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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Iraq: PM Abadi declares victory over ISIL in Fallujah Iraqi PM says security forces have retaken most of Fallujah and only "small pockets" of ISIL remain within the city.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Iraqi forces have retaken most of Fallujah from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as clearing operations are under way to flush out the armed group's remaining fighters in the city.

The government lost control of Fallujah in 2014, months before ISIL, also known as ISIS, took Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and swept across large parts of the country.

"We promised you the liberation of Fallujah and we retook it. Our security forces control the city except for small pockets that need to be cleared within the coming hours," Abadi said on Friday in a brief address on state TV.
"Fallujah has returned to the nation and Mosul is the next battle," Abadi also said on Twitter. "Daesh will be defeated," he added, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Earlier on Friday, Iraqi forces said they had entered the centre of Fallujah, nearly four weeks after the start of a US-backed offensive to retake the Sunni city 50km west of the capital, Baghdad.

"The counterterrorism service and the rapid response forces have retaken the government compound in the centre of Fallujah," the operation's overall commander, Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, told the AFP news agency.

The Iraqi flag is now raised on top of the building, symbolising government control.

Raed Shaker Jawdat, Iraq's federal police chief, confirmed the advance.
"The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolises the restoration of the state's authority" in Fallujah, he said.
Both commanders said their forces had met limited resistance from ISIL fighters during the push into the city centre.

"This is a very significant development," said Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh, who has reported extensively on the conflict in Iraq.
"It is a big moral boost for Iraqi soldiers."

Matthew Henman, from the Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, said that even with the "breakthrough", it would take "much longer" to completely get rid of ISIL in Fallujah, and prevent future attacks.

He also said that if the fight over Fallujah wraps us quickly, then more troops would be realigned to help the government push against ISIL in Mosul. Government troops and Shia units known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces are leading the campaign to retake the Sunni city from ISIL. They are supported by US-led coalition air strikes.

And the fighting between the government forces and ISIL are causing casualties. Al Jazeera's Saleh said the death toll so far is based on estimates by medical sources from the city of Fallujah.
"They say it is in the hundreds," he said.

Although the Iraqi government previously said it had a particular strategy to establish safe corridors for civilians in the city centre to leave, many have been reluctant to go for fear of how they may be treated by the Shia units. 

Thousands have fled the city and its surrounding areas since the military offensive was launched on May 23, but the UN said that tens of thousands are still inside the city - last week, the UN said up to 90,000 people were believed to be inside Fallujah, in a significant revision of a previous estimate of 50,000.

Those escaping the fighting have been detained and kept at detetion facilities, with reports of abuse and violations by government forces and Shia fighters.
The UN says detention facilities lack basic services, including medicine and food.
The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been dubbed  one of the world's worst by the UN.

Since the beginning of the present conflict in 2014, more than 3.4 million people have been internally displaced and 2.6 million have fled Iraq.

Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies


  1. Agents have the power they need, and they were right to close the case on Mateen.

    1. A little terrorism keeps our liberties alive.

  2. Details emerge about nightclub shooter's wife

    On one of her sister's Facebook pages — next to a family photo — there is a box with the words: "Solidarity with Gaza."

    1. We ought to try and understand their feelings.

      Gaza has been annexed by Israel and is being occupied by IDF troops, according to our House Geo-politicians and comedy team QUIRK'n'SMIRK.

      Wouldn't that piss you off too ? And lead you to want to genocide the Jews and everyone else in the world ? Particularly gays and lesbians in some faraway club in Orlando, Florida ?

  3. Beyond Disturbing

    1. Gators killing humans is very rare, nevertheless Disney is going to gets its arse sued off.

      They've been operating there for something like 40 years, I've read, with no problems, but nevertheless Disney is going to get its arse sued off.

  4. Oakland police chief steps down after 2 days on the job

    Oakland lost its third police chief in eight days Friday as it struggles with allegations that a number of officers had sex with a teenage prostitute and exchanged racist text messages.

