OK. Name your poison. pl
We are going to play a game on SST. This game will be a miniature version of the large scale politico-military games played by a number of corporations under contract to government entities in Europe and the United States. This game is based on the general principles of government gaming and does not derive from any company's proprietary interest. The purpose of this game will be educational for all of us participants rather than implied policy prescriptions as in many government contract games. These threads (each move) will not preclude other threads in parallel.
The subject of the game will be the probable course of military and geopolitical events in the war between IS and the anti-IS coalition constructed by the United States over the next six months. Although IS and the coalition are the principal players, all those parties whose interests are involved in the contest can be introduced as additional players by participants. Diplomatic, economic, political and military elements of the situation are to be included in the play.
The game will be played in "turns." W. Patrick Lang (turcopolier) will act as umpire, omniscient observer and control for the game as Turcopolier Control. The period of time available for completion of a task will be stated when each sub-part of a turn is posted.
The first turn will consist of two parts:
- A data call from players for statements of the real world situation as of this date - 7 October 2014. Estimates will be submitted to SST as comments on this post. 24 hours from time of posting for this sub-part will be allowed. After that time has passed Turcopolier Control will issue a consolidated situation statement based on the inputs and his judgement.
- Based on that new situation statement the players will be asked to forceast events for the next month for all the parties portrayed in the game.
In the second turn, Turcopolier/Control will issue a new scenario based on the results of Turn One:
- Based on that revised scenario participants will be asked to forecast additional play for the parties to the game for two additional months.
The Third Turn will be a continuation of this process. The game will continue until it is judged to no longer be fruitul. Participants are cautioned that fantasy inputs will not be tolerated or accepted, i.e, intervention by God (deus ex machina), beings from outer space or the like.
In any turn following the initial situation assesment, participants may request diplomatic talks with a player or a specific information input. Such information may or may not be available. In all such exchanges, Turcopolier Control will be the actual interlocutor.
These rules are subject to revision mid-game by Turcopolier Control. The game is proprietary to SST.
Turcopolier Control looks forward to your inputs.
Game play begins now. pl
Adam L Silverman, PhD*
Barry, Brigadier General Ali, and Confused Ponderer have all asked if I have misread the CPA's rules, specifically in terms of how long they were intended to be in force. Overall, I would say I did and the error is my own. I have gone back and corrected, with strikethrough and an "Updated: Correction" label the original post. For a really good discussion of why the CPA orders, rules, and regulations can be confusing, please give this a look. There were problems with dating, posting, promulgating, and wording throughout the CPA regulation process.
Since I am a big fan of marking beliefs to market as the economists, specifically Professor Delong, like's to say I wanted to make sure I get this clarified, specifically as to why I was confused. Basically, I missed/misread the transition order while focusing on the wording of specific orders. My basic source of confusion is the way that actual individual CPA regulations are worded. For instance, in Section 4 of Order 7, titled Income Tax Rates for Future Years, states: "The highest individual and corporate income tax rates for 2004 and subsequent years shall not exceed 15 percent." While I recognize that their is a CPA order dealing with the Iraqi ability to adjust CPA rules after transfer of full sovereignty, there is no ambiguity in this regulation - a regulation written before the what could happen after we leave reg. Similarly the de-Baathification order, which is CPA Order 1, is equally ambiguous regarding how long this is in effect for. Specifically the wording of Section 1: 1.
* Adam L. Silverman most recently served as a civilian subject matter expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe. Prior to that he was the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College from JUL 2010 through JUN 2014. He was deployed in Iraq as the Cultural Advisor for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division in 2008.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD
For those who did not want to watch, were not able to watch, or want to be able to go back and refer to the President's remarks on ISIL, the transcript can be found below the jump:
"Republican A. Benton Chafin Jr. won a state Senate seat Tuesday that secured GOP control of the General Assembly, dimming Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s legislative prospects and erasing the last vestige of blue from Southwest Virginia.
Chafin, a freshman state delegate, easily defeated Democrat Mike Hymes to fill the Senate seat that Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) abruptly resigned in June. The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) called the race shortly before 8 p.m." Washpost
This senatorial district has not elected a Republican since before WW2. pl
"Q Thanks. I want to ask about the situation in the Middle East. And why do you think Israel should embrace a cease-fire in Gaza when one of its soldiers appears to have been abducted and when Hamas continues to use its network of tunnels to launch attacks? And also, have you seen Israel act at all on your call to do more to protect civilians?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it's important to note that we have -- and I have -- unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a cease-fire had been announced. And the U.N. has condemned them as well.
And I want to make sure that they are listening: If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation, that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible.
This is a re-enactment drill team from the "Regiment Saintonge." This was one of the seven French infantry regiments who fought at Yorktown and without whose service and courage Cornwallis would never have surrendered. Anthony Wayne's Continentals and these men captured these two strong redoubts in night bayonet attacks. There are a whole lot of these fellows out in the woods at Yorktown in their military cemetery. These were the French king's soldiers and their units passed into history at their own revolution. Among the men were people from all over France, Rhinelanders from Zweibrucken (Deux Ponts), Irish of course, Poles and a scattering of European professionals of one kind or another. Are their graves decorated on the 4th of July? I hope so. Here is a list of their dead buried in Virginia's soil. They are listed by regiment. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Baiji has fallen to "the rebels". The reporting is very unclear as to whether this means ISIL or the more tribal and more rural Sunnis and (non-exile) Shi'a that were the Awakenings and Sons of Iraq, as well as those that were also former Baathists or members of the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein. Regardless, the Government of Iraq no longer controls the refinery complex.
When I was deployed south and east of Baghdad in 2008 the Baiji refinery was producing much more heavy fuel oil than fuel for vehicles. It was being used to generate electricity, as well as as an industrial fuel. My understanding of this was that the manner in which the refining was being done produced significantly more heavy fuel oil than gasoline. If that is still the case, then the capture of the refinery not only impacts the Iraqis ability to fuel their cars and trucks, but also to generate electricity, cool their homes, and run a number of industrial activities. Iraqis pump water through their irrigation canals for agriculture with electricity generated by burning heavy fuel oil, so the capture of Baiji could seriously impact Iraq's still struggling agricultural sector. Should that take a significant hit, then people will migrate to towns and cities looking for work. This will create further sectarian stress. It will also recreate the phenomenon of 2006 through 2009 where (usually) men would take money to either assist with building IEDs, emplacing them, and/or detonating them so they had money to feed their families. They were not necessarily anti-Iraqi government or against the Coalition Forces, just desparate and ripe for exploitation.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
This was written in the autumn and winter 0f 2003/2004 and published in The summer number of "Middle East Policy" after "Harper's" who had commissioned me to write the piece refused to do so. pl
(Now, in 2013 another band of manipulators is seeking to take the US to war in Syria. Americans - Beware! pl)
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
BBC news is reporting that the US has captured Ahmed Abu Khattala - the ring leader of the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He was captured two days ago by US Special Operations Forces and the announcement was made earlier today. The conspiracy theories have, of course, already begun - so strap on your tin foil hats, its going to be a long news cycle!
* Adam L. Silverman, PhD is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
"I published the post below in 2011. It seems to have been prescient. I wrote that the existing 7th District was a bad fit for Cantor. Whoever gerrymandered the district into its present shape missed the fact that all those yeoman type Virginians living along the corridor NW from Ashland to Warrenton to Page County would inevitably start to "smell a rat" in terms of having Cantor as their rep in Washington. All you had to do to learn the truth was to "hang out" in local places like Clark Brothers, "BBQ Country" across the road and all down along the road toward Richmond. Cantor lost because he was perceived to be "not from here."" pl
"Do people in Eric Cantor's district really want him as their congressman? It seems like a mis-match. Cantor is a very smooth Richmond lawyer type. As the saying goes, "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth." He is always well spoken and elequent, well dressed and is well heeled.
