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25 April 2013


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John Minnerath

And in the mean time congress critters are trying to exempt themselves and their staff from the onus of Obamacare. Without getting caught at it, yeah right.
Oh yes, there's lots of trust.


Give Sancho Panza some credit. He knew those were windmills, not giants, and said so at the time. The vice president is another matter...

William R. Cumming

Well PL your post, this post, seems filled with what the Bible refers to as "rightous indignation" and unfortunately for US I agree with your sentiment and analysis.


There are persistent rumours of major oil and gas discoveries and "prospective" discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean sea in the area Egypt/Gaza/Lebanon/Turkey/Greece/Cyprus.

There are major geopolitical concerns regarding Russian energy supplies to Europe, primarily gas and ongoing wishes to diversify energy sources.

The bankrupting of Greece and now Cyprus has conveniently given the Eurozone a reason to prompt both countries regarding the saleability of their offshore oil and gas assets, although the Economist reckons this is hot air.


If one hyperventilates enough one can conjure up a Mediterranean oil boom involving both Russian and Chinese involvement.

So seriously, why wouldn't the Washington beltway not want America to have some skin in this game? Would there be folk in Washington who argue that a Jihadist government in Syria would be "Saudi - lite", in other words, people with whom we can do business?


typo in the first paragraph:
"Now we have Obama and his Sancho Panza man (Biden) walking the American people toward war in Iraq"

The beaver

So an Israeli general cum spy ventured the idea that Syrian 'regime has used and is using chemical weapons'


Most probably the "bomb bomb Syria" clan has been influenced by the friends of Bibi put pressure on Obama and Hagel by sending a letter to the WH.
So today Hagel comes out and said: "In talking to our intelligence people over the last couple hours, they have a reasonable amount of confidence that some amount of chemical weapons was used,"

Yep, The Brits and the French really want to take actions against Syria as if they don't have enough trouble at home and in the EU.

OT: Qatar in the meantime is trying to be top dog in the ME.
After the World Cup, the financing of some uprising here and there to be able to make Billions from their LNG sales, buying up both rives along the Seine and tony London, now wants to have the HQ of both ICAO and IATA in Doha.


I dont believe that gross stupidity is motivating these tactical US decisions. I suspect Iraq was pure screw up. They believed their own propaganda. But Syria strikes me as preparation for Iran. And frankly the real target in the Iraq war was probably Iran. They dont even care enough to make it look good. No need, domestic viewers are lapping up the propaganda.

I am pretty sure the strategy being pursued is stupid. But they havnt outlined it publicly so I cant be 100% sure. I dont think Shia Islam capitulates just because you kill thousands of them. I dont think the occupation of Iran is feasible. I dont know where they think this leads us all, but my suspicion is that it leads to radicalisation and war.


I work for a company that makes parts for companies that make parts for companies that make parts for... {etc} ...airplanes, many of which are for US Mil use. Our Orders & Backlog have been depressed by the Sequester since last fall - months before it hit. The top contractors got skittish at the uncertainty of future Gov't purchases & nobody wants to carry extra Inventory.

This affects our top line (Sales) more than the bottom line, but it means we employ fewer people. We are still quite profitable, but probably less so than if the Congress wasn't such a swamp.

The only thing I like about the Sequester is that the attempts to exempt Israel's cut look so bad that a few more people might notice how sick it is that their Reps & Senators care more about Israel than the US.



No. No. We ARE that stupid. Think Sancho Biden. pl



As usual your analysis is crystal clear.

My low level naive estimates:

1) The war lovers in Qatar, America and Israel will continue their attempts to overthrow Assad and the Mullahs. Syria and Iraq will break apart along ethnic lines and civil war will continue until the Middle East is re-partitioned. A Kurdistan could come into being. The outside threats will draw the Persians together. Only World War III will throw the Shiite Mullahs out.

2) In America, President Obama signed the Sequestration Act into law rather than shut down the federal government like President Clinton did. President Obama is a proponent of Austerity and increased income inequality. Social Security and Military Pensions COLAs will be trimmed. Retirement will be privatized and corporate contributions eliminated if the GOP gets its way. Austerity will force the American economy into a double dip recession and finally a Second Great Depression. I see no 21st Century FDR to save Capitalism.

Unemployment and personal debt levels are intolerable now and will only get worse as we are led down the current path.


I can assure you that sequestration is having a devastating impact on smaller defense contractors and R&D programs. This began in the summer, really took hold in December and in February/March as it became apparent that congress really was so stupid as to approve sequestration the floor started to fall out as contracts are delayed, contract releases are stalled and so on. As to impact I would look at factory orders, consumer spending indicators and don't think for a minute the President or the Congress or the Pentagon is above using the devastation of the small R&D companies as fodder for their political fatwas.


The sequestration was four percent or so of future spending. This drama with air traffic controllers and the rest is just more Chicago style politics.

Meanwhile, let's add 20 - 40 million public charge illegal aliens on the rolls.

The ship is going down.

r whitman

I have the feeling that our Nobel Peace Prize President will find some excuse not to get involved in Syria. After all, it is just Arabs killing other Arabs.

