“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."

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Real Story on US Jobs

Study finds clean energy investment would create jobs, but are they the right ones?

76537459 A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant in New Eagle, in September 2013. FirstEnergy Corp. closed the plant a month later, citing pressure from low natural gas prices and environmental regulations.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant in New Eagle, in September 2013. FirstEnergy Corp. closed the plant a month later, citing pressure from low natural gas prices and environmental regulations.

A coalition of environmentalist groups and trade unions expressed optimism Wednesday that even a coal-dependent region like Pittsburgh could significantly grow jobs while transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
But the report highlighted a mismatch between when those jobs will be created and for how long they will last.
Jobs created by the renewable sector will more likely be more temporary, more nonunion and lower paying than those currently in the fossil fuel industry, said Mick Power, membership and campaign coordinator for the U.S. Climate Action Network and author of the report.
“The challenge lies not in the number of jobs created and lost,” Mr. Power said. “The big challenge for policymakers lies instead in the transition between different types of jobs, at different times in the future.”
The 94-page report, discussed with reporters at the Center for Coalfield Justice offices in Washington, Pa., examined four possible scenarios for coal’s near future and the corresponding employment possibilities across 12 counties surrounding Pittsburgh.
Two different scenarios look at assumptions about market conditions, one of which has coal prices dropping more rapidly. A third includes an analysis of how plants would be affected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon regulations finalized in the Clean Power Plan in August. A fourth assumes the “worst-case scenario,” with plants shuttering due to the most oppressive market forces combining with stringent environmental policy.
Depending on the scenario, Mr. Power found, the economy would gain anywhere from 20,713 to 80,279 so-called job years — a measure of jobs multiplied by the number of years that those jobs span — by 2030.
The meeting Wednesday took a conciliatory tone toward coal mining communities in Greene and Washington counties. Mr. Power, who is a native of western Australia where he organized rallies against the coal industry, said he witnessed economic devastation when coal-fired power plants shut down.
The report, which Mr. Power produced from several months of market and policy research during a fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School, was delivered to the BlueGreen Alliance, a group advocating for both blue-collar workers and environmental issues.
“We’re taking a compassionate approach,” said Khari Mosley, BlueGreen Alliance regional program manager. “We’re not doing end-zone dances when a power plant shuts down. Even though we want a clean air environment, we’re also keeping in mind how are we going to do this and not leave communities to figure it out on their own.”
The report found job gains would be concentrated during the first five years. Construction and manufacturing see the biggest job gains as new wind and solar plants come online.
The report projects the loss of jobs in the mining and utilities sector would be far outweighed by growth in the renewable sector.
But the transitioning of laid-off miners and power plant workers into those emerging jobs is a serious question, Mr. Mosley said.
The report explained that workers laid off from power plants or mines need clarification on what kind of skills and training is needed and available to them.
A safety net must exist to protect workers’ benefits and pensions and the tax base of particular municipalities in the short-term.
Mr. Power stressed the conclusions are broad findings and dependent on the actions of policymakers. A section of the report recommends policy options, with the most favorable being that a state-based plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan include a worker transition package.
Daniel Moore:, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore.


  1. The Obama economy sucks. 38% still jobless.

    Then, again.
    Oct. 1 2015 5:35 AM
    Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

    The history of a myth.
    By Gregory D. Smithers
    Dennis Wolfe, a Cherokee indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1980.

    Photo courtesy Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

    “I cannot say when I first heard of my Indian blood, but as a boy I heard it spoken of in a general way,” Charles Phelps, a resident of Winston-Salem in North Carolina, told a federal census taker near the beginning of the 20th century. Like many Americans at the time, Phelps had a vague understanding of his Native American ancestry. On one point, however, his memory seemed curiously specific: His Indian identity was a product of his “Cherokee blood.”

    The tradition of claiming a Cherokee ancestor continues into the present. Today, more Americans claim descent from at least one Cherokee ancestor than any other Native American group. Across the United States, Americans tell and retell stories of long-lost Cherokee ancestors. These tales of family genealogies become murkier with each passing generation, but like Phelps, contemporary Americans profess their belief despite not being able to point directly to a Cherokee in their family tree.

    Recent demographic data reveals the extent to which Americans believe they’re part Cherokee. In 2000, the federal census reported that 729,533 Americans self-identified as Cherokee. By 2010, that number increased, with the Census Bureau reporting that 819,105 Americans claimed at least one Cherokee ancestor. Census data also indicates that the vast majority of people self-identifying as Cherokee—almost 70 percent of respondents—claim they are mixed-race Cherokees.

    Why do so many Americans claim to possess “Cherokee blood”? The answer requires us to peel back the layers of Cherokee history and tradition.

    Most scholars agree that the Cherokees, an Iroquoian-speaking people, have lived in what is today the Southeastern United States—Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama—since at least A.D. 1000. When Europeans first encountered the Cherokees in the mid–16th century, Cherokee people had well-established social and cultural traditions. Cherokee people lived in small towns and belonged to one of seven matrilineal clans. Cherokee women enjoyed great political and social power in the Cherokee society. Not only did a child inherit the clan identity of his or her mother, women oversaw the adoption of captives and other outsiders into the responsibilities of clan membership.

    To claim Cherokee blood is to authenticate your American-ness.

    As European colonialism engulfed Cherokee Country during the 17th and 18th centuries, however, Cherokees began altering their social and cultural traditions to better meet the challenges of their times. One important tradition that adapted to new realities was marriage.


