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

Friday, December 11, 2015

14 Years on in Afghanistan: How is the Professional Military of Our Empire Doing These Days in Afghanistan?

The Pentagon Proposes Expanding Military Bases, But Some Countries May Not Agree

 DEC 10, 2015 12:47 PM THINK PROGRESS

The Pentagon is planning to expand American presence overseas, including in Iraq to fight ISIS, the New York Times reported Thursday. This proposition was put forward despite Iraqi statements that reject foreign troops aiding the fight against ISIS. Other countries are also apprehensive to an increase of American military presence.
“Administration officials said that the proposal for the new basing system…was not intended to be a specific Pentagon proposal to combat the affiliates of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL,” the Times reported. “The officials said that it was meant primarily as a re-examination of how the military positions itself for future counterterrorism missions, but that the growing concern about a metastasizing Islamic State threat has lent new urgency to the discussions.”
The Pentagon proposes a hub in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region of around 3,500 American troops. While the expansion plan is an attempt to create better coordination between bases and maintain a central base in the Middle East, the central Iraqi government in Baghdad’s recent comments indicates they may not appreciate a larger American presence in their country — even though Kurdistan has been semi-autonomous since 2005. Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, among other Iraqi politicians, said Iraq does not welcome foreign troops (despite the presence of Iranian militias on the ground) interfering in the fight against ISIS.
“The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky,” al-Abadi told AP. “We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq.”
Iraq isn’t the only country that opposes an increased American presence. Other countries also feel uncomfortable with an increased American military force on their land.
“…some officials [are] advocating [for] a larger string of new bases in West Africa, and others, mindful of African fears about a large American military footprint on the continent, saying the main hub for West Africa would actually be located in southern Europe,” the Times reported.
In an interview with NPR earlier this year, David Vine, author of Base Nation: How the U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the Worldsaid: “Largely, people of course don’t like their land occupied by foreign troops — and I think it’s worth thinking, for American audiences, to think about how it would feel to have foreign troops living next door, occupying your land with tanks. … There have also been a number of harms that these bases have inflicted on local communities — there have been accidents, crimes committed by U.S. personnel, environmental damage — a whole range of damage that people were quite upset about.”


  1. How is your OOrah going?

    70 years and how many wars fought vs, number of wars won.

  2. Doubling the number of pilots and support staff and expanding to more bases around the US are two parts of the Air Force’s plan to meet the Pentagon’s goal of expanding drone operations. The $3 billion wish list still needs congressional approval.

    The plan was announced on Thursday, after months of soliciting feedback from the USAF’s drone pilots and support staff, who have complained about being overworked and underappreciated. It envisions adding 75 MQ-9 Reaper drones to the current fleet of 175 Reapers and 150 MQ-1 Predators, increasing the number of squadrons from eight to 17, and adding up to 3,500 new pilots and support staff, reported the Los Angeles Times.

    Currently, most of the USAF drone operations are flown out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. The base, about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, has no housing facilities, so the 3,325 military personnel and civilian contractors working round-the-clock shifts must commute.

  3. Think we don’t have an empire? At the age of 20, my father served in the Army Air Force at a base in East Anglia in The UK. At the ages of 19, 20, 21 and 22 I served on RAF Marlesham Heath, RAF Woodbridge, RAF Bentwaters and RAF Lakenheath, all in East Anglia. Here we are, almost 50 years later and Ta DA!:

    The Pentagon is also considering placing a drone operations center at Lakenheath, a Royal Air Force base in Suffolk, England

    1. Let me clarify, my father was in the USAAF and I was in the USAF. The Brits like to keep RAF names on USAF bases in the UK.

  4. That is over 70 years of US armed forces in the UK.

    1. The United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad—from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.
      By my calculation, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in fiscal year 2014; the total with bases and troops in warzones is $160 to $200 billion.

      Read more:

  5. The Taliban eliminated almost all opium trade in Afghanistan by the 1990s. Last year Afghanistan produced over 6000 tons of it.

  6. .

    While Quirk the Sheeple it seems will likely end up voting for Hillary.

    Once again, the Mensa candidate from the boondocks in Idaho speaks and civilization shudders.

    Once again, you, Idaho Bob, embarrass yourself uttering the same puerile inaccurate irrelevances over and over again.

    You made a fool of yourself two streams back with the same accusation and now you repeat it.

    I pointed out you were an idiot the first time you made the accusation on that stream. When you repeated it I gave a more extended response. Since I don’t suffer fools gladly and was a little irritated at the time the response was less than tactful. I pulled it down after thinking it not worth it.

    Now, you continue with your same bullshit. Therefore, I have reconstructed that second response while also including the first.

    QuirkWed Dec 09, 11:32:00 AM EST


    (Idaho Bob) So you'll be voting for Hillary then.


    Please don't direct any more comments to me. You are a waste of time.


    (After your repeat of the lie.)

    You are a mental midget. As an 'English major', you are a running joke. Logic and critical thinking are apparently beyond your ken.

    What in my disgust for Trump implies I would ever vote for Hillary especially in light of the many times I have stated I would never vote for her?

    Not only are you subpar in English, your knowledge of logic and critical thinking is non-existent.

    For months, you argued that I said I would vote for Hillary based on a sarcastic (perhaps too nuanced for an English major) comment I put up denigrating the GOP field. This despite the qualifier in the statement or the fact that I corrected you on the subject numerous times. Whether you do this through an innate need to irritate, because of plain raw stupidity, or because of a faltering mental capacity, I don’t know. And I don’t care. This is not the only time or the only subject on which you have pulled this shit. The quality of all of your comments is reflected in the sources you choose and the logic with which they present their arguments.

    I meant it in my previous statement. I don't want any further direct conversation with you. Your illogical mind makes conversation with you tedious. Your bigoted worldview is odious and offensive. The only enjoyment I took from it for the last year or so has been the catharsis I have enjoyed in pointing out your numerous errors. Even that has lost its fun factor.

    Go away.


    1. You're also right on the edge of being an anti-semite, asshole.

    2. I didn't start it.

      Quirk did.

      I am only replying in kind.

      By the way, Quirk, you have been shown to be totally wrong about The Donald claiming many muslims were cheering 9/11 back east.

      There were many moslems cheering 9/11 back east, not just eight.

      You are wrong, The Donald is right on that one.

    3. Bob, you are an idiot. Why don't you try your Bullshit shtick at the Belmont club?

  7. Good to hear it, Quirk-O.

    You have been all over the map. You are odious and offensive and tedious. You are no fun at all.

    You are stupid and of faltering mental capacity.

    You attack my sources, which are actually excellent sources. Much better than The Nation of Juan Cole for instance.

    You are so dumb you don't see danger when it is staring you in the face.

    "First we show the Poles, then everyone else"

    That's YOU Quirk, but you are such a trusting numb skull you don't even realize it.

    Grow up, boy.

    1. I move that Deuce modify this directive -

      “This site is dedicated to preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

      It might help.

  8. Ben Carson attacks Prince Riebus. Good for Ben. I don't like Prince Riebus either.

    Ben Carson blasts RNC, threatens to leave Republican Party

    'I will not sit by and watch a theft,' he says.

    By Nolan D. McCaskill and Kyle Cheney

    12/11/15 09:53 AM EST

    Updated 12/11/15 06:09 PM EST

    Ben Carson on Friday blasted the Republican National Committee following a Washington Post report that nearly two-dozen establishment party figures were prepping for a potential brokered convention as Donald Trump continues to lead most polls.

    RNC Chairman Reince Priebus held a dinner in Washington on Monday, and, according to five people who spoke with the Post, the possibility of Trump heading into the Cleveland convention with a substantial number of delegates was a topic of discussion. Some attendees suggested the establishment lay the groundwork for a floor fight that could lead the party’s mainstream wing to unite behind an alternative. Carson rejected this approach.

    “If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in the Washington Post this morning,” Carson said in a statement released by his campaign.

    Carson said he prays the Post’s report is incorrect and threatened to leave the GOP. “If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it,” said Carson, who added that if the plot is accurate, “I assure you, Donald Trump won’t be the only one leaving the party.”

    The retired neurosurgeon said that next summer’s Cleveland convention could be the last Republican National Convention if leaders try to manipulate it.

    “I am prepared to lose fair and square, as I am sure is Donald,” Carson said. “But I will not sit by and watch a theft. I intend on being the nominee. If I am not, the winner will have my support. If the winner isn’t our nominee, then we have a massive problem.”

    Carson told ABC News on Friday that he had no plans to run as an independent. “But I certainly don’t want to be a part of corruption,” he said, stopping short of saying he would drop out of the race if he left the Republican Party.

