Daily news and comments on the situation in post Saddam Iraq by an Iraqi dentist living in Texas
That doesn't look like prayer beads he's holding. And considering he's speaking in Derna, I can guess what he's saying...
Lynnette in Minnesota ate my hamster!
"That doesn't look like prayer beads…"On the other hand, neither is it a Kalashnikov.
Whatever it is, it doesn't look very friendly...
Petes,If you are still with us, I have a follow up to that personhood amendment the people of Colorado were voting on. They voted "no".
Ummm...possibly it's something like this?
I'd reckon so, although his is painted up flashy. (I just barely glanced at it the first time; thought it was a sword until I looked again.)
It will be 75,000 years (plus) before the first day of Hanukkah again falls on Thanksgiving day. You should live so long.
That guy is holding an RPG7 of some variety. The War Nerd called the RPG7 the world's most important weapon in one of his memorable columns, naming the AK47 as the runner up:http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=7322(Note: there are 3 pages to that column)He's likely to be right. Of course there are way better launchers out there. Like the swedish made AT4 that the Marine Corps use and the swedish made Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle that the Navy Seals use. Sweden developed, as I have mentioned before, very good RPG-systems because our defence doctrine up until quite recenly was aimed at countering a Soviet invasion. No one was foolish enough to think we wouldn't be overrun so the focus was to have troops and weapons that made the attack so costly for the Soviets it just wasn't worth it. Taking out enemy tanks and groups of soldiers with small guerilla like squads using portable weapons like RPG's was an important factor.The US-made Javelin is possibly the very best tank-killer though, but it's a pretty bulky weapons system for infantry to carry around. But the simplicity and the low cost and the fact that there are so damn many of them probably makes the RPG7 way more important over all.Here's the wiki entry:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG-7
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I'd reckon so, although his is painted up flashy.Perhaps a jihadist version of "pimping up a ride"? Btw, I notice that Rush Limbaugh seems to be taking on the Pope. Biting off more than he can chew, perhaps?
Sweden developed, as I have mentioned before, very good RPG-systems because our defence doctrine up until quite recenly was aimed at countering a Soviet invasion. No one was foolish enough to think we wouldn't be overrun so the focus was to have troops and weapons that made the attack so costly for the Soviets it just wasn't worth it. Taking out enemy tanks and groups of soldiers with small guerilla like squads using portable weapons like RPG's was an important factor.Something they found out to their cost in Afghanistan.
Zeyad, and all who celebrated, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving with lots to eat*! :)*Something other than pacha.
"Btw, I notice that Rush Limbaugh seems to be taking on the Pope. Well, I guess somebody's gotta do it. And the traditional Catholic fundies are still muzzled at this point in time; although, just how long that'll last is anybody's guess. "Biting off more than he can chew, perhaps?"I suspect he very well might be. I get the feeling that this Pope especially can stand up for himself. And he may have to. The Catholic fundies are likely not going to rush in on his behalf too early.
I'd reckon so, although his is painted up flashy. (I just barely glanced at it the first time; thought it was a sword until I looked again.)
I get the feeling that this Pope especially can stand up for himself.He does seem to have some firm ideas on how he wants things to change. I see nothing wrong in a more simpler lifestyle for the clergy, for example. It would seem to follow more with what their faith is supposed to stand for. The Catholic fundies are likely not going to rush in on his behalf too early.Yes, it does seem that he is stepping on some toes.Btw, what's with the copycat poster? He seems to be here and on the previous comments thread.
Lynnette:"Btw, what's with the copycat poster? He seems to be here and on the previous comments thread."Those comments are usually some idiot who wants you, for whatever reason, to click on that link for his name or another link in the post itself. I just moved my cursor over his name because I didn't want to click and it goes to something called "fastbodyslimming". Just some yahoo out for traffic to some lousy diet site. Or someone who gets paid a very small sum for any traffic he directs to that site.
My best guess is that Marcus got it right.
Ahhhh, gotcha.Zeyad, Bridget and others down south,I hear you are getting freezing rain down there in places. If it affects you, drive carefully. That stuff is awful to get around in. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I would rather have a foot of snow then an inch of freezing rain.
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Lynnette,Glenn Beck opened his radio show this morning with expression and elaborations upon his ‘concerns’ about the new Pope Francis. Among his observations, that the Pope is a Jesuit. (The Pope made the cover of Time as their Man of the Year is what set Beck off.)
He's not a Jesuit, he's a Maronite.
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Lee,I see this morning that Boehner has finally decided to try to stand up to the more conservative Tea Party members of his party. Perhaps he finally read and comprehended the polls?
You are ever the optimist Lynnette.I believe it's probably equally, if not overwhelmingly, a function of his having been excoriated over the last few days by Glenn Hannibaugh and the boys (and some of them girls now too). Even second stringers like Mark Levin and Ben Stein have had their long knives out for him. He likely figures he's lost them already; they threw down first. His options are to surrender at once or try to bluff his way through it. (I think he's bluffing; I think he'll fold when they close in on him; give ‘em what they want.)He though he'd bought himself some slack by taking them over the edge on the government shutdown, couple of months back; but he's now learning that he can't call these dogs off; they don't call off; they are not trainable. They do not learn. He's about to learn that much at least. What he'll do next time depends on how it goes for him this time. But this time he'll back down; I'm fairly confident of that, this time anyway.
I have a question for ya´ll.You have a few alternative news outlets where folks discuss stuff. Some of that stuff is unsavory. You might make controversial staements.You believe them to be anonomous statements. But you comment on a feature called Disqus (commonly available).Then it goes like this:A third party hacks/or uses a seccurity hole in Discus to get the hasch-tags of all the commenters email-addresses there.The same third party generate a database of email-adresses based o Facebook and many other outlets where the real identity of the individual is shown.Then they hasch all those addresses and match them to the other regisrer to get names t the supposedly "anonymous" commenters.Then they (and they are the info-wing of AFA which is outlawed in a few Europeann countries) sell these cases to a tabloid paper which makes a big thing of dragging regular folks into the limelight for one or another comment they made oline thinking they were anynomomous.I have more details but this´ll suffice to start a discussion.
"You believe them to be anonomous statements. But you comment on a feature called Disqus…"Well, I'm not much impressed with the practices of that ‘tabloid paper’ you mentioned, but I've long believed that comments made on Blogger, and Haloscan before it, were rather less ‘anonymous’ than many people had assumed.It's been my general practice to not take positions online that I don't believe in, and would be unwilling to defend in the real world. I think it'd be better if a lot of other people adopted that habit, so I'm not overly sympathetic to the plight of persons who thought they were making forever anonymous and unattributable stinks about things and were taking positions online of which they'd be ashamed in the real world.It might not be the worst thing in the world if a few examples were made of a few people and other folks learned to straighten up. (Lot of people advocate for horrible things or otherwise act shamefully, thinking they're immune. I don't have a lot sympathy for those who've taken anonymity as an excuse to behave badly--as a theoretical matter that is. I'm sure not volunteering to be one of those whose anonymity is breached.)
Lee: for the record I'm not one of the ones outed or even in the register I mentioned (as far as I know). I comment using my own name, just as I have always done here, and while I don't give up my address or phone number I know that I would be fairly easy to track down. It serves two puropses: #1 It gives more punch to my arguments when people know there's an individual behind them rather than just an alias. #2 it serves as a self control so that I don't (often, though it can happen) say stuff I can't stand for.But I do believe that dissidents should be able to express their views. And what a dissident is is rather different from place to place and time to time.I got sick to my stomach when I saw videos posted in one of our main tabloids where "journalists" knock on the doors of regular folks to hold them accountable for stuff they may have blurted out in some comment forum, erroneously believeing they were anonymous. And then contacting their employers to have them fired. Two have been fired so far and both did make stupid comments but it wasn't that bad really.If the media goes for the throat of a politician then that's one thing. The politician works for the people and his/her views are a public interest, so that we know what we vote for.But to harrass ordinary folks in their homes and doing character assassinations on them then that's a whole other story IMO.And the fact that a mainstream media outlet is doing this in cahoots with known criminals who themselves do not ascribe to the rule oof law or even the democratic system, then it's just shameful.What I'm most interested in is if this had happened in other countries what the reaction would have been like?
Lee: "It's been my general practice to not take positions online that I don't believe in, and would be unwilling to defend in the real world. I think it'd be better if a lot of other people adopted that habit"I agree 100%"so I'm not overly sympathetic to the plight of persons who thought they were making forever anonymous and unattributable stinks about things and were taking positions online of which they'd be ashamed in the real world."But the problem is where you actually DO believe in something and it could still come back to haunt ya. Say believing in the virtues of a market economy in a communist regime country. Or say believing in gay rights in an Islamic dictatorship. Or believeing that "multiculturalism" is not the way to go in a democratic country where you may get fired from your job for expressing that thought.It's real easy to stand by your opinions when there's no real downside for doing so.
"But to harrass ordinary folks in their homes and doing character assassinations on them then that's a whole other story IMO."Let's start with the reminder that I was no fan of how the media was behaving, at least, according to your description, which I have no reason to doubt.You cover a lot of ground. And, you cover it in generalities I find hard to address; hard to figure out what to say that's most relevant. But, I'll take a shot at perhaps being relevant without having to assume too much… 1. The conduct you describe would get the tv journalist and his network sued, and sued hard. And probably successfully. 2. The employer would get sued too, and almost certainly successfully. The employer's liability insurance company would be figurin’ they just paid for the ‘victim's’ retirement, and his wages until retirement. Probably bought him a new house and new cars too, and the kids college, and maybe even a boob job and straightened teeth for his ol’ lady. (That's IF they got off that cheap.) This would be on top of the payout from the tv company and their insurer.We have a First Amendment we take fairly seriously. And our courts recognize a general right to privacy (waived in large part by those who ‘seek the public eye’, politicians most especially, and celebrities, professional athletes, high ranking military officers, and like that)I think what you're describing would be fairly unlikely over here.
Post Script:The First Amendment… That's the one about the right to freedom of speech; the tv companies usually love that one, but it has it's drawbacks for them too.(And ‘kids college’ should have been possessive, but I'd not have posted a PS just for that. Also, these days, one should figure they just bought him a Caddilac medical insurance policy for life. Also not worth the PS.)
