“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."

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"A Russian pilot," a voice is heard saying as a group of men gather around him. "God is great," a voice says.

A Russian warplane has gone down near the Turkish-Syrian border after an apparent attack. Turkish and Russian sources have given conflicting reports about the incident, which has the potential to escalate the tension between Russia and NATO member Turkey.


  1. Well, ain't that just special.

    Today's a travel day. Try to keep us out of war, will you. :)

  2. .

    If this case doesn't escalate, it may prove helpful in a broader sense, not to the pilots of course.

    As always, the pilots are merely just pawns used by their leaders. And in the big picture, their deaths or those of other military personnel, dwarf when compared to the people and lands they destroy. See the attached article on current state of the Kurdish/American 'victory' in Kobane.

    However, if there is a positive to come out of this latest incident, it may be that it puts a brake on the Russian 'bull in a China shop' approach to the war. Russia, IMO, has acted without restraint and has in fact been going out of its way to push the envelope as far as they can, making frequent flights into Turkish territory despite continued warnings from Turkey to stay out. This is not to excuse unhelpful acts Turkey also indulges in. However, in the future Putin might not act quite as cocky.

    I kind of doubt this will escalate into anything serious. Both sides have too much to lose.


    1. It does highlight the complexity of the situation there - Russia is bombing to support Assad, Turkey is supporting groups fighting Assad. They both don't like IS much but...

      The ME is a toxic brew of many different competing interests willing to fight like hell. The US (and Russia for that matter) should keep their hands off the scales and let them figure it out for themselves.

    2. or a grand coalition should gather and occupy the joint and tell all 'what is what' ;)

    3. .

      You sound like John Bolton. He is now calling for a Sunni state to encompass most of Syria and Iraq as a counter and replacement for ISIS. One more imperialistic dictate replacing its century old counterpart.


    4. Isn't Hollande looking to form something?

      I, personally, think it would be a mistake (again) to try to force settlement upon them by using bombs and the like.

    5. and ole Josh might want to consider that IS is a Sunni state but not quite encompassing all of the area you say he said...

    6. errrr, John, not Josh Bolton.

  3. What else is it going to be but a Sunni state of some kind ? They have no place to go.

    The Russians are always flying their aircraft near other people's borders.

    Ours, for instance, and Canada's, and NATO's.

    They ought to knock it off.

    It isn't polite.

    1. I'll see what American Thinker has to say and get back to you with the correct outlook.

      By the way, it's Hot Air that sometimes disses Carson, not the 'racist' American Thinker.

    2. JPost Kuwaiti report: Russian ground troops arrive in Syria in unprecedented military action

      On the other hand over in Ukraine the cease fire is holding and the Russians are being, more or less, reasonable.

    3. AT is a little slow this morning.

      They always think things over before shooting their mouths off.


    4. Syria insurgents destroy Russian helicopter with missile

      BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian fighters destroyed a Russian helicopter with a missile, shortly after they forced it to make an emergency landing in a nearby government-held area in Syria's Latakia province on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

      A Syrian insurgent group, recipient of U.S. Tow missiles, said its fighters hit the helicopter with an anti-tank missile while it was in the air and put out a video showing the helicopter being blown up after one of its fighters struck it with another missile.

      Rami Abdulrahman from the Observatory, which tracks the conflict in Syria though a wide network of sources, said at least ten people were on the helicopter when it was hit by the insurgents but they were all evacuated when it landed and before the missile destroyed it.

      The Russian defense ministry did not answer calls from Reuters seeking comment on the reports about the helicopter.

      (Reporting by Tom Perry and Mariam Karouny; editing by Giles Elgood)

    5. Time to Act on Ukraine

      "A deal should involve material and internationally recognized Russian progress toward its Minsk commitments, in exchange for relief from some financial sanctions."
      Robert D. KaplanElizabeth Rosenberg

      November 24, 2015

      The Ukraine crisis, though temporarily out of the headlines, is at a critical stage. There is no better opportunity than now through the next several months to forge a deal with Russia advantageous to American interests. The Europeans may very well not extend sanctions after the first half of 2016, even as Russia is now in a near-disastrous economic position. The confluence of the two trends calls for dramatic diplomatic action. This is not a deal for a deal's sake, but a way to get Russia effectively out of eastern Ukraine......

    6. .

      Crimea had its electricity cut when pylons carrying the electricity were taken down.

      Russia is threatening to cut supplies of gas and coal to Ukraine.


    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. .


      AT is a little slow this morning.

      They always think things over while downing a few stiff drinks before shooting their mouths off.


