“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."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Is Trump Following Hillary Clinton into Another Syrian Disaster?


Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath

In the Milwaukee debate, Hillary Clinton took pride in her role in a recent UN Security Council resolution on a Syrian ceasefire:
But I would add this. You know, the Security Council finally got around to adopting a resolution. At the core of that resolution is an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva, which set forth a cease-fire and moving toward a political resolution, trying to bring the parties at stake in Syria together.
This is the kind of compulsive misrepresentation that makes Clinton unfit to be President. Clinton’s role in Syria has been to help instigate and prolong the Syrian bloodbath, not to bring it to a close.

In 2012, Clinton was the obstacle, not the solution, to a ceasefire being negotiated by UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan. It was US intransigence - Clinton’s intransigence - that led to the failure of Annan’s peace efforts in the spring of 2012, a point well known among diplomats. Despite Clinton’s insinuation in the Milwaukee debate, there was (of course) no 2012 ceasefire, only escalating carnage. Clinton bears heavy responsibility for that carnage, which has by now displaced more than 10 million Syrians and left more than 250,000 dead. 
As every knowledgeable observer understands, the Syrian War is not mostly about Bashar al-Assad, or even about Syria itself. It is mostly a proxy war, about Iran. And the bloodbath is doubly tragic and misguided for that reason.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the leading Sunni powers in the Middle East, view Iran, the leading Shia power, as a regional rival for power and influence. Right-wing Israelis view Iran as an implacable foe that controls Hezbollah, a Shi’a militant group operating in Lebanon, a border state of Israel. Thus, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel have all clamored to remove Iran’s influence in Syria.

This idea is incredibly naïve. Iran has been around as a regional power for a long time—in fact, for about 2,700 years. And Shia Islam is not going away. There is no way, and no reason, to “defeat” Iran. The regional powers need to forge a geopolitical equilibrium that recognizes the mutual and balancing roles of the Gulf Arabs, Turkey, and Iran. And Israeli right-wingers are naïve, and deeply ignorant of history, to regard Iran as their implacable foe, especially when that mistaken view pushes Israel to side with Sunni jihadists. 

Yet Clinton did not pursue that route. Instead she joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and right-wing Israelis to try to isolate, even defeat, Iran. In 2010, she supported secret negotiations between Israel and Syria to attempt to wrest Syria from Iran’s influence.Those talks failed. Then the CIA and Clinton pressed successfully for Plan B: to overthrow Assad. 

When the unrest of the Arab Spring broke out in early 2011, the CIA and the anti-Iran front of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey saw an opportunity to topple Assad quickly and thereby to gain a geopolitical victory. Clinton became the leading proponent of the CIA-led effort at Syrian regime change. 

In early 2011, Turkey and Saudi Arabia leveraged local protests against Assad to try to foment conditions for his ouster. By the spring of 2011, the CIA and the US allies were organizing an armed insurrection against the regime. On August 18, 2011, the US Government made public its position: “Assad must go.”

Since then and until the recent fragile UN Security Council accord, the US has refused to agree to any ceasefire unless Assad is first deposed. The US policy—under Clinton and until recently—has been: regime change first, ceasefire after. After all, it’s only Syrians who are dying. Annan’s peace efforts were sunk by the United States’ unbending insistence that U.S.-led regime change must precede or at least accompany a ceasefire. As the Nation editors put it in August 2012:
The US demand that Assad be removed and sanctions be imposed before negotiations could seriously begin, along with the refusal to include Iran in the process, doomed [Annan’s] mission. 
Clinton has been much more than a bit player in the Syrian crisis. Her diplomat Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi was killed as he was running a CIA operation to ship Libyan heavy weapons to Syria. Clinton herself took the lead role in organizing the so-called “Friends of Syria” to back the CIA-led insurgency. 
The U.S. policy was a massive, horrific failure. Assad did not go, and was not defeated. Russia came to his support. Iran came to his support. The mercenaries sent in to overthrow him were themselves radical jihadists with their own agendas. The chaos opened the way for the Islamic State, building on disaffected Iraqi Army leaders (deposed by the US in 2003), on captured U.S. weaponry, and on the considerable backing by Saudi funds. If the truth were fully known, the multiple scandals involved would surely rival Watergate in shaking the foundations of the US establishment. 

