“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."

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Personally, I can’t stand the expression “Boots on the Ground” It trivializes the consequences for those actually wearing the boots

Obama's Foreign Policy Promises Then and Now

Boots are "on the ground" in Syria, and Gitmo is still open.

WASHINGTON -- The White House announced on Friday that a small number of U.S. troops are heading into northern Syria to assist local ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State. 
Though the deployment of ground troops is a somewhat expected extension of the air war the U.S. has conducted over Iraq and Syria since last August, the announcement is in stark contrast with President Barack Obama’s 2013 promise of no "boots on the ground" in Syria. For now, there will be only 50 special forces troops in Syria, limited to an advisory, non-combat role. Nonetheless, the optics of U.S. forces deployed to yet another country in the Middle East is a major blow to the president, who campaigned on winding down U.S. military adventurism. 
As Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pointed out on Friday, deploying Americans to Syria “could bring us into direct confrontation with the Russian Federation military and Syrian government forces” -- not to mention Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters who are backing Syrian President Bashar Assad. 
With just over a year left in office, Obama has overseen the extension of the wars he inherited in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the expansion of U.S. military action in far-flung corners of the world. Though his promise to utilize diplomacy and multilateralism in place of bombs has yielded some success, particularly in the case of the Iran nuclear deal, Obama’s foreign policy doctrine has been overshadowed by a failure to extricate the U.S. from a state of “perpetual wartime footing,” as he pledged to do over two years ago. 


“I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war,” then-Senator Obama said in July 2008, just four months before elections. 
At the end of his first term, the last of the American troops withdrew from Iraq, and at the end of 2011, Obama touted the fulfillment of a key campaign promise. 
But there were early signs that the 2011 withdrawal would not be the last of America’s military presence in war-torn Iraq. The U.S. left in charge Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who oversaw a corrupt government that alienated the country’s Sunni minority. 
In the summer of 2014, Islamic State militants stormed the Iraqi city of Mosul with little resistance, despite the fact that the U.S. had pumped $25 billion and eight years of training into the Iraqi military.  
When Obama inevitably announced limited airstrikes over Iraq and Syria to counter the extremist group, he was careful to distance his endeavor from the war of choice his predecessor George W. Bush began in Iraq in 2003. “As Commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” he pledged.

Since that speech just over a year ago, the U.S. has sent over 3,000 American soldiers to Iraq. Because they serve an advisory rather than a combat role, the Obama administration insists they are not a “boots on the ground” presence.


Perhaps weary of repeating what critics describe as a premature withdrawal from Iraq, predicated on political promises rather than realities on the ground, Obama has repeatedly delayed pulling the last American troops out of Afghanistan. 
As with Iraq, the president has already declared an end to the war in Afghanistan. Last December, Obama announced the end of the American combat role there -- but in March, heeding the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, he committed to keeping 10,000 soldiers deployed there through the end of this year. 
But last month, the Taliban took over the strategic Afghan city of Kunduz. Two weeks later, the White House again stalled its withdrawal plan, announcing that those troops would remain throughout 2016 and be halved when Obama leaves office in 2017 -- guaranteeing he will pass the war in Afghanistan along to his successor. 


“Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states,” Obama said in 2013, referring to the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. “I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate,” he pledged. 
Passed one week after the Sept. 11 attacks, lawmakers envisioned the authorization would apply to the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. But because it has no geographic constraints and a vague definition of the enemy, the president has relied on the 2001 law as legal justification for military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and, most recently, Syria. 
Obama administration lawyers pointed to the 2001 AUMF as the legal basis for the special forces raid that took out Osama bin Laden in 2011 and the drone strike that killed American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki a few months later. 
The failure to repeal such an wide-ranging war authorization has effectively diminished the role of Congress in publicly debating whether the U.S. should go to war. 
Admittedly, Congress is partially to blame for this. Lawmakers don’t need the executive to tell them to replace an outdated war authorization with one tailored to the current conflict, as American University Law Professor Steve Vladeck noted. 
But Obama’s decision to begin airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria last year without consulting Congress rendered any subsequent congressional action symbolic. 
“What's made it difficult is that everyone knows that regardless of what we do on AUMF, it's not going to change anything whatsoever on the ground," said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in April, explaining Congress’ reluctance to draft and vote on a new war authorization. 