    1. The Cherokee tradition of exogamous marriage, or marrying outside of one’s clan, evolved during the 17th and 18th centuries as Cherokees encountered Europeans on a more frequent basis. Some sought to solidify alliances with Europeans through intermarriage.

      It is impossible to know the exact number of Cherokees who married Europeans during this period. But we know that Cherokees viewed intermarriage as both a diplomatic tool and as a means of incorporating Europeans into the reciprocal bonds of kinship. Eighteenth-century British traders often sought out Cherokee wives. For the trader, the marriage opened up new markets, with his Cherokee wife providing both companionship and entry access to items such as the deerskins coveted by Europeans. For Cherokees, intermarriage made it possible to secure reliable flows of European goods, such as metal and iron tools, guns, and clothing. The frequency with which the British reported interracial marriages among the Cherokees testifies to the sexual autonomy and political influence that Cherokee women enjoyed. It also gave rise to a mixed-race Cherokee population that appears to have been far larger than the racially mixed populations of neighboring tribes.

      Europeans were not the only group of outsiders with which 18th-century Cherokees intermingled. By the early 19th century, a small group of wealthy Cherokees adopted racial slavery, acquiring black slaves from American slave markets. A bit more than 7 percent of Cherokee families owned slaves by the mid-1830s; a small number, but enough to give rise to a now pervasive idea in black culture: descent from a Cherokee ancestor.

      In the early 20th century, the descendants of Cherokee slaves related stories of how their black forebears accompanied Cherokees on the forced removals of the 1830s. They also recalled tales of how African and Cherokee people created interracial families. These stories have persisted into the 21st century. The former NFL running back Emmitt Smith believed that he had “Cherokee blood.” After submitting a DNA test as part of his 2010 appearance on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, he learned he was mistaken. Among black Americans, as among Americans as a whole, the belief in Cherokee ancestry is more common than actual blood ties.

      Slaves owned by Cherokees did join their owners when the federal government forced some 17,000 Cherokees from their Southeastern homeland at the end of the 1830s. Cherokee people and their slaves endured that forced journey into the West by riverboats and overland paths, joining tens of thousands of previously displaced Native peoples from the Eastern United States in Indian Territory (modern-day eastern Oklahoma). We now refer to this inglorious event as the Trail of Tears.

      But the Cherokee people did not remain confined to the lands that the federal government assigned to them in Indian Territory. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cherokees traveled between Indian Territory and North Carolina to visit family and friends, and Cherokee people migrated and resettled throughout North America in search of social and economic opportunities. While many Native American groups traveled throughout the United States during this period in search of employment, the Cherokee people’s advanced levels of education and literacy—a product of the Cherokee Nation’s public education system in Indian Territory and the willingness of diaspora Cherokees to enroll their children in formal educational institutions—meant they traveled on a scale far larger than any other indigenous group. In these travels it’s possible to glimpse Cherokees coming into contact with, living next door to, or intermarrying with white and black Americans from all walks of life.


    2. At the same time that the Cherokee diaspora was expanding across the country, the federal government began adopting a system of “blood quantum” to determine Native American identity. Native Americans were required to prove their Cherokee, or Navajo, or Sioux “blood” in order to be recognized. (The racially based system of identification also excluded individuals with “one drop” of “Negro blood.”) The federal government’s “blood quantum” standards varied over time, helping to explain why recorded Cherokee “blood quantum” ranged from “full-blood” to one 2048th. The system’s larger aim was to determine who was eligible for land allotments following the government’s decision to terminate Native American self-government at the end of the 19th century. By 1934, the year that Franklin Roosevelt’s administration adopted the Indian Reorganization Act, “blood quantum” became the official measure by which the federal government determined Native American identity.

      In the ensuing decades, Cherokees, like other Native American groups, sought to define “blood” on their own terms. By the mid–20th century, Cherokee and other American Indian activists began joining together to articulate their definitions of American Indian identity and to confront those tens of thousands of Americans who laid claim to being descendants of Native Americans.

      Groups such as the National Congress of American Indians worked toward the self-determination of American Indian nations and also tackled the problem of false claims to membership. According to the work of Vine Deloria, one of NCAI’s leading intellectuals, “Cherokee was the most popular tribe” in America. “From Maine to Washington State,” Deloria recalled, white Americans insisted they were descended from Cherokee ancestors. More often than not, that ancestor was an “Indian princess,” despite the fact that the tribe never had a social system with anything resembling an inherited title like princess.

      So why have so many Americans laid claim to a clearly fictional identity? Part of the answer is embedded in the tribe’s history: its willingness to incorporate outsiders into kinship systems and its wide-ranging migrations throughout North America. But there’s another explanation, too.
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      The Cherokees resisted state and federal efforts to remove them from their Southeastern homelands during the 1820s and 1830s. During that time, most whites saw them as an inconvenient nuisance, an obstacle to colonial expansion. But after their removal, the tribe came to be viewed more romantically, especially in the antebellum South, where their determination to maintain their rights of self-government against the federal government took on new meaning. Throughout the South in the 1840s and 1850s, large numbers of whites began claiming they were descended from a Cherokee great-grandmother. That great-grandmother was often a “princess,” a not-inconsequential detail in a region obsessed with social status and suspicious of outsiders. By claiming a royal Cherokee ancestor, white Southerners were legitimating the antiquity of their native-born status as sons or daughters of the South, as well as establishing their determination to defend their rights against an aggressive federal government, as they imagined the Cherokees had done. These may have been self-serving historical delusions, but they have proven to be enduring.

