Open Thread – 26 November 2016



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77 Responses to Open Thread – 26 November 2016

  1. euclidcreek says:

    My first memories of Fidel Castro are his interview with Jack Paar in 1959 and the commotion over his stay at the Hotel Therese in Harlem and something to do with chickens. Was he or wasn’t he a communist was the question at the time. Long time ago.

  2. johnf says:

    A while ago various worthies on this site mentioned a book which argued that both Christianity and Islam were formed in order to oppose and prevent the debt societies created by the financial elites of the Ancient World. (A least, I think that’s what was discussed).
    I failed to note down the author of this book or its title. Can anyone remind me because this is a subject that interests me.

  3. Fred says:

    Cuba Libre! Well, soon anyway. Meanwhile the brother of the man who killed political dissidents, imprisoned gays and supported dictators across the globe is still in charge. Oh, and the losing candidate who said “… refused to say he would respect the results of this election. That’s a direct threat to our democracy.” now supports (kinda sorta) Jill Stein’s ever escalating fundraising scheme to force recounts to overturn the election results because riots, threats to electors and campus cry-ins haven’t worked. I wonder how much she and the lawyers will skim off?
    Time for some popcorn.

  4. Ralph says:

    Serious provocation coming up?
    Ukraine has made a unilateral decision to organize missile-firing exercises over Crimea, in the sovereign airspace of the Russian Federation, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsiya reported. Missiles will be fired in regions where civil and state aviation flights run.
    … Rosaviatsiya said, add[ed] that not only will the military exercise invade Russian territory, but the plans also had not been coordinated with Moscow.
    On Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry voiced protests against Kiev’s intention to apply restrictions to airspace above the Black Sea and the Crimean peninsula due to missile-launching training. The ministry summoned Ukraine’s military attache, to present him with an official diplomatic note.
    Ukraine released an aviation notification on Thursday, activating “dangerous zones” in all flight levels near Crimea and the city of Simferopol for December 1 and 2, the agency reported. It added that the “dangerous” areas included airspace above open sea which is in Russia’s area of responsibility, and over Russian territorial waters.

    Commenting on the Russian aviation agency’s statement, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksandr Turchinov, said “Russia’s airspace above the Black Sea ends in the middle of the Kerch Strait.” According to the official, Kiev does not plan to perform training missile launches “in that region.”
    “All the remaining territory to the west of the Kerch Strait is Ukraine’s sovereign airspace,” Turchinov said, as quoted by TASS, implicitly denying the legitimacy of the 2014 referendum, after which Crimea reunited with Russia.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    RT Headline: “Kiev to hold missile-firing exercise over Crimea, where civil aviation performs flights – Moscow” I find it hard to believe that the Ukraine leaders would do this without the active encouragement of Victoria Nuland et al. If only the Tsar knew! Cough.

  6. Degringolade says:

    I would be more than happy to hear anyone’s opinion on the Washington Post article labeling blogs as “Pro Russian” or “Useful Idiot”.
    This is genuinely the strangest and most unsettling thing I have seen of late. I think that the political ecosystem is getting to be as strange as the on-month run-up to the election, and that was really strange.

  7. aleksandar says:

    Maybe off the topic but SAA has liberated Hanano district and Ard Hamra district ( in this case without having to fight). A pincer is ongoing with an offensive in Jabal Badro district.All defenses line in Jabal Badro district face east so a bypass west of this district is possible for SAA attacking from Hanano district. With Hanano, as of now, completely liberated, a very wide and not defended flank of Haydariyah is open to be stormed.
    Terrorists inside al Haydariyah are risking being seriously cut off once the Tiger Forces advance inside the southern part of this neighbourhood where no defensive line is set.
    So far SAA is 1 miles east away from the Citadelle. East Aleppo could be cut in two these coming days.
    Most important civilian begin to flee East Aleppo as djihadist defense lines collapse rapidly.
    All East Aleppo could be liberated before 2017

  8. Ramojus says:

    Thoughts on the passing of Fidel Castro? Do the dynamics of US, Cuba current relations change in any way from the status quo?

  9. Degringolade says:

    If nothing else, the headline over at South Front says it all.
    I tend to think that there is a good chance that someone will try to gin up some mischief in Cuba.