Obama has more than halved the prisoner population at Guantanamo Bay, now at 112 detainees. But still, detainee transfers have occurred at a glacial pace, considering the president issued an executive order immediately upon entering office pledging to close the prison within one year.
Here, Congress bears much of the blame. Since 2010, lawmakers have incorporated into the annual defense spending bill provisions that restrict the president’s ability to transfer Guantanamo prisoners abroad and move the prison to the U.S.
Obama has threatened to veto the defense bill every year since 2011, but acted on his threat for the first time this month. When he vetoed the 2016 defense authorization, he cited its reliance on a wartime slush fund to avoid budget cuts and the Guantanamo-related restrictions. 
This past week, Congress reached a budget deal that addressed the first problem -- meaning Obama’s commitment to closing the prison before he leaves office is about to be put to the test. Obama will have to lean heavily on congressional Democrats to sustain his veto, scheduled for a vote in the House next week.
With the slush-fund spending gimmick resolved, Obama will have to make the case that this is his last chance try to close the notorious prison facility.  
But potential allies in the effort to close Guantanamo have slammed the president’s failure to present a comprehensive plan to Congress. 
"There is still no plan on what to do and how to do it with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay," Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the AP last month. McCain is one of the few Republicans who favors closing the prison, but has said that he’ll have a tough time convincing his colleagues to join him in the absence of a viable alternative solution. "If the administration complains about the provisions concerning Guantanamo, then it's their fault because they never came forward with a plan."


To conclude the rundown on a positive note, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is perhaps the greatest fulfillment of the president’s pledge to replace calls for war with diplomatic entreaties. 
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">The nuclear deal negotiators pose for a family shot after concluding months of talks on July 14, 2015. </span>The nuclear deal negotiators pose for a family shot after concluding months of talks on July 14, 2015. 
Obama first pledged to reach out to the Iranians for diplomatic talks aimed at ensuring the peaceful nature of their nuclear program when he was on the campaign trail in 2007.
Once in office, Obama convinced an international coalition of countries -- including reluctant parties like China and Russia -- to instate devastating sanctions against Iran aimed at bringing the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table. 
At the same time, he worked to quiet those in his own country who called for pre-emptive military strikes against Iran and who argued the revolutionary country could never be brought in line with diplomacy. 
Once nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and five world powers began in earnest, Obama thwarted efforts by Congress to impose additional sanctions against Iran, which could have derailed the fragile negotiating process. 
After the seven countries reached an agreement to provide sweeping sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for a significantly downsized nuclear program, the Obama administration launched into an aggressive outreach campaign to Congress to ensure that lawmakers wouldn’t tank the deal. 
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out future cooperative efforts between Iran and the U.S., and the Americans have been careful to hedge expectations on warming relations between the two countries. But for the first time, Iran joined United Nations-led talks in Vienna this week aimed at reaching a political solution to the Syrian civil war, which is in its fifth year. 
War In Syria
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Saleh Mahmoud Laila/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


  1. While I’m at it, I despise anyone except a marine that refers to Guantanamo as “Gitmo”

    I would never order anything to eat called a “slider”

    I never liked macaroni and cheese - I loathe the term “mac and cheese”.

    The militarisms parroted by politicians are particularly galling :

    “Taking out” for killing, muredr and assassination

    “collateral damage” for mangled and needlessly slaughtered women and children

    “in country” except by those that were actually “in country”

    It reminds me of a guy from college. A group of us, ex-vets on the GI bill would hang at a coffee shop and one guy named Homer would end every sentence with “you know”. He was a likable guy and one of us would always mumble a “no, I don’t know”.

    Homer never got it don’t you know.

    1. .

      I use some of the terms often, usually for brevity, and frankly could give a shit what anybody thinks about it.


  2. I nailed the coffee this morning. It is near perfection, so let’s torture ourselves and go to and type in “boots on the ground”

    It beats “boot up the ass”by 5:1

  3. The seven million Israelites have proportionately created more enemies in the 1.5 billion Islamic World. Israel is dead man walking.

    How many enemies has the United States made by your logic?


    Why Iran Took Another U.S. Hostage

    Deuce's pals strike again..

    The news that another American has been arrested by Iran shouldn’t have come as a great surprise to the White House. The United States hasn’t used its leverage to insist on Iran freeing the four Americans who were already being held by the Islamist regime. Indeed, despite formal protests about the conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped up charges earlier this month, there was no indication that the U.S. would take any action actions about the plight of any of the Americans in Iranian hands other than to carrying on secret ransom negotiations. Since we must assume that Obama wasn’t yet prepared to give Tehran everything it asked for in those talks, what better way to bolster its position than by raising the ante in the standoff by putting yet another American in custody. The question now is what, if anything, will the administration do about it? Judging by their past behavior, the obvious answer is not much.


  5. Deuce's favorite world powers loses an aircraft.

    A Russian airliner has crashed in central Sinai killing all 224 people on board, Egyptian officials have said.
    The Airbus A-321 had just left the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.
    Wreckage was found in the Hasana area and bodies removed, along with the plane's "black box". An official described a "tragic scene" with bodies of victims still strapped to seats.