    3. Top Comment

      My husband grew up being told his great-grandmother was full Cherokee.... after doing some research, he found out she was a very white women who was born in Cherokee County, Alabama. More...


      Join In

      The continuing popularity of claiming “Cherokee blood” and the ease with which millions of Americans inhabit a Cherokee identity speaks volumes about the enduring legacy of American colonialism. Shifting one’s identity to claim ownership of an imagined Cherokee past is at once a way to authenticate your American-ness and absolve yourself of complicity in the crimes Americans committed against the tribe across history.

      That said, the visibility of Cherokee identity also owes much to the success of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. Today, the Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Eastern Band of Cherokees comprise a combined population of 344,700. Cherokee tribal governments provide community members with health services, education, and housing assistance; they have even teamed up with companies such as Google and Apple to produce Cherokee-language apps. Most Cherokees live in close-knit communities in eastern Oklahoma or the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, but a considerable number live throughout North America and in cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto. Cherokee people are doctors and lawyers, schoolteachers and academics, tradespeople and minimum-wage workers. The cultural richness, political visibility, and socioeconomic diversity of the Cherokee people have played a considerable role in keeping the tribe’s identity in the historical consciousness of generation after generation of Americans, whether or not they have Cherokee blood.

      Gregory D. Smithers is associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of The Cherokee Diaspora.

  2. I'm not sure about that 38% jobless figure, though.

    from They're Never Going To Get Along files -

    Horror: Two Israelis murdered in drive-by shooting right in front of their children
    posted at 7:21 pm on October 2, 2015 by Matt Vespa

    Share on Facebook

    Two Israelis were murdered in front of their children by a drive-by shooting. Luckily, all four of their children survived the horrific ordeal, which occurred in the Israeli settlement of Neria in the West Bank. Ynet News is calling this incident a terrorist attack, and Hamas has issued a statement supporting this brutal murder:

    A husband and wife in their 30s, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin from the settlment of Neria, were killed in a drive-by shooting attack on the road between Itamar and Elon Moreh in the West Bank on Thursday night. Their four children aged 9, 7, 4 and 4 months were in the car and were said to be physically unharmed but treated for shock.


    “It was a very difficult sight,” said MDA paramedic Boaz Malka. “We saw a car in the middle of the road with a man in his thirties next to it with wounds to his upper body, and a woman in her thirties inside the car also seriously wounded in her upper body. They were without signs of life, and unfortunately we had to declare them dead at the scene.”


    Tensions and disturbances in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been particularly high during the Jewish High Holy Days, even in comparison to many months of sporadic violence.

    In late August, an Israeli was shot while driving from inside a passing vehicle bearing an Israeli license plate at Jit Junction in the West Bank.

    This attack comes after the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said that the PA was finished with the Oslo Accords, which establishes the foundation for a two-state solution. He also said that the Palestinians were dedicated to building a “culture of peace” at the United Nations:

    We do not respond to the Israeli occupation’s hatred and brutality with the same. Instead, we are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region, and we are anxious to realize it and to witness the day when all of the people in our region will enjoy peace, security, stability and prosperity.

    The Mighty Vandals have arrived in Jonesboro, Arkansas.


  3. In Depth Neuroscience

    Blindsight: the strangest form of consciousness

    Some people who have lost their vision find a “second sight” taking over their eyes – an uncanny, subconscious sense that sheds light into the hidden depths of the human mind.

    'Blindsight' has been a big topic in lots of NDE research.

    1. This is good, too -

      Similarly, in philosophy the question must be pressed as to where the verificationist—who believes that a proposition is meaningful only if it can be proved true or false—stands in order to deny the possibility of metaphysics. The dilemma can sometimes be expressed by the perennial challenge as to how the verification theory thesis can itself be verified. By its own lights it appears suspiciously metaphysical in that checking it through scientific means clearly begs every question. One answer (and that given at one time by A.J. Ayer) is that the verification principle is an “axiom.” That, though, does not settle the question of why we should choose such an axiom. It seems somewhat arbitrary and leaves open the possibility that others can just choose a different starting place without fear of rational criticism. Nothing has then been solved.

      (A.J. 'Freddie' Ayer thought he was the smartest man in all England, much like Quirk today thinks he is the smartest man in all Detroit)

      Why Science Needs Metaphysics
      Science can’t tell us whether science explains everything.
      By Roger Trigg October 1, 2015

  4. Pooty joins the no fly zone band wagon -


    Declares no-fly zone over Syria...

    Hailed as 'Humanity's Savior'...

    All these no fly zones should at least be of benefit to the environment.

  5. Civilian Noninstitutional Population is all non-institutionalized citizens over the age of 16. The number includes all high school students, college students, stay-at-home moms, Retired people, disabled people, etc. There are 251,325,000 of them.

    Of those, there are 156,715,000 that either have a job, or are looking for one. 156,715,000 / 251,325,000 = 62.4% "Participation Rate."

    So, the 38% number is kinda . . . . . well, . . . . .not real. :)

    1. The number of Unemployed (those that are actually looking for a job) is 7,915,000 - 5.1% of the labor force (156,715,000.)


    994 mass shootings in 1,004 days: this is what America’s gun crisis looks like

    The Oregon school shooting is evidence that the US response to gun violence ‘has become routine’, Barack Obama says. The data compiled by the crowd-sourced site Mass Shooting Tracker reveals an even more shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – nearly every day


  7. A 5-month-old girl who was shot in the chest on Thursday has died, according to police in Cleveland, Ohio. The death of Aavielle Wakefield marks the third fatal shooting incident involving children on Cleveland’s east side in the last month.

