Open Thread – 23 July 2017


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99 Responses to Open Thread – 23 July 2017

  1. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Perhaps someone will post/comment why Stockman’s 22 July piece re Brennan, Rice, Powers .. is it too “hot” for the likes of Unz & Truthout? Just old news i guess.

  2. Lord Curzon says:

    The first Queen Elizabeth class carrier is currently undergoing sea trials.
    For a detailed understanding of British maritime and naval strategy and the reason why cats and traps were not implemented:

  3. Alaric says:

    Is it true Mueller is now investigating Jill Stein as part of Dems lost it gate (I mean russiagate)? If so, this is truly disgusting and an act of absolute desperation, really icky pathetic

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You might like reading this and the book to which it refers – a Junk version of Kon Tiki:

  5. FourthAndLong says:

    Appears the Dems have not been entirely comatose koolaid drinkers after all. They are rolling out their new economic plan on Monday. “A Better Real,” is being leaked:
    Features Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lambasting noe other than Hilary Clinton:
    “When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview previewing the new plan. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”
    Will wonders never cease ?
    On another point entirely, here is a fascinating discussion of the Dunkirk episode:
    Yes, it’s in the interest of promoting the soon to released eponymous British blockbuster “Dunkirk.” But it contains details which up to now have eluded a WW II history junkie such as myself. Never quite appreciated how von Runstedt inserted himself between Rommel and AH, if the info within is to be believed. I suspect some members of the SST community may enjoy a look-see.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The following article from Nature, states that humans settled in Australia at least 65,000 years ago.
    I think it clear that the Aborigines in Australia had achieved and maintained some of the mist cherished notions of the Enlightenment Tradition and its offshoots:
    No paternalistic supreme deity,
    personal liberty to do very much as they pleased,
    no state (the Withering away of the State),
    equality (of poverty, one must say)
    living in harmony with nature,
    sustainable development (in part through infanticide)
    Of course, they still had miles to go to achieve full sexual equality/anarchy – just gave them another 65,000 years to approximate and realize, finally, the vision of such eminent intellects as Rousseau.

  7. Babak Makkinejad says:

    CRISPR–Cas encoding of a digital movie into the genomes of a population of living bacteria
    I wonder if the Creator has embedded audio-visual-tactile messages in Human DNA.

  8. Chris Chuba says:

    I asked this question on Daniel Larison’s American Conservative and will ask it here (and include his short response)
    Does anyone have a recommendation of where to donate to assist the Yemenis?
    I found three different organizations that target projects in Yemen.
    My dad had a particular fondness for the Red Cross as a POW in WW2 he received food parcels and this is targeting the cholera epidemic
    This is an Islamic organization which doesn’t bother me if they are effective. Scanning the pdf document, they have projects in Location: Ta’iz, Saa’da (Sanaa) and Aden which would definitely include the Houthi areas.
    This is the U.N.
    Daniel Larison’s Response:

    “ICRC and UNICEF are good options. I don’t know much about the other group, but they may be worth supporting. Personally, I have donated to Oxfam, Mercy Corps, and MSF (Doctors Without Borders).”

    If anyone here has their own recommendation I’d like to here them.

  9. Fred says:

    A musical interlude to use as background to your browsing.
    Carlos Paredes – “Coimbra e o Mondego”:

  10. Babak,
    Thanks for that. I just may have to look for that book. In a much smaller way, this reminded me of the kayaks a friend of mine and I made out of scrounged pieces of wood, some canvas and leftover house paint. At the time we worked in a Swiss Precision Screw Machine shop… my time with the proletariat. In the spirit of sharing, here’s an article that appeared in today’s paper issue of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. This is a magnificent spot only twenty minutes from my house.

  11. steve g says:

    Read it at Lew Rockwell today. His posts at
    Contra Corner are now behind a paywall I

  12. Thirdeye says:

    They were the first known mariners.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:


  14. Thirdeye says:

    Another blow against the chivalrous-stop-at-Dunkirk myth. I think it was on the British show Battlefield that someone described interoffice politics between the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe having a role in the stop. Goering convinced Hitler that the Luftwaffe could reduce the beachhead and Hitler, who was worried about attacks on the flank of the Wehrmacht driving through France, ordered Von Rundstedt to not fully commit at Dunkirk.

  15. Eric Newhill says:

    Sen. Al Franken said today that he trusts the Russian ambassador more than he trusts Sessions or Trump. So Franken – and by extension, the Democrats – are colluding with Russia to upset our elected government.
    WOW! Franken is colluding with Russia to bust the Trump admin for colluding with Russia. You couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s too bizarre.
    Investigation of Franken should begin immediately!

  16. Haralambos says:

    Thanks, Fred,
    Tenho saudades. I lived and taught at the university from 1986-1998. He was a master. I will send you back one: the song that launched the Socialist (Carnation) Revolution against the Junta. The signal for the start was the playing on the radio of a song by Zeca Afonso:
    Here is the song:
    The revolution was triggered by professional soldiers after many years of colonial warfare to preserve their colonies. One of my colleagues pointed out that the colonial wars required the equivalent percentage of Portuguese fighting as British soldiers under arms and fighting in WWII.
    I always think of minefields and an initial question I had when I arrived in Portugal.
    I recall being struck by the number of young men with missing limbs when I arrived in Coimbra. When I contemplated the colonial wars, I understood that they were often veterans of the wars and land mines.
    These thoughts recur as I often recall this when I work on projects editing academic papers for a forensic pathologist on the border of Greece and Turkey. Many of her reports detail causes of death for illegals crossing the river into Greece and traversing as minefields minefields.
    My apologies for getting so personal.

  17. mike says:

    TTG –
    That is Powhatan & Pocahontas country. I took the kids there a hundred years ago when at Quantico. We looked for arrowpoints but were skunked.

  18. mike says:

    Chris –
    I’ve now heard the figure of 6 million cholera vics in Yemen soon.
    Both UNICEF and the Red Cross work with or through the Yemen Red Crescent Society. So my opinion is that with either of those you would be good. UNICEF is of course primarily for children, and much of the cholera is also taking a toll on seniors. So the red cross may be a better choice.
    Although my dad never had much good to say about the red cross during WW2. Said he had heard about the donut dollies but never saw any in North Africa and Italy.

  19. Keith Harbaugh says:

    A recurring issue and question at this blog and elsewhere is:
    “How does U.S. intervention in Russian politics compare to
    Russian intervention in U.S. politics?”

    The general consensus at SST seems to be that the U.S. has interfered as much or more in Russian politics as vice versa.
    The opposite POV is expressed in this WaPo op-ed:
    “Did the United States interfere in Russian elections?”
    by Tom Malinkowki, 2017-07-23
    (Tom Malinowski served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor from 2014 to 2017.)
    Among other points, Malinkowski makes the following comparison:

    The U.S. government never hacked into Russian leaders’ emails and released them selectively to favor one side in their elections, or flooded Russian social media with fake stories to discredit their ruling party. What it did do, until the U.S. Agency for International Development was expelled from Russia in 2012, was to help fund some of the country’s leading nongovernmental organizations. These included the human rights group Memorial, the Committee Against Torture and, most important, given the drama to come, a group called Golos, Russia’s main nongovernment organization for election fraud monitoring. This effort was non-partisan and it aimed to strengthen democracy for everyone in Russia, not to steer the outcome.

    If the Russian government were to offer grants in the United States to NGOs that promote voting rights for minority citizens, or that fight corruption in our politics, that would be the equivalent of what the United States did in Russia, and we would have no cause to complain. Indeed, to this day, we let the Kremlin fund a Russian cultural center in Washington (though it closed the U.S. cultural center in Moscow) and allow its Sputnik propaganda outlet to broadcast on FM radio in America (though it has denied Voice of America a license to broadcast locally in Russia). We don’t stop Russia or any other country from trying to influence public debate in the United States on any issue.

  20. Cortes says:

    A very readable account of plastic in the oceans is

  21. Cortes says:

    On living in harmony with nature, if memory serves the following linked book argues that evidence exists that people chose to employ technology which they had already superseded, maybe for ecological reasons:

  22. Cortes says:

    The “At Our Own Peril” report referred to in the linked article by Wayne Madsen seems (to this untutored eye) to suggest that a more measured approach to geopolitics is contemplated by “movers and shakers” within the Beltway:

  23. LG says:

    the international committee for the Red Cross or icrc and the Yemeni red crescent are two quite different entities. national red cross/crescent societies are locally registered, fairly independent NGOs and often receive support from their ministries of health and civil defence. they are merely affiliated to the icrc and not administered by them in any way.