    9. A time honored practice, only the noble can handle, like Socrates in The Symposium.

      The Crimea is gone, but the rest might work out.


    10. Turkey has no business being in NATO these days.

      They ought to be booted out, if possible.

    11. Not really possible, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      The US could always leave the Alliance, if it is not serving our purposes.
      One must wonder, if the US were to leave Turkey, would the Turks return the 60 to 70 B61 nuclear warheads they control through the NATO nuclear sharing program?

  4. It's all Obama's fault -

    Former Obama DIA chief: Intel probe should focus on White House
    posted at 10:41 am on November 24, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

    Share on Facebook

    Readers will recall that General Mike Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned Congress about the rise of ISIS in late 2013, warnings which prompted Barack Obama to compare ISIS to a “jayvee team” in an interview with the New Yorker. Flynn’s DIA had warned the White House about ISIS even earlier than that, in an August 2012 memo issued shortly after Flynn assumed command of DIA and chair of the Military Intelligence Board. Now Obama expresses surprise over the rapid rise of ISIS and wants an investigation into CENTCOM and the alleged cooking of the evidence, but Flynn tells Megyn Kelly that the probe should start at the top — and that Obama got plenty of warnings (via the Weekly Standard):

    Flynn points out that CENTCOM is hardly the only agency supplying intel from this region. There are 16 different agencies funneling intel to the White House, Flynn says, and CENTCOM’s analysis would only be one part of a much larger picture. Flynn is confident that the intelligence has been quite accurate, and says the problem resides at the top:

    Many of them have been deployed for many years in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere… so I think that the focus of really this investigation, they’ll find whoever they’re going to find and some of the tactical issues at central command, but the focus of this investigation ought to start at the top. Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House. The president sets the priorities and he’s the number one customer. So if he’s not getting the intelligence he needs and if he’s not paying attention to what else is going on, then something else is wrong there between them and the advisers he has.

    Flynn scoffs at the claim that the White House got surprised by the rapid expansion of ISIS in 2014-15:

    Nobody can sit here today — no one, particularly the amount of intelligence that the White House got — and say, “We didn’t know this was a problem.” I mean, give me a break.

    Flynn’s correct on both points. First, the White House clearly got warned about both what was happening with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)/ISIS in 2012, and the consequences of it if left unchecked in the August 2012 memo. Flynn himself warned Congress in late 2013 of the same threat. To the extent that intelligence analysis got cooked later, one has to ask why it got cooked. Who told those analysts to “cut it out” will be important, but why did they make that demand? Who told those people ixnay-on-the-aliphate-cay in the first place? Or better put, cui bono? The only benefit that came from professions of ignorance accrued to Obama and his national-security team......

    1. On the other hand -

      Is ISIS Failing? 8 Questions to Consider

      Posted by Ronald Tiersky on October 25, 2015

      The once fearsome Islamic State group, also known by the acronym ISIS, has fallen off the front pages. The big news from the Syrian battlefield is Russia's air campaign to prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad by attacking various rebel groups. These groups include the Islamic State almost as an afterthought, and Russia's aim is to construct durable air and naval facilities on the Mediterranean coast.

      Targeting the other groups first, Moscow claims to have destroyed dozens of Islamic State manpower, storage, resupply, and training targets, but Russian President Vladimir Putin's credibility is zero. In any case, in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State's ground war has stalled. Its recent successes comprise far-away suicide bombings that may be inspired by ISIS, rather than organized by it. Claims that the Islamic State is still gaining ground or even maintaining its strength call for skepticism. Here are some of the relevant questions:..............

      8 reasons......

      ................There's always the possibility that Islamic State's leadership is hiding its strength, reorganizing, and will break out sometime soon in a new military campaign. But many signs point to weaknesses throughout the apparatus and ideology. My thought is that al-Baghdadi and his cohort are very worried.

    2. Oh, so it may just be that Obama's policies are beginning to work in Syria, just as they did in Egypt ...

      The pot simmers, the end result appearing much different from the disparate ingredients.

    3. .

      Right, Obama has employed his secret strategy, get out of Russia's way.


  5. A step in the right direction at least:

    Canada: On second thought, we’ll just take Syrian men with wives and children
    Nov 24, 2015 6:01 PM by Jazz Shaw

    at Hot Air

  6. The Russians ought to go back to drinking milk. The average Russian male is dead by the age of fifty usually from alcohol related causes. The Russian women can't find any sober men, and the population is dropping --- demon vodka --

    Europeans developed ability to tolerate milk thousands of years later than previously thought
    ABC Science
    By Anna Salleh

    Posted Mon at 2:13pm
    Picture of little girl smiling and drinking milk
    Photo: Without a key mutation, the enzyme that enables us to digest lactose becomes deactivated after weaning (Getty Images)

    The ability for adult Europeans to drink milk was inherited from Russian herders just 4,000 years ago, a genetic study has shown.

