Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 30, 2018

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2018-71

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

Thanks for all your wishes and greetings. Over the Christmas days I had much fun with my extended family. It kept me busy and away from the blog. As I am now back home regular posting resumes.

Other stuff to read:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on December 30, 2018 at 15:04 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Just waiting for some peace in Syria.
Hopefully a Happy New Year to all.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 30 2018 15:55 utc | 1

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday held a telephone conversation, expressing their willingness to push for implementation of their agreements reached during the G-20 summit in Argentina. Trump wished Xi and the Chinese people a happy new year, saying that the U.S.-China relations are very important and closely followed by the whole world. . .here

**Speaking of very important closely followed relations, Chinese new year 2019 is February 5. (It's the year of the pig.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 16:25 utc | 2

@2 Should be the year of the soy bean.

Posted by: dh | Dec 30 2018 16:43 utc | 3

@ 3
The soybeans are to feed pigs (without which there'd be no bacon).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 17:22 utc | 4

Don Bacon @ 2. :). Hoping for a happy new year.


In the against the grain category, consider that tensions have eased with Syria, Russia and Korea. Next up, Iran and China. Also of importance
US Powerless Against Hypersonic Missile Attacks From China, Russia

Go along to get along.

Posted by: financial matters | Mar 23, 2018 9:47:46 AM | 98

Posted by: financial matters | Dec 30 2018 17:40 utc | 5

@4 True. How about Year of the Cell Phone? The Meng case is coming up in Vancouver soon. Maybe Donald will drop the charges against Huawei if Xi agrees to buy more soy beans. Trudeau will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Posted by: dh | Dec 30 2018 17:42 utc | 6

Never Mind the Bollocks@7
The 'Former Pentagon Official' himself says that nothing is likely to be done until after the 2020 election campaign. So what the article is suggesting is that the special forces currently in Syria are being sent to Iraq to be ready for a potential war in 2021.
It doesn't make much sense except as a reminder that the US has lots of (fairly useless) garrison troops scattered around the Globe, throwing away taxpayers dollars, and helping to train up terrorists.
It is an old and tired game: an indication not of US imminent hegemony but of decline, militarily, intellectually and economically.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 30 2018 18:27 utc | 7

@2 interesting timing of Wan’s arrest relative to CNY 2019. Her next hearing is set for February 6, the day before her 60-day provisional arrest warrant expires. If the US hasn’t formally requested extradition she walks.
A nice CNY gift I’d say.

Posted by: WVW | Dec 30 2018 18:44 utc | 8

@8 Special Forces are always problematic IMO. They live for action and like to think of themselves as really badass. So what to do with guys like that? They'd be bored stiff back in the US. What would they do in Iran anyway? Blow up a few strategic sites, kidnap some scientists? The Israelis already have that market cornered.

Posted by: dh | Dec 30 2018 18:50 utc | 9

b - thanks for the 3 stories to read..

the first one emphasizes bevins comment @8 "US imminent... decline, militarily, intellectually and economically." actually the other 2 do as well, given that the russian ate the usa election breakfast scenario is standing on really shaky ground.. how goes it with the mueller investigation? are we in year 3 of it yet??

speaking of russian - trump connections, the globe and mail in canada is doing it's bit to give it more credence...
Searching for Boris Birshtein.. it's a pretty piss poor attempt, but that is what i have come to expect from mark mackinnon..

@3 don - do you eat a lot of soybeans to maintain your bacon?

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2018 19:06 utc | 10

@Never Mind the Bollocks | Dec 30, 2018 1:15:50 PM | 7

Here we go with the "war with Iran" BS again, this time with "Former Pentagon official" Michael Maloof.
More on Mike--

WASHINGTON, Knight Ridder, Nov 6, 2003: U.S. revokes security clearance for Pentagon employee -- A veteran Pentagon employee who was a key player in the effort to find links between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida has been stripped of his security clearance, according to senior U.S. officials.
The employee, F. Michael Maloof, is associated with a Lebanese-American businessman who is under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, the West African nation embroiled in civil war. The businessman, Imad El Haje, approached Maloof on behalf of Syria to seek help in arranging a communications channel between Syria and the Defense Department. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 20:10 utc | 11

@ james | Dec 30, 2018 2:06:57 PM | 11
re: @3 don - do you eat a lot of soybeans to maintain your bacon?
Absolutely, as a vegetarian (as everyone should be for reasons of health, the environment and animal welfare) seasoned tofu is a dietary mainstay.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 20:17 utc | 12

USA is the most unequal country from OECD selection. Data is from 2014.

Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

The most curious fact, though, is that the so-called "social-democracies" are hardly better: the Netherlands is 2nd, Denmark is 3rd, Germany is 5th, Austria is 8th, but tied with 7th place, "EU nation-building model" Estonia. Ireland is 9th and neoliberal New Zealand closes the top 10. The Slovak Republic is last (i.e. the most "equal"), but it is important to state that most of the Slovak infrastructure and companies are owned by Germans who sacked the country after it entered the EU and the EZ. In other words, the country is equally poor.

It is important to highlight that many countries that belong to the OECD didn't send the organization the data in time (if they wanted to send them at all). Brazil, for example, would certainly top the ranking. But the numbers are staggering either way (e.g. in the USA wealth holders have 79% of all personal wealth, while the bottom 60% have only 2%, and it is representative to the creme de la creme of the Western Civilization (Brazil is not Western Civilization per se, but a peripheral outpost).

