“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, January 01, 2016

US Right Wingers and Israel Firsters are all for NSA Spying Until it Happens Against Them and Against Our Greatest Ally Ever, Israel

Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

Glenn Greenwald
Dec. 30 2015, 2:02 p.m.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people.

The long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant to learn of this surveillance:

WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power.
Pete Hoekstra (@petehoekstra) December 30, 2015

NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted if any truth to WSJ reports. NSA loses all credibility. Scary.

Pete Hoekstra (@petehoekstra) December 30, 2015

In January 2014, I debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking.
“Spying is a matter of fact,” he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported, Hoekstra “laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information” — referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, “Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans.”

But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime of spying on him and his friends.

This pattern — whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on — is one that has repeated itself over and over. It has been seen many times as part of the Snowden revelations, but also well before that.

In 2005, the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration ordered the NSA to spy on the telephone calls of Americans without the warrants required by law, and the paper ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for doing so. The politician who did more than anyone to suffocate that scandal and ensure there were no consequences was then-Congresswoman Jane Harman, the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee.

Jane Harman Former Congresswoman Jane Harman, D-Calif., in 2010. Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke/APIn the wake of that NSA scandal, Harman went on every TV show she could find and categorically defended Bush’s warrantless NSA program as “both legal and necessary,” as well as “essential to U.S. national security.” Worse, she railed against the “despicable” whistleblower (Thomas Tamm) who disclosed this crime and even suggested that the newspaper that reported it should have been criminally investigated (but not, of course, the lawbreaking government officials who ordered the spying). Because she was the leading House Democrat on the issue of the NSA, her steadfast support for the Bush/Cheney secret warrantless surveillance program and the NSA generally created the impression that support for this program was bipartisan.
But in 2009 — a mere four years later — Jane Harman did a 180-degree reversal. That’s because it was revealed that her own private conversations had been eavesdropped on by the NSA. Specifically, CQ’s Jeff Stein reported that an NSA wiretap caught Harman “telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage charges against two officials of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in exchange for the agent’s agreement to lobby Nancy Pelosi to name Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee.” Harman vehemently denied that she sought this quid pro quo, but she was so furious that she herself(rather than just ordinary citizens) had been eavesdropped on by the NSA that — just like Pete Hoekstra did yesterday — she transformed overnight into an aggressive and eloquent defender of privacy rights, and demanded investigations of the spying agency that for so long she had defended:

 I call it an abuse of power in the letter I wrote [Attorney General Eric Holder] this morning. … I’m just very disappointed that my country — I’m an American citizen just like you are — could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years. I’m one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back. I’m thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they’re innocent Americans.

The stalwart defender of NSA spying learned that her own conversations had been monitored and she instantly began sounding like an ACLU lawyer, or Edward Snowden. Isn’t that amazing?

The same thing happened when Dianne Feinstein — one of the few members of Congress who could compete with Hoekstra and Harman for the title of Most Subservient Defender of the Intelligence Community (“I can honestly say I don’t know a bigger booster of the CIA than Senator Feinstein,” said her colleague Sen. Martin Heinrich) — learned in 2014 that she and her torture-investigating Senate Committee had been spied on by the CIA. Feinstein — who, until then, had never met an NSA mass surveillance program she didn’t adore — was utterly filled with rage over this discovery, arguing that “the CIA’s search of the staff’s computers might well have violated … the Fourth Amendment.” The Fourth Amendment! She further pronounced that she had “grave concerns” that the CIA snooping may also have “violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”

During the Snowden reporting, it was common to see foreign governments react with indifference — until they learned that they themselves, rather than just their unnotable subjects, were subject to spying. The first reports we did in both Germany and Brazil were about mass surveillance aimed at hundreds of millions of innocent people in those countries’ populations, and both the Merkel and Rousseff governments reacted with the most cursory, vacant objections: It was obvious they really couldn’t have cared less. But when both leaders discovered that they had been personally targeted, that was when real outrage poured forth, and serious damage to diplomatic relations with the U.S. was inflicted.

So now, with yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle of large numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for, and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Now they’ve learned that they themselves, or the officials of the foreign country they most love, have been caught up in this surveillance dragnet, and they can hardly contain their indignation. Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy, rather than just yours, that is invaded.

What happened to all the dismissive lectures about how if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide? Is that still applicable? Or is it that these members of the U.S. Congress who conspired with Netanyahu and AIPAC over how to sabotage the U.S. government’s Iran Deal feel they did do something wrong and are angry about having been monitored for that reason?

I’ve always argued that on the spectrum of spying stories, revelations about targeting foreign leaders is the least important, since that is the most justifiable type of espionage. Whether the U.S. should be surveilling the private conversations of officials of allied democracies is certainly worth debating, but, as I argued in my 2014 book, those “revelations … are less significant than the agency’s warrantless mass surveillance of whole populations” since “countries have spied on heads of state for centuries, including allies.”

But here, the NSA did not merely listen to the conversations of Netanyahu and his top aides, but also members of the U.S. Congress as they spoke with him. And not for the first time: “In one previously undisclosed episode, the NSA tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant,” the New York Times reported in 2009.

The NSA justifies such warrantless eavesdropping on Americans as “incidental collection.” That is the term used when it spies on the conversations of American citizens without warrants, but claims those Americans weren’t “targeted,” but rather just so happened to be speaking to one of the agency’s foreign targets (warrants are needed only to target U.S. persons, not foreign nationals outside of the U.S.).

This claim of “incidental collection” has always been deceitful, designed to mask the fact that the NSA does indeed frequently spy on the conversations of American citizens without warrants of any kind. Indeed, as I detailed here, the 2008 FISA law enacted by Congress had as one of its principal, explicit purposes allowing the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans’ conversations without warrants of any kind. “The principal purpose of the 2008 law was to make it possible for the government to collect Americans’ international communications — and to collect those communications without reference to whether any party to those communications was doing anything illegal,” the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer said.  “And a lot of the government’s advocacy is meant to obscure this fact, but it’s a crucial one: The government doesn’t need to ‘target’ Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications.”

Whatever one’s views on that might be — i.e., even if you’re someone who is convinced that there’s nothing wrong with the NSA eavesdropping on the private communications even of American citizens, even members of Congress, without warrants — this sudden, self-interested embrace of the value of privacy should be revolting indeed. Warrantless eavesdropping on people who have done nothing wrong — the largest system of suspicionless mass surveillance ever created — is inherently abusive and unjustified, and one shouldn’t need a report that this was done to the Benjamin Netanyahus and Pete Hoekstras of the world to realize that.


  1. The Israeli Lobby plotting with so-called US politicians on how to disrupt US foreign policy demand respect for privacy against NSA spying.

    You, on the other hand, US or otherwise, are not entitled to privacy and should not complain "unless you have something to hide" or are more than likely an unpatriotic motherfucker.

  2. Israel and certain loyalty conflicted US Jews have been spying on the US for decades and Congress never did anything about it. but when the US tried to spy on Israel, the Israel-Firsters demand an immediate investigation. The Israeli-Firsters and their clerks in the US Congress have a right to conspire with foreign governments to subvert their own country’s foreign policies and do so in complete privacy.


