Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 04, 2012

Open Thread 2012-28

Whatever ...

Posted by b on November 4, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

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"If we would move on from Petting to Fucking would that cross a border for you? "Yes. And it would also be a 20 mile ride."

Posted by: b | Nov 4, 2012 1:32:12 PM | 1


You're very funny! Thanks for keeping this site up and running, I really appreciate it.

Posted by: DaveS | Nov 4, 2012 2:07:24 PM | 2

I know many like to go straight for the gold, but before I'd cross the border I'd probably veer off through Tittmoning.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 3:07:06 PM | 3

Very funny B. Well since we turning this into a comedy club, I'd still like to remain on-topic. Soooo

Q: Why did the Zionist cross the road?
A: To Occupy the other side.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 4, 2012 3:14:35 PM | 4

Doonesbury squarely nails the American electorate today:

What's interesting is that Obama has conspired with Romney to help the American people forget the last MBA President--what's his name?

What's also interesting is that people who hated Bush--Democrats--love Obama, despite his record of making Bush's program a bipartisan affair. And people who hate Obama, despite his Bush 44 program--Republicans--are eager to double down on Bush's failures with Romney.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 4, 2012 3:32:19 PM | 5

On a serious note: the Shia pipeline.

"Huge gas resource discoveries in Israel, in Qatar and in Syria combined with the emergence of the EU as the world’s potentially largest natural gas consumer, combine to create the seeds of the present geopolitical clash over the Assad regime.

In July 2011, as the NATO and Gulf states’ destabilization operations against Assad in Syria were in full swing, the governments of Syria, Iran and Iraq signed an historic gas pipeline energy agreement which went largely unnoticed amid CNN reports of the Syrian unrest. The pipeline, envisioned to cost $10
billion and take three years to complete, would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh near the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory. Iran ultimately plans then to extend the pipeline from Damascus to Lebanon’s Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to EU
markets. Syria would buy Iranian gas along with a current Iraqi agreement to buy Iranian gas from Iran’s part of South Pars field."

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 4, 2012 3:57:38 PM | 6

Perhaps that what Romney was thinking of with his: 'Syria is Iran's route to the sea.'

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 4:03:29 PM | 7

Turkey wouldn't like that much, either, since it wants to be a conduit to Europe for Caucusus and Caspian Basin gas.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 4:06:35 PM | 8

Russia would not like it either, at present we are hostages to Gazprom.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4, 2012 4:13:00 PM | 9

who's "we," kimosabe?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 4:26:45 PM | 10

By the way, kimosabe, what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, derived from quien sabe, or 'who knows' in Spanish. And of course tonto is Spanish for stupid. So when Tonto spoke with the Lone Ranger, it was stupid talking to who knows.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 4:30:34 PM | 11

If you take b's trip: Gute Fahrt!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 4:34:11 PM | 12

Is there something like an anti-funny joke?

F.e.: If I had to choose between drowning and burning alive, I'd know exactly which one to put my money on, but, yeah..., I've go cancer... Isn't it funny who some things are not supposed to be funny?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 4, 2012 5:32:17 PM | 13

@ DOn #12

If b travels by car, yes, by all means, 'Gute farht,' but if he travels otherwise, make that 'Gute reise.'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 4, 2012 5:37:59 PM | 14

Of the eleven aircraft carriers which the US *must* have to be *secure* a majority are usually in port, either for a short time of for a very long time (maintenance).

CV locations Oct 31, 2012:
Enterprise EastLant, Nimitz EastPac, Eisenhower PersianGulf, Vinson SanDiego, Roosevelt Newport News (18 mos. retrofit), Lincoln Norfolk, Washington WestPac, Stennis N ArabianSea, Truman Norfolk, Reagan Puget Sound Shipyard 12 mos, retrofit), Bush Norfolk
--one PersianGulf, one ArabianSea, one EastPac, one WestPac, one EastLant, six in port

The Enterprise is scheduled for Inactivation Ceremony Dec 1 at Norfolk. The Gerald Ford is scheduled to be launched 2013 and delivered to the Navy Sep 2015. The Ford is already $1 billion over budget, a 21 percent overrun in construction costs alone, driving her total estimated cost up to $12.3 billion.

US Naval Institute Proceedings, May 2011
Twilight of the $UPERfluous Carrier

"Given very clear technology trends toward precision long-range strike and increasingly sophisticated anti-access and area-denial capabilities, high-signature, limited-range combatants like the current aircraft carrier will not meet the requirements of tomorrow’s Fleet. In short, the march of technology is bringing the supercarrier era to an end, just as the new long-range strike capabilities of carrier aviation brought on the demise of the battleship era in the 1940s."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 5:47:18 PM | 15

Well if one goes where b suggests, one better not go by car then. Better a reise than a fahrt.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 5:51:24 PM | 16

Somebody @9: "Russia would not like it either..." You didn't fully read Engdahl's piece. The pipeline ends up at the Russian base in Syria. The Shia pipeline would help consolidate Russia's control.

Time for mein ausfahrt.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 4, 2012 5:59:48 PM | 17

On the other hand if one starts at Kissing, it takes almost five times as long to get to Fucking.

Posted by: erichwwk | Nov 4, 2012 6:17:37 PM | 18

Under - they hate us for our values.
from Chicago: In the popular vote, the polls say it’s a virtual tie — but on the only scoreboard that matters, the Electoral College, this column is projecting Barack Obama to score a relatively comfortable victory.