The hubris of the United States in this approach seems to know no bounds. The tactic of CIA-led regime change is so deeply enmeshed as a “normal” instrument of U.S. foreign policy that it is hardly noticed by the U.S. public or media. 
Overthrowing another government is against the U.N. charter and international law. But what are such niceties among friends? 

This instrument of U.S. foreign policy has not only been in stark violation of international law but has also been a massive and repeated failure. Rather than a single, quick, and decisive coup d’état resolving a US foreign policy problem, each CIA-led regime change has been, almost inevitably, a prelude to a bloodbath. How could it be otherwise? Other societies don’t like their countries to be manipulated by U.S. covert operations. 

Removing a leader, even if done “successfully,” doesn’t solve any underlying geopolitical problems, much less ecological, social, or economic ones. A coup d’etat invites a civil war, the kind that now wracks Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. It invites a hostile international response, such as Russia’s backing of its Syrian ally in the face of the CIA-led operations. The record of misery caused by covert CIA operations literally fills volumes at this point. What surprise, then, the Clinton acknowledges Henry Kissinger as a mentor and guide? 

And where is the establishment media in this debacle? The New York Times finally covered a bit of this story last month in describing the CIA-Saudi connection, in which Saudi funds are used to pay for CIA operations in order to make an end-run around Congress and the American people. The story ran once and was dropped. Yet the Saudi funding of CIA operations is the same basic tactic used by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s (with Iranian arms sales used to fund CIA-led covert operations in Central America without consent or oversight by the American people). 

Clinton herself has never shown the least reservation or scruples in deploying this instrument of U.S. foreign policy. Her record of avid support for US-led regime change includes (but is not limited to) the US bombing of Belgrade in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Iraq War in 2003, the Honduran coup in 2009, the killing of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, and the CIA-coordinated insurrection against Assad from 2011 until today. 

It takes great presidential leadership to resist CIA misadventures. Presidents get along by going along with arms contractors, generals, and CIA operatives. They thereby also protect themselves from political attack by hardline right-wingers. They succeed by exulting in U.S. military might, not restraining it. Many historians believe that JFK was assassinated as a result of his peace overtures to the Soviet Union, overture he made against the objections of hardline rightwing opposition in the CIA and other parts of the U.S. government. 

Hillary Clinton has never shown an iota of bravery, or even of comprehension, in facing down the CIA. She has been the CIA’s relentless supporter, and has exulted in showing her toughness by supporting every one of its misguided operations. The failures, of course, are relentlessly hidden from view. Clinton is a danger to global peace. She has much to answer for regarding the disaster in Syria.

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  1. The NSA, CIA, FBI and the entire US establishment is doing everything to take down Trump. Why does he trust them over Syria? Why is he going with McCain, Clinton and Bush? Stay the hell out of Syria.

  2. This adventure into Syria is just what Trump campaigned against, IIRC.

    If it happens, and it looks like it's going to, I hope we are joined with some others, Brits, French, some Arabs....

  3. I'm hoping he is doing a Cuban Missile Redux.

  4. .

    I agree with the article completely. It succinctly describes the history (and failures) of US foreign policy over the period of Clinton prominence in government at the federal level. It alludes to the fact that the same policy has existed since WWII in one form or another and that it continues today. Some of the players and countries may shift but the policy of interference and intimidation continues.

    What wasn't stated or stressed was the massive carnage wrought by the US wars, the millions of people who have been killed and the multiple millions who have been starved and made homeless or turned into refugees whether internal or external. What wasn't mentioned at all was the $ trillions 'wasted' on these pointless wars or the opportunity costs lost for money that could have been used for 'productive' purposes in the very areas we are currently suffering, infrastructure, health and human services, education, training, science and research, and peacefully rather than ham-handedly spreading our influence and the values this country has expressed in the past.


    1. .

      American Exceptionalism

      The tactic of CIA-led regime change is so deeply enmeshed as a “normal” instrument of U.S. foreign policy that it is hardly noticed by the U.S. public or media.