Lee: "We have a First Amendment we take fairly seriously. And our courts recognize a general right to privacy (waived in large part by those who ‘seek the public eye’, politicians most especially, and celebrities, professional athletes, high ranking military officers, and like that)I think what you're describing would be fairly unlikely over here."That was what I suspected. I'm surprised that they went so far in this case even here. There will certainly be investigations and possibly trials to come, but I don't believe there will be any meaningful results to be honest. Hopefully the court of public opinion will come down on them though.
"Hopefully the court of public opinion will come down on them though."A lot of stuff gets enforced that way. For instance we can no longer utter (or type) the word ‘nigger’. Supposed to stifle ourselves, supposed to do it noticeably, and then use the euphemism "the N-word" in place of the word ‘nigger’, all the while pretending that's somehow proof that we're enlightened. (This rule does not necessarily apply to black folks; I'll not bother to even try to explain how that works.)Anyway, my point is not about ‘the N-word’; it's about the ‘court of public opinion’. That works. That's the court that enforces the rule on ‘the N-word’.Personally, I think it's a dumb rule, but you'll not not find me goin’ up agin it too often. That's grief I don't need. The court of public opinion is usually effective. Those judgments are widely enforced.
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It looks like Lee has pretty much answered most of your questions regarding this topic, Marcus. I just wanted to add that when I first started commenting on blogs it never really occurred to me to worry about keeping my identity anonymous. For one thing, I never thought anyone would be that interested in finding out who I was and for another, like Lee, I tried to only take positions I could truly support in the real world. I realize I may have irritated some people, but then they irritated me as well. :)You are right, though, for those people who would like to freely express a dissenting opinion from their government remaining anonymous could mean life or death. But it doesn't sound like those are the kind of people targeted by your media. It does sound like tabloid journalism searching for a sensational story. Not really admirable.
Lynnette: "for those people who would like to freely express a dissenting opinion from their government remaining anonymous could mean life or death. But it doesn't sound like those are the kind of people targeted by your media."There's no threat to your life in Sweden no matter what outrageous statments you give voice to. But there IS a possibility that your career or your business will be ruined if you voice politically incorrect views.I'm sure it's not on your radar in the US but in our neighboring countries many opinionists have expressed horror towards the media climate in Sweden.It's like there is a corridor of opnion. As long as you stay inside the boundaries of that corridor you are free to argue and voice any opinion. But to venture out of it will bring the entire pack of the established media down hard on you. The corridor is getting narrower and narrower is my impression.Up until recently those rules were for the folks who stuck their necks out and publically voiced their opinions in news outlets. Now it seems the rules are to be enforced for everyone and anyone. To have professional journalists use questionable* ways to derive commenters real identities off the Internet and then turning up with cameras at their homes and holding them accountable for parts of comments, often taken out of context, is a whole new game. And then to follow up by posting videos online and contacting peoples' employers then the only reason I can see is that they aim to make exapmples out of those few with the aim to shut other people up.The good news is that the newspaper behind this, Expressen, didn't get the applause in other media that they probably wished for. Other media have been absolutely silent on the matter. I think it shows they know Expressen really went too far here.*I hope Disqus, which is the comment application that was tapped for email-adresses and which is a US company sues the hell out of Expressens parent company, which is also in place in the US, in a California courtroom. It doesn't seem like that'll happen but I still hope it will.We also have a doestic law suit aimed at the editor in chief of Expressen and are currently about 2/3 of the way there to have enough money to sue the bastard. There's a paycheck coming to people in a few days and I am confident that'll put us over the top. I say us because while I was not affected and probably not registered and have no fear if I was registered I still paid into the lawsuit fund.
Marcus,As long as you stay inside the boundaries of that corridor you are free to argue and voice any opinion.I am rather curious, what types of boundaries are you talking about? But there IS a possibility that your career or your business will be ruined if you voice politically incorrect views.That reminds me of the Chick fil A incident. In that case the owners of the company were expressing, I believe, anti-gay marriage sentiment. But that issue is so polarized it really didn't seem to hurt the business much. You had those people who vowed up and down they wouldn't eat there and others who just shrugged it off. I am not anti-gay marriage and yet I have tried Chik fil A when one opened up near me. It was a well cooked sandwich, but I was disappointed in the bun. I think most people here aren't going to let someone's bias affect their eating choices. The huge lines were testament to that.I can't think of a business off hand that was ruined for being politically incorrect. But depending on your career, expressing outside of the box ideas may not sit well with some people.It does sound like your media is acting like the thought police, though. People should be able to safely express their beliefs. Yes, even if we disagree with them. But that works both ways. In any adult form people should be allowed to rebut someone's position allowing the listeners or readers to make their own choice as to who to agree with.
And this morning one of the outed politicians had his home bombed, presumably by AFA or some simiar group. Not only he was at home but his family too.No one was hurt but the inside of his door flew 4 meters across the room and lodged in a wall.
Apparently this statement… "There's no threat to your life in Sweden no matter what outrageous statments you give voice to." is ‘no longer operative’ (to use the Nixon-era expression).I'm not familiar with this ‘AFA’ group you've referenced, but presumably it's some sort of left-wing political organization of some indeterminate degree of militancy. And some of the folks they went after over their internet comments weren't just everyday folks, but rather were significant Swedish political figures. Even so…One can only hope that bombing somebody's home, even if they are a politician, is seen as sufficiently outside the bounds of acceptable behavior as to discredit this whole practice by the particular ‘media’ you were mentioning.
Lee: AFA stands for Anti-Fascist Action. It's an international sort of de-centralized collection of groups that mostly target what they view as right wing demonstrations or gatherings.They also target capitalists and they have a very broad definition of those. In fact one of the individuals behind this "register" of people was stronlgy suspected in a case in 2000 where a Social Democratic politicians home was set ablaze and he and his wife narrowly escaped. His "crime" was selling some public assets to private interests. Later that year they burned down a McDonalds restaurant.If a swedish Social Democrat and McDonalds are lumped together with "fascists" you can probably see that it doesn't take very much to risk being targetted, and you'll probably have an idea about how these folks feel about the US too.Another of the guys behind the registring of people was on Twitter this past summer bragging about them being "Sweden's Stasi":http://www.friatider.se/wp-content/uploads/cache/picture673341.jpgSo yes, there's a degree of militancy to say the least. But when I said: "There's no threat to your life in Sweden no matter what outrageous statments you give voice to." I meant from the state or security services.Lee: "One can only hope that bombing somebody's home, even if they are a politician, is seen as sufficiently outside the bounds of acceptable behavior as to discredit this whole practice by the particular ‘media’ you were mentioning."No one in the established media will applaud it. Some have condemned it. But it'll go away quickly and it won't get much coverage.Had rightwing fanatics (there are some of those also) been behind such an attack it would have been a whole other story, making headlines for weeks. Not that I in ANY WAY believe those fanatics are any better. It's the double standards that annoy me.
Another example:http://i.imgur.com/CeKx2Oe.pngThat is from the official twitter-account of the very same group that Expressen financed by buying intel on people from their register. What would have been the consequences for a major newspaper doing that in the US?
Marcus, ordinary private citizens in the US can absolutely be maliciously persecuted by the press and by government bureaucrats for engaging in what is perceived to be politically incorrect behavior.Google "Joe the Plumber". On October 12, 2008, candidate Barack Obama visited the neigborhood of private citizen Joseph Wurzelbacher. Joe made the big mistake of asking Obama a question that elicited a somewhat damaging response. This was not to be tolerated, and our press corps hastened to dig up every bit of dirt they could find about Joe. His license to do his job, his finances, his private life, all were the subject of hysterical investigation and spread all over the national news with no regard whatsoever for the man's privacy. State government bureaucrats illegally searched state databases in search of more dirt on the man. These people were absolutely out to destroy the man with any means necessary. They were ultimately unsuccessful, it is still the US after all, and we are not yet as slavishly devoted to political correctness as Sweden. But we're well on our way.
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"These people were absolutely out to destroy the man with any means necessary."This grand press conspiracy was only just a little bit more cleverly inspired (and almost as invidious) as was the great press conspiracy of 40 years earlier, wherein the evil leftist Hawaiian press had falsely reported that a newly born Kenyan Marxist Muslim baby by the name of Barack Hussein Obama had been born in a hospital in Honolulu instead, thus laying the groundwork for said baby's fraudulent run for the American Presidency 40 years later.And, like that 40 year old conspiracy to get a Kenyan Marxist Muslim elected President of the United States, nobody would have known about it but for the diligence of Glenn Hannibaugh and the good folks at FoxNews.For, as it turns out, the evil leftist press had conspired to not learn anything about ‘Joe the Plumber’ until after they had lured the Republican Presidential hopeful, John McCain, into praising him by name of ‘Joe the Plumber’ during the final nationally televised Presidential debate (at which point the evil leftist press, having lured McCain into their trap, sprang that trap and began to look into the fella and discovered, as, of course, they must have known in advance that they would, that ‘Joe’ generally answered to the name of ‘Sam’ in the real world and he wasn't really a plumber either); truly inspired evil at work there.Obviously, there was a grand conspiracy of the left going on here to embarrass John McCain, the Republican Party in general, Glenn Hannibaugh and the good folks at FoxNews, and, most evilly of course, also embarrassing all the wing-nut teabaggers who'd turned ‘Joe the Plumber’ in a a minor right-wing celebrity in the meantime.They were, and remain, most truly offended by that last thing; that was the most evil thing of all; that they were denied their God-given right to revel in the semi-neo-Regeanesque-glow of their newest minor right-wing fairie tale celebrity. In the service of this indignation they claim to this day (as Bridget does here) that he remained a fully private citizen fully entitled to the general ‘right to privacy’ in spite of the fact that he'd joined the McCain/Palin campaign tour and was touring with them and appearing with them onstage during the presidential race. However, for those of us not as truly clued in as to the evil and conspiratorial nature of the non-Fox media, that sort of activity by ‘Joe’ is just the sort of thing as would qualify him as one of those who ‘seek the public eye’, and thereby lose their general right to privacy.
You should check out the dates of the "investigative" hatchet jobs on Joe the Plumber. It started well before the debates.
Case in point, published on October 16, 4 days after Obama came to Joe's neighborhood and Joe asked the question:http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2008/10/joe-the-plumber-not-a-licensed.html
Another one:http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/joe-in-the-spotlight/?_r=0Joe was in the cross hairs the minute Precious let slip an unscripted answer to a question.
