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April 15, 2017

Open Thread 2017-15

News & views ...

Posted by b on April 15, 2017 at 01:25 PM | Permalink

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Russia apparently has a bomb similar to what US used in Afghanistan, but 4 times as poweful.

Posted by: andoheb | Apr 15, 2017 1:51:08 PM | 2

terrorists blowing up "beautiful babies" in Aleppo. Pissed off US Marine. Warning: it's ugly. https://twitter.com/AngeloJohnGage

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 15, 2017 1:53:43 PM | 3

@ ruralito 3: Right on baby! This short video needs to make the rounds!!!

Posted by: ben | Apr 15, 2017 2:16:57 PM | 4

I'm pretty curious what will happen in/ with Egypt. It's still one of the key countries of the Middle East, if only for its huge population and army. Well, plus the canal.

Still looks like the logical next target for the jihadis to me, and the recent church blast might confirm that. What'll Sisi do to keep people quiet? Bread and games?

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15, 2017 2:27:49 PM | 5

"Video: “Trump Won’t Be Cancelling World War 3 After All”. #StandDownMrTrump"

From Global Research:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-trump-wont-be-cancelling-world-war-3-after-all-standdownmrtrump/5585099

Posted by: ben | Apr 15, 2017 2:29:43 PM | 6

(FULL VIDEO) United Airlines Forcibly Drags Doctor Off Plane After Overbooking

Coincidentally early April I travelled standby passenger on SIA with stopover in Hongkong. R/T flights were full. Must admit the best flights ever. The crews were friendly and no one forcibly drags out of the aircraft.

SIA served excellent Western, Asian and Muslim foods. Free beer, wine and liquor on economy class (not sure about liquor me a teetotaler). Flag carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) was named the best airline in Asia in 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaNost5U5BE2017

Posted by: OJS | Apr 15, 2017 2:44:48 PM | 7

Proof that the alleged Syrian Government chemical weapons attack on April 5 was staged, and that the White House either did not care for a professional intelligence check on their draft for the White House Intelligence Report issued on April 11, or did consciously use false claims for justifying a war of aggression act against Syria supporting ISIS:
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/04/video-evidence-of-false-claims-made-in-the-white-house-intelligence-report-of-april-11-2017-by-ted-p.html

Posted by: Kassandra | Apr 15, 2017 3:27:01 PM | 9

ben@6 - Too many people are starting to sound like me, now. That's actually pretty disturbing. I'm stocking up on tin-foil now if there's going to be a stampede.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 3:36:43 PM | 10

Syria — President Bashar al-Assad: “The chemical attack story is a fabrication” from intel today - wordpress.. interesting commentary, and his latest from today on Mike Pompeo

Posted by: james | Apr 15, 2017 3:46:59 PM | 11

Car bomb kills scores of Syrians evacuating town after two years of siege
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/car-bomb-kills-dozens-of-syrians-evacuating-town-after-two-years-of-siege/2017/04/15/8e9f6cfa-21e7-11e7-bcd6-6d1286bc177d_story.html?utm_term=.96df47cc4a96

WaPoo doesn't know how to handle this obvious heinous attack by rebels on innocent civilians. And White Helmets are present? Very interesting. Maybe it's to make White Helmets look like they are more impartial. Even though people in pro-govt areas lived under siege conditions, it's the opposition's complaints about siege conditions that get a play. At least some in the comments understand what's going on and what the rebels are all about.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 15, 2017 4:10:24 PM | 12

@12 Give it a day or two and they'll blame Assad for not providing security.

Posted by: dh | Apr 15, 2017 4:47:50 PM | 13

BBC also twists in the wind of facts. They repeat rebel claims that the govt trying to bring out loyalist fighters and fears of retaliation. And they repeat the Khan Sheikhun story.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39609288

video of the massacre
https://www.facebook.com/MaythamSyria/videos/276763642764331/

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 15, 2017 4:59:06 PM | 14

@12 curtis...shows what kind of deal the rebels are willing to make... those 'moderate' headchopping buddies the usa-israel-ksa continue to supply keep on giving what any sane person would expect them to give... all in the name of regime change, etc. etc..

Posted by: james | Apr 15, 2017 6:02:24 PM | 15

@5 smuks

With all respect, jihadis do not pick their own targets... they are sent. Sometimes delivered by air as to Yemen. Sometimes with all expense tickets as to the Uighur territory or Caucus or when needed to make a point - Europe.

Egypt was 'tried'- to make a point to Israel, that had crossed the red line by openly belittling the American administration. Once Israel got back in line the support the brotherhood had from the US dried up and the generals took over. To everyone's relief.

Posted by: les7 | Apr 15, 2017 6:21:16 PM | 16

@ 10 paveway.. you made me laugh!!

The only question I have in this is that sometimes a big distraction is needed while other very nefarious stuff is being lined up or prepared. There is almost too much media, and too much PR about this for it to be a credible threat any more. When all the media is chiming in on one topic, especially with this amount of enthusiasm, I find that other much worse things are happening elsewhere.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: les7 | Apr 15, 2017 6:26:43 PM | 17

@ ben 6

If there'll be 'WW3', it won't be because of this or that figurehead at the head of the administration. Rather, there's a slight problem with our economic/ financial system which has nowhere left to grow.
Boom...Fortunately, it can be transformed, and no one is willing to fire the first shot.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15, 2017 6:37:41 PM | 18

terrorists blowing up "beautiful babies" in Aleppo. Pissed off US Marine. Warning: it's ugly.

Uh, no we don't need to exterminate "them" we need only to stop funding them. The rest will take care of itself.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 15, 2017 6:45:56 PM | 19

@ les7 17
Good point. The sudden Korea craze is puzzling, after all there's nothing new or surprising happening there. But distraction from...what? Trump's "surprising" about-faces, showing that the new govt is probably the most oligarch ever? Economic problems? Something about Syria/ Iraq?

As for the jihadis: Mostly agreed, and didn't say they choose themselves.
Talking about Egypt today...stuff could well heat up there; Sisi somehow refuses to pick sides.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 15, 2017 7:00:32 PM | 20

@8 james

very thorough, very incriminating indictment of the mob washed up on the beach with tee-rex and tee-rump.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15, 2017 7:02:10 PM | 21

The Khan Sheikhoun gas event and Ratheon's Tomahawk strike, a brilliant ascerbic expose of the official narrative:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rkj9UCHO0Tc

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Apr 15, 2017 7:39:19 PM | 22

Somewhat surprised that none of the Outlaw US Empire's terrorist allies have claimed responsibility for the VBIED murdering of over 100 women and children and wounding of another 100+ as they're usually quite prompt. Too bad Syria doesn't have a couple of guided missile destroyers in close proximity to the USA to deliver the well deserved response.

I bet there'll be no messages of condolences to the Syrian people from any NATO or GCC nation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 15, 2017 7:59:25 PM | 23

Being reported out of Seoul that Kim supposedly launched a new missile test but the missile immediately exploded. Why am I skeptical?

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15, 2017 8:05:12 PM | 24

Did anyone see that Thomas Friedman piece in the NYT saying the US should use ISIS as a proxy?

Like it was so insane I couldn't believe it was real at first. Even for Friedman, who's the archetypal insane war hungry US journalist, it was over the top.

Almost wish it was a joke. Makes what he said about Iraq and Yugoslavia seem like normal dialogue. Can't imagine even the NYT would like that article.

Can't make this shit up.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 8:22:10 PM | 25

Being reported out of Seoul that Kim supposedly launched a new missile test but the missile immediately exploded. Why am I skeptical?

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15, 2017 8:05:12 PM | 23

I also doubted the veracity of this story. No pictures and only US and SK are pushing the narrative. I feel if they had some evidence it'd be trotted out immediately. Even weak or circumstanial evidence. I want to say the truth is probably somewhere in between, but with what this US administration has been saying lately I wouldn't put it past them to just pull it out of their asses.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 8:25:43 PM | 26

@25 George Springer

RT reported as well but just from same sources in Seoul. Starting to wonder if this China-Russia-US friction is all a sham and we are all great buddies needing an excuse to keep the peasants at home scared and willing to accept the military spending. Thats probably crazy though.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15, 2017 8:41:34 PM | 27

@24 George Smiley

But thats exactly what we have been doing since ISIS was created. Same with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, also Chechnya, AQ in Iraq, and now ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Also the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Iran.