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Excellent thanks
    Sir Fred Hoyle would have enjoyed this
    Another place to look would have been in the mithocondrial DNA
    The purported message could be a musical piece, rather than a picture
    Or it could be encoded in the electric field of DNA

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks I will check it out
    Living in harmony with Nature implies accepting to live with dibilating, often painful disease
    I am not going to endure excruciating dental pain because either God or Nature have so willed it.
    Damns the Harmony, Drill away!

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Check the movie
    Los Capitanes de Avril

  27. mike,
    The Patawomeck tribe calls this area home. Wayne Newton grew up as part of the tribe in southern Stafford. He came out of Vegas to Richmond to speak for tribal recognition a few years ago.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You cannot take this seriously; post-colonial Africans destroyed what the Europeans had built; in Congo, in Ghana, in Uganda and in Zimbabwe.

  29. blowback says:

    “The U.S. government never hacked into Russian leaders’ emails and released them selectively to favor one side in their elections”
    What evidence is there to support the allegation that the Russian government hacked into American leaders’ email and released them to favor one side in their election? None that’s been made public. And the Wikileaks founder and his sidekick (Craig Murray) have consistently claimed that the e-mails were leaked from within the DNC.
    “flooded Russian social media with fake stories to discredit their ruling party”
    What evidence is there that the Russian government flooded American social media with fake stories to discredit their ruling party? As far as I can remember, the fake news stories originated with either right-wing websites in the US or commercial operations designed to raise revenue from web ads using the fake news stories as clickbait. Perhaps you can remember other examples that were tied back to the Russian government.
    There is no real evidence that Russia interfered in the election in any meaningful way whereas Americans were able to swing an election for Yeltsin that he otherwise would have lost. Furthermore, it seems to me Malinowski is just making stuff up and so is himself a source of fake news.

  30. fanto says:

    cool it, go to the tribes shaman/sorcerer and get hypnotized, or if that was not helping your tooth ache – he will give you some leaves or fruits to chew on, like hemp, or coca or poppy, the nature is there to help. (vis curativa naturae)

  31. mike says:

    LG –
    I agree. I never implied otherwise. My understanding is that the ICRC does not go parading around Yemen with a red cross emblazoned on their vehicles or their uniforms. They donate food and meds to local relief organizations (i.e. the Yemen Red Crescent Society).

  32. optimax says:

    After the breakup of the USSR, Russia became a hot investment for international financiers. Then the Russian economy tanked and a US hedge fund lost everything, as did most investors. Clinton bailed out the hedge fund, saving the money invested by its wealthy clients. Does anyone remember the name of the hedge fund?
    For some reason I have been unable to find it on google.

  33. mike says:

    TTG –
    Were the Patawomeck part of Powhatan’s Confederacy? Maybe not as Stafford County is far from Richmond. But you would think they at least gave him tribute.

  34. Peter AU says:

    “personal liberty to do very much as they pleased,”
    They still had a lot of laws that had to be followed.
    Many concerning marriage which eliminated any inbreeding and so forth, also depending on tribe and family group, animals plants ect they could not use or kill. In some ways simple and in other ways complex.

  35. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Thanks ..several ‘open/non-paywall”places. I first, earlier today caught it at ICH:
    As for Stockman’s veracity, for me he has good and bad days..but worth a free read when it pops up/i trip over them.
    As for Brennan, Rice and Powers: a trifecta of ‘live’ trouble.

  36. J says:

    Congress is moving rapidly to tie Trumps hands regarding his executive ability especially with regard to improving relations with Russia.
    They’re masking it in their latest Iran bill. The Senate has already voted 98 to 2 on it, and it’s now moving to the House.

  37. Lyttenburgh says:

    “If the Russian government were to offer grants in the United States to NGOs that promote voting rights for minority citizens, or that fight corruption in our politics, that would be the equivalent of what the United States did in Russia, and we would have no cause to complain.”
    No, instead you’d harras them in accordance with “FARA” (, of which both Russian and Israeli legislation is a nearly carbon copy. How supposedly a learned person, who gets published in the WaPo don’t know that, is beyond me.
    “The U.S. government never hacked into Russian leaders’ emails and released them selectively to favor one side in their elections, or flooded Russian social media with fake stories to discredit their ruling party.”
    No, instead they bolstered their own puppet Yeltsin during the elections of 1996, ran a multi million $ propaganda machine, which extolled the “virtues” of Boris the Drunk, while smearing his opponent in what in other cases would be considered to be libel.
    ” This effort was non-partisan and it aimed to strengthen democracy for everyone in Russia, not to steer the outcome.”
    Oh, wait – you are serious. Let me laugh even harder! So, when the creme de la creme of the so-called Russian so-called liberal opposition came in 2011/12 to the US embassy, some of them – members of the opposition oarties and elected officials, and then called for the riots and civic distirbance, it was all in the name of “strengthening democracy for everyone”?
    Hey, tell you what – how about we in Russia will finally jail Kasyanov, Gozman and the top tier of “Yabloco” party for colluding with the “hostile power”?
    Btw, what is your opinion, Keith Harbaugh?

  38. SteveSA says:

    The Congressional GOP is thwarting and subverting Trump (and his voters) and not moving forward on healthcare reform, tax cuts, infrastructure spending, the Wall, etc. But they have time to move this Russian sanctions bill forward which merely advances the Democrat and NeverTrump narrative. Strangely, U.S. oil companies are opposed to this bill yet the Congressional GOP are thumbing their nose at even Big Oil to take down Trump. Truly amazing. I hate to sound like Captain Obvious here but Democracy in America is dead. Maybe it’s been dead for awhile and the politicians and Establishment have kept her dead body sitting in the apartment as they cashed her welfare checks.

  39. SteveSA says:

    GOP trashes Trump’s plan to end dozens of government programs

  40. Fred says:

    Come now. In the 50 years since Nkuramah wrote that nice Marxist inspired piece the best known graduate of Ghana’s school system, Robert Mugabe, succeeded in leading Zimbabwe to ‘freedom’. He did not line his pockets by choosing to be a corrupt racist African dictator. The West made him do it.

  41. SteveSA says:

    S.720 – Israel Anti-Boycott Act
    A bill that would criminalize boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressmen. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) says that violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. Additionally, they say that the bill would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies in direct violation of the First Amendment.
    Here’s a list of the co-sponsors:

  42. JMH says:

    That’s because, despite some subsides, oil and gas are actually a productive industry. However, finance, IT, and defense are self licking ice cream cones that can be used to suck the treasury dry and enrich the neo-liberals on both sides of the aisle.

  43. Lyttenburgh says:

    “I can’t believe for a minute that western intelligence agencies have not and are not posting to Russian social media to try and influence the population and by extension how they vote.”
    They, most likely, don’t. Why should they do that, if they can outsource this to the native/recently immigrated Russians, with axe to grind against the country? Just throw some money in the guise to the “promotion of the civil society”, hook up several logorrheaic demzhizoids to it and – voila! – you have extremely cheap pro-Western outlet, spouting all right talking points. The scheme is as old as mammoth’s turd. Plus – semi plausible deniability.
    OTOH, currently it doesn’t work. Like at all. But the scheme persists, because to do otherwise would mean to “betray democracy in Russia”. Meanwhile aforementioned “democrats” in Russia, knowing full well their efforts amount to the rituals in the cargo cult, embezzle/stole most of the grants, understanding, that they would never be dropped off the account by their “Western Partners”. And everyone understands, that this state of affairs is better for everyone.

  44. blowback says:

    Since reading the post about Ritter’s article in the American Conservative the old grey cells have been whirring away and might have finally clicked.
    We are told how bad it is that the Russian IC interfered in the election yet with the CIA mentioning a foreign intelligence service (probably Estonian according to Ritter) as the source for the document that triggered the three-agency investigation, what about that foreign interference in the election. Surely that is as bad as the alleged Russian interference.
    Two points if it was the Estonian IC:
    1. Russia claimed to have captured an Estonian spy who crossed into Russia while the Estonians claim he was kidnapped in Estonia and taken across the border. Whatever it was, the Estonians messed up. Does the Estonian intelligence service appear like one that could penetrate the Kremlin? Given the obvious hostility of the Estonian IC to the Russian IC, how trustworthy is their information
    2. We repeatedly hear how the Russian intelligence services intervened in the presidential election, what about the foreign (possible Estonian) intelligence interference after the event. Perhaps they read the newspaper reports of Clinton’s imminent coronation and only felt the urge to intervene once Trump had won. Why was the report not handed to the CIA earlier before the election when you would expect most of the discussions in the Kremlin to have taken place? Perhaps because there was nothing to base it on and only after Trump with his intentions of better relations with Russia won did the foreign (Estonian) IC fabricate the claims.
    Perhaps the CIA should reveal which foreign intelligence service did really interfere in the election after the event to discredit the winner, Trump.

