“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."

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Russian US Ceasefire in Syria is Holding - It is Time To Reassess The War Party in Washington

Syria civil war: State-of-the-art technology gives President Assad’s army the edge 

| Middle East | News | The Independent

You can see the Syrian army’s spanking new Russian T-90 tanks lined up in their new desert livery scarcely 100 miles from Isis’s Syrian “capital” of Raqqa.

There are new Russian-made trucks alongside them, and a lot of artillery and – surely Isis’s spies are supposed to see this – plenty of Syrian soldiers walking beside the perimeter wire beside Russian soldiers wearing floppy military hats against the sun, the kind they used in the old days in the summer heat of Afghanistan in the 1980s. There’s even a Russian general based at the Isriyah military base, making sure that Syrian tank crews receive the most efficient training on the T-90s.

No, Russian ground troops are not going to fight Isis. That was never the intention. The Russian air force attacks Isis from the air; the Syrians, the Iranians, the Afghan Shia Muslims from north-eastern Afghanistan, the Iraqi Shias and several hundred Pakistani Shias must attack Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra on the ground. 

But the Russians have to be up in the desert to the east of the Aleppo-Hama-Homs-Damascus axis, both to train the Syrian tank crews and maintain an eastern base of forward air controllers to guide the Sukhoi bombers on to their night-time targets.

Everyone on the Syrian front lines will tell you that the Syrian air force bombs its enemies only in clear weather. When the winter clouds descend and the rain falls across northern and eastern Syria, the Russians take over. 

“The Syrians are low enough to see – the Russians, when they come, you never see them,” as one constant visitor to the war fronts put it with military simplicity. No wonder senior Russian officers are now also attached to the Syrian army command in Aleppo.  Vladimir Putin doesn’t do things by halves.
Russian warplanes fly in the sky over the Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia, Syria

Yet the most important military support  the Russians have given to the Syrians is not the tanks – impressive though they look – but the technology that goes with them.

Syrian officers have been shown how the new T-90 anti-missile system causes rockets to veer off course only yards from the tanks when fired directly at them. Is this the weapon that might defeat the mass rocket assaults of Isis and Nusra? Perhaps. Even more important for the Syrians, however, are the new Russian night-vision motion sensors, and the electronic surveillance-reconnaissance equipment which enabled the government army to smash through the Nusra defences in the mountainous far north-west of Syria, breaking the rebel supply lines from Turkey to Aleppo.

In an army that has lost well over 60,000 dead in almost five years of hard fighting, Syria’s officers have suddenly discovered that the new Russian technology has coincided with a rapid lowering of their casualties. This may be one reason for the steady trickle of old “Free Syrian Army” deserters back to the ranks of the government forces, depleting even further David Cameron’s 70,000-strong army of “moderate” ghost soldiers. Intriguingly, since the start of the war in 2011, a far higher percentage of Syrian police and political security personnel have gone across to Bashar al-Assad’s enemies than have soldiers in the regular army. There have been 5,000 security personnel defections out of a total force of 28,000 police.
The Russians are in a unique position among Syrian ground forces; they can train the Syrians how to use the new tanks and then watch how the T-90s perform  without having to suffer any casualties themselves. Originally, there were plans to recapture Palmyra, the Roman city already partly vandalised by Isis, but the difficulties of the flat desert terrain have persuaded the Syrians that offensives in the north to cut off all rebel routes from Turkey into Syria will be far more worthwhile.

No wonder the Turks are now laying down shellfire amid Syrian forces along their mutual border. The Russians, of course, find it far easier to train men to fight in cities or mountains – environments in which they themselves have fought – than in deserts, in which no Russian military personnel have had experience since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s war in Yemen. 

The offensives that retook the Shia villages of Nubl and Zahra last month were of great interest to the Russian military. For the first time, Syrian army Special Forces, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters operated together with Syrian tanks and helicopters, blasting their way through 20 miles of villages and open countryside in just eight days.

But the statistics of foreign forces fighting for the Syrian regime appear to have been grossly exaggerated in the West. There are fewer than 5,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria – this includes advisers as well as soldiers – and the other 5,000 foreign fighters include not only Afghans and Hezbollah but Pakistani Shia Muslims as well.

Despite all the boasts of Saudi Arabia that it has formed a massive, if hopelessly untrained, “coalition against terror”, it seems that the Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah have managed to operate together in difficult, rainy terrain and win their first major joint battle. Iranian forces are now being used on the front lines for the first time, principally around Aleppo. Their first advance began in the south Aleppo countryside in November. Officially, they and the Syrians were said to be planning to open the old international highway from Aleppo to Hama, but the real plan was to break the sieges of the Shia villages of Fuah and Kafraya.

In the eastern countryside, Colonel Suheil Hassan, the “Tiger” whom some of the Syrian military regard as their Rommel, has been heading north to end an Isis siege on a Syrian airbase.

But what of the Kurds, whose advance southwards has also endangered those rebel supply routes to Aleppo?  The Syrians are grateful for any Kurdish help they can get. But few in the military have forgotten the chilling events of 2013, when retreating Syrians sought refuge with Kurdish forces after the battle for the Mineq airbase. The Kurds demanded a vast tranche of weapons from the Syrian army in return for their men – soldiers for ammunition – in which millions of rounds of AK-47 and machine-gun ammunition and thousands of rounds of rocket-propelled grenades were sought in return for the release of the soldiers.

But the Kurds wanted to persuade Nusra to return Kurdish prisoners, and offered the senior Syrian officers from Mineq to Nusra in return for the captives. Nusra agreed, but once the Kurds handed over the Syrian officers, the Islamist rebels – who had lost around 300 of their own men in the Mineq battle – at once killed all the Syrian officers the Kurds had given them, shooting them in the head.

