“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."

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Turkish priorities - ISIS or the Kurds?

Oct 7, 2014

Turkish security fires water cannon & tear gas at demonstrators at the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday October 7. Kurds are angry at Ankara for allowing ISIS effectively take the border town of Kobani, sparking a flood of desperate refugees from Syria into Turkey.

BBC Reports

Kobane: New IS push amid US warning on air strikes

A Pentagon spokesman said it was a reality that "towns and villages - perhaps Kobane - will be taken by IS".
Seizing Kobane would give the IS jihadists full control of a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.
The US also appeared to be at odds with allies over a Turkish idea to create a buffer zone or safe haven along the border.
Three weeks of fighting over Kobane has cost the lives of 400 people, and forced more than 160,000 Syrians to flee across the border to Turkey.
'Steeling ourselves'
Asya Abdullah, a co-leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party representing Syrian Kurds in Kobane, said: "Tonight [Islamic State] has entered two districts with heavy weapons, including tanks. Civilians may have died because there are very intense clashes."
At the scene: Paul Adams, BBC world affairs correspondent
The images are powerful enough, but the sound is sometimes overwhelming. At times today, it seemed the entire eastern side of Kobane was one vast street battle. It was relentless. Thick clouds of smoke drifted across the town as grenades exploded.
And all day, another series of massive air strikes; each towering black cloud greeted with delighted cheering by Turkish Kurds who have come to watch, with mounting dread, the assault on their Syrian cousins across the fence.
In groups large and small, they gather as close to the fence as they can get, shouting chants of defiance and solidarity. They are furious with Turkey for what they believe is Ankara's complicity in the rise of Islamic State.
Another official there said IS had seized some buildings in the east and that there was fierce fighting with Kurdish resistance forces.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said IS forces had advanced around 100m (yards)towards the town centre on Wednesday evening.

At a news briefing, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said: "Air strikes alone are not going to do this. They're not going to fix this. They're not going to save the town of Kobane. We know that."
The US is training moderate Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia to provide a ground force, but this could be months away.
Map of Kobane showing IS advances
When asked if this meant Syrian towns could fall to IS, he said: "I think we all should be steeling ourselves for that eventuality, yes.
"We all need to prepare ourselves for the reality that other towns and villages and perhaps Kobane will be taken by IS."
Earlier US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was deeply concerned about the people of Kobane.
But he added: "Horrific as it is to watch the violence, it is important to keep in mind the US strategic objective" - which, he added, was to deprive IS of command-and-control centres and the infrastructure to carry out attacks.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, told ABC News that IS was becoming "more savvy".
Turkish forces overlook Kobane, 8 OctTurkish forces overlook Kobane but have not crossed the border
Suspected IS militants in Kobane, 8 OctSuspected IS militants in Kobane, in a photo taken from the Turkish side of the border
Protest in Diyarbakir, 8 OctDeadly protests have rocked Turkey as Kurds vent their anger over the government's policy
"We have been striking when we can... They don't fly flags and move around in large convoys the way they did. They don't establish headquarters that are visible or identifiable."
The US Central Command said six coalition air strikes had hit targets to the south and south-west of Kobane over Tuesday and Wednesday. It said an armoured personnel carrier, four "armed vehicles" and two artillery pieces were destroyed.
Turkey remains under intense pressure to do more to help the Kurdish forces in Kobane.
At least 19 people have been killed in Kurdish protests over Turkey's role.
Kurds are angry that Turkey has prevented fighters crossing the border to fight IS in Kobane.
Last week Turkey's parliament also authorised military action against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria, but so far no action has been taken.
Turkey insists that a buffer zone be set up on the Turkish border inside Syria, enforced by a no-fly zone to ensure security and ease the refugee influx into Turkey.
France on Wednesday threw its weight behind the buffer zone and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was "exploring" the issue as well.
However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters: "It's not something that is under consideration right now."


  1. It is in Turkey's interests to see a badly beaten Syrian Kurdish population.

    It sees Kurdish Independence as a threat to it's borders as it's occupying Kurdish lands.

    The violence that Turkey has done to the Kurds is worse than the ISIS/ISL groups are doing now....

    up to 80,000 kurds have died at the hands of the Turks.

  2. On US Plans To Build Air Base in Erbil

    NIQASH: Apparently the US has also decided to build a military base – maybe more than one – in Iraqi Kurdistan. What can you tell us about this?

    Safeen Dizayee: Discussions are continuing about the specifics of this issue. Nothing has happened on the ground as yet.

    NIQASH: Would this base be a substitute to the nearest US base, the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey?

    Dizayee: No. Incirlik Air Base is a NATO base and it will remain so. The prospective air base in Erbil is in order to confront the IS group in the nearby area.

    NIQASH: Do you think that the Iranians will see this as a threat to their influence in the region?

    Dizayee: Incirlik Air Base and other US military bases in the Gulf States - in places like Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – are also close to Iran. The base to be built in Erbil is all about fighting the IS group, not about confronting Iran, or any other country, in any way. We have stressed time and again that we don’t want Iraqi Kurdistan to become a battlefield for major powers in the region.