  45. Pundita says:

    “Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music originating in South Asia. … It is part of a musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years. Originally performed at Sufi shrines or dargahs throughout South Asia, it gained mainstream popularity and international audience in the late 20th century. Qawwali music received international exposure through the works of the late Pakistani singers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Sabri Brothers, …” (Wikipedia)
    Courtesy of YouTube, here are renditions of three qawwalis made famous by singers who were raised in the Sufi music tradition and stayed true to it all their lives.
    “Dam Mast Qalandar Mast Mast” – sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Co.
    The famous qawwali was composed in honour of Sindh’s most revered Sufi saint, Shahbaz Qalandar but this one version, performed in England to welcome Nelson Mandela, is the ‘blowout’ one; in my view the greatest version among the many I’ve heard.
    There seem to be copyright quarrels about the version; in any case it has disappeared from YouTube but then someone else get holds of it and posts it. Here’s the Wikipedia article for the qawwali, which includes an English translation of the lyrics.
    “Tajdar-e-Haram” — written and sung by the Sabri Brothers
    The enchanting lyrics for this qawwali with English translation are on the internet, and are also embedded in Coke Studio Pakistan’s version, below. (Yes, Coca-Cola). Click on the “CC” caption on the screen to call up the English translation:
    The Coke Studio version features Pakistani actor-singer-songwriter superstar Atif Aslam. It’s his hommage to the Sabri Brothers’ most famous qawwali. Atif did a great job with the qawwali even though he’s not a qawwali singer — although he did ‘modernize’ it for young ears. Often qawwalis begin with a slow introduction — sometimes a VERY LONG slow introduction — then pick up speed, but as Ustad Nusrat once told an interviewer, younger people these days want to hear music played at a faster beat.
    Caveat: Qawwali singers are always improvising on the lyrics; rarely are two performances the same. So Atif’s version is not necessarily the same word-for-word as the above one by the Sabri Brothers.
    Anyhow, he’s backed by some great Coke Studio musicians. His version became popular with many young South Asians (including Hindus and Sikhs) — many of whom were introduced to qawwalis and other types of traditional singing and musical instruments through Coke Studio Pakistan, which is aimed at young people and mixes contemporary and traditional musical intruments.
    (There’s also an Indian Coke Studio and I think an African one, but Pakistan was the original, and the best in my opinion.)
    “Tu Mane Ya Na Mane” by the Wadali Brothers
    “A popular Sufi love song where the poet talks about how loving one’s beloved is as sacred as worshipping the Almighty.”
    Another great offering from Coke Studio Pakistan. If you don’t want the spell rudely broken by the Coke Studio jingle at the end, stop the tape when the klieg light Coke logo backdrop fades out.
    There are attempts on the internet at English translations of this particular version of the qawwali. By the way such attempts are a common occurrence. People are always pleading for a translation of a qawwali then someone tries and adds ‘That’s the best I can do,’ then someone else jumps in and writes, ‘You idiot you got three of the stanzas completely wrong’ and on and on it goes.
    Yes it’s nice to know the lyrics as sung, but for crying out loud, once you get in the swing of qawwalis you can make up your own English version of the lyrics. These songs speak the language of the heart, which isn’t limited by human languages.
    There are Wikipedia articles for the Sabri Brothers, Wadali Brothers, and Ustad (an honorific) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his brother, Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, who always sits next to him on stage and plays the harmonium, and who’s composed many of the qawwalis sung by Ustad Nusrat & Co. And of course there are Wikipedia articles for Atif Aslam and Coke Studio.
    Here’s the above playlists uninterrupted by my jabberings:
    All right; I’m running away from the internet for a time. Au revoir.

  46. pantaraxia says:

    Meanwhile virtually unmentioned by the ever vigilant MSM, is an assault on the First Amendment by the zionists and their congressional lapdogs. Glen Greenwald reports on the so-called ‘Palestine Exception’ to free speech.
    U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel
    “…wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine…”
    “The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act …“was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:”
    (Similar measures, conflating anti-zionism with anti-semitism, have already been passed in France, Canada (Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism) and most recently England in order to criminalize criticism of Israel.)
    Greenwald questions the essential sanity of the bill:
    “In what conceivable sense is it of benefit to Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?”
    So in ‘the land of the free’, it will be perfectly legal to denigrate the President, disparage Congress and the government in general, even burn the American flag but a peep about Israel and off to the hoosegow you go. Orwell statement of “’All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” is finding new relevance. Perhaps, more ominously, a statement attributed to Voltaire seems equally applicable: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”.
    note: Philip Weiss on Greenwald’s article:
    some related background:
    Forward’ columnist and Emily’s List leader relate ‘gigantic,’ ‘shocking’ role of Jewish Democratic donors

  47. SteveSA says:

    Liberal progressives in my state, Massachusetts– the bluest of blue states, the only state where the white vote statewide went for Hillary*– have sought to make BDS illegal through a state bill: “An Act to Prohibit Discrimination in State Contracts” (S.1689/H.1685)**. One supporter of the bill argued that BDS originated in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

  48. mike,
    The Patawomeck joined the Powhatan Confederacy from time to time. They also,at times, allied with the English against Powhatan. The two definitely traded with each other.

  49. Phil Cattar says:

    The Donut Dollies were still around in 1963.They used to visit the First Calvary on the 38th parallel .Some troops looked forward to seeing some “American” women.Once the TV star Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) was with them.He was very nice and heavy.

  50. fanto says:

    the name you are searching for and other dealings by the international capital and IMF in 1990’s Russia may perhaps be described in “Globalization and its Discontents” by Joseph Stieglitz.

  51. fanto says:

    what happened to Mr (Prof) Kiracofe? He used to comment on SST years back.

  52. Chris Chuba says:

    Thanks, I’m all for what works. The ICRC is my conduit for providing whatever financial aid I can offer. I’m fine with Red Crescent. I’ll choose a second organization as well.
    I’m familiar with the Red Cross controversy, my dad’s view was along the lines of … ‘if the Red Cross charged GI’s for donuts and coffee to help fund operations for their brothers in POW camps, it was okay in the big scheme of things’. Understandable from his perspective 🙂
    Fortunately, he and the others were only there for about 7mo’s. Bomber crews must have been kept in another camp, he never talked about seeing them. They would have been held potentially much longer.

  53. turcopolier says:

    He decided not to post here any longer. Perhaps you can find him elsewhere. pl

  54. blowback says:


    They, most likely, don’t. Why should they do that, if they can outsource this to the native/recently immigrated Russians, with axe to grind against the country?

    I’m tempted to disagree with you there but only because I reckon the whole “perception management” business is an ideal way to scam money out of the American taxpayer. How exactly do you measure success in a “perception management” operation? And getting recent emigrants to do the work on the cheap means less profits for the Military-industrial complex and the US oligarchs. The United States spends about $65 billion on the IC (about the same as Russia spends on defence), so it’s not as if there aren’t enough “business opportunities” swilling around.

  55. turcopolier says:

    Phil Cattar
    “Cavalry,” not “calvary.” Calvary is where Jesus died. pl

  56. Old Microbiologist says:

    Maybe. There are now quite a few conflicting theories about the origins of Homo sapiens and I tend to believe the parallel evolution in place theory so it is possible that an earlier species of human ancestors arrived to Australia and evolved there. We can only speculate about this. The fossil evidence is still relatively undiscovered in Australia.

