Open Thread – 24 October 2017

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84 Responses to Open Thread – 24 October 2017

  1. b says:

    Two senior officials tell the NYT that the CIA will start a Phoenix like program in Afghanistan.
    A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/world/asia/cia-expanding-taliban-fight-afghanistan.html
    They call it counter-terrorism but the text describes the military part of a counterinsurgency campaign. There is no economic or political program accompanying it. CIA SpecOps and contractors leading local militia in raids and targeted killings on a large scale. It borders on idiocy to try something like this after 16 years in Afghanistan.
    The only result will be a big scandal when in a few years the truth about the interrogations and the number of killed civilians comes out.

  2. John says:

    Any comment on what happened in Niger, or the fallout from the tragic loss of four servicemen?

  3. turcopolier says:

    John
    dunford’s briefing sad it all yeasterday. I await the DoD investigation result before commenting further except to say that in war s–t happens. pl

  4. jsn says:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article180111646.html
    That which is for sale is certainly being bought, where it leads in the context of the Islamdom Policy Miasma is anyone’s guess.

  5. J says:

    And we’re to assume that the locals will trust the CIA and their hired Mercs? Oh I forgot, have to use the NYTimes PC term hired contractors.

  6. Jonathan House says:

    Question:
    Southfront published a piece headlined: SAUDI CROWN PRINCE VOWS TO RETURN ‘MODERATE ISLAM’ AND TO ‘END EXTREMISM’, does what he said have any importance?
    .
    Here’s the link to the Southfront piece
    https://southfront.org/saudi-crown-prince-vows-to-return-moderate-islam-and-to-end-extremism/

  7. optimax says:

    Did anybody see Jeff Flakes speech on the senate floor today? A quote about Trump: “Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.
    And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.”
    Transcript of speech.
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/24/politics/jeff-flake-retirement-speech-full-text/index.html

  8. walrus says:

    Re: Niger, we were always taught never to retrace the same route. I wonder if that is what happened?

  9. elaine says:

    “Brutal outlook for healthy wild horses and burros”
    https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-horses-burros-blm-2499116836.html

  10. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, I have no experience on this but IMO the media is spinning the aftermath of this loss too
    much. Shamefully they are more interested in blaming and putting it on Trump Than care for the lost soldier family. Is this is as low as these guys can go, or we are going to visit lower mudy grounds.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No.

  12. orindajones says:

    Per b’s post – I watched the Colonel’s Intelligence_Squared debate on ‘coin’ in Afghanistan – he was absolutely right then and still right today. Delusion persists …

  13. Nate D. says:

    How about former President Jimmy Carter’s recent comments regarding Trump? Kind of amazing that the most respectful and positive comments about President Trump have come from a Democrat. The same week Trump was trashed by the Bushes.

  14. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Here is a video of General Kelly’s remarkable 20-minute speech before the White House press corps on 2017-10-19, in which he addressed the remarks of Congresswoman Wilson.
    Well worth watching.
    https://youtu.be/Xt-s41Y-wgA?t=1m58s

  15. Haralambos says:

    I recall the post. Can you send me the link?

  16. different clue says:

    J,
    More than that, we’re supposed to assume that not one local will ever, ever lie-finger the person he hates for personal reasons as a Talib in order to get that person killed by the CIA and its people?

  17. different clue says:

    Jonathan House,
    What tradition of moderate Islam would Saudi/Nejdi history and culture even offer the crown prince to even allow him to ever even imagine what moderate Islam even is?

  18. eakens says:

    Sounds like their PR folks decided to show up for work. That said, I’ll await their halting of hostilities in Yemen.

  19. Muzaffar Ali says:

    Their definition of “Moderate Islam” is “Wahabi Islam”…..am not being cynical….that’s how they define true Islam.