And of course, at the same time the same press was demonstrating a complete lack of interest in Precious' administrative/managerial experience or qualifications. As a consequence, we have found out the hard way via Clusterfuck, that he had none.
He also became something of a right-winger celebrity on the Glenn Hannibaugh/FoxNews circuit well before the debates. (In fact, nobody else was taking that supposedly ‘somewhat damaging response’ very seriously. That was notorious only among the right-winger crowd who insisted that, when taken out of context and viewed through the proper right-wing ideological filter, it proved Obama was a closet Marxist. Otherwise it wasn't gettin’ much traction; sorta like the Benghazi 'coverup') ‘Joe’ (as we might as well call him) also joined the McCain/Palin campaign circuit well before the final debate. (See Wiki)Among non-true believers this would generally be recognized as a political effort to ‘seek the public eye’, thereby waiving the general right to privacy. It's pretty much only among you FoxFans where it was recognized that he was supposed to be able to take all the political shots he wanted without anybody shooting back. Other folks didn't much buy that one. I certainly never bought that one.
"Case in point,…" I'm afraid I don't quite get the point of your post. What's so ‘vicious’ about pointing out that the guy who Glenn Hannibaugh was praising as ‘Joe the Plumber’ new minor saint of the right-wing neo-Reaganite Church was neither called Joe nor was he a plumber?
Phil Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty suspended for remarks he made to GQYou may find the conversation attached to this article interesting, Marcus.In this case Phil Robertson was not trying in any way to remain anonymous when he made his remarks.
Bridget, of course I knew about Plubmer Joe to some extent but I never really got the aftermath of his initial comments, nor did I realise it was such a hot topic.Nevertheless I can't really view that as an analogy to the situation here in Sweden I've been describing above.Here you have some people who chose to be anonymous and who commented not in the MSM but on what is more like political blogs. They were registered by some very unsavoury characters and then outed by camera-crews from a leading newspaper. Granted, some made controversial statements and some even made disgusting statements, but was that really enough of a public interest to 'hang' them publically? If we should do that to anyone who wrote any filth on the Internet it'd be a full time occupation for all of our MSM.Besides they portrayed it as a campaign anainst "net-hate", which it of course wasn't. There's way worse hate out there and real "net-hate" IMO is not to make a controversial statment on a political blog somewhere on the WWW but to target and harrass specific individuals. A lot of that sort of cyber-bullying is going on. But that was never the point, to out haters.No the idea was a political move made to silence and scare dissidents. It seems today like it really did backfire though, thankfully.
Marcus, ordinary private citizens in the US can absolutely be maliciously persecuted by the press and by government bureaucrats for engaging in what is perceived to be politically incorrect behavior.Anyone can be persecuted by the press. The Princess Diana fatal car accident comes to mind. At some point in time a press that only engages in harrassing types of behavior, whether their motivation is political or monetary, will lose credibility, and readers/viewers. Or at least readers/viewers who actaully want unbiased news coverage. Unfortunately, the polarization that seems to exist in our country today seems to lend itself to encouraging the extreme types of behavior the press engages in. People need to chill out a little and stop being so emotional and judgemental. The media can be a Frankenstien monster created by...us.
"…nor did I realise it was such a hot topic…"Like the Benghazi ‘scandal’, ‘coverup’, whatever it is they're trying to call it this week, this's only a hot topic among a certain faction of the Republican Party. For them it'll never go away. They'll be chewing this over long after Obama's out of office. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯Lynnette,It appears that Boehner has managed to get his troops out of town without allowing them another shot at blocking the Budget Resolution we discussed earlier. Keep in mind though that it's just a resolution; it's not a budget. They get another crack at ‘im after Christmas break. And I heard ‘bout the Duck Dynasty thing. Some places a sense of perspective appears to be short supply.
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Merry Christmas Everyone!
And a Merry Christmas to you too, and to all; even including Petes.(To my own surprise; I'm feeling generous.)
Happy Holidays everyone.
Merry Christmas, friends!
Lynnette,I can't claim to have gotten fully up to speed on the "Duck Dynasty vs the Queers and Colored Folks" thing; I don't even get that channel so I've never even seen the show. But, near as I can make out, it's pretty much over, and pretty much everybody lost, many of them getting trampled in a rush to get in on a controversy that didn't actually involve them, many of the rest trampling themselves in a countering-rush to find someone to whom they might surrender before that other crowd arrived.
I found this article about the ME and the conflict in Syria interesting:http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/security-arc-forms-amidst-mideast-terror-0Agreed, it's a bit speculative but nevertheless worth a read.
It's merely an effort to dress up the dreaded rise of the ‘Shia Crescent’ (dreaded among the Sunni powers in the area anyway) as an acceptable situation.
That wasn't to suggest that it wasn't interesting reading though; but, I would suggest also that it was as much propaganda as it was anything else.
I recogized the similarities with the 'Shia crescent' scenario. Perhaps that term was coined by just those dreading such a development and therefor someone who welcomes it uses the different term 'security arc' instead.I don't know whether that article was propaganda or wishful thinking and I can't really say how likely/unlikely I think the development it portrays is, especially in the longer run. But I do think the realisation that in the war in Syria the 'rebels' are increasingly Jihadists of the same stripe that ya'll fought in Iraq has led to some re-thinking among especially western powers.
The ‘rebels’ we fought in Iraq included radical Shia sectarians as well as their Sunni counterparties. I'm not sure what sort of ‘re-thinking’ you're thinking you're seeing, but I personally can't see much reason to prefer one set of sectarian theocrats over the other.Our undercover/black-ops guys have been looking for some moderates to support, some who might have a reasonable prospect of actually winning if given sufficient support. So far the spooks don't seem to have found a faction which fills that bill. And they been lookin’ for a couple of years' now.That pretty much leaves the regional Sunni powers backing whom they've been backing, and the region's Shia powers backing whom they've been backing (with the Shia side winning for the time being).But none of this seems to me to be leading to any major ‘re-thinking’ of things among western capitals. What is it you think you're seeing that I don't see?
This:http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/12/us-suspends-aid-to-syrian-rebels/"The Obama administration is cutting off aid to rebels in northern Syria amid concerns that it could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda-tied militants. The White House confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. has suspended delivery of non-lethal assistance to rebels in the north. Britain reportedly has followed suit."Or this:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10510498/Britain-and-US-suspend-non-lethal-aid-to-Syrian-rebels.html"Britain and the United States have suspended assistance to Syrian rebel forces as the opposition continues to fracture and fall under the influence of hard-line Islamists.The hold on supplies of non-military assistance such as body armour, communications equipment and, in the American case, armoured vehicles, was in direct response to the takeover by a new pan-Islamist faction of army posts in the north belonging to the western-backed, secular-led Free Syrian Army and its Supreme Military Council."I also note that the demand for Assad to step down as a prerequisit for any peace deal are less often voiced today compared to a year ago. It might not be said outright that a deal that leavs him in office is acceptable, but there's been less of the talk that he must go.
I wouldn't interpret the suspension of aid as the ‘major re-thinking" that it appears to be in your view. We've been cautious from the start about letting advanced weapons components get into jihadi hands in Syria. The recent suspension is merely an acknowledgement that the guys we liked (or disliked the least) have lost ground of late (didn't have a lot of ground to lose, but lost ground anyway) and just now they can't use nor even protect the stuff we were thinking of sending them.I would call that merely continued implementation of long-standing policy.Perhaps the fall off in any calls for a peace deal might come more to filling the bill, but I rather doubt there's been much warming up to the idea of Assad staying on past the war as you've advocated in the past--more likely just less prospect for, therefore fewer calls for, a peace deal any time soon.But, that itself might qualify as a ‘re-thinking’ of things. Doesn't go where I thought you might be going, but goes where it goes.
"President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lead as the most admired man and woman in America, respectively, by wide margins, according to a new poll… "Obama and Clinton top the Gallup poll for the sixth consecutive year." (quote from Politico.com)Good thing Glenn Hannibaugh is on holiday vacation. Twixt that and the new piece from the NYT on Benghazi, they'd likely be having on-air strokes today.
Lee: "I wouldn't interpret the suspension of aid as the ‘major re-thinking" that it appears to be in your view. We've been cautious from the start about letting advanced weapons components get into jihadi hands in Syria."But I said from the get go that the "re-thinking" I saw happening was precisely due to the jihadists taking the lead in the Syrian 'opposition'. Call it a re-calibrating then, does that sound better to you?"I rather doubt there's been much warming up to the idea of Assad staying on past the war as you've advocated in the past"I'm hardly infatuated with the guy nor his regime but compared to any realistic alternative I do believe him (or his regime sans himself if that is what it takes to reach a deal) staying in power is better than any option right now, any realistic option I might add."more likely just less prospect for, therefore fewer calls for, a peace deal any time soon."Strange that. Because at least a conference is to be held on the matter. I see that as the first step to any deal that might be reached, and that conference is fairly recently planned. Of course I, being a pessimist/realist, don't have very high hopes for the outcome of that conference, but a conference about a peace deal is better than no such conference at all IMO."But, that itself might qualify as a ‘re-thinking’ of things."OK, re-calibrating then. Better?
Lee, btw you might be interested in this international politics blog that I recently stumbled on:http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.se/I haven't read that much of the past content yet and some that I have read I have not entirely agreed with. There are some "911-truth"-links that I have yet to click but just their presense tells me there may be some weird stuff on the blog as well as really interesting writings. He seems to know a lot about Russia for one thing.The author updates frequently and on topics that I, and I supppose you too, find interesting. You might wanna give it a passover at least, seeing how starved we are of frequent updates in some arenas. ;-)
Oh, and also btw: I did notice how my "some re-thinking" became a 'major re-thinking" in your reply. Naughty, Lee, naughty. We don't make up quotes here, now do we?
"I did notice how my ‘some re-thinking’ became a 'major re-thinking’ in your reply."That was inadvertent; mia culpa. I will have a look at that link, although having the 911-truther stuff doesn't speak well for it starting out.
Lee,It appears that A&E has re-thought the suspension of Phil Robertson in the wake of a number of petitions, and pushback from his family. While I did not agree with his thoughts the resulting outcry against his verbalizing his feelings smacked a little of a witch hunt. One can't force him to change his opinions by force.I've seen the show a few times. It's not one I make a point of tuning in to, but it can be hilariously funny at times.
