Open Thread – 24 February 2016



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166 Responses to Open Thread – 24 February 2016

  1. Virginia is one of the super-Tuesday states and will be voting next Tuesday!

  2. In the civil FOIA suit involving HRC’s e-mails the Judge has ordered the depositions of several of HRC’s staff while at State!

  3. turcopolier says:

    Is this bad news for HC? pl

  4. BabelFish says:

    Early spring in Florida. Signs? The rain water in the street gutters is running yellow with pollen, the black tip sharks are massing just offshore, the first turtles are coming ashore to lay eggs and the pompano will be migrating up the coast soon. I’m getting my gear ready for them.
    On the other hand, we haven’t seen one political ad yet (he said with thanks). The primary date is March 15 and the ads can’t be that far off!

  5. mbrenner says:

    There are reports (e.g. by a well-informed Stephen Cohen) from Moscow that Putin weathered heavy opposition in pushing ahead with the Syrian cease-fire. (He is not an absolute dictator but clearly first among a group of powerful men). His grim demeanor in his national address to the Russian people, itself a rarity, suggests that he sees high stakes. This underscores the question posed here as to why he signed onto so ambiguous a document.
    Knowing nothing of Russian politics, or the intricacies of Syria’s Rubik Cube, the one thought that comes to mind is that Russian Intelligence may have concluded that there were grounds to expect a Turkish invasion by an unhinged Erdogan and that Obama could not be counted on to exert himself enough to prevent it. How the cease fire might play re the Kurds is itself obscure – so the logical links are uncertain. Just one among a number of hypotheses.

  6. Jose says:

    BSHO will not prosecute her…

  7. SmoothieX12 says:

    It is an absolute lie, no less than three battalions of Russian generals and one platoon of Marshals were killed. Evidently one of two Russian generalissimos is also in serious conditions.

  8. Valissa says:

    I cannot find any other news links to this event. Also why would dozens of generals be in the same place? Especially in a war zone?

  9. Matthew says:

    Bb: Dozens of “generals”? All in one place? Do they still have editors at the JPost?

  10. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism had a comment in her morning Links page today and asserts that it’s a big deal. It indicates the judge is annoyed with her foot dragging, and as she says it’s not a good idea to PO the judge. Her link to the Financial Times piece about the matter is pay-walled so I suggest going to her Links page and either scroll down a screen or two or search “Judge orders Clinton”.

  11. robt willmann says:

    Here is the clerk’s docket entry saying that the motion for discovery was granted and that an order will be forthcoming: “Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan: Motion Hearing held on 2/23/2016 re [48] MOTION for Discovery filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. The Court grants [48] Motion for Discovery. ( Plaintiff to Submit Discovery Plan To Court and Counsel by 3/15/2016. Defendant Response due by 4/5/2016. Plaintiff Replies due by 4/15/2016. Order To Be Issued. (Court Reporter SCOTT WALLACE.) (mac)”
    So now the requestor has to suggest a discovery plan, and then there will be a response, and a reply by the requestor / plaintiff by 15 April 2016. After that, I would guess that there will be a court order on the deposition schedule, and maybe on who will be questioned, unless the judge puts their names in the order to follow after yesterday’s hearing. A court order on the schedule may not come until May, well into the Democratic primary, unfortunately.

  12. 505thPIR says:

    It’s trouble for HRC. Slow moving, but relentless trouble.

  13. Barish says:

    This reads like agit-prop at its finest. Anyone checked whether the footage wouldn’t happen to be re-used from another incident?
    Plus, all I see is a bunch of parked Toyotas and a not too vast “boom” going up. Big deal, “Free Men of Sham”.

  14. Fred says:

    “dozens”? Sounds like more generals that Russian would have in Syria.

  15. Fred says:

    I wonder just how much ink he’s using for his pardon pen. She won’t be the only one.

  16. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Army researchers patent self-destructing bullet designed to save lives
    Any opinions?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  17. Grimgrin says:

    I’ve recently been watching a UK spy series called “The Sandbaggers”. It’s a very well written series that aired in the late 70’s about then contemporary cold war spying. It’s notable for how relentlessly brutal and unsympathetic its portrayal of the Secret Intelligence Service, and the intelligence community in general, actually is. I’ve read some reviews that suggested it as the most realistic spy series ever filmed. This, however, is a hard thing to gauge so I thought I’d ask here if anyone had seen it and could comment. The full series is available on YouTube: if anyone is curious.

  18. Poul says:

    Erdogan & Co seems to have play fast and loose with the facts on the Ankara bombing.
    “But the DNA report suggested the attack was carried out by Abdulbaki Somer, born in the eastern Turkish city of Van, said the security official and the state-run Anadolu news agency, which cited prosecution sources.
    That matches the name given by the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a Kurdish militant group, when it claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its website on Friday.
    “The DNA report has been published. We saw that it was not Necar,” the security official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results of the investigation have not yet been made public.
    “The bomber’s DNA matches that of Abdulbaki’s father. It looks like the bomber was Abdulbaki Somer, that’s what the report is saying,” the official said.”

  19. J says:

    A disaster just within the NYC area is smoldering, it’s the Indian Point Energy Center Nuclear Reactor on the Hudson is leaking Radioactive Tritium into the groundwater.

  20. Valissa says:

    LOL… Russia attacks Sweden parody
    Bonus parody video
    [inspired by Newton’s 3rd Law :)]

  21. VietnamVet says:

    There are so many weird things going on I have this gut feeling that Vladimir Putin is the only sane world leader. Colonel Lang said that Turkey is not going to invade. The US and Russia are not going to war over Syria. He has the experience, common sense and contacts to know. I pray he is correct. But, humiliation is not rationale. The chaos that Hillary Clinton enabled in Iraq, Libya and Syria is metastasizing into Turkey. Europe is flooded with refugees.
    The hounds of war are stalking. Donald Trump who corporate media today anointed to be her presidential opponent after the Nevada win advocates waterboarding and dipping bullets in pig’s blood. This is a howl for a world war.

  22. Akira says:

    Interview with Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) Co-President İlham Ehmed:
    Do you mean the existing system in Syria will turn into a federal structure and a decision on this has already been made?
    I do not want to broach this matter in detail for now. What is essential is the fight waged in Rojava and it is inevitable to achieve the democratization of Syria in line with this struggle.
    Observations made during the discussions of structures that include international powers are for the formation of 3 federal regions in Syria. This is what is wanted by the peoples of Syria, and the states, parties and groups that seek a political solution in Syria. America and Russia are also of the same opinion.

