Thursday, February 11, 2016

Webb back?

Woah. I don't know whether or not to consider this good news, but it's definitely news. Jim Webb is considering getting back into the race as an independent.

Hm. I like Webb. He's ballsy enough to say things like this:  
I would be willing to bet that we had people at the top of ISIS who actually have been trained by Americans at some point.
And this:
Now, why is Russia in Syria? Number one, the invasion of Iraq, the way that we did it, the unsettling that it did in terms of the sectarian components inside Iraq and empowering Iran. Number two was the Arab Spring, in my view. I think it was a real error to have intervened in Libya the way that we did, and I think we probably got ahead of ourselves in terms of encouraging dissident elements in some of these countries to stand up and oppose the existing authoritarian governments. I made a comment at the time to please remember the first rule of wing walking: Don’t let go of what you got until you got a firm grasp on where you’re going. And if you look, for instance, in Syria, Assad, you know, he may be an authoritarian leader, but what are you going to do if he’s gone? Did anybody—has anybody figured that out?
On the other hand, does this guy have a real shot of attaining the presidency as an independent?

No. Sorry, but not even Teddy Roosevelt could pull off the trick -- and in the charisma department, Webb is no TR.

A vote for Sanders is a vote for the GOP. The same can be said of a vote for Webb. I am very sorry to come to that conclusion, but one must be realistic. And unlike some of you, foreign policy is not my sole concern.


The solar roads of France

France is embarking on a project to build more than 600 miles of roads with solar panels embedded into the pavement, which will provide energy to 10% of that nation's homes. Yes, this project faces serious economic and technical issues, which you can read about here. A lot of people think that the entire concept is absurd. But...

But do you remember when the United States took the lead in such matters?

We cannot undertake any Big Projects now. Big Projects are socialism. Big Projects require Big Gummint, and 69% of Americans think that Big Gummint is the greatest problem we face.

The ghost of Ayn Rand keeps us petty and poor.
Never going to happen.

I have no problem with either solar panels or roads. Put them together and you get dangerously slippery roads and very expensive solar panels. Roads are about the worst possible place to put solar panels.

Based in Idaho and yes the country that went to the moon now has to buy rockets from Russia.
Save your tears. The claims of the durability of these solar pavements have been fact-checked, and it turns out that the lifetime is much shorter than the promoters claim. It appears that they forgot that the tires of a semi-truck crossing one of these bricks is going to hit it five times, and every other vehicle at least once for each axle. It will be interesting to see what actual durability turns out to be in a real-world installation with real-world traffic and weather.

They would be better off installing conventional panels along the right-of-way, except for the fools that would run off the road and kill themselves hitting a panel support.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What to do when the Washington Post calls for WWIII?

Writing for the WP, Michael Ignatieff and Leon Wieseltier deliver the most concentrated blast of war propaganda published in ages. Ever get a whiff of pure ammonia? Concentrated like that.
As Russian planes decimate Aleppo, and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria’s largest city prepare for encirclement, blockade and siege — and for the starvation and the barbarity that will inevitably follow — it is time to proclaim the moral bankruptcy of American and Western policy in Syria.

Actually, it is past time. The moral bankruptcy has been long in the making: five years of empty declarations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go, of halfhearted arming of rebel groups, of allowing the red line on chemical weapons to be crossed and of failing adequately to share Europe’s refugee burden as it buckles under the strain of the consequences of Western inaction. In the meantime, a quarter-million Syrians have died, 7 million have been displaced and nearly 5 million are refugees. Two million of the refugees are children.

This downward path leads to the truly incredible possibility that as the Syrian dictator and his ruthless backers close in on Aleppo, the government of the United States, in the name of the struggle against the Islamic State, will simply stand by while Russia, Assad and Iran destroy their opponents at whatever human cost.

It is time for those who care about the moral standing of the United States to say that this policy is shameful. If the United States and its NATO allies allow their inglorious new partners to encircle and starve the people of Aleppo, they will be complicit in crimes of war. The ruins of our own integrity will be found amid the ruins of Aleppo. Indiscriminate bombardment of civilians is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. So is the use of siege and blockade to starve civilians. We need not wait for proof of Assad’s and Vladimir Putin’s intentions as they tighten the noose. “Barrel bombs” have been falling on bread lines and hospitals in the city (and elsewhere in Syria) for some time. Starvation is a long-standing and amply documented instrument in Assad’s tool kit of horrors.
No: It is a propaganda meme -- a lie which the neocons use to trick the American public into supporting Al Qaeda and opposing an elected secular leader. Not once -- NOT ONCE does Ignatieff inform his readers that Aleppo has been run by Al Qaeda. Not once does he admit that Russia and Assad are making war on the same force that attacked the United States on 9/11. The Russians are liberating Aleppo from the jihadis -- and I say Thank God.

We all remember the massive lies which prodded us in the Iraq misadventure. Ignatieff's fantasies about "barrel bombs on breadlines" were pulled out of the same orifice where Dubya got his bunk about Saddam's WMDs. (For more, see here.)

Repeatedly, the propagandists call for a no-fly zone. Since Assad and Putin possess air forces and the jihadists do not, a no-fly zone would answer the prayers of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Ignatieff's pro-Al Qaeda propaganda barrage has a purpose: The neocons hope to force Obama into joining Turkey's ground invasion of Syria. Turkey clearly fears to take on Russian power alone -- but with American backing, the Turks will go in. The end result would risk World War III.

If Putin blinks first, what then? The jihadists will take power in Damascus. The corrupt Erdogan regime has profited immensely from shipping all of that ISIS oil, and they will want to keep the party going.

Frankly, we would do better to join Russia in an invasion of Turkey. The goal of eliminating the evil Erdogan family should be somewhere near the top of our list of political desiderata.
Putin won't blink first.
Concur...propaganda, you're soaking in it.
Ignatieff ran for Prime Minister of Canada not long ago... His epic failure was part of the story of how Harper lasted for almost a decade...
Ignatieff and Wieseltier are both writing true to form.

Lobster has an interesting tidbit. It notes that ex Canadian PM Stephen Harper was a CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Service) operative in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A senior Canadian intelligence official named Gareth LLewellyn was reportedly targeted by the CSIS for revealing this 'state secret' and had his career destroyed. There was also a woman who was similarly targeted over an affair with a Liberal Party PM. Michael Ignatieff was leader of the Canadian Liberal Party from 2008 to 2011. When these claims of police state thuggey were drawn to his attention he chose to ignore them. This from the Carr Professor of Human Rights Practice, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ignatieff also is tied to George Soros' Project-Syndicate, an agency with a clear anti-Putin agenda.

On a side note, blogger Karl Naylor is an excellent read on geopolitics and energy.
The Syrian government has controlled the largest portion of Aleppo throughout the war. The civilians living there are definitely not fleeing to Turkey, so that they can rub shoulders with terrorists on the border. The portion of the city controlled by Al Qaeda lost the majority of its population long ago, those people having fled to government controlled areas or to Turkey. The remaining population is comprised largely of terrorists and their families.

Western propagandists rely upon the ignorance of their audience, fostered by corporate and state media, to broadcast the unchallenged lie that the entire city of Aleppo is being surrounded by Syrian government troops and subjected to siege. I expect that Hillary Clinton, the evil wench, will soon start braying about this on the campaign trail to demonstrate her mastery of foreign policy. Will Bernie have the balls to call her out on it?
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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Hoist that false flag, me hearties!

Looks like the intel community is putting the fix in for the Republican candidate (whoever he turns out to be)...
Top U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that ISIS was likely to attempt direct attacks on the U.S. in the coming year and that the group was infiltrating refugees escaping from Iraq and Syria to move across borders.

ISIS "will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016," Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was also at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, estimated that violent extremists were active in about 40 countries and that there currently exist more terrorist safe havens "than at any time in history."

Clapper warned that ISIS and its eight branches were the No. 1 terrorist threat, and that it was using the refugee exodus from violence in Iraq and Syria to hide among innocent civilians in order to reach other countries.

Clapper said ISIS was "taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow," adding that they were "pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers."
The passport thing is real, as seen in previous posts. The claim about refugees is misleading, as this famed John Oliver clip demonstrates. Of course, American intelligence looked the other way when the jihadis traveled to Syria, and they can just as easily look the other way when they travel back.