From William Engdahl

"At a confidential April 1979 meeting of the US-European Bilderberg Group in Baden, Austria, Lewis elaborated his notion of using this Arc of Crisis to destabilize the Soviet Union. He called on NATO countries to “endorse the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines.” At that point, many in US intelligence circles, including even Brzezinski, believed they could control Khomeini’s revolution as a weapon against the Soviets. 7 Anglo-American strategy in the region made a radical shift based on the plans of Lewis and Brzezinski. State Department Middle East official Henry Precht later recalled, “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union."

ISIS is getting wiped out and Friedman is just trying to legitimize the concept as bailing them out at this point will be so obvious.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15, 2017 8:54:31 PM | 28

Apparently the failed missile launch was detected by Pacific Command. Is this nose-snubbing? Pence will soon find out.

"U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo," U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Commander David Benham said.


http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/north-koreas-attempted-missile-launch-fails-us-officials-say.html

Posted by: dh | Apr 15, 2017 8:56:56 PM | 29

when news of the exchange of besieged shia for al-cia-duh first broke my first thought was ... again? weren't they already stabbed in the back with these 'good-faith' exchanges with al-cia-duh back in aleppo. sure enough, the shia - no doubt assured of their safety by the russians and the syrian government - pay the price for this 'negotiation' with congenital liars and betrayers. now they say 'never again' ... right. no doubt they said that last time as well. any deal with the cia in the middle is a fool's bargain. betrayal is all anyone can reasonably expect from the cia.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15, 2017 9:14:28 PM | 30

Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms
https://theintercept.com/2017/04/14/trumps-cia-director-pompeo-targeting-wikileaks-explicitly-threatens-speech-and-press-freedoms/

Posted by: Kent | Apr 15, 2017 9:17:12 PM | 31

friedman is emblematic of the whole nytimes operation. hard-core neocon. and zionist.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15, 2017 9:17:20 PM | 32

Isnt it time people like us here take it up a notch.

Past comments here deals with US warcrimes, potential WW3, Cia attacking free speech, Msm supports terrorism etc it doesnt look good. We need to take our commenting here to the sites, blogs, twitters and other social media, as much as I love MoA we just comment to ppl here arguments that we all agree on already, we need to take our knowledge to other spaces. Anyone agree?

Posted by: Kent | Apr 15, 2017 9:39:52 PM | 33

Trumps latest tweet 38 minutes ago. Looks like it's on.

Donald J. Trump‏
@realDonaldTunmp

Follow
More
I have been in contact with @VP in South Korea and notified him to be ready to leave in short notice. North Korea must be dealt with
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTunmp

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 9:39:59 PM | 34

What to make of MSM jumping all over an apparent failed missile test in North Korea. South Korean officials say 'it probably failed'.

Sounds like a way out for more time that and a pushback on Trump from China. Western MSM of course bloviates on how China cannot control the hermit state. This is more deception and propaganda for the domestic populations in the US and UK, a perfect way for the US to back down right now and for Trump to save what little of his base still is supporting him. It's clear South Korea really wants to avoid all of this, obviously, and they have said so, any attack must be consulted upon with the all the countries in the region.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 15, 2017 9:40:24 PM | 35

@Peter AU

More Trump bullshit. He's such a egotistical man child.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Apr 15, 2017 9:41:47 PM | 36

33
that account is
"Not the 45th President of the United States of America"

look at the typo in the link.

real account says nothing at all.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 15, 2017 9:50:29 PM | 37

somebody 36
You are right.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 15, 2017 10:00:22 PM | 38

@32 Kent. I do agree. Storm Clouds Gathering's vid (linked above: https://youtu.be/1fy0bT4FK9c ) says it all..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 15, 2017 10:04:49 PM | 39

Posted by: dh | Apr 15, 2017 8:56:56 PM | 28

It is logic. North Korea uses the militarisation to get a deal from the US.

Trump delegated the solution to China. This is not what North Korea wants. Why should they stop now when all they get is a quietening of the threats but no removal of the threat.

It will escalate further until someone makes a miscalculation. Or, Trump forgets about it and tries to bomb some other place.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 15, 2017 10:08:22 PM | 40

@20 jfl.. yes, i thought so too..

@25 George Smiley.. re the friedman suggestion of using isis as a proxy - this was discussed muchly in moon of a's article from 3 days ago found here... i guess you are really new around here!!

@30 kent... intel today has a good article up today highlighting what a liar pompeo is.. too bad he is such a lousy liar.. he must have skipped the 'lying class' at langley...

trump.. turning out to be way worse then anyone could have imagined.. oh well.. good front for the military junta, or maybe just a bad front for the military junta at this point..

Posted by: james | Apr 15, 2017 10:44:13 PM | 41

les7@17 - No idea. Still have no idea who's in charge of the US, but the smell is might familiar. Nothing has really changed, though. Iran is next, and we (the US) are going to pull the trigger on that before next year. They need a lot of troops for that, but they're already spread too thin. To free up troops, they need a couple of things to happen:

I. Tie up loose ends

1) bomb the hell out of Afghanistan, declare victory and run away
2) bomb the hell out of Iraq, declare victory and run back to occupied Barzanistan, and
3) level Raqqa and Deir EzZor in Syria genociding anyone inside, declare everything east of the Euphrates 'Free Head-chopperistan'. Pipelines will be approved shortly thereafter. Then leave a small occupying force in Rojava but step back and let Turkey, Israel, Jordan (mercs) and Saudi (mercs) take over regime change Kabuki.

Countering 'Hezbollah Terrorism' will be in there somewhere, which will also give Israel cassus belli for their long-anticipated move on Lebanon. It doesn't matter if they 'defeat' Hezbollah, it's just important that they destroy the infrastructure and re-destabilize Lebanon again. The place is finally starting to recover a bit without a western puppet leader, and Israel can't have that. Plus there's all that Leviathan gas that needs a pipeline through *somewhere*.

II. Hire or draft fresh meat

National Defense Authorization Act gave US Army 16K more troops (460K to 476K), and they're having a most difficult time filling that number by the Oct. 1, 2017 deadline like all the other branches. So the regular staffing scheme will be used:
1) demonization of all identified enemies,
2) doubling down on theater involving 'victims' of those enemies and
3) showy, overwhelming muscle-flexing attacks with overwhelming force under the most specious of circumstances

The object, of course, is to get those boys into the hero recruitment shops without dragging them by gunpoint. But that method will do in a pinch. The MSM's increasing focus on "the heroic YPJ women" makes me think they'll test the waters for registering women for the draft. It probably won't happen, but it doesn't matter - they want the little people to understand their ultimate duty to their masters running The State.

Genociding North Korea (again) would free up US troops as well, but that one is a bit more dicey. They'll poke Kim and see if he snaps, but no big deal if he doesn't. As long as he's on a short leash by time Iran is false-flagged.

US needs the five-eye partners to do the same thing to their populations - we're not genociding Iran without a coalition. That crazy nationalizm needs to be nipped in the bud (a la Le Pen) and little people must learn their duty to The State, er... the coalition... whatever.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 10:54:32 PM | 42

Oh, and high unemployment belongs under II - it's a great recruitment tool. Notice Soros is never worried about unemployment? Neither is Trump. Every refugee immigrant is a replacement worker for the US citizens you need to send off to war. I wouldn't go so far as to say that's WHY there's such high unemployment (REAL unemployment is at historic levels), it's just a happy coincidence. Same with debt-slave college grads. 'Tuition forgiveness' should be happening for joining up any day now, and it will happen out of the blue as if our magnanimous leaders suddenly thought it up. They planned it this way - debt slaves are useful.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 11:07:25 PM | 43

Dr. Steve Pieczenik Warns Trump, Mathis and McMaster Not To Go to War in Syria 14 minute video... pretty good..