  23. pl,
    I noticed a couple of owls depicted here. I worked with one Pete K. in my early days at Defense HUMINT. His office was filled with owl memorabilia. I got a kick out of seeing him sitting in a darkened office in his high backed chair, often with a murder of crows hanging around outside his window. It was quite the sight. He grabbed me to handle Y2K for DH because he figured I knew my way around a computer. From there he grabbed me for any cyber related IC activity.

  24. ztommixx says:

    Same Nunn & Dmitri Trenin at Carnegie Moscow:
    Also Judy Dempsey:
    and her twitter feeds.

  25. turcopolier says:

    I made the owl the symbol of DH when I was in charge. The offices were full of them then. I should have fired PK and his pal, JK, when I had the chance. It would have saved me a lot of trouble. pl

  26. Tyler says:

    Donald Trump is the only candidate that doesn’t want to start 7 wars in MENA the day after Inauguration.
    “Corporate Media today anointed..” What planet are you from, Moon Man? Corporate media has been pushing for that neocon tool, Marco Rubio. They hate Donald Trump. He talks like flyover America? Wring your hands harder.

  27. I remember JK as someone who wore fancy suits. I haven’t a clue as to what else he did.

  28. Bill H says:

    I know you were not asking me, but this is another item that will stir commentary for a week or so and then disappear down the memory hole. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism is among many people who are tired of the Clinton reign, myself included, and who would like for this to be a big deal, but it will not be.

  29. Tel says:

    To make my prejudice clear: I’d love to see Hillary go down hard as an example to others. That may slightly bias my reading of this.
    It’s going to take a very gutsy judge to knock a top-ranked candidate out of a Presidential race. However, if the judge has some back-of-the mind concept that Hillary is dodgy, but can’t act on that immediately, they might look very closely for some key legal point that enables such action.
    Justice must be done AND justice must be seen to be done.
    Hillary supporters will probably grumble anyhow, but they will have a lot less capability to grumble if Hillary tries one of her stupid tricks and the judge stamps on it.

  30. Tel says:

    I’m not a ballistics expert, but I would expect that if you have a supersonic projectile doing a neat and tight corkscrew (i.e. spin stabilized) it would do a lot MORE damage if the fuse settings are such that it starts rapidly tumbling and enters subsonic speed in the region just before the intended target. Kind of the best of both worlds: most of the flight is tight, clean and supersonic, while the very last bit of the flight is messy, tumbling and subsonic.
    Possibly it would also save the life of someone standing behind the target (if the fuse was set correctly), but only because it dumps all of its energy INTO the target.
    For what it’s worth, New South Wales Police use the low-tech option of 38 hollow-points (not legal in open warfare) and their argument is the same “We are saving lives”.

  31. johnf says:

    What is the best book to read on Viscount Slim’s 1945 Burma Campaign?

  32. Old Microbiologist says:

    I disagree. He can’t pardon her until after she is convicted. That is a long process. She could, of course, plead guilty, if and when Lynch submits and indictment and then she gets a sentence and then is pardoned. But, and this is critical, she has to confess publicly to every possible crime that she could be prosecuted for. She misses just one instance and she can still be tried even though pardoned for the other crimes. Her list of potential prosecutable crimes is very long.
    So, in the Democratic strategy is it better to plead guilty to a lot of bad stuff thereby proving she is a corrupt lying POS or is it better to keep the delaying tactic going as long as possible? Two scenarios could then ensue if the latter occurs. If Trump is elected she goes to jail or worse. If she is elected she gets impeached on the first business day of the House. If Sanders is elected she still goes to jail. The pardon could only come from her VP choice if she is impeached and found guilty.
    The worst scenario for her is if Trump is elected. He has a lot of low hanging fruit to use against her in the campaign and he has promised she will be tried just like all the people the Obama administration has convicted for lesser crimes. He has taken a strong stance that no one is above the law. She has zero dirt on him and even so he would probably be proud of it. Really, how insane is it that the Democratic Party keeps standing by her? I see nothing but grief coming her way. On top of that she is very clearly a neo-con. Are Democrats really that screwed up?

  33. Old Microbiologist says:

    I am sure this is possible but why bother? This is, after all, coming from a nation that still manufactures, uses, and exports, cluster bombs and land mines.

  34. Old Microbiologist says:

    I recently purchased a Geiger counter in Japan which couples to an iPhone. It was $66 shipped to Europe.
    My interest is in scanning any wild caught Pacific fish and roe Ikra – my wife is Russian) and related fish products sold here in Europe. If I lived in the US I would be even more worried.
    Anyway, this product is highly rated and appears to be very accurate unlike the cheap Chinese ones being sold for <$20. You can actually, use an iPhone camera chip covered by black tape which will tell you if there is a lot of radiation but not accurate at all, especially at lower levels.

  35. VietnamVet says:

    I know it is hard to believe but DC pundits woke up today and realized that Donald Trump has the GOP nomination locked up as long as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz stay in the fight. Marco Rubio is the establishment candidate, he can’t quit. Ted Cruz is a true believer, hated by the GOP elite, who is getting enough votes to stay until the dead end. Plus, Donald Trump has momentum.
    The Trump-Clinton campaign will be a three ring circus with loads of dung that Donald Trump will win. Hillary Clinton’s favorability ratings are really bad even if she isn’t indicted. Bernie Sanders could be elected President and raise taxes on the rich. But, the ruling oligarchs will do everything in their power to prevent that happening. When all is said and done, Donald Trump is one of them.

  36. LondonBob says:

    There was a lead editorial in the hardcore neocon Murdoch owned Times of London today bewailing Trump’s foreign policy stances and his front runner status.
    Of course the Kremlin has factions like every other advanced sophisticated society, Putin is usually the ultimate arbiter but he must bend to different interests too. The problem with hardliners they often ignore the effect on relations with other countries and economic factors. I think the cessation is being too analysed, it really just reaffirms what they are doing anyway, trying to reconcile the reconcilables whilst going after the irreconcilables.

  37. Many thanks and as you know DoJ Civil Division not the State Department, controls all civil FOIA litigation involving State Department!

  38. Jag Pop says:

    It was a mistranslation from a wire received at the jpost news desk.
    Russian cars generally bomb (stop)
    while Israeli made cars are a hit (stop)
    even on military bases in Syria.

  39. IMO Russia not the US will control interpretation of the cease-fire agreement! US will defer to Russia!

  40. IMO that series highly accurate as to tradecraft and did you know the author/playwright mysteriously died in early 80’s?

  41. This long a matter of public record and ignored by NRC and EPA!

  42. Few understand that used fuel rod storage at Indian Point a better target on 9/11/01 than WTC. And the planes seized overflew it on way to WTC.