    Was it terrorism? Or was it Russian levels substandard maintenance?

    Does it matter to the 224 dead?

  6. Apparently CNN doesn't read Deuce's best literary attempts.

    Syria: Obama authorizes boots on ground to fight ISIS
    Barbara Starr-Profile-Image
    By Barbara Starr and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
    Updated 7:16 PM ET, Fri October 30, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

    Washington (CNN)The United States is set to deploy troops on the ground in Syria for the first time to advise and assist rebel forces combating ISIS, the White House said Friday.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the U.S. would be deploying "less than 50" Special Operations forces, who will be sent to Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria. The American troops will help local Kurdish and Arab forces fighting ISIS with logistics and are planning to bolster their efforts.

    The deployment of U.S. Special Operations forces is the most significant escalation of the American military campaign against ISIS to date.


    1. What is "Occupation"Sun Nov 01, 10:20:00 AM EST
      The seven million Israelites have proportionately created more enemies in the 1.5 billion Islamic World. Israel is dead man walking.

      How many enemies has the United States made by your logic?


  7. Way too many. We are a terrorist generating machine. How could we not be as we are attacking one country after another, killing their people, causing millions of other to lose their homes, ruining their saving, wrecking their economy, creating waves of refugees, destroying wealth and savings?

    Here is a simple formula. You want to stop creating terrorism, quit attacking and killing others terrorizing them.

    As insane as our policy has been, we can get away with it. The US has a huge economy, military and economic structure and a population of over 300 million but most of all is a vast geographic spread.

    Geographic size trumps everything for defense purposes. The Russians taught that lesson to the French, the Nazis and everyone else that tried to take it.

    There is no fort, no aircraft carrier, or no small geographic area or colony that can outwit strategic depth. The US has it in spades as does Russia. Israel has none. Israel hides behind a 7000 year old technology a wall and a 75 year old technology, nuclear weapons.

    Israel may be a military power but it is a geographic piss ant. You remind us of its size every other post.

    Unlike a smart small country, Switzerland, one that maintains security and peace with good economic and diplomatic relations with all its neighbors, Israel antagonizes or wars with most of hers. Israel has alienated the majority of almost every other country on the planet.

    Talking shit about what your seven million are going to do to 1.5 billion may appeal to your inner Judaic superman but you can’t take a punch. Israel has a glass jaw in that it has no strategic depth and is dependent on the benevolence of one country the USA. Without the USA , Israel is fucked and if you believe that there is an unbreakable bond between any two countries on the planet, you don’t know history.

    1. Israel is fucked?

      No more than the world is fucked.

      The news you choose to ignore?

      The enemies of Israel are destroying themselves as we speak.

      Israel doesn't have to "beat"1.5 billion moslems.

      In fact, I predict that Israel will be the refugee of Islam when the insanity of Islam consumes it's self outside the borders of Israel.

      The Islamic world is self consuming.

      in a short time? it will not me 360,000 syrians or 550,000 iraqis but it will be in the millions across the globe.

      Shits verses the Suns with nukes.

      We shall visit the conversation and watch as the moslem world burns it's self down...

  8. The US policy in the Middle East has been total chaos, doubled and redoubled. It worsens with each year. There is no end in sight.

    1. The US policy?

      There has none for the last 7 years except apologies and appeasement.

  9. The Jews and Israel know all to well about death and destruction.

    Far more than you have a clue about.

    That glass jaw you talk of?

    It's not the Israeli/jewish one.

    We all know to well what the arabs and moslems are capable of, we have seen it before. We have also seen what the civilized "euros" are capable of...

    The difference?

    Jews and Israel have the IDF.

    We may be defeated? But we will take down those that seek our destruction 100 fold...

  10. Ah, America needs more spies to spy on Israel

    Channel 2 reported Sunday that the information security department, part of the IDF's intelligence force, issued a call to its officers and soldiers to beware of recruitment attempts by the CIA.

    The advisory called on soldiers to "be aware and report any unusual incidences."

    The warning was issued to all officers and soldiers of the IDF.

    Attached to the warning was an article from Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot chronicling a phenomenon circa 2012 in which post-army youngsters, upon arrival in the United States, were taken in for extensive questioning by American authorities in an attempt to recruit their services.

    "Every security body fears having its confidential information leaked," an Israeli security source told Channel 2.

    It remains unclear why the IDF chose to issue the warning now.

    I guess it's fair to say that America spies on Israel.

    SO What?

    It's not news that America spies on Israel, Israel spies on America.

