Open Thread – 1 March 2017


Nice day today.  pl

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60 Responses to Open Thread – 1 March 2017

  1. Stumpy says:

    Reports re: Turkey hitting SDF near Manbij and SDF holding back — discipline or conservation of resources?

  2. different clue says:

    On a nice day, I will risk offering a couple of purely nice things without political content or implication, to contribute to the niceness.
    First, for pure fun, there is a You Tube channel called the Hydraulic Press Channel, where the tubecaster has fun crushing this and that to see what happens. This one is “Crushing the adamantium ball with the hydraulic press.
    And for pure humor, ” Hummingbird Scratching its A$$”. A real hummingbird really videoed at a real feeder really scratching its . . . self.

  3. Tyler says:

    So there was a Law Enforcement Olympics held last year outside Colorado Springs, and the three finalists were the NYPD, FBI, and the Border Patrol.
    The final event was to track down a rabbit that had been released in the woods. The NYPD goes first. They interview the rabbit’s known associates, lay down a lot of tread around the forest, stake out the rabbit haunts, and they get their rabbit. Everyone is pretty impressed.
    The FBI runs files through its database, uses satellite imagery, networks with other law enforcement, and announces in a press conference they have the rabbit. Everyone is still impressed.
    Two salty Border Patrol agents walk into the woods, and the NYPD and FBI start bitching cause everyone knows BP agents are the best trackers around. A few hours go by, and now they’re wondering if that’s true. Well they hear a rustling, and get ready to give the two agents some hell for taking so long to find the rabbit.
    Except what they see is an agent choke holding a huge grizzly bear with two black eyes, the other agent kicking the bear in the balls, and the bear screaming ‘ALRIGHT DAMN IT, IM A RABBIT IM A RABBIT!”

  4. Filed electronically my federal/state income tax returns today and ordered $10,000 in new windows to replace 45 year old ones in the cottage!
    Did you realize that for the federal government the criminal law enforcement community is defined by 28 CFR Part 65! And only the AG can declare a federal law enforcement emergency. And the AG has NEVER DECLARED ONE SINCE THE LAW CHANGED IN 1994. NOR IS THERE FUNDING FOR ANY FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT EMERGENCY IN ANY FEDERAL BUDGET.

  5. JOHN WOO IN DESCRIBING THE SO-CALLED UNITARY PRESIDENCY FAILED TO UNDERSTAND THE PRESIDENT OF THE United States is Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces only but is the Chief Executive otherwise. The CIA is nowhere in the chain of command as is the military.

  6. Fred says:

    For the geek kid at heart Lego has yet another way to separate you from your money:

  7. Thirdeye says:

    Erdogan is making an unbelievably bonehead move, attacking YPG towards Manbij (and American SOF).
    It is apparently a beautiful day in Palmyra as well.

  8. mike says:

    The attackers are mainly Erdo’s Syrian Turkmen proxies, many of who are former al Qaeda or Daesh. Although they are reportedly supported by Turkish Army shelling.