NSA has all the tools it needs to track every single one these guys in real time, 24/7. If and when a big BOOM occurs, your first theory should be that the spooks wanted to hear a BOOM. And your first, best question -- as always -- is cui bono?
As MoA notes in his latest post:

"Last year the U.S. intelligence community stated that there were some 20,000 foreign fighters with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorists groups in Syria and Iraq. In a congressional testimony today (pdf) the director of national intelligence James Clapper put the current number at 38,000. Turkey claims it closed its border for foreign fighters going to Syria and Iraq. If so how did those additional 18,000 foreign Jihadis enter Syria and Iraq? "
Almost 15 years of the War On Terror and the problem has only gotten worse. Is this not the same result as the War On Drugs? And yet, according to conventional wisdom in the US political structure, this failure is worthy of being rewarded with approval and extended powers.
As I asked my co-workers just before the 2004 election: "Are you frightened enough to vote Republican yet?"
I don't see how this really makes a difference for the election. Both parties are firmly invested in the surveillance police state, and not even Bernie will be able to stop the "war of terror" that the deep state is so intent on having. We hear this same song every year, since 9/11/01. The same people benefit, the military/intelligence industrial complex. As Anon says, this is exactly like the "War on Drugs", the "War on Communism", the "War on Eastasia", etc., etc. I really don't think it matters, at this point, who the President will be, because they have virtually no impact on the status quo. Don't worry though, I would NEVER vote for any of the Republicans. I personally don't think voting matters one bit in the grand schemes of the powers that be, but I do it anyway, just in case. It obviously matters to some extent, or there wouldn't be so much money, media frenzy, and time put into convincing us to vote one way or the other. I just find that cynicism seems the only logical response to our current state of affairs. For me, anyway.
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Leonard Peltier

Many of you know the story of Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activist convicted of killing rookie FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams on the morning of June 26, 1975. Coler and Williams had gone to South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation in search of a robbery suspect (who was not there); it was their misfortune to visit that place during a period of extremely high tension within the Oglala Lakota community. Some believe that Coler and Williams were deliberately sent into an explosive situation, as a provocation.

The state of high tension arose, in large measure, from the actions of a violent private militia -- the GOON squad -- created by Dick Wilson, a tribal chairman whom the traditionalists considered a government stooge. Many Wilson opponents had been "disappeared," almost certainly at the hands of the GOONs.

The events of June 26 will always be in dispute. One participant in the shootout was AIM member Joe Stuntz, who was himself killed by a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer later that same day: This memorial tells his story and provides much important background information. Peltier (apprehended after a lengthy manhunt) has told varying stories concerning his actions on the day of the agents' deaths. He insists that he did not fire the fatal shots, which had been administered at close range. The basis of his arrest was the testimony of a woman who claimed -- falsely -- to be his girlfriend; she later claimed that she gave her statement under FBI duress. Peltier was convicted and is still serving a life sentence.

The FBI's version of events can be found here. Michael Apted and Robert Redford created an acclaimed pro-Peltier documentary titled Incident at Oglala, which is now available online. I encourage interested readers to acquaint themselves with all of the facts and come to their own conclusions.

Whatever your feelings about the 1975 shootout, I strongly encourage you to read Leonard Peltier's account of his current situation.
On February 6th, I will have been imprisoned for 40 years! I’m 71 years old and still in a maximum security penitentiary. At my age, I’m not sure I have much time left.

I have earned about 4-5 years good time that no one seems to want to recognize. It doesn’t count, I guess? And when I was indicted the average time served on a life sentence before being given parole was 7 years. So that means I’ve served nearly 6 life sentences and I should have been released on parole a very long time ago. Then there’s mandatory release after serving 30 years. I’m 10 years past that. The government isn’t supposed to change the laws to keep you in prison — EXCEPT if you’re Leonard Peltier, it seems.

Now, I’m told I’ll be kept at USP Coleman I until 2017 when they’ll decide if I can go to a medium security facility — or NOT. But, check this out, I have been classified as a medium security prisoner now for at least 15 years, and BOP regulations say elders shall be kept in a less dangerous facility/environment. But NOT if you’re Leonard Peltier, I guess.
Today, I’m facing another dilemma — an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). It’s the size of an AAA battery. The doctor told me if it bursts, I can bleed to death. It’s also close to my spine and I could end up paralyzed. The good news is that it’s treatable and the operation has a 96-98 percent success rate. BUT I’m in a max security prison. We don’t get sent for treatment until it is terminal.
Many Americans think that we don't have political prisoners. The informed know otherwise.
What a mess. If the two agents were killed, who was left to be a witness other than a most likely bullied female?
There are three reasons for incarceration:
1. Rehabilitation, clearly this is inapplicable to a 71 year old man.
2. Punishment, society has a right, indeed a duty, to appropriately punish those who commit crimes. Failure to enforce its laws leads to a breakdown in respect for the justice system and to wronged parties engaging in vigilante justice. By the way, I object to victim impact statements because it is society, not victims, who should determine punishment. Every victim believes that the wrong committed to him is the worst thing that ever happened. Whether Peltier's crimes mandate a life sentence is the question. Personally, I am agnostic on the issue.
3. Removal, psychologists tell us that five percent of the population are sociopaths. Some sociopaths can follow the law out of self-interest. Those sociopaths who are unable to follow the law simply cannot be safely allowed to live among us. Whether a conscience can be implanted into sociopaths is an interesting question, though it doesn't seem that we currently know how to do that. The manner of removal is also a question that better minds than mine have not yet solved. In any event, whether Peltier is a true sociopath is another question about which I am agnostic.
None of this addresses the issue of the abysmal manner in which Native Americans have been treated through history, but violence is not the answer.
There is a fourth reason for imprisonment, according to a text book I had during my brief time as a law student, which is deterrence.
Punishment is for the purpose of deterrence. But if you want to say that punishment simply for the act and that punishment to prevent others from committing the act are two separate categories, I can accept that. Although for me, it is really just one category.
I think it is more likely that Leonard Peltier is being punished solely for his leadership activity with the American Indian Movement, just as the leadership of the Black Panthers were punished. I don't know that the legal case against him for the deaths of the FBI agents was ever that strong. Peltier fled to Canada in the aftermath, but was returned to the US after a petition by the US gov which was later revealed to have contained incorrect information (i.e. lies). There was a concerted bid to get Clinton to pardon him in 2000, but that went nowhere. His continued incarceration seems to be motivated by spite.
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Monday, February 08, 2016

Does this woman read Cannonfire?

From here (a site previously not known to me -- thus, I cannot yet gauge its credibility).
The U.S. Secretary of state’s recent trip to Italy did not end up well for him. Having arrived from the Apennine peninsula to talk about the victories of American democracy around the world, Kerry did not know that Italians would end it with a warm farewell.

The purpose of this trip was meant to be for a meeting on the expansion of international coalition attacks on “Daesh”. It was said that there were discussion for increasing support for “moderate opposition” groups, the like Jabha al-Nusra, a Syrian branch of Al-Quadah!

But obviously, the most interesting part of his voyage happened at a joint press conference between Kerry and Gentiloni, Italian minister of foreign affairs. When Kerry started to say what he was supposed to say about combating Assad regime and international terrorism, all of a sudden, one of the journalist started shouting at him “It was you who created Daesh!” while charging at him with her fists.

The woman was immediately handcuffed and made to leave the room.
The downfall of John Kerry is the most disheartening aspect of the entire Obama presidency.

(Oh Christ. You're going to do it, aren't you? Don't bother. I'll do it for you: "Kerry was ALWAYS bad news! Something something Skull and Bones! Illuminati! Build-a-burgers!! AIEEE!!!" If you want your comments to show up here, stop operating like a shill on automatic pilot, and try to put some effort into coming up with something original to say. I'm not asking you to agree with me -- I'm begging for freshness and unpredictability.)
Speaking of Illuminati, if the message is written on both sides, wouldn't the backlight illumination show the writing bleeding through from the other side? So the follow up question is, if the sign is not written on both sides, then why is it on the wrong side and just what is John Kerry Looking at if there is no message on the other side.

Could this be a photo-shopped image? Not by you, but by someone…

Otherwise, it's awesome story and message.
So I clicked on the photo and zoomed way in on it and it actually looks like there might be a faint outline of words from the other side.

So I renounce my prior post.
It's a good idea to write your message on both sides of a sign. People have been known to flash blanks at politicians. When you have to act fast, it is easy to make mistakes.
JK and the truth do not mix at all just another lying neo-conn at heart.