Among them was the acting Syrian commander at Mineq, Colonel Naji Abu Shaar of the Syrian army’s 17th Division. Events like these will not endear the Kurds to the Syrian army in future years.

Meanwhile, the Syrians continue to lose high-ranking officers in battle. At least six generals have been killed in combat during the Syrian war, allowing the army to proclaim that their top men lead from the front. 
The commander of Syria’s Special Forces was killed in Idlib, and the commander of Syrian military intelligence in the east of the country was killed in Deir al-Zour. Major-General Mohsen Mahlouf died in battle near Palmyra. General Saleh, a close friend and colleague of Colonel “Tiger” Hassan, took on the suicide bombers of al-Qaeda in the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City outside Aleppo a year ago.

He told me that suicide bombers killed 23 of his men in one vast explosion there. I met him afterwards, and thought at the time that he had adopted a blithe – almost foolhardy – disregard of death.  Just a month ago, he drove over an IED bomb which blew off the lower half of his right leg. These are hard men, many of whom trained in a Syrian military college whose front gate legend reads: “Welcome to the school of heroism, where the gods of war are made.” Chilling stuff.


  1. Whether or not the cessation of hostilities in Syria holds, it is a major turning point in the revolution and civil war that began in 2011. As of Saturday morning in Syria, the major fronts between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood factions were quiet.

    There continued to be some fighting between the Syrian Arab Army of dictator Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda in the north of Latakia, and between government forces and Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) southeast of Aleppo. Those two groups were excluded by Russia and Syria from the ceasefire, and they themselves denounced it, so fighting with them will continue. Likewise, the besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani, where the regime has starved out civilians as well as militants, will continue to be attacked, according to Damascus, because a significant portion of their armed guerrillas are Syrian al-Qaeda (the Nusra Front).

    1. Th Syrian regime doing what the US has refused to do, despite the 13Sep01 AUMF.

      Good on them.

      The US military would rather build massive bases, complete with Pizza Huts and coffee shops, rather than fight al-Qeada. Evidenced in Iraq.


    2. While US politicos would rather mouth meaningless rhetoric, rather than ostracize the root cause of al-Qeada, which is Saudi Arabia.

    3. Nothing ever changes.

      I was in Kassel Germany working for two years and with 21 men on an “over the horizon radar system" monitoring Soviet Missile Launches. Lyndon Johnson had a press conference and shot off his mouth that we had capabilities to spot launches within four minutes of lift off claiming that it was an operational USAF site. Well it wasn’t.

      The Air Force claimed it was theirs and took over and we supervised the construction on a concrete monstrosity and they staffed it with 125 men, wives, schools, BX but no Pizza Hut. It was a multi million colossal waste of money and did not shave off ten seconds of alert time.

  2. 1. The regime in Damascus is no longer in danger of being overthrown for the foreseeable future. The 4 major means of besieging and getting rid of the al-Assad government were:

    a. to cut the capital of Damascus off from resupply by cutting the route from the port of Latakia to the southern, inland seat of government by taking Homs. But Homs has been decisively retaken by the regime and rebel groups to its north have been pushed back.
    b. to take the province of Latakia, including the port, by moving west from militant-controlled Idlib province. But Latakia has been completely retaken by the regime except for some northern pockets, and it is al-Qaeda strongholds in Idlib that are in danger now.

    c. To take all of Aleppo, the largest city, in the north, thus reducing the regime to holding only a southern rump city and isolating it in preparation for capture. But regime-held west Aleppo, cut off last October, has been rescued and supply lines for the most part restored. It is rebel-held east Aleppo that was in danger of falling before the ceasefire. Now, at most, the de facto division of the city will be prolonged. But there seems little chance of a rebel takeover of the whole enchilada.

    d. For the rebels, both al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood, to move up from Deraa in the south to the capital and take it directly (this was the strategy Churchill tried at Gallipoli, of going straight for the Ottoman capital during WW I, via the shortest landing-point). But the regime has pushed the rebels south from the capital in recent weeks and on Friday took Deraa al-Balad 56 miles south of the capital.

  3. All four pathways to a successful revolution have now been closed off. Unless things change radically on the battlefield, there is no longer any prospect any time soon of a rebel victory. The implications of this situation are that the regime has survived and the rebels are on the ropes. This configuration could change in the future, but for now, the insurgency is on the ropes.

    Moreover, if the mainly Muslim Brotherhood remnants of the Free Syrian Army maintain the ceasefire with the regime, then they are freeing up Syrian Arab Army troops to fight al-Qaeda and Daesh. In essence, Putin has managed to divide the opposition into those willing to observe a cessation of hostilities and those who are not, or from whom Russia would not accept such an offer.

    Only having to fight the Nusra Front/ al-Qaeda and Daesh gives the Syrian army and its allies an advantage. They don’t have to guard their rear positions as much, and can be more aggressive in targeting the al-Qaeda linked groups.

    If the less radical Free Syria Army factions around Homs, Hama and in west Aleppo maintain the ceasefire, they are essentially entering into negotiations with the regime. From there, the step to participating in new elections is not a very large one. Russia has shown a credible interest in coopting them, and it might now be able to do so in some instances. This eventuality would make it actually not necessary for the SAA and Russia to defeat the less radical rebels, a real savings in military resources.