  20. Serge says:

    Video of ISIS taking out a big SAA ammo dump in a Deir Ezzor stadium with two drone shots. Bomblets trigger fire and explosion of the entire dump
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0bwoZZ5wVc
    Lower res if the YT link goes down:
    https://twitter.com/vincebeshara/status/922881633266667520

  21. Jonathan House says:

    Babak,
    Thank you. I’m not surprised and glad for the informed opinion.
    Jonathan

  22. Eric Newhill says:

    optimax,
    A shorter Flake, “blah blah blah. I suck. I quit and I hate Trump”.
    Like reckless bellicose outbursts and policy are unique to Trump.
    Maybe Flake would have preferred Senator “bomb bomb bomb Iran” as POTUS?
    You know how I know that any of these people are lying to me? They’re talking. Why anyone pays attention to them is beyond me.
    Meanwhile it is being revealed that the so called Steele dossier” what made to order for and by the democrats. Clintons are going down for Uranium One. The Obama admin is going down for “unmasking” and leaking intelligence. Comey is going down. Hollyweird is going down.
    Looks to me like Flake is just another swamp critter that doesn’t like his swamp being drained. Boo hoo. Trump is doing what he promised he’d do; quite well at that.

  23. ked says:

    Flake & Corker have no place in a Trump – Bannon GOP. There’s not much room for reasonable centrists, so they are checking out. The primaries will generate crazies (like Moore in AL) who in any kind of two-party state could get schlacked by a decent Dem candidate (‘course, running a decent Dem is always an open question). We are seeing the steady self-destruction of political parties past their shelf life. Personalities, policies & party mechanisms are a side-show to a longer, broader trend. Trumpism confirms it.
    The question is how long & painful will be the re-allignment & restructuring. The instability during transition is especially risky if big, dynamic externalities (like war in Korea) flash in the middle of our self-absorbing soap opera.

  24. Serge says:

    John,
    The whole thing is very shady in my view, I read this today
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/africa/u-s-soldiers-niger-were-pursuing-isis-recruiter-when-ambushed-n813746
    claiming that they were on the track of an “IS recruiter”,whatever that means(boko haram or ISIS ISIS?). If this is indeed the case, why have ISIS kept silent on the event? They would jump on the opportunity to claim 4 special forces US killed

  25. mike says:

    Daesh is said to have captured an SAA T-90 tank and a BMP in or near Mayadin. I was going to call BS on this. But Sidorenko is usually reliable. Supposedly daesh took advantage of a sandstorm for the attack.
    https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/status/922938382082301952
    This photo is reportedly a pic of today’s sandstorm:
    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/24-october-sandstorm-in-deirezzor-today-

  26. Fred says:

    Any update on Las Vegas? From the current media coverage what happened to those dead Americans doesn’t matter as much as the soldiers killed in Niger. What are they distracting attention from, besides the Russia story?

  27. Serge says:

    Well it ain’t sidorenko reporting it, it’s IS media, and you can see for yourself whether or not that’s a t-90. Curiously enough, the ISIS media labels it as a t 72, but as a layman I would judge that it is indeed a t-90 and they are mistaken.

  28. Serge says:

    how about the sycophantic adulation tonight in western MSM press tonight for the future Saudi king, for comment today about “returning” his country to “moderate Islam”
    What a joke. couldn’t be more disgusted on a personal level with this stuff…utter ignorance of the Western know-nothing target audience for this tripe still astounds me after all these years, even more than the wide net it casts. Disgust wouldn’t bother me this much if it wasn’t for all of those around me that buy into it

  29. Oilman2 says:

    @ Fred…
    I think the FBI was hip deep in corpses @ hooters, and they got filmed. They are pulling out the stops to deflect. They have been corrupt for a very long time, but 9/11 got them a budget that they want to keep. The simple fact that most of the “terror” incidents coincide with DHS/FBI drills says quite enough for me. Hours of fake injured footage, numerous people (actors) photographed at different “terror events” (drills? – ops?), the fact that people supposedly shot with rifles are up and walking ans smiling the next day is COMPLETE horseshit. In the era of smartphones, we are supposed to believe that only one or two videos were taken? GMAFB!
    For Vegas, there is more than enough contrarian and contradictory eye witness accounts to make it scream FF. The only real reason for it, as with most things, is money.

