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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Fine US Ally, Turkey, Fraternal Partner in NATO, Supporting ISIS in Trade and Smuggling Terrorists Into Europe

ISIS ‘Department of Artifacts’ document exposes antique loot trade via Turkey (RT EXCLUSIVE)

A new trove of documents, obtained by an RT Documentary crew who recently uncovered details of illicit ISIS oil business with Turkey, sheds light on jihadists’ lucrative trade of looted antiquities along their well-established oil and weapons transit routes. 

There is no official accounting that would illustrate the true scale of looting being undertaken in Syria, a land once rich with cultural treasures. However, there is no doubt that since radical Islamists established a foothold in the region under raging civil war, pieces of the world’s global heritage have ended up in the hands of terrorists.

Along with oil smuggling, a lucrative trade in antiquities has become ISIS’s source of income to support its devastating operations, many of which leveled unique historic sites such as Palmyra. Artifacts, some worth thousands of dollars apiece, have been turning up in antique markets from eastern Europe to the US.

Following the exposure of the details of the ISIS oil business, RT has exclusively obtained additional evidence that sheds light on the jihadists’ black market of plundered treasures and its transit routes via Turkey. 

According to a document that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) turned over to an RT Documentary crew, the so-called Ministry of Natural Resources established by ISIS to hold grip of the oil operations has a separate “Department of Artifacts.”

“One of the new documents is a note that has the same letterhead of ISIS’s Ministry of Natural Resources as the oil bills of sale, which we discussed last time,” a reporter, whose name and face have been obscured for security reasons, explained. The letterhead, similar to those found on oil invoices that Kurdish soldiers seized from what used to be the homes of IS fighters, is visible in the upper-right corner of the newly obtained document.

The note, apparently addressed to checkpoint sentries, asks “brothers at the border”to allow a Turkish antiquity seller into Syria for the purposes of mutual profit. It reads:

“To the brother responsible for the border, Please assist the passage of brother Hussein Hania Sarira through your post along with the man from Turkey – the artifacts trader, for the purpose of working with us in the department of artifacts in the Ministry of Natural Resources. May Allah bless you, Loving brother Abu Uafa At-Tunisi.”

While filming in the town of Shaddadi, located in the Syrian province Hasakah, RT reporters came across archaeological pieces, fragments of various ceramic pots. Abandoned in a tunnel, which ISIS fighters fled through, they were discovered by the Kurdish YPG troops after they liberated Shaddadi from jihadists in the February 2016.

No one knows where those objects originally came from, but Kurdish fighters also found an old map in French, which could date as far back as colonial times. It indicates the excavation grounds. 

Besides providing revealing insight into ISIS money-making, the note supports the previous suppositions that ISIS is selling artifacts via the same trade route, which, according to what RT’s crew was told, it used to bring across weapons and supplies, right under Ankara’s nose.

The fact of Turkey’s lax control and inaction has been recalled by a young fighter in an operational video that RT also obtained from the YPG. He was filmed after being captured by Kurdish troops at the border town of Tel Abyad, which was formerly a trade corridor between Turkey and ISIS.

“They sent me to serve in Tel Abyad on the Turkish border. Sometimes we even crossed the Turkish border and served there. We saw the Turkish army passing by, but there was never any kind of conflict between us,” militant Abu Ayub al-Ansari said.

‘Kurdish advance cut ISIS communication lines with Turkish security services’

The captured terrorist admitted that losing Tel Abyad had dealt a severe blow to Islamic State activities and its trade routes, as well as direct commutation lines with representatives of Turkish security services.

“When the Kurdish militia took over Tel Abyad, the connection was lost and foreign fighters could not get in,” the Islamist fighter testified. “The communication with the Turkish security services was broken, we could only communicate via civilians or spies.”

The terror group was also hit financially, suffering a serious blow to one of its major businesses – the oil smuggling.

“The goods that came from Turkey have also disappeared because the Kurdish YPG fighters have blocked the road through Tel Abyad. Also, the tankers can't drive through the area. That has put the organization in a complicated financial situation,” the apprehended militant told the YPG fighters.

‘We, Daesh, financially depend on oil’

The jihadi files showed that IS has kept very professional records of their oil business, including the name of the driver, the vehicle type driven, and the weight of the truck, both full and empty, as well as the agreed upon price and invoice number.

As local residents who had been forced to work in the IS oil industry told RT earlier, “the extracted oil was delivered to an oil refinery, where it was converted into gasoline, gas and other petroleum products. Then the refined product was sold.”

“Then intermediaries from Raqqa and Allepo arrived to pick up the oil and often mentioned Turkey,” they said.

The operational video of the Kurdish-captured Islamic State militant revealed more details of oil-related work inside ISIS, including the salaries terrorists were paid.

“We, Daesh, know that we financially depend on oil. Earlier it was said we only sold to civilian buyers, but there's no way they could buy so much. Our wages are from $50 to $100, depending on whether you are married or not. I am married and have a baby, so I was paid $135. When the oil supply across Tel Abyad was cut-off, the problems started,” he said.

Since RT made its revelations last week, a stream of questions poured on Turkey with experts and high-profile politicians demanding from Ankara explanations to the “very convincing” report that exposed its alleged links to terrorists.


  1. Turkey is exporting Isis-linked terrorists to Europe, according to King Abdullah of Jordan.

    The monarch's remarks came in a meeting with members of the US Congress, in which he said that Islamist militants were being "manufactured in Turkey" and "unleashed" into Europe.

