Open Thread – 6 May 2016



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44 Responses to Open Thread – 6 May 2016

  1. SD says:

    General Michael Jackson at Skopje telling the perfumed Prince Wesley Clark, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you.”
    Why are all the Breedlove’s and Scaparotti’s so ready to take a shot at the Russians?
    Barrel rolls over recon planes, flyby’s of ships in the Baltic, ‘provocative’ and unprofessional behavior, an the draft dodging Trump thinking that ‘at some point you have to shoot’
    I really don’t understand the rush to get a war started, especially with the sad state of NATO forces.

  2. robt willmann says:

    The impressive photograph … Canis lupus? Maybe not; the head is broad and the snout is not elongated.

  3. Tyler says:

    AZ weather needs to make up it’s mind. 100 degrees yesterday and today it’s 72.

  4. walter says:

    Tyler, can I ask u some questions about the Dexters? Can u pls email me at if u have some time.

  5. bth says:

    Open Thread – 6 May instead of April.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:
  7. Matthew says:

    The white-washing begins. See
    Is this “Plan B”?

  8. Barish says:

    If that article is genuine at all, I hope that Othman character takes his wive’s advice and stops.

  9. Fred says:

    So the Palmyra concert went off without a hitch.
    I wonder if Obama will counter with a concert by Pussy Riot?

  10. Fred says:

    I think they are sending in the plan FB (Facebook) since that’s where I found this one:

  11. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to LeaNder,
    I didn’t get to Berlin but a few years back. I am very curious about Berlin in the 80’s. Several times you have mentioned things which make me think you might have lived there and observed the city, possibly, even the Kreuzberg, during the time when it now seems that “Berlin in the Eighties” was becoming the new “Paris in the Twenties.”
    For example, I note that (David) Bowie now appears to have been trasmogrified into a Hemingway/Gertrude Stein “figure.” I am not particularly into music, and I was surprised to find that Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy” might be a work of art comparable to say The Sun Also Rises , something that epitomizes the spirit of the times and all that, there and then. Also, apparently, where Bowie lived in Kreuzberg has become a kind of shrine, comparable, say, to Morrison’s grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. And indeed, when one finally begins to focus on their work, such as Bowie’s “Heroes”, you can see why. That concert at the Zoo Station is said to be what brought down the Wall!?
    People, and some movies, have caught my attention. Do you know of, or possibly knew, people who might even have known something about, say, Uschi Obermaier, Dieter Bockhorn, Kommune 1, the film “Das Wilde Leben”, or Christiane F. “Wir Kinde vom Bahnhof Zoo.” I admit that this may seem or sound just a bit quaint, since these are all datedly famous and I suppose a bit passe. I am particularly interested in the Bahnhof Zoo station scene.
    But specifically: Did you ever hear of a ‘squat’–a commune that was in a train station, possibly not U Bahn, possibly S Bahn, which may have been called “Ku Kuks”, or something that sounds like that; this place was not all that far from the Wall or the Tiergarten? I have looked up the meaning of KU KUKs in German and wonder if that rings a bell as to some off- beat meaning. Also: did you ever hear the term “one of us” used widely among the “Alternativ” in Berlin? “Unser mit uns”? A politician’s slogan in the 80’s?
    Just asking.
    By the way, thank you and Babak for your response to my question about the anger of American women. I happen to think something big is going to happen in the US this election. Long story, but I was ‘chewed out’, as they say, by a soccer mom, in one of the fancy supermarkets here in the Ville, when the cashier asked me how my day had gone, and the conversation swerved off into a political discussion. The soccer mom next to me in line with her daughter was rather rough with the child trying to get at me to make her point clear, which was already not only clear but UXB. I had spoken with some equanimity about Trump, by the way. Frankly, I see a news story. This was in a way funny; but I have been thinking about it since…
    Fortunately I was able to baffle her for critical moments by raising both hands palms up, as in equipoise, then lowering one, slightly, and raising the other one, then frowning at each one, then murmuring in a scholarly way “Yes, yes, I do understand, mumble, there seems to be a, uh , how should I describe my sense of it, dare I say, an angst abroad in the land, mumble, seemingly one might think a profound mumble need for AH change, yes CHANGE, the rights of so many now disadvantaged mumble mumble… So surely you see!!!?”
    She indicated she didn’t see. It was clear she had reached major scene-making launch velocity. Anger issues, they call this nowadays?
    Fortunately, just then there came the moment when the little card machine whatsamajigger said the cashier’s attention was needed, so I was able to turn and say:”You need to push that button, man!”
    The last thing he called at me, a humorous reminder of his earlier opinion, in response to my little wave from a safe distance and a pleasant “Nice to chat” goodbye, was (appallingly loud) “Hillary is a LIAR!!”
    The good thing about all this is that anything could happen in that posh-market and noone would pay any attention at all.
    By the way, I know your fair city, and I think it is one of the bestest in the whole wide world. I was at a christening party for the grandchild of my friend the Cossack and was searching about for something to say to the much younger guests of her daughter. Turns out one of the guests was from the hospital here and was talking about a very dear friend who was a medical professional from your city who had studied here. I mentioned that a comparison could be made with C-Ville–low mountains, university, etc., and this led to a spririted conversation…