Lee,It appears that A&E has re-thought the suspension of Phil Robertson in the wake of a number of petitions, and pushback from his family. While I did not agree with his thoughts the resulting outcry against his verbalizing his feelings smacked a little of a witch hunt. One can't force him to change his opinions by force.I've seen the show a few times. It's not one I make a point of tuning in to, but it can be hilariously funny at times.
Oops, sorry for the double post.
"The Obama administration is cutting off aid to rebels in northern Syria amid concerns that it could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda-tied militants.It also appears that the Obama administration is sending aid to Iraq in an effort to try to stem a rising tide of extremist activities there. The Syrian conflict does seem to be bleeding into other countries in the region.
Lee: "I will have a look at that link, although having the 911-truther stuff doesn't speak well for it starting out."Note that I never vouched for the sourvce. I Merely said it was interesting and in line with the interests taht I, ad I guess you too, have.The blogger as far as I've been able to tell uses the term "anglo-zionism" a bit much for my liking. But even if, as I said, I don't agree with everything I think it's a place where we can debate international politics and it's updated frequently.
"It appears that A&E has re-thought the suspension of Phil Robertson in the wake of…"I'm given to understand that A&E, as ‘owners’ of the show, had approval rights over the granting of the interview; i.e. they had to clear it as PR for the show before the ol’ boy sat for the interview. So, I'm wonderin’… They sent a 70 year old redneck, swamp-rat to be interviewed by Gentlemen's Quarterly; what the hell did they think was gonna happen? ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "Note that I never vouched for the sourvce…"Already noted. I was merely agreeing with your caveats as an opening position. That's how I intended it be taken anyway.
They sent a 70 year old redneck, swamp-rat to be interviewed by Gentlemen's Quarterly; what the hell did they think was gonna happen?Either they are clueless morons or they were hoping for a little publicity. I have heard it said that even negative publicity is better than none. I have to wonder if Phil Robertson understands that he is the current Archie Bunker. While his world can be amusing to watch, at times, it is not always a world everyone wants to inhabit. His current advice to young men hoping to marry to look for 15 or 16 year old girls is also "backwoods". It smacks of someone who is too immature himself to deal with a mature partner in a relationship. I don't envy his wife.
Btw, I keep forgetting to mention that I finished that Benghazi book I was reading. I thought it a well written account without being over the top. They really didn't go over any in depth backstory secrets as to why or why not someone did what they did. It sounded basically like a typical government run operation. The hereos of the story were those on the ground trying to hold things together.
"His current advice to young men hoping to marry to look for 15 or 16 year old girls is also ‘backwoods’."I dunno ‘bout that. Seems to me that bearded fundies tend to sound like bearded fundies, whether they be Christian or Muslim, from the American ‘backwoods’ or from somewhere out in Middle Eastern desert with no wood to be seen for miles and miles.I'm somewhat surprised to find out that FoxNews was promoting a book that wasn't ‘over the top’. But, then again, the authors were only on that one time as far as I know.
Seems to me that bearded fundies tend to sound like bearded fundies, whether they be Christian or Muslim, from the American ‘backwoods’ or from somewhere out in Middle Eastern desert with no wood to be seen for miles and miles.And people think we have nothing in common...I'm somewhat surprised to find out that FoxNews was promoting a book that wasn't ‘over the top’.I'm thinking that Fox may promote the voices who have an "in" with the intelligence community. Those voices can be objective...as well as diplomatic.
Cold here. Although today was actually above zero it's supposed to go back to face freezing weather again.
"And people think we have nothing in common..."I'm gonna forego any follow-up on that on the grounds that I don't wanna hear ‘bout it from our bearded fundies, and I've probably poked that bear enough already.On the Benghazi thing though… I notice that Bill O'Riley was trashing the New York Times for having shat on the FoxNews/Glenn Hannibaugh fantasies for Benghazi. And, Glenn Hannibaugh will be back at the mike starting Monday; so we may be treated to some shrill and enthusiastic outrage and considerable high dudgeon.
Guess that would be ‘back at the mic’.
Seems like AQ, or ISIS as that particular outfit now calls itself, is largely back in control of Fallujah. I had hoped that the locals would be sick enough of them and strong enough to boot them the hell out by now.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/world/middleeast/shelling-in-iraqi-city-held-by-qaeda-linked-militants-kills-at-least-8.html?ref=world
"I had hoped that the locals would be sick enough of them and strong enough to boot them the hell out by now."I don't mean to dismiss nor deprecate the Jihadi's accomplishments. But… I was listening to a couple of ex-military types on the air the other day, and they were saying that the thing to worry ‘bout going into Fallujah wasn't how to get in, but rather, how to get out. That the exits are susceptible to being choked off, a local topography thing, and that the local tribes could be expected to exploit that. I'm kinda waiting to see if they possibly knew what they were talkin’ ‘bout, or if that was just bravado and air.
The way I've figured so far by piecing a few different articles together is that in Ramadi ISIS made some inroads into the city but have been attacked and have to fight to hold territory. They say local tribes from the awakening movement have sided with the central government against ISIS there.But in Fallujah local tribes instead made something of an 'alliance' with ISIS and against the central government, supposedly partly because there was a recent demonstration against the government where 13 locals were killed by security forces.Of course Fallujah may well be a trap due to its topology as well, as you mention Lee. One article did mention lots of snipers on rooftops for one thing. As for who will exploit that and against whom I guess remains to be seen.
"As for who will exploit that and against whom I guess remains to be seen."I'm waiting to see. The guys I was listening to seemed confident that the Jihadi had overplayed their hand, and were even talkin’ ‘bout how this might lead to a strangling off of the eastern front in Syria when the Iraqi locals sealed ‘em off in western Iraq. They seemed confident that was gonna happen.Of course, one doesn't get to be an on-air pundit in America these days by being unsure of ones own conclusions and predictions. As the saying goes, ‘They are often in error; but seldom in doubt’.
Post Script: I did check out your link. I'm still not sure what a ‘saker’ is supposed to be in this context. It does seem interesting though. Thanks for the tip.
"More often in error than in doubt.’ ??? Maybe that's how that went; somethin’ along those lines. I'd have to look up who was behind the original of that line, assuming there's any consensus on that.
From what I have read fighters from ISIL(Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) have taken over the city center of Fallujah. They have also made inroads in Ramadi. There have been families fleeing Fallujah and taking refuge in nearby towns. Food has become difficult to get. I suspect this will not be a replay of the past where AQ had its way with Fallujah. People have long memories, and AQ is the foreign element now, not us. AQ may have overplayed its hand. We may not have boots on the ground, but we can still lend a hand.
Lee,People are making a mountain out of a molehill with Benghazi. It sounds to me like typical government shortsightedness. And those happen whether the administration and State Department are Democrat or Republican. They didn't common up with the acronym SNAFU for nothing.
Hmmm...let me rephrase that last comment..."And that happens whether the administration and State Department are Democrat or Republican." I changed my though at the last minute, but not all of the comment.And..."They didn't come up with the acronym SNAFU for nothing."Sloppy, just sloppy...
I know, I know, I see it. *sigh*Where is that Zeyad when you really need him to change the subject?
Lee: "The guys I was listening to seemed confident that the Jihadi had overplayed their hand, and were even talkin’ ‘bout how this might lead to a strangling off of the eastern front in Syria when the Iraqi locals sealed ‘em off in western Iraq."Well it wouldn't be the first time they overplayed their hand. Possibly they are doing the same in Syria by imposing a harsh islamic regime on towns they hold, thus losing any backing they had.They lost Anbar kind of like that once before.Lee: " I'm still not sure what a ‘saker’ is supposed to be in this context."I was wondering the sae but found the answer right at the bottom of the blog:WHAT'S A SAKER ANYWAY?THE SAKER IS A LARGE FALCON WHICH, SADLY ENOUGH, IS THREATENED (YOU CAN FIND MORE INFO ON THIS WONDERFUL BIRD HERE). DO THESE SAKERS REALLY MONITOR VINEYARDS? WELL, ONE DOES FOR SURE!
Lynnette: "We may not have boots on the ground, but we can still lend a hand."I read somewhere that the US is providing the Iraqi government (or security services) with details about the movements by militants on the ground in western Iraq.
"And that happens whether the administration and State Department are Democrat or Republican."In hindsight one can often call the mistakes correctly. One can almost always make routine decisions that didn't work out, make then accepted risks, seem to be fuckups. Predictions about what'll happen in the future are rather harder to make. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯I didn't go to the bottom of the blog, but I did know that a saker was a falcon. I just couldn't make out the connection between falcon and vineyard. They don't seem to relate. Of course, ain't a lot of vineyards around locally. Or, maybe that's a middle-eastern cultural item (kinda like leprechauns are exclusively Irish; where other folks have faeries and elves).
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PeteS, are you around any more? If so I came across a very informative blog post that describes in a way that I thought was very pedagogic why China's economic growth figures cannot continue:http://blog.mpettis.com/2014/01/will-the-reforms-speed-growth-in-china/Check it out.
I just popped in briefly to check out Vineyard Saker. I didn't have time to read anything in depth, just skimmed a little of the comments section. Does anyone have any idea of the provenance of the blog? Some of his ideas make me wonder...
A little chilly here today. They closed schools. Makes for nice driving though. No one on the roads...wimps.As one of our radio personalities said, to deal with wind chill, don't go outside naked.
"Does anyone have any idea of the provenance of the blog?"I'm guessing the blogger to be from Syria--probably a scion of a locally prominent family; not a serious Muslim if Muslim at all, which I kinda doubt. I'm also guessing a foreign education.I'm not making a guess as to whether the blogger is actually in Syria just now.
My best guess so far is he's from Russia, well educated and residing in the US.He made one comment in the comment section that goes like this:"Oh sure, Jews are often good at making money, but all those whom I met were also very generous. In key moments of my life when almost everybody had let me down, a kind (atheist) Jewish friend stood by me and did more for me that my so-called Russian or Orthodox brothers. I always used to tell him "you are my good Samaritan".So yes, while the organized Jewry we see in organizations like AIPAC/CRIF or ADL/UEJF are loathsome, while Zionism and Judaism are sick and perverse racist ideologies, there are always individual Jews who resist it, just like individual Russians resisted Bolshevism, individual Germans resisted National-Socialism or individual Americans nowadays resist Capitalism. As the Russian singer Vyssotskii (half-Jew, by the way) put it "boot cannot trample upon our consciences" and our common humanity will always prevail against satanic ideologies, and that is true for all of us, Jews and non-Jews."That he should be residing in the US I guess based on his description on the front page:"I am a 'legal alien' currently living in the Imperial Homeland"To get that you must know that 'Empire' is a euphemism for the US's role in todays world. What's included in 'Empire' I'm not really sure about and it might not be the USA as such but the Pentagon, Wall Street, "Zionist media", possibly Israel. I'm not really sure, but if you read Eurasian news outlets and comment sections you'll come across 'Empire' a lot. It was 'Empire' that waged war on Iraq btw.