    NIQASH: So did anyone tell the Iranians that Erbil’s potential new air base isn’t going to pose them any problems?

    Dizayee: Given the close ties that bind Iraqi Kurdistan with Iran, the position of the region regarding Iran is very clear.

    NIQASH: How is your relationship with Turkey currently – it seems to have been becoming warmer and certainly the region does a huge amount of business with the Turkish. But Turkey has shown a lack of support for Iraqi Kurdistan when it comes to confronting the IS group.

    Dizayee: We still have good relations with this country and it has helped Iraqi Kurdistan on a humanitarian level. Even now, Turkey is helping build camps for refugees in Dohuk. However the Turkish were busy with an election and the IS group also held 49 hostages for a long time. Perhaps these were some of the reasons behind a lack of participation in efforts against the IS group. However now that the hostages have been released, Turkey’s position may change.

    NIQASH: Has Iraqi Kurdistan felt differently toward Turkey because of this: did the relationship get chilly?

    Dizayee: No, it didn’t. It is true that Iraqi Kurdistan’s government was expecting the Turkish government to take more steps. And we are still waiting for them to do this.

    NIQASH: Many countries have been helping with humanitarian aid. But some have also been helping with military aid. One case in particular – that of Germany – is interesting because in general, the country’s laws ban exports of weapons to conflict zones. But Germany has ignored this and decided to send weapons to arm the Iraqi Kurdish forces.

    Dizayee: We appreciate this very much. It means that European countries, the US and in fact, the whole world has realized how serious this confrontation with such a savage force as the IS group is – not only for Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, but the whole world.

  3. On Whether The Financial Conflict Between Baghdad And Erbil Is Nearly Resolved, And Whether Kurdish Oil Is Going To Iran

    NIQASH: The Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, says he recently sent a letter to the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, with the intention of solving the long standing problems between Baghdad and Erbil. Do you know what the letter was about?

    Dizayee: The letter talked about the problems Iraqi Kurdistan is having, about the dangers presented by the IS group and about the long standing issues between Erbil and Baghdad. It also talked about the refugee crisis the Iraqi Kurds are facing and how we needed help with that. The letter said that the region was ready to send a delegation to Baghdad to discuss, and hopefully solve, all of these problems. As yet though, we have had no response.

    NIQASH: In fact, we heard that al-Abadi was going to transfer an advance payment of Iraqi Kurdistan’s share of the national budget during the first week he was in power. But he didn’t.

    Dizayee: Because there was no such a decision. It was only a rumour.

    NIQASH: Why haven’t the Iraqi Kurdish ministers gone to Baghdad yet to take the oath of allegiance and join the government? Do you actually want more power and more ministries?

    Dizayee: The Iraqi Kurdish share of potential ministries is less than the percentage we have of MPs in Parliament. It’s also less than our ratio, as an ethnicity that is part of the general population. We should have at least four ministries so we are still negotiating this issue. Additionally the Iraqi Kurdish were only given two ministries so far - so there is also dispute about who from Iraqi Kurdistan should run these ministries.

    NIQASH: Iraqi Kurdish politicians have said that they’re giving al-Abadi’s new government three months to pull things together. Is the Iraqi Kurdish government just bluffing to put pressure on the new government? Or are they serious about threats like secession and abandoning the government in Baghdad?

    Dizayee: It’s not meant to pressure anyone. During the three months, the al-Abadi government should prove it is serious about tackling some of the problems plaguing Iraqi Kurdistan and longstanding conflicts between Erbil and Baghdad.

    Of course, some problems – like Article 140 and issues around oil and gas and the Iraqi Kurdish military – cannot be solved within three months. But what is important to us is that the government shows it has good intentions and initiates some steps toward resolution.

  4. NIQASH: It is true that the conflict around oil and gas remains a big issue for Baghdad. They accuse you of selling oil and drilling rights illegally. But Iraqi Kurdistan believes it should be allowed to do what it wants with its own resources, especially in the absence of a national oil and gas law. Can you tell us how much oil Iraqi Kurdistan is currently selling per day and how much you’re earning from that?

    Dizayee: Currently we are exporting 200,000 barrels per day through the Ceyhan oil pipeline, to Turkey. We’ve been paid for three to four oil shipments and each of these bring in between US$90 to 100 million. This money was used to pay the salaries of government employees in the region – even though they didn’t quite cover everything.

    NIQASH: Is Iraqi Kurdistan selling oil to Iran as well?

    Dizayee: The export of oil through the pipeline is more practical. We are not exporting any oil to Iran currently. However there are negotiations with Iran going on about moving oil through their territory.

    NIQASH: Will Erbil ever accept the idea of selling its own oil through the Iraqi national company, the State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO?

    Dizayee: The Iraqi Constitution actually gives Iraqi Kurdistan – as a semi-autonomous region – the right to work its own resources and to export them too. But the authorities here believe that the wealth of Iraq belongs to all Iraqis and that, therefore, oil revenues should be evenly distributed.

