“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."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wasn’t free trade with China a great idea?

Finding supports American suspicions that Beijing is building up reefs in South China Sea for military purposes

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this file still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and provided by the United States Navy this month.



U.S. surveillance imagery shows China has positioned weaponry on one of the artificial islands it is developing in the South China Sea, American officials said, supporting their suspicions that Beijing has been building up reefs for military purposes.
The U.S. imagery detected two Chinese motorized artillery pieces on one of the artificial islands built by China about one month ago. While the artillery wouldn’t pose a threat to U.S. planes or ships, U.S. officials said it could reach neighboring islands and that its presence was at odds with China’s public statements that the reclaimed islands are mainly for civilian use.
“There is no military threat,” a U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “But it is about the symbolism.”
While posing no military threat to the U.S., the motorized artillery was within range of an island claimed by Vietnam that Hanoi has armed with various weaponry for some time, the American officials said. Vietnamese officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington wouldn’t comment specifically on the weaponry, but said its development work within the Spratly Islands—known by the Chinese as the Nansha Islands—was primarily civilian.
Te-Ping Chen contributed to this story.


  1. We destroyed millions of US jobs Plus:

    The shift to Chinese manufacturing ripped off hundreds of billions of technology

    Created an environmental disaster

    Provided the financial means for China to build a massive military infrastructure - Global transportation

    Chines exploitation of natural resources

    Massive deforestation in poor countries

  2. At a sustainability Leadership Summit held by the Rainforest Alliance this month in New York, business, government and NGO leaders discussed the rapid evolution of their work in sustainability. Many said the field is actually entering a new phase defined by deeper engagement on relevant issues.


    Here are a few of of the trends they cited:

    1. Shifting consumer attitudes

    Social and environmental values are merging with consumer attitudes, product design and innovation, shifting the consumer’s sustainability focus “from obligation to desire,” said Raphael Bemporad of BBMG, a brand consultancy which tracked the trend for four years.


    2. Breaking down departmental silos

    “For too long, sustainability has been siloed,” said Bemporad. It was relegated to tracking resource use or tracing supply chains, and little considered in marketing and leadership decisions.


    3. Assuring quality and supply

    Many businesses embark on sustainability because they need reliable supply of high-quality commodities, which may be vulnerable to disruption.

    “To get sustainability, we focus on high quality and consistency,” said Daniel Weston of Nespresso, which sources 84 percent of its coffee through its AAA Sustainable Quality program.

    6 Trends

  3. It's a challenging task to find anything at Wal-Mart not made overseas.

    I was looking for a scope for my new Wolf Rifle.

    The guy at Sporting Goods showed me some scopes.

    All made in China.

    "Got anything made here?" I naively ask.

    "Nope. We are losing our country" was his reply.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sam, but, grrrrr, those are really spendy.

      I could buy about seven rifles for the price of one of those.

      Maybe I'll just really be sporting and go scopeless.

    2. .

      Consider it an investment.

      Think of all the money you and your posse will be making on wolf bounties.


    3. My first two kills are going to the city slickers Quirk and Deuce, stuffed, teeth bared, and UPS shipped.

    4. .

      Heck, if you can't afford a scope, you certainly couldn't afford the taxidermy fees or likely the shipping.


    5. $2,300 for a scope ?

      You really are a City Slicker.

      Why would anyone pay that kind of money for a scope ?

      Maybe I'll just buy Chinese and be done with it.

    6. After all, I can rationalize, it's an American Brand, just assembled in China.

    7. .

      Of course, you can.

      Rationalizing is your forte.

      We see it demonstrated here every day.


  5. Spratly Islands

    Geopolitics interferes

    The drastic discrepancy between the aid package of China, the second largest economy in the world, and Indonesia, a country that faces severe poverty, is striking. What can account for China’s aversion to joining the rest of the region in an earnest reconstruction effort?

    The answer lies in the complex geopolitics of the region. Prior to the Philippines’ disaster, tensions ran high between the rising Asian power and the former American colony. Grievances stem from a proxy war the two nations are currently fighting over a largely uninhabitable stretch of islands and coral reefs in the South China Sea.

    The South China Sea is a profitable region that is only expected to become more profitable in the next couple of decades. Already, it is home to intensive fishing interests and serves as the corridor for Asia’s massive shipping industry. Even more vital to Chinese interests are the rumored vast oil and natural gas reserves in the region.

    There are at least five nations currently claiming the Spratly Islands, a group of more than 750 islands in the South China Sea, which are rumored to hold massive fuel reserves. These claims are often overlapping and have been a source of rife between Southeast Asian nations and their larger neighbor to the north. The Philippines’ claims are based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which established a 200-mile exclusive economic zone off the shores of all signatories. According to the treaty, the coastal nation has exclusive rights over the exploitation of all natural resources that fall within this 200-mile area.


    Several countries claim this group of islands in the South China Sea [Image: UNCLOS and CIA]

    The Chinese base their claim to the South China Sea on dated maps from dynastic China. However, the real problem is whether each state can actually enforce its claims.

    Thus far, China’s strategy has been to intimidate its weaker competitors into slowly giving up more and more territory. Once China gains a territorial concession, it quickly erects a base or settlement to solidify its gains. While this strategy is slow in moving, it is nearly impossible to dislodge the Chinese presence once established. By forcing its rivals to accept gradual concessions, China is playing a long term game to secure its resource needs. In the context of the intense geopolitics of the region, it is not surprising that the Chinese stiffed the Philippines humanitarian aid

  6. The Chinese are forcing a coalition to be created against them.

    The Japanese, I read, are arming up to a degree.

  7. Hindu (India Americans) sweep USA Spelling Bees -

    May 29, 2015
    National Spelling Bee and Political Correctness
    By Thomas Lifson

    The National Spelling Bee has a new winner. Actually, two winners, in a tie. Congratulations to Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Missouri; and Vanya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas. They join winners of recent years, Sameer Mishra (2008), Kavya Shivashanka (2009), Anamika Veeramani (2010), Sukanya Roy (2011), Snigdha Nandipati (2012), Arvind Mahankali (2013) and Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar (2014, tie).

    Where’s the outrage? Political correctness holds that every ethnic group is identical in terms of ability and effort, so that any discrepancy in outcomes is the result of discrimination. (Except in athletics, of course). So the dominance of Indian Americans must be the result of discrimination. Or unfairness, such as the heinous practice of reading to your children, thereby unfairly advantaging them.

    Given the practices of the Justice Department since the election of President Obama, can an investigation be far behind?

    This comes as no surprise to me. My Niece knows five languages and is beginning to pick up well on German conversations, though she says so far she is having difficulty speaking back at a high level.

    Go, Hindu India Americans !

    Tat Tvam Asi

    1. Just sent a copy of this article off to her, begging her once again to get US citizenship.

      So far, she has not shown Quirk's antipathy to American Thinker due to it's 'racism'.


      She's probably never heard of it, being otherwise preoccupied right now with non political things like brain structure and human consciousness.

      Yes, I am bragging about my Niece.

  8. Federal investigators say Dennis Hastert lied to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed person to "cover up past misconduct."

    That's about all that is clear in the indictment federal officials lodged against the former House speaker on Thursday.

