Open Thread – 14 September 2016



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117 Responses to Open Thread – 14 September 2016

  1. Matthew says:

    We live in a matrix. At the same time as Kerry is working for a ceasefire, the Israelis are actively helping Jihadis in Southwest Syria. And yet the media “reports” that Israel is only responding to SAA “provocations,” when in fact the Israelis are arming jihadis and treating them in their hospitals.
    And the US media won’t go near that story.

  2. Matthew says:

    You choose. See
    Option 1: American ally struggling with problem it can’t control, confronting its shortcomings.
    Option 2: Recipients of Saudi money desperate to protect the Kingdom from an honest legal accounting.

  3. TJ says:

    The British House of Commons released a report excoriating David Cameron for intervening in Libya to depose Gaddafi without having any plan for the aftermath. Coincidentally (?) he resigned from Parliament earlier this week. Since Hillary Clinton is the acknowledged Obama administration proponent of the US intervention in Libya, what does this say about her judgment?

  4. FkDahl says:

    I have not yet read the “Strike the tent” trilogy – been saving it like a nice bourbon.. But I am not well versed in the Civil War history. Are there any books you or others on this forum can recommend to set the stage?

  5. Jack says:

    Obamacare seems like it is slowly unraveling.
    Rising health care costs are the biggest fiscal issue for us. Unless we get to the bottom of why per capita expenditures on health care in the US is twice any other western industrialized nation we’ll face a health financing crisis sooner or later.

  6. gowithit says:

    Trumps “red line” in the sea re Iran:
    “When they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water, OK? Believe me.”

  7. turcopolier says:

    IMO an actual attack on a US naval vessel should be met with full firepower. pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    Not sure yet. pl

  9. turcopolier says:

    My standard recommendation in such cases is Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War, a Narrative.” pl

  10. turcopolier says:

    “actively helping Jihadis in Southwest Syria.” Yes, I think providing Close Air Support (CAS) to the jihadis against the SAA would qualify as that. This while the Izzies have deigned to accept 38 billion dollars over the next ten years for military funding. pl

  11. Jack,
    Obamacare is unraveling because medicine continues to be viewed at a business first and foremost. Can you imagine if serving in thew military was viewed as a business first and foremost? You couldn’t afford us. As long as the acquisition of wealth is our greatest goal, we’re screwed.
    On a happier note, I’m putting the finishing touches on the porch roof on the house up in Halfmoon just as storm clouds are gathering. No TV and internet only on my daily trips to Lowes.

  12. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    I got my basics with the Shelby Foote trilogy. I suppose there’s a lot of newer scholarship but at least I got a sense for the flow of the period along with a lot of the type of nitty-gritty military history people like me enjoy.

  13. The Beaver says:

    Oh Oh
    “In new emails leaked by a hacker, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell offers unvarnished and highly negative opinions about both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”

  14. turcopolier says:

    Newer does not mean better. pl

  15. steve says:

    Imho, Obamacare was envisioned to keep the for-profit health insurance business creaking along for a few more years. Given the fact that many of those insurers are pulling out, hard to say whether it was successful or not since in the absence of Obamacare and its subsidies, the companies might be even worse off.
    I don’t think there’s much of a mystery why our healthcare costs are double other nations’.

  16. Cee says:

    Chelsea Clinton Is Buying a $10.5M 4BR in NoMad
    By Hana R. Alberts
    Chelsea’s apartment shares the SAME address as the Metrocare Home Svc, Inc in New York , NY
    Metrocare was a Senior Citizen Health Care Facility. It seems likely that a good portion of the facility is still functioning and has been taking care of a VIP patient for years…

  17. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to The Twisted Genius 14 September 2016 at 01:02 PM
    The problem you have is that all sorts of things that should not be viewed as a business first and foremost are, healthcare, prisons, military logistics, how long before the emergence of “free companies”?
    Congratulations on your construction project 🙂

  18. pj says:

    What book(s) would you recommend on the Middle East from WWI to the present?

  19. Will says:

    the Saudis said their first use of Islamic terrorism was against Nasser. He was a secular threat to their monarchy. Nasser was demonized in the U.S. His favorite movie was “It’s a wonderful world.” He was an interesting character. The Union with Syria was intriguing. Why in the world did they ever think it would work?
    The Israeli fire support for al qaeda has been going on for a long time. whenever the headchoppers need fire support, they lob a mortar into occupied Golan, and Israel responds on the SAA. But now interestingly, they claim they are being manipulated by the Islamists and even that the ruse is being abused.
    The Israelis do the same thing in Gaza. If anybody shoots anything, then Hamas is responsible and they take out their pre-selected target list. Just mowing the grass occasionally- that’s a phrase they callously use.