    “I’ll leave that up to you to speculate,” he added with a smile.

    Read more:

    1. Carson said he prays the Post’s report is incorrect and threatened to leave the GOP. “If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it,” said Carson, who added that if the plot is accurate, “I assure you, Donald Trump won’t be the only one leaving the party.”

      Good on you, Ben.

    2. Meanwhile over on the Democratic side the DNC is all in for the criminal Hillary.

      What a choice, a criminal, or an ignoramus that wants to take the USA down the road of Venezuela.

      Venezuela, I read, though don't know if I believe it, has the largest oil reserves in the world.

      Anyway they certainly have a lot. But they are broke after 'Chavismo' and the entire country is a crime scene.

      Finally the Venezuelans have rejected the whole load of horse shit in the last election.

      Venezuela is what the USA would become if Crazy Bernie got elected with the Democrats holding both houses of Congress.

      It would take a while, but that would be the end state.

  9. What social science tells us about racism in the Republican party

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the United States has reignited an old debate about the Republican Party, which some see as the party of intolerance.

    Liberal critics have long insisted that Republican candidates use coded language that sounds respectable on its face but covertly signals an outdated view of race, ethnicity and religion to their constituents. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voiced this perspective on Tuesday, saying that Trump's words and policies simply reveal the true values of the party and its supporters.

    Some leading Republicans have rebuked Trump, distancing themselves and the party from his views.

    "This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said a day after the presidential candidate proposed barring Muslims.

    At the same time, other Republicans have been circumspect in their criticism of the party's presidential front-runner. Critics claim these GOP politicians are blowing a "dog whistle," inaudibly appealing to their constituents' prejudices.

    The same argument has been applied to almost every recent presidential election: President Ronald Reagan was criticized for invoking the image of the welfare queen to imply that African Americans were lazy crooks who bilked the government. President George H.W. Bush's infamous Willie Horton spot told the story of a black man who committed violent crimes while on furlough from prison, a move that critics say won Bush supporters by exploiting white Americans' fear of black crime.

    An expanding body of research by psychologists, economists and political scientists suggests that voters' racial biases help the GOP win elections, and critics say the party is capitalizing on that fact. Though researchers haven't settled how successful dog-whistle politics are at tapping into those

    1. prejudices, some believe that race will become more, not less important in the party's future campaigns.

      "There's a good deal of evidence that white resentment of minorities is linked to support for Republican candidates, their policies and conservative ideology in America," said Robb Willer, a political psychologist at Stanford University.

      On the campaign trail, reporters frequently bring up Trump's rhetoric and ask the other candidates to make their positions clear at a time when white Americans are a rapidly declining portion of the population. Bruce Bartlett, who served as a senior economic official under Reagan and George H.W. Bush but now describes himself as independent, said Trump is giving Republicans a crucial opportunity to win over a larger, more diverse electorate by repudiating prejudice.

    2. "Trump is forcing Republicans, at long long last, to finally decide, 'Are we going to be the party of racism and lose the White House forever?' " Bartlett said.

      Racial biases

      As the country has become more diverse, the Democratic Party has, too. But the demographics of the Republican Party have not changed much in recent years, according to Gallup. As of 2012, 89 percent Republicans were non-Hispanic whites, compared to 60 percent of Democrats. Nearly three quarters of Hispanic and Asian voters and fully 93 percent of black voters cast ballots in favor of President Obama in 2012, according to Washington Post exit polls.

      Research has shown that voters who favor Republicans are more likely to hold racial biases against people of color. For instance, nearly one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center.

    3. A poll conducted by the Associated Press before the 2012 election found that 79 percent of Republicans agreed with negative statements about racial minorities, such as "If blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites." Among Democrats, the figure was just 32 percent.

      The Republican National Committee did not respond on the record to inquiries about Reid's statement.

      'The white man's party'

      The data is all the more surprising at first blush since Democrats were the party of segregation in Southern states for decades. That began to change in 1963.

      On June 11 of that year, President John Kennedy, a Democrat, gave a televised speech in favor of racial equality. That spring, the share of white Southerners who approved of Kennedy declined by a precipitous 35 percentage points.

      Some Republicans saw an opportunity. By emphasizing their support for "states' rights" and "law and order," they could subtly appeal to those disaffected white voters, showing their support for the status quo without explicitly opposing civil rights.

      "Substantial numbers of Party leaders from both North and South see rich political dividends flowing from the Negrophobia of many white Americans," wrote journalists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, both well sourced in conservative circles, two weeks after Kennedy's speech. "These Republicans want to unmistakably establish the Party of Lincoln as the white man's party."

    4. Over the next few decades, white support for Democrats in the South — once monolithic — gradually eroded.

    5. Bartlett, the former Reagan administration official, argued that white Southerners did not leave the party because of racial bias. He said these voters held conservative positions on issues unrelated to race, such as health care and Soviet relations. That group gradually realized the Republican platform matched their views more closely.

      [Read more: How racism explains Republicans' rise in the South]

      On the other hand, a new paper by economists Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington rebuts alternative explanations for the decline in the number of Southern white Democrats. Analyzing archival polls, the authors found no evidence that racially conservative white Democrats who left the party were more conservative on issues unrelated to race than those who stayed in the party. The only explanation for their desertion of the Democratic Party that was consistent with the data was racial animosity and opposition to civil rights.

    6. Bartlett, the former Reagan administration official, argued that white Southerners did not leave the party because of racial bias. He said these voters held conservative positions on issues unrelated to race, such as health care and Soviet relations. That group gradually realized the Republican platform matched their views more closely.

      [Read more: How racism explains Republicans' rise in the South]

      On the other hand, a new paper by economists Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington rebuts alternative explanations for the decline in the number of Southern white Democrats. Analyzing archival polls, the authors found no evidence that racially conservative white Democrats who left the party were more conservative on issues unrelated to race than those who stayed in the party. The only explanation for their desertion of the Democratic Party that was consistent with the data was racial animosity and opposition to civil rights.

  10. Southern strategy

    While some leading Republicans have tried to put this history behind them, there's reason to think the problem of prejudice will return with a vengeance in this campaign and in subsequent elections.

    Maureen Craig and Jennifer Anne Richeson, psychologists at Northwestern University, recently conducted an experiment in which participants read about the fact that white residents are no longer the majority of California's population. Reading this information made white participants more likely to support the Republican Party and more likely to endorse conservative views in a questionnaire.

    Given that white Americans' share of the population is declining in many other states, too, white voters could be swayed by candidates who talk about race, openly or not.

    "Race is inevitably going to become a more and more important part of Republican strategy as it becomes more and more a party of whites and especially white men," said Eric Knowles, a political psychologist at New York University. "Demographically, that's where their base is."

    Knowles's research suggests that this trend has already begun to affect GOP politics. Using data from a series of surveys, he and his colleagues found that membership in the tea party increased respondents' perceptions of white identity over time. Other researchers have found that its members tend to be more racist and xenophobic, after accounting for their belief in limited government and other . . . .

    Just Racists

    1. .

      I still have faith there are those in the Republican Party that don't buy into this bull. Although Trump's poll numbers would suggest there is a large number that do, perhaps a third or more.

      There are certain regions where the bigotry is more pronounced, South Carolina for instance where Trump's poll numbers grew after his call for keeping Muslims out of the country.

      South Carolina, land of the Confederate flag and incidents like the recent one at the Citadel, hopefully, they are the exception.

      However, so far all we have seen is polls. Once, actual votes start coming in we shall see. After Super Tuesday, if Trump is still in the lead I will be surprised. If he is, I may be forced to agree with you.


    2. .

      Of course, reading some recent articles, I may be forced to reevaluate some of my other beliefs.

      One example is that I thought things might improve over time due to the growing amount of people that self-identify as independents rather than Dems or Republicans. I had assumed, perhaps wrongly, that they were disgusted with the performance of both major parties and would swing the elections in a positive way even if it were only by increments over time. Perhaps, not.

      The following study

      How American politics killed off swing voters

      One of my obsessions in American politics is the way the nature of partisanship is changing — the way it's getting harder, more extreme, and more personal.

      The transformation is easy to miss because, superficially, we had Democrats and Republicans 60 years ago, and we have Democrats and Republicans today, and haven't they always argued?

      But here's a sentence that shows just how much has changed over the past half-century: "Pure independents were more stable in their party support across 2000–04 than strong partisans were across 1972–76 and about as stable as strong partisans across 1956–60."

      The observation comes from political scientist Corwin Smidt, and it's worth dwelling on for a moment. It means that voters who told pollsters they were "strong" partisans in the '50s were about as likely to vote for the other party as "independent" voters are today.