    The 7-page document raises many, many questions. Here are the top five:

    1. What is the alleged "past misconduct"?

    The feds did not offer any clues as to what the "past misconduct" is. Whatever it was, it was allegedly enough for Hastert to agree to pay the subject of the "prior misconduct" $3.5 million and attempt to hide the payments.


    2. Who is "Individual A"?

    The indictment describes "Individual A" as the subject of Hastert's "prior misconduct", but offers very few clues. The best seems to be "Individual A has been a resident of Yorkville, Illinois and has known Hastert most of Individual A's life."


    3. When did the misconduct happen?

    The indictment reveals only that "Individual A" met with Hastert sometime around 2010 and at one point "discussed past misconduct...that had occurred years earlier." There's no indication of how long ago that was, but it may have been years or even decades, as Individual A "has been a resident of Yorkville, Ill. and has known Hastert most of their life," per the indictment.

    1. Unless 'Individual A' has some old photos, unfortunate letters or something, Hastert would have been better to tell him/her to fuck off.

    2. Hastert is in an unfortunate legal position, though what he is charged with is idiotic too.

      What is his defense ?

      That he broke some absurd finance law because he was being blackmailed and trying to cover up some underage sex in his past ?

      Try to play the victim ?

      Will be interesting to see what his lawyers recommend.

  9. Another 'Pooty Critic' is now, somehow, near death from, it seems, some kind inexplicable poisoning. Pooty will swear to get to the bottom of it, shed a crocodile tear....

  10. Oh, o

    REPORT: Hastert paid to cover up sexual misconduct..........Drudge

    REPORT: Second victim............Drudge

  11. .

    More than 10,000 websites 'blackout' Congress in protest of NSA surveillance laws

    I may need to double my order on those Guy Fawkes masks.


  12. I wonder what the Statute of Limitations is for Child Molestation in Illinois?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. Surely it would have passed by now if it was back in his pre-Congress days.

      Perhaps it wasn't the law he was worried about, but just his reputation, and an angered wife, and total shame before the kids.

      If he has a wife and kids......I don't know

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. .

      Under TPP you can be sued by Eggstractor, Inc. for making this comment.


    2. What's TPP ?

      Just another consumer comment.

    3. O well, I don't want my ass sued.

      I'll stand up to the moslems, but corporate America is another matter.

    4. I'll let one of Deuce's favorite Websites, The Huffington Post, take the heat. Maybe TPP will put Arianna out of her misery -

      The Eggstractor Cannot Possibly Work, As Confirmed By Amazon Reviews (VIDEO)
      Posted: 04/03/2013 9:06 am EDT Updated: 04/03/2013 9:06 am EDT

      Recently, we put our foot down on stupid egg separators going too far. In our research for that, we came across something so ridiculous, so mind-numbingly unlikely to work, that we knew we had to talk about it all on its own. Meet the Eggstractor, a tool designed to extract hard-boiled eggs from their shells with air pressure alone.

      If you've made deviled eggs anytime in the recent past, you know that every egg is different -- some shells slip off with ease, while some seem to be designed as some kind of kitchen stress test. If you watch the Eggstractor commercial below and think to yourself, "this cannot possibly work," we're with you.

      Our favorite part is when the test model shoves through an egg that is clearly mangled, then slides it carefully across the counter and onto the plate to conceal its imperfections. You guys couldn't get another take? Or worse, what if they got multiple takes and they were all as pock-marked as the first?

      To see what the people think of this device, we took to one of the most reliably honest and predictably infuriated information points there is -- the comments section on Amazon. Some of the choicest reviews:

      Out of 11 eggs:

      * 3 came out with half of the shell still on.

      * 8 basically exploded into anywhere from 4 to a dozen pieces, all with the shell still on the whites. -- Nicolle

      Then there's the Eggstractor part, or as we like to call it: our Eggsploder. First, if you have arthritis or any other joint ailment, or if you lack the upper body strength of a WWW wrestler, then you will have trouble with the Eggstractor.

      ... Then, if you're lucky, out will pop your egg but don't be surprised if you only see the yolk. Yup, the pressure is so great that the yolk will literally separate from the egg. -- L.C. Parks

      The only positive I can possibly think of is that is was like a puzzle I was trying to solve, but unfortunately never could. -- Thomas J. Schmidt III

      I'd never recommend this product for anything other than a science experiment ... something like "is a cold exploded egg harder to clean up than a hot one?" -- Gail Shendelman "Pampered Chef Guru"

      You can get the Eggstractor on Amazon, from $17.00 and up. But seriously, don't.

    5. The only reason I backpedaled and took my comment down was I know Quirk has been sued uncountable times, and generally knows whereof he speaks on the dangers of lawsuits.

  14. .

    The following article from Nancy a-Youssef mirrors many of the thoughts I posted a day or two ago regarding Obama’s strategy in Iraq. Naturally, I consider the article insightful and the author a near genius. The criticisms of Obama’s strategy include the following;

    1. After early successes by the US, ISIS adapted. The US has not.

    When the U.S.-led air campaign began nearly a year ago, it, by most accounts, achieved its initial goal of stopping ISIS’s momentum, which was ascending with the capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul. There were fears then that the group could move on to Baghdad.

    But since then, ISIS has adjusted while the U.S. strategy has not, the defense officials said. And an air campaign that once could contain ISIS no longer can as the group has developed the skills to create a military plan against an army that outnumbers it by 10 to 1, as in Ramadi, according to U.S. military estimates.
    U.S. officials often note they have destroyed 6,300 targets since the strikes began. But critics pointed out that statistics are not always an indicator of a working strategy.

    “Every agency is briefing that they are having effect,” the first official explained. “But it is activity, not effect.”

    2. Obama’s is a risk-averse strategy, political motivated, all designed to deflect criticism.

    They said they realize that the political strategy supersedes the military one; there is no public appetite for ground troops in Iraq; there is frustration about corruption within the Iraqi government; and there is a lack of a clear alternative approach.

    “It’s a political response,” one official explained. “They are doing ‘something’ to inoculate themselves from substantial criticism.”

    3. Obama’s is not a win-strategy but rather a contain-strategy until the handoff in 2016.

    Although the Obama administration’s public messaging is that it still wants to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS, in reality, many in the Pentagon view the real objective as just running out the clock.

    “I think this is driven by a sense that this not our fight and so we are just going to try to contain it and have influence where we can,” one official who works closely on the military strategy explained to The Daily Beast. “This is a long fight, and it will be up to the next administration to tackle.”


    1. .

      Reasons 8, 9, and 4 for why we shouldn't have gotten into this war in the first place.


  15. .

    Josh Earnest plays the 'fear card' and the 'I'd like to tell you but it's a secret meme' to deflect criticism wrt Rand Paul's charge that there is no proof the NSA's metadata programs ever provided info that help prevent an attack.

    WELKER: Can you give us a specific example of when this program has played out, as part of a building block, that has played out.

    EARNEST: These investigations are conducted in a classified setting, so I don't have specifics to share with you in this format.

    Our national security professionals have indicated that these programs are an important building block to investigations and that there has been information obtained through these programs that they were not aware of. That new information was important to their investigations.

    No one has presented a compelling explanation for why the United States and the American people should assume the risk associated with taking those tools out of the hands of our law enforcement professionals.