  57. robt willmann says:

    There was violence in the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan yesterday (23 July)––three-injured-including-killed-jordanian-and-israeli-man-wounded
    The Jordanian government says that three people were initially wounded, two Jordanians and one Israeli. The two Jordanians died, and one was a physician, according to the article.
    Details of what happened are unclear. Jordan has refused to let an Israeli security guard who fired a gun to leave the country.
    Here in the U.S., Jared Kushner, president Trump’s son in law, is to appear (or has already appeared) before the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and maybe some or all of the committee members. It is to be behind closed doors, although the committee has not listed it as being any kind of formal hearing. Kushner provided a written statement — or, rather, his lawyers did! — which is here:

  58. Old Microbiologist says:

    Recent investigations are revealing that our oral microbiome is a large part of reason for the development of dental caries and other dental diseases. We get it at birth from our mothers (and our associated environment) and in a way we inherit not the genes but the immune tolerance that develops early after birth and once established cannot (yet) be altered. However, it is possible to influence through diet if we over inoculate through foods like kefir and yogurt (or others such as found in hunter-gatherer societies) the effect of the microbiome and at least temporarily alter the effects of our “bad” bacteria. I personally have a concoction of selected strains of bacteria which I make my own yogurt and consume daily. It may not be the tastiest in the world but I am certain of what is in it and the effects attributed through research to the strains I selected. I haven’t had any dental problems in over 50 years.
    I believe sugar is only one thing which is a problem as many things are broken down into glucose so not eating “white” sugar (sucrose) doesn’t mean anything if you have a diet rich in starches. It is a lot more complicated than that. Much of it has to do with who we are as subspecies and where our lineages evolved. A diet for one group of peoples is healthy for them and unhealthy for other groups. Yes, increased sugar influence a lot of other things and many of these interact in ways we don’t yet understand. This is a burgeoning field of probiotics and how they influence our metabolism and influence ingestion and what pathways are involved. Most people don’t realize that our intestinal system will only absorb through pinocytosis very small molecules and large ones like starch and cholesterol cannot be absorbed at all. They must be broken down into smaller molecules first such as glucose or free fatty acids (triglycerides). So, it is likely a lot of factors, many of which we don’t understand yet, that influence our health. This is of course complicated by chemicals which are not a natural part of our diet and have unknown effects. Artificial sweeteners come to mid as do dyes and preservatives.
    There is a lot of research happening in this area.

  59. Old Microbiologist says:

    Years ago I suggested something similar years ago to use DNA instead of encryption for messages. I also suggested that all bioweapon strains be secretly labeled with inserted code so each strain could be tracked forensically. I was laughed at back in the day but now we see it happening. I recall after the anthrax fiasco we had in my freezer over 400 distinct strains of anthrax and none of them had been sequenced. Back then it was crazy expensive. Now it is cheap and only takes hours instead of weeks. But, once characterized then it can be labeled with an insertion providing its bonafides. Eventually this will happen to us as individuals as well and much of our personal information will be encoded into our DNA. It is just a matter of time.
    What worries me is the shotgun techniques being used to insert foreign DNA into other species and no containment is being used for these subsequent strains. We have no idea what the unintended consequences might be yet this is a common technique being implemented.
    One theory of ecology and evolution is that when populations (especially humans) become too large nature intervenes to cull the numbers back to a manageable level. But, our science has permitted us to overcome many of these natural limits to our populations and now we have reached an unsustainable level. In this theory war is considered a natural phenomena and is part of this process. The same is for disease. It boils down to pestilence, starvation, or homicide. With techniques like CRISPR we may accidentally develop the strain which kills of the required number of people. Much of what we do is extremely irresponsible and highly dangerous and those ideas developed at the Asilomar Conference in 1975 have been tossed into the ash heap of history.

  60. Confusedponderer says:

    That Kiracofe went is imo lamentable. He was very educational poster. I have learned some good and interesting things from the man (and hope i haven’t forgotten them).
    May he do well and do so in health.

  61. Old Microbiologist says:

    It is sad as Cholera is easily treated with a single tablet of ciprofloxacin.Then you work on oral rehydration therapy which can be done very cheaply using water salt and sugar. Cipro is extremely cheap and the US has an enormous stockpile of it. I would say write your Congressman instead but oh yeah, we are the ones aiding the war against these people so helping them is anathema.

  62. Old Microbiologist says:

    Russian immigrants in the US are feeling the heat now and it is very much like the McCarthy years. So, I wouldn’t count on their active support as now they are lumped into the enemy pile along with their mother country despite zero evidence of anything.

  63. Lyttenburgh says:

    ” How exactly do you measure success in a “perception management” operation?”
    Easy. Look at the pre-coup Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine (twice), etc, where quite a large group of supposedly “thinking” people got mobilized under the lofty calls of “fight against corruption” and “down with despotic Regime”, honestly believing that they gonna live in the fairy tale soon afterwards. On their own, without handlers, such local outlets are just grant-sucking vacuum cleaners. Still, in the matter of war/national security/whatever, personal interests and pockets take the backseat, so when the “X-hour” happens, they are whipped in line. You can’t wholly capitalize the war (but judging from some reports from the Ukrainian ATO, some are surely trying) if you want to win it.
    Btw, they might not even be emigrants – just a foreign students who came to study in the West for several years and then go back to their countries being ideologically converted to think right things and retranslate (aka “propagate”) them on their own.
    “And getting recent emigrants to do the work on the cheap means less profits for the Military-industrial complex and the US oligarchs.”
    No, it means that they demand enormous sums of (budget!) money for, as they advertise, “the employment of the cutting edge technology, methods and specialists”… and then hire ex-SU/Russian Jewish gastarbeiter, with the expertise in the field of producing megatons of the desired content for a fraction of the planned cost, while pocketing/diverting somewhere else the difference. One set of the oligarchs gets swindled – others get richer. Absolutely normal dynamic.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    You will not get any arguments out of me, I expect that there would be subhuman monsters created through CRISPR; multiple subspecies fit for this or that task and sub-task.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is also evidence that certain mental disease have got to with the sugar metabolism.

  66. optimax says:

    You are correct, I was thinking of the Clinton lead in the IMF 17 billion dollar loan to Russia which happened a few months before LTM hedge fund bail out arranged by the Federal Reserve, a preview of the 2007 Wall Street collapse.

  67. jsn says:

    To bolster your point, this at Consortium News:
    Note it is limited to a specific date and data transfer event, though one the MSM has made a big deal out of.

  68. elaine says:

    Colonel, I miss Tyler. Do you know why he stopped posting on SST? His
    syntax was so creative.

  69. Greco says:

    It looks like Trump is pushing back against McMaster’s plan for an escalation in Afghanistan, although he’s leaving the ultimate say so with Mattis.

  70. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Good and fair question.
    Sorry, I really don’t have enough expertise, or inside information, in this matter
    to give an informed opinion.
    But my best guess is that
    the good old USA did and does try to influence Russian politics.
    But that really is nothing more than a guess,
    certainly not an expert or well-informed opinion.
    BTW, something I have found very informative is a detailed analysis, “Russophobia”,
    of the efforts to manipulate the attitudes and beliefs of the Russian people,
    written in the 1980s by a very, very smart, and very well-informed about the Russian scene, man,
    one Igor R. Shafarevich (associate of Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn,
    recipient of the Lenin Prize,
    elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, etc., etc.).
    He examines the effort of what he (or his translators) calls “the Little People” or “the Small Nation”
    to damage the ties of the Russian people to their historical heritage and values,
    to damage their pride in their past.
    Sounds amazingly like what the Cultural Marxists, you know, the Frankfurt School crowd,
    have done very successfully in the U.S. and much of the West.
    Also David Brooks, et al.
    The parallels are amazing.
    I really am surprised, amazed, and disappointed that
    “Russophobia” is not more widely available than
    through the military link below,
    and that Americans have not taken advantage of the insights it provides into
    the forces that have shaped Russia.
    “Russophobia”, 1989

  71. kodlu says:

    Can you please clarify the Asilomar 1975 reference?

  72. optimax says:

    Buddy Holly–Learning the Game. The undubbed version recorded at home half-a-year before he died in a plane crash.