    Wakefield was in a car with her mother and two males when someone opened fire into the car, police said, according to ABC 5. The infant was the only person shot. On September 4, 5-year-old Ramon Burnett was killed in a drive-by shooting outside his home. On September 15, 3-year-old Major Howard was gunned down inside a car. In addition, on September 19, 10-year-old Dante Padgett Jr. was shot and wounded in a car while his father was killed.

    1. Thank you sweet Jesus, mighty son of GOD that they were not terrorists that did it.

      Our hearts and prayers are with them as they have been dispatched to a better place with the fucking lambs of peace and heavenly bliss.

      God really does work in mysterious ways, not understandable to those not trained in the magical words, metaphors, meanings, burning bushes, heavenly hosts, magical beanies out of respect that you not piss off he who must be obeyed and missing a vowel.


      Kortney Moore, 18, told the Roseburg News-Review that she had been in her writing class in Snyder Hall when one shot burst through a window. She saw her teacher get shot in the head. The shooter was inside by that point, and he started telling people to get down on the ground. He then asked people to stand up and state their religion, and then started firing away, Moore said.

      Moore lay on the floor alongside the people who had been shot.

      OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS blah blah blah

      Cassandra Welding , a 20-year-old junior, had been in a classroom next to the shooting when it happened, according to the New York Times. She heard several loud bursts, like balloons popping. A middle-aged woman behind her rose to shut the classroom door, and was struck in the stomach by several bullets.

      “He was just out there, hanging outside the door,” Welding said of the gunman, “and she slumped over and I knew something wasn’t right. And they’re like, ‘She got shot, she got shot.’ And everyone is panicking.”

      “We heard one shot,” Winder told The New York Times. “It sounded like someone dropped something heavy on the floor, and everybody kind of startled. There’s a door connecting our classroom to that classroom, and my teacher was going to knock on the door, but she called out, ‘is everybody okay?’ And then we heard a bunch more shots. We all froze for about half a second. Everybody’s head turned and looked at each other, trying to just grasp what was happening, and someone said, ‘Those are gunshots.’ We heard people screaming next door. And then everybody took off. People were hopping over desks, knocking things over.”


      Russian jets have performed 14 combats flights, conducting six pinpoint airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Friday, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

      “During the day, the Russian aviation group continued conducting pinpoint airstrikes against the infrastructure of the IS group in Syria,” Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said.

      “Su-34, Su-24-M and Su-25 planes performed 14 flights from Hmaimim air base, during which six airstrikes against IS targets were conducted,” he added.

      In the town of Maarrat Al-Nuuman in Idlib province, an Su-25 attack aircraft completely brought down a large terrorist workshop, which was producing bombs and improvised explosive devices.

      A nearby IS base, hosting weaponry and military vehicles was also targeted, with ten pieces of military hardware, including several APCs, was eliminated, the ministry said.

    4. The operation performed at the request of Syrian President, Bashar Assad, is designed to provide air support to the government troops, which is struggling to contain the spread of jihadist militants in the war-torn country.

      As he was explaining Moscow’s decision to get involved in Syria, Vladimir Putin said that radicals from many countries, including Russia, have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. They must be defeated so that they do not return home with battle experience and ideology adopted in the war zone, the Russian president stressed.



    China will be helping out the Syrian government in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) by sending “military advisers,” media reports have claimed.

    “The Chinese will be arriving in the coming weeks,” a Syrian army official told the Lebanon-based news website Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi.

    The report claims that a Chinese naval vessel is on its way to Syria with dozens of “military advisers” on board. They will reportedly be followed by troops.

    The ship is said to have passed the Suez Canal in Egypt and be making its way through the Mediterranean Sea.

    According to the website, the advisers will be joining Russian personnel in the Latakia region.

    Meanwhile, an Israeli military news website, DEBKAfile, has cited military sources as saying that a Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning-CV-16, has already been spotted at the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. It was said to be accompanied by a guided missile cruiser.

    The news comes after Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria agreed to establish a joint information center in Baghdad to coordinate their operations against Islamic State militants, according to sources.

    “The main goal of the center will be gathering, processing and analyzing current information about the situation in the Middle East – primarily for fighting IS,” a military-diplomatic source told Russian news agencies on Saturday.

  9. Putin reiterated his support for Syria’s regular army – the army of President Bashar Assad. “He [Assad] is confronted with what some of our international partners interpret as an opposition. In reality, Assad’s army is fighting against terrorist organizations,” Putin said.

    Russia’s president added that US attempts to train a Syrian opposition to take on Islamic State have failed. The US had aimed to prepare up to 12,000 fighters, but only 60 managed to complete the training and only four or five actually fought with the opposition, while others fled to IS with American weapons, Putin said, citing US Senate hearings.

    “In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” he said.

    1. Oh my, our crack mercenary forces are so advanced that 12,000 dumb fucking Syrian patriots failed the course with only 60 smart enough to pass the US Pentagon Training Program. Three quarters of the graduating class of 60, (out of the of the 12,000) were so impressed with the American know-how, training and weapons they took a powder to ISIS.

      Outstanding! OOrah!

    2. :) :) I don't know if I can stand any more wonderfulness than this. :) :) :)

      Help, I can't quit giggling. :) :)

  10. Let’s check in with the GOP presidential aspirants. Surely, they have some insight we are missing.


      LYNCHBURG, Va. – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced -- again -- his candidacy for president in a speech Monday morning at a landmark of the American evangelical movement, Liberty University.