      It's a point that is rarely made. Over the years, the public has become desensitized to most things associated with US foreign policy. If they are told by our leaders that one country is a terrorist nation or that they are an enemy of the US, most people accept it without question. They have a tremendously positive opinion of the US military and if told it needs more money in order to adequately protect us they don't question it. In terms of the various interventions they usually accept them without comment. They only turned on Bush when the costs of his war in US deaths and the money spent forced them to condemn it. In Afghanistan, where the deaths and money spent are less they say nothing even the war goes on for decades and no progress is made. The fact that we fact a draft isolates the public from the carnage. The deaths our military visits upon the indigenous populations is of little concern to most.

      However, how is US intervention viewed by the people who suffer from it?

      IMO, the following article is probably typical of many of those opinions...

      Deaths In Other Nations Since
      WW II Due To Us Interventions

      The article goes on to discuss the various interventions the US has been involved in since WWII...

      After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated "war on terrorism."

      But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths [estimated at 20 million+] in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable...


  5. Trump has an opportunity to go down in flames or greatness. Any careful reading of history shows that all great leaders were flawed. Mediocrity is soon forgotten. Trump has nothing to lose.

  6. This is the shit Trump has to deal with:

    Lindsey Graham, Cory Booker to introduce bipartisan bill that would protect Robert Mueller's job: report

    Someone has to explain to the in-closet fag and the out-closet fag, that Congress does not have authority to change the Constitution.

    1. Lindsey's a fag ?

      Didn't know that.

      Did you know Shep Smith is a fag ?

      Happily fagged up with his partner, too, I read.

  7. Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Made “Enforcement Error” in Determining Diamond and Silk “Unsafe” – ‘Working to Reverse It’


    1. .

      What's a "Zuckerberg?"
      Who the hell cares?


    2. Zuckerberg lifting the censorship of Diamond and Silk is a start. Now it’s time to lift the boot off of The Gateway Pundit, Breitbart and all the other conservatives being crushed by algorithms for their political views.

    3. Zuck the Shrimp was sitting on a 3 inch riser chair during the Senate hearings.

      Everyone has pictures and Zuck will never live it down.

  8. ON THE WARPATH Theresa May vows to hit Assad over chemical attack soon as she reveals the West now has proof he was behind the atrocity

    Jeremy Corbyn warned the PM not to launch military raids on Syria without holding a vote in Parliament first

  9. There is no US interest in further destabilizing Syria, a country which has been fighting ISIS terror, a result of US damage done in Iraq. If Trump goes through with this reckless move, I would welcome his impeachment.

  10. I listened on the road to all 3 hours of The Savage Nation today.

    First, the distressing news.

    The damned My Pillow advertisers have insinuated themselves into his ad menu, with Michael reading the same old tired My Pillow lines and offers, just Code Michael.

    Advertisers are destroying this once great nation, more so than Assad, and that is for sure. They ought to be taken out with Cruise Missiles.

    Michael's guest was Pat Buchanan. They had both voted for Trump and were both of the opinion that this is The Donald's First Great Mistake.

    Some thought was given to the proposition that the Mueller crap had so rattled The Donald's noggin of late that he was subconsciously lashing out at Mueller & Company by taking it out on Syria.

    Future political psychologists will pour over The Donald's tweets, and write many a Ph.D. thesis on them.

    Well, I dunno. But Buchanan and Savage made solid arguments, including that Congress has to approve this action as Syria is not a direct threat to us, has not attacked us, is not planning on attacking us, and The Donald therefore needs Congressional approval, as The War Powers Act does not seem to apply here.

    Earlier today P.M. Theresa May of Britain was unsure who done it. Now I see that she is firming up.

    I concur with Michael and Pat at this point.

    1. Michael did do a lot of pointing of the finger at The Walrus (Bolton).

  11. I'd be damn near ready to take it out on the Syrians too -

    The New Story On The FBI Raid On Trump’s Lawyer Sounds Fishier Than Yesterday’s Story
    Posted at 3:27 pm on April 11, 2018 by streiff

    Attorney Michael Cohen is surrounded by photographers as he walks down the sidewalk, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in New York.

    Federal agents who raided the office of Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, were looking for information about payments to a former Playboy playmate and a porn actress who claim to have had affairs with Trump, two people familiar with the investigation said. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    On Monday, FBI agents working under the direction of the US Attorney (actually his deputy) for the Southern District of New York raided, literally, the offices and residence of Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. According to reports at the time they were primarily interested in any record of payoffs on the part of Trump and porn-star Stormy Daniels or former Playboy “model” Karen McDougal, or any records concerning a role that the National Enquirer may have had in keeping the two from taking to the talk show circuit.
    To me, this seemed and seems like overkill. But it’s Trump, so who cares, right?