    1. :)

      Pretty smooth.

      This is known as Joshing.

      As in "You gotta be joshing me" or You just joshin' me, dude"

    2. "Are you being earnest, or are you just joshing me?"

    3. "I am being joshingly earnest" said Josh Earnest.

  16. .

    Hillary doing Hillary,

    Friday’s move, which came a year and a half after EPA first proposed cutting the requirement, is the latest twist on a biofuel program that pits powerful industries against each other and crosses party lines. It comes just a day after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton published a newspaper op-ed in corn-rich Iowa that called for putting the mandate “back on track” while making changes that reflect the shifting realities of the energy markets.

    Read more:

    Hillary Clinton using a lot of words to say nothing.


  17. Wow. Just read the last thread.

    Deuce hates all the 'Abrahamic' religions, and doesn't even put up a Christmas tree.

    This wonderful old pagan symbol.

    What little kid would want to spend the holidays with Deuce ?

    Not even a pagan little kid would want to.......this is really sad.

    What a grinch:

    noun \ˈgrinch\

    : an unpleasant person who spoils other people's fun or enjoyment

    How many of these commonly
    misspelled words can you spell? »
    Full Definition of GRINCH
    : killjoy, spoilsport
    See grinch defined for English-language learners
    Examples of GRINCH

    Only a grinch would complain about the movie's silly plot.

    Origin of GRINCH
    from the Grinch, character in the children's story How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)
    First Known Use: 1966
    Related to GRINCH

    drag, killjoy, party pooper, spoilsport, wet blanket


    I hope no one ever offers Deuce a Happy Birthday !!!!

    1. No I don't.

      That would make me a grinch too.

      I don't want to be a grinch.

      Happy Birthday, Deuce, whenever it is....!


  18. Group: Iranian, North Korean Officials Worked on Nuclear Warhead
    Obama administration looking into reports

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, welcomes North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, for a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 / AP

    BY: Adam Kredo
    May 29, 2015 12:25 pm

    A North Korean delegation that traveled to Iran in April for secret meetings about nuclear technology spent much of its time working with an Iranian agency responsible for weaponizing the country’s nuclear program, according to an exiled Iranian opposition group.

    Reports Thursday said that at least three North Korean delegations traveled to Iran in late April to help advance the country’s nuclear weapons program. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released additional information claiming that the North Koreans primarily worked with an Iranian agency tasked with “manufacturing interior parts of nuclear warhead.”.....

    I take comfort in knowing that we now have Marie Harf - picture of this nitwit at link below

    now acting as the Senior Adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, with portfolio of Iran and nuclear weapons.

    In her earlier position as Spokeswoman for the State Department she was able to quickly figure out that the answer to ISIS and other jihadi groups is a jobs program.

    Perhaps she will with insight conclude that Iran and North Korea need jobs programs too, everyone will go back to work through some UN sponsored International Jobs Program for Jihadis, Iranians, and Norks, and we can all go back to full out consumerism, which is what we were all bred and born to......

  19. Let's face it - circumcision is no big deal. Opposition to it is not a winning political program in the USA. I have yet to see the platform of any of our political parties even mention it.

    The abos in Australia used to know how to do things right, though they may have forgotten these days.

    When the young boy was to be made a man - I don't know, 12,13, 14 years, maybe younger - a slit was cut in the underside of the penis to resemble the vagina. This was to symbolize the overcoming in a mature adult of the world, of the split the human into two sexes, and to realize the oneness of things, and to return to the dream time before the fall into duality.

    This may have hurt like hell !

    What is circumcision in comparison to this ?

    To me at least this abo way seems like a noble and meaningful rite of passage, though I might pass if given the choice.

    It occurs to me I don't know if Hinduism has such a type of rite as circumcision or the abo way. I will make a note to research this question.

    And poor Abraham. He is the subject of so much insistent misreading. The obvious intent of the story of the substituted ram is about a getting away from human sacrifice, as was practiced widely around the area, particularly on the coasts, and not any kind of affirmation of it. It is best read, IMHO, as an aetiological legend marking the passing of such practice among this people.

  20. Yesterday's Free Speech event seems to have gone off as well as could possibly be hoped.

    Everyone behaved themselves.

    The head of the mosque, which the two hopeful jihadis at the Garland, Texas event attended, urged his folks to stay away, and be peaceful.

    The fully armed protesters - The Second Amendment Protects The First Amendment was their motto - acted like gentlemen and ladies.

    The unarmed counter protesters were fully peaceful.

    These two groups, roughly equal in size, spent an hour or two, with a line of well behave Police between them, shouting out opposing slogans at one another.

    And not a soul was injured.

    I count it as a good event all around.

    A big happy picnic after attended by all involved is the only improvement I can imagine

  21. A hopeful article -

    May 30, 2015
    Hillary's High Water Mark
    By Bruce Walker

    Can polling data this early tell us anything about Hillary’s prospects in November 2016? Hillary is an old political figure who has been in the public eye for the last 23 years. Americans can learn very little new about Hillary, and the bland, familiar political rhetoric about new ideas and change and progress are so dull and predictable that few voters could possibly be influenced that that sort of glop.

    Americans have formed an opinion of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and it is hard to see how anything can change that opinion in the next 18 months. While polls taken months or years ago are unserious in the sense that only the truly politically wired think about elections that far away, recent polls show that most Americans do not intend to vote for Hillary in 2016.

    The relative jockeying of the potential Republican nominees tends to hide this fact. So when polls show that Hillary runs ahead of most Republicans today, that appears to reflect a marginal shift in poll results among the particular Republican candidates, most of whom are not really familiar to Americans today. Ignore the poll results for these Republicans and look only at the support for Hillary in these trial heats, and something interesting emerges: Hillary’s polling percentages are never a majority of respondents.

    Quinnipiac’s two latest polls, May 28 and April 23, show Hillary in races against seven different Republican candidates. Her percentage in these polls scarcely varies at all. The mean average of her support in the April 23 Quinnipiac poll is 46.0% and in the May 28 Quinnipiac poll is 46.4%. Mean averages can be deceptive, but not in these instances. Her highest numbers in any of these 14 matchups is 48% and her lowest is 45%.

    Fox News has published trial heat polling data for May 14 and for April 24. The May matchups include eight Republicans, and the April matchup includes only four Republicans, but the average Hillary polling data remains very consistent. Hillary’s mean average in the May 14 poll is 47.4%, and her mean average in the April 24 poll is 46.0%. Again, the statistical mean accurately reflects the limitations of Hillary’s appeal in these polls. The closest she came to getting a majority of the respondents was against Carly Fiorina, and that was only 49%.

    1. Rasmussen’s April 14 trial heat against Republicans has only two GOP candidates, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but Hillary in both of these matchups received 47% of the vote. NBC/WSJ polling data of May 4 against four different Republicans actually shows her reaching 50% against Scott Walker, but her statistical mean is 48.7%.

      Have the myriad scandals made this unappealing woman even less appealing to voters? A review of the statistical mean of her support in polls against Republican challengers suggests so. The mean average of her support in the February Quinnipiac poll was 46.7% (compared to 46.0% and 45.4% in the later polls). The Fox News poll in January 2015 had Hillary with 48.0% (compared with 47.4% and 46% in the later polls). What these results suggest is that Hillary is becoming marginally more unpopular with Americans generally as they think about the election more seriously and as they ponder the duplicity of the Clinton gang again.