      That sounds ridiculous. But as Smidt writes, it actually makes perfect sense. What's changed here isn't the voters; it's the parties...



    3. {...}

      Why today's independents are so partisan

      A paradox of modern politics is that 1) more Americans than ever are identifying as independents even as 2) fewer Americans than ever switch the party they vote for between elections.

      Today's self-identified independents, in other words, aren't very independent — they're actually predictably partisan, at least in the way they vote.

      One interpretation of this is that so-called independents are lying — they're not really independent, they're actually Democrats or Republicans in disguise.

      But Smidt argues that the fault is in our parties, not in our voters. The two parties have become so polarized, and the choice between them has become so clear, that pretty much every kind of voter reliably votes for one party or the other. That's true whether they call themselves independents or partisans, and it's true even when they don't pay attention to politics. This is probably the key chart:



    4. {...}

      The data comes from the American National Elections Survey — a massive survey conducted after every election. One of the questions asks whether voters felt like they really understood the differences the two parties had on the issues.

      What Smidt found, looking at responses to that question over time, was that the voters were becoming much more aware of how the two parties differed. The change was so sharp, he writes, that "independent and inattentive voters exhibit an awareness of candidate differences across more political issues than strong partisan or politically attentive Americans prior to 1980."

      To put that more simply, a voter who mostly ignores American politics today is about as informed on the differences between the two parties as a political junkie was in 1980. That's an incredible finding.

      The voters are right: The two parties really are different

      The key point here, though, is that it's not necessarily the voters who have changed — it's the parties themselves that are different.

      There was a time, not so long ago, when many elected Republicans agreed more with the Democrats than with other Republicans, and vice versa — and leading political scientists thought it a great crisis for our democracy. In 1950, the American Political Science Association's Committee on Political Parties released a report calling on the two parties to sharpen their disagreements so that the American people had a clearer choice when casting their ballots.

      The political scientists eventually got their wish. According to the polarization measures kept by political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, party polarization is higher in modern Congresses than at any time since the late 1800s:
      polarization congress


      Voters — even inattentive ones — are seeing differences between the parties more clearly because those differences are bigger and thus more easily seen...


    5. .

      An example: In 1965, a Democratic president created a massive, single-payer health care system for the nation's elderly. But as liberal as Medicare was in both conception and execution, it received 70 Republican votes in the House as well as 13 Republican votes in the Senate. (This was the era in which Barry Goldwater had run for president exhorting Republicans to offer "a choice, not an echo.")

      Obamacare, by contrast, was based off many Republican ideas (like the now-controversial individual mandate), relied on private insurers for the bulk of its coverage expansion, and ended up sacrificing its public option. But it didn't receive a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.

      It's easy to see how a voter in 1965 might think Republicans were open to something like Medicare — particularly if they lived in a liberal area represented by a liberal Republican who actually was open to something like Medicare. Today, however, no voter would be confused as to which party supports Obamacare. The choice between the two parties is much, much clearer.

      And that more or less solves the mystery of the loyal independents. "Polarization has not strengthened their sense of partisan loyalty," writes Smidt, "but the clarity of polarization has effectively allowed independents and the politically inattentive to act as loyal partisans..."


    6. {...}

      The problem with clear parties

      Polarization has become a dirty word in American politics. But it's exactly what political scientists were begging for in 1950 — they thought Americans needed a clearer choice, and now Americans have one. So what's the problem?

      Smidt offers an interesting answer to this question. The differences between the two parties are so stark that there are basically no true swing voters left. The average rate of party switching over the past four elections was 6.2 percent — about half the average rate from 1952 to 1980.

      But those inattentive and independent voters who were willing to switch between less distinct parties were important; they gave parties a reason to stick near the center and ensured they were punished if they severely mismanaged the economy. As they decline, parties can focus more on turning out their bases, and they are more insulated from the effects of poor governance.

      The underlying theory here is counterintuitive. We assume that American politics is stronger if all voters are well informed and able to make rational decisions about which party to support (though, remember, politics makes even smart, well-informed people stupid!). But some political scientists, including Smidt, emphasize that American politics needs many different kinds of voters to function — and that includes voters who aren't very well informed about American politics, aren't particularly committed to either party, and don't really know what they want.

      Polarization has made the differences between the two parties so huge that swing voters are a dying breed, and the electorate is increasingly split between those who strongly prefer the Democratic Party and those who strongly prefer the Republican Party. On some level, that's the dream — the two parties are really different, and voters really should know which they prefer. But those inattentive voters we long looked down on played an important role in American politics, and we may miss them when they're gone.


  11. .

    "First we show the Poles, then everyone else"

    By repeating this meme, your define yourself. You further define it with your ignorance of sharia as practiced in the US. You show yourself to be part of the low-intellect sheeple that buy into the scare-mongering being pushed by Trump and others.

    Today, all the news stations here in the Detroit area carried coverage of an interfaith rally held by the citizens of Hamtramck condemning ISIS, terrorism, and the Islamophobia being pushed by Trump and other bozos on the right. Most of the speakers were from the ME; however, Polish citizens and other also spoke.

    Over the past week, you have put up posts here, one arguing that American Muslims are obviously admitting their guilt because CAIR came out and condemned the shootings in San Bernardino while no other religious group did. Then you put up an article condemning the Muslims for not coming out and condemning the shootings more. And the low-intellect reader of these sites you visit look at them and see no apparent dissonance between the messages.

    By the way, I'm waiting for the announcement of that rally you are pulling together to condemn
    right-wing Christians for the actions of that yahoo who shot up the abortion center. After all, since 9/11 there have been almost a quarter million murders, and for every murder by a Muslim extremist there have been over 4300 by others.

    Beware, Bob. It's getting dark and the wolves are coming. Time for you to get back under your bed.


    1. WHAT ?????

      I had thought you weren't talking to Bob anymore but by jebbers here you are directing your comment directly to me !!

      By the way, I'm waiting for the announcement of that rally you are pulling together to condemn right-wing Christians for the actions of that yahoo who shot up the abortion center.

      Why should Christians be blamed for the actions of a yahoo ? He's no more Christian than a moslem.

      He was schizophrenic. He lived alone in the woods, in a shack, and mumbled to himself.

      You further define it with your ignorance of sharia as practiced in the US.

      Nay. There are many studies out there that show how the growth of a muslim poplution results in the jacking up of the extremism as the % of muslims in a population rises.

      You may not be aware of these studies. They are from Europe.

      Such studies also show that it is not the first generation of immigrant moslems that cause most of the problems, but the second and third.

      This male in San Bernardino was second generation if I remember correctly. His wife was from a radical mosque in Pakistan via Saudi Arabia if I recall correctly.

      Her body has not been claimed -

      Radioactive radical: Body of San Bernardino jihadist bride unclaimed
      ***Radioactive radical: Body of San Bernardino jihadist bride unclaimed
      FOX News · 1 hour ago

      The mysterious jihadi bride who helped her husband kill 14 and wound 22 in last week’s terror attack in San …***

      Why not be a good guy Quirk and reach out and give her a proper burial ?

      Think of the points you'd score among the moslims of Hamtramck !

      You might make Drudge.

      I do agree that the moslems in America, are somewhat less radicalized than in many other countries.

      I'm not sure they have reached even the 2% level yet.

      If the research from Europe is to be credited, when they get up over 5% it starts....over 10% watch you back.

      I'd like to keep them below the 2% level for the peace and quiet and sanity of them all.

      I'm so sorry if the phrase from the Hamtramck city councilman irritates you.

      But I want you - always looking out for ol' Quirk - to be ever vigilant concerning your surroundings, so I will repeat it again -

      First we show the Poles, then everybody else

      If I were Polish, and lived in the area, frankly I'd feel a little put out by that.

      I suppose it all depends on the definition one applies to the word 'show'.

      The use of the word 'we' is certainly a little intimidating, at any rate, to me at least.

      I hope it all works out.

    2. .

      The use of the word 'we' is certainly a little intimidating, at any rate, to me at least.

      What isn't?


  12. Here is a link for the most intelligent intelligent assessment I have ever read on US Aircraft carriers, It is over at:

    How daunting is the task of sinking a 2014 U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier protected by a typical deployed strike group?
    What kind of ordinance, planes, and ships would be required to do so?

    62 Answers

    You’ll need some time to read it and the comments are excellent.


    Like the trireme for Athens and the 100-gunner ship-of-the-line for Britain, the aircraft carrier more than just the Navy’s most powerful class of ship: It’s part of America's national identity. The Japanese took out our battleships at Pearl Harbor, but they did not do even the slightest damage to the weapon that would eventually annihilate them--the carrier air wing. As much as football, apple pie, fake tits, Black Friday riots and concealed-carry, the aircraft carrier represents America.