Posted by: james | Apr 15, 2017 11:21:34 PM | 44

Today I read something in NYT that stumped me. Apparently, there is absolutely nothing that you can count on. So imagine that: NYT had a positive reference to Prez. Vladimir Putin. In a penultimate paragraph of an editorial on another topic, but still, there for all humanity to see.

Opening of the piece was rather ordinary, if somewhat quirky: badmouthing of Prez. Trump. Of all the stains besmirching the Trump presidency — the ethical lacunae, the spasmodic “policy” fits, the Golf Digest aesthetic — none looms so large as the absence of a White House pet.. And the money quote: Sooner or later, I suspect a pet will take up residence in the Donald Trump White House. If nothing else, he might feel competitive with Russia’s pet-ophilic president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Putin is often photographed hugging dogs and even briefly nurtured a Siberian tiger cub, winning plaudits from the World Wildlife Fund.

Note that this paragraph has a link to RT.com!!!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 12:41:02 AM | 45

james@43 - I think Pieczenik is a smart guy and all, but he seems oblivious to the fact that Trump and crew are classic psychopaths. Warn them? Hah... like that will work. But then Pieczenik is really trying to warn us indirectly without losing his job or influence. We are at war in Syria and it will be expanded. He's right about losing, though. Raqqa, Deir EzZor and al Bukamal will be just like Fallujah - we'll be going back there for the fourth time to kick radical Sunnis out and expect it to work once again. Syria might be a litle different. If we declare Head-chopperistan and they can make money from a pipeline, then they might just go for it without blowing it up every week. Just need to dole out the sacks of $USD to the right mob leaders.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 16, 2017 12:55:35 AM | 46

@44 piotr... obviously it was a slip up!!!

@ 45 paveway.. yes, unfortunately i see it the same way.. one can't talk level with these folks - classic psychopaths as you say... i hope you are wrong on the outcome here.. either way all i can see is all hell breaking lose hopefully later then sooner and with the the west more handicapped by opening up all these warmongering fronts then not.. it is all so insane to be seeing this shit unfold as it is now..

Posted by: james | Apr 16, 2017 1:04:46 AM | 47

PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 10:54:32 PM | 41

Why do you use so much of bold font? To bring attention to inaccuracies?

item: [Lebanon] is finally starting to recover a bit without a western puppet leader

Hm. Prime minister is currently Saad al-Hariri, who fits the description of a "western puppet leader". Although it may be argued that he got into some riffs with the House of Saud just before he became acceptable for those Lebanese who are less pro-Western.

item: Genociding North Korea (again) would free up US troops as well, but that one is a bit more dicey. They'll poke Kim and see if he snaps, but no big deal if he doesn't. As long as he's on a short leash by time Iran is false-flagged.

Ha!? Free US troops to do what? I always advocated an invasion of Tuvalu to re-enact the glory of American arms at Grenada, perhaps the most lasting victory of the last 40 years. However, the defense forces of Tuvalu consist of 10-15 land base troopers (i.e. the police) and one or two coast guard speedboats. Even if we go for ever desirable 10 to 1 ratio between the invaders and defenders, do you really need to withdraw all forces from Korean peninsula to accomplish that feat?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:14:38 AM | 48

@41 paveway...

Thanks for those thoughts, lots to chew on...

There is much of what you say that I agree with...

From rumblings I hear, logistics (moving ISIS and Al Nusra units)seem to be pointing toward Lebanon. Until now there it seems there has been a tacit arrangement (originally put in place when a large group of Tripoli's fighters were allowed out of Al Qusayr via a humanitarian corridor) between Hizbollah and the Sunni fundamentalists to leave Lebanon out of the fray. Sadly, the outside powers seem to have put some big-time funding into re-igniting that part of the conflict. If Israel is to move against Hizbollah, they will probably move on the Palestinians first - something we have seen before previous battles. In this regard the news of ramped up pressure during the last 3 weeks is instructive. Increasing French and German contacts with Lebanon usually precede hostilities there.

By building big bases in the Kurdish areas of Syria and NW Iraq, the US can move their troops out of harms way near Baghdad and the Iranian border - all part of prep for an attack on Iran. A completed pipeline (through Syria) guarantees Europe their oil when Hormuz is closed. A pipeline requires the relocation of Al Nusra and ISIS - which it they hope to base in Lebanon. I believe that will fail. Which means they will probably end up based Jordan and deployed from there to Yemen, Caucus, Kazakstan etc. (and the king will find out just how much his friendship was worth).

for the US, working with the Kurdish forces means that Tabqa and Raqqa are important, along with Hasake and Qamishli. Deir EzZor is not very important to the US or the Kurds.

Deir EzZor is only important to connect to Saudi Arabia - and in the long run the Saudi’s are going to be dropped in favour of Iraq and the Kurdistan (love the 'Barzanistan' term!!). There has been little exploration in Iraq for 40+ years and there are huge reserves in the North, while the Saudi's are trying to do an IPO on Aramco just as it starts to run dry - it may take 15 years but by then Iraq (and in the American dream - Iran), will have replaced it in terms of oil.

Given
1) the published pace of Russian military force modernization, and
2) that Russian pipelines to China will be in place late 2018 (1st) and 2020(second) and as a result end the US's ability to keep China sidelined during a coming ME conflict with Iran, The KOREAN issue needs to get a resolution before the second pipeline is finished - providing the US/Nato with the same leverage/control/threat against China that Ukraine represents to Russia.

My prediction is that the Israeli lobby will push for a 'window' of war with Iran that will be 12 to 18 months from now. That is the central piece of the puzzle around which the rest rotates.

This will translate to continued oil prices just above what is necessary to keep the shale fields going. funny how few went 'broke' and can get unlimited credit even when not a one has shown profit on their operations. The price will be kept low to keep pressure on the Russian budget even though it gives a massive short term gain to China to build its' strategic reserve.

Look to a 9 month campaign of Iranian accusation, 6 months of demonization before the fighting and false flags to precede the hostilities. Also a big build-up in India's strategic reserve (just started).

As far as Russia, the time for a first strike passed when Russia launched its' third Borei class sub. I think that the West seeks to humiliate Putin, by using a resounding defeat of Russia's partners, plus economic pressure/sabotage, plus in-action of partners like China to create resentment and reaction against Putin in Russia.

.

Posted by: les7 | Apr 16, 2017 1:20:37 AM | 49

Piotr Berman@47 - "Why do you use so much of bold font? To bring attention to inaccuracies?"

No it was just a mistake. I generally try to avoid highlighting my stupidity (not that I'm very successful at it).

"...item: [Lebanon] is finally starting to recover a bit without a western puppet leader..."

I was thinking of Aoun, who seems to have more of Lebanon's interests at heart than everyone else trying to influence the government. That's my uninformed opinion based on the way he apparently has managed to bring some of the Lebanese parties together to back him. Yeah, I know... but it's a start. Lebanon even choosing Aoun with his anti-corruption message seemed like a wonderful thing. I am ignorant of Lebanon in general and the complexity of their politics is simply over my head.

"...Hm. Prime minister is currently Saad al-Hariri, who fits the description of a "western puppet leader"...

Agree. I don't like him, but what choices did Lebanon have? Of course I know what that means when the US/west is involved - deal with the devil and all. Not making excuses for him by any means. I want a Lebanon for the Lebanese again - one that doesn't need any more al-Hariris.

"...Ha!? Free US troops to do what?..."

From my post: "...Iran is next, and we (the US) are going to pull the trigger on that before next year..." I'm certainly not advocating it - I'm guessing what my psychopathic leaders area up to. Their think tanks keep telling them they need A LOT of troops for Iran. I, personally, think the US needs exactly zero troops for Iran - they've never bothered me and seem enthusiastic about killing Wahhabi head-choppers. I don't care for their current government, but it's none of my damn business.