  9. Pundita says:

    Re question of emerging Russia-China-Pakistan “axis” and Russia playing footsie with Taliban in A’stan:
    Years ago, as Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen watched the ratcheting up of anti-Russia moves in Washington, he warned that the U.S. would push Russia into the arms of China. His prediction was correct. One way the consequences are playing out is in Russia’s moves in South Asia — in the wooing of the Afghan Taliban, and its drift from India and increasing closeness with Pakistan.
    Those in Washington who think it’s a good idea to drive a wedge between Russia and India don’t know, and wouldn’t care if they did know, what a Chinese wedge looks like and how it operates. They are hyperfocused on bringing down Russia.
    One result is that people in Washington who spent years studiously ignoring Pakistan’s machinations against Afghanistan (and India) have suddenly decided Pakistan is the devil’s handmaiden; this even to the point of talking about designating Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
    They’ve even gone so far as to issue a “three month” warning that if Pakistan doesn’t stop “financing terrorists” with the threat that they’ll throw the country out of the international banking system.
    I believe this newfound moral spine on the part of the G7 has less to do with the increasing US closeness with India and more to do with Russia’s increasing closeness with Pakistan.
    Granted, Russia’s moves toward the Taliban and Pakistan got seriously underway at a time when Moscow assumed Hillary Clinton would be US President. But I think any hope on their part that President Trump would signal a real change in US policy toward Russia has been dashed by reality.
    For decades the foreign/defense policy ‘bench’ in Washington has been taken up largely by the Get Russia crowd, which marches in lockstep with the Get Russia crowd on the other side of the Atlantic. If Trump wants a new bench he’ll have to create one — and I think this will take time, and requires that he first solidify his position by achieving major triumphs in American domestic policy.
    I’d like to be proven wrong; I’d like to think Trump could initiate detente during his first year in office, but at the moment it seems unlikely.
    Regarding Moscow and the Taliban — either they’re getting their intel about the Afghan Taliban from a box of Cheerios, or they know the truth but are doggedly determined to do China’s bidding in Afghanistan. China’s bidding is to have quiet in Afghanistan so they can expand their mining interests there, and hang what’s good for Afghans and any hope of genuine peace in the region.
    As Hashim Wahdatyar wrote for The Diplomat last month,
    “Russia’s support to the Taliban will have numerous implications for the future of Afghanistan. It will weaken the central government in Kabul, which will result in the situation that now has befallen Syria coming to Afghanistan. In Syria, Russia is supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but in Afghanistan, by supporting the Taliban, Moscow will limit the success of the legitimate government in Kabul backed by the international community.”
    Hashim nailed it.
    Moreover the Taliban and al Qaeda are joined at the hip. And AQ fights IS in Afghanistan only when they consider it expedient; otherwise the groups cooperate. In short Moscow is taking a self-defeating path by supporting the Taliban if they think this will help keep AQ out of Russia.
    For more on this sticky wicket see Hashim’s February 14 article:
    “4 Reasons Russia Increasingly Favors the Taliban in Afghanistan”
    and Harsh V. Pant’s February 1 analysis for India’s Deccan Herald, “Shifting contours in region:
    Here’s a preview:
    Beginning paragraphs:
    Russia is warming up to Pakistan and it’s real. There seems to be a reversal in Russia’s South Asia policy with New Delhi and Moscow drifting apart. Russia is looking at the region through the prism of its larger geopolitical struggle with the West and seems ready to join the China-Pakistan axis.
    China has found a new ally in Russia which is keen to tie up with Beijing, even as a junior partner, to scuttle western interests. Jettisoning its traditional antipathy to the Taliban, Russia is now indicating that it is ready to negotiate with the Taliban against the backdrop of the growing threat of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.
    Pakistan has emerged as an important player in this context where China and Russia are now converging to challenge a number of western objectives. Moscow and Islamabad held their first ever joint military exercise in September 2016 and their first-ever bilateral consultation on regional issues in December. After officially lifting an arms embargo against Pakistan in 2014, Pakistan’s military will be receiving four Russia-made Mi-35M attack helicopters this year. It is also likely that China-backed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) might be merged with Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union.
    End quotes
    Brief bio of Harsh:
    As to whether US-Russia detente would lessen Russia’s push to join a China-Pakistan axis — Moscow is under no illusions about Beijing, and certainly has no illusions about Pakistan, which played a big role in orchestrating the fighting against Russia in Afghanistan during the Soviet era. But Russia does have to live in that neighborhood.
    Washington has yet to get past the Our Gang mentality, which should be outgrown once people leave high school. But Washington has not left high school. 15 minutes after relations between the US and India started to warm, Washington wanted New Delhi to take a blood oath not to be friends with anybody the US wasn’t friends with.
    Yes, detente could help a little, provided the same cool heads in Washington that would help usher in detente got a little sway over other areas of US foreign policy. Or took a course in Common Sense.

  10. different clue says:

    This seems like a real departure from the long range intelligent thinking we have come to expect from the Russian leader-thinkers. Has EUro-American policy pressure squeezed their brain to the point of producing reactive strategery on the Russians’ parts? If so, that would be a victory for EUro-DC-BorgRegime psychological contamination warfare . . . if there is such a thing.
    I mean . . . what is Pakistan even good for, compared to India? And if China wants to get the minerals out of Afghanistan, why not let China send in the Peoples Liberation Army with Tien An Men rules of engagement to keep the mines safe for China?

