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24 February 2018


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Much ado about the Egyptian-Israeli gas deal.


Economically it's a one-off of no long-term relevance for the relations between the two countries. I would guess that there is money ending up in the pockets of the Egyptian army.

For a real comparison of the twocountries economic ties. Israel and Lithuania are of similar importance for Egypt.

In 2016 Egypt exported for 50.9 mio. dollars goods and services to Israel and imported 40.1 mio. dollars worth from Israel.

In comparison Egypt imported for 64.8 mio from Lithuania, exports was 10.2 mio.

The interesting bit is what impact the gas deal will have on the proposed joint gas line for Cyprus-Israel to Greece. Even with 2 billion Euros in free taxpayer money from the EU it's the most expensive export route.

Unless gas prices will increase with 40-60% by 2025 as the planners assume only gas volume can make the line marginally profitable. The price increases are doubtful giving that the EU assumes a reduced demand for gas because of an increase in wind and solar power. So selling off gas to Egypt could affect the implementation of the Cyprus-Israel gas line deal.

Not In Istanbul


Purported footage of the gunning down of those Russian contractors. Moscow has been very mum, but as other commenters have reported the movement of new aircraft seems to be geared towards more air-to-air than anything else. Whether it is signaling or something else, that remains to be seen.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

That could go sideways in a hurry



I really like the style of "Dictator-for-Life" Zack Beauchamp of VOX. True he didn't explain how or why the Steele dossier was 'corroborated' independently. I wonder why would the FBI spend hours 'corroborating' the thing if it wasn't used, other than to bill some fraudulent OT hours, but then I'm not a dictator or a hack at VOX? The footnotes are great too. Did anyone at the Committee ask how much Fusion GPS was paid directly or indirectly by the US Government? Or is that in memo footnote #28, the one of many that’s redacted?

I appreciate Congressman Schiff's point about Bruce Ohr. “Well respected career professional…” he, like Bruce, leaves out that Bruce's wife worked for the same firm that paid Christopher Steele. For that stuff that didn't need to be paid for, because the FBI already had it. Can any of the lawyers out there say if falsifying a federal conflict of interest for is important? I would think that's a felony. I sure hope somebody can explain that to the minority member of the committee.

More important is the Congressman's first point:
"In fact, the DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in thier duty had they not sought...."
Sounds good, so when did they warn both of the candidates that the Russians were trying to plant "operatives" within the campaign staffs so as to interfere with the election? Sounds like they were remiss in that duty to warn - kind of like the FBI agents who failed to warn the police in Florida about a potential high school shooter - you know the one who just killed 17 people. I wonder if they'll get their names redacted from the record? They should call somebody in Washington for a favor, isn't that how it's done amongst "well respected career professionals"? Thanks FBI, way to go.


I agree that the A50 is the most significant. Wouldn't be surprised if the Su-57 will be used to warn off US aircraft in eastern Syria.

The other aircraft are probably replacements. The Russian area has grown but mainly in maintenance and cargo-areas. The northwest platform is used for the combat aircraft and has been increased by a small platform on the opposite site of the runway which can by used by about 4 aircraft.


Here's the... er... rebuttal to the rebuttal:




I understand from this that you, too, would not have risked your precious ass to try tp save these kids. And you think that because VV is a veteran he has probably become a coward as well. you don't think armed resistance to tyranny is a viable concept. you would have made a fine Tory and not much use at places like Concord and King's Mountain. pl


In many ways I agree with you, we don't have cable and for the most part watch nonviolent movies and play no video games.



Which post 18th Century political ideas and ideals do you think are worth emulating? pl

Leaky Ranger

Fred, if you don't like Vox, here's national security focused, and very staid, Lawfare

The document is devastating because the core claim of ranking Democrat Adam Schiff and his colleagues is that the House intelligence committee majority left out key facts from its analysis in such fashion as to effectively lie about the FBI’s FISA application against former Trump adviser Carter Page in the fall of 2016. The supposedly left-out facts constitute the body of the Demo. And if the Democrats are being even generally accurate as to the material that the majority omitted from the original memo, then there is little left of the original document. Entitled “Correcting the Record—the Russia Investigations,” the document thus raises serious questions, certainly not for the first time, about whether Chairman Nunes and his colleagues are acting in good faith.

Eric Newhill

How do you justify Islam and sharia, etc. Is it not the product of ancient thinking? And the associated violence? I did not realize that Hollywood has such a large impact on the Islamic world.

I am honored that you class me in with Fred and Tyler. Who can stop us? A bunch of disarmed tansgendered Californians?

Babak Makkinejad

A negative one, that Men cannot be free. Another negative one, that Free Markets destroy human substance, if left free. That the City of Man is a monstrosity and the City of God unreachable. That Constituional Orders are un-natural and have to be constantly maintained.

Babak Makkinejad

Islamic Tradition suffers, as you have correctly observed, from the dead weight of its historical roots. But, in this case, the history is 1400 years and in case of the United States not more than 300.


Agree with--general agreement, anyway--regards the tv/movie stimuli. It HAS to have some profound impact...absent my ability to demonstrate, scientifically, what that impact it. I take it (your assertion) as a matter of faith and I embrace it. But we both know the likelihood
is......you finish the sentence.

On the other, you wrote: "But many Americans are daft, they take the political ideas and ideals of the 18-th century as though the intervening 300 years have been irrelevant".