  43. Owls symbol of luck to US Druids.

  44. The U.S. Navy should formally adopt the map linked below for all its power pint briefings IMO!

  45. SAC Brat says:…ko-nv-2-22-16/
    Donald Trump Jr at a recent campaign rally in Nevada, handling questions about his father and his father’s campaign. He does not appear to have a head full of mush.
    He discusses his father’s challenges of not being in the Washington DC club in the first 3 – 4 minutes. At 20:00 he talks about being a competition rifle shooter (he has a CMP number). At 25:00 he criticizes NY firearms laws.
    Some good questions asked. Makes regular Americans look good. I like long range rifle shooters. They tend to be good at math, good with analyzing data and knowledgeable about mirages.

  46. YT says:

    Col. sir,
    I can tell the painting & calligraphy is done by a Nip hand, but even tho there are Chink characters within, I still can’t decipher whom exactly the author/artist is.

  47. John Minnerath says:

    “Nip” and “Chink” ?

  48. turcopolier says:

    The only one I have read is “Defeat into Victory.” IMO it was excellent. pl

  49. johnf says:

    Thank you.

  50. The Beaver says:

    About Ian Mackintosh:
    It is as mysterious as the the deaths of the Marconi 25 from 1982-1988

  51. The Beaver says:

    This video -4 mins -from the BBC covers your last paragraph:
    First 2 mins are about Trump the candidate.
    The rest is about the US’s security apparatus “did some things that pushed the limits” in its handling of terrorism suspects.

  52. JJackson says:

    What happened to Africa?

  53. Old Gun Pilot says:

    Slim, the Standard Bearer by Lewin. Slim was, if not the best certainly one of the best British Generals in the war. Because Slim didn’t come from Sandhurst (he got his commission through OCS) he wasn’t held in high regard by the British high command. If Slim had commanded the 21st Army Group at Normandy instead of Montgomery the breakout at Caen would probably occurred on time.

  54. SmoothieX12 says:

    It doesn’t matter if US will defer or not. Look at the outcomes, possible and already visible, of this agreement. How this agreement answers the question who is who in Syria. Also consider this important fact when making conclusions: no matter how insane Erdogan is, Russians know for a fact that US will not be too upset if Russia and Turkey go to war–this was US objective all along, to get Russia into some kind of real shooting war, which will consume Russia’s resources and will mobilize public opinion in the West against Russia. Once the shooting starts, spin doctors enter the picture. Do not forget–in the end, it is Ukraine and with it Russia’s European policies which are the bottom line, not even Syria. So far, Russia avoided being dragged directly into the large scale conflict–such as could have been annihilation of Ukrainian Armed Forces and direct intervention into Ukraine. So could have been direct war with Turkey. This agreement, at least for now, caps that, while allowing Russia to consolidate her, out of proportion with investment, I may add, gains in Syria. Here, the famous Clausewitzian dictum that the war is continuation of the policy by other means turns completely 180 degrees and becomes: policy is continuation of war by other means. It has to be understood, which it is not in the West, that overwhelming majority of Russians do consider themselves in the war with the West in general, and US in particular. The mentality, traditional for Russians, “enemy at the gates” have been turned on. If not for Ukraine, the whole Syria picture today may have looked significantly different. The conclusion: Syria is just the part of a larger conflict and can not be viewed separately on a strategic level.

  55. rjj says:

    @johnf, there were two editions of Defeat into Victory: 1956 Cassell and 1961 McKay.
    The 1961 foreword says: “This somewhat shortened edition is intended for those who, finding not so great an attraction in accounts of military moves and countermoves, are more interested in men and their reactions to stress, hardship and danger.”
    If you get a reprint it may be worth checking which edition it is based on.

  56. JJackson says:

    Putting it into Tineye you get ‘vintage Japanese woodcut’

  57. JJackson says:

    As this is an open thread I have always wondered about your choice of turcopolier. Has SST meander back on to home turf with the Syrian war?

  58. cynic says:

    Ah Colonel, I was wondering whether that picture of a downy bird, a wise old owl, might be your self-portrait!

  59. Dmcna says:

    The sight of President Obama buckled by shame, as he appears to be in every photo I see of him, ought to prevent the election of the Richard Nixon Redux that is Mrs Clinton, who was responsible for many of the likely causes of his shame. When it comes to foreign policy, and my country slavishly folows the US, I am at the point of despair thinking that anything different would be good.

  60. Norbert M Salamon says:

    Today’s report by Russia’s Dept. of Defence:

  61. steve says:

    No, the president can pardon someone even in the absence of criminal prosecution. Richard Nixon was pardoned by Gerald Ford in just such a case.
    “[I] do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”

  62. bth says:

    An interesting article interviewing refugees coming out of Mosul. Note fuel and food price surges however no mass defection.

  63. turcopolier says:

    My genealogist wife says that is so. She tells me that I am descended from Fulk of Anjou by his first wife and from various other personalities from that time and place. Greater Syria, in the historic sense, has always seemed a familiar place. pl

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They can federalize all these countries to their hearts contents and it would only make things worse and not better.
    Imposing a structure that has been rooted in Greco-Roman Civilization onto a people who would only consider federalism to be a species of feudalism – setting up their own fiefs.
    The other consideration is how would federal structures help the political situation in Syria when major population centers are urban and of mixed ethno-religious composition?
    I would never trust anyone from the lands of Islam who talks about federalisms, rule of law, democracy, justice, freedom, secularism, socialism and a whole bunch of other things as solutions for that morass.

  65. Nightsticker says:

    I watched it years ago.
    It was good theatre and entertaining
    but not a good portrayal of how
    MI6/CIA/KGB treated members of their
    own service or other services.
    It was a bit like an early “24” with
    better dialogue/dress/manners but without
    the non-stop psychotic violence.
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  66. turcopolier says:

    Yes, in my experience there is little violence involved in clandestine intelligence operations (espionage). The people good at that dark art are usually disdainful of the need to kill. They regard such action as something indulged in by their intellectual inferiors. Seduction is their game. Violence is thought to be the province of 3rd world policemen. Understand that “covert action” is a different thing and usually done by other, quite different people. People like me and TTG who are equally at ease in the world of clandestine intelligence and that of war itself are unusual. pl

  67. robt willmann says:

    Jose, Fred, Old Microbiologist,
    My understanding is that a person does not even have to be charged in court with a crime in order for a pardon to be granted and for the person to accept it. President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. Ford appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on 17 October 1974 to explain his pardon of Nixon, and talks about pardons in general and specifically about Nixon–
    On Christmas Eve in 1992, president George H.W. Bush (Bush sr.) pardoned 6 people: the icky Elliott Abrams (who popped up again as part of the Bush jr. administration), former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and 3 former CIA people. Duane Clarridge (CIA) and Weinberger had not had trials nor had they done a plea agreement.