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2018 21:00 utc | 13


If Graham feels good, that's not so good for Syria.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 30 2018 21:15 utc | 14

Here it is, the world in 2019 according to Roth.. ahem, the Economist:

Some interesting tidbits, the stork carrying a barcoded baby for example..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 30 2018 21:38 utc | 15

fast freddy
I had read that Graham was having a meeting with Trump to try and talk him out of pulling out of Syria. That Graham now feels much better about the way they are heading in Syria is, as you say, not so good for Syria.
Graham - "We talked about Syria and he told me some things I didn’t know that made me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria,"
Link to the article rather than home page

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 21:44 utc | 16

this just in. . .
Bacon Day is observed annually on December 30th, today. Everything is better with bacon, they say. I disagree.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 21:46 utc | 17

Vk - usually I am in full agreement with what your views, indeed often admire them, but I do think that to write that the Germans “sacked” the Slovaks isn’t right. Many of us hurried into Eastern Europe in the late eighties/early nineties with the aim of plunder - but what generally happened was that we had a great time, made a lot of friends, and if lucky, started businesses that were viable but always hungry for capital. In certain countries such as Roumania ALL the foreigners got rolled, and as for Ukraine.........if Mr Biden succeeds in his fracking idea there he will find himself in the company of people even more unsavoury than those he probably mixes with in Washington. Good luck to him.

I understand that the new Chinese lunar year is the year of the Poroshenko.

Posted by: Montreal | Dec 30 2018 22:12 utc | 18

Don Bacon
On the subject of tofu, I am between a rock and a hard place. I dislike tofu, but my daughter has kindly bought me a tofu making kit. Any tips on making this stuff edible would be greatly appreciated. All I can think of is inoculating with large quantities of beer beforehand.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 22:24 utc | 19

Trump Leaves Israel in the Lurch)
The president’s precipitous decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria provided many Israelis with a rude awakening.

The problem for Israel today, though, goes beyond the surprise. If Obama was too cautious for many Israelis, Trump has now shown them how his approach to foreign policy—impulsive, isolationist, transactional, turning on a dime with no alternative in place—can work against their interests. And Netanyahu—who praised Trump in almost messianic terms and who knows how poorly he responds to criticism—now has few tools at his disposal to object to this policy. Israelis can only shake their heads at the absence of any strategy as they survey the regional fallout.

. . .

Meanwhile, its adversaries take heart. The main source of Israel’s concern in Syria is the continuous effort by Iran to transfer ever more sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to deploy its own forces and weapons against Israel from Syria. U.S. troops in eastern Syria have not been directly involved in Israel’s campaign against such threats, but their presence denies Iran access to certain locations in Syria, including the key border-crossing between Syria and Iraq at al-Tanf.

. . .

The Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah weapons highway will be disrupted only by Israeli action.

Re: Kurds: 2 views:


TheThreat to Rojava
An Anarchist in Syria Speaks on the Real Meaning of Trump’s Withdrawal

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 30 2018 22:50 utc | 20

The Centre for Research on Globalisation conducted a study of the Integrity Initiative, revealing that the reach of the propaganda effort was far larger than originally thought. Unlike the New Knowledge “troll report” (revealed hilariously to be a set-up), the CRG report shows how columns against Jeremy Corbyn, Sahra Wagenknecht, Seumas Milne, and the international left in Sweden and elsewhere were planted on the British and international media, with readership and prestige of millions. Researchers across Europe have found efforts linked to the II attacking Green Parties and anyone else opposed to the “Anglo-Saxon World View.”

I also published an Indymedia post on the New York Times’s front page story on Rouzan al-Najjar. I’ll gice all of you a preview: good reporting, but IDF biased writing

Have a great New Year everybody!

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Dec 30 2018 22:56 utc | 21

Don @ 20


Good luck.

Posted by: Stumpy | Dec 30 2018 23:15 utc | 22

pogohere@21. Who cares about a rude awakening for Israeli citizens after decades of USA comfort supplies? The Palestinians have to endure rude awakening daily, hourly! They have to endure their land being stolen and their resources claimed by Israel unlike Israel that steals the Golan Heights and its resources.

Belligerence between neighbors begets wars and the primary belligerent in the middle east is Israeli government and military policy. Peacemaking is non existent in the Israeli government mindset and that is a global tragedy.

All Trump is doing is handing the entire bucket of turds back to the Israeli government to dump. And so they will get their French and UK and Australian friends to continue to shit on Syria. But still funded by the USA I would bet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2018 23:18 utc | 23

lol...different kinds of tofu will make a difference.. i think the firm stuff.. maybe this link will give you some ideas...

happy bacon day!

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2018 23:20 utc | 24

@ uncle tungsten | Dec 30, 2018 6:18:31 PM | 23
All Trump is doing is handing the entire bucket of turds back to the Israeli government
I think you might be exaggerating the influence of the US & Israel in the area, when actually the adults (Russia etc.) are in charge as they have been for some time.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 23:52 utc | 25

@21 Great links on Kurds. Their invitation to the Syrian government to occupy some territory in order to fend off Turkey was a good one. With the US primed to use Erdogan as their main partner in the Middle East, NATO has made it easy for left and Arab nationalist forces to unite. They’ll need it if they want to protect Iran and Palestine from the neocon plotters in Washington and Tel Aviv.

