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28 November 2016


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Ahrar will opt for the former = transfer to Idlib (and some "FSA" factions will give up completely and join the reconciliation process).

And the blamegame already has begun:
One of the reasons why rebels didn't break the siege of East Aleppo bc rebels had smokers among their ranks according to one rebel
Ridiculous as it may sound this is a "theological" issue about how strict to follow sharia law. In Ahrar-dominated areas you are allowed to smoke, with Nusra rather not ...

mike allen

Colonel -

SAA ball caps is what I meant also. My point was that they (the jihadis west of Castiello road) have a safe reverse ratline back to Turkey. Erdogan will resettle them in eastern Turkey in Kurdish cities and villages to complete his ethnic cleansing.

FB Ali

Moon of Alabama had a report on Nov 25 on this incident, which I think clarifies the matter. It is at:



correction: North of Damascus.


Let's hope that argument will be accepted.

Ishmael Zechariah

Gen. Ali,
Thanks. I did know this story at MoA. However, it is rumored that our radars did NOT show any attacking aircraft-this is peculiar given the assets of SAA and the aircraft fielded by the Russians. In addition, the tayyiban government and its megaphones dropped the story like a hot potato-it has vanished.
There might be more to this story.
Ishmael Zechariah
P.s: I am trying to find a proper tughra for tayyip-the-klept for Col. Lang, but have had no luck so far.


How about مضمحل (Mozmahel)

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

So, if I understand you correctly, there is no mechanism within the United States constitutional framework which could be used to adjudicate between the rights of the states and those of the federal government of those states.

US Supreme Court cannot perform that adjudication since it is itself an instrumentality of the US Federal Government - is that a correct understanding?

Patrick Bahzad

Think it was signalled in very clear terms that al-Bab was off limits for the Turks. Any area the legitimate Syrian gov (Assad) and army (SAA) can reasonably control will probably be considered the same way.
As for an American response, why should there be any ? Other than making sure there is no escalation dragging NATO into conflict with Russia, the best option is probably to monitor the situation closely and "don't do sh*t unless ..."

Patrick Bahzad

That depends on how much of the rebel LOCs into the Idlib area will remain open, how many fighters will pour into the area coming from various other regions they are currently being expelled from and how much of an interest Turkey has in closing those borders, as opposed to weighing in more heavily to defend Turkmen minorities in that area.
It's an equation with various unknowns, but overall, I suppose once Aleppo has fallen, the R+6 would probably be happy enough to suppress an insurgency in remote areas further away from regions with greater logistical, economical and demographic importance.

Patrick Bahzad

We shall see

Patrick Bahzad

Again, I'm not putting any money on which rebel faction doing what and when. They are all proxies for one of the larger players in this game, whether that is one of the regional powers, the US or Russia, or the Jihadi Multinationals (IS and AQ).
As a matter of fact, there is strong enough evidence to suggest that a significant part of those groups are being infiltrated at various levels by JaN/JFS/AQ-central and depend on skills, equipment and coordination that can only be provided by AQ. Says it all ...



In principle federal law is supreme, but that principle is subject to challenge by the states in federal courts which often do not accept federal claims as to the constitutionality of specific federal law. You must remember that the federal judiciary is not subordinate to any other part of the government and Article 3 judges are appointed for life. For this reason the people who are federal judges matter very much especially at SCOTUS. pl

Babak Makkinejad

But these leaves the states in a fundamentally weaker position.

One could imagine a Court of Final Arbitration in which states would submit their judges and the US federal government theirs; and then those judges could arbitrate in matters between State Rights and Federal Rights.

It is what it is - but over the decades and centuries states will become weaker and weaker; in my opinion.



That would require a constitutional amendment and you would never get one because of the desires of the centralizers like Origin who want to see the country homogenized. Trump's election and the possession of control of the senate by the Republicans is likely to lead to the appointment of numerous judges opposed to centralization. The multi-culti centralizers understand this. This is the reason for much of their angst. pl



"as did the leadership of the states that became the Confederacy. "

That's a bit of revisionist history. Virginia voted against secession the first time out (April 4th) and only voted the second after Lincoln's call "in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand,"

Given Lincoln's historical precedence the "sanctuary" cities, universities etc may want to think long and hard about what Trump can do to because, well, to quote Lincoln: "WHEREAS the laws of the United States have been, for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed..."



That would require a constitutional amendment and you would never get one because of the desires of the centralizers like Origin who want to see the country homogenized. ...The multi-culti centralizers understand this.

Somehow, I have never conceived of myself as a "multi-culti centralizer" before, but perhaps, I should ponder the possibilities of such a label. I may even consider a post on the possibility of the label and its implications at some later time when I am not so tied up writing law things for work. Last week it was a real pleasure to have some time to post at length. Unfortunately, this week I cannot because I as a time slave, I have to work.