  73. Impressive paper. It’s a great link. But there’s something missing that isn’t missing on this site.
    That’s not at all a criticism of the paper. I’m sure it does its job very well indeed. But here, as in similar papers I’ve seen from time to time, there’s no examination of the basis from which current military thinkers work. That’s the missing “something”. If the Colonel permits I’d like to try and identify that something.
    Starting off-centre, there’s one slightly depressing quote that the author includes. It’s a common enough though perhaps unfair criticism of UK defence procurement: – .”… The MOD could continue with the traditional, incremental approach of muddling through while Britain’s armed forces decline both relatively and absolutely at an ever faster rate. The appeal of such an approach is that it is in many ways the easiest option, since it largely obviates the need to make major decisions. The problem is that it leads to perpetual short-termism in decision making, and in the medium term produces suboptimal results (the delays to the aircraft carrier programme and its associated aircraft are a prime example of this). This inevitably results in capability degradation at a higher and higher rate, major programming inefficiencies (as we have seen over the last few years) and a major disconnect between ends, ways and means.”
    In some respects that’s merely the usual problem of defence procurement – getting a quart out of a pint pot and that when no-one can be sure what’s going to be needed tomorrow and what tomorrow’s tasks are. But there’s also an ominous hint or two in the paper that we’re allowing legacy capabilities to deteriorate.
    These are the capabilities that we inherit from the past. We’ve been lucky and inherited a lot, far more than most countries. From hardware and bases and installations on to R & D and manufacturing expertise and on to the intangibles. There are a lot of those intangibles and they’re important: experience, tradition, ethos – just words until the lack of them becomes apparent – on to the even less easily definable intangibles – a satisfactory relationship between the politicians, the administrators and the military and finally the all-important sense of purpose. That is, a general public awareness of what the military is FOR and a general public consent to and support for what that purpose is.
    Few of these capabilities and none of the intangibles can be recovered simply by throwing money at them in an emergency. For them simply to be maintained in peacetime requires an immense amount of work. We saw that in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian army had been let go and it needs trainers from outside now to get them up to even making a show of operational efficiency. Special circumstances there, we might say, but there are indications that in some respects the German army has been run down a little and it’s going to require some time before it’s fit. From what we in the general public see of the British army, it’s still all bustle and go there and there are no problems in that respect, but there must come a stage when the cuts go past the fat or even the muscle and start taking out some of the bone. When there are insufficient experienced cadres to get the next generation trained and to inculcate in them the necessary values then you’re getting to a point of no return. That’s when you can throw as much money as you like at the forces but there’s not enough core there to throw money at. That’s what I mean be neglecting our legacy capabilities. We take them for granted until they’re lost and then we’re in trouble.
    If there are hints of that neglect in this thesis there are more than hints around when we go on to look at the writer’s account of what the armed forces are there for. He spends some time on that and is explicit. Force projection, they call it usually, and the writer examines why we need it. Briefly, we are an international trading nation and more highly globalised than most. We have interests and sea lanes to protect. We need overseas clout.
    That is the standard line and not just in the UK. As far as I know (not much, true, but even a non-specialist wants to know what the priorities are) it’s the only line there is. A military thinker will always want to know what work the armed forces are going to be set to and why before he gets on to the infinitely more congenial task of working out how it’s to be done. He always talks generally of “national interests” abroad and of how to protect them. I don’t see in this thesis, and never see in similar writings, any examination of what those “interests” truly are or whether or not the means we employ to protect them are the best means. A bit of “national interests overseas”, the mandatory R2P when the national interest isn’t that easy to explain, and it’s job done as far as explaining what the political imperatives behind the military imperatives are.
    This is the curse of specialisation. The military thinker needs to know what the country and the politicians want of him. He isn’t a specialist in economics or politics himself. He therefore takes the consensus of those who are, the orthodox economists and political thinkers It’s not his job to argue with that consensus. He doesn’t want to and is not qualified to do so. He just takes that consensus lock stock and barrel as his “mission statement” on the grand scale. Takes it gratefully – “Got that done, what a relief” – and slots it into what he’s really interested in, the composition and disposition of armed forces that will enable him to satisfy the imperatives of that consensus.
    What if the consensus is wrong?
    An increasing number of people are asserting that the “Neo-liberal” or “globalist” model is faulty. A man won an election the other day in the US on that assertion. Should that interest such military thinkers as the writer of this thesis? Seems unfair to give him yet more work to do but yes, it damn well should.
    On three counts it should matter to him.
    One, the sheer military effort needed to enforce that “globalist consensus”, or to “protect our interests abroad” working in the globalist model, is now becoming disproportionate.
    Two, and this is apparent in the UK if it’s not in the US, putting the military to the task of “protecting our interests abroad” is now getting seriously in the way of the true task of any military – protecting the country itself. We’ve heard senior officers saying that the UK military has been overstretched and that, together with inevitable budgetary constraints, puts us at risk of endangering that essential “core” I mentioned above.
    Three. That essential intangible, popular assent to and support for what the military is now asked to do, is reducing. More and more people are asking “What is the military FOR” and getting no satisfactory answer.
    On item three we’re in real trouble. We knew what the military was for at Goose Green. But what’s it for in Syria? What might it be for in Iran? And, to get down to detail, what are those new aircraft carriers for? More of the same as in Syria, judging by what the writer of this thesis is looking at when he examines their capabilities. Maybe it’s time for the military thinker to widen his field of interest. Maybe it’s time for him to look more closely at the consensus arrived at by the economic and political specialists who set him his tasks.
    I hope that gets across the “something” I find on this site that I don’t find in this thesis.

  74. John_Frank says:

    Fyi, A little while ago, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain issued the following statement, as reported by the WAM Emirates News Agency:
    Statement by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain relating to new terror designations
    Al Arabia has also reported the same statement:
    Boycotting countries announce new list of terrorism backed by Qatar
    The text of the full statement reads:

    The United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt declare that in their firm and solid commitment to fight terrorism, cut off sources of funding, prosecute those who are involved in it, combat extremist ideologies and hate speech incubators; and in continuous assessment, the four countries have announced the designation of 9 entities and 9 individuals on the lists of terrorist groups: Entities: 1-AL- Balagh Charitable Foundation – Yemen.
    2-Al-Ihsan Charitable Society – Yemen.
    3-Rahma Charitable Organization – Yemen.
    4-Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council – Libya.
    5-Al-Saraya Media Center- Libya.
    6-Boshra News Agency – Libya.
    7-Rafallah Sahati Brigade – Libya.
    8-Nabaa TV – Libya.
    9-Tanasuh Foundation for Dawa, Culture and Media – Libya.
    Individuals: 1-Khalid Saeed al-Bounein (Qatari Citizen).
    2-Shaqer Jummah al-Shahwani (Qatari Citizen).
    3-Saleh bin Ahmed al-Ghanim (Qatari Citizen).
    4-Hamid Hamad Hamid al-Ali (Kuwaiti Citizen).
    5-Abdullah Mohammed al-Yazidi (Yemeni Citizen).
    6-Ahmed Ali Ahmed Baraoud (Yemeni Citizen).
    7-Mohammed Bakr al-Dabaa (Yemeni Citizen).
    8-Al-Saadi Abdullah Ibrahim Bukhazem (Libyan Citizen).
    9-Ahmed Abd al-Jaleel al-Hasnawi (Libyan Citizen).
    The terrorist activities of the aforementioned entities and individuals have direct and indirect ties with the Qatari authorities. The three Qatari individuals on the list, along with a Kuwaiti individual, have engaged in fund-raising campaigns to support Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist militias in Syria. The three Yemeni individuals and the three organisations in Yemen, have provided support to Al- Qaeda, and have conducted actions on its behalf, mainly by using significant funding from Qatari charities, which are designated by the four states as terrorist entities. The two Libyan individuals and the six terrorist entities, affiliated with terrorist groups in Libya, have received substantial financial support from the Qatari authorities and played an active role in spreading chaos and devastation in Libya, despite serious international concern over the destructive impact of such practices.
    While noting that the Qatari authorities had previously signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States to stop terror financing and then announced that it was amending its terror combating laws, the four states consider this step, even if it is a submission to the tough demands to combat terrorism and one of many awaited steps to achieve the Qatari authorities’ return to the right track, not enough.
    Qatar’s 2004 law neither led to combating extremism, terrorism, hate speech, nor did it end its financing and harbouring of extremist individuals and groups. To the contrary, these individuals and groups have expanded their presence and activity in and through Doha. The Qatari authorities have a long history in breaking all signed and binding agreements and legal obligations, the latest of which was the 2013 Riyadh Agreement and the 2014 Supplemental Agreement. Moreover, it continued harboring terrorists, financing attacks and promoting hate speech and extremism.
    The next long awaited practical step is taking an urgent action by the Qatari authorities to make legal and practical actions to prosecute terrorist and extremist individuals and entities, especially those on this current list and the previous one, which was announced on the 8th of June 2017 so as to confirm the credibility of its seriousness in renouncing terrorism and extremism, and its engagement in the international community fighting terrorism. To that end, the four states, along with their international partners, will monitor the Qatari authorities’ commitment in not harbouring terrorist, supporting and financing terrorism, ending promoting of extremist and hate speech, and financing of extremists inside and outside Qatar.
    The four countries also affirm the continuation of their current measures, and possible future measures that might be taken, until the Qatari authorities are committed to fulfilling all the just demands, which ensure countering terrorism and maintaining security and stability in the region.