  20. Will says:

    The Druze live in the Golan, in fact some call it Jabal Druze. The headchoppers consider them kaffir par excellence. It’s about time an Israeli Druze MK (member of the Knesset) made a speech on Israeli support of al Qaeda, and one is finally in the news.,7340,L-4853735,00.html

  21. turcopolier says:

    A few suggestions; “A Peace to end all peace” by Fromkin, “One Palestine Complete” by Sagev, “A Soldier with the Arabs,” John Bagot Glubb.” Start with those. Others will have differing suggestions. pl

  22. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    There’s nothing like some physical “work” as therapy. I spent the summer replacing our deck, building a new gazebo with fire pit and rebuilt the BBQ station. Now, I am waiting to harvest the grapes and make some wine and my home distilled brandy and liqueurs based on a recipe passed down by my great great grandfather.
    As far as our health care costs are concerned I’ve no idea why it costs us twice relative to Germany or Canada. All I know is that at 9% CAGR, it doubles every 8 years and it will blow up financially in the next few doubling cycles.

  23. Eric Newhill says:

    Steve, I work in healthcare insurance and exclusively on the ACA since May of this year. I’m with one of the Big 5. We lose $ on our ACA program; that’s even after the govt reimbursement for risk adjustment and reinsurance (totally a few hundred $million/yr). The other companies were losing too. That’s why they’re getting out. Believe me, we tried to accommodate the program and the feds. Tried to be good partners.
    The main problem is that the healthy people did not enroll to offset the high use/cost of the very sick people. The incentives were not established correctly. We recognized that going in and were cautious. Some of the other in the Big 5, as well as smaller companies, were not so cautious.
    When talking about company profits and such, you must keep in mind that many of the Blue Cross/Blue Shields are still not for profit and they are encountering the same issues. The ACA is just one big steaming pile of moral hazard and adverse selection…both kryptonite to insurance. Only a ding-a-ling (or govt committee) would have designed such a scheme.
    TTG – what about food and shelter? Are these not more fundamental than healthcare? Should these not be provided to all for free as well?

  24. Jack says:

    Agree, Sir.
    I wish we followed that maxim when USS Liberty was attacked. We’d have half the trouble we have today.

  25. toto says:

    The UK House of Commons report on the Libya intervention is available online:
    It’s basically breathing fire into the face of both Cameron and Sarkozy.

  26. Imagine says:

    Weird conspiracy website has photo of 2014 medical letter from Dr. Lisa Bardack diagnosing Hillary with Complex Partial Seizures, Subcortical Vascular Dementia. If it’s a hoax, it’s a good one.
    Will Kaine back Nuland’s/NATO’s crusade against Russia? Would he struggle against the ZOG, or has he been absorbed already?

  27. turcopolier says:

    I feel pretty good about this since the report says that the basic error was not maintaining a short presence until the place stabilized a bit. pl

  28. Jack says:

    We can be certain there will nary a mention in our MSM. How can they point to the Borg Queen’s poor judgment as to her capabilities as Commander-in-Chief?

  29. HaHaHerman says:

    In reply to FkDahl
    If you are a northerner, you might find Bruce Catton interesting.

  30. Jack says:

    The Socialist Paradise of Venezuela, long a beacon for our own leftists who were all Chavistas, is slowly imploding as the necessities of life get harder to acquire.
    This is one example of what happens when big government keeps getting bigger. And this is one type of outcome that those who promote infinite spending of governments in their sovereign currency as costless will never note. They will always hand wave this as country specific. Note that hyperinflation is only one type of outcome. The downside to untrameled credit expansion could also be depression and other types of outcomes. History and literature provide great insight into the folly of societies.

  31. The Beaver says:

    @ TJ
    And two fellows in this picture in the Guardian are running to become the next French President (one has been who tried to get the support of the Saudis last month in Morocco and the other a crook)

  32. doug says:

    As far as our health care costs are concerned I’ve no idea why it costs us twice relative to Germany or Canada.
    It’s pretty simple really. When you combine markets and a source of funds that has little resistance (gov. spending, mandated insurance, etc.) this is what you get. It also shows up in education the costs of which have spiraled with little increase in results. The fact is that Obamacare passed because it feathered the nests of the pharma, medical and care businesses. Any change that gets through Congress will have to do the same. Similar process for “No Child Left Behind.”
    Markets work well when you have competition and elastic prices where value received has some relationship with the price one pays. But there are many areas where this doesn’t work. I’m not sure a solution exists. The general thinking amongst the elites is that growth in the tech sector will allow for these inefficiencies. I’m not so sure.

  33. Tyler says:

    Cooked these, came out delicious.
    Made my own prickly pear syrup as well.

  34. gowithit says:

    Trump had nothing to say about the Russian jet incoming at 10 ft, tho!

  35. Fred says:

    In your response to TTG you left out water. That’s the latest issue of note locally for the democratic party push for socialized control. After Detroit went broke and Flint managed to screw up a resourcing action for supply to their own treatment system (to avoid the tens of millions in obligation the regional authority was going to stick them with as part of the Detroit bankruptcy action) it has suddenly become an issue. Unlike with all the years of mis-management of the Detroit water system to which Flint and other cities are linked.