      If Hillary cannot push beyond the 47% to 48% range in attracting American voters, what can save her in the 2016 election? Demonizing the Republican candidate, of course, is the first approach she will take, along with trying to motivate Democrats to turn out for the “first woman president.” Can either of these succeed?

      Actually, trying to demonize the Republican nominee could backfire, at least for most of the candidates who are not famously rich like her or Washington establishments like her and did not grow up in affluent white Chicago families as she did. Besides, Republicans know what is coming and will not be as ham-handed as Romney and McCain were in dealing with this sort of attack.

      What about “energizing” female voters? After eight years of Obama, energizing any voters to defend the status quo, which is what Hillary represents, can excite no one. Male voters – half of the electorate – are as likely to be energized to turn out against an over-the-top appeal to female voters as female voters are to turn out for a familiar establishment figure like Bill Clinton’s wife, Mrs. Clinton.

      Hillary has reached her high water mark in electoral appeal, and even at that point, most Americans did not want her as president. Things, for her, are just going to get worse.

  22. Percent of Americans describing themselves as "Socially Liberal" ties those describing themselves as "socially conservative" for the first time Ever.


    1. Percentage of Americans living off of the government tit out weighs those working for a living for the first time Ever.

    2. Percentage of Americans that can't find the state of Montana out weighs those who can name the stars on The Voice for the first time Ever.

  23. Percent of Americans describing themselves as "Pro-Scandal" continues to lag far behind percent of Americans describing themselves as "Anti-Scandal".

    BobboPolls LLC

  24. Mighty O'Malley has announced his Presidential bid to a small crowd and scattered applause in Baltimore, Maryland.

    He seems to have done well for Baltimore, though, back in the day. The crime rate went down considerably under O'Malley, there was good investments made in Baltimore.......

    He's not going to de-throne Hillary.

    1. The best part of his speech, which mercifully was not long, was when he 'rolled up his shirt sleeve'.

      If you missed that you missed a lot.

    2. Large number of protesters shouting he was a liar, fraud, and crook were keep out of camera and hearing range.

    3. :)

      You gotta, in a way, love some of the democrats.

      Charlie Rangel always comes to mind.

  25. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US was “making absurd remarks about China’s long-established sovereignty and rights, stirring up trouble and slinging accusations regarding China's appropriate and rational construction activities on its islands. China resolutely opposes this.”

    David Shear, the assistant US defense secretary for Asian issues, told reporters that a private meeting with Chinese Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, the chief of foreign affairs at the defense ministry, was "spirited and candid."

    "There aren't any silver bullets to resolving this," said Shear. "It's going to take time, and it's going to take some determined diplomacy by us and with our partners."

    At the conference, US senators and officials from other Pacific nations questioned whether the US would take action.

    Carter and other officials, including Admiral Harry Harris, who just took over US Pacific command, declined to talk about what diplomatic or military steps the US would be willing to take.

    US senator John McCain, chairman of the senate armed services committee, said the US should not invite China to a major military exercise in the Pacific in 2016. But Harris said China has already been invited, and that the two countries must engage if they are to build a better relationship and lessen the chances for misunderstandings.

    But, he said, "we always have the option of changing our approach."

    He also said he was concerned by the artillery weapons, which were discovered at least several weeks ago. Two US officials who are familiar with intelligence about the vehicles say they have been removed. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the intelligence and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

    The Pentagon would not release any photos to support its contention that the vehicles were there.

    China's assertive behavior in the South China Sea has become an increasingly sore point in relations with the United States, even as President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping have tried to deepen cooperation in other areas, such as climate change.

  26. .

    Heat Causes Roads to Melt in India

    Death toll rises.

    “The capital remained on the roast pit for the fifth straight day,” The Times of India wrote Wednesday of New Delhi, which is in the grip of an unrelenting and deadly heat wave. The 113-degree high in India’s capital might be considered a relief when compared to temperatures in Balangir District to the southeast, where temperatures peaked at nearly 118 earlier this week.

    On Tuesday, AFP reported that the mercury went as high as 122 degrees elsewhere the country, causing the roads to melt:


  27. .

    Refugee ‘sponsorship’ in Iraq undermines effort

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    Hala Hussein, 9, who lost her leg when Islamic State extremists bombed her neighborhood in northern Ramadi, waits at a refugee camp 50 miles west of Baghdad.

    Associated press

    Hala Hussein, 9, who lost her leg when Islamic State extremists bombed her neighborhood in northern Ramadi, waits at a refugee camp 50 miles west of Baghdad.
    May 27, 2015

    The fall of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province, to ISIS last week is more than a military setback. It’s also a humanitarian catastrophe for more than 55,000 Iraqis who fled the violence. Yet thousands of families attempting to cross into the relative safety of Baghdad have been stopped at a checkpoint and turned away if they cannot produce a “sponsor” in Baghdad who can vouch for them as loyal citizens of the state.

    While the “sponsorship” system has been created due to the understandable fear of ISIS militants infiltrating Baghdad, it is being enforced in arbitrary ways that undermine that goal. According to the International Rescue Committee, some Iraqis are selling “sponsorships” for up to $700 — an act that undermines security and amounts to extortion of vulnerable people who have already lost nearly everything. To make matters worse, the network of international laws established to help refugees fleeing violence offers scant protection to the internally displaced Iraqis who have not crossed an international border...


  28. .

    The other day Nancy Pelosi made some comment (Bob put it up) because ISIS was gaining an advantage on the internet. On it's face, the statement might seem kind of silly; however, it kind of carries a broader point. There are those who believe that the US technological advantage (drones, air power, etc.) guarantee the defeat of ISIS; however, there is technology and there is technology and it remains to be seen type will prevail in the war with ISIS. Some consider ISIS to be a band of illiterate headchoppers. Obama has called them the JV team. However, when we fail to realize that they are well-organized, adaptable group with a vision and appreciation for those technologies that can be adapted to their type of asymmetric warfare, we do ourselves a for them.

    One area where ISIS excels is in use of the internet and social media. They use YouTube videos as recruitment tools. It's estmated they have about 45,000 twitter accounts through which they can coordinate attacks and contact lone-wolf followers in other countries. Using the internet, ISIS is growing.

    ISIS is Rapidly Expanding in S.E. Asia

    The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has ramped up its activities in Southeast Asia so effectively that there is now an entire military unit of terrorists recruited from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, according to Singapore's prime minister.

    “Southeast Asia is a key recruitment center for ISIS,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the Shangri-La Dialogue here in Singapore Friday. He noted that this included more than 500 Indonesians and dozens of Malaysians. “ISIS has so many Indonesian and Malaysia fighters that they form a unit by themselves -- the Katibah Nusantara -- Malay Archipelago Combat Unit,” he added...


  29. Cyprus arrest of Hezbollah man 'uncovered large-scale Iranian terror plot across Europe'

    Hezbollah kept a storeroom hiding massive quantity of explosives in Cyprus for an Iranian-orchestrated terror campaign against Israel.

    the arrest and investigation of a Lebanese citizen in Larnaca, Cyprus, who is suspected of being a Hezbollah operative caught in possession of a massive quantity of explosive material.