Rumors of an arranged marriage and her family have an interesting back ground.

Is that some new fast-food joint that just gives you the burger and the bun and provides you a food bar where you add your own toppings? ^_^

(That might be a good idea, actually...)
I actually ended up being camera guy on an interview with a veteran several months before they started staining Kerry's rep about viet nam. It was weird at the time to hear him mention Kerry, then when they came out with their accusations, it was like, I was there well before that group went public, moment
Build-A-Burger could also expand its product line to include the Alex Jones Special:

Peanut butter, almond butter, and hazelnut butter on white bread.

White bread on the outside and all nuts on the inside!

This could also be called the Jeff Rense Special. ;)
Ivory, there is -- or was -- a chain in CA called Fuddruckers that did just that. I wonder if they are still in business?

According to Alex Jones, the Build-a-burgers care the root cause of all of our problems.
Coming just a week after the collapse of the Syrian peace talks we have the new UN and Western media war propaganda line that Assad is 'exterminating' thousands of 'detainees'. The UN report makes little distinction between jihadist and Syrian government 'detainees' but the BBC and other Western media are happy to lead the public to the view that this is all Assad's doing.

The (often disturbing) Gordon Duff at VeterensToday claims he visited Syria and inspected their rebel-detainee procedures which appear to support relatively quick release.

Australian academic Tim Anderson has written extensively on these propaganda issues (including an online book). If the Madaya lies are anything to go by then we are witnessing a new push for humanitarian intervention.

Meanwhile, this terrific article from Wall of Controversy notes a meeting of political luminaries on Feb 4th in London to raise humanitarian support for Syria -- David Cameron, Angela Merkel, the Emir of Kuwait, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu, the French and Chinese foreign ministers, European Council president, the US Sec.State John Kerry and UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon!!

WoC also notes that the event sponsor, Kuwait, was a major agent for the Arab states and their financing of the Syrian jihadists.

Coincidence? I think not.
Fuddruckers is still in business.
*sigh* I checked their website, and apparently there is not one Fuddrucker's in the entire Arkanshire. The nearest ones are located in Branson, MO and Bossier City, LA--and no burger could be good enough to go that far for. :P
Not only is Fuddruckers still in business, but they're in Maryland (not to mention Massachusetts).

As to people who might be reading Cannonfire, Norman Goldman was singing your song about Syria on his show this evening. Also, I thought I read earlier today or perhaps yesterday that John Kerry was heard to speak some truth about the situation in Syria.
"The woman was immediately handcuffed and made to leave the room." Love it, very protoStalinesque.

Meanwhile stretch limos are on contract to bring ISIS/DAESH/DEATH or whatever their marketing types want them called at that touchpoint from the airport to gated communities prepared in advance throughout Europe for some R&R.

Seriously though, many many moons ago way back just after 9/11 our Turkish IT guy tipped me off to the Kurdish nest here in Nth London, all handed multi tens of thousands of pounds sterling cash handouts by government fronts to set up home, just waiting to swing into action when needed. God he hated the PKK.

In a previous post where you had a hit list the same like the sign I HA d a comment but for some reason it wasn't published. I will try again. Well the gist of it I agreed with you on most of the list although I had some of my own.
A_ I would hold off on Qatar for now
B_ I would add some African countries to the list. I see Africa in not under your radar much but
C_ after wiping issis Assad has to go. He is evil. That election result you keep citing is nothing to go by. Remember that all the people who likely to vote against him were either dead,outside the country or otherwise unavailable. Not to mention leaders in that region usually posting results of 99'99percent so I wouldn't count on it.
That what I remember of it. That sign reminded me of my response
"Remember that all the people who likely to vote against him were either dead,outside the country or otherwise unavailable."
This is silly. The people who fled the country were largely Christians, Alawites, Shiites, and secularists -- all likely to be Assad supporters.

I am sure that these "supporters" include many who consider him the lesser of two evils. But that is the world we live in: No matter where you are and no matter who you are, you are continually required to determine the lesser of two evils. It must ever be so.
When this crisis started I was the first person to post in this blog in favor of Assad even before you. I remember that I wished for Russia to put its foot down. The reason of course I saw him as the lesser evil. But as I see more and more that his crimes are been swept under the rug I get frustrated.people should never forget he is a bad guy
haha, love the headline. That's exactly what I was thinking when I watched it. Seriously, not like a lot of people are out there telling the truth.
I've read about the west and Saudi (and the other ME nations you mention) being the source of Daesh/ISIS/whatever in other places around the net. Blogs, news sites, etc. Not sure where I read it first, but I tend to come here first every day, so I probably did see it here first in any case. Point being, I would say you are far from the only one to report on this, but I find your research the most interesting to read and often the most thorough. Not to mention, many of the sites that report on this are far right and/or Libertarian type places (like, which I also check out from time to time and used to read religiously).

As to Fudruckers, I used to eat at one in Pittsburgh PA in the mid-90's. It is still there. A quick Google search shows many such restaurants (build your own burger) throughout the nation (most are not chains though). Apparently McDonald's even does this in some markets.
In regard to the London "humanitarian" conference I mentioned earlier, it now seems that it was not so much about laying the groundwork for a UN intervention in Syria but rather forestalling an influx of Syrian refugees from Turkey into Europe.

Zerohedge and MoA expand on the theme.
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Sunday, February 07, 2016

The real Rubio problem

The biggest problem with Rubio's gaffe was not the fact that he repeated his line so robotically. The biggest problem is that it was meaningless and stupid the first time.
"Let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing," Rubio said (repeatedly). "He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking an effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world."
Care to favor us with a few telling examples, Marco? Evidence? Anecdotes? Anything to help prove the point?

Nothing. That's why he kept repeating himself: He has nothing.

Rubio is talking to Republicans, who have transcended the need for evidence. They love conspiracy theories. They love the idea of American exceptionalism. They love the theory that there is a conspiracy to undermine American exceptionalism. Evidence? They don't need no stinkin' evidence. Asking for evidence is bad taste.

Translated out of robot-ese, Rubio's real complaint is that Obama's brand of neoconservatism is insufficiently thuggish. This president's great sin was his refusal to go to war against Syria in 2013. In Rubio's eyes, America is the one country allowed to make war without casus belli -- the one country allowed to impose its will without regard for world opinion. Any president who gives a thought to decency or diplomacy must be a supervillain -- an evil schemer intent on making America small.

Vox says that Rubio wanted to drive home Obama's nefarious nature as part of a more-conspiratorial-than-thou game of one-upsmanship with Trump:
In an attempt to prove Obama's failure as president is not because of a lack of experience, but because of a difference in ideology, Rubio created a rift in the typical Obama-is-an-idiot GOP rhetoric.

Trump, who is big on the "Obama is incompetent" bandwagon, responded to Rubio's point at the debate:

"First of all, Marco said earlier on that President Obama knows exactly what he's doing, like we have this president that really knows -- I disagree, respectfully, with Marco," Trump said. "I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent and he doesn't know what he's doing. I think he has no idea what he's doing. And our country is going to hell."
This line of attack is hilarious. Consider the source: Trump is a guy who doesn't know what the Nuclear Triad is, who didn't know that Iran's frozen funds were Iranian to begin with, and who thinks that Mexico will pay for a border wall. I doubt that Donald Trump could pass the final exam of a high school civics course.

Behold Trump! And behold Rubio! On one hand, you have a boob who calls Obama a boob, apparently on the theory that it takes one to know one. On the other hand, you have an ambulatory piece of poorly-written AI programmed to shout "Obama is Blofeld! Obama is Blofeld! Obama is Blofeld!", because repetition = truth.
There's no "W" in Blofeld.
Gad, I can't believe I made that mistake. I know better! I'll fix right away.

Quite enjoyed "SPECTRE," by the way. Can't understand why so many others had problems with that one.

Spectre was okay. I don't think I'll watch it again, but it wasn't bad.

As for Blofeld, I was really think of Blowers, the cricket commentator from Test Match Special.
Rubio'd got trucked by CC. And the Truck now says he's going to SC no matter what... I think they all will, as everyone knows that by keeping Trump under a plurality, it's going to be a old guard decision at the convention.
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Rubio's BSOD moment

Right after I predicted (or rather reiterated my prediction) that Marco Rubio would be the Republican nominee, he blows it like...

like... the way I just blew it, trying to think of a non-obscene-yet-amusing way to end that sentence.