      "Today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States," Cruz said, about 20 minutes into a speech to students here. "Ted! Ted!" students yelled.

      "It is the time for truth. It is the time for liberty. It is the time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States," Cruz said.


      Speaking at an event in Greenville, S.C., Bush's comment came in the midst of expansive answers about the Second Amendment and how people respond to school shootings.

      "We're in a difficult time in our country and I don't think that more government is necessarily the answer to this," he said. "I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It's just, it's very sad to see. But I resist the notion -- and I did, I had this, this challenge as governor, because we have, look, stuff happens, there's always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it's not necessarily the right thing to do."


      "Gun violence is a problem in this country, but it's not the 2nd Amendment’s fault. It’s fault of evil people doing evil things."


      GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio is using a speech on Friday to blast Russian President Vladimir Putin as ‘ a gangster and a thug,' and vowing to take a hard line against 'Russian agression' if he is elected president.

      In prepared remarks distributed before his speech, Rubio plans to tell a national security forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that he will impose everything from personal sanctions on top Russian officials to ‘lethal military assistance' to the country of Ukraine to counter Putin.

      Rubio, fresh off a new surge in the polls that puts him in second place behind billionaire Donald Trump in the GOP race, was no less kinder to President Obama, whom he blamed for 'failing the test of leadership' against Putin and his 'aggression.

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


  12. One of these fine days, and soon too, Russian jets, and perhaps Iranian too, will be using the old air bases we built in Iraq.

    Sleep well, indeed.

  13. If that ex-military guy, the guy who took 7 bullets, and somehow has survived, had been packing, the whole thing might have been over in about 20 seconds.

    He heard the firing, got up and went to the class room door, and out the door, and confronted the shouter unarmed.

    Umpqua College, no gun zone.

    The ex-military guy wasn't packing.

    Someone around these parts used to say:

    "An armed Bar is a polite Bar"

    1. If you subtract out the holocaust occurring on a daily basis in the big cities mainly of the Northeast, mainly in the black areas, the USA is no more violent than the average European country, so I have read.

  14. CRIMINOLOGIST: 'Hype and hysteria on rise, not gun violence'...Drudge


    MEROM GOLAN, Golan Heights — There is a building boom quietly underway in this little kibbutz, the first established after Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war.

    Stone utility enclosures mark sites where a few dozen homes will soon break ground. A fallow field is slated to become, next year, a new neighborhood called Banim Bonim, Hebrew for Children Build. Near the ring road Doron Bogdanovsky, the kibbutz secretary-general, has plans approved for 100 more families to settle over the next decade.

    “If a living organism does not have new blood all the time, he is going to die,” Mr. Bogdanovsky, 65, said as he showed off the kibbutz, which has a waiting list because it cannot build quickly enough.

    That growth is tiny compared with the aggressive development goal — 100,000 new residents across the Golan in five years — being promoted by Naftali Bennett, a senior Israeli minister and one of many Israeli leaders and thinkers seizing on the chaos in Syria to solidify Israel’s hold on the Golan.

    With Syria “disintegrating” after years of civil war, they argue, it is hard to imagine a stable state to which the territory could be returned. Further, they say that international — or, at least, American — recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan would be an appropriate salve to Israeli security concerns in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran. Some proponents of this push, who unlike Mr. Bennett support a two-state solution with the Palestinians, also see this international recognition as an important way to distinguish the status of Golan from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    “We’re in a whole new strategic situation, and a new strategic situation requires new strategic responses,” said Mr. Bennett, who promised to introduce a plan this fall involving “several hundreds of millions of shekels” to create jobs, housing, schools and transportation in the sprawling, green Golan Heights.

    “I think we have an opportunity here, a rare opportunity, and I think it’s vital,” he added. “Given the storm we’re in that can go on for the next five or 50 years, nobody knows, we need some constants, and one big constant is for the big mountain of the Golan to be Israeli.”

    G - D, smiles with his missing front tooth, down on the Bulldozin Chosin

    1. Irit Pazner Garshowitz contributed reporting.


    “Do you realize now what you have done?”

    So Vladimir Putin in his U.N. address summarized his indictment of a U.S. foreign policy that has produced a series of disasters in the Middle East that we did not need the Russian leader to describe for us.

    Fourteen years after we invaded Afghanistan, Afghan troops are once again fighting Taliban forces for control of Kunduz. Only 10,000 U.S. troops still in that ravaged country prevent the Taliban’s triumphal return to power.

    A dozen years after George W. Bush invaded Iraq, ISIS occupies its second city, Mosul, controls its largest province, Anbar, and holds Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, as Baghdad turns away from us — to Tehran.
    The cost to Iraqis of their “liberation”? A hundred thousand dead, half a million widows and fatherless children, millions gone from the country and, still, unending war.

    How has Libya fared since we “liberated” that land? A failed state, it is torn apart by a civil war between an Islamist “Libya Dawn” in Tripoli and a Tobruk regime backed by Egypt’s dictator.

    Then there is Yemen. Since March, when Houthi rebels chased a Saudi sock puppet from power, Riyadh, backed by U.S. ordinance and intel, has been bombing that poorest of nations in the Arab world.

    Five thousand are dead and 25,000 wounded since March. And as the 25 million Yemeni depend on imports for food, which have been largely cut off, what is happening is described by one U.N. official as a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

    “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years,” said the international head of the Red Cross on his return.

    On Monday, the wedding party of a Houthi fighter was struck by air-launched missiles with 130 guests dead. Did we help to produce that?

    What does Putin see as the ideological root of these disasters?