  12. Kooshy says:

    Fred- IMO the R+6 have figured out the Syrian situation and her enmies plans so well, that on fly the can accept the end to hostilities, or restart the hostilities without any effect in their overall goals, which is, to get raid of the takfiries and keep the western hegemonic designs off of, what Babak calls, overall control of the Syria. So, one day, easily they accept session of hostilities, and as easy they continue going after the western unicorns whom they call the terrorist, without any change or interruption to their overall goals/ plans.

  13. SmoothieX12,
    I don’t know whether this is just more grifter bluster by the gifted conman or an indication that he would actually be willing to pull the trigger if his manhood is challenged. I hope it’s the former.
    I would think that most in the military would give their potential adversary an angry finger while also giving a slight smile of admiration in these situations. Like you said, it’s what we do. Years ago, my SF team was training with the Austrian Army Mountain Guide School. We wore Austrian uniforms and used Austrian equipment. One day we saw another team similarly dressed and equipped on the next ridge over. Our instructor told us they were a Russian Spetsnaz team. I waved a ski pole and received a wave back from the Russians. The neutral Austrians made sure we never met. I doubt we would have come to blows if we did meet.

  14. greg0 says:

    Same thing in Oregon. Seasonal 60s with showers and then record high temps for a few days. Probably another year of uncomfortable records.

  15. BraveNewWorld says:

    US military admits troops are operating inside Yemen to combat al-Qaida
    Lets just say I am some what sceptical that it is AQ they are fighting. Feels more like young prince dip sh__ started a dumb war, KSA and friends have been getting it handed to them and now the US has to bail them out.

  16. Eadwacer says:

    Here’s a topic for discussion. A group at the War College suggests turning COIN operations over to the Guard:

  17. The heavy set man next to Trump on MSM news photos and events is Dr. Samuel Clovis, PhD, retired USAF Colonel and defeated candidate for Congress in 2014 in Iowa.

  18. rjj says:

    token burly guy.

  19. LeaNder says:

    thanks, Babak, highly interesting.
    Ok, lapse, followed by babbling. I’ll shut up again after.
    I wondered about the accent of the last questioner. But was also highly pleased about her answer, not least how she put Russia into the larger context of her talk.
    As nitwit in politics, both (question and answer) triggered more vaguely admittedly my puzzlement about why “the West”–I suppose that’s the way it is spoken about now–pretty arbitrarily, it felt at the time, decided that Milošević could never be a partner in talks. It seemed to somewhat be an exception to the more general rule at the time.
    Assad? Same reigning rule? Is he going to die in a cell too at some point in the future?

  20. Barish says:

    For whom it may be of interest: following the Russian orchestra’s display in Palmyra a couple days ago, a Syrian concert was held last night under the title bawaba ash-shams, “Gate of the Sun”. Full recording found here:
    English translation of introductions to the orchestras and choirs included.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The message of that concert is clear; it weaves a thread of continuity visually and musically from the Civitas of Antiquity and its urbane culture to contemporary world of Syria and Russia.
    That is: R+6 are on the side of civilization and culture with its ancient roots in the Near East while their enemies and adversaries are just Barbarians.

  22. Max H says:

    John Kerry Tells College Grads To Prepare For A ‘Borderless World’
    “Secretary of State John Kerry took a shot at Donald Trump during his Friday commencement speech at Northeastern University, by saying no wall is big enough to keep dangerous terrorists out of the United States.”
    Related to this:
    More Americans view themselves more as global citizens than citizen of their own country. And the majority of Americans wants to accept refugees and Syrian refugees. And a super-majority wants immigration from other countries.
    NB: my views are in line with Teump on these issues.