    Maybe America should spy on an actual enemy like Iran?

  11. Deuce your point of view is funny..

    Since the world hates the Jews, always hated the Jews and always will hate the Jews, unless the Jews surrender and become a "good" jew and know it's place there will be no peace for the Jews?

    News flash..

    When Jews took your advise? The world still hated the jews, killed or murdered the Jews...

    Long before the crime of "stealing" the lands and homes of the Palestinians the arabs, who now call themselves "palestinians" were slaughtering the jews...

    For centuries the arabs have treated Jews as shit..

    Actually it goes back further, but whose counting...

    No the ONLY response to the savages of the world that seek the Jew's death? Is a bullet aimed at their skull...

    Does it make the Jews friends?

    Nope, but in the end it is better to be feared than to be loved and dead.

    Please tell your friends, the stabbing Palestinians, that they will be enjoined with superior firepower.

    No matter if it causes us to lose invites to polite society...

  12. During a recent speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appropriately decried the “apologetics” which have minimized the role played by ex-Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin el-Husseini (1895-1974) — founder of the modern Palestinian Muslim movement — in fomenting genocidal Islamic Jew-hatred. Netanyahu made these simple, irrefragable points, demonstrating how from the 1920s through (in particular) the World War II era:

    … the father of the Palestinians at that time, with no [Jewish] state and no so-called “occupation,” no territories and no settlements, already sought, through systematic incitement, to annihilate the Jews. Regrettably, Hajj Amin el-Husseini is still a venerated figure in Palestinian society, he appears in study books and is exalted as the father of the nation, and this incitement that began then, incitement to kill Jews, continues.

  13. Replies
    1. Oh yeah they were Jews daring not to be Dhimmi

    2. The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities Under Islamic Rule

      Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. Islamic conquests expanded over vast territories in Africa, Europe and Asia, for over a millennium (638-1683). The Muslim empire incorporated numerous varied peoples which had their own religion, culture, language and civilization. For centuries, these indigenous, pre-Islamic peoples constituted the great majority of the population of the Islamic lands. Although these populations differed, they were ruled by the same type of laws, based on the shari'a.

      This similarity, which includes also regional variations, has created a uniform civilization developed throughout the centuries by all non-Muslim indigenous people, who were vanquished by a jihad-war and governed by shari'a law. It is this civilization which is called dhimmitude. It is characterized by the different strategies developed by each dhimmi group to survive as non-Muslim entity in their Islamized countries. Dhimmitude is not exclusively concerned with Muslim history and civilization. Rather it investigates the history of those non-Muslim peoples conquered and colonized by jihad.

      Dhimmitude encompasses the relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims at the theological, social, political and economical levels. It also incorporates the relationship between the numerous ethno-religious dhimmi groups and the type of mentality that they have developed out of their particular historical condition which lasted for centuries, even in some Muslim countries, till today.

      Dhimmitude is an entire integrated system, based on Islamic theology. It cannot be judged from the circumstantial position of any one community, at a given time and in a given place. Dhimmitude must be appraised according to its laws and customs, irrespectively of circumstances and political contingencies.

    3. Maybe the real criminals are the moslems.

  14. BTW, although the burning Indonesia forests are releasing CO2, the emerging Palm Forests will capture it right back.

    1. .

      I don't profess to be a climatologist but it is my understanding that one of the main problems with CO2 is that it is so long-lived, once in the atmosphere it takes a long time to get it out. And again, I had never even heard of the problem in Indonesia until I read the article but just going by the article, the fires there are pumping out more CO2 (and other dangerous gases) than the US, the 2nd largest CO2 polluter in the world at the moment, more in 3 weeks than the annual output of Germany. And it's not just the trees but the land itself where it is peat that is burning.

      It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries.


    2. .

      Sounds like one of those fires at an old tire dump or in a coal field where when ignited can burn for years.


    3. Okay, the peat adds a dimension; however, the Palm Oil (from the palm trees) negates the need to release vast amounts of CO2 from deep within the earth in the form of Crude Oil.

      In the long run the palm forests will almost certainly be quite environmentally positive.

      Palm Oil's problem is that the "Greenies" want to run the entire world (including transportation) from wind and solar derived electricity, and the conservatives want to run the world enirely on oil, oil, coal, natural gas, and oil.

    4. Conservatives want to run the world enirely on oil, oil, coal, natural gas, and oi

      Spoken like a true believer

      Once again Rufus misses the "all of the above" ideas every EVERYONE of the conservatives

      The Conservatives don't want to subsidize the solar and wind to the tune of 7 billion a year...

      Oh and in deuce's world that is trillions when you factor in the interest we are borrowing from china.