    1. “After the end of the Cold War, a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think they were strong and exceptional, they knew better.”

      Then, adopting policies “based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity,” this “single center of domination,” the United States, began to export “so-called democratic” revolutions.

      How did it all turn out? Says Putin:

      “An aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions. … Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.”

      Is Putin wrong in his depiction of what happened to the Middle East after we plunged in? Or does his summary of what American interventions have wrought echo the warnings made against them for years by American dissenters?

      Putin concept of “state sovereignty” is this: “We are all different, and we should respect that. No one has to conform to a single development model that someone has once and for all recognized as the right one.”

      The Soviet Union tried that way, said Putin, and failed. Now the Americans are trying the same thing, and they will reach the same end.

      Unlike most U.N. speeches, Putin’s merits study. For he not only identifies the U.S. mindset that helped to produce the new world disorder, he identifies a primary cause of the emerging second Cold War.

      To Putin, the West’s exploitation of its Cold War victory to move NATO onto Russia’s doorstep caused the visceral Russian recoil. The U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine that overthrew the elected pro-Russian government led straight to the violent reaction in the pro-Russian Donbas.

      What Putin seems to be saying to us is this:

      If America’s elites continue to assert their right to intervene in the internal affairs of nations, to make them conform to a U.S. ideal of what is a good society and legitimate government, then we are headed for endless conflict. And, one day, this will inevitably result in war, as more and more nations resist America’s moral imperialism.

      Nations have a right to be themselves, Putin is saying.

      They have the right to reflect in their institutions their own histories, beliefs, values and traditions, even if that results in what Americans regard as illiberal democracies or authoritarian capitalism or even Muslim theocracies.

      There was a time, not so long ago, when Americans had no problem with this, when Americans accepted a diversity of regimes abroad. Indeed, a belief in nonintervention abroad was once the very cornerstone of American foreign policy.

      Wednesday and Thursday, Putin’s forces in Syria bombed the camps of U.S.-backed rebels seeking to overthrow Assad. Putin is sending a signal: Russia is willing to ride the escalator up to a collision with the United States to prevent us and our Sunni Arab and Turkish allies from dumping over Assad, which could bring ISIS to power in Damascus.

      Perhaps it is time to climb down off our ideological high horse and start respecting the vital interests of other sovereign nations, even as we protect and defend our own.


      There was a time, not so long ago, { before the neocon putsch} when Americans had no problem with this, when Americans accepted a diversity of regimes abroad. Indeed, a belief in nonintervention abroad was once the very cornerstone of American foreign policy.


  17. .

    Fareed Zakaria defines the US problem in Syria (and it's not Russia).

    In Syria, whose side is the United States on?

    Vladimir Putin has been able to act forcefully in Syria not because he’s bolder or more decisive than Barack Obama but because he has a clearer strategy. Putin has an ally, the Assad government. He has enemies, the opponents of the government. He supports his ally and fights those enemies. By comparison, Washington and the West are fundamentally confused.

    Whom is the United States for in this struggle? We know whom it is against — the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Also, the Islamic State, which happens to be the regime’s principal opponent. Also, all the other jihadi groups fighting in Syria — including Jabhat al-Nusra (the al-Qaeda affiliate) and Ahrar al-Sham. Oh, and Hezbollah forces and Iranian forces who have been supporting the Syrian government. The West is against almost every major group fighting in Syria, which makes for moral clarity but strategic incoherence.

    Russia’s move is not as brilliant as is being made out. It is a desperate effort to shore up one of the Kremlin’s only foreign allies and risks making Russia the “Great Satan” in the eyes of jihadis everywhere. But at least Putin has a coherent plan. The United States, by contrast, is closely allied with the Iraqi government in its fight against militant Sunnis in that country. But it finds itself fighting on the same side of these militant Sunnis across the border in Syria as they battle the Assad regime.

    Washington does back some groups — the Syrian Kurds close to Turkey, moderate forces supported by Jordan close to its border and a small number of other moderate Syrians. But if you consider the major groups vying for control of Damascus, the United States is against almost all of them...

    Zakaria goes on to explain why the current US strategy (if one actually exist) isn't working and won't work without change. He does it in a more succinct way than my '32 Reasons Why the US Should not Intervene in the ME'. However, one complication he failed to point out was that even those groups we support (Kurds) our support is tempered due the perceived need to not upset our allies (Turkey).

    I put up a chart a while back that showed all the relationships and alliances between the numerous players involved in the Syria/Iraq/ISIS conflict, states and militias. It was a rat's nest. It is such a miasma it would be crazy to get involved. To go in with the crazy strategy we have been using is nutz, which I think was reason #3 on my list.



    Zakaria also mentions that the US has conflicting goals in Syria, to depose Assad and to defeat ISIS. His opinion is that the US can't do both at the same time.

    1. Please post the link on that map. I’ll post it again.

    2. .

      Here is an interactive map that shows the relationships. You just put the cursor over any country to see the relationships with others (like/dislike/complicated).

      The one I put up before was better in that you could see it all at a glance and it only had those parties that were involved in the conflict. At the time I put it up, it was going around and I saw the same chart in 4 or 5 publications but I haven't been able to think of the right words to google it. I'm pretty sure someone else here put up the same chart from a different source. Maybe it was Bob.


    3. .

      I might be wrong but I was thinking you put up the same chart around the same time on one of your streams. Might be wrong.


  18. .

    There are still some mentally challenged here who still suffer under the delusion that just leaving a few US troops in-country will solve all the problems, guarantee democracy, change the culture, instill a Western-oriented respect for women, manage any resistance groups, terrorists, sectarian conflicts, you name it.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't agree.

