“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."

Sunday, December 04, 2016

This Should Make Your Blood Boil and Demand the Accountability of Clinton, Bush, Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Why everything you’ve read about Syria and Iraq could be wrong

 • DECEMBER 2, 2016
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month.

Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different.

In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Isis is accused of preventing civilians from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields.

Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians regardless of whether they stay or try to flee. The UN chief of humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, suggested this week that the rebels in east Aleppo were stopping civilians departing – but unlike Mosul, the issue gets little coverage.

One factor making the sieges of east Aleppo and east Mosul so similar, and different, from past sieges in the Middle East, such as the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982 or of Gaza in 2014, is that there are no independent foreign journalists present. They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty and generally holds them for ransom.
These are the two groups that dominate the armed opposition in Syria as a whole. In Aleppo, though only about 20 per cent of the 10,000 fighters are Nusra, it is they – along with their allies in Ahrar al-Sham – who are leading the resistance.
Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. A number of intrepid correspondents who tried to do eyewitness reporting from rebel-held areas swiftly found themselves tipped into the boots of cars or otherwise incarcerated.

Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.

It is inevitable that an opposition movement fighting for its life in wartime will only produce, or allow to be produced by others, information that is essentially propaganda for its own side. The fault lies not with them but a media that allows itself to be spoon-fed with dubious or one-sided stories.

For instance, the film coming out of east Aleppo in recent weeks focuses almost exclusively on heartrending scenes of human tragedy such as the death or maiming of civilians. One seldom sees shots of the 10,000 fighters, whether they are wounded or alive and well.

None of this is new. The present wars in the Middle East started with the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which was justified by the supposed threat from Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Western journalists largely went along with this thesis, happily citing evidence from the Iraqi opposition who predictably confirmed the existence of WMD.

Some of those who produced these stories later had the gall to criticise the Iraqi opposition for misleading them, as if they had any right to expect unbiased information from people who had dedicated their lives to overthrowing Saddam Hussein or, in this particular case, getting the Americans to do so for them.

Much the same self-serving media credulity was evident in Libya during the 2011 Nato-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

Atrocity stories emanating from the Libyan opposition, many of which were subsequently proved to be baseless by human rights organisations, were rapidly promoted to lead the news, however partial the source.

The Syrian war is especially difficult to report because Isis and various al-Qaeda clones made it too dangerous to report from within opposition-held areas. There is a tremendous hunger for news from just such places, so the temptation is for the media give credence to information they get second hand from people who could in practice only operate if they belong to or are in sympathy with the dominant jihadi opposition groups.

It is always a weakness of journalists that they pretend to excavate the truth when in fact they are the conduit rather than the originator of information produced by others in their own interests. Reporters learn early that people tell them things because they are promoting some cause which might be their own career or related to bureaucratic infighting or, just possibly, hatred of lies and injustice.
A word here in defence of the humble reporter in the field: usually, it is not he or she, but the home office or media herd instinct, that decides the story of the day. Those closest to the action may be dubious about some juicy tale which is heading the news, but there is not much they can do about it.

Thus, in 2002 and 2003, several New York Times journalists wrote stories casting doubt on WMD only to find them buried deep inside the newspaper which was led by articles proving that Saddam had WMD and was a threat to the world.

Journalists and public alike should regard all information about Syria and Iraq with reasoned scepticism. They should keep in mind the words of Lakhdar Brahimi, the former UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria. Speaking after he had resigned in frustration in 2014, he said that “everybody had their agenda and the interests of the Syrian people came second, third or not at all”.

The quote comes from The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East by Christopher Phillips, which is one of the best informed and non-partisan accounts of the Syrian tragedy yet published. He judiciously weighs the evidence for rival explanations for what happened and why. He understands the degree to which the agenda and pace events in Syria were determined externally by the intervention of foreign powers pursuing their own interests.

Overall, government experts did better than journalists, who bought into simple-minded explanations of developments, convinced that Assad was always on the verge of being overthrown.

Phillips records that at a high point of the popular uprising in July 2011, when the media was assuming that Assad was finished, that the long-serving British ambassador in Damascus, Simon Collis, wrote that “Assad can still probably count on the support of 30-40 per cent of the population.”

The French ambassador Eric Chevallier was similarly cautious, only to receive a classic rebuke from his masters in Paris who said: “Your information does not interest us. Bashar al-Assad must fall and will fall.”

(Reprinted from The Independent by permission of author or representative)


  1. The Clintons, the Media and the Democratic establishment is full out to delegitimize the amazing victory of Trump. After the inauguration, Trump will have the entire apparatus of the US government at his disposal. He should use it and show who should be discredited, their crimes and deceptions .

    Show them no mercy.

  2. Every time I think of that sociopath, Hillary Clinton, talking about a four year old with blood on his face... You know.

  3. What Trump Needs to Know About the Middle East
    By Peter Berkowitz
    December 04, 2016

    As he has in nearly every domain and for most every issue, President-elect Donald Trump has offered blunt assessments and unequivocal opinions about Middle East politics.

    “Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States,” he declared. Military force may be necessary, “but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.”

    Trump vowed to scrap the Iran deal, which he described as “horrible and laughable,” and re-impose economic sanctions. Otherwise, he said, the Obama administration’s prized foreign policy achievement will continue to enable Iran to pursue hegemonic ambitions in the region, fuel “nuclear proliferation throughout the region,” and allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and deliver them by means of ballistic missiles within the decade.

    He promises to team up with Russia to employ decisive military action to defeat and destroy ISIS, which he condemns for undermining Iraq and stealing its oil, ruining Syria, and “carrying out a genocide against Christians in the Middle East.” He would compel Saudi Arabia (and other wealthy countries), whose security the United States guarantees, to contribute more to its own defense.

    He regards Israel as a “strategic ally” and a “cultural brother” bound to the United States by “unbreakable friendship.” Since “the United Nations is not a friend of democracy,” he rejects a U.N.-imposed resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But because of his success in making business deals, he believes that he is just the man to broker what he characterized as “the ultimate deal.”

    Trump’s cocksure pronouncements show an instinctive appreciation for the importance in foreign affairs of standing by your friends and keeping your adversaries in check. That itself involves a welcome sea change from President Obama’s approach to the Middle East, which has indulged America’s adversaries and constrained America’s friends.

    In “Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East,” Michael Doran provides a potent reminder that the United States has a long history of confusion about friends and adversaries in the region and about the policies that will best serve America’s national interests. A Hudson Institute senior fellow and former Middle East adviser in the Bush 43 White House, Doran sure-handedly reveals the errors of the “honest broker paradigm” that in the 1950s initially guided Dwight Eisenhower’s two-term presidency. With a sharp eye for the complex realities of Middle East politics, Doran endorses Ike’s eventual shift to the view that the United States must “manage inter-Arab conflict.”

    The honest broker paradigm grew out of the dominant view at the State Department, initially shared by Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, that Arab resentment over Western imperialism and bitterness over American solicitousness toward Israel necessitated a distancing from the Jewish state and a balancing tilt toward Arab states. Eisenhower and Dulles also believed that Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser—who led the 1952 overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy—“was honest, forthright, and deeply desirous of an alliance with the West.”

    Accordingly, Eisenhower bet on Egypt, “the largest and most influential Arab country,” at the expense of British and French regional interests, of Israeli security, and, at least in the short term, of other Arab states’ political ambitions. Ike wagered that the charismatic young military officer would lead not only Egypt but Arabs throughout the Middle East into an alliance with the United States in the Cold War.