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Dec 30 2018 23:53 utc | 26

re: tofu, from my in-house food expert --
The objective is to get protein into a meal.
>cook in sauces: BBQ, stirfry,
>make alfredo sauce using tofu as main ingredient
>add to pasta sauce
>mash & cook like scrambled eggs w/turmeric (yellow)
>look up cheesecake recipes
>use in pumpkin pie instead of eggs
>marinate for "tofu bacon"
>look up web recipes

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 23:58 utc | 27

Rudaw is a go-to Kurdish site.
"Rudaw is a Kurdish media network funded and supported by Rudaw Company. The network aims to impart news and information about Kurdistan and the Middle East in a professional manner. Those interested in Kurdistan and the Kurdish cause can follow the latest developments in the region in both Kurdish and English through Rudaw’s multiple platforms."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 0:03 utc | 28

In general, bacon is good for you, because it has MCTs- medium chain triglycerides. But, it is understood that people may want to go vegetarian due to ethical or sustainable reasons.

An important consideration is to remember to consume foods in the traditional matter and pay respect to the native traditional cultures from which they came. One example was preparing corn/maize differently from Native American methods caused pellagra due to Niacin deficiency.

Similarly, I use tabasco sauce instead of other hot pepper sauces because it is fermented. I read that's better for you.

To go on to the subject of the post- Soybeans. They are very estrogenic, so I read. The health people say they are best consumed fermented. That goes for soy sauce too.

And for the poor pigs, eating American GMO soybeans. And the Chinese eating what the pigs ate. You eat what you ate ate. They are all better off without American soybeans.

Posted by: will2713 | Dec 31 2018 0:06 utc | 29

Don, Stumpy and james
Thanks for the tips. Swamping it in sauces and spices sounds the way to go. Bought some saffron corms not long back, but my wife picked them up from the post office not knowing what I had ordered and they spent the day in the parked car in the hot sun. Will have to buy some saffron to try with the tofu.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 0:22 utc | 30

@ will2713 | Dec 30, 2018 7:06:11 PM | 29
Original Louisiana brand hot sauce is also made with fermented peppers, and to me nothing matches it for taste. I love it!
As for bacon, google "bacon is unhealthy."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 0:27 utc | 31

@ Peter AU 1 | Dec 30, 2018 7:22:32 PM | 30
Yes, flavor tofu to taste, even swamping it if that's for you. My wife and I eat it w/o flavors sometimes, not always, and it's fine. That may suit some people, depending upon heritage and personal preference.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 0:35 utc | 32

This thread suggests the potential for a spinoff blog for politically-minded foodies-- perhaps called "Bringing Home the Bacon". ;)

Posted by: Ort | Dec 31 2018 0:43 utc | 33

People seem adapted to most foods. In the far north indigenous or traditional diet has been heavy on mammal meat and fat and fish. Areas like Mongolia heavy on meat, milk and root vegetables, more temperate tropical regions have a greater percentage of vegetable foods, coastal and islands often heavy in seafood. I guess also, the genetics get weeded out a bit after a few generations to those that thrive on the food type available.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 0:48 utc | 34

I like tofu with Asian food. It's perfect for miso soup and fried rice.

Posted by: Jesrad | Dec 31 2018 0:50 utc | 35

Fried tofu and oyster sauce. Yum.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 1:25 utc | 36

Sorry to interrupt the food discussion orgy

Based on a comment by psychohistorian in the last open thread, I found an Interesting article on race (battling Google search censors) that is contrary to the social science creed that there is no biological basis for it, a creed that basically ignores Darwins theory of Evolution

Of course, assuming a single origin of man, something not proven as fact, I suppose homo sapiens began as one race and then slightly evolved along different lines based on location. However, if the origin of man was not a singular event like the biblical Adam and Eve, even that may not be
true. In any case, in modern times there has certsinly been more extensive co-mingling of races so there are fewer racially pure people, if indeed there are any. So much of science, especially those such as social, biological and climate science is very speculative and uncertainl. Back in the day science was called Philosophy and scientists Philosophers. Many of their theories have been wildly wrong. Not much has changed it seems. 100 years from today perhaps some of what we believe will be ridiculed.

There is an agenda behind some of the pseudo science but no time to go into it further.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 31 2018 1:50 utc | 37

Extra firm tofu in a block can be cut into smaller rectangles. Pan fry in a flavorful olive oil, salt and pepper and soy sauce and white wine to finish.

Optional sauted onions, garlic, bell peppers, bean sprouts can flavor the pan and be used as a topping.

Cook them first and remove from the pan to add to the fried tofu later.

Serve with brown rice or couscous.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 31 2018 2:26 utc | 38

Russian journalist interviewed Mohammed Afif, head of public relations and media at Lebanese military organization "Hezbollah":

Posted by: alaff | Dec 31 2018 2:26 utc | 39

From your link - "It is speculation that the mind is a blank slate, pure of any inherited instincts."
This is a subject that has interesting me greatly. I have watched birds build their nests. An egg can be hatched in an incubator and the bird can be brought up with no others of its kind, but it will build its nest exactly the same as its parents. I watched my children each develop their own characters even though they were only influenced by myself and my wife at that age (character coming though or becoming visible perhaps a better term).
The basic operating system we are born with (our character) is very difficult to change, even if we are aware it has some faults.

PS will keep you up to date with my tofu manufacturing and tasting:)

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 2:27 utc | 40

Don Bacon @ 28: Thanks for the link, another reference site is always welcome.

Everyone have a great New Year...