  68. Matthew says:

    Speaking of bombing civilians and hospitals. See
    Does anyone have any insight on the positives and negatives of Saudi cancelling that aid package to the Lebanese Army?

  69. rjj says:

    never used tineye – it is a little awkward but does do the job. THANKS!!!

  70. SmoothieX12,
    I’m not sure I follow you, especially not as far as your take on Clausewitz’ phrase about war and politics being turned upside down is concerned. I’m not sure you totally grasp what he meant with that and lots of people are mistaken about what he intended to express. If anything, Syria is a perfect example of the validity of Clausewitz’ comment in that regard.
    As for the US wishing for or pushing towards war between Turkey and Russia, I think that is pure “science fiction”. There may be a few Doctor Strangeloves who might entertain the idea, but you got nut jobs anywhere, even in Moscow !
    Besides, if that was the idea, it totally backfired as it looks like Turkey is more and more isolated in its aggressive course of action, with NATO having already warned anything not in compliance with Treaty obligations won’t trigger any article 5 action. That should dampen any Ottoman hopes of NATO covering their ass in case they go overboard with military action in Syria.
    Another point is that R+6 has managed to drive a wedge between Kurdish groups and their sponsors in the West, thereby encouraging PYD/YPG to consider an alliance with R+6 as a viable alternative, should the West rather back-up Turkey.
    The picture that emerges is that of a Turkish state having to contemplate not just confronting R+6 without NATO back-up, but also having a Kurdish insurgency on their doorstep, south of the border, with potential implications in Kurdish territories within Turkey itself.
    Throw in the Hatay province dispute (Sanjak of Alexandretta), with its Alevi population, and you got yourself a powder keg that is likely to explode in RTE’s face.

  71. different clue says:

    Old Microbiologist,
    I am just a layman to be sure, but I thought a Geiger counter is designed to strictly and only detect gamma rays. Whereas the radionuclides released by Fukushima release either alpha particles or beta particles upon decay. If I am correct, what good would a Geiger counter be for detecting the problem-radionuclides in pacific fish?

  72. turcopolier says:

    No, it is by Itamaru Kitagawa 1790. I like it. pl

  73. different clue says:

    I may be dense and imperceptive, but I have not seen any trace of shame in any Obama photo. Is there a linkable photo with shame so obvious upon the Obama that even I could see it?

  74. doug says:

    Not really. Tritium is one of the isotopes unavoidably created at low levels indirectly by fission neutron absorption by deuterium. Chemically it acts almost exactly like hydrogen so it is non cumulative and dilutes easily.
    Many of the articles written post Fukushima are just click bait devoid of detail and accurate analysis. It’s a useful exercise to go through the math. It will also alleviate a lot of concerns.
    I have an old GM counter that picks up alpha through gamma and checked some HVAC air filters after the accident. I can make it sing with an antique watch or an old kerosene lantern. I thought I might be able to detect a count pickup from the air filters but got nothing. I live in Calif. but wasn’t at all concerned about radiation from the accident. It was just out of curiosity.
    As for Pacific fish, I’m more concerned about Hg levels. Especially in the tuna which I love.

  75. Old Microbiologist says:

    Bill, yes, I agree with you. Every effort is going to made to try and minimize this. However, Trump has very loudly declared if he is elected she will be prosecuted. That is a real throw down and raises the stakes for her to literal life and death. My guess, is it will be minimized until it just can’t be anymore then they will try and plead her out to lesser crimes. But, they had better be careful to list every possible one as anything left un-confessed can be prosecuted later and will be. The accusations a run far past the email scandal, which by itself is bad enough. Selling favors for donations is a much larger crime and has already been proven by her own emails. She obviously, feels these are really petty and trivial that is how out of touch with reality she is. Maybe she will step down from the race for medical reasons in a sad hope it will all go away. My guess is she and her family will escape to some Gulf Arab state to hide out should a real indictment actually be rendered.

  76. Nightsticker says:

    Yes. I recognized many years ago, from posts,
    that you and TTG had lived in both worlds.
    Napoleon said something, sort of related,
    that I enjoyed. I want to believe it
    and take some confidence from the fact
    that Napoleon believed it.
    “There are but two powers in the world,
    the sword and the mind. In the long run
    the sword is always beaten by the mind”

  77. Old Microbiologist says:

    Ouch, that sucks and blows my whole theory to bits. On the other hand it would ruin her campaign unless the Democrats are really that far out of touch with reality. I had forgotten about the Nixon pardon. Now I am depressed again. I had hopes to see her in an episode of Orange is the New Black.

  78. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    If the turtles are laying their eggs in February, it is indeed early. For about half a year, in two week chunks, I was on the Space Coast on consulting gigs in the late 90s, and on my occasional day or two of down time often went to the Canaveral National Seashore. There was a camping ban during the “turtle season,” which IIRC was from May to November.

  79. doug says:

    GM counters can detect alpha, beta, and gamma depending on the thickness of the detector end. The all glass GM tubes are gamma detectors. My old one has a thin mica barrier. An anti-stat 210Po brush will peg it at max with a click rate so fast it sounds like running water. Yet, an inch away it’s undetectable.

  80. Old Microbiologist says:

    It will detect ionizing radiation as it measures ionization in a Geiger-mueller tube containing xenon or other rare gas. So, anything that ionizes will be detected including gamma and x-rays. Beta are unlikely to be detected but alpha particles definitely will. The main product of fission is gamma radiation so it should be fine for my needs.
    I had hoped someone would build a cheap multi-channel analyzer so the energies could be measured and the actual isotope mix determined. I spent a lot of time working with nuclear detection technologies and was part of a forensic lab in California where we did interesting forensic analysis by hanging substances in a paint bucket with a fishing pole into the San Onofre reactor pool where the neutron flux was highest. The resultant isotope mix gives you a specific fingerprint of whatever it is you are analyzing sing a MCA. Things like paint chips off car bumpers compared to chips taken from a body can be compared in precise detail with very tiny samples. We did a lot of gold purity analysis as well. Things like that and it was super cool work.

  81. Old Microbiologist says:

    Sadly, you are correct. I am depressed about this.