    If the remaining fighting to be done in Syria is against al-Qaeda and Daesh, then Russia has a great diplomatic victory and is essentially on the same side as NATO. The West can hardly complain about Russia doing in those two organizations, even if the US has been de factor allying with the allies of al-Qaeda until now. The revived Syrian Arab Army and its Iranian, Iraqi and Hizbullah allies can certainly take Raqqa and polish off Daesh in Syria if they don’t have to worry about Free Syrian Army units attacking Homs or the outskirts of Damascus. If Daesh falls, Russia will get a lot of the credit for it in places like France, which Daesh attacked twice last year in horrible acts of terrorism.

    The cessation of hostilities is fragile and could easily fall apart. But it was already more successful Saturday morning than was earlier thought likely. That it is happening at all freezes the board at a point where Russia and the regime hold most of the cards. It could be the beginning of the end of the war.

  4. .

    Trump vs Hillary: A Nativist Who Argues for War Crimes VS. a Liberal Hawk Who Will Keep The US Locked in Intervention and War

    Trump argues that we have to take out the families of terrorists on the premise that the women will breed more terrorists and children will grow up to revenge the death of their parents.

    The following article perfectly describes Hillary and her interventionist tendencies.

    Clinton’s Libyan War and the Delusions of Interventionists

    US Embassy Kabul/Flickr

    The New York Times reports on Hillary Clinton’s role in the Libyan war. This passage sums up much of what’s wrong with how Clinton and her supporters think about how the U.S. should respond to foreign conflicts:

    "Mrs. Clinton was won over. Opposition leaders “said all the right things about supporting democracy and inclusivity and building Libyan institutions, providing some hope that we might be able to pull this off,” said Philip H. Gordon, one of her assistant secretaries. “They gave us what we wanted to hear. And you do want to believe.” [bold mine-DL]

    It’s not surprising that rebels seeking outside support against their government tell representatives of that government things they want to hear, but it is deeply disturbing that our officials are frequently so eager to believe that what they are being told was true. Our officials shouldn’t “want to believe” the self-serving propaganda of spokesmen for a foreign insurgency, especially when that leads to U.S. military intervention on their behalf. They should be more cautious than normal when they are hearing “all the right things.” Not only should our officials know from previous episodes that the people saying “all the right things” are typically conning Washington in the hopes of receiving support, but they should assume that anyone saying “all the right things” either doesn’t represent the forces on the ground that the U.S. will be called on to support or is deliberately misrepresenting the conditions on the ground to make U.S. involvement more attractive...



    1. {...}

      “Wanting to believe” in dubious or obviously bad causes in other countries is one of the biggest problems with ideologically-driven interventionists from both parties. They aren’t just willing to take sides in foreign conflicts, but they are looking for an excuse to join them. As long as they can get representatives of the opposition to repeat the required phrases and pay lip service to the “right things,” they will do their best to drag the U.S. into a conflict in which it has nothing at stake. If that means pretending that terrorist groups are democrats and liberals, that is what they’ll do. If it means whitewashing the records of fanatics, that is what they’ll do. Even if it means inventing a “moderate” opposition out of thin air, they’ll do it. This satisfies their desire to meddle in other countries’ affairs, it provides intervention with a superficial justification that credulous pundits and talking heads will be only too happy to repeat, and it frees them from having to come up with plans for what comes after the intervention on the grounds that the locals will take care of it for them later on.

      The fact that interventionists “want to believe” what they’re told by opposition figures in other countries reflects their general naivete about the politics of the countries where they want to intervene and their absurd overconfidence in the efficacy of U.S. action in general. If one takes for granted that there must be sympathetic liberals-in-waiting in another country that will take over once a regime is toppled, one isn’t going to worry about the negative and unintended consequences of regime change. Because interventionists have difficulty imagining how U.S. intervention can go awry or make things worse, they are also unlikely to be suspicious of the motives or goals of the “good guys” they want the U.S. to support. They tend to assume the best about their would-be proxies and allies, and they assume that the country will be in good hands once they are empowered. The fact that this frequently backfires doesn’t trouble these interventionists, who will have already moved on to the next country in “need” of their special attentions...


    2. {...}

      The article continues:

      "The consequences would be more far-reaching than anyone imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven, a place where the direst answers to Mrs. Clinton’s questions have come to pass."

      If the article is referring to anyone in the administration, this might be true, but as a general statement it couldn’t be more wrong. Many skeptics and opponents of the intervention in Libya warned about many of the things that the Libyan war and regime change have produced, and they issued these warnings before and during the beginning of U.S. and allied bombing. Interventionists usually can’t imagine any “far-reaching” consequences that aren’t good, and they are predisposed to ignore all the many ways that a country and an entire region can be harmed by destabilizing military action. That failure of imagination repeatedly produces poor decisions that result in ghastly policies that wreck the lives of millions of people.

      The report goes on to quote Anne-Marie Slaughter referring to Clinton’s foreign policy inclinations:

      “But when the choice is between action and inaction, and you’ve got risks in either direction, which you often do, she’d rather be caught trying.”

      This captures exactly what’s wrong with Clinton on foreign policy, and why she so often ends up on the wrong, hawkish side of foreign policy debates. First, she is biased in favor of action and meddling, and second she often identifies action with military intervention or some other aggressive, militarized measures. Clinton doesn’t need to be argued into an interventionist policy, because she already “wants to believe” that is the proper course of action. That guarantees that she frequently backs reckless and unnecessary U.S. actions that cause far more misery and suffering than they remedy.

      Maybe the most striking section of the report was the description of the administration’s initial reluctance to intervene, which Clinton then successfully overcame:

      "France and Britain were pushing hard for a Security Council vote on a resolution supporting a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent Colonel Qaddafi from slaughtering his opponents. Ms. Rice was calling to push back, in characteristically salty language.