    APRIL 20, 2009

    WASHINGTON — One of the leading House Democrats on intelligence matters was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage, current and former government officials say.

    The lawmaker, Representative Jane Harman of California, became the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee after the 2002 election and had ambitions to be its chairwoman when the party gained control of the House in 2006. One official who has seen transcripts of several wiretapped calls said she appeared to agree to intercede in exchange for help in persuading party leaders to give her the powerful post.

    One of the very few members of Congress with broad access to the most sensitive intelligence information, including aspects of the Bush administration’s wiretapping that were disclosed in December 2005, Ms. Harman was inadvertently swept up by N.S.A. eavesdroppers who were listening in on conversations during an investigation, three current or former senior officials said. It is not clear exactly when the wiretaps occurred; they were first reported by Congressional Quarterly on its Web site.

    The official with access to the transcripts said someone seeking help for the employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group, was recorded asking Ms. Harman, a longtime supporter of its efforts, to intervene with the Justice Department. She responded, the official recounted, by saying she would have more influence with a White House official she did not identify.

    In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.

    Ms. Harman denied Monday having ever spoken to anyone in the Justice Department about Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former analysts for Aipac. Her office issued a statement saying, “Congresswoman Harman has never contacted the Justice Department about its prosecution of present or former Aipac employees.”


  4. {...}

    Ms. Harman denied Monday having ever spoken to anyone in the Justice Department about Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former analysts for Aipac. Her office issued a statement saying, “Congresswoman Harman has never contacted the Justice Department about its prosecution of present or former Aipac employees.”

    The statement did not, however, address whether Ms. Harman had contacted anyone at the White House or had participated in phone calls in which she was asked to intervene in exchange for help in being named chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee.

    David Szady, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former top counterintelligence official who ran the investigation of Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, said in an interview Monday that he was confident Ms. Harman had never intervened. “In all my dealings with her, she was always professional and never tried to intervene or get in the way of any investigation,” Mr. Szady said.

    The officials who were familiar with the transcripts, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue involved intelligence matters, also said they knew of no evidence that Ms. Harman had intervened in the case.

    One of the officials said he was familiar with the transcript of “at least one phone call” in which Ms. Harman discussed weighing in with the department on the investigation of the Aipac officials and her possible chairwomanship of the Intelligence Committee. (She did not get the post.) He identified the California donor as Mr. Saban, a vocal supporter of Israel who turned the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers into a global franchise.

    The CQ article, citing unnamed present and former national security officials, said a preliminary review was halted by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales because he wanted Ms. Harman’s support in dissuading The New York Times from running an article disclosing a program of wiretapping without warrants conducted by the National Security Agency.

    Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement Monday that Ms. Harman called Philip Taubman, then the Washington bureau chief of The Times, in October or November of 2004. Mr. Keller said she spoke to Mr. Taubman — apparently at the request of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then the N.S.A. director — and urged that The Times not publish the article.

    “She did not speak to me,” Mr. Keller said, “and I don’t remember her being a significant factor in my decision.”

    Shortly before the article was published more than a year later, in December 2005, Mr. Taubman met with a group of Congressional leaders familiar with the eavesdropping program, including Ms. Harman. They all argued that The Times should not publish.

    The former officials who spoke to The Times did not know about Mr. Gonzales’s reported role nor about Ms. Harman’s contacts with The Times. Aides to Mr. Gonzales declined to comment.

    A spokesman for Mr. Saban did not return telephone calls. A spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said the speaker had no comment.

    The possibility that Ms. Harman might be under investigation surfaced in news reports in 2006. The CQ report provided new details, including quotations attributed to the transcripts of one of Ms. Harman’s conversations. Ms. Harman, CQ said, told the person who requested her aid that she would “waddle in” to the matter, “if you think it would make a difference.” Before ending the call, CQ reported, Ms. Harman said, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

    It is unclear when this conversation was supposed to have taken place, but Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman were fired from Aipac in March 2005 and indicted a few weeks later. They were charged with violating the World War I-era Espionage Act when they shared with colleagues, journalists and Israeli Embassy officials information about Iran and Iraq they had learned from talking to high-level United States policy makers.

    The trial of Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman seems on track to begin in June in Alexandria, Va.


  5. ...In 2005, the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration ordered the NSA to spy on the telephone calls of Americans without the warrants required by law, and the paper ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for doing so. The politician who did more than anyone to suffocate that scandal and ensure there were no consequences was then-Congresswoman Jane Harman, the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee."

  6. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance.

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    I told you we were spying on Israel, just as Israel is spying on us.

    Everyone is spying on everyone.

    Get used to it.

    Queen Elizabeth I in her Peacock Spying Eyes Dress knew how things had to be done !

    1. With folks like you on the world wide web, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, people that bare their personal history of crimes and miscreant behavior to the public, what's a little thing like privacy??

    2. But your lack of outrage that a foreign country is attempting to undermine the US government ...

      Typical of a "Draft Dodger"...

    3. Your lack of outrage that members of Congress are conspiring with foreign governments to derail US policy initiatives, just another instance of your outrageous hypocrisy.

  7. The question remains unanswered:

    What has Israel ever done for the US that it was not paid for?


    US Treasury sued for not impeding financial support for Israeli settlements

    Alexander Bueso | Sharecast | 31 Dec, 2015 16:22 | | |

    A lawsuit was filed in US courts on Wednesday claiming the US Treasury Department had failed to stop non-profit groups from sending billions of dollars in funds to help support what it said were illegal Israeli settlements and the country's army.
    The lawsuit was put forward by Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist, who said it was about seeking justice for the Palestinian people.

    “I want those organisations that aided Israel to be forced to pay restitutions for victims impacted by their actions," Abulhawa said, Al Jazeera reported.

    In her 73-page lawsuit, Abulhawa alleged that approximately 150 non-profit organisations had funneled $280bn to the Middle Eastern country over the past two decades.

    Those monies contributed to violations of US and international law, subverted American foreign policy, and contributed to countless crimes and human rights abuses against Palestinians, the lawsuit read.

    In an e-mail sent to the Qatari broadcaster, the US Treasury Department said it does not comment on pending litigation.
    "For 30 years at least, the US taxpayer has been funding and/or subsidising criminal activities overseas, ie murder, arson, malicious property destruction, assault and battery and ethnic cleansing and international terrorist acts," the lawsuit also said.
    "This [Obama] administration, like every administration before it since 1967, views settlement activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace," the US State Department responded in an e-mail, according to Al Jazeera.
    “The United States has never defended or supported settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies that would legitimise them."

    - See more at:

    1. Supporting terrorism through US tax-exempt nonprofits ...

  9. .

    It's hard to get excited about a few cases of selling out our country for a little quid pro quo, when it was reported that the US routinely turns over most NSA information in raw data form to Israel, that is raw data even though it includes info on American citizens as well as citizens of allied countries like the UK, France, Canada, etc.

    And how does NSA guarantee the privacy or your and my information? They hand Israel a copy of our constitution, and tell them that if they come across any info on American citizens they have to first ignore it other than notifying some US liaison person but they can keep it for a year before they are expected to delete it. So basically we just tell Israel to be a good boy and we expect them to do it, this even though Israel has been identified in other government documents as one of the biggest intelligence threats to the US.