    For once we can have the same power for genomic analysis in ancient populations as we have in modern populations.
    Dr Bastien Llamas

    The findings come from the largest ancient DNA study of its kind published in the journal Nature.

    "Everyone assumed it came to Europe with the first farmers," co-author Dr Bastien Llamas, from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, said.

    "But you actually had a 4,500-year period when European farmers could not actually drink milk."

    The study of DNA from 230 Eurasians who lived between 6500 BC and 300 BC showed that Russian herders from the Great Steppes brought the enzymes for lactose tolerance into Europe.

    "Suddenly 4,000 years ago there's a revolution when the Steppe herders brought the enzymes they needed," Dr Llamas said.

    Earlier this year, Dr Llamas and colleagues found Europeans descended from three groups: Stone-Age hunter-gatherers, farmers that migrated from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), and nomadic herders that migrated west from the Great Steppe in Russia.

    For this study, the researchers analysed patterns in the genomes of these groups to look at how human traits had changed since the advent of agriculture in Europe around 8,500 years ago.

    One of the most surprising findings related to the emergence of the genetic mutation that enables humans to drink raw milk.

    This mutation enables the enzyme lactase, which digests lactose in milk, to remain active long after weaning occurs.

    Most people had assumed the mutation, which is widespread in Europe today, would have been introduced by the Anatolian farmers, who had been keeping animals such as cows since around 6500 BC.

    However, Dr Llamas and colleagues found the mutation did not enter the European population until 4,000 years later, when the Russian herders arrived.


  7. John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State


    NOV. 24, 2015

    Alas, he thinks it would take American troops to accomplish this objective -

    This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.

    Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.

    The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces.

    The military operation is not the hardest part of this post-Islamic State vision. It will also require sustained American attention and commitment. We cannot walk away from this situation as we did from Iraq in 2011.

    1. No he's not.

      His plan there involves putting troops back in and staying, which no one wants to do.

      We are in this pickle because O'bozo took the troops out too soon.

      Regardless of your bullshitting about correlation v causation.

      Your magic wand is ?

      They are all dicks, fuck 'em. Let them all kill one another.

      Heh, and you called me a 'warmonger' for advocating for some 'safe zones'.

      I'm a piker compared to you.


    2. Sessions Releases List of 15 Refugees Revealed to Be Jihadis...
      Steady stream now using Latin America route to USA...............Drudge

      Have you settled in your Syrian family yet, Quirk ?

    3. .

      I'm having the east wing renovated for them. I have times since it will be two years before they are vetted and allowed into the US.


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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. During WWII our Government turned to the Mafia, particularly some of the Jewish folk, to clean up the agents of the German Bund in New York. It really worked well. The Bund had blown up an ocean liner that was being refitted into a troop transport. After the Mafia got involved, that was the end of the trouble --

    November 24, 2015
    Mafia makes ISIS an offer they had better accept
    By Jeannie DeAngelis

    The Cosa Nostra has an unwritten code of conduct that shuns the slaughter of innocent people. That's why, in lieu of a sane politician to place the security of Americans before the absurdity of political correctness, it's no surprise that the Mafia has offered to undertake the role of ridding the Big Apple of ISIS.

    Giovanni Gambino, the son of a key member in New York's notorious Gambino crime family, has proposed that the mafia, who he says is in a much better position than the FBI or Homeland Security to gather street-level human intelligence, is more than willing to provide New Yorkers with the kind of "safe and squeaky clean" protection the late Mafia boss John Gotti's neighborhood of Ozone Park enjoyed during his reign.

    So word to the wise: if ISIS warriors would rather not wake up with a pig's head in their bed, have hellfire visited upon them, be dismembered in a pork sausage factory, or prematurely meet 72 virgins after being dipped in a vat of boiling bacon grease, maybe the bloodthirsty should pick another neighborhood to carry out the commands of the Quran.

    And in case ISIS is willing to gamble, there's a track record both here and abroad to prove that unlike Barack Obama, if ISIS dares crosses the "red line," the family will not hesitate to follow through on their word.

    Taking that into consideration, in a city that overlooks the capital of Sicily, ISIS's made men have decided that because of the threat of Mafia retaliation, the mountainous region of Palermo may not the best place to wage terrorist attacks or establish underground cells......