    He also used the debriefing, held after a cancelled rendezvous with US President Barack Obama, to remind the US politicians of Turkey's alleged complicity in buying Isis oil.

    “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy," said King Abdullah. "Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”

    Arguing that the autocratic Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan believes in a “radical Islamic solution to the region", King Abdullah said.

    "Turkey sought a religious solution to Syria, while we are looking at moderate elements in the south and Jordan pushed for a third option that would not allow a religious option."

    The meeting was held on 11 January, but details of the King's opinions have only just been leaked by Middle East Eye.

    Although Turkey and Jordan are officially allies, the refugee crisis has heightened tensions between the two nations. King Abdullah is understood to have been angered by the EU's generous offer of cash and diplomatic ties in return for Turkey limiting the onward flow of refugees into the continent.

    At roughly 75 million, Turkey's population is over ten times that of Jordan's, meaning the Arab nation is hosting a proportionately greater number of refugees.

    Speaking to politicians including John McCain and Paul Ryan, King Abdullah also claimed that Jordanian special forces with "some balls" were involved in covert operations in Syria.


  2. Washington (CNN)The U.S. military has ordered military family members to evacuate southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik Air Base, due to security concerns, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

    Family members will also be evacuated from facilities in Izmir and Mugla, according to a Pentagon statement.
    "The decision to move our families and civilians was made in consultation with the Government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense," Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, said in the statement.


  3. This is a great opportunity to get out of Turkey. Way past due.

  4. Trish always stood up for Turkey.
    ...had I known how offended she would be by the "C word," I would never had uttered it.

    1. To her credit and at that time, the Turks knew Iraq would be a total disaster, wanted no part of it ,forbade the US IV Army division access across Turkey and the OOrah brigades over at the Belmont Echo Chamber wanted blood, mostly hers.

    2. .

      Geopolitically, Turkey is important. For good or bad, its a NATO partner. Until recently, there was still the possibility it would be allowed to join the EU. It forms a nexus between Europe and Asia. It's military is often included in lists of the 10-15 most powerful military forces in the world.

      Trish is a clever girl.

      Turkey changed when Erdogan came in.

      They could make a great ally. Unfortunately, they're not.


    3. "Geopolitically, Turkey is important."

      Why ?

      In this day and age ?

      A simple Campesino is asking.

    4. The Simple Campesino is awaiting learn'ED reply....

    5. It was d.r. with his continual hectoring that drove Trish away.

    6. .

      Simple is the operative word.


    7. .

      Campesinos are what's wrong with this country. They are the reason we need Trump's wall. Criminals all, they should be rounded up and sent home in a fleet of U Hauls, their villages destroyed and their Pucker confiscated.

      By the way, have the swallows returned to Campesino yet this year?


    8. Just as I figgered.

      You got no answer so you attack the golden of the earth instead.

    9. .

      Part of the answer is in the brief statement I put up above. That you can't see that is telling. Now, I could expand on the subject and try to enlighten you on the intricacies of geopolitics in the ME but that would simply be a case of my casting pearls before swine.



  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot."
    2 Idiots

    Watch moment Brit EgyptAir hostage Ben Innes takes grinning selfie with plane 'hijacker'

    1. Poor sap.

      And all over his girlfriend too.

      Now it's 45 years in the klink.

      All over a damn girlfriend.

  7. Highlights

    Expansion is March's score for the often volatile Chicago PMI which surged 6 full points to a higher-than-expected 53.6. This is once again, for the 4th month in a row, outside of Econoday's consensus range! Contraction was the score in February at 47.6.

    Details for March show strength for both new orders and backlog orders which are solid pluses for future activity. Production this month was also strong as was employment which is rising once again and at its best rate since April last year. Inventories are still in contraction and input prices are still falling.

    Most anecdotal indications on the month of March have been positive including this report which tracks both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors of the Chicago economy.

    Chicago PMI

  8. Iraqi F16 fighter jets kill 60 ISIS militants in Sharqat and Heet Districts

    ( Anbar – A security source announced on Thursday, that 60 militants of the so-called ISIS were killed in an aerial bombing targeted ISIS strongholds in Sharqat District north of Tikrit and Heet District west of Ramadi (110 km west of Baghdad).

    The source said in a statement obtained by, “The Iraqi fighter jets F16, based on intelligence information, bombed ISIS strongholds and gatherings in Sharqat District and Heet District, killing 60 fighters belonging to ISIS.”

    The source, who asked anonymity, added, “The air strikes also destroyed four ISIS hideouts in those areas.”

    Earlier today, an informed security source announced, that the security forces started an operation to liberate Heet District west of Ramadi, while emphasized that Anti-Terrorism forces, Federal Police and tribal fighters are participating in the operation.

    Iraqi Jets

    1. F16 fighter jets destroy ISIS weapons cache in Sharqat

      ( Salahuddin – On Wednesday, official journalist with the Ministry of Defense announced destroying a weapons cache belonging to the so-called ISIS by an aerial bombardment conducted by the Iraqi F16 fighter jets in the district of Sharqat.

      The journalists said in a statement received by, “This morning, Iraqi F16 fighter jets bombed a weapons cache belonging to ISIS in the district of Sharqat, destructing the cache and killing its occupants.”

      The statement added, “The bombing was carried out based on the intelligence information received from the Directorate of General Security.”

      gettin' bizzy

  9. Here's the guy I really feel for these days -

    NKorea prison escapee says US student faces horrific life in 'Auschwitz' labor camps.....Drudge

    I wish the USA, China, Russia could get together and put an end to North Korea, but they got nukes now....