    A delegation from Iraqi Kurdistan – headed by Nechirvan Barzani – has been to Bagdad four times to discuss this with the former Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

    There was some good progress made but unfortunately Baghdad insisted that all oil had to be under its control. Whereas Iraqi Kurdistan thinks we should be partners – in the sense that SOMO can take part in oil extraction, export marketing and the distribution of revenues and that this should all be done fairly and with transparency. Everything would happen on the condition that we’re partners and we work
    Our main fear is that Baghdad would take our oil, do with it as it wishes and then have complete control over Iraqi Kurdistan and its revenue sources.

    We were always afraid that Baghdad might use the issue of our share of the national budget against us. And now we’re living this. Baghdad has imposed a financial blockade upon us and has not released the Iraqi Kurdish share of the budget to us for nine months.

    NIQASH: Apparently part of a recent proposal said that Iraqi Kurdistan would export 100,000 barrels of oil per day through SOMO and in return Baghdad would pay the region its budget. If the region extracted more oil, it could do what it wished with that. Is that deal still on the table?

    Dizayee: This proposal has existed since April 2014. Its purpose was to show the goodwill of Iraqi Kurdistan so that negotiations would proceed in a positive way. Unfortunately Baghdad then told us the necessary pipeline was not operating properly due to terrorism. So the deal went nowhere. However it is now back on the table and the Iraqi Kurdish authorities are placing emphasis on it.

    NIQASH: So how are the negotiations with Baghdad going at the moment? Do you feel there may be some positive news soon?

    Dizayee: Our participation in the current Iraqi government indicates that we support a solution through dialogue. We are going to carry on like this because we don’t want to be accused of being the problem or of being the root cause of the failure of the political process in Iraq. At the same time though, we do have to consider the interests of the Iraqi Kurdish people whom we represent and we will not compromise their interests.

  5. On The Million And More Refugees In Iraqi Kurdistan, And Whether They’re Being Discriminated Against

    NIQASH: What can you tell us about the latest influx of refugees now in Iraqi Kurdistan?

    Dizayee: Since the beginning of 2014, we’ve had 850,000 refugees coming into Iraqi Kurdistan. We already had about 350,000 internally displaced Iraqis, mainly from the central and southern parts of Iraq, come into the region after 2005 – but most of these people are now settled here and they have jobs.

    There are also around 230,000 Syrian Kurds here, who came to Iraq after civil war broke out in their own country. So in total we have about 1.4 million refugees and displaced people in Iraqi Kurdistan, all from different areas of Iraq and from Syria. This huge number has really burdened the regional government financially and we need help from the international community to assist all of these refugees.

    [When the world’s attention was focused on Sinjar and] there were large numbers of people hiding on Mount Sinjar, there was a lot of humanitarian aid and it reached those people quickly. Now there’s no doubt amounts are dropping. But in general, aid is still continuously reaching the refugees. Despite this, it’s still not enough – especially considering the magnitude of the situation – so we thank the international community but we urge them to continue helping, especially before winter starts here.

    NIQASH: In its latest report on the situation here, the United Nations accused the region’s government of discriminating between different types of refugees – and in particular between refugees from Syria who tend to also be Kurdish and refugees from other parts of Iraq, who are more likely to be Arabs.

    Dizayee: Any such accusations, no matter who they come from, are baseless. We reject them. In fact, some senior United Nations officials have visited Iraqi Kurdistan and the refugee camps here and they have praised the region’s government and the region’s people.

    Despite the financial crisis that is impacting Iraqi Kurdistan, we continue to receive refugees of all ethnic groups and from all religions. The fact that the latest United Nations report mentioned something like this was an unpleasant surprise for us too.

    NIQASH: How much money has Iraqi Kurdistan’s government allocated for refugees?

    Dizayee: Provinces were given the freedom to choose how to spend the money allocated for the refugees, especially in Dohuk. Spending is not limited to providing food and supplies – there’s other less visible aid such as the provision of water, electricity, medical supplies, safety and security and the administration of the camps. Recently, around US$50 million was paid in cash to Dohuk provincial authorities, in order to cater for the refugees.

    NIQASH: Some of the refugees in Dohuk and Erbil are still living in schools that were disused during the school holidays. But the holidays are now over. When will these schools be able to be used by local students again?

  6. Dizayee: Refugees are living in around 650 schools in the Dohuk province. Almost all of the schools in certain areas in Dohuk have now been emptied of refugees though, with the refugees transferred to camps. However there is still a lot of pressure on central areas in Dohuk, like Zakho and Semel. There are still about 110,000 displaced people living in schools there. But we are in the process of building camps there too and the schools should be vacant in one to two months.

    NIQASH: Has the Iraqi government in Baghdad been helping with the refugee situation?