    Cypriot police suspect a man arrested on Wednesday was planning an attack on Israeli interests on the island after they found almost two tons of ammonium nitrate in his basement, newspapers on the island reported on Friday.

    The 26-year-old man is Lebanese-born and has a Canadian passport. He was detained by police after authorities discovered the stockpile.

    Oh the shock!!!

    Iran planning to murder Jews!!!!

    Cyprus has little militant-related activity despite its proximity to the Middle East. The island, which is in the EU, hosts two British military bases and receives intelligence from Western agencies.

    Its last major security incident was a botched attack on the Israeli embassy in 1988, which killed three people.

    In 2013 a Swedish citizen of Lebanese descent was jailed in Cyprus on charges of plotting to attack Israeli tourists.

    In that year, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, one of the suspects in a thwarted terrorist attack against Israelis in Cyprus in July, admitted on Wednesday in a Cypriot court that he is a member of Hezbollah.

    Yaacoub, a 24-year old Lebanese-Swedish citizen, faced eight charges in the criminal court in the city of Limassol. The Cypriot authorities charged him with membership in a criminal organization whose aim is “carrying out missions in any part of the world, including the Cyprus Republic, against Israeli citizens,” among seven other crimes – reduced from an original 17 terrorism-related charges.

    Yep the iranians and their lackeys have a blood lust for Jew blood....

  30. .

    Do you have an interest in history, culture, collectibles? Do you want to invest in the growing field of
    art-autre? Ever get strange feelings you can't explain?

    Eva Braun's Underwear: $7500 (Firm)

    Prominently displayed in a long, narrow shop in Elmore, Ohio, is a glass case containing a pair of high-waisted, salmon-colored, lace-accented French silk panties. A raised monogram on the top spells “EB” and a price tag lists a “FIRM” $7,500.

    These are not just any French silk panties. If the accompanying description is to be believed, they once belonged to Hitler’s longtime mistress (and, briefly, wife), the notorious Eva Braun.


  31. Replies
    1. .

      There are a couple puts in the Brookings article I agree with; however, not with the assertion that Obama's current policy is the right one.


    2. It is interesting the avoidance of mentioning Israel in the article.

      It's standing as an ally is not questionable when put thru the lens of same (the article).

      It's the ONLY ally (within the context of the article's discussion) that is not a basket case.

    3. .

      Well, to make you happy, here is one where the author includes Israel even though we don't have a treaty with them. You will notice there are no formal treaties with any country in the ME. Once point of clarity in an otherwise opaque US foreign policy.

      The US has military alliances and formal treaties with 1/4 of the world's people.


  32. Another day in the Neocon destabilized ME:

    ROME — More than 4,000 migrants have been rescued off Libya’s coast in 22 separate operations in one day, and rescuers found 17 people dead aboard a rubber dinghy, the Italian Coast Guard said Saturday.

    The rescues, from 13 wooden fishing boats and nine motorized rubber dinghies, took place Friday. In all, 4,243 rescued migrants were being taken to southern Italian harbors, including Sicily’s.

    Smugglers are reaping millions by overcrowding unseaworthy boats with migrants on Libya’s Mediterranean coast to set out for Italian shores. The migrants are fleeing war, persecution or poverty in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.

    Cargo ships and Irish and German Navy vessels helped Italian military craft in Friday’s rescues. Italy has demanded its European partners help more with the migrants, who have been coming in huge numbers this year. Last year, Italy rescued about 170,000 migrants at sea.

    This was a policy coup…these people took control of policy in the United States….” he was privy to information contained in a classified memo: US plans to attack and remove governments in seven countries over five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

  33. Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel says that Washington’s plan to increase annual military aid to Israel is a bribe to the Zionist regime over a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

    US and Israeli officials are discussing a new 10-year deal that could be worth up to $45 billion as the current $3 billion annual military aid package will expire in 2017.

    “The fact that there is a discussion now in the media over the potential of the United States increasing the amount of military aid to Israel is really nothing more than a bribe essentially to the Israeli community, but not particularly them because Netanyahu is still making mischief with his comments about the nuclear deal with Iran, what it is, it’s a buy-off of the American Jewish community; it’s appalling,” Gravel told Press TV on Saturday.

    “There is no reason why Israel has to be armed to the teeth, and, of course, it’s not being threatened by Iran, it’s not being threatened by any other country that I know of in the Middle East,” he opined.

  34. Will Israel ever get off the US tit?

    1. Will America ever stop helping the Islamists of the world with money and weapons?

  35. Israel will not be satisfied until the US is at war with Iran:

    Many observers have expressed concern that Israel could sabotage the Iran deal: fomenting a war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and soon, so that the Israel lobby flips out in the U.S. and Iran and the United States are suddenly at dagger points rather than at the table.

    Trita Parsi (of the National Iranian American Council) and Paul Pillar (the CIA veteran) articulate the threat clearly in a piece at Huffington Post:

    Israel has been pushing this angle for several months. In February, 28 US lawmakers came to Israel’s aid and wrote the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon, demanding that the UN stop Hezbollah from rearming. The letter accused the UN of failing to enforce resolutions, including one that requires the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.”

    “The violence in the area caused by Hezbollah is horrific, and it results from the failure of the United Nations to enforce Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701,” the lawmakers wrote.

    The case for preventive military action against Hezbollah was recently made by Ambassador Dore Gold, who is considered close to Netanyahu and was just appointed director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Accusing the UN of having failed to stop Hezbollah, Gold argues that “Either the IDF will have to destroy the weapons now being stored in southern Lebanon, or let Hezbollah fire thousands of rockets into Israel. What would you do?“…

    Clearly, if Israel and Hezbollah do go to war, killing the Iran agreement would not be the only motivation. But the prospect that such a war would greatly support the rhetoric of those in the United States arguing against the deal with Iran would certainly be a major consideration in the minds of Israeli policymakers. The temptation of being able to kill the Iran agreement may become the deciding factor in Israel’s decision-making.

    Gold is of course the new head of the Foreign Ministry under Benjamin Netanyahu. He likened Lebanon to Gaza in the Facebook post that Pillar and Parsi quote, 12 days ago, and said that Lebanese civilians were now legitimate targets:

    Hezbollah, supplied, trained, and funded by Iran, is building new military strongholds in Lebanese border villages. By doing so, Hezbollah has turned Lebanese civilians into human shields – much like Hamas did in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah’s rearmament is a blatant violation of Resolution 1701. Is anyone stopping this?

    - See more at:

    1. The issue here of course is American passivity, the ways that the United States would be folded into Israel’s plans. Writes a friend:

      The next “cutting the grass” to the north and on a pretty tight schedule, this summer. It mustn’t leave time for the powers to ratify the P+5 agreement with Iran. Netanyahu’s design, Parsi and Pillar suggest, is to draw Hezbollah into attacking Israel, by provocations it can’t but respond to (tricky enough to be represented as unprovoked in the American MSM). Iran won’t let Hezbollah suffer defeat without a show of support; even if they allow it, Israel can manufacture evidence of support – and then: “Remember, Obama, you have our back.” End of treaty, goal achieved: everlasting hostility between the US and Iran. (Parsi and Pillar are separate planets – I don’t think they have collaborated before – they must be strongly impressed by the danger.)