  36. richard rogers says:

    My graduate students are forced to read these books:
    Edward Said, The Question of Palestine
    Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
    Irene Gendzier, Dying to Forget: Oil, Israel, Palestine and the Foundations of US Policy in the Middle East
    Abdel Takriti, Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empires in Oman, 1965-1976
    Ben White, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide
    Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
    Andrew Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East
    Ervand Abrahamian, The Coup: 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations
    Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War
    Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq
    Adam Hanieh, Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States

  37. pj says:

    Thanks. Do you have an opinion on the books by Bacevich, or “Kingmakers, the Invention of the modern Middle east” by Mayer and Brysac?

  38. LondonBob says:

    I always found Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson very readable.

  39. LondonBob says:

    Crispin Blunt does some very good work, they are currently finishing up a report on relations with Russia. I hope it will be equally damning.

  40. turcopolier says:

    No. I am past the point of educating myself by reading such things although Bacevich is a good man. pl

  41. turcopolier says:

    Too Yankee for my taste. pl

  42. FkDahl says:

    Thank you both, colonel & generalfeldmarschall!

  43. shepherd says:

    If you’re sick of reading the news, you can always watch bears fish:

  44. turcopolier says:

    If you want some Northern oriented books; “The Ordeal of the Union” Alan Nevin (six volumes), Bruce Catton’s Books, the trio on Grant, “Captain Same Grant,” “Grant Takes Command,” and “Grant Moves South.” More Southern stuff, “Lee’s Last Campaign,” by Dowdey and “Lee’s Lieutenants” by Freeman. pl

  45. turcopolier says:

    Richard Rogers
    Scholarship is a business that endlessly churns out reiterations of opinions that must be shared to earn tenure, etc. pl

  46. turcopolier says:

    That was not an attack. When they ram you or fire on you or attempt to board, that is an attack. pl

  47. jsn says:

    The Italian City States of the early Renaissance viewed the military exactly that way, as a service the rich could pay for as required and to the extent they could afford. And it worked for those for whom it worked for about a hundred years until until Charles VIII, who’s older sister had created the first modern, integrated state out of detritus of the Holy Roman Empire in the Mad War, strolled through and conquered most of them in a year or so.
    Lucky for them, he knocked his head on a door jamb and died. But by then the mercenary armies had all got the picture of where true power lies when the social structure breaks down. Within 50 years the Italian principalities had all reformed as territorial states with more or less standing, domestic, patriotic armies.
    The ultimate problem with the market utopia of force is that at the end of the day, any commercial entity will fire its staff/soldiers to keep its money, the reason its in commerce in the first place. Once some “war lord” with a brain takes over, he realizes patriotic loyalty is an easy sell if you treat your poor decently and behold, state power is decoupled from the whims of the rich: it could happen here!
    Vote Dollary Clump!

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “The Closed Circle” – a polemic – and “The Chatham House Version: And Other Middle Eastern Studies” are worth reading to get a different perspective.

  49. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Cybersecurity, or rather the lack thereof,
    has been much in the news in 2015.
    The OPM data breach is a mammoth blow to U.S. security,
    with ripple effects such as “China and Russia are using hacked data to target U.S. spies“.
    And of course there have been many other worrisome hacks of governments at all levels and corporations.
    My question is:
    Would it not be a good idea to establish a high-level commission
    to address the issue of what can be done to make U.S. computers and networks more secure?
    Is anyone really looking at the big picture, from the long range point of view,
    looking at “blue sky” possible solutions to the problem,
    conducting tradeoffs which individual groups might not be able to make?
    For example, and perhaps most critically,
    have we made the correct tradeoff between ease of use and security?
    Could we make our systems more secure by making them a little (or maybe a lot) harder to use?
    Should there be national commission,
    and perhaps a national agency (a National Cybersecurity Agency),
    working this problem?
    (I think, surprise!, the answer is indubitably “yes”.)

  50. Chris Chuba says:

    I know that I am operating on wonderful 20/20 hindsight but I think the get Gaddafi operation was wrong for transactional reasons.
    The guy made a deal with us, he got rid of his nuclear infrastructure, was decommissioning his other WMD, I read that he was helping us with Al Qaeda but I’m not sure about that, and he was also blocking the human trafficking. So to turn around and take him out because he was undesirable just makes it harder to make deals with these medium / small powers like N. Korea in the future. For future Libya sized problems, we threw the Carrot out the window and now the only tool we have left is the stick.
    The way Hillary maneuvered things was even bad, she instrumented false claims about the Civil war to justify R2P which can pretty much gin up a justification under a lot of circumstances. Again, I’m not just trying to pick it apart because of the outcome, it’s more about the precedent it sets in future situations. For example, China or Russia might be the only countries that have even the slightest chance to deal with N. Korea short of a military conflict. We might actually get in the way. Just my opinion of course.