The district is not like that. It stretches from the northern and western exurbs of Richmond far to the northwest through farm country, up through the Piedmont and over the Blue Ridge to include Page County in the Luray arm of the Shenandoah Valley. If I am not mistaken, Clark Brothers is in Cantor's district. The district is 80% white. Incomes are modest. The population is mainly people whose ancestors have lived there for a long time. Typically, they live in small, well kept houses sited for a view of the countryside. The houses average around $130,000 in price. This is the heartland of the country of Jefferson's Virginia yeomen.
How does Eric Cantor fit into this? Is this story altogether about a Richmond machine politician holding office because the voters can't accept the idea of voting for a Democrat? Perhaps it is.
Cantor is now engaged in an attempt to unseat John Boehner from his place as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is doing this by a maximum display of obstructionism in the process of reaching an agreement on revenues and spending. This is an agreement sorely needed to keep the federal government from going 'belly up." Cantor evidently believes that if Boehner and Obama are blocked from reaching an agreement, then the 'tea party" wing of the House Republicans will propel him into the Speaker's chair in 2012.
Is that what the people of the Seventh District want in their representative? We Virginians have a hard earned reputation for moderation, consideration for others and common sense. We do not elect extremists or people like Pat Robertson's candidates to major public office. Is the game that Cantor is playing compatible with that tradition? Is not the greater good the principle that should be followed in this crisis?
I suppose that the game is rigged in the Virginia Republican Party so that Cantor is assured of the nomination for this "Safe Seat."
In my opinion, an independent should seek to be elected to this seat. A well to do conservative farmer or a businessman from one of the towns, someone with solid Virginia credentials, U.VA, Virginia Tech, William and Mary, millitary service in his or her background, someone like that could take the seat.
Cantor should be sent home to practise law. " pl
Afghan loss of income - Yes the poor Afghans are terrified that their completely artificial and unsustainable level of US aid induced prosperity and development will be lost. And, then there is the grotesquely over-developed size and equipage of the Afghan armed forces. The expense of keeping them up greatly exceeds the GDP of the country. Since we do not seem to want these forces as imperial mercenaries, their future existence is unlikely. pl
Mosul - Yes, the Sunni rebels have seized control of Mosul. This sounds like the crack of doom for Maliki. The country is going to break up. pl
Liigation coming - Sterling has cancelled the sale. Good. This should be entertaining. pl
Likud propaganda - David Albright moved several years ago toward the Likud/USG position on Iranian nuclear weapons intentions. Somebody ought to take a serious look at the funding of his foundation. pl
The B-1 strike - People die from friendly fire. They always have and always will. I was always very concerned about being bombed by friendlies whose help I had requested. The electronic gadgetry now in use does not really alleviate that. Widgets malfunction and tiny errors result in things like this. pl
Oligarchic poverty - Alas, poor Hillary. Sidwell friends and Stanford were a stretch for the Clintons. They had been living in free government housing in Arkansas and Washington for a long time. These residences came with free food, utilities, transportation, servants, guards, communications, etc. The pay was negligeable. Look it up. when Hillary's crie de coeur was voiced on Morning Joe, Mika B spoke up to speak movingly of her family's poverty when her father was National Security Adviser to Carter. Yes, it must have been hard to work her way through Williams College.
"Puckett, a senator since 1998, did not respond to calls seeking comment. Other Republicans denied that Puckett was offered the jobs in exchange for his resignation.
In a statement, McAuliffe (D) acknowledged that Puckett’s resignation had created “uncertainty” for his plan to expand the federal-state health program for the poor to 400,000 uninsured Virginians. But he contended that he still had a majority of the Senate on his side." Washpost
""Good ole Phil!" We don't much like Democrats here in the 38th District, but Phil... Hell, he's one of us. Never could figure out how he could be a Democrat. His daughter, now she's a right nice girl, makes a great juvenile judge Now, you know that bein' in the state senate is not a full time job. You can't live on that. Now Phil will go back to the tobacco board where he can make enough money to get a good state pension and his girl, she'll get a state judgeship right here in Pulaski or somewhere else in the Mountain Kingdom. But, the best is that McAuliffe is screwed. We're sure as hell gonna elect a Republican to fill Phil's seat. The General Assembly will pass a budget without Obamacare and then McAuliffe can veto it and shut down the commonwealth government if he wants to... Heh. Heh. I suppose we'll have to do something about country peoples health care someday." Southwest Virginia Mountaineer
This is a typically Virginia political game. The pols do not generally like to show their hands but as I predicted, they did not like being subjected to his baloney. People play rough here and it is a particularly Southern kind of game. People like Chuck Todd and Larry Sabado think this is a Middle Atlantic state? they should get out more. I live in the 8th US Congressional District, the bluest place in the Commonwealth and even here rules of the game that apply in places like Pennsylvania are just meaningless. There will be no electoral price paid for this, none at all. pl
The picture? I am thinking of a a new terrier (not necessarily a Norwich) to replace Ashby, the 16 year old who came to the end of the road recently. He got to a "place" where he couldn't walk. We think we will go to a breeder seeking a 4 to 6 year old bitch that they don't want any longer. Shelter dog? It would depend on the animal. It is on my mind. PL
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned against any international rush to recognize a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.
Israel and the West classify Hamas as a terrorist organization and have no official dealings with the movement, which advocates the destruction of the Jewish state." VOA
Israel and its US ally have consistently refused to recognize Hamas as the elected government of Gaza. Hamas has offered Israel a hudna, a religiously sanctioned truce for ten years, but that has not been good enough for Israel to relinquish enough of its iron control of US policy to make that possible. IMO Natanyahu does not want a just peace with the Palestinians. What he wants is a peace without honor, a peace that permanently reduces the Palestinian people to a sub-human category and to the function of a helot class useful to a settler state economy. Natanyahu has now begun to threaten the annexation of the West Bank as punishment for the world and the Palestinians if we do not all bend the knee to him. pl
""He may be elected to be president of Syria, but he won’t control Syria," General Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. military officer, said in a recent interview with Reuters and the Pentagon's news service." Globalpost
Vladimir Putin (aka Vlad the Chess Player) has played a good game in Ukraine − so far. With the West playing on the other side he started off in an intrinsically weak position, which worsened considerably when the sudden neocon-engineered coup in Kiev swept his main piece off the board. However, he reacted and regrouped quickly, and prevented his opponents from achieving a surprise victory. By massing troops on Ukraine's border he made the other side pause, and this gave his supporters time to mobilise. In this confused situation he saw a valuable piece temporarily unguarded, and in a smooth and swift operation took over Crimea. The contest over Ukraine continues, but he has already won two significant prizes: Crimea and clarity − clarity on where Russia stands vis-a-vis the West
He is now manoeuvring to achieve his goal in Ukraine, and has again displayed his skill by adjusting his tactics as the situation has changed. Western propaganda has sought to depict his aim to be to seize Ukraine or, at least, annex the Russian-speaking East of the country. This is quite wrong. For the simple reason that Ukraine is a basket case economically and financially, and if he took over the country (or even a portion of it) Russia would be saddled with the burden of keeping it afloat, as well as having to deal with the many in the population who don't fancy being annexed, plus the likely backlash from the West.