  11. VietnamVet says:

    Syria is in flux. Pentagon’s 30-day review is at the White House. Donald Trump promises to extinguish ISIS. This butts against Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s desire to keep the Shiite Crescent cut. If the Islamic State is snuffed out, there are only two options: 1) a Damascus federated government controlling all Syrian territory or 2) a carved out Sunniland and a separate leftist Kurdistan dotted with American FOBs. After years of fighting, the Sunni Islamists will rise once again unless occupied permanently by Turks or other foreign troops. The USA does not have the manpower, the will, or the money to invade, overthrow and install a functioning colonial government anywhere. All it can do is spread more chaos.
    The Neo-Cons plotted and schemed. Their wet dreams came true of a Russia stuck in quagmires in Syria and Ukraine. Except, it is the Turks who are sinking into the quicksand. And, it is the American Alliance that is crumpling apart due to the influx of a million Muslim refugees plus austerity imposed on its citizens by the technocrat Euro Zone rule.

  12. BraveNewWorld says:

    The UN at the behest of the west has been going hard for the last week trying to do any thing possible to bring down Assad government. Any one that reads here often or you know, just reads, will know what a load of ____ these accusation are.

  13. Pundita says:

    The Chinese rulers are very skilled at playing the keeper of the magic lamp. They’ve only been practicing this skill for thousands of years. ‘You have a problem? We are here to help. Just rub this lamp.’
    But beware of a Chinese bearing a brass lamp. Whatever you do, don’t rub the lamp. Yet human nature being what it is, people just can’t resist, and this is why every clan, every tribe, every nation that ever got involved with China came to rue the day — except the Mongols, who conquered China. But that was because they refused to rub the lamp.
    Regarding the “neocons” — yes, I’ve heard statements to the effect from Washington politicians that of course we can be friends with Russia if they do exactly what we tell them.
    Granted, there is a certain inevitability about Moscow cultivating friendlier relations with China given China’s economic power and the proximity of the two nations. But there is also an inevitability about eventual trouble between Russia and China.
    I think Russia’s best bet in its strategic relations is turning not so much to China but more to Central Asia. Yet while there are Russians who urge this course, a large number in the Russian political class want to orient Russia more toward Europe including Western Europe.
    However, for a number of reasons there is implacable dislike of Russia in the American political class and military, and this extends to much of Europe. One can try to work through the reasons and ‘resolve’ them, but Russia’s been trying this approach to no avail. If a government keeps being rebuffed when it reaches out to certain governments, wisdom is to take this as a message from the universe and reconsider the strategic orientation.
    The advice is easy to give from a distance; not so easy to take while NATO troops are at Russia’s door and ceaselessly provoking Moscow, and while Europeans see Moscow as using their energy dependence against them. From that view Russia has no choice but to keep trying to work things out with the Europeans, and from that view too Russia turns toward an alliance with China.
    Americans who blame Washington for the poor US-Russia relationship have to keep in mind that even without the US in the picture, there would be big problems between Russia and Europe. What Washington could do is not add to these problems, as it did with the Ukraine situation. It can relearn to cooperate with Russia on very specific situations, as it eventually did during the Cold War, and forget trying to make Russia an ally or underling.

  14. Cee says:

    Christiaan James, who is the Arabic-language spokesperson for State’s bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

  15. VietnamVet – you mention the Ukrainian quagmire. Unless the Ukrainians can get the People’s Republics to come out and fight is it the West that’s going to be stuck in the Ukrainian quagmire or is it the Russians? And if the Republics, or the Russians, can’t be persuaded to come out and fight, how long will it be before Russia and the NATO powers are saying to each other of the Ukraine “You broke it, you mend it”?
    Could you perhaps set out the position in the Ukraine as you see it from a military perspective? It doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention as it did.