Posted by: ben | Dec 31 2018 2:30 utc | 41

@37 read the book Sapiens, suggests it is highly unlikely that there was a single origin of man, rather homo sapiens capacity to promulgate fiction allowed cooperation on a scale that our brother humans could not compete with...and our tendency for ethnic cleansing is apparently nothing least 6 different species of humans; homo rudolfensis, homo erectus, homo sapiens, homo neanderthalensis, homo soloensis, homo floresiensis etc..which matches what we see in the natural world, how many different types of monkeys, dogs, or horses are there? Anyways, it makes the point that it was a nonlinear evolution...there was a time when many different species of humans cohabitated the earth...whether they were all aware of this fact is unlikely due to geography, etc..

Saw on RT this morning that the Houthis are handing over Hodeida..I don't see it on RT anymore, here is a different link though..

Posted by: Tom | Dec 31 2018 2:42 utc | 42

@ fast freddy | Dec 30, 2018 9:26:06 PM | 38
Thanks for that. My in-house foodie gives two thumbs up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 2:42 utc | 43

Good article from Truthdig and Chris Hedges;

An excerpt;

"The goal of the corporate state is to hermetically seal their activities, especially those that violate the law, from outside oversight or observation. And this goal is very far advanced."

Posted by: ben | Dec 31 2018 2:46 utc | 44

Regarding the link at #37:

Today Darwin is implicitly rejected by the many social scientists and other academics who deny that there is a biological basis to race.

That's the third sentence in the piece, and I stopped there to scratch my head and try to puzzle out what the devil the author was talking about. I know there are people who cling to creationism, but the only ones I've heard about are devout but badly educated religious types. So time to look into Mr. Nicholas Wade. He's writing for the Wall Street Journal, and for me that's not a good start. The book he references - "A Troublesome Inheritance" - was favorably reviewed in the same newspaper by Charles Murray of "The Bell Curve" fame. Once again, not exactly a great omen. I was able to locate more of that Murray review by making a search, and found most of it had been reprinted at the Storm Front site. For anybody who hasn't heard of that one, this is from the Wiki:

Stormfront is a white nationalist, white supremacist, antisemitic, Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi Internet forum, and the Web's first major racial hate site.

The combination of the WSJ, Charles Murray, and Storm Front was more than enough for me, so I'm no longer interested in whatever it was Mr. Wade wrote after Sentence #3 of the link.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 31 2018 3:02 utc | 45

Nice strawman there, Zachary Smith. Wade's might actually be dead wrong on many points; no idea, I haven't read his book. But you can't just dismiss someone because Murray said something good about him. I mean, what if Murray thinks eating boiled eggs is good, should we assume boiled eggs are now bad? What if some Stormfront dudes like Led Zeppelin, or Charles Dickens, does it mean they're actually bad?
So there's a mighty irony in Wade criticizing social scientists (something I can agree with to an extent) yet being praised by Murray, who's actually a social scientist himself - whatever he or others think he might be.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 31 2018 3:25 utc | 46

Two comments on creationism--
>If one lives and travels in the western U.S. and bothers to visit the evolved land forms, including in California the innards of the Grand Canyon deposited upside-down in the "badlands," than one has to accept the evolution of the land, over millions of years, and by extension the concurrent evolution of plants and animals.
>The wonderful diversity of the earth's extant peoples of all races IMO outweighs any theories about how they got there, which actually detract from the appreciation of the people we are privileged to meet in our short lives on earth. We are all different, but much the same, one from/to the other, and how wonderful that is.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 3:26 utc | 47

@ Clueless Joe #46

Your points are of course well taken, and I anticipated one of them. If Hitler was against smoking, did this mean using the cancer sticks was a great idea after all?

Storm Front isn't on my bookmark list, but I've been directed there a few times by way of links. Every now and then that site publishes some good stuff. For all I know Charles Murray is a great family man and an upright citizen. Even the Wall Street Journal prints some good stuff every now and then.

But I have a growing stack of unread books I'm pretty sure are great ones, and spending unnecessary time on the 'flaky' stuff isn't something I care to do.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 31 2018 3:37 utc | 48


Posted by: mauisurfer | Dec 31 2018 3:40 utc | 49

It was only after Kelly’s departure was confirmed Dec. 8, for example, that Trump abruptly announced the pullout of all U.S. troops from Syria and half the 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, two moves that Kelly had opposed.

Kelly’s supporters say he stepped in to block or divert the president on dozens of matters large and small. They credit him, in part, for persuading Trump not to pull U.S. forces out of South Korea, or withdraw from NATO, as he had threatened.

In May, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy for immigration violations. U.S. officials already had begun to put the policy into practice, resulting in hundreds of migrant children being separated from their parents.

Kelly said Sessions’ announcement caught the White House by surprise.

“What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly said. “He surprised us.”

Posted by: mauisurfer | Dec 31 2018 3:42 utc | 50

After meeting with Lindsey Graham Trump is reportedly reconsidering his Syria pullout strategy... So it begins.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 31 2018 3:43 utc | 51

AP: WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has ordered a slowdown to the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday. "I think we're in a pause situation," the South Carolina Republican said outside the White House after lunch with the president.

Does a pause matter? I don't think so. Accepting defeat is difficult, but unavoidable.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 3:44 utc | 52

accepting defeat is like being able to say you were wrong on something.. i don't believe it's in the exceptional nations vocabulary...