    1. So Eisenhower acquiesced to Nasser’s ouster of Britain’s troops from the Suez Canal Zone and offered to finance the construction of Nasser’s Aswan High Dam project (Dulles eventually revoked the offer). After Egypt’s July 1956 nationalization of the canal, followed by the seizure three months later of the Sinai Peninsula by Israel in coordination with France and Britain, Eisenhower sided with the Soviet Union; “in a manner that was relentless, ruthless, and uncompromising,” he compelled the three democracies to withdraw.

      By 1959, however, Nasser was championing a belligerent pan-Arabism and had ushered Egypt as well as Syria and Iraq into the Soviet bloc.

      The consensus among historians is that American Middle East policy went astray in the 1950s because of a failure to truly appreciate, as most officials at the time believed, “that Nasser was the foremost representative of deep and inexorable historical forces” in the Arab world. Many experts today persist in thinking that America continues to botch Middle East policy because it refuses to take seriously the depth of Arab and Muslim anger over Western imperialism and support for Israel.

      Based on meticulous sifting of speeches, notes of official meetings, letters, diaries, and more, Doran refutes this conventional view and writes a history more in line with the facts. The problem was not what the West did to the Arabs but what Arabs were unable to do for themselves. Eisenhower, Doran shows, was among the first to recognize that his Middle East policy collapsed because his administration had not understood the bitter and deep divisions and strong anti-democratic tendencies that destabilized the Arab world and had not recognized Israel’s stabilizing role in the region.

      Doran draws five large lessons from Eisenhower’s diplomacy. First, instead of coddling enemies and demeaning friends, U.S. leaders and policymakers—in accordance with ancient wisdom and common sense—should support friends and rein in enemies.

      Second, they should reject the constantly disproved assumption—discredited before Eisenhower left office and refuted for all eyes to see by the bloodletting sparked by the uprisings of 2011, formerly known as the Arab Spring—that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Arab world’s central strategic challenge.

      Third, they should concentrate on inter-Arab politics and the Muslim dimensions of the fighting raging across the Middle East.

      Fourth, they should adopt a “tragic perspective”: because of the ethnic, nationalist, and religious convulsions shaking the Arab and Muslim world, “American policy can exacerbate or ameliorate the major conflicts” in the region “but it can rarely solve them.”

      Finally, American leaders and policymakers must ever remain mindful of sociologist Max Weber’s observation that while nations pursue their interests, leaders interpret those interests and devise policies for advancing them based on often-unarticulated assumptions and overarching ideas about human nature, morality, and politics. The successful conduct of foreign policy depends on grasping these assumptions and ideas and understanding their impact.

      A culminating lesson follows from these five, one that President-elect Trump, who has relied so heavily on his instincts, should take to heart. He should appoint advisers and experts steeped in the language, culture, history, and religions of the Middle East to refine his understanding of America’s friends and adversaries there. And he will need advisers and experts of another sort as well: ones who strengthen his awareness of the unexamined and debatable notions that generate his blunt assessments and unequivocal opinions.

      If anyone can point out a suggestion as to what the USA ought to actually DO in some situation in this bromide, please point it out.

  4. Chief of Staff Prince Riebus, in a soothing statement, just noted on Fox how The Donald is interviewing all 'the best and the brightest' in his search for the new Secretary of State.

    Following are images of 'the best and the brightest' from an earlier era:

    Sometime after leaving office Bob McNamara went on a long mea maxima culpa tour across the USA, and abroad too, detailing how he didn't have a clue as to what the fuck he had been doing when in office.

    I found the phrase used by Prince Riebus unsettling and 'problematic'.

    1. We might be as well off putting four or five options in a wire basket, spin it round and round, then have some blindfolded beauty pick one out, and go for that.

      This has the virtue of honestly showing our ignorance of what is truly best at any given time, and, who knows, even in hindsight, but that we might have gotten it right.

    2. McNamara was from the Incandescent Age.
      We got LED's and CFL's.

  5. OOHHH! ooooo ?

    Meeting with Trump emboldens anti-vaccine activists, who see an ally in the Oval Office

  6. We could not have made a greater mess of the Middle East if we planned on it.

    1. Bringing Democracy and Freedom to the Middle East.
      ...for the children.

      Hillary devoted her entire adult life to children's causes.
      That's why I voted for her.

    2. "It takes a village"

      And if the Moslems keep destroying their cities at the rate they have been doing only villages will be left standing, so Hillary will be proven correct once more, in the long term.

  7. By the way I've wanted to report, the Mighty Vandals ended the football season 8 wins 4 loses, 8 wins 2 loses in League play, best result in years, maybe decades.

    Never never never give up !

  8. Get Ready for Obama’s ‘October Surprise’ in Iraq

    If Iraqi and Kurdish troops—with stepped-up U.S. support—retake Mosul as planned, it could be a big boost for Hillary.

    The American public could be treated to a major U.S.-led military victory in Iraq this fall, just as voters are deciding who will be the nation’s next president—but U.S. military officials insist the timing of the operation has nothing to do with politics.

    Iraqi and Kurdish military and paramilitary units are preparing for a push on Mosul, the Islamic State-held city that is now in the cross hairs of the U.S.-led coalition battling the terrorist group across the Middle East. “The idea is to isolate Mosul, cut it off, kill it,” a senior U.S. Central Command officer told me.

    Senior military officers say the city in northern Iraq, which has been under Islamic State control since June 2014, will be enveloped in a complex pincer movement from Iraqi military forces battling their way into the city from the southeast and Kurdish units storming the city from the northwest. The military offensive, months in the planning, is now tentatively scheduled to begin sometime in early October, with a final battle for Mosul coming at the end of that month.

    If Mosul is retaken, it would both mark a major political triumph for Barack Obama and likely benefit his party’s nominee at the polls, Hillary Clinton, undercutting Republican claims that the Obama administration has failed to take off the gloves against the Islamic State. Even so, senior officers at U.S. Central Command who are overseeing the effort scoff at the notion that the Mosul offensive is being timed to help the candidate Obama is now actively campaigning for, his former secretary of state.

    “Hurrying this thing along for political benefit would be just about the dumbest thing that we could do,” the senior Centcom officer told me this week, “and there’s been no pressure for us to do that. None. Iraqi and Kurdish fighters are going to fight for the city when they’re damned good and ready, and not before. There’s too much at stake to do it any other way.”

    All evidence supports that notion, but U.S. officials have confirmed the Pentagon is planning ways to time their offensive against Mosul with an attack on the Islamic State “capital” in Raqqa, Syria. A coordinated Mosul-Raqqa military offensive could yield a dual defeat to the ISIS caliphate, unhinge ISIS power in both Syria and Iraq and have the added benefit of pinning ISIS units moving into Iraq along interior lines from Syria in place. In late March, the Centcom stepped up its monitoring of the Syria-Iraq border, with the intended purpose of spotting and bombing ISIS units headed toward Mosul.

    1. They give Deuce a treat, and he bitches about it!

  9. That's why they pay me the big bucks.

  10. Quirk: What, Bremer was kind of busy getting rid of the army and he didn't have time to give the president a heads up?

    NO Team Bush is just continuing to lie.

    ... according to the Bremer letters, Bush responded to the envoy's briefing that he was planning to dismantle the Iraq military with a big thumbs-up the following day:
    "Your leadership is apparent. You have quickly made a positive and significant impact. You have my full support and confidence."

    Bush was briefed, in a letter, which was available, back in the day, to read.

    Imagne it still is

  11. .

    DougSun Dec 04, 11:51:00 AM EST

    McNamara was from the Incandescent Age.
    We got LED's and CFL's.