    1. In my admittedly unlearned military opinion, in a real shoot out, our aircraft carriers would have a life span of less than 48 hours.

      However, I was proven right when I mocked Rufus endlessly over his prediction that Iraq would be ISIS clean by the 4th of July, 2015.

      General Rufus has now extended the date to "by the time Obama leaves office."

      Since General Rufus doesn't pay his legally due internet gambling debts, there is no reason for me to get into it any further, but I'm sure he is wrong here, too.

      Everything I read says ground troops are needed by somebody to accomplish this task, and Obama isn't going to do that.

      Bombing 'bed rest' areas isn't going to get the job done, IMHO.

      We shall see.

  13. Reuters Rolling Poll

    Time Frame: Dec 06, 2015 - Dec 11, 2015 (5 Day Rolling)
    December 11, 2015

    Businessman Donald Trump 35.4%
    Surgeon and author Ben Carson 12.0%
    Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio 10.5%
    Tex. Sen. Ted Cruz 9.7%
    Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush 8.4%

    Jeb!'s $100 million political fund seems finally to have broken him out of the 3%-5% range !!

  14. Here, this guy has something to say - I might go a little further but we're in the same ballpark -

    December 12, 2015
    Islam: Not Just a Religion
    By Tom Trinko

    Americans are having a hard time discussing the problem of Muslim immigration and assimilation because Islam is not just a religion; it's a whole way of life, civil and spiritual.

    The First Amendment was written because Christians of all denominations believed that while people's religious beliefs are the basis for the law, no one Christian group should be supported by the power of the federal government. After all, that's why many Americans had fled England.

    Islam, according to many Muslims, rejects that principle and declares that all authority belongs to Islam. It's as though Catholics believed that the pope should be the ultimate authority for setting the fine you have to pay if you get a speeding ticket.

    It's important to note that it doesn't matter what Islam "really teaches" so long as there are a lot of Muslims who say Islam supports theocracy and terrorism. We have to deal with reality, not some hypothetical "pure" Islam.

    Because Islam demands Muslims' full civil as well as spiritual assent, it's fundamentally different from any faith that Americans are truly familiar with – which makes discussing it difficult. Is someone saying we should reject Muslim immigrants because of their religion, as Americans understand it, or because some Muslims believe that the Constitution must bow before the Quran, or because some Muslims believe that violence can be used in honor killings and to avenge insults against Mohammad?

    While it's true that the majority of American Muslims are quite comfortable with the Constitution, the reality is that Islam lays claim to worldly authority in every nation. That means that it's possible to reject Muslim immigrants not because of their faith, but because it's not irrational to assume that the first civil loyalty of at least some Muslims, especially those from Muslim-majority countries, is to Islam, not the Constitution.

    1. The current Muslim situation is not the first time America has been concerned with immigrants because of their faith. Historically, America discriminated against Catholics and Catholic immigration because many Protestants erroneously believed that Catholics wanted to establish a theocracy in America. Many laws with a religious test resulted from that concern.

      But unlike the baseless scare over something the Catholic Church did not teach – namely, that the pope should be running America – Islam does teach, at the very least in the minds of many Muslims, that all countries should be theocracies. If anyone doubts that a large fraction of Muslims believe that Islam calls for sharia law, one only has to look at how things are run in most Muslim-majority countries. One can look in vain for all the Catholic-majority countries run by the pope or his bishops.

      Pakistan is nominally a democracy with religious freedom, but non-Muslims can be killed for preaching their faith – hardly compatible with the American view of religious liberty. On the other hand, Ireland legalized so called same-sex marriage – hardly an indication of Catholic theocracy.

      The critical question is, what fraction of Muslims who wish to come to America reject the idea that their first civil loyalty is to Islam? It's hard to tell, since there seems to be a dearth of polling of American Muslims where they are asked about sharia law. But according to a Pew survey, support for sharia law is fairly common among Muslims in a wide variety of countries.

      For the first time in its history, America is facing the question of how to deal with people whose religion is often interpreted by many of its adherents, as opposed to its detractors, to reject the principles of democracy and religious liberty.

      With nearly 3,000,000 Muslims in America and a major terror attack requiring the support of only a handful of people, it doesn't take a large percentage of radicals to create serious problems.

      In the end, the real question – considering that whenever and wherever Muslims have a chance, at least some of them try to institute sharia law, even if only for Muslims, and considering the widespread belief that advancing Islam justifies terrorism – is, is it reasonable to let a lot of poorly educated hardcore Muslims into the U.S.? Even if Islam does not teach that a Muslim's first civil loyalty is to Islam, the reality is that it appears that a lot of Muslims think that it does. Contrary to liberal beliefs, America is not strengthened by bringing in people who disagree with our founding principles.

    2. Most Americans support the commonsense solution of differentiating between radical Muslims and those Muslims who can accept the Constitution instead of sharia law. Liberals, however, are causing controversy by condemning Christians for crimes of the ancient past while ignoring real issues with Islam.

      Liberals have a strong incentive to ignore Islamic extremists because Muslims in America tend to be Democrats (70%) and not Republicans (11%). However, it is strange, if one assumes that liberals are trying to be coherent, that the same liberals who condemn Christianity because of the Crusades, defensive wars designed to free Christians from Islamic oppression that occurred centuries ago, become strangely silent in the face of modern radical Islam.

      It's odd that liberals who tar all Christians for the crimes of one nutcase who attacked Planned Parenthood are unwilling to admit that some terrorists are inspired by the writings of a fanatical conqueror who advocated slaughter of those who opposed him and who married a six-year-old girl.

      Saying we are at war with those who have an extremist view of Islam and not with all those Muslims, and there are a lot, who don't believe in the use of violence to spread Mohammad's heresy seems to make excellent sense, yet liberals reject associating Islam with people who say they are killing in the name of Islam and who can cite chapter and verse where the Quran supports them.

      Perhaps we could have a better national dialog if liberals didn't ban Christian refugees while ignoring the potential problem associated with bringing in Muslims, whose faith may lead them to put Islam ahead of America on civil matters. That doesn't mean we have to ban Muslim immigration, and it certainly doesn't mean we should condemn all Muslims, but it does mean we should have a plan in place to ensure that the Muslims we let in share our view of civil authority vis-à-vis religious authority.

      While liberals are right when they say that declaring that all Muslims, especially all American Muslims, are evil is playing into the hands of extremists, it's also wrong to simply ignore the links between Islam and terrorism and the fundamentally different natures of Christianity and Islam. We can't be safe if we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the root cause of Islamic terrorism.

      You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

      Read more:

      If Quirk is the indicator, it's obvious America erred grievously by letting any Catholics into the country. (just joking) :)

      Rufus would be forced to agree, as he is in favor of outlawing all religions.

  15. Gun in Paris terror attacks linked to ‘Iran-Contra’ Florida arms dealer

    A gun linked to the Paris terror attacks that left 130 people dead and wounded 368 others has been traced back to a Florida arms dealer. It is the same arms dealer that sold arms to the Contras of Nicaragua at the time the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.
    The revelation came during an interview with the head of a Serbian arms factory, who said the M92 semi-automatic pistol’s serial number was the same as one that his company delivered to an American online arms dealer, Century International Arms, in May 2013.

    “[It] is a semi-automatic weapon, a hunting and a sporting weapon … cannot fire barrage fire, only single shots … which are legal in America,” Milojko Brzakovic, head of the Zastava arms factory, told the Associated Press.

    He said the gun was delivered as a semi-automatic but he did not know whether someone had turned it into an automatic after delivery. Brzakovic said his factory exports up to 25,000 hunting and sports guns every year, and all were delivered legally. The particular gun in question was exported to the Florida-based Century International Arms, but it is not clear how the gun got back to Europe.

    Brzakovic said all arms exports from Serbia are under strict government control.

    “We submit a request to our government to give consent and authorize the export. Until we receive that, we make no contact. Once we get permission to export, we make a contact and arrange the dynamics,” he told AP.

    There are strict rules overseeing the legal import and export of weapons like semi-automatic pistols. In the US, an individual or company has to be registered with the State Department.

    At least seven of the weapons used or discovered after the November 13 Paris attacks were produced by the Serbian factory. Most were manufactured before Yugoslavia broke up in a civil war in the 1990s and most were modified versions of the Soviet AK-47 or Kalashnikov.

    The Palm Beach Post contacted Century owner Michael Sucher, but calls were not returned and doors at the company’s location in Delray Beach were locked. The company also has locations in the town of Georgia, Vermont.