  10. Fishing in Idaho -

    1. When I became aware of the griz, I turned and grinned him down.

    2. .

      Yea, I hear that's how you lost your leg.


    3. Your memory is slippin' again.

      It was my hip that got broke tripping on the lip of a curb.

      Have both legs, and a brain, with full memory, too.

  11. Abdullah is the only grownup in the whole region.

  12. Sisi is a grownup too.

    Last I heard Egypt's 'legislature' was working a bill to ban the burka...

    1. And Sisi has been working to reform the education system in Egypt, running into much resistance from the 'clerics' of course.

  13. .

    Mr. Ryan, me thinks thou dost protest too much.


  14. 'Possible' "Q"Nit at Virginia bus station......details sketchy......developing

    1. .

      Do you recall, since you have 'full memory' now, how many suspected, sketchy, developing, possible "Q"Nits you have put over the past month?

      You, sir, are a drive by "Q"Nitter and a chronic "Nitwitter".


    2. Sir, I do indeed recall.

      This is the FIRST time I have mentioned a 'possible' "Q"Nit....details sketchy....developing.

      Your humble servant, etc.....

      Perhaps I do indeed need to be taking to task just this once.

      I will report no more until incident is a confirmed "Q"Nit.

    3. dammit that your humble servant crap was supposed to come at the end....

      "The gods buy computers for those whom they wish to drive mad"

    4. .

      Little do they know that in your case it is redundant.


    5. I kneel and pray and make offerings to the gods, you do not, atheist.

      The gods will do as they will do....

  15. .

    Strange factoid.

    The US is holding a Nuclear Security Summit in D.C. The summit will talk about abput how to protect nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. World leaders have been invited. even countries who are not signers of the NPT like India and Pakistan, as well as, Israel which won't even admit they have nuclear weapons.

    Yet, Iran, a country with a nuclear program, a signer of the NPT hasn't been invited.

    A strange brew.


    1. Clear heads and sharp minds know it is futile to invite Iran.

      Has North Korea been invited ?

      I ask.

  16. When a computers memory becomes full, it stops working.

  17. U.S. President Barack Obama opened his final nuclear security summit in Washington on Thursday, expressing concerns over North Korea's nuclear weapons development and the possibility of dirty bombs from terrorists.


    On Thursday, The Washington Post published an opinion article from President Obama. He wrote, “The international community must remain united in the face of North Korea’s continued provocations, including its recent nuclear test and missile launches.


    U.S.-China relations, however, are complicated with maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

  18. Hillary gets pissed -

    1. I've been getting dozens of calls from world leaders lately expressing deep concern about Hillary Clinton, and asking me to somehow put an end to her bloviating, aggression, and her violations of other people's space.

      I tell them to support, and donate too, The Donald.

      They tell me they will support him, but he's self funding so 'no, thanks' on the donations.

      Then they start talking about more USA aid, and beefing up their defenses for them.

      I tell them they need to contribute more to NATO.

    2. computer

      I tell them to support, and donate too, to The Donald.

  19. Trump is also battling history. No Republican nominee has won a majority of women voters since 1988.


    The most recent CBS News poll shows Trump with a 57 percent unfavorability rating -- the highest of any presidential front-runner dating back to 1984.

    Sixty-three percent of women view Trump unfavorably, 22 points higher than Romney four years ago.

  20. Cuban State Media: 'Negro' Obama 'Incited Rebellion and Disorder'.....Drudge

    The Castro Cuban revolution has always been fiercely racist from the very beginning.

    People like Ash may not know this.

  21. If the question is "Compared to 50 years ago, life in America for people like you is . . . . ."

    Trump supporters vote 75% to 13% Worse

    Clinton supporters vote 53% to 22% Better

    Huffpost Pew Poll

  22. That doesn't surprise. Working class whites have been left screwed the last few decades.

    Are there any government programs that benefit them ?

  23. New York To Raise Minimum Wage Towards $15 An Hour

    The deal was reached the same day California lawmakers approved raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

    By James Odato

    ALBANY, New York, March 31 (Reuters) - Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders reached a deal on Thursday to raise New York state’s minimum wage towards $15 per hour, but fell short of a uniform state-wide increase.

    The deal outlines a faster rise in New York City, but carves out a slow lane for small businesses and surrounding counties. In less prosperous areas north of the city it rises to $12.50 per hour before a state review of the law’s impact.

    The minimum wage agreement was part of a broad budget deal that Cuomo announced late on Thursday. He said the plan included 12 weeks of paid family leave and $4.2 billion in tax cuts. The $147 billion budget caps spending growth at 2 percent.

    “I believe that this is the best plan the state has produced in decades,” Cuomo told a news conference in the state capital, Albany. Cuomo has earmarked $100 billion in infrastructure spending in the state.

    The budget also increases school funding by 6.5 percent to $24.8 billion and freezes tuition at the state university system, SUNY.

    The minimum wage has been a controversial element in difficult budget negotiations that threatened to delay the spending plan past the start of the state’s fiscal year on April 1. The agreement, including the minimum wage, still needs to get approval from lawmakers.

    Under the terms of the deal the minimum wage would rise from its current $9 per hour to $15 over three years in New York City starting on Dec. 31, 2016. City businesses with up to 10 employees would be given four years to implement the measure.

    Long Island and Westchester County around New York City would be given six years to push through the increases while the rest of the state would see the minimum wage rise to $12.50 in five years, with indexed increases to $15 possible after review.

    There is also a provision to suspend the increases from 2019 if economic conditions worsen.