Marco Rubio is now the official candidate of Uncanny Valley. The funniest response I've seen so far appeared here: "I think Christie caused some sort of divide by zero error in the Rubot's operating system. Rubio is acting like one of those Star Trek robots that go all explodey when presented with a simple contradiction in logic."

So, is this it? Is Marco Roboto doomed to become abandonware, or can his campaign be rebooted?

This situation reminds me of that icky-squicky scene when Gerry Ford prematurely announced to the nation that Poland had been liberated from Communist tyranny (thereby effectively ending his campaign). Yes, I'm old enough to have seen that debate broadcast live. 1976: "The Poles are free." 2016: "Obama knows exactly what he's doing."

You think Marco Rubio is robotic? Just try watching Carter and Ford. Jimmy is much more charismatic now than he was then. So is Gerry.
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I keep telling my wife that Rubio and Cruz are the two single worst "Presidential" candidates I've ever seen or heard of. I am no Republican and won't be voting for any of them but for one of the two parties to be this close to nominating someone who is this incompetent is beyond baffling and downright shameful. Unfortunately, Trump isn't much better. At least with Christie he understands politics and understands how our government really works. The Republican base needs to get a grip on reality and start figuring out what a government is really for and how it operates so they can start putting into power people who can actually make this country better rather than keep empowering pirates who want nothing more than to loot our treasury and our resources.
It astounds me anybody ever thought Rubio had a chance. He is like a Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, a total lightweight.

The ticket will be with either Bush, Kasich, or both, just as it was intended, since the Republicans need Ohio and Florida to have a shot. If that is the case, Trump WILL run third party to pave the way for Hillary Clinton. That was the deal all along. Trump is the greatest ratf***er of all time.
@ GregoryP. I'm from New Jersey so I must take issue with your comment that "At least with Christie he understands politics and understands how our government really works."

He may "understand politics" but only in the worst possible way. The Bridgegate scandal is just the tip of the iceberg so far is his rank corruption goes. Like the Bush administration, he has hideously politicized just about every aspect of government in New Jersey, at least to the best of his ability. He is also effectively thrown the voters of New Jersey under the bus in pursuit of the presidency. It is my firm hope that, once his campaign implodes, he will be indicted.

Any real scrutiny of Rubio's record also reveals him to be corrupt. He's lied about his parents being anti-Castro Cuban refugees, his credit card charges on Republican Party credit cards shows that he doesn't know the difference between public and private expenditures, and he is a fixer in the worst sense, lobbying to have his cocaine selling brother-in-law secure a Florida real estate license.

But, I think his worst flaw is his mindnumbing stupidity as reflected in his hopeless performance during this debate. After 8 years of having another mind-numbingly stupid Republican in office (W, of course) the country can ill afford to have an idiot like Rubio anywhere near the oval office.
"So is Gerry." Priceless.
I have to second Redhand's comments on Chris Christie. I'm a native of NJ. I have family and friends in the state, all of whom detest Christie and his bully-boy persona. Be it demonizing teachers and other public workers [you know, the mythical bunch that are making a gazillion dollars off the taxpayer dole] to having the state's credit downgraded 9 times to his romance with big donor business types who have yet to contribute to any real economic turn around in the area to his Soprano-like delivery, the citizens of the Garden State are more than ready to show the Governor the door. And that's not to welcome nor support him in his quixotic presidential bid. He would lose the state, badly.

As for Rubio? I've yet to see what all the excitement is about. A fresh face, yes. Latino, yes. Beyond that, there's little to recommend in terms of any true accomplishments. He certainly should have been ready for the Christie attacks; they were telegraphed for a solid week. Instead, he proved the attacks true--he doesn't think on his feet, relying instead on canned points whether they're relevant or not. His personal finance problems are hardly a plus for him. As a nominee, he'd be raked over the coals.

In my mind, Kasich is the strongest general election candidate the GOP has. But he isn't pure enough, so he's unlikely to get the nod. In the same way Jon Huntsman was thrown to the curb.

Then there's The Donald. OMG.

Blue Screen of Death moment? (I couldn't figure it out so I had to look it up. I hope I'm not the only one!) Good one! Except he didn't totally freeze up, of course.

With Rubio self-destructing under pressure, perhaps Jeb! and his crew can hold back on the Rubio was/is? gay! rumor-mongering attacks, although I've seen the opening salvoes already. With Carson calling out Cruz as a liar in a genteel and quiet but obvious way, harming him with voters, the rivals who might plausibly rise to challenge Trump even slightly have now been reduced to no candidates. Kasich, Christie or Jeb!? I don't see a path for any of them, even if Cruz and/or Rubio suspend their bids.

Trump is looking more and more likely to win the nomination in my view, and I once thought it impossible. But you can't beat something with nothing.

Redhand, I didn't say that I liked Christie in any way. Just thought he might be a bit more competent than the other Republican wanna be's. I think he is vile and corrupt but even vile and corrupt people can do the right thing and get some good things done. He doesn't strike me as one of those war mongering bastards that is going to immediately try to invade Syria or Iran. I am probably wrong but I think he might be the best of a bad lot so to speak and that is embarrassing to this country. He belongs in prison for his escapades in Jersey. Definitely not in the White House.
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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Narratives -- or: Why neutrality would be immoral

The good guys are finally winning in Aleppo, where the jihadis have been running the show. Unsurprisingly, the BBC wants to convince its audience that the wrong side is prevailing.
Nato has accused Russia of "undermining" Syrian peace efforts through its strikes, which it says are mainly aimed at opposition groups. Russia insists it only targets what it calls terrorists.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia of being engaged in an "invasion" of Syria, saying it was trying to create a "boutique state" for ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Erdogan said Russia and the Syrian government were together responsible for 400,000 deaths in Syria.
What propagandistic bunk!

The people running the BBC can, of course, argue that they have told no lies -- technically. They have simply quoted the leader of Turkey. Well, I say that journalists become complicit in a falsehood if they routinely cite a man like Erdogan without offering any context.

The BBC could have exposed Erdogan's whopper by mentioning these two facts:

Fact 1: Neither Bashar Assad nor Vladimir Putin caused 400,000 deaths in Syria. That gruesome number is entirely the responsibility of ISIS, Nusra (Al Qaeda), and other jihadist groups.

Fact 2: The Erdogan family reaps immense profits from the sale of ISIS-brand oil, stolen from the Syrian people. Does anyone expect honesty from the business partner of ISIS?

Not long ago, a writer named Ira Chernus wrote a piece which appeared in various progressive journals. Flawed as his analysis is, it deserves to be read in conjunction with the BBC's exercise in neocon agit-prop.

Chernus argues that the problem we face is one of competing narratives. He's right -- but also, in part, wrong:
It was half a century ago, but I still remember it vividly. “We have to help South Vietnam,” I explained. “It’s a sovereign nation being invaded by another nation, North Vietnam.”

“No, no,” my friend protested. “There’s just one Vietnam, from north to south, divided artificially. It’s a civil war. And we have no business getting involved. We’re just making things worse for everyone.”

At the time, I hadn’t heard anyone describe the Vietnam War that way. Looking back, I see it as my first lesson in a basic truth of political life—that politics is always a contest between competing narratives. Accept a different story and you’re going to see the issue differently, which might leave you open to supporting a very different policy.
So far, so good. But then Chernus veers off course...
Right now, as Americans keep a wary eye on the Islamic State (IS), there are only two competing stories out there about the devolving situation in the Middle East: think of them as the mission-creep and the make-the-desert-glow stories. The Obama administration suggests that we have to “defend” America by gradually ratcheting up our efforts, from air strikes to advisers to special operations raids against the Islamic State. Administration critics, especially the Republican candidates for president, urge us to “defend” ourselves by bombing IS to smithereens, sending in sizeable contingents of American troops, and rapidly upping the military ante. Despite the fact that the Obama administration and Congress continue to dance around the word “war,” both versions are obviously war stories. There’s no genuine peace story in sight.
Chernus argues that peace activists should frame this conflict as a civil war in which America can play no useful role.
The Muslim civil war story leads directly to a radical change in policy: stop trying to impose a made-in-America order on dar al-Islam. Give up the dubious gratification of yet another war against “the evildoers.” Instead, offer genuinely humanitarian aid, with no hidden political agenda, to the victims of the civil war, especially those fleeing a stunning level of violence in Syria that the U.S. has helped to sustain. But cease all military action, all economic pressures, and all diplomatic maneuvering against any one side in the Muslim civil war. Become, as we have in other civil wars, a genuine neutral.