Posted by: james | Dec 31 2018 3:52 utc | 53

@ mauisurfer | Dec 30, 2018 10:42:22 PM | 50
Well now we've heard from "Kelly’s supporters." Any supporter jokes out there?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 3:52 utc | 54

Don Bacon: Does a pause matter?

Hell yes it matters.

It is further evidence that Trump's announced "pull-out" and Mattis' resignation is not what it seems.

As I have previously (and strenuously) pointed out: it is likely that the Israeli Christmas attack and Trump's "pull-out" were coordinated. That would explain why Trump's "pull out" was so sudden and unexpected.

I don't think the Empire has given up on ME adventures. They need some justification for continued stay/re-commit. And also more anti-Iran measures.

Neocons know the clock is ticking. When Iran is safely under SCO protection (Iran is currently only an observer nation) and Russia has deployed its hypersonic strategic missiles (expected in 2019), then Iran will be beyond reach.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 3:58 utc | 55

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 30, 2018 10:58:16 PM | 55
The US, despite its best efforts, has never been in control of the Syria situation so if the US pauses or accelerates it has no effect on the overall situation. It's up to Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Kurds what happens next, not the US.
Regarding Iran, as I have strenuously pointed out has been "beyond reach" for some time. Like fifty years.
@ mauisurfer | Dec 30, 2018 10:42:22 PM | 50
Regarding General Kelly and his supporters, Kelly has made it very clear that his role has been to gather the facts for President Trump, who made the decisions. The suggestion that Kelly was in charge is incorrect.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 4:11 utc | 56

Don Bacon @52

A "pause" isn't a slowdown its a stop. And it isn't just a "pause" its a "complete re-evaluation".

It's extremely disappointing and an indication that Trump can't achieve anything. I am not optimistic.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 4:13 utc | 57

@ ADKC | Dec 30, 2018 11:13:33 PM | 57
Trump can't achieve anything. I am not optimistic.
The US, despite its best efforts, has never been in control of the Syria situation so if the US pauses or accelerates it has no effect on the overall situation. It's up to Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Kurds what happens next, not the US. So Trump no matter what he does can't achieve anything.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 4:19 utc | 58

Don Bacon @56

You're white washing the US role in Syria. The mess is largely the US' fault. The chaos is what the US wanted.

The Kurds had asked Syrian Government for protection from imminent Turkish invasion; negotiations where proceeding (positively, I believe). Earlier today Turkey ordered the FSA to withdraw from Manbij, a strong indication from Turkey that they had decided not to invade North-East Syria and refused to take on the role of US proxy. Then the US decides to stay. Will the Kurds now be induced by the US to walk away from negotiations with the Syrian Government? The US has far more control and influence in Syria than you credit; and the US retains the ultimate power to decide whether or not there is peace.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 4:26 utc | 59

Don Bacon @25
I get all that about the adults in the room and the strenuous and heroic effort by Syria with its allies to eradicate foreign funded killers. I applaud the alliance between those states in the face of almost annihilation.

I am saying that there does not appear to be a clear end at this point in time due to the perfidious Turkey and Kurdish posturing and shadow alliances. USA departure does not remove the instigators of the war on Syria. USA was just along for the ride panting breathlessly in obedience to other masters of the universe.

Perhaps the USA with Trump as president will avoid getting sucked in to other nation's mindless, endless belligerence, but I doubt it. It is being outrageously manipulated by the UK and Israel governments and has backed itself into a corner called slavish obedience. Trump is so totally supine toward the Christopher Steele fabrication set up by the UK government! Any other national leader would have arrested Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller and maybe gone after Sergei Skripal as well via Interpol. These three lying buffoons and MI6 set out to destroy Trump's family, primary contest, then presidential race and now Presidency and he has no appointee to in his administration to go get 'em. He plays to the 'hate Russia' hysteria by simply doing nothing and he looks to be too chicken to even fart.

Back to Syia and the adults in the room..... I wonder if the Kurds have learned anything from their foolish secession strategy in Iraq and can now negotiate with Assad. Somehow I think the Israeli and UK and French grip on their rational mind will not be released and they are incapable of throwing it off. This will prolong the war and distract Syria from the liberation of Idlib.

Perhaps Israel and UK armies and political policy will back off but they are global manipulators of the worst order and have mostly succeeded in their racket. See Institute for Statecraft etc. They are entirely driven to destroy Iran and all shia associates and (in the UK case) have been at it for centuries. They would have dearly loved to have attacked Iran via Herat in western Afghanistan. They just could not get the pawns assembled. If Trump actually does bring the troops home it will be worthy of a peace prize. I am sure Trump values that more than I do but than look at who gets that award and weep.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 31 2018 4:29 utc | 60

Don Bacon @57

No need to cut and paste your own comments. I'd already seen your post @56. I see you had a compulsion to add a bit to white wash Trump; it really wasn't necessary.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 4:33 utc | 61

Don Bacon @56

Wow. You talk past my point.

I second ADKC about white-washing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 4:44 utc | 62

@ ADKC | Dec 30, 2018 11:33:16 PM | 61
No need to cut and paste your own comments.
You didn't get it the first time, which is that Trump doesn't matter, then lamenting that Trump can't achieve anything and you are not optimistic.
I get that you're US-centric, and other countries don't matter, and I'm trying to convert you.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 4:45 utc | 63

uncle tungsten @60

You're a fool if you believe that the UK would do anything like this without instructions from the US. The UK acts on behalf of the US to provide deniability. The UK spys on US citizens for the NSA,CIA, etc. so they can pretend they're abiding by the US constitution.