    Today, the New York Times has more details, or so we are supposed to believe.

    1. The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump’s lawyer on Monday were seeking all records related to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women, according to three people who have been briefed on the contents of a federal search warrant.

      The search warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

      Federal prosecutors are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud, but they are also scrutinizing whether these efforts amounted to improper campaign donations to Mr. Trump.

      If this is true–big “if”–Trump should fire Rosenstein and anyone involved in approving this raid on Cohen today. Like this minute. Because this is a travesty. If Cohen didn’t try to suppress the Access Hollywood tape he wouldn’t have been very much of a lawyer. If there was a claim of extortion or blackmail or threatening someone, I could understand. But illegal campaign contributions. In the immortal words of one of my platoon sergeants, “gimme a m–f–ing break.” As far as illegal campaign contributions go, this is how they are treated…if your name isn’t Trump:

      President Obama’s campaign has agreed to pay a $375,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission, among the largest penalties in the agency’s history.

      Yes, tell me more. And hold onto your hats here because I’m about to engage in whataboutism:

      The document shows that the Obama campaign failed to disclose the identities of donors responsible for $2 million in contributions in the weeks ahead of the election. The campaign also misreported the dates of $85 million in other contributions.

      In addition, the Obama campaign also kept $1.3 million in contributions that were above the legal maximum allowed for a federal campaign, failing to return them within the 60 days required by law. The campaign kept almost $874,000 of those donations until the FEC discovered they were unlawful.

      So a multi-million dollar violation of campaign finance laws gets you a negotiated fine, but a couple of hundred thousand gets an FBI raid. Go figure.

      People close to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen regard the warrant as an attempt by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to pry into Mr. Trump’s personal life — using other prosecutors as his proxy.

      Bingo. That’s what I said yesterday. The “crimes” are a pretense. The real objective is obtaining the privileged communications between Cohen and Trump and passing those on to Mueller. I don’t care how much Chris Christie loves his “taint,” no sane person believes that prosecutors aren’t going to share any an all information that comes out of this raid.

  12. When 'Mad Dog' Mattis first bumped into Bolton at the Whited House they shook hands and Mad Dog said:

    "Hello. I hear you are the devil incarnate."

    Bolton smiled and laughed at this as they shook hands.

    I'd like to know what Mad Dog really thinks of the coming Syrian adventure.

    He could fully speak his mind by retiring.

    1. I just read Mattis, who seems quite sane to me, is still 'assessing' the situation and hasn't committed to who done it.

    2. The Donald said today that after the Mueller raids on his lawyer's home, office, apartment, there is no way he is ever going to interview with Mueller.

  13. And, another opinion -

    Mr. Trump, Here’s Why Assad Has to Go

    04.11.18 5:09 AM ET


    Syria may be the most complex problem on Earth. Four outside powers, Iran, Russia, Turkey and the United States, control territory or bases; others, like Israel, regularly carry out bombing raids. Even Iraq is waiting in the wings to intervene....

    The war began seven years and one month ago, and despite the efforts of two international groupings dealing with Syria, the U.S.-Russian-led Geneva Process and the Astana group of regional rivals, Turkey, Iran and Russia, there’s been no end in sight. The impasse is usually blamed on the obduracy of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

    But at its heart Syria is a vast collection of war crimes masquerading as a civil war. Shortly after Syrians took to the streets in a national uprising to demand political reform in 2011, Assad went to war against his own people, targeting cities and towns, hospitals and rescue services, mosques, schools and public markets. He directed his security forces to put hundreds of thousands under starvation siege in the Damascus suburbs, blocked the population from medical supplies and repeatedly used chemical weapons, the latest case being in Douma on Saturday.

    Indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets terrorized 12 million of the 23 million people of Syria into fleeing their homes, five million of them seeking refuge abroad. In the memorable phrase of Gen. Philip Breedlove, the U.S. NATO commander in 2016, Assad and his Russian backers were deliberately “weaponizing” Syrian migrants in a bid to destabilize and undermine the European Union....