@ Lynnette,He convinced me. I vote for Russian born, living in the U.S.
Vineyard of the Saker. ...individual Russians resisted Bolshevism, individual Germans resisted National-Socialism or individual Americans nowadays resist Capitalism.Hmmm...California, perhaps? But, yes, foreign born if he thinks to equate the Occupy Movement to the resistance to Bolshevism in Russia and Naziism in Germany. His views on Obama that I noticed in the one comments section seem to equate to a disillusioned far left follower. I just love puzzles.
I'm still getting to know the blog and its author. The first post I stumbled across was this very long but quite interesting one:http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.se/2013/10/1993-2013-is-twenty-years-long-pas-de.htmlI think you'd find it interesting too and if you bother to read it there's one passage I'd like your (being Americans) opinion on and it's this:"Having said that, there is something which, to my absolute amazement, Obama's election did achieve: the removal of (most, but not all) Neocons from (most, but not all) key positions of power and a re-orientation of (most, but not all) of US foreign policy in a more traditional "USA first" line, usually supported by the "old Anglo" interests. Sure, the Neocons are still firmly in control of Congress and the US corporate media, but the Executive Branch is, at least for the time being, back under Anglo control (this is, of course, a generalization: Dick Cheney was neither Jewish nor Zionist, while the Henry Kissinger can hardly be described as an "Anglo"). And even though Bibi Netanyahu got more standing ovations in Congress (29) than any US President, the attack on Iran he wanted so badly did not happen. Instead, Hillary and Petraeus got kicked out, and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry got in. That is hardly "change we can believe in", but at least this shows that the Likud is not controlling the White House any more."What do you make of that suggestion?(to better put it into context you might want to read the whole piece though)
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Just dropping by. Been a bit busy with college assignments 'n' stuff. Came across this U.Alabama guy with some great quotes from his astronomy students. A topical one for this blog:"Mesopotamia was an area in the valley of Euphrates and Tigris river, now the region of Iraq. Much of the celestial bodies and their ways came from the people of this area. The summarians, a pre-semantic population, occupied this ancient area of land."I feel like a pre-semantic summarian sometimes, when I'm trying to write overviews of academic papers :)I also loved:"When the Sun goes down, darkness illuminates the sky..." :)Marcus, saw your China economy link, will read when I get a chance.
Also gotta love some of that guys collected comments from astronomy professionals in real publications, e.g.: "Nevertheless. we acknowledge that a few per cent of the 200 Earths that Kepler is expected to find may be erroneous, and we urge travellers to confirm their hotel reservations directly before setting out to visit one of them. [J. Caldwell and W. Borucki, Bull. AAS 31, 1077, 1999]""No data were taken at station D during the period 0830 to 1630 GST due to the presence of a red racer snake (Coluber constrictor) draped across the high-tension wires (33,000 V) serving the station. However, even though this snake, or rather a three-foot section of its remains, was caught in the act of causing an arc between the transmission lines, we do not consider it responsible for the loss of data. Rather we blame the incompetence of a red-tailed hawk (Buteo borealis) who had apparently built a defective nest that fell off the top of the nearby transmission tower, casting her nestlings to the ground, along with their entire food reserve consisting of a pack rat, a kangaroo rat, and several snakes, with the exception of the above-mentioned snake who had a somewhat higher destiny. No comparable loss of data occurred at the other antenna sites. [N. Bartel et al. 1987, ApJ 323. 507]"
lol!Nice to see you Pete.
Marcus,I'll check out the post you linked to.
"What do you make of that suggestion?"Like Lynnette, I'll have to get back to you on that. I'll want to check out the post for one thing.(Opening comment though; I'm not much impressed with his grasp of domestic American politics, notably how little of it has anything to do with accomodating what foreigners might think. However, that seems to be a fairly common failing among Euro-lefties who often claim nevertheless to keep a close eye on such things. I'll get ya more detail later.)
I said I'd get back to ya with ‘more detail later’. That was perhaps overly optimistic. I hardly know where to start. Let's just pick a couple of random points--since they're easy picks, let's pick the end pieces; where he started and where you finished quoting him. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯First, his opening thesis: "A quick look at the recent past will show that the western corporate media has been engaged in a sustained strategic campaign to identify and exploit any possible weaknesses in the Russian "political armor" and to paint Russia like a very nasty, undemocratic and authoritarian country."This is a grand foolishness of the first order. The only ‘strategic campaign’ that ‘western corporate media’ can ‘sustain’ these days is a cut-throat competition for advertising dollars. (The teabagger fantasies to the contrary notwithstanding.) ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯Then, you ended him up here: "Instead, Hillary and Petraeus got kicked out, and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry got in. That is hardly ‘change we can believe in’, but at least this shows that the Likud is not controlling the White House any more."Obama would have had Hillary stay if he'd gotten his way. (It's widely rumored that he did more than just let her know, it's rumored he actually asked her to stay on and she refused. Whether the rumor is true or no, she certainly wasn't ‘kicked out’. She quit ‘cause she can't politick from a position inside the State Department--one of the few demands for statesmanship still honored in our government these days. And she's thinking hard about a run for the presidency.) Neither was Petraeus kicked out. He shot himself in the foot, and had the good sense to know he had mortally wounded himself. But, he was pretty much unassailable by anybody except his own self, and was, in fact, not under attack by anybody. Nobody kicked him out either. (Kerry, by the way, is about as much an Israeli supporter as is just about any prominent Democrat who could have filled the job, save perhaps Lieberman--who's not even a Democrat anymore.) ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯The guy's an ideologue to the excess; he's a flake. This is not to say that he's not intelligent, or well read, or often insightful, but he's an ideologue--far enough into his own theories that he conforms his world to to his theories instead of trying to get his theories to fit the real world.He is interesting though. And intelligent, and often insightful. But, he's also a flake.More detail would merely confirm that much. (Which is not to say I won't read his stuff with interest, and, as the old sayin’ goes--‘even a blind hog finds an acorn once in awhile’; so, there's liable to be some good stuff in there.)
"Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said his memoir has been ‘hijacked,’ following recently released excerpts that have been viewed as critical of the president and the White House. “‘The book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes,’ Gates said Monday…" video hereWell, ‘Duh’… What the hell did he think was gonna happen?This guy, Gates, is not some cracker swamp-rat stumbled accidentally into some money with a patent on a duck call; he has no excuse for being taken by surprise by this.
Marcus,I got a little busy with other things, but I have read Saker's post and also am reading through the comments section, which is rather long, so will take me awhile.Like Lee, I think the writer is an intelligent individual. But the subtle(and not so subtle) innuendo in some of his writing makes me feel like I am living in a Tom Clancy spy thriller where the writer is a Russian plant sent to undermine the United States. Some of his ideas are, as Lee would say, flakey in the extreme.For instance......the US leaders are clearly afraid of their own people so they protect themselves by a immense and costly global network of spies and propagandists who are terrified of dissent and who see the main enemy in their own people.ROTFL! Seriously? That whole statement reads like cheap propaganda straight out of Russian psy-ops. ...as somebody born in Western Europe and who has lived a total of 15 years in the USA I would say that anti-Russian sentiment in the West is very rare, almost non-existent.This I can agree with. In the USA there have always been strong anti-Communist feelings - there still are today - but somehow most Americans do make the difference between the political ideology that they don't really understand, but that they dislike anyway, and the people which in the past used to be associated with it.Subtle, but whether the majority of Americans understand the fine points of Communism or not is irrelevent to whether or not Communism is a system to be desired. I do agree with my fellow countrymen that it is not...there is the fact that in a bizarre twist of history Russia today stands for the values of the West of yesterday: international law, pluralism, freedom of speech, social rights, anti-imperialism, opposition to intervention inside sovereign states, rejection of wars as a means to settle disputes, etc.A perfect white wash of Russia to place in a puplication like Asia Times. It hits all the right buttons. Talking about the song by David Rovics...These words are a beautiful expression for the hope which should inspire all those who are now opposing the US-Zionist Empire: we are everywhere, literally.Played the Jewish card, nice touch. Saddam would have applauded.
[Saker]"...the Likud is not controlling the White House any more."[Marcus] "What do you make of that suggestion?"Saker has fixated too much on Israel and Jews in general to see the forest for the trees. Obsessing like that makes any of his analysis suspect.But it certainly makes it believable that the writer is Russian.
Lee,I think I will have to look for Gates's book. I always love books that ruffle feathers.
"puplication" Hmmmm...lol!Should have read..."publication":)
"I always love books that ruffle feathers."Well, he has managed to do that. Be warned though-- 600 pages. (Sounds like one I might want to go through myself. Although, preliminary reviews suggest it has a somewhat limited scope. I was reading one review and it reminded me of the line from ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ where Jesus was complaining, ‘You're far too keen on where and how, and not so hot on why’. Seems Gates may do a lot more of the who, where, and how and largely leaves it to others to explain their own whys. I think I might appreciate a book like that.)
@ Lynnette,The congressional compromisers rolled out a compromise appropriations bill last night. It ups spending something like a 50-60 billion dollars over the sequester limits of last year.Glenn Hannibaugh takes to the airwaves just about now.We shall soon see if I was correct about the teabagger contingent mounting another rebellion on Boehner, or whether he managed to beat them back into a corner he can keep them in.
