“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."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pentagon skeptical about Russian claims on bombing ISIS oil refining and tanker facilities - You Decide:

THE Pentagon is casting a sceptical eye toward Russian government claims that its air strikes hit more than 1000 Islamic State oil tankers in just a few days.
One US defence official told Fox News it would be “nearly impossible” to destroy that many tankers with the kind of unguided bombs used by the Russians.
The claims were first made Monday morning. Russian news outlet RT reported online that Russian strikes “torched” more than 1000 tankers delivering crude oil to IS over a five-day period, citing a spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry. The Russian air force, according to the report, also hit 472 targets in two days in Syria.
The claims come as the US also says its coalition is hitting a large number of tanker trucks — albeit nowhere near as many strikes as Moscow says it conducted.
The US-led coalition reported hitting 283 vehicles in eastern Syria on November 21. Fox News has confirmed the vehicles were in fact oil tanker trucks.
Another defence official who spoke with Fox News said that the US and Russia were not bombing the same targets.
“It’s hard to verify the effectiveness of Russia strikes without diverting assets,” the official said.
But asked if the US took the Russian claims at face value, the official said: “It’s Russia. They have proven to manipulate information in the past.”


  1. One thing the Pentagon should be able to recognize is “manipulating information in the past”.

  2. “We have destroyed 116 tanker trucks and reduced ISIS’s ability to transport stolen oil,” reported Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the combined joint task force, on November 18 , after 15 months of bombing ISIS. He noted it was the first US strike against ISIS tanker trucks in Syria.

  3. Russian General Staff spokesman Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov said: “In just the first few days, our aviation has destroyed 500 fuel tanker trucks, which greatly reduced illegal oil export capabilities of the militants and, accordingly, their income from oil smuggling.”


    Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Warren via DVIDS from Baghdad, Iraq
    Press Operations

    Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman Colonel Steve Warren
    November 18, 2015

    ...Before we move on any further, I do want to quickly run through the rest of the battlefield in the operational picture.

    So, in the Syrian Euphrates River Valley, Operation Tidal Wave II continues. Early Sunday morning in Al-Bukamal, which is the southern blue circle number two, you see two blue circles there. They both represent Tidal Wave II operations, but we're in the southern one -- the one further towards the bottom of your screen, there.

    In Al-Bukamal, we destroyed 116 tanker trucks, which we believe will reduce ISIL's ability to transport its stolen oil products.

    This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike. We did a show of force, by -- we had aircraft essentially buzz the trucks at low altitude.

    1. Now, watch the Russian video again of their strikes in the first few weeks against the ISIS economic lifeline.



    “Meanwhile, in Syria, Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose.”

  6. Who you gonna believe, our corrupt rulers and masters or the ex KGB man?


    Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?

    Leaders of NATO countries will want to prevent further Russian-Turkish hostilities.
    By Patrick Cockburn / CounterPunch November 25, 2015

    Turkey must have been eager to shoot down a Russian aircraft. Even going by the Turkish account of what happened, as illustrated by a Turkish map of the route of the Russian plane, it would only briefly have been in Turkish airspace as it crossed a piece of Turkish territory that projects into Syria.

    Why would Turkey do this? Probably because Ankara has become increasingly furious, since Russian air strikes started in Syria on 30 September, that Russian jets were routinely invading its airspace. The Turkish government also knows that its policy since 2011 of getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad has failed and that it has a diminishing influence in events in Syria as Russia, the US, France and possibly, in the near future, Britain increase their military involvement in Syria.

    Specific events on the 550 mile-long Syrian-Kurdish role may also have played a role. This year Turkey has seen the Syrian Kurds, whom it denounces as terrorists as bad as Isis, take control of half of the frontier and threaten to move west of the Euphrates. More recently, Syrian army units backed by Russian air strikes have been attacking towards the other end of the border near where the Russian plane came down and the pilots were killed.

    Nato countries will give some rhetorical support to Turkey as a Nato member, but many will not be dismissive in private of President Vladimir Putin’s angry accusation that Turkey is the accomplice of terrorists. Turkey’s support for the Syrian armed opposition, including extreme groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, has been notorious over the last three years. Its relations with Isis are murky, but it has been credibly accused of allowing the self-declared Islamic State to sell oil through Turkey.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in a strong domestic position because of his sweeping parliamentary election victory on 1 November. But he has seen what appeared to be a strong Turkish position in the Middle East in 2011 deteriorate year by year as leaders and movements he supported, such as President Morsi in Egypt and the opposition in Syria, suffer defeats.