    The Post reported that Century is a buyer and re-seller of military-grade surplus guns and is one of the largest arms dealers in the US. Its specialty is buying weapons from overseas and reselling them to dealers.

    This is not the first time Century International Arms has made news headlines, either. The Palm Beach Post reported the same dealer had benefitted from an illegal arms trade of pistols, sniper rifles and assault weapons with the help of “unauthorized brokers” – an Israeli arms dealer middleman. The weapons moved into the possession of Century from stock in a Guatemalan government warehouse in 2007, for $130 million.

    The revelation came from information provided by WikiLeaks’ trove of secret diplomatic cables – the same cables said by the US government to have been provided by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence in prison for the leak.

    An employee of the same arms dealer was involved in supplying arms, including rockets and grenades, to the Contras of Nicaragua during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal under President Ronald Reagan.

    There are other implications, too, including that Century Arms’ Romanian-manufactured WASR-10 rifle is a favorite with Mexican drug cartels. Hundreds have been linked to crimes in Mexico, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

  16. Yet another article - they seem endless - that argues that ISIS will be, contra General Rufus, around when Obama leaves office -

    Why Islamic State Will Haunt Obama's Successor

    America's counter-ISIL strategy going forward will not likely look drastically different than the present strategy, for all of its flaws.

    Andrew J. Bowen

    December 11, 2015

    While rhetorically stirring, President Obama’s primetime Sunday evening remarks, in which he vowed to “eliminate ISIL,” lacked any substantive policy shifts in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. Instead, he sought to re-assure the U.S. public that his approach to fighting Islamic State (ISIL) is the best option, despite acknowledgements from the Pentagon that ISIL had not been “contained,” as Obama had prematurely stated hours before the Paris attacks.

    Obama, as Peter Beinart noted recently in a column in The Atlantic, tends to view the threat of ISIL differently than his Republican counterparts. In Obama’s view, while ISIL has indeed proved problematic, the organization’s threat to the security of the U.S. homeland remains minimal. So ISIL is Europe and the Middle East’s problem. This viewpoint has been consistently echoed in his approach to Syria and Iraq—treating Baghdad’s political challenges and Syria’s civil war and its effects as problems that he may have underestimated, but not ones that merit any deep policy commitment from the U.S.

    For a president who has been determined to end wars in the region, sustained engagement in Syria and Iraq were never priorities and, as a result, Obama has been more focused on playing defense on ISIL than offense. It’s not surprising, then, that the only real addition to the president’s speech on Sunday was the awkward furniture arrangement of his Oval Office.

    However, while a strong case can be made for steps that could have been taken since 2011 by President Obama to curtail the rise of ISIL, the path forward is strategically and politically murky. As rhetorically reassuring it may sound for the entire Republican presidential field to vow to eliminate ISIL, none of the candidates has presented a clear politically feasible strategy so far. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat frontrunner, gave a thoughtful assessment of the region and U.S. foreign policy in her address to the Saban Forum this past Sunday at the Brookings Institution, but her policy prescriptions remain vague.

    In the broader think tank community, analysis has varied in terms of marrying feasibility with politics. The American Enterprise Institute recently published the most comprehensive anti-ISIL strategy to date, in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of War. While a number of elements of the strategy are cogent, it’s unclear whether either President Obama or his potential successors will assume the political risk of adopting them.

    If they do, they risk committing the U.S. into an open-ended strategy with an end goal that isn’t fiscally, strategically or politically sustainable. As much as Washington has tried to use its diplomatic and military tools to support regional states and parties in these states to resolve conflicts and deny ISIL a safe haven, there’s also a limit to what the U.S. can realistically do in these situations.

    Politically, while recent American public opinion polls show disapproval for how the President is handling the situation and growing support for the U.S. to send ground forces to fight ISIL, a majority of Democrats polled do not support such an option. It’s unlikely then that either Obama or a future President Clinton would take such action. Obama has been even reluctant to support a proposal by the late Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, which advocated establishing light footprint bases across the Middle East, South Asia and Africa to enhance intelligence gathering.......

  17. If you read Jihad Watch nearly every day as I do you will rapidly come to appreciate what a world wide phenomena jihadi violence is......always the moslems against whomever the neighbor might happen to be.

    Jihad Watch
    Exposing the role that Islamic jihad theology and ideology play in the modern global conflicts

    Bangladesh: Muslims set off bombs in Hindu temple, shoot at people fleeing

    December 11, 2015 11:58 am By Robert Spencer 38 Comments

    But if you dare raise your voice against this savagery, you will be defamed as a purveyor of “hate speech” and treated like a criminal. Best to forget all about it. Hey, Kardashians!

    Hindu temple attacked

    “Nine injured in attack on Hindu temple in Bangladesh – police,” Reuters, December 11, 2015:

    Two people suffered gunshot wounds and seven others less serious injuries in a bomb and gun attack on Thursday at a Hindu temple in northern Bangladesh, a senior police official said.

    Humayun Kabir, deputy inspector general of police for the northern region, told Reuters that three unknown attackers had arrived at the temple in Dinajpur district, 415 km (260 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, by motorbike.

    They detonated several homemade bombs and then shot at people who were fleeing the building in panic, he said. About one hundred people were gathered in the temple.

    Two people with gunshot wounds were taken to hospital.

    Kabir said two people had been detained following the incident, which he said was similar in nature to a bomb attack on Saturday on a Hindu religious gathering in the same area in which at least six people were injured, three critically.

    Police suspect banned militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) may be behind the attacks, Kabir said.

    Muslim-majority Bangladesh has suffered a rising tide of Islamist violence over the past year although attacks on Hindu religious gatherings remain rare.

    Four online critics of religious militancy have been hacked to death, among them a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin….

    Hmmm. They were critics of what kind of religious militancy, Reuters?

    1. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, always afraid ...

      ... always the moslems against whomever the neighbor might happen to be.

      Mostly, that is other Muslims.
      Muslim on Muslim violence is by far the prolific form of violence in the Islamic sphere.
      But "Draft Dodger" and his ilk ignore that reality, in their efforts to monger fear among us.

    2. List of conflicts in Muslim world

      Bosnian Muslim mourners at the reburial ceremony for an exhumed victim of the Srebrenica massacre.

      Some of the events pivotal in the Muslim world's relationship with the outside world in the post-Soviet era were:

      Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
      The Arab-Israel War 1967 Palestine
      The Nagorno-Karabakh War
      The civil war in Somalia
      The Iran–Iraq War
      The 1991 Gulf War
      The Bosnian War
      The First Chechen War
      The Kosovo War
      The South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000)
      The Kashmir conflict
      The Kargil War (Between Pakistan and India) (1999)
      The War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
      The 2003 invasion of Iraq
      The War on Terror
      The Syrian occupation of Lebanon
      The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy of 2005
      The Second Sudanese Civil War
      The 2006 Lebanon War
      The 2006 controversy over remarks quoted by Pope Benedict XVI
      The 2007 Lebanon conflict
      The ongoing war in Darfur
      The ongoing standoff with Iran over its nuclear program
      The ongoing Second Chechen War
      The ongoing War in North-West Pakistan
      The ongoing Islamic insurgency in the Philippines
      The War in Somalia (2009–)
      The 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence
      The Arab Spring
      The 2011 military intervention in Libya
      The Syrian Civil War
      The Northern Mali conflict
      The Central African Republic conflict (2012–present)
      The 2013 Burma anti-Muslim riots
      The ongoing Xinjiang conflict
      The ongoing Islamist insurgency in Nigeria
      The 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict
      The 2014 Northern Iraq campaign
      2014 India–Pakistan border skirmishes

    3. Just so you know, those who criticise the west for the world’s conflicts

      Others than Mr Blair or Mr Bush might just be a little, teensy-weensy bit to blame. Possibly?

