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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Obama Must Have Known That Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton and the Neocons Were Losers, But He Blew It. Here Is How He Can Fix It.

The Neocon Dream in Syria: the staggering human toll. More than 6.5 million Syrians are now displaced, impoverished, and adrift inside their own country. Another four million have become refugees, spilling into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and more recently heading for Europe in staggering numbers.

Whatever happened to the “imperial presidency”? In mid-September, in the midst of the serial collapse of a $500-million Pentagon program to train “moderate” Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), President Obama suddenly claimed, through White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, that it wasn’t really either his program or his fault. He was only the president, after all.  In fact, he had, in essence, been forced into it. Here’s the way Peter Baker of the New York Times put it:
“But the White House says it is not to blame. The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place -- a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton... In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now been vindicated in his original judgment.”
The right wing, not surprisingly, had a field day with this explanation and who could blame them? After all, as commander-in-chief, a twenty-first-century American president can essentially order the U.S. military to do just about anything, just about anywhere, without having to worry much about Congress or anyone else. Indeed, Obama did exactly this when he launched Syrian War 1.0 in  September 2014 under a congressional resolution from 2001 allowing “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” That moment, of course, long preceded the rise of ISIS. Yet Congress barely weighed in, passing no new or updated resolution to authorize this particular war or, for that matter, Iraq War 3.0. It did, however, put a stamp of approval on, and $500 million into, the training program for Syrian rebels.
Given the ultimate power of a president -- especially one finishing up his second term in office and hardly beholden to a Republican Congress -- to say “no,” Obama’s explanation for the dismal failure of part of this country’s war policy is, in its admission of weakness, possibly unique in the annals of the modern White House. It may indeed have reflected his own doubts from the beginning about what a war in Syria and Iraq could produce other than a quagmire of the first order. (That, of course, is something he now predicts the Russians are in for, and who should know better?) Whatever he may say and whatever fears he may have harbored, he now owns the Syrian and Iraq wars, whether he likes it or not. Those linked conflicts represent the flowering (or is it withering?) of what Juan Cole has dubbed the Obama Doctrine of airborne counterinsurgency (which Russian President Vladimir Putin has essentially just put his own stamp of approval on).
By now, Obama must sense that his doctrine has visibly failed. What he owns is a war policy in the Greater Middle East that is tottering in Afghanistan and dead on arrival in Iraq and Syria, which means it’s certainly a propitious moment for something new from a president who previously couldn’t say no.

Of course, under the circumstances, you might wonder what’s left to be done. But as TomDispatch regulars Jo Comerford and Mattea Kramer suggest today, there is indeed another avenue to head down, one the president has already taken successfully with Iran, and it goes by the quaint name of diplomacy. Tom


Putting Out the Syrian Fire 
Can Diplomacy Do What War Couldn’t? 
By Jo Comerford and Mattea Kramer
As war between President Bashar al-Assad and various rebel forces raged across Syria, as the Obama administration and the CIA armed rebel factions of their liking while continuing an air campaign against the militants of the Islamic State (ISIS), as Russia entered the quagmire with its own airstrikes, and as millions of Syrians fled for their lives amid untold violence, a Connecticut congressman decided to do something.
At the end of September, Connecticut Representative Jim Himes, a House Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, corralled 54 of his colleagues into sending a letter to President Obama calling for the start of international negotiations that would include Iran and Russia and be aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. President Obama is reportedly listening.
This could prove to be a critical turning point in a brutal conflict that has, until now, seemed without end -- not because Himes has a quick, sure-to-succeed solution, but because every other course of action is overwhelmingly likely to fail. To understand why, it’s necessary to take a brief look backward.
Pouring Gasoline on Syria’s Fire
More than four years ago, in 2011, passionate Arab Spring protesters rose up to overthrow despised leaders from Tunisia to Libya, Egypt to Yemen. In Syria, citizens filled the streets, voicing their opposition to the murderous regime of President Bashar al-Assad. His government responded by unleashing its military on the protesters. Some of them, along with soldiers from Assad’s forces, went on to form the Free Syrian Army (FSA), thanks, in part, to financing from the CIA and the Saudis, and a civil war began. As months of fighting turned into years, hundreds of thousands of civilians died, and millions more were uprooted.
In the process, more extreme factions among the rebels, including the al-Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front, gained ever greater traction, while ISIS spread across parts of Syria and Iraq, proclaiming a “caliphate” and drawing foreign volunteers by the thousands. ISIS had grown and prospered within the mayhem and power vacuum created by the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq and then its dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s army. (Some future ISIS leaders, in fact, first met inside U.S. military prison camps during those years.)
Turning the fog of the Syrian civil war to its advantage, ISIS claimed ever more land in northern Syria and, emboldened, launched an offensive in Iraq, routing the army the U.S. had created there and taking the country’s second largest city, Mosul. But ISIS was more than a brutal, terrorist insurgency. It was also a darkly savvy PR operation. In September 2014, it filmed beheadings of American prisoners and put them online.
That was the moment when the U.S. public really began paying attention to Syria.
And so, just over a year ago, relying on a 2001 authorization to wage war against al-Qaeda, President Obama ordered the first of what are now more than 7,000 airstrikes against ISIS, stationed thousands of U.S. military advisers and trainers in Iraq, and soon launched what would be a disastrous program to vet, arm, and train “moderate” Syrian rebels to counter the militants of the Islamic State.
In the year that followed, the Syrian refugee crisis escalated dramatically, thanks to the growing strength of ISIS, the brutality of the Syrian regime, and an ever more violent civil war. The entry of the U.S. and other countries into the conflict likely only increased the chaos and misery.
As a result, Lebanon alone, with a population of around 4.5 million, has taken in more than a million refugees.  In other words, approximately one in every five people in that country is now a refugee from Syria. And while Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey have struggled to accommodate this deluge of asylum seekers, refugee Syrian families endure chronic and debilitating poverty, inadequate health care, and lack of access to education for their children.
Enter Russia, Stage Right
Just a couple of weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a longstanding supporter of Assad, launched his own air war against ISIS. On September 30th, soon after Russian explosives began dropping, reports started to surface that they were hitting FSA fighters and infrastructure. In other words, Russia was dropping bombs on some of the rebels who have been receiving support from Washington.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter promptly (and accurately) accused Russia of “pouring gasoline on a fire.” And he would know, since the U.S. has been among the biggest gas pourers of all.
According to the National Priorities Project, U.S. taxpayers have already forked over an astonishing $6.5 billion in the administration’s failed air war against ISIS, even as Pentagon officials acknowledge that airstrikes alone won’t snuff out the terrorists or their “caliphate.”
Meanwhile, Congress allocated $500 million for the failed “train and equip program” that was meant to produce 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. That program yielded only a handful of fighters, some of whom the al-Nusra Front reportedly kidnapped or killed. Some American-supplied trucks and ammunition were also turned over to Nusra Front fighters.
Yes, you read that correctly. The U.S. effectively supplied arms to al-Qaeda in Syria, just as -- thanks to the collapse of Iraqi army units, which abandoned their equipment in Mosul, Ramadi, and elsewhere -- we in effect helped equip ISIS, too. How’s that for gasoline?
What matters most, however, is the staggering human toll of all this. More than 6.5 million Syrians are now displaced, impoverished, and adrift inside their own country. Another four million have become refugees, spilling into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and more recently heading for Europe in staggering numbers.
Their misery and utter desperation are beyond imagining as they push off rocky coasts heading for Europe, clinging to shoddy rubber rafts, or are crammed into suffocating cargo trucks -- sometimes to be met on arrival by water cannons and tear gas. A Syrian father recently laid bare the choices his family faced. Asked why he was “risking the lives of his children on an illegal and potentially lethal seaborne passage,” he answered, "in Syria, they are dead already."
A Congressman Decides to Do Something
Until Congressman Himes sat down to write his letter, there had been remarkably little talk of international negotiations as an alternative to this endless devastation. It should be clear enough by now that continued violence, with ever more parties joining the fray, will bring only what it’s brought for the past four years: chaos and destruction. While some war hawks in Washington have previously urged more “decisive” military action to oust Assad as well as destroy the Islamic State, that path would most likely leave Syria in still greater chaos -- and ripe for further exploitation by ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, and other extremist outfits.
Negotiations it must be. They won't be quick or easy. It’s a guarantee, in fact, that they'll be messy and wrenching. When it comes to Syria, that's nothing new. But diplomacy does promise gains over the situation as it stands today. The hard-nosed and principled diplomatic negotiations involving the U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany around Iran’s nuclear program prevailed when naysayers swore that they would fail. They stand as a remarkable example of what’s possible when nations resolve conflicts with diplomacy instead of bloodshed.
Philip Gordon, the former White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, has laid out a blueprint for how such negotiations might proceed on Syria. All the international players would have to be brought to the table, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Gordon notes that, since this group includes vehement supporters of Assad as well as those who are invested in his departure, negotiators would have to postpone any decision about Assad's fate and focus first on common interests.
And there are common interests -- in de-escalating the violence, addressing the refugee crisis, and defunding and defeating ISIS. Shared objectives might include negotiating localized ceasefires between the government and rebel forces and establishing a structure in which representatives of Assad’s regime could begin a dialogue with the rebels. Then the group of negotiating nations could turn its focus to ISIS. Indeed, the ongoing wars and the disintegrating states of the region have created a fertile habitat for that terrorist group to spread its radical agenda and claim new ground. A de-escalation of the civil war, paired with meaningful humanitarian aid and cohesive and coordinated international efforts against ISIS, could prove the best hope for changing the fate and fortunes of the region.
Here, Washington bears responsibility -- both to quit pouring gasoline and to help repair some of the devastation. President Obama has recently taken modest steps in the right direction, ending the failed program to train moderate Syrian rebels and stating his willingness to work with Russia and Iran to find a solution to the civil war. Yet these positive developments come as the U.S. renews its pledge not to train but to equip “vetted leaders” of rebel groups with new weaponry (including TOW anti-tank missiles), and as tensions and fighting escalate not just between Assad and the rebels but also, by proxy, between the U.S. and Russia. That will make finding a diplomatic solution all the more difficult, yet all the more urgent.
A Path to a Different History
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been roundly criticized by the international community for its closed-door policy toward the millions of Syrians who are running for their lives. While Germany will have admitted 800,000 of them by year's end, the U.S. has taken in only 1,500 to date. For that reason mayorsfaith leaders, and thousands of ordinary citizens are calling for more refugees to be welcomed into our country.
It appears that this movement has helped build a political appetite for such an approach, as some members of Congress are now demanding that the U.S. admit tens of thousands more Syrians and expand humanitarian aid. President Obama has announced an increase to 10,000 refugees next year, but some lawmakers are advocating taking in 10 times more. In a letter co-signed by 26 of his Senate colleagues, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut compared the paltry number the Obama administration has announced to the more than 700,000 Vietnamese the U.S. admitted in the years after the Vietnam War. They insist that on this subject Washington must not “sit on the sidelines.”
Another step in the right direction came from a bipartisan duo in the Senate. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Patrick Leahy of Vermont unveiled legislation to provide $1 billion in humanitarian aid for the refugees, noting that the Syrian crisis “dwarfs anything we have seen for decades.” Such funding could be used to resettle Syrian refugees more quickly as well as to provide immediate lifesaving assistance, since the World Food Program has run out of money to feed the millions of Syrians currently outside its camps and has been forced to make painful cuts even within its settlements. The approach of winter threatens food supplies still further, leaving some refugees so desperate that they are returning to war-torn Syria.
If asylum and humanitarian aid are essential measures to heal the wounds of millions, diplomatic negotiations are essential for preventing a future crisis that could leave this one in the shade.
As Russian missiles rain down alongside American ones, as ever more groups, nations, and areas are embroiled in the Syrian conflict, as yet more innocent blood is spilled, it’s obviously time for international negotiations to finally begin.  Diplomacy doesn’t promise a speedy end to the almost unfathomable suffering in the region, but it does offer a potential path to a different history, a path away from ceaseless violence and toward the imperfect rule of law.
Jo Comerford is a national campaign director for, helping lead that group’s Syria-related organizing, and Mattea Kramer is a writer. Both are senior advisors at the National Priorities Project and TomDispatchregulars.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.