Lee: "This is a grand foolishness of the first order. The only ‘strategic campaign’ that ‘western corporate media’ can ‘sustain’ these days is a cut-throat competition for advertising dollars."Well, there may not be a 'strategic campaign' as such but I wouldn't say those who feel there is one are fools, because it's not far off actually.Russia is treated way different in western MSM than most other countries. Russia passed a law forbidding "homosexual propaganda directed at children" and the entire western MSM was screaming for blood. In Uganda and many other African countries they slaughter gays with impunity and no one cares.Befor the Sochi olympics security is tight for obvious reasons yet western journalists moan about restricted access. Apparently a few people had to move for the arenas to be biult and that's portrayed as gross human rights violations. But in Quatar that'll hold the next World Cup in football slave labour have their passports confiscated and scores die from the bad conditions 2guest workers" live under, and hardly anyone in western MSM says a peep.Our own Sports-minister, cheered on by swedish MSM, will boycott the opening of the olympics to signal "her distaste for Putin's human rights record". She'll boycott democratic Russia's Olympics but was a-OK with going to the opening of the Beijing Olympics in one-party communist dictatorship China.When Pussy Riot were arrested for their radical political protest inside an orthodox church they were hailed much like freedom fifghers throughout the west. If someone had done the same to a mosque or worse yet to a synagogue they'd be labeled in a quite different manner. But because they are anti-Putin they can do no wrong.So yes, the standards for Russia are way different than for other countries. The media in the west cuts Russia zero of the slack it cuts other nations. The double standards are obvious. The agenda shines through.I'd not go so far as to say it's a coordinated strategic campaign, because I don't believe it is. But there's an anti-Russia/Putin agenda that's followed by so large a majority of western media you can start to talk about that agenda being that of western MSM as a whole.
Somewhere between 95% and 98% of of the American population could not tell you who Pussy Riot was. They'd not even recognize that Pussy Riot was a who and not a what.I'm not going to get into the differences in European and American media too deeply. Suffice it to say that our journalists are not recovering from decades of self-censorship for fear of pissin’ off Ivan.Let's just get to the heart of the matter…How does Russian domestic social policy constitute ‘a threat to the west’. That is his opening thesis: "…and to paint Russia like a very nasty, undemocratic and authoritarian country, in other words a threat to the West."
Actually, given a few more minutes to think ‘bout it…Fear of pissin’ off Ivan may have been a secondary matter. It may have come in well behind an inate discomfort about publishing anything that might be construed as support for the United States in the decades long confrontation that was the Cold War.But, I do digress here. His opening thesis was the ‘sustained strategic campaign’ a grand conspiracy indulged in by ‘western corporate media’, a base point for the rest of his rants, and one which you've already said you're not willing to defend.
Lee:"How does Russian domestic social policy constitute ‘a threat to the west’. That is his opening thesis"It does not IMO. And I can't say that our media makes that case either. Posssibly a threat to 'western values' in so far as our media would like those values to spread and Russia sometimes has other ideas it its traditional areas of influence, Russia itself being the paramount one. "Somewhere between 95% and 98% of of the American population could not tell you who Pussy Riot was."I'd say the figures are perhaps not quite the reverse in Europe but the majority would know about them. And I'm not saying the russians didn't come down quite hard on them, I'm saying the degree of outrage in (at least European) western media was due to the fact it happened in Russia. Way worse happens elsewhere and not much is said about it.My main point is that while I don't subscribe to the idea of a coordinated "strategic campaign" in western media against Russia I can understand how russians might feel they are being singled out for critizism.
"My main point is…"More to the point: Your main point is not his point.His point is the point to which I took exception. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯@ Lynnette,So far Glenn Hannibaugh isn't makin’ much of the Senate budget deal. I may have over-estimated their enthusiasm for losing another budget fight.
Russia is treated way different in western MSM than most other countries.Except the example you are using is regarding something that has been front and center as one our own domestic issues via the same sex marriage issue. Couple that with the Olympics being held in Russia, the law that has been debated and passed in Russia, and you have something that is newsworthy and specific to that location. According to one article I saw lawmakers in Russia have advocated barring gays from government jobs, forcing them to undergo medical treatment or be exiled. That is discrimination at the least. If that is incorrect then a retraction should be demanded by those lawmakers.I did note that our media did report the release of Pussy Riot. But given their lack of fame here, that issue would not be as notable.I'm not saying that our media does not fixate on various topics, but it is not a pre-planned fixation. It is pure laziness, or financial constaints, that cause their lack of effort to look for other stories. No conspiracy against Russia or anyone else. And conspiracy theories are what Saker and his commenters seem to lean toward. I honestly do not believe that 9/11 was carried out by anyone other than Al-Qaida.
One comment I noted in Saker's comments section was regarding peak oil in Russia. Do you have any idea, Marcus, if the commenter was correct in saying it has been, or is going to be, reached soon? That there is only one large field left operating?
Oh, one more point...And I'm not saying the russians didn't come down quite hard on them, I'm saying the degree of outrage in (at least European) western media was due to the fact it happened in Russia.Perhaps this has to do with Western Europe's proximity to Russia? Russia's domestic issues are a more sensitive issue in their case? Kind of like our being sensitive to Mexico's drug wars.
Lynnette: "Do you have any idea, Marcus, if the commenter was correct in saying it [peak oil in Russia] has been, or is going to be, reached soon? That there is only one large field left operating?"I've heard it mentioned. But I'd point out that even if peak oil is reached in Russia it's from a very high level, second only to Saudi. And there are more than one big field, but perhaps only one giant one depending on how you classify oil fields. So it's not like Russia is about to become any less significant as an energy supplier. In fact as natural gas becomes relatively more importat we should see Russia with it's vast reserves (26-27% of worlds proven reserves)* becoming even more of an energy powerhouse. North Stream is a game changer annd South Stream looks like it'll be realised which is another gamechanger. Europe is set to become ever more reliant on Russian gas in the coming decades.Also, Russia is huge, double the size of the USA, and it's not as well surveyed for new discoveries as many other areas. So it's quite possible that there are new discoveries of oil that can be significant. Also russian technology and expertise in the extraction business is nowhere near that of western firms like Exxon, BP, Shell and the rest. With an influx of know how it's possible that existing fields can be tapped in a better way and last longer.For that to happen though there needs to be more understanding between Russia and the west, and between Russia and western companies. It doesn't look very promising at the moment I have to say. But it could, given the right circumstances, be a win-win.Add to all that the Arctic region where oil analysts expect there are great new finds to be made. There's a scramble today between all northern countries that can make claims to claim regions of the arctic 'pie' as theirs, and every country wants their slice to be as big as possible. In any case Russia has the longest borders to the north and whatever the outcome its slice will realisically also be the biggest one. What comes out of it in terms of actual oil extraction remains to be seen. The technical challenges and the environmental risks are daunting.*Figures are for conventional gas, and fracking of course alters the equation but mostly so for the US, not so much for Europe even if we can probably frack in some locations also.
@ Lynnette,The House approved the omnibus spending bill late yesterday with nary a sqwauk from the right-wingers (who did vote against it, but who did not take to FoxNews nor the Glenn Hannibaugh circuit to denounce their collegues and their ‘establishment’ congressional leadership.) When those guys fold, they fold flat. That went down much more quietly than I ever expected.
Marcus,In some ways Russia reminds me of the Middle East. It has natural resources to be had, but is still emerging, or trying to emerge, from decades of dictatorial rule. That Europe is rather dependent on its oil and gas supplies makes it understandable that they would focus on Russia's internal social issues. Its not very comfortable to think of relying on an entity that could be so unfair to its own citizens. You have to wonder what kind of partner it will make.You made some very good points about Russia's oil and gas resources with regard to extraction ability and the potential for future discoveries. The future can change in an instant. You just have to look at the US's current energy situation to see that. I'm still reading through that comments section. Apparently a lot of Russian commenters. While I am not familiar with many of the names or internal situations thrown around, the opinions are interesting. I am still astonished at the convoluted turns people's minds take. Sometimes the simplest answer is actually the correct one, but many of them don't seem to ascribe to that theory. :)Their views of the US are apparently colored by their own environment rather than any actual knowledge of Americans or American politics. Perhaps we(Americans) suffer from the same malidy?
Lee,Perhaps the Republican party leaders have finally put enough pressure on the far right to rein in some of their extreme thinking. While I don't believe our politicians are afraid of the American people, they certainly should have a healthy respect for the power of voters.Any details on the spending bill? Does it soften the sequestration cuts?
"Their views of the US are apparently colored by their own environment rather than any actual knowledge of Americans or American politics. Perhaps we(Americans) suffer from the same malidy?"Perhaps we do. But, I've been wondering something different. I wonder how much of his Russian political essay is likewise a fantasy. Does he really understand even Russian politics? Or have his fantasies wholly taken him over? I wonder how much of that his stuff I can put much stock in. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "Perhaps the Republican party leaders have finally put enough pressure on the far right to rein in some of their extreme thinking."I don't think they've altered their wingers' mind-sets by even a little bit, but they seem to have reined in their calls for immediate action.The budget deal projects 1.1-1.2 trillion dollar budget, where the sequester came in at a hair under a trillion. The lion's share of the relief went to the Pentagon, but bits of it were spread around quite broadly. Sadly, infrastructure and basic research didn't get in on any of the relief.
"The Scandalous Lack of Obama Administration Scandals" American ProspectYes, this magazine qualifies as a ‘liberal rag, but the point is valid.
Marcus, I read your China link. Very interesting. China's GDP growth figures for 2013 were released today -- 7.5%. Anywhere in the west would drool over that level of growth, but it represents a slowdown for China, which is expected to continue through the next decade. Will be interesting to see the implications for the country's leadership. They need to keep employment growth going even if economic growth flags. Some commentators think that can be done through growth of the service economy.On a totally different subject, today is wake-up day for Rosetta.
I wonder how much of his Russian political essay is likewise a fantasy. Does he really understand even Russian politics? Or have his fantasies wholly taken him over? I wonder how much of that his stuff I can put much stock in.I know. Some of the ideas presented by his commenters are questionable as well. Having said that it is still interesting to see what people come up with. The danger lies in the mixing of facts with innuendo. Those who are not really familiar enough with America and Americans might believe everything these people are saying, instead of parsing out the inacuracies. I don't think that Marcus has that problem as he seems to be a critical thinker. But others may just take this blogger's writing at face value, without looking at in depth.The budget deal projects 1.1-1.2 trillion dollar budget, where the sequester came in at a hair under a trillion. The lion's share of the relief went to the Pentagon, but bits of it were spread around quite broadly. Sadly, infrastructure and basic research didn't get in on any of the relief.Hopefully what relief there was will help continue the economic revival. With larger tax collections as a result of more robust economic activity there may be further relief in sight. In Minnesota our finances are already looking better. Btw, I bought Robert Gates's book this weekend. I haven't started it yet. You're right, it is long!