  16. Pundita says:

    Different Clue,
    That was also my thought when I learned about the situation!
    This doesn’t mean they’ve become enemies with India, and not all of this is from the Russian side. As India has drawn closer to the USA they’ve felt the pressure to put a little distance between their defense views and Russia’s. And as Russia has drawn closer to China, they have felt pressure to distance themselves a little from India’s defense objectives. And I think the Russians have seen India’s moves in Afghanistan as inadequate.
    But Russia getting cozy with Pakistan is a bridge too far for me.
    As to reactivity — the Russians have felt forced by the NATO situation in Europe to be reactive. However, as shock about the Crimean and Syrian interventions indicates, NATO was unable to predict how Russia would react to all the pressure.
    The upshot has been hysteria about Russian aggression and unpredictability! Yet they chose to ignore that Russians aren’t potted plants.
    As to the Chinese looking after their own security in Afghanistan — I have a vague recollection that years ago U.S. forces were handling security for them, then more recently Taliban guards. But I’d have to check to refresh my memory.
    Anyhow, the Chinese don’t want to show muscle in the poorer countries where they do business. They don’t want to be perceived as colonizers.

  17. bks says:

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Thursday said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation of Russian involvement in the Trump campaign.
    “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself,” Chaffetz tweeted early Thursday.

  18. Morongobill says:

    It seems obvious, by his actions, that Russia is saying exactly that.

  19. Fred says:

    Yes there is PANIC in the establishment, especially after Trump’s very presidential speech last night. The obvious question is why no one in the press of the Congress is pointing out the failure of the Democrats under Barack failing to defend America from the Russians. Then there is the complicity of the Democratic senators aiding and abetting the installation of Putin’s proxy in the oval office by refusing to sign the protests of the findings of the Electoral College by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Pramila Jayapal (WA.), Barbara Lee (D-CA.), Maxine Waters (D-CA.), Sheila Jackson Lee(D-TX) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ.). This complicity in the Senate was aided and abetted by my Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters (MI). They had lots of company in failing to defend the Republic. This is serious, this could not possibly be political theater to damage the President and the agenda he was elected on or to forestall an investigation into the conduct of members of the Establishment.

  20. In a recent speech the President trumpeted his lifetime ban of federal officials from representing any foreign country! Any details? How will that ban be enforced?
    I mention again the close linkage between U.S., Russian, and Israeli organized crime!

  21. Timbre Sick o' More says:

    If that beady-eyed little reactionary gets sent back to Alabama, it will probably be the only positive result to emerge from this bout of ‘the Russians are coming’ hysteria. Let’s face the fact that Trump has already been effectively prevented from accomplishing the kind of bold and intelligent change in US Middle East policy that is so desperately needed. The field of bold and stupid action is still wide open, though. I hope that Jefferson Beauregard will soon find himself holding the position for which he’s best suited; Grand Dragon of the Keebler Klux Klan…assuming that there is a non pot-smoking faction.

  22. BabelFish says:

    The latest on the F-35 Saga: The C (Navy) model will have to have its outer wings redesigned (and replaced on current craft) in order for it to carry Sidewinder missiles on the outermost weapons hardpoint.
    The catchall to dump blame in for the F-35 is the dreaded word ‘concurrency’. Trying to build a weapon system so that it is current to the threat environment, or ahead of it, when it is put into service. The poster boy for the need to do this is reported to be the Tornado ADF variant (Air Defense Variant) which used off the shelf sensors and weapons to minimize risk. It was then reviled as being obsolete the day it entered squadron service as the systems had become passe.
    Totally IMHO but I believe that, like the F-111, the F-35 will become an awesome, fearful weapon system. But it has been referred to as ‘procurement malpractice’ more than once. And it will probably be used on many missions where a turboprop Super Tucano or one of the Archangel turboprops that Tyler mentioned would be completely adequate for the job.