    But you say, there must be a lot of safeguards built into this arrangement. Guess again.

    The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies "pertaining to the protection of US persons", repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights.

    But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive "raw Sigint" – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: "Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."

    According to the agreement, the intelligence being shared would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications. "NSA routinely sends ISNU [the Israeli Sigint National Unit] minimized and unminimized raw collection", it says.

    Although the memorandum is explicit in saying the material had to be handled in accordance with US law, and that the Israelis agreed not to deliberately target Americans identified in the data, these rules are not backed up by legal obligations.

    "This agreement is not intended to create any legally enforceable rights and shall not be construed to be either an international agreement or a legally binding instrument according to international law," the document says.

    Israel sticks it to their own people on a regular basis, one example being the forging of their own citizens passports for use in black ops cases, and we expect them to care about info on US citizens. The hypocrisy is astounding. This is why people who support NSA's megadata harvesting are fools. The US could give a shit about your privacy. The same applies to any sensitive US security data that gets scooped up in the NSA trolling.

    Anyone interested can read these two articles

    or the Memo of Understanding


  10. .

    By the way,

    Happy New year!!

    My New Year's resolution:

    I intend to purge my comments hear of course language. I expect my biggest challenges will come from not using the words 'shit', 'bullshit', moron, and nitwit but I am determined to try.

    I hope to do well in this latest challenge. My expectation? I figure with some effort to be successful to maybe Monday.


  11. You need also to resolve to work on your third grade level spelling !

    1. Hint:

      Here ye here ye of coarse of coarse

    2. And resolve to not drink in the A.M.

      Or it is the Tower with you.

    3. .

      Now, the course language isn't all bad. It's easy to understand and it provides a simple shorthand that is both descriptive and dismissive.

      However, it is still the lazy man’s answer to being worn down daily by constantly shouting into a dark hole of ignorance where data and facts are fed into the apparently insentient chaos below where it is distorted beyond recognition and never again surfaces except as an occasional flare of gunk that feeds the immutable miasma that forms the shadowy penumbra vaguely resembling the shape of the state Idaho that surrounds the dark hole.


    4. .

      '...state of Idaho...' for the anally fixated.


  12. ISIS attacks headquarters of Iraqi army’s 10th division north of Ramadi

    ( al-Anbar – A security source in Anbar province said on Friday, that ISIS militants attacked the headquarters of the army’s 10th division north of the city of Ramadi, while noted that the army forces killed a number of suicide bombers during the ongoing clashes which broke out between the two sides.

    The source said in a statement obtained by, “The ISIS conducted an attack by booby-trapped vehicles and suicide bombers wearing explosive belts on the headquarters of the 10th division in the area of al-Thurthar north of Ramadi,” adding that, “Security forces from the army and police as well as tribal fighters with support from the international coalition aviation had managed to destroy six booby-trapped vehicles and kill a number of suicide bombers that were wearing explosive belts.”

    The source also noted, “The confrontations are still ongoing north of Ramadi.”


    1. SOUTHWEST ASIA, January 1, 2016 — 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 Iraq

      Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 24 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

      -- Near Hit, one strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and destroyed two ISIL buildings.

      -- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and fighting position.

      -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL command and control node, seven ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL trench, and an ISIL vehicle-born bomb.

      -- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb facility, five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

      -- Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed two ISIL heavy machine gun positions.

      -- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike destroyed three ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL command and control node, and six ISIL fighting positions.

      -- Near Tal Afar, 11 strikes destroyed nine ISIL bunkers, five ISIL-used culverts, and four ISIL-used bridges.

      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.


    US intelligence agencies had good reason to target the Israelis, who were engaged in espionage against the United States.

    If members of Congress were part of that covert Israeli effort, and got caught with their pants down – like former Rep. Jane Harman did – then that’s just tough. If you’re going to function as an unregistered agent of a foreign power, then that’s the risk you take – and the price you pay.

    These people are just lucky that they aren’t being prosecuted for receiving classified information when they weren’t authorized to possess it – not to mention violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In a rational world, they’d be in the dock facing charges: unfortunately, we live in a world where the Israel lobby, and not the law of the land (or common sense) calls the shots.


    Israel has one of the most aggressive spying operations targeting the US, which our intelligence officials have testified is “unrivaled and unseemly.” During congressional hearings over efforts by the Israel lobby to get the Jewish state enrolled in the visa waiver program, US intelligence officials testified against legislation that would have allowed Israelis unfettered access to our shores: one congressional aide told Newsweek that revelations detailing the nature and extent of Israeli spying on and in the US were “terrifying.”


    Marco Rubio joined his neoconservative backers in denouncing the US “spying on our allies,”


    Israel’s congressional amen corner, which is now howling “Scandal!” and is determined to launch an “investigation,” claims that this surveillance was aimed at their First Amendment right to take orders from Bibi Netanyahu. However, this defense fails to make the important distinction between speech and espionage. The Israeli government was clearly engaged in the latter when it bugged US diplomats engaged in delicate negotiations – and released that sensitive information to domestic opponents of the Iran deal, including but not necessarily limited to members of Congress.


    Netanyahu and his government were engaged in an all-out campaign to torpedo the nuclear agreement with Iran, and that effort wasn’t limited to using their American fifth column to put pressure on Congress and the Obama administration. Israeli intelligence planted malware in the hotel computers where US negotiators were staying during the negotiations in Switzerland: they intercepted highly sensitive inside information on the talks, and leaked it. Did they leak to members of Congress opposed to the Iran deal? It no doubt occurred to the US intelligence community to ask this question, and answering it was a matter of national security. As the Journal reports:

    “Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations – learned through Israeli spying operations – to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what ( How much Money?) it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.”

    1. The Mossad Caucus Exposed

      Israel’s fifth column in Congress caught with pants down

      by Justin Raimondo, January 01, 2016

  18. I still think this is the most important chart of 2015 -

    Most Important Chart

    1. .

      In my opinion, the most important charts of 2015 are here...

      See #6 and #22

      Just my opinion.


    2. .

      Of course, at the bottom of the page you can tap on the darkened comment and a new list will pop up...

      Number 32 is intuitively compelling

      Number #8 is applicable to me and Deuce may find #13 interesting.


    3. #27 of the second list reminds me of a "girl" that once posted here. :)

      I think her first initial was Teresita, or something like that.

  19. Only a fool would say that "the economy is booming" (you need a robust housing market for that,)

    but with Median Income increasing 5.0%/yr., and Savings being replenished at about the same rate, the groundwork for recovery is being laid.

    1. I've been hearing that for 7 years.

      You'd think the fucker would be good and laid by now.

  20. Especially for Quirk, who has an abiding love for today's USA college students -

    The 13 Most Ridiculously PC Moments on College Campuses in 2015

    by Katherine Timpf December 29, 2015 6:57 PM @KatTimpf

    Warning: This article contains both pronouns and references to maracas.

    It seems like 2015 has just been so full of examples of extreme political correctness on college campuses that it might be easy to forget just how full of them it’s been.