    Dizayee: The Iraqi government formed a committee that decided to help refugees by paying each family IQD1 million [around US$850]. But unfortunately they didn’t really coordinate this with the Iraqi Kurdish authorities or the provincial authorities here – so we have no idea how the amounts were distributed or who has this money.

    Baghdad also said they have IQD50 billion [around US$42 million] to put towards helping the displaced people but as yet, we haven’t received anything.

    NIQASH: Do you think the financial dispute between Erbil and Baghdad has delayed the sending of financial aid?

    Dizayee: No. This is a humanitarian issue and the federal government should help these people because they are Iraqis.

  7. Commanders to tell Commander-in-Chief about tough fight to keep key Syrian border town out of ISIS hands TIME

    President Barack Obama is heading to the Pentagon Wednesday afternoon for an update on the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), and he’s not going to like what he hears. The key Syrian town of Kobani is likely to fall to ISIS fighters in coming days, senior U.S. military officials will tell Obama—and there’s not a whole lot the U.S. and its allies can do to halt the ISIS victory or the expected bloodbath following its collapse.

    “We’re not expecting any change to our strategy as a result of today’s meeting,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said Wednesday afternoon shortly before the 3 p.m. ET session. “This is going to be a long, difficult struggle.”

    An air offensive to protect Kobani from being overrun by ISIS totters on the verge of failure. Stepped-up allied air strikes and Kurdish defenders, armed with only small arms, are fighting up to 9,000 jihadists outfitted with tanks and rockets. But it seems to be too little, too late as ISIS’s black flags rose above an eastern neighborhood Monday and remained flying Wednesday. Kurdish officials have warned that ISIS militants would kill thousands if they prevail.

    The fight for Kobani is a key test of a U.S. military strategy limited to air strikes, while its local allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria are proving ineffective or non-existent. Turkish troops with tanks are simply watching from across the border as the battle for nearby Kobani rages. Nearly half of the area’s 400,000 residents have fled to Turkey. U.S. officials are angry that Turkey, a NATO ally, has refused to do more to avert a slaughter, they say largely because of its bloody history with the Kurds. American officials are heading to Ankara to urge Turkish officials to do more.

    The second piece of the U.S. strategy is training up to 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels a year to fight ISIS on the ground. But that’s a long-term gambit with no guarantee of success, because many of the rebels are more interested in fighting their three-year old civil war against Syrian strongman Bashar Assad than ISIS.

    For now, the jihadists are doing their best to frustrate air strikes by abandoning key outposts and breaking into smaller units. They have given up little ground. The terrorist fighters are moving into civilian areas where they know the U.S. and its allies will not bomb—especially without hard intelligence from on-the-ground scouts they trust. Obama has refused to dispatch such spotters as part of his ban on U.S. ground troops in the conflict.

    Obama will be meeting with Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has told Congress he will ask Obama to dispatch U.S. ground troops—especially forward air controllers to call in air strikes—if Dempsey thinks it’s required. Kirby said the Pentagon would not be making such a request of Obama during Wednesday’s meeting.

    The growing U.S. frustration has been evident as the U.S. ordered AH-64 Apache helicopters into action beginning Oct. 5 against militant targets in western Iraq. The low-and-slow gunship is better than a jet bomber for attacking moving targets. But that capability also makes its two crewmembers more vulnerable to ground fire. ISIS has shot down a pair of Iraqi choppers in recent days, killing all four pilots aboard.

  8. Mark your calendar.

    Hezbollah just announced the ceasefire is over and war is back on, thanks to Israel for giving them a break and a chance to rearm.

    BEIRUT - An attack by Hezbollah on Lebanon's border with Israel which wounded two Israeli soldiers was a message that the group remained ready to confront its old foe despite its engagement in Syria's civil war, the group's deputy leader said.

    The soldiers were wounded by a bomb planted by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in the Shebaa hills, drawing Israeli artillery fire in response. It was the first time Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for an attack against the Israeli army since 2006, when the two sides fought a 33-day war.

    "This is a message.. Even though we are busy in Syria and on the eastern front in Lebanon our eyes remain open and our resistance is ready to confront the Israeli enemy," Sheik Naim Qassem told Lebanese OTV television late on Tuesday.

    The Hezbollah Terror Tunnels are dug. The Brigades of Hezbollah soldiers are prepared to swarm into the Galilee, the goal? Kill and capture as many civilians as possible....

    1. In 2006 Israel had the chance to kill the copperheads under the porch (Zell Miller on terror states). Under the leadership of the criminal Olmert, Israel failed to accomplish this task in Lebanon. Now, Jews will die needlessly.

    2. Sadly Israel was to occupied with what the world thought and Sec Rice.

      It's time that Israel stop worrying about what the world says and kill the Jihadists without holding back.

      No matter what Israel does it will be scolded and vilified. Might as well earn the reputation and kill those that are committed to the murder of the Jews.

    3. Not "shock." It just seemed like such a patently weird, and unlikely thing for Iraq to even remotely consider.

  9. Yesterday, someone registered shock at my plan to use the Iraqi Army and its airborne component in the relief of Kobane. I thought the U.S. had a coalition of allies, including and especially Iraq, in its fight against IS. Why wouldn't the Iraqi Army enter Syria, the home base of its adversary?