  14. .

    False Flag? It wouldn't be the first time.

    Israel faces blowback from suspected role in Syria strike

    Israel faced international blowback on Tuesday over the bombardment of Syria's largest air base, a center for the Iranian military effort to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. Although it has not acknowledged a role in the attack, Israel is widely believed to have carried it out.

    Lebanon announced it would complain to the United Nations about the "Israeli intrusion" into its airspace. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the strike as "a dangerous development" in the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year, and Israel's ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow for a rebuke...


    1. How many thousands of missiles has Iran stuffed into Lebanon at last count ?

      Iran resumes building missile plants in Lebanon, Israeli army warns in ... › Middle East News

      Jan 30, 2018 - In a rare article published on Arabic-language media, IDF spokesperson warns Lebanese civilians of possible war if Iran develops precision weapons in Lebanon and if Hezbollah takes control of the political system there.
      Report sheds light on Iranian missile factories being built in Lebanon ...

      Jul 9, 2017 - Illustrative: A Fateh-110 ballistic missile, taken at an Iranian armed forces parade in 2012. ( Commons). The Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group is constructing at least two underground facilities in Lebanon for manufacturing missiles and other weaponry, according to a report by the ...

      IDF warns Lebanese that Iran is turning their country into a 'missile ...

      Jan 28, 2018 - Fighters from the Hezbollah terror group are seen at a rally marking the 11th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, in the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon on August 13, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat). Israel's top military spokesman accused Iran of turning Lebanon into “one big missile factory ...

      Iran Building Weapons Factories in Lebanon and Syria, Israel Says ...
      Aug 29, 2017 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. chief that the sites will make “precision guided missiles” for Hezbollah to use against Israel.
      Rockets, missiles and more: Predicting the third Lebanon war - Arab ...
      Feb 9, 2018 - Some analysts estimate there may be as many as 1,500 to 2,000 rockets fired into Israel daily during the next war, compared with about 130-180 per day during the Second Lebanon War. Hezbollah is said to possess M-600 missiles, a clone of the Fateh-110 Third Generation Iranian missile, with a range of ...

      Iranian military official: We have 100,000 missiles in Lebanon ready to ...
      Jul 3, 2016 - According to Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, "the opportunity to destroy Israel is now better than ever."
      Iran building missile factories in Syria and Lebanon - Netanyahu ...
      Aug 28, 2017 - Israel's prime minister has said Iran is building sites in Syria and Lebanon to produce precision-guided missiles. Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel". Iran's forces are supporting President Bashar al-Assad in ...

    2. I guess the answer to my question is around 100,000 at last count.

    3. Is that the way you'd read it, Quirk ?

    4. .

      The way I'd read it is that if Israel wants to take them out go for it.

      However, I don't want to see them, Israel, using false flag operations as they have done in the past to try to sucker a US president, Trump, into doing the fighting for them.

      How do you read it?



    5. What are the false flag operations to which you refer ?

      Honest question.

    6. .

      Israel was using false flags back in 1954 and they were still using them last year. In '54, there was the Lavon Affair, a false flag operation in Egypt against US facilities. Last year, Bibi visited Putin and tried to force a wedge between Putin and Iran by claiming that Iran was planning on putting up a naval base in Syria. A couple years ago the IDF admitted to publishing phony maps of Lebanon that identified Hezbollah bases there, bases that didn't actually exist. The army does it all the time. A few years back they put out a phony Hezbollah Facebook page. they do it all the time.

      All countries do.

      The problem is when you've got a guy like Trump as president who is felony credulous, it becomes dangerous if it gets him to take actions because of a false flag charges.


    7. All countries do.

      Then what's the use of trying to hold Israel to a higher standard ?

      Your point about Trump may be well taken.

  15. Dershowitz really ripped into Mr. Magoo on Hannity just now.

    A joy to behold.

    I kinda get the feeling Dershowitz is angling to be hired by The Donald.

    1. Poor old Mr Magoo. Seems like everyone is down on him these days.

    2. .

      Dershowitz has defended O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, and Jim Bakker. Might as well go for the big kahuna.