PeteS,"Comets are time capsules from the origin of the solar system. It is still a big mystery exactly how the planets formed, but when you start looking at comets, you start to get an idea how it all happened," said Taylor. "This is difficult, but I am confident. It is going to be amazing."It sounds like trying to hit a needle in a haystack! But well worth the delayed gratification if it works. :)How's school?
"I don't think that Marcus has that problem…"You are ever the optimist, Lynnette. Cynic that I am, I thought I detected at least a degree of disappointment from him after neither of us validated at least some of the blogger's furthest flights of fancy.I hope to get my hands on a copy of Gate's book before too long. I think I might want to read this one. But, I haven't been by a bookstore just yet to look for one. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "Anywhere in the west would drool over that level of growth…"Maybe the Chinese too. That may be a fantasy figure. I've seen suggestions that the Chinese been cookin’ up their numbers pretty much outta whole cloth here lately. (No way to evaluate those claims myself, but I decided to remember that I'd read that; keep an open mind on the subject.)
Hiya Lynnette,Yes, Rosetta's pretty exciting. Putting a lander down on a comet is pretty hair-raising. You don't so much put it down as stick it on. By my calculation, the gravity is so weak that the equivalent of a hundredth of a millimetre jump into the air on earth would launch you off the surface of the comet, never to come back down.School's good. Busy with assignments, currently studying maths and quantum physics. I thought General Relativity was tough! ... QM is complicated AND completely bizarre! In a couple of weeks I start a project module which will be the last stage of my degree -- I have to choose a project topic which I currently hope will either be on the use of "big data" in large scale sky surveys, or an analysis of differences between quasar spectra.How's the weather in MN? Is that Arctic vortex still vortexing, or whatever it does. I heard there were ungodly temperatures in much of the US, which means MN must be like the surface of comet 67P. I would think most of the population must have eaten each other by now. And apparently any survivors are being eaten by Democrats ;-)
Lee: "You are ever the optimist, Lynnette. Cynic that I am, I thought I detected at least a degree of disappointment from him after neither of us validated at least some of the blogger's furthest flights of fancy."You just didn't really get into what I was wondering about is all. I was wondering about the possibility of "Israel first" versus "America first" power structures in Americas government. And I was just asking you, being Americans, what ya'll thought of that. I'm not really dissapointed by any answer or comment so far, but less than enthusiestic about the replies, possibly because there isn't that much to say about the matter to begin with. Your 12:46 PM was somewhat informative I guess.
" I was wondering about the possibility of ‘Israel first’ versus ‘America first’ power structures in Americas government."I see; well, you were less than clear about wanting that specific point addressed. (I think Lynnette didn't get that either.) So…He got that wrong too. (Used to be a native fear of having a Catholic president too, on somewhat similar grounds, i.e. that a Catholic president would be the servant of the Pope in Rome.)The Israeli thing is complicated though. And, being complicated, there's manuevering room for those who get mileage out of making the charge you inquired about. But, complications aside, there is no such ‘Israel first’ contingent in American society nor in the American government. Never has been. (It's not much bragged upon by Democrats, but a large part of the reason Harry Truman was quick to recognize Israel is that he did not want to face political pressure to allow the immigration of even more Jews from the desolation that was post-war Europe. Israel gave them somewhere else to go.)
Pete,Hmmm...yes, it's slightly chilly here right now. It was 15 degrees below zero fahrenheit here this morning. I had to drag my long wool coat back out. What with the wimpy winters we'd been having it had gotten shoved to the back of the closet. Glad I kept it, and the big puffy down parka, though. But we're still managing to survive. We try to only eat the tourists. ;) Thanks for that article. It is an interesting comparison of two different paths. Not surprisingly I tend to lean toward Minnesota's actions rather than Wisconsin's, especially pertaining to the tax issue. If you want to maintain a decent quality of life you simply have to spend a little money. That means taxes. If you are making money in a location, you should be contributing to maintaining the infrastructure and supporting the educational system. Not all things are cheaper in WI though. While individual income taxes are lower property taxes are higher.Governor Dayton has floated the idea of lowering some business taxes because of the improving economy. We'll see if he follows through.
Lee,I just had time to read the introduction last night. I think like many Americans Gates has gotten pretty disgusted with Washington's gridlock. Perhaps that's why the timing of the book's release. I look forward to starting it, which I think I will do soon.
Marcus,I was wondering about the possibility of "Israel first" versus "America first" power structures in Americas government. And I was just asking you, being Americans, what ya'll thought of that.No, actually, I didn't realize that's what you were wondering about. My answer would be not much. Sure there are those who support Israel and lobby for her. But that is no different from other lobby groups.The Saker seems to be no different than others who are obsessed with Israel. Most Americans and their elected representatives are far more concerned with domestic issues. Hence the need for a lobby group. :)I think Lee is right about Truman, btw. That is more in keeping with the reality of American politics than any Zionist conspiracy. And that is what the Saker and others like him don't, or willfully won't, understand.
"Sure there are those who support Israel and lobby for her. But that is no different from other lobby groups."Before we let Marcus get too dubious… It is true that the Jewish vote holds an outsized value to both political parties. If, make that a big ‘IF’, IF the Jewish vote goes as a block it can swing the election in several of the swing districts. And Jews vote. They vote at a higher percentage than their Gentile neighbors. So, in several swing districts the local politicians hunt ‘the Jewish vote’, will pander to get it if pandering will get it. However, the same can be said of the Hispanic vote in other areas of the country, or the Black vote in certain metropolitan areas.The difference, if there is one, is that Jews vote in high percentages compared to their White Gentile neighbors; same can't necessarily be said of Hispanics and Blacks.
Lynnette,Coincidentally, just after I asked about the weather, I saw an ABC weather report (second hand on the BBC). They were predicting wind chill factors of -47 F for Minneapolis, and -56 F for Fargo, ND !!! Seriously! In spite of understanding the continental vs. maritime influence, I find it hard to reconcile your toe-curling temperatures with the fact that you are 8 degrees south of here ... the same latitude as Bordeaux in France!We've had a mixed bag here this winter. With the jet stream stuck in a kink right over us since the start of December, we are getting wave after wave of Atlantic depressions with pulses of heavy rain interspersed with colder brighter weather. "Cold", generally means 3 to 7 C (37 - 45 F), while the rainy spells have been up to 14 C (59 F), even overnight. I saw one frost while I was in the UK for Christmas, but none here. Generally temperatures have been a little above average.I'm going to take a trip to southern Portugal in a few weeks (16 degrees south of here)... the day is still more than an hour longer than here in February and temps generally about 20 C. Bliss!
IF the Jewish vote goes as a block it can swing the election in several of the swing districts. And Jews vote. They vote at a higher percentage than their Gentile neighbors.This can be said of any group of like minded people who are organized in enough numbers to make a difference. That's the problem we have run into with the Tea Partiers. Having said that, to extrapolate that to mean that elected officials will work for Israel first over America is a stretch. There are just too many competing interests that affect politics in Washington. And too many politicians who actually see serving in Washington as serving their country, and no one elses.Frankly, Americans tend to be a bit soft-hearted and short of memory. So, however Israel may have come into being, for many of us it is ancient history. If the tactics used by its founding members were less than stellar no one really remembers. What they see is a small country being picked on by its neighbors. The Palestinians have a good case for their own country or self-determination, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot by using violent tactics. People like the Saker don't really help either. While he may seem to think he is balanced, some of his remarks, especially in his comments section, seem to paint a different story. The first time I ever read anything that helped me to see the Palestinian side without the color of terrorism was in "Beirut to Jerusalem". This is not the result of some dark corporate media conspiracy as implied by Saker & Co., but because our media simply has the focus of if it bleeds it leads. No more, no less. If people want to twist that to serve whatever purpose they are writing for, then so be it. It is up to the reader to make up their own mind about the truth of the theory. So, am I sympathetic to Israel? Yes. But I am also sympathetic to the Palestinians who simply want to live a normal life without fear. Do I approve of settlements built in territory meant for someone else? No. Do I approve of suicide bombers? No. As far as I am concerned I am getting tired of the Israeli/Palestinian issue. It is their responsibility to fix it, not mine.
Pete,I find it hard to reconcile your toe-curling temperatures with the fact that you are 8 degrees south of here ... the same latitude as Bordeaux in France!We get our air directly from Canada. It's not really that bad, if it doesn't last too long. And when it's sunny it almost makes you forget that your face is freezing off. :)I think you mentioned vacationing in Portugal before. Is there a favorite spot you like there? People here seem to go back every winter to the same places in AZ, FL or TX. Snowbirds.
"This can be said of any group of like minded people who are organized in enough numbers to make a difference."True. And the Jews make up a minor population demographic. (Under 5% nationally I think it is.) They are a much less signiicant a voting block than the teabaggers, or the Hispanics, or the Blacks. But, they can swing some districts in New York and maybe a few in California. Thing is; they seldom vote as a block, but they could, or so one guesses. So, a few legislators from those particular districts are solicitous of Israel's interests.And, that's a major national media center, so those legislators get outsized publicity. The value of ‘the Jewish vote’ therefore gets overplayed in the media.And, of course, some foreigners are oversensitive to the subject and to the publicity, eager to find what's not really there. "To skewed eyes truth wears a wry face." Gandalf the White ― The Return of the King
And, of course, some foreigners are oversensitive to the subject and to the publicity, eager to find what's not really there.That does seem to be the case. I don't know if it is the environment they live in or just a complete lack of understanding of America and Americans. Maybe both? Sure, those elected officials who have a large Jewish constituency may be supportive of Israel, but that certainly doesn't equate with what the Saker was implying. Unfortunately, you have people who read that kind of thing and swallow the bait hook, line, and sinker. And people wonder why the world is so screwed up? I started Gates's book. Not very far yet, but I am liking his writing style. He seems to call a spade a spade.