  23. Larry Kart says:

    Last night ran across this possible vision of the near future from Lucan’s (39. C.E.-65 C.E.) vast, acid, semi-epic poem, about the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, “Pharsalia”:
    My chief care is to show what caused these momentous events;
    a measureless task unfolds — what drove our frenzied nation
    to take up arms, what made the world shake off Peace;
    the hateful chain of the Fates; standing for long on the heights
    of success forbidden; the massive collapse of too much weight;
    Rome grown top-heavy — just the way, once the world’s framework
    loosens and its final hour, drawing all time to a close,
    seeks out ancient chaos once more, fiery stars will
    hurtle seaward and Earth, refusing to flatten her shores,
    will shake off the waves; running head-on at her brother,
    Phoebe will sneer at steering her team along her slanted
    track and will claim the day for her own; the whole discordant
    cosmic machine will fly apart, its laws confounded.
    Great things fall in on themselves; this limit Divinity sets
    on the growth of prosperous states.

  24. Tyler says:

    If you believe this is anything but grasping by globalist pedophiles terrified of AG Sessions ripping them out of their holes:

  25. Tyler says:

    Time to go bag a javelina!

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    For the Global Warming Alarmists:
    “The ocean is the largest sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2), having absorbed roughly 40 per cent of CO2 emissions since the beginning of the industrial era.”

  27. Chris Chuba says:

    You are making it sound like Russia loves the Taliban. This article has a more sober assessment of the issue …
    I’d paraphrase it like this:
    1. Russia see our effort floundering so they want to have contacts with the Taliban just in case we bailout.
    2. The Russians have noticed a huge upsurge in Opium imports into their country confirming point #1. (I recall that when the Taliban was in full control of Afghanistan, opium production was minimal but I am confused as to who is producing it now, I’ve heard different people attribute it to both govt or to Taliban controlled areas, I don’t know the truth)
    3. They see the Taliban as the lesser of two evils compared to ISIS because the Taliban are local tribesman whereas ISIS tends to be foreign fighters who stir up trouble.
    4. What we call ‘helping the Taliban’ is just communicating with them, not supplying weapons.

  28. Chris Chuba says:

    Having external missiles will definitely cut down on its stealth. That is why they made such a big deal about its internal Bombay.
    I’m not an aeronautics engineer so I’m in over my head regarding the plane’s attributes but the one thing that has always bothered me is the fast rollout. They touted the block purchases as a way to save money by getting economy of scale. This is a reason why you also hear about our ‘old run down F15-18’s’, hey why pour money into the old stuff when the new model is just around the corner? We can save money. I’m not an accountant either but this just does not seem prudent.
    The Russians are not rushing out their T-50, they are taking their time and all of their new fancy electronics that they will use there are first being installed on their 4++ jets. This just feels like a better use of resources. I know that they don’t have money to burn but I think they would do things this way even if oil was at $100.

  29. turcopolier says:

    Ronald Neumann is a very old and dear friend. His father was an Austrian Jewish socialist who save himself by converting to Christianity and representing himself to the Nazis after the Anschluss as a socialist opponent. They released him from an early Austrian prison camp from which he emigrated to the US and subsequently served in the US Army in WW2. Ron was for a blessed time the DCM in the embassy in Yemen when I was DATT there. He had been an infantry platoon leader in VN and I never managed to stop him addressing me as “colonel, sir.” My various heresies and apostasies may have ruined that relationship. There was an ongoing major civil war in Yemen then led by a Soviet supported coalition of guerrillas from Aden. I remember an occasion when he and his wife, I and mine drove down to Taiz on the fringe of the insurgency area to spend the weekend at a house in Taiz that the embassy maintained as an R&R site. We went for the weekend. Outside of town we were stopped by a variety of tribesmen who were probably just curious. We had four five cut up fried chickens in a cooler and we all stood around eating fried chicken and potato salad while discussing local grievances. They left after a while and we went on to Taiz for the weekend. To see Ron Neumann “blown off” by the likes of Flournoy grieves me. pl

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What I find disturbing is that it appears that sensible men in US are retired, marginalized.

  31. turcopolier says:

    That is so. How many old retired ambassadors do you see on TV. This I a “brave new world.” pl

  32. BabelFish says:

    Pig roast later?

  33. LeaNder says:

    Then there is the complicity of the Democratic senators aiding and abetting the installation of Putin’s proxy in the oval office by refusing to sign the protests of the findings of the Electoral College by Reps……
    Can you explain to an outsider what you are referring to? …

  34. Fred says:

    You mean you really don’t understand the Democratic position?
    1. Putin hacked/influenced the election thus putting his man, DJT, in office.
    2. Democrats really did defend the US – thus even though that means #1 can’t have happened, except it did so please don’t point out what I point out.