    As I recall, there were a lot of STDs too, back in the day.


  12. .

    There was a certain wry amusement associated with those daily battlefield reports from CENTCOM that Rufus used to put up here. Only the naive would unquestioningly accept any of the propaganda coming from the military.

    Likewise, the military's relationship with the press is also incestuous and corrupt. The foreign corespondents we see on TV rarely get close to the front these days. They are usually ushered into conflict areas after they are pacified and they see what the military wants them to see.

    The reporters are treated well, complimented and pampered, and in the end they're turned into useful idiots for disseminating the military's propaganda. A perfect example is CNN's Martha Raddatz, a so-called 'foreign policy expert' who during the second debate decided to take off her moderator hat and debate Trump directly by spouting the bull she has been fed for years by the military...

    Trump: “Why do they have to say we're going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they're saying? How stupid is our country?

    Raddatz: There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.

    Trump: I can't think of any. I can't think of any. And I'm pretty good at it.

    Raddatz: It might be to help get civilians out.

    (Raddatz was also the lady who later cried when announcing the election results.)

    However, even worse than the reporters are the corporate execs at these media outlets that pick and choose what info the American people get.

    1984 all over again.


    1. Lara Logan is definitely an exception:

      The Battle for Mosul, Lara Logan:

      In October 2012, Logan delivered a speech before the annual luncheon of the Better Government Association in which she sharply criticized the Obama Administration's statements about the War in Afghanistan and other conflicts in the Arab world. In particular, Logan criticized the Obama Administration's claims that the Taliban was weakening in Afghanistan, calling such claims "a major lie" made in preparation for ending the U.S. military role in that country. She also stated that she hoped that the United States would "exact revenge" for the 2012 Benghazi attack, in which U.S. diplomatic personnel were attacked and killed in Libya.

    2. .

      Some would disagree...

      Criticism of Michael Hastings

      Logan was criticized in June 2010 for her remarks about another journalist, Michael Hastings, and her view that reporters who embed with the military ought not to write about the general banter they hear. An article by Hastings in Rolling Stone that month quoted General Stanley A. McChrystal and his staff—comments Hastings overheard while traveling with McChrystal—criticizing U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and other officials, after which President Obama fired McChrystal as his commander in Afghanistan.[14] Logan told CNN that Hastings' reporting had violated an unspoken agreement between reporters who travel with military personnel not to report casual comments that pass between them.[15]

      Quoting her statement, "I mean, the question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal's? I mean, Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has." CNN's former chief military correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, said that what they did was indeed egregious, and that her comments "unfortunately reinforced the worst stereotype of reporters who 'embed' with senior military officers but are actually 'in bed' with them."[16] He went on to quote Admiral Mike Mullen's statement that military personnel must be neutral and should not criticize civilian leaders.

      Glenn Greenwald of Salon wrote that she had done courageous reporting over the years, but had come to see herself as part of the government and military.[17]

      I wasn't talking about corespondents criticizing political decisions that affect the war or the war effort. I was talking about embedded reporters getting too close to the the military staff they deal with every day. As in...

      Logan told CNN that Hastings' reporting had violated an unspoken agreement between reporters who travel with military personnel not to report casual comments that pass between them.[15]

      IMO, a reporter should be reporting on news. I see no reason why a reporter shouldn't report that the guy heading up the war has opinions on the management of the war that are significantly different than the official administration policy.


    3. In the case of McChrystal, it meant that one competent General lost his job because two incompetent boobs, Obama and Biden, didn't like it. Better to have soldiers pretend it all makes good sense?

      "The foreign corespondents we see on TV rarely get close to the front these days. They are usually ushered into conflict areas after they are pacified and they see what the military wants them to see."

      If you watch her 60 minutes piece you'll agree that definitely does not apply to her.

    4. .

      In the case of McChrystal, it meant that one competent General lost his job because two incompetent boobs, Obama and Biden, didn't like it. Better to have soldiers pretend it all makes good sense?

      I don't think so.

      You don't question your commander in chief. Not in public. That's called insubordination. If you don't like what you are being told to do, you resign. Simple.

      No one disputes McChrystal's abilities as a general, but it wouldn't the first time a soldier when they have reached his level has developed an inkling of a god complex. The boy didn't seem to understand the rationale for civilian control of the military. Worse, he went around official channels and was a little too free in giving his opinions to the press and the public. The Rolling Stone incident wasn't the first time he opened his mouth out of school.

      I recall the point in the Afghan War when Obama was asking his generals to provide him with alternative choices for moving forward in Afghanistan. The military kept stalling. It was McChrystal that 'went public' indicating that to win in Afghanistan he needed another 30,000 to 40,000 troops. Other alternatives never surfaced. Obama was backed into a corner.

      You don't screw with your boss.

      And loose lips sink generals.

      By the way, the value of the surge in Iraq has been questioned. There is no doubt about the value of the surge in Afghanistan. It didn't have any.


  13. Spot on, Q. I think even today she is in the fetal position. Trump Trauma.

  14. The Renzi referendum got a big NO in Italy today. Another defeat for EU and globalism. Gotta love it.


    Armed groups in Syria previously vetted by the US to receive weapons through CIA channels may join jihadist forces if the Trump administration abandons them, the Washington Post warned.

    During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump questioned the Obama administration’s policy of secretly providing weapons to rebel groups in Syria, saying, “we have no idea who these people are.”

    He also voiced his intention to ally the US with Russia to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. Rebels opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who the US has dubbed ‘moderate opposition,’ are considering forming “a closer alliance with better-armed Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups,” according to the Washington Post, which cites US officials, regional experts, and the rebels themselves.

    Other rebel options for survival may include obtaining “more sophisticated weaponry from Sunni states” and adopting “more traditional guerrilla tactics” like small-scale raids on “Syrian and Russian targets.” The US-backed siege of Mosul, Islamic States’ stronghold in Iraq, has stalled largely due to hit-and-run attacks carried out by the terrorist group.

    “We are very frustrated,” one US-vetted rebel commander told the US-based newspaper on condition of anonymity. “The United States refuses to provide the weapons we need, and yet it still thinks it can tell us what to do. They promise support and then watch us drown,” he complained.

    “America will have no influence if our comrades are forced [to retreat to] Idlib” from Aleppo, he warned.

    Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, shares this concern.

    “There will be significant reputational costs with our allies in the region if we abandon support of the moderate opposition,” he said.

    The Washington Post warning comes as Russia’s Reconciliation Center for Opposing Sides in Syria reported that some 500 fighters from the jihadist Al-Nusra Front group, which has rebranded itself as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, have surrendered the town of Al-Tall north of Damascus to government forces and left for Idlib province along with their families. A similar change of control reportedly occurred on Friday in the town of Khan al-Shih.

    1. Idlib province is a major center for groups opposed to Damascus. Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front reportedly has an estimated 10,000 fighters there that dominate the area. Another jihadist group, Ahrar al-Sham, is also in the region, though, unlike Russia and Syria, the US doesn’t consider its fighters to be terrorists.

      The US considers some 50,000 fighters in Syria to be part of the ‘moderate opposition,’ according to the Washington Post. However, American statistics may be inaccurate, as the US insists that Al-Nusra Front’s fighters in the divided city of Aleppo number in the hundreds, while Russia insists that the jihadist group is dominant among the several thousand militants remaining there.


  16. The $150,000 mattress for a good night's sleep....

    Key details:

    A custom-made continental bed built by four master artisans at the Hästens workshop in Köping, Sweden.