But this is good. It means that he must deal with everything he's put off until 2014, and there will be no more blaming Bush. Okay, there will be some, but it'll be even more meaningless.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 6:19:32 PM | 19

this is Pepe Escobar's take on it - he lets the pipeline end in Turkey

"And then there's the inescapable Pipelineistan angle. Turkey happens to be Gazprom's second-largest customer. Erdogan can't afford to antagonise Gazprom. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia - and Iran. Crucially, one year ago a $10bn Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline from Iran's giant South Pars field to Iraq, Syria and further on towards Turkey and eventually connecting to Europe.

During the past 12 months, with Syria plunging into civil war, key players stopped talking about it. Not anymore. Any self-respecting analyst in Brussels admits that the EU's supreme paranoia is to be a hostage of Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe's energy supplies away from Russia.

For the US and the EU, this is the real game, and if it takes two or more years of Assad in power, so be it. And it must be done in a way that does not fully antagonise Russia. That's where reassurances in Geneva to Russia keeping its interests intact in a post-Assad Syria come in. "

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4, 2012 6:27:16 PM | 20

What is your take on the US Asian Pacific push? It is perceived as a defensive stance against china (Now the bad boys, an decade ago it was Japan). It is also an established and growing global trading gateway (The shipping routes) so control those, then you are the conductor. Then we have the asset finds, i.e. Gas/Oil and fused with various disputes over sea borders EZ's. i.e. China/PI, Taiwan/Jap and Korea, the latter more a strategic location than economic.

I am more interested in Philippines, as I have relocated and in all honesty looking for a relaxing Island life, however over the last 6 months military operations by the US (Promoted as joint) have intensified and my local town although good for small business is turning into a Navy 'Come in and let-your-hair-down' hotspot, currently sporadic, but happening. Admittedly they behave, but the personnel are ship/Navy staff, are selective and less prone to going on benders, for now that is.

My main concern are future issues, sure the US is doing 'Hearts & Mind's' (Buy-in) at the moment (Community projects) but when set-up, chaos follows, be it anti-US sentiment or self induced events to justify presence. Then life from a relaxing Island becomes a potential flash point, moreover kills tourism were the majority of ex-pats including local business earn their bread and butter.

The thoughts most ex-pats put forward; do we change our business to tie in the US presence,and do we need to be more security conscious in terms of possible buy very likely incidents.

In that, is this push a diversion and more feather fluffing to support it's partners, and keep the geopolitical pressure as the worlds police or is the US truly focusing on the Asian Pacific because it has a more conducive economic outcome. In speaking to several Navy staff on RR, it is evident that they are strategically relocating within a geopolitical mandate, one that has been ongoing for decades where Asia has been left as the last frontier.

Your thoughts will be interesting.

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 6:32:39 PM | 21

Looking at Afghanistan, one concern has been logistics. ISAF has been able to convince some of the ANA (Afghan National Army) that they should actually aim their weapons when they shoot them. But supply and maintenance with all those illiterate people is a challenge.

So ISAF held a logistics conference the other day, and there was some good news.

The deputy commander of the ANA’s Logistics Command, Brig. Gen. Mohamand Katawazi proudly shared statistics from the past eight months, going into great detail on the number of work orders completed in national level workshops. In the Central Work Shop alone, during the past month, among many other accomplishments, they repaired 7790 light weapons and 681 heavy weapons. In the CWS body shop, they painted eight Afghan Air Force helicopters and 111 vehicles.

Okay, not so good. But then there was some bad news.
Col. Hadi from the Afghan Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics department also highlighted the issues in the area of training. “In some instances, we may not have been ready to take over, but all of a sudden we were prompted to take charge,” he said. The ANA is not ready to take over maintenance responsibilities, Hadi stated. The ANA’s procedures are significantly different from the ones the coalition uses. Things move much slower through our system, than the coalition can make things happen, Hadi said.

The ANA has been costing the US about $7 billion annually, they're hoping to get it down to $4 bn.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 6:39:36 PM | 22

"The administration’s Asia-Pacific strategy that was unveiled in January has been “complicated to develop and articulate [because] we don’t know what China is,” Green said during a CSIS news conference Aug. 2."


I guess that sums it up.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4, 2012 6:39:55 PM | 23

I recommend Walking

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4, 2012 6:43:36 PM | 24

@22 it doesn't say how many weapons they sold to the Taliban.

Posted by: dh | Nov 4, 2012 6:51:08 PM | 25

"I will end (writes Victor Grossman over at MRzine) with a biting joke sent by a reader and email friend, reflecting the resentment of many Greeks towards German bankers and weapons dealers -- with memories of the past: When Merkel entered Greece she was asked her name at immigration. "Angela Merkel" she replied. "Occupation?" asked the agent. "No," said Merkel, "I'm only staying a few days."

Posted by: bevin | Nov 4, 2012 6:55:41 PM | 26

You'll have to weigh any loss of your quiet island life against the potential financial business rewards. The US military presence will probably increase and it could be considerable..

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 7:01:59 PM | 27

@KJS Perhaps the bars in Olongapo will reopen. Yeeha!!!