  30. Peter AU says:

    Since McGurks meeting with tribal leaders, some of whom had previously pledged allegiance to ISIS, there no longer appears to be a defined frontline between SDF and ISIS east of the Euphrates. Rather a transition zone.
    Those with two hats can attack SAA as ISIS, then if it looks like they will lose territory, as in the oilfields, they put on their SDF hat and come under US protection. Plausible deniability in attacks on SAA for US.
    how much intel on Syrian/Russian positions and so forth moves through the transition zone from SDF hats to ISIS hats.

  31. JamesT says:

    Russian reality TV star Ksenia Sobchak, likened to a cross between Donald Trump and Paris Hilton, has announced that she is going to challenge Putin in Russian presidential elections next year. I think this is an excellent time for people to watch the music video “Sobchak’s sunglasses” by the band Leningrad:
    https://youtu.be/WmhbOgSKF9k
    I think that people will learn more about Russia from watching a few of Leningrad’s music videos than from a year of watching MSNBC.

  32. eakens says:

    Harvey Weinstein. Or is it the other way around. Hard to keep track.

  33. ann says:

    I see these horses occasionally when I pass through Wyoming, not many are healthy.

  34. different clue says:

    Nate D.
    I believe I remember that Carter was given the media treatment now and then throughout his presidency and he remembers what it was like.

  35. different clue says:

    Fred,
    To me it just seems like the Short Attention Span Media at work.

  36. blue peacock says:

    Marc Faber, a well known Swiss investor and economist, who has lived for decades in Asia, got the MSM PC gods all lathered up by writing in his private monthly newsletter:

    I don’t want to enter into a serious discussion about the tearing down of monuments of historical personalities, but I cannot omit mentioning how the liberal hypocrites condemned the Taliban when they blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas (one of them 165 feet high), situated at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, in 2001. But the very same people are now disturbed by statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved. And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let’s not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black, and Arab slave dealers.)

    The resulting brouhaha had him labeled a racist, and Bloomberg, CNBC & Fox Business vowing to not have Marc Faber on as a guest in any more of their shows. And many Canadian and US companies on whose board Marc served, asked for his resignation with PC laden letters, which he gladly gave. Of course, Marc on given the opportunity to recant stood his ground, on the basis that history cannot be whitewashed to fit the prejudice of the snowflakes.
    Correspondents at SST can make their own judgment by reading Marc’s newsletter in its entirety. I think all those who believe in a Marxist-Lennist paradise or neo-keynesian government spending to economic nirvana, should read it too, as Marc provides a well reasoned antidote.
    http://www.acting-man.com/blog/media/2017/10/October.-basic-income.-de-blasio.-de-Soto-story.-shift-in-leadership.pdf
    BTW, Marc has lived in Asia for decades and has a Thai wife. They have raised a successful, now adult, mixed-race daughter.

  37. LondonBob says:

    Carter has always seemed an honourable chap, not surprised at all. Also says something about your recent generation of Presidents.

  38. jonst says:

    Ked, if you are of a mind to, could you please briefly define what “reasonable centrists” look like, from a policy perspective? What is their immigration policy? Their trade policy? Their policy on Iran?

  39. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, jsn, showwing my colors?
    The much more interesting larger context then evil Russia, or questions concerning the genesis of the Steele documents for that matter. Although more difficult to wrap one’s head around.
    Looks like the McClatchy’s spirit survived even after Knight Ridder took over a big part of the shares.

  40. Allen Thomson says:

    Any thoughts on the reported sonic attacks on US and Canadian embassy personnel in Havana? Apparently the USG thinks they are actual attacks carried out by a human agency but technical and medical opinion seems to lean to the skeptical side.