  1. ”Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life,” Putin said through a translator. “I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”

    1. The Bernie Sanders speech of 1991 ought to be mandatory in every US school. 1991 - 2015

      “Do you realize what WE have done?”



    If the Republican presidential primary race were a Thanksgiving dinner, Donald Trump would be the crazy old uncle who drinks too much and says outrageous things that embarrass everyone at the table. Sometimes those things are embarrassing because they’re brazenly bigoted, or absurdly boastful, or otherwise generally unconnected to reality. But occasionally he says something embarrassing precisely because it’s true.

    Trump’s repeated tweaking of Jeb Bush for Bush’s preposterous claim that his brother “kept us safe” during his presidency falls into the latter category. Trump’s mockery is of course more than justified. On its face, Jeb’s claim would be analogous to Exxon boasting about its record of keeping the Alaskan coastline mostly free from oil spills, or the governor of Texas taking pride in executing mostly guilty defendants.

    Jeb’s defense of his brother on this score is patently absurd, but this should not obscure the fact that, in making the claim, Jeb is merely repeating many years of GOP dogma. That George W. Bush kept the nation safe from terrorism, is, bizarrely enough, something that Republicans argued constantly when he was in office. The argument was (and continues to be) that W. shouldn’t be held responsible for by far the worst terrorist attack in American history, even though his administration was warned about it in advance, because he only had nine months to do something about it, and Al Qaeda was already around at the time he took office, and also Al Gore is fat.


  3. {...}

    But in all seriousness, the genuinely freakish doublethink Republicans indulge in on this subject requires further explanation. Two factors help explain why it’s possible and indeed commonplace for people to give Jeb’s younger brother a kind of historical mulligan in regard to terrorism, to the point where it’s necessary for Crazy Uncle Donald to remind everyone that the whole 9/11 thing happened well into W’s presidency.

    First, consider the power of what sociologists call “framing.” The cultural frame that the Republican party has so successfully managed to build up since the days of Ronald Reagan is one in which Democrats are weak—kneed appeasers and semi-pacifists, while the GOP is the party of strong, war-like Daddy figures, who know how to deal with foreign threats with unsentimental ruthlessness.

    You would think it would be impossible to assimilate the 9/11 terrorist attacks to this frame, but you would be wrong. Such is the power of this pre-ordained narrative that, when America suffered a catastrophic terrorist attack under a Republican president, this inconvenient fact was, for enormous numbers of people, magically whisked down a kind of collective memory hole.

    The power of this frame to distort perception is evident if we consider a counter-factual in which something like the 9/11 attacks happened during the term of any Democratic president. Imagine if 3,000 Americans had been murdered by foreign terrorists nine months into the Obama administration. It’s almost inconceivable that it would occur to anyone to claim subsequently that Obama had “kept us safe,” because such a claim wouldn’t be supported by the powerful distortions of a cultural frame that turned the combat-dodging ne’er do well son of George H.W. Bush into some sort of heroic warrior.