Posted by: dh | Nov 4, 2012 7:07:53 PM | 28

@somebody -23: I see the official statements, and in rag order (Skipping around the agenda, as I see it, simply because two major changes, both political US & China, and the respective leaders but ultimately business and the money men, but one can see the preparations; back to the kissing and F'king tags, kissing is not needed if you buy-in, you can go direct to the end game, much like prostitution, and the game play then forbids kissing. This game has no foreplay, as all involved are not attracted, rather need to be in 'Bed' so to speak. China in my thoughts will not be pushed, as least behind the scenes, sure we will hear the vocal political rants, but we don't want to wake the Dragon; not yet, and this risk is doable. The new blood are consumers, that is far more interesting in surveys on China and the population compare to a decade ago, the average person wants luxury and success, it is money orientated, where in the past it was geared to the collective and unity with a high degree of patriotic flare, quite happy with preservation of the system over one's self. This shift, more so with new blood in the political helm will wake the Dragon. On the other hand this consumer base is also a massive market, made in the USA is generally from China, whatever the rhetoric, that cant change in a political term, secondly the combined consumer bases feed off each other, and a divorce would cripple both.

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 7:08:00 PM | 29

@Don-27, that seems to be the general train of thought. @dh - Places like Subic will be jumping, Olongapo already has a buzz, a friend of mine relocated because of that, so it's more than rumor I think...

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 7:15:16 PM | 30

They dress it up as a new strategy, and Panetta says oh no, it isn't because of China it's the NorKo threat (!!!) but really it's mostly that they're pulling all those people out of the Middle East and they have to put them somewhere else. You're nominated. Do you know the Visayans?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 7:20:47 PM | 31

29, they never seem to learn though, the US aquiring client states might draw them into needless confrontation ...

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4, 2012 7:29:05 PM | 32

@bevin - It's amazing the high of the 'PC' over WWII since we have had many genocides post WWII. WWII is so far detached from the new generations, it's nothing more than history books. Have a German friend, don't get his humor most of the time and always wondered why he can watch 'Dinner for one' every year and laugh until it splits his ribs, it's just not funny. One dinner night, we did go the route of WWII, the one joke (I think it was a joke) he made actually cracked a smile on my face. The one liner "You think you have problems, have you seen my Gas bill". Ok, seems very un-PC, and he apologized 100 times, but his intent was the cost of War, and how German was tied to Russia, it just came out wrong.

In that, Germany over the last decade has been very active externally, it's branch GTZ (technical cooperation) is everywhere but never seems to make media. Prost!

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 7:31:45 PM | 33

@Don, Visayans, yes, but opted for a more 'environment' safer location, mitigating Hurricane, Earthquakes, flooding etc. The Island of Palawan, in the 'South China Sea' great little gem, and currently getting attention because of the Spratly Islands dispute. In that investment is high and the changes of the last 3 years have been epic.

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 7:36:23 PM | 34

@KJS It's kinda hard to imagine Clark and Subic full of horny young Americans again. But I guess the PR government would be OK with it. What got them shut down, if I recall correctly, was Philippine nationalism....and especially feminists.

Posted by: dh | Nov 4, 2012 7:50:58 PM | 35

I wasn't familiar with Palawan -- looks like you made a good choice. A lot of nature and low population density. If you're involved in tourism I have some tourism web sites that might help -- give me a contact address if so.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 7:51:04 PM | 36

Daniel Rich @13 Best of luck, in your fight...! *g*

Somebody @20 Pepe even wrote the book on it... Pipelineistan...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 4, 2012 8:17:47 PM | 37

KJS @34 *heh* The Ilocanoes would be saying; "Me love you long time, G.I"...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 4, 2012 8:23:40 PM | 38

@dh, Look at Angeles City, they buss in working girls in shifts, some bars with 300-500 ladies in 3 x 8 hour shifts. True it's a an unspoken business at least to open to public perception to the extent 'Girl Bars', whore house, whatever you want to call it, cant have 'that' name, they call it 'Karaoke Bar', and that is legal, as soon as you register a Bar as a Business, the BIR will ask if it has 'Karaoke', as that places you in a high tax bracket and in general means you will be entertaining with women. Agree the feminists did push this drive, but it's more church driven. Funny, the PI was the first true peaceful 'people power' movement, unlike the Arab spring, but that was led by the Church and had very little opposition although it has Muslim communities, as well as not social divide other than Rich/poor, more or less the classic 99% V's 1%.

End of the day, whatever the ethics, money dictates, and corruption keeps things running. In a developing Country, one tends to forget history, more so if your on a couple of dollars a day, life is a day to day affair. Take Africa and reconciliation, I hack your entire family, friends with a machete, and you forgive me, just not in human nature.

The PI gets is stability from diaspora, 1/3 of its work force is external and that remittance keeps extended families above water, without it the country would have cataclysmic poverty and the Gov would never cope, next is Tourism, it would be the best destination in the World, but it's geographic location is the one limitation, it's long/lat is just over most visitors flight time, from the UK it is a ball bagging trip, two week vacation needs a 2 week recovery. As for Girl Bars and the US removal, I guess time forgets most past ill's, take Japan and the US, as I mentioned two decades ago, Japan was the number one threat to the US, today it's a main partner, including owning 22% of US Debt and the US main supply for enriched uranium.

End of the day, if you have the incentives and those willing to take a dash, you can have what you want. The PI is pretty good as concealment in terms of media, likewise the US will do it's most not to rock the boat, but shit happens, take the event in Japan currently with a US service personal, and that was just after a gang rape indecent. That cleared the streets here (PI), after that news brief the next day all US staff were not to be seen, so I guess they sent a global 'Behave message' and Bar ban.