    Here, in no particular order, are the 13 stories of 2015 that made me most want to bash my head into a wall:

    1. Hating pumpkin-spice lattes was declared sexist.

    If you say bad things about pumpkin-spice lattes, what you’re really saying is that “girls don’t get to have valid emotions” — at least according to Min Cheng’s op-ed in the Phoenix, Swarthmore College’s student newspaper. According to Cheng, girls generally like pumpkin-spice lattes, therefore, saying that you don’t like them is saying that none of girls’ opinions ever matter. She said the same applies to making fun of leggings, Uggs, and Grey’s Anatomy — which, as I’ve said before, is probably the worst show ever created . . . perhaps second only to Gilmore Girls.

    2. A university language guide stated that the word “American” was “problematic.”

    According to a “Bias-Free Language Guide” that was used by the University of New Hampshire, the word “American” is offensive and should not be used. Why? Because it “fails to recognize South America” and “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside these two continents” of course! It recommends using “resident of the U.S.” instead, but I kind of feel like “I’m proud to be a resident of the U.S./Where at least I know I’m free” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Now, the school ultimately removed the guide after media scrutiny — but the fact that it ever existed at all is pretty head-bashing-worthy if you ask me.

    3. A university study declared that we have to accept people who “identify as real vampires.”

    Look — we have to stop discriminating against people who think they are actual real vampires by thinking that that’s kind of weird — at least according to researchers from Idaho State University and College of the Canyons and the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles. After all, according to the researchers, “they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation.” Sorry, but if you think you are a vampire, I’m going to call you weird. Oh, and by “sorry,” I mean that I’m actually not at all.

    4. The word “skinny” was deemed “violent.”

    The “Language Awareness Campaign” at Western University in London declared a bunch of words and phrases to be “violent” — including “skinny” and “get over it.” Oh, and “whitewashed,” “because it is used to insult those who do not conform to negative stereotypes of a community or culture” — yes, despite the fact that it can also be used to describe a freshly painted fence.

    5. A university declared the phrase “politically correct” to be politically incorrect.

    Yes, seriously. (Are you bashing your head yet?) According to the “Just Words” campaign at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, PC is offensive because it “has become a way to deflect, say that people are being too ‘sensitive.’” Great point! After all, just look at this list — it’s not like anyone is ever being too sensitive ever.

    6. A room full of white people was determined to be a “microaggression”

    Reading this stuff, you might start to think that you can’t say or do anything without it being considered a microaggression — but actually, it’s much worse than that. Get this: If you’re white, you don’t even have to do anything at all. According to a report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, a minority student just “walking into or sitting in” a room full of white people is in itself a microaggression on the part of the white people.............

    Read more at:

  21. Queen Eliazbeth IIFri Jan 01, 06:38:00 PM EST

    It's going to be a wonderful year (annus, or something).

    I ever feel good when the price of petrol is lower than the price of bottled aqua.

    Parliament has reduced my stipend so awfully, you know....

  22. Micro-aggressions from the ago -

    Mate 'n Bake

    Bone discovery suggests a mysterious ancient species of human lived alongside our ancestors 3 / 22

    Neanderthals weren't the only ancient human.© Provided by Quartz Neanderthals weren't the only ancient human.

    An ancient femur found in a Chinese cave is unlike any bone formerly discovered, suggesting it belonged to a previously unknown human species that lived alongside modern man just 14,000 years ago.

    The distinctive shape of the bone indicates that the species would have walked differently from humans today, according to the New Scientist. And based on the size of the bone, the scientists behind the analysis report in their paper, published in PLOS One in December 2015, that an adult would have weighed 50kg, which is far smaller than other humans who lived at the time.

    “When you put all the evidence together the femur comes out quite clearly resembling the early members of Homo,” Darren Curnoe, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led the research team, told the New Scientist.

    But while the earliest homo species lived around 2 million years ago and more recent humans, such as Neanderthals, became extinct some 40,000 years ago, researchers believe the newly discovered species would have lived far more recently, and alongside modern humans.

    The 14,000-year-old bone fragment, which was found in the Muladong Cave in southwestern China in 1989 but was not studied for 25 years, has been painted with red clay, which is indicative of burial rituals. It seems to have been broken in a way that allows access to the bone marrow, and shows evidence of being butchered and being burned in a fire alongside other meat, according to the New Scientist.

    Curnoe believes that homo sapiens mated with this newfound species, and possibly also ate them and used their bones as tools.

    The theory is supported by bones discovered in Longlin cave in Guangxi Province in 1979, which Curnoe examined in 2012. These fossils were dated to 11,500 years ago and are thought to show a combination of homo sapiens traits and those of an archaic human.

    Our understanding of mankind’s evolutionary roots is far from clear-cut, and this finding could indicate a new branch in human development. “If true, this would be rather spectacular and it would make the finds of truly global importance,” Michael Petraglia, co-director of the Centre for Asian Archeology at the University of Oxford, who wasn’t involved in the work, told the New Scientist.

    But other paleoanthropologists believe the bone’s distinctive features come from variations within the species, rather than a distinct species. Chris Stringer, head of research into human origins at the Natural History Museum in London, told the Guardian that he is “cautious” about the discovery. “It is an isolated bone. It is not even half a femur,” he said.

    Curnoe is hoping to extract DNA from the bones, to build evidence about the fossil’s evolutionary origins. For now, he told the Guardian, the discovery raises many more questions to be answered.

    “The riddle of the Red Deer Cave people gets even more challenging now: Just who were these mysterious stone age people? Why did they survive so late? And why only in tropical southwest China?,” said Curnoe.

    But the discovery wouldn’t be the first time scientists discovered the complexities of humans’ evolutionary roots. Earlier this year, researchers discovered 15 skeletons belonging to a new species of ancient human in South Africa. The homo sapiens evolutionary tree is starting to get crowded.

    1. Snake 'n Shake

      Scientists in Italy rediscover snake that was used by ancient Greeks as a weapon of war
      Greek navy would hurl snakes such as the Javelin Sand Boa at enemy ships, experts say


      Scientists believe the snake has lived in Sicily for centuries but simply went unnoticed
      Scientists believe the snake has lived in Sicily for centuries but simply went unnoticed Photo: ANSA
      Nick Squires

      By Nick Squires, Rome

      7:27PM GMT 31 Dec 2015

      Scientists in Italy have rediscovered a type of snake that the ancient Greeks used to hurl at their enemies to create panic and confusion during sea battles.

      The Javelin Sand Boa had not been officially recorded in Italy for 80 years, but sightings by locals suggested that it might still survive in a region of Sicily.

      The Greeks used to use snakes as projectiles, hurling them at enemy ships before attacking in order to create confusion and fear
      Gianni Insacco, researcher

      Snake experts decided to investigate and found the species, officially known as Eryx jaculus, living in an area of sand dunes and woodland around the resort town of Licata, on the island’s south coast.

      They believe the snake may well have been introduced to Sicily in ancient times, when the island was colonised by the Greeks.

      The area where it was found is close to the sites of two ancient battles, one in the fifth century BC and the other in the fourth century AD.

      Snakes were introduced to places conquered and settled by the ancient Greeks for “religious cults or war rituals”, the scientists said.

      The rediscovery of the species in Italy was announced on Thursday in Acta Herpetologica, a scientific journal.