      Second, not ascribing any blame to W. for 9/11 was and is another way of treating the events of that terrible day as a kind of inexplicable cataclysm, that was visited upon the nation by irrational and cowardly evildoers, whose motivations were either impossible to understand, or wholly irrelevant, or both. To try to ascribe any responsibility to the Bush administration for letting 9/11 happen could lead to uncomfortable questions of, among other things, whether and to what extent American foreign policy had played a role in creating the conditions that allowed those attacks to happen.

      It’s understandable that, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, almost no one wanted to consider such questions. Fourteen years later, we no longer have any excuse not to do so – and that applies especially to GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

      Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

  4. Of course American Foreign Policy played a role. Who ever bought the bullshit?

  5. you have netanyahu on the brain.

    Syria is Assad and Iran's cup of shit.


    Canada's Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rode a late campaign surge to a stunning election victory on Monday, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives with a promise of change and returning a touch of glamor, youth and charisma to Ottawa.

    Canada's major television networks projected the Liberals' victory and the party was on the cusp of a majority.

    While the final vote count was not yet complete, Trudeau's Liberals were on track to win 174 of Parliament's 338 seats, according to Elections Canada.

    Trudeau, 43, the photogenic son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, vaulted from third place to lead the polls in the final days of the campaign, overcoming Conservative attacks that he is too inexperienced and unintelligent to govern.

    The projected win ends the Conservatives' nine-year run in power and reflected a political shift away from Harper's brand of fiscal and cultural conservatism. The Conservatives were projected to become the official opposition in Parliament, with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in third.

  7. What a relief it must be for Canada to get rid of the dreadful Netanharper.

    1. .

      It won't change foreign policy much.


    2. Initially you are correct but the Christian - Zionist chokehold has seen its peak. Obama will be very smart to come to an agreement on Syria and end the 15 year human neocon and Saudi disaster in the Middle East.

  8. Iran’s vice president told The Associated Press on Sunday his country is preparing for a “tsunami” of foreign tourists as Iran and world powers are set to begin implementing a landmark nuclear deal that will lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

    Masoud Soltanifar, who is also Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization chief, said President Hassan Rouhani's moderate policies and the easing of visa rules are opening the door for the return of foreign tourists to Iran.

    A country rich in historical and cultural treasures, Iran will unveil an investment package of 1,300 projects in the coming days to attract foreign investment and boost the badly-hit tourism industry. Iran is home to 19 UNESCO-registered sites.

    Even before sanctions are lifted, the number of foreigners visiting Iran has grown 12 percent in each of the past two years. In 2014, Iran hosted over 5 million tourists, bringing in some $7.5 billion in revenue.

  9. Iran is a beautiful country, with kind ordinary hard working people. Iran will flourish and become the premier country in the Middle East.

    1. Country is beautiful it's rulers are islamic nazis.

      Iran will murder and spread it's Shiite revolution wherever possible.

      Iran hangs it's gays, stones it's women, kidnaps and tortures westerners and of course supports the murder of Jews across the globe.

      But Deuce loves it..

      Hmmm I wonder why.

  10. Washington: The United States and Europe have begun preparing to lift the trade sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy, as a historic nuclear deal came into effect.

    The procedure to lift the embargo began 90 days after the UN Security Council endorsed the accord signed in Vienna in July, a milestone referred to as “Adoption Day."

    But foreign firms will not be able to resume ties with Iran’s oil industry and banks right away -- sanctions will remain in place until Iran fulfills its end of the bargain.

    The next stage in the process -- "implementation day" - will only come when UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA confirms Iran has dramatically scaled back its nuclear program. Iran said that lengthy process will probably start this week.

    Envoys of the deal signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- will meet today in Vienna to form a commission to oversee the implementation of the accord.

  11. Scotland sets sights on trade with Iran

  12. EU to announce end to Iran sanctions Sunday: Report
    International-Payvand-Oct 17, 2015

    1. The EU is dead.

      May Iran and the EU enjoy each other...

  13. Agency sees opportunities in Cuba, Iran
    TOKYO -- South Korea's trade promotion agency plans to help enterprises make forays into Cuba and Iran amid the easing of economic sanctions on the two countries.

    "Big opportunities are coming to Cuba and Iran, with markets that were once closed due to the sanctions opening up all at once," Jeohong Kim, president of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, told The Nikkei in an interview.

  14. France Opens Trade Office in Iran
    New York Times-Sep 21, 2015
    TEHRAN — France opened a trade office in Tehran on Monday, leading the charge of European countries angling for a share of the Iranian

  15. Textile Machinery In Iran With Italian Trade Mission
    Textile World Magazine-Oct 16, 2015
    MILAN, Italy — October 15, 2016 — Iran has historically been a primary trading partner for Italy's textile machinery industry. Indeed ...

  16. China ties lose lustre as Iran refocuses on trade with west
    Financial Times-Sep 23, 2015
    “What is definite is that the speed of growth of trade with China will decrease as of 2017, when the risks of business with Iran will decline,

  17. German government backs investment in Iran: Steinmeier
    Tehran Times-Oct 18, 2015
    Steinmeier made the remarks in a meeting in Tehran with Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Ne'matzadeh.

    1. Germany has a long history of murdering Jews....

      They will feel quite at home in Iran

  18. British Finance Minister wants to send a trade mission to Iran
    Fortune-Sep 25, 2015
    ... UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that he wanted to take what might be “Britain's biggest-ever trade delegation to Iran.”.

    1. Cant wait for Iran to hijack some more British Sailors....

    2. Almost as bad as the Israeli killing of American Sailors.


    Israel, Iran trade barbs at U.N. disarmament panel meeting
    Business Insider-Oct 9, 2015
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israel and Iran exchanged sharp criticisms at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee ...

  20. Someday soon the world will react to Iran and it's war machine and it will not be pretty...

    Meanwhile Deuce and others will appease the Mullahs...

  21. Bangladesh: The Real Winner in the Iran Nuclear Deal?
    The National Interest Online-Oct 4, 2015
    Bangladesh-Iran trade has increased by over 36 percent from 2005 to 2013. Exports to Iran increased from $38.09 million to $75.41 million in ...
    Iran, Croatia to expand trade, cultural ties
    International-Mehr News Agency - English Version-Oct 3, 2015

  22. Iran’s ‘staggering’ execution spree: nearly 700 put to death in just over six months

    23 July 2015, 00:01 UTC

    The Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July 2015, said Amnesty International today, in an unprecedented spike in executions in the country.

    This is equivalent to executing more than three people per day. At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International for the whole of last year.

    “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    These are Deuce's peeps...


  23. No, the World will see Netanyahu for the lying skunk he has always been.

    1. Good luck with that Deuce.

      As we speak Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia are killing scores of syrians.

      You have a hard one against Israel and it's people, all while you live in America as an occupier of the natives lands here.

      What makes you special?

    2. No one can correct the sins and atrocities of the past. Everyone has an obligation to end them in the present and prevent them in the future. How a Jew, as you claim to be cannot embrace that, it beyond me.


    The UK's enthusiasm for renewing bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic has created disquiet among Israel's supporters. The Jewish state believes Iran represents an existential threat to its survival and , Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cmapaigned furiously to torpedo the nuclear deal.

    Arieh Miller, executive director of the Zionist Federation, called on the UK government to reconsider the threat Iran posed to Israel.