  10. wretchard -
    OT: Deputy who had contact with Dallas Ebola patient shows symptoms

    1. ,


      You must have gotten bored. I heard it was all ebola all the time over at the BC right now.


    2. I came back here to get away from Ebola, turn around and there it is.

    3. .

      Just don't either of you guys touch anything.

      Deuce, should you be allowing anyone from the BC in here before this thing blows over?

      If I were you I would at least check their temperature.


  11. So what does Turkey want us to do, send the 4th ID into Syria?

    1. no Turkey wants to see the Syria Kurds decimated as a lesson to all that stand in the way of the TURKS, the OTTOMANS..

      all the while they are now probing the natural gas and oil fields of Cyprus and planning another gaza blockade busting adventure.

      The Turks are back… The arabs must be peeing in their pants

    2. "Teresita RedingerWed Oct 08, 08:32:00 PM EDT
      So what does Turkey want us to do, send the 4th ID into Syria?"

      Women never forget getting screwed. Kerry is not a woman, although he may be a "pussy", I have heard.

      Since that day, I have had no use for Turkey or Powell.

    3. Erdogan is eating this up.

    VIDEO: These Harvard Students Show that a $60K a Year Education Cannot Buy Intelligence or Common Sense

    “Who poses a greater threat to world peace, ISIS or America?”

    1. It's so cool and sophisticated to trash Amerika and cheer on and make excuses for the headchoppers.


  13. CBO Estimate: Budget Deficit declines to 2.8% of GDP

    by Bill McBride on 10/08/2014 11:17:00 AM

    From the CBO: Monthly Budget Review for September 2014

    The federal government ran a budget deficit of $486 billion in fiscal year 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates—$195 billion less than the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2013, and the smallest deficit recorded since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, that deficit—at an estimated 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—was slightly below the average experienced over the past 40 years, and 2014 was the fifth consecutive year in which the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP since peaking at 9.8 percent in 2009. By CBO’s estimate, revenues were about 9 percent higher and outlays were about 1 percent higher in 2014 than they were in the previous fiscal year. CBO’s deficit estimate is based on data from the Daily Treasury Statements; the Treasury Department will report the actual deficit for fiscal year 2014 later this . . . . . .


    Below Average

    1. When others were saying it would be 3.5% of GDP, I said it would be closer to 2.5%.

      And, it was. :)

    2. Mighty impressive graph of you guys record here Rufus:

      Who coulda known, no job, no income?

      A Harvard puke who's never had one maybe?

      Average American household income declines 36% since 2003

      Obama Economy Sucks

    3. Smallest rate of labor participation since 1978.

    4. Obama's Economy's goin down faster than SSN-23.

  14. So, why Is ISIS throwing all those resources at this out of the way backwater?

    The only way it would have "strategic value" is if they were going to invade Turkey.

    Invade Turkey?

    1. You're the fortune teller feller, you tell us.

    2. So, why Is ISIS throwing all those resources at this out of the way backwater?

      Because they'd get their asses handed to them if they used them against Baghdad.

    3. Where's your buddy Bob, Quirk?

    4. .

      He'll be here.

      He only comes out at night.


    5. Glad to see you back, Doug.

      Have you heard?

      Quirk is starting a new rat free blog, the working title:

      Quirk's Deep Thought Blog

      Nifty, huh?!

    6. The title alone should force rat to absquatchulate.

    7. When it's up and running I intend to dub Noble Quirk "The Savior of the Blogosphere".

  15. The interior of the vehicle was a single large compartment padded with bright rugs and pale leather cushions, although there seemed to be no particular place to sit. No steering wheel either, the dash was a padded expanse of leather unbroken by controls of any kind. He looked at Lucas, who was loosening his black tie. "How do you drive it?"

    "Sit down somewhere. You drive it like this: Ahmed, get our asses to New York, lower east."

    The car slid smoothly away from the curb as Bobby dropped to his knees on a soft pile of rugs.

    "Lunch will be served in thirty minutes, sir, unless you'd care for something sooner," a voice said. It was soft, melodious, and seemed to come from nowhere in particular.

    Lucas laughed. "They really knew how to build `em in Damascus," he said.


    "Damascus," Lucas said as he unbuttoned his suit coat and settled back into a wedge of pale cushions. "This is a Rolls. Old one. Those Arabs built a good car, while they had the money."

  16. Next Time Someone Claims The Economy Has Recovered, All You Have To Do Is Pull Out This Simple Chart

    See that green line? Those are the corporate profits as measured by the S&P 500. That red line? That’s the percentage of the American population that has jobs.
    When even the president admits that 95% of the income gains have gone to the top 1% during his time in office, how is this a “recovery” for people who don’t live on Wall Street?