  41. LeaNder says:

    That said, I’ll await their halting of hostilities in Yemen.
    I’ll suppose that’s cynical. Isn’t it?

  42. bks says:

    Trump started this mud-slinging contest by slandering Obama.

  43. LondonBob says:

    https://www.alternet.org/has-trump-cut-deal-deep-state-secret-jfk-records
    Be interesting to see if Trump does release all the JFK files, as he has suggested he might. Of course the files, and who they relate to, that are deemed sensitive enough to still be withheld speaks volumes in of themselves.

  44. ked says:

    I’m effectively a relativist, so it’s about context & making comparisons along continuums.
    Of course one must recognize what is allowable as valid. I suppose that’s where the reasonable part enters-in. For me, that means appeal to Reason. Reason is founded on logic which depends upon agreed-upon facts. How facts are identified & selected (made relevant) arises – the scientific method, consensus about experimentation, results, repeatability & relevancy to the questions at hand. So, by Reasonable I mean the appeal to & dependence upon Reason over Emotion.
    I do not observe much in the way of reason in the GOP (or perhaps better put, the base that drives it these days), other than by the wealthy families and financial interests that own the policies (& regs) relevant to their specific interests. What I observe is a great deal of angst & emotion that has rejected reason, expertise & sound methodology as a basis for grasping issues and making policy decisions. What I see is more a multi-generational marketing effort to turn dubious ideology into received wisdom, fed (kinda like a reality TV show, or a Madison Ave advertising campaign) to a polity that’s not dealt with change very well (personally or collectively), increasingly driven by fear to hate the Other and the world around them. It’s no wonder right wing extremists are so animated. They also appear to be an unhappy lot. Reason & Emotion rule the human soul both individually & collectively. It is my belief the balance between the two is out of whack. A highly motivated (by ideology combined w/ that shared human trait; lust for power) minority movement is doing all it can to take advantage-of and increase that imbalance in order to gain power. These are people for whom ends justify means.
    As to centrism, while it is a relative term, I would simply point out that it is characterized by the drive to build a broad consensus, and that compromise is a major part of that effort. Respect for those who oppose one’s policies, at least as human beings, is important. Avoiding demonizing others (heck, just good manners is important to functional self-governance) is also a feature. A key aspect of centrism is honoring shared values and referencing those values in contending over difficult issues. This is why high quality education for all is so important, as is a national service program that all citizens participate-in.
    Does this help?

  45. Eric Newhill says:

    ked,
    You advocate for this “centrism” as you define it b/c your party keeps losing and is out of power. So sure, compromise looks good to you. You at least get some of what you want that way. Some of us prefer that you get 0.
    As for your focus on the Rs as being the problem, let’s recall what happened in re; Russia. The US started trouble in Ukraine and then blamed Russia for the ensuing chaos. Then slapped sanctions on Russia. Then Ds and Rs alike ginned up some nonsense about Russia interfering in the election and enhanced the sanctions. many Ds are saying that Russia essentially committed an act of war against the US w/ said election interference. Is that some of “appeal to reason” that you think can be found within the D establishment? Is trying to impeach the lawfully elected POTUS over a cocked up Russian collusion conspiracy more that centrism and reason? This is not being conducted by a “minority” of agitators. It is the mainstream that’s doing it.

  46. ked says:

    I got it Eric, you think I’m The Other. Wrong.
    Read me: “We are seeing the steady self-destruction of political parties past their shelf life.” As politically “kept ideologies” they are both degraded. Yet they are not going to fail in the same way on the same day.
    I expected Hillary’s victory to trigger either sped-up implosion of the Dems over its many faults (most likely), or internal renewal (fat, but not impossible, chance). My error was believing the electorate’s common sense would see through Trump & a mediocre centrist would save us from embarrassment – allow me to apologize for my optimism.
    Perhaps modern idiocracy and a turning away from Reason has trumped common sense, but I’ve hoped Trump’s victory was more a sign of popular impatience & shallow attention (+ confirmation of how lousy a candidate and campaigner was Hilliary) than a deeply flawed American character.
    Now, we face an analogous circumstance with the GOP & Trump. We’ve cut right (even alt-right) to destroying self-government because fundamentally he (& hangers-on) don’t believe in it as other than an opportunity for increasing one’s wealth, power & image. Bannon & his ilk are dedicated to crafting their ideal state (which includes making a few $s), no matter how imperfect the vessel – you don’t get many chances, so what the heck. But Trump fails – he’s a poor horse for those grasping. Regeneration takes time fraught with risk. Whichever novel or re-created political party emerges to hold the center, to deliver tangible value in a pragmatic way will prevail because they will have the support of the mass who huddle there.

  47. Adrestia says:

    Crown prince says Saudis want return to moderate Islam
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41747476
    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the return of “moderate Islam” is key to his plans to modernise the Gulf kingdom.
    He told reporters that 70% of the Saudi population was under 30 and that they wanted a “life in which our religion translates to tolerance”.
    The prince vowed to “eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon”.

    Earlier I was surprised about the age of the crown-prince. Very young for such an important position.
    What to make of this?
    Is it genuine or will all prospective-jihadi’s be exported to Syria or North Africa?

  48. Adrestia says:

    For the interested in Afghanistan.
    THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War
    Quite interesting reading and IMO very relevant. Especially when you replace Russian with US and DRA with ANA. The use of infiltrators and desertion (after the act) is especially worth reading. Chapters and lots of case-studies on:
    Ambushes
    Raids
    Shelling Attacks
    Attacking a Strong Point
    Mine Warfare
    Blocking Enemy Lines of Communication
    Siege Warfare
    Defending Against Raids
    Fighting Heliborne Insertions
    Defending Against a Cordon and Search
    Defending Base Camps
    Counterambushes
    Fighting in an Encirclement
    Urban Combat
    Book with maps:
    http://www.tribalanalysiscenter.com/TAUDOC/Other%20Side%20of%20Mountain.pdf
    Book without maps:
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Other_Side_of_the_Mountain:_Mujahideen_Tactics_in_the_Soviet-Afghan_War
    I created a proper, readable ebook of it with all the maps so I can read it on my phone, which is my portable library. If there is interest in it I can mail it to the colonel for SST or publish it somewhere and share the link.
    Still working on the companion-book, which is less relevant IMO: The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan.

  49. jsn says:

    Some analysis of publicly available info on Niger:
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/10/remind-troops-niger.html

  50. Jack says:

    All
    I finally got online today after two tough weeks in the aftermath of the Napa Sonoma wildfires. SWMBO and I got out in the nick of time. We had a harrowing escape surrounded by flames. Our old ranch house which my grandfather originally built by hand burned to the ground as well as several barns. Fortunately our cattle, horses, goats, sheep, and llamas who were out in the meadows survived and our Great Pyrenees duo bravely kept them safe. We managed to take our two other dogs and kitten with us when we fled in the middle of the night. Unfortunately our quail perished but miraculously our chicken coop with the chickens survived. So did our vineyards and the fruit orchard which suffered minimal damage with the harvest completed. The 70 mph winds fanned the flames so quickly there was no opportunity to linger and think of what to take with us. We just left with the animals. We’re really sad we lost all the heirlooms that were handed down from earlier generations. However we are grateful to the Lord for allowing us to live another day.

  51. turcopolier says:

    jack
    God bless you all, man and beast. pl

  52. ked says:

    jonst, I failed to give a complete response to your fair request.
    And that is that Reasonable Centrism is a process, not a policy.
    If the process is honored, then improved policies will more likely accrue. I think Centrism is associated with the Law of Large Numbers when applied to reasonable self-governance. It is Reason that is weakened and Emotion that is powerful these days in America. ’twas ever thus… or better / worse?
    I think Col Lang points this out (in a more clear manner) about foreign cultures & their present dynamics to those who think distinctions are easily subjected to quantification & (worse!) merely monetized.