    At the same time, it is damaging for Turkey to have bad relations with Russia and Iran, two powerful neighbours close to its borders. Leaders of Nato countries will want to prevent further Russian-Turkish hostilities, so they can look for Russian cooperation in attacking Isis and ending the Syrian conflict.


  8. Syrian Rebels Make Intensive Use of US Missiles

    Increased Supplies of TOW Missiles Showing Up Among Various Factions

    by Jason Ditz, November 25, 2015

    US provision of advanced missiles to Syrian rebel factions once again came into close focus this week, when a faction affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attacked and destroyed a Russian helicopter trying to rescue pilots from a plane shot down by Turkey.

    According to Syrian military officials, however, the US TOW missiles are not the rare sight they once were in the war, and many factions, including those allied with al-Qaeda, are making “intensive” use of the US missiles in northwestern Syria.

    TOW missile shipments are seen going through Turkey, with Saudi Arabia subsidizing the program. The US escalated the shipments after Russia began its involvement in the Syrian Civil War, despite insistence that the arms are purely targeted at the Syrian military.

    Russia has warned the US the provision of those arms is a “major mistake,” and that those arms are going to inevitably wind up in the hands of terrorist organizations, and not just the “vetted” groups. This has been the case in past US arms shipments, and hardly a terror faction exists in Syria anymore that isn’t awash in US arms.

  9. The US "Allies" in the Middle East, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, all support the Islamic State.
    The question, then, why are these states considered "Allies"?


  10. Russia targets Turkish economy in retaliation for downing of warplane


  11. The last two weeks have brought a festival of American ugliness. Since the attacks in Paris, virtually every Republican governor has declared their state off-limits to Syrian refugees. GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz has called for allowing in Syrians only if they’re Christian. Donald Trump has mused about registering American Muslims and falsely accused them of celebrating 9/11. The bigotry and cowardice are jaw dropping. France, which lost 130 lives on November 13, has nonetheless committed to accepting 30,000 desperate Syrians. Barack Obama wants to accept 10,000 and the Republican Party has erupted in nativist hysteria.

    read more:

    1. The bigotry and cowardice are jaw dropping.

      To read what the Quran states is to understand. Nothing bigoted about it.
      And its not cowardice to be in the position of protecting the citizens that elected the governors.

      The opinion of the author is crap.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. But then again, my opinion might be crap too.

    4. .

      To read what the Quran states is to understand. Nothing bigoted about it

      IMO, those right wing pols are simply demagogues. They will say whatever it takes to get them votes. And if the populist winds change direction, so will the pols. A perfect example is Christie. When the public was reacting sympathetically to the refugees after that young child washed up on the shore, Christie argued the US should accept refugees. After Paris, when the crowd changed so did he. Then, he argued that even children shouldn't be allowed in. The possible exceptions might be Trump and Carson. They may just be that stupid.

      As for cowardice, it's the sheeple who support these dolts that are the cowards. Worse than that is their ignorance.

      There have been studies written on terrorists and what motivates them or radicalizes them. Most of them find there is no one issue that does it, not even the Koran or Islam. This study is by MI5.

      The research, carried out by MI5's behavioural science unit, is based on in-depth case studies on "several hundred individuals known to be involved in, or closely associated with, violent extremist activity" ranging from fundraising to planning suicide bombings in Britain.

      The main findings include:

      • The majority are British nationals and the remainder, with a few exceptions, are here legally. Around half were born in the UK, with others migrating here later in life. Some of these fled traumatic experiences and oppressive regimes and claimed UK asylum, but more came to Britain to study or for family or economic reasons and became radicalised many years after arriving.

      • Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly religious households, and there is a higher than average proportion of converts. Some are involved in drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes. MI5 says there is evidence that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation.

      This is strictly my opinion, but then, my opinion is rarely (never?) crap.



    5. There have been studies written on terrorists and what motivates them or radicalizes them. Most of them find there is no one issue that does it, not even the Koran or Islam.