  23. LeaNder says:

    “the cashier asked me how my day had gone …”
    I was pretty bad while in the US at giving the expected response to whatever variant of “how are you”. 😉 But I appreciated the friendly service admittedly. It got a lot better over here too, by now.
    I have been pondering how a close study of one specific angle of the US Zeitgeist is relating to what we see now too, vaguely alluding to your larger context here.
    Concerning Berlin: Yes, I lived in Kreuzberg, but a lot earlier. You must be alluding to the SPONTI scene (the less orthodox descendants, the unorganized left, symbolic by their Tunix congresses), surfacing in the alternative scene about a century later.
    In my times I admittedly hated both Berlin winters, wet cold is worse then dry cold, and the domination of the university by the respective political groups and ideologies post APO split up:
    They dominated every every class with their respective cadres and ringleaders. … Except maybe for the more ivory tower scientists that had survived De-Nazification.
    I asked someone more familiar with Berlin, who surely has a much more profound knowledge of the Berlin’s “Szene”, or alternative scene, then me. While, what you write triggers certain reminiscences, nothing really fits. ‘Communes’ really were only the more spectacular propaganda “face” of a more general trend of sharing a flat. Made sense, made living more cheap.
    In any case, the more specific question you ask triggers rather vague memories of the specific Berlin “Szene” insider, there may have been something like that concerning an S-Bahn station. But he lived in Charlottenburg*. The S-Bahn was owned by East Germany, as I seem to recall. Some apparently did not use it for that reason, that is something I remember. Felt pretty silly then, especially if there wasn’t a better connection available. It was mostly pretty empty.
    * Ironically enough, your “Ku Kuks” triggers memories of my ‘local boozer’ in Kreuzberg, but the name was different, although vaguely similar. Not a bird Kuckuk=cuckoo, but a biblical prophet.
    Berlin Westend may have been occupied by squatters at one point in time. Checking the insider’s pretty vague memories.

  24. LeaNder says:

    You got that?
    “about a century later.”
    odd mistake. A decade later. I lived there in the early 70s, the first Tunix (do nothing, “Tue nichts” I somewhat assume really, simply enjoy yourself?) was I think in 1981.

  25. Bobo says:

    Regarding the NYT article & picture of the young ladies who will be graduating in a few months I can only ask the West Point leadership to give these successful individuals a break and let them graduate and move onto their individual careers. The contrast with the prior group of graduates holding sport balls was excellent. It shows the solidarity of potential graduates leaving behind a memento of their time at the school, one that all may not appreciate, but one that will be remembered for years to come. Oh, for those that may have concerns rest at ease as these individuals will be monitored for life by their previous graduates.

  26. SmoothieX12 says:

    “I don’t know whether this is just more grifter bluster by the gifted conman or an indication that he would actually be willing to pull the trigger if his manhood is challenged. I hope it’s the former.”
    Difficult to say at this stage, but fact remains, The Donald does think about the world in somewhat simplified manner. General Ivashov who is not a big fan of USA, to put it mildly, recently revealed that during contacts between Russian and US militaries in former Yugoslavia both sides usually had no problems finding common language. But he noted, it was after the input from State Department or CIA people that previously settled issue would rise again and sometimes became unsolvable. I do not want to idealize or overplay this military-to-military format but I would rather have professionals dealing with each-other than some “policy making” ego-maniacs who have no clue about military realities “on the ground”. Life proved to me the correctness of such a view not for once.

  27. Haralambos says:

    This piece is up today on the NYTimes site today: It reports on a photo of female cadets at West Point and has generated a great deal of controversy over their raised clenched fists. One defender of the women, a female graduate, has interpreted it as follows: “’These ladies weren’t raising their fist to say Black Panthers. They were raising it to say Beyoncé,’ said Mary Tobin, a 2003 graduate of West Point and an Iraq veteran who is a mentor to some of the seniors and has talked with them about the photograph.”
    I am aware of current policy in such matters, but I would appreciate opinions and interpretations by others here.

  28. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re: “John Kerry Tells College Grads To Prepare For A ‘Borderless World’”
    How’s that working out over there across the pond?