The Russians solved this by turning the Cold War female spy's into a service to service the service men service, although also a unspoken entity. Met the services servers in Kosovo of all places, blew my mind (metaphorically) but it does make sense - funny old world.

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 8:27:47 PM | 39

@Don -

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 8:29:24 PM | 40

The PI is not an economic success, but a result of years of US exploitation. Compare it with nearby Taiwan, which was developed economically by the Japanese.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 9:07:27 PM | 41

@39 Thanks for the update on Philippine nightlife. It has been 20 years since I was there but I remember it well.

re. the present situation. I think it's true to say China already has considerable economic influence in PR. They may have enough influence to thwart any major US military build up there.

Posted by: dh | Nov 4, 2012 9:07:37 PM | 42

Daniel Rich, i am sorry to hear that. hope it was just part of a joke and not real.

ok, here's my comic: Tom Tomorrow's drone industry.

Posted by: annie | Nov 4, 2012 9:21:58 PM | 43

Drones can be destroyed by lasers, and hopefully they soon will be.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4, 2012 9:41:24 PM | 44

@dh -42, True, all the F500 are either Chinese or half/half. Some Phil/Am but giving up the US status are they are now liable for US tax on income in the PI. I think in terms of reform/tech/development, Singapore is a fantastic model, its mobile tech integration as a M-Gov platform (As opposed to e-Gov and traditional Gov, is epic, it has night court's for minor crime, very efficient, no backlogs, such a simple reform in RoL, but tends not to be adopted around the World as the Justice systems don't want efficiency.

@Don, The one thing I see is cultural identity, a true issue the Spanish history and the more recent US love/hate is one one side, and on the other side of the fence is the 'Pinoy' trying to revive and bring it's own identity to the forefront. Again, the huge divide between poor and rich is massive even if PI is a growing GDP and is in the top ten ranking as an economic power horse, if it becomes a farming nation, it will do well, but the youth are not attracted to that, as it is tagged as being poor, I guess it need to be pushed as being 'cool' to gain momentum, but it also needs to be far more progressive in manufacturing, that is it's Achilles heel, all products are China/India/US, even down to the basics and the majority well below and ISO standard - It has that import stigma, thus reliance, much like an addict.

In term of Identity, if you took a random 100 people in the street, and said you can either live here with your family or get on a plane today alone to the USA, 99% would jump on the plane. However, this is not purely as giving up or running away, or bright light syndrome, more he or she could be the family savior, and become another remittance stat and pundit.

What I find ironic is the hordes of ex-pats, many come with little, even as little as suitcase and sufficient funds for 6 months and end up having a life they could never achieve back home, then again you have many come with savings and leave with tail between the legs, sour and scammed.

At the moment if you outside Manila, you buck/pound goes 3 times further, and life is pretty lax, not piled overbearing rules or restrictions, but that is changing via the power of 'democracy', or the tie in to tax and regulation where the nation is reliant on the Gov or rule. I see this happening over the last decade, globally,most via land grabbing, more so towards Food & Water, limiting the local or person/entity to be self reliant, i.e. you will need to buy everything in the future, once all land is taken, this is the tipping point of Gov V's citizen and impossible to break free, in turn the true form of democracy will be a 'dedicated' working citizen who will spend into a system only and keep it perpetuated; scary thought. So while I have time, I have decided to spend the next hopefully 30-40 years being slightly free; unless the Asian pacific push has a dramatic effect and changes that, then my little paradise becomes yet another 'Zone', and been in enough zones in my life.

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 9:47:18 PM | 45

Drones are scary, the Art of War is no longer. More than 8000 flying about right now, even the PI has eyes in the skies and controlled from Virginia. We used to use then for forestry, great tool, try and procure or inquire a system today for legit use and your flagged.

From extradition detention to extrajudicial killing is the only progression I have seen from the Bush to Obama era, not the ideal Rule of Law one can envisage. The next wave of soldiers are already robotics, remote vehicles, robots that can breach a room, monitor or kill, pretty scary stuff, all the more for the drive to grid the world, without power/energy/fuel these systems cant function. Little ironic that we can fuel death 1000's of miles away, but NJ/NY cant get a couple of gallons to the pump after a storm, even more damming when the Gov has huge reserves in case of a disaster - Madness that we place such great focus on destruction; the laser destroys drones, then we will have mirrored drones that destroy lasers etc, a never ending cycle.

Grow veggies, taste good and is more productive!

Posted by: KJS | Nov 4, 2012 10:05:05 PM | 46

Posted by: вот так | Nov 5, 2012 12:44:43 AM | 47

@ Don BAcon,

Q: who's "we," kimosabe?

R: In most cases an individual and his imaginary friend/s.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 5, 2012 12:55:45 AM | 48

in the case of Gazprom it is simply the location you live in :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 1:49:42 AM | 49

Talking of the "Shiite pipeline", the project would complement the "Nabucco Project" from Caspian/Turkey to Austria/Europe.

Pipelines need peace as they are easy to blow up.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 2:14:04 AM | 50

From Russia's Foreign Ministry


"The human rights situation in the United States of America has provoked serious concerns within the international community, American NGOs and mass media. The present report is based upon verified information from authoritative international and national sources and summarizes broad factual information on multiple, including systemic, problems related to the human rights observance that the American society faces.