      This possibility requires an understanding of the power of the Israel lobby in its many manifestations. My friend cites the New York Times’s choices here as suspicious. The paper has a piece today on new disagreements between the French and the Iranians over the inspection protocols in the prospective deal; the piece includes a French claim that the U.S. was too flexible in the negotiations, as well as accounts of the “discord” that the Iranian leadership faces in its own ranks. And there’s a second piece by veteran Iran panic monger David Sanger reporting that Wendy Sherman, the chief State Department negotiator for the US in the P5+1 agreement, intends to quit immediately after the treaty deadline but before ratification, maybe to go to work for her old friend Hillary Clinton, and this means that all the top U.S. negotiators of the deal will have left the administration and so who is going to work out the details– suggesting a lack of commitment to the deal inside the government.

      We described the New York Times’ recumbent role in the Lebanon warmaking process 2 weeks ago. I see that Belen Fernandez at Jacobin has also scored the paper of record.

      In addition to repeatedly referencing the general views of “Israel,” “Israelis,” and “Israeli military officials and experts,” [Isabel] Kershner offers five direct quotes from representatives of the state and military apparatus. Team Hezbollah, on the other hand, is permitted one solitary defender, an anonymous “Hezbollah sympathizer” who points out that Israel has killed civilians in Lebanon.

      - See more at:

    2. Will the US Congress ever get off its knees?

    3. Of course, SANCTIONS were an alternative to war, but those have been cast aside by Obama...

    4. Russia, China and India will no longer participate in sanctions against Iran.

      If you think not, follow the nonsense going on in the China Sea. The Chinese have just obsoleted the aircraft carrier in the Pacific.

    5. The Iranians will shortly eliminate the Israeli nuclear monopoly.

    6. Russia, China and India did give up on sanctions.

      But American sanctions were and are the only deterrent.

      But Obama has paved the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons.

    7. Deuce ☂Sat May 30, 05:59:00 PM EDT
      The Iranians will shortly eliminate the Israeli nuclear monopoly.

      Actually America has done this, now the Egyptians, Jordanians, Arabians and others will be racing to acquire nukes.

      israel was not the problem and is not the problem.

      The Iranians verses the Arabs verses the Turks is the issue at hand.

  36. An international lawyer in Indonesia says the South China Sea territorial disputes are largely of the Atlantic World’s making and that the United States has no legitimate interest in the South China Sea.

    Grossman, who is based on the Indonesian island of Bali, made the remarks on Saturday during an interview with Press TV while commenting on US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s warning to China against developing man-made islands in the South China Sea.

    Speaking at a security conference in Singapore, Carter demanded China immediately stop developing islands in the South China Sea and accused it of acting “out of step with both the international rules and norms."

    The annual Shangri-La Dialogue was attended by defense ministers and high-ranking military officials from China, Europe and other Asia-Pacific countries.

    Grossman said that “Ashton Carter is asserting that ‘China is out of step with international rules and norms.’ To the extent that’s true, that puts China squarely in the same camp as the USA itself which is far too exceptional to be bound by international law on any issue.”
    “I am no fan of the Chinese system. But let us not be confused about this. It is called the South China Sea because it is to China what the Caribbean is to the USA,” he added.

    “China’s claims in the region do not arise from positions connected with the contrived status quo which arose as a direct result of the colonial era and 20th century military conflicts largely of the Atlantic World’s making,” he continued.

    “The fact is that there are numerous conflicting claims being advanced to parts of the South China Sea by eight different nations. These are very complicated matters which in turn raise even more complicated issues,” the political commentator noted.

    “We should not forget who is making these provocative allegations. Ashton Carter is a hawk on Iran and entirely pro-Israel. He is a covert neocon who poses for what passes in the US as a progressive. He supports arming those who have seized control of Ukraine, opposed the closing of Gitmo, and is a key player in advancing the contrived ‘war on terror’ narrative as a cover for advancing US hegemony,” he said.

  37. ...but it should be obvious to anyone, that the only option available to Iran, to repulse the continuous threat of war coming out of Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv, would be to secure a credible nuclear deterrent. It should surprise no one when it happens.

    1. China controls both ends of the Panama Canal and will soon control a canal through Nicaragua. Who will fill the gap when ISIS takes down Saudi Arabia?

    2. It's Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.

      :) and the threat of war? Comes from Iran constantly..

    3. Iran supplies and trains both Hezbollah and Hamas (to mention the main proxies) committed to the genocide of both the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel.

      It openly advocates the destruction of the Jewish State and the destruction of the USA.

      It calls Israel the "Little Satan" and America the "Big Satan"

      There is no mystery in Iran's position.

      Death to America, Death to Israel.

      I stand with America and Israel.

      Who do you stand with?

  38. Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
    Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability

    By Kenneth N. Waltz

    The past several months have witnessed a heated debate over the best way for the United States and Israel to respond to Iran's nuclear activities. As the argument has raged, the United States has tightened its already robust sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic, and the European Union announced in January that it will begin an embargo on Iranian oil on July 1. Although the United States, the EU, and Iran have recently returned to the negotiating table, a palpable sense of crisis still looms.

    It should not. Most U.S., European, and Israeli commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the current standoff. In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East.


    The crisis over Iran's nuclear program could end in three different ways. First, diplomacy coupled with serious sanctions could convince Iran to abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. But this outcome is unlikely: the historical record indicates that a country bent on acquiring nuclear weapons can rarely be dissuaded from doing so. Punishing a state through economic sanctions does not inexorably derail its nuclear program. Take North Korea, which succeeded in building its weapons despite countless rounds of sanctions and UN Security Council resolutions. If Tehran determines that its security depends on possessing nuclear weapons, sanctions are unlikely to change its mind. In fact, adding still more sanctions now could make Iran feel even more vulnerable, giving it still more reason to seek the protection of the ultimate deterrent.

    The second possible outcome is that Iran stops short of testing a nuclear weapon but develops a breakout capability, the capacity to build and test one quite quickly. Iran would not be the first country to acquire a sophisticated nuclear program without building an actual bomb. Japan, for instance, maintains a vast civilian nuclear infrastructure. Experts believe that it could produce a nuclear weapon on short notice.

    Such a breakout capability might satisfy the domestic political needs of Iran's rulers by assuring hard-liners that they can enjoy all the benefits of having a bomb (such as greater security) without the downsides (such as international isolation and condemnation). The problem is that a breakout capability might not work as intended.

    The United States and its European allies are primarily concerned with weaponization, so they might accept a scenario in which Iran stops short of a nuclear weapon. Israel, however, has made it clear that it views a significant Iranian enrichment capacity alone as an unacceptable threat. It is possible, then, that a verifiable commitment from Iran to stop short of a weapon could appease major Western powers but leave the Israelis unsatisfied. Israel would be less intimidated by a virtual nuclear weapon than it would be by an actual one and therefore would likely continue its risky efforts at subverting Iran’s nuclear program through sabotage and assassination -- which could lead Iran to conclude that a breakout capability is an insufficient deterrent, after all, and that only weaponization can provide it with the security it seeks.