"...However, the defense forces of Tuvalu consist of 10-15 land base troopers (i.e. the police) and one or two coast guard speedboats..."

So for my country, that's about - what - about 125 Tomahawks? I think we could MOAB the speedboats if they were moored. That would teach the Tuvalu regime. Here's a picture of them on their way to oppress Funafuti: https://userscontent2.emaze.com/images/283f0cc3-6d0b-46c8-98cf-c8b616633a2e/e934dfbe3acd873ca1fdf274cf9590a2.jpg

"...Even if we go for ever desirable 10 to 1 ratio between the invaders and defenders, do you really need to withdraw all forces from Korean peninsula to accomplish that feat?..."

Iran. Iran. Iran. We'll get to those Tuvalu bastards next year.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 16, 2017 3:21:57 AM | 50


"A CIA report, drafted in 1986, details the agency’s “purposely provocative” analysis of the regime’s vulnerabilities and the potential to destabilize and oust then-President Hafez al-Assad. "
https://www.mintpressnews.com/declassified-cia-report-exposes-25-years-u-s-plans-destabilize-syria/225553/

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 16, 2017 3:30:39 AM | 51

ISIS is getting wiped out and Friedman is just trying to legitimize the concept as bailing them out at this point will be so obvious.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 15, 2017 8:54:31 PM | 27

I thought the same thing. I'm aware Isis has been used as shock troops to a certain extent against the Assad government with implicit western support. I more was just saying that I don't think that concept will play well with the Western public. ISIS is seen as the embodiment of evil to Americans and I must be embarrassing for the NYT to telegraph this message. The NYT is crazy, I get it, but even still it's a weird stance to take publicly.

Even more interesting - I didn't know AQ was in Yugoslavia. I will have to look into that. Really shows how AQ serves western goals often.

I am of the belief that ISIS does not enjoy quite the same support as Al Nusra or Tahrir al Sham, etc. from western states. I understand that ISIS gets tons of support from Saudi Arabia (and those juicy western weapons they're sold) but it's the West's proxy. Its insane that America can fund Am Nusra and all these other groups of thugs so openly. Really shows how the empire is breaking down.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 16, 2017 3:51:11 AM | 52

les7@48 - Sounds reasonable. The Korean issue regarding the Russian-Chinese pipeline is interesting. Never really made that connection before.

It's late and I already forgot who it was that was warning about the flood of North Korean refugees if the government falls. This threatens both South Korea and China. There's 25 million people in North Korea, and several million would undoubtedly flee across the northern or southern borders if given the chance. That would be an astonishing humanitarian disaster and put a huge strain on either neighbor. Another thing to worry about.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 16, 2017 3:52:08 AM | 53

All these recent events, plus the victory of Trump, really shows how desperate American government is getting. They have no other play besides brute force now. It's never been plainer.

I hope while America drowns it doesn't pull the rest of the world down along with it. That's my biggest fear. So many ideological nut cases in power now it's hard to influence government.

Did anyone hear about the hexavalent chromium spill into lake Michigan?? The EPA was sadly toothless BEFORE trump and now in it's current state is in charge of dealing with this. I wonder if they'll do a proper job? /s

No news coverage of the event is pretty indicative of the state of America. Too bad those great lakes (20% of world fresh water I believe) are becoming garbage dumps.

The environmental enjoyment is just as scary as the blatant aggression as of late. Both are hurtling us towards oblivion.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 16, 2017 3:56:20 AM | 54

George Smiley@53

"...The EPA was sadly toothless BEFORE trump and now in it's current state is in charge of dealing with this. I wonder if they'll do a proper job?..."

Well, it's not their job anymore. All Environmental Protection Agency functions have apparently been realigned for one single purpose: promote a revival of nuclear power generation in the US. It's a PR blizzard. Hexavalent chromium? That only gives you stomach cancer if you have a bad attitude. The EPA doesn't think anything of the 1700 lbs. they allow industry to legally dump in Lake Michigan every year, so this is just like bonus, free chromium for the little people. We should be grateful. Oh yeah, and build more nuke plants because they never leak hexavalent chromium.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 16, 2017 4:27:34 AM | 55

@PavewayIV | Apr 16, 2017 3:52:08 AM | 52

Not to worry PavewayIV! Democrats and Republicans regime changes love refugees - cheap labor. The more the merrier, more floodgates open this time for the Koreans?

Posted by: OJS | Apr 16, 2017 5:14:03 AM | 56

more US interventionism in Africa - some Empires just don't learn their lessons. these two neo-con nuts, Mattis and Mcmaster, are ramping up US interventions, large and small, world-wide


http://news.antiwar.com/2017/04/14/us-sending-troops-to-somalia-first-time-in-24-years/


In October 1993, during the Battle of Mogadishu (the Black Hawk Down incident), 18 US soldiers were killed and 73 wounded, with a pair of Black Hawk helicopters shot down. The US responded by ceasing military operations, and within a few months had withdrawn all troops from Somalia. Today, they are headed back.

The new deployment, which US African Command (AFRICOM) is presented as a simple training operation, will be the first time US ground troops are officially deployed to Somalia, though of course the US has had some special forces present on the ground on and off, conducting occasional operations and spotting for US airstrikes.

AFRICOM also insists the new deployment was at the request of the Somali government, though indications in recent weeks has indicated that military officials have been pushing for an escalation of US intervention in the country at any rate, aimed at fighting al-Shabaab.....

Posted by: michaelj72 | Apr 16, 2017 6:18:49 AM | 57

@dh | Apr 15, 2017 8:56:56 PM | 28

Tempted to see NK missile launch 'dud' as possible 'win-win' shadow play.

1. NK get to pull the trigger in defiance of Trump, but don't actually cross Trump's 'red line'.
2. Trump can't really retaliate as a 'dud' is high MSM value.
3. China 'wins' the middle ground with ball now in Trump's court and no easy retort.
4. US don't know if the missile was a dud, or a deliberate play to the wire.
5. If it was a genuine technical problem, then it will be fixed in due course -- NK's intent was declared and sovereignty maintained.
6. If it was a deliberate decoy then SK and Trump must be left wondering if it is worth crossing the NK line on this one.

Posted by: x | Apr 16, 2017 6:43:51 AM | 58

Russian parliamentary delegation visits Saudi Arabia

A top Russian parliamentary delegation arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on a three-day visit, the Russian TASS news agency reported.

Valentina Matviyenko, the chairperson of the federation council which is the Russian parliament’s upper house, said ahead of the visit that the Saudi kingdom is a partner in combating terrorism, adding that cooperating with it guarantees security in the region.

Saudia Arabia China sign deals worth 65 billion

The united states and the green belt along the arc of Islam

More broadly, the United States spent many years trying to construct a barrier against the Soviet Union along the Soviet’s southern flank. The fact that all of the nations between Greece and China were Muslim gave rise to the notion that Islam itself might reinforce that Maginot Line-style strategy.

Gradually, the idea of a green belt along the arc of Islam took form. The idea was not just defensive. Adventurous policy makers imagined that restive Muslims inside the Soviet Union's own Central Asian republics might be the undoing of the USSR itself — and they took steps to encourage them.

The United States played not with Islam — that is, the religion, the traditional, organized system of belief of hundreds of millions — but with Islamism. Unlike the faith, with 14 centuries of history behind it, Islamism is of more recent vintage.

It is a political creed with its origins in the late 19th century, a militant, all-encompassing philosophy whose tenets would appear foreign or heretical to most Muslims of earlier ages — and that still appear so to many educated Muslims today.

Whether it is called pan-Islam, or Islamic fundamentalism or political Islam, it is an altogether different creature from the spiritual interpretation of Muslim life as contained in the Five Pillars of Islam.

The mutant ideology that the United States encouraged, supported, organized or funded is, in fact, a perversion of that religious faith.

It is the same one variously represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, by Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, by Saudi Arabia's ultra-orthodox Wahhabism, by Hamas and Hezbollah, by the Afghan jihadis — and by Osama bin Laden.