  35. LeaNder says:

    “understand the Democratic position”
    I am aware of the alleged ‘Russian interference’ in US elections, obviously. Or the reason for the otherwise 100% sure election outcome for Hilary…
    What I would like to understand is, what you have in mind with the “findings of the Electoral College” specifically.
    Is ‘findings’ a reference to the above…

  36. LeaNder says:

    Not sure if I put it well. The ‘findings’ of the, how many agencies?- the 17?, Hilary already mentioned during the campaign?

  37. Pundita says:

    In no way did I write or even imply that Russia loved the Taliban. I clearly conveyed that the recent Russian moves with the Taliban are based on calculation regarding their relationship with China.
    As to some of your other remarks:
    As Hashim Wahdatyar, the author of the article I quoted above points out, the Russians have had backchannel relations with the Taliban since 1995.
    What’s new is that they are now openly collaborating with the Taliban. This can most definitely be read as “support,” whether or not the Russians are also providing weapons.
    Second, the “huge upsurge” in opium smuggling into Russia has been going on for years and was “noticed” by the Russians since it began.
    To answer your specific question, the Taliban came to control all the opium-producing areas in Afghanistan.
    So it’s moot to ask to whether there is local government involvement. The locals do what the Taliban tell them, unless they control a personal militia that’s powerful enough to stand up to the Taliban.
    The Taliban take in an estimated $400 million a year from their cut of the Afghan opium trade, so it would be preposterous to assume that the Russians can pry them away from those profits.
    For more on this issue read the entire article I featured by Hashim Wahdatyar. Here again is the link, which does not require a subscription or log-in process, unlike the article you mentioned.
    For additional information you can read his October 2016 article for The Diplomat tited:
    “How Opium Fuels the Taliban’s War Machine in Afghanistan.”.
    To answer any more of your remarks would be rehashing what I wrote in my original comments but in summary it’s chasing red herring to ask how the Russians see Taliban and Islamic State. They see them just fine; their intelligence on the country is very good.
    What they don’t see is that they are fools to be serving China’s interests in Afghanistan, which they are doing by cooperating with Taliban — and with Pakistan’s military.

  38. different clue says:

    Yes, and that is what is driving the problem being referred to as “ocean acidification”.
    Because if you skydump in a century the carbon which plant life spent 10 million years skydraining and bio-sequestering, all that sudden surge of excess carbon can either stay “where it is” or go “somewhere else” such as into the ocean.

  39. Cee says:

    From Haaretz last week on vandalism and threats:
    Trump suggested that the attacks could reflect something other than anti-Semitism, saying that “the reverse can be true” and “someone’s doing it to make others look bad,”
    Plus a little history

  40. Larry Kart says:

    About Trump and Russia, I found this post from admittedly liberal but IMO honest blogger Josh Marshall to be interesting:

  41. turcopolier says:

    larry kart
    This is all horseshit. there is no there, there. And when the legitimately and constructionally elected president is deposed count yourself among the malefactors in the ultimate destruction of the Union. pl

  42. pl,
    Isn’t that the point of that article? There’s no there, there. Even if Trump released his tax records and revealed that his organization is in hock to Russian banks, there’s no there, there. So his people talked to Russians and maybe even talked about avoiding WWIII. If the anti-Trumpers try to take his down with that, they’ll look as silly as the birthers did. The problem lies in the frantic attempts at cover up. It gives ammunition to conspiracy theorists and those who want to take Trump down at all costs. IMO he should lay out everything, warts and all, boldly seek a better, more productive relationship with Russia and dare the anti-Trumpers to make anything of it.

  43. Larry Kart says:

    Just to be clear, I don’t want Trump deposed, nor do I think he will be. If he were somehow deposed, I think that would be a political disaster for any number of reasons. If you still want to count me among the malefactors, though, so be it.