In the USA, among the most grave challenges are growing social inequality, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, continuing detention of prisoners without charges presented, partial justice, prisons operating outside the legal field, torturing, governmental authorities influencing judicial processes, weak penitentiary system, restraint of freedom of speech, Internet censorship, legalized corruption, limitation of electoral rights of citizens, racial and ethnical intolerance, infringing children's rights, extraterritorial application of American law which leads to infringing human rights in other countries, kidnapping, "witch-hunt", disproportionate use of force against peaceful manifestations, death penalty applied to underage and mentally disabled offenders, etc.

That being said, international legal obligations of the USA are still limited to participation in three (1965 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1984 Convention against Torture) out of nine basic treaties on human rights that provide for control mechanisms.

The USA has not yet ratified the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Such a situation makes a drastic contrast with the ambitions of the USA to become a global leader in the protection of democratic values, shows the double standard attitude actively used by the USA authorities and requires effective measures to resolve the large-scale problems that exist in the humanitarian and human rights areas in accordance with the international obligations of the USA."

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 3:33:50 AM | 51

@ erichwwk thanks for adding kissing.

So its three hours to move from Kissing through Petting to Fucking. Somewhat fits with my youth experience.

Posted by: b | Nov 5, 2012 5:24:43 AM | 52

From the "wilderness of mirrors" via Dewey Claridge and Benghazi maneuvers.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 5, 2012 5:27:23 AM | 53

from above links

“Blue Mountain and Eclipse parted ways in the spring over problems with Tripoli contracts, several sources familiar with the matter said. The severed relationship may have prevented Blue Mountain from getting additional work in Libya, which required the local affiliation.”

thanks, Hannh K. O'Luthon, that rhymes with the following comments in the Washington Post

Anon777777 11/4/2012 7:50 PM GMT+0100 This latest battle is about the same issue as previous battles: Former Gaddafi Regime officials who switched sides have ties to the Republican Party in the US, and they want to "shape events." Especially if those events are contracts for oil, defense, security, private equity, construction and telecommunications. Meanwhile, dead-enders, Gaddafi loyalists, are fighting a geurrilla war and hoping to install Gaddafi's son as a dictator. Look back and find out who in the US was invested in Gaddafi's dictatorship when Bush normalized relations: GOP!!!


I don't think it is necessarily true that most corporate owners are GOP. I think the breakdown might be more Republican, but as you say, it proves nothing and speculates everything. But while that might be true generally, it is not true with regard to corporations involved in Libya specifically. The reason why is because the Bush Administration controlled normalization of relations with Gaddafi, and they did indeed pick winners and losers. Bush Admin officials acted like lobbyists and cashed in. In return for favorable access to Libya, Bush Admin officials and Republican Party members benefitted enormously. The GOP corporate set had almost exclusive access to Libya. Then came the Revolution. They lost out bigtime, and they are trying to regain what they had. As for the idea that the Gaddafi Regime was "not really a dictatorship": It is well known that a major "rebranding" effort was undertaken by think-tank scholars to convince people of just that idea. It's still remembered bitterly in Libya.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 5:49:12 AM | 54

and of course there is this

Analysis: Libya's oil contracts to be unsure for months more

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 7:19:07 AM | 55

Don 11, about "Qui no sabe" (he) who knows nothing. is another frequently cited interpretation.

Posted by: scottindallas | Nov 5, 2012 8:58:38 AM | 56

I know that I know nothing :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 9:28:39 AM | 57

@scottindallas #56
I like it, and it works better. One can always learn something here, kimosabe.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 10:24:49 AM | 58

ooops -- I didn't mean it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 10:25:12 AM | 59

SSgt Robert Bales, a senior NCO who seven months ago supposedly had a couple drinks too many and then went on a killing rampage all by his lonesome in two separate Afghan villages -- I don't believe it -- is scheduled to get a preliminary hearing today.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 10:50:04 AM | 60

from The Duffel Blog
Navy To Send a Strong Message To Iran With Pointless Multinational Exercise

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – In a move sure to send a strong message to Iran, the US Navy has kicked off the opening stages of Operation Hawk Thunder, an expensive, pointless exercise in the Persian Gulf with no real objective, sources confirmed today.

“Operation Hawk Thunder will show Iran that the US Navy maintains a strong presence in the Gulf,” Rear Admiral William DeMark said. “There is nothing the Iranians fear more than a bunch of ships doing circles in the ocean and returning to port. Ships from twelve nations will be joining us, so we won’t be the only country wasting fuel in this time of economic hardship.”

Operation Hawk Thunder will consist of three parts. First, the ships from all the nations will be docked in Manama, Bahrain. Officers from each ship will tour the others, look around, and nod with respect. Second, the ships will sail in formation out into the Persian Gulf and circle around for a week. Finally, they will return to Bahrain and hold a dinner celebration for a job well done.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 11:37:10 AM | 61

Tariq Ali mentions in a recent article it has now been established that the Houla massacre was the job of the Syrian government (presumablly in light of new information?).
Do you know what he is talking about?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 5, 2012 11:42:56 AM | 62

Pirouz_2, #62, there is a UN report from June 2012 where they say they do not know, and a report from August 2012 where they say the Syrian government did it. And there is this

The UN and General Mood’s Missing Report on Conflicting Accounts of Houla Massacre from September.

For some reason it is German journalists (apart from Russians) who are doing this. It probably is no accident.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 12:45:23 PM | 63

Aug 16, 2012
The commission found that Government forces and Shabbiha members were responsible for the killings in Al-Houla.