Long before the advent of the George W. Bush Administration, the United States found political Islam to be a convenient partner during each stage of the U.S. empire-building project in the Middle East.

Saudi Fashion in the 1960's

Shaath not only cultivated an appreciation for glamorous prêt-a-porter and European haute couture in Saudi Arabia, but was also instrumental in shaping the tastes of generations of Saudi women. "Part of my job was to educate women about the upcoming styles and collections,” she said. Prior to that, members of the royal family and upper class either had live-in-tailors capable of copying styles from fashion magazines, or they traveled to Beirut to purchase gowns.

What happened?

Britain, by the way, seems to be furious about Donald Trump.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 16, 2017 6:53:33 AM | 59

Within minutes after the early Sunday morning «North Korean missile test», CNN, BBC and many, many other Western news outlets bring the same news: «North Korean missile test fails».

Chinese News agencies has noting apart from Global Times and CGTN who mainly bring the Western narrative. And China Daily has nothing.

If you try Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), http://www.kcna.co.jp, the page does not even open.

In a serious warlike situation, how can people get to know what is true?

Posted by: ronny | Apr 16, 2017 7:51:31 AM | 60

@ Posted by: michaelj72 | Apr 16, 2017 6:18:49 AM | 56

Fark! Been there - done that. This will end badly in Somalia, again, for all parties involved, but especially Somalis. 110% certain of that :(

We are a paper tiger, with paper teeth, literally. Full of empty bluff & bluster, trumpeting bellicose aggressive rhetoric towards near peer adversaries and capable of defense/retaliation foes, Russia/China/Iran/NK, yet always looking for yet another, just one more defenseless victim, among Terras 189 nation States, to bully & stomp on with our boot, to raise national, 'self-esteem'. Yes, indeed, 'Rally 'round the Flag Boys! For mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!', BS. For we are merely ravenous exploitative thieves & brigands, craven cowards, in truth ...

@ Posted by: ronny | Apr 16, 2017 7:51:31 AM | 60

All political & media, verbage. No evidence, no facts, nothing verfiable, nor able to be corroborated. Par for the course, alas.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 16, 2017 8:13:09 AM | 61

According to Yousha Yuseef "More than 200 people from Foua missing in Rashdeen 4 Info says ;They were kidnapped by militants yesterday Most of them girls"
https://twitter.com/MIG29_

Trump, Johnsons, Hollande, Merkel are supporting these "militants". They exactly know that their "moderate rebels" are rapists and murderers. They know and they supports them.

Posted by: 1234 90 | Apr 16, 2017 8:24:40 AM | 62

This may entertain you and give you food for thought:

Where do the concepts of 'choosiness' and a 'vengeful god' come from?

https://platosguns.com/2017/04/16/bedtime-story-for-gilad/

Posted by: Taxi | Apr 16, 2017 8:48:02 AM | 63

Oops - above I mean to write 'chosenness'!

Posted by: Taxi | Apr 16, 2017 8:50:01 AM | 64

@58 I'm coming to much the same conclusion. If we're right Trump is being played like a fiddle.

What next? Does Trump declare victory? Will the armada just quietly leave for Pattaya after a decent interval of time?

Posted by: dh | Apr 16, 2017 9:47:49 AM | 65

Since the comments for Easter were closed, I will post here.

Thank you b and all the commenters here. In South Africa it is coming into autumn but being originally from Michigan; Faust took me back to the euphoria of the early Spring after a long winter! Here in Durban there is little change in temperature but Springtime is noted by the return of the Yellow Billed Kite which winters in Europe then returns here for our summer. What a journey! We then can start preparing for the months of high humidity and cutting back anything that grows in a garden, every weekend until about this time of year.

Wishing everyone the best for Easter.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 16, 2017 10:02:16 AM | 66

Related to the primary Thread, would assert in order to understand a core aspect of our conduct since Plymouth Rock, may I suggest, we have to go back, way back, in time, to around 1209, or thereabouts ...

We need to consider the likes of the slaughter of the Heretic Cathars, during the Albigensian Crusade, 13th century or thereabouts, the first(?) ideological genocide, under the authority of Papal legate and Cistercian abbot Arnaud Amalric, at the Massacre at Béziers, France.

'I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands' and 'Kill em all, let God sort 'em out!'

You've probably heard either aggressively stated at some point, or even just seen such on a bumper sticker, or possibly a line from a Hollywood B grade movie script or two.

Well, it's the modern incarnation of the following ... regardless of predominance of Presbyterians, Methodists or Baptists, etc, and a current revival/resurgance of Nativism and antipathy to 'foreigners' & immigrants, culturally would assert we adopted the embodiment of the Evil™ Popes ideology and methods from the Dark Ages:

The fortified city of 10s of thousands in southern France contained a mix of devout Catholics, yet also, heretic Cathars ...

When the Popes Plenipotentiary ordered the sanctioned Knights, with all their Men-at-Arms and hired mercenaries to storm the city and deal with the Cathars, the Devout Knights became concerned for their souls, and the risk of future refusal re entry to Heaven, in the afterlife ... so, after discussing it for a bit, they approached the Popes Plenipotentiary for guidance, and possible dispensation/absolution, in advance, for what was to come ?

Basically, once they stormed the fortified city, and started all the rapine & pillage, how would they be able to know who was a devout Catholic and who was a, Heretic Cathar ? A terrible dilemma, for a devout 'Man of the Sword'.

The answer they received: 'Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius!'

Essentially: 'Kill them all. For the Lord knows those that are His own.'

And, therefore, with a Bless-ed clear conscience, and full of the 'Spirit', knowing their eternal souls were safe from damnation, they proceeded to do, exactly that.

Hence the modern bastardization of the original dispensation ... I'm sure a soulless rat bastard like Petraeus and his proxy McMaster understands such a solution/rationalization from his 'informed', perspective, is sometimes needed too, and that all will be well ... in the afterlife ... for those that matter ... probably explains why he performed so well, and with a Smile and a clear conscience, as the Theater Commander responsible and fundamental primary enabler of the Iraqi Abu Ghraib tortures, murders and disappeared, as well as the subsequent expansion of 'Black Sites', and follow-on simultaneous bribing, literally 'buying off' and arming Sunni Insurgents in the Sunni Awakening, to kill 'apostate' Shia in Iraq under cover of the Faux 'Surge', as opposed to and in preferance to, the USA 'Occupiers', and so on.

Also hence, how the disproportionate deaths & maimings of civilian non-combatants for generations now whilst using supposed advanced technological 'precision weaponry', targeting & strikes, happens so very frequently, it is so unremarkable, completely ubiquitous. Let alone in the days of colonization ...

Damned Faux Christians and religious fundamentalists.

Hm, Orthodox religions, IMHO, especially Fundamentalists, even when they are manipulated, have a lot to answer for ...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 16, 2017 10:05:10 AM | 67

Nobody knows what's going on in Syria but everyone's bombing the crap out of it anyway. The article says propaganda is coming from both sides but I believe more is coming from our side. (article orig from the antimedia)
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-15/nobody-knows-whats-happening-syria-everyone-bombing-it-anyway

The first casualty of any war is the truth. But the story highlights the corruption and laziness of our news organizations. They're not there investigating or reporting. They've lost all credibility.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 10:05:45 AM | 68

Turkey referendum - preliminary result via Zio Jazeera.
Traditionally, 84% of Turkish voters participate.

17% of votes counted/ 30% of ballot boxes.
61% YES vote for Emperor Erdogan.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16, 2017 11:22:16 AM | 69

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 10:05:45 AM | 68

The blatant MSM stenography made simple via the super concentration of media power. The constant mission creep against privacy and internet freedom. The accusation of fake news by the most prolific purveyors of it. Just a few symptoms of a dying behemoth.

The distrust of this presidency is only surpassed by the distrust of the entity that is supposed to keep the state honest: The media.

The narratives now are so overtly retarded that you have to give credit to the US PTB for success in rendering the collective psyche to that of zombies.