      (The below is copied in its entirety from the source website)

      Of The 22 World Conflicts Around The World, 21 are Muslim


      Current conflicts and wars: Source: http:/

      Some of the world’s current “hot spots” which have as their base a significant component of religious intolerance are listed below:

      Country and Main religious groups involved

      1. Afghanistan Extreme radical Fundamentalist Muslim terrorist groups & non-Muslim Osama bin Laden heads a terrorist group called Al Quada (The Source) whose headquarters were in Afghanistan.
      2. Bosnia Serbian Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholic, Muslims
      3. Cote d’Ivoire Muslims, Indigenous, Christians
      4. Cyprus Christians & Muslims
      5. East Timor Christians & Muslims
      6. Indonesia, province of Ambon Christians & Muslims
      7. Kashmir Hindus and Muslims
      8. Kosovo Serbian Orthodox Christians, Muslims
      9. Kurdistan Christians, Muslims Assaults on Christians (Protestant, Chaldean Catholic & Assyrian Orthodox). Bombing campaign underway.
      10. Macedonia Macedonian Orthodox Christians & Muslims
      11. Middle East Jews, Muslims, &Christians
      12. Nigeria Christians, Animists, & Muslims
      13. Pakistan Suni & Shi’ite Muslims
      14. Philippines Christians & Muslims
      15. Russia, Chechnya Russian Orthodox Christians, Muslims. The Russian army attacked the breakaway region. Muslims had allegedly blown up buildings in Moscow. Many atrocities have been alleged.
      16. Serbia, province of Vojvodina Serbian Orthodox & Roman Catholics
      17. Sri Lanka Buddhists & Hindus Tamils
      Additional conflicts
      19. Thailand: Pattani province: Buddhists and Muslims
      20. Bangladesh: Muslim-Hindu (Bengalis) and Buddhists (Chakmas)
      21. Tajikistan: intra-Islamic conflict

      Just some useful information for those who think that Islamo-Fascists are peaceniks and the world’s conflicts are all due to American, or even British foreign policy.

  18. Perhaps America's greatest novel banned in Pennsylvania's Montgomery County - the people that insist on this kind of crap simply don't know what the hell they are talking about, don't really know a thing of the book, nor the leanings of its author. It is a sad situation.

    By the way, there are something on the order of 8 or more local dialects used in Huckleberry Finn. Sam Clemens had a most wonderful ear.

    news — Education
    Schools continue to grapple with 'Huckleberry Finn'
    Updated: December 11, 2015 — 1:08 AM EST


    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884): One of Twain's most famous works, Huckleberry Finn has nevertheless been one of the most frequently banned and challenged books of all time, mostly because of profanity and the use of the "n-word."

    by Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer.

    After The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, the book was boycotted in some places in the United States for portraying friendship between a black man and a white boy.

    "In its time, it was derided and censored," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, which tracks challenges to books.

    Today, Mark Twain's classic - about a boy who flees his abusive father and travels down the Mississippi River with an escaped slave - is still sometimes challenged in American schools, but for nearly the opposite reason: its liberal use of the N-word and perceived racist portrayals of black characters.

    This week, a Montgomery County school removed Huckleberry Finn from its curriculum after a group of students said the book made them uncomfortable.

    After a forum for students and faculty, the administration of Friends' Central School decided to strike the book from the 11th-grade American literature class, principal Art Hall said in a letter to parents this week.

    "We have all come to the conclusion that the community costs of reading this book in 11th grade outweigh the literary benefits," Hall said in his letter.............


    1. Freedom of Speech in today's America.



    2. ACLU Board Member Resigns After Urging People To Kill Supporters Of Trump

      December 11, 2015 7:43 PM

      By Shaun Boyd

      DENVER (CBS4)– A board member for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has resigned after urging people to kill supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

      Loring Wirbel’s Facebook post was captured by The Daily Caller – a right-leaning online newspaper.

      The post states, “The thing is, we have to really reach out to those who might consider voting for Trump and say, ‘This is Goebbels. This is the final solution. If you are voting for him I will have to shoot you before Election Day.’ They’re not going to listen to reason, so when justice is gone, there’s always force…”

      “It’s almost like, you will think the way we think, you will do what we want you to do, or we eliminate you?” says Steve House, chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

      It’s the second threat against Republicans in Colorado in one week.

      Fern Delise, 54, of Fountain was arrested after police say she called Planned Parenthood saying, “It’s tempting to walk into a republican party meeting with my dead husband’s gun and just start shooting people.”
      CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House (credit: CBS)

      CBS4’s Shaun Boyd interviews Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House (credit: CBS)

      House says the party is taking additional security measures at large gatherings, “I think we have to be prepared as a party and I think politics is just overdone. We’ve got to realize the country needs to pick leader and we need to do a serious job of doing that but this kind of rhetoric really doesn’t help at all and frankly it scares us and people need be worried about it a little bit.”

      The ACLU of Colorado released a statement saying it “does not condone the recent personal Facebook post of regional volunteer Loring Wirbel. The ACLU of Colorado is a nonpartisan organization. We do not endorse candidates or parties. We have proudly spent decades fighting for the rights of all Coloradans, regardless of political affiliation, to vote and to freely participate in the political process. Our members, supporters, and volunteers are free to express their own personal views and opinions in their personal lives. We have fought for decades to preserve that right, as well, for all Coloradans, no matter how strongly we disagree with the content. However, the personal posts of members, supporters, and volunteers on their own personal social media sites should not be mistaken for endorsements or official statements of the ACLU of Colorado.”
      (credit: Facebook)

      (credit: Facebook)

      House says, “The American Civil Liberties Union does good work. We’re talking about civil liberties, my ability to have liberty. And yet if you talk about this kind of statement you’re talking about abolishing my civil liberties in favor of what you believe. I think that kind of rhetoric doen’t belong in the ACLU let alone anywhere in America. There’s a point to free speech where if you’re threatening violence that you’ve gone beyond what free speech allows and it has to be taken seriously, especially given the environment in the country right now.”

      Wirbel did not respond to a request for comment. He is from Colorado Springs and police there say his post is covered by free speech and they do not intend to investigate.

      Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

  19. A 2013 resolution called male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children,” and was passed overwhelmingly by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

    Studies (both formal and informal) have shown that women in the U.S. have strong preferences for circumcised penises, citing “visual appeal” and “sexual hygiene” as reasons for their predisposition. European women, of course, prefer their men with dong-snuggies.

  20. Since we are in America we should all do as American women - our better 1/2's - desire in these matters.

    1. By that logic, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, you would have to endorse female circumcision in the Islamic world.

      Oh the tangled web you weave ...

    2. You make no sense, as usual.

      If we were in the Islamic world we should do there as the women there wish us to do.

      Which I know would not involve 'female circumcision'.

    3. You are certainly hung up on circumcision, talking about it all the time.

      You bring the subject up time and again.

      No one else ever brings it up or seems at all interested in the topic, save you.

      Rather odd, indeed.

  21. Following the travails of SodaStream continues to be interesting.

    An article was published recently through Seeking Alpha that raised the issue of likelihood as to SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) being acquired in a similar manner for which Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR) is being acquired. For those whom are unfamiliar with the details surrounding the Keurig Green Mountain acquisition, the company has accepted a buyout offer from JAB Holding Company, a Luxembourg based consumer goods company specializing in the coffee category abroad.

    "Today it was announced that Keurig Green Mountain would be acquired for $92 a share by JAB Holding Company. A JAB-led investor group will acquire Keurig Green Mountain for $92.00 per share in cash, or a total equity value of approximately $13.9 billion. ..."
    So will SodaStream see something of a similar variety to that of Keurig Green Mountain, an acquirer valuing the company many multiples above its current trading price? Granted, SodaStream is trading around book value and has traded significantly below book value for months. But let's take a close, hard look at this through the most analytical lens. With the following bullet points we can compare SodaStream to Keurig Green Mountain's business and determine what is attractive to an acquirer:

    1. SodaStream operates and is headquartered in Israel. GMCR is headquartered in Waterbury, VT.
    2. SodaStream's product line is a nonessential consumer good based on volume. GMCR's product line is an essential consumer good based on volume.
    3. SodaStream has limited access to cash. GMCR has a $1.6bn credit facility at its disposal.
    4. SodaStream has no free cash and will only exhibit limited free cash flow in the near future. GMCR throws off hundreds of millions in free cash flow.
    5. SodaStream has an extremely limited investor base with no major investors to speak of. GMCR has many large investors inclusive of Coca-Cola.
    6. SodaStream will witness two consecutive years of revenue declines. GMCR has exhibited one year of revenue and earnings declines.
    7. SodaStream has witnessed discontinuations of its core products at many retailers around the world and in the largest consumer market. GMCR's core products have not been discontinued at retail.
    8. SodaStream continues to lose distribution partners. GMCR has added distribution partners.
    9. SodaStream boasts 9.5mm users. GMCR boasts 21mm users.
    10. SodaStream CO2 inventory and fixed asset assignments are extremely difficult to validate on the balance sheet. GMCR has no CO2 inventory and fixed asset validation concerns.