  10. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    A question to General F. B. Ali:
    What is happening in Pakistan?
    re: Pakistan Appoints Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa as Army Chief of Staff in Unusually Smooth Transition ( )
    This is being billed as a victory of “pro-democracy” groups. This is a peculiar term with some interesting connotations. Your comments would be much appreciated.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  11. Poul says:

    Is the fight for al-Bab going out of control or were there never any agreement between the Turks and Kurds?

  12. different clue says:

    If the current rulership of Cuba does not make visibly steady moves towards Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy, beginning with a Dubcek-style “Socialism with a Human Face” stage, rising discontent on the Island will open up gaps and opportunities for the Miami Cubans to intrude through.

  13. Aleksbraddockroad says:

    Any plans for a Syria sitrep?

  14. Degringolade says:

    Truth be told, I think that I am a touch miffed that SST isn’t on the list.

  15. charly says:

    Cuba is officially capitalistic since a year (or is two) so Raul will just blame it on the Blockade (and be right). Besides everybody knows what you should do after communism and that is following Belarus

  16. ked says:

    Fidel’s passing is more a symbolic watershed than an event that changes what’s been unwinding… pace may pick up, but that ’57 Chevy has long turned off the Malecon.
    I’m finding the Chess Championship to be more captivating than most of what’s going on during the present interregnum.

  17. Poul,
    The SAA is now in the mix. They are coordinating with the YPG/SDF to cut off the IS supply line to Turkey. Maybe it will be at al-Bab. Maybe it will be south of al-Bab. The YPG has supposedly told the U.S. that they will not assist in the further drive for Raqqa until the U.S. does something about the Turkish drive to keep Rojava split in two. YPG columns may be moving west to reinforce Manbij. There’s mention of SAA strikes on Turkish troops and Turkish strikes on the SAA. No telling what the truth is with this. One thing I am confident about is that there is no agreement between the Turks and the Kurds.

  18. My take is that the crowd that takes politics way too serious just figured out that some people who don’t give a rat’s ass about politics have been using the internet to make money. Sure there were plenty of false stories out there, but it was just click bait. It just turned out that the hard core Trumpsters were more prone to click on stories that supported their views. Once this phenomenon was discovered by the hard core Clintonistas, paranoia raged supreme. Now any site that publishes stories not critical of Russia is labeled a tool of the Kremlin. All these sons of bitches ought to get a hobby or take up heavy drinking.
    I knew some Russian hackers who came up with an ingenious scheme. They formed a group that advertised itself as a righteous scourge of pornography. They would hack porn sites leaving some outrageous diatribe behind. One day I asked their leader, “Mudak, why the hard on against porn sites?” He told me it was all a front. He was after the credit card info on the sites and didn’t care a whit about the porn. The internet is full of these pirate entrepreneurs.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Can a Liberal Democracy, say like Sweden, long survive in political opposition to the United States or NATO?
    That is, if a state wishes to maintain strategic autonomy from the United States and her allies, she cannot afford to be a Liberal Democracy.
    What do you think?

  20. YT says:
    I just stumbled on this a couple minutes ago.
    Thought it might interest you.

  21. FB Ali says:

    I wouldn’t place too high a value on the WSJ report. It starts off with a blooper (“…the first smooth transition for the top military job in 20 years”). The outgoing chief did in fact take over from his predecessor in a ‘normal’ transition.
    I’m afraid I have no special knowledge of the situation, no ‘inside story’ – I don’t take that kind of interest in what goes on in Pakistan.
    Of course, PM Nawaz Sharif must have been keen to appoint someone who didn’t get too big for his boots (he’s been bitten a couple of times). Incidentally, that’s one of the big pluses for the outgoing chief, Raheel Sharif. He became very popular, and some political opponents of Nawaz Sharif hoped he’d use that to topple the PM. He resisted all such calls (and temptations).
    Qamar Javed Bajwa was the junior-most of the four generals being considered. It is possible that he was considered the least ambitious out of them. His appointment results in the retirement of two of those senior to him; this may also have been a factor since those two were closer to the outgoing chief, and may not have had his balanced judgement.
    The “victory of pro-democracy groups” nonsense was probably uttered by those who were afraid of a military takeover, or by journalists (who probably were tantalized by the prospect).