    The compromise is a climb down for Cuomo and his fellow Democrats who had pushed for a $15 state-wide minimum and no carve outs for small businesses. Republicans argued that a flat statewide rate could hurt businesses in less wealthy areas.

    “It may not go to $15. There’s no guarantee, that’s the good thing,” said Senator George Amedore, a Republican representing a constituency upstate, who commented on the agreement to Reuters.

    Phil Steck, a Democratic Party assembly member, who represents a district 165 miles (265 km) north of the city, argued that the opposite was true, and a lower minimum wage would be a blow to the upstate economy.

    “We have a very strapped economy in upstate New York and the surest way to ensure continued poverty is to run a low wage economy,” he said. “If anything, the poorer areas of the state needed an increase in the minimum wage more.”

    The multi-tier solution could also dampen the national drive for a $15 minimum wage that has gathered pace as Democrats mobilize their base ahead of the presidential election in November.

    They hailed an important victory when California Governor Jerry Brown and legislators reached an agreement on Monday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.

    Cuomo said New York’s “calibrated” path to raising the minimum wage could be an example for the rest of the county. “It is raising the minimum wage in a way that is responsible and a positive for the overall economy,” he said. (Reporting by James Odato, Writing by Edward Krudy; Editing by Daniel Bases, Grant McCool and Clarence Fernandez)

    Huffington Post

  24. Seven police officers were martyred Thursday afternoon in a PKK bomb attack in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir, said the Turkish minister of development.


    Numerous cars near the explosion site, the Intercity bus terminal and other buildings were damaged as well.

  25. Using the Glass Parking Lot Doctrine would have the added advantage of, at least temporarily, ridding this blog of the continual reports on USA pin-prick air strikes in Iraq and Syria provided by galopin2.

    But would galonpin2 approve the Glass Parking Lot Doctrine ?

    Would you ?


    2. Tried to post the article twice - vanishing post syndrome again.

      We would not be violating our long standing nuclear doctrine if we nuked ISIS is the gist of it.

      They are not a 'state' even though they say they are, they are not members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, they are attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, etc....

    3. .

      Making the point that at least one quarter of Americans are batshit crazy.


    4. It's not talking about the big nukes, Quirk, just the little ones. It's sadistic to draw out the suffering by endless pinprick strikes, that's the argument. Artillery shell battlefield mini-nukes, not vaporizing Mosul...

      ....if you would run this through your Quirk's Human Suffering Calculator and give us some numbers, please....then we can decide...

  26. Almost a Million people (951,000) have entered the workforce in the last 2 months.

    That's a bunch.

    776,000 have found jobs.

    641,000 found full-time jobs

    135,000 could only find part-time jobs

    Employment Situation - Household Survey

  27. Here is a long term graph of the ISM manufacturing index.

    This was above expectations of 50.5%, and suggests manufacturing expanded in March.


    Calculated Risk

    1. Highlights

      A big surge in ISM new orders is certain to shake up what has been a very downbeat outlook for the manufacturing sector. ISM's composite index came in at 51.8 for March, a plus 50 reading made more respectable by the now ended string of sub-50 readings that go all the way back to October.

      But it's the new orders index, getting a boost from exports, that steals the show, surging nearly 7 points to 58.3 for the best result since July last year.

      Other readings include strength in production and backlogs and, again, new export orders which jumped 5.5 points to 52.0 for their best showing since December 2014.

      ISM's new orders index, which is widely watched and is actually a component of the index of leading economic indicators, fits in with what may be emerging talk of a June rate hike.

      ISM mfg index

  28. 'Unemployment Rate Edges Higher as Prime-Age Workers Re-enter Labor Market'

    Dean Baker:

    Unemployment Rate Edges Higher as Prime-Age Workers Re-enter Labor Market: Self-employment has risen substantially since the ACA took effect.

    The economy added 215,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate rounding up to 5.0 percent from February's 4.9 percent. However, the modest increase in unemployment was largely good news, since it was the result of another 396,000 people entering the labor force. There has been a large increase in the labor force over the last six months, especially among prime-age workers. Since September, the labor force participation rate for prime-age workers has increased by 0.8 percentage points. This seems to support the view that the people who left the labor market during the downturn will come back if they see jobs available. However, even with this recent rise, the employment-to-population ratio for prime-age workers is still down by more than two full percentage points from its pre-recession peak.

    Another positive item in the household survey was a large jump in the percentage of unemployment due to voluntary quits. This sign of confidence in the labor market rose to 10.5 percent, the highest level in the recovery to date, although it's still more than a percentage point below the pre-recession peaks and almost five percentage points below the peak reached in 2000.

    1. Other items in the household survey were mixed. The number of people involuntarily working part-time rose by 135,000, reversing several months of declines. However, involuntary part-time work is still down by 550,000 from year-ago levels. The number of people voluntarily working part-time fell in March, but it is still 654,000 above its year-ago level.
      One of the desired outcomes from the ACA was that it would free people from dependence on their employer for health care insurance, allowing them to work part-time or start a business if they so choose and get insurance through the exchanges. There has been a substantial rise in self-employment since the exchanges began operating in 2014. In the first quarter of 2016, incorporated self-employment was up by more than 400,000 (7.8 percent) from the same quarter of 2013. Unincorporated self-employment was also up by almost 360,000 (3.9 percent).
      While the employment growth in the establishment survey was in line with expectations, average weekly hours remained at 34.4, down from 34.6 in January. This indicates that February’s drop in hours was not just a result of bad weather. As a result, the index of aggregate hours worked is down by 0.2 percent from the January level. This could be a sign of slower job growth in future months. ...
      The average hourly wage rose modestly in March after a reported decline in February. There is zero evidence of any acceleration in wage growth. The average for the last three months increased at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent compared with the average of the prior three months. This is virtually identical to the increase over the last year.