    Different Article, same chart

    1. You dumb fuck; you're getting worse. Look where the plunge occurred - right at the end of the Bush Administration.

      Yeah, that bush, the one that put the global economy in the closest thing to a full-fledged depression since the '30's.

    2. Look where that Red Line was when Bush took office in 2001; then look where it was when Bush left in 2009.

    3. And, btw, Hot Air Misrepresented the NY Times headline.

      It is NET WORTH that has declined 36%, NOT Net Income.

      The quote is:

      "The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation."

    4. The DC munchkins often confuse the Sheeple when they conflate Income with Net Worth, when the two are not even similar.

    5. YOU are the dumb fuck.

      It was Bwarney and Company that loaned all the money.

      Bush was never even in Congress.


      YOU are the DUMB FUCK, Rufus.

    6. He never introduced a bill to change it.

    7. And HE WARNED ABOUT IT 8 TIMES......

    8. Poor Robert Peterson, wrong again about Mr Bush ...

      2002: Bush's Speech To the White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership

      President George W. Bush addresses the White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership at The George Washington University Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002

      You see, we want everybody in America to own their own home.
      That's what we want.
      This is -- an ownership society is a compassionate society.

      More and more people own their homes in America today.
      Two-thirds of all Americans own their homes,
      yet we have a problem here in America because few than half of the Hispanics
      and half the African Americans own the home. That's a homeownership gap.

      It's a -- it's a gap that we've got to work together to close for the good of our country,
      for the sake of a more hopeful future.
      We've got to work to knock down the barriers that have created a homeownership gap.
      I set an ambitious goal. It's one that I believe we can achieve.

      It's a clear goal,
      that by the end of this decade we'll increase the number of minority homeowners
      by at least 5.5 million families. (Applause.)

      Some may think that's a stretch. I don't think it is. I think it is realistic.
      I know we're going to have to work together to achieve it.
      But when we do our communities will be stronger and so will our economy.
      Achieving the goal is going to require some good policies out of Washington.
      And it's going to require a strong commitment from those of you involved in the housing industry.


  17. Obama thinks he is Curt LeMay -

    Are Obama’s Air Strike Approvals Crippling US Fight Against ISIS?
    October 8, 2014 by Daniel Greenfield 10 Comments

    Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


    Based on current reports, the US air strikes may have prevented ISIS from overrunning Kobani though that is still to be decided.

    To his credit, Obama exempted the strikes from the collateral damage regs that caused the Taliban to win in Afghanistan, because it was presumably explained to him that there was no point in even bothering otherwise.

    That frees up the military to fight to win, instead of fighting to win hearts and minds.

    Bringing A-10s and Apaches into the game is riskier and amounts to more direct combat that will have a high risk of costing American lives, but at least does show commitment.

    But wars are often lost at the decision making level. And the question is who is running the war. Is it the military or the usual White House mix of staffers?

    Kurds had hoped that US airstrikes in Syria would save them. But as of late Tuesday, airstrikes appeared to be too little too late. Some suspect that’s partly because every target must be vetted by lawyers in Washington, a process meant to assure that strikes are legally justified but is nevertheless cumbersome in practice.

    That’s from a Boston Globe editorial, not exactly a right wing paper. So how cumbersome is the approval process?

    The Wall Street Journal ran a story claiming that Obama would seek approval of every air strike.

    The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.

    The requirements for strikes in Syria against the extremist group Islamic State will be far more stringent than those targeting it in Iraq, at least at first. U.S. officials say it is an attempt to limit the threat the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the Syrian civil war.

    Defense officials said that the strikes in Syria are more likely to look like a targeted counterterrorism campaign than a classic military campaign, in which a combatant commander picks targets within the parameters set by the commander in chief.

    In Syria, officials said the administration wants to ensure that any strikes didn’t resemble the “shock-and-awe” campaign that kicked off the 2003 Iraq war and instead be kept more like the low-intensity, occasional strikes conducted in Somalia or Yemen.

    An LA Times story mentioned that Obama’s approval was delaying a target list being put into action. Hagel denied the claim that Obama was looking for personal approval of every strike, but it’s still not clear how streamlined the process is.

    Charles Krauthammer had commented, saying that, “Lyndon Johnson, who had a lot more experience, was also the one who directed air strikes… and there was universal agreement that it was a catastrophe. And Obama, with zero experience, having now gone against his secretary of defense and generals on Iraq and on Syria — to a disastrous effect — is going to be in charge of the air campaign? That’s really scary stuff.”

    ISIS doesn’t need to get approval from Doha or Istanbul for every attack. The military needs to have the freedom to act or we’ll be right back in the Afghanistan quagmire.


    2. " Hagel denied the claim that Obama was looking for personal approval of every strike"

      Hagel can't be lying; He's a White man.

    3. .

      Gee, this war is REALLY going to cut into Obama's golf game.

      (Or, maybe not.)


  18. DEMS ON THE RUN: Landrieu replaces campaign manager.............drudge

    Ah, I like the beautiful sounds of that.......the sound of silence, the hum of the valved pink slip......