  22. Valissa says:

    The passing of Castro triggers memories from a book on Cuba I read a few years ago…
    “Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba… and Then Lost It to the Revolution” by T.J. English.
    From the Introduction:
    It is a historical fact – and also a subject of considerable folklore in Cuba and the United States – that the Havana Mob comprised some of the most notorious underworld figures of their day. Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante, Albert Anastasia, and the other gangsters who came to Havana in the late 1940s and 1950s were men who had honed their craft and amassed or inherited their wealth during the “glory days” of Prohibition in the United States. These mobsters had always dreamed one day of controlling their own country, a place where they could provide gambling, narcotics, booze, prostitution, and other forms of vice free from government or law enforcement intrusion,
    Gaming and leisure were only part of the equation. The idea formulated by Luciano, Lansky, and others was for Havana to serve as the front for a far more ambitious agenda: the creation of a criminal state whose gross national product, union pension funds, public utilities, banks, and other financial institutions would become the means to launch further criminal enterprises around the globe. The Havana Mob could then bury the profits from these criminal operations underneath the patina of a “legitimate” government in Cuba and no one would be able to touch them.
    Of course the combination of US law enforcement coming at them from one side and Fidel’s revolution on the other (since President Batista backed the Havana Mob) meant they never totally achieved their dreams. But they had a good run for a decade, until they lost almost everything at the end.
    The book is primarily focused on the history of the Havana Mob and it’s key players and their ongoing dance/chase with US law enforcement. Political analysis is not it’s strength, but it does give a greater context to Castro’s background (which is covered in several sections of the book) and how he developed his view of the US culture and US gov’t. All were willing to loot or use Cuba for their own purposes.
    One final quote from the Introduction:
    “For some, it was a time of diversion and fun. For others, it was a moneymaking proposition. To the revolutionaries and the government of Fidel Castro that followed, the era stands as an example of capitalist exploitation at it’s most venal.”
    No wonder Castro became a communist.
    This book is a great read, very entertaining, highly recommended. Goes well with whiskey 😉

  23. Chris Chuba says:

    An assessment of material support for Syrian Rebels
    This article appeared on Southfront,
    Mikhail Nicolaevsky estimates the amount and structure of material support given to Syrian rebel groups in different categories. I am summarizing the article, words enclosed in [ … ] are when I inject my personal comments into the subject matter, otherwise I am posting the author’s opinion. I don’t have a means of verifying this data, so I am posting it as is.
    1. He describes the cost of maintaining refugee camps and their role as recruitment pools. There is a payment in kind where a recruit will have his family transported to an EU country.
    2. Recruitment cost of foreign fighters, $430M (including family relocation) + $163M (transportation mgt) + $324M (instructors) per year
    3. Salaries by role and specialty, total $473M. The estimated number of rebels in Syria has dropped from 105k to 74k. [this seems really high to me, if true Syria’s still in for a long fight, I wish I had a dime every time I’ve heard Al Nusra has 15,000 fighters, it’s like a cosmic constant.]
    4. Medical costs since Oct. 2015 including family death benefits, $674M.
    5. He gives a description of the supply and type of weapons and their attrition.
    Final tally, since 2015 the rebels have had $4.5B dollars worth of material support.
    I was surprised by the assertion that Turkey is still bearing most of the cost to overthrow Assad. His recommendation is, no truces. Attrition is grinding down the rebel groups, don’t let them recover.

  24. crf says:

    The story has mistakes that shouldn’t have made it through an editorial evaluation. The question is what is the reason for this editorial lassitude? Maybe staff cutbacks, lack of morale, and possibly bad feelings from the Trump victory.

  25. Green Zone Café says:

    Anybody see Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk? I recommend it.
    It’s a movie based on the novel by Ben Fountain, which portrays an infantry squad’s welcome home on leave from Iraq during an NFL game on Thanksgiving 2004.
    The first five minutes I thought it was going to be a mocking caricature of soldiers, but the joke is on the civilians. The squad leaders played by Vin Diesel and Garrett Hedlund are complex characters, the latter (SSG Dime) fully of self-aware irony as is the soldier Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) himself.
    A side plot with Kristen Stewart playing Billy Lynn’s sister is kind of weak but a necessary foil. Steve Martin was a better foil, but no spoilers.
    There is also a riff on the Bhagavad-Gita and the warrior Arjuna. The ending was kind of moving.
    I plan to read the book soon, as well as Roy Scranton’s War Porn.