    So, did Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain shaved back there public demands from 14 to 6 “win,” or have we now entered a process, which could go on for some time?
    After the Qatari Emir gave his public address, and the UAE Foreign Minister responded, but before the latest round of statements and visits to the region by various foreign dignitaries, including the Turkish President, Hassan Hassan tweeted on July 21:

    Both Qatar & its opponents have made statements that clearly show the long game is now underway, as I argue here:
    In that regard on July 19, the National (UAE) published the following op-ed by Mr. Hassan:
    Doha must negotiate its way back into the fold or face years of isolation
    The quartet are comfortable for the current crisis to drag on, because Qatar is unwilling to truly compromise
    It would seem, based on the statement issued earlier today and despite all the entreaties, that Qatar is being put to the test by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, who are taking a firm stance and willing to allow the process to go on as long as needed until their concerns are fully satisfied.
    (I make these comments with great respect in light of our hosts opinion as reflected in a post titled Little Qatar has bested the GCC and Egypt. Mufaja’a! It will be interesting to watch and see how events unfold.)

  75. turcopolier says:

    A lot of these comments are getting to be wildly off topic. If I wanted to give you guest author rights I would do so. Other comments are auto-therapy and yet others are just vents for people’s anti-Americanism. The Canadians afflicted with penis envy are the most annoying of those. I am not running a forum here for free expression. Write comments to the posts or expect me to delete your remarks. pl

  76. Henshaw says:

    Fisk likely to be present when General Suheil Al-Hassan shakes hands with General Issam Zahreddine on the outskirts of DZ? I hope so.
    Also interesting (but unsurprising) that Kurds have independent contact with SAA and Russians. Clearly, they are not putting all their eggs in the US basket.

  77. John_Frank says:

    As to the situation in Syria, two developments:
    1. Earlier today it was reported that:
    Jihadist group cements control of Syria’s Idlib province: rebels
    (The press remains in a quandary over how to describe Hayat Tahrir al Sham, since the US State Department has not designated HTS as a terror organization, despite the involvement of what was Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al Nusrah Front in this force.)
    2. Over the weekend we learned:
    De-Escalation Deal Between Government And Militants Reached In Eastern Ghouta
    At today’s briefing by the Russian military, maps were shown laying out the boundaries of the de-escalation zone in south western Syria as well as in eastern Ghouta. It was also reported that Russian militiary police had begun to deploy as monitors.
    While the cease fire in south western Syria continues to hold, the cease fire in eastern Ghouta has been marred by ongoing violations.
    Meanwhile, Rudaw, a Kurdish media outlet based in Erbil, Iraq has published an interview of the Russian Foreign Minister on its website:
    Sergey Lavrov to Rudaw: Referendum is expression of Kurdish people’s aspirations
    The interview is fairly long. On Syria:

    Rudaw: Let’s now move to the question of Syria. The continuation of the crisis in Syria prolongs crisis in the Middle East. Russia has a vital role in the process to find a solution for Syria. In your view, what development is expected to happen with regards to Syria in a near future? What can Russia do to end the crisis in Syria and combat terrorism in the region?
    Sergey Lavrov: First and foremost we should be talking about the fact that Syrian parties must and can decide for themselves because the solution of that crisis is in their hands and counts on them. It has been discussed and signed on at the Security Council that only the people of Syria themselves can decide their own future. The international community, foreign players and neighboring countries must do all they can do eliminate the threat of terrorism and create the best atmosphere in which Syrians themselves can reach an agreement on the negotiating table as to how they want to live. There is something that we cannot escape from and it is that we cannot avoid negotiations. In the documents of the Security Council it says that Syria must be a democratic secular country. That is very important as many of the opposition groups who have built themselves on a democratic basis reject that which is important for reassuring that the future Syrian state is a secular state and a kind of state in which all groups among them Islamic and all political groups are reassured of their rights and have their security guaranteed and that all will be able to participate in state institutions.
    That is the general framework on which all have agreed and within that limited framework a solution could be found to the Syrian crisis. We are working with a number of countries so create that environment and that began with fighting ISIS, al-Nusra Front and their likes which are all known as terrorist organizations in the Security Council. And we also work to protect the ceasefire between the Syrian government and some of the opposition groups, those that have no terrorist characteristics. That is important to make sure any group that qualifies for the ceasefire also becomes a participant in the process.
    Another one of our works is delivering humanitarian aid to people, people affected by the war and for that we have, with Iran and Turkey, created safe zones in the Astana talks. And in implementing the safe zones we brought the United States and Jordan into the agreement and on July 7, Russia, US and Jordan agreed to create the first safe zone south of the Syrian Arab Republic. In recent days and now the details of that safe zone are being discussed and analyzed, for example the organization that monitors the ceasefire, reassurance about the delivery of aid and about the borders of the safe zone in a way that people can enter and leave the safe zone.
    That is a window for a solution which we agreed on in Astana, and it is being implemented now. In my opinion, apart from the safe zone of southern Syria, three other safe zones will be created. That window of solution will organize many things such as protecting the lives of people through the end of the armed conflict and delivery of aid to places that are most in need. Many admit that the Astana talks have been great help to the Geneva talks which had stagnated for nine months and were reactivated January this year.
    We are ready and we work very actively with Staffan de Mistura and all other participants for a solution. We work with the representatives of the Syrian government and all governments that want to help find a solution. We work with European countries, the United States, all Muslim and regional countries.
    Certainly, the best effort is for direct talks between Syrian government representatives and the opposition to take place. I mean those who have taken up arms against each other, opposition groups and the Syrian government, they are the most important players in this process and we agree for representatives of the political opposition parties to join the Geneva talks and among those who have migrated and become displaced can defend their country with arms on the condition that it is all within the boundaries of the Syrian state.
    Rudaw: About the constitution project that Russia had proposed for Syria, what is the latest outcome of it?
    Sergey Lavrov: The process is just starting, we published it at the time as a sample of the draft constitution, which was our point of view to what we were seeing not as what was being said outside the country or what was being imposed. It meant that if you want, go ahead and we have put together this, and at that time last year few people could talk about the constitution and they each had their own interests in mind if they came to power. Each one of them had their own purpose in finding a solution for the Syrian crisis.
    That project is an example of a constitution in which everyone will have a role in society. Why is that important? Because some were saying that they will topple Bashar al-Assad then solve all the problems. Those people were not thinking about the country, and were only thinking about reaching power. Some were saying they were not ready to hold any political negotiations unless there was a ceasefire all across Syria. They said that but they were not correct because it was shown that that was not possible. They could at least have asked for a stop to the war on terror.
    We could also say that for a long time our partners in America could not differentiate terrorists from the good opposition groups. Now we have been able to do just that in the safe zones and the results could be seen. And those who said that without complete victory over terrorism no solution could be found anywhere in Syria, did not do a good thing and did not help with the Geneva talks.
    We fully believe that that constitution project reassures everyone in Syria, the groups that I talked about, all religious, non-religious and political groups will feel reassured in the new law, in the important laws drafted for the Syrian government, and when those groups feel they have guarantees it will be, I believe, easier for them to reach an agreement on power-sharing. It will then be easier to make suggestions for government posts and will be easier to maintain the balance and preventing chaos.
    We stand by the outcome of the latest round of Geneva talks and what de Mistura suggested in terms of four directions. First one is how would Syria be able to keep control in the current stage in a way that benefit could also be derived from the opposition. The second is how to prepare the constitution, third is how to lay the ground work for elections and the fourth is to make sure the war against terrorism continues.
    I think that development in the Geneva talks is acceptable by all, except the extremist rebel groups. But they could be put outside the political process because they have proven that they are unable to reach agreements.
    Rudaw: In this process, how does Russia see the rights and obligations of Syria’s Kurds?
    Sergey Lavrov: As part of and like all the other groups I mentioned we see the Syrian Kurds and that they must be part of the agreements and they must believe that their rights are protected within Syria.

    P.S. According to reports Congress continues to move forward with the Russian sanctions bill. The President’s opponents, both Democratic and Republican are simply being political opportunists. Mr. Obama, before leaving office, imposed punishment on Russia for alleged election interference. What has changed, other than much political hoopla? As to the portion dealing with Iran and North Korea, is Congress not getting ahead of itself? IMV the President should veto the bill, but will he?

  78. jld says:

    Excuse me but how could comments in an Open Thread be “off topic”?

  79. johnf says:

    Good news:
    “52% Say US Would Lie About Foreign Chemical Weapons
    American Public Twice as Skeptical as Mainstream Media
    A statistically significant poll of the American adult Internet population reveals that 52.4% believe the US government would mislead them “about a foreign government’s use of chemical weapons in order to justify US military action.” 45.7% responded that they did not believe the US government would mislead them, while the remainder (1.9%) provided other responses.

  80. Philippe T. says:

    From my experience in Afghanistan (1978 – 1995) I draw the following lesson : give money to those NGOs who are directly supporting the local health and/or social assistance systems, not to NGOs sending their own international staff. I witnessed, in Kabul during the 90′, that Afghan doctors were resigning from local hospitals to get hired as drivers by French medical NGOs, with a higher salary. And it is not even proven that an international medical staff are more efficient than local ones, since the local health facilities can cope more easily with poor technological environments and specific cultural patterns. And don’t forget that after war comes peace, and that it is quite impossible to rebuild a health system where international NGOs are omnipresent.