    Mayor Libby Schaaf said acting Police Chief Paul Figueroa was on the job for two days before stepping down but said his decision was not connected to the two scandals.

    However, she denounced the department's "toxic, macho culture" and vowed to root out "the bad apples."

    "As the mayor of Oakland, I'm here to run a police department, not a frat house," Schaaf told a news conference Friday evening.

    1. Sounds like a hell of a mess to me.

      That's my profound statement on the situation.

  5. Why The Orlando Victims Were Defenseless

    Disarming the law-abiding to prevent killings is like trying to fight drunk driving by making it harder for sober drivers to get driver’s licenses.


    51 (Fifty One !) State Department Official sign letter saying Obama doesn't know what he is doing.

    The Polls Were Not Biased Before The 2012 Election But They Are Now

    Trump may be ahead.

  6. 51 (Fifty One !) State Department Official sign letter saying Obama doesn't know what he is doing.

    ....The document, initially crafted in secret by a small group before their State Department bosses were made aware, was intended to "spark internal discourse" toward a policy shift but was not meant to be made public, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The signatories, mostly rank-and-file diplomats who had worked on Syria policy, may have put their careers at risk, current and former officials said. But State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted there would be no reprisals.

    Obama’s critics quickly seized upon the letter, which also calls for a political transition that would usher Assad out.

    “Even President Obama's own State Department believes the administration's Syria policy is failing,” said Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee. “Iran, Russia and Assad call the shots in Syria, ignoring the ceasefire and allowing Assad to continue war crimes against his own people...."

    1. Obama should fire every last one of them.

    2. The document -- sent through the State Department's "dissent channel," a conduit for voicing contrary opinions meant to be classified -- underscored long-standing divisions and frustrations among Obama's aides over his response to Syria's five-year-old civil war.

      Recognizing that our members are thoughtful professionals who may find themselves in honest disagreement with a policy matter or may want to share an alternative point of view, AFSA encourages Foreign Service employees to utilize the Dissent Channel in expressing constructive dissent. As defined under 2 FAM 072, the Dissent Channel “is a serious policy channel reserved only for consideration of responsible dissenting and alternative views on substantive foreign policy issues that cannot be communicated in a full and timely manner through regular operating channels and procedures.” It may not be used for conveying disagreement with non-policy matters such as personnel issues. The Dissent Channel is available to all regular or re-employed annuitant employees of the Department of State and USAID. Contractors of these agencies are not entitled to use the Dissent Channel.

      The Secretary's Policy Planning Staff (S/P) is responsible for management of the Dissent Channel. Upon receiving an incoming Dissent Channel message, S/P is tasked with distributing copies to the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the Executive Secretary, and the Chair of the Secretary's Open Forum. If the author of the message is employed by an agency other than State (e.g., USAID), S/P will also distribute a copy of the message to the head of that agency. The S/P Director may also distribute the Dissent Channel message to other senior officials in the Department. The S/P Director is responsible for acknowledging receipt of a Dissent Channel message within two working days, and for providing a substantive reply normally within 30-60 working days.

      The FAM clearly mandates that those utilizing the Dissent Channel will not be subjected to reprisal, discipline action or unauthorized disclosure of its use. Any statement in an employee’s evaluation that alludes to or directly references use of the Dissent Channel is strictly prohibited. Anyone engaging in retaliation or divulging the source or content of dissent channel correspondence will be subject to discipline action.

      For more information about the Dissent Channel, please review 2 FAM 070.

      In 2011, USAID announced the creation of its own dissent-type channel, called the “Direct Channel,” modeled after the State Department’s Dissent Channel. While the Dissent Channel is and always has been available to U.S. direct-hire USAID employees, the agency's employees now have the ability address their concerns directly to the Administrator. Unlike State’s Dissent Channel, which is open only to U.S. direct hires, the Direct Channel is open to all USAID employees, including Foreign Service nationals, third-country nationals and personal services contractors.