    5. Spoken like a true fucking moron.

    6. I notice you are incapable of actually addressing the point.

      Sorry your drunken state leaves dry for intelligent retort.

    7. Conservatives support geo-thermic, veggie oil, solar, wind and tidal and more, just not subsidized by the taxpayer (that would be me, not you)

    8. .

      What you miss Rufus is that they are cutting down a variegated rain forest in order to plant single purpose trees. I don't see any environmental advantage at all.


    9. .

      Speaking of not being a climatologist, I have kind of changed my mind on AGW or now, I guess. the more euphemistic CCW.

      Whereas, in the past, I pretty much thought CCW was merely a scam, a way to get some of these guys tenure and promotions and to get others rich...well, now that I think about it, I guess I still do; however, I guess I am more open to the theory now.

      Initially, these guys just kept shooting themselves in the foot, selectively choosing the data they would use, leaving out what didn't fit, ignoring the great hiatus or trying to explain it away by changing AGW to CCW, trying to silence opposing views, poor methodology and statistics, etc. However, from what I've read they have improved. Even the hockey stick guy, Mann, has adopted a new methodology. I don't understand it and it still depends on a lot estimates and constant narrowing of estimates (kinda like calculus, I guess); but the scientists supposedly understand and approve so who am I to argue.

      I am still critical of all these models trying to duplicate global climate patterns, I suspect the objectivity of the most studies, and I know there are certain variables they just haven't been able to model (cloud formation for instance); but still, when 95% of the worlds scientists involved in the field agree on the theory and have done so for decades, I am not going to go out of my way to argue the point.

      However, what hasn't changed at all is my opinion of what to do about it. I still favor adaption over unreasonably heroic efforts to try to stop or reverse CCW. Obama has agreed to try to cut US CO2 emissions by 80% over 2005 levels by 2050.
      The UN is pushing for the same thing. To achieve this goal would require massive governmental intervention in the economy.

      Why I am against it.

      1. Many scientists, even those decrying climate change, argue we are already past the tipping point and all our efforts won't meet the 2% increase goal.
      2. Even if the US met its goal, developing countries will not follow suit.
      3. China, the largest producer has 'targeted' 2020 as the date they stop 'increasing' their pollution levels though they have not 'committed' to doing it until 2030. There has been no commitment beyond that as far as cutting pollution.
      4. Saw a recent paper put out by a professor at Princeton, an advocate of prevention, who argues that it is possible for the US to meet its 80% reduction goal by 2050 and 'all' it will cost is a reduction of 1% of GDP. One assumes other developed countries would suffer similar GPD reductions.

      This might be acceptable (not to me of course) when the US is achieving 4% GDP growth but when it's 2%. I don't think so.

      I say we do what any reasonable nation would do, investigate and invest in all forms of alternate and where appropriate renewable energy in order to minimize the amount of pollution we emit. Likewise, efforts at recyling, conservation, etc. only make sense. In other words do whatever we can to minimizing the damage without sacrificing GDP growth to achieve some unattainable target. I would rather see the money, planning, and effort go to adaption and containment efforts. Any way we do it, there will be winners and losers. I think adapting to the change makes more sense.


  15. See we're down to reading The Huffington Post.

    No too much lower to go. Toilet bowl swishing at the bottom can now be seen.
    Deuce wants to control our thought processes, our money, our opinions in all things, our food and drinking supply, our likes and dislikes in women, our recreation, not to mention our votes.

    Deuce has become the classic example of The Limousine Liberal, The Jet Setter, we used to call 'em, now-a- days just third stringers in all things.

    Damn, if Coach could have pulled if off New Mexico he might have had a chance at that coveted 'fourth year'. It looks tough for the man from here one out.

    The Vandals pulled a big time famous Vandals 2nd Half Collapse Syndrome loosing by 7 in overtime by leading by as much as 22.

  16. .

    Yes, the HuPo is certainly not of the same quality as those skin head sites you are wont to post here.


    1. Ah, shoot the messenger but no actual thought as to the context of the message.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. A small crossroads village in Germany, population 102, was informed by email recently that 1000 refugees would be resettled in their town. The mayor originally believed the news to be a hoax. But sure enough, regional officials assured the mayor that the town, Sumte, would have to take nearly 10 times the number of asylum seekers than there were residents.

    When the mayor questioned the authorities, they made a small concession: only 750 refugees would be resettled.

    So according to Rufus, since these folks are coming and taking the native's lands? Their property? they are reasonable targets to be shot and killed...

    so says the rufus..

  18. Having spent a bit of time in rainforests, I see nothing special about them (good habitat for snakes, and mosquitos, but, otherwise, meh.)