However, I am not in favor of eliminating the Electoral Collage as I have previously explained my position and the real genius of the idea itself.

There is one thought though that might add to this discussion. If the damn it, I'm American de-centralizers are not careful, the genuine centralizers are going to eat up this country. It has always been my view that the Republican establishment lacks any sense of the consequences of the fatal flaw in markets, the inevitable tendency of markets to move toward concentration.

As an example, my Congressman, Tom Price, who thankfully is about to leave on his quest to go destroy Medicare and Social Security by privatization is a true centralizer. We only have about five or so medical insurance enterprises that carry almost all of the coverage for the nation. https://www.thebalance.com/the-big-five-health-insurance-companies-2663838 Blue Cross alone covers over 106 million of the 325,000,000 people in the U.S. (33%). United Health Group covers 70,000,000 or almost 22% of the people. Aetna with about 20,000,000 members about 6%. Humana insures about 13,000,000, about 4%. Kaiser Permanente insures about 10,000,000,3%.


The inevitable trend is for the huge fish to eat up the really big fish. Do not be surprised to see BC-BS or UHG try to swallow-up the smaller ones to get greater power. The fix is already in with Trumps appointment of Joshua Wright who has spend his career opposing anti-trust enforcement. https://www.competitionpolicyinternational.com/us-former-ftc-commissioner-to-lead-trump-transition-on-antitrust/

Tom's idea is to substitute the single payer system of Medicare with a voucher system so elderly people will be forced into the clutches of the highly concentrated U.S. Health Insurers. His argument against Medicare is that the government is in the way of patient treatment and patient-doctor collaboration and need to get out of the healthcare business altogether. What he wants to do is subject us all to monopolist pricing by his friends.

Let's consider the bait and switch inherent in Tom's proposition. A casual reader would think, good, I will be able to make more of my healthcare decisions in consultation with my physician.

The reality is that Medicare approves and pays for the procedures is decides it likes. The patient and the doctor is stuck with Medicare's decisions and regulations. There is no real incentive for Medicare to kill-off expensive patients because the citizenry like it and the Congress's tenure in office is slightly affected by how much people like Medicare. An aggrieved patient can call the constituent services office of his Senator or Representative and obtain get some effective help. Under Medicare, at least you get to vote for a Senator or Congressman for whatever that is worth.

Most importantly, with government single payer Medicare, the government does not need to take tax money and Medicare premiums and distribute to it shareholders as profit.

Under Tom's plan, he wants his friends who we do not have any control over to manage our Medicare. Go to the links I listed above. You will see that the circle of deciders in the Healthcare industry is very small. The citizens have no way to affect them, no vote, no real influence. Their interests they will pursue are not good for us regular citizens.

And, most importantly, these people want to make a profit off of old people. It is in their economic interest that the sick die fast.

The whole thing is a deceptive con and scam.

Meanwhile, Twittering Trump is deflecting the "lefty-librals" with his flag-burning as a part of his three-card-monte game.

In the monopoly health care industry, micro-economic theory will result in the skyrocketing of the co-pay part not covered by the government voucher will increase until it breaks the senior who need care and they drop out. Health insurance will be priced along the line of this http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/25/news/economy/cancer-drug-cost/index.html

Who profits--The people who will have the real control of privatized Medicare will be profit maximizers, a layer of medical expense that government Medicare does not have.

It will not the people who voted for Trump because "he tell it like it is" Tyler, I assume you are over or near 65. The fact is your vote for Trump may kill you when you cannot sustain monopoly pricing for your privatized Medicare. The Republican powers now in place will be the real centralizers, they will centralize even more money into the top .0001 percent.

In the meantime, Trump will shill with his Tweets while the People are robbed blind and the nation's interests are bartered for a new Trump tower in some godforsaken third-world dictatorship.

The multi-culties and the Noble Deplorables have more in common than either group imagines. They need to come together and "centralize" themselves against those who are clandestinely stealing our country.



From the length of this comment you do not seem short of time. pl

Sam Peralta

The issue is non-enforcement of Robinson-Patman.

Bill Clinton did not do it. Neither did George Bush or Barack Obama. And Trump will not either, just as Hillary Clinton would not have.

Health care costs have been rising at 9% per year for over 30 years. Medicare & Medicaid already represent a third of federal expenditures. At this rate it will collapse federal government finances in two decades. MRW and the MMT crowd will chime in that the federal government can spend to infinity with zero costs to the economy. We're going to find out if that is true soon enough as healthcare becomes a larger and larger piece of the federal budget.