  44. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Generally, this blog focuses on military/foreign policy/political developments.
    I would like to veer from those tracks to something I find
    both deeply troubling and highly significant:
    The ability of thugs to shut down free speech on university campuses.
    The current example:
    Protesters Disrupt Speech by ‘Bell Curve’ Author at Vermont College

    BOSTON — Hundreds of students at Middlebury College in Vermont shouted down a controversial speaker on Thursday night, disrupting a program and confronting the speaker [Charles Murray] in an encounter that turned violent and left a faculty member injured.

    [W]hen Mr. Murray rose to speak, he was shouted down by most of the more than 400 students packed into the room, several witnesses said. Many turned their backs to him and chanted slogans like “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away!”
    After almost 20 minutes, it was clear that he would not be able to give his speech…
    [When Murray and a Middlebury faculty member, Allison Stanger, left the building]
    several masked protesters, who were believed to be outside agitators, began pushing and shoving Mr. Murray and Ms. Stanger, Mr. Burger said. “Someone grabbed Allison’s hair and twisted her neck,” he said.
    After the two got into a car, Mr. Burger said, protesters pounded on it, rocked it back and forth, and jumped onto the hood. Ms. Stanger later went to a hospital, where she was put in a neck brace.

    For another account of this incident, see
    The above was purely informational, repeating MSM reports.
    Now on to some no doubt controversial opinions if mine.
    This sort of thuggery preventing politically incorrect speech is routine on college campuses.
    And I have no doubt whatsoever who is behind it.
    For another example of who speech is controlled in America,
    note how Patrick Buchanan had his commentator role in the MSM ended
    after he published his book Suicide of a Superpower.
    Who is behind this control of speech?
    No, Colonel Lang, it is not the Presbyterians.
    And I doubt very seriously it is your favorite whipping boy,
    descendants of those “baleful” and “diseased” New England Puritans.
    Pardon me for saying these things I think some will find “offensive”,
    but I think they need to be said.

  45. turcopolier says:

    keith harbaugh
    I completely agree with your point on the suppression of free speech. I am not sure that you understand that I am descended from the very Puritan wretches who implanted these haughty ideas of moral and ethical superiority so thoroughly in American culture. I don’t recall having said anything about Presbyterians. Those that I have known were mild mannered and not particularly intense about anything. pl

  46. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart
    I know that you are among the good and patriotic. My apologies. I had a difficult day. A friend insists on becoming Catholic and I went with him to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in NW Washington and ended up having to walk a mile to my car. I am not up to that any longer. Once again, my apologies. pl

  47. Larry Kart says:

    Apologies happily accepted. The thought that we might have gotten that crosswise troubled me.
    Sorry you had a difficult day. My wife and I had a good one, walking the dog along Lake Michigan and letting her run free when we could. There are few things as good as the moments when a happy dog looks you in the eye and you know that she’s looking YOU in the eye.

  48. LeaNder says:

    Who is behind this control of speech?
    Keith: The alumni who thought he shouldn’t be allowed to talk at all? At least partly?
    Rosa Luxemburg’s famous statement comes to mind.
    Part of the scenario is no doubt intellectual laziness. Exactly if I consider someone as ‘my enemy’, wouldn’t it be important to understand him or her? Even more so, maybe?
    What about appearing well prepared and then ask questions in the end?
    Keith, Pat admonished me concerning a ‘Pavlovian response’ to different clue not too long ago. Babbling once again. No doubt this wasn’t the scenario, were one could ask questions after.
    I was deeply disgusted, admittedly, by different clue’s response to robt willman, with whom I agreed, more precisely by the accumulation of biological metaphors in dc’s comment. …
    But I should have never allowed myself to be drawn into a similar strain of spite, painting the Democrats collectively as people who misuse their constitution. That I understood immediately, apart from something else …

  49. LeaNder says:

    OK: in every statement there is a little error, and the snake gets bigger and bigger until its scotched … not verbatim, Henry Miller. Maybe it even is, since it stuck. More likely it is not.
    OK, while leaving out more complex US historical complications around terms: I no doubt should have avoided democrat versus Democrat.
    But what do I know.
    Random link, to one of my early friend among US authors. The most fascinating story for me was his public image. I didn’t find it in his texts. Personally.