    2. On the whole this is a positive report, both because the economy continues to create jobs at a healthy pace and even more importantly because it indicates that people are returning to the labor market. The continuing weakness in wage growth is discouraging, but also should signal to the Fed that there is little reason to raise interest rates.

      Economists View

  29. Paul Krugman - New York Times Blog

    The Pathos of Republican Reformers

    MARCH 30, 2016 6:31 PM March 30, 2016 6:31 pm 299 Comments

    Ross Douthat has a wonderfully written, heartfelt takedown of the WSJ editorial page, which is — surprise! — dead set against any deviation from the tax-cuts-for-the-rich agenda. Definitely worth reading. But my question is, did Republican reformers like Douthat really think there was any chance that their ideas would achieve headway within the party? If so, they were remarkably naive.

    After all, what is the modern GOP? A simple model that accounts for just about everything you see is that it’s an engine designed to harness white resentment on behalf of higher incomes for the donor class.

    { . . . is that a wonderful freakin' line, or what? :) . . . .}

    What we call the Republican establishment is really a network of organizations that represent donor interests because they’re supported by donor money. These organizations impose ideological purity with a combination of carrots and sticks: assured support for politicians and pundits who toe the line, sanctions against anyone who veers from orthodoxy — excommunication if you’re an independent thinking pundit, a primary challenge from the Club for Growth if you’re an imperfectly reliable politician.

    1. To a very casual observer, it may look as if this movement infrastructure engages in actual policy analysis and discussion, but that’s only a show put on for the media. Can you even imagine being unsure how a Heritage Foundation study on any significant issue will come out? The truth is that the right’s policy ideas haven’t changed in decades. Paul Ryan’s innovative idea on Medicare — let’s replace it with vouchers! — is the same proposal Newt Gingrich offered in 1995.

      So why are we seeing a crackup of this system now? It’s not because events have called the orthodoxy into question; that has never mattered in the past. On the contrary, failed predictions have never caused even the slightest change in claims: the same people who predicted that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike would kill jobs and that Obamacare would be an economic disaster are making confident predictions about the salutary effects of tax cuts now.

      The problem, instead, seems to be demography — an increasingly diverse population means that the party needs to go beyond white resentment, but the resentful whites are having none of it. Oh, and the base never cared about the ideology.

    2. Just to be clear, Democrats aren’t angels. But the Democratic party is a very different kind of arrangement. It’s a coalition of interest groups. None of them are selfless, but the party does in fact try to serve the interests of these groups, more or less; it’s not the kind of immense exercise in bait-and-switch that the GOP has become. And it can respond to a changing country by changing itself, adapting to the shifting balance of power among its constituent groups.

      Oh, and the very pluralism of the Democratic system, while it can make the party diffuse and ineffectual, means that there’s nothing like the right’s unchallengeable orthodoxy, which in turn means that sometimes analysis and evidence can matter.

      But back to the Republicans: the reformist hope was, I guess, that the donor class itself would realize the need to soften the party’s ideology in the face of a changing society. But the right-wing rich are different from you and me: they can and do surround themselves with people telling them that if only they say the usual things louder — if only they run yet another ad accusing Donald Trump of not being a true conservative — they can reestablish the old order. Remember, it took five presidential defeats — 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and the shocker in 1948 — before the old GOP accepted the legitimacy of the New Deal. If that’s the standard, would-be Republican reformers might have to wait through two terms of Hillary and one of her successor before getting a hearing.

      For now, at least, the reformers have no constituency.

      Krugman -

    3. .

      Just to be clear, Democrats aren’t angels. But the Democratic party is a very different kind of arrangement. It’s a coalition of interest groups. None of them are selfless, but the party does in fact try to serve the interests of these groups, more or less; it’s not the kind of immense exercise in bait-and-switch that the GOP has become.


      One wonders if the guy actually believes this or if it is just cut and paste from his running stock of partisan schtick. Perhaps, he offers himself plausible deniability with the term 'more or less'.


  30. This Is the Job Market We’ve Been Hoping for All These Years

    Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin APRIL 1, 20

    If you were going to sit down and sketch out an ideal scenario for the American job market in 2016, it would look something like this:

    The United States would keep adding jobs at a steady clip. Wages would rise gradually — enough to put more money in workers’ pockets, but not so fast as to lead the Federal Reserve to move abruptly to keep the economy from overheating. Steady job growth wouldn’t show up in continued drops in the unemployment rate, but rather in a rising labor force. That is, people who had stopped even looking for a job in recent years would come back into the job market, allowing for strong job growth mixed with a steady jobless rate.

    That happens to be the reality revealed in the March jobs numbers released Friday, and really in every jobs report published so far in 2016.

    I don’t want to sound hopelessly optimistic or naïve about the problems the United States economy is facing. In the near term, measures of economic output have looked far weaker than measures of the job market, which implies productivity growth is exceptionally weak right now. In the longer term, incomes for working-class Americans haven’t really grown over the last couple of decades.

    These are big, serious problems with far-reaching consequences. But in terms of the nuts and bolts of the labor market in 2016, things are really shaping up well for anyone who wants to see Americans get back to work and see the damage left by the recession eight years ago finally healed

    1. Over the last four months, the size of the United States labor force has risen by 1.92 million, the strongest since the boom time of early 2000.