  26. Pundita says:

    Fortune magazine, which has never struck me as particularly friendly toward Russia, finallyl reached its gag limit. It has an article that drills down into the muck of the accusations:
    The Intercept (Glenn Greenwald, who’s livid about the situation) also drilled down:
    I think these two fiskings are just the beginning of the backlash against the yellow journalism pieces in WaPo and “War on the Rocks.” If you haven’t read the latter, brace yourself:
    As to whether there’s any bite along with all this barking — The Intercept article mentions:
    PropOrNot is by no means a neutral observer. It actively calls on Congress and the White House to work “with our European allies to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT financial transaction system, effective immediately and lasting for at least one year, as an appropriate response to Russian manipulation of the [US] election.”
    So that’s what all this has been working up to.
    As to my own opinion, I suspect the entire disinformation operation was cooked up by MI6 with approval from NATO command. But then you would have to know something personal about me to put this in context.
    My enemies say I’m so obsessed with the idea that the British are still trying to recapture their lost American colonies that I patrol the banks of the Potomac all night, looking for British mini-subs to surface.
    That’s ridiculous; a woman of my age prowling around lower Georgetown all night. I use a college fraternity for the patrol; I pay them in beer kegs.

  27. Pundita says:

    I saw this SouthFront report around 8:30am EST — was up all night waiting for something like this to happen after I read your comment. See the SouthFront website for maps accompanying the report, including the one showing the SAA coalition’s expected plan of action.
    November 27, 2016
    Jaish al-Fatah militant coalition, led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) terrorist group, has failed to [halt] the Syrian government forces advance in the eastern part of Aleppo city.
    Since yesterday the Syrian army, Liwa al-Quds, Hezbollah and other pro-government groups have captured the Jabal Badro Neighborhood and launched an advance in the Al-Sakhour area, aiming to reach Bostal al-Pasha and split the militant controlled areas in eastern Aleppo into two separate parts. Government forces also captured the area of Ard Hamra.
    If Jaish al-Fatah redeploys manpower from southern Aleppo [province] to its northeastern part, the army and its allies will be able to relaunch attacks in Sheikh Saeed.
    An expected plan of government forces operation in eastern Aleppo:

  28. Pundita says:

    Hope this is a help. From FARS today (Nov 27):
    TEHRAN (FNA)- Sources close to the Syrian dissidents disclosed that the Turkish army has deployed anti-aircraft ‘Stinger’ missile system to the regions near al-Bab city Northeast of Aleppo province.
    Ahmad al-Khatib, a journalist with close links to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, disclosed on his twitter page that Turkey is equipping its affiliated forces stationed near the strategic city of al-Bab with Stinger missile system.
    The Turkish media had also reported on Saturday that a number of trucks carrying air defense systems were moving from Oguzeli region in Gaziantep towards the Syrian borders.
    Tensions between Damascus and Ankara have gone so high that Syrian sources report army’s preemptive strike in the Northern parts of Syria to block the Turkish army’s attempts to establish a buffer zone in the region.
    Lots more in the report.

  29. turcopolier says:

    Yes. Where did we go wrong? pl

  30. turcopolier says:

    Yes. PB is working on one for Syria and Iraq as an overall basis for SITREPs on subsets like Rojava, etc. pl

  31. johnf says:


  32. LondonBob says:

    Well hopefully it will be be Fillon who wins today and will eventually face Le Pen for the Presidency. Of course from my perspective his wife is Welsh and he is a big anglophile, so this is good for Britain. He is also supportive of Assad, critical of Hollande’s relationship with Qatar and the KSA, as well as favouring a rapprochement with Russia. Apparently he is another ‘Putin’ puppet, according to the usual suspects. From a personal perspective he is sceptical of the EU, immigration and socialist economics.
    How quickly the post 1968 world is crumbling, 2016 is the year the counter revolution began.

  33. LG says:

    An analysis by Elijah J Magnier on the Syrian airstrike killing three Turkish soldiers near AlBab
    On the same day, one year apart, Russia gets its revenge and stops Turkey at the gates of al-Bab

  34. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    General Ali,
    Many thanks.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  35. Fred says:

    Sweden is doing a fine liberal democratic job of destroying their own civilization without any help or hindrance from the US or NATO. I don’t see us coming to their rescue.