      Getting to the psychology of an individual that is ready to be radicalized is quite interesting.
      I suppose religion offers an answer to fill in a blank of someone who is lost or has lost hope in their future or way.
      Anyway, they are ready to give up their current role in society and give themselves over to the jihad.
      They wouldn't even have to really believe in the ideology. Just wanting to strike out against someone of their choosing.

    6. My wife says, "Its the Pack Mentality that radicalizes".
      I don't think that is the case, what with so many "lone wolf" attacks.

      Wanting to make a difference.

      Maybe just to get attention.

      To have a place history...


      All number of reasons to give their existence meaning.

    7. To have a place IN history...

    8. I think that the notion of "Jihad' has been given a bad name by the radicals. My understanding is that there are different levels of Jihad or 'types' of Jihad but it is basically a "struggle" a "Journey" for a better religious life. This is not a notion that differs greatly from other religions.

      In any case, belief so strong as to lead one to kill and risk being killed based on religious "truth" is a scary mixture. One reason I've been down on being "righteous" all these years.

      Happy 'merican Thanksgiving! :)

    9. ...and risk being killed based on religious "truth" is a scary mixture.

      As experience has shown me, the truth of my testimony proves a religious point...
      " Psa 34:18
      The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

      Psa 51:17
      The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

      Something happened to me while suffering for the truth and thus scripture became Truth.
      I don't think there was "religion", per se, involved because I wasn't praying for relief, but just asked a simple question in all my humbleness and totally beaten down.

      Now if I was pressed to deny the truth with threats of death, what would that make me?

    10. Oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Ash!

    11. ...all my humbleness and totally beaten down STATE.

    12. To read the Old Testament makes one realize that women should not be allowed in the house, especially when they are 'unclean'.

    13. Unless they're cooking, of course.

    14. It is all in the Book.

      The God of Abraham keeps sending prophets, who keep restating the message, one that is just not palatable to this modern, Western world.

    15. aye, hard to believe that folk think Truth lies in a particular book, a Truth worth fighting, killing, and dying for 'cause the book said (well, most individuals get the Truth as interpreted and delivered by an 'expert').

      I have a hard time accepting "Because the Bible told me so"...

    16. Doubt that the killing has much to do with any of the Books, Ash
      The Book is just a rally point for the sheeple.

      Another tool used to manipulate the fools and knaves.

    17. Look at all the Crusades, the wars that were fought, the mass killings that were all justified by the "Love of Jesus".

      It is all still there, Mr Trump and his cohort have just scratched the veneer, exposing the truth of our religious society.

    18. That's why I say the end of religion is the beginning of wisdom.

  12. .

    With all the convolution, the various factions with opposing interests, the meanings of words like ally, moderate, terrorists have all become meaningless. Most countries there and their surrogates appear to be working at cross purposes. Short term tactics don't seem to match long term goals especially with the US where there is no evidence that groups like the CIA and DOD are working effectively together. Each group there uses euphemisms and lies to mask their true intent. Well, everyone except possibly the US. They seem merely to react.

    Syria right now looks like WW III in miniature. They are facing their own Armageddon. When (if?) this thing finally ends Syria will resemble the ruins of Kobane on a grand scale. And no doubt every country there, every group will be claiming victory.


    1. Bring on the End Times !

      Not only the Shia but the Syrian Sunni as well, I read, buy into this.

      Not exactly sure where the Alawites stand, probably with the End Times too.

    2. World War III

      NOV. 26, 2015

      Roger Cohen

      “Mommy, please tell me again, how did World War I begin?”

      “Sweetheart, I already told you, that was long ago. A century is a very long time.”

      “But, Mommy, please.”

      “Well, it’s complicated. Do you really, really want to know?”

      “Yes, Mom.”

      “It’s a sad story. The world was organized in one way, and that way collapsed, and in the process millions of people were killed.”

      “Wow. How was it organized before?”

      “There were things called empires. They controlled vast territories full of different peoples, and some of these peoples wanted to rule themselves rather than be governed by a faraway emperor.”


      “The Austro-Hungarian Empire was one of them. It had lots of grand palaces in its capital, Vienna, where people danced at fancy balls. It governed parts of a poor corner of Europe called the Balkans where its rule was disliked. One day in 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife were assassinated in a Balkan city called Sarajevo by a young man, a Bosnian Serb, who wanted the freedom of the south Slavs from imperial rule.”
      Continue reading the main story
      Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter

      Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, The Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

      “That’s sad, Mommy. Guess the music stopped. But so what?”