      Indeed, the jobless rate ticked up a bit in March, to 5 percent from 4.9 percent, precisely because among the 396,000 Americans who joined the labor force, not all found jobs.

      The unemployment rate has been exceptionally stable lately; it has been between 4.9 and 5.1 percent for eight consecutive months. That’s good news if you’re worried that the Fed might move too abruptly to raise interest rates and end the expansion prematurely. The fact that job growth remains strong but is pulling new people into the job market, not just pushing the unemployment rate lower, suggests the Fed can be patient, because the labor market is at less risk of getting too tight, fueling inflation.

      A couple of telling statistics: The number of people who are not in the labor force but who tell survey takers they want a job — these are people who aren’t actively looking for work and therefore don’t count as unemployed, yet have a vague sense that they’d prefer to have a job — has fallen by more than 10 percent in the last year, to 5.4 million.

      And the proportion of the adult population that is working has risen to 59.9 percent, up from 59.3 percent a year ago. The level is still well below the roughly 63 percent that prevailed before the recession, but some portion of the drop is because of demographic shifts, and the progress since the start of 2014 is impressive.

      On wages, the 0.3 percent rise in average hourly earnings in March and 2.3 percent rise in the last year is hardly the stuff of raucous celebration, but inflation has been low enough that this still represents a meaningful uptick in buying power for the average worker. And its gradual pace of growth, as mentioned earlier, means the Federal Reserve will feel comfortable sticking with a cautious, slow path of raising interest rates, rather than get any ideas that a huge outbreak of inflation is on the way.

    2. The economy has a lot of profound problems, and the damage of the 2008 recession is still not fully healed. But the March numbers offer more comfort that, in terms of the job market at least, it’s heading in the right direction.


    3. 'Stagflation' -- Wall Street's latest dirty word...

      Unemployment rate rises to 5%...

      Part-timers 'account for labor-force surge'...

      29,000 Manufacturing Jobs LOST...

      44% can't sleep at night...

      Record 25,741,000 Foreign-Born Employed in USA...

      White-Guy Deficit.......DRUDGE

  31. Attack and ground-attack aircraft conducted five strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Ayn Isa, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb.

    -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed two ISIL bulldozers.

    -- Near Mara, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

    Strikes in Iraq

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

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Hit, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, two ISIL bomb factories, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL anti-air artillery staging area and nine ISIL tunnel entrances and denying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and five ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL mortar firing position and suppressed two separate ISIL mortar firing positions.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed two ISIL vehicle-borne bombs.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed three ISIL tunnel systems and three ISIL assembly areas.

    1. Many feel it might be much easier and quicker to just employ the Glass Parking Lot Doctrine, galopin2.

      Considering that Quirk has come out against the idea, there may be something to it.

    2. You're a fucking idiot.

      Never able to think out of your box.

      I'm undecided until Quirk can give us some of his human suffering numbers.

      I'll go with the scenario that causes the least human suffering and still gets rid of the problem.

      The elders in my family used to argue these very points concerning the two A bombings of Japan. The majority thought it caused less human suffering than continuing the war and invading Japan. I think they were probably right though I don't know for sure.

      I do know it saved a lot of American lives.

      Looking back on it it's really doubtful whether the Japanese military would ever have surrendered without it.

    3. Continuing, some might ask you if it would overall reduce, or increase, human suffering.

      You'd have to think about it awhile, not having thought of it before.

      You are a knee jerk thinker, much like Quirk when he's not using his human suffering calculator.

    4. You have to be the stupidest fucking person I've ever come across.

    5. You have to be the stupidest fucking person I've ever come across.

      If ISIS were to be able to created a dirty bomb, well within the realm of possibility, much less a nuke, purchased, say, through North Korea, and smuggle it into the USA, through our unbelievably porous borders, they WOULD set it off in some American city, perhaps Detroit.

      THEN, everybody would be saying The Donald was a genius, the entire population would be screaming for us to DEFEND ourselves, and use nukes BIG TIME.

      All the people of USA would toss your pin prick strikes out the window in a nano-second.

      You have to be the stupidest fucking person I've ever come across, galopin2.


  32. Huma Abedin on her emails being out there: 'terrifying'

    By Eliza Collins
    | 04/01/16 05:47 PM EDT

    Huma Abedin hasn’t freshly read any of her email exchanges with Hillary Clinton that have been released by the State Department, but the longtime Clinton aide said it is "terrifying" to know that the messages are out there.

    “It’s something I can’t really think about, but I can’t even imagine what’s in those emails. But I’m sure I would probably be mortified. I have no idea. I haven’t read any of them,” Abedin, who served as one of Clinton's top aides at State, said in an interview with the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend."

    The State Department publicly released thousands of emails from Clinton, including many messages to her aides, after it was discovered that she used a private email server during her four-year tenure as secretary of state. Clinton has said that, looking back, it wasn't the best decision, but that she did not violate any rules or laws. The FBI is investigating the unusual server setup.

    In the interview, Abedin was also asked about the infamous fax emails in which she is trying to coach Clinton through using a secure fax machine. Abedin said the exchange showed “a little bit of her frustration because it wasn’t working, and my frustration that she couldn’t figure it out or whatever it was.”

    “It wasn’t unusual when secure faxes were coming through that we had some challenges,” she said, adding that she didn’t remember that specific moment until the email made the headlines.