His main goal has always been to stop the neocon-led War Party's move to bring Ukraine into the West's political camp and, ultimately, NATO. He wants Ukraine to remain a politically and militarily neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO, while letting the West pay for the privilege of establishing other ties with it (by supporting it financially).
"Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Friday vetoed a bill passed unanimously by the General Assembly that would have barred him from accepting donations from anyone seeking grants from an economic-development fund he controls.
The multimillion-dollar Governor’s Opportunity Fund provides cash grants and loans to companies that maintain or create jobs in the state. A ban would have blocked contributions or gifts worth more than $50 from applicants, but McAuliffe said more time was needed to avoid compromising applicants’ confidentiality." Washpost
The really amusing thing about this is that former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife are now indicted in federal court for accepting gifts from a businessman who seems to have skillfully exploited the wife's emotional frailty when she was faced with the coldly cordial face of Richmond society.
McAuliffe has come on ill times. The Republican super majority in the lower house of the General Assembly scorns his efforts to expand Medicaid and waits in evident eager anticipation for some extra-legal attempt on his part to do so. He has attempted to use the techniques of what Lynn Sweet calls his perpetual traveling political tailgate party to move the House of Delegates (or at least intimidate it). Thus far, this has been a total failure. IMO the pleasure derived in the legislature from screwing McAulliffe far outweighs whatever political threat his electoral efforts might pose.
Richmond (the capital of Virginia as opposed to the heavily Black city) has always been an odd place. The inbred gentry of the city are instinctively scornful of outsiders. This is an old, old story. Varina Davis, wife of you know who, was described by society ladies, as "that western woman." That kind of attitude has not changed much in the last 150 years. It takes a lot of effort on the part of people like Mark Warner to gain acceptance. McAuliffe is a welcome target of opportunity.
Republican newcomers generally do not do much better. Out of state Republicans have made attempts recently to "take over" the state GOP. Their efforts have been uniformly unsuccessful. Ed Gillespie is running for the senate here? My. My. pl
"He said he was concerned that on foreign policy, the nation is now “bouncing from issue to issue without a clear articulation of what the national security interest of the United States actually is.” At the same time, he said, he is worried by the growing gap between the rich and poor, which he said could be addressed through better leadership in Washington. Webb’s comments took the political establishment in Virginia and beyond by surprise. Since declining to run for reelection to the Senate in 2012 after serving only a single term in office, Webb has largely disappeared from the political scene."
My. My. He would be quite a president. He really was "born fighting." Is there a chance of this happening? I doubt it. Last time I heard he was still a Democrat. I suppose he could switch back to being a Republican and fight Hillary. That would be amusing. The mighty midgets who are Republican possibilities now might not be able to stop him. I don't include Jeb Bush in that crowd of non-entities but he is never going to get the nomination. Would he run as a Democrat and try to take the nomination away from her ladyship? He might do that and become the leading probability for VP, but he would not be a good VP. This man is a leader, not a Bidenesque cipher.
Would I support him? Yes, but that would be a handicap. pl
"The Obama administration has entered an unexpected, unpredictable debate over the nation’s racial progress, warning in several events last week that much work remains to be done. Nearly six years after the United States elected its first black president, the signposts of the latest discussion have appeared across the cultural landscape — from the professional sports arena, to the diminishing Western frontier, to a little New England town where an elected official is refusing to apologize for referring to the president by a famously derogatory racial epithet." Washington post
In my opinion, this administration is risking a backlash of historic proportions by becoming what I feared in 2008, that is, a government hostile to white people. I voted for Obama then and in 2012 but only because the GOP nominees were unacceptable to me. It was very much, faute de mieux.
The Democrats and their media allies and flunkies love to talk about the coming irrelevance of white people in a grand future filled with beige people, well, at least that dark. That kind of gloatng over WASP and other whites' future powerlessnes is just simply racist. Black activists and their allies will tell you that they can't be racists because white people have all the power. This is an interesting and somewhat nonsensical definition of "power," but, in fact, blacks and their allies have a lot of power today and are busy re-defining the political and constitutional rights of whites. The case of the egregious basketball team owner is illuminating in this way. The prevailing sentiment in the TV boobery (mostly blond) is something like "how dare he sue the NBA for punishing him!" Say what? Since when does an American not have the right to sue anyone or anything in defense of his property or personal rights. The amazing thing about this attitude is that most people on TV are trying to appear to believe the TV boobs are correct. There is now an endless list of such "adjustments" in attitude that are sought by the Al Sharptons, Eric Holders and Don Lemons of the world. Not only is supposed justice sought by such people but an enforced erasure of private opinion and expression as well.
The Democrats wish to believe that demography is destiny and that demography will make this a country ruled by "people of color." That's amusing because it used to be said that biology was destiny. Heavens! That can't be right. My view is somewhat different. I think that cultural absorption will make this a country in which such special pleading as is heard from Eric Holder will be a distant and irrelevant memory.
As for the 2014 and 2016 elections, the Democrats would be well advised to stop gloating over their victories in advance. pl
""Some Arab spring revolutions brought benefits but others were planned to destroy and divide countries," he said in an interview on Al-Hayat TV channel on Sunday. The West invented "corrupted" theories in order to steal the wealth of the East, El-Tayib added. "The East has not met the level of West, the gap is widening between them," he said, adding that there was a conspiracy to keep the East weak. "The West presented the clash of civilizations theory in order to provoke a clash with Islamic civilization." "There are non-Western nations with old civilizations that are capable of leading the world in a more reasonable way than the West," El-Tayib said. Western civilization is in a state of extreme moral, spiritual and religious poverty, he asserted." Ahram on Line
I should be grateful for people like this in the Islamic World. They have always made my job easier by being so predictable.
This man is the Sheikh or Rector of the Al-Azhar mosque and university in Cairo. He is arguably the most revered and followed Sunni alim or scholar among the Sunnis. His only rival would be his opposite number at Tunis. He argues that the West inspired the Arab Spring for the purpose of weakening and dividing the believers so that they would be weak and available to the West for exploitation.
This would be news to the masses that crowded Maidan al-Tahrir in Cairo and so many other squares across the region. At the same time there is a modicum of truth in his argument since the NED/R2P types in both the Bush and Obama Administrations spread money and favor across these countries in a vainglorious quest for democratization and Europeanization. That had a certain effect as it did in Syria and Ukraine.
What al-Tayyib does not want to contemplate is that the 'ulema (scholars) of the Sunnis have generally held Sunni Islam in an iron grip of thought control since the reign of al-mutawakkil,the Abbasid caliph who accepted the consensus of pietists among the 'ulema as the basis of the holy law (sharia). In Sunni Islam sharia' is the basis of all life. In some countries that experienced European colonialism there are also commercail law codes but these are in retreat before the rising tide of sharia' law.
The most depressing thing about this is that Al-Tayyib is firmly fixed in a society that is dominated by a variant of Sunni Islam that still accepts such things as female circumcision and Sisi's proud assertion that he will utterly destroy the MB, al-Tayyib's rivals (and Sisi's).
Perhaps the Egyptian monarchy was not such a bad thing. There was a functioning parliament then. Imams were kept "in line." There were real political parties and such odd things as constitutional rights.
Yesterday COL Lang reported on the brouhaha caused by Secretary Kerry's remarks that if a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute failed, then it would lead to one of two potential unitary state options for the Israelis. The first would be that Israel if it preserved its democratic system would lose its Jewish majority, ceasing to be either a Jewish State or a State for Jews because of potential/projected demographic changes vis a vis the Palestinians. The other possibility was to become a unitary state that relegates the Palestinians to second class status. Secretary Kerry asserted that should Israel go this latter route it would mean that Israel would become an apartheid state. His larger point, however, was that neither of these are in Israel's interests. This seems to have been meant as a supporting argument for why a two state solution is preferable in general and as a specific push for the ongoing US led efforts. As COL Lang anticipated this set off the usual freakout from all the expected players.