      “The empire got really angry. It told Serbia to do a bunch of things or face war. The ruler in Vienna was confident because he had a close friend, a rising power called Germany. Serbia also had a good buddy, a country called Russia, which is big. Anyway, Serbia kind of dithered around, like you with homework, so Austria-Hungary went to war against it.”

      “And then?”

      “Then Germany declared war on Russia, whose friend was France, which didn’t like Germany for various reasons. Soon Germany attacked France through Belgium. That made Britain cross. It went to war against Germany. Another empire — a sickly one — called the Ottoman Empire, eventually joined the German and Austro-Hungarian side. Later the United States, a rising power, came in on the British and French team. After a few years, more than 16 million people were dead. The Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, German and Russian empires had collapsed.”

      “All because a couple was killed? Mom, that’s weird.”

      “Sometimes little things get bigger, people lose patience and perspective, there’s a spark and you get a big mess.”

      “Mom, it couldn’t happen again, right?’


      “Are there any empires left today?”

      “Some people call America an empire even if it doesn’t have an emperor. It is the most powerful country on earth, with soldiers all around the world and different peoples that rely on it for direction and protection. But America’s getting weaker.”

      “So, Mommy, is it kind of like what you said about the world being organized one way, and then being organized in another way, and lots of people dying in the process?”

    3. “Not exactly, sweetheart. Dying where?”

      “In Syria. Mom, what’s Syria?”

      “It’s a small country with different peoples and religions that came into being when the Ottoman Empire got so sickly it collapsed.”

      “Why are people fighting there?”

      “It’s complicated. Do you really, really want to know?”

      “Yes, Mommy.”

      “Well, there was this brutal, remote tyrant behaving like an emperor and some of the peoples in Syria rose up against him. The tyrant started shooting them. America and Britain and France, among other countries, didn’t like that, and they said they’d kind of support the rebels, but didn’t really.”


      “Because, like I said, America is sickly. It’s getting weaker.”

      “Okay. Then what?”

      “The tyrant had a big friend called Russia. He had another quite big friend called Iran. They both really did support him.”

      “So he won?”

      “Not quite. Many of the people who wanted to get rid of the tyrant were Sunni Muslims. They had the backing of Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni Central and hates Iran and has supported Sunni fanatics. Turkey, which was the successor to the Ottoman Empire and hates the Syrian tyrant, also got on the rebel team. But Turkey hates another people in Syria called the Kurds even more than the tyrant — so much it’s been ready in a sneaky way to help one group of Sunni crazies who slit throats, kill Kurds and shoot people in Western cities.”

      “Mom, I’m confused.”

      “Syria has broken up, like the Ottoman Empire. Russia is bombing some enemies of the Syrian tyrant. America is bombing the throat-slitters. So is France. Turkey shot down a Russian plane. Russia is angry. The Kurds want the state they didn’t get 100 years ago. Saudi Arabia is fighting a region-wide war against Iran. That war is most intense in Syria, where hundreds of thousands are dead.”

      “All because some folks wanted to get rid of a bully?”

      “Sometimes little things get bigger, there’s a spark and it’s a big mess.”

      “Mom, what would World War III be like?”

      “Don’t worry, darling, everything is different now.”


      “Totally. We have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Happy Thanksgiving, my love.”

  13. .

    Just watched the video of the Russian bombing runs. My first impression is that man why are the pictures they provide so much better than the ones the US provides. Is it just a matter of the Russkies operating at lower altitudes? Possible, maybe even likely given that they are dropping primarily dumb bombs.

    As for the dumb bombs, I would hazard a guess that though they have the technology they don't have the money to spend dropping smart bombs, a few hundred bucks for a dumb bomb versus $25k for a smart one. In Russia's case, the decision seems pretty simple especially if you are not overly concerned about collateral damge.


  14. Remember the to-do when we mistakenly hit a hospital ?

    The Russians have taken out about entire region has no medical facilities at all.

    1. The US is not funding the Russian effort, Draft Dodger.
      The Russians are famous for scorching the earth, even in Russia

      They used the tactic against Napoleon and Hitler.