      "The Greeks used to use snakes as projectiles, hurling them at enemy ships before attacking in order to create confusion and fear," Gianni Insacco, one of the researchers, told the news agency Ansa.

      “In general they used vipers that had had their venom removed. Alternatively they would use similar species, like the sand boa.”

      The scientists found six individuals during their study, three of them alive and three dead as a result of traffic accidents.

      They believe the snake has lived in Sicily for centuries but simply went unnoticed because of its nocturnal habits, underground existence and “very elusive nature”.

      The species is also found in Greece, the southern Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.

      It is small, growing to just 20 inches in length, and feeds on lizards, mice and snails.

    2. Rufus is right.

      Our species really is a little 'nuts'.

      The odd thing is most of us admit it.

  23. Now here's a really world class document dump, and the last really good dirty finger of the year to us all -

    5500 Hillary emails released late afternoon on New Year's Eve January 1, 2016

    It's almost as if the State Department doesn't want anyone to read them.


    Read it at American Thinker:

    1. You know boneheads are involved when they refer to "New Year's Eve January 1, 2016"

    2. In the "afternoon" to boot!

    3. God damn you're a an absurd little dumb fucker.

      But, have a good year anyway !

      And may this year bring your needed mugging, but only slightly, just enough to scare your shit.

    4. Is that a threat, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson?

      Ash made a simple remark that anyone that would claim "New Years Eve" to be on the first of January was bonehead. The fact that the idea went over your head, well, it just is an indicator of its composition.

      You're a bonehead, Robert.

    5. God damn you're a an absurd little dumb fucker.

    6. No, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, I am neither absurd, little nor dumb.

      Also, I have never "ripped off' a bank, as you have laid claim to.

  24. Well, well, from CBS News:

    Terror group uses Donald Trump soundbite in purported propaganda video

    Terror group al-Shabab, al-Qaeda's Somalia-based affiliate, is using a clip from Donald Trump in a purported Islamist propaganda video -- and it's gaining traction among Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) online channels.

    The nearly hour-long video, produced by al-Shabab's media arm al-Kataib, uses a soundbite from the Republican front-runner's speech in December calling for the "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the country.

    Preceding the Trump clip, a bite from the now-deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in 2011, warns "Muslims of the West" to be cautious and "learn from the lessons of history."

    "There are ominous clouds gathering in your horizon," al-Awlaki says in English. "Yesterday, America was a land of slavery, segregation, lynching, and Ku Klux Klan. And tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps. "

    The video then cuts to a clip from Trump's South Carolina rally, where the GOP contender's comments are met with loud applause: "And so remember this. So listen. Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the --- is going on."

    Trump's expletive is bleeped out.

    The video returns to Al-Awlaki, who adds, "The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens."

    Also posted to the website of SITE Intelligence Group, the 51-minute, 44-second video is a larger call to black youths in the U.S. to convert to Islam. The video also cites other examples of perceived racial injustice, including recent police shootings, including the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Walter Scott in South Carolina.

    According to SITE, the video -- the second in a series on American jihadi fighters produced by al-Shabab -- was widely distributed via Twitter and the encrypted messaging app Telegram on January 1.

    In December, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Trump "ISIS' best recruiter" during a primary debate, saying that "they are going to people, showing them videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

    Trump vehemently refuted the charge the next day, calling it "just another Hillary lie" in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press."

    © 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    1. Oh, I get it.

      You're trying to change the discussion away for Hill and Billygoat 'Bubba' Clinton, rapist, and their war on women.

      Now I see.

    2. You're trying to do anything to protect Hillary from the consequences of her behavior.

      She pimped for Billygoat, and tried to destroy his victims.

      Billygoat humping without consent the little white lambs....

    3. A tough political sell, except for wasted Democrats like yourself.


    4. No, again, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      All that story from CBS, one of Hillary's financial backers, reflects is the value of Donald Trump's extremist Islamophobiac rhetoric to the anti-US radicals in the Middle East.

  25. Here' a fellow that's on to something -

    In stories throughout the ages there is one motif that continually recurs—the journey into the woods to find the dark but life-giving secret within.

    No one but here but Quirk will read this article, so I put it up for his eyes only.

    All Stories Are the Same

    From Avatar to The Wizard of Oz, Aristotle to Shakespeare, there’s one clear form that dramatic storytelling has followed since its inception.

    John Yorke Jan 1, 2016

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

    Turkey’s Erdogan: Hitler’s Germany exemplifies effective presidential system

    January 1, 2016 10:19 am By Robert Spencer 36 Comments

    It is inconceivable that any Western leader would favorably cite Hitler in any context, but in Turkey, citing Hitler doesn’t bring instant opprobrium. Mein Kampf became a bestseller when it was published there in 2005, and Hitler remains popular. Also, a former classmate says Erdogan used to carry a copy around when he was a young man. Hitler’s antisemitism resonates with Islamic Jew-hatred.


    “Turkey’s Erdogan says Hitler’s Germany exemplifies effective presidential system,” Reuters, January 1, 2016:

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is pushing for executive powers, cites Hitler’s Germany as an example of an effective presidential system, in comments broadcast by Turkish media on Friday.

    Erdogan wants to change the Turkish constitution to turn the ceremonial role of president into that of a chief executive, a Turkish version of the system in the United States, France or Russia.

    Asked on his return from a visit to Saudi Arabia late on Thursday whether an executive presidential system was possible while maintaining the unitary structure of the state, he said: “There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.

    “There are later examples in various other countries,” he told reporters, according to a recording broadcast by the Dogan news agency.

    The ruling AK Party, founded by Erdogan, has put a new constitution at the heart of its agenda after winning back a majority in a November parliamentary election.

    It agreed with the main opposition CHP on Wednesday to revive efforts to forge a new constitution….


    BAGHDAD — Saudi Arabia executed 47 people convicted of terrorism-related offenses on Saturday, including suspected members of Al Qaeda and a prominent cleric and government critic from the country’s Shiite minority.

    The executions, which were reported by the Saudi state news media, were the first of 2016 and followed a year in which at least 157 people were put to death, the most in two decades in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

    While most of those executed Saturday had been convicted of involvement with Al Qaeda during a wave of attacks about a decade ago, they also included Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric and outspoken campaigner for Shiite rights.

    Sheikh Nimr, who was arrested in 2012, had harshly criticized the Sunni monarchy of neighboring Bahrain for its violent suppression of protests by its own Shiite population after the start of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. The Saudi government accused him of fueling violent dissent among Saudi Arabia’s Shiites, which he denied.

  28. MORE ON Sheikh Nimr

    Saudi Arabia said Saturday it has executed 47 prisoners, including reformist Shiite cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

    Al-Nimr was a central figure in Shiite protests that erupted in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring, and carrying out his execution may spark new unrest among the OPEC powerhouse's Shiite minority.


    A series of Iranian officials vowed on Friday to expand Tehran's missile capabilities, a challenge to the United States which has threatened to impose new sanctions even as the vast bulk of its measures against Iran are due to be lifted under a nuclear deal.

    "As long as the United States supports Israel we will expand our missile capabilities," the Revolutionary Guards' second-in-command, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

    "We don't have enough space to store our missiles. All our depots and underground facilities are full," he said in Friday Prayers in Tehran.