  19. Doesn't it just fill you with confidence to know that OBAMA HIMSELF is in charge of the minute by minute targeting of ISIS positions?.......I know it does me. I am chock full of confidence now. It's all gonna right, as my niece says.

    1. Bob, you've gotta be the craziest motherfucker on the internet.

    2. Obama's gonna knock out Ebola too.

      He stopped the rise of the oceans, didn't he?

    3. You and Doug post these crazy-assed, right-wing websites, and when the obvious mistakes are pointed out to you, you just blithely go on about spewing some other ridiculous nonsense.

      Totally absurd.

    4. New York Times article.

      Find any nits in the second article I posted that referenced the Times figures? if a mistake by Hot Air negates all the telling facts revealed by the chart.

      Still at the top of your game as far as name calling goes though.

      Reminds me of the good old days in fifth grade.

    5. You post a chart about "Net Worth," and you call it "Income," and That is a NIT?

      You're a better fit at the Belmont.

  20. The final slide of that red line was powered by the election of the Amerika hating Socialist.

    Nice recovery, though, reminiscent of Reagan after Carter.

    Care to compare the average labor participation rate of Bush's 8 years with Obama's 6?

    1. You want to compare the labor participation rate of Bush's years with Clinton's?

    2. I'll have a look if you post it.

      Clinton had the Internet Bubble and Bust.

      The Real Estate disaster that you predicted would be no big deal when I said it was coming occurred at the end of Bush's watch.
      Obama alone has presided over the non-recovery.


    3. But, as noted above, it was "The GW Bush Real Estate Bubble and Debacle".

  21. Replies
    1. Israel prefers Daesh (al-Qeada) in Syria, over the Alawites, Christians and their Kurdish allies

      Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

      “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

      Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
      “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” Oren said in the interview.

  22. "Remove Israel from That Map!"

    by Khaled Abu Toameh • October 9, 2014 at 5:00 am

    The uproar that erupted throughout the Arab world over the use of a map with
    Israel's name on it is yet another reminder that many Arabs still have not come to
    terms with Israel's existence -- and apparently are not interested in coming to
    terms with it.

    The protestors were not demanding a two-state solution and an Israeli withdrawal
    from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They were protesting against Israel's
    existence; that is what really bothers them.

    How can anyone seriously expect that, if Israel pulled back to the pre-1967 lines,
    the Arab world will consider the "Israeli-Arab Conflict over?"

    This conflict is not about a settlement or a checkpoint or a fence -- but about
    Israel's very existence. To make peace with Israel, the Arab world needs to prepare
    its people for such a move, and not incite violence against Israel and demand that
    it be removed from maps.

    Israeli citizen Manal Moussa, shown in this image appearing on the "Arab Idol" show,
    is labeled on-screen with "Palestine" as her country of residence.

    The Saudi MBC TV network was recently forced to apologize to its hundreds of
    millions of viewers for using the name Israel instead of Palestine.

    The apology came after viewers strongly condemned the network and threatened to
    boycott its programs over the use of a map with Israel's name on it.

    The reason Israel appeared on the MBC's map was because of the participation of two
    Arab citizens of Israel in its popular Arab Idol contest. The show, based on the
    popular British show Pop Idol, is the most widely viewed in the Arab world.

    The two Arab Israelis, Manal Moussa, 25 and Haitham Khalailah, 24, are from villages
    in northern Israel. They are among many contestants from all over the Arab world who
    are performing songs on stage in front of four judges and the public.

    This is the first time that Arab Israelis have participated in the popular show.

    from Gatestone Institute

  23. Time to ignore Trollrat -

    ...Why is our public square so nasty and unproductive? I’ve never been one to shout down spirited exchange, if it seems to be going somewhere. But few people nowadays manage to succeed in a flowering marketplace of ideas through respectful exchange. Bullying, badgering, and point-scoring seem to be the ticket. And if you do make it to the top, the way to stay there is emphatically not by modeling the virtues and values that you claim to champion. Rather, you should use your status to beat down anybody who tries to hold you accountable for what you say or do.......

    WONDERFUL picture of troll included.

    Doug, the reason I post a lot at night is to avoid Trollrat.

  24. Toxic Obama

    Alaska: Sullivan (R) 44, Begich (D) 40. +4

    Arkansas: Cotton (R) 46, Pryor (D) 39. +7

    Colorado: Gardner (R) 43, Udall (D) 37. +6

    Kansas: Roberts (R) 44, Orman (I/D) 39. +5

    Kentucky: McConnell (R) 45, Grimes (D) 41. +4

    Boom: Major GOP momentum in new national and state polls
    posted at 8:01 am on October 9, 2014 by Guy Benson


  25. Satellite photos reveal massive damage at suspected Iran nuke facility
    After Monday’s mysterious blast at secretive Parchin plant east of Tehran, images show collapse of some buildings on the site
    By Times of Israel staff and AFP October 8, 2014, 9:42 pm

    Read more: Satellite photos reveal massive damage at suspected Iran nuke facility | The Times of Israel

    Video too.