  15. UN: Report on whether Iran was making nuke bomb won't be clear cut........Drudge

    Maybe it will say they were just making the parts for a bomb, is all......


    1. Mike Morell: Obama Didn't Hit ISIS Oil Tankers & Wells To Avoid "Environmental Damage"
      Posted on November 25, 2015

      Former CIA director under President Obama says that the President delayed striking ISIS oil fields and tankers to avoid environmental damage caused by the spilled oil.


      Related Videos

      Jeb Bush: "We Ought To Have A No-Fly Zone In Syria," "Get The Lawyers Off The Backs Of The Warfighters"
      Ted Cruz: Obama Thinks Your SUV Is A Greater Threat Than ISIS And Iran
      MSNBC's Willie Geist Defends Obama on ISIS: "I Know There's A Military Strategy," "Maybe People On The Ground We Don't Know About"
      David Ignatius: "JV Comments Were A Disasterous Mistake," Not Part Of Some Grand Strategy To Downplay ISIS

      Good Grief

    2. There really should be no bombing at all.

      It might cause property damage.

    3. The US did not want to annoy the Israeli, Turks and Saudis, the Russians don' give a shit about our "Allies"

  16. The Russians are going to punish Turkey in economic terms. They have also stopped all Russian tourism. That may indicate that they do not want a hostage situation if the dispute worsens. Bad news for Turkey.

    I do not understand why Obama doesn’t tell his cabinet members to just shut up about it. Where did that Ash (hole) Carter come from?

  17. If Russia keeps it up, this idea off turning off the gas pipelines to Ukraine, Turkey, etc., they will go broke.

    1. I realize, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has told us that there i nothing to learn from history, but if one were to look into the history of Russia, they would see that a little economic deprivation would not deter them from pursuing their national interests..

  18. The pretend war: why bombing Isil won't solve the problem

    The deployment of our military might in Syria will exacerbate regional disorder – and it will solve nothing
    Andrew J. Bacevich

    28 November 2015

    Audio Player
    Andrew J. Bacevich and Con Coughlin discuss the West's war with Isis

    Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

    Not so long ago, David Cameron declared that he was not some ‘naive neocon who thinks you can drop democracy out of an aeroplane at 40,000 feet’. Just a few weeks after making that speech, Cameron authorised UK forces to join in the bombing of Libya — where the outcome reaffirmed this essential lesson.

    Soon Cameron will ask parliament to share his ‘firm conviction’ that bombing Raqqa, the Syrian headquarters of the Islamic State, has become ‘imperative’. At first glance, the case for doing so appears compelling. The atrocities in Paris certainly warrant a response.............

    .......................In this conflict, the West as a whole appears to enjoy the advantage of clear-cut military superiority. By almost any measure, we are stronger than our adversaries. Our arsenals are bigger, our weapons more sophisticated, our generals better educated in the art of war, our fighters better trained at waging it.

    Yet time and again the actual deployment of our ostensibly superior military might has produced results other than those intended or anticipated. Even where armed intervention has achieved a semblance of tactical success — the ousting of some unsavoury dictator, for example — it has yielded neither reconciliation nor willing submission nor even sullen compliance. Instead, intervention typically serves to aggravate, inciting further resistance. Rather than putting out the fires of radicalism, we end up feeding them.

    Although the comparison may strike some as historically imprecise, the present moment bears at least passing resemblance to the last occasion when British and French leaders got all worked up about taking on obstreperous Arabs. Back in 1956, the specific circumstances differed, of course. Then, the problem attracting the ire of British and French policymakers was the Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who in seizing the Suez canal had committed a seemingly unpardonable offence. And the issue was preserving imperial privilege, not curbing terrorism. But then, as today, in both London and Paris, an emotional thirst for revenge overrode sober calculation.

    The vicious Isis attacks in Paris represent another unpardonable offence. Through war, Cameron and Hollande seek to avenge the innocents who were killed and wounded. But as the humiliating outcome of the Suez war reminds us, there are some problems to which war is an unsuitable response.

    Across much of the greater Middle East today, we confront one such problem. For western governments to reflexively visit further violence on that region represents not a policy but an abdication of policy. It’s past time to think differently.