What's really interesing, however, is that this is not the first time a senior or strategic leader has made this type of remark. After the 1967 Six Day War David Ben Gurion remarked that if Israel did not rid itself of its territories and their Arab population quickly it risked becoming an apartheid state (h/t Corey Robin). Ehud Olmert issued a similar warning in 2007 and Ehud Barak reiterated this concern in 2010 (h/t for both Little Green Footballs).
All of this is part and parcel of the warped nature of America's discussion - both popular and strategic/policy - regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Regardless of how it has happened, and that's a series of posts all their own, we have limited our ability to speak openly and honestly with each other about this issues, about what is really good for the US or in the US's interests, what is really good for Israel from a US perspective given that Israel is a statutory ally and client, and what is really good for the US's other allies, from the US's perspectives in the region. The narrow limits that we have placed on ourselves regarding these issues do not serve us and our interests well.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
"Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’ And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.” Adelson accepted Christie’s explanation, the source said. The mini-controversy and quick apology highlight both the importance of Adelson as the reigning mega-donor in GOP politics, as well as the tricky terrain that Middle East politics can pose for American politicians courting Jewish donors and voters. Before the meeting, Adelson ally Morton Klein, president of the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, had confronted Christie about his use of the term, telling POLITICO he explained to the New Jersey governor that “at minimum you should call it disputed territories.” " Politico
Well, there you have it A President Christie, at least in his first term, would be as abject in his obedience to Zionist organizers and donors as any president we have thus far seen. Someone named Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America, observed that if Christie thought of the West Bank as occupied territiry, then he is "hostile to Israel."
So, Christie groveled before Adelson and assured him of his "corpse like" devotion to the Zionist cause. "Unwavering" love, "unwavering love," this must be a New Jersey tradition.
Adelson is IMO the king of Israel Firsters. He once observed that he would have preferred to have served in the IDF rather than the US Army as he did.
The Republican hopefuls flocked to the castration party in Las Vegas. Rand Paul declined his invitation. He is looking better and better. pl
"McAuliffe’s political action committee, Common Good VA, would have barely qualified as news if not for the email announcing it: In addition to face time with the governor and first lady Dorothy McAuliffe, those contributing $10,000 to $100,000 could attend a monthly “roundtable discussion with policy experts.” There are some things you shouldn’t put in writing. To Republicans, eager to divert attention from the perceived ethical miscues of their own, the McAuliffe menu of eleemosynary options sounds suspiciously as if Virginia government is for sale. That’s a seamy image that’s become synonymous with Bob McDonnell. He and wife Maureen face trial in July for alleged Giftgate crimes." Schapiro in the Times Dispatch
Well, well. Virginia government evidently is for sale under McAuliffe as it was under McDonnell. In McDonnell's case this seems to have happened because of the undue influence of the unstable Lady Macbeth type at his side. What is McAuliffe's excuse?
I suppose that the governator now realizes that he is unlikely to derive much joy from the House of Delegates as now peopled and reckons that he will sweep through the Commonwealth next election time with all the money he will raise with this PAC cleansing the Augean Stables, so to speak. He probably hopes that then he will no longer look like an ass who cannot govern by means other than bullying and threats.
Sad to say for him, what may well happen is that the House will still have a Republican majority after that election and the Democrats may lose the US Senate this Autumn. In that eventuality he and Obama can be lame ducks together.
The Washington Post is today whining about gerrymandered districts in Virginia. Only losers whine. pl
Democracy promotion and regime change is the primary goal for Neo-conservative empire building. An example is the Director of Freedom House, he was previously with PNAC , the Jacobin club of our generation, received a government post for resume padding , and eventually winds up in the current post. It is how they place their people in key organizations to pursue the agenda. The Founding Mothers of R2P are Obama’s key advisors so their influence will naturally be reflected in his public comments. As the Mommas wanted to bombs away on Syria and he didn’t points to him not being a true R2Per or at least not as ideologically strident. I believe his problem is there are differing factions within his administration pushing their goals and undermining him at the same time, one in particular doing it intentionally. He lacks the experience or understanding to thwart this and therefore he goes from one crisis on fire to the next instigated by his own pyromaniacs. In the current day affairs, it is best to understand Russia, India and China along with many smaller countries as the rational actors with the US and EU in a stupor of false thinking caused by drinking from the poisoned chalice of moral superiority. The rational actors are working for a global system of stability and peace for their own domestic prosperity through international institutions. After all the disruptions (Nato expansion, Iraq, Georgia, Libya etc.), the Ukrainian Crisis was the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back for Russia because a plan for transitional government was diplomatically agreed to, then broken with a violent overthrow (courtesy of the intentional pyromaniac). If this action was accepted, then could any agreement in the future (i.e. Syria) be trusted? Putin responded as a responsible statesman would when the national interests were directly challenged. Too fanciful, what the Rational Actors would want from a future US president is one who will keep their word , respect the interests of others, and have enough control over the administration that the rest of the government follows suit. Thomas
"During a fiery speech Tuesday that stunned lawmakers and members of the intelligence community, Feinstein, a California Democrat, accused the CIA of secretly taking classified documents from her staff's computers during an oversight investigation. Her comments made public a private long running saga over the review of documents related to the post 9/11 Bush administration program for questioning terror suspects -- a practice that ultimately was ended by President Barack Obama in 2009." CNN
Senator Feinstein is a sometimes liberal congressperson from Califirnia whose husband is a vastly rich man. She has been known to place his private jet at the disposal of people she likes or who agree with her. Going home for the weekend is not a big hardship for her. As noted in the linked article she has been an unrelenting advocate of gun control as well as federal police and intelligence capabilities, placing these seemingly above all else. It is interesting that her attifudes toward police and governmentetal controls mirror those of Israel.
On the other hand, she has the "right end of the stick" in expressing forcefully the constitutional necessity of effective legislative oversight of the Executive Branch and in this matter she has my support.
She is a hypocrite in this matter but it is a good hypocrisy. pl
"In a state that was cautious about expanding Medicaid long before President Obama’s 2010 health-care law offered billions of dollars in new enticements, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe are locked in a dispute over what government is for. The value judgments embedded in Virginia’s current Medicaid system about who deserves coverage and who doesn’t — pregnant women do, childless adults don’t, for example — would be replaced by a standard set in Washington. That is seen as an unwanted intrusion by some and a welcome reform by others, leaving both camps claiming not to understand where the other is coming from. While shifting demographics helped Democrats sweep all statewide races in November and the state twice voted for Obama, Virginia is experiencing a homegrown version of the divided government that has stymied Washington." Washpost
I started reading the Washington Post when I was 18 and a college freshman in the Commonwealth. I have read it ever since. In all that time what I have seen in the pages of the Post is an unrelenting attack against everything in Virginia that the Post dislikes. The only things the Post seems to like in Virginia are minority populations and the Democratic Party of Virginia.
I should say that I am not particularly opposed to Medicaid expansion in Virginia. I have written that several times, but that fact is irrelevant. The struggle between this governor and the House of Delegates is not about my opinion.