    1. Two workers are dead after a fire and explosion at a military explosives facility that's part of Iran's Parchin nuclear complex, reports say.

    2. Satellite images show 'damage consistent with an attack' at Parchin ...
      Jerusalem Post-

      Satellite images taken of Iran's Parchin military compound after a blast reportedly tore through it show "damage consistent with an attack"

    3. Daily Mail- Oct 6, 2014

      A huge blast has ripped through an Iranian explosives factory linked to to the country's controversial nuclear programme - killing two workers ...

    4. Iran has shifted the location of its underground programme to produce a nuclear warhead to a site opposite a Tehran hospital as signs emerge of a new covert sabotage campaign against some of its most secret facilities.

      The move has been completed since the imposition of sanctions on the body Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research by the US Treasury in August, according to the Iranian opposition group, National Council of Resistance of Iran.

      Its work was previously carried out at a military facility on the Parchin base in the Tehran suburbs that Tehran has repeatedly refused to open up to international inspectors. That site was the location of a mysterious explosion last week that reportedly shook windows up to 16 miles away.

      The explosion revived security concerns in Iran that foreign countries had revived a covert campaign to disrupt Iran’s underground nuclear work. Five scientists were killed at the peak of a previous sabotage campaign between 2010 and 2012.

    5. .

      Anonymous, shy little pricks embarrassed to post under their own screen names.


  26. DC ranks first in Gross Domestic Product per capita, pretty good for a place where the only product is regulations.

    Idaho ranks dead last. Famous potatoes.

    1. All we got is trees out here, what would you do?

  27. The new Palestinian unity government held a Cabinet meeting in the war-battered Gaza Strip for the first time Thursday, marking the end of more than seven years of absolute Hamas control of the coastal territory.


  28. US in De Facto Alliance With Iran to Fight IS Threat: Expert

    WASHINGTON, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has de facto formed an alliance with Iran to fight the Islamic State (IS) movement, despite the strong reluctance by US officials to admit it, the former director of the Iraq program at the National Security Council told RIA Novosti.

    "We are in a unique position where, in the extremely short term, our interests and Iran's inside Iraq are almost identical," said Douglas Ollivant during a New America web discussion on Wednesday.

    "So, de facto we're in an alliance with Iran. Now, I don't expect anyone in a position of power in the US government to ever say that," he said, continuing that much of the realities and facts of the region are "politically inconvenient to say."

  29. In the week ending October 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 287,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 287,000 to 288,000. The 4-week moving average was 287,750, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since February 4, 2006 when it was 286,500.

  30. The Ass Stabbers still at it:

    Islamic State fighters were battling outgunned Kurdish fighters in the heart of Kobane on Thursday as the Pentagon warned that U.S. airstrikes alone will not save the Syrian border town from being overrun by the militants.

    The fresh push came amid rising tensions between the Obama administration and Turkey, a NATO ally, over who should take responsibility for helping to save the town.

    The Islamic State made gains overnight despite stepped-up American airstrikes over the past three days, and senior senior administration officials expressed growing exasperation with Turkey’s refusal to intervene, either with its own military or with direct assistance to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the militants.

    “Of course they could do more,” a senior official said. “They want the U.S. to come in and take care of the problem.” The administration would also like Turkey to be more zealous in preventing foreigners from transiting its territory to join the Syrian militants.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu countered on Thursday that a unilateral ground operation by Turkish troops also would not be enough to halt the militants’ advance.

  31. Crapper has gone anonymous this morning.

    And who can really blame him?

    Would you want to admit you're the Crapper?

  32. "Rufus IIThu Oct 09, 12:34:00 AM EDT
    Not "shock." It just seemed like such a patently weird, and unlikely thing for Iraq to even remotely consider."

    A look at history will show that "weird and unlikely" often lead to great victories. See: Cannae, Waterloo, Inchon.

    A law of war is to close with and destroy the enemy's main body as soon as possible. I have seen reports giving the number of IS troops in that region at 7,000 - 9,000. Why IS has chosen Kobane is irrelevant; they are there en masse and vulnerable. Since Iraq has the only army on paper, they get the black marble. Even if they prove ineffectual, their presence will force IS from cover and open them to devastating attack from the air -- Apaches and A-10s. During the maelstrom, the Kurds can launch a counterattack.

    Kobane may not be the ideal battlefield, but neither was Gettysburg. You play the hand you are dealt.

    An "Allied" victory at Kobane will not destroy IS. However, it would set them back on their heels and lead to a series of successful actions that would drive them out of Kurdistan and back into Syria and into the loving arms of al-Assad.

    1. A battalion of the Iraqi Army, about 800 men, with close air support would turn Korbane around.

      No doubt of that.
      Again, the very fact it is not being done, an indicator that the "Goal" is not to defeat the Daesh ...

      But it is to fulfill the predictions of the leaders of the Coalition militaries,

      "A Decades Long Fight"

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.