  82. BB says:

    The level of attacks on Trump from all directions is breathtaking. Man, if you didn’t think ALL political and foreign policy of the U.S. was bought and paid for and controlled by a cabal of special interests and globalists you gotta now. I guess about 98% of conservative publications, media outlets, think tanks, et al., have been 24/7 attacks on Trump. John Podhortez was on with Mark Halperin yesterday on “With All Due Respect” and was foaming at the mouth over Trump. He said Trump is the worst person to be President because he said he can work with Vladimir Putin, who, according to Podhortez “is the worst person on earth”. Retired General Mark Hertling was on CNN a couple days ago saying how Trump lacks the character traits to be a good Commander-in-Chief and took gratuitous shots that sounded like they came from a jilted teenybopper. Interestingly, he had no comments on any other candidates. Damn near all conservative talk show hosts are now anti-Trump (except Howie Carr in Boston and Michael Savage). Trump has pulled in some heavyweight billionaires who support him (Steve Wynn, Elie Hirschfeld, et al.), but I don’t know if he can survive the establishment which is pulling out all stops. Trumpzilla is laying waste to the neocon-conservative-D.C. political establishment.

  83. Jov says:

    Two staff members of the Serb Embassy in Libya (Jovica Stepic and Sladjana Stankovic) who were abducted in Sabratha by local terrorists/militia on November 8th 2015, were killed in an American bombing of Sabratha somewhere around February 19th 2016.

  84. Tyler says:

    Trump is “one of them” in the sense that Teddy Roosevelt was “one of them”.
    I don’t know what Scion of the Republic you’re crossing your fingers for, but the best chance we have to not become Bosnia on Steroids is with Trump trying to focus on fixing us.

  85. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Pertinent to several subthreads above regarding the US presidential campaign season, a piece went up yesterday at Rolling Stone by the decidedly non-MSM reporter Matt Taibbi. It is long but the author is at his best in terms of both insight and hilarious snark. A lot of his words are devoted to Trump’s relationship with the press, which Taibbi pithily summarizes:
    “Trump isn’t the first rich guy to run for office. But he is the first to realize the weakness in the system, which is that the watchdogs in the political media can’t resist a car wreck. The more he insults the press, the more they cover him: He’s pulling 33 times as much coverage on the major networks as his next-closest GOP competitor, and twice as much as Hillary. . . Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn’t know how to turn the cameras off, even when it’s filming its own demise.
    I should offer the heads-up that Taibbi is definitely a Trump fan. As for me, the jury’s still out.

  86. johnf says:

    Thanks for that too.

  87. Tyler says:

    Read somewhere about there being a “reckoning” in Vienna at some time during the Cold War when some Western agents got killed by the USSR, and the pay back came in spades.
    Do you or any of the other old hands have any information on that? I’m unable to google anything about it.

  88. As Turkey is a NATO member do you believe Article V triggered by Turkey invading Syria? NATO politics better understood by Russia IMO than US and Russian penetration of NATO’s politics almost complete.

  89. YT says:

    Apologies, I’m one of the “Chinks.”

  90. YT says:

    Noted, Col.
    My thanks.

  91. MI-5 and MI-6 have been known to tidy up!

  92. Like dosimeters geiger counters need periodic re-calibration!

  93. oofda says:

    Regarding the ‘fifteen Russian general officers’ who were purportedly killed in Syria- have seen nothing much further, other than the report attributed to the Jerusalem Post. That report came from the media office of Ahrar al-Sham. Another report had fifteen people killed among them four Russian generals in the Turkmen Mountains of Syria.
    On another matter on which you have written, a report says that 40% of CENTCOM intel analysts say their product intel is flawed.

  94. Trey N says:

    I highly recommend The Burma Campaign by Frank McLynn (c. 2010). I read it last year, and it is well-researched and very well-written.
    The book covers far more than just Slim’s role in the CBI theater, and goes into the diplomatic and politcal/military wrangling as well as the strategic maneuvers in the campaign. McLynn provides excellent analysis to go along with the straight-forward narrative, and he is not afraid to voice his opinions about the leaders involved and their decisions (he is, unsurprisingly, highly critical of Chiang Kai-shek and Mountabatten; Slim and Stilwell come off well; Marshall’s struggle to control Roosevelt’s interference in the area is covered well).
    If you’re looking for a well-rounded book that covers more than just a recitation of dates and battles in a complicated and neglected backwater theater of WW II, then this is the one. If you really want a book that just blinkers in strictly on Slim in 1945, this is probably more than you’re looking for.

  95. Fred says:

    “Bernie Sanders could be elected President and raise taxes on the rich.”
    While I agree with the sentiment just how is he going to get a Republican controlled House and Senate to do that? In his decades in the Senate just which taxes did he get raised on the rich? Did he convince Obama to reject the Bush tax cuts? No. His track record of accomplishment is great on speeches and positioning that win him re-election. Results for the people, not so much.

  96. Fred says:

    “He can’t pardon her until after she is convicted.”
    Can’t or won’t? As steve points out below Nixon wasn’t convicted of anything.
    “If she is elected she gets impeached on the first business day of the House.”
    The Democrats said that about Bush and there was no effort to impeach him.

  97. Fred says:

    If Trump does get elected what will his cabinet look like? What process is he likely to follow to fill the multitude of SES positions that will (or should) open up?

  98. Lesly says:

    I found this article from TAC to my liking:
    TAC has assessed the five Republicans and two Democrats who remain in the contest and graded their policies on these issues. We award good grades for restraint and bad grades for policies suggestive of interventionism. We have considered only a few telltale foreign-policy issues, and while we believe these accurately reflect the overall character of these contenders, they are an admittedly incomplete and imperfect measure. Nevertheless, they are informative.
    This report card is not a voter guide: it is a summary of these leading figures’ views on key questions of war and peace. Our purpose is to inform the widest possible readership, in a concise manner, about the state of an ongoing public debate—one that will have consequences for every American in the years after Obama leaves office.

  99. ISL says:

    A geiger counter will measure alpha gamma and beta radiation assuming you don’t have a shield. I have a geiger counter from Image Scientific and they have plenty of literature on their website.

  100. Tyler says:

    Have any of the VN SOG hands here read “Sympathy for the Devil”, by Kent Anderson? I’m curious on your takes of it, and if any of you knew him back in the day.

  101. Medicine Man says:

    Col.: I’ve been re-watching Firefly on Netflix recently and was wondering if you had occasion to see the movie follow-up, Serenity?