This was the pdf for the UN Report -- it won't load for me now.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 2:02:57 PM | 64

@somebody #63;
Much appreciated, thanks.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 5, 2012 2:09:21 PM | 65

@Don Bacon #64;
Many thanks

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 5, 2012 2:10:55 PM | 66

Kissing > Petting > Fucking...and where next?

Wartburg? or even worse...Worms. Drive safely kids.

Bath is nice at any time of the year.

Posted by: nobodee | Nov 5, 2012 2:14:43 PM | 67

from the report:
44. Forty-seven interviews from various sources were considered by the commission. Interviews were consistent in their depiction of events and their description of the perpetrators as Government forces and Shabbiha. Apart from the two witnesses in the Government report, no other account supported the Government‘s version of events. The commission carefully reviewed the two witnesses‘ testimony as set out in that report, and judged their accounts as unreliable owing to a number of inconsistencies (see also annex IV). Accounts of other witnesses interviewed by different investigators remained consistent, including those collected from children, despite the fact that they were conducted over an extended period of time.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 2:16:01 PM | 68

@Pirouz_2 follow Tariq Ali accounts and you will see how he can survive with his lavish playboy style. This guy reminds me Jumblatt and that is giving him credit!

Posted by: hans | Nov 5, 2012 2:16:52 PM | 69

@69 Jumblatt has long been my favorite in the Lebanon Stakes. A true survivor!

Posted by: dh | Nov 5, 2012 2:21:45 PM | 70

68 Don Bacon yes
contrast this with what Robert Mood says here - he is not talking of witnesses in a government report

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 2:46:11 PM | 71

Kissing > Petting > Fucking >


Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 3:23:50 PM | 72

'And then there's the inescapable Pipelineistan angle. Turkey happens to be Gazprom's second-largest customer. Erdogan can't afford to antagonise Gazprom'

if so Russia could end turkeys war on syria by throttling the gas lifeline

Posted by: brian | Nov 5, 2012 3:41:00 PM | 73

They got the TV- we got the truth
They own the judges and we got the proof
We got hella people- they got helicopters
They got the bombs and we got the- we got the

We got the guillotine
We got the guillotine, you better run

Posted by: citizen x | Nov 5, 2012 4:29:24 PM | 74

From the comments in the link by 'somebody' at #71:

Robert Mood said that after the 25 May 2012 massacre at Al-Houla, the UN Supervisory Mission in Syria interviewed locals in Al-Houla who had one story and interviewed other locals who had another story. [Note: Most locals in Al-Houla at the time were militantly anti-Assad]. Those interviews with locals, and the findings of observable material facts on the ground, were sent in a report to the UN in New York, which hasn't been published. The report was not able to reach a conclusion about who the culprits were, Robert Mood said. The report produced by Robert Mood's team has not been published, and only one of those sets of witnesses has been cited by the subsequent report coming out of New York. Robert Mood's team in Syria stood ready to investigate more thoroughly, but were not called on to do so.

Many other reports by Robert Mood's team, submitted to UN Headquarters in New York earlier this year, remain unpublished. The UN Headquarters in New York chose to publish relatively few of the many reports they were given.

As far as I'm concerned, the Al-Houla witnesses who said that the massacre was committed by pro-government people have zero credibility. If there are a dozen of them, or two dozen or more such witnesses, I'm unimpressed -- they're all liars.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 5, 2012 7:36:08 PM | 75

we got the guillotine should be our mantra.
their justice allows murder
of millions world wide
by lies and deceit
from tobacco to warming
with false flags a flying
and pro-voc-a-tation
the filthy get richer
while we breathe their shit
the french had it right
it’s time to repeat

lizzard please help

Posted by: juannie | Nov 5, 2012 8:05:11 PM | 76


"As far as I'm concerned, the Al-Houla witnesses who said that the massacre was committed by pro-government people have zero credibility. If there are a dozen of them, or two dozen or more such witnesses, I'm unimpressed -- they're all liars."

Agree. What western governments, along with their ngos and media, say now is the equivalent of Goebbels on meth and steroids. I'm tempted to say that whatever these people say, the opposite is closer to the truth, but they are not even that reliable. What they say should be dismissed out of hand and ignored.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 5, 2012 9:16:55 PM | 77

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 5, 2012 7:36:08 PM | 75

These Houla reports exist though, Russians and Chinese will have them, and they can publish them if they chose to.

All talk in western media to try Assad in the ICC has stopped and at some point the press began to report rebel crimes (Syrian government evidence of rebels faking videos helped, too, as evidently the media had lost credibility).

The UN June report - which said they did not know who did it - explicitely said that witnesses could not be interviewed directly, but were talked to by phone and skype. Very clearly Robert Mood's team had interviewed the witnesses directly after the massacre in person.

There is another part of the Houla story which I assume Western governments do not wish discussed - they all withdrew their amabassadors in protest immediatedly after the massacre, so quickly that they must have agreed on it before the massacre.

They all will know how they were tricked into doing this.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 1:45:00 AM | 78

I saw a report on France24 the other day about a Palestinian targeting Syrian soldiers by blowing himself up. You couldn't write this stuff.


I sensed a slight shift in media reporting after the "massacres" that proceeded whatever really happened in Houla. I forget the locations, but on one occasion "90" dead civilians developed into about two-dozen dead men of fighting age. On another occasion, no bodies at all were found when the UN observers rolled in. These cries of massacre also conveniently came just before the UNSC convened to discuss a possible resolution. This massacre marketing strategy adopted by the rebels ran out of steam because people were no longer buying it.