    A pinewood frame, steel springs, and layers of flax, horsetail hair, and cotton and wool batting

    Competitors: None, really. But for that price you could also get a Mercedes AMG GT S (from $131,200); Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Day-Date & Power Reserve watch (from $150,000); Tiffany Circlet Diamond Necklace ($150,000)

    Price: $149,900

    Why It's Worth It: If you keep it for 25 years and get eight hours of sleep every night, think of it as paying $2 every hour for the privilege of blissful, blissful sleep.

    I want one of these for Christmas.

    1. (Offered in USA through Quirk's Quality Snooze'n'Sleep, LLC operating out of Detroit, Michigan - Shipping Cost Not Included - Destination Taxes May Apply)

    2. (Payments accepted in greenbacks only)

    3. (Full 90 Day Lifetime Warranty On HorseTail Hair)

  17. Meanwhile, Venezuela solves its currency problem -


  18. Instead, in Havana, military cannons unleashed a 21-gun salute that thundered across the capital city as the ceremony began hundreds of miles to the south east.

    The state's engineering of the week's homage included a nine-day ban on alcohol and a shutdown of Havana's nightclubs and music venues, as well as a near-total dedication of state-run newspapers, television and radio to tributes to Castro and often breathless coverage of the week's events.

    "He is now absolutely tranquil," a broadcaster intoned as the cortege set off from Havana on Wednesday. "A sad nation, but a committed nation."

    1. Ho ho ho !

      How fitting is this ?

      Cuba buries Castro, entering post-Fidel era...

      Jeep Carrying Ashes Breaks Down...DRUDGE

      The old '57 Willy's Jeep carrying Castro broke down !

      Ha ha ha ha !!

    2. Tranquil ?

      "He is now absolutely tranquil"

      Only if tranquility is the Devil's hot pitchfork twisted in the guts....

  19. Mighty Vandals Bowl Bound -

    The 2016 Potato Bowl – college football’s unquestioned top postseason game named for a vegetable – is set for Dec. 22 on Boise State’s blue turf. It’ll be the only college game of the day, though the Giants and Eagles play an NFL game, too.

    2016 Potato Bowl, Colorado State vs. Idaho: Date, time, location and everything to know

    This game is played on Boise State’s famous blue turf.

    by Alex Kirshner@alex_kirshner Dec 4, 2016, 3:03pm EST

    I'm almost ready to buy our resident nitwit, Potato Head Ash, a ticket.

    1. And a ticket for Quirk too, if he promises to wear his Famous Potato Clown Costume.

    2. .

      Why does the Idaho mascot look like Mr. Potato Head?


    3. Because the Snowflakes in the U of Idaho Students Association voted to jettison Joe Vandal as mascot as being sexist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic, capitalistic, Trumpistic, militant and 'fascist' and turned its longing collective empty head towards Ash instead.

      Old pic of Joe Vandal in Student Union Building, U of I, circa 1962:,+Idaho&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS698US698&espv=2&biw=911&bih=425&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi23eyKgdzQAhURHGMKHQZfDc0Q7AkIKQ#imgrc=gGf3FmKadLpgUM%3A

    4. (Scroll down past line three)

  20. How can anyone take the Democrat Party seriously these days ? -

    A Problem Like Keith Ellison

    A Problem Like Keith Ellison

    Rep. Keith Ellison speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Reuters photo: Jim Young)

    by KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON December 4, 2016 4:00 AM @KEVINNR

    And the more serious question of the Muslim Brotherhood Keith Ellison (or Keith E. Hakim, or Keith X. Ellison, or Keith Muhammad, etc.) is campaigning for office. Not for the safe House seat he holds, but for the leadership of the Democratic party, a job until recently held by the hilariously incompetent and boundlessly vapid Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who was forced to resign — “resign” here meaning “transfer formally to the Clinton campaign” — when she was exposed conniving to stack the presidential primary elections against Senator Bernie Sanders (S., Portlandia)), who was temporarily replaced by Donna Brazile, who was exposed leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign, a violation of trust for which she remains adamantly impenitent.

    Republicans should take a minute to simply enjoy all this before getting on to the serious business at hand. If they cannot have Debbie Wasserman Schultz organizing opposition to them, former Farrakhan fanboy Keith Ellison of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party is a great second choice.

    Ellison is the first Muslim elected to the House, and he complains that the recent spate of criticism directed at him is rooted in — ridiculous word — Islamophobia. But there is a bit more to it than that. Ellison has long been a vocal defender of the so-called Nation of Islam, the bow-tie gang founded by Elijah Muhammad whose relationship to orthodox Islam is approximately that of a UFO cult to the Anglican communion.

    The NOI and its charismatic leader, the former calypso musician Louis Farrakhan, is an explicitly racist organization, holding as a matter of doctrine that the white race is the result of a doomed mad-science experiment conducted by the biblical Jacob while he was living on the isle of Patmos.

    1. Farrakhan is a true religious entrepreneur who has attempted to graft L. Ron Hubbard’s fanciful “Dianetics” onto his own cracked version of Islam, but he has mostly relied on a very old and reliable tradition: Jew-hating. Farrakhan’s history of vicious anti-Semitism was already well established when Ellison was helping him organize the Million Man March. The Democratic representative says that he rejects anti-Semitism, but he has a long history of sticking up for Jew-hating weirdos, and not only Farrakhan.

      When Kwame Ture — you may remember him as Stokely Carmichael — claimed that Jews had collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust as a pretext for establishing the state of Israel, Ellison was there to defend him from criticism. When the head of a Minneapolis political group declared that the allegations of anti-Semitism against Farrakhan were made up and insisted that the real problem is racist Jews, Ellison said: “She is correct.” He is a defender of the terrorist Sara Jane Olson and the murderer Assata Shakur and the Islamic terrorist Sami al-Arian. He is a longtime admirer of the murderous dictator Fidel Castro.

      Ellison has said that he has since “rejected” the Nation of Islam and its anti-Semitism, and that his involvement with Farrakhan was simply an exercise in community organizing, i.e. the usual liberals-in-a-hurry bull. Ellison is invoking the unwritten Robert Byrd Rule: Democrats get a pass on associating with crackpot racist cults if they vote the right way on the minimum wage.

      If he has outgrown Farrakhan, then hurray for him. More joy in Heaven and all that. Ellison’s real problem may not be his association with Louis Farrakhan’s unorthodox Islam but with the Muslim Brotherhood’s very orthodox version.

      The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by the Egyptian scholar Hassan al-Banna, is a Sunni-supremacist organization operating under the motto: “Allah is our objective; the Qur’an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish.” It is linked at various levels of intimacy to Hamas — which is an immediate offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — along with sundry Sunni extremist groups, one or two degrees of separation removed from al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, and the like. But its reach is sprawling, and it also is closely linked with such purportedly respectable Islamic organizations as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which our Andrew C. McCarthy rightly describes as “a Muslim Brotherhood creation conceived to be a Western-media-savvy shill for Islamic supremacism in general and Hamas in particular.”...etc etc

      Read more at:

  21. Austrian right-wing candidate Norbert Hofer has conceded defeat to his left-leaning rival Alexander Van der Bellen in the country's presidential election.


    French President Francois Hollande congratulated Mr Van der Bellen for the "clear and uncontested result" in Austria's presidential election.


    Mr Van der Bellen had placed Brexit at the heart of his campaign, arguing that Mr Hofer wanted Austria to hold its own "Oexit" referendum, putting jobs at risk in the small, trade-dependent country.

    1. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that despite Democrats losing the House, Senate, and almost two-thirds of state houses, the American people don't want a new direction.