  102. MRW says:

    I, too, agree with Tyler. And so does Stephen Cohen.
    mbrenner mentions Stephen Cohen, who broadcasts a commentary on matters Russian as part of the John Batchelor Show, WABC-Radio AM (NYC) every Tuesday night. Batchelor broadcasts for four hours every night, except Sunday I think. Apparently, Cohen is such a hit (“ratings through the roof”) with analysis you can hear nowhere else that Batchelor gives him 45 minutes each week. I now listen to the podcast of Cohen’s portion every Wednesday if I don’t catch it Tuesday night live online. The give-and-take between Batchelor and Cohen is superb. Historian Cohen speaks, reads, and writes Russian. He watches Russian TV daily, reads their papers, and can not only translate the Russian mood, but verifies with his many contacts there.
    At the end of a broadcast within the last month, which I can’t locate now–was it clipped in the podcast version?–Cohen praises Trump as the only presidential candidate promoting diplomacy with Russia and acting like a statesman. It amounted to an endorsement. Particularly stunning since Cohen is married to the publisher and editor of The Nation magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel. Cohen has zero respect for Obama’s capability. Cohen’s opinion of the Obama admin and what the Colonel calls The Children’s Crusade matches Pat Lang’s. Cohen’s deadly understatement of what they’re doing, what they’re incapable of, and the danger they represent, goes down like a great martini at the end of a hot day, which he delivers with élan and superior historicity.
    For those interested in a sample:
    Feb 9, 2016 show (Kissinger’s visit to Moscow)
    Feb 16, 2016 show (Cold War and Stephanie Power)
    Feb 23, 2016 (NATO hiding in Norway)

  103. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The parent nucleus of an alpha particle is itself a source of ionizing radiation as it releases the momentum that it has gained from alpha emission by colliding with other molecules and particles in the environment.
    Likewise, electrons in beta emission would cause ionizing radiation as they are stopped by other molecules in the environment.
    In bot cases, the ionizing gradation can be picked up by the Gieger counter.

  104. Fred says:

    Ten inches of snow here. Don’t miss that live oak pollen but pompano sounds good. Can you catch them by surf fishing?

  105. The retirement of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in June would provide a SCOTUS solution. 4-3 decisons of SCOTUS could be full opinions not just the 4-4 vote that would affirm the US Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. And the 2016 Presidential election would have two SCOTUS appointments to wrestle with in the meantime.
    The real problem is none want to be the nominee to SCOTUS whether or not the Republicans hold hearings and vote.
    So how about an Obama resignation then appointment to SCOTUS by Biden who will then run as sitting President.

  106. SmoothieX12 says:

    I don’t believe that Turkey’s invasion of Syria would trigger Article V, but the dynamics of a possible conflict may. Especially if Russia would have no option but to, speaking broadly, shut Turkey’s national command at the source, that is in Turkey proper. The dynamics of Turkey’s losses, should it invade Syria and threaten Russian contingent there, can also trigger all kinds of undesirable things, since, in the end, Russia would have to face the challenge and would exert herself properly to defeat Turkey invasion. This could be prolonged and bloody for both sides but NATO can not afford the defeat of its, however screwed up currently, member without sustaining colossal image and reputational losses. It is a complex situation. As per NATO: NATO is US, there is no NATO without US. US says jump, NATO members ask:”How high”. Western Europe has no foreign policy subjectivity, it is an object.

  107. Allen Thomson says:

    As a not particularly relevant note on owls, I note that the CIA’s Office of Soviet Analysis in the late Cold War used the acronym SOVA, which means owl in Russian (сова). Curiously, I never saw any indication that that was a choice made with recognition of its Russian meaning. Or perhaps not so curiously, as the number of SOVA analysts with knowledge of Russian was minimal.

  108. cynic says:

    Years ago I met someone who claimed to be a psychic. He said that in a previous incarnation I had been a Knight Templar. Of course I have no memory of this, nor any reason to suppose it might be true; but it could be consistent with an interest in military history and an aversion for Mohammedanism.

  109. cynic says:

    Here’s an article by a very articulate and well informed, if somewhat lefty, Archdruid, writing in Spenglerian mode, who sees the popularity of Trump and Sanders as evidence for the breakdown of normal politics and the imminence of Caesarism.
    Which General will look best on a white horse as he rides up to the White House?

  110. hemeantwell says:

    For those interested in more detail on the political situation in Turkey, I came across a fairly thorough article at Jacobin.
    The author underlines how Erdogan’s ramping up conflict with the Kurds can temporarily succeed in drawing the army to the AKP, but that a weakened economy places limits on how durable this coalition would be if the Kurds launch a full-blown guerrilla war in response to Turkey’s ample provocations.

  111. Fred says:

    I remember the first day I moved to Florida, I was 12 at the time. Our family stayed at a hotel near Patrick AFB. We all went to the beach around sunset and saw turtles hatching and racing for the water. A remarkable thing to see them emerge from the sand; hold a newly hatched turtle in your hands and carry it to the sea.

  112. VietnamVet says:

    I will vote for Bernie Sanders in the Maryland Primary and the General Election if he makes it. His speech on the Greece Crisis shows that he knows exactly what is happening globally:
    The inaugural briefings by the power elite and Congressional obstruction may well abort any progress but I hope he won’t lie about it and I pray that he will stop the deluge of propaganda. On the other hand, the basic question is will Donald Trump be a “traitor to his class” like FDR was or not? I do not know. I will vote for Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton if he says he will preserve federal government pensions. If it is Mario Rubio or Ted Cruz, I will vote for her.

  113. Fred says:

    That presumes they knew which building to fly into and that they could accurately fly the aircraft so that it could inflict enough damage the containment structure to force it to collapse. It would in no way have had the same global tv coverage.

  114. turcopolier says:

    Never heard if it. Sounds like something that would have happened to CIA. In MI there was something called the Kassel massacre in which one of the Warsaw Pact services invaded a safe house and whacked a few people in their beds. It was generally thought to be a breach of common courtesy and “bad form.” George Smiley would have understood that. pl

  115. turcopolier says:

    “Archdruid?” In what context? pl

  116. turcopolier says:

    Wonderful! I had no idea you were so colorful! A Templar, eh? Do you have any memories revealed under hypnosis of those momentous days? I have none of that. I have nothing but my wife’s endless spread sheets on people long gone away. See if you can get the psychic to tell you if you were a knight, a sergeant, a term Templar or what. I love your somewhat antiquarian use of the term “Muhammadanism.” This description of Islam has a certain aura about it, a term that might have been heard in the halls of “Downton Abbey.” Actually, the Templars have a bad press about their relations with Muslims. Usama ibn Munqidh, the great Arab chronicler of the period of the Kingdom of Jerusalem traveled often on business from Damascus to Christian Jerusalem. When there he stayed in the guest house of the commanderie of his friends the Templars who made a place in their chapel for him to spread his prayer mat. pl

  117. BabelFish says:

    Fred, yes. I use a double drop Pompano rig. Small pieces of shrimp on each circle hook. I can cast up to 80 yards with 20 pound braid and a storm sinker. Nothing finer than getting a double hit and bringing in two at a time.

  118. cynic says:

    He’s the ex-head of an American druid order.
    ‘John Michael Greer is Past Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America , current head of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn, and the author of more than thirty books on a wide range of subjects, including peak oil and the future of industrial society. He lives in Cumberland, MD, an old red brick mill town in the north central Appalachians, with his wife Sara.
    Well of Galabes
    If you enjoy this blog and can handle discussions of Druidry, magic, and occult philosophy, you might like my other blog, Well of Galabes.’