I strongly disagree with the idea that the Founding Fathers thought they were implementing the "...ideas and ideals of the 18th century..." I think they thought they were implementing ideas/concepts/laws that were eternal. They conceived the idea that a river, TO BE a river" it must be contained by banks. The river itself, and it banks, can and will change in "300 years", but the concept of what MUST be, to make a river a river, does not change. IOW...you friggin need banks...or the river dissipates.

They may have been wrong in their assumptions. I grant you that. I don't think they were, but what the hell. And that primary assumption is man is flawed. Govts, therefore, are flawed. Best to make them weak as possible...*but no more so than that*. And they set up a Republic. Rejecting what might today be called, 'pure democracy'. We, in the United States, in the name of a futile quest to assuage our 'guilt'---or, if you like, to coin a popular phrase today, our privilege' are aggressively working to destroy our Republic. And we are doing a damn good job of it. And we will sorely regret it when we are done. But I suspect I will be personally 'done' before then. So I sit and watch with awed unease as it all unfolds.



"...they take the political ideas and ideals of the 18-th century as though the intervening 300 years have been irrelevant."

Kneeling in submission is what the slaves of the Great King did. I think a few of us understand the great ideas that intervened in those centuries, like those of Marx, Lennin, and that fine French trained intellectual of Pol Pot's glorious government, Brother #3; and those ideas are abominations that must be fought. Today, thanks to movements like OFA, "Never again" is nothing more than a slogan being chanted by Baby De-Ray while Boss Hogg explains why his deputies (who now deserve four times the armed security 3,000 students at Parkland High School deserved) did no wrong:

Armed guards:



Democracy dies in darkness. Open televised hearings with no redactions. Let the defendants take the fifth, like members of Clinton and McCain's staff did. What is the Democratic Party leadership afraid of?


On his show, cross talk, I have seen him vociferously object to the viewpoint of a guest, but still lets the guest clearly state their point of view - even when they refuse to back it up with evidence, and invites similar guests onto his show from time to time. Also, his show is not a shouting fest of slogans (with no information content), as has become popular in the US. He has his biases as everyone does, but is quite open about them. it also does a fairly decent job of characterizing the Russian strategic point of view in that it generally agrees with Russian actions.

In contrast, US actions and the viewpoints spread on our media are typically different.

I would say his work is worth your time to investigate as useful to yourself, in the same way I would recommend not wasting your time on Rachel Maddow.

Reminds me of the palace court intrigues in the 1700s and 1800s in Europe.


I rather think that Islamic Tradition suffers from EXPLICITELY recommending submission of non believers by war and similarly, punishment of faulty believers by barbarous means, amputation, lapidation and beheading for apostates.

Babak Makkinejad

Man as machine, society as Machine, both subject to mechanical forces of Newtonian physics was the backbone of that century. We now know better yet the tyranny of that century persists. How many times have you come across phrases such as "social forces" etc?

Babak Makkinejad

The idea of "pursuit of happiness", for example, is now invoked in pursuit of individual license which first harms that fool who invokes it, then his family and relatives, and then every one else. Paradoxically, we are in a situation that we have to take his or her liberty away in order to save him from the consequences of his own choices.



Well put. As Hobsbawm might have said, some people learn from history how to avoid mistakes of the past; many learn from history how to force the mistakes of the past on the present.

Having said that, I think you're not being fair to the Founders of US, who were not as sanguine about the City of Men as their European counterparts. Most of them knew how difficult it was to maintain a proper Constitutional Order were most were openly skeptical about how long their great experiment would last. Contrast that to the European thinkers many of whom naively believed that some enlightened despot could chain the unlightened masses to the idol of "Liberty(tm)" with sword point and mass murders and looked to the tyrants of Prussia and Russia who only gave them lip service for inspiration. A bit of caricature perhaps, but reliance on the magically enlightened despots as the solution to society's problems did free them from having to think about actual governance, society, and other "complicated" concerns of practice and allowed them to concentrate on what their utopia should look like.

If anything, many of the problems today come from the triuimph of the "European" way of thinking, that people could be forcibly (and easily) be "enlightened" through the gilded chains of "Freedom(tm)." We could probably use more of the pragmatic cynicism tempered by hope and faith that guided the US Founding Fathers.

Babak Makkinejad

I am not sure why my observations have been misconstrued as a criticism of the framers of US Constituion. My point was that a lot has happened both in political theory as well as in political history since that time.


turcopolier at 32
Sir, I would risk my "precious ass" - in the defence of what I believe in. I demonstrated this by risking my professional carrier and opposing an (american) boss who compared me to the "nazis", I demonstrated it in physical fight with a man half my age (of course I lost a tooth and had mild concussion) - As far as my question to Viet Veteran is concerned - it was simply extrapolation of what what my old man was sick of - he was veteran of WW 1, and could not even enjoy the new years celebrtions with fireworks, because it reminded him too much of the front lines and he was in the trenches...
I understand that some veterans became pacifist, that is all. I did not mean to offend Viet Veteran by any means and I am truly sorry if he was offended.


I think you misunderstand what was meant by the 'pursuit of happiness' but it is an ambiguous phrase.

different clue

( This is a purely parenthetical little thought and concern) . . .

I still wonder whether we should consider fellow committee-member confused ponderer as being the same person as before, or as a new person using the old name. I know a theory has been advanced explaining why this confused ponderer is a new person using the old name.

But the fact that our host permits this confused ponderer to use the confused ponderer name here, and even replies to confused ponderer by that name here on these threads, makes me think that confused ponderer could be the same person as before.

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