The General Assembly has adjourned without passing a budget. The governor says he will recall them for a special session to further consider the budget. McCauliffe tried hard to apply his "sophisticate" "House of Cards" methods in the adjourned session. He found that the "unenlightened," as Senator Patsy Ticer used to call the oh, so polite, and well dressed gentlemen and ladies on the GOP sida of the General Assembly, were unmoved by better liquor in the governor's mansion and persistent arm twisting and threats by McCauliffe and company. In fact, as native Virginians have observed on SST, such tactics probably made victory less likely for McCauliffe and his bully boys.
Now we will have a special session. Why McCauliffe thinks he will have better success is unclear to me. He, as governor, has to run the state government. For that he needs a budget. The two thirds of the House of Delegates who are Republicans come from secure seats in the vast swath across Virginia inhabited by people who would never vote for anyone like McCauliffe. These people will not be deprived of their representation and all the nonsense about demographic change will not change that.
I wrote here that McCauliffe would "break his teeth" over Medicaid expansion. I continue to believe that to be true. IMO the fiscal provisions of the expansion after the first few years are just an excuse for "country party" resistance. This is a political and cultural matter. pl
".. resistance is great among House Republicans. They prefer instead to reimburse hospitals for money that is removed in former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s introduced budget and to increase funding of free clinics and community health centers. House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, says in the weekly Virginia GOP address released today that the House budget includes a $240 million deposit into the state’s rainy day fund and investments in K-12 education, higher education, transportation and the health care safety net. “Unfortunately, all of this good work is in jeopardy,” he says. “Gov. Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats have brought Washington-style politics to Richmond and injected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion into the budget debate.” He adds: “They are trying to sell their plan under a different name, but it’s really just Medicaid expansion.”" Richmond Times Dispatch
I said here a while back that McAuliffe would "break his teeth" on Medicaid expansion. The process is underway. McAuliffe's message may sell well at a hospital in Leesburg in an area full of "new people," but it will not sell well in the many House of Delegates districts which have sent his opponents to the General Assembly.
Virginians have little animosity for immigrants to the commonwealth who make an effort to adapt to lacal culture. Examples of that would be Mark Warner, Charles Robb and even "Macaca" Allen. He was both governor and a US senator. Webb's defeat of Allen was razor thin.
McAuliffe "reads" as an arrogant "interloper." Carpetbagger would not be too strong a term. Ed Gillespie intends to run against Warner. Gillespie is a Republican version of McAuliffe. pl
"Gov. Terry McAuliffe has added a potent weapon to his bipartisan charm offensive: better booze. Desperately in need of Republican friends to get his agenda through a divided General Assembly, McAuliffe (D) has restocked the executive mansion bar and thrown open the doors for nightly receptions. In at least one case, he sniffed out just which craft beer a GOP bigwig likes and made sure to have it on hand." washpost
What a great example the man is setting for the "utes" of Virginia. (a "My Cousin Vinnie" reference)
The suburban soccer moms who made possible his election should consider the example set for their children. The lesson seems to be that the way to convince the legislature to do what you want is to lay on enough schmooze and booze so that their addled brains will tell them that only by enacting whatever McCauliffe wants can they retain membership in Club Terry.
McCauliffe is reportedly to be largely absent from the actual legislative process. He has no experience of governance and probably is at a loss to do anything other than to ply the lobbyist's trade in Richmond.
The "score card" on the progress of his agenda in the General Assembly does not look too good. He will need to do a lot more schmoozing and turkey hunting to get things moving. pl
"While the proposals announced tonight may turn out to be constitutional – certainly administration lawyers will be ready to cite statutes they purport authorize the action. The president is doubtless using such language to emphasize what he sees as the obstinacy on the Hill. However, the (hopefully) overblown rhetoric about “bypassing Congress” because is harmful to constitutional discourse, and will certainly attract criticism suspicion and criticism. The president, on these matters, cannot bypass Congress. Nor is legislative inaction due to different views in the House and Senate a bug – it is a feature designed to promote deliberation and limit government action." Washpost
IMO Obama is wrapped up in his coccoon and walking towards a hole in the pond ice. The Republicans may not be able to secure a conviction in the senate for anything he might do but they might well impeach in the House if he presents them with a suitable target on the basis of actions that he may take that they can label unconstututional.
Bill Clinton may now be a populatrfellow but he will forever be an impeached president. I do not think Obama wants that for a legacy. pl
"A former mayor of Livingston who was known for his brashness and ambition, Wildstein morphed into a New Jersey political svengali. He operated in secrecy running an influential website, PolitickerNJ.com, where he chronicled state politics and saucy political gossip under the pen name Wally Edge. Wildstein was outed in June 2010, just after he was named the director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority. He quickly retreated back into the shadows, rarely attending the agency’s public events or speaking to the press. Critics claimed Wildstein was more interested in carrying out the agenda of his old GOP buddy rather than working to improve the oft-beleaguered bistate agency. " NY Daily News
IMO Christie will be lucky if he survives this crisis in his political life. Having watched prosecuters and legislative committees work on things like this I am pessimistic on the governor's chances. There is a civil class action lawsuit for damages, but worst of all is the performance yesterday of Wildstein before the NJ legislature. He refused to answer many questions while citing his right to do so under the 5th Amendment. In my experiece someoone who does this is often constructing a negotiating position for a "deal" with some future prosecuter.
My guess is that there are many people who can be pressured in one way or another into "dropping a dime" on Christie. Rats do not "hang together" under fire. pl
"The first Democrat to run New York in 20 years pledged to move swiftly on an agenda that calls for affordable housing and community health centers. He renewed a proposal to tax the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten classes and after-school programs, a levy that would require state approval in an election year. “We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” de Blasio, 52, said in his 18-minute address delivered on the steps of City Hall in lower Manhattan. “And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.” Business Week
"We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities"
That could not be more clear. This is a call for socialist revolution. Will Albany allow de Blasio to realise his goals? I know not. If he does not succeed in his program or if his measures result in adverse results in NYC then the Clintons may regret their early and ardent embrace of this left wing politician.
HC was challlenged on the left when last she ran for president. George Wallace lost an election early in his career for the House of Representatives to a man who ran specifically on the basis of an advocacy of segregation. Wallace said afterward that he would never be successfuly challenged by a segregationist again because he would be more segregationist than they
Has she/he decided that like Wallace she must be as extreme as any of her possible challengers for the nomination? pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
COL Lang asked for information pertaining to centrifuges, enrichment, and proliferation. At the following two links are two excellent articles - one article and one report - dealing with these issues.
Alexander Glaser's "Characteristics of the Gas Centrifuge for Uranium Enrichment and Their Relevance for Nuclear Weapon Proliferation (corrected)" from Science and Global Security, 2008
Krass et als "Uranium Enrichment and Nuclear Weapon Proliferation" from SIPRI, 1983.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
** Imageof Krakoa the Island that Walks Like a Man, found at Doctor Nerdlove and taken from the story in Giant Sized X-Men #1
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
The AP has reported that the P5+1 group of countries has reached an initial agreement with Iran in regard to its nuclear energy program (h/t to Little Green Footballs). This is a preliminary/intial agreement for the next six months to create space for the negotiators to work out other issues. It leaves the overall sanctions regimes in place and allows for the relaxed sanctions to be reimposed if the Iranians violate the agreement. The NY Times has more of the specifics:
"According to the agreement, Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent. To make good on that pledge, Iran would dismantle links between networks of centrifuges.
All of Iran’s stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop to weapons-grade fuel, would be diluted or converted into oxide so that it could not be readily used for military purposes.
No new centrifuges, neither old models nor newer more efficient ones, could be installed. Centrifuges that have been installed but which are not currently operating could not be started up.
The agreement, however, would not require Iran to stop enriching uranium to a level of 3.5 percent or dismantle any of its existing centrifuges."