    3. Deuce's solution?

      Contrary to American principles.

  7. What Our World Needs Is Infinity Free Equations


    Is Infinity Real?

    Three puzzles test whether the concept of infinity has purchase in the physical world.

    The physical table is not perfect in manufacture, of course, but let us assume that it is. There is still the problem that the mathematical focus is a dimensionless point, whereas the ball, being a physical object, has a finite size. How does this finite size affect how accurately the ball goes to the other focus when hit? Given this, and the fact that no pool player is perfect, will you get equally good results no matter which direction you hit the ball as long as it is at a focus initially? If the major axis of the table is 2 meters in length and the minor axis is 1 meter, what is the best direction to hit the ball from one focus so that it bounces and rolls into the pocket at the other focus? Assume the pocket is about 1.5 times the diameter of the ball. Will your conclusion change if the ball and pocket are made as small as physically possible without changing their relative sizes?

    Happy puzzling! I hope these questions give you new insights about the contrast between infinity in mathematics and the physical world.

    Editor’s note:

    (((((The reader who submits the most interesting, creative or insightful judged by the columnist.... in the comments section will receive a Quanta Magazine T-shirt.)))))

    Get going Quirk, there's a free "Q"uanta Magazine T-shirt in it for you.

    1. Yes. I went Idaho Bob because there were two Bob's for a while.

      I'll go back to it if you want.

      How about - Bob! ?

    2. Try "Bobble Head" Self-depricaying humor shows strength and self confidence.

    3. .

      It sounds to me like the Bobbsey Twins, Bob and Doug, would have an infinite advantage in the experiment described since they have had a lifetime dealing with their infinitely small balls.



  8. If-the-portraits-of-every-u-s-president-in-history-are-combined-using-facial-averaging-software-this-is-the-end-result

    Looks most like George W. Bush to me.

  9. I hope Trump chooses Condi Rice for V.P. and is able to talk her into accepting.

    She hasn't expressed any interest in running for anything though and probably would decline, smart women.

    If Fauxcohantes is on The Criminal's ticket as V.P. that would be three women running and one man, a truly remarkable situation.

  10. The most intelligent military campaign of my lifetime.

    1. So you support the Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite militias murdering, raping sunni civilians as they go?

    2. "The most intelligent military campaign of my lifetime."

      Little behind your timeline, though, General.

      And, ISIS has spread over the earth.

      Even to Orlando, Florida.

      Other than that....

    3. By the way, they attacked Fallujah because they weren't up to Mosul.

      Sensible choice under the circumstances, and they are making some progress.

  11. Defense Minister announces launching operation to free Qayyarah, Salahuddin

    ( Baghdad – Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi announced on Saturday launching a military operation to free Qayyarah vicinity, while the military adviser for the Defense Ministry Mohammed al-Askari said the vicinity is the most important air and administrative base to secure the troops heading towards Mosul.

    Askari said in a statement obtained by Iraqi News, “The Defense Minister announced launching the liberation operation of Qayyarah from the control of the ISIS,” noting that, “The [army’s] Ninth Armored Division and regiments of the Anti-Terrorism Directorate, in addition to the international coalition aviation and the Iraqi Air Force, participated in the operation.”

    He added, “Those forces began advancing into the northern axis of Salahuddin towards their specified targets in [Qayyarah] vicinity.”


  12. Hillary's Health Great

    Great pic of Hillary looking like death warmed over -

    The poor woman looks like a zombie at a recent event.

    Trump in contrast, who doesn't drink or smoke or do drugs, is really a picture of health for a guy his age.

    1. Taking a second look at that picture of Hillary, she really looks brain dead and totally washed out.


  13. Flashback Interview: Trump Defends Gays from Clintons in 2000

    Jim Hoft Jun 18th, 2016 8:21 am

    Why should gays and lesbians be interested in you as a presidential candidate?