      “She says, and I quote, ‘You are not going to drag us into your shitty war,’” said Mr. Araud, now France’s ambassador in Washington. “She said, ‘We’ll be obliged to follow and support you, and we don’t want to.’

      This is revealing in a few ways. First, it shows how resistant the administration initially was and how important Clinton’s support for the war was in getting the U.S. involved. It also shows how confused everyone in the administration was about the obligations the U.S. owed to its allies. The U.S. isn’t obliged to indulge its allies’ wars of choice, and it certainly doesn’t have to join them, but the administration was already conceding that the U.S. would “follow and support” France and Britain in what they chose to do. As we know, in the end France and Britain definitely could and did drag the U.S. into their “shitty war,” and in that effort they received a huge assist from Clinton. It was already well-known that Clinton owns the Libyan intervention more than any U.S. official besides the president, and this week we’re being reminded once more just how crucial her support for the war was in making it happen.


    3. .

      The article above perfectly describes US foreign policy over the past 25 years and the interventionist neocons and liberal hawks that got us there.



    4. your time frame is to short, Q.

      It describes US interventionism going back to the 1950's.

      Back to the coups the US sponsored in Iran and Guatemala.

      Then in the 1960's ...
      The coups in South Vietnam and Chile ...

      Inserting the Marines into Lebanon in 1983.
      Backing the 'Contra' revolution in Nicaragua and the radical Islamists in Afghanistan.

      Sixty years of foreign military interventions, with little to show for any of it.

    5. .

      True in one sense, rat; however, I arbitrarily cut it off at Iraq I where the formula was modified to a degree.


    6. .

      Iraq I

      - A clear objective was determined and agreed upon
      - We were defending the territorial integrity of an ally and also, at the time, ME oil was of much more national interest to the US than it is today
      - While Iraq may have had a claim on Kuwaiti territory, international consensus supported Kuwait and the war was waged under UN auspices.
      - A clear strategy was developed
      - Sufficient forces were assembled to achieve that objective
      - The goal was achieved
      - The objective was not expanded willy-nilly (i.e. regime change, installing a democratic govt)
      - Having won, we left


  5. SodaStream lays off last Palestinian workers after permit row

    Now we will see if the CEO of Sodastream, Daniel Birnbaum, is a man of his word and shuts their Israeli facilities down or if he just another lying Zionist.

    1. .

      Or, a business man. Other than defending the principle, shutting down a new facility doesn't present much value. Principle vs Profit? Probably viewed differently by a blog poster and a CEO.


    2. Well, Q, if he does not keephis word, the BDS movement will not let up and his retail sales and market valuation will continue to falter.

      If he does move all his manufacturing to China, where they already have a facility, the BDS campaign stops, and his company will have a chance to regain market share.

      The decision is his.

    3. I have noticed, of late, that Sodastream is no longer on the shelf at Walmart, the largest retailer in the US. Kroenig is there, but not Sodastream.

      The campaign by the BDS Movement has taken its toll, if Mr Birnbaum wants to stem the bleeding, he'll move all of Sodastream's production to China.

    4. .

      Well, Q, if he does not keephis word, the BDS movement will not let up and his retail sales and market valuation will continue to falter.

      I'm no expert on BDS and perhaps you are right but somehow, after they have already moved out of the territories, I kind of doubt the movement will be that upset if he ends up not shutting down.

      If he does move all his manufacturing to China, where they already have a facility, the BDS campaign stops, and his company will have a chance to regain market share

      Sounds simple, however, we have no idea of the costs involved.


    5. Israel MOVED the factory out of the disputed lands of the west bank.

      It now has a brand new hi-tech location in the Negev, and yes all 500 palestinians lost their jobs.

      Boo Hoo.

      Yes Israel did not permit those palestinans to get work permits inside of Israel.

      Jack says it's all BDS's success...

      So be it.

      500 palestinians are now jobless and require welfare to live.

      500 Israelis, (both arabs and jews) now have jobs inside of Israel.

      Sounds like a win win..

      Mahmoud Nawajaa, the BDS coordinator in the West Bank town of Ramallah, called the loss of the Palestinian jobs at SodaStream "part of the price that should be paid in the process of ending the occupation."


      SodaStream (SODA) Announces Launch of New CO2 Carbonator Exchange Program

      SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA) announced the launch of its at-home CO2 carbonator exchange pick-up service, SodaStream FIZZ CONCIERGE, in select regions along the Northeast. This new pilot program offers a convenient delivery option that makes the sustainable recycling and reusing of carbonator cylinders even easier for consumers.

      "In the company's effort to increase sustainability initiatives and consistently seek ways to reduce our carbon footprint, we are now rolling out SodaStream FIZZ CONCIERGE, that will ensure a greater number of our used CO2 canisters will be reused," said John Sheppard, President of SodaStream U.S. "Our new service also helps us offer the upmost convenience to our many loyal consumers."

      SodaStream FIZZ CONCIERGE will allow SodaStream users to return used and receive full CO2 carbonators from the comfort of their homes in a few quick steps. In the pilot phase of the program, consumers in select areas will be able to now order two new 60L CO2 cylinders straight to their door from their computer, tablet or mobile device. Each shipment will contain the two carbonator cylinders, along with a pre-paid, pre-labeled return box to use once the cylinders are used. When it's time to replenish, consumers will place used carbonator cylinders in the pre-paid box and schedule a pick-up time and location through UPS. Users of the program will collect 6,000 "Frequent Fizzer" loyalty points (a $30 value) with every return. These points, which have no expiration date, can be used towards a SodaStream online purchase of carbonator cylinder refills, delicious sparkling water drink mixes or even new machines.