Once the Israeli Prime Minister makes a formal response, I'll post an update...
** Atom image found at Wisegeek.
COL Lang has been covering the developments in the P5+1 negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, including the growing rift between the US and Israel in regard to the process and its potential outcomes. One of Israel's top former security and intelligence professionals has also weighed in. Carmi Gillon, who was head of Shin Bet when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated**, recently the Chicago Sun-Times reported that he stated: “The American policy is a policy of wisdom.” and “In my eyes, American policy is not coming out of weakness. It comes out of power" (h/t Ben Armbruster at ThinkProgress).
Gillon is just the latest in a long line of former Israeli security and intelligence leaders to publicly come out and contradict or try to contextualize Prime Minister Netanyahu's positions regarding Iran, as well as other Israeli security issues. We have previously covered former Mossad Director and Israeli National Security Advisor Ephraim Halevy's opposition to Netanyahu's stated positions and actions, but both he and several other former senior Israeli security and defense officials have made more recent statements about Israel (read Netanyahu) not giving the US ultimatums (h/t Armbruster - same link as above).
To get an even better idea of what Gillon and five of his former colleagues think about the reality, let alone the need, for speaking to Israel's adversaries, you should check out the documentary the Gatekeepers that I wrote about last Spring. So you don't have to watch the whole thing right this minute, check out this promotional video starting at the 6:01 mark. I especially like the remarks of Avraham Shalom, the oldest of the six former Shin Bet directors interviewed for the film starting at the 6:07 mark.
** This is covered in the Gatekeepers documentary, including Gillon's attempts to get Rabin to take the potential threat to his life as a result of opposition to the peace process, as well as incendiary political and religious rhetoric related to the Israeli political campaigns that were taking place at the time.
- It did not take long for someone in the US government to start logrolling for the idea that Syria is cheating on its agreement to give up chemical weapons.
- The Virginia political results satisfy me. McCauliffe will be inaugurated as a lame duck, completely at the mercy of the strongly Republican House of Delegates. I wonder what he thinks he won. He may be able to pass budgets but only if he "plays nice." pl
"It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel's communications were being collected since 2002," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said. "That is a big problem." But other officials said Obama -- or at least his White House staff -- did know about it. Questions about what the President knew and when he knew it have important implications, analysts say. If Obama was aware, that could mean he isn't being clear with the American public now. And if he wasn't aware, that could mean his own staff kept him in the dark. "There's really no good answer," said Republican strategist Kevin Madden. "If he knew, essentially we're being misled by different people in the administration about the extent of the President's knowledge. If he didn't know, it's an abdication of even the most basic responsibilities of the command and control over very important parts of his administration, and that becomes a problem." CNN
So Feinstein as Chair of the SSCI did not know what the NSA did and does? Is this some sort of sick joke? Agencies like the NSA, CIA, DIA, etc. are quick to brief key members of Congress and the president about their accompishments. Boasting is the order of the day in the contest for appropriations. So, just accept the fact that our seeker after justice POTUS knew all about it, all of it.
He also knew about the havoc that would be wrought upon the present insurance coverage of many Americans who unlike the favored uninsured will not be put on free coverage in Medicaid, and may not be able to handle increased premiums in new policies even if they can qualify for federal subsidies.
Basically, Obama does not tell the truth. It seems that reports of the cocoon of sycophants around him and their effect on him are correct. pl
"In May, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were roughly tied in a Washington Post poll. Since then, McAuliffe has pulled ahead, thanks in large part to the growing support of women. But the fact that women feel strongly about issues that separate McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, such as abortion and access to contraception, does not guarantee they will vote. To win, McAuliffe must draw women to the polls — especially younger women whose enthusiasm and sense of urgency in this race are sharply lower, according to polling results and brief interviews with more than 100 women living in Arlington’s youngest and most urban neighborhoods. Many of the women interviewed were so adamant in their disengagement that they declined to give their names." Washpost
SWMBO and I observed McAuliffe and his family at an adjoining table at The Palm restaurant on 19th St. in Washington. That was a couple of years ago. He has several children. Just from watching him I would say he is probably a good and devoted father.
We are suffering in this gubernatorial election from an absence of candidates that people want. Douglas Wilder, a former Democratic governor of no great accomplishment, recently endorsed McAullife with visible reluctance. That is how most voters seem to feel about the choice to be made in a few weeks.
Cuccinelli is a right wing ideologue who has been the commonwealth's attorney general for the last four years. He has not seemed to consider the evident truth that most Virginia voters are centrists who incline slightly right or left. The positions he has taken and the actions he has pursued while AG are not pleasing to most.
On the other hand, McAullife is a scheming political and business hustler reminiscent of the "people" seen on the TV program "Shark Tank." I spent ten years in the business world after I left government and hated every minute of it. "Screw anyone for a buck" is the norm and basic rule for success in that world. I kept trying to preach the dogma of seeking to achieve win-win deals but nobody was buying this. I did rather well but am not proud of it.
McAuliffe has run for state wide office twice before and lost. This time he will probably win simply because the Republicans apparently could not field an acceptable candidate. IMO McAuliffe will probably be a horrible experience as governor. He has no interest whatever in Virginia except as a "trampoline" to propel him toward national elected office. As an aspirant for leadership in the Left dominated national Democratic Party he will make statements and attempt actions in Virginia that will be extremely unpopular and likely to fail in the legislative process in Richmond. Gun control, abortion, election procedures; the list will be long. He will be on television often while noisily seeking national stature. He will "hang" often with Bill and Hill. They are still widely disliked in Virginia. He will travel a lot, grandstanding across the country and the world instead of staying home to run the commonwealth's government. Thank God that the governor of Virginia can not succeed himself. The Byrds and Billy Mahone taught us the the danger of seemingly endless posession of power by one man.
The author of this WP piece correctly notes the residence in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria of many thousands of people who mostly work in Washington and have little or no interest in local affairs in Virginia or these communities. They just live here. Lower crime rates and taxes on this side of the river may explain their presence. A great many of these folks are single women who live in the everproliferating town house and apartment buildings in sections like Parker-Grey and Potomac Yard in Alexandria. For some reason a lot of them own large dogs. If polled they are apt to give a reflexive Democratic response. This is especially true when they have been constantly exposed to the unending barrage of McAulliffe TV ads that portray Cuccinelli not as an opponent but rather as an evil troll. McAulliffe is a rich man with many dubious business ventures in his past. He is one of the best political fund raisers in the country. He has lots of money with whch to buy TV ads. The Post article correctly raises the question of whether or not all those single women living in flats with big black dogs will turn out to vote in this election.
I think McAulliffe will win but I will not vote for him. pl
"Some may rightly blame politicians in Washington for behaving badly, but in reality the clashes in the nation’s capital reflect conflicting attitudes and values held by politically active, rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats across the country. Add to that a faction of conservatives in the House who are determined to disrupt business as usual and the current stalemate in Congress becomes almost unavoidable. The bonds that once helped produce political consensus have gradually eroded, replaced by competing camps that live in parallel universes, have sharply divergent world views and express more distrust of opponents than they did decades ago. Many activists describe the stakes in apocalyptic terms." Dan Balz
If I understand Balz correctly, his main point is that the increasingly separated thinking of the blue and red areas cause the re-districting into gerrymandered House districts and not the other way around.