    Defence Minister Hossein Dehqan said Iran would boost its missile program and had never agreed to restrictions on it.


    ISTANBUL — Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

    Mr. Erdogan, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers, told reporters late Thursday that “there are already examples in the world.”

    “You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany,” he said.

    Mr. Erdogan did not elaborate, but his comparison to Hitler drew immediate criticism because of what many view as his increasing authoritarianism. His comment also raised the issue of how the leader of one of the world’s most influential countries, an American ally and member of NATO, would mention Hitler in the context of his own tenure.

  31. US COPS

    An attempted murder suspect who was fatally shot by Las Vegas police was holding a cellphone that was mistaken for a gun during the deadly confrontation, authorities said in a statement.

    The shooting occurred Thursday as the officers were assisting U.S. marshals in arresting the man accused of multiple violent felonies in Arizona, including attempted murder. The name of the man has not been released.

    Las Vegas police said in the statement issued Friday that the man had been under surveillance and fled from federal authorities who then called Las Vegas police for help in the search.

    The man was found outside a home west of downtown. Police said his right hand held what they believed to be a firearm.

    Officers told him to drop the gun and ordered him to stop when he began to move toward them. Police said two officers opened fire when he didn't obey their commands. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Police said the man was actually holding a cellphone.


    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday suggested that Palestinians will outnumber Israeli Jews in historic Palestine by 2020.

    The results of the Palestinian census were released as 2015 came to a close in the center’s annual analysis of demographics in the area.

    The census estimated that by the end of 2015, the total number of Palestinians in “historical Palestine” — meaning the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and Israel — was around 6.22 million, compared to 6.32 million Jews.

    The number of Palestinians and Jews in historical Palestine is expected to be equal before the end of 2017, and the number of Palestinians will total 7.13 million compared to 6.96 million Jews by the end of 2020, according to the PCBS census.

    The census bureau surveyed not only historic Palestine, but also included the Palestinian diaspora in its report.

    The center reported that of the 12.37 million-strong Palestinian population worldwide, around half live outside of historical Palestine.

    1. Demographics ensures that the Ashkenazi Crusade will eventually fizzle out.

      There is no arguing with the numbers

  33. "Fuck it"
    Said the head
    'fore it dropped to the bucket
    Kerrrr....PLUNK !!
    Sounded the head
    At the end of its junket

  34. January 2, 2016
    Dem Alderman in Jackson, MS suggests 'throw rocks and bricks and bottles' at police
    By Thomas Lifson

    Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3 City Councilman in Jackson, Mississippi is no novice or member of that city’s political fringe. He is the longest-serving African-American in the city government, having been on the City Council for 26 years, and was honored by the City Council 4 years ago.

    All of which makes his incitement of civil violence against police all tbhe more troubling. Corky Siemaszko of NBC News reports:

    A Mississippi city councilman fed up with police chasing suspects wanted for minor crimes into his town has made a controversial suggestion: pelt them with rocks, bricks and bottles.

    "That will send a message we don't want you in here," Councilman Kenneth Stokes in Jackson told the local NBC affiliate WLBT.

    See for yourself:

    Neighboring police agencies are not taking his suggestion well:

    Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said on Facebook: "Law Enforcement will not be intimated by you. Any Madison county law enforcement that is attacked because of your ignorant statements, I will hold you responsible."

    Tucker said he would contact the Mississippi attorney general to see whether the comments constitute "assaults on officers by threat." A segment of Jackson extends into Madison County, which is north of the city.

    The Calhoun County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Friday the department would not do any business with any business inside Jackson, and urged other departments to do the same until Stokes is out of office. Calhoun County is about 150 miles north of Jackson.

    I have never been to Jackson, but I suspect that the suburbs may be whiter than the inner city, and that there is a strong racial component to this suggestion of violence against police.

    Does Mississippi have a law against incitement to riot?

    1. January 2, 2016
      Violence erupts at Newark anti-violence rally
      By Thomas Lifson

      You might suspect some sort of post-modernist theatre of the absurd at work here, or maybe a hipster ironic commentary. But a look at the video below suggests that this is just found art:



  35. 'Israel and Turkey need each other,'
    Erdogan says
    Jerusalem Post Israel News -

    Erdogan was speaking on board a plane transporting him back home following a meeting with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh ...

  36. It was about a year ago that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson told us that only U troops could defeat Daesh.

    He has been proven wrong in both Iraq and Syria.

    ... the Iraqi government’s apparent success challenges some of the hawks’ most deeply held beliefs about U.S. foreign policy.

    Their worldview hinges on the argument that Iraqis and others in the region can’t be trusted to take ownership of their security. Thus, the need for more U.S. troops in both Iraq and Syria. According to some, many more U.S. troops are required. The Iraqi government’s clear progress over the past few months seriously challenges the claim that the U.S. military is the only force capable of containing and ultimately defeating the Islamic State.

    Even the Kurds of Kobane beat Daesh.
    The Syrian Army is advancing, under cover of close air support provided by the Russians.

    The "Rat Doctrine" is working, slower than hoped, but it is working.


    1. Unsurprisingly, relations between Washington and Baghdad have been consistently rocky. U.S. officials pressured Iraqis to restructure their political system and liberalize their economy. Many Iraqis resisted. Americans urged the Iraqi government to be more inclusive of religious and ethnic minorities, and, in particular, pushed Iraqi Shiites to reconcile with Sunnis, including former Baathists. Iraqi officials generally refused, and, at times, were complicit in the ethnic cleansing that raged in 2006 and 2007. U.S. officials circumvented the Iraqi government by working directly with some Sunni leaders in the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq. Baghdad seethed. The U.S. government attempted to secure an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after 2011. The Iraqis refused. The United States extracted a promise from Iraqi leaders that they would protect those who participated in the Anbar Awakening. The Iraqi government reneged.

      The pattern of resistance, confrontation and defiance on the part of the Iraqi government calls into question the many claims that an extended U.S. military presence would have altered Iraqi politics and forestalled the rise of ISIS in the first place.

      He is destroying your closely held dogma, Robert.


      The 'rat doctrine' so we were told, by the rat him self, was to have cleared out ISIS sometime back around, what was it, Memorial Day of 2015.....


      (rat's totally f-ed up as usual)


      January 2, 2016
      NY Post: America is right to think Obama is losing the war against terrorism
      By Rick Moran

      An interesting, if unsurprising editorial from the New York Post on why Americans are right to think that Obama is losing the war against terrorism.

      While there have been a few recent successes, including the Iraqi army dislodging ISIS from Ramadi, there are other metrics that point to the US losing ground to both ISIS and al-Qaeda.

      But then there’s the no-so-good news: It remains to be seen if the Iraqis can follow up on the Ramadi win — or if the government will let its Shiite militias run wild, pushing the Sunni locals into the arms of the next terror group to come calling.

      And the bigger bad news: In the 16 months since Obama announced his “degrade and ultimately destroy” approach, ISIS has acquired satellites around the Muslim world, from Libya to Afghanistan to the Sinai peninsula. Oh, and the Israelis broke up an ISIS cell in Nazareth just before Christmas.