    Andrew J. Bacevich is a retired US colonel, and author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, due out in April.

    1. On the other hand........

      November 26, 2015
      After Paris I Understand Winston Churchill's Relief
      By Christopher Chantrill

      When everyone was emoting about the Paris massacres last week, I am afraid I did not join in. This is war, after all: what do people expect? When you have a war and one side is militarily weak, it tends to use terror as a weapon, because it’s the only way to show it is not weak, not really, but strong!

      We in the West are rather irritated by the War on Terror, or whatever it gets to be called this week. We like to think that the questions of the modern age -- democracy and tolerance and cities and trusting the stranger on the other side of the world to deal faithfully in market transactions -- have been decided in our favor.

      (OK, our lefty friends have a slightly different take. Democracy is fine, but don’t ever trust a capitalist, and woe betide anyone that warns, as Enoch Powell did a lifetime ago, that a “concentration of immigrants and their descendants in large communities [would kill] the prospects of integration.”)

      So when inhabitants of the desert start replaying the Dervish War in Sudan that made Winston Churchill’s reputation, or a new generation of immigrants starts rioting in big city slums, we ordinary people feel irritated. Don’t “those people” understand that the ship has sailed?

      Simple answer: they don’t. So the rational ethical thing to do would be to teach and instruct them how to wive and thrive in the post-industrial-revolution-city using our own experience and the experience of our parents and grandparents as a guide. But that would be rational. Instead, everyone from radical imams to lefty safe-spacers are telling “those people” that they are exploited and oppressed and ought to burn the place down.

      (Imagine the world if the left had spent the last 160 years teaching the working class and then women and blacks and now Muslims how to wive and thrive in the capitalist economy instead of teaching them how to wreck it. But I digress).

    2. For me, each new terror outrage is a good sign. It tells me that we are getting closer to the inflection point where we demand that our glorious leaders “do something” and in response our glorious leaders will ditch their ridiculous War on Climate and realize that the War on Radical Islamism will be way more fun for them.

      Yes. I mean that. Government is force, and governments are born to fight wars, even liberal governments. The New Dealers were never happier than when they were fighting fascism in World War II and the future liberal lion John Kenneth Galbraith, deputy head of the Office of Price Administration, was teaching captains of industry how to price a widget.

      In fact, fighting a war is the only thing that government can do. That’s why governments insist on fighting wars on poverty and racism and sexism and rape culture and climate change when there isn’t a real war for them to fight. So it’s a good thing when the ruling class gives up on the phony wars, and turns its brilliant collective mind to fighting a real war against a real threat.................

      ................In Winston Churchill’s great history of World War II he records his relief when the levers of power had been finally handed to him in the dark days of 1940. Now at last the years of crying in the wilderness were over, and he could lead the British people in their existential fight against Nazism.

      I feel a similar relief as each new terror outrage splashes into the news. Each new event gets us nearer to the point where we will select the Churchill of 1940 or elect the Reagan of 1980 with the mandate to take decisive action.

      In my view the meanderings of a Chamberlain, the malaise of a Carter, and the utter incompetence of an Obama cannot be avoided. In their mistakes and bumblings the fools enable the rest of us to gain clarity on the problem we face, and to develop the resolution to do something about it. We are humans; we make mistakes, we learn from them, and the worst human mistakes are usually connected with government.

      Usually the ruling class starts to wake up to its follies in the months before the Churchill or the Reagan takes over. Britain did start to rearm in the late 1930s. It was Carter that started the “Reagan” defense buildup after the Soviets went into Afghanistan, and appointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Fed as inflation raged. This time the bumbler-in-chief can’t even be bothered to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      I’m pretty serene about that too, on Napoleon’s view that you shouldn’t interfere with your adversary when he is making a mistake.

      And there you have the whole spectrum of opinions....

  19. "You are right, boots on the ground are ultimately essential if bombing is to be relevant.

    I want you to convince me that what you refer to as the Free Syrian Army actually exists rather than is a label we apply to a rag-bag group of clans and tribal forces with no coherent force.

    I'd like you to convince me there is a moderate group we can back whereas in times of constitutional dissolution it is almost a law of human nature that people rally to the most extreme and forceful advocate of their group - there are no moderates."