If true this is an ominous portent for the future. pl
"When you're already the biggest stealth lobby of any foreign government, respecting the law just doesn't pay. Many lobbyists work aggressively to get their way on Capitol Hill by bundling donor contributions, passing inside information that lawmakers can profit from before ordinary investors and creating a favor bank. Some of those activities are unethical, but surprisingly few are actually illegal. AIPAC tactics fall into a different category. The lobbying group never bothered to incorporate until its parent organization was ordered to register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC hurriedly spilt off and quietly incorporated just six weeks later in order to continue the public (and secret) work of its defunct parent organization the AZC. AIPAC flouts U.S. laws for its foreign patron—the government of Israel—when the stakes are high enough. If other lobbies tried any of these tactics, their executives would go to jail. Unsurprisingly, few domestic American causes require spying, smearing opponents and fixing elections. More worryingly, AIPAC now has enough elected and political appointee friends embedded in high places, along with establishment media power—that warranted investigations can be quickly quashed. The following five "dirty tricks" are undoubtedly being carefully considered by any Congressmember thinking of voting against AIPAC's drive to entangle the U.S. in wars against Syria and Iran: " irmep
Food for thought. pl
"James Madison, the father of our constitution, said that the the accumulation of executive, judicial and legislative powers into the hands of any faction is the very definition of tyranny. He then went on to assure the nation that the Constitution protected us from that fate. So, my question to you is: by allowing the executive to secretly follow a secret interpretation of the law under the supervision of a secret, nonadversarial court and occasional secret congressional hearings, how close are we coming to James Madison’s “very definition of tyranny”? I believe we are allowing our country to drift a lot closer than we should, and if we don’t take this opportunity to change course now, we will all live to regret it."
These words were spoken by Senator Ron Wyden at the Center for American Progress the day before Representative Justin Amash's amendment to block funding for NSA domestic surveillance programs was narrowly defeated on 23 July. The administration and the national security apparatus pulled out all stops in defeating the amendment. Yet, it was damned close. Representative Rush Holt wants to repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act with his "Surveillance State Repeal Act." If and when it comes to a vote, it'll be another close one. The legislative assault on the unrestrained surveillance apparatus will continue into the Fall.
The revelations about our government's mass electronic surveillance of its citizens continued to trickle out since that vote. The Xkeyscore program gives the NSA access to near all internet traffic, including that of U.S. citizens. All our emails to and from foreign lands are searched for "relevant selectors." Obama says,"No one is reading your emails." Bullshit! The DEA and probably other agencies are using NSA surveillance to build criminal cases and hiding the surveillance evidence from defendants, prosecutors and judges. Parallel construction is just a euphemism for criminal coverup. I bet we'll see more.
Yesterday President Obama made a concession to this pressure. He proposed an overhaul of surveillance policy, but made it clear that surveillance would continue. His proposals for reform are a move in the right direction. However, it is just a tactical defeat for the national security elite, a delaying action. He also said he would set up a task force to look at the issue and report back to him at the end of the year. That's usually a classic government tactic to deflect criticism and stall for time.
The pressure has to continue. It looks like Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian will continue to release documents in a steady enough stream to keep the issue in the public eye. Tech companies, except for the beltway bandits, don't like being openly identified as part of the surveillance state. It's bad for business. They will push for changes. The Oath Keepers are placing billboard ads in the Pentagon Metro Station and outside many military and intelligence installations reminding military members and government employees that they took an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. They vow to up their efforts in the future. We can keep the pressure on our legislators through our letters and emails and on the tech companies through the choices we make. You know the national security nomenklatura and aparatchiki will pull out all stops to stem the loss of any of their powers. Yes, 'tis the risin' of the moon.
"Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Wednesday opposing an amendment to curb the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, the latest push from the Obama administration to sway lawmakers ahead of a crucial vote. “I join others who caution that acting in haste to defund the FISA Business Records program risks dismantling an important intelligence tool,” Clapper said." The Hill
Let us remember that Lieutenant General James Clapper USAF (ret.) admitted to having lied under oath to the US Senate in the matter of this program. This is the felony crime of perjury. He will not be prosecuted because he slavishly supports the Obama Administration. Now this same man has the gall the show his face in the House of Representative to lobby for continuation of the program for which he lied.
Jim Clapper has always wanted to be a four star general. His partner in perjury, General Keith Alexander is a four star general. Clapper must think this is unfair. Perhaps that is why he is willing to disgrace himself. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
The local cable in the Tampa Bay area has just announced televised the live verdict reading in the Zimmerman Case. The jury returned with a verdict of not guilty, the Judge asked the Prosecution if they wanted the jury polled, they did, and all six jurors indicated that the verdict was their verdict. Click on over to Bay News 9 for ongoing local Central Florida coverage.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
It seems to me that the Republican Party is destined to be the dominant political force outside the big cities and the northeast. A map similar to the one above for the 2008 election is quite similar in its distributions of the results by county.
The exceptions to the general position outside the big cities are easy to explain. African-Americans, American Indians, mining areas, Latinos along the Mexican border, retirees from the NE on the gold coast in Florida, these are the non big city populations that vote Democratic.
This would indicate to me that the chance of the GOP recovering control of the Executive Branch through a presidential victory is slim, and likely to remain that way ffor a long time.
The semi-rural base of the Republican Party does not wish to become the latest converts to "coastalism." Their representatives in the world pf professional politics want just that. They want to out-Democrat the Democrats. This makes them continuously vulnerable to primary challenges.
Try to imagine a Republican who could win the nomination in the primary process and then win the general election. I think Huntsman or Christie could win the general, but they are both very unlikely to win the nomination.
Nevertheless, the United States remains a federal republic. The GOP is very strong in many states. Most governors are Republicans. Most state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. The US House of Repersentatives has been re-districted by both parties in such a way as to "freeze" power in place.
Perhaps the GOP should accept a future in which it controls most of the states and the House of Representatives. Control of the US Senate may also be within reach from time to time. pl
"U.S. President Barack Obama, who arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold bilateral talks during the summit, where they will also discuss their opposing views on the situation in Syria. On the even of the summit, Putin accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of betraying humanitarian values by supporting Syrian rebels with "blood on their hands." Russia and the West have long been at odds over Syria. As the violence continues to escalate in the region President Putin expressed anger at the U.S. commitment to supply small arms and ammunition to rebels as a result of the U.S. saying there was proof Bashar Assad's regime had used small amounts of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has been providing arms and diplomatic support to the Assad regime, an action Russian President Vladimir Putin defended at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Sunday. Putin described Assad's government as "the legitimate government of Syria in full conformity with the norms of international law."" USA Today
Barack Obama is about to have his "butt kicked" by the Russians over Syria. This will be the latest in a long series of defeats for him in his second term, not to mention the unceremonious way the US was disinvited from a continuing presence in Iraq and the massive and thinly disguised failure of his COIN strategic decision in Afghanistan. These were in his first term.
Putin made it clear yesterday to our British lapdog, David Cameron, that he considers Assad's government to be the legitimate government of Syria and that there will be no resolution emerging from the UN Security Council that threatens that status. He also made it clear that the rebels (whoever they are) are responsible for many of the civilian casualies that have occurred in Syria.
Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Syria are in the process of finishing off the "rebels."
Some people are saying that an unpopular minorities based government cannot hold Syria. Really? His father did so for decades.
Putin said at Enniskillen today that Russia "will not allow" no-fly zones in Syria. that's a real red line folks.