  29. hans says:

    Recommended reading if you would understand the Trump phenomenon better.
    Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War by Joe Bageant.
    Joe does a good job explaining this part of the electorate, comprised essentially of those whites with an income under $40k with both working, usually without a college degree, though not always. A similar class exists among blacks and Latinos. Altogether their numbers are in the 50-60 million range and growing.
    Trump’s appeal is limited pretty much to the whites because of his penchant of making unnecessary enemies but he could change that, given the forgetfulness of our people (Vidal called us the United States of Amnesia for good reason).
    You can get used copies for a couple of dollars on Amazon or … Worth your money and your time.
    Here’s a too short review

  30. Fred says:

    Max H,
    Kerry’s boss is busy running down the Republic on his foreign “pilgrimage to Canossa” (to paraphrase a comment by our host). This comment by Kerry at Northeastern is the ‘new’ speak soundbite masquerading as wisdom. Northeastern is one of the many universities that are attempting to eradicate the cultural past of the Republic so as to shape it’s future. To quote Dr. Helm’s insight:
    The left knows the real history of the Republic. We’ll know too, once they get done re-wrting it.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think many people in Iran, when they look at Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, are quite happy that there are borders in the world.
    I wonder if Kerry would say this if he had ever visited Tijuana….

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Persian proverb: “The illiterate is blind.” ought to be replaces with:
    “There is no substitute for ignorance.”

  33. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to LeaNder,
    Thank you very much for your obervations about Berlin. I was amused to realize that “Kuckuk” was surely the name. After all, the cuckoo lays its eggs in another bird’s nest! Which is exactly what a “squat” is. And there was a famous movie named that about a big sister desperately taking care of her younger siblings. So the idea of “Children of the Zoo Station” was already out there in the ether when it came along later… Of course, THEY came along later, as it happened, many of them from the east.
    I heard that the famous “Berliin lufte” was not improved by the brown coal of a very poor quality that was used by East Germany in power plants, and homes as well, in those years. Like the bitter stench of (fuel saving) retarded spark plugs of Black Cab diesel engines in London back in the seventies. I was once up on Cape Breton and noticed a kind of cloud that seemed unfamiliar. This was a very small white cloud puff; these very small clouds filled the entire sky in the millions, sweeping overhead from low on the horizon. I saw the same thing in Berlin. Perhaps they are called altocumulus of some sort. That cold wet or wet cold you are talking about. It was December by the Pergamon and the canal. Landwehr? I was thinking: “Aha, the sea! Berlin is not actually all that far from the sea!”
    And the Quadriga faces East!
    Yes, I could see how you might prefer the region you have mentioned you grew up in. I was surprised to see berets worn in your fair city.
    Thanks again for your response. It is very interesting to me.

  34. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Tidewater,
    OK. Let’s keep trying to get it right: “Berliner Luft.”
    Heh. “Du hast keine chance, darum nutze sie.” As the SPONTI were fond of saying: “You don’t have a chance, make the most of it.”

  35. Investigator says:

    Really? You believe this fabricated story for the purpose of trying to bash Trump? Oy. What’s scarier than the uneducated and illiterate are the educated and literate who will readily believe something– which is conspicuously bogus– in order to accept some narrative. I.e., seeing what you believe is worse than not believing what you see. The former used to be called mental illness. Now it is simply labeled as progressivism (liberalism).

  36. Imagine says:

    Trump was a juvenile delinquent as a youngster, so got sent to New York Military Academy for his high-school years. He learned to look good in a Napoleonic uniform with lots of medals, brass, and a shiny sword. He was real good, getting promoted to Captain, but some allege he overlooked hazing going on in his ranks. The military academy was run by drill sergeants who practiced “being cruel to be kind”.
    IMO Trump has major problems with respect. Everything has to be gold-plated. Over decades, he has habitually sued and attacked anyone who dared to cross him. He never forgives, and never forgets. He sues to be vindictive, not to redress economic injustices. IMO.
    Also, as a junior military academy graduate, he thinks he understands the armed forces.
    In military academy, you learn pecking order. The drill sergeants abuse you; you abuse people who disrespect you, while secretly despising the townies. Trump has projected consistently that other countries disrespect America, for the reason that America’s military is not strong enough and does not threaten them sufficiently.
    This is the world view of a junior military academy graduate.
    The first time a country dares to disagree with him, it’s likely he will attempt to cut them off at the knees. This will not end well.