    1. Based on the bullet points provided, it is quite easily understood as to why an acquirer would be more compelled to take action with GMCR rather than SODA. In more plain speech with consideration of acquiring SodaStream, who is capable and willing to acquire and operate a company that sells a nonessential consumer good, that is exhibiting consecutive years of declining revenues and earnings, losing distribution internationally, exhibiting consecutive years of gross margin contraction even with greater efficiencies, exhibits no free cash flow, carries over $40mm in debt with less than $20mm in credit available to the company, forced to dual list common stock as there has been limited interest in the company in the U.S. market, does not offer investors a forecast of future sales and earnings and is forced to continuously acquire its own distribution rights because its distributors continuously falter with the SodaStream business and products? Where is the attraction from an acquirer's perspective? And remember, the company's equity has traded significantly below book value and yet still no takers, even with the most optimistic outlook for the future there are no takers below book value. When a company trades at or below book value and still is not acquired under the assumption that free cash flow will eventually rear its beautiful head, you have to consider the sum of the parts.

      What portion of the crash in SodaStream's US retail sales and market capitalization can be credited to the propaganda campaign of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, anyone's guess.

      But that the beginning of the collapse coincided with the start of the BDS campaign cannot be ignored.

  22. .

    America: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

    A New York City man is suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET), over its portrayal of Jesus Christ, according to The New York Post.

    Justin Renel Joseph filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court arguing that several masterpieces depicting Jesus Christ as a blond-haired Caucasian are inaccurate. Joseph argued that Jesus was a dark-skinned Middle Easterner and had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color,” like himself. In court filings, Joseph describes himself as a “biracial male who is of Hebrew and African descent.”
    Joseph claimed he suffered personal distress after viewing Sebastiano Ricci’s “The Holy Family with Angels,” Perugino’s “The Resurrection,” Tintoretto’s “The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes,” and Francesco Granacci’s “The Crucifixion.” He also argued that portraying Christ as a Caucasian was deliberately done to elevate one race over the other...

    The new standard has been set: If it makes anyone feel uncomfortable, it has to go. Where did this bullshit spring from? From students at elite universities marching protesting, and occupying buildings because they 'feel uncomfortable' with real life and demand a 'safe' environment where there every demand can be granted and every wish appeased instead of an environment where they can be challenged and learn to some nut-job author from the ME who demands that art be censored because it gives him 'personal distress' to the sheeple who are willing to give up every personal liberty as long as the government 'promises' to protect them from the boogyman, to the nativist nuts that think they will actually be safer if we close all the borders.

    The land of the free and the home of the brave has become the land of the scare-monger, the pampered pricks, the easily 'offended', and the pussified.

    It's embarrassing.


    1. It's expensive, Q, to get into a university.
      The customer is always right, especially in service industries like education.

    2. .

      You are right there, rat.

      All their money goes into turning their campuses into 'Club Meds'. The administrators have become tour guides and cruise directors. More money to administrators and 'counselors', catering to the 'students' every need, money to new facilities to provide entertainment rather than learning, less to teacher salaries. The videos of the pampered pricks who attend these places now, their demands, their sense of entitlement, it's just crazy.

      Read an article where comedians have to modify their acts, water them down, feed pablum to the masses, to assure thatno one god forbid is offended or made to feel uncomfortable. Heck, that would be a 'microaggression', the new 'IT' word on our campuses and liberal salons.

      Many comedians do modify their acts. There is good money to be had for those who need it. A number of those who don't have stopped playing the college tour.

      It's pretty damn sad, IMO.


    3. The new standard has been set: If it makes anyone feel uncomfortable, it has to go.

      Under this new standard can I demand that you go ?

    4. .

      Learn the rules.

      First, you have to file a lawsuit, or organize a protest, or occupy a building, or get a bunch of your peers to sign a petition outlining how uncomfortable you feel and list all the microaggressions you have suffered. To do the petition thing you will likely need to lure your 'peers' out from hiding under their beds long enough to sign. You better get cracking.


    5. I don't want to put my e-mail address up so my peers can contact me.

      I'd get to much other stuff too.

      First, you have to file a lawsuit, or

      I think I'll just try this route first.

      I don't want to organize a protest, much less occupy a building.

      I will gladly list all the microaggressions I have suffered at your hands in my lawsuit, however.

      Thanks for the tip. I'll get my lawyers on it first of the week.

  23. .

    Saudi Arabia is the fountainhead of today's terrorism.

    Some in Europe are now starting to admit it. How long before the US is forced to? How long before those un-redacted 28 pages from the 9/11 report end up on Wikileaks or Greenwald's First Look Media?

    A Backlash Builds Against Saudi Salafism
    By David Andrew Weinberg

    The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have once again put Saudi Arabia's brand of Salafi Islam, known as Wahhabism, under the microscope. In both Europe and the United States, some observers are blaming Riyadh's austere religious tradition and state-funded proselytization for spreading an ideology that they believe inspired 9/11 and may have encouraged the more recent attacks.

    Speaking with Berlin's Bild newspaper on Sunday, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called Saudi Arabia an important diplomatic partner but raised concern that "from Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world," warning "we must make it clear to the Saudis that the time of looking the other way is over."

    Several of the Islamic State group's Paris gunmen grew up or spent time in Belgium's Molenbeek, a neighborhood described by the Guardian as "Europe's jihadi central" that has also been linked to several other attacks. Some observers have sought to draw a line connecting those attackers and Saudi-inspired Salafism.

    The Paris cell's mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, grew up in Molenbeek as the child of Moroccan immigrants. According to a local think tank analyst cited by the Washington Post, starting in the 1970s "Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries sent funding for rigid religious schools, setting up tension between Wahhabi mosques and the more moderate and largely Moroccan tradition."

    The Grand Mosque of Brussels, considered "the largest and most influential mosque in the capital of the European Union," was gifted to Saudi Arabia's King Faisal in 1967. According to Politico Europe, the mosque's cultural center "encouraged clerics from the 1980s onwards to shift to fundamentalist Salafist teachings, including the placement of over 600 salafist teachers into schools." Belgian MP and former Doctors without Borders official Georges Dallemagne also points to this influence, arguing that "the very strong influence of Salafists... is one of the particularities that puts Belgium at the center of terrorism in Europe today..."


  24. SOUTHWEST ASIA, December 12, 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

    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted five strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Manbij, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and drone.

    -- Near Mar’a, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units, damaged four ISIL buildings and wounded two ISIL fighters.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Rocket artillery, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Al Baghdadi, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Makhmur, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL mortar tube, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL weapons cache, and two ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL light machine gun, an ISIL fighting position, and an ISIL supply cache.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do 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.

  25. .

    Status of the Paris Accord on Climate Change

    Proposed 'historic' climate pact nears final vote

    (c) 2015, The Washington Post.

    LE BOURGET, France - Diplomats from 196 countries prepared to vote Saturday on a far-reaching climate accord that seeks to halt the rapid growth of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and prevent a dangerous warming of the planet...


    While the final outcome was still hours away, environmental groups hailed the draft agreement as a turning point in the battle against climate change...


    Officials acknowledged that the compromise accord is insufficient, by itself, to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celcius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial averages, an increase that many scientists believe is the maximum amount of warming the planet can sustain without massive disruptions in natural ecosystems. But the treaty is structured to allow nations to adopt more ambitious cuts in emissions as new technology becomes available...

    - See more at:


  26. Palouse churches offer support to Pullman
    William L. Spence/Lewiston Tribune
    A handful of churches and humanist groups are offering their support to Palouse
    area Muslims
    after the Pullman Islamic Center was labeled a "radical mosque" in a recent online post.
    The label came from The Daily Calle
    r, an online news organization co
    founded by Neil Patel, a
    policy adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
    The Caller posted a story Saturday titled "Caution! You may live in the radical mosque zone." It
    included a list of about 80 "extremist" Islamic
    centers that allegedly want to implement Sharia
    law and "establish a global Islamic caliphate," according to the Clarion Project, an independently
    funded organization that created the list.
    The Pullman Islamic Center, which opened in 1982, was added to th
    e list because it's owned by
    the North American Islamic Trust, which the Clarion Project claims is affiliated with the Muslim
    Sgt. Dan Dornes with the Pullman Police Department said no specific threats against the mosque
    have been identified.
    However, the department will make extra patrols near the center as a
    After the Daily Caller story was posted, some churches and humanist groups came to the defense
    of area Muslims.
    "Please know that we at St. James hold you in high regard as ou
    r neighbors and as fellow
    believers," noted a Facebook post from St. James Episcopal Church in Pullman. "Please let us
    know if we can offer specific support, whether personally accompanying (Islamic Center)
    members to the store or standing witness and guar
    d around the mosque during times of prayer. In
    the meantime, know that we fight to resist the racist, Islamophobic remarks we encounter on a
    daily basis."
    Elizabeth Stevens, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, also sent a
    message of
    support, as did Tyler Palmer, president of The Humanists of the Palouse.
    "We want you to know we will always defend religious freedom and cultural diversity, and
    threats against these are threats against our very way of life," Palmer wrote. "We stand with
    and offer our support."

