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Okay, I am slightly off topic here. I was looking for some confirmation of the Syrian/allied artillery exchange with the Turks. I came across this piece that was in the Times on the first. There may be others out there that sometimes feel a bit unsure about where things are happening due to map scale or maps in languages you do not read. I like the map in this article. I had not realized that our Special Forces, and presumably A.F. forward observers, were this far west into Syria.
I assume that we all agree that in June of 2016 Trump, Jr., Kushner and Manafort had a meeting in the Trump Tower with a Russian Lobbyist, a lawyer who claimed to have ties to the highest levels of the Kremlin, a publicist for the Russians, and a couple of other members of the Russian party. The lawyer may have been blowing smoke. But Jr. did say that he was thrilled that the Russians had "dirt" on Clinton. Maybe I am too gray headed and too long in the tooth, but the idea that a presidential political campaign is holding meetings with persons saying they are close to leaders of a govt. which, if not an enemy, is considered to be an adversary of the U.S. does strike me as just way out there. Let's change the scenario. Manafort comes in and tells the boys that he has found a potential donor with lot's of bread. They set up a meeting at the donor's condo. They walk in and over in the corner is someone snorting a line. Out on the balcony two people are sharing a joint. They meet with the donor and he is a gentleman from South America in the import business. Wouldn't you expect them to turn and run, not walk, out of the building? And then there is this take on the whole business: The derangement has spread to the point that Rush Limbaugh recently suggested the Deep State had tried to bring down George W. Bush: "You remember what the intelligence agencies were telling us about the War in Iraq? ...There is detail, there were photos, there was conclusive evidence Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and it wasn't just us. It was MI-5, it was MI-6, it was intelligence agencies all over the world. What if the intel on the War in Iraq was another disinformation campaign to damage another Republican president? And boy did that work! Just what if, the quote-unquote intelligence community misrepresented on purpose the degree to which the Hussein had WMDs. Because I tell you it was a very, very embarrassing moment for the Bush administration." I look forward to more first rate, logical, incisive reports on Syria and Turkey and M. E. crazies.
I check in with this site from time to time because I find coverage of the Middle East that I will not find elsewhere. It has always been informative. But it is curious to find this remarkable devotion to Trumpism. In my book you have to really be bad to make Shrub look better. When he left office I was convinced the Iraq fiasco, with the attendant waste of blood and treasure would go down as the worst debacle in the foreign policy of the republic and Bush would be consigned to the bottom of the presidency. But with Trump we get someone who makes Bush and Cheney look reasonable and prudent. Oh my. For those who are interested here is the Simpson (Fusion GPS) testimony from last week. Warning: It is long, over 300 pages.
"Honesty is like virginity." Oh, no. We must always strive to remain honest.
Here is an observation from a friend who was flying over the Mediterranean at the time. "If this story is true, the “NSA asset” referred to was probably the “Willie Victor” (WV-2 or, in the “new” nomenclature, EC-121) from VQ-2 based in Rota, Spain. The Willie Victor was loitering around at 12,000’ in the Eastern Med when the Liberty was attacked. The transmissions between the Israeli aircraft and their controllers on the ground would have been UHF, thus strictly line-of-sight. The Willie Victor would have been the only NSA asset in a position to intercept these transmissions - other than the Liberty itself. Contrary to what the article says, I don’t believe that the transmissions quoted “have already been published in the past”. The UHF intercepts that have been published (to my knowledge) begin at a point in time after the jets and torpedo boats had completed their attacks. They reveal conversations between the Israeli helicopters that came to the scene after the attacks, and the helicopters’ controllers. These intercepts aren’t very informative - certainly not as inflammatory as the UHF exchanges quoted in the article. Mind you, I’m not saying that the article is incorrect. I believe the VQ-2 Willie Victor was recording all of the UHF transmissions before, during, and after the attack. But as far as I know the before-and-during transcripts haven’t been released publicly. If the quote in the article is genuine, it’s a big fucking deal. A sidelight to this story - the Israelis had to know that the Willie Victor was present. If the Liberty was attacked deliberately (which I believe), and the reason was to prevent the USA from learning about some ultra-sensitive Israeli goings-on (which is widely believed but which I have no opinion about), why didn’t the Israelis just shoot down the Willie Victor in addition to attacking the Liberty??? At a minimum, they would have known that the Willie Victor was intercepting their UHF communications, and had the goods on them re. the Liberty attack. Anybody else have any thoughts?
In the summer of 2001 Bush 43 had approval ratings hovering around 50%. After 9/11 they began to rise quickly and continued to in the early stages of the Iraqi invasion. When things are not going well at home perhaps it is time to look for some distractions in the Middle East.