      The California congressman appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday and instead said the issue facing Democrats is simply a failure of communication.

    2. She's correct. The American People will continue on their direction of kicking Dems out as long as Nancy is in charge.

  22. The important question of the day, Quirk, is whether you have found a companion dog for your mutt yet ?

    If so, please give all the details.

  23. PEE-YEW
    How a Fart Killed 10,000 People
    12.03.16 10:00 PM ET

    Farting, breaking wind, cutting the cheese, or gas. The English language has numerous words for flatulence and this is even before we devolve into the subcategories that make up the genre. Whatever you call it, farting is a taboo act, but it is also a source of fascination. It’s not for nothing that there is a popular children’s book series called Fart Squad or that the preview of the most recent installment of the Alvin and the Chipmunks dynasty led with the punchline, “Sorry, pizza toots.” Today farting is something for which we perfunctorily ask forgiveness, but in the past it has been the subject of legislation, the cause of wars, and even theologized. We might think of farts as trapped gas, but the history of farting is more than just hot air.

    Somewhat counter-intuitively, farting has a spiritual side. Manichaeism, a dualistic religion popular in late antiquity that at one time counted St. Augustine among its members, actually held that farts were the act of freeing divine “light” from the body. Manichaeism may have been, as scholar Robin Lane Fox has noted, “the only world religion to have believed in the redemptive power of farts,” but they weren’t the only ancient group to give the phenomenon a great deal of thought. In addition to laying the foundations of trigonometry, the philosopher Pythagoras was concerned that a person might fart out his or her soul. As classicist Andrew Fenton wryly observed, this can explain why they steered clear of beans. Given that the soul (pneuma) was breath and a fart a kind of breath, the explanation makes a lot of sense.

    The ancient fear of farting is justified when we consider the surprising number of the stories—that is, more than none—about wars provoked by farts. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, a fart set off a chain of events that led to a revolt against King Apries of Egypt. The repercussions were even worse in first-century Jerusalem: The historian Josephus tells us that an irreverent Roman soldier lowered his pants, bent over, and “spoke such words as you might expect upon such a posture.” The incident took place shortly before the Passover and caused a riot that led to the deaths of 10,000 people.

    But it’s not all downside, Dr. Jessica Baron, a historian of science at the University of Notre Dame, told me that some doctors connected farting to sex, “In fact [the second-century physician] Galen sometimes refers to flatulent, or ‘windy’ foods as aphrodisiacs, as do much later Galenists. Hugo Fridaevallis, a Flemish Galenist physician writing in 1569, describes how the production of gas aids in erection, and recommends wind-producing foods (asparagus, in this case) to apprehensive newlyweds.”

    For most Christians, farting has often held a more somber significance. St. Augustine offhandedly refers to people who could produce odorless “musical sounds” like “singing” from their behinds, but he seems to have been in the minority. As Professor Valerie Allen has noted in her book On Farting: Language and Laughter in the Middle Ages, most medieval theologians saw farting as “the product of decomposition” and, thus, “as the mark of death.”
    Interestingly, farting has been humorous for longer than it has been spiritualized. Arguably the oldest joke in the world is a fart joke. A Sumerian proverb dated to about 1900 BCE reads, “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.” The same theme resurfaces in the writings of the Greek playwright Aristophanes, as well as in Shakespeare, Chaucer, Mark Twain, and One Thousand and One Nights.

    1. In many cases fart jokes have been deemed too scandalous for public consumption. The stories that hinged on farting in One Thousand and One Nights were expunged from all 19th century English translations except that of Richard Burton. Mark Twain’s Elizabethan-period 1601 was first published anonymously, in part because of the farting. And, in 2014, Columbia Pictures pictures delayed the release of the film The Interview, allegedly because of its portrayal of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il “sharting.”

      Arguably the most successful comedic purveyor of fart jokes, however, was Roland le Sarcere, also known as Roland the Farter, court minstrel to King Henry II of England. Roland performed a dance that ended with the simultaneous execution of one jump, one whistle, and one fart. For his talents Roland was gifted a manor house in Suffolk and 100 acres of land. Roland was so beloved that subsequent chroniclers repeated his story and expanded his biography, a process that inadvertently extended his lifespan to 120 years.

      Roland was not the only man to fart for money. In her book, Allen directs us to a medieval Japanese scroll that tells the story of a man named Fukutomi, who “performed fart dances for the aristocracy.” The story is the stuff of legend, but as Linda Rodriguez has written, there were professional farters at work in Japan by the 1700s. In Paris at the close of the nineteenth century, a baker’s son by the name of Joseph Pujol was able to host his own 90-minute show at the Moulin Rouge featuring renditions of “Au Clair de Lune.” Apparently Sigmund Freud visited the show before going on to develop his theory of “anal fixation.”

      Across space and time, farting has been the source of embarrassment, especially to those of elevated social status. But the perils of holding in one’s farts were well known even before Dr. Oz told Oprah that people should break wind in public for health reasons. In his biography of the emperor Claudius, the Roman writer Suetonius records that Claudius “intended to publish an edict ‘allowing to all people the liberty of giving vent at table to any distension occasioned by flatulence,’ upon hearing of a person whose modesty, when under restraint, had nearly cost him his life.”

      Strangely though, as Elizabeth Lopatto traced in her brief medical history of farting, the causes of “excessive flatulence” evaded medical science for millennia. As late as 1975, M.D. Levitt could remark, “there are no data available that prove excessive flatulence is actually caused by the presence of excessive intestinal gas.” It was only when Levitt conducted an experiment pumping the gas argon into patients via their rectum that he noted that people farted at the same rate that they were filled with gas. Astonishing. Curiously, it was not until 1998 that Levitt proposed a methodology for distinguishing between excess gas caused by swallowing too much air, and flatulence that resulted from processes that took place in the gut.

    2. The difficulty regulating gas does have a silver lining. According to Jim Dawson, author of Who Cut the Cheese?, Adolf Hitler himself was a lifelong sufferer. Biographer John Toland credits Hitler’s flatulence to his vegetarianism, but others claim that Hitler turned to vegetarianism as a cure for his GI problems. Whatever the cause, by 1936, the cramps had grown unbearable. Early in his treatment Hitler ingested machine oil as a cure for gas, but around this time Berlin medic Theodor Morell prescribed Dr. Koester’s anti-gas pills, a concocotion that contained the poisons strychnine and atropene. According to Dawson, by 1941 Hitler was ingesting up to 150 pills a week. While not lethal, the side effects of these drugs include irritability, insomnia, and poor emotional health, a fact that came to light shortly before Hitler’s death when another physician decided to read the ingredient list for Dr. Koester’s little black pills. Dr. Morell was fired and, to many, seems lucky to have escaped with his life.

      Whatever their cultural impact, farts continue to languish at the bottom of the socially acceptable hierarchy of bodily sounds. Burps might elicit some embarrassment, but hiccups tend only to amuse. Disease-spreading sneezes can be adorable, and even coughs are acceptable if covered by a sleeve or hand. But there has yet to be social rehabilitation for the lowly fart, even though scientists claim that the average person passes gas 14 times a day.

  24. What do you call a person that doesn't fart in public?

  25. A LONE gunman shot dead a local official and two journalists, all of them women, in a night-time attack Saturday in a small town in Finland, a country with one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.


    Finland has seen several deadly shootings over the past decade, all by young men.

    Figures in the Small Arms Survey, carried out by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, found Finland to be fourth in the civilian gun-ownership ranks, behind the United States, Yemen and Switzerland.