  36. Joe100 says:

    Clearly Col Lang’s view that the Eastern Aleppo resistance was on the verge of collapse was correct. Cassad’s web site reports that SAA has completely cut off the Northeastern pocket after defenses collapsed..

  37. Fred says:

    The WAPO left out Rolling Stone, which was given a $7.5 million dollar judgement by a jury who found their fake rape story libelous. The Obama administration and others on the left were set to make national policy over that story. UVA President Sullivan did collectively punish fraternities and sororities over that story. That’s the authoritarian left in action.

  38. RetiredPatriot says:

    SWMBO and I partook this film over the holiday weekend. I concur, well worth the price of admission. Compelling. And yes, the ending heartfelt. Faithful to Fountain’s novel which I read when it came out a few years back. I’m glad this movie got made and wish it well. But, as with so many other films about our (now!) 15 year war in the deserts, there’s little appetite by the “civilians.” Movies like Billy Lynn’s,The Messenger, The Lucky Ones and so many others simply make the civilians overly guilty about how exactly they “support the troops.” Someday perhaps they will appreciate the sacrifices made, the pain endured, the waste of treasure – appreciate and learn from it. Someday.
    In the meantime, I offer some poetry of Brian Turner:
    To Sand
    To sand go tracers and ball ammunition.
    To sand the green smoke goes.
    Each finned mortar, spinning in light.
    Each star cluster, bursting above.
    To sand go the skeletons of war, year by year.
    To sand go reticles of the brain,
    the minarets and steeple bells, brackish
    sludge from the open sewers, trashfires,
    the silent cowbirds resting
    on the shoulders of a yak. To sand
    each head of cabbage unravels its leaves
    the way dreams burn in the oilfires of night.

  39. Prem says:

    There is a very interesting interview by Robert Fisk of the head of Syria’s Air Force Intelligence, General Jamil Hassan:

  40. aleksandar says:

    Little update.
    Jihadist defennce line collapse in East Aleppo. War is all about manpower and logistic.
    A new map :

  41. aleksandar says:

    I hope so and IMO it will benefit to all europeans citizen.
    “L’europe des peuples du General de Gaulle” not this stupid bureaucracy.

  42. Sam Peralta says:

    “That’s the authoritarian left in action.” Yes, the left is quite happy to be as authoritarian as necessary to enforce their PC priorities. But, its those code words that the damn alt-right uses!!

  43. Bandolero says:

    It seems the moderate terrorists in Aleppo had a bit of bad luck recently. Instead of being split in half their pocket in Aleppo seems to have been shrinked:
    Regarding yesterday’s conquest of the Hanano district Reuters had a very strange sentence in it’s report on that. Quote begin:
    “Rebels say much of Hanano has been empty of residents for some months.”
    End quote. Source:
    That’s their words now: “empty of residents for some months.” And that while all the quality news, NGOs and international bodies reported for months that there are so many hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the brutal siege in Eastern Aleppo. Where are they?
    And some of those civilians who are in Eastern Aleppo seem to be willing to leave their moderate protectors in Eastern Aleppo to be with Assad’s thugs. Al Manar has filed today this remarkable report from Jabal Badro district in Aleppo – be sure, it’s “fake news” like most reports not filed by western mass media are called nowadays:
    A Russian journo tweep – be careful, he might be a Putin stooge spreading fake news – just said more than 4k civs arrived today in West-Aleppo shelters prepared for East-Aleppo people:

  44. Bandolero says:

    Some single billion digit is not really that much. Even Qatar alone could foot such a bill. And the superpower of Qatar has just said they’ll gonna show Trump who’s boss. Reuters/Newsweek reports, quote:
    “Qatar Will Arm Syrian Rebels Regardless of Trump’s Policies”

  45. Serge says:

    Regarding Syria, does the stepwise implosion of Ahrar Al Sham that we are perhaps now witnessing before our eyes signal a farther reaching start of a Gulfie takeover/consolidation of the non IS Syrian rebels through Nusra, in preparation for a possible future Trump disengagement from the whole mess? Signals of high intensity friction between Turkish and Gulf elements, an unwillingness to see eye to eye in regards to the future courses of action in the fact of the obvious Assad military advantage on the battlefield? This seems to have been a process started with the absorption of jund al aqsa a couple months ago by nusra.