The Kurds were negotiating with Syria. Turkey had instructed the FSA to withdraw from Manbij. Don't you understand, peace was breaking out! Then, suddenly the US decides to stay. The US don't want to see peace in Syria.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 4:45 utc | 64

can anyone explain to me why you guys are still thinking in terms of winning and loosing?

They - all parties involved in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iran - make a killing and laughing all the way to the bank while they send of other peoples children to die and to kill other people and their children.

Do you guys really believe that this is about winning, rather then simply holding on for long enough to loot everything of value and then dump the rest.

I mean we have about 30 - 40 years now of Disaster Capitalism via financial institutions that buy up businesses and strip mine them, pay out their few shareholders a fortune, then dump the whole thing while not giving a flying fuck about the worker or the town in which said business was located.

Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea etc etc etc are all to be strip mined and dumped. No need for winning, just holding on long enough - and even that makes them money after all these weapons don't come cheap and need to be paid - to take what you want, and out. Is that not what Trump has done all his live? start a business, strip mine it for his own comfort and money needs, when done declare bankruptcy, dump the workers and rinse repeat.

Posted by: Sabine | Dec 31 2018 4:50 utc | 65

Don Bacon@54
I have a joke and its a $21trillion dollar joke and no matter how many names you guess for the answer, the right answer is Mattis.

This is the SecDef that couldn't give a sh!t about the unaccountability and bloat that is the USA Defence budget. The lack of integrity and acceptance of personal responsibility for that staggering sum plus the successive audit failures is just appalling. Mattis and the coterie of yankee brass are in open mutiny against successive presidencies and the people of the USA.

Best joke: no civilian deaths. The clowns (admirals?) in their navy recently killed their own sailors and smashed two destroyers playing chicken in congested sea lanes all because they were not 'on watch'. How could that possibly happen in a modern navy drunk on high tech electronics?

Their air force is just laughable. Apart from killing 100 Syrian soldiers with their 'accident' at Deir ezzor they are seriously poor combatants. Just take a peek at some of the Youtube cockpit photography of their exploits. Especially the piece they will never forgive Julian Assange for leaking where they murdered reporters and media crew. Sick joke!

When will they ever learn?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 31 2018 4:51 utc | 66

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 30, 2018 11:44:40 PM | 62
Wow. You talk past my point.
I missed your point, with all the chatter about an Israel raid, Trump's "pull-out," and expected US ME adventures.
What is your point? That you expect the US to do something horrific? Another gas attack, or what?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 4:54 utc | 67


I agree singularity is unlikely. Also, I read recently that much of what is attributed to evolution, not all, is indeed related to interspecies breeding. Homo sapiens for example breeding with neanderthals. Not saying this has anything to do with race but it just highlights how much we dont know of our origins or evolution

Zachary Smith@45

You write off an opinion because someone you dont agree with on other issues agrees with it. Huh. How about focusing on the science

Also you seem not to understand what he is saying. What I think he means is that by denying a biological basis of race they are in effect if not in words, denying evolution. , For many tens of thousands of years that homosapiens have walked the earth there was little (not none) migration between regions (attributed as the home the various races today ) and having different environmental conditions and unique challenges that evolution would likely have proceeded in different ways and produce these racial differences

As a white dude with a Chinese wife, and mentor who was African American, with an Arab brother in law and Mexican cousin in law , I like to think I am not racist as you seem to imply anyone believing in race is.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 31 2018 4:56 utc | 68

@ uncle tungsten | Dec 30, 2018 11:51:40 PM | 66
I know. My recent campaigns on the mil-blogs, w/o any sensible retorts BTW, has been:
The US has no need for a half-million strong ground force for national defense. Canada and Mexico are quite benign in that regard, and so the Army is only used in losing foreign wars. We don't need that. Much of the $200 billion wasted on ground forces annually would find a better use in the Navy and Air Force.
The founding fathers knew best:
US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8--
1: The Congress shall have Power...
12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13: To provide and maintain a Navy

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 4:57 utc | 69

@ Sabine | Dec 30, 2018 11:50:49 PM | 65
can anyone explain to me why you guys are still thinking in terms of winning and loosing?
You think know what we're thinking? You don't know.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:01 utc | 70

Don Bacon @61

Your post at @52 was about Trump's order. I'm not bothered about Trump, I'm concerned about the US staying in Syria to cause trouble. But you reveal yourself as total war-monger, a US cheerleader and a manipulator. Why on earth are you even on this blog, visiting the natives!

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 5:02 utc | 71


The yankees are not in control in Syria! Syria is. The yankees have been defeated as they are incapable of doing proxy war for the UK, Israel, French and Saudis. I think you seriously underestimate the depth and independence of this alliance. If things go wrong each and all of them can always manipulate another presidential race and the yankees foolishly have a lackey media plus enacted legislation permitting that to happen.

The UK will do what it likes and needs no permission from yankees and ditto Israel and France. The reach of the USA imperial game is broken (see Vietnam) and wont be restored.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 31 2018 5:03 utc | 72

@ ADKC | Dec 31, 2018 12:02:01 AM | 71
I'm not bothered about Trump, I'm concerned about the US staying in Syria to cause trouble.
You contradict yourself and make no sense.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:06 utc | 73

Given that Trump causes an allergic response in some - perhaps this is a genetic thing - it is back to the tofu manufacturing preparations.
I have read the instructions, no glyphosate beans at the local supermarket so settled on a carton of long life soy milk. Will have to skip the milk making process and go straight to the cheese making process. Cracked a beer or two and perhaps a few more while contemplating the next step.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 5:07 utc | 74

@ uncle tungsten | Dec 31, 2018 12:03:36 AM | 72
Yes, on Syria. I omitted Syria from my list of countries in control, a serious omission.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:08 utc | 75

Sabine @65

No one's talking about winning. It's about the US changing their position on withdrawing from Syria and disrupting the peace that was beginning to break out.