  26. December 4, 2016
    Trump could help Republicans pick up two more Senate seats
    By Thomas Lifson

    There is a reasonable chance that two more Democrat Senate seats could be lost to the GOP when the next Congress convenes. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has got to be watching the deftness of the Trump transition and the chaos in his party, which looks about to throw its lot in with Representative Keith Ellison as head of the DNC. He is well enough known to West Virginians that he might survive his next election as a Democrat, but where is the fun in being in a minority? And he is a minority within the Democrats anyway.

    The other Senate seat that could go Republic is that of North Dakota Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who met with President-elect Trump last Friday. CNN reported:

    News of the meeting set off a panic among top Democrats, some of whom began to privately make the case that Heitkamp should stay in the Senate rather than give up a seat that would likely be a GOP pickup. The incoming chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee told CNN he had spoken with Heitkamp about the issue Thursday.

    A transition source said Heitkamp could be a possibility for energy secretary.

    "I think it's absolutely critical to have a conversation," Heitkamp said when asked if she would be open to being in the Trump administration. "It's good for my state. It's good for the work that I do here, to understand and share some priorities for the country and for the state of North Dakota and I look forward to having that discussion."

    In a statement about the meeting, Heitkamp said she would work with both sides of the aisle -- whatever her role.

    "Whatever job I do, I hope to work with the President-elect and all of my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to best support my state," she said.

    I suspect that Heirkamp would have a hard time turning down Secretary of Energy, as her state is one of the primary beneficiaries of the policies Trump will implement. She barely won office in 2012, and sicne then North Dakota’s oil boom seems to have added GOP voters. Trump won North Dakota with 62.96% of the vote, and Republican Senator John Hoeven – who defeated Heitkamp when both ran for governor -- got 78.48% of the vote.

    Presiding over a boom in her home state has got to be attractive to her.

    A special election would be required in thirty days, and there is no Democrat on the scene who could win.

    Just more downward spiraling for the Democratic Party.


  27. There were small gray motor-cars that passed going
    very fast ; usually there was an officer on the seat with
    the driver and more officers in the back seat. They
    splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of
    the officers in the back was very small and sitting be-
    tween two generals, he himself so small that you could
    not see his face but only the top of his cap and his nar-
    row back, and if the car went especially fast it was
    probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in
    this way nearly every day to see how things were going,
    and things went very badly.

    from A Farewell To Arms

    Trump is surrounding himself with generals. That’s dangerous.

    President-elect Donald Trump has talked to retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and several other former military figures about spots in his administration. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
    By Phillip Carter and Loren DeJonge Schulman November 30
    Phillip Carter is a former Army officer and Pentagon official who leads the military, veterans and society program at the Center for a New American Security. Loren DeJonge Schulman is a former Pentagon and National Security Council official who is deputy director of studies at the Center for a New American Security.

    More than any other president-elect in recent memory, Donald Trump has sought out military brass to populate his inner circle. Trump announced Thursday that he wants retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his defense secretary — a post traditionally designated for a civilian. Trump is also considering retired Army Gen. David Petraeus for secretary of state, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly for secretary of state or homeland security, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers as the director of national intelligence. His national security adviser-designate, Michael Flynn, retired from the Army as a lieutenant general after decades as a military intelligence officer. And CIA Director-designate Mike Pompeo graduated from West Point and served during the Cold War as an Army officer.

    There is a great American tradition of veterans holding high political office, from Presidents George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower to senior officials such as Secretary of State Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration and national security adviser James Jones in the Obama administration. A typical administration, though, starts out with few recent generals in key positions. Filling as many slots with retired brass as Trump is poised to do is highly unusual.

    No doubt these men bring tremendous experience. But we should be wary about an overreliance on military figures. Great generals don’t always make great Cabinet officials. And if appointed in significant numbers, they could undermine another strong American tradition: civilian control of an apolitical military....

    At the start of the winter came the permanent rain
    and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked
    and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the

    from A Farewell To Arms

    Who knows how it will go....

  28. Dave Barry's Best Holiday Gifts --

    For Ash:


    $29.95 plus shipping and handling from

    Here’s a great gift for anybody who owns a swimming pool and would like to prevent guests from using it. This is a pool float that, when inflated, looks like an enormous cockroach. And when we say “enormous,” we mean “roughly the same size as a standard South Florida cockroach.” This thing will instantly transform any pool or patio into a pool or patio occupied by a large, hideously repulsive insect. People won’t even want to look at it, let alone go near it.

    But driving guests away is only one use for the giant cockroach. You can take it with you on airplanes and claim it’s a “service insect,” and they have to let you. Or you can put it in the passenger seat of your car and legally drive in the carpool lane in every state in the nation. These statements must be true, because you’re reading them in a newspaper.

    This is the only giant inflatable cockroach endorsed by both Martha Stewart and Stephen Hawking.

    For Quirk:


    $18.95 plus shipping and handling from (price may vary).

    Dogs are wonderful animals, but they are not good at stealth. They tend to barge into situations, barking loudly. They have not mastered the technique of creeping silently around before pouncing suddenly upon their prey, like cats.

    The result is that the average household dog, although it desperately would like to, never gets anywhere near any kind of prey. This is OK, because your modern dog doesn’t really need to capture prey; your modern dog is overweight from being fed regular meals plus 17 treats per day and rarely being called upon to do anything more physically taxing than pass gas.

    But now you can turn that special dog on your holiday gift list into a deadly predator, thanks to this dog camouflage hoodie. This thing renders your dog completely invisible. Even YOU will not be able to see your dog. You’ll just see a growing pile of deceased squirrels on your bed.

    For Sam:


    $14.99 plus shipping and handling from (price may vary). Suggested by Rick Day of The Villages, Florida, Sue Eckhardt of Gatesville, Texas, and Jeffrey P. Brown of Atlanta.

    Without question the most annoying thing in the world — and we include the Kardashian family in this statement — is when you’re watching TV, and you take a sip of your beer, and the far rim of your mug blocks your view of the screen at a crucial moment. Don’t you HATE that?

    Of course one possible solution would be to not sip your beer at crucial moments, but that sounds to us like a lot of work. A better solution is to use the TV Viewing Beer Mug, which has a special rim that is sloped at a scientific angle so you can still see the screen while you’re sipping. It is only a matter of time before whoever thought of this wins a Nobel Prize. This mug is made of genuine plastic, so the lucky person you give it to is sure to cherish it for, at minimum, a lifetime. For obvious reasons, this is the beer mug preferred by commercial airline pilots, especially during landings.

    1. For Everybody:


      $11.09 plus shipping and handling from (price may vary). Suggested by Craig Roberts of Meridian, Idaho.

      Every once in a while somebody comes up with a product so unusual, so extraordinary and so unexpected that we strongly suspect narcotics were involved. That is definitely the case with Handerpants, which are billed as “underpants for your hands.” Why do you need underpants for your hands, you ask? Well, according to the manufacturer, Handerpants have — and this is a direct quote — “hundreds of uses.” So that clears that up.

      We think Handerpants will make the perfect gift for everybody on your holiday list who has hands. Possibly you even know somebody who, because of a bizarre anatomical configuration, could wear Handerpants as actual underpants. We prefer not to think about it.

      For Doug:


      $8.50 plus shipping and handling from Suggested by Terri Card of Corvallis, Oregon.