    My opinion - a tree is a tree

    (unless, of course, you're wanting to power a large truck, or airplane, in which case the palm oil tree is more than a bit above equal.

    1. And, over time, we will see more and more truth in the meme that:

      The more Fossil Fuels you use, the more expensive they will be, and

      The more Renewables you use, the cheaper they will be.

    2. Speaking of Technology, I thought this was interesting,

      Autopilot Is Wicked Smart, And Getting Smarter!

      October 31st, 2015 by Kyle Field

      Tesla pushed autopilot to all capable Model S vehicles out in the wild with the past few weeks, and fairly quickly, reports started coming in of how it was still a bit rough around the edges, trying to veer off on an exit ramp from the slow lane on the freeway, veering into traffic, and even getting some users a ticket, though I wouldn’t blame that one on autopilot :) That’s unfortunate, but even more powerful than those tales are of the many close calls — or rather, accidents that would have happened — that were prevented by the Tesla Model S’s advanced sensing and safety features.

      It’s one thing for a car to drive me to work… “thanks for letting me check facebook while driving…” but it’s a completely different thing to save someone’s life and prevent accidents. We shared how Jeffrey Katzenberg related his near-death accident and gushed about how Elon Musk saved his life.

    3. Tesla Motors Club members are reporting en masse that the autopilot function in their Teslas continues to improve — on a daily basis — without receiving formal updates. This hints to the fact that the cars do share what they learn, the routes they drive, the speeds they drive them at, the wheel position, etc, on the fly — as was basically shared earlier. What’s impressive about formalizing these findings is that it is also using the learnings from previous trips on its own. This either hints at some pretty solid artificial intelligence (AI) that tracks what routes the humans take and tries to emulate those, or continual software updates with learnings from all users being shared back to the masses in real-time. On top of this, the rate at which it’s improving is astounding, which leads me to believe that this is more of an AI or self-teaching AI that improves based on its own learnings (for today). I fully expect this to start tapping the cloud — the central brain trust of all the collective learnings — but couldn’t imagine they would want to go live with that volume of a change just yet.

      Either way, this ultimately means that the day-to-day autopilot experience continues to improve, which is insanely good for Tesla owners today and more so for future Tesla owners, as this enables Tesla to round off the rough edges from autopilot faster and faster as more autopilot-enabled Teslas get onto the road. They will log more and more miles, learn that much more, and ultimately be that much farther ahead of the other auto manufacturers. Kinda makes me smile after learning that auto manufacturers have been actively and successfully lobbying against high-efficiency and zero-emission vehicles for the better part of the last 2 decades. This truly is “The Revenge of the Electric Car.”

    4. Reading through the forum pages (11 as of this writing), there are countless stories of how it “feels” like it’s improving but with enough solid stories to lend credibility to them. TMC forum member “mobe” relates a story with a healthy amount of detail that sums up one of the key improvement areas over the last few days:

      “So far I have a little over 300 miles on autopilot, mostly 20 miles at a time on my commute to and from work.
      The first day when I was in the right lane, as I approached exit ramps, it would dive for the exit ramp. I quickly learned to apply torque to the wheel to hold the car on the interstate until I had passed the exit.

      Each day the system seems to have less tendency to follow the exit ramps as I pass.

      The last two days it only gave a momentary wiggle and moved over maybe six inches towards the exit ramp then it recovered and moved on down the road.

      This morning it gave only a very slight hesitation, so little that I did not have to correct it at all. I find it remarkable that it is improving this rapidly.

      I wonder if it is getting more information on this section of road or if it is changing how it reacts to any exit ramp?
      This car and this company continue to impress.”

    5. Looks like somebody has some serious hat eating in their future after doubling down on the deal…


  19. Only a fool could think that burning down diverse ecosystems and replacing it with a single tree is good...

  20. Utility-Scale Solar Plants Perform Better Than Expected

    Large utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects often outperform expectations with regard to the amount of electricity generated, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings.

    Interestingly, the report also notes that most of these sorts of projects are also rather low in output variability — being rather stable in output, in other words.

    To provide more specifics on the Fitch Ratings report, the report analyzed the output of 5 different utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, and also one concentrating solar power (CSP) project. All of the projects assessed were completed and brought online between 2011 and 2014.

    Impressively, the projects assessed actually produced (on average) 9% more electricity than they had been projected to. The factors involved in this over-performance, according to the Fitch Ratings report, were primarily: solar irradiance levels that were superior to what was expected, and lower-than-expected grid curtailment losses.

    The report also noted that these projects generally had very limited downtimes, with the range for annual availability being between 98.5% and 99.5%.