  81. Chris Chuba says:

    Keith Harbaugh quoting WaPo, “Russian government were to offer grants in the United States to NGOs that promote voting rights for minority citizens, or that fight corruption in our politics, that would be the equivalent of what the United States did in Russia, and we would have no cause to complain.”

    LOL The Russians are allegedly supporting an environmental groups against Fracking and we don’t like it one bit (nor should we). The problem is one person’s ‘anti-corruption campaign’ is another’s partisan color revolution. Who’s to say that Golos isn’t a weapon to punish insolent Russian politicians? I’m certain we would love it if a Russian NGO monitored our elections and cried fraud just because the bigger Russophobe won.
    I have noticed that these so called non-partisan democracy indexes track how pro-western or pro-U.S. a country is as if that is the true measure of democracy. I don’t trust them.
    Ukraine is higher than Russia? The fact that they have disenfranchised 15% of their population should immediately kill their rating. One of the Baltic countries doesn’t let ethnic Russians vote even though they were born there and their families have lived their since the 30’s, light blue?
    This is just an example of how NGO’s can be weaponized. We are the masters of information warfare.

  82. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Russian immigrants in the US are feeling the heat now and it is very much like the McCarthy years. “
    Who’s feeling the heat? What “Russians”? Not Maria Alexandrovna “Masha” Gessen, not Garry Kasparov, not Julia Ioffe, and most surely not the Pussy Riot. As long as they do the usual routine of spitting on the cross and trampling it with their feet (or continue to be virulent sources of “native” Russophobia) they are safe.
    Here’s an article ( which actually shows that, maybe, there is, indeed, some issues like that in the big cities with pro-Dems leaning. The article also shows that no matter what these emigrants will remain anti-Russian no matter the level of verbal abuse and, thus, they will also be willing to promote the correct narrative.
    Naturally, I have not idea what is happening right now in the “Russian” emigrant community or what passes for it in the US. If what you say is true, then they are offered the classic choice: ether lead the charge of what they are associated with, or become disillusioned with their past trendy “opposition” to the “Regime” and embrace it, seeing as you gonna be associated with it anyway.
    In the Ukraine its even worse. All “Russian” demshizoids which ran away here after 2014 at first were enamored with the country of “victorious Democratic Revolution”. Soon it became apparent, that the local nationalists see them as “Moskals” no natter their official position re:Putin. And the government there was also less than helpful to them, even to the ATO vets. Besides – the Ukraine is simply poorer and more corrupt than Russia, so they, obviously, have to migrate even further away – those with the right ancestry to Israel or the USA, the rest to Czechia (there is RFE/RL station here) or Baltic countries. The aim here – to hook up with some grants giving think-tank or NGO. And the money work like a balm to personal feelings of those who try to emulate Solzhenytsin’s “living not by a lie” (c)

  83. turcopolier says:

    My remark applies to all categories. pl

  84. Lyttenburgh says:

    Thank you for the link to the book, Keith. I will absolutely read it. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard about Shafarevich before – again, thank you for making me know about him. He was born in Zhitomir, a city to the west of Kiev in Volhynia, which was rather lately incorporated into Russian Empire. According to the 1897 census, there were 31 000 Jews, 17 000 Russians, 9000 Ukrainians and 7000 Poles among the citizens. His father graduated from the Moscow University, so this rules out being Jewish. Pole, then?
    In later 1919 the city was de-facto capitol of the Petlyura’s Ukraine, and then a rallying point of Pilsudski’s initial invasion of the Ukraine in early 1920. Shafarevich’s parents were from the Old intelligentsia and, inevitable, were dragged into all those events before his birth in 1923. Also inevitably, this influenced his childhood and personality.
    What I read so far about his “Russophobia” is discouraging. He seems to use such things as “Jewish ritualistic murder” (sic) to describe the execution of the former Czar’s family. Also, his theory of the “Small Nation” is borrowed outright without any critical analysis from the early XX c. French historian Augustin Cochin, who in his works goes totally conspiratorial and ignores the economic reasons for the revolutions. Both Cochin and, apparently, Shafarevich, mistake causes and effect. Besides, Shafarevich fails to define the term “Russophobia” itself, which is counterproductive for a work with such title. US NAS even demanded from him to renounce his work or voluntarily renounce his membership therein (so mentioning his award in this context is rather… awkward).
    Still, I will read his work, but I won’t promise that I gonna treat something written by a precise sciences scientist on history as equal to something written by professional historian. I, for example, am in no rush to start mass producing works on the String Theory.
    At the same time, it is undeniable that the tactic of historical nihilism, employed by the so-called “liberal” and “democratic” dissidents during Perestroika and Yeltsin’s 90s, and the same tactic used to smear Russian history and symbols important to the Russian people, bear frightening similarity to what is used in the West in promotion of the “Politically Correct” view on the history, past and present. Only in Russia’s case they overdid with the nihilistic part of the revisionism – no sane person will tolerate megatons of crap flung daily at their country, their people and their past UNLESS there is some positive alternative offered or some real gains are experienced by the vast majority of the people. Thus 30 years later “liberal” in Russia became a swear word (“liberast”) and the national consensus now (thankfully!) is firmly on the patriotic position and talking points. All attempts to “shame” Russia into something actually have the incentive to make it “pay and repent”, which is also not gonna happend.
    Thus all those propagandists who have to work in Russia and its near abroad (Baltic states are the best for that) are currently in the bend. Only talks about anti-corruption seem safe enough for them – but even this doesn’t work in Russia. The ugly truth is that Russians are not really averse to corruption. Those kiddies whom Navalny managed to entice to attend his unsanctioned rallies, promising “10 000 Euros from the ECHR” (c) if they get arrested, and the parents of these kiddies are gladly engaging in daily corruption. How do they plan to “protect” their male offspring from the draft? Why, by bribing local Military Commissariat and the Medical Commission so that their sonny will have “White Ticket”. which makes him miraclously unfit for the service! Or, better yet, they will use their ties and connections to get their child into one of prestigious Uni’s, which are, naturally, providing draft immunity to their students. And they will keep paying bribes for their child to remain student therein, lest the Dean decide to expel them either due to the criminal record (which surely bound to appear if they persist in attending unsanctioned rallies) or because of the falling grades.
    And these people are pretending to honestly fight corruption? Please!

  85. Old Microbiologist says:

    Not just sugar. There is also a clear and proven relationship to the bacterial flora and mental status. I have witnessed this personally as an associate of mine was infected with Brucella in his University lab and went literally insane for several days (and periodically for years after as his particular strain was completely drug resistant). The same things has been observed with HIV patients. There are cytokines released from lymphocytes and macrophages as part of the immune response which have direct impact on the nervous system. There is a direct link between the immune and nervous systems (penile erection is caused by the release of nitric oxide from macrophages and that is obviously under mental stimulation). So, it is not particular surprising that infections or even imbalances can drive a person mad. I worked for a time doing research on dental patients looking at blood cultures and all patients having any invasive dental procedure causing a very large infection into the bloodstream which can last for days. The lower limit of detection is 1 bacteria per ml of blood so finding infections is surprising given our large volume of blood so small numbers actually represent big infections.
    There was some excellent work done comparing moods in people (the group studied) who ate probiotics (yogurt). Yogurt had a calming effect which was statistically significant.

  86. Old Microbiologist says:

    It was decided that organisms containing dangerous recombinant DNA would not be permitted to be released into the environment. I didn’t attend but was very interested in the subject. The guidelines were important and held for a period but were ignored when recombinant Pseudomonas was deliberately released in California to stop frost damage (Pseudomonas bacteria lower the temperature at which ice crystals form). It went downhill from there and now we have GMO crops which secrete their own pesticides (which are actually neurotoxins) and have never been tested for safety in large populations. We are “testing” it now as it is now pervasive in the US food system. This is happening on a very broad scale and is completely unregulated since Bush Jr. policies where companies are self-regulating.
    More here:

  87. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Stockman is shrill, and that’s a good thing in this age. But he does have some curious views, for example his idiosyncratic understanding of the views of John Maynard Keynes. He constantly decries the central banks’ quantitative easing policies as “Keynesian,” whereas in my limited, self-acquired understanding of economics this is deeply misguided. True, Keynes did advocate deficit spending as a response to economic down turns, but but he advocated that such spending be funneled in such a way that it broadly increased consumer demand. QE has essentially bailed out the plutocrats who own securities and has also incited speculation bubbles in those securities as well as in real estate. It has not boosted consumer demand much. From my limited understanding of Keynes he would not have been a supporter of QE as it is currently practiced by the developed world’s central banks.