  51. turcopolier says:

    Chris Chuba
    “he got rid of his nuclear infrastructure, was decommissioning his other WMD” He had no nuclear infrastructure. He had no functioning “other WMD.” The Libyans had a couple of warehouses full of pieces of equipment that they had bought that would have been useful in a nuclear program but had never uncrated because they had no idea what to do with it. They had built a couple of chemical weapons plants out in the desert many years before but after a couple of trial runs by foreign workers the Libyans realized they had no use for many green plastic barrels full of sarin and the like and stopped producing the agents. US intelligence and the propaganda machine converted these into real assets in the public mind. Libya long wanted to be let in the house and out of the dog house but they were a convenient bogeyman. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the Bush Administration was looking for a friend in the Arab World and Libya was offered the chance of redemption in return for “surrender” of its non-existent nuclear and chemical programs. They jumped at the chance. Help against AQ. I don’t know but I doubt it was worth much. They generally couldn’t find their asses with both hands. pl

  52. Kooshy says:

    “Persian axis” not even exist in Iran ,never heard of that not even an Iranian axis I heard. There is an axis leading by Iran which they call it “resistance axis” which supposedly is formed to resist western hegemony and hubris in ME, you perhaps mean that.
    On the other point you raised, as far as I can tell many Iranian educated mostly westernized including some lefty and communist did predict the fall of the shah, but since they were self westernized or western educated they were detached ( kept themselves detached) from the lower social levels and couldn’t think that instead of them the majority will go for an Islamic format. As the result, this group for a while up to Iraq war thought the Islamic Revolution was a US conspiracy and continuation of the American green belt theory around USSR. When the American backed Saddam I. The war is when they realized their intellectual disconnect with real Iran and left for west.

  53. Robert Fortune says:

    Any thoughts on the Colin Powell email hack? I would love to see the entire chain of emails between him and Condoleeza Rice regarding Iraq, Rumsfeld, Brenner, etc. Its a helluva way to add to the historical record.

  54. Kooshy says:

    IMO, the problem with he (Ghaddafi) like Saddam was, they both showed, that both were unpredictable, inconsistent, not reliable. Unpredictable operative rulers are worst then the enemy.

  55. gowithit says:

    Trump did not mention anything about “… ram you or fire on you or attempt to board ..” from what I read. Only that the Iran patrol boats were harassing by coming close and making “gestures”. If there has been more to it than that, I haven’t noted. As such, this bellicose utterance seems typical of other “red meat” statements he throws out to his crowd to chew on.
    On the other hand, Rusiian jets have reportedly been “buzzing” close calls with US planes and ships for some time now. Granted, probably difficult to tell at those speeds if any “gestures”. Trump totally silent on that.

  56. tpcelt says:

    To fully appreciate the trilogy (both in terms of historical development of plot & characters as well as the author’s scholarship), all of the above are excellent. I do think that the first book in particular can be read as a standalone & perhaps the others as well.
    In fact, perhaps you should read the trilogy first. So many aspects of the war are covered that, at the end, you’ll be able to pick and choose from a wealth of topics that may be of interest to you…diplomacy, the role of the navies, tactics, geography, medicine, spies and security/intelligence, financing of war & respective resources of men and materiel, bios of generals & politicians, etc. But don’t forget to read the authors mentioned above at some point.

  57. Imagine says:

    At present Israel has an arrangement with the NSA where it is presented with “unminimized” [raw] data, which not even the other Five Eyes get. The 4th Amendment (private mail, home, effects) is now a bad joke. As is the 8th (Gitmo). Snowden showed the NSA spies on EVERYBODY, and the sheep didn’t even blink. Feinstein currently differentiates between hoovered data that’s looked at by people, vs. by computers; however, computers (Watson) are already arguably sentient, and this explodes exponentially in two years. With the advent of always-on microphones (Alexa, Google Home), we are well on our way to 1984.
    Apple is certainly looking at reinstating the 4th by restoring harder-to-break security. This got amazing pushback from the FBI. Existing solutions such as Tor are being hacked (by our government) and effectively criminalized.
    So thus, in the end, we get the security that we deserve.
    Note that Hillary explicitly circumvented her own secure systems because she did not want to leave a paper trail subject to FOI.
    Since a fascist theocracy that differentiates between chosen ubermensch and sub-humans is successfully spending $75M a year to control 98% of Congress, I disbelieve any state-imposed solution will prove beneficial.
    Also note Julius Genachowski, chairman of FCC, was selected half on the basis of a $3.5M pay-to-play donation. Sad, but that’s the reality one has to deal with.
    The private cybersecurity companies are already extremely well aware of the problem, and well-motivated with billions in competitive profits. Government could start getting out of the way by restoring the 4th Amendment, stopping spying on everyone, and ceasing to send raw data abroad.