    The Jewish Chronicle reported the he warned: "I think a lot of people will feel very uneasy about the prospect of the UK unquestioningly building trade links with Iran.

    "Many will wonder how the corresponding financial benefits will bolster a theocratic regime opposed to human rights and democracy at home, and the existence of a Jewish state abroad."

    He added: "Only this week the commander of Iran's army said that his forces will destroy Israel, and that he backs Tehran's support for terror groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas. These statements are, unfortunately, as regular as they are appalling.

    1. Sorry Deuce, the Jews of the world will not lay as sheep any more...

      If fact you pointed your bony finger at the Jews for not fighting the nazis of Germany..

      Well Deuce, we have listened, we are fighting the nazis of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

      Get used to it.

      The Jews will not stand quietly as the world embraces the Jew hating islamic nazis of the world.

    2. Well Deuce, we have listened, we are fighting the nazis of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

      Please, the IDF may have murdered some Iranian scientists, attacked Syria while it fought a civil war and got its clock cleaned by Hezbollah but you will have to tell us about the other great battles against the “nazis" in the past and the present.

  25. Persian food is unlike anything you have ever tasted. Add some Shiraz wine...the company of one of the incredibly beautiful Iranian women...

    1. Jews have lived in Persia for thousands of years, Do you remember Cyrus? he was a zionist too...

  26. Deuce since your loyalty is with Iran, your love is with Iran...

    When will you go public and tell us that you are in fact in the employ of Iran as a foreign agent?

  27. Hmmm.....I don't have a lot of faith in Bernie as a Commander - in - Chief.

    But who knows, maybe his inner Zionist will come out, and he will do the right thing, and blast the Iranian nuclear program to smithereens.

    In the meantime, it is my Niece I am worrying about -

    German anti-Islam protest swells on fears about refugee influx
    Reuters By Michelle Martin
    7 hours ago


    People gather for an anti-immigration demonstration organised by PEGIDA in Dresden

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    People gather for an anti-immigration demonstration organised by rightwing movement Patriotic Europeans …

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    DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) - The German anti-Islam movement PEGIDA staged its biggest rally in months on Monday, sparked into fresh life on its first anniversary by anger at the government's decision to take in hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East.

    PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, almost fizzled out earlier this year when its leader resigned after a photo was published of him posing as Hitler.

    But it has swelled again as Germany implements Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to accept a tide of refugees that could exceed a million this year, as she argues that Germany can not only cope but, with its aging population, will benefit in the long term.

    Police declined to estimate the number of protesters but media put it at 15-20,000, somewhat below a peak of around 25,000 in January. Around 14,000 counter-demonstrators urged people to welcome refugees rather than whip up opposition.

    PEGIDA supporters waved the national flag and carried posters bearing slogans such as "Hell comes with fake refugees" and "Every people should have its country, not every people a piece of Germany".
    View gallery
    Riot police separate people holding a German flag and …
    Riot police separate people holding a German flag and on their way to attend an anti-immigration dem …

    Gathering outside Dresden's historic opera house, the Semperoper, PEGIDA supporters chanted "Deport! Deport!" and "Merkel must go!".

    1. "We're just normal people who are scared of what's coming," said 37-year-old Patrick, a car mechanic. "As a German citizen who pays taxes, you feel like you're being taken for a ride."

      Lutz Bachmann, the leader who resigned, told the rally: "Politicians attack and defame us and the lowest tricks are used to keep our mouths shut. We are threatened with death, there are attacks on our vehicles and houses and we are dragged through the mud, but we are still here ... And we will triumph!"


      The counter-demonstrators marched through the town chanting: "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!"
      View gallery
      People gather for an anti-immigration demonstration …
      People gather for an anti-immigration demonstration organised by rightwing movement Patriotic Europe …

      As many German municipalities struggle to house and support the wave of migrants, criticism of Merkel's policy has grown, her ratings have slipped, and there have been arson attacks on refugee centers.

      Simone Peter, leader of the Greens party and one of the counter-demonstrators, told Reuters: "We're for diversity and an open, colorful society, not hatred and violence ... the people who incite with right-wing slogans add fuel to the fire of the arsonists."

      PEGIDA has more than 172,000 'Likes' on its Facebook page and wants Germany to stop taking asylum seekers immediately.

      Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Sunday that PEGIDA's organizers were "hard right-wing extremists" and everyone who attended their demonstrations "should know that they are running after rat catchers".

      Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University, said PEGIDA and the right-wing Alternative for Germany party were being allowed by the government to define how the refugee crisis was perceived by many people.

      "What seems to be worrying a lot of people now is that people from different cultures are coming here, and they don't know how they will integrate, and that's quite a diffuse fear, and that's now being exploited by some political forces."

      (Additional reporting by Noah Barkin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

      I have told her to stay the hell away from the demonstrations.

  28. You've taken up eating Persian food ?


    That says something....just what, I am not certain.

    Good Night

    Cheers !

    1. (I recall how Quirk took up tacos after hooking up with Maria)

  29. Obama is at 51% in new poll from ABC/Wash Post (the only pollster that is, currently, recreating the demographics from the last two Presidential Elections.)

    Good News for Dems

  30. Reuters

    Russian air strikes in Syria killed 45 people including a rebel commander in an insurgent-held area of Latakia province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

    Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based Observatory, said the air strikes on Monday evening targeted the Jabal al-Akrad area of the coastal province.

    He identified the rebel commander as chief of staff of the First Coastal Division group, a foreign-backed insurgent faction fighting under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army".

    1. Russian air strikes in Syria's Latakia province killed a rebel commander and four other fighters from a group armed by President Bashar al-Assad's foreign enemies, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday.

      The attack on Monday evening marked the third time Russian war planes have targeted the First Coastal Division group since Moscow began its air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad on Sept. 30, the group's spokesman Fadi Ahmad said.

      He said a further 15 civilians had been killed in the air strike in Jabal Akrad, a rural, mountainous area in the province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier put the death toll at 45 rebels and civilians.

      Wow 15 civilians killed and not a peep out of deuce about them...

      Well one standard for Israel and no standards for anyone else..

      eh Deuce?

      Why the silence?

    2. NICE selective editing deuce..


    WASHINGTON — The Army general in charge of the Pentagon’s failed $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels is leaving his job in the next few weeks, but is likely to be promoted and assigned a senior counterterrorism position here, American officials said on Monday.

    The officer, Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, is stepping down as commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, which made him responsible for the training program that ultimately produced only a few dozen fighters. That was a far cry from the 15,000 fighters that the program was going to train over a three-year period when it was formally started in December.

    The Obama administration this month abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle. The shift in the program made for a logical time for General Nagata to move on, said the American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the action had not yet been formally announced.



    RUSSIA’S power play in Syria appears to be paying off with the superpower making inroads against Islamic State and other extremist groups, leaving its American rivals looking ineffective and highlighting US failures in the region.

    When Russia decided to involve itself in the war in Syria, American officials accused it of “pouring gasoline on the fire” in Syria and being “unprofessional” for only giving the US an hour’s notice of its intention to launch air strikes.

    But just weeks later, Russia’s provocative move seems to be paying off.

    Professor Clive Williams of Macquarie University’s Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism told that Russia’s support had helped Syrian armed forces make advances in some contested areas and “clearly it has made a difference for them”

    Earlier this year, commentators were writing off the Syrian army and suggesting that the government’s days were numbered.
    With Russian air support, Syrians have been able to hit back against Islamic State in central and north-western regions, in a war that has stretched out for four years under the US’s watch.