    “They’re off to a good start, particularly compared to wind projects,” stated Fitch Ratings Senior Director Yvette Dennis. Though, “long-term performance remains uncertain.”

    The projects in question were mostly located in the US, with one located in Italy. And 3 of the projects were over 500 megawatts in size. The CSP project assessed is 250 megawatts in size.

    Image by First Solar


  21. USDA Awards Funding To 1,114 Rural Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Projects

    October 30th, 2015 by Derek Markham

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just announced a round of funding, in the form of loans and grants, to more than 1100 rural renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide, which are aimed at helping small businesses and agricultural producers reduce both their energy use and costs. The funding will go to finance projects in every US state, as well as in the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific.

    A total of $102 million in loan guarantees, and $71 million in grants, will be provided by the USDA through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP was created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, and due to the success of that initiative, Congress re-upped the program in the 2014 Farm Bill, along with a guarantee of at least $50 million in funding annually throughout the life of the five-year bill.

    As part of the REAP funding, some $6 million will go to a total of 17 anaerobic digesters in 8 states (California, New York, Maine, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington, and Ohio), which are estimated to be able to produce and/or conserve 906 million kWh, roughly equivalent to the power consumption of more than 83,600 homes per year.

    In North Carolina, Fresh Air Energy XVI, LLC, will receive a $3.8 million loan guarantee for financing a 6.5 MW solar array in Green County, which is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power 1,000 homes annually, and which is just one of several loans the company will receive to expand the state’s adoption of solar energy.

    1. Parker Farms, in Ripley, Tennessee, will receive a REAP grant of $45,000 to help with the financing of a 50 kW solar array that was installed last year, which covers more than 70% of the farm’s annual electricity costs, and which has helped the grain farm lower its average monthly electric bill by $800, saving it nearly $10,000 annually.

      In Hawaii, Pearl City’s wholesale bakery “The Patisserie, Inc.” will be awarded a loan guarantee of $256,000, as well as a $128,000 grant, for installing a solar PV system that is expected to produce some 172,000 kW of clean electricity annually, reducing the company’s offsite energy demand by almost 40%.

      “More rural business owners and ag producers are incorporating energy-saving measures into their business plans. These actions improve an operation’s bottom line and help reduce its carbon footprint. This funding will help incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology and reduce energy costs. But beyond the local benefits seen by a company saving energy costs and the global benefits of reducing carbon emissions, this funding will also create American jobs by supporting energy production and efficiency installations that are made in rural America.” – Tom Vilsack, US Agriculture Secretary

      According to the USDA, since the Obama Administration has been in office, REAP has helped to finance more than 10,700 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which have worked to reduce the energy costs for many rural businesses across the country. The USDA has awarded almost $430 million in loan guarantees and about $360 million in grants to rural small businesses and agricultural producers since the creation of REAP, which have helped to generate or save an estimated 8.4 million MWh of energy, the equivalent of powering more than 170,000 average-sized homes for a year, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 million metric tons of CO2.

      Although the funding has already been announced, recipients must still meet the terms of the grant or loan agreement in order to receive the funding. The USDA is also accepting applications for future REAP funding, and more information about that can be had by contacting a state USDA energy coordinator.

      More Cleantechnica

  22. UAE Reiterates Target Of 24% Clean Energy Share by 2021

    October 30th, 2015 by Smiti Mittal

    The United Arab Emirates has announced a target to significantly increase its share of low-carbon energy over the next few years.

    Through its submission to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced its target to achieve 24% of low-carbon by 2021. The target is central to the Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution (INDC) that all countries were required to submit by 1 October this year in the run-up to the Paris climate change summit.

    The UAE Cabinet, on 25 October, endorsed the target to increase low-carbon energy contribution to the overall energy mix from 0.2% in 2014 to 24% in 2021. Low-carbon technologies would include renewable energy and nuclear power. This overall target would be distributed among the 7 Emirates, some of which (like Dubai) have already announced such targets.

    To achieve the target, the UAE will implement energy efficiency measures, feed-in tariff reforms, and demand-side management initiatives. Such measures would include dissemination of information to consumers about their power consumption patterns, implementation of electric appliance entry efficiency standards, and setting water and energy consumption standards for buildings.

    In the transportation sector, the UAE plans to implement a new fuel pricing policy which would track the global crude oil prices. Rail infrastructure, for people as well as goods, would be expanded and emissions standards for vehicles will be implemented in accordance with European standards.

    As far as adaptation measures are concerned, the UAE will take initiatives in waste management, water conservation and desalination, wetland and marine environment conservation, after having already launched a process to build an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Dubai seems to be at the forefront of the transition to clean energy sources. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is working on the historic Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park which would have 1 GW operational capacity by 2019 and 3 GW by 2030, and the Authority plans to source 7% of Dubai’s total power output from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 15% by 2030.