    That’s the problem. The U.S. Army could easily defeat the Islamic State, which has a lightly armed force of fewer than 30,000 men. But then it would own real estate in Syria. Who wants to govern that territory, protect the population and be seen by locals as legitimate? A senior Turkish official told me recently, “We watched you trying to run Iraqi towns, and we will not make America’s mistake.”

    Anyone with any sense and an appreciation for the lessons of history who has paid any attention to America's neocon wars over the past two decades under two separate administrations, one Republican and the other Democrat, would realize that a few US troops in a war zone soon only leads to more US troops, and more US planes, and more US support troops. The alternative, trying to defeat an insurgency through air power alone is equally futile.


  19. Here is a poignant comment posted on Q’s article:

    10/1/2015 9:13 PM EDT

    I used to go on holiday in Syria, camping with my dad. I'll never forget waking up one morning with sheep around the tent - bedouins were there - and they pointed me to the top of a sand dune. I went up and looked, and there was Damascus sticking out of the desert with its walls and minarets, looking like something out of 1001 Nights.

    I remember borrowing the keys from a local village mayor to see Krak des Chevaliers, the world's biggest castle, then empty, later a tourist site, now occupied by rebels and frequently bombed. I remember getting detained by suspicious soldiers in the gatehouse of Aleppo citadel, since blown up. I remember buying stacks of American comic books in Damascus market, to read in the car. Back then Hafez Assad ran the show.

    Now is the time for Americans to put into practice the lesson they claim to have learned in Iraq: that Saddam was better than a vacuum. Assad is better than Saddam, much better than a vacuum and infinitely better than ISIS.

  20. Assad provided stability to Syria, protected the rights of minorities and provided general security by using methods that were sometimes harsh but apparently necessary. Who the fuck are we?

    The US can’t protect its own youth in our own schools. We can’t protect minorities from being executed by our own cops. We thoroughly fucked up Iraq, Libya and our politicians are so morally and political corrupt that they allowed the Saudis and the Neocon agents of Israel to outsource our foreign policy. There are no US interests in Syria.

    We hardly object to Israeli terror, murder and subjugation of the Palestinians and we are equally compliant with the Saudi destruction and murder in Yemen.

    1. ...In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition confirmed it carried out an airstrike about 2 a.m. Saturday in response to “individuals threatening the force.”

      “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” said Col. Brian Tribus, a coalition spokesman. “This incident is under investigation.”

      The Doctors Without Borders facility was the only functional hospital in that part of Afghanistan. The organization posted photographs on Twitter showing part of the hospital was engulfed in flames shortly after the attack.

  21. The US media is breathless over Russian bombing in Syria, indifferent to Saudi and Israeli bombing of Yemen and Gaza and what will they say about this?

    KABUL – U.S. forces may have mistakenly bombed a hospital in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least three people in an incident that will likely raise new questions about the scope of American involvement in the country’s 14-year war.

    In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said an airstrike “partially destroyed” their trauma hospital in Kunduz, where the Afghan military has been trying to drive Taliban fighters from the city.

    The airstrike killed at least three hospital staffers while more than 30 others are still missing. It was not immediately clear how many patients were killed or wounded.

    “We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on Kunduz,” Bart Janseens, director of operations for the hospital. “We do not yet have final casualty figures, but our medical teams are providing first aid and treating injured patients and…accounting for the deceased.”

    1. ...As the Afghan army battled Taliban fighters in the streets of Kunduz this week, the hospital has been struggling to treat hundreds of patients.At the time of Saturday’s airstrike, 105 patients and more than 80 doctors and nurses were inside the hospital

      In recent days, Doctors Without Borders was issuing frequent updates to the media detailing the strain of trying to cope with the influx of patients. The hospital was also reportedly running low on supplies.

      Doctors Without Borders treats all patients it receives, including insurgents fighting the government.

      Concerns about civilian causalities in Kunduz, Afghanistan’s sixth largest city, have been mounting all week. On Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said those concerns were one reason Afghan security forces were being cautious in their efforts to retake the city.

      Over the past decade, U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have been controversial here because of the risk of civilian causalities and so-called friendly fire incidents.

      During his final years in office, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai repeatedly accused the United States military of being reckless in how it carried out airstrikes. After Ghani replaced Karzai last year, relations between the Afghan government and coalition officials improved dramatically.

      But in July, a coalition airstrike in mistakenly killed 10 Afghan soldiers, local officials said. Last month, Afghan officials accused the international coalition of killing 11 counternarcotic officers during an airstrike in Helmand Province.

      Coalition officials initially denied involvement. But they issued another statement a day later retracting that denial, saying the matter was now under investigation.

  22. The war in Afghanistan continues destroying lives, due to the direct consequences of violence and the war-induced breakdown of public health, security, and infrastructure. Civilians have been killed by crossfire, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assassinations, bombings, and night raids into houses of suspected insurgents. Even in the absence of fighting, unexploded ordnance from previous wars and United States cluster bombs continue to kill.

    Hospitals in Afghanistan are treating large numbers of war wounded, including amputees and burn victims. The war has also inflicted invisible wounds. In 2009, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health reported that fully two-thirds of Afghans suffer from mental health problems.

    Prior wars and civil conflict in the country have made Afghan society extremely vulnerable to the indirect effects of the current war. Those war effects include elevated rates of disease due to lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition, and reduced access to health care. Nearly every factor associated with premature death — poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, environmental degradation — is exacerbated by the current war.