More recently, after the execution of Assad's supporters in Aleppo - accompanied by the filming, the cheering, and the wails of 'allahu akbar'. Even the rebels recognised the media backlash on this one, with commanders coming out to justify their actions and stating that the victims were the Shabbiha bogeymen (a term seemingly ascribed to any Assad supporter not in uniform but prepared to fight against the rebels).
The Guardian Newspaper attempted to limit the damage done to the reputation of their darling rebels through its promotion of a "code of conduct" signed by rebel groups. If you haven't seen it, you're in for a laugh.

On a number of occasions, the BBC has begun to refer to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights as "pro-rebel", almost seeking to undermine the supposed partiality of its reports.

However, I believe that the most significant cause of the shift in media reporting has been the blatant emergence of jihadist groups, the rebel's willingness to fight alongside these groups, and the indiscriminate nature of their attacks. Have you noticed that the rebels attempt to determine the level of civilian casualties caused by their bomb blasts before claiming responsibility?

Even a moron can draw parallels to the IED and suicide car bomb attacks in Syria with those faced by US and other allied forces in Iraq and still face in Afghanistan. The idea that people are supposed to support these acts in Syria, as well as those responsible, whilst "our boys" are also being killed by these same devices, is risible.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 6, 2012 5:33:46 AM | 79

*supposed impartiality of its reports.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 6, 2012 5:36:16 AM | 80

Pat and others, I think you're mixing up the order. The reporting is a leading indicator, where the violence is a lagging one. After all, the arms are released, then must make their way to the battle lines and then used. The media reports are more reflective of the immediate temperature of international support. Turkey has been getting cold feet, and the attempts to draw in NATO were it's last gasp. The US and the West have some serious concerns about who they're supporting as well, be it the Ben Ghazi tragedy, something is giving them pause. I think the Israelis too are concerned. Anyway, I don't disagree much with anyone's comments, I just think these wars are fought more domestically through the media. Just with Palestine, the fight is between Congress and the Knesset, sadly all the "collateral damage" and all the bombs detonate on others, mere bystanders.

Posted by: scottindallas | Nov 6, 2012 8:10:28 AM | 81

@ somebody #78: Thanks for the info about the Houla reports.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 6, 2012 11:48:14 AM | 82

A public opinion survey was carried out by random telephone calling in August 2012 in Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other Arabic-speaking countries. The survey was designed by a socioeconomic think-tank in Turkey, TESEV ( ) together with an international market research company headquartered in Turkey called KA Research ( ), and with additional input from a socioeconomic think-tank endowment in Germany called Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung ( ) (whose input I suppose was purely financial).

One question asked was: Have the effects of the Arab Spring been positive, negative or other, when you consider the effects throughout the whole Arabic-speaking world? In Syria 21 percent of respondents said positive; in Tunisia 56 percent said positive; in Egypt 57 percent said positive; in Libya 77 percent said positive. Another question: Are the effects of the Arab Spring positive, negative or other, when you consider the effects just in your own country? In Syria 14 percent said positive; Tunisia 62% = positive; Egypt 64% = positive; Libya 87% = positive.

Another question: "How do you think of Turkey?" -- positively, negatively, or other. More than 80 percent of respondents in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya said they thought postively about Turkey. Whereas 28 percent of respondents in Syria said they thought positively about Turkey. Perhaps those 28 percent in Syria were thinking about the good people of Turkey and were not thinking about the current Turkish government. Another question: Does the Turkish Government take a friendly stance towards your country? 16 percent of respondents in Syria said yes. Another question: Do you evaluate Turkey's response to the crisis in Syria positively or negatively? In Syria, 23 percent of respondents said positive and 69 percent said negative. In August 2012.

The survey report is downloadable in the Turkish language at . Parts of the survey were reported in English as news on 1 Nov 2012 at ; and on 2 Nov 2012 at . I got the links from , via

Interpretion: A survey of random phone numbers in Syria indicates a large majority of respondents support the Syrian government and oppose the armed uprising.

I'd like to see a survey of random phone numbers in Syria where the question is asked directly: "Do you support the Irhabeen Museleha?"

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 6, 2012 11:50:42 AM | 83

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 6, 2012 11:50:42 AM | 83

Calling them "Irhabi" would be a "leading question" ....
The alternative question to that would have to be "do you support the terrorist government?"

It is not considered scientific.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 12:27:33 PM | 84

@ citizen x # 74. Thanks for the link to that song.

According to commentary on

'Coup leader Boots Riley told Wired about the hook’s central metaphor:

“‘We got the guillotine’ means we have the power to get rid of the ruling class to create a classless society,” he said. “One where the people democratically control the wealth that they create with their labor" '

An aspirational message.

Posted by: Noah | Nov 6, 2012 4:18:11 PM | 85

what i said about the gringos apply to the indians too...
such well trained parrots
[comment no 4]

Posted by: denk | Nov 8, 2012 1:04:22 AM | 86

Interesting: U.S. Religious Landscape Survey - Income level by religious tradition

Any explanation for those religions that stick out?

Posted by: b | Nov 9, 2012 6:24:03 AM | 87

b. too complex in the case of the US to base analysis on. There are well known studies aligning protestantism with capitalism vs catholic religion.