  58. turcopolier says:

    Ah, another HC troll. You want to twist my words? You won’t be here long. I have a lot of you making runs at SST like the Iranian patrol boats. BTW to make a threatening run on a naval vessel is a threatening gesture. I don’t know if he realizes that. someone wrote the the remark for him, something like “basket of deplorables” Come on back at me. I am looking to ban you. pl

  59. Chris Chuba says:

    Okay, so what has Hillary said about the Iranian speed boats and Russian Jet buzzing that is so profound?
    Trump is expressing a willingness to fire on said assets and yes, he has mentioned Russian Jets with the caveat ‘after we talk with the Russians and if they don’t respond we’d have to shoot them down’. I am taking this as shorthand for ‘I need to get more details on the matter to see what needs to be done and one way or another this will stop’. I would not rule out an agreement that we’d possibly back off where we do our patrols or that we keep our transponders on. I’ve read that us turning off the transponders really annoys the Russians. I am obviously not a military guy but if I was him, the first thing I would ask our military is the military value of these flights, do we have to take this route and keep our transponders off?
    Regarding the Iranians, the news report on the Iranian threat to our spy planes contained two very interesting tells. Our officer said, ‘we were just outside their airspace at 13 nautical miles and we like to test the Iranian response’. If I was Iran that would tick me off too but if they actually fired on our planes, of course that is an act of war. However, this looks unnecessarily provocative to me.
    Most stories on Iranian harassment just say ‘international waters or airspace’ but leave out details of how close we are to their territory or the location of the contact. That particular detail is relevant in judging their behavior. If the IRGC was noodling around Key West or New Orleans in ‘international waters’, they would likely get some playtime from us.

  60. Will says:

    “Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis“
    “Nobody believes in it. You’re like, ‘Fxck this,’” a former Green Beret says of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian militias. “Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fxck it, who cares?’”

  61. Anonymous says:

    Col. Lang, regarding your “the proper study of Mankind is Man” comment, I ruminated a lot about it and tried several approaches to reply it in a meaningful sense, but, in few, ultimately I consider my math gift the most significant thing in my life (positivist 3rd world, you certainly know how much it helped to be STEM able here) and concluded that, to me, the answer to the “Know then thyself” challenge would be to identify something I would trade that gift for (in hypothetical terms, since my math gift is already hybernating for good.) In the end, my choice would still lead me far away from the humanities.
    It seems to me that I do understand people, but the real challenge would be to be able to make people do what one wants. Since you are on genius level on that and related abilities, perhaps you underestimate the abyss there could be between an artist in the abstract realm (even a lower one as me) and an artist in the Intelligence field.
    Apart from a few wondrously gifted people I guess most genuine STEM artists would turn out bureaucratic Intel people, at least where influencing other people eye to eye is concerned.
    I think you set the bar too high in that one. All humanities lore in the world wouldn’t make me “understand people” in the level you do. I’d rather live a true gift fulfilled by half, than cram my way into something I would always be mediocre in. This I did. I am, after all, Deplorable.

  62. mike says:

    ‘Rebel Yell’ by Gwynne and Grant’s memoirs.

  63. AlanQ says:

    Imagine if it was Russian spy planes showing up off the coast of the US? Dont you think they would be justified in doing a close fly by to deter it

  64. turcopolier says:

    The problem is that when people whose heads are empty of the Humanities try to do things that require such knowledge they generally screw them up. Example, the generals who invaded and occupied Iraq had no comprehension whatever of that with which they were dealing. They tried for a year or so to deal with Iraqi resistance as being in fact a rear area security problem in conventional warfare and got angry if you told them it was not that. pl

  65. jonst says:

    Hard to top Shelby…..

  66. Donald says:

    That was really interesting. I have no way of judging the credibility of the short piece because I have no military background, but it sounded plausible to my nonexpert eyes.

  67. Anna says:

    A good day for the sovereign state of Syria and patriotic Syrians – a dignified speech by Assad:

  68. BraveNewWorld says:

    Yup, it is great to know that the American tax dollar is providing air support for Al Quaida in Syria.
    The hutzpah of Obama today saying the Palestinians deserve their own state after just handing the Isralis $40B to slaughter the Palestinians is just unbearable.

  69. Fred says:

    Is the City of Alexandria discussing “Virginia Mourning Her Dead” when they say the “Appomattox” statue in this report?

  70. turcopolier says:

    They seem to have given up on everything but re-naming Jeff Davis Highway. pl

  71. kooshy says:

    You require these books and have not (yet) been visited by David Horowitz?

  72. Poul says:

    The Hariri’s feel the pain of lower oil prices.
    “The Saudi Arabian government has ended talks aimed at saving construction giant Saudi Oger, which is now facing the prospect of a multi-billion-dollar debt restructuring to stave off collapse, according to sources aware of the matter.
    Oger, owned by the family of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, was one of two mega-contractors charged with implementing the grand infrastructure and development plans of the kingdom, building everything from defense installations to schools and hospitals.”

  73. LeaNder says:

    what I forgot was to ask, how are options 1-2 related to Khalilzad’s “revelation”?
    Full discovery, the developments inside Saudi Arabia don’t seem to need him to talk about it. There are developments that were reported on over here, never mind why. …

  74. turcopolier says:

    Why the reference to Khalilzad? pl

  75. LeaNder says:

    Hmmm? I didn’t send this:
    thanks, Matthew. The Politico article is interesting. Khalilzad surely was better then Bolton in the UN, apart from that not sure what to make of him.
    Are US diplomatic cables from the Nasser times on already available?

