Africa.
      When that equivalency is granted, you claim that is some type of conspiracy, the results of your efforts.

      Who did what, to the Ashkenazi ... well ...

      "I don't understand your optimism," Ben-Gurion declared.
      "Why should the Arabs make peace?
      If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel.

      That is natural: we have taken their country.
      Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them?
      Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them?

      There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault?

      They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.
      Why should they accept that?
      They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance.
      So, it's simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army.
      Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out.

      We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago . . .
      Which Mr Ben-Gurion may well have believed, but it was not, is not, true.

    3. As to what it means to be "Real Jew" ...

      Well, that seems to be an open question.
      Involving mythologies, genetics, politics and racial profiling.

      The Invention of the Jewish People
      is a book written by Shlomo Sand, an Israeli professor of history at the University of Tel Aviv.

      The author wasn’t probing a belief system but Zionist fabrications of a spurious common lineage for people of the Jewish faith.

      Sand argues that the idea of Jews having a common ethnic identity is implausible because, as with Christianity and Islam, Judaism was originally a “proselytising religion”.

      The notion of Judaism as a “race”, rather than a religion of various races, is without foundation.

      The recent study by John Hopkins geneticist Dr Elhaik confirms...
      that the common genome structure of the European Jew gravitated towards an origin in old Khazaria.

      “The majority of Jews do not have Middle Eastern genetic component,” he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

      Founded on a mélange of myths and manufactured historical tales,
      Israel has failed the archaeological test of time and is now exposed by DNA science.

      Today’s genetics prove unequivocally that in 1948 “the children of the original Jews” were replaced by converts ...
      With no roots in the Middle East.

    4. wiggle wiggle wiggle..

      Israel IS.

      take that fact and shove it up your ass...

    5. For all your nonsense the fact remains, Israel is the Jewish state.

  31. But I did want to share a thought from the past few days. I posted about the surprisingly good news, at least so far, on Obamacare premiums for 2015 — and as usual was met with a wall of rage from the right. The idea that this thing might be working inspires a level of anger nothing else (except maybe climate science) matches.

    No news there. Nor is it news that such people know things that ain’t so. But there’s something I’ve noticed from the combination of reactions to what I write and researching past coverage of Obamacare. It goes like this: a lot of the untrue beliefs people have about Obamacare come not so much from outright false reporting as from selective reporting. Every suggestion of bad news gets highlighted — especially, of course, but not only by Fox, the WSJ, etc.. But when it turns out that the news wasn’t really that bad, these sources just move on. There are claims that millions of people are losing coverage — headlines! When it turns out not to be true — crickets! Some experts claim that premiums will rise by double digits — big news! Actual premium numbers come in and they’re surprisingly low — not mentioned.

    The result is that most news consumers — who form impressions rather than trying to work out details — have the sense that it’s been all bad news. This is true even for people who don’t rely on Fox — I get asked about the scary premium hikes by people on the Upper West Side! And of course for those who do get their news from Fox, well, they know, just know, that Obamacare has reduced the number of Americans with insurance and caused premiums to double or something, even though even their favorite news source isn’t saying such things.

    We need a term for beliefs based on reports that have been superseded; maybe fossils instead of zombies. Anyway, it’s striking.

    Paul Krugman

  32. Support for Obamacare Continues to Fall, Threatening Democrats................Real Clear Politics

    (couldn't get the article to come up.........Democrats may have hacked the site)

  33. To those that love the Palestinians…

    A simple message. It's time to give up on destroying Israel and start growing crops.

    IF the Palestinians squander this next round of rebuilding and steal concrete, cash and labor into new and improved weapons, bunkers and tunnels? The Palestinians may well very starve to death as there will be no one to save them.

    Currently there are in excess of 14 million real refugees in the Levant. Not counting any palestinians of course.

    Throw in Sudan, Yemen and other African crisises from Liberia and Ebola to Nigeria and Jihadists, we are approaching a time when there are 30 million homeless, starving people in just one corner of the world.

    Patience is running out, the arab world is going down the collective tubes, Egypt survives with a 15 billion a year gift from Arabia.

    A tipping point is coming and it will not be pretty.

    So I suggest, if you had any palestinians as friends, counsel them on giving up on war, and embrace growing crops, building water recycling plants and focus on surviving as the next decade? Is going to be a pisser…

    1. Excellent advice.

      The Palestinians should take Egypt up on its free land offer too.