The problem with Chernus' argument comes down to this: His "civil war in progress" framework has the same adversarial relationship with reality that we've come to expect from the BBC or the NYT.

What's happening in Syria is not a civil war. Syria and Iraq were invaded by a foreign army.

As we've seen in many (many) previous posts, the Syrian "rebels" are actually a coalition of proxy forces created by the United States, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. This proxy army has the blessing and encouragement of the Israelis, who demand the removal of Bashar Assad.

The neocon Establishment -- both Republican and Democrat -- hopes to make war on Assad under the pretext of battling ISIS. The outrages perpetrated by ISIS are a gimmick designed to justify our involvement. The neocons have no real intention of getting rid of the jihadists -- in fact, the plan is to bring the jihadists to power.

Of course, our leaders will tell the public that we are helping "the moderates" -- another false narrative. There are no anti-Assad moderates.

Most of the jihadists in Syria were not born there: They flew there. Most of them should have been (and probably once were) placed on "no fly" lists. That fact alone tells you everything you need to know about the complicity of the United States and its allies in this unprovoked attack on peaceful Syria. ISIS is our monster baby. These European and North African maniacs, brainwashed by Islamist propaganda, decided that God gave them the right to govern the Levant -- and that the Shi'ites, Alawites and secular Sunnis who have lived there for centuries deserve no rights whatsoever.

That's the "competing narrative" you're looking for, Ira.

This narrative probably will not please Ira Chernus because it offers little to peaceniks.  But my "proxy army" construct has the virtue of being demonstrably true, while the "civil war" storyline is fictional.

Older progressives may prefer the fictional version of history because they came of age during the Vietnam conflict, and Vietnam really did experience a civil war. But Syria is different.

Once one has understood that neocons in "The West" and their Sunni allies subjected Syria to a foreign invasion -- not a civil war -- then one can see the immorality of neutrality.

I do not call for peace. I call for war. Perhaps not a war in which our troops personally participate, but a war in which we choose better allies. 

I call for a war in which we ally ourselves with the heroic peoples of Russia, Syria and Iran.

I call for a war to rectify the great wrong we did to the government of Bashar Assad, who (unlike our "friends" in Saudi Arabia and Qatar) won a democratic election which was certified by impartial international observers. Even though most of Assad's natural supporters (Christians, Alawites and other religious minorities) have fled for their lives, Assad is still more popular in his country than Obama, Trump, Rubio and Hillary are in this country.

Once ISIS, Nusra and the other jihadis have been destroyed, morality demands that we pay reparations to Syria. Morality also demands that we officially apologize to the Syrians for the great injustice we did to them.

Beyond that: We should contemplate ridding the world of the consummately evil family now running Saudi Arabia. They funded ISIS and Al Qaeda, and their hideous attack on Yemen is a greater obscenity than was Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. What more casus belli do we need? Of course, it should be understand that the effort to free Arabia may require the direct participation of American troops.

Beyond that: We should also contemplate military action against Qatar, which is run by Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani -- one of the most obnoxious dictators the world has ever seen.

Beyond that: We should contemplate military action against the Erdogan regime in Turkey. (Always recall that the Erdogan crime family came to power via election fraud).

Beyond that: We should help the heroic Russians dismantle the vile neo-Nazi regime we installed in Ukraine.

Beyond that: For neither the first nor the last time, I call for the military conquest of Israel, in order to save the lives of millions of Palestinians. An international tribunal, following the Nuremberg model, should determine the fate of the oppressors.

Leftists like Ira Chernus mean well, but they are misleading. They insist on framing the Syrian problem purely in terms of peace and war. I say that we should frame the issue in terms of choosing the correct side. We have brought the world closer to a third World War because we have allied ourselves with the bad guys: Fascists, jihadists, extremists, dictators.

Neutrality? Too late for that.

Peace? Yes, but only after we have put right the wrongs we have committed.

Today -- as in 1941 -- it is necessary to fight. If we cannot intervene directly, then we should aid those who battle for secularism, anti-fascism, religious tolerance and democracy. First and foremost, we must choose the right allies.

How's that for a competing narrative?
Who is the consummately evil family running Saudi Arabia?
The Saudis. They named the country after the family.
Vietnam was no more a civil war than this is. The south was set up and entirely supported by America.

There's also nothing America can do militarily against Turkey. Obviously you'd win an all out war, but even putting aside NATO and Incirlik, Turkey has some hundreds of American-built post-Cold-War fighter jets, American-built and with state of the art missiles. No cost-free Serbia-style massacre of the natives.
The Syrian city of Aleppo has been under the control of the al-Qaeda branch known as al-Nusra. In recent days, the Syrian Army assisted by Russian airstrikes has made major progress in liberating the city from the terrorists (foreign mercenaries). Virtually all of the Western mainstream (or corporate) media, not just the BBC, have been reporting this story as a "siege" on the civilian population by indiscriminate and murderous Syrian and Russian forces. The terms "al-Qaeda" or "al-Nusra" have not appeared in a single story. The tone of these stories is invariably some shade of hysterical.

I remember when an analysis of "manufacturing consent" - how these narratives are shaped by the media - would require books of several hundred pages (i.e. Chomsky and Hermann) to parse through subtle phrasing and minute omissions. Nowadays it is full on hysteria and astonishing Orwellian inversions of obvious realities. I don't know if reporting -across the board in the MSM - has ever been this bad and uniform. It became obvious in the summer of 2014, with the full on hate fest directed at Putin over MH17, and it hasn't stopped since. Was there a wholesale change of editors that summer? Is there some sort of secret massive crisis undermining the Western countries such that the overlords have decided the masses must be fooled into a global war? The past 36 hours or so, with the hysteria over a defeat for jihadi terrorists coupled with the sneering dismissal of the UN panel on Assange, is demonstrating a media environment which is simply not healthy, and which is propping up a consensus reality, at least in the Western countries, which is unsustainable due to its lack of reality.
A competing narrative, sure, but not a compelling one. IMHO. Just because people with dubious values (and sadly actions) take your position does not mean you stand with them or you are in the wrong spot. Sure you should detest them but you are probably already occupied enough by the enemy-enemies, you can deal with the friendly-enemies after. I dislike the politics of reality but can't yet see how to deny them. You can be contrary and flip things but you'll still end up with the same symmetrical faults.
Obviously you are condemning the entire American Political Class here for there is no candidate of either major party who would enact any of your measures. That being the case
any force or candidate whose policies would stand the best chance of destabilizing the system would be the best hope for the world and freeing the American people from the System's shackles.
Leading public and private institutions in the UK and the US have been captured by the hard Right. They believe -- and they are supported by a captured media in this -- that you don't need facts when you can just repeat the lie. Everything is marketing to them and popular discontent is just sign of poorly designed marketing. It's a vicious, empty vision that can only result in domestic police states and foreign wars.

The problem with the progressives and the Left is that they mistakenly believe that if they name the process and call it out then public clamor will force a return to sanity. (I'm sure many in 1930s Germany felt the same way). We are past that stage now and new war/police state policies are being announced almost daily. Here are two disturbing examples:

The former ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, is now Director of Cyber Security inside the UK Cabinet Office.

The IMF has endorsed Ukraine's decision to default on Russian government loans. This dismantling of global financial infrastructure invites US-approved nations to repudiate Russian and Chinese debts at will. It's a declaration that the ongoing basis of global relations is to be a state of war.
anon 2:55 -- I corrected my text re: Aleppo. Apologies. My memory is still pretty good, but occasionally facts get misfiled.

You are absolutely right about our unhealthy "media environment." I've never seen it so bad.
'military conquest of israel' etc.
how would that work exactly? have you posted about that before, in detail?
i'm sure you have a better rationale than 'exterminate the ZOG before they sacrifice our babies for tasty matso's' blahblah /s. (like subverting US interests, getting us into fights that end up w dead GI's, USS Liberty, etc.), but how would that even be possible? they have nukes, subs, samson option, half of US congress, mossad, hollywood, etc.
Fu****g A right Joe!
I don't know if sillybill is a hasbara troll or someone who doesn't like Jews or some unclassifiable amalgam of the two.
Joseph, neither one. i was genuinely confused about how one would go about attaining that military and political goal against all odds. i had also been drinking, and have only now remembered the stinker i left in your comment section. i hereby vow not to make dumb remarks online while drinking.
but seriously, the question remains - despite my earlier intemperance and horrible recipe suggestions.
I agree that the Assad side is the lesser evil, and the USA should quit its de facto sponsorship of ISIS.