  76. LeaNder says:

    I am not sure. But I am very, very interested in where TTG showed he “left out water”
    He might be correct if he looks only at statistics and/or the ones of other countries. From an American perspective the German system may look very, very non/un-free since it is a basic rate deduced from everybody both employed and retirees, which strictly forces you into some type of solidarity, both young and old, ill or non-ill. Mind you, if you are younger you can opt out of it, cheaper offers by private insurance companies for the younger, you only have to keep in mind there is a time after which you cannot return. And artist friend of mine missed the right time for return and was left without. …

  77. LeaNder says:

    sorry, Fred, apparently I didn’t close the italics tag after “non/un-free”. Meaning after the “<", the backslash must be missing. Maybe I reflected on other matters like: legally necessary residence registrations over here compared to e.g. in GB. In other words, it made me realize, I may not really consider some matters restrictive that others due to their specific history do. There are other things, e.g. our public channel's legal framework, created after WWII for a reason, that the our own neo-nationalist would like to get rid off. Or change it into a purely subscription based enterprise.

  78. Fred says:

    I addressed Eric’s reply.

  79. LeaNder says:

    Pat, I pondered if it is relevant, maybe that is why I didn’t post it. Only after I realized my comment might be read as censorship did I decide to do it anyway. There were rumors in Austria a while ago. On the other hand quite a bit of political turmoil in Austria lately. Not only there, though.
    Second paragraph:
    Sorry I didn’t close the italics tag above. Apparently the closing backslash before the “i”=italics is missing.

  80. Eric Newhill says:

    That is interesting. Americans like to indulge in fantasies about the beauty of European healthcare when few have ever had an encounter with it.
    Of course, there is no such thing as free healthcare. Someone is going to pay for it. Most obviously that will be everyone who works in the form of a tax. The only difference between what we have today in America and what they desire is that everyone would be covered 100% of the time, which is nice. But it isn’t free. The ACA (Obama Care) basically aimed to achieved exactly this [universal coverage] in an American fashion. But it isn’t the big free give away that everyone wants. So the people who misunderstood the administration on that point are upset. Then the incentive to get into the program wasn’t set right up right. So the healthy made the rational decision to opt out.

  81. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    Politically the ACA is a massive transfer of wealth in the form of subsidies for the Obama constituency. pl

  82. Bill H says:

    Not a doctor, but have been being treated for Parkinson’s for almost ten years and I often read the doctor’s notes in my chart. There is certainly something up with Hillary Clinton and I despise the person as much as most people here do, but that paper appears to be a rather poor fake. Two phrases in particular stood out as highly unlikely to be used by a doctor in patient notes.
    “The patient scored significantly lower on todays test than when tested in 2013.” There are several things wrong with that. 1) The lack of an apostrophe in “today’s test” is relatively minor, but… 2) The scores, both current and in 2013, would be recorded, as the information without those scores is relatively useless. The term “significantly lower” is medically meaningless. 3) The date in 2013 would be recorded, since the interval between tests is significant.
    “…increasing her medication for the seizures.” The medication would be named, and the precise dosages would be recorded. That note is essentially meaningless from a medical standpoint.

  83. Babak Makkinejad says:

    North Korea is and will remain a nuclear-armed state.

  84. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Persian Axis” is exactly right; without the legacy of the great empires of the yore, chief among them that of the Great King, Iranians would not have been able to conceive the paradigm under which they are operating.

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    All throughout the duration of Bush II, US planes had been “buzzing” Iran. This is not new. The new thing is that Iranians are now making threats.

  86. turcopolier says:

    Not if it is invaded and destroyed. pl

  87. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They have taken Seoul hostage; I do not think they can be invaded at acceptable costs to South Korea. Nor do I think South Koreans will march North. I think Chinese like North Korea the way she is now.

  88. Eric Newhill says:

    Sir, Agree. You hit the nail, less all the window dressing, squarely on the head. It would have been much simpler/cleaner to simply expand Medicaid coverage, but then the true nature of the program would have been too obvious and it would not have been politically viable. So instead we get this rotten sausage that is going to have to be tossed out sooner or later.
    BTW, I am all for universal coverage under a single payer/socialized system. However, I do think that we need to be honest about what that means and doesn’t mean. So far, that honesty has been absent and there has been way too much utopian thinking in the mix.

  89. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    I suppose that the long pole in the tent on single payer is the inevitable rationing of optional procedures, like knees. etc. In Canada they have so much money every year for things like that and if they run out, you wait. The US Armed forces have infinite money so far so that has not come up as an issue. What do they do in France? pl

  90. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, nothing should be free; even a nominal fee ought to always be required – say 1 Euro or 1 Dollar.

  91. Eric Newhill says:

    Sir, Again you are correct. Rationing is how Europe, etc pays less for health care.
    Additionally – another form of rationing – in the US there is a lot of use where the marginal cost exceeds the marginal benefit. The socialized systems eliminate this to the extent possible. If the bang for the buck isn’t there, it isn’t covered. This is a good thing, but US doctors convince their patients that the evil system is depriving them of important treatment.