"Do you want to fight to defense shared civilization or do you wan to surrender to the medievalists? Make your choice or shut up. pl" Sounds like 2003 again. I guess I shouldn't have raised the question of the exit strategy.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2017 on Sounds like a plan ... at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Do we have the capability of taking Raqqa? With enough men and materiel that is probably so. It will likely get very bloody, but these are determined troops. I don't doubt they can kill and/or capture many members of the IS. I also can recall apartments from my college days when I would walk into the kitchen at night, flip the light switch and see the roaches scatter. I suspect that there will be IS members who go to ground and wait for another day. There is no eliminating IS completely. Not until the support from Riyadh stops. The question I keep asking myself is what happens after the fall of Raqqa? Are we going to play Sheriff? Who will constitute the government? We did a quick job of overrunning Baghdad and then things began to got messy.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2017 on Sounds like a plan ... at Sic Semper Tyrannis
I saw the movie "Hidden Figures" on Monday. I realize they took some creative liberties, but I thought they caught the very real sense of urgency surrounding the initial manned space missions. It also sent me going back to read up on Euler equations for the first time in over 40 years. That doesn't happen every day. I thought the video of the launch was pretty amazing. The navy insisted that John Glenn's capsule land within a 20 sq. mile area. And today... Wow! We have come a long way.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2017 on A Perfect Landing at Sic Semper Tyrannis
This article is larger in scope than just Turkey. And one might quibble with certain points, but still it is fascinating to see the old man change his mind so late.
Speaking of wandering about. All I ever knew of Sir Mark Sykes was the he was 1/2 of of a famous Middle East agreement between Britain and France. I found this background to be interesting.
Somehow it is hard to imagine this happening again with today's Turkey.
When the first Wikileaks scandal broke out Sect. Clinton was one of the most outspoken critics of Assange. And then there was the business about the sexual assault charges in Sweden and whether or not that was a way for the Swedes to turn him over to the U.S. I am not qualified to make a judgement on those particulars. Even though the Ecuadoran embassy is better than a U.S. prison, Assange has had years to feel this particular burn. So, if he really has something very damaging, like proof the Russians were tapping her computer and/or Blackberry, does he drop the release the leak before she gets the nomination -- and do the Democrats a favor. Or does he wait until after. Maybe he has worked out a deal with Trump, I'll drop the bomb before the first debate and if elected you call off the dogs. It will be very interesting to watch this one layout. I am appalled by the two major party choices, but this may provide the election tale of all time.
Tyler, Oh my, we are going into Defcon 4, are we. 1. I do not appreciate being called mendacious. 2. Despite our heavy electronic invasiveness, plus eyes in the sky, I rather doubt the American public can see me, nor be very interested. 3. The only thing that would bring me to vote for Hillary would be if through some miracle my solidly, deep crimson state were to have the pre-election polls at 49-49. Then with barf bag in hand, I would enter the booth and vote against Trump, rather than for Hillary. In case you missed it in my previous comment, I do place a certain value on having presidents know how to act. Hillary may be despicable, mendacious, and traveling with baggage that includes bad decisions from Afghanistan west to Honduras. But she isn't a clown. She is not espousing building a wall on the Mexican border, though I can see some merit in the latter if they made it of stone. As my nom de net may imply, I deal with the construction industry. I don't cut much slack for people who stick it to their contractors. I find it immensely unsettling that there are days when I'm tempted to sound like an old fart muttering about how the republic has gone to hell in a hand basket. And for what it is worth, I plan to vote for Gary Johnson out of protest.
TTG, Thanks for the background. "Regicide Trail", I love it! I grew up in a very different part of the country where our focus was more on Mexico than England in the colonial days. I had no idea of the extent to which English politics and score settling had carried over to this side of the Atlantic. The next time I am in that part of the country I definitely will have to check out the trail and the cave. I know Republicans that were chagrined when Shrub went around the table to massage Angela Merkel's shoulders. The same way Republicans, as well as Democrats, were put off by the plagiarized speech on prime time. (Do we still use that expression in the internet age?) Whatever the politics of the individuals, we have certain expectations of those who occupy the White House. The other day Richard Sale wrote a piece for SST that bemoaned this cultures, "drive for superficiality." Along that line, I found this to be quite interesting:
TTG: This is clearly off subject. But some time back, it was around Thanksgiving, someone from N.E. entertained us with a story about growing up in a small town (Conn.?) where there were caves on the outskirts. As I recall there were three Cavaliers who had fought under Chas. I who subsequently departed for the colonies. Later they hid out in the caves when Roundhead officials showed up looking for them. If it was you, would you mind revealing the name of the town. It is a great story.