      It’s everybody’s nightmare scenario: You have a slice of pizza, but you don’t want to eat it right away, and you don’t want to give up the use of one or both of your hands to carry it. Until now, your only practical option was to carry the slice on your head (this is still the system used throughout Europe). But now there is a better way, and that way is the Pizza Pouch. This is a triangular plastic pocket with a lanyard attached. You slide your pizza slice into the pocket and hang it around your neck; now both of your hands are free to drive a car, go jogging, dance in a ballet recital, perform open-heart surgery, etc. knowing your pizza slice is right there around your neck whenever you need it. This is also a useful item to wear to a business meeting, dental appointment, court appearance or any other occasion where you’re concerned that there might not be enough food.

      FACT: This is the only pizza-transport accessory sanctioned to be worn during Olympic competition.

    2. For MOME:


      $12.99 plus shipping and handling at (price may vary).

      Here’s the perfect gift for the person who lacks a dog but would still for some insane reason like to come into closer contact with squirrels. According to the manufacturer, this squirrel caller is suitable for both “professional” and “recreational” squirrel-calling. It can reproduce the calls of both gray and fox squirrels, including “alarm bark, distress scream, gray squirrel chatter, gray squirrel squeal and fox squirrel chatter.”

      We’re not sure why a squirrel would be attracted toward the sound of another squirrel barking out an alarm. To be honest, we didn’t even know that squirrels barked. Nevertheless we highly recommend this product, which, in addition to calling squirrels, makes a terrific icebreaker at cocktail parties (“OK, everybody! Guess whether this is “distress scream” or “gray squirrel squeal!”)

      For Deuce:


      $49 Euros (approximately US $55) plus shipping and handling from

      Ask any trained professional for the secret to drinking huge quantities of beer, and chances are he or she will answer: “BURRRRRPPPPP.” But upon completion of the belch, chances are that, moments before throwing up on your shoes, he or she will say: “Wrist support.”

      Yes, wrist support is vital, which is why the beer consumers on your holiday list need the Oktoberfist, also known as “Lederhosen for your hand.” This is a leather thing that you strap to your hand to provide the support you need to continue raising heavy steins long after the other members of your party have been reduced to using straws. It has a visually attractive “look” that will coordinate nicely with whatever you wear, assuming you belong to a motorcycle gang. The Oktoberfist also boasts a built-in wallet, so you will always know where your money is, even though you have no idea what happened to your pants.

      For WiO, being in the food business;


      $6.75 plus shipping and handling from (price may vary).

      If you’re like many imaginary people, you have often said: “I sure would like some toast, but at the moment I have no bread or toaster with me!”

      Well, we are pleased to announce that the days of not being able to have toast whenever you want it are over, thanks to inflatable toast. This product comes in a convenient tin; when you want toast, you simply take the product out of the tin, blow it up and Voila! (French for “What the heck?”) you have something that looks vaguely like toast when viewed in a dim light. The only drawback that we can see is that you cannot actually eat it. But on the positive side, you can use it again and again. This gift is sure to be a big hit with everybody on your holiday list, at least until they remove the wrapping.

      Full list of perfect Holiday Gifts here -

  29. some point of your speedy at night. break apart your method with meals into little segments. Munching on six small meals a day will assist build lean muscle tissues better than consuming three large meals a day. make certain that protein and monounsaturated fats are a part of your weight-reduction plan. For more ==== >>>>>>

  30. Idaho Elevator Report:

    Dr. Ben Carson accepts position as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.


  32. .


    Another step on the way to One-State...

    Knesset passes settlement bill 60 to 49 in preliminary vote

    Outpost bill cheered, jeered as step toward annexing West Bank.

    While predicting same outcome, right- and left-wings praise bill that will legalize settlements on private land or predict doom for rule of law.


  33. .


    Headline from the Times of Israel

    China warns Trump: Iran nuclear deal must stand

    Are the Chinese really trying to protect the deal or are the inscrutable Chinese, knowing Trump's volatile nature, trying to play Trump and goad him into actions adverse to America's national interest.

    China has been growing more and more influential with Iran.


    1. Who says limited nuclear war is adverse to America's national interest?

    2. .

      I like the term 'Limited Nuclear War'. So quaint.


  34. .


    Bibi as mini-Trump

    Headline from Times of Israel...

    Netanyahu: Notwithstanding Obama or Trump, Israel does ‘what it wants’ on settlements.

    PM says he plans to bring up ‘bad’ Iran deal with president-elect, stop Tehran getting the bomb; claims Israel’s press is uniquely critical of him.


  35. .

    For the credulous who instinctively and automatically believe what they are told by the military or their own political party...

    When Fake News Actually Leads to War

    “I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government—by the planners of the New World Order,” FDR told the nation in his Navy Day radio address of October 27, 1941.

    “It is a map of South America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all the existing boundary lines … bringing the whole continent under their domination,” said Roosevelt. “This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well.”

    Our leader had another terrifying secret document, “made in Germany by Hitler’s government. …

    “It is a plan to abolish all existing religions—Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish alike. … In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an international Nazi Church…

    “In the place of the Bible, the words of ‘Mein Kampf’ will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols—the swastika and the naked sword. … A god of blood and iron will take the place of the God of love and mercy.”

    The source of these astounding secret Nazi plans?

    They were forgeries by British agents in New York operating under William Stephenson, Churchill’s “Man Called Intrepid,” whose assignment was to do whatever necessary to bring the U.S. into Britain’s war...


    1. I clicked on it.

      Turns out to be that nitwit Pat Buchanan again.

      Is he going to live forever ?

    2. .

      If you clicked it and moved on, that's one thing.

      If you clicked on it, read it and disagreed, you are the credulous I was speaking of.


    3. You ought to name your new mutt 'Pat'.

      Though the mutt is probably the smarter of the two.

    4. Map or no map, Adolph had big plans.

    5. .

      Once again, you miss the point.

      Had you read the entire article maybe (perhaps a big maybe) you would have gotten the actual point of Buchanan's article. Instead, once again you shoot from the lip and miss it.


  36. Protesters Gain Victory in Fight Over Dakota Pipeline

    Biggest Win Since the Little Bighorn

    Outdoes the Cubs victory.

    Protesters Gain Victory in Fight Over Dakota Pipeline

    The Army said it would look for other routes for the pipeline, a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a battle that has become a global flash point...


    1. 'Twas Obama's doing.

      a global flashpoint ?

      You got to be shitting me.

      Trump will overturn O'bozo.

      I'll get off your case if you will tell me if you've found another dog yet.

      Otherwise, I will continue to pester you.

    2. .

      I'll get off your case if you will tell me if you've found another dog yet.

      You've been on my case? Gee, I hadn't noticed. You better put a little more effort into it.


  37. Somebody needs to make a Megyn Mask for next Halloween.

    They could just peel the makeup off her face and pour in the latex.



  39. My avocation:

  40. “I think his choice actually means that Trump plans to try to deliver on this issue of increasing investment in or turning around the inner city,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin.

    “Right now the details are fuzzy. ‘Inner city’ is such a broad term, I’m not sure it applies to 2016 homeownership housing and real estate.


    Richardson believes it’s anachronistic to worry about the plight of inner cities, when many such areas are so in demand that they’ve priced out even middle-class residents. And she wants to hear how Carson would address the declining homeownership rate and inability for many families to gain and keep home equity.

    1. .

      I don't see where Carson is competent or qualified to lead a major bureaucracy like HUD, as such, he should fit right in with all the other unqualified people who held the post.

      Hopefully, he will at least bring an honest incompetence to the job.


    2. Truth is, there isn't much to the job.

      They don't 'develop' anything.

      They don't make loans to developers.

      Basically they pass out money to the needy, that's about it.

      Even you could handle the job, Quirk.

      It doesn't take competence.

      All the application forms for assistance are already in the files.