      Plus, the worse news: Al Qaeda again has bases in Afghanistan, with more on the way, as the Taliban controls more of the country than it has since 2001.

      Gen. John Campbell, the US commander in Afghanistan, warned Congress in October: “Al Qaeda has attempted to rebuild its support networks and planning capabilities with the intention of reconstituting its strike capabilities against the US homeland and Western interests.” Only constant American pressure, he warns, is keeping the threat at bay. Yet President Obama is still drawing down US forces there.

      Bottom line: The American public is all- too-right to disbelieve Obama’s brags, and instead trust its own “lying eyes.”

      That will never happen as long as a fawning media runs interference for the president with the American people. The White House spin on what's really happening in the war against ISIS and al-Qaeda will never be challenged, except by a few out of step newspapers and websites. This will benefit Hillary Clinton who is responsible for her own foreign policy debacles that won't be pursued by the media.

      When the next ISIS attack occurs - either here or abroad - more questions will be raised by administration critics about the strategy (or lack thereof) being employed by the president to protect us. The same soothing words, the same lies will be told by the White House to assure us that all is well, remain calm.

      And most of the country still won't believe them.


    3. When all else fails him, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson trots out Rick Moron and the American Stinker.

      So typical of a closed mind.

    4. (rat is back has escaped from his mother's basement again)

    5. And, I'm going back to sleep, myself. Joining Kitty who has come in and has curled up.


    6. Those of Moron's and "Draft Dodger" Peterson's ilk keep cheering for ISIS, and against US.

    7. Yep, the "Draft Dodger" will not fight for right or freedom, he'd rather sleep or read poetry.

  37. New Year Brings Minimum Wage Hikes For Americans In 14 States

    With Friday's increases, the new average minimum wage across the 14 affected states rises from $8.50 an hour to just over $9.

    01/01/2016 10:38 am ET

    CHICAGO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases, with most set to start taking effect on Friday.

    California and Massachusetts are highest among the states, both increasing from $9 to $10 an hour, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the low end is Arkansas, where the minimum wage is increasing from $7.50 to $8. The smallest increase, a nickel, comes in South Dakota, where the hourly minimum is now $8.55.

    The increases come in the wake of a series of "living wage" protests across the country, including a November campaign in which thousands of protesters in 270 cities marched in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers. Food service workers make up the largest group of minimum-wage earners, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    With Friday's increases, the new average minimum wage across the 14 affected states rises from $8.50 an hour to just over $9.

    1. Several cities are going even higher. Seattle is setting a sliding hourly minimum between $10.50 and $13 on Jan. 1, and Los Angeles and San Francisco are enacting similar increases in July, en route to $15 an hour phased in over six years.

      Backers say a higher minimum wage helps combat poverty, but opponents worry about the potential impact on employment and company profits.

      In 2014, a Democratic-backed congressional proposal to increase the federal minimum wage for the first time since 2009 to $10.10 stalled, as have subsequent efforts by President Barack Obama. More recent proposals by some lawmakers call for a federal minimum wage of up to $15 an hour.

      Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University and former chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said a federal minimum wage of up to $12 an hour, phased in over five years or so, "would not have a noticeable effect on employment."

      Some employers may cut jobs in response to a minimum-wage increase, Krueger said, while others may find hikes allow them to fill job vacancies and reduce turnover, lifting employment but lowering profits.
      In recent years, an increasing number of states and municipalities have enacted their own wage floor policies. Currently, 29 states plus the District of Columbia and about two dozen cities and counties have their minimum wage at levels higher than the federal minimum.

      Many are now in the midst of multi-year phase-in plans that will ultimately take them to between $10 and $15 an hour.

      The 14 states where increases take effect on Friday are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.

      The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 2014 federal proposal would have raised the wages of 16.5 million Americans and lifted 900,000 of them out of poverty but would have cost as many as 1 million jobs.

      (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Chicago, Editing by Sara Catania and Cynthia Osterman)

      a little help

    2. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 2014 federal proposal would have raised the wages of 16.5 million Americans and lifted 900,000 of them out of poverty but would have cost as many as 1 million jobs.

      900,000 - 1,000,000 = 100,000 folks without even a paycheck or a pot to piss in.

      Ah, Rufus, Rufus, what is to become of you ?

  38. Meanwhile, the Republicans are still trying to take away our healthcare.

    Yet Another Health Care Repeal Vote To Open Congressional Year

    Despite dozens of past votes to repeal the health law in full or in part, Republicans never before have succeeded in sending a full repeal bill to the White House.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It's been like a long-delayed New Year's resolution for Republicans. But 2016 will finally be the year when they put legislation on President Barack Obama's desk repealing his health care law.
    The bill undoing the president's prized overhaul will be the first order of business when the House reconvenes this coming week, marking a sharply partisan start on Capitol Hill to a congressional year in which legislating may take a back seat to politics.

    There are few areas of potential compromise between Obama and the GOP majority in the House and Senate in this election year, but plenty of opportunities for political haymaking during the presidential campaign season.
    Obama will veto the health law repeal bill, which also would cut money for Planned Parenthood. The measure already has passed the Senate under special rules protecting it from Democratic obstruction. But that's the point for Republicans, who intend to schedule a veto override vote for Jan. 22, when anti-abortion activists hold their annual march in Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in 1973 that legalized abortion.

    Despite dozens of past votes to repeal the health law in full or in part, Republicans never before have succeeded in sending a full repeal bill to the White House. They insist that doing so will fulfill promises to their constituents while highlighting the clear choice facing voters in the November presidential election.

    Every Republican candidate has pledged to undo the health law. The Democrats running for president would keep it in place.

    "You're going to see us put a bill on the president's desk going after Obamacare and Planned Parenthood so we'll finally get a bill on his desk to veto," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told conservative talk host Bill Bennett over the holidays.

    "Then you're going to see the House Republican Conference, working with our senators, coming out with a bold agenda that we're going to lay out for the country, to say how we would do things very differently," Ryan said.

    Still Looking Out for the Folks

  39. SOUTHWEST ASIA, January 2, 2016 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

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

    Strikes in Syria

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

    -- Near Abu Kamal, one strike struck an ISIL-used bridge.

    -- Near Ar Raqqah, three strikes struck three ISIL gas and oil separation plants.

    -- Near Ayn Isa, two strikes destroyed five ISIL buildings.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber, fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 25 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Al Baghdadi, one strike destroyed three ISIL weapons caches.

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

    -- Near Kisik, nine strikes suppressed an ISIL fighting position and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed 17 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle bomb facility.

    -- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL heavy machine gun positions, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle, cratered two ISIL-used roads, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas, three ISIL weapons caches, and an ISIL command and control node.

    -- Near Tal Afar, four strikes struck destroyed six ISIL bunkers and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    Still a lot of action around Ramadi.

    More Daid Headcutters

    1. You have just over a year left, having moved your goal post for the elimination Of ISIS to 'when Obama leaves office'.

      1) July 4, 2015
      2) Labor Day 2015
      3) When Obama leaves office

      Sooner or later you will get it right, given enough switcheroos.

      You might try:

      4) When a Republican is President

      Because ISIS didn't exist under the last Republican President, so you have some precedent.

      ISIS only came in with O'bozo.