Humiliation over Syria will be one more phase in BHO's progress toward irrelevance. pl
"You’ve seen or heard the news about the rising incidence of sexual assaults in the U.S. military. Our automatic assumption is that most were women. Not so. What you’re not told by the State Run Media is that the majority of those sexual assaults are male-on-male. And the incidence of male-on-male sexual assaults is increasing. Welcome to the Obama military! gay soldiers Scarborough reports for The Washington Times, May 20, 2013, that a recent Pentagon survey shows more military men than women are sexually abused in the ranks each year, but those man-on-man sexual assaults are underreported. The Pentagon’s 1,400-page annual report came with two basic sets of data: official reports of sex crimes and a scientific survey sample of the 1.4 million active force from which the department extrapolated the number of abuses, regardless of whether they were officially reported In fiscal year 2012, which ended on September 30, 26,000 service members were victims of sexual assaults, But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon." DC Clothesline
"... roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon."
So the scientific study indicates that un-reported sexual crime in the military has increased but mainly the increase is in male on male assaults.
Since it is DoD's own data that is under discussion here one can only conclude that the armed forces are being abused in public over this because:
- The Chiefs know that the BHO Administration has a pro-gay agenda and will not support them if they speak the truth about this.
- The collection of Harpies in the senate who are raging over their sense of victimization will not listen to reason.
- John McCain's lunatic outburst yesterday must have some as yet hidden motivation.
IMO the data in these studies is being used to abuse the military leadership for the purpose of making them more amenable to various agenda items. The JCS have been remarkably resistant to the idea of US intervention in Syria. What better way to bring them "to heel" than this distortion of statistical data?
McCain, ah well, this bandwagon will work for him if it leads to war in Syria. pl
"As we have written previously, the only hope for an acceptable political settlement in Syria lies in an intervention that would decisively shift the balance of Syria’s war — through arms supplies to the rebels and airstrikes to eliminate the regime’s air power. If Mr. Obama is unwilling to take such steps, he ought also to eschew diplomacy that makes his administration appear foolish as well as weak." Washington Post Editorial Board
Well there you have it. "... and airstrikes to eliminate the regime’s air power." So, after all the baloney about "no boots on the ground," "no direct US intervention," we have an honest admission by the neocons and Wilsonians at the Post that what they want is for Obama to order the air forces of the United States into action to destroy the present Syrian government.
They now recognize that he is not going to do that, and so they also acknowledge that diplomacy that consists of unlimited travel by the vain is pointless and humiliating. pl
BHO is busy putting more nails in the lid of the future of his adminstration.
Today he has Kerry in Moscow seeking to "jawbone" Putin into abandoning his Syrian client. Putin has no reason to do that and the effort will fail. This will weaken the BHO Administration.
DoD released a report today that shows that reported sexual assaults in the armed forces rose by a third in number since 2010. BHO's reaction was visible anger and threats of various kind. I am in favor of maximum action against people who perpetrate such crimes, but BHO's confidence in his fixed idea that human behavior is easily modified by government fiat is misplaced. The armed forces reflect society. US society today is much more loose about personal conduct than it was a generation ago. Gender roles and rules are scorned as a basis for organizing society. Gays are a protected minority. All rules concerning sex are falling by the side of the road in the military as in the larger society. It will be saidby some that these problems are like those of the Blacks in the US military in the long ago. Well, maybe so, but it took a hell of a long time to make a reality of the changes made by Truman in 1952. BHO is a social engineer. This is a difficult engineering problem.
Immigration "reform" will probably fail in the legislative process. The left, the right and the Latino activists are united in one thing. They don't like the proposed law. More failure.
The anti-gunners are busy convincing themselves that if Harry Reid will put Manchin-Toomey up for a vote one more time.... "After all. It is just common sense." Obama wants that vote.
Good Luck pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Not to horn in on BG Farrell's movie reviews here at SST, but I recently saw a documentary and wanted to bring it to the attention of the SST community. About two weeks ago I was asked to go with our former USMC senior service rep here at the US Army War College to see the new Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers by Dror Moreh. The Gatekeepers is an oral history of Israel's internal security and intelligence service - Shin Bet. Moreh's documentary is built around in depth interviews with the last six Shin Bet directors and spans events from the 1960s through to the last several years, combined with archival footage and computer generated reenactments. In fact the documentary's production was delayed until the most recent former director, Yuval Diskin, retired and could be interviewed for and part of the project. Moreh was able to get the project going, which features the first public interviews with any of these men, because one of the former directors, Ami Ayalon was willing to be interviewed after being elected to the Knesset from the Labor Party. It was Ayalon who helped convince his peers to participate.
Moreh's documentary is divided into seven segments and includes such controversial topics as the 300 bus incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, and breaking up the Israeli Jewish extremist attempts to blow up the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. For me one of the most interesting portions of the film was when Yaakov Peri, who ran Shin Bet from 1988 to 1994, referred to Palestinian's who had engaged in attacks on Israel as melkhamim. Melkhamim is Hebrew for warriors. All the other former directors referred to Palestinian attackers as terroreest, which, as you can tell, is the transliteration word imported into Hebrew for terrorist. The documentary was excellent and I cannot recommend it highly enough to the SST community. If you're interested in counter-terrorism, intelligence, counterintelligence, and/or the Israeli/Palestinian dispute you need to see it if it is in your area. All six of the former directors interviewed demonstrated significant nuance in regards to their assignments, their adversaries, the problems Israel faces, and the politicians they work for.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the United States Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Army War College and/or the US Army.
The news that Max Baucus, six term senator from Montana would not run again in 2014 was greeted by the anti-gun folks as evidence that the gods are going to strike down the sinners who voted against Manchin-Toomey. Chris Jansing was almost giddy with the good news.
Unfortunately for that view, the only likely Democrat who might obtain Baucus' seat in that very red state is Brian Schweitzer, the former governor. He is firmly against gun-control.
The rest of the field among the Republicans, Libertarians and Mountain Men are equaly resolute about guns.
Maybe the coastals could run a Canadian who is a dual national. pl
President Obama is betting that he can "have it all." He has chosen to press hard on issues in which it is likely that he will lose badly and become a lame duck long before this usually occurs in 2nd presidential terms:
- Guns. It is transparently obvious that the president as the head anti-gun person wants severe restrictions on gun ownership in the United States. His allies in this matter frequently slip in public speech and mention that what they want now is just a first step. The widespread deception involved in the propaganda against gun ownership involves the mis-stated results of polling. Examples: The supposed 90% of Americans who want more inclusive sales background checks - Yes, they want that but what kind of background checks? The supposed 40% of gun sales that are unchecked, yes, but what sort of sales are those? The implication in the propaganda is that these are sales conducted by unlicensed commercial sellers operating on the fringes of gun shows. This is untrue. Such chicanery has confirmed gun owner belief that whatever legislation is passed this year, it must be held to rigid minimums. This view will prevail and Obama will be forced to accept that. That will weaken him.
- Immigration. A compromise is possible, but any provision in the bill that creates a veiled amnesty will cause it to fail in the House. The notion that a mere statement on the part of the DHS that they have a comprehensive plan for border control should serve as a trigger for a quick beginning of "the path to citizenship" will cause the bill to fail. That would weaken Obama.
- Foreign Policy. We have the spectacle of John Kerry traveling the world attempting to dictate behavior to one and all. Israel, Turkey, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, NE Asia, Egypt. How absurd! How mistaken this is as to the true nature of international politics. This process is bound to fail and the failure will weaken Obama.
- Obama's Budget. Chained CPI is the least of the issues that Obama's base has with this document. BHO has revealed himself as someone who is quite willing to abandon the ideals of the Democratic Party. This will weaken him.
"I am the president, clothed in immense power!" "The fate of mankind rests in our hands!"
Obama's problem is that he lacks Lincoln's power, a power fortuitously given by civil war to "the great emancipator."
No, he is much more like Grant in his second term. pl