    3. Under our system of jurisprudence everyone is entitled to the best legal defense one can obtain.

      No one would ever criticize you for representing yourself, for instance.

      ar,ar har

  16. Syria, Iran, and Russia


    Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the USA

    with a host of other nefarious characters.

    Sound like fun?

  17. .

    Paul Ryan's Legacy - Budget Deficits in Excess of $1 Trillion

    Paul Ryan announces he will be retiring from Congress.

    Ryan who has spent 20 years in Congress and achieved the position of Speaker has over his entire time in Congress preached a policy of strict fiscal conservatism. He has now announced that he will be retiring after this year. However, rather than one of fiscal conservatism his legacy will likely be that of the man who helped launch the US into a period of budget busting spending.

    The CBO projects that under the budget Ryan just helped push through Congress the budget deficit in 2020 will be in excess of $1 trillion.

    Nice work Paul. Job well done.


    1. A most fair appraisal of a twenty year career.

      Maybe he thought it was the cost of keeping our military functional.

      After all, what's the use of having an Air Force if most of the planes are down for lack of spare parts ?

  18. Aha, I knew it - it's all Mueller's fault -

    Trump blames 'bad blood' with Moscow on Robert's Mueller probe, and on Democrats who have kept 'collusion' hunt going

    1. The phony Steele Dossier is the heart of this international conflict !

    2. That, and Obama's policy of leading from behind.

    3. Savage was right when he speculated Mueller had twicked The Donald's earlobe one too many times.

      The Donald is projecting his justified hatred of and aggression towards Mueller to an overseas target.

    4. .

      The Donald is projecting his justified hatred of and aggression towards Mueller to an overseas target.

      If true, that should tell any rational person how unstable and dangerous Trump really is.


  19. Not 100,000 rockets, 250,000 rockets -

    How Putin’s Folly Could Lead To A Middle East War

    ....That’s exactly what Israel did on Sunday night. The T4 air base was once again the target. Once again, Russia appears to have been left out of the loop. And it also appears that its air defenses were insufficient to prevent a strike on the Iranian air base.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the Israelis on Monday, calling the strike “a dangerous development.” Lavrov is right about that. The Israelis have shown that they can operate repeatedly inside of Syria, with or without Russian deconfliction. And with Trump signaling outrage over Sunday’s chemical weapons attacks in Damascus, the United States is not likely to restrain the Israelis from protecting their interests.

    Putin is now sitting on a tinderbox. The ISIS threat may be contained. But a showdown is looming between Israel and Iran on Russia-controlled terrain. With Iran’s long record of sponsoring terrorist groups that target Israel, coupled with regular calls for destruction of the state of Israel, this has been a long time coming. Iran’s Syrian and Lebanese proxies, who are armed to the teeth with up to 250,000 rockets, are preparing to battle the most advanced military in the Middle East. It promises to be the worst war the region has seen in decades....

    It's all disconcerting, to say the least. The Russians are advising their citizens what to take with them into the bomb shelters, so it's being said.

    1. Some of the folks I spoke with today said they would not be surprised to see Tehran go up in a mushroom cloud.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. ON HIS HIGH HORSE Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat on huge booster seat during Congress probe
    The tech whizz, 33, was spotted perching on a giant, four-inch cushion as he sat before a committee to face a grilling over privacy, Russian hackers and data leaks

    By James Cox
    10th April 2018, 10:37 pmUpdated: 11th April 2018, 3:15 am

  22. .

    The Book on Trump

    From the LA Times...

    Former FBI Director James B. Comey criticizes President Trump as unethical and "untethered to truth" and calls his leadership of the country "ego driven and about personal loyalty" in a forthcoming book...

    Trump has assailed Comey as a "showboat" and a "leaker" and a "liar".

    This is one of those rare moments when we can be pretty sure they are both speaking the truth.



    1. .

      Quirk Review of Books

      From the excerpts of Comey's new book that are currently out there, it appears Comey used Michael Wolff as ghostwriter. The petty, catty descriptions of insignificant details about the president seem more designed for the National Enquirer or Perez Hilton's blog. They diminish any real arguments that Comey hoped to make.

      Luckily for sales of the book, any shortcomings of the book itself will be more than offset by Trump's childish tweets denouncing it and him. The publisher has already committed to an 850,000 first run.

      Comey may be a bit of a bitch but he will also soon be a pretty rich one.