  39. {...}

    The third possible outcome of the standoff is that Iran continues its current course and publicly goes nuclear by testing a weapon. U.S. and Israeli officials have declared that outcome unacceptable, arguing that a nuclear Iran is a uniquely terrifying prospect, even an existential threat. Such language is typical of major powers, which have historically gotten riled up whenever another country has begun to develop a nuclear weapon of its own. Yet so far, every time another country has managed to shoulder its way into the nuclear club, the other members have always changed tack and decided to live with it. In fact, by reducing imbalances in military power, new nuclear states generally produce more regional and international stability, not less.

    Israel's regional nuclear monopoly, which has proved remarkably durable for the past four decades, has long fueled instability in the Middle East. In no other region of the world does a lone, unchecked nuclear state exist. It is Israel's nuclear arsenal, not Iran's desire for one, that has contributed most to the current crisis. Power, after all, begs to be balanced. What is surprising about the Israeli case is that it has taken so long for a potential balancer to emerge.

    Of course, it is easy to understand why Israel wants to remain the sole nuclear power in the region and why it is willing to use force to secure that status. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq to prevent a challenge to its nuclear monopoly. It did the same to Syria in 2007 and is now considering similar action against Iran. But the very acts that have allowed Israel to maintain its nuclear edge in the short term have prolonged an imbalance that is unsustainable in the long term. Israel's proven ability to strike potential nuclear rivals with impunity has inevitably made its enemies anxious to develop the means to prevent Israel from doing so again. In this way, the current tensions are best viewed not as the early stages of a relatively recent Iranian nuclear crisis but rather as the final stages of a decades-long Middle East nuclear crisis that will end only when a balance of military power is restored.


    2. Why ISIL’s Attacks on Shiites of Saudi Arabia Threaten World Economy
      By Juan Cole | May. 30, 2015 |

      Daesh (ISIL, ISIS) took responsibility for a terrorist attack Friday on the Shiite al-Husayn Mosque in Dammam, which left three victims dead. Saudi security forces are taking credit for spotting that the car the terrorists were driving was suspicious and preventing it from getting too near the mosque. But Shiites are saying that two youth from the mosque blocked the attackers and were blown up themselves.

      Relations were already bad between the ruling hyper-Sunni Wahhabis and the Shiite minority before the bombings this month.
      Saudi Arabia produces 10.3 million barrels a day of petroleum. The whole world only produces 93 million barrels a day, so Saudi Arabia is doing like 11 percent of world production.

      When you say Saudi Arabia has petroleum, you are really talking about the Eastern Province along the Gulf littoral. There’s something demographically distinctive about that area. It has traditionally had a big Shiite population. Most of the kingdom’s 2.4 million or so Shiites (out of a citizen population of a little over 20 million) live in the Eastern Province where the oil is. Significant numbers of the workers on the oil rigs are Shiite.

      ISIL and the other al-Qaeda ofshoots in the Eastern Province is trying to provoke Saudi Shiites against their own government. If they succeed, Eastern Province could go up in flames. And with it, 11% of the world’s petroleum. The impact on world energy prices would be enormous (it wouldn’t be an 11 percent impact but an exponential one.)

      Iranian press is reporting demonstrations Friday in Shiite cities like Qatif, but cannot confirm.

    3. The Shits verses the Suns..

      the opening act has happened...

      Of course it will get interesting when those attacks start happening INSIDE Iran.

  40. Deuce ☂Sat May 30, 05:26:00 PM EDT
    Will the US Congress ever get off its knees?

    They do suck a lot of Saudi cock.

  41. Israel's regional nuclear monopoly, which has proved remarkably durable for the past four decades, has long fueled instability in the Middle East. In no other region of the world does a lone, unchecked nuclear state exist. It is Israel's nuclear arsenal, not Iran's desire for one, that has contributed most to the current crisis. Power, after all, begs to be balanced. What is surprising about the Israeli case is that it has taken so long for a potential balancer to emerge.

    The current crisis is not Israel. It's Iran's pursuit of nukes and calls for the tumor of Israel to be cut out all the while supplying billions in logistics, aid and rockets to hezbollah and hamas.

    Of course Iran's take over of Syria and the killing of 300,000 and the refugee crisis of 11,000,000 has done wonders for the Sunni (ISIS) backlash.

    Israel is not the issue, of course others will point their fingers at Israel but the issue is the Shia verses the Sunnis.

    1. That's why folks are SILENT about the iranian/syrian/hezbollah murder of over 10,000 palestinians (among the 300,000) and are screaming about israel's "overreaction" in gaza....


      Gets funnier by the day.

  42. Of course, it is easy to understand why Israel wants to remain the sole nuclear power in the region and why it is willing to use force to secure that status. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq to prevent a challenge to its nuclear monopoly. It did the same to Syria in 2007 and is now considering similar action against Iran.

    Think of a world that would have allowed Saddam or Assad to get nukes...

    Then say thank you to Israel.

  43. >>>The Times of India wrote Wednesday of New Delhi, which is in the grip of an unrelenting and deadly heat wave.<<<

    The Times of India has some financial connection with the Wall Street Journal.

    I was published in the Time of India once, having come in second and late in a contest at the Journal on a slow news day, for best thoughts on the killing of a dog on the LA freeway during a traffic jam.

    The Journal had the Times of India publish my offering.

    I said the perp who beat the dog to death - the dog had jumped out of another car and attacked this guy's arm hanging out his open window - should plead not guilty to cruelty to animals and use the René Descartes Defense.

    Animals, according to Rene, were not because they do not think.

    "I think, therefore I am"

    Animals were a kind of robot put here for our use and pleasure, according to Rene.

    At most the dog killer could be held to some property damage liability.

    I told this story to my Niece. She doesn't, to put it mildly, think much of Rene Descartes.

    The guy that called from the Journal was very nice and complimentary, if I do say so myself.

    I was promised a copy of the Times of India when my little essay was published, it, yep, it came one day.

    hooody hooody

  44. Lord, that Susan Estrich has the voice of a Wiccan Witch.

    And the look too, truth to tell.

  45. Travel ban for 'Taliban 5' ends Sunday

    I wonder where they will go.

  46. Hmmm......

    The Supreme Court Could Transfer A Lot Of Political Power Away From Cities

    By David Wasserman and Harry Enten

    wasserman-feature-eligible-1 (4)

    This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit filed by conservative activists in Texas that could redefine the principle of “one person, one vote” as we know it. And if the Court sides with the plaintiffs, Republicans could stretch their already-historic majorities in the House and state legislatures even wider — the GOP would be helped just slightly in presidential elections.

    Is Congress’s job to represent people, or just voters? Currently, all states are required to redraw their political boundaries based on the Census’s official count of total population every 10 years, which includes minors and noncitizen immigrants. But the Texas plaintiffs argue that states should be allowed to apportion seats based on where only U.S. citizens over 18 years of age live.

    It seems like a minor detail, but it’s actually a major distinction. The decennial Census doesn’t track citizenship data, but the Census’s American Community Survey does. And although all 435 U.S. congressional districts have roughly equal total populations, the number of eligible voters and rates of actual participation can vary wildly from place to place.