  119. BabelFish says:

    Chuck and Fred,
    This is indeed early for turtles. The loggerheads usually start mid to late April. It was down past the Sebastian Inlet area. We’re thinking it is a El Niño thing, with the ocean water a little warmer.

  120. turcopolier says:

    I thought you were a Brit. Rather than that you are a Druid? I am so easily deceived! pl

  121. MQ says:

    This report from CAR may be of interest to some. It is almost like Turkey may have something to hide.

  122. cynic says:

    Alas, no memories, although that’s probably as well if they would have been of the early 14th century. Maybe they would have included memories of the real Abbeys, before Henry VII turned them into gentlemens’ estates. I lost touch with the psychic long ago, but to make things even more colourful, he also told me that in other lives I had been the slave of a Babylonian magician, and a 15th century Russian fur trapper. Not bad for a small fee. There’s no knowing who or what we might each be the next time round.

  123. steve says:

    If Obama had a sense of humor, he could issue pardons to every presidential candidate.

  124. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, what can I say Sir but: “Welcome back!”

  125. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Trump cannot fix “you” – he might be able to wage a rear-guard action against some group of Americans while trying to preserve – if he is a Real Conservative – the valuable heritage of the Past.
    Rosalyn Carter stated last year: “Americans like War.”
    I should think she know the minds of quite a few Americans better than I.
    Trump cannot save those people from themselves.
    If you look at the footage from 1914, there was great enthusiasm for World War I across Europe. The population – the Electorate – wanted war.
    The most significant political leader who was against war was the Socialist Frenchman Jaurez – quickly assassinated (the assassin never found) in order to facilitate the coming war.
    The war, when it came, still did not prevent the next war in 1939.

  126. cynic,
    Just took a quick look at that Well of Galabes blog. Most intriguing. Since ROTC offered me a career path, I was free to indulge my curiosities in my academic studies. I majored in anthropology and delved into shamanism among several cultures. Still enjoy reading about it. Much later, I learned how to remote view just to see if it was all bullshit or if there was something to it. I proved to myself that it works, but have no idea why. I do think there is a connection between remote viewing and shamanic ectasy. Perhaps the Well of Galabes might give me a clue or two.

  127. cynic says:

    Thank you. Perhaps we met before, and may again. There’s a notion that people may incarnate in groups which will continue to have some business together, if in different roles in subsequent lives.

  128. cynic says:

    This time from John Bull’s Other Island.

  129. cynic says:

    Mr. Greer is very knowledgeable and likes to reply briefly to each person who comments, so he might well be able to help. I like the suggestion he offers this month that science is the product of failed magicians!
    Of course, on the practical side, visualization and ecstatic utterance have been basic to the western mysteries, magic, poetry and prophecy, although the Abrahamic religions suppressed the competition.

  130. cynic says:

    That should be Henry VIII of course.

  131. Babak Makkinejad says:

    As you may know, I do not believe in reincarnation since some agency must be minting fresh souls somewhere – as there are more people alive today that has ever been before in all of human history.
    There is also a problem with the humble earth worm that contains the soul of some poor sinner.
    The worm is cut in half by a grammar school kid and becomes 2 independent worms – which one contains that poor sinner’s soul?
    And many more such objections.

  132. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The magicians of yore failed on the Grand Strategic Level.
    Across India, the Near East, the Far East, Northern Europe, and Africa and over millennia the practicioners of Magick failed to produce a coherent cosmogony, a sound theoretical basis for their practices, as well as advancing the state-of-the-art in Practical Magick.
    It was failed magicians – such as Al Razi – who contributed to the construction of the body of knowledge which resulted in practical solutions for such things as urinary track infections and common tooth ache.
    I am not disputing the phenomena here, only that there has been no advance over millennia of effort by very smart and capable people.

  133. YT says:

    I beg to differ.
    Many act like beasts to-day…
    The poor earthworms?, ah – I reckon they be reverts who abandoned the faith they were born with for others (due to profit & other mercenary reasons)…
    2 souls instead of 1.

  134. Thomas says:

    “…other than the report attributed to the Jerusalem Post. That report came from the media office of Ahrar al-Sham.”
    Nice, one secret ally helping another to propagate an “All is Well” Borg Story. The quid pro qou keeps the Iron Bubble inflated.

  135. rjj says:

    what if soul is the resonance product of all the empty spaces of material things – afflatus as more than just a coarse pun.

  136. Medicine Man says:

    It really is the political elite that is furious with Trump. I think they view the Republican party as *their* political apparatus and resent Trump taking control of it away from them. Most of the political media in the country is devoted to catering to the views of the donor class/political elite, so naturally they are attacking Trump.
    This most recent debate was instructive. Watching Cruz and Rubio pounce to attack Trump like a pair of trained poodles when Trump was a fine example of what I’m talking about. Trump understands that the privation and austerity agenda favored by the donor class is actually *not* popular with the GOP base. What is considered Republican Orthodoxy on this issue is really just a reflection of what a narrow band of well-heeled Republicans want, not the right-wing as a whole. Trump is happy to give voice to the base’s views that are completely unacceptable to the donor class in the GOP and it pisses the establishment off to no end. It is also a good indication of how thoroughly Cruz and Rubio have sold out.
    People prattle on about how Trump isn’t a politician, but he has clearly seen how a large chunk of the Republican base is actually an undeserved constituency, in spite of how important they are to their party. Whatever happens from here on, I will treasure watching Trump trample all over the GOP establishment. Those self-serving A-holes have had this comeuppance coming for decades.

  137. Fred says:

    It’s going to be a fun election year. I wonder if FB shares will follow the Twitter route when the executives decide PC is the way to run a global business:

  138. Chris Christie endorsement of Trump dominating MSM!

  139. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, I suppose every time an animal is butchered another human soul has been killed?
    Would that also not extend to when one breathes; killing thousands of souls that are inhabiting these harmful micro-organisms?
    And would it not also be morally superior to consume the flesh of very large animals – such as the Blue Whale – in order to reduce the number of smaller animals, plants, and vegetables that one consumes?
    “Vegans are committing crimes against Humanity”, I must conclude.

  140. Babak and cynic,
    “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp” I think this old saying perfectly describes the human condition in our physical world. We busy ourselves with science to bat away the ever present alligators and have little time for the subtle and ethereal world of “Magick,” practical or otherwise.