It has revealed that a number of posters don't see that the US presence in Syria is malign, I am flabbergasted at their devious positioning, they, on the otherhand, are inwardly smiling that the carnage will continue (because they have won,, you were right it was about winning).

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 5:11 utc | 76

Don Bacon

I think my comment @55 was understandable.

I'll try to make it more clear: Trump's "pull-out" and Mattis' resignation was likely just a ruse to burnish his credentials as a peace-maker before the Israeli Christmas attack. I believe the aim of the Israeli attack was to have the SAA down a civilian airliner, which would've given Trump "the moral high ground" and popular support for stepped-up action in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the neocons see Iran as "unfinished business". Once Iran joins SCO as a full member and Russia deploys it's hyper-sonic strategic missiles, the opportunity for helping an Iranian "popular uprising" via bombing infrastructure will have been lost (the same strategy that brought Obama to a point of nearly bombing Syria).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 5:17 utc | 77

@ ADKC | Dec 31, 2018 12:11:24 AM | 76
Stop worrying. There are about 2,000 US military personnel in Syria, maybe twice that, we don't know, in a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, in a large area. They are not capable of offensive action on the ground, and Russia controls the air.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:17 utc | 78

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 31, 2018 12:17:09 AM | 77
It's a waste of time to worry about something that didn't happen. Cheer up! The end of US involvement is near, and if it isn't it makes little difference considering what the Syria alliance is doing.
And there will be no US attack on Iran, as I have explained in detail on a past thread.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:21 utc | 79

uncle tungsten @72:

The yankees are not in control in Syria! Syria is. The yankees have been defeated ...

The USA+allies control Eastern Syria. About 1/3rd of the country.

The proxy army of Jihadis were defeated, not USA.

Furthermore, your comment is not responsive to the issue at hand: Trump has back-tracked on leaving Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 5:24 utc | 80

jackrabbit @77

Don Bacon & Uncle Tungsten appear to be a manipulative, dishonest presence. They are pushing the idea of the US being weak and useless and feeble in comparison to UK, France, Israel & Saudi Arabia. It's clearly a fake position. They are here to present the US as innocent victims of circumstances just like in "Viet Nam". They should not be engaged with. I don't have a good feeling about them.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 5:27 utc | 81

We are in the midst of a major geo-political power shift. The people in power and influence in the US appear to be at odds with each other as to what to do to prevent this occurring. Anylize the situation and the players like a bug on a pin, rather than getting too heated.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 5:27 utc | 82

Don Bacon:

Stop worrying ... something that didn't happen ... end of US involvement is near ...

Your 'nothing to see here' attitude is very worrisome. What I'd expect from MSM.

There is no time-table for ending US environment - in case you didn't notice - and now it is "paused". So what makes you think the end of US involvement is near?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 5:30 utc | 83

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 31, 2018 12:24:12 AM | 80
The USA+allies control Eastern Syria. About 1/3rd of the country.
That's misleading, since it's mostly desert with few inhabitants and a small economy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:31 utc | 84

ADKC @81

This degree of obfuscation leads me to believe that something is brewing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 5:33 utc | 85

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 31, 2018 12:30:35 AM | 83
So what makes you think the end of US involvement is near?
Syria is largely pacified and the ongoing peace process is being primarily conducted by Russia and Turkey, with Iran, and including Syria and the Syria Arab Army in offensive actions. There is no "US involvement" that amounts to anything.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 5:41 utc | 86


Look at selection of their messages "Stop worrying", "waste of time to worry", "the yankees are not in control", "I omitted Syria from my list of countries in control, a serious omission", "You contradict yourself and make no sense", "air force is just laughable", "Best joke: no civilian deaths", "adults in the room".

It's all cliches, manipulative, dishonest, distasteful. That stuff about food; just fake humanising. Their assurance that Iran won't be attacked, is the first time I have ever thought it might be a possible.

Don Bacon & Uncle Tungsten are here to mislead and misinform.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 5:43 utc | 87

Jackrabbit @85

Yes, I agree, I am fearful.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 5:44 utc | 88

Peter AU 1 @82:

The people in power and influence in the US appear to be at odds with each other

I don't buy that. neocons have been a stable presence since the Clinton Presidency and I see no real objection to Deep State control. Only the appearance of discord via faux populist Presidential psyops that are MEANT to give that impression.

Anylize the situation and the players like a bug on a pin

You mean like Karl Rove said:

We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out.
I think we know enough by now to anticipate some of their reality-making.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 31 2018 5:47 utc | 89

USA is the most unequal country from OECD selection. Data is from 2014.

Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

The most curious fact, though, is that the so-called "social-democracies" are hardly better: the Netherlands is 2nd, Denmark is 3rd, Germany is 5th, Austria is 8th, but tied with 7th place, "EU nation-building model" Estonia. Ireland is 9th and neoliberal New Zealand closes the top 10. .......