      SodaStream is gradually rolling out this new residential cylinder return program in six locations along the East coast; Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington D.C. SodaStream anticipates introducing FIZZ CONCIERGE, nationally by the end of 2016, along with a user-friendly downloadable app later this year. To learn more and to find out if SodaStream FIZZ CONCIERGE is available in your area, please visit

    6. Why Is Everyone Cheering SodaStream International Inc?

      Why does everyone seem to think SodaStream International (NASDAQ:SODA) suffering another quarter of lower sales is so good?

      Certainly the negligible 2% decline in currency-adjusted fourth-quarter revenues to $124 million is an improvement over the 13% drop last quarter and the 25% plunge they took a year ago. And it handily beat Wall Street's expectations of just $109 million, so there's that. But sales of its sparkling water units still tumbled 24% year over year, and while the number of CO2 canisters sold was 7% higher, it couldn't overcome the decline in starter kits even though they comprise such an outsized percentage of total revenues (some two-thirds of 2015's total revenue).

      It's admittedly a better picture for SodaStream than it was, but investors shouldn't delude themselves into thinking this means the sparkling water company is suddenly on the road to health.

      While SodaStream is in the early stages of a transition from a do-it-yourself soda maker company to an at-home sparkling water business, it still sold far fewer starter kits under the new model than it did under the old. And SodaStream has also been the beneficiary of a failed cold beverage system by Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR).

      The coffee maker-cum-cold drinks appliance seller mispriced its machine and failed to put the device on store shelves right away, preferring to have a soft rollout on its website first. The move resulted in Keurig selling few units, which, when coupled with the botched launch of its new coffee machine, sent its stock reeling.

      Keurig Green Mountain has only been saved by a private equity buyout bid that offered a 77% premium for its shares. In turn, SodaStream was buoyed by its rival's missteps.

    7. So Jack, but you can't have your cake and eat it too....

      You want Jews out of the West Bank?

      Then you better start donating to the Palestinian's welfare fund...



    The Obama administration has said it wants to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. this fiscal year

    1. .

      Right. There should have been at least 47.8 of them.

      Sounds suspiciously like the Oscars.


    2. The 58th Oscars, I might add.

      (Enter The Stars)

      58 Million Abortions
      58th Daytona 500
      58th Grammy Awards
      58th Presidential Election
      Michael Jackson, born in 1958, would have been 58 this year
      The 58th day of the year is one day before the Oscars were presented. In a leap year, this is very close to being the 58th day, and technically, probably is
      58 plus 58 is 116 (911 upside down and backwards)
      The 58th annual Logie Awards will be held in Australia on 5-08-2916

      This guy made a pact with God that he would reveal the truth, and that he would have no fear, no fear, of losing his life
      10 Minutes in on this remarkable video, below:

      Patriot Princess:

  7. This Place Needs a Patriot Princess to Attract Younger Readers!

    1. .

      Normally, I would say it wouldn't work because we would need to put up posters warning about the dirty old men here. But in the case of the 'Patriot Princess" we would need to put up posters warning the dirty old men here about her.

      Of course, Idaho Bob goes over to the 3% of Idaho militia's pole barn clubhouse every Thursday and talks with her about possibly maybe going wolf hunting one of these days.


    2. I've not yet finished watching the video I linked above, so not sure if Bob makes an appearance, or not, nor have I yet ascertained if she is his niece.

    3. .

      Not that niece but they are identical twins from different mothers.


  8. Correction:

    88th Oscars, presented on the 58th day plus one on a leap year.

    (very close to being the 58th day, and technically, probably is)

  9. What is "Occupation" Sat Jul 19, 10:54:00 PM EDT
    it's a great time to buy the stock (Sodastream) Herr Rodent..
    It's undervalued. ($29.11)
    you really just don't understand business..

    That was then ...
    This is now

    October 11, 2014 by Doug Henwood for Mondoweiss
    SodaStream: is BDS hitting where it hurts?

    SodaStream’s stock is now 70% off its all-time high set in July 2011
    Sodastream price 25DEC2014 - $21.15

    Now let us review ...
    "O"rdure recommends buying Sodastream on 19July 2014 at $29.11 telling us it was undervalued.

    On 5FEB2016 Sodastream closed at $13.21.

    Since then it has clawed its way back to ...

    Mostly on the news that it would abandon Israel if those work permits were not issued.
    Most savy investors knew the permits would not be forthcoming.

    If Sodastream does not move, as Mr Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of Sodastream, promised we can expect those shares to fall back to the $13.00 range, or below, where it had been trading at in early Feb...

    But even at $14.86, it is still a 50% decline from when "O"rdure recommended Sodastream as a 'buy' because it was 'undervalued'.

    Someone really does not understand business, and it ain't Herr Rodent

    1. You pick and choose the facts you want to present.

      Sodastream is still under valued.

      In fact? it's a down right steal, as for your misquote?

      Sodastream aint leaving Israel...

      But facts are things you are not too comfortable with...

      Herr Rodent wants to buy high and sell low...

      Where I come from if a good value goes down in price?

      Its a better value.

    2. Love how you distort and lie Herr Rodent.

      At least now you are admitting to being Herr Rodent and Jack Hawkins..

      2 down, 12 to go.

  10. Stories from Kurdistan
    The Case for Removing the PKK from the U.S. Terror List

    Removing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) would create conditions for greater security cooperation between the United States and the PKK in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    In exchange for delisting, the PKK could be required to reiterate its rejection of ISIS, pledge to further support the campaign to degrade and destroy the terror group, and officially renounce violence aimed at achieving political objectives.