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    After the Iraian Revolution, the so-called West & Co. Proceeded to present Salafism as the alternative to Khoeini’s ideas.
    The results are what we see; in Pakistan, in USA, in Arab lands, in Europe.
    You see, Turkey, at the time, did not want to have to do anything with Islam & Ikhwan were a No-No.
    As for your question, he is lying to satisfy you guys.

  54. mike says:

    Someone was watching out for you. Sorry to hear about your ranch house. Any plans to rebuild?

  55. mike says:

    Adrestia –
    Thanks for the link. There is a lot to digest there. So far I have only read the Conclusions chapter. Good info!

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Absolutely right and you can rebuild.

  57. outthere says:

    Why the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Won the Election
    James Petras
    https://petras.lahaine.org/why-the-united-socialist-party-of/

  58. J says:

    Philippine President Duarte has signed an arms deal with the Kremlin.

  59. Fred says:

    Oilman,
    That’s some conspiracy theory you have there.

  60. different clue says:

    ked,
    There were small but crucially important slivers of the electorate whose common sense allowed them to see through Hillary and conclude that Trump was the lesser evil for now. I was among one of those difference-making slivers
    of voters in the state of Michigan.
    I began this whole election season thinking that the election would be Clinton versus one of the Republican Party’s mainstream hideous gargoyles. If that had indeed been the choice, I would have voted for Clinton. Because the mainstream Republicans support every bad thing that Hillary supported, plus other bad things of their own.
    But when Hillary announced that “when” elected she would make her husband the leader of the economic recovery plans and actions, I knew I could never vote for her. That was her way of saying that she firmly and totally supported NAFTA, WTO membership-for-America, MFN status for China, and all future such Forced Trade Agreements to come. Including TPP, TTIP, and others not yet imagined. So I figured I would be voting some kind of Purity Third Party gesture.
    But then Trump drove all the mainstream Republican gargoyles off the field. And Clinton announced that she would pursue a “No Fly Zone” over Syria. So it was Trump versus Clinton. “No more Free Trade Agreements” versus “Let’s risk nuclear war with Russia”. The choice was clear.
    Voting for Trump to defeat Clinton was like taking a very dangerous antibiotic like chloramphenicol or colystimethate to treat a deadly disease which no safer antibiotic will touch. But I decided that risking possibly permanent crippling side effects from a four year course of Trumpicillin was better than dying from a terminal case of Necrotising Clintonitis.
    So Trump is President. And Clinton is not. And never will be.
    Look on the bright side. If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. If life hands you demons, make demonade. I view Sanders as the hammer with which we can possibly beat the metastatic malignant Clintonoma out of the Democratic Party. And Trump is the anvil upon which us Bitter Berners and Younger Sandernistas will either beat the Democratic Party into usable shape, or else beat it to death.

  61. kooshy says:

    Jack So Sorry for your loss and to see the beautiful Santa Rosa burn like that, I had stayed so many memorial weekends there in the old Hilton/ Now Double Tree next to old old red round barn in fountaingrove, so sorry to see it got burned like that. Re-build you live in heaven best spot in whole country.

  62. mike says:

    Iraqi operation to liberate al-Qaim & Rawah has started:
    https://twitter.com/CJTFOIR/status/923550032791527432
    Forces involved are the 7th Division, 8th Mechanized Division, Anbar Provincial Police, and Sunni tribal militias. LtGen Yarallah is leading the operation. So far the operation has begun on two axes of advance.
    Daesh is fading fast. Within several hours the Iraqis have liberated Rawah crossroads and the former Jazira Operations Command HQ in Rawah. On the other axis they have taken Saad airbase south of al-Qaim and are moving on K1.