I would like to end all military and financial aid to the odious regimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

I would like to make peace with Russia; I think Putin--while he's hardly a saint--just wants to look out for his country.

But actually jump in, with troops, on the other sides? Oh hell to the no!

I hope this is a "Modest Proposal" sort of ironic column, or else it sounds like Cannon has finally gone off the deep end. :o
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Friday, February 05, 2016

Bernie v Marco: DISASTER

Rubio is gaining on Trump. Bernie is gaining on Hillary nationwide. (He will of course win NH by a wide margin.)

These new tendencies trouble me because a Sanders/Rubio matchup cannot be won by the Democrat.

I will confess that a Sanders/Trump contest might result in a narrow Dem win, but only because The Donald is divisive and unpredictable and bizarre.

I predict that many of my readers are now itching to complain about Hillary and her neocon streak. Doing so is quite fair -- I've registered many such complaints myself. That said, your comment may not be published if you give me reason to suspect that you are a shill operating on automatic pilot. If your attitude is "I don't care who wins, as long as Hillary loses," seek another blog.

Look: Obama did not go to war with Syria in 2013, despite the pressures to do so. Peace generally prevailed during the Bill Clinton years, despite his foreign policy bungles.

Dems prefer approaches that do not involve the regular military forces. Drones, yes; special forces, yes; CIA subversion, yes. Boots on the ground? Not so much.

Obama was bad, but Romney would have been much, much worse. A President Romney would have mired us in a Syrian war -- which could easily have morphed into an American/Russian war by this point.

Hillary will probably be as bad as Obama (unless she is playing a very devious "long con" with the neocon Establishment, a possibility not to be ruled out). That said, I honestly do not believe that she wants to place American troops in harm's way, and I am quite certain that she does not want war with Putin. She's too smart for that.

Rubio will be worse. Much, much, MUCH worse.

Marco Rubio is to neconservatism as Cyd Charisse was to gams: The Ultimate Exemplar.

(Am I the first writer in twenty years to use the word "gams"? Am I the only one who recalls Cyd Charisse?)

Rubio is the darling of the Kristols and the Kagans and that whole PNAC crowd. Here's what Bob Parry wrote not long ago, in a piece titled "Neocons Make Rubio Their Favorite":
In October, The Wall Street Journal detailed Rubio’s ever-hardening line on Putin which is, by subtle extension, an attack on Trump’s foreign policy bona fides. Rubio said, “We are barreling toward a second Cold War, and strong American leadership is the only force capable of ensuring that peace and security once again prevail,” and promised that “under my administration, there will be no pleading for meetings with Vladimir Putin. He will be treated as the gangster and thug that he is. And yes, I stand by that phrasing.”
Also not coincidentally, the boyish charmer with a Hispanic name, Cuban roots and a compelling immigrant back story is pitching his transformative candidacy with a catchy campaign slogan that sounds vaguely, perhaps even ominously familiar: “Marco Rubio: A New American Century.”

Yes, Rubio has gone “Full-Neocon” and the echoes of grand designs past don’t stop with his blatant campaign slogan. On Nov. 5, Rubio gave a sweeping speech in New Hampshire outlining his defense policies that could, according to an expert at the Cato Institute, add upwards of $1 trillion dollars on top of current budget projections over the next decade.
Like the neoconservative brand he has franchised, Rubio has been waiting for the catalyzing event he can leverage into to transformative program to “rebuild” the world’s largest military and extend its already global-spanning reach.
But that’s the double-edged sword of Rubio’s Establishment bid — he’s a perfectly-crafted neoconservative Ken Doll who hits all their marks, but, at the same time, he’s an animatronic Establishment robot who reliably recites a well-worn message at least half of all GOP voters are currently rejecting out of hand.
This collection of Rubio quotes should chill your soul:
“Look at Vietnam and look at China, countries that we have engaged. They are no more politically free today than they were when that engagement started.”
Believe it or not, that's his rationale for ramping up a new Cold War.
“Empowering and supporting Syria’s opposition today will give us our best chance of influencing it tomorrow.”
More here:
Pressed by host Martha MacCallum on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” about whether any military action by the United States now means we’re at war with Russia, Rubio responded with talk of setting up a “safe zone” in Syria. This zone could be used as a sort of base for moderate rebel groups opposed to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, from which they could continue to wage war. Considering that Rubio had just a minute before stated that Russia is bombing these groups in order to eliminate them and prop up Assad, it’s hard to see how putting these rebels under official U.S. protection would not put our forces in direct conflict with the Russian military.
Not only that. We know that there are no moderates among the rebels, at least none with any muscle. We've been stretching the term "moderate" in such a way as to include Al Qaeda.

This piece is important, even though it comes to us by way of the dreaded Cato Institute (and was published by the even more dreaded Arianna Huffington)...
Moreover, Rubio's form of internationalism operates like a workman with only a hammer: every problem looks like a nail. In this case, the first and usually only solution to foreign problems is military. Indeed, it seems that the mere availability of military action requires reliance on military action. Anything else--diplomacy, economic sanctions, even threatening future military action--is the worst form of "appeasement," another meaningless yet all-purpose insult.
Indeed, Rubio might discuss whether he believes peace itself to be evidence of an "isolationist" policy. For instance, he declared: "I will use American power to oppose any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace or outer space." Wow, any violations. He also promised to treat as a casus belli "the economic disruptions caused when one country invades another, as well as the chaos caused by disruptions in choke points such as the South China Sea or the Strait of Hormuz." Does that mean America has to fight any war involving any trading partner?

When one contemplates the adverse consequences of this policy of perpetual intervention and war, one might start feeling some "isolationist" tendencies. For when it comes to Rubio, "isolationist" really means good old-fashioned common sense. Don't go to war unless you have to. Don't try to solve other people's problems. Don't turn small problems into bigger ones. Don't risk your own people's lives and money in misbegotten crusades abroad. Especially when none of those issues ever struck you as vital enough to impel you to serve in the military.

Far from highlighting Rubio's qualifications for the presidency, his foreign policy views demonstrate a world view which is both simplistic and dangerous. When coming from the Florida Senator, "isolationist" should be viewed as a compliment.
During a December debate, Rubio more or less stated that removing Assad was so damned important that the elevation of ISIS to power in Syria was an acceptable outcome.
“If we are to defeat our enemies we need to be clear-eyed that toppling a government and allowing radical Islamic terrorists to take over a nation is not benefiting our national security interests,” said Cruz, referring to Obama’s Syria policy goals. “Putting ISIS or Al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of yet another state in the Middle East is not benefiting our national security.”

Rubio’s stance couldn’t be more different. At the event, he argued unequivocally in favor of efforts to take down Assad.

“As long as Assad is in power you’re going to have in place someone that creates the conditions for the next ISIS to pop up, for the next ISIS to emerge,” Rubio said Thursday. “This simplistic notion,” he concluded, “that ‘leave Assad there because he’s a brutal killer, but he’s not as bad as what’s going to follow him,’ is a fundamental and simplistic and dangerous misunderstanding of the reality of the region.”
What dangerous doubletalk!

You want to talk reality? The reality (as we have demonstrated in many previous posts) is this: "The West" -- along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- created the Syrian rebellion in order to topple Assad. Empowering ISIS was the whole point of that operation.

Trump annoys me. Hillary infuriates me. Sanders disappoints me (at least on the foreign policy front). Cruz can induce vomiting.

But nobody scares me like Marco Rubio.
Read this. But please try not to have another heart attack over it.
Nothing new there, Michael. Since the 1990s (and certainly in 2008), saying "The Clintons are the Establishment" has been one of the standard ways The Establishment has attacked the Clintons.
BTW: I presume, then, you want a President Rubio? Because that's what you'll get. It's Hillary or Marco. Don't kid yourself into thinking that Bernie has a chance against Rubio.
Rubio isn't going to be the nominee. Neither is Sanders. Sanders will be gone after Super Tuesday.