    Delisting could also catalyze political negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK, resulting in an arrangement enhancing Turkey’s security while enshrining greater political and cultural rights for Kurds.
    Evolution of the PKK

    The PKK was established in 1974, with roots in Marxist-Leninist ideology. Its founder, Abdullah Ocalan, initiated an armed struggle in 1984 to create a Greater Kurdistan on Kurdish-populated territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. In 1997, the PKK was designated an FTO based on its history of violence both against the Turkish military and against Kurds which the group perceived as collaborating with official security structures.

    At the peak of the armed struggle, in the 1990s, the PKK conducted bombings, suicide attacks, and kidnappings, while the military’s campaign sought to drain the swamp of support for the PKK. To date, around 40,000 people have died as a result of the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state.

    In 1999, following his capture, Ocalan decided to abandon demands for independence in favor of Kurdish rights and self-rule within a democratic Turkey. The PKK initiated a unilateral ceasefire in 1999 that lasted until 2004.

    1. Recent History

      In July 2007, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) consolidated its single-party rule. Then in 2009, under then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish government announced its “Democratic Initiative,” which purported to improve democratic rights for all Turkish citizens, including Kurds.

      Negotiations, first in Olso between 2009 and 2011, involving Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and PKK representatives culminated with Ocalan announcing another unilateral ceasefire, which endured from 2013 to July 2015.

      In June of 2015, the AKP received 40.9 percent of the votes in national elections. This support was far less than expected and reflected disenchantment with Erdogan’s divisive politics, his efforts to establish a presidency-dominated system, and his harsh treatment of civil society. The big winner, by contrast, was the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) which won 13.1 percent of the vote and took 80 seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

      The follow month—on July 20—a suicide bomber killed 33 people and wounded dozens more in Suruc. The attack targeted a gathering of Kurdish youth activists planning relief efforts for Kobani. Many Kurds believed that MIT was behind the attack or, at a minimum, that MIT had turned a blind-eye to the incident.

      In retaliation for the Suruc attack, two Turkish police officers were killed by members of a radical youth movement. In response, Turkey cracked down, arresting hundreds and launching airstrikes targeting Kurds.
      Turkey Restarts Attacks on PKK

      Turkey granted permission for U.S. warplanes to use Incirlik Air Force Base in Southeast Turkey on July 22, 2015. Turkey used the cooperation as an opportunity to attack the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan and in southeastern Turkey. Over time, the operation morphed into a full-fledged offensive against the PKK and turned southeastern Turkey into a war zone.

      Since August 2015, hundreds of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. President Erdogan has stated that Turkey will continue battling the PKK until every last fighter is “liquidated.” This spiral of violence has eliminated any chance of a formal peace process in the near-term.

      Erdogan has taken the fight against the Kurds to the political arena as well. The AKP precipitated new elections in November 2015 by rejecting a government of national unity. Erdogan campaigned on a platform that the AKP would restore stability and defeat terrorism, and the party won 49.5 percent of votes. With its absolute majority, the AKP consolidated Erdogan’s power by establishing an imperial presidency.

    2. US-Kurdish Partnership

      Defeating ISIS is a top priority for the Obama administration. And in support of this goal, it has provided weapons and air support to Kurdish forces, including the PKK, defending Kobani. The Obama administration is working closely with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the leading Syrian Kurdish party. Erdogan, however, claims that the PYD is a branch of the PKK and strongly opposes U.S. cooperation.

      Kurds have proven to be America’s best ally in fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Although the PYD was excluded from the Geneva Peace Conference, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy met PYD representatives in Syria in February. The U.S. and the PYD coordinate tactical measures on the battlefield and, increasingly, coordinate political strategies for decentralized democracy in Syria post-Assad. The U.S. Government considers the PYD and PKK to be legally distinct, though they are linked historically and operationally.

      There is some precedent for improving relations between Turkey and the PKK. The PKK demonstrated its readiness for ceasefire agreements in both 1999 and 2013. Likewise, the Turkish government has shown willingness to engage in political dialogue, by meeting with PKK representatives in Oslo and with Ocalan on Imrali Island where he is in prison. Increasingly, Turkish and Kurdish polities recognize that conflict will only worsen if either Turkey or the PKK seeks a military solution.

      Delisting could be a catalyst for peace in Turkey. In exchange for delisting, the PKK would be required to renounce political violence, reiterate its willingness to resume the ceasefire with Turkey, and engage in political negotiations. In exchange for greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey, the country would see sustainable peace.

      As a condition for delisting, the PKK would need to reiterate its rejection of ISIS and pledge its support to destroying the terror group. And delisting could lead to more intensive engagement by the PKK in fighting ISIS, as well as greater security cooperation between the U.S. and the PKK.


    3. The story continues ...


  11. Gary Johnson: ‘Donald Trump’s a pussy’

    A former New Mexico governor who is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination insulted Donald Trump using a vulgar insult, one that Trump himself used last month in reference to Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

    After bragging about climbing the tallest mountain on each continent, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said, to applause, “Donald Trump’s a pussy.”

    The Game Changer
    Official website for Gary Johnson, Libertarian Candidate for U.S. President 2016


  12. Clinton’s former advisor Sidney Blumenthal, urges Clinton:

    ... remind [AIPAC] in as subtle but also a direct way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion.

    Bibi is stage managing USJewish organizations (and neocons, and the religious right, and whomever else he can muster) against the administration.

    AIPAC itself has become an organ of the Israeli right, specifically Likud.

    By acknowledging J Street you give them legitimacy, credibility [one wonders why they didn’t have these things before being given a bracha by the U.S. Secretary of State’s advisor] and create room within the American Jewish community for debate supportive of the administration’s pursuit of the peace process.