  9. There's a Polish Mafia too.

    It's current head is a guy named Alfons "Sweet Quirk" Polaski.

    1. (he's a noted womanizer, and slow to anger)

    2. (but when he gets pissed, flee flee flee)

  10. SOUTHWEST ASIA, November 24, 2015 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

    Strikes in Syria

    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 9 strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hasakah, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL tactical vehicle, and two ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Hawl, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Raqqah, one strike struck an ISIL vehicle staging area.

    -- Near Mar’a, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL artillery piece, and an ISIL fighting position.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, one strike stuck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area and an ISIL building.

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb and three ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Ramadi, eight strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL excavator, an ISIL bunker, five ISIL weapons caches, five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL bomb, an ISIL staging area, damaged three ISIL entrenchments, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed one ISIL fighting position and an ISIL supply cache.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and three ISIL fighting positions.

    Definition of a ‘Strike’

    A strike, as defined in the CJTF releases, means one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative effect for that location.

    So, officials said, having a single aircraft deliver a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike. Multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of buildings and vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, with the cumulative effect of making that facility [or facilities] harder or impossible to use is also considered a single strike, task force officials said.

    Accordingly, CJTF-OIR does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.


    1. ( Baghdad – The Anti-Terrorism Forces announced on Tuesday the liberation of 22 neighborhoods out of 39 in Ramadi , stressing that the security forces have been blockading the city of Ramadi.

      Media adviser of Anti-Terrorism Forces, Samir Shuwaili, said in an interview for, “22 neighborhood in the city of Ramadi have been liberated,” noting that, “the number of the districts in Ramadi is 39.”

      Shuwaili added, “The security forces have blockaded the city of Ramadi “, indicating that, “50-100 terrorists have been killed in the 5th Kilometer area.”

    2. I'm thinking the Iraqi are being strongly encouraged to step up the pace.

      "strongly encouraged," also known as "begging." :)

  11. Hillary Clinton’s Denialism Is The Other Extreme Of Trump’s Rhetoric On Islam

    Mollie Hemingway

    Check out what Hillary Clinton said last week about the role Islam plays in global terrorism.

    Let’s be clear, though. Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.

    Part of this is fine rhetoric for a politician. And obviously the majority of Muslims, particularly American Muslims, are peaceful and tolerant. But to say that Muslims have “nothing whatsoever” to do with terrorism is simply not true. The world may wish it were so, but it’s not. It’s as clownish and cartoonish and demonstrably false as anything Trump has said in the last week.
    To say that Muslims have ‘nothing whatsoever’ to do with terrorism is simply not true.

    Clinton’s statement is extreme rhetoric that has no place in adult conversations in the aftermath of 9/11, which claimed the lives of 2,997. Or the attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates in Beirut, Karachi, Nairobi, Tanzania, Kenya, Sarajevo, Jeddah, Benghazi, Herat, and Erbil. Or the Moscow theater hostage situation, which killed more than 100 and injured more than 700. Or the nine synchronized bomb blasts in Jaipur that killed 80. Or the Ahmedabad bombings a year later that took the lives of 56 and injured 200. Followed two months later by the Delhi bombings that took another few dozen. Or the Islamabad Marriot hotel bombing that killed two U.S. servicemen and 52 others. The Qahtaniya bombings of the Yazidi that killed nearly 800 and wounded 1,600. The 2008 attacks on Christians in Mosul that killed more than 40. The siege of Mumbai, killing 166. The Little Rock recruitment office shooting. Fort Hood. The 2009 Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombing in Indonesia. The Nag Hamadi massacre of Coptic Christians. The Moscow Metro bombings that killed 40. The London Underground bombings that killed 53 and injured 700. The Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded 1,800. The Mumbai train bombings that killed 209 injured more than 700. The Beslan school hostage crisis, where some 385 people — including 186 children — were killed. The murder of Theo Van Gogh. The 2005 Delhi bombings. The Amman bombings that killed more than 60 and injured 115. The Westgate shopping mall attack where 67 were killed and 175 wounded. ISIS’ beheadings of Americans, of Christians, of other enemies of the state. Paris.

    Each of these attacks — and countless others — were done in the name of Islam. And while it might comfort us to issue platitudes about Islam being peaceful and having “nothing to do” with these attacks, such statements are unbecoming of serious politicians.
    Anyone with a brain wave and a pulse knows that Islam and Islamist terrorism have a relationship.

    Anyone with a brain wave and a pulse knows that Islam and Islamist terrorism have a relationship....

    Always have liked Mollie Hemingway, no relation to Ernest, far as I know, and her writing.