    2. denied ISIL access to terrain

      With all the terrain ISIS has been denied access to one would think ISIS would surely be running out of terrain by now.

      Maybe lack of terrain is the reason some ISIS has moved to Afghanistan ?

    3. Your lack understanding of the situation is illustrated by the statement that ISIS has 'moved' from Iraq to Afghanistan.

      All that has happened, some of the Afghani have stated they are ISIS.
      Few, if any, Iraqi have gone to Afghanistan.

      You truly are a fool, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

    4. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      Few, if any, Iraqi have gone to Afghanistan.

      You prove it with that statement.

      Go back to the basement, jack is back, your mother is calling you.

      You truly are a psycho, jack is back.

      Everyone was so delighted when you left.

    5. Here you go, "Draft Dodger" a little reporting that further dismantles your dogma

      Who is “ISIS” in Afghanistan?

      ... experts say that the entities that now call themselves ISIS in Afghanistan are not fighters from Iraq or Syria. Rather, they’re primarily disaffected Taliban members and insurgents from other groups who seized an opportunity to “rebrand” themselves as ISIS.

      “It’s important to look at what we mean when we say ISIS,” says Anand Gopal, author of "No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes", “because these were groups that were disgruntled and they essentially rebranded themselves as a way of reinvigorating their group or faction, and attracting funding.”

      No terrorists moved from Iraq to Afghanistan, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      Read, learn. At least pretend to make an effort.


    6. While a spokesman for ISIS central in Iraq and Syria announced the establishment of an Afghan affiliate in January, experts say there isn’t much evidence of centralized command and control links between fighters in Afghanistan and the leadership in Iraq and Syria yet.

      “They embrace the label, and they swear allegiance to Baghdadi, but it doesn’t appear there is any direction, control or instructions coming from Syria, Iraq or Baghdadi,”
      explains Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

      “If you look at the way in which this group has operated on the ground, it operates very differently from the ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” Gopal says. “They’re not acting like ISIS central … They’re not destroying shrines and doing things against local culture.”

      The insurgents in Afghanistan to the ISIS brand name, but do not use the menu.

    7. The insurgents in Afghanistan took the ISIS brand name, but do not use the menu.

  40. The Highest Minimum Wage in the country is in San Francisco, Ca.

    The Unemployment Rate, there, was 3.3% last month.

    San Francisco

    (the national rate was 5.0%)

  41. ( al-Anbar – Anbar police chief Hady Razikh announced the arrest of 30 ISIS elements, including senior leaders, during raids in the city of Ramadi.

    Razikh said in a statement obtained by, “The security forces had detained 30 ISIS elements, including military leaders, during their attempt to flee from Ramadi and escape with the families that came to the security forces at the government complex in Ramadi.”

    Razikh added, “The operation was based on intelligence and reports from the families that left Ramadi,” noting that, “The detainees were taken to the headquarters of the Anti-Terrorism Directorate.”


  42. ( Anbar – On Saturday, a security source in Anbar Province stated, that 13 elements of the ISIS organization were killed in an attack carried out by the organization eastern Ramadi.

    The source said in a statement received by, “The ISIS organization had carried out an attack on the security forces in Madeeq area eastern Ramadi.”

    The source added, “A force from the Rapid Intervention Brigade was able to repulse the attack, while killed 13 elements of the attackers.”

  43. "elements"


    Love the language.

    "killed the elements"

    When they get to "liquidated the elements" they will have it right.


    Oh- O -

    "Peak Oil" is another one where it looks like Rufus best fudge his due date -

    perhaps even to 'never' -

    Thanks to technology, we’re not going to run out of oil
    posted at 2:31 pm on January 2, 2016 by Matt Vespa

    If you read Stephen Moore’s column, he noted how the consensus over oil is wrong. We’re not running out of oil. In fact, many have been saying we’re going to run out since the 1930s:

    These stupid predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than 20times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted U.S. oil supplies would last 13 years. I could go on.


    The folks at the Institute for Energy Research recently published a study showing three data points: first, the government’s best estimate of how much oil we had in America 50 years ago. The second was how much U.S. oil has been drilled out of the ground since then. And the third is how many reserves there are now. Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost 10 times more oil than the government told us we had back then.

    Moore added that technological advancements are increasing oil production. In fact, Kerry Jackson at Investors Business Daily wrote in November that these advances are going to almost triple the amount of fossil fuel resources if research and development continue. At the current rate, she wrote that 2.9 trillion barrels could expand to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is “almost twice as much as the projected global demand.” And we also know that energy from these resources is guaranteed to keep economies running, growing, and thriving, compared to the wholly inadequate alternatives such as wind and solar that won’t be able to meet our energy needs.

    Engineering and Technology Magazine reported this week that BP — the company that once wanted to be known as “Beyond Petroleum” rather than “British Petroleum” — is saying “the world is no longer at risk of running out of resources.”

    “Thanks to investment into supercomputers, robotics and the use of chemicals to extract the maximum from available reservoirs, the accessible oil and gas reserves will almost double by 2050,” Engineering and Technology said.

    A BP official told the magazine that “energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared.”

    Things are so good, in fact, that Engineering and Technology says “with the use of the innovative technologies, available fossil fuel resources could increase from the current 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is almost twice as much as the projected global demand.” That number could even reach 7.5 trillion barrels if technology and exploration techniques advance even faster.

    This information backs up the idea that Earth is actually an oil-producing machine. We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

  44. Queen Elizabeth III The Warrior QueenSat Jan 02, 07:22:00 PM EST

    News about Isis Moves From Iraq To Afghani…

    Isis may be weakened by co-ordinated attacks but it is far from being overcome

    Isis may be weakened by co-ordinated attacks but it is far from being overcome

    The Independent · 1 hour ago

    The war in Iraq may become more like the war in Afghanistan over the coming years. Isis forces in fixed and …

    ISIS counterattacks target Iraqi troops in Ramadi

    ISIS counterattacks target Iraqi troops in Ramadi

    FOX News · 44 minutes ago

    Steve Warren. "We haven't seen ISIL mass enough combat power to move Iraq off their positions," Warren added, …

    The War Against ISIS After Ramadi

    The War Against ISIS After Ramadi

    The National Interest · 1 day ago

    Second, the Baghdad government and anti-ISIS Sunnis should move quickly to address the needs of the local ... was …

    Get news updates for this topic

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    1. Depth of knowledge, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson demands more than hedline from CNN, or as it used to be called ...
      The Clinton News Network.

      That is now our Draft Dodger's choice of data sourcing.

      Poor choice, Boobie.


    2. “There’s been increased dissatisfaction among certain elements of the Taliban, and with the media talking about ISIS all the time and the Afghan government playing up the idea of ISIS as a way of keeping the United States interested, all of that sort of set the ground for the groups to rebrand themselves,”


    3. Among the groups that have taken up ISIS’ black flag in Afghanistan are factions of the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban, or TTP; the Pakistani militant group Lashkar e Taiba; and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
      Currently, the leaders of ISIS in Afghanistan are predominantly former Pakistani Taliban members.

    4. ISIS are local forces in Afghanistan Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      Not members of an international Islamic task force.


    5. The "Mainstream Media", Robert, is playing you like a fiddle.