  46. Pundita says:

    Thank you. You’ve probably already seen this but a FARS report 9 PM their time has a few more morsels about the retreat

  47. Green Zone Café says:

    First, I’ll never leave an HTML tag open at the end of a post again.
    The reaction to the film is consistent with the theme of the film: American civilians only want rah-rah war stuff or victim veteran narratives. The film provides neither.

  48. Cee says:

    On Trump. Also Zero Hedge has been classified by the Washington Post as a fake news source

  49. Fred says:

    I see an Obama administration vetted refugee from Somalia committed a Nice style terror attack on the campus of Ohio State University (located in Columbus Ohio, the state capital). Headline: “Police identify suspect as business student” Talk about fake news – the fake reporting of news that is.
    Notice the title still reads “active-shooter”. (I copied this at 8:25pm with the latest update.) The Columbus Dispatch is the local paper. Can’t violate the narrative.

  50. bernard says:

    Yes I had a look at the list and I was disappointed at a couple of omissions. Some usual suspects like counterpunch,, naked capitalism, zerohedge, the Saker, even moonofalabama were duly listed but SST didn’t make the cut!
    Those people were probably confused by all the talk about the ‘borg’. That was a code they couldn’t crack. More mentions of ‘Putin’, ‘Russia’, ‘Putin’ please! That should give them a vital clue.

  51. Ralph says:

    This is either a tempest in a teapot or the beginning of WWIII: According to South Front quoting a Ukrainian news site, Russia is threatening to shoot down the missiles and take out the launchers:

  52. Cee says:

    Interesting that Obama expanded the war on terror to Somalia a few days prior to this action. Nobody has mentioned the thoughts of the deceased on that.

  53. Cee says:

    Yes. HRC didn’t oppose it, Obama waffled. If anyone who goes or sends supplies and has been inferferred with or fined contact

  54. Fred says:

    Can’t be trusted. The only one worse on the list is Bolton. He’d be a fool to give the job to either one. He should have asked Gingrich though Giuliani can do the job too.

  55. turcopolier says:

    Considering the size of the VA budget … pl

  56. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel, to what is this a response?
    Yes, to something by Degringolade, but where is it?
    It seems a pain to have to find it.
    Why not make your reply to his post, rather than as a new comment?
    I suppose there may be a reason, but I wonder what it is.
    Or is there a simple way to answer my first question?
    Thanks for your addressing this issue (I hope).

  57. turcopolier says:

    It is a joke. Do you understand the concept of humor? pl

  58. Keith Harbaugh says:

    I think so.
    I recognize that “Where did we go wrong?” is often meant as humor,
    and wasn’t meaning to ask about that.
    But the question remains, to what does your response of “Yes” pertain?
    And, if it pertains to something above, why not make your comment a reply to that specific item, rather than a new, top-level comment?
    Please forgive me for asking what may seem a stupid or prying question.

  59. turcopolier says:

    I think you a literalist dullard or a crypto neocon and will not respond. pl

  60. Tyler says:

    The South has been on fire for the past few weeks and its barely puncturing the MSM as they report breathlessly on the latest batch of psychological problems and faux “hate crimes” that they reason can be laid at the feet of Trump.
    “Fake news” indeed.

  61. Richard says:

    Maybe Romney should be considered for Secretary of Defense. The Pentagon is an organization that needs fixing.

  62. Cee says:

    A solider who was told he would never walk again did walk from Oklahoma and arrived yesterdsy.
    Another account foom someone heading to Standing Rock.

  63. turcopolier says:

    Reform DoD? what do you want to reform? The Unified Command Plan? The assignment of missions and functions to the services? End strengths? What? Be specific. pl

  64. Richard says:

    I worked for circa 30 years as an engineer for defense contractors. And my view from inside the system is that the military procurement system is an absolute mess. A private contractor who did things the way the Pentagon does them would have been out of business decades ago.

  65. turcopolier says:

    For most of the USG money is free. All you have to do is ask Congress for it. When I left that and went into business I learned that money is not free at all if you have to earn it. pl

  66. Richard says:

    It’s more than just money. Wait until the first EMP attack and see how much stuff no longer works.