I said it was counterintuitive base partly on my experience with local boys who still call black men (mostly, not women) niggers. I know people who refer to Obama as a nigger. A number of these folks have relatives in law enforcement. Those relatives, I believe, tend to be on the police forces of smaller communities. Hence my curiosity about smaller cities vs. larger cities. As to whether further research would be called for, I defer to the study's author. "The counterintuitive results provoked debate after the study was posted on Monday, mostly about the volume of police encounters and the scope of the data. Mr. Fryer emphasizes that the work is not the definitive analysis of police shootings, and that more data would be needed to understand the country as a whole. This work focused only on what happens once the police have stopped civilians, not on the risk of being stopped at all. Other research has shown that blacks are more likely to be stopped by the police." Two friends and I were stopped by the police when we were teenagers. Minors in possession, I think it was beer. The two cops pulled us over, had us get out of the car and show some I.D. In general their behavior was not much different from when issuing tickets. (I had some experience there too.) The only difference was they took us back to the station and called our parents. I did not come away with a visceral response to police. On the other hand if they had yelled at us, pushed us, slammed our heads into a wall and/or thrown us to the ground and handcuffed us I might have felt differently.
The initial findings of killings are certainly counter intuitive. But Fryer pointed out that this is by no means a national data investigation. Would there be a difference if you investigated N.Y.C., Chicago and Seattle. Or Wash., D.C., St. Louis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco? In the samples that he drew were there differences in L.A., Houston and Dallas compared to the smaller cities? Would that be true nationwide? This certainly opens a wide avenue for statistical investigation. Ironically, in light of the recent shootings there, Dallas has a pretty good reputation of police relations with the citizens -- in contrast to decades ago. Their chief (black) has presented a very calm and level headed demeanor during the days following the shootings. He praised his department, spoke well of the Black Lives Matter demonstrators and invited members of the group to come apply for a job with the police department. If they passed the background checks and the training he would guarantee them that they would be put back into the communities of their choice. This is a very savvy fellow.
To W. R. Cumming, This business about Assange is one of he more fascinating aspects of this speculation. If Assange really had copies of messages from Clinton's computer would he release them? Maybe. Or maybe he is tired of being imprisoned without benefit of trial -- albeit with better food and neighbors. I imagine that Assange would be sorely tempted to make some sort of deal with the current administration to miss the fact that he was able to escape to Ecuador, or some other friendly spot, and in return he doesn't drop any bombs before/during the Democratic convention. Or after the convention either.
Or perhaps not.,_Russia_Is_Not_About_to_Release_Hillary’s_Emails/51913/0/38/38/Y/M.html I guess we won't know for sure until it actually happens.
Patrick, thank you for starting up this invigorated, and for the most part, enlightening conversation. Understandably there will be a lot of attention on the fact that the perp was Muslim. Clearly there is a segment of Islam that is quite murderous and out to do harm to the West -- not to mention those they dislike who are nearby. But, to put this in context, we have a fine terrorist history in this country that predates contemporary quarrels with some in the Muslim world. Indeed, historically in this country you would have been more likely to be killed by a nominal Christian than a Muslim. Think of the Klan (strange fruit in Southern trees) with their deep roots in American society. More recently we have had the Christian Taliban. My favorite being the Olympic Bomber: . And then there are the Oklahoma City bombers. Ardent killings in the name of religion and politics. But I find myself mulling over the cyclical nature of mass violent outbursts. The West, during the late 19th and early 20th century had numerous bombings and shootings involving anarchists, e.g. And then they went away. I've never really understood why. Friendly disposition toward Labor under FDR? A generational burnout? Are the Islamic crazies our contemporary corollary of the anarchists? Clearly we can't kill them all. Can we kill enough to dissuade the survivors? I doubt it, but maybe it would slow them down for a while.
Col., I may have misinterpreted when I read this line, "I've gotta hope as a teacher that my Cadets, as a citizen that you and your buddies will have the inner resources, the stuff of inner life, the values in short, to abide the brute loneliness of after, to find the courage to continue the march, to do Right, to live with what they've done, you've done in our name, to endure that dark hour of frustration, humiliation, failure maybe... or victory, for one or the other is surely waiting Back Here. It sounded like he was giving advice to a VMI class that was going out there to deal with... whatever would await them.
When Memorial Day and Veterans' Day come around I usually approach speeches and essays for the occasions with wariness and skepticism. Doubly so if they are by politicians. While a commencement address, Farrell's piece was first rate and quite timely this weekend. Since the conversation has gone down a literary path I wish to ask a question. I have struck out on the web so far, does anyone know where Conrad (possibly) used the phrase "filching lucre and gulping warm beer." That really is quite good. Thank you to anyone who can point me to the source.
This article makes it sound like the Mail was making things sound worse than they were. I gather the president of the US and British P.M. were of a like mind and what he said was not out of line. You may or may not agree with him, but it doesn't sound like he went off half cocked. As ar as the Saudis.... release the 28 pages and let the chips fall where they may.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2016 on Obama guides the world... at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Here is a piece from The Telegraph. The tone is somewhat less agitated than the Mail.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2016 on Obama guides the world... at Sic Semper Tyrannis