    I grew up in New York City, a town with different races, religions, and peoples. It breeds tolerance. In all truth, I don’t care whether or not a person is gay. I judge people based on their capability, honesty, and merit. Being in the entertainment business — that is, owning casinos and … several large beauty pageants — I’ve worked with many gay people. I have met some tough, talented, capable, terrific people. Their lifestyle is of no interest to me.

    Would we see gay people in a Trump administration?

    I would want the best and brightest. Sexual orientation would be meaningless. I’m looking for brains and experience. If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them. One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government. I’d want to change that.

    What would you do to combat antigay prejudice?

    I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. We don’t need to rewrite the laws currently on the books, although I do think we need to address hate-crimes legislation. But amending the Civil Rights Act would grant the same protection to gay people that we give to other Americans — it’s only fair. I actually suggested this first, and now I see [Democratic presidential candidate] Bill Bradley has jumped on the bandwagon and is claiming the idea as his own. [A bill to amend the Civil Rights Act that would have included protections on the basis of sexual orientation was first introduced in the 1970s. — Ed.] Let me tell you something. Bradley is as phony as a $20 Rolex. He says the president ought to have big ideas. His last big idea — the 1986 [Tax Reform Act] — caused a recession and cost thousands of people their jobs. This guy destroyed the real estate industry, and he tanked the S&Ls. It was a disaster. Bradley walked out of the Senate like he was some kind of statesman declaring that “politics is broken.” The truth is, the voters were going to dump him in New Jersey. He walked away. Now he poses as some kind of outsider. What a joke. Bradley was a member of the Senate Finance Committee and a longtime part of Washington establishment. When I was $900 million and my companies were $9 billion in debt, I didn’t walk away. While others were declaring bankruptcy, I clawed my way back. My businesses are now bigger and better than ever.

    Are your gay employees allowed to be out?

    Everyone makes a personal choice. Look, it just doesn’t matter to me. I try to treat everybody equal and fairly. Maybe that’s why I can count men like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and Sammy Sosa as my friends. When you hang with people who are different from you, you get an appreciation for other cultures.

    Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continues to take donations from regimes where they lash and murder gays.

  14. We have to drive the Neocons out of Washington:

    Berlin (AFP) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticised NATO for having a bellicose policy towards Russia, describing it as "warmongering", the German daily Bild reported.

    Steinmeier pointed to the deployment of NATO troops near borders with Russia in the military alliance's Baltic and east European member states.

    "What we should avoid today is inflaming the situation by warmongering and stomping boots," Steinmeier told Bild in an interview to be published Sunday.

    "Anyone who thinks you can increase security in the alliance with symbolic parades of tanks near the eastern borders, is mistaken," Germany's top diplomat added.

    NATO had announced on Monday that it would deploy four battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to counter a more assertive Russia, ahead of a landmark summit in Warsaw next month.

    All four countries were once ruled from Moscow and remain deeply suspicious of Russian intentions, especially after Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

    In an interview with Bild on Thursday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Russia is seeking to create "a zone of influence through military means".

    "We are observing massive militarisation at NATO borders -- in the Arctic, in the Baltic, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea," he told the newspaper.

    Stoltenberg has stressed that NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia and wants a constructive dialogue but that it would defend the 28 allies against any threat

    Russia bitterly opposes NATO's expansion into its Soviet-era satellites and last month said it would create three new divisions in its southwest region to meet what it described as a dangerous military build-up along its borders.

    1. Vote Trump.

      He seems less a war monger than The Criminal.

  15. Prediction: This poor woman has signed her death warrant by filing a complaint and will be dead within a year....



    A group called Bikers For Trump are going to be providing security for Trump supporters exiting his event, since the Police haven't been doing such a good job of it.

    The normal course of events has been that left wing thugs beat up Trump supporters trying to exit his events.

    These bikers are former Police officers and USA Veterans.