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19 January 2016


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So, how are folks in Iowa, NH, SC and Super Tuesday gonna vote in a few weeks? Will Donald and Bernie break through? Is Hillary going to bring the Democrat primary voters home?

I'm curious how polling meets reality. And I wonder if the rumored endorsement of Trump by Palin helps or hurts him.

Can't wait for February!


Those who talk of, or hope for an independent Kurdish state, must not know the geography and the demography that will surround such an state. If it was not for this geography Kurds and their supporters would have declared independence many decades ago. Whatever one may think is wrong with final boarders drawn by
Sykes Picot agreement, one noticeable thing is no sate was left without a least one port sea access. A future independent Kurdistan will be a land luck country bordering on all sides to four powerful countries that this new independent country was carved out off, meaning they most probably will not recognize this new state.
As such these potential hostile neighbors will not allow land or air access to an entity they do not recognize. This is a correct not only for Turkey, but also Iran, Iraq and Syria. That could have been like having and Israel without the access to Mediterranean sea.


I believe that Donald Trump is the PT Barnum of our times. Barnum wrote The Art of Money Getting 1880, and Trump wrote The Art of The Deal 1987. Both are master promoters and have used hoaxes to great effect in order to capture attention and entertain. Barnum ran a circus; today’s circus is a media circus http://www.sho.com/sho/the-circus-inside-the-greatest-political-show-on-earth/home and Trump is its ringmaster. Barnum served in the Connecticut Legislature and as mayor of Bridgeport; our times allow Trump to set his sights higher. Mr. Barnum once said "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me"; the same can be said of Mr. Trump.



Here is an article about looting by the Shia militias of the Baiji refinery complex after government forces retook it from ISIS. I think a functional refinery system is critical to any long-term economic future for Sunni Iraq.


China and Saudi Arabia sign MOU for nuclear reactor. http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/energy/saudi-arabia-china-sign-mou-to-build-nuclear-reactor-1.1656541


Some electionary curiosities

This afternoon, I got into listening to a friend who is a Trump supporter. About all he could talk about was how Trump was going to solve the illegal immigration problem. The friend is quite well-off and probably has a yard service cutting his lawn at a price not attainable with legal yard workers. His consumption of illegal labor is very beneficial to him, not only in keeping his yard manicured, but also keeping his food affordable.

The following two articles seem to me to apply to my friend who seems intent in voting against his own economic interests. If he were a high school dropout, then it might make sense, but for a high paid earner, it does not.




Trey N

Well, JMH, compared to the lying, thieving, psychopathic whores who have been running this country for the past few decades and are the other choices currently on the top ballot, a successful snake oil salesman looks pretty damn good. He certainly has my vote.

(Actually, anybody who so obviously has the Establishment panties in a wad like Trump does would get my vote....)


Turkey's unchanging interest rate policy, pushed by Erdogan, is severely hurting the lira on world exchanges. http://www.todayszaman.com/business_turkeys-central-bank-keeps-rate-on-hold-despite-pressure-on-lira_410020.html
I would contrast this with Russia's policy of raising interest rates to protect against currency outflows.
One would expect Erdogan's policy will make it difficult to cost effectively refinance public debt and infrastructure projects long-term.

Babak Makkinejad

It is not the geography.

It is a collective quality of spirit which they lack in sufficient amount to have created a state or a kingdom during historical times.

Xenophon and the Ten Thousand fought their way through Kurdish areas but even at that time there was not a Kurdish Kingdom there.

But there has been several Armenian Kingdoms throughout historical times before Ottoman and Russian Empires extinguished them.

Who would forget the fair Shirin?

In a way, they are similar to Sikhs - but Sikhs at least know their own limitation - that they are fighters but not administrators and state-builders.


Interesting comments in the press speculating whether Ash Carter will/will not have a star removed from Mr. Petraeus. I guess if your dropping stars on others for similar transgressions then what is good for one is also good for the other. He had his little Paula. He allowed important data be perused by and kept at Ms. Broadwells property but most importantly he downgraded a MOH recommendation without authority and then thought better of it and had it lost eventually he approved with recommendation on the 2nd MOH packet a year later. All has been proven except the intentional loss of the 1st packet but it occurred in his command.
Now with those three known transgressions will he become BG Petraeus?


All -

New Russian Defense Ministry Syria briefing is at


or at colonelcassadlivejournal.com (w/english subtitles) I use Yandex to translate this site.


"(Actually, anybody who so obviously has the Establishment panties in a wad like Trump does would get my vote....)"

Exactly! I think this fact is one of the biggest reasons for people supporting him. It's why they don't seem to care about his gaffes and contradictions, and why he appeals to people on the both sides of the (traditionally conceived) left and right, as well as independent voters. The more he drives the establishment crazy trying to "understand" his appeal the more people support him. Clearly the establishment is underestimating (or blind to) the power of the "fuck you" vote!

I read an article a few weeks ago about how college-educated voters were reluctant to tell pollsters of their support for Trump, which skews the polling. Trump is being attacked and ,at so loudly in the public eye people are reluctant to tell others they will vote for him.