  88. ancient archer says:

    The Guardian has been an exceptional neocon mouthpiece and they are leading the attack on Trump this side of the pond. Does anyone know why they are so rabidly neocon? The newspaper is owned by a trust, so presumably it is independent of owner’s whims like with WaPo or the NYT. Just wondering what causes the Guardian’s views to be so pro-neocon and anti-Trump. Any ideas?

  89. turcopolier says:

    ancient archer
    WAPO is now Bezos’ blog. pl

  90. Thomas says:

    For what its worth, Clifford has been over in China, I believe as a visiting scholar. He has appeared from time to time on CGTN’s english language program Dialouge. The first time the moderator was in absolute shock (though pleasantly) when hearing an American talk common sense. SST goes global.

  91. Keith Harbaugh says:

    First, let me add a practical suggestion to the “Russophobia” reference:
    It is a densely written work, one I find difficult to read online.
    If you print it, and your PDF print software allows 2×2 printing,
    i.e., putting four logical pages on each physical sheet of paper,
    that may be a good idea.
    That works well, starting with either page 1 or 2 and going up to page 39.
    Now, as to the comments from Lyttenburgh:
    Lyttenburgh wrote:

    Shafarevich fails to define the term “Russophobia” itself,
    which is counterproductive for a work with such title.

    Actually, Shafarevich introduces the word in section 6, on page 22, with:

    It is difficult to characterize the feelings that move the authors
    [that he has been extensively quoting, discussing, and analyzing for the previous 20 pages]
    as anything other than RUSSOPHOBIA
    (whereby both meanings invested in the term “phobia”—
    fear and hatred—
    are perfectly apt).

    Seems like a pretty good definition to me. if you have read the previous pages.
    Let me give a sample from those pages,
    which I believe summarizes what he means by “Russophobia”.
    In section 4, paragraph 4.4, on page 13, Shafarevich writes (but I have added the emphasis):

    Let us recall how much effort has been expended to
    denigrate our people’s history and whole character.
    One can see what annoyance is aroused in our authors by
    the fear that
    our future will be based on this country’s historical traditions.

    On the term “Little People”,
    since that very term may be controversial to some,
    perhaps it is worth quoting the full paragraph in which Shafarevich introduces it,
    in section 4 on page 14 (but I have added the emphasis):

    One of the most interesting students of the French Revolution
    (in terms of both the freshness of his ideas and his remarkable erudition),
    Augustin Cochin paid special attention in his works to
    a certain social, or spiritual, stratum he called the “Lesser People.”
    In his opinion, the decisive role in the French Revolution was played by
    a circle of people that had been established in
    the philosophical societies and academies, Masonic lodges, clubs and sections.
    The specific features of that circle consisted in the fact that
    it lived in its own intellectual and spiritual world:
    the “Lesser People” among the “Greater People.”
    He could have said the antipeople among the people,
    since the world view of the former was based on
    the principle of the obverse of the latter’s world view.
    It was there that the type of person necessary for a revolution was developed,
    a person for whom
    everything that constituted the nation’s roots, its spiritual backbone—
    the Catholic faith, honor of the nobility, loyalty to the king, pride in one’s own history, and attachment to the distinguishing features and privileges of one’s native province, one’s estate or one’s guild—
    was alien and disgusting.

    The societies that brought together the representatives of the “Lesser People”
    created a kind of artificial world for their members,
    a world in which their entire life took place.
    Whereas in the ordinary world
    everything is tested by experience
    (for example, historical experience),
    there the general opinion decided everything.
    What was real was what others believed;
    what was true was what they said;
    what was good was what they approved of.
    The ordinary order was reversed:
    doctrine became the cause, rather than the effect, of life.

    Lyttenburgh’s statement that

    [Shafarevich’s] theory of the “Small Nation” is borrowed outright without any critical analysis from the early XX c. French historian Augustin Cochin,
    who in his works goes totally conspiratorial and ignores the economic reasons for the revolutions.
    Both Cochin and, apparently, Shafarevich, mistake causes and effect.

    ignores a lengthy (three page!) discussion of the concept, which includes three historical examples,
    the Calvinists and Puritans (Colonel Lang should enjoy this. They get slammed), 19th C Germans, and 19C Russians.
    All that said,
    there are parts of “Russophobia” that have been overtaken by events,
    and parts I disagree with.
    But it is a rich work with high relevance to events in the 21C West,
    and one well worth study.
    Don’t let the strongly biased (I believe) reviews discourage you.

  92. optimax says:

    I always thought certain attributes of the opposite sex caused erections.

  93. kodlu says:

    Thank you.

  94. J says:

    The Chinese had a 3 1/2 hour PLA parade citing their 90 years.

  95. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel Lang, since you have strong ties to VMI,
    if you are not already familiar with the passage below,
    I think you might find it of interest.
    It is from:
    “How the Intellectuals Took Over
    (And What to Do About It)”

    by David Gelernter, 1997-03-01
    The following is the excerpt from that article;
    it contains an internal quotation.
    (Please note that I do not endorse what is said below,
    but merely think these words from 1997 may still be of interest.)

    The Virginia Military Institute used to be male-only.
    The elite didn’t like that, and set to work.
    Thus Geoffrey Norman in the American Spectator:

    A Washington Post columnist wrote that
    VMI existed in a “medieval time warp,
    in which brotherhood is forged through sadomasochistic rituals
    in a forgotten monastery supported by the state
    for its own Byzantine purposes.”
    A state senator from Virginia notified the world that she had
    “trouble with young men who want to shave their heads and shower together.”

    The elite hated VMI,
    and no doubt VMI hated the elite—
    another even match-up, except that,
    when it occurred to the elite one afternoon
    on the way to the water cooler
    that VMI’s way of life ought to be wiped out
    (just a casual notion, inasmuch as the likes of VMI
    hardly matter to the elite one way or the other),
    it was duly wiped out.
    The old VMI was crushed like a beer can under a tank tread
    and the Institute is now, needless to say, co-ed.
    Having put things right and fundamentally refashioned the quirky, proud old college,
    the elite is unlikely to think about it again for the next 100 years.
    Again, this is no conspiracy;
    the lawyers who argued for the Justice Department,
    the reporters who covered the case,
    and the Supreme Court majority that decided it
    just happened to see eye-to-eye with the intelligentsia.

  96. turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    I don’t think women at VMI have made much of a change. I am a VMI alum (1962) and a former professor at West Point so, with great respect to the Citadel I think I have “done” the two premier military colleges in the US. That would include the other four year federal service academies. There are not a lot of women at VMI (around 50) and they typically have accepted the rigorous life there without complaint. The decision was made after the VMI alumni association spent 14 million on the court case and the Institute lost that standards would not be changed to accommodate the women and this largely neutralized the belief that the place had gone to hell, etc. There were a couple of bad incidents. In one a Russian immigrant girl who had been given a full scholarship by the alumni association was expelled for cheating. That was unfortunate. She had been well liked and accomplished. In another a male staff member was found to have become altogether too friendly with a woman cadet and they both left. Other than that there have been few problems with the women. I used to lecture there quite a lot and found the place essentially unchanged from my cadet days. One problem that exists there is that some “rats” (Freshmen) find after arrival that the regimen of a disciplined life together in the barracks is too difficult for tham. Some resign and then their parents take up the cry that since their children are “all above average” the child’s failure is the Institute’s fault. the school is rated high in terms of academics, has a very high employment placement rate at graduation and is well endowed. Most graduates do not go into the military as a career. Medicine, the clergy, civilian government and engineering are favored paths. I was an English major and followed the drum in life. That combination is/was unusual. IMO VMI’s major problems result from its existence in a world of American colleges that are increasingly going toward treating students as children rather than adults. As a result there are now a counseling center for cadets, a group that teaches some cadets proficiency that they should have arrived with and a “safe space” where cadets who feel oppressed can go and hide for an hour or so a day. male upper class cadets have discovered that this is a good place to pick up freshman girls, so I suppose the place has some utility. Financially, VMI is in very good shape. Alumni are loyal to their alma mater and give well. The budget derives from fees, endowment (alumni controlled) and state appropriations in roughly equal proportions. Buildings are constructed or renovated with private money and then deeded to the Commonwealth. The system works well. we have many enemies who see VMI grads as a rival elite. We see it that way also. pl

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