Most US citizens don't even realise they are just one small step from martial law every minute of each day. George Dubya declared a state of emergency on 16th September 2001 and it's been signed off on each year on the same date ever since. A near 16 year war waged upon itself. Amazing, really.

Politically motivated civil unrest STILL being reported across the states, the fake-but-highly-mobilised lib'ruls absolutely hate the guts of their figurehead, the newly energised right feeling abandoned but always angling for a fight, local police increasingly kitted out with military grade hardware... and an order placed for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition that Homeland Security need to find a home for soon. where can this go...? Swamps are actually filling up...!

Potential civil shitstorm upcoming when the US debt ceiling needs renewing in 3-4months where any serious pushback (likely) could see a lengthy shutdown. "...Already, the U.S. Treasury has less cash on hand than Apple or Google ..."
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-17/debt-ceiling-deadline-has-passed-now-biggest-test-donald-trumps-presidency-begins

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 16, 2017 11:35:42 AM | 70

Turkey later preliminary (Z-Jazeera).
65% ballots counted.
YES 55%: NO 45%.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16, 2017 11:42:49 AM | 71

SOHR Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring gets in on the act. They can't ignore it so they have to acknowledge it. It's interesting that they acknowledge that rebel fighters were allowed to evacuate too even though in other articles the rebels complained that pro-govt fighters were allowed to evacuate.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN17H04Y

"Syria's main armed opposition condemned the bombing, with groups fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army describing it as a 'treacherous terrorist attack'." Main armed opposition. Composed of who exactly? FSA? Who does that now include and who are they allied with?

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 11:57:24 AM | 72

Meanwhile, it sounds like Team Erdogan has taken some lessons from Team Bush. "You're either with us or with the terrorists."

"Erdogan has sought to ridicule CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, playing videos of his gaffes during rallies, and has associated the 'No' vote with support for terrorism."
from:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/16/turkish-referendum-turkey-votes-in-historic-ballot-on-expanding-erdogans-power.html

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 11:59:19 AM | 73

Chemical and biological weapons (+ radiological ones, skipped for now), aka WMD, are ‘banned’ - more scary than the traditional incendiary, explosive, etc. devices.

I get it that they may be more insiduous, more invisible and unpredictable therefore more frightening, also a history behind all this exists. Yet atomic bombs, as explosions, certainly more dangerous than releasing anthrax (bio) or sarin (chem) on a town, are amongst the ‘trad’ weapons.

The classification smells like a cartel / monopoly move, to keep some parts of the MIC going, the competition strangled, knocked away (sic.)

Many chem/bio weapons are cheap to produce and disseminate. Moreover some just kill ppl + animals without poisoning the enviro. and destroying infrastrucure, crops, plants, etc.

It follows that being vaporised by an atom bomb is too unfortunate, bigly sa-ad, whereas being killed by mustard gas, sarin, etc. is a whole other ball of wax, heh, completely illegitimate, unacceptable! .. /sarc

The accusations of using WMD (minus atomic) is thus an épouvantail a red flag, the most awful thing ever, and is used as a blanket accusation to point to the purest distilled form of evil know to mankind. As torture, cannibalism, even roasting babies slowly if you please, and murder through violent rape are trivial in comparison (leaving out much more.) Burning at the stake is old hat, but comprehensible, after all the electric chair is just a modern version.

Gassed his own people, and so on. The accusation - the use of chem/bio WMD at home - has thus become a stamped target mark, an accreditation that signals ‘the fix is in,’ this leader / group / régime / territorial lords, corps, etc. /… is, are, certified by the US as set for annihilation.

The accusation suffices, no need to ‘show’ or ‘prove’ anything at all. The code is understood by everyone. Some vague cheap shot TV thingie with children lying on the ground, etc. will serve for the sheeples, no need to spend much time / money on that BS.



Posted by: Noirette | Apr 16, 2017 12:01:52 PM | 74

Madmax2 70
Sad but true.
I wondered what happened with the passing of the debt ceiling back in March. Trump has put it off by slashing some budgets. But you're right. The day of reckoning is coming especially with big pushes for increased military spending. Someone will blink. But it could be a fight with congressional conservatives if Demoncraps join in. (as pointed out in the article)

"Barack Obama pushed things right to the brink a couple of times, but he was savvy enough politically to never let things go over the edge." In the end, the US did go over the edge multiple times. Obama double the debt he inherited just like Bush. And what do we have to show for it beyond buying time and enriching those who didn't need it?

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 12:08:37 PM | 75

Command and Control - Nuclear Missiles in America
https://youtu.be/FfBQoQAWPo0

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 16, 2017 12:08:42 PM | 76

BBC prelim Turkey vote, 88% of ballots counted.
YES 52.8%
(Istanbul vote rumored to be 88% NO)
(Brewing storm over whether some ballots should be declared invalid)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16, 2017 12:11:53 PM | 77

MadMax2

Indeed, and where are the criticism? How come there were media, regular people protesting in millions Bush but not Obama? And now, not Trump? Are we living in 1984 dictatorship? This world going bad fast now and not many seems to be aware of it!

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 16, 2017 12:24:25 PM | 78

This site has an excellent article on the latest Syrian slaughter of innocents: https://willyloman.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/rashidin-massacre-trumps-moderate-terrorists-bomb-a-bus-full-of-refugees-and-babies-babies/

Posted by: frances | Apr 16, 2017 12:46:27 PM | 79

Did anyone see that Thomas Friedman piece in the NYT saying the US should use ISIS as a proxy?

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 15, 2017 8:22:10 PM | 25

Damn you, George, you have forced me to skim through Friedman's latest titled Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?

He proposes to arm the "moderates" with all possible weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles and to refrain from any attacks on iSIS as long as Asad is in power. So to answer the question, the proposed "proxies", "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers" to borrow a phrase from Blessed Reagan, are the moderates, i.e. al Qaida. They destroyed WTC, but let bygones be bygones (my words, not Friedman's).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:26:52 PM | 80

CBS News had about 10 seconds on the latest massacre of 100+ at the buses. How's that for a corrupt and biased media?

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 1:28:19 PM | 81

@ PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2017 10:54:32 PM | 42

Good points about the recruitment problems and efforts, and about "the heroic YPJ women" - it's sort of suspicious when quasi-communist rebels are presented as 'big heroes' in all western media, isn't it? ;-)

I disagree on some other points though:

"Iran is next" - I've been constantly hearing that for 14 years now, and I still don't see it happening. Lack of funds, troops and international support - and it's China's absolute Red Line.

If the US abandons Afghanistan (and thus Eurasia), Russia/ China would be very grateful indeed - which is why it won't happen any time soon. As long as they can afford it, they're not ready to admit defeat imo.

"everything east of the Euphrates 'Free Head-chopperistan'. Pipelines will be approved shortly thereafter."
-> That's not enough, unless they can also get the region south of Deir Ezzor, bordering on Iraq. But still, I doubt the place would be stable enough to build a pipeline. nb, I'm still wondering about that 'friendly fire' incident...a split between the Kurds and the Arab militias would complicate things quite a bit for the US, wouldn't it?

An(other) Israeli war on Lebanon is never impossible, but would be quite suicidal too imo. Also, they don't need it for their pipeline plans to Cyprus-Greece.

North Korea is too important as a bogeyman to bomb it. The US needs the false scare of the 'unpredictable' regime to justify its presence in East Asia. Destroying it may 'free up troops', but strategically it would be pretty counter-productive and ultimately benefit China. Still, provoking NK into some strong reaction and 'limited escalation' would be great, as it would silence any doubts about the necessity of THAAD etc.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 16, 2017 1:30:03 PM | 82

By the way, it was not easy to find that article, it is not "trending" etc., you have to click "columnists", select "Thomas Friedman" and there you have it. So the Lords of NYT distanced themselves a bit, while "What kind of pet should Donald Trump get" is displayed prominently (with an entire paragraph on a good Putin's example on that issue, with nary a disclaimer). Seems that spring winds in Manhattan are changing directions faster that we can follow.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:32:19 PM | 83

A word on Rashidin atrocity: there are posts that 200 civilians from the buses, mostly girls, were prevented from ending their trip to Aleppo, Al Masdar News uses word "kidnapping", Sputnik does not. Seems that this story did not end yet.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:37:25 PM | 84

@Curtis 72

What I don't get about that attack: If Fuah and Kafraya are evacuated - would that be part of some (planned) deal to partition western Syria, leaving the moderate head-choppers in control of Idlib?