    For example, in Florida’s 11th District, home to the largely white retirement mecca of The Villages, 81 percent of all residents are adult citizens. But in California’s heavily Latino 34th District, anchored by downtown Los Angeles, only 41 percent of all residents are eligible to vote. The variations across districts in terms of actual turnout can be even more eye-popping. According to results compiled by Polidata for the Cook Political Report, Montana’s lone House district cast 483,932 votes for president in 2012, more than four times the tally in Texas’s 29th District, 114,901.

    A move toward counting only eligible voters, as logistically difficult as it may be, would drastically shift political power away from the urban environs with minorities and noncitizens, and toward whiter areas with larger native-born populations. That’s bad news for Democrats: Of the 50 congressional districts with the lowest shares of eligible voters, 41 are occupied by Democrats (nearly all are Latino-majority seats). Meanwhile, of the 50 districts with the highest shares of eligible voters, 38 are represented by the GOP.

    Most legal scholars are skeptical that this case will change the way House seats and Electoral College votes are apportioned to states every 10 years; after all, the Constitution pretty clearly references the role of the Census’s population count in this process.

    But let’s lay out a hypothetical for a minute.........

    1. I like it -

      "One voter, one vote"

      Why should millions of illegal border crossing Mexicans be counted in our Census ?

  47. Iran’s supreme leader screams ‘Death to America’ amid ongoing nuclear talks

    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

    Iran’s supreme leader rallied his country to endorse the ongoing nuclear negotiations with the US — while at the same time shouting, “Death to America!” along with the unruly crowd.
    Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the rowdy mob and derided the sanctions against his country, demanding they be removed at once and not gradually, the Times of Israel reported.
    “Sanctions must be lifted immediately,” Khamenei told the crowd.
    When the congregation broke out with an impromptu “Death to America” chant, Khamenei couldn’t help but chime in.
    “Of course, yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure,” he said.
    The supreme leader then went into a litany of perceived abuses by the US and other world powers.
    “They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said.

  48. .

    Deuce ☂Sat May 30, 05:24:00 PM EDT
    Israel will not be satisfied until the US is at war with Iran:

    Many observers have expressed concern that Israel could sabotage the Iran deal: fomenting a war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and soon, so that the Israel lobby flips out in the U.S. and Iran and the United States are suddenly at dagger points rather than at the table...

    Israel has been pushing this angle for several months. In February, 28 US lawmakers came to Israel’s aid and wrote the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon, demanding that the UN stop Hezbollah from rearming. The letter accused the UN of failing to enforce resolutions, including one that requires the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.”

    Deju Vu all over again. We have seen this all play out with the Israelis before. It is SOP for Bibi’s Israel.

    Less than a year ago, Bibi was using the excuse that he couldn’t negotiate with Abbas because he didn’t represent ALL the Palestinians. After the peace talks were scuttled, the PA and Hamas agreed to form a unified government. This eliminated Bibi’s excuse so he had to come up with another excuse. In an effort the thwart the agreement Bibi, claiming Hamas was a terrorist organization, cut off all funds to the PA and Hamas, tax funds they were owed. [The US supported Israel by also cutting funds.]

    Despite the funds being cut off, the PA and Hamas continued with their reconciliation so Bibi required another excuse. While the world was distracted watching ISIS roll through Anbar, Bibi got his chance. A murder of three Israeli youths was turned into a three week race-baiting soap opera by the authorities in order to create an excuse to arrest Hamas leadership in the West Bank and the eventual invasion of Gaza.

    Now, in order to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, we see the same soap opera playing out with Lebanon and Hezbollah. The same distractions to mask their intentions. The same charges. The same excuses. It’s been going on for a couple of months now. I have little doubt we will see Israel invading Lebanon (and possibly Syria) this summer. [Once again, IMO, the US is getting ready to play their part in this fiasco. There is already talk of the US establishing a no-fly zone in Syria.] All designed to try to sell their bullshit to the public.


    1. Quirk, your analysis is breath taking....

      Seriously, I can only wonder at your grasp of the geo politics...

      I can only hope that someday soon, an enemy of the USA starts to treat you and yours the way the Palestinians treat the Israelis.

    2. .

      I make fun of rat’s constant referrals to the Yinon Plan. I do it only because it was written by a nobody whose predictive powers as exhibited in the paper itself were sadly wanting. It wasn’t an official strategy paper but it did suggest a strategy. The strategy itself, divide and conquer is as old as dirt. However, Yinon did recognize the fragile nature of the various governments in countries surrounding Israel. He also expressed explicitly the dream certain Zionist intellectuals and politicians have held going back to the beginnings of the 1900’s, a Greater Israel. While there has been various views on the size of that Greater Israel they all seemed to contain all of Palestine (Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza), a good portion of Lebanon and Syria, a chunk of Jordon, and the Sinai. While this kind of sets a minimum, a hegemon is a hegemon, is a hedgemon. A hegemon will expand as long as they are allowed to.

      Perhaps, I owe rat an apology for criticizing his use of a short cut to describe Israeli policy going back 15 years before Yinon’s paper was written.

      The bottom line, given the right-wing bent in Israeli society and politics, is there is zero chance the Palestinians will get their state through negotiations. Bibi has the unfortunate habit of opening his mouth and telling us so. And even though it is Bibi saying it, I still believe it is true. That being said, the only way Israel can now maintain their Kabuki is to stir things up ever so often and ‘mow the grass’. Oh yea, and blame it all on everyone else.

      As for ‘Greater Israel’, those territories beyond Israel and the occupied territories, it’s been a dream of certain Zionists since the beginning. We only have to look at the speeches and views of right-wing parties and politicians in Israel today to see those aspirations haven’t died. We see it in the charges and the excuses used by the Israeli government. They are in the process of building a case for invasion that they can attempt to sell to the MSM here and in the world. The US will do their usual job of helping them spread that propaganda.

      Look for an Israeli incursion into Lebanon and/or Syria sometime this summer. It will be made under the usual pretenses and with hopes it goes fairly unnoticed given the ongoing war with ISIS there. The US will do their part to support Israel's invasion where they can.

      Just as Obama will do his best to get that nuclear deal with Iran, Bibi will do everything he can to scuttle the deal. The pattern was set last summer in Gaza.


    3. The bottom line, given the right-wing bent in Israeli society and politics, is there is zero chance the Palestinians will get their state through negotiations. Bibi has the unfortunate habit of opening his mouth and telling us so. And even though it is Bibi saying it, I still believe it is true. That being said, the only way Israel can now maintain their Kabuki is to stir things up ever so often and ‘mow the grass’. Oh yea, and blame it all on everyone else.

      The Palestinians had a chance to have a state if they accepted a jewish state and compromised on the very concept of refugees returning to palestine and not Israel.

      But the palestinians choose to unify with hamas, a group committed to the genocide of the jewish people and the destruction of Israel.

      That is their choice, they made it.

      Israel cannot and will not commit suicide for peace.

    4. Look for an Israeli incursion into Lebanon and/or Syria sometime this summer. It will be made under the usual pretenses and with hopes it goes fairly unnoticed given the ongoing war with ISIS there. The US will do their part to support Israel's invasion where they can.

      If Hezbollah shoot rockets or attempts to import advanced Iranian weapons? yep there will be a war.

      Maybe if the tunnels that hezbollah are digging INTO israel are discovered it will spark a war...

      All israel's fault of course...

      Maybe if Hamas shoots of enough rockets there will be a war with gaza, all israel's fault of course.