    But it isn’t all bad, Abedin said. She had heard about a woman who decided to back Clinton after reading her emails because she felt she got to know her better through her personal writing. “She saw what a warm, caring, thoughtful, determined person she was," Abedin said.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

  33. In March of 2015 there were 6,673,000 Americans working "Part-time for Economic Reasons."

    Last month there were 6,123,000 Americans working "Part-time for Economic Reasons."

    A Decrease of 550,000 Americans working "Part-time for Economic Reasons."

    Meanwhile, the number Employed increased by 2,987,000.

    Employment Situation.

  34. .

    It's not talking about the big nukes, Quirk, just the little ones. It's sadistic to draw out the suffering by endless pinprick strikes, that's the argument. Artillery shell battlefield mini-nukes, not vaporizing Mosul...

    How friggin small do you think 'just a little one' is? If you are unsure, you might want to look it up.


  35. .

    ....if you would run this through your Quirk's Human Suffering Calculator and give us some numbers, please....then we can decide...


    Surely, a person that is so simple as to suggest introducing nukes into a situation as volatile and with as many players as Syria/Iraq can't be looking for anything more complicated than that.



  36. .

    From WIKI...

    Risk of escalating a conflict

    Use of tactical nuclear weapons against similarly-armed opponents carries a significant danger of quickly escalating the conflict beyond anticipated boundaries, from the tactical to the strategic.[4][5][6][7][8][9] The existence and deployment of small, low-yield tactical nuclear warheads could be a dangerous encouragement to forward-basing and pre-emptive nuclear warfare,[10][11] as nuclear weapons with destructive yields of 10 tons of TNT (e.g., the W54 warhead design) might be used more willingly at times of crisis than warheads with yields of 100 kilotons.
    Russian OTR-21 Tochka missile. Capable of firing a 100 kiloton nuclear warhead a distance of 185 km
    American MGR-3 Little John missile, measuring 4.4. meters long with a diameter of 32 cm and a weight of 350 kg. Capable of firing a W45 warhead (10 kiloton yield) a distance of 19 km
    French Pluton missile circa 1970s. Capable of firing a 15 kiloton nuclear warhead a distance of 120 km
    Red Beard, a British gravity bomb of the early 1960s with a destructive yield of 25 kilotons

    For example, firing a low-yield nuclear artillery shell similar to the W48 (with a yield equivalent to 72 tons of TNT) at the enemy invites retaliation. It may provoke the enemy into responding with several nuclear artillery shells similar to the W79, which had a 1 kiloton yield. The response to these 1 kiloton nuclear artillery shells may be to retaliate by firing a tactical nuclear missile similar to a French Pluton (15 kiloton yield), Russian OTR-21 Tochka (100 kiloton yield) or the American MGM-52 Lance, fitted with a W70 variable yield warhead ranging between 1 and 100 kilotons. By using tactical nuclear weapons there is a high risk of escalating the conflict until it reaches a tipping point which provokes the use of strategic nuclear weapons such as ICBMs. Additionally, the tactical nuclear weapons most likely to be used first (i.e., the smallest, low-yield weapons such as nuclear artillery dating from the 1960s) have usually been under less stringent political control at times of military combat crises than strategic weapons.[12] Early Permissive Action Links could be as simple as a mechanical combination lock.[13] If a relatively junior officer in control of a small tactical nuclear weapon (e.g., the M29 Davy Crockett) were in imminent danger of being overwhelmed by enemy forces, he could request permission to fire it and due to decentralised control of warhead authorization, his request might quickly be granted during a crisis.

    For these reasons, stockpiles of tactical nuclear warheads in most countries' arsenals have been dramatically reduced c. 2010, and the smallest types have been completely eliminated.[14] Additionally, the increased sophistication of "Category F" PAL mechanisms and their associated communications infrastructure mean that centralised control of tactical nuclear warheads (by the country's most senior political leaders) can now be retained, even during combat.

    Some variable yield nuclear warheads such as the B61 nuclear bomb have been produced in both tactical and strategic versions. Whereas the lowest selectable yield of a tactical B61 (Mod 3 and Mod 4) is 0.3 kilotons (300 tons),[15] modern PAL mechanisms ensure that centralised political control is maintained over each weapon, including their destructive yields.

    With the introduction of the B61 Mod 12, the United States will have four hundred identical nuclear bombs whose strategic or tactical nature will be set purely by the type of aircraft on which they are carried.[16]


  37. Quirk, dear Quirk, I haven't actually advocated it, just pointing out possibilities, pointing out it very hard to calculate amounts of human suffering, and, I should think, and predict, that if Detroit gets a dirty bomb you yourself will be screaming:

    "Help me, Uncle Sam, HELP ME, UNCLE SAM !!!"

    You're a lucky guy.

    If Uncle Sam won't help you, you can always seek refuge on Uncle Bob's Farm, or stubbornly stay there and glow in the dark.

  38. You're gonna end up in Idaho, Quirk, I just know it, you're gonna up in God's Country.

    1. Yup, you're gonna end up in God's Country, Quirk.

      Go to Drudge Report, Quirk-O, and click on this -

      American Commandos Train to Stop Terrorists With 'Dirty Bombs'.....DRUDGE

    2. There will always be a Safe Space for you here, Quirk.


    3. If you don't want to hang out with me, you can hang out with my friend Wayne, maybe haul feed for the cattle. I know he's got one small empty house where you can stay.


      Go to Drudge and click on the story.

    4. If I put up a link, you have to swipe the link, one operation, then click on the link, so that's two operations.

      Likewise if I put up a link, it's two operations for me.

      A draw.

    5. .

      As I thought. All you do is read the headlines on Drudge. You're too lazy to bother actually pulling up the article.