  63. JamesT says:

    I’m Canadian and I think it is telling that Canadian personnel are reporting these symptoms. Canada has a long history of being friendly to Cuba, we refused to impose any sort of embargo on Cuba, Americans have long been able to visit Cuba (illegally) by transiting through Canada, and Cuba has long been and continues to be a HUGE tourist destination for Canadians.
    On the other side – we are culturally very close to the US and I would expect our embassy personnel to be very friendly with and socially connected with US embassy personnel. Which leads me to think it is all psychological and not real attacks.
    On the other hand – if it is Russians carrying out the attacks instead of Cubans … well, we haven’t been very friendly to Russia of late.

  64. Jack says:

    Thank you, Sir. Through God’s grace we live.

  65. Jack says:

    Mike, we will definitely rebuild our house. We have to for our grandkids.

  66. Jack says:

    kooshy, very sad that the old barn at the bottom of Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa burned down. That was a badly hit area. Our ranch is in the hills between Napa and Sonoma valleys. The vineyards and the meadows which we had cut down in preparation for winter saved the animals. The trees around our house probably caught fire first.

  67. Laura says:

    Living in Santa Barbara, I watched with horror the fires up your way. California isn’t for sissies and I’m so glad that you came through safe and that so many of your animals made it as well.
    So many of our friends have had to rebuild (some more than once) because of fires. It can be a healing
    process and I pray that will be so for you and your family.

  68. Laura says:

    Does anyone else find this article troubling? I had high hopes for Tillerson but this strikes me as very CEO and a strong reason why government and foreign policy experience should be held in higher esteem. This is very much of a piece with something I read earlier today about the Founders not worrying so much about a powerful federal government as much as worrying about an “efficient” federal government. They built inefficiencies in for a reason…
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/26/tillerson-diplomats-policy-state-department-244190

  69. jonst says:

    Ked, “Does this help?”. No, not really. But thank you for taking the time to reply to my question/s. I pay little attention (it may certainly be a flaw in me…but there it is, just the same) to people involved in the political process ( The Swamp) when they claim “reason” over “emotion”. And I take even less interest (again, might be my bad) of claims from those in the Swamp that claim expertise in ‘political science’. It seems to me both sides abuse ‘reason’. All the time. Both sides are highly motivated by “ideology”, in an ‘out of whack” way, as you rightly put it. Although both sides, it seems to me, are motivated by money, most of all. Both sides “demonize’ each other. Both sides–to me–loudly and clearly, believe the end justifies the means. That FACTS are on their side. Both sides spend a lot of time killing the messenger rather than simply challenging the message. I wish both sides would simply say, ‘this guy’s position is to let more immigrants in, mine is not to’. The usual response these days is to call that person calling for a halt, names. Rather harsh ones at that.
    My challenge to you, and it was a good natured one, was to note that to people that want immigration to the US stopped, McCain and the Dems et al, and many Republicans, look like extremists. Same with people that want tariffs imposed in the US on imported goods. To those who hold that position, the trade policies of the so called Centrists–with their endless so called free trade agreements, look rather extreme . And so on and so on. It is all a question of perspective. Or…whose ox is getting gored.
    ANd if MINE is getting gored, then I surely would be tempted, as I articulate my position on the matter, that MY position is ‘reasonable’, with ‘facts’ on my side. And by golly, I am dang well a ‘centrist’. I hope I resist such temptations. I would hope, for a while, we all could simply put out what our particular policy is on a given position, and quit describing said position as sound or reasonable. Or whatever. ALL sides claim that stuff.

  70. Kooshy says:

    Are off of 12 to Calistoga? Around the Petrified forest and the safari place, are they still around?
    That is a great area you have your ranch, that is, one of the most peaceful parts of this country. You have the real CALIFORNIA gold. Thankfully my favorite town Healdsburg didn’t get damaged.

  71. mike says:

    Saker Island now reported fully liberated by the SAA’s Tiger Force.
    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/26-october-saa-tiger-force-captured-hoijet-saker-in-dier
    Should be renamed Zahreddine Island. Efforts are now focused on liberating Hawiqah Island to completely isolate Daesh held areas of DeZ City.