Saudi Arabia sure knows how to deploy the diplomatic firepower: Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti, and the Comoros Islands. See http://gulfnews.com/news/africa/comoros-becomes-latest-country-to-sever-ties-with-iran-1.1654175

Surrender now, Persians. Surrender now.


Shillary feeling the Bern, down 27 in New Hampshire!


no one

Babak, Armenians have not forgotten that the Kurds helped the Ottomans in the genocide. In many towns that were wiped out in 1915, it was the Kurds that did the killing. They then occupied the homes and used the fields and livestock built up by those they killed. I'm glad the Kurds are, for the moment, useful. After that, let them roam without a country like the bandits they have always been.

Chris Chuba

Turkey Enters Syrian Territory through Jarablus
I found two different sources...

I am certain that Putin had already discussed this possibility with Assad. It is a tricky situation if true. If you let the Turks stay they might not leave and they will create a safe haven for their flavor of rebels. R+6 could still isolate them from ISIS by taking a corridor further south but still.
If you play hardcore and insist they leave right away and start bombing them then it will be very unpopular in the U.S. and internationally because the Turks will say that they are fighting ISIS. We shall see.


Syria – Economic Observations January 2016
• Population: At the beginning of the civil war it was roughly 21 million. Now the population is 17.5 million. Roughly 11 million people are displaced or refugees both domestically or internationally. Life expectancy in Syria is 55.7 years in 2015 down from 75.9 years in 2010.
• Gross Domestic Product: The economy in Syria has contracted 50% since 2011. Syrian businesses have displaced to Turkey and Lebanon with 25% of companies with foreign shareholders started in Turkey in 2014 were Syrian. GDP is estimated to decline 16% in 2016. Unemployment is about 57%
• Government: The fiscal deficit is 20% of GDP. The Syrian pound trades around 312 to the USD down about 80% since the beginning of the conflict. Through 2014 the cost of the war was 383% of the 2010 GDP.
• Energy: Effective electrical generation is down 70% since the conflict began. Government controlled oil production has fallen from 387K BPD to about 10K BPD. ISIS has somewhere around 60K BPD and Kurds a similar amount though both are likely down hard in recent months.
• Food: Fragmentation of the country has increased transportation costs so that it is more economical to import wheat from the Black Sea than to buy it and transport it from Hasakah to Damascus.




So a Bernie Sanders supporter (the author of The Hill article) trots out some anecdotes about the value of immigration. I especially liked the 61% increase in retail milk prices due to eliminating illegal labor. I would think the value of that labor is the perfect reason to eliminate milk price subsidies. Of course two years ago that was going to drive milk to $7 a gallon:



The latest CNN poll in New Hampshire shows Sanders up 60-33 over Clinton. The poll also shows that Clinton is viewed as the least honest candidate by 55%, up from 33% in Sept., and 44% in Dec.


I live in Iowa and see little evidence of Clinton spending her vast campaign resources--no yard signs in my town, and no flyers in my mailbox which gets stuffed with Sanders literature daily. Maybe she's on TV, but fewer and fewer watch local stations anymore.

I think Sanders will carry Iowa. Trump? I have no idea, but I imagine it will be close with Cruz.

Honestly, I don't see a whole lot of caucus enthusiasm here on either the dem or repub sides, at least compared to 8 yrs. ago. Apparently, Obama has devalued hope and change for the most part.


I suspect your friend could take the hit to his lawncare budget and even his food budget in the event that illegal immigration is halted.

In other words, illegal immigration drives down wages, but the impact for most Americans isn't on their lawncare costs but directly on their wages.

As far as the mantra goes--that illegals do the work Americans don't want to do--pay wages sufficiently high to attract US workers to those "bad jobs" and we would see if the mantra is true or not.



Could you suggest a good biography of Robert E. Lee?


Quite a bit recently on how ISIS and co. are faring in Syria. How are things going in Iraq? (No, I don't trust most of our media on its reporting on this.)



DS Freeman pl

Ishmael Zechariah

Re: " A future independent Kurdistan will be a land luck country bordering on all sides to four powerful countries that this new independent country was carved out off, meaning they most probably will not recognize this new state.
As such these potential hostile neighbors will not allow land or air access to an entity they do not recognize."

Aye. There is the rub. This is the problem which shapes our ends. Thus the current efforts by some unnamed powers to get the kurds a corridor to the Med. ME will be boiling for a long time.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

I would characterize this as rumor and innuendo; specially given the source.

It is however true that a lot of Iraq's infrastructure was looted and sold in Iran during US occupation; things like copper wires could be bought across the border in Khyzestan.

Later, in Aleppo, anti-government forces looted the warehouses and industrial machineries and sold them in Turkey.

That which they could not move, they cut up and sold as scrap in Turkey.

I suppose they considered that as appetizers of the Jihad Booty - to be followed by the womenfolk (or young boys) of the defeated SAR population.

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