I am still looking at Bush/Kasich or Kasich/Rubio as the final ticket. Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
Really? I've been predicting for a long time now that Rubio would head the ticket, and probably would win the general. But I would be interested to hear how you came to your conclusions...
This will only last until March 1st. On the 2nd, you will awake to seeing Clinton up with in insurmountable delegate lead over Sanders. Iowa, in a caucus, and NH, were alway the only places where Bernie was really strong. It won't be that close on March 1st, she'll win easily.
It's interesting how Trump has not yet laid into Rubio, never has either, that I recall. I too expect that Bush, maybe Kasich, one or the other, is going to come out of NH as the person that the others all gather around. It's going to be a long messy game on the GOP side, practically assured that it will be a dealmaker convention. The only way to avoid that was if Trump ran the table, that could still happen, but it looks less likely now than it did a week ago.
Michael, above. Martin Longman is a longtime Clinton hater. He was a complete tool in 2008. Anything he says is not to be taken as even close to objective. One Q poll is nothing to hang your hat on. And besides, only a northeastern fool would not understand the history of the word progressive. Clinton, like a lot of southerners, adopted the word in place of liberal in the 1980's, she's speaking a different language than the progressive party of Bernie in Burlington.
Saw a piece on tv showing lots of Kaisich. I just shook my head... if Bernie is the nominee, Kaisich would wipe the floor with him.

I confess to intensely disliking Clinton myself. She's just a calculating politician. Not an original thought in her head, just poll-tested talking points fed to her by a retinue of Clinton peeps left over from the 1990s. The more I hear her condescending tone and memorized empty promises, the more annoyed I get. She's like that girl in high school who sucked up to the teacher, aced every exam, and ended up valedictorian - but had the personality of a tin can. Frankly, I don't know how I could stand eight years of her. I would probably check out.

But sure, I'd vote for her over just about any Republican.

PS, those Goldman-Sachs speeches should be pretty interesting if she ever dares to release them.
"New Poll Shows Sanders Obliterating Clinton's 31-Point National Lead"

The Democratic Party establishment is quaking in their boots.
Joseph, I totally respect your wisdom and read only your blog, BUT how dare you mention Cyd Charisse's name in a Rubio comparison! I loved her.
jack, I liken Cyd to Marco only the same sense that I would liken Cyd to the hydrogen bomb. Both are The Ultimate Examples of Their Kind.
Joseph, you have redeemed yourself. Now let's talk Claudia Cardinale. And, should Bernie by chance become the Democratic nominee, I do hope your assessment is wrong.
Ah, Claudia! Do you know that last year she starred in an comedic update of "Once Upon a Time in the West" -- called either "Once Upon a Time in a Western" or "Twice Upon a Time in the West"? It was directed by a Russian.

Well, what can one say? She's magic. In the original, she drove the same horse-cart from Monument Valley to a desert in Spain, all on the same journey...

Trying to find a Jonah Goldberg motive for telling the probable truth here but these two pieces also have gems within.

1 comment:

Ken Hoop said...
While you're on the subject of conservatives getting away with lying.

But sadly, even though more lies are alluded to here,

this commenter and the abominable Goldberg probably have it right

Matthew says:
February 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm
But I dont think any of what Cilliza writes really has any teeth. As Jonah Goldberg said over at NR and I find hard to refute, “Bernie Sanders has to believe Hillary Clinton is part of the problem. But he won’t say so, save to prattle on about Clinton’s super PACs and speaking fees. That’s amateur-hour stuff. It’s academic-seminar-level griping, not revolution-fomenting. He wants to talk about the system, but he won’t do what is minimally required to change it. And right now, the first step on that long road is steamrolling Hillary Clinton. It’s like saying you want to do whatever it takes to fight malaria, but refusing to say much about the huge, sprawling, and fetid marshlands in the middle of downtown. The Clintons are swamp creatures, taking what they need and leaving in their retromingent wake the stench of corruption. If Bernie Sanders had the conviction of a real Communist, or even one of America’s great socialists, he would make this personal, he would recognize the opportunity he has and seize upon it. But his vanity is too important, his reputation too precious. If he honestly believes the stakes are what he says they are, then surely it’s worth getting a little dirty. It’s not like the Clintons aren’t willing to get dirty. If anything, they’ve never been remotely interested in getting clean.”

2:25 PM
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Do you know this dance, Joseph?
Probably the most sensuous performance ever filmed. The sequence around 1:10 is breathtaking.
A few years ago, I was trying to explain to a friend the Platonic majesty of Cyd Charisse's gams in the Girl Hunt ballet from 'The Bandwagon.' (She was looking for, well, an exemplar to reference for a graphic on which she was working.) Lacking my copy of the film, I kicked Ms. Charisse's name into my browser to look for a still or clip -- and learned, for the first time, she had taken up ballet as a 'tween to help recover her strength following a bout of polio.

For a moment, I nearly sympathized with the anti-vaxxers....
I certainly remember Cyd Charisse. As a curmudgeonly 74 year-old with a thyroid deficiency, I have a lot in common with Bernie Sanders, although, since I presently live in a foreign country with universal health insurance, I pay next to nothing for medicines.

As For Marco Rubio, he is apparently being torn to pieces in the ongoing Rethuglican debate by Chris "the truck" Christie and the Donald--apparently there's no there there.
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Is Turkey preparing to invade Syria? Is all hell about to break loose?

The American establishment is finally turning against the Syrian misadventure: Not long ago, we saw a study (produced by I-forget-which think tank) which claimed that Nusra (a.k.a. Al Qaeda) was an even greater menace than ISIS. This, mere months after David Petraeus was telling Americans that we should partner up with Nusra.

Perhaps the shift in the winds explains why Turkey may do something bold or desperate or stupid:
The Russian military said Thursday that it has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that Turkey is making intensive preparations for a military invasion of neighboring Syria.

Images of a checkpoint on the border between the Turkish town of Reyhanli and the town of Sarmada in Syrian taken in late October and late January show a buildup of transportation infrastructure that could be used for moving in troops, ammunition and weapons, spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in an English-language written statement.

He said these were among growing signs of "hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.

"Maybe, in peacetime, these facts would indicate the expectation of trade turnover growth between the neighboring countries," Konashenkov said. "However, during wartime, in such a way the transport infrastructure is preparing on the eve of military intervention."

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the ministry would have no immediate comment.
"No comment" is the most ominous comment of all.

Why would Erdoğan contemplate such a horrific move? Moon of Alabama notes:
The decisive Syrian government victory yesterday cuts off the foreign supported insurgents in Aleppo and Idleb from they supply sources in Turkey and deprives them of their fuel supplies.

In reaction to that victory the supporters of the insurgents and terrorist in Syria are likely to increase their efforts. The negotiations in Geneva failed over the Syrian victory and the Saudis had already promised that such a failure would lead to an increased support. The Saudi Defense Ministry declared today that Saudi ground forces could take part in action in Syria. It is doubtful that the Saudis have a real capability to do so.

But the Saudis and others will now again shower the insurgents and Jihadis in Syria with money and new weapons. A Turkish invasion could add momentum to such a move.
So the Saudis are paying the Turks to put their young men in harm's way. Typical.

M of A says that Turkey won't take this step, but may mount an invasion using a proxy force, an ethnic group known as the Syrian Turkmens.
These "Turkmen" had occupied northern Latakia where they are just being kicked out by the Syrian army and its supporters. They consist of Turkish "Grey Wolf" fascists, Turkish Islamists and Chechen and Uhigur Islamist mercenaries. They are controlled by the Turkish secret service MIT.
Wow. So, just as the fascist Azov battalion is fighting against Russian-speakers in Ukraine, we will now have the fascist Grey Wolves fighting against Russian interests in Syria.

It's World War II all over again, except this time the US is backing the goosesteppers.

I don't think that the Grey Wolves are powerful enough to affect the tide of battle (which is currently going against the jihadists). An invasion by the regular Turkish army may well occur, though perhaps not right away.

CNN says that Turkey does not plan to invade:
Turkish forces aren't preparing to invade northern Syria and Russia's allegation that they are is an attempt to hide Moscow's crimes in the war-ravaged nation, a source within the Turkish Prime Minister's office told CNN on Thursday.

"Simply they are diverting attention from their attacks on civilians as a country already invading Syria," the source told CNN. "Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security."
Russia has not attacked civilians: They have kicked jihadist ass. That last statement -- "Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security" -- seems pretty damned ominous to me.