    The US is opposed to the Syrian regime headed by brutal President Bashar al-Assad and has so far refused to help its troops, but Prof Williams said it was better for the Assad regime to be in power, than for the likely alternative of jihadist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra to prevail.

    “We know what Islamic State is capable of, they are obviously ruthless and clearly have an agenda to dominate other opposition groups,” he said.

    He said Russia’s success highlighted the US’s lack of strategy.

    “America doesn’t really have a strategy but Russia’s is clear cut,” he said, adding that Russia aimed to support Assad’s regime and its own strategic interests.

    While the US’s aim was to support Iraq and counter Islamic State, Prof Williams said what it was doing “was not really making much of a difference on the ground”.

    This was partly because the US did not want to put American boots on the ground and was limited in what it could achieve through air strikes.

    Iraqi forces backed by the US had corrupt leaders and were poorly motivated, and seemed to be militarily incapable of making advances against Islamic State.

    “They rely mainly on the Kurds to do the ground fighting and they are really only interested in establishing their own state,” Prof Williams said.


    1. HAS AMERICA FAILED? (Does the Russian Bear shit in the woods??)

      Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama admitted that his efforts to help resolve the Syria crisis had so far failed, but defended his strategy and dismissed assertions that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now the dominant world leader.

      “I didn’t say it was going to be done in a year,” Obama said in a US 60 Minutes interview. “Syria has been a difficult problem for the entire world community. What we have not been able to do so far — and I’m the first to acknowledge this — is to change the dynamic inside of Syria.”

      But this week former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger argued in The Wall Street Journal that Russia’s military action was the latest symptom of the “disintegration of the American role in stabilising the Middle East order”.

      He said the geopolitical alliances in the region were now in “shambles” and that four countries — Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — had ceased to function.

      “American policy has sought to straddle the motivations of all parties and is therefore on the verge of losing the ability to shape events,” Kissinger wrote.

      “The US is now opposed to, or at odds in some way or another with, all parties in the region: with Egypt on human rights, with Saudi Arabia over Yemen, with each of the Syrian parties over different objectives.”

      He said the US wanted to remove Assad but had been unwilling to generate effective political or military leverage to achieve that aim, or to put forward an alternative political structure to replace him. This had allowed Russia, Iran, Islamic State and other terrorist organisations to move into the vacuum.

      When asked whether America had failed, Prof Williams said: “I don’t think its strategy in the Middle East is very effective”.



      “It has involved itself in the war between Shia and Sunni Islam without understanding the dynamics of the situation.
      “In the longer term whatever America does isn’t going to be very effective.”

      He said the US needed to rethink its approach more generally in the Middle East, including its relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia, and whether there was a more effective way to counter Islamic State, by supporting Iranian and Shia militia forces in Iraq, for example.


      Overall if you looked at American involvement in the Middle East since the 1990s, Prof Williams said: “it has all been pretty disastrous in terms of long term outcomes”.

      Rather than having a clear objective, he said America seemed to “jump in” to conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia before pulling out after a few years.

      “I’m not sure whether Western involvement in the Middle East against Islamic State is really the answer,” Prof Williams said.
      “The situation in the Middle East is complicated and I think we need to step back and think about what sort of strategic outcomes we want and how best to achieve them.”

      He said that America’s best move to combat Islamic State could actually be to withdraw from the conflict and let regional countries sort out what is essentially a regional problem.


      “If we weren’t involved, Islamic State would also be less of a problem in Australia. They are attacking us at the moment because we are involved in attacking them,” he said.

      “We could pull out and let the Saudis and Iranians get on with it. The Saudis are fighting through proxies and so is Iran. Maybe there’s not much to be gained by us from being involved in that situation.”


      Last month Russia announced an intelligence-sharing agreement with Syria, Iran, and Iraq in their fight against Islamic State, a move The New York Times says caught US officials completely off guard.


      “It was another sign,” Michael Gordon wrote, that Russia “was moving ahead with a sharply different tack from that of the Obama administration in battling the Islamic State … by assembling a rival coalition that includes Iran and the Syrian government”.

      On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US would meet with Russian, Saudi and Turkish leaders to seek an end to the conflict in Syria.

      Allowing Syria to become a haven for terrorist operations would not benefit any of the nations, including Russia, which would be concerned that the influence of the extremist groups could reach into Muslim regions along its southern border.

      When asked whether Russia would be the winner in Syria, Prof Williams said it was in a much better position to be there in the longer term than the US.

      He said Russia had been accessing a naval base in Syria since the 1970s and was there at the invitation of the Syrian regime.

      The naval facility in Tartus has been in use since 1971, and it was Russia’s only spot in the Mediterranean where warships could stop for repairs and replenishment. This year Russia also established a forward air base nearby, in Latakia.

      “It’s not like they suddenly appeared on the scene to make life difficult for the Americans,” Prof Williams said, adding that Russia had an enduring strategic interest in Syria.

      “If it wants to be seen as a world player it needs access to foreign bases, access to the port in Syria is very important in that context.”

      Ultimately, he said Russia would probably be more effective against Islamic State because it had a clear mission to protect its military assets and support the Assad regime.


  33. Speaking at a forum in Moscow a week ago, Putin accused Western leaders of having “mush for brains” when it came to their strategy against the ISIS.

    “They tell us they don't want to cooperate with us and we're bombing the wrong targets,” Putin said. “Well then we say give us the targets where there are only 100 percent terrorists. Again they say no. Well then we asked them to give us targets where we shouldn't bomb. Again no answer,” he added to applause.

  34. From the Navy Times:

    he situation confronting the Naples, Italy-based 6th Fleet isn't pretty. Russian airplanes and warships are aggressively confronting U.S. and NATO forces after swallowing up a huge swath of eastern Ukraine a year ago. And Islamic State militants are spreading chaos into more regions of North Africa. These threats have the Navy's commanders in Europe raising alarms.

    "When you look at the security situation writ-large, at all the threats, there are significantly more as we exit 2015 and roll into 2016 at all points of the compass," said Vice Adm. James Foggo, head of the 6th Fleet, which directs the operations of ships, submarines and aircraft in Europe and swathes of Africa.

    In the north, Russia is creating bases in the Arctic and threatening NATO allies in the Baltic like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. To the east, Russia has continued to fuel war in Ukraine and has moved high-tech forces into the Black Sea, including a new attack submarine. To the south, the so-called Islamic State group has overrun a swath of Libya and is threatening to plunge the failed state into further turmoil.

    Foggo's boss warned in early October that Russia was constructing "an arc of steel" from the Arctic to the Baltic to Crimea in the Black Sea, putting in sophisticated capabilities that have all the markings of "a sea denial strategy aimed at NATO."

    "They are signaling us and warning us that the maritime domain is contested space," Adm. Mark Ferguson, the head of Naval Forces Europe-Africa, said. "In statements in public they have talked of establishing permanent presence in the Mediterranean, and breaking out from their perceived military encirclement by NATO, economic sanctions and political isolation."

    The rising threats have prompted observers to advocate for increasing U.S. carrier presence in the Mediterranean, a prospect that Foggo said he'd welcome but that he's not necessarily holding out for, given the demands on the Navy's resources.

  35. Syria’s parliament speaker says the achievements of the country’s armed forces together with the Russian Air Force over the past two weeks in the campaign against terrorists outweighs what the US and its allies achieved over the course of the past year.

    “Things that have been done for [the] last 15 days by Syria in cooperation with Russia exceed achievements of US-led alliance in the last year,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mohammad Jihad al-Laham as saying on Monday.