    Even More Cleantechnica

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This is not a 'skin head type' in any of the publications I read and/or cite here, or anywhere else,, unless some of the old farts have gone bald. This is called 'male pattern baldess' and you can fight it but it's not worth doing so.

      Look home ward, punky angel.

      If you have nothing of meaning to say, take it down, as you sometimes do., may congratulations to you.

    2. You thing we can say about ald Quirk He rarely if ever 'makes' predictions. He's even lost money on the ponies.

      It's after the event that he pipes in with 'predictable', 'how predictable', ' a child could have seen this coming' , 'we all knew that was going to happen'.....

      You notice Quirk kept entirely out of the "ISIS our of Iraq predictions market".

      In fact he have been the only one to foreseen that at this point the USA has no foreign policy in Iraq what so ever.

      After the fact, Quart might say 'how predictable"

      Meanwhile Rufus owes me $100.00 and with the Christmas Season approaching, I could use it.

      Quart" :How predictable, you fool, thinking you might actually get paid."

  24. .

    From the Guardian,

    AKP returns to power in Turkey with outright majority

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tightens grip on power but leftist, pro-Kurdish HDP party passes 10% of vote share, enough to deny president a ‘supermajority’



  25. UN planning court for 'climate justice'...
    PUTIN: Global Warming 'A Fraud'...

    In an odd sort of way, I'm kinda staring to like matter he has killed more journalists than caribou....both Canada and Russia might benefit from a little warming, we might save our selves from the next ice age, Spokane, Washing would still exist (for what that is worth) we could go about the really hard work of trying to figure what's going on, if anything, and if there is anything we can, or should do about it., and learn how to develop predictive models that can handle the imput.

    I am holding my fire until The Great Predictor, Quirk, checks in with some hard core predictions for, say, 2050. These predictions must be on record by at least 2030, locked away a my strong box. A bunch of hooey on the interent that can be disappeared is not going to wash, this time.

    I' ve learned my lessons about predictions and predictors around here....

    1. .



      Why in the world would you be worried about predictions years out. On a regular basis here, you demonstrate your inability to remember what's been said, written, or posted a month ago, hell, a week ago, naw, a day or two ago. I recall at least one time when you wrote something at the top of a stream and then denied you wrote it by the time we got to the bottom.

      Whether it's the drink, the failure to take your meds, or just the infirmities of old age, you seem to be past your 'use by' date by a wide margin. Your short term memory is a memory and you are now left to wander in your childhood idylls.

      No, you shouldn't further muddle your head with recriminations on predictions. Thinking for you is hard enough, no sense making it harder still. My advise to you is just to settle back and live in the moment. I would say 'remember, the days grow short when you reach September' but that would be cruel and taunting as you have likely forgotten that sometime in the past, in November maybe if not October (or very possibly even in September).


  26. I like 'Boots on the Ground' rather hat 'Boot's in the Face, Forever"

    1. than

      "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." George Orwell

      Don't like that.


      We’ve created a world of touchy fools whose only language is the internet’s yes/no, like/dislike
      If Greer had called for violence towards transsexuals, it would have been right to deny her a platform. But she did not

      Howard Jacobson
      Friday 30 October 2015

      Germaine Greer is not at all convinced by the goals of modern feminism
      Germaine Greer is not at all convinced by the goals of modern feminism Getty Images

      Some time in the early 1960s when my father was driving taxis in Manchester, he had that April Ashley in the back of his cab. For readers who don’t remember April Ashley, let me quote from her website. “My story begins in 1935 in a tough, working-class area of Liverpool where I was born as a boy... In Paris, I debated with myself the decision to have a sex change... I knew I was woman and that I could not live in a male body. I had no choice. I flew to Casablanca and the rest, as they say, is history.”

      It must have been a short time after her operation in Casablanca that my father ferried her around in his taxi for a day. He liked her, found the story of her ordeal fascinating and moving – “An education,” he called it – and wouldn’t tolerate any sarcasm, weird as the idea of a sex change then was. To this day he stands guard in my imagination over any inclination I might have to judge ungenerously.

      So in the matter of transgender politics I can be trusted to show respect. If Germaine Greer has upset people who might have looked to her for understanding, they have my sympathy. But since she hasn’t called for their operations to be reversed, or for them to be physically harmed, not a single voice should be raised against her delivering a lecture on any subject she chooses at a British university.

      Our country is in a censorious mood. The more educated we are, the less we are prepared to tolerate views contrary to our own. .................

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