    While Afghanistan has benefited from investments in health care that may ameliorate some of the effects of war, the results are mixed, with improvement in some areas, such as infant mortality, balanced by continuing or growing needs in other elements of public health.

    About 92,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan war since 2001. More than 26,000 of those killed have been civilians. Nearly 100,000 people have been injured since 2001.


      111 Thayer Street, Brown University, Box 1970 Providence, RI USA 02912-1970P +1 401 863

  23. Al-Monitor Weekend Reads

    Looking for some weekend reads? Check out these five great stories that you might have missed this week.

    Egypt's pharaonic project to showcase its glorious past is looking more and more like a pyramid scheme. After years of delays and hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns, the Grand Egyptian Museum still has nothing to offer the public beyond half-finished buildings and mothballed equipment.

    Lebanon is reaping a weapons windfall from the US as the Islamic State threat eclipses any lingering concerns about Hezbollah's influence. Congress and the Obama administration are giving unprecedented military support to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which have gone from pariah to partner in five short years.

    Call it the case of the missing ambassador. An Iranian diplomat that Saudi militants had previously tried to assassinate in Lebanon appears to have vanished during last week's Hajj tragedy, triggering yet another diplomatic skirmish between Tehran and Riyadh.

    Turkish women are claiming their right to ride bicycles wherever they want — and look good doing it. The third annual Chic Women's Bicycle Tour has, predictably, triggered conservative qualms about female virtue that, just like the Victorian-era critics in bicycle-crazy 19th century Europe, are really more concerned about the emancipation a set of wheels can offer.

    Israel's sharp-tongued culture minister is making headlines for disparaging, well, culture. In presenting her own Mizrahi upbringing as downtrodden and put upon, Miri Regev caused a national stir by appearing to take potshots at classical “Western" culture — despite herself benefiting from a top-notch classical education.

  24. Assad provided stability to Syria, protected the rights of minorities and provided general security by using methods that were sometimes harsh but apparently necessary. Who the fuck are we?

    R i g h t

    1982: Syria's President Hafez al-Assad crushes rebellion in Hama
    In a three-week siege, Hama was razed and thousands died as Syrian security forces combed the rubble, killing surviving rebels. Read how the Guardian reported events

    Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, right, with his youngest brother Rifaat at a military ceremony in Damascus. Photograph: EPA

    The Syrian city of Hama was the scene of a massacre in 1982 when President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president Bashar al-Assad, razed the city to crush a Sunni rebellion, slaughtering an estimated 20,000 of his own people.

    Assad's troops pounded Hama with artillery fire for several days and, with the city in ruins, his bulldozers moved in and flattened neighbourhoods.

    The 1982 massacre is regarded as the single bloodiest assault by an Arab ruler against his own people in modern times and remains a pivotal event in Syrian history.
    Assad2 Click on the images for the full stories

    James MacManus, in a dispatch from 23 January 1982, reports that government forces are laying siege to Hama as house-to-house fighting wipes out any opposition. He recalls a series of car bomb attacks in Damascus culminating in an attack on a shopping centre in which more than 100 people died, describing the attacks as "the high point, but by no means the end, of a campaign of terror and counter terror... which President Assad now claims to have won".........

    Assad Jr. is no better.

    And by the way, we are not in Syria, the Russians are in Syria.

    None of this current fiasco would have happened were it not for Obozo.

  25. Here's a writer that just may be onto something -

    October 2, 2015
    We should invite all our enemies to fight in Syria
    By Ed Straker

    Some people are upset that the Russians are launching bombing strikes in Syria. And that the Iranians are sending in ground troops to fight.

    I say, the more, the merrier. The participants there are ISIS, which is thoroughly evil; the "Western-backed" rebels, which include al-Qaeda (al Nusra), which is thoroughly evil; and Assad, who is thoroughly evil. The Russians, who have been busy assimilating parts of the Ukraine, are not exactly allies, either. I think they need another Afghanistan experience to demoralize their country, and I think Syria fits the bill. They are defending an ethnic group that is only 15% of the country. There is no way they will ever win. They will kill a lot of radical Islamists, and take casualties themselves, which may distract them from their European acquisitions.

    Iran will be sapped as well. It has spent a lot of money, and now, by spending troops, it will lose a lot of its radical Revolutionary Guards. Again, they are fighting against 85% of the population who are not Shi'ite-oriented. There is no way they will ever win. All sides will take casualties.

    Given that, why should anyone object? This is not a strategic area for us; this doesn't involve a key ally, or access to oil fields or an important waterway. I say let all our enemies deplete themselves. There are no real "Western-backed" rebels, unless you count the five we trained recently for 500 million dollars.

    The only exception is the Kurds, who occupy the northern fringes of the "country." As long as the Russians leave them alone, we should let them all wear each other down. It's the perfect place, an insignificant part of the world, and all our enemies are migrating there, like the perfect mousetrap.

    You know how people take their big dogs to work out their energy so they will be behaved well the rest of the day? Think of Syria as one big lethal dog run that keeps the dogs drained and relatively well-behaved.

    Cruel ?

    Don't blame me. I was the guy wanting to put up a protective no fly zone and labelled a war monger for making the suggestion.

    1. I scratch my head wondering how Assad could ever have gained nearly 90% of the vote in a country where his people constitute only about 15% of the population......

      Guy must be one hell of a great soap box speaker.

    2. I scratch my head wondering how Aipac could ever have gained nearly 90% of the Conga Line’s vote in a country where its people constitute only about 2% of the population......

      They must be one hell of a great something or another?