    Al-Laham said that, unlike the US, Russia’s stance against terrorism has been clear and would have positive results for the region.

    He said Americans claim they want to fight terrorists but it seems too big a challenge for them to undertake.

    The Syrian top parliamentarian further slammed what he called Washington’s “treacherous and deceptive policies” on the international arena.

    “Russia in its position of principles rehabilitated the norms of international law, which the US in its position was attempting to defame,” the Syrian official said.

    Russia started its air campaign against Daesh and other terrorists in Syria on September 30, after a request by the Syrian government.

    Syrian troops and allied volunteer fighters began a major offensive against terrorists near the northern city of Aleppo, the fourth Syria has launched since the Russian airstrikes over the past two weeks.


    The US and some of its allies have been carrying out air raids against what they say are Daesh positions in Iraq since August 2014. Since last September, some members of the US-led coalition have also been pounding purported Daesh positions inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

    Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed lives of more than 250,000 people so far and displaced millions.


    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — The top U.S. military officer landed in Iraq Tuesday to get an update on the battle against Islamic State militants, saying he sees no prospect right now for Russia to expand its airstrike campaign into the war-torn country.

    Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was making his first trip to the warzone since taking the top post on Oct. 1.

    He told reporters traveling with him that earlier reports that the Iraqi government wanted Russia to conduct airstrikes in Iraq are no longer in play. He said U.S. officials spoke with Iraqi leaders and were told no Russian strikes have been requested.

    Dun ford said he wants to talk with his commanders to get updates on battles in Beiji and Ramadi.

    “Being in the job about two weeks, one of the things I want to do is go over here, get eyes on, on the ground," Dunford said as his C-17 headed into Irbil.

    Dunford's flight into Iraq was suddenly delayed when Iraqis on the ground in Irbil refused to allow his C-17 aircraft to land because it's a cargo plane.

    Just before 9:30 a.m., local time, as Dunford’s plane approached Irbil, the crew was directed to fly instead to Baghdad.

    The change set off a flurry of activity on the plane, as military staff quickly yanked phones and cords out of containers to make urgent phone calls to officials on the ground, as the C-17 flew toward Baghdad. After about a half-hour, the aircraft got permission to land in Irbil.
    It was unclear what triggered the mix-up, but officials said the plane’s flight had been pre-approved by Iraqi leaders.


  37. Russia's fucked.


    Russia retreats to autarky as poverty looms
    Vladimir Putin is falling back on Soviet-era self-reliance as oil wealth evaporates and sanctions cut off vitally-needed technology

    A 1948 propaganda poster showing Stalin surrounded by admirers and reading 'Long live the Komsomol generation!' Photo: Alamy
    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Moscow

    4:23PM BST 18 Oct 2015

    Comments2675 Comments

    Russia is running out of money. President Vladimir Putin is taking a strategic gamble, depleting the Kremlin's last reserve funds to cover the budget and to pay for an escalating war in Syria at the same time.................

    Russia desperately needs a Bernie Sanders to spread the poverty around.

  38. EDIT your posts or Ill start editing them for you.

    Spread the poverty? Can you read? A US general blew $500 million on a Pentagon training scheme of the Syrian opposition. He graduated about five and all the arms and weapons provided to whomever are now killing Syrian human beings,

    He is getting promoted. Who is spreading poverty and killing?

    Did you even watch the 1991 video of Bernie Sanders and hear and comprehend what he said and projected?

    Out of my way fool.

    1. ?

      That don't make much sense, Deuce.

      Anyway, who cares. I got a big day ahead.

      Cheers !

    2. Bob - be respectful to Deuce's blog pages, you know it's a LIMITED amount of space he has to fill up bashing Jews, Neo-cons, Bibi and Israel (and lately the USA)....

      Mustn't waste the zeros and ones...

    3. The only Jews that get bashed are the whack job zionist cults along with the even whackier Christians.

      Tell us, how do you really feel about the Christians that get giddy about the thought of your tribe getting blown to atoms so that you can go hand in hand, all raptured up good and tight to join Jesus?

  39. Best news of the day: Canada liberated from Harper.

    1. If it makes you happy.

      The day is still young, maybe something truly good will occur.


      Were you drinking last night ?

  40. Ah the Russians and their awesome bombings....

    Aleppo offensive sends 70,000 Syrians fleeing from homes
    Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad moved in on Syria's second city on Friday, backed by Russian warplanes, Iranian ground troops, and militia fighters

    makes you all warm and fuzzy don't ya know?

    Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria killing the crap out of syrians...


    1. Those left behind face severe medical shortages after two hospitals serving the area’s 350,000 residents were damaged by Russian airstrikes. In the town of al-Hader, a neo-natal unit was hit, prompting a frantic rush to evacuate new-born babies from their incubators.

      Amazing difference in the level of commentary here, Israel was bashed beyond all measure...

      Here Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and others are literally being cheered...

  41. .

    Hillary Clinton Defends Her Failed War in Libya

    Hillary Clinton: "We came, we saw, he died" (guffaw)

    Should have read: "I came, I saw, I created a humungous clusterf**k"

    Her answer included a broad defense of the war in Libya. “Remember what was going on,” she began, repeating a version of events that some intelligence officials and human rights groups doubt. “We had a murderous dictator, Gadhafi, who had American blood on his hands ... threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, ‘We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi.’”

    She characterized the Obama Administration’s response as “smart power at its best,” saying that while America refused to take the lead in the war, “we will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground.”

    She then put a positive gloss on the war’s outcome. “I'll say this for the Libyan people…” she said. “I think President Obama made the right decision at the time. And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy.

    The reality:

    That is about as misleading as summarizing the Iraq War by saying that the Iraqis had a terrible leader; they had a free election after the war; and they voted for moderates. It elides massive suffering and security threats that have occurred in postwar Libya.

    Yet the answer didn’t hurt the Democratic frontrunner. That’s because neither CNN moderators nor prospective Clinton supporters understand the magnitude of the catastrophe that occurred amid the predictable power vacuum that followed Ghadafi’s ouster. “Libya today—in spite of the expectations we had at the time of the revolution—it’s much, much worse,” Karim Mezran, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, told Frontline. “Criminality is skyrocketing. Insecurity is pervasive. There are no jobs. It’s hard to get food and electricity. There’s fighting, there’s fear … I see very few bright spots.”

    ​U.S. arms found their way into the hands of Islamists...

    No good choice amongst political rivals in Libya...

    ISIS and al Quda gains in the vacuum that is today's Libya...

    Failed State...

    A strong case can be made that the war made Americans less safe...

    Ethnic/Religious cleansing...

    Thousands of refugees...



    1. {...}

      No Democrat is raising these issues. Libya is an afterthought. The media is certainly not pushing her on it, The neocons love it. Their only complaint is that we didn't take the lead in the fighting. This type of reckless adventurism is bound to continue.

      Clinton is hardly alone in bearing blame for Libya. But she was among the biggest champions of the intervention. As one of her closest advisors once put it in an email, “HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings—as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.” She stands behind her course of action even today. More than that, she calls it “smart power at its best”!

      As a result, Democrats ought to conclude that she hasn’t learned enough from her decision to support the Iraq War, and that a Clinton administration would likely pursue more wars of choice with poor judgment and insufficient planning. It is difficult to imagine a more consequential leadership flaw. And yet, the issue remains an afterthought in the campaign, even as multiple Clinton rivals criticize her hawkishness and pledge to be more wary of involving America in wars of choice. Neoconservatives could hardly orchestrate a Democratic primary more to their liking.