  92. Norbert M Salamon says:

    your note is 100% correct, it applies to all surgeries, procedures which are not emergency, On the other hand, emergency treatment is excellent:
    my Heart attack on Friday in Olds 6 pm. transfer to Calgary by 10[special heart ward -like ICU], stent by Sunday noon discharged on Monday by 1:00 pm [long weekend].
    Renter has probable kidney failure Saturday, sent to Red Deer for proper diagnosis, dialysis set up 3 times a week.
    Neither of these 2 procedures involved any personal expense, except for needed prescription drugs, which in my case cost subsidized $ 140.00 for the real cot of 1490/ 3 moths[ being over 65 years old in Alberta].

  93. LeaNder says:

    EN, you can opt our of the system e.g. if you are above a certain income or belong to a specific group: self-employed, civil servant, soldier … (Social Security law V/SGB V §27ff). But if you are insured you get 100 % of what you need*, you don’t wait long and your age does not matter either, as seems to be the case elsewhere … Although, let’s see the share trade invades market over here too, e.g. with hospital chains, and other chain ideas. Thus let’s see. 😉
    * you used to get everything, but have to contribute a fixed rate concerning prostheses and orthodontic for longer now. But not concerning any other treatment. Psychological treatment is covered too, although not for entertainment, meaning within limits, § 27 tells you what is covered… You may not get any of the many things like Chinese herb tea, some of our doctors have on offer lately. I was offered that once. 😉
    Strictly much of the law with all its modifications goes back to the late 19the century and/or Bismarck. The socialists became unruly. 😉
    I know some that could have and regret to not have opted out of both health insurance and the state pension system. It has been misused, partly necessarily after re-union. State health insurers have been in troubles too resulting in rising rates, and yes, there is absolutely no doubt it can be exploited too. … The health/pension employee system covers a special rate of your income if you are ill too. Met some experts in that context … Others I know never regretted they didn’t opt out. There you go. 😉

  94. Ken Roberts says:

    “In Canada they have … if they run out, you wait.”
    I’m sure that’s true. But in practical terms, rationing is done in a fair manner. I’ve observed folks getting the the necessary care, for serious matters, yet getting delayed for stuff less urgent. It is triage. We all do it, in all areas of life. I like two aspects of Cdn system: rationing is based upon need, not wealth — but, if a person is really rich, they can go to the US for private care, so the US system provides an outlet for otherwise disruptive elites. And, universal coverage is genuinely more efficient. There are still opportunists, of course, but less than seen elsewhere.

  95. Matthew says:

    Interesting piece on new MOU with Israel. See
    Irony: The World’s Most Overrated Client State will now have to use American money to buy American weapons.
    It’s actually pretty stunning that for decades we funded competition for our arms industry.

  96. euclidcreek says:

    UC Berkeley suspends mistakenly approved course on Palestine – The Daily Californian 9.15.16

  97. YT says:
    I know only of their massacring the Armenians…
    Little did I know that when the perfidious limeys were starving the Micks, these turbanheads actually sent them much-needed provisions.

  98. J says:

    The World Nomad Games recently concluded in Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. Team brought home 2 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals.

  99. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, per the implication of your ideas and that of doug above, there is a Market for War – and if there is not, one ought to be created.
    And through this War Market various wars and battles may be priced and sold. And just the stock market and the commodities market – there could be a War Materiale Market that complements the War Market.
    I suppose, in that case, we could have a War Futures Market as well as derivative products; all very rational and proper.
    But, who would be doing the dying?

  100. Fred says:

    No connection to Turkey or Armenia. but hopefully the Irish have not forgotten the USS Macedonian bringing aid to Ireland during the famine:

  101. The Porkchop Express says:

    This was an absolutely fascinating read. How true do you think this is? I know TTG has suggested on multiple occasions to “shoot the radio immediately on the ground,” but this goes way beyond that. Would SF soldiers do this? If true, it would constitute extremely gross (albeit admirable from my civilian, non-military service perspective) insubordination, would it not?

  102. turcopolier says:

    Yes, that is one of the reasons the Big Army hates and to some extent fears us. We were created by Aaron Bank to be thinking warriors. How dangerous is that! The Big Army wanted to get rid of us after VN, but the rise of counter-terrorism as an obsession in the 70s saved a remnant even though as CT commandos, but the selection and training never ended and now the phoenix of the UW Green Berets (men like the crucified Jim Gant) is reborn in the Borg Wars and it will be very difficult for the Big Army to rid itself of these men who do what the rest cannot. De Opresso Liber. pl

  103. Joe100 says:

    Some good photos of (apparently) US SF working with the Kurds today at today at Col. Cassad – and Also a claim that US Marines are engaged at a broader crossing with Turkey.
    Curious if TTG can confirm the SF photos..