Since Turkey is a NATO ally, this whole thing could spin out of control very easily. A counter-attack on Turkish forces could very easily lead to American involvement.

And then there's the Kurdish factor -- about which, see here.
Many observers believe that Putin could supply Kurdish militants along the Turkish-Syrian border with advanced arms, such as modern anti-tank missiles that could have a devastating effect on the Turkish army.
Yet it’s not World War III that analysts worry about the most — at least not in the conventional sense. The bigger danger is that the crisis could fragment NATO, where many voices have started to question Turkey’s role in the alliance.
The Kurds, who number approximately 28 million, may be the largest ethnic group in the world without its own country. What the Kurds consider their ancestral homeland is a contiguous area that runs from southeastern Turkey into parts of Syria, Iraq and Iran. In recent conflicts against jihadists, including the Islamic State, the Kurds have proved themselves the most reliable local ally for the West.

Westerners consider Turkey an ally, but many believe Turkey has aided ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria. Some observers even suggest Turkey has colluded with the extremists against the Kurds. In fact, the two-year ceasefire collapsed when Kurdish militants killed two Turkish policemen whom they accused of helping ISIS conduct an attack that killed over 30 Kurdish youth activists in July.
The US also takes care not to offend Turkey. When Vice President Joe Biden visited Ankara on January 23 to ramp up the regional alliance against ISIS, he spoke out against attempts to curtail freedom of speech, but then proceeded to parrot the Turkish government’s position that the militant Kurdish People’s Party (PKK) is as much a “threat” to Turkey as ISIS itself.

To be sure, the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU (though other Kurdish groups involved in the conflict aren’t). And most analysts agree that Kurdish attacks against the Turkish army and police have contributed significantly to the spiralling violence.

Still, the US and other Western governments have long turned a blind eye to the civil and human rights abuses of their allies — Oman and Uzbekistan were most recently in the headlines, though Saudi Arabia may well be the most glaring example.
"Allies" like Erdoğan, Prince Salman and (of course) dear old Bibi exemplify everything wrong with American foreign policy. Quite simply: We are on the wrong side.

So the conspiracy theory about Turkey is they bottled up 2 million migrants and then unfurled them into Europe to create unrest in Europe and destabilize the Euro. The U.S. appreciates that gesture and that makes Turkey an ally in good standing.
The bigger conspiracy theory is whenever any currency challenges the U.S. Dollar as the currency used for exchange rates and for trading that the U.S. comes up with a plan to destabilize the up and coming currency.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Go, Jeb, go!


Here is the state of Republican race: Donald Trump -- reliving a classic scene from Citizen Kane -- now claims that Ted Cruz stole the election in Iowa. This assertion inspired a delightfully incomprehensible post from Sarah Palin, who has transcended ordinary human thought patterns. Her brain has become a random word generator.

In other news: Santorum is out. (I had forgotten that he was in.) Rand Paul is out too, and I'm sorry to see him go: His foreign policy views were refreshingly non-insane, although his domestic policies would have been disastrous.

But Lo, Bush shall be with us always, for the power of Horus courses through his veins. I did not create the image embedded above; apparently, it's a new Facebook meme. Spread it around!

What's that? You say that Bush, too, will soon follow Santorum and Paul? O ye of little faith! Brother Jeb still has the power to turn things around. For the Bush family will always prevail if they heed these words of Grandfather Al:
“Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”

“Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.”

[On blood sacrifice] "The blood is the life: So it says in Corinthians. And who am I to argue with Saint Paul?"

[From The Book of the Law] "We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk...We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world."
-- 93.
I love this bush because he would like to go on in his life of being a bush. That is stealing the money in the name of family. Then at the same time please family let me go ?.
That is for sure a drunk post by Palin, lol
The grandson of the Great Beast appears to be a complete loser who is a bit too narrow between the eyes. Sad. The Beast himself ended up as a bankrupt junkie strung out on heroin in a cheap English rooming house. So much for magick. Someone needs to tell Jeb that the dynasty is ended. He needs to go away with his Mexican dwarf wife and enjoy his wealth as best he can with the time he has left. Hasta la vista, baby. President you aint.
I've noticed that those who hate Mexicans will often end up hating Jews. The opposite is also true, those hating Jews will also hate Mexicans. I would say that the phrase "Mexican dwarf wife" is disgusting and unworthy of this place. But in truth, it is exactly worthy of this place.
Truth is, I let that comment go through without reading it. I know nothing about Jeb Bush's wife. As it happens, I spent much of my life living among Mexican-Americans back in California, and I miss them. I'm still not used to living in a predominantly white community. So that's how MY prejudices run...!

And joseph, I do not hate you (although if you insult me again, you will no longer post here). Neither do I hate the many Jewish friends I've had (and have even counted among my relatives).

I hate Israel. So do an increasing number of Jews these days. There are even left-wing Jews in Israel who have come around to my position that the only solution to Israeli fascism is "outside interventionism." That's the phrase they use. I prefer the more honest term "military conquest."

Fascism has no rights. A fascist government -- no, a fascist CULTURE -- must be eliminated. That's what happened in Italy: The Italians were conquered from without, and the country was ultimately better off for it. A lot of brave Americans gave their lives at Anzio (and other places) for the express purpose of insuring that the Italians no longer governed themselves.

As you know, I happen to be of Italian stock. I don't hate Italians -- in fact, I have always loved the art, culture, music and food of Italy. I DO hate fascism.

Thanks for your contribution, small j. I was sick of writing about Bibi and his antics, but you've reminded me of my obligations.
There was an italian Resistance movement during World War II.
And another way the Italians resisted, and a very odd way it was indeed. Mussolini was inspecting his warplane strength at various military bases. As soon as Mussolini left one air base, those planes would be flown to the next base Mussolini would be going to for an inspection. Really the ultimate in war time quackery, purposely misrepresenting warplane strength to your own fascist president.
Deep down I don't believe most Italians wanted any part of World War II but were rangled into it by manipulative forces who used fear to make the war happen.
I've noticed something interesting about Ted Cruz disciples, they really go after the other candidates on that candidates home page. The Facebook link to Sarah Palin that you provided was comment bombed by Cruz devotees.

I was also watching a Hillary Clinton feed and out of nowhere came a comment from a Cruz devotee who has a Hillary in Jail twitter account.

Hillary Clinton's biggest weakness are her supporters who just won't get into scrums with the truly whacked out, yet over time those whacked out people do create a toll on her image.
I wish both Israel and its chief patron, my USA, actually were the virtuous countries which their fans believe they are. :(
Is it April uno already? Damn, I can not even figure out when Mardis Gras is. My kids were asked to wear costumes to school on Monday, then they had pancakes on Tuesday, everyone these days gets ahead of themselves. Simple solutions: 1: dress your kids (if they let you) in costumes everyday 2: give them double portions during Lent, especially pancakes with graded Canadian syrup 3: Don't choose political name/monikers based on Jibjab flash animations if you don't fully comprehend the history of a family, and mostly importantly 4: Don't post after too many drinks Mr. Cannon especially referencing drunk Alaskans. 5: Lastly, shame about or on the OTO depending how serious you are about the Easter business.
little j, does everything have to be about The Jews for you??? Before your post, not one single mention was made in the post or comments about Jews or Israel, yet you have to make it about that for some reason. Yes, Makarov's comment was offensive and probably racist, but what did it have to do with The Jews? Nothing.

Israel is a nation on the world stage. It is open to any and all criticism just like the USA or any other nation. Just because it is a nation based on racial superiority, does not give it freedom from criticism. Criticism of Israel is NOT the same as criticism of Jewish people in general. As I hear so often from defenders of Israel, there are many other races and religions in Israel, so why the double standard of then saying that criticism of Israel equals criticism of Jews generally? You, unlike Cannon, are a one issue guy, so don't be surprised when that starts to annoy our host and his other readers.
I guess if Sanders isn't going to win, the best result is a Cruz victory because Rubio is sinister-Establishment to the core and while Cruz might ultimately be Establishment, his angry personality will be more likely to get war and other opponents in the streets.
With Killary, the left will be as silent as they are with Obama on war atrocities. Wouldn't want to offend..blacks...women.....
"Compassion is the vice of kings".

The one true King is noted for His "vice", so there remains hope for Mr. Crowley.
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