With regard to Iraq and Afganistan, these are wars the US Military lost because the civilians in charge cound not define what winning was.

The sequester is the usual political bullshit we get from any national capital. The Pharohs probably had budget battles over the cost of the Pyramids and Julius Caesar sequestered funds for the addition to the Colliseum.

no one

McCain is getting all kinds of wild eyed at the prospect of bombing Syria - gas or no gas (sarin that is, not McCain's digestive system). Has that guy ever heard of a country he didn't want to obliterate from above?

This is insane.


Hagel: This habitual practice of making public comments on the fly, based on incomplete information and limited discussion with the people supposedly in the know, is another sign of how unprofessional our entire foreign/defense policy mechanisms have become. There is neither excuse nor reasonable explanation for conducting serious national business in this slapdash manner. Trust is degraded by this amateurism as well by our leader's lack of conviction and basic honesty.

In the same way, we can justifiably indict Kerry's tourism. Baghdad: make an absurd demand - go to hell Uncle Sam. Ankara: make an absurd demand - go to hell Uncle Sam. Palestine: make an absurd demand - oh no, not again. At least stick to the private telephone for such antics. Is there a more appropriate word that Ridiculous.


I have always had the impression that the war lovers' enthusiasm feeds on the fact that the wars they enthuse over tend to be conveniently far away.

I restate that Israel is as behaving as aggressively as they do because they feel that they can do so with impunity, not because they are compelled by anything.

The Neocons, ever since they stopped flirting with thermonuclear war, and their Neo-Wilsonian counterparts, likewise enthuse over wars against weaker players that have no means to retaliate the US.

The Quataris are also projecting power because they can, not because they must. There is nothing that compels them to intervene in places like Libya or Syria.

These splendid little wars of choice are luxuries they are able to afford.


Prof Brenner wrote: ". There is neither excuse nor reasonable explanation for conducting serious national business in this slapdash manner.". With all due respect Prof I reply "nonsense". There is a damn good explanation...the all consuming need to, quickly, publicly, and constantly, prove you are 'with the team'. On the same 'page' with the spin of the day. Hagel saw the wind changing...and he made his adjustments. And if he had any doubts about the substantive aspects of the allegations against Syria (and all one has to do is read his statement closely to see all the qualifications, but how many read things closely) he could simply tell himself, 'that I can better influence policy by making sure I am not 'off the reservation' so to speak. And if really pressed by the media, or anyone in the White House or Congress, I can start talking about Vietnam. That always intimidates the 30 some year old hi-tech political House of Cards hotshots. As least for a while.

Allen Thomson

There's an interesting article and discussion on standards of evidence for sarin use at Arms Control Wonk:


stanley henning

Looks like another Iraqi-style intelligence effort. Wake up America and be wary of our sources.


I agree with this depiction of things. Surely, though, that reality is not an acceptable 'excuse.' And I don't find the explanation 'reasonable' in the sense of acceptable. Sadly, it has become more than acceptable - it is the norm, as you rightly say.

The overall effect is to diminish, rather than increase, his influence in the administration. Obama wants passive deference. When a strong-willed person confronts him, he always folds like the weakling he is.

Edward Amame

Obama's budget isn't going to happen. His proposal to cut Soc Sec rightly got hit from left and right and prompted discussions on left and right about expanding the program in light of the perceived failure of 401Ks to generate the kinds of savings needed for retirement in the mostly post-pension US.

Just a reminder about how the sequester came about. In summer 2011, Congress was stalemated over raising the debt ceiling without accompanying big deficit reductions. Congressional grand bargain negotiations started up and then fell apart. So GOPers put out a plan that would make some cuts right away and create a new bipartisan committee to propose more cuts later. GOPers wanted a trigger if the committee couldn't agree on those further cuts. The WH came up with sequestration as the trigger which would go into effect automatically if no deal was reached. It was based on the trigger in the the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act which also was about deficit reduction in the mid-80s. The sequester was designed as an across-the-board cut and so painful that congress would do anything to avoid it.

The sequester ends when congress passes a budget deal that has around $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

Also. I just saw a graph of GDP for the first quarter 2013 showing defense taking a big hit, something like -.6%.

The beaver

Here we go:

"The Iranians are watching, the whole world is watching too, and we should also see what happens," Elkin told Israel's Army Radio, when asked how U.S. strategy on Syria might unfold.

"There is a question here of when you set a red line, do you stand behind it?"

I guess I should read "which path to Persia' again.


Oh god. I really hope not. But from afar it looks as if they are removing all the tactical impediments to an intervention against Iran. I have no idea why this is strategically attractive. But there you go.


from obama speech in Texas;

"America needs towns that holds fundraisers to help folks pay the medical bills and then take the time to drop off a home-cooked meal, because they know a family is under stress. America needs communities where there’s always somebody to call if your car gets stuck or your house gets flooded. We need people who so love their neighbors as themselves that they’re willing to lay down their lives for them."

America, likely already has many such towns, if you live in small towns, you know. What America does not need is Washington and Capitol. many of our ills will disappear.


Did Obama say this with a straight face?

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