    Just by mentioning J Street in passing, AIPAC becomes a point on the spectrum, not the controller of the spectrum.

    1. J-Street is not considered to be part of the Jewish Community, there was a vote and they could not make the cut.

      They are a soros funded, iran funded anti-Israel group.

      That's why they are, and have gotten, their collective asses kicked.

  13. Oh. My. God.

    I can't believe Fox and CNN are broadcasting an empty Trump lectern for so long.

    What a bunch of nave weanies!

  14. Voters in 12 states are choosing their presidential nominees on Super Tuesday, the largest voting day of primaries and caucuses for both parties, with about one-quarter of all delegates at stake.

    Here’s what has happened so far:

    • Donald J. Trump was the Republican primary winner in Virgina, a bellwether state that had been coveted by Senator Marco Rubio.

    • But in his first victory of the night, Senator Ted Cruz held off Mr. Trump to win Texas, his home state. A loss for Mr. Cruz here would’ve potentially dealt a fatal blow to his presidential ambitions.

    • Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primaries in Virginia and Georgia, two states she lost to Barack Obama in 2008. Her victory, by big margins, puts pressure on her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, to show he can win outside the Northeast.

  15. Pretty Boy Rubio didn't win a damn thing.

    I read thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of democrats in Mass. and other areas are leaving the Party heading to Trump.

    Get used to it - President Trump

    1. Democrats like Deuce, for instance, all heading for Trump !

    2. Poor Quirk doesn't have a clue what to do, as usual, other than bitch about them all, and call them all 'dicks'.

      Quirk sets him off from all others in this regard, the only non-dick male on earth.

    3. Quirk, I've always wanted to know:

      Do you clean your dentures with paste, or clear water ?

  16. I just watched Trump’s press conference and it was masterful.

  17. Say what you like, hate him or love him, Trump is a natural and I cannot see Hillary Clinton beating him.

  18. Cruz asking the other candidates to drop out and coalesce behind him, of course.

  19. Trump just took Arkansas away from Cruz.

  20. It is time for terms of surrender.

  21. Marco didn’t win anything yet and gave a victory speech.

  22. Someone will have to tell the lad that any day that does not end with a defeat is a victory and with his cute smile and vacuous pipes, he cannot afford to risk running in Florida and lose.

    1. Cruz and Rubio are flapping their gums in desperation.

    2. They are imitating you now ?

      Wow, they are in deep do-do.

  23. Trump called Marco's antics of the other day his 'Don Rickles' routine.


    Didn't work.

  24. The little GOP crud, Tom Delay, was trying to tell Chris Mathews that the GOP could take the nomination away from Trump at the convention. Trump has really gotten into their heads.

  25. Rubio may have won Minnesota.

  26. Very irrational of Delay, like putting one's head in an oven.

    Christie, there's a guy knows how to suck up, and what timing too !

  27. Are the young women of America - 18 to 35 say - going to be more attracted to a has been like Hillary, or to a MOGUL, a doer, one of the richest men in the world, a man who knows how to negotiate, to fight, who can bend the media to his will ?

    1. .

      Or will they say, "A pox on both your houses?"


    2. I see you don't know women. They'll go for the Mogul every time, over a has been hag.

      Why did Maria fall for you?

      You looked 'Mogul' to her, from her vantage point.

      Course there was no has been hag in running there.

      'True love' is for suckers.

      When all is said and done, it's the credit limit that counts.

  28. Carson is the best person in the race and he can't break into double digits.


  29. .

    I was decidedly wrong about Trump. In the beginning, I said he would likely fade after super Tuesday. Evidently, not.

    For many years, the polls have told us how fed up the public was with the establishment, the politicians and the movers and shakers. I never expected the frustration to express itself this way though. But then, look what the public has been given to choose from.

    I would mention that there is still super duper Tuesday on the 15th when a lot of winner take all states are in play, as well as, Florida and Ohio; but what's the point? All the choices, at least any with any chance, are all piss poor.

    Signs of the apocalypse.


    1. .


      Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.



    2. .


      And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
      Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


      Time to withdraw to Byzantium


    3. Time to withdraw to the Farm.

      Once out of nature I shall never take
      My bodily form from any natural thing
      But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
      Of hammered gold and gold enameling....

      I don wanna be an artifact

      Thankfully, Great Nature has more to do, with you and me....

    4. Nor do I care to keep a drowsy Emperor awake by singing of things past, passing, and to come.

      I wanna go to Europe and see my Niece, and to hell with the drowsy Emperors, and their eternity, their artiface of eternity too.

      Eternity is now, and always.

      A horse between the legs, a flyrod, the Wenaha, the blue skies overhead, the call of the eagles.

  30. .

    This disoriented America just might want Trump — and that possibility should be taken very seriously, before it is too late, by every believer in American government of the people, by the people, for the people. The power of the Oval Office and the temperament of a bully make for an explosive combination, especially when he has shown contempt for the press, a taste for violence, a consistent inhumanity, a devouring ego and an above-the-law swagger.

    As Europe knows, democracies do die. Often, they are the midwives of their own demise. Once lost, the cost of recovery is high.

    And, of course, the same thing could be said of Hillary.


    1. We're not that far along the cycle yet.

      Relax. Take the mutt for walk.

      And that's a little rough on Trump, who hasn't exactly called out any brown shirts yet.

      Besides, The Donald is a Christian. He's told us so.

      Judeo/Christianity and the free market are the basis of western democracy, dude.

      And I like the idea of my taxes going down.

      And no jihadi immigrants.

    2. .