  104. turcopolier says:

    I like the part about the intellectuals not being able to “find a coconut on Coconut Island.” pl

  105. Jack says:

    Nassim Taleb has been excoriating the Ph.Ds that run our monetary and economic policies as well as our foreign policy elites among others. His notion of skin -in-the-game mirrors your suggestion for a quai-draft to ensure those that vote for war have some skin-in-the-game.
    My pet peeve are the Bernanke’s, Summers, Krugman’s of the world screaming for more inflation and justifying their money printing debauchery due to a lack of it. What they’re really saying is that they want to reduce the purchasing power of median households whose incomes have stagnated as well as the savings of their grandfathers. Despicable.

  106. turcopolier says:

    Someone has stated to me that when BHO applied to Occidental College he applied for a scholarship for foreign students. He may have been a dual national US/Indonesian at that time. Do any of you know anything about this? pl

  107. Martin Oline says:

    Regarding Congress’ bill to allow U.S. citizens to sue Saudi Arabia, I saw this tonight on RT’s internet site:
    A Guantanamo Bay prisoner said he heard a phone conversation between a religious figure who talked about his qualifications for jihad, and a person the figure addressed as “your highness,” who the prisoner believes to be a Saudi royal.
    Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi, a 41-year-old Saudi national, is among the remaining 61 terrorist suspects being held at the US detention facility in Cuba. In June, he reported the alleged conversation with a Saudi royal family member to the Periodic Review Board, which assesses whether Guantanamo prisoners can be released. On Thursday, the Pentagon published a redacted transcript of his words.
    The conversation Sharbi described happened in early 2001, shortly after he returned to Saudi Arabia from the US, where he had taken some flight school courses in Phoenix with two men who would become hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, AP reported. The religious figure was urging him to go to America again and take part in a plot against the US.
    The prisoner said he listened to his recruiter speak with another man on the phone to discuss Sharbi’s US experience. “I remember, ‘yes, your highness, yes your highness,’ and he was talking to him about me,” he said. He believes the other man, who he never met, to be a royal.

  108. Chris Chuba says:

    Is the U.S. encouraging enemy regimes to fight to the death?
    I’m expanding a topic that I touched on earlier. If a regime (not a pejorative here) is on our bad guy list and they try to make a deal with the U.S. are there any examples where the U.S. didn’t push it to the maximum disadvantage of that regime even to the dissolution of that govt?
    The problem with this approach is that our only tool becomes the use of force which would be okay if it was always successful and had a good outcome but obviously the use of force is inherently risky and destabilizing. I am personally avoiding the moral implications of this premise but if others want to address that in reply to my post that is fine.
    Here is a list of what I am referring to.
    1. Libya, we made a deal with Gaddafi, okay, his WMD was a Potemkin village but he opened the veil, the rest is history.
    2. Iraq, we made a deal with Saddam after he lost in 1992. He disposed of his WMD and we disposed of him.
    3. The Soviet Union, we said we would not expand NATO. They withdrew from Eastern Europe and felt so good about it that they even broke into separate Republics. This way they got a nice homogenous country with no unruly subjects to worry about. We then added as many of those states as possible to NATO and tried (are trying) to turn the others against them.
    4. Iran, this was a very simple transaction as it did not involve any disarmament, border changes, or troop withdrawals and we even managed to twist this one up like a pretzel. We agreed to let Iran trade with Europe but are using our Treasury Dept. to prevent Iran from doing that.
    I have to say that the Iranians were brilliant, they looked at our past transactions and insisted on getting their frozen assets back in hard currency in Euros and gold.
    Here is a link where they talk about Libya, so I don’t think that I am speculating all that much here …
    Yeah, we are messing up their European deals but as time goes on they will be able to get more of what they need from China and even Russia. So Iran is walking away with their shirt.
    In each case we dealt with a regime on our bad guy list, they gave up something of value and we …
    So if you were N. Korea would you even consider giving up Nukes or disarming without a fight?

  109. jsn says:

    Sociopaths engage in the commerce of war all the time, generally at the margins. When leadership in a society thinks in terms of “a market for war”, as I believe ours now does and did the Renaissance Princes before us, they are confusing money for what value it represents.
    This works until it doesn’t: that’s the point of the Charles VIII reference, sooner or later someone comes along with a patriotic view of his/her society that values that society, the real creator of wealth rather than the mere monetary representation of it, and kicks some commercial ass.
    Commerce and markets are necessarily subordinate to the polities within which they function, even cross border trade is but an arbitrage of the different material conditions of the trading societies. In periods of epic decay, like now, this reality becomes occluded behind venal and greedy ideologies, but eventually a patriotic force surfaces to shovel the Augean stables.
    I think this is the secret to Putin’s success in Russia, for instance. I won’t glamorize him, but he has been good for most Russians and bad or at least constraining for the Oligarchs there.

  110. Martin Oline says:

    I’m writing on this thread because it is an open thread, I read this today. You have probably seen it already. I think it would make a good post for someone who has the time to do it. This is not intended to be posted but if you do, wipe out this sentence or edit it however you want. The link:

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