    6. You jump to conclusions that are not warranted.

      You're so lazy you can't seem to do 2 clicks.

      Two simple clicks, no swiping involved.

      jeez Lu-eeze

  39. According to Wikipedia

    there are probably 600,000 people currently residing in Mosul, Iraq.

    Do you vaporize that half a million + men, women, and children to kill the 2,000 or 3,000 terrorists in their midst?

    1. What about those several hundred smaller cities and villages of, say, 500 to 1,000 Iraqis, and 50 to 100 headcutters?

      Do we nuke them, too?

    2. Should we have immolated the 200,000 or so men, women, and children in Ramadi?

    3. What have I said above ?

      Do you see me advocating vaporizing all of Mosul ?

      More than tactical nukes would be needed to do that.

      Read the article.

      If ISIS lights off a dirty bomb in Detroit, I imagine nearly 100% of the American people will be for vaporizing Mosul and many other places as well.

    4. You just can't be that fucking stupid.

    5. The United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom as laid down in the Quebec Agreement, dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, during the final stage of World War II. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

    6. You just can't be that fucking stupid, galopin2.

      If Clan 'Rufus', God forbid, were to get irradiated by a dirty bomb, you'd be the first in line yelling to nuke 'em all.

      Clan Rufus is after all the center of the universe, and Rufus the center of the clan.

  40. The "Q"Nit alert concerning the bus station in Virginia is withdrawn. The shooter's name was not moslem or Arabic.

    I will put up no further 'unconfirmed "Q"Nit alerts'.

  41. galopn2Fri Apr 01, 09:34:00 PM EDT
    What about those several hundred smaller cities and villages of, say, 500 to 1,000 Iraqis, and 50 to 100 headcutters?

    Do we nuke them, too?

    No need, America, Russia, Syria and Iran with Hezbollah's help have already murdered 450,000, wounded over 1.2 million

    Are you proud?

  42. OK Quirk, you world class lazy arse, here: (does your wife spoon feed you ?) --

    U.S. Commandos Trained to Stop Terrorists With `Dirty Bombs'

    Anthony Capaccio

    April 1, 2016 — 7:59 AM PDT

    Navy Recruits Train For Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Boat Team Units
    square before the information Moonlight active-duty Special Boat Team members from the Navy's Gulf Coast team participate in drills on the Pearl River at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, on Feb. 20, 2013.
    Blue Arrow
    Special operations forces a resource as summit weighs threat

    Blue Arrow
    Pentagon plans to spend $1 billion through 2021 on technology

    U.S. commando units have been trained to seize and disable nuclear or radioactive bombs, providing a crucial last line of defense if terrorists get their hands on such weapons, according to the general in charge of the forces.

    The U.S. Special Operations Command “has sufficient ‘render-safe’ capacity to respond to the most likely” scenarios involving weapons of mass destruction under the current analysis of threats, Army General Raymond Thomas has told lawmakers.

    The Pentagon rarely discusses publicly its plans to use commandos if terrorists obtain a nuclear weapon or build a “dirty bomb” from radioactive material. While U.S. officials say there’s no sign yet that Islamic State has such a capability, the prospect was on Friday’s agenda for the Nuclear Security Summit of world leaders being hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington.

    Thomas described the role U.S. commandos might play in written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee before his confirmation as head of the Special Operations Command, a post he took this week. He moved up a rung from his previous role heading the Joint Special Operations Command, directly overseeing fabled -- and secretive -- units such as the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEAL Team 6.

    1. ‘Proper Threshold’

      Even with U.S. special forces spending significant time conducting counterterrorism operations, Thomas said those deployments haven’t interfered with preparations to handle a weapon of mass destruction.

      Thomas said his commandos have “found the proper threshold of maintaining the world’s foremost counterterrorism force” for missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere “while ensuring our counterproliferation forces, including the no-fail mission of render-safe, are manned, trained and equipped and prepared to address WMD threats as they arise.”

      More about the Defense Department’s preparations for using commandos to disarm weapons of mass destruction can be found in the fine print of budget documents.

      Funding Plans

      From fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2021, the Pentagon plans to have spent more than $1 billion equipping the Special Operations Command with “a full spectrum” of counterterrorism technologies developed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, according to budget documents supporting a $103 million request for fiscal 2017.

      From fiscal 2010 to 2016, the threat-reduction agency received $655 million to spend on these technologies, and it’s proposing about $537 million in additional funding through 2021.

      The program is intended to give special forces units the “tools to locate, identify, characterize, assess and attack WMD production and storage facilities with minimal-to-no collateral damage or loss of life,” according to the documents. One of last year’s accomplishments was described as development of a “precision shaped charge using a proven manufacturing process.”

      The Special Operations Command’s embrace of the mission against weapons of mass destruction is something of a turnaround.

      Maintain Ability

      In 2010, Admiral Eric Olson, who then headed the command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written answers that the commitment of elite commandos to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had compromised their skills to hunt worldwide for such weapons, diluting the capability.

      The number of commandos “available for counterproliferation” was limited and their expertise was degraded by “the decreased level of training,” Olson said.

      In March, Thomas told the panel, “I will continue to use current training and exercise programs” to “maintain our ability to meet our mission to counter” weapons of mass destruction.

      He said he’ll also push for state-of-the-art technology and transfer “as much capability as is reasonable to forward-deployed” special operations units.


      Now, Quirk, this is where you say "thank you da da daddy".


    3. If you end up living on Waynes' place be prepared to cook, feed, wash, and dress yourself.