  50. Fred says:

    The alumni do not run the universities or colleges. This is what is called “cultural Marxism”. It is the 1960s generation and their acolytes who are running the show. They are Puritans of the New Millenium.

  51. Check out THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND (1984)!

  52. different clue says:

    Your comments are so unclear that I had no idea your response to my comment was “Pavlovian”. In fact, I had no idea what your response to my comment even meant.
    So I have taken the time to go back and forth over this and don’t find your comment any-the-much clearer.
    You find my referrence to “malignant metastatic Clintonoma” and “Yersiniobama pestis” to be disgusting? That’s okay. I still find it very evocative of what we face in terms of who and what still owns and controls the Democratic Party. If we can’t find and apply the right sort of political chemotherapy and political antibiotic treatment followed by a long and tedious course of political bio-remediation therapy; then you as an outside observer will find yourself more disgusted by what ongoing waves of Clintobamacrats offer and do than any biological language I or others use to describe it.
    Believe me now or believe me later . . . your choice.

  53. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Some further information on the Murray/Middlebury incident:
    The incident is recorded in at least two videos at YouTube: (28 seconds of protest fury) and (the total video runs for 43:34).
    The Middlebury College student newspaper covered the disruption here:
    The injured Middlebury faculty member, Allison Stanger, describes the situation here:
    She writes, and I quote: “I feared for my life.”
    Some further thoughts by me:

  54. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Whoops, I hit return while in “Preview Mode” and the incomplete message posted.
    Here’s the rest:
    Some further thoughts from me:
    It seems to me that Ms. Stanger could sue Middlebury College for negligence which led to her injury.
    The description of the events prior to her and Murray trying to leave the building
    make it clear that campus security should have known, very clearly,
    that this mob might well try to injure Murray and/or Stanger on their way out.
    Why was not there campus security personnel on the scene to,
    if not quiet the mob,
    at least insure that Murray and Stanger could leave the campus without injury?
    If that isn’t negligence, what is?
    And when injury did occur,
    why was not Stanger’s assailant arrested?
    That is a case of criminal assault, not a protest.
    Perhaps campus security at Middlebury is too feeble to have insured her safety.
    Well then, the administration could have phoned the town of Middlebury’s police department
    and requested support.
    Surely the college security and the town police department have a mutual support agreement.
    And also surely, these events could not have been a surprise to the Middlebury administration.
    That this event would be disrupted was widely advertised in the days before the event.
    They could and should have coordinated with the PD to provide assistance in the event things got out of hand.
    The point is that the college administration were fully compliant, and responsible,
    for what happened, both the talk being scuttled and Ms. Stanger being injured.
    To Fred, and others:
    I went to college in the mid-1960s.
    Does that make me part of “the 60s generation”?
    I detest and despise much of the post-1960 change.
    But I do not blame my generation at large,
    but rather a certain segment of our society,
    some my contemporaries and some older folks who had media and cultural power
    for changing society to benefit themselves
    and to reduce the power of those they thought likely to threaten them in the future
    (“It’s not a matter of if, but when.”)

  55. Serge says:

    A little harbinger of the things to come from the anti-IS policies pursued by the coalition. The “poor yazidis trapped on the mountain” narrative was the big line pushed by the Obama administration for commencement of airstrikes against IS in August 2014
    “The German government on Monday expressed its worries about the alleged use of German weapons in a clash between the PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance units (YBS) and the KDP’s Rojava Peshmergas last Friday.”
    “Our worst fears have come true, Northern Iraq now uses the German weapons to expand its own power, even against Yezidi’s,” Aken said.

  56. different clue says:

    different clue,
    ( Follow-up on comment to LeaNder, really) . . .
    Oh, and . . . here’s a chemical metaphor to go along with the biological ones. The DLC Third Way NeoLiberal Hamilton Project Democrats . . . the Pelosis and the Clintons and Obamas and such . . . have left a moral and ethical Superfund Site at the center of our civic, cultural and political life. Endless thousands of oil drums scattered all over the ground all leaking Clintonism and Obamanism and other contaminants and pollutants into the political groundwater.

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