      One would like to think that is true. That this is all an act. A charade. A ploy. Beads for the natives. A sick but effective joke. Just to get him into office where he can transform into the benevolent philosopher king biding his time in office and then peacefully departing leaving behind a country and world transformed and better.

      The reality would almost have to be better than the current facade; otherwise, how could he have survived this long and had the success he has had in a number of areas?

      However, who knows?

      For truthfully, unless he plays out as he portrays himself and assumes the role of fascist dictator like Mussolini and the others he so often quotes and applauds, his ability to do what he has said he would do would be limited. Congress still controls the purse and as of right now he has few friends there.

      And, Mr. Fox has already addressed what he thinks about paying for The Donald's wall.

      But who knows?

      As to Christian?

      Right. The kind of Christian that thinks it is the Christian thing to do to not only take out the terrorists but also to take out their wives and children too so as to assure future generations of terrorists won't breed and grow and seek revenge.

      Very biblical.

      Similar to how Iran killed all the men in that village recently for drug crimes only without the killing of the women and children, without the slaughter of the innocents.

      Very biblical. But very Christian?

      You might say, 'Ah, my kind of Christian'; while I would say, 'It's been a while but that's not exactly like the Christian I used to know.'

      The question remains,

      Who knows?

      Is Trump the biggest bullshitter and liar in the world? The biggest fool? Or worse?

      The people applauding Trump right now remind me of that Direct TV commercial, "We're settlers."

      We shall see.


  31. "Q"Nit of the Day - (a "Q"nit generally involves someone getting gun downed or beheaded in USA but here the thought is father of the deed)

    Jihad Watch

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

    Ohio Muslims used fake credit card transactions to raise money for al-Qaeda leader al-Awlaki

    March 1, 2016 2:25 pm By Robert Spencer 6 Comments

    Odd that al-Awlaki is not named in this AP story. Does the mainstream media’s avid desire to whitewash Islam now extend to the identity of al-Qaeda leaders?


    “Prosecutors say money in Ohio terrorism case went to al-Qaida leader,” Associated Press, March 1, 2016:

    TOLEDO, OHIO: The Latest on four men accused of raising money for former al-Qaida leader (all times local):

    11:30 a.m.

    Federal prosecutors opposing the release of a man accused of helping raise money for a former al-Qaida leader say he was part of an elaborate scheme.

    Court documents filed by the government say the four men with Ohio ties arrested last fall used fake credit card transactions to get the money and took steps to hide funds transfers.

    Now, another one of the four will ask a federal judge in Toledo on Tuesday to be released on home detention before going on trial.

    One already is out on bond, while another was denied a release.

    Their attorneys have denied the charges.

    Federal prosecutors say $22,000 was delivered to the former al-Qaida leader months before he was linked to the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner.


    10:30 a.m.

    Another one of the four men with Ohio ties accused of sending money to a former al-Qaida leader wants to be released from prison before going to trial.

    Ibrahim Mohammad will ask a federal judge Tuesday in Toledo to be put on home detention in northern Ohio.

    His attorney says Mohammad isn’t a danger to the community or a flight risk.

    One of the four men already is out on bond while another was denied a release.

    Federal prosecutors say they were working to send money to an al-Qaida leader who was linked to the planning of several attacks against American interests before being killed in a drone strike….

    1. .

      Right, an alleged crime, that if it occurred happened over six years ago. You are really stretching now. I also consider this my Bozo'Nit of the day.

      Less that two weeks ago, you put up your last Nit'Wit, again a report of an alleged crime still under investigation.

      Since then, do you realize how many multiple murders have occurred perpetrated by non-Muslims? If not, you are probably too busy reading Jihadwatch to spend time with the national news. And these multiple murders pail in numbers to the daily toll of ordinary murders we have become inured to.

      You are truly lost in the wilderness.



    March 2, 2016

    Even NPR agrees that Obamacare has failed

    By William Tate

    A thorough repudiation of the (Un)Affordable Care Act comes from, of all places, state-run National Public Radio. Timed to be buried by Super Tuesday coverage, NPR this week released a new study that indicates ObamaCare has failed on almost all levels.

    The poll, by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, shows that three-quarters of Americans think health care in their state has not improved under ObamaCare. The survey says more people think health care has gotten worse (26%) than better (15%). 49% of people think health care has stayed about the same.

    And I hope you haven’t been making plans of what to do with that $2,500 a year you’d be saving on premiums. The NPR poll confirms that was just another in Obama’s litany of lies. 45% of respondents said their premiums had gone up, while 46% said their premiums had stayed about the same. Only 4% said their premiums had actually gone down, as Obama promised they would.

    Along with higher premiums, copays and deductibles have gone up for 35% of people. 56% say they’ve stayed about the same. Again, only 4% of those surveyed said their copays and deductibles have actually gone down.

    Meanwhile, the increased benefits Obama swore we’d get apparently haven’t materialized. 70% of people said their benefits have stayed about the same. 12% said their benefits have actually decreased. Only 16% of people polled said they have better benefits now than before Obamacare.

    NPR tried to put a predictable pro-Obama/Hillary spin on the study, with the lede on one story reading:

    A series of polls in key states by NPR and its partners finds that more than half of adults in the U.S. believe the Affordable Care Act has either helped the people of their state or has had no effect. Those sentiments are common despite all the political wrangling that continues over the law.

    To put Obamacare in a less unsavory light, NPR led that story by combining the figures for those who said the ACA ‘has had no effect’ with those who said ‘better,’ which, of course, defies logic. When Democrats committed the federal government to spending trillions of dollars on ObamaCare, it presumably wasn’t to keep things the same.

    Although with the way this crowd in Washington -- Democrats and Republicans -- likes to spend our tax dollars, who knows?