    1. The Pullman Islamic Center, which opened in 1982, was added to the list because it's owned by
      the North American Islamic Trust, which the Clarion Project claims is affiliated with the Muslim

      The locals out this way have said it was a radical mosque for a long long time.

  27. The Donald seems to think he can 'mandate' the death penalty for cop killers.

    He is wrong about this.

    He was right about moslems cheering after 9/11, and Quirk was wrong.

    He is right about being able to say no to Syrians or moslems or any other groups seeking to immigrate here.

    But he is wrong about being able to 'mandate' the death penalty for cop killers.

    Criminal penalties are up to the states. Some have the death penalty, some don't.

    I don't think he could even 'mandate' the death penalty for killing some Federal police officer of some type.

    That would be up to Congress.

    They are the ones with that authority. It is Congress that creates Federal laws.

    The Donald might be able to insist that he be the one to personally flip the switch or turn on the poison drip for people who kill Federal officers.

    He is tasked with executing the Federal laws.

    I think most people would be somewhat put off to see the President actually turning on, gleefully, the poison drip.

    Most people would probably think it below the President to do such a thing.

    Maybe it would be a vote getter, though.

    Who really knows ?

  28. The Donald must be doing something right -

    NBC.......Saudi prince calls Trump a disgrace to America

    1. Rupurt Murdock's partner in Fox News, Alwaleed bin Talal, is the Saudi Prince.

      "Fair and Balanced" coverage by Fox News is now a foregone forfeit.

    2. Fox News Correspondent James Rosen reported on Wednesday night that a “major investor in the parent company” of Fox News has been implicated in financing the terrorist group al-Qaeda. Rosen made the embarrassing disclosure in a story on the channel’s “Special Report” show hosted by Bret Baier.

      The alleged al-Qaeda financier, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is a very close friend of Rupert Murdoch and his family, who control major media companies like News Corp and 21st Century Fox. The latter is now the parent company of the Fox News Channel.

      With detractors like Alwaleed bin Talal the rants of Mr Trump gain validity with his backers.
      They should, Fox News has been utilized as a terrorist platform.

      Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Alwaleed offered a $10 million contribution to a 9/11 fund for families and victims. Then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani rejected the money because Alwaleed had blamed the terror attacks on U.S. Middle East policy.

      With enemies like Alwaleed bin Talal, Mr Trump garners respectability.

  29. DES MOINES REGISTER POLL: CRUZ 31%, TRUMP 21%, CARSON 13%, RUBIO 10%..........Drudge

  30. Americans think of themselves as a peace-loving people, and we certainly don’t regard our country as a ‘warrior nation’ or ‘garrison state.’”

    And, indeed, we even elected Barack Obama to repudiate that direction, “Yet a mere two years later, we find ourselves back in the fray once again. Since taking office, Obama has escalated U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and launched a new war against Libya. As in Iraq, the real purpose of our intervention is regime change at the point of a gun,” he wrote. So, he asked, “Why does this keep happening? Why do such different presidents keep doing such similar things?”

    Walt offered five answers.

    First, “Because We Can,” he noted: “when you’ve got hundreds of planes, smart bombs, and cruise missiles, the whole world looks like a target set.”

    Second, relatedly, “The U.S. Has No Serious Enemies.” Because we’re so safe and secure (and protected by two oceans, to boot), “Americans have the luxury of going abroad ‘in search of monsters to destroy,’” which we’ve been warned about, remember?

    Third, Walt pointed to “The All-Volunteer Force,” which removes a powerful potential source of accountability, as we saw with the Vietnam War.

    Fourth, Walt said, “It’s the Establishment, Stupid.” While one party is more openly bellicose, the alternative is “’liberal interventionists’ who are just as enthusiastic about using military power to solve problems, provided they can engineer some sort of multilateral cover for it.” A similar logic affects both sorts.

    “In short, our foreign policy is shaped by a bipartisan class of foreign policy do-gooders who spend years out of power maneuvering to get in, and spend their time in office trying to advance whatever their own pet project(s) might be…. [W]hat’s the point of being a big shot in Washington if you can’t use all that power to try to mold the world to your liking?”

    Finally, Walt noted, “Congress Has Checked Out,” despite the Constitution clearly giving the power to declare war.

  31. For the good of the country, instead of thanking someone for their service, we should tell them to get a real job.

  32. That sounds a little harsh.

    Are we then to tell someone who has lost a leg overseas to get a real job ?

  33. December 12, 2015

    Why Are We Taking in Refugees?

    By Catherine Sellers

    The controversy over Donald Trump’s call for a halt to taking in Muslim refugees until they can be adequately vetted brings to mind the question: Why is the U.S. even taking in refugees? Apart from the terrorist dangers surrounding the vetting issues, we certainly no longer have the resources to take in refugees or any new immigrants. Yes, it’s altruistic to welcome newcomers, according to the MSM, the establishment politicians, and the “We care so much” liberals, if you have the ability to take care of them or a job for them. But the reality is, the U.S. cannot take care of its own citizens, much less take care of everyone who wants to come here, whether legally or illegally.

    We don’t have enough jobs for the citizens of this country, much less jobs for new arrivals. We have over 94 million working-age adults not working, most because they cannot find jobs. According to John Williams at, our real unemployment is somewhere around 23 percent if you count those who are without jobs over the long term and have given up looking for work. Millions more, who would like a full-time job, are working one or more part-time jobs. Our welfare and Medicaid rolls are already overflowing with citizens and immigrants. The U.S. government is broke and paying for this welfare with borrowed dollars, all funded on the backs of taxpayers.

    Our employment picture is likely to get worse as manufacturing is contracting while inventories are overstocked. Sales, both wholesale and retail are declining, and the transportation of goods by rail and trucking is decreasing even in the Christmas busy retail season. The nosedive in commodities’ prices shows a world and a U.S. that is moving into recession. The economic figures of a growing recession, stacked up against overwhelming private and public debt brought to us via the central banks, are only going to get worse in 2016 when recession layoffs begin in earnest.

    The much-touted big business mergers, such as Dow and Dupont, are not signs of financial health, but rather symptoms of the Federal Reserve’s crony capitalism fueled by zero interest rates and the concentration of capital on Wall Street. Such mergers bring their own set of layoffs and an actual decline in jobs and the economy. These mergers only raise the number of big business monopolies while decreasing consumer choices and increasing consumer costs. Wall Street is one giant bubble, a pinprick away from bursting.

    1. We have the lowest homeownership since 1965 because housing prices are back to 2008 levels, or higher, at the same time that wages are stagnant or declining. We have $1.3 trillion bubble in student loan debt, a bubble rise in sub-prime auto loans and extended loan repayment terms, and skyrocketing healthcare costs and tuition. Many Americans are maxed out when it comes to debt and disposable income. Yes, gas prices are lower, but healthcare costs, thanks to ObamaCare, have more than eaten up any savings at the pump.

      At some point the federal government and blithely unaware citizens are going to have to face the facts. The federal government is currently borrowing almost a million dollars a minute, making debt slaves and tax slaves of us, our children, and grandchildren to subsidize a bloated nanny state and irresponsible government spending. Social Security and Medicare are both edging closer to insolvency. According to Dr. Lawrence J. Kotlikoff, a former Reagan senior economic advisor, we have over $211 trillion in present and future unfunded government liabilities on top of the much publicized $18.5 trillion debt. To date, few politicians, except Republicans Chris Christie and Ben Carson, have even mentioned this gigantic economic problem or how we will address it. The current baby boomer retirement rolls is spurring the costs of Social Security and Medicare and hastening the day of reckoning, our “Welcome to Greece” moment.

      This perilous economic situation is not confined to the federal government. State and local governments all across the country from California, Illinois, and Kentucky, to the fiscally conservative state of Virginia, are facing deficiencies in funding their public retirement programs. Private retirement programs are facing the same scenarios with some of the unions actually cutting current retiree benefit payments.

      Some economists theorize that there is some nebulous “reset” button we can push and all these debt problems will be fixed. But whatever buttons we push or whatever fixes we come up with will entail a great deal of economic pain for the citizens of this country. The average American will pay into infinity for all of this foolish Keynesian monetary economic control and government liberal altruism and irresponsibility.

      So, to the establishment politicians and the liberal mouthpieces, keep the immigrants coming. Enjoy your “feel-good moments” that you are saving people from strife. You also might tell these immigrants that their free ride or their hope for a job might not be realized because the U.S. is already way overbooked and heading toward bankruptcy.

  34. Not quite as harsh as encouraging the murder and mayhem we are wreaking on others who never did us any harm.