(actually, I first thought the evacuees were from Zabadani)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 16, 2017 1:39:21 PM | 85

Fuah and Kafrayah are two Shiite villages in idlib governorate, besieged since the beginning with last exit of villagers some two years ago.
Zabadani and the other locality have been rebels bastions since the early protests. Such deals are arranged between the two parties to free locals (mainly the women and elderlies) who got stuck in some crossfire.
The MSM in France are making their best never to mention that Fuah and Kafrayah are majority Shiite villages and were thus supposed to be the next slaughterhouse of the moderate because it explains the good reasons that Hezbollah and other Shiite militias have to be there (you imagine if some pal were besieging a colony, there wouldn't be any problem if French or American likudniks came to the rescue). Instead they say "proregime village" or "loyalist village", and tried to create some confusion about where they were going, in Aleppo. Some time it is correctly said "to Aleppo in a gov held area" but then with the bombing they started to play with the possible confusion (it happened at a rebel held checkpoint, i.e. there are still rebels in the outskirts of Aleppo and yes they negociate with the gov, doesn't fit the narrative about the Russians and Syrians destroyed Aleppo, poor civilians)
But the BBC has been more fair. Probably because of the high Shiite population in the UK.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 16, 2017 1:46:12 PM | 86

On the theme of "winds of Spring": USA Today reports criticism of MSNBC news anchor who was gushing with happiness while reporting Trumpian missile attack.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:46:43 PM | 87

i am sure it was not only in France that all the news about the coming referendum in Turkey (yesterday and today) never mentioned the thousands in prison?
a former akp guy who just said today he finally decided to vote no was violently attacked in his polling station and arrested. in Diyarbakir it is even worse, they simply replaced local mayors with akp guys.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 16, 2017 1:48:22 PM | 88

115 people killed, it breaks my heart.

Terrorists love western msm, no one could do a better job supporting them with endless propaganda. These journalists are psychopaths.

Noam Chomsky on worthy/unworthy victims:


"A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused in enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy."


Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 16, 2017 2:26:42 PM | 89

@Paveway #42:

And... How Marine Le Pen is facing wipe out in French election after COMPUTER BLUNDER.

OOPS!

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Apr 16, 2017 4:04:06 PM | 90

By the way, it was not easy to find that article, it is not "trending" etc., you have to click "columnists", select "Thomas Friedman" and there you have it. So the Lords of NYT distanced themselves a bit, while "What kind of pet should Donald Trump get" is displayed prominently (with an entire paragraph on a good Putin's example on that issue, with nary a disclaimer). Seems that spring winds in Manhattan are changing directions faster that we can follow.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:32:19 PM | 83

They also removed his explicit reference to ISIS. Maybe the cached version has it still. It wasn't as hard to find originally as it is now either.

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 16, 2017 4:18:39 PM | 91

Very possibly the age of pipelines may be completely over because of invisible drones. Not just fake "stealth" -- absolutely invisible.

Drones made out of Plexiglas will be invisible to microwaves and visible light. Powered by acetone peroxide they will have tons of thrust yet generate no discernible heat.

No more pipelines and power lines. Just small local solar cells and sodium-glass-ion batteries.

Posted by: blues | Apr 16, 2017 5:22:29 PM | 92

The Unrealistic Circumscribed Speculations Of Feckless Election Methods Cognoscenti.

95% of all the calamitous "problems" that we, most unfortunately, feel a need to discuss here, could presumably have been avoided if we had such a thing as democracy in the U.S.A. (and elsewhere too). But we are stuck with a "choose-one" voting method, which automatically results in a "spoiler effect" that causes it to be pointless to vote for candidates of small parties, other than the major two parties, that are not backed by the entrenched political apparatus. Also, it surely must be obvious that we need decentralized hand counting of paper ballots, with results announced prior to being sent to larger counting centers -- we must not use voting machines of any kind.

For the last 13 years I have been studying election methods to find a method that can effectively disrupt the spoiler effect, and thus the two-party "system". There is a method called "ranked voting" ("IRV" is a form of this) which is being promoted by giant corporate think tank. If anything, it is much worse than choose-one voting. It has been described by blogger Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com as a virus. Then there is something called "approval voting", whereby the voter can give (or withhold) one vote to (or from) as many candidates as they wish. This is rather lame and does not mitigate the spoiler effect very much. At the end of the day, "strategic hedge simple score voting" is really the only thing that can work effectively. Yet it is ignored by the feckless election methods cognoscenti.

Here is some email material between myself and Warren D. Smith at The Center for Election Science (a "Google Group"):
https://groups.google.com/forum. . .

(I have already posted some of it at the Moon of Alabama website.)

/~~~~~~~~~~
email -- [blues]
Apr 6 (10 days ago)

Sent
From:
[blues]
To:
[warren d smith]
Subject:
Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting Is The ONLY Method That. . .
Date:
Thursday, April 06, 2017 6:42 AM
Size:
1 KB

. . . .does not treat elite interest involved elections as if they were
casual "hobby club" elections. Therefor it is able to effectively
disrupt the spoiler effect, and thus, the two-party "system".

The Approval method is inadequately differentiative for degree of
preference, and thus cannot support any strategy to overcome the spoiler
effect. Other methods are more complex, and increased complexity,
however slight, generally leads to follow-on dilemmas that favor the
strategies of the elites. The Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting
method is the only one that can effectively overcome elite strategies.

You might be interested in my post at:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/ignoring-the-people-where-the-left-of-the-aisle-side-fails.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c8ea4d7b970b

Thank you in advance for your kind attention.

Sincerely,

blues
\~~~~~~~~~~

Reply from W. D. Smith:
/~~~~~~~~~~
email -- Warren D Smith
Apr 6 (10 days ago)

From:
Warren D Smith
To:
[blues]
Subject:
Re: Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting Is The ONLY Method That. . .
Date:
Thursday, April 06, 2017 1:23 PM
Size:
7 KB

On 4/6/17, [blues] wrote:

. . . .does not treat elite interest involved elections as if they were
casual "hobby club" elections. Therefor it is able to effectively
disrupt the spoiler effect, and thus, the two-party "system".

The Approval method is inadequately differentiative for degree of
preference, and thus cannot support any strategy to overcome the spoiler
effect. Other methods are more complex, and increased complexity,
however slight, generally leads to follow-on dilemmas that favor the
strategies of the elites. The Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting
method is the only one that can effectively overcome elite strategies.

You might be interested in my post at:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/ignoring-the-people-where-the-left-of-the-aisle-side-fails.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c8ea4d7b970b

Thank you in advance for your kind attention.
blues


--Wonder what [blues] is talking about?
Consulting said post, he wrote in his key paragraph:

QUOTE
Strategic hedge simple score voting can be described in one simple
sentence: Strategically bid no vote at all for undesired candidates
(ignore them as though they did not exist), or strategically cast from
one to ten votes (or five to ten votes, for easier counting) for any
number of candidates you prefer (up to some reasonable limit of, say,
twelve candidates, so people don't hog voting booths), and then simply
add all the votes up.
END QUOTE

Well, not exactly a "simple sentence," sorry.
I do not know what he meant. It seems like he meant either
(a) What I call "score voting" aka "range voting," sum-based version:
Each ballot provides a numerical score for each and every candidate
on an 0-9 scale;
candidate with highest sum of scores wins; treat unscored candidates
as scored 0 by that ballot.

or
(b) What has been called "cumulative voting":
Same as (a) except the sum of all the scores on your ballot is
required to be <=10.