  42. Is there a rebellion at the Federal Reserve?

    Zero interest rates might be around awhile longer.

    That, at least, was the message last week when two Federal Reserve Governors said they didn't think they should raise rates this year. For a consensus-driven institution like the Fed, that could be enough to put its plans to do so on hold. And yes, that was the plan. Just last month, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that she thought they should start increasing interest rates by December, because it wouldn't be long before inflation started rising towards its 2 percent target. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer agreed. But the doves, who want to wait a little longer, have asked a simple question: Why should they be confident that inflation actually will go up when it shows no sign of doing so?

    Now, it might sound strange to worry about inflation being too low, but it's not. When prices don't go up enough, it's harder for the economy to bounce back from a bust. Why? Well, anytime a shock hits the economy, three things happen. First, companies that aren't as profitable as they thought they'd be need to cut costs—that is, wages—by laying people off. (Bosses prefer to preserve whatever morale they can by giving some people a pink slip rather than everyone a pay cut). Second, households and businesses that borrowed a lot need to cut their spending on other things to pay back what they owe. And third, the Fed has to cut interest rates to try to keep this from turning into a vicious circle where higher unemployment makes people spend less, which, in turn, makes unemployment worse.

    1. Inflation makes this a little less bad. It effectively cuts wages, debts, and interest rates in addition to whatever else has been done. Think about it like this. A company can cut wages by not cutting them if it lets inflation make those wages worth note quite as much. That means businesses don't have to fire as many people during a downturn, households don't have to set aside as big a chunk of their money to pay back what they owe, and the Fed doesn't have to cut rates as much as it otherwise would. This last part is particularly important because the Fed's bond-buying does not seem to work as well as its rate-cutting. So the Fed wants there to be enough inflation that interest rates are high enough for it to cut them if need be. But, at the same time, it doesn't want so much inflation that it spirals out of control or makes investing less attractive. The Fed, in other words, wants to keep inflation in the Goldilocks Zone.

      It's not right now. Total inflation is just 0.3 percent. Now, it's true, as Yellen has argued, that a lot of this should be "transitory." Oil and import prices have both had what should be one-time drops that fade away the next few months. Even then, though, that still leaves a lot that isn't so temporary. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices to give us a better idea of future inflation, is also a lot lower than we want at 1.3 percent. So why should we expect it to go up soon? Well, Yellen thinks the fact that unemployment is so low means that inflation can't help but start going higher. This relationship between the two, which has held steady outside of the 1970s, is what economists call the Phillips curve. The question, then, is whether we should believe in it now.

    2. Maybe not. Fed Governor Lael Brainard thinks that "the classic Phillips curve influence of resource utilization on inflation is, at best, very weak at the moment" considering that normal-ish unemployment has not translated into normal-ish raises for workers. And Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo concurs that "under these circumstances, it's probably not wise to be counting so much on past correlations, things like the Phillips curve." The problem is there is still so much "shadow unemployment"—people who can only find part-time jobs but not the full-time ones they want, or who have taken a break from looking—that 5 percent unemployment today might be more like 7 percent unemployment in the past when it comes to wage and price increases. Yellen has made this point plenty of times herself, but seems to have put less emphasis on it the last few months. But if it is right, it means that inflation might keep pulling a Godot.

    3. This might not sound like that big a disagreement, but the implications are. If you think low unemployment means that inflation must go higher, then you don't want to wait until inflation actually shows up to start raising rates. Instead, you want to increase interest rates as if inflation had already increased since that is baked into the economic cake. But, on the other hand, if you think that inflation won't go up until wages do, and that won't happen until unemployment is even lower than it is now, then you want to wait who knows how long. You don't want to take your inflation on faith. You want to see it. Or, as Tarullo put it, you want to find "some tangible evidence of, for example, hiccups in wages or inflation that allow us to make informed decisions based on the evidence." This is a direct repudiation of Yellen and Fischer's logic for preemptive rate hikes.

      It is a mutiny of the doves, couched in as unexciting terms as possible.

      What's the big deal, though? Does it really matter whether the Fed raises rates in December or, say, March? It shouldn't seem to, especially when we're only talking about increasing interest rates from 0.25 to 0.5 percent. Well, it turns out it does. That's because a Fed that is willing to raise rates when it's not clear it should is a Fed that looks like it will raise rates more in total. That will make markets push the dollar up, and it will be as if the Fed really did increase interest rates a few times instead of just once. In fact, as Brainard points out, that's what happened this past year when the Fed signaled that it would like to start hiking rates. "The financial tightening that has already taken place," she said, "has been comparable in its effect to the equivalent of a couple of rate increases." Talking about raising rates -- especially at a time when the rest of the global economy is weak -- is the new actually raising rates.

      Washington Post

      At least it will be if the doves get their way.

  43. .

    The FED has created their own problems. There have been opportunities in the last year or two to start raising rates. They decided against it. Early this year, they announced they were going to raise rates and then didn't and haven't. Given this performance, they got all of the negative results of a rate hike with none of the benefits.

    The negatives have been written into markets already. The confusion the FED has created continues to stir the markets. Even though a .25 raise in rates is actually a nit, where they to raise rates now and then have to lower them again if things go south it would cause even more confusion and problems. They have in effect removed one of the tools they could have used to address a declining economy.

    I have no idea what they should do right now. Unfortunately, I doubt if they do either.


  44. That Deuce is far out really take a wild ride. He is for Iranians.

  45. Bernie Sanders is an idiot.

    Sorry Bernie, Science Doesn't #FeelTheBern

    Posted by Alex B. Berezow

    A lot of Americans seem to be under the impression that there is something unique and (wonderfully) different about Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Yet, other than the fact that he identifies as a socialist -- in a world where capitalism brought one billion people out of poverty in just the last 20 years -- his other views, particularly on science, are predictable and banal. Time and again, he has planted his flag firmly in the camp of the anti-scientific left.

    Take his recent debate performance as an example. He stated:

    "Today, the scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren." (Emphasis added.)

    Actually, the scientific community does not believe that the habitabilty of the planet is in jeopardy. Not even the most extreme climate models predict that Earth will someday become uninhabitable to humans. It is this sort of careless, hyperbolic, and unscientific rhetoric -- most often spouted by politicians -- that has caused the climate science community a lot of heartburn.

    Additionally, it should be noted that while human activity is largely responsible for climate change, the IPCC AR5, which is seen as the global consensus on climate change, is more measured in its conclusion. It writes (PDF, page 5): "More than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) from 1951 to 2010 is very likely due to the observed anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations." (By "very likely," the IPCC means 90+% confident.) More than half is certainly a lot, but it also implies that a substantial proportion of climate change is due to other factors.

    1. Mr. Sanders' apocalyptic view of climate change makes his opposition to nuclear power particularly inexplicable. One would think that if climate change really is the "most significant planetary crisis that we face," as Mr. Sanders once said, then the most efficient solution to that crisis should be warmly embraced. Instead, he rejects it because "we do not know how we get rid of the toxic waste from the [nuclear plants] that already exist."

      Wrong again. We do know what to do with nuclear waste: Store it in a stable, long-term facility, such as the one at Yucca Mountain. However, the Obama Administration, for purely political reasons, mothballed the project. (Instead, waste is being stored on-site at nuclear plants all over the country, an irresponsibly dangerous option.)