  72. Nancy K says:

    So sorry about your losses, but thank goodness that your family and animals and vineyards made it through. You live in a beautiful part of the country. CA was my home for 65 years and many in my family still be there. My heart will always be there.

  73. Allen Thomson says:

    Yes, I sure don’t know what happened there, but am tending to the notion that it’s mostly psychological, perhaps being exploited after the fact by anti-rapprochement elements in the USG.
    But who knows?

  74. different clue says:

    LondonBob,
    What I will hold against Carter is that he began the Era of Deregulation which took off faster and harder under Reagan and was made near-permanent and possibly incurable under Clinton.
    If America survives long enough to begin a series of Presidents very different from the recent series of Presidents, historians may look back and refer to Clinton through Obama as The Free Trade Presidents. I once saw someone refer to Obama as “Obusha” because of the seemless carry-forward and entrenchment he gave to the Junior Bush policies and methods. That name “Obusha” kicked something loose in my brain which leads me to feel that the final end-stages of the Long Decline under Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama was so smooth that I now think of those three Presidents as the Clintobusha Presidents.

  75. jonst says:

    Ked, I think you make an important point noting that “reasonable centrism” is a “process”…at least some part of it is a “process”. A belief in a certain way of addressing many issues. I think those that have positioned themselves in the ‘Center’ have however, at times, viewed this “process” as an end…not a means. And that can result in a critical mass forming…dissatisfied with the “process”. They begin to look around for the tool that will cut the “Gordian knot”.
    I understand both sides, I believe. It is all a question of an acute sense of timing. i.e. ‘hey man, ya better wrap this process up and solve this’. I think we have reached that point…on more than few issues. It is of course easier to say “wrap it up”, than to actually do it. But Gordian knots are–often– untied more through force, than touch. Just the nature of them

  76. Jack says:

    Kooshy, yes the area around the Petrified forest, Mark West Springs and Porter Creek were devastated. The fires blew west with the strong and dry Santa Ana like winds. The animals at Safari West were saved but unfortunately the homes burned down.
    The fires did not go north to Healdsburg luckily. By and large vineyards fared well as there were no tall trees or dead brush. Thankfully most of the harvest was over.
    This is an amazingly caring community. The outpouring of support and volunteering chokes me up. People opening their homes to strangers, restaurants cooking meals for the first responders and those displaced, those with trucks helping fire fighters haul cut trees and brush as they fought to contain the fires. Local hardware stores giving away masks. Shelters inundated with clothes, toiletries, drinking water and food. The eye opener was how bad the Red Cross is. The local response in comparison is so tremendous. Everyone here knows someone affected. My physician lost his home yet he was at the shelters taking care of those who fell ill.

  77. Jack says:

    Laura, indeed wildfires are something we in the west experience every fall. While we know that, when the devastation occurs it is hard. My family has owned our ranch for over 125 years. This is the first wildfire to go right through it.

  78. Jack says:

    Thank you Nancy! This is our heritage. Too many memories to abandon it.

  79. Jack says:

    We must be thankful for life. We have an obligation to the next generations to rebuild.

  80. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I always feel that I have an obligation to the dead in wars, specially the young people whose lives were snuffed out before their time.

  81. ked says:

    Conflating means & ends, structure & process, tools & work are the fruit of confused, ignorant &/or short-sighted policy management. We see a lot of this today, where ideologies have become a strict ruling force rather than frameworks for examining underlying a prioris to compare. Partisans of applied ideology wish to coerce behavior without evidence. Appeal to some transcedant truth to justify lousy execution doesn’t cut it in what passes for real world.

  82. Fred says:

    Laura,
    Why is it troubling that the executive branch wants to control foreign policy since that is one of its constitutional duties? The institutional bureaucracy hasn’t done such a great job in the past decade or so.

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