In the US you would also have to study who immigrated when for what reasons.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 9, 2012 7:23:38 AM | 88

to clarify what I mean - Germany pre 1933 was leading in quite a few business sectors, science and arts. They basically got rid of all their liberal, left-leaning and Jewish elite, most of them ended up in the US (eg Albert Einstein).

Posted by: somebody | Nov 9, 2012 7:30:18 AM | 89

I realize this is a controversial contention, however I couldn’t help but notice the higher income rates among the Jewish.

Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence

"Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence"
Today's Ashkenazi Jews have a high average mathematical and verbal IQ and an unusual cognitive profile compared to other ethnic groups, including Sephardic and Oriental Jews.

From roughly 800 to 1650 CE, Ashkenazi Jews in Europe were a mostly isolated genetic group. When Ashkenazi Jews married non-Jews, they usually left the Jewish community; few non-Jews married into the Jewish community.

During the same period, laws barred Ashkenazi Jews from working most jobs, including farming and crafts, and forced them into finance, management, and international trade. Wealthy Jews had several more children per family than poor Jews. So, genes for cognitive traits such as verbal and mathematical talent, which make a person successful in the few fields where Jews could work, were favored; genes for irrelevant traits, such as spatio-visual abilities, were supported by less selective pressure than in the general population.

my bold

The low percentage of low income Hindu also caught my eye. I have noticed that the Hindu’s that have migrated to any area where I lived have always seemed quite industrious. I have noticed they often end up in owing/operating motels, restaurants or small shops. This might be a factor? Just speculation.

Posted by: juannie | Nov 9, 2012 7:34:33 AM | 90

After posting my #90 I then had the thought, “well what percentage of Jews in America are Ashkenazi?”

American Jews

The Jewish community in the United States is composed predominantly of Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated from Jewish diaspora communities of Central and Eastern Europe, and their U.S.-born descendants.

Posted by: juannie | Nov 9, 2012 7:43:10 AM | 91

This is skewed because it is done in percentages with different population sizes /different geography and an unequal distribution of income. The underlying assumption is no matter where you live in the US, no matter what size the community you are grouped with the distribution of income should be equal. There are many many more factors, and that religion is decisive is doubtful.
Like when you take Black Protestant churches sure the decisive factor is not religion here?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 9, 2012 7:58:49 AM | 92

Craig Murray - Cia plot against Correa funded by drug money

Posted by: somebody | Nov 9, 2012 10:16:06 AM | 93

More - Ecuador Says Charges About CIA Interference are Credible

He stated that it was a similar case to the Iran-Contras scandal, by means of which resources from illegal weapon sale to Iran were embezzled to finance the counter-revolution in Nicaragua, to evade the US Congress control.

He also said those are operations that are plotted and carried out behind a government's back and in this case, he thinks Obama's government "would not do these things conscientiously."

Correa considerd feasible that the CIA is a superstructure that acts independently from its government and the public scrutiny and said there are precendents about CIA operations without the US government awareness.

He also remarked that permanently, not necessarily the CIA, US ultra-rightwing foundations are financing civil organizations to destabilize, based on criticism, the Ecuadorian national government and he mentioned Fundamedios as an example.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 9, 2012 10:22:53 AM | 94

anna louise strong, 1962
*resign yourself to getting it as gift from me, not to you but to educate my country! Calm your conscience, if any, by doing as much for somebody else*

before strong, there was mark twain
anti war activists have been trying to educate amerikans on their evil ways for five centuries now.
sigh, a fat lot of good it does

Posted by: denk | Nov 9, 2012 11:30:06 PM | 95

Cross post from Syria: The New Coalition:

Israel Shells Syria After Golan Heights Mortar Blast For Second Day

Posted by: juannie | Nov 12, 2012 7:27:09 PM | 96

White House to respond after 70,000 demand secession of Texas from US

"Less than a day after RT first reported that a petition demanding the secession of The Lone Star State from the US was on track to cross the 25,000 signature threshold to warrant an official response, the tally of people requesting the speedy removal of Texas from the United States tripled, going from 21,777 signees to 72,861 in under 24 hours."

I'm thinking there are 2 ways of looking at this. From the perspective of a patriotic American who wants the USA to prosper, dumping Texas could only be a good thing. But what about the rest of the world - victims of American aggression, interference, oppression and corruption? Without Texas, the USA would probably be more effective at these crimes. With Texas, there is that extra added ineptitude, they are a little easier to fight back against.

Better the USA keeps Texas...

Posted by: вот так | Nov 14, 2012 3:15:28 AM | 97

Thanks to somebody @ 93 and 94 for the links. It is interesting that this seems to be a non-event as far as mainstream U.S. media are concerned, which, of course, adds
credibility to a story already quite believable in view of its historical precedents.
Probably the best we can hope for is an official denial, thus settling the matter for both the faithful and the cynics, though with diametrically opposite conclusions.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 14, 2012 9:54:47 AM | 98

Thanks to somebody @ 93 and 94 for the links. It is interesting that this seems to be a non-event as far as mainstream U.S. media are concerned, which, of course, adds
credibility to a story already quite believable in view of its historical precedents.
Probably the best we can hope for is an official denial, thus settling the matter for both the faithful and the cynics, though with diametrically opposite conclusions.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 14, 2012 9:54:48 AM | 99

Sorry for the double post above. I don't really know how it happened.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 14, 2012 9:57:24 AM | 100

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