"Maybe both?"Maybe both. May be something else at work too. The absolute stomping that the numerically superior Arab armies took in the Six-Day-War, along with the Jews' rapid ground gains during the ‘48 conflict was fairly traumatic for the Arabs across the region. They've been looking for some way to explain that away ever since. (It's partly, maybe largely, behind the rise of ‘Islamism’ in the region.)What we've got is a bunch of folks looking for explanations they find palatable.The involvement of a hugely powerful enemy, The United States, is a more palatable explanation for Israel's military success than is the truth. Truth is, modern Arab armies have been designed to crush native insurrections, not fight foreign armies. They're just not designed to fight folks with their own logistical support. The Israeli did not waste time and effort designing their army to put down a possible Jewish insurrection, which they considered a rather remote possibility given that Israel is a functioning democracy.
...given that Israel is a functioning democracy.And if some of those conspiracy theorists would look a little closer at this, they may figure out that it has a lot more to do with our friendship with Israel than does any other reason.Truth is, modern Arab armies have been designed to crush native insurrections, not fight foreign armies.I wonder how this bodes for Iraq's attempt to defang AQ's recent bite on Fallujah & Ramadi. The last little bit I read was a rather pessimistic view from one Iraqi official. I hope he is wrong.
PeteS,I just noticed the other day that your friendly hacker is at it again. He seems to like to send inspirational(?) messages."Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success."No, I didn't click on the link.
I hear Texas has been getting ice. Can't stand that stuff. The only way to get around on that is slowly.
Very nasty weather the last two days
I thought central Texas in the depths of winter was typically 80F. Has anyone checked if hell has frozen over :-)
Lynnette, sorry about the spam. It's not my machine, so my yahoo account must've been hacked (again). Time to change the password again methinks.Re: Portugal, yeah ... there's a very pleasant five star hotel right here.
Nasty weather up here too. They closed schools again today, and I'm guessing will probably do so tomorrow as well. It was 18 below zero this morning on my thermometer. But with schools closed there was no traffic on the roads coming into work. Nice.Texas usually is nice in the winter. That's why so many retired Minnesotans winter there. Not this year though. The whole country seems to be having crumby weather. The only nice place left may be in Key West, FL.
Petes,Don't worry about the hacker thing. I just won't open the link.I've been following other people's travels this winter as well. *sigh* Looking at pictures of beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the ocean where the weather is 80 degrees helps remind me that there are actually places without a constant blanket of white and face freezing days.
Lee,I got a little farther in Gates's book. I am on the chapter where he is talking about various people in the Bush administration. I rather like his take on people and events. He's a very down to earth, blunt,yet diplomatic, type of man. "In the privacy of their offices, members of Congress could be calm, thoughtful, and sometimes insightful and intelligent in discussing issues. But when they went into an open hearing, and the little red light went on atop a television camera, it had the effect of a full moon on a werewolf." Excerpt from Robert Gates "Duty".The man knows what he's talking about. :)
"…it had the effect of a full moon on a werewolf."We can blame that one on the TV networks along with the Congressman himself; joint blame. If he doesn't go ‘werewolf’ then he doesn't make the evening news--Ted Cruz gets the air time instead.
We have here a clear, concise, and fairly grim analysis of the politics of global warming.
Marcus,As a follow up to your question of whether or not there could be some sort of conspiracy to put Israel first over America by US politicians, perhaps this will help explain why that is unlikely. I would not have noticed this if I hadn't heard about Grimm's behavior after the State of the Union address. While it's true reporters can be annoying, threatening them with bodily harm isn't exactly statesman like. :)
Lee,I fear he is right that we may be too late to do anything to change the future. I can understand that people find it difficult to really wrap their heads around the concept that life as we know it may not be possible in the future. Watching an apocalypse movie is one thing, living it is another. Even if they don't want to look at the more serious issue of simple survival, there are the economic consquences to deal with. Watching the news this morning and hearing about people sheltering in place because they live in regions not equiped to deal with snow or ice is a small sample of what the future may hold. Think about disruptions to supply chains for things such as food and medicine. Right now there is a propane shortage here. People who live in outstate areas that use propane for heating are finding it becoming expensive or rationed. So turning down the temp on the thermostat is the norm. For older people this can be difficult.As I have said before global warming's danger lies in what it will lead to, which is global climate change. It is that change that will cause the difficulties for our future well being. *sigh* But what will be will be, I guess. I just feel very sorry for the children of today. They don't realize all they are going to be losing because of our inability to act.
P.S.Sometimes I just feel people are sticking their heads in the sand of Facebook and other social media. They are too busy taking "selfies" to look around at the real world. *end rant*
"Sometimes I just feel people are sticking their heads in the sand of Facebook and other social media."I have about come to the conclusion that a fair number of the right-wingers who deny global warming actually know better. But, fixing the problem is politically suicidal what with their voter base. An open and admitted "‘head-in-the-sand’ ‘cause we can't stop it anyway" position is likewise politically suicidal (they need more than just their own voter base) so they can't do that either.The only other move they got is to deny it's real, in the knowledge that their voter base is already heavy into faerie tales. So, what's one more?.
So, what's one more?*shakes head sadly*Those sound like famous last words. Except in this case there may not be anyone around to write them.
Meanwhile it warmed up a bit here and so we got snow. It's like mother nature only knows two settings...cold or snow.
The Syrian peace talks are not off to an auspicious start. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯(Side note to Lynnette. Interesting political analysis piece coming from Republican pollseter, Sean Trende; and ‘yes’ that really is the name of a Republican pollster. I'd think this piece considerably less interesting if it were coming from a Democrat or liberal analyst.) ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "Those sound like famous last words."Yes. And I believe they know that too, and are willing to go there anyway.
I have my period
My condolences Anonymous.
The Syrian peace talks are not off to an auspicious start.Why does this not surprise me? I'll also be surprised if they actually turn over all chemical weapons. But I can live in hope I suppose. "Those sound like famous last words."Yes. And I believe they know that too, and are willing to go there anyway.And that would represent a gross dereliction of duty. Taking an oath to keep America safe doesn't just mean from humnan threats. I hear that California is running short of water. This not only affects California residents but other areas of the country that rely on that food supply.
Lee,I read the link about immigration reform. The timing of raising the issue is because they are afraid of winning? I find that hard to swallow.
"I find that hard to swallow."Keep in mind that what ya found there was the result of a Republican trying to make sense out of the Republican position. You witness there the result.
That's why he was talking about their winning. :) Not always a sure thing, even with the Obamacare website fiasco.
If there is a climate change denier out there, there is someone in Florida with a house for you.I'm not sure if you can get to that article without registering. It is in the September 2013 issue of the National Geographic if you don't want to register. In a state exposed to hurricanes as well as rising seas, people like John Van Leer, an oceanographer at the University of Miami, worry that one day they will no longer be able to insure-or sell-their houses. "If buyers can't insure it, they can't get a mortgage on it. And if they can't get a mortgage, you can only sell to cash buyers," Van Leer says. "What I'm looking for is a climate change denier with a lot of money."Good article.
Former Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura, is "off the grid and hiding from drones", or so he says.
He's either totally lost it or is trying to drum up listeners for his online talk show. Probably a little of both.
"Probably a little of both."My first guess was that he was having fun at the expense of a too-serious young Politico reporter, of East Indian extraction if I read that name right, who didn't quite realize what it meant to be dealing with Jesse "The Body" Ventura--pro wrestler and king of high camp.I'm still leanin’ towards that explanation. Howard Stern as his preferred veep? Did you notice that part?
I'm still leanin’ towards that explanation.I don't know, Lee. While I did vote for the man way back when, I have since gotten the feeling that he is not quite all there. Howard Stern as his preferred veep?I rest my case. :)Btw, I am at the point in Robert Gates's book where he is talking about Russia and Georgia. It will be interesting to see his take on that incident. He seems quite honest with his criticisms of our dealings with Russia.
"I rest my case. :)"So, what I took as clear evidence that the man wasn't serious, you took as evidence that the man wasn't quite sane.I'm not sure how we resolve that one. Maybe we just leave it there. It's not like it matters.
Post Script:You're convincing me; I gotta get around to layin’ hands on that Gates' book.
[Lynnette]: Meanwhile it warmed up a bit here and so we got snow. It's like mother nature only knows two settings...cold or snow.Don't knock it. Variety is the spice of life. Our current daily menu is rain or ... rain. Comes with a choice of gale force or storm force winds, and a selection of river or coastal flooding.Could someone over there please unkink the jet stream? We'd like our turn with the snow ;-)
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Could someone over there please unkink the jet stream? We'd like our turn with the snow ;-)Careful, Pete, someone might hear you and you'll get "snizzle". :) It sounds like Atlanta, GA is in for another run of freezing rain. Hopefully they are a little better prepared this time.Oddly, now 10 below doesn't feel so bad. I put away my big puffy parka and switched to the newer lighter version.Anyone watching the Olympics? I hear that there it feels more like the summer Olympics weather wise.
Lamai Beach on Koh Samui - Thailand - is where I'm spending my days right now. Here the weather is just fine.
"Careful, Pete, someone might hear you ..."Speak of the devil ... just a few hours after I wrote that there were flurries of snow. Didn't last long, though ... we are back to wind and rain, with more of the same forecast through next week. It's hard to remember such a fixed pattern of weather. We're used to much more variability. But this regime has been with us since early December. The sea surges are quite unusual too ... this was the scene south of here last week.
Anybody know just when Zeyad's blog was ‘moved temporarily’?(to http://www.healingiraq.blogspot.in/; that's India)
Blogger regular redirects to other domains.
Holy crap, this weather is gone beyond a joke. Non-stop rain is one thing. But we've got 110 mph winds this afternoon, thousands of trees down, power and transport links out, and much structural damage. And it's repeated across the British Isles.
110 mph? That's not good. I hope you have managed to weather the storm with minimal damage. I remember the damage we had with just 90 mph winds.It's hard to believe there are still people who doubt climate change and the problems it will bring. Blogger regular redirects to other domains.That's better than the thought that someone has absconded with Zeyad's blog.
Lamai Beach on Koh Samui - Thailand - is where I'm spending my days right now. Here the weather is just fine.Hmmm...and you dropped by to let us know there are still places with pleasant weather? Thank you...I think. :)
Lee,I see that the debt ceiling was passed with little fuss. A rare breath of fresh air.
"I see that the debt ceiling was passed with little fuss."Some fussing on right-winger talk radio. The teabaggers ain't happy. Boehner has probably used up all his recently acquired cred with the wingnuts. I am surprised that some carping on right-winger talk radio seems to be the extent of it for now.And I was expecting you to observe that the jet stream seems to be coming unkinked, just as he'd wished for.
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