  141. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    I wanted to point out the failure of Magick as a program to fuether human knowledge and practice over millennia.
    To go back to your metaphor; Magick was helpless in the face of the alligators.
    And if one does not have a bat to “bat away” the alligators, one certainly would not last long enough to contemplate the subtle and ethereal world of Magick.
    [I always think of women dying at Childbed during such discussions…in their millions… Throughout human existence…]

  142. YT says:

    Aye, indeed.
    That’s why Chinks, Nips & most other Asians have no qualms with feasting upon the flesh of many creatures – e.g. whale, which the occident west (besides certain Scandinavians whom the Nips can call friends) finds disgusting.
    You know what they say ’bout us Wing Wongs: we’ll eat anything that crawls, swims or flies…
    I have heard antiquated doctrine where at a wedding, some elderly monk remarked quietly to an onlooker that the couple in question were in some previous incarnation grandmother & grandson, while the animals being served were kin from yet another lifetime (absurd as this sounds to us “moderns”)…
    Even my other Ching Chong associates reprimand me for my foolish insistence on abstaining from beef.
    Thank you sir, for your illuminating views.
    We are indeed “committing murder” with each-&-every moment.
    P’raps “Nirvana” (espoused by the historical Buddha – ‘negation’ of ‘continued existence’ in this realm Terran) shall ‘liberate’ us this ceaseless accumulation of sin.
    Yes, there may even come a day when our descendants will enable even plant life to “express human emotion,” rendering us incapable of taking our greens.

  143. Valissa says:

    LOL… had a great laugh over that headline earlier today 🙂
    Was thinking Christie might be hoping for a VP nod. But I don’t think Trump would pick someone like Christie. Not much of a ticket balancer there.

  144. YT says:

    Sir, could be antenatal training as well.
    Centuries-old practice.
    No wonder our Persian friend M. Makkinejad has staunch disbelief in this present lifetime a mere page amongst others.
    However, certain interests & aversions are still beyond explanation of science.
    My mother told me she was into Chinese pugilistic novels when I was in her womb.
    Doesn’t explain fondness for Nip Samurai when I was in my teens.
    I only had a fondness – with disastrous consequences – Oriental martial arte around adolescence, & not when I was younger, like some others who had inclinations at an even earlier start.
    How does one even explain this passion for world History, Politics or the Arts of Warre?
    Not exactly all linked in connection to said pugilistic novels.

  145. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That Doctrine of Nirvana was negated by the Hindu doctrines; at the end of the Cycle, the Universe would be sucked back into God – including all those lost souls who, up until that time, had yet failed to pay their Karmic debt and rejoin God.
    And thus would start another (meaningless) game of Life & Death, Creation & Destruction.
    I do not subscribe to such doctrines.
    Lastly, perhaps plants like to be eaten?

  146. YT says:

    Aiya!, sir.
    What cares have we as to the ‘true’ nature of this 3rd. Rock?
    Perhaps what we all ‘subscribe’ to are but mere half-truths (quarter-truths?) & “mirages” to reality whole?
    We be like the proverbial 3 blind men groping at the elephant (universal): much of ‘truth’ is still beyond the [limited] ken of us ‘moderns.’
    (Not to mention many of our professed beliefs were from times less scientific – i.e. rational – & much open to suspect…)
    An “all-loving,” “forgiving” & “compassionate god,” seriously?
    I hope so for all mankind (what with their centuries of accumulated evil & much sin).
    If the Omega were to here, he’d view all on this Terran with much displeasure & distaste methinks, ushering ever faster the “Judgement Day” of your beliefs…
    IMHO all we can do with our minute time on this realm Terran is to simply to be kind to those ’round us.
    (Bless you kind sir, for considerering the poor women who die of childbirth down the centuries – more Compassion have you than most preachers – cretins whom the renowned Sage of Baltimore hates.)

  147. More likely AG [Attorney General]!

  148. Some background on Apple versus FBI [posted by a friend Christopher Bellavitae on blog on 2/17/2016]:
    On February 16th, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order compelling Apple to assist federal agents search an iPhone that belonged to one of the attackers in the San Bernardino shooting. You can read the court’s three page order here:
    Lawfare’s Robert Chesney describes the legal dynamics surrounding the order here:
    On February 17th, Apple issued a public letter explaining why they will contest the court’s order. That letter is here:
    Trevor Pott, writing in The Register, explains why Apple’s argument is wrong. That explanation is here:
    A comment on Slashdot by someone named adamstew describes some of the technical details involved in doing what the court has ordered:
    The subsequent comments bring the reader further down into a technology hole. The trip illustrates knowledge required to navigate this rapidly growing branch of homeland security.
    For a conceptual end run around the usual cyber “going dark” arguments, see the Berkman Center for Internet and Society’s February 2016 report, “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate,” available here:
    From the report:
    In this report, we question whether the “going dark” metaphor accurately describes the state of affairs. Are we really headed to a future in which our ability to effectively surveil criminals and bad actors is impossible? We think not. The question we explore is the significance of this lack of access to communications for legitimate government interests. We argue that communications in the future will neither be eclipsed into darkness nor illuminated without shadow…. The report outlines how market forces and commercial interest … point to a future with more opportunities for surveillance, not less.

  149. bth says:

    101st Airborne units start off to Iraq this week.

  150. Spent fuel rods stored externally to the Reactor!

  151. IMO the fundamental challenge of Tim Cook the CEO of APPLE is not surveillance or privacy but to the cocept of the nation-state that came out of the 30 years war [1618-48] was was designed to lessen religious violence.

  152. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And the United States, by lobbying to create the State of Israel, deserted that concept and introduced religious war into the Levant.

  153. IMO Israel is a theocracy not a from the people, by the people, for the people nation-state! And the entrails left by the candidates devouring the parties in the 2016 election may well be predictive of a changed nation-state here in US!

  154. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    I remember reading somewhere that when Julius Caesar waged his campaigns against the Druidic Celts of both Gaul and Britain, that the one thing he made surest of was to exterminate every last Druid his forces could find, and to burn down and destroy every trace of their libraries and depositories full of books, scrolls, literature of every kind.
    Who knows what kind of coherent cosmogony the Celtic Druids might have evolved over time if they had not all been exterminated by Caesar and if every last trace of their accumulated writings had not been burned.

  155. Fred says:

    The US lobbied to create the modern State of Israel? I don’t think that is correct. The Truman administration, against the advise of the Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, acknowledged their declaration, the principles of which Israel has been moving away from for some time. Truman did some to gain domestic political support in a very close presidential election.

  156. Last night [3/120/2016] on PBS News Hour a discussion of President Obama’s current FP. One item of great interest to me was argument that this President given the fact of the dawn of energy independence for the Western Hemisphere MENA [Middle-East and N. Africa] no longer held any long term significance for U.S. FP. I respectfully disagree with any such conclusion but wonder what others think?

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