    Peter Lilley

    Veteran former UK Government minister in debate

    1. Happily, he inserted that almost in there.

      Otherwise it would seem the world would always be totally cooked, like a good turkey.

  20. SOUTHWEST ASIA, November 26, 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

    Bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hawl, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and wounded two ISIL fighters.

    -- Near Raqqah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL vehicle staging area and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Bomber, fighter, attack, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 23 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, one strike destroyed two ISIL rocket positions.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and five ISIL bunkers.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL checkpoint and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL building.

    -- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL mortar, two ISIL structures, an ISIL boat, an ISIL front-end loader, cratered an ISIL road, suppressed an ISIL vehicle’s movement, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun, two ISIL fighting positions, damaged an ISIL vehicle, suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun, and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

    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, the 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, 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.



  21. Grief for family of WALMART worker trampled to death by wild shoppers...............Drudge

    Good Lord.

    What a way to go.....trampled to death in WalMart by wild shoppers....

    "He died as he lived, serving Sam Walton"


    1. Study suggests Alabama could see fights during Black Friday sales
      Posted 3:26 pm, November 25, 2015, by Lisa Screws, Updated at 03:30pm, November 25, 2015


      HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Your trip to the mall could leave you with a shopping injury. A new study shows Alabama is one of the most dangerous states for Black Friday shopping.

      The blog Estately ranks our state as the third most dangerous for Black Friday shoppers. Arkansas is ranked number one, followed by Tennessee at number 2. Louisiana and Missouri round out the top 5.

      The findings come from ranking each of the 50 states on Facebook users’ interest in Black Friday sales, and the frequency of aggravated assaults.

      Most of the crazies seem concentrated down South.

      Idaho is at the very low tail end of the mapping violence meter, being one of three or four remaining civilized states in the USA.

    2. .

      Idaho is at the very low tail end of the mapping violence meter...

      It also comes in at the low end of the intelligence meter.


  22. I read an article today that I can't find now.....The Donald was on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in 1988....fully 25 years ago.....looking good too.....wonderful hair then......rather handsome young devil.....she asked him if he might ever run for President......he denied having the urge but said....."If the country was in really, really bad shape...."

    1. He used to have the reputation as being something of a pacifist.....always treated females and blacks well......held many Democratic positions on many things.....those that love the guy don't seem to be matter what he says, or is accused of saying......

  23. 1988 was 27 years ago, not 25.

    1. Well, :) , it was fully 25 years ago.

      A very minor age related error, youngster.

  24. Happy Thanksgiving from down under!

  25. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has denied mocking a disabled New York Times reporter during a campaign address earlier this week.


    The New York Times has called Mr Trump's actions "outrageous".

    1. That guy had been attacking Trump in the New York Times forever, and very severely too.

      Doesn't really excuse The Donald waving his arms a little which he says was misinterpreted, but also the guy had written an article back then about Moslems who were on rooftops in Jersey celebrating 9/11 being rounded up by the Police for questioning. He had criticized The Donald about his statements, having forgotten his own old article. The Donald has called him on it.

      There were some Moslems, not thousands, but maybe hundred or two or three or something celebrating 9/11 on the rooftops back East.

      I've read three separate articles by writers who said they saw the same thing.

      People are out to smear The Donald any way they can. He deserves some of it, but not all of it.

    2. As a newspaper The New York Times is the shits, one of the least objective of them all, a propaganda sheet.

      I hope they go broke. Maybe The Donald could buy it, turn it around, and call it The Trump Times.

      I'll vote for the guy, but he's not my first choice. I have at least two ahead of him.

      There, got if off my chest.

    3. .


      Why would anyone bother to try to smear Trump when all they have to do is play the tape?


  26. More important, such messaging can also elevate the status of the messenger, who by convincing the public of its own weakness can position himself or herself as a potential savior, as the only one who can successfully lead the charge against those evil, undeserving victors and bullies on the other side.

    Tell everyone to buck up, that their country is already great, that their economy is already improving, that their political mission is already succeeding, and you’ve ceded the premise you need to argue that you and you alone can turn things around.

    To the leader of the losers go the spoils of election season.

  27. '16 Republican Presidential Nomination:

    RCP Average - Trump +7.7

  28. '16 Presidential Race:

    Trump / Clinton - Clinton +4.4
    Carson / Clinton - Carson +2.4