  67. Martin Oline says:

    I am posting a link for those who are interested to Sen. Jim Webb’s address at The American Conservative’s “Foreign Policy in America’s Interest” conference on November 15, 2016 as printed at the Federalist Website. It is probably a transcript as it reads rather funny like a translation from another language, but I found it a hopeful respite from the current spate of politically-based ill feeling that is currently drowning everyone in the MSM.

  68. Fred says:

    USA Today headline “A Crash Course in Racial Disparities”
    What conduct causes police to engage in high speed pursuit of suspected criminals chase black people so much. Of course the first cases cited were innocent people killed by criminal suspects in Flint fleeing the police and striking innocent peoples’ cars. (I wonder how on Earth that city got selected to be studied. Must be the 75+ years of continuous representation by Democrats) Que up the BLM outrage.

  69. Fred says:

    EMP attack with what and by whom? I wonder how much the those who successfully defended our infrastructure from Y2K will make on that one.

  70. LeaNder says:

    Fred: What about an earlier neutral actor on matters of war and peace. Switzerland?
    I am not up to date with matters in Sweden, but what about Switzerland?
    Hmmm? OK, I see:
    NATO’s ‘neutral’ European partners: valuable contributors or free riders?

  71. LeaNder says:

    Fred, I told you before that you seem to be pretty obsessed with this story. Or is it “Rolling Stone”? Why not simply move on?
    By the way I love the final line by Pundita:
    I use a college fraternity for the patrol; I pay them in beer kegs.

  72. J says:

    Ret. Gen Mad Dog has one impediment in his way for his appointment as OSD, 10 US Code Section 113, the 7 year relief from active duty clause. Congress will have to do a waiver for his OSD appointment.

  73. Degringolade says:

    Colonel et al:
    I wrote this over at my place. (
    Thought that it might be interesting to throw this out here.
    I realize that making predictions opens one up to questions about one’s omniscience, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Being old now, when I look back over my life and review the opinions and thoughts therein, omniscience is the last thing that I would use to describe my years here on the Earth.
    So, I am proposing that folks sit down with their crystal balls and yarrow stalks, cut open the critter du jour and examine it’s entrails, or go outside and consult the moon. Give me four (4) predictions. That’s all.
    Now, the rules.
    I think that the predictions have to have a certain amount of specificity. I am certain that some of my fellow Americans (MFA) would love to posit “Donald Trump will be Yuugge!” as a prediction (there will be an approximately equal number of MFA’s who will predict the Donald as being the worst president ever. Again, not a prediction).
    Nope, the prediction will need to have a certain level of specificity. Now, you can write what you wish, and it will go up in the comments. In an ideal world, the four predictions will have in internal logic that allows one to get a glimpse into the strategic thinking of the author.
    SO…Here goes:
    (1) Saudi Arabia goes through it’s own “Arab Spring” problems. The loss of oil revenues and the “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” nature of oil price coupled the on again/off again nature of the shale oil in the US and the complete inability of OPEC to hew to any agreement will make for increasing unrest in the Kingdom. I don’t think that the royal family will go down, but I think that it will have a lot more on its mind at the end of the year than it has at the beginning.
    (2) The Dow will reach 20,000. But it won’t hold it. While I voted for Trump, I don’t think that he is the savior and I do think that he, like Herbert Hoover, will be holding the bag at the end of the process. I am taking a wild stab at a number here, but I think that a Dow of 16,000 will be in the offing this year.
    (3) Syria will settle down, but Iraq will heat up. I would guess that Russia, Turkey, and Syria will work out an arrangement and the Takfirs, Unicorns, Jihadis and such will vanish out of Syria and start stirring the shit in Iraq. Iran will move more to the foreground and try to stabilize the area with the tacit approval and logistical support from Russia and China. Saudi will be distracted by it’s own problems and Israel will fume, but both will realize that their reach does not exceed their grasp.
    (4) Little Donnie will be under investigation by the end of 2017. Kenneth Starr on steroids. Look, the powers that be just don’t like him. They will make the attempt to cripple him. I don’t think that it will go the impeachment route, just an ongoing distraction keeping his eye off the ball. Can’t have a non-member of the Potomac Country Club thinking they can use the front door. Little Donnie is a servant-entrance-only kind of guy.
    Now, I am quite aware of my limitations. If any of these turn out the way I call them, I will don my robes and announce my new profession of professional Jeremiah.
    Please, have at it.

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