Either interpretation, I fail to see the "strategic hedge" new
contribution, if any.

Cumulative voting is neither as good nor as simple as range voting.
And I think average-based scoring, with unscored candidates
treated as "unscored" not as "0,"
is superior to the sum-based version in (a) above.

In any case I would recommend to [blues] that he actually clearly state
what the hell he is
talking about, in step-by-step fashion that is absolutely impossible
to misinterpret. Rather than just spew enthusiastic incoherence.

--
Warren D. Smith
http://RangeVoting.org
\~~~~~~~~~~

/~~~~~~~~~~
(Original comment at MoA):

Of the now literally hundreds of "fancy" voting methods all over the Internet, Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting is the only one that specifically enables the common voters to win elections against the two-party empowered deep state. All of the many others treat elite interest involved elections as if they were casual "hobby club" elections. These distracting, ill-considered, unworkable election methods are the products of a booming academic "industry" erected by a large contingent of "election methods cognoscenti". If the common voters are to ever defeat the elite deep state apparatus which will, of course, always utilize strategy, those common voters must have the ability to effectively vote strategically.

Too bad we don't have simple score voting. Then we could give between 1 and 10 votes to many candidates. But no votes at all for Hillary the war monger. We might place 8 "hedge" votes for Bernie (since he is less bad than Hillary (or more accurately, was previously though to be)), 10 write-in votes for Jesse Ventura, and 10 write-in votes for Dennis Kucinich.

Strategic hedge simple score voting can be described in one simple sentence: Strategically bid no vote at all for undesired candidates (ignore them as though they did not exist), or strategically cast from one to ten votes (or five to ten votes, for easier counting) for any number of candidates you prefer (up to some reasonable limit of, say, twelve candidates, so people don't hog voting booths), and then simply add all the votes up.

We must also abolish deep state subvertible election machines ("computer voting"), and get back to hand counted paper ballots, with results announced at each polling station just prior to being sent up to larger tabulation centers.

It should be obvious that congresspeople and presidents should be limited to one-year terms of office.

The Direct Democracy (e.g. Liquid Democracy) advocated by Iceland's Pirate Party (and Jackrabbit) may also represent a very beneficial alternative to the spoiler effect imposing choose-one method. See:

How the German Pirate Party's "Liquid Democracy" Works
http://techpresident.com/news/wegov/22154/how-german-pirate-partys-liquid-democracy-works

Posted by: blues | Apr 6, 2017 5:34:35 AM | 16
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/ignoring-the-people-where-the-left-of-the-aisle-side-fails.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c8ea4d7b970b
\~~~~~~~~~~

I responded 6 days ago, but have not heard back in any way:
/~~~~~~~~~~
Further Reasons {1}
[blues]
Apr 10 (6 days ago)
to [warren d smith]
Sent

Subject:
Further Reasons {1}
Date:
Monday, April 10, 2017 10:00 PM
Size:
2 KB

I painstakingly shun "social media" such as Facebook, Google Plus, etc.
in order to make a token defense of what remains of my privacy.

Strategic Hedge Simple Score Voting is indeed not technically distinct
from Score (or Range) voting, except for some inconspicuous details that
are mandated by its special objectives. Its objectives include:

(+) It must effectively disrupt the spoiler effect, and thus end the
two-party system.
(+) It must be very resistant to the influence of the entrenched
political apparatus.
(+) It must be, and also give the appearance of being, very simple and
comprehensible.
(+) It must be completely compatible with the decentralized hand
counting of paper ballots.

For example, the possible votes on a ballot are: Ignore a candidate on
the ballot as if they did not exist; give from one (or, say, five) to
ten votes to a candidate on the ballot; or write in a candidate and
similarly give from one (or, say, five) to ten votes to that candidate.
And that is all.

Why give from one (or, say, five) to ten votes rather than give from
zero to nine votes? Well, the common voters must employ strategy if they
are to defeat the entrenched political apparatus. And having ten as the
greatest vote simplifies this strategy, since giving eight votes is
clearly seen to produce a sacrifice of 20% of the influence of a given
vote entry, giving six votes produces a sacrifice of 40%, etc.

There is no point in offering a "zero" vote. It only invites election
officials (the entrenched political apparatus) to demand a "full
ballot". Thus tossing out votes of those who are too dignified to cast
"zero" votes (blaming with faint praise).

(To be continued.)

See:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/open-thread-2017-14.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb098f2c38970d

Thank you again,
[blues]
\~~~~~~~~~~

I hope this is not too long and confusing. However THIS is how we ended up with candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump! Meanwhile, these election methods cognoscenti continue with their "intellectual glass bead game", playing in their "operative election methods tar pit". These people are teaching useless college courses and spilling endless digital ink at Wikipedia while war horses breed at the border!

I also have a blog about things related to election methods:
Simple Score Voting -- Democracy Was Always Sabotaged
https://simplescorevoting.wordpress.com/

Posted by: blues | Apr 16, 2017 9:09:24 PM | 93

Turkey's Erdogan declares referendum victory, opponents plan challenge
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-referendum-idUSKBN17H0CU?il=0

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 17, 2017 2:12:02 AM | 94

Two articles at Reuters..

US booting up the shale
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shale-funders-analysis-idUSKBN17J0BK

And three US carriers heading to NK.
https://sputniknews.com

Looking very much like the US is gearing up to try and take down China.
Trumps two target countries were Iran and China.
Targeting Iran may well shut down Persian gulf oil which will make life hard for China.
Mattis is busy building up a coalition of the willing to attack Iran. GCC + Israel.

War to end all wars. Peace in our time. With nukes there will not be another major war?
Right through history there has always been war between major powers. We are very close to the next one now, because the US will have to be taken down.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 17, 2017 2:37:36 AM | 95

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 17, 2017 2:12:02 AM | 94
(Turkey referendum)
Oz's Turks aren't convinced. They've discovered that Turkey's Electoral Commission has decided to validate 2.5 million votes which are technically invalid. The ballot papers of the votes in question don't bear the official stamp of the district governate. They and all Turks who dispute the result claim that the 2.5 million 'invalid' votes is a much larger number than the number of votes representing the margin by which Erdogan won.
i.e. winning margin = fewer than 1 million votes.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 17, 2017 3:25:53 AM | 96

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 17, 2017 2:37:36 AM | 95

IF there were corroborated reports of now three CV groups to be stationed near NK, then that would no longer be 'routine', 'could' be an indicator re a possible punitive strike re NK, tho NOT war with China. War with China requires far greater preparation/re-deployments, unless unrealistic (Insane(?) to attempt ?) MAD first strike. War with China means withdrawal and re-deployment of CVs 'away' from NK/China, likely well SSE of Taiwan re additional land-based ABM screen/cover against Sino DF-21+ threat.

There would have to be reports of heightened alert, preparations and further deployments to Kadena, Okinawa, etc as well as Diego Garcia & Guam, as well as ingress of additional bombers & strike aircraft into SK. Even then, that would only indicate the possibility of a punitive strike on NK.

Any such strike, a profound misjudgement of the local strategic situ re RF/China/NK, also NK/SK enmity towards Japan, re US/Empire, IMV, would risk an unwelcome retaliatory strike, conventional or asymmetric, and then what re escalation ? A unilateral strike on NK will only force China to move further away from and respond more aggressively re US/Empire provocations, will not engender 'compliance', from NK either, and nudge SE Asian nations further towards China and away from the US/Empire, IMHO.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 17, 2017 3:56:44 AM | 97

Peter AU 95

What makes you think the ships that are going to NK is meant for China?

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 17, 2017 3:57:27 AM | 98

Couldn't the extra US ships bound for NK be part of the routine joint US/SK exercises aimed at disrupting NK's Spring crop-sowing...
Operation Cretins in Wonderland or whatever they choose to call the 2017 pantomime?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 17, 2017 4:11:49 AM | 99

yes,validate 2.5 million votes

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 17, 2017 4:25:50 AM | 100

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