      Mr. Sanders, predictably, endorses solar, wind, and geothermal as the answer to our "moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel," despite research that suggests that nuclear power could replace fossil fuels in 25 years. Belief that renewable energy is the sole solution to the world's energy demand is nothing more than magical thinking.

      On GMOs, Mr. Sanders is yet again opposed to mainstream science policy. His endorsement of GMO food labels is in direct opposition to the policy stance of the American Medical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

      Finally, Mr. Sanders, notwithstanding his lack of credentials, appears to enjoy playing the role of a medical doctor in public. In February, he said that rich people have "psychiatric issues" and are "addicted to money" in the same way as the "people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs." Setting aside the absurdity of his comment, it is discomforting to know that Mr. Sanders believes that people who oppose his policies suffer from mental illness.

      Ironically, at the beginning of the year, the Vermont Senator told CBS News, "It is hard to do serious and important things if you reject science."

      On that point, we are in agreement. That is why Mr. Sanders will never reside in the White House.

  46. .

    Deuce ☂Mon Oct 19, 11:14:00 PM EDT

    What a relief it must be for Canada to get rid of the dreadful Netanharper.

    QuirkMon Oct 19, 11:37:00 PM EDT

    It won't change foreign policy much

    Just saw a report that the new Canadian premier, Justin Trudeau, plans on pulling Canadian support for the war in Syria/Iraq. My first reaction was well I guess I was wrong; however, on second thought I figure that may be going a little far. After all, the Canadians were only providing something like six planes as I recall.

    Since the US was running about 90% of the flights there anyway, it is unlikely the move will have much practical impact. Symbolic impact? That's a different matter.


    1. NetanHarper

      heh, Jeeesus Christ

      Justin is just another pretty boy with a tattoo. He's gonna attack 'global warming', just like the scientifically illiterate Berniesta Sandernista (he supported the Sandinos and their Cuban friends) and bring in more Syrian refugees.....

      If I lived in the Great White, I'd vote for a politician who was in favor of warming things up a bit.

      The Donald is saying we ought to be looking at closing some of the mosques down.

      He is absolutely correct.

      The Government is prohibited from establishing a religion, but the Constitution isn't a suicide pact either, and the mosques preach Sharia Law, which mandates the subordination of women, panders to the worst juvenile male instincts, glorifies murder, and demands the rest of us submit to this horse shit.

      Some Women's Group ought to bring a lawsuit suing the mosques for hate crimes for preaching the subordination of all women, and see where it goes. I have thought about this a lot. But let's face it, the women in America today aren't much, they never march for their sisters being oppressed overseas.......the idea of suing the mosques for hate crimes has never occurred to them.

      It is heartening to see someone like The Donald actually saying what ought to be so obvious to citizens in our country and should have been said long ago.

      After all, Sharia Law wants to abrogate the Constitution.

      Preaching it should be treated as treason.

    2. The moslem idea is that a women is 1/2 (half) of a human being.

      Anyone here want to stand up for this idea ?

      The mosques preach, teach, instruct, urge, command the 'faithful' to implement this grotesque idea.

      So I am very glad to hear Mr Trump bring the idea of closing mosques into the discussion.

    3. PETA has an excellent lawsuit waiting too -

      October 20, 2015
      Islam and dogs
      By Carol Brown

      What’s the deal with Islam and dogs? It’s this: Dogs are viewed as unclean. More importantly, Mohammed didn’t like them – as in wanted them dead.

      Although there is nothing written in the Quran about dogs, Mohammed’s thoughts on all things canine can be found throughout the Hadith (a collection of direct quotes from Mohammed on a range of issues that was compiled after his death).

      Mohammed warned angels not to enter any home that had a dog. He also ordered that dogs be killed and that none be spared, with a specific directive to kill all black dogs. (More information can be found here, here, and here.)..........

      Quirk loves his dog. It is one of his very best characteristics in my view. I have loved something on the order of 7 dogs.....


      Ezra was the best, natural born upland game hunting dog, all I had to do was nod my head or flick my hand and he'd know what to do........never trained........he grew with me from a pup, I a teen.....

      But then I suppose we should not take this article at all seriously as it was found in the racist American Thinker.

      Has any other site you can recall yet discussed the moslem murder of mutts ?

    4. You guys have never thought about such things, have you ?

      How the courts might be used to attack islam in all sorts of ways......

      And they should be attacked, and the courts should be used, and the hate filled mosques shut down....

      In Iran, they stone women to death.

      Let it seep in....

    5. In Israel, do I have to add this, why yes I do, they do not stone women to death.

      "The ones in the Middle-East are the worst, Uncle Bob"

      SHE knows whereof she speaks.

      The rest of you are just passing gas.

      Couple of Country Westerns I just sent to my Niece......I am trying my best to bend her ear......and she is responding....:) !!!

    6. "The rest of you are just passing gas."

      In my comments, it should be understood by now that I do NOT include WiO in such statements.

    7. .

      ...and she is responding...

      Naw, Fritz it's just some more music links from that crazy guy in the US that thinks he's my uncle. Turn off the Katzenjammer Kids cartoon and let's get some sleep.


  47. .

    What's with it with all of these 13-year-old hackers across the world (US, China, etc.) hacking into supposedly secure systems at Sony, schools and government locations, the Air Force, the CIA, now John Brenner and possibly Jeh Johnson?

    From the Guardian...

    The CIA director was hacked by a 13-year-old, but he still wants your data

    The world’s most powerful spy, CIA chief John Brennan, was bested on Monday by a self-described “stoner” 13-year-old and an associate, who broke into his America Online email account and started posting some of its contents on Twitter...

    Will this cause as much outrage as Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which by the way, was at least more secure than a freaking AOL account)? Almost certainly not. As the architect of the CIA drone program, Brennan is about as above the law as one could get in the United States. He’s been openly accused of leaking classified information to the press (for which someone else was punished), and he even admitted to orchestrating a “hacking” himself, when he ordered his underlings to spy on the computers Senate staff members were using to research their damning CIA torture report last year...

    This is "coming against the backdrop of yet another congressional debate about the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa), the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill that’s really a surveillance bill in disguise.

    The main crux of the bill is to carve a giant exception into all our current privacy laws so as to allow tech companies like Google and Amazon to hand over huge amounts of our information without any legal process whatsoever, as long as they have a vague cybersecurity purpose. And it’s supposed to be debated on the Senate floor as early later on Tuesday. ..

    CISA is designed to leave back doors in the internet for the CIA to walk through easily. The techniques used by the intelligence agencies are highly sophisticated, designed to respond to state sponsored cyber-attacks; yet, the techniques evidently used by the purported 13 year old where the same used by amateur hackers for decades, a few lies, get a couple pieces of information, used t to trick other into giving you more, and on and on until you are in.

    These people are truly the 'gang that couldn't shoot straight', so caught up in their own arrogance, so stupid yet so dangerous.


    1. .

      Brennen and Johnson that is. The hackers are small time compared to the keen minds at the intelligence agencies.

      They purport to need all our private info in order to protect us. How often has that trope been bandied about though history? In truth, the more information these guys are allowed to take the more danger America is in.


  48. You are an idiot, Quirk.

    Which is the only thing saving you from pure asshole.

    1. You really want to discuss again coincidence v causation as it relates to Iraq ?

      Really ?

      You drunken old sot, Thank God you love your dog, and, I assume, your dog loves you. Sinners can catch some breaks.

      Hallelujia - may Mother Mary rejoice.

      (Quirk loves his dog - God grants grace in amazing ways)

    2. You asshole.


      You do not.

      Her family has suffered from it.

      You haven't.


      Fuck yourself, asshole.