Sam Peralta

Why is it that the economies of Canada, the UK and France do not collapse under the burden of universal health care? pl

Ken Roberts

I'll go a step further -- from personal experience, universal health care can encourage free enterprise. When I was contemplating going out on my own, leaving company going free-lance, selling my services, one risk was that sickness could destroy my ability to work, ie no revenue stream coming in. But being not at risk of having to additionally pay big bucks, huge expenses going out, made the risk much less.

So yeah, socialized medicine helped an entrepreneur. Sorry to bust the bubble of ideologues.

Talk with, or better yet observe, farmers and fishermen and others who work with uncontrolled nature, and you realize that they are among the most socially aware, helping of others (in the group) types. It's only in the luxury of cities, with lots of services, that a person can pretend he does not need to rely upon and trust his neighbours.

An aside, or rather a return to topic... Russia has sent a mobile hospital to Aleppo. Good move, both practical humanitarian and also counters the hospitals-bombed meme.

Sam Peralta

Col. Lang

I'm not any expert on health care finance but I believe in Canada, UK & France there is healthcare rationing and price controls. In any case they spend half what we spend on a per capita basis and as a ratio to GDP.

Medicare and Medicaid are examples of socialized medicine in the US that are running away in terms of growth rate of expenditures and doubling every 8 years. My point is that this will collapse federal government finances as healthcare expenditures become an ever larger percentage of the federal budget within the next decade or two.

In 1970 the federal government spent $12 billion on healthcare which represented 1.12% of GDP. In 2015 it was over $1,028 billion representing 5.7% of GDP. In 1960 as a nation we spent 5% of GDP on healthcare in the US. By 2013 it grew to 17.4%. This clearly is not sustainable.

Socialized medicine is no panacea unless it is accompanied by rationing and price controls to bring down costs. If we were to get our spend to the same per capita level as UK, Canada and France then we have to cut healthcare expenditures by half. That means the federal government can only spend $500 billion and not a trillion dollars as it does currently. Who is going to bear those cuts? Drug companies, doctors, hospitals, grandma? IMO, we can be certain that there will be no political will for those cuts. So, on the current path the federal government's healthcare spend will double to $2 trillion in 2023 and will become $4 trillion in 2031. Now, MRW and all the other MMT folks who comment here will say that's not a problem as the federal government can spend to infinity with zero deleterious effects on the economy and the bond market. In fact they argue that is a good thing and government boondoggles are highly beneficial.

My other point is that to get a national healthcare system that covers 100% of the population and which will ration healthcare (aka death panels) will require legislation. That's gonna take forever in our current political climate. So, the next best thing that can be done is to enforce existing law, in particular Robinson-Patman. For example, I suppose the DoJ can sue the FDA for anti-competitive practices and restraint on trade by preventing entrepreneurs from buying identical pharma products in Canada and selling them here at a substantial discount to prevailing prices. I am not a lawyer so don't know exactly who and how that Act gets enforced.


Sam Peralta

It is my understanding that discretionary procedures like hip replacements are effectively rationed in Canada. pl


Sam Peralta "My other point is that to get a national healthcare system that covers 100% of the population and which will ration healthcare (aka death panels) will require legislation."

Death panels exist and have existed for years. Healthcare is already rationed. The insurance companies call it "pre-authorization" and the patients have no meaningful input in the process. Hospitals do it all the time when they decide who remains in the intensive care ward and who is sent to hospice.

Face the facts. As long as the profit motive exists, it is the primary driver of healthcare rationing. It is in the best interest of the shareholders of insurers that the seriously sick die quickly. The public has absolutely no control over how insurance companies are operated and what patient care goals they set. About ten multi-billionaire families make those decisions for us and their interests do not mesh with those of Bubba or Sue or any of us who read or write on this blog. Their goal is to maximize the price of insurance and minimize the care provided and to gather the power to make those decisions into as few of them as possible.

The conservative idea that to allow the market regulate healthcare as the best way for them is true. Without regulation, all healthcare companies will consolidate into a handful of entities and a very few families will reap the benefits. That is what free markets do; they move towards extreme concentration unless restrained.

Nobody in the Republican Party is going to enforce Robinson-Patman. They might repeal or defang it though. And Trump's DOJ is not going to do anything either other than counsel as to how Medicare and Social Security can best be privatized for the profit of Trump's friends.

These folks do have a plan to create a national healthcare system that covers 100% of Americans. They are well along the way to reaching their goal by soon forcing everybody to buy an insurance policy from one of the surviving two or three national insurance companies who will price it all as expensively as possible and pocket as much profit to the few families as possible.

As a result, healthcare will not collapse the government, healthcare companies will collapse all of the people instead.

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