  37. C Webb says:

    Following Obamas visit…
    The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover

  38. turcopolier says:

    Your comment is very condemnatory and contemptuous of military high schools. You imply that such places are institutions created to warehouse “juvenile delinquents.” I am curious to know if you have actual experience of such a school or if not what your disdain is based upon. I am a product of a poor quality catholic parochial high school in rural Maine where I didn’t learn much at all. Fortunately the local Anglo mill barons had funded various institutions of public good including an excellent library. I went from there to VMI where there were very few cadets who had been to military high schools. There were certainly no “drill sergeants” at VMI. I was later a professor at USMA for several years. There were no “drill sergeants” there either. Actually at neither of those military colleges, were more than a few enlisted soldiers in contact with cadets and it would have been inconceivable for one to have attempted to discipline a cadet. It would simply not have been allowed. Perhaps the military high school experience was different. pl

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, really.
    And then there was the poor chap that was denounced to the cabin crew because he was reading a book in Arabic.
    Turned out that the bloke was a Thai reading a book in Thai script; but not before the plane had turned and he had been interrogated by TSA.
    For such reasons, I only carry English language reading materials when I travel.
    I was not making a comment in connection to Trump. Just that there are a lot of ignorant, ill-informed, feeble-minded people on this planet and the frightening about them is that they can vote and do vote.

  40. BraveNewWorld says:

    Former U.S. Diplomats Decry the U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen
    You would think that this crew would understand the situation better than most. When this group says this war isn’t the US’s interest or the Saudis fo that matter, you would think people would listen.

  41. Barish says:

    A while back, there was a post on Yemen on the blog. One point that probably isn’t all wrong, namely the prominence of totally-not-Qaida-type militants there is confounded in this piece here:
    One of those outfits’ names is dropped, as well as how they are received by locals:
    “Residents worry that the growing Salafi movement is laying the groundwork for even more conflict among religious groups. According to several local residents, Homat al-Aqida fighters, the largest of five Salafi factions in Taiz, resemble al Qaeda-linked groups.
    Some residents “see the Salafis as synonymous to al Qaeda,” said Mohammed al-Azaazi, a Taiz university student. “The Salafis have detained several people and carried out public executions, while claiming they apply the Islamic Sharia.””
    And some of the BS those fellows appear to spew is related:
    “While the Salafi factions in Taiz deny they have links to al Qaeda, their fighters spearheaded the attack on the central prison last year, which led to dozens of prisoners escaping, including al Qaeda members.
    The Salafi fighters’ presence is still relatively new in Taiz, but is rapidly transforming the city, according to Baleegh al-Zuraiqi, 34, a local resident in downtown Taiz. The Salafis have been based in four neighborhoods since the fighting started, al-Zuraiqi said, “including Bab Mosa, where they have established an Islamic court to solve issues and cases among the local people.”
    According to local sources, the Salafis now account for nearly half of the anti-Houthi alliance in Taiz, which consists of thousands of fighters. One member of a Salafi faction in Taiz, who asked to remain anonymous, said his group acquired some weapons from the Saudi-led coalition, but insists they “will return the arms after the war is over in Taiz.”
    The member said his faction, which consists of more than 500 recruits, will continue to fight the Houthis until they’re driven out of Taiz. “Then,” he said, “our war will end.”
    Yet residents of the city worry that the growing religious factions have permanently altered the city.
    “Taiz is no longer ‘the city of dreams,’” said Abdurraqib al-Majeedi, a local poet and writer who left the city for Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, escaping the fierce fighting and the crippling siege. “It has become a city of war — a hub for extremist fighters and militias.””
    Sanaa still was under Houthi control, no? it is telling that the man would leave for those parts rather than somewhere else.

  42. different clue says:

    No, he isn’t. Even if the R+6 cannot restore SAR sovereignty to the whole of Syria so totally and comprehensively that Assad remains physically safe and free within the borders of Syria, they will make sure he is well protected and safe in some other country, perhaps Russia itself. The Global Axis of R2P won’t be able to kidnap Assad from within Russia. And it would demonstrate that Russia does not discard a personal partner even if it cannot quite preserve his power-position.
    So, no. No Rendezvous with the Hague for President al-Assad.

  43. euclidcreek says:

    This is why we fight: Man to be charged with hate crime over pug…unbelievable

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