Posted by: vk | Dec 30, 2018 4:00:52 PM | 14

There are many tables in the linked OECD publication you linked, and the first table is showing Gini coefficient, "the most frequently used measure of income inequality", and Sweden and Denmark have the lowest coefficient, etc. while USA has the top coefficient among the countries without vast overpopulated countrysides with poor farmers and abjectly poor landless farm workers like Mexico and Turkey. Where the Netherlands and Denmark have "troublingly high" position is a table of INCREASES of inequality.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 31 2018 5:51 utc | 90

Just as an aside, the US (and also UK) projects onto others what they themselves are doing.

Seems to be occurring here.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 5:52 utc | 91

It doesn't matter what Washington intends to do in Syria, it has been demonstrated in the past seven years that Washington can't achieve anything in that country. Even when they used a large army and air power they couldn't accomplish anything positive in Iraq next door. Without an army in country, and control of the air, the US is powerless.
So don't worry, don't be afraid, don't be fearful. Look on the bright side. UAE and Bahrain have just reopened embassies in Damascus, for one thing. Iran nemesis Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is out of a job, for another.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 6:02 utc | 92

"Without an army in country, and control of the air, the US is powerless."

This is a secret gloat about a nuclear strike.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 6:05 utc | 93

Don Bacon & Uncle Tungsten appear to be a manipulative, dishonest presence. They are pushing the idea of the US being weak and useless and feeble in comparison to UK, France, Israel & Saudi Arabia. It's clearly a fake position. [...]

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31, 2018 12:27:48 AM | 81

This misrepresents what Bacon and Tungsten wrote. One of them wrote that US fights as a "proxy for KSA, Israel etc.". This is true to a degree and does not imply in anyway that US is a hapless patsy in Syria, Yemen etc. First, it is necessary to make a distinction between countries and establishment of those countries. US establishment has a militaristic streak and the oversize military needs justification which in parts come from "threats" and in part, from "missions". Thus they push their "missions" as services to allies. Yemen is the classic example, because it was never justified as "interest of US", but US collected an ungodly amount of bucks for heavily overpriced weapons etc., so effectively it served as a high tech mercenary of KSA and UAE. In the process, Yemen was devastated while KSA and UAE were looted, while Americans suffered from moments (however brief) of "moral anxiety".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 31 2018 6:06 utc | 94

Piotr Berman @94

Not mis-represented at all. Here are some of the decidedly odd things Don Bacon & Uncle Tungsten wrote:

"The yankees have been defeated as they are incapable of doing proxy war for the UK, Israel, French and Saudis."

"The UK will do what it likes and needs no permission from yankees and ditto Israel and France. The reach of the USA imperial game is broken (see Vietnam) and wont be restored."

The US is "being outrageously manipulated by the UK and Israel governments and has backed itself into a corner called slavish obedience."

They are consistently portraying the US as innocent, weak, powerless, victims, foolish, etc. to the point of parody. At the same time they white wash the US of any culpability. They are intentionally pushing a fake and manipulative message.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 31 2018 6:25 utc | 95

A few random comments pulled together from the last few threads.
"109 bad cop
110 good cop
Different versions of hasbara crap." Circe

"Newsflash: frances and karlof1 have odeed on the Trumpjuice." Circe

"I wouldn't go as far as Circe but she has a point." ADKC

"Don Bacon & Uncle Tungsten appear to be a manipulative, dishonest presence." ADKC

Game's up.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 6:40 utc | 96

ADKC and Circe. As you two work as a team, how about putting you'r heads together and coming up with some good tofu recipies. I'm in a really tight spot here. I have to make and eat the stuff.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 6:53 utc | 97

Don Bacon "The wonderful diversity of the earth's extant peoples of all races"

I grew up as a white Australian. My time spent with aboriginal people who lived by their culture made me want to visit people of cultures different to my own. It was a little late, not so much age as health issues. I was able to travel a little, but health and associated finance put a stop to that.
I would very much like to travel up through China, Mongolia Kazakhstan, see the eagle festivals there, then up into eastern Russia.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 7:17 utc | 98

Peter AU1 @96 and ADKC and Jackrabbit

What can I say but I certainly do not intend to let any murdering yankee off the hook in my comments re who manipulates whom. Sure they are warmongers but like any hunting dawg they get overexcited and fake whistles from their 'allies' will get them in a killing mood. I will be specific: I would not trust Trump on anything whatsoever but nor would I trust the others FUKI and allies. My comments were in no way intended to get him off any hook. He should be hanging on one. So remain calm and enjoy the new year.

Thank you b for another exciting year gone by and a head full of stimulus from all of you loveable commenters. We sure can sharpen daggers here today!

On Tofu: easy to make your own just time and wee fiddle. The secret is in the marinade. Grate ginger garlick and mix with GOOD soy and Mirin or maybe rice wine vinegar. Leave 30 minutes and quick stir fry. Vietnamese even better: BEST fish sauce and soy just a little of each then make up into sushi or stuff a squid and gently fry/roll it about. Stuffed squid Vietnamese style is just sublime but stick to the recipe formulae with some latitude to fiddle. We are all in debt to culinary insanity of emperor Nguyen. Peanut sauce is worthy of trying too and that is a cinch. Always have a small chilli dish to dab a chunk in.

Peace in 2019 and liberty for the oppressed.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 31 2018 8:37 utc | 99

uncle tungsten
Much appreciate your tips on tofu.

Re my post @96 was most definitely not directed at you, rather it was towards those that project what they are doing onto others.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 31 2018 8:54 utc | 100

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