    3. I called them up one time and asked.

      'You got any loan or assistance money to build streets in an urban development ?'

      'Naw, we don't do that. We just take applications to help get people into already existing housing'

      That's to say, they don't actually DO anything at all.

    4. Then I tried the State of Idaho. They 'do' even less.

      To build something it takes someone like Trump, and cooperative banks, those killers.

    5. Even Quirk's Copernican mediocrity could handle HUD.

    6. To build something it takes someone like Trump, and cooperative banks, those killers. Or a Deuce.

    7. I'm afraid if Mental Giants like Quirk and Pellosi deem Carson unqualified, who am I to think some guy that grew up as a black kid in Detroit would know jack squat about HUD related activities?

      Certainly, a brain surgeon who was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013, probably don't know shit about darned near nothin.

    8. .

      Running a bureaucracy that spends (or wastes depending on where you are coming from) $50 billion a year is not brain surgery despite what you two morons thinks.


    9. .

      Certainly, a brain surgeon who was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013, probably don't know shit about darned near nothin.


      He obviously knows about brain surgery. He knows how to sign off on the expense reports of the doctors working for him. He has to decide whether to keep or fire doctors under him who are sued for malpractice. He has to fight for his departmental budget.

      And he needs to give his secretary a heads up on what tee times he wants for the week.


  41. Good question. There are so far only three kinds of answers from science. One is just dumb luck. The second answer, proffered and defended by most of my theoretically minded colleagues, is the multiverse: There are an infinite number of universes spanning all logical possibilities. We just live in the one we can. The third answer touches on philosophy, and comes from quantum mechanics. (If you have taken any modern physics course, it is likely you will have heard this notion before.) Matter is composed of wave functions of probability that only become “real entities” when they are measured by a conscious observer. The quantum mechanical pioneer, John Wheeler, is one of several thinkers who have proposed that the unusual nature of the universe suggests it had to evolve conscious beings in order to become real.

    I will admit that I am not a fan of any of these. It seems a cop-out to say we are just lucky, and as a physicist trained to give preference to simple solutions, a multiverse strikes me as the opposite: exorbitant. The quantum mechanical route is possible, but uncomfortably mysterious. Yet there are quite a few mysteries still in quantum mechanics, so of the three it has potential, especially because ongoing quantum research should make progress in our lifetime.

    The point here is that if some process—perhaps quantum mechanics but maybe something else—steers the universe toward producing intelligence, then we humans are representatives of that teleological endpoint. It suggests that we play some cosmic role. I hope this is an eye-opener for you. It certainly was for me when I first read Wheeler’s paper, and it has become even more pressing today, as we learn more about exoplanets and fine-tuning. Modern philosophers have chimed in too: Thomas Nagel puts it this way in his 2012 book, Mind and Cosmos: “We have not observed life anywhere but on earth, but no natural fact is cosmologically more significant.”

    I am an experimental scientist because I love discovering the world and its often surprising, unexpected, features. I think it is good advice not to make too many assumptions, and presuming we must be commonplace is an assumption. Of course, presuming we are rare is another. Instead, we must learn from nature with an open mind. I think the evidence, and the simplest conclusion, is that humanity is not ordinary and we may have a significant cosmic role. There are, therefore, ethical issues to consider, and religion can contribute a meaningful voice to this discussion. We should treat one another as the priceless beings we appear to be, and care for our rare cosmic home, the Earth. Modern science may have prompted this re‐evaluation, but addressing it will require the best of all our human abilities.

    Does Science Suggest Humans Have a Cosmic Role?
    Almost in spite of themselves, scientists are driven to a teleological view of the cosmos.

    By Howard A. Smith

    The Hindus have been saying the same for centuries.

  42. 'Mad Dog' Mattis graduated from Central Washington University, aka Taco U.

    CWU is located about 110 miles (180 km) east of Seattle, Washington on Interstate 90 in the Kittitas Valley. In addition to being the fastest growing public university in the state of Washington,[4] CWU is considered an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution with 15 percent Hispanic students.[5]

    1. The San Joaquin is HALF of California's great central valley:

      The San Joaquin Valley is larger in area than ten states.

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranked 31st in population, exceeding 20 states.

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranked ninth in population growth.

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranks eighth in population of Asian ancestry (and second, following only California itself, in population of Cambodian, Hmong,and Laotian origin).

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranks sixth in Hispanic population (following the states of California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas).

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranks third in persons of Mexican origin or descent, after only California and Texas.

      * The San Joaquin Valley ranks fortieth in per capita household income, between South Carolina and Alabama.

    2. * The San Joaquin Valley ranks third in persons of Mexican origin or descent, after only California and Texas.

      ...the economy got a royal Mexican Burrito up it's ass.

    3. If I had my way, I'd run all their sewage on the streets of Hollywood and Silicon Valley.


  43. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned Monday that Ben Carson isn't qualified to run the Department of Housing and Development.

    "Dr. Ben Carson is a disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice to lead a department as complex and consequential as Housing and Urban Development," Pelosi said in a statement.

    "Our country deserves a HUD Secretary with the relevant experience to protect the rights of homeowners and renters, particularly in low income and minority communities, and to ensure that everyone in our country can have access to safe and affordable housing without facing discrimination or homelessness," she added.

    "There is no evidence that Dr. Carson brings the necessary credentials to hold a position with such immense responsibilities and impact on families and communities across America," she said.

    1. I laughed my ass off.

      President Obama, VP Biden, Leader Pelosi.

      Now there is a brilliant, highly qualified, deeply experienced brain trust if ever there was one.

    2. Throw in the up and coming Keith X Muhammad Ellison, too.

  44. You got to admit it's a gas.

    Quirk, our house World Renowned Neuro-Surgeon, criticizing the Ad Man Dr. Ben Carson for a lack of competence.


    And I just listened to a Democrat on Fox criticizing Carson for his lack of political experience.

    Eh....err....what exactly was O'bozo's political experience ?



    1. QuirkTue Dec 06, 12:50:00 AM EST


      Running a bureaucracy that spends (or wastes depending on where you are coming from) $50 billion a year is not brain surgery despite what you two morons think.


    2. I think Ben is vastly overqualified for the job.

      It's an organization birthed for an incompetent guy just like you.

  45. .

    Idaho BobMon Dec 05, 10:32:00 PM EST

    I called them up one time and asked.

    'You got any loan or assistance money to build streets in an urban development ?'

    Too bad the rat isn't around any more. He'd love this one.

    The flimflam faux farmer trying to hustle money from HUD with a phony con. Trying to convince them that some subdivision scam out in the boondocks is actually 'urban development'.

    No wonder Idaho Bob likes Trump. Two of a kind.


    1. .

      They both like to do the hustle.


    2. :)

      It is an Incorporated (if you know that is) urban area with a major University and a population of about 20,000.

      This does not include the birth place of 'Mad Dog' Mattis 8 miles away, home to Washington State University, with a student body alone nearing 20,000 now.

      I have a platted development to provide HOUSING for all these humans.


      City of Moscow
      U of Idaho

      One would possibly think HUD might be interested in such a situation, but no, they don't really do shit.

      Carson is going to be dismayed when he finds he's in charge of an outfit that doesn't really do anything other than hand out rent and home payment checks.

      You, however, would fit right in.

      You would make a great HUD secretary.

      You and yours would never be lacking for a roof over the head, we all can agree on that.

    3. A roof built by my types, so your types can keep the rain off at the taxpayers expense.

    4. We're actually a little overbuilt in this area right now.

      It goes in cycles.

      Out this way the market responds, I can tell you that.