Open Thread – 7 August 2017



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44 Responses to Open Thread – 7 August 2017

  1. Bandolero says:

    Press TV and others have just put a message out, that the US bombed a PMU unit near Akashat in western Iraq, killing many of them. Quote:
    US forces attack Popular Mobilization Units base, kill 30: Report
    Quote end. Source:
    From what I understand the group the US just bombed, Kataib Sayed al-Shuhada, is especially close to the Badr organisation and the Iraqi government.
    A statement from the US regarding this incident I haven’t seen, yet, but I think this doesn’t bode well for the standing of the US in Iraq.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    There’s an informative piece up at War On The Rocks by Burak Kandercan of the US Naval War College about Turkey, specifically about how Erdogan & Co. have mis-played their strategic hand for most of the past five years, especially with regard to the YPG. The following two paragraphs near the end of the essay make a pretty good summary:

    So, what should we expect from Turkey today? Expect Turkey to act as a risk-accepting brinkman, with a lot at stake vis-à-vis the rise of the YPG. To be precise, the challenges posed by the YPG are independent of Erdogan. In a parallel universe where Erdogan magically loses elections tomorrow, and is replaced by the country’s old secular guard, Turkey’s threat perception as of July 2017 would not change a bit. Some might even argue that Erdogan, as of 2017, is acting almost exactly like Turkey’s old secular guard would act if facing the same challenges, but with a twist. The old secular elites would most likely have never had Turkey facing such impossible odds and, good or bad, would have remained painstakingly aloof with regards to the Syrian crisis, even if that meant denying millions of refugees access to Turkish territory.
    In this context, Turkey is like the protagonist in a horror movie who, due to some plot device, embarks on a strategic sleepwalk somewhere around 2011. Only to “wake up” and find itself in the last third of the movie around 2016, panicked, yet finally restored of its senses and reason. If nothing else, Erdogan finally let go of his obsession to topple Assad. At least since the summer of 2016, Ankara is focusing on the real threat to Turkish national security, the rise of the YPG. The problem is Ankara discovered its geopolitical realism a little too late to achieve victory, no matter how victory is defined. Yet, it is still determined to do its best by using all all of the leverage Turkey possesses, for effective damage control.

  3. Fred says:

    Nice caption photo sir.
    Tomorrow I’m taking a day off to go catch a few Canadian lunkers. Will be needing a good Walleye recipe in the afternoon. Not sure what I’ll do with the Muskie.

  4. doug says:

    I’ve enjoyed your books of fiction. Thanks. Some time back I picked up a non-fiction book of yours, “Intelligence, the Human Factor.”
    Fascinating. I can well imagine the difficulties in selecting recruiters and maintaining the proper distance – with the required closeness – between them and their agents.
    I also enjoyed the section on interagency conflict.
    I applaud those with the loyalty, skills and grounded personalities necessary that do this difficult, but critically necessary, work. I wouldn’t have it in me.

  5. Allen Thomson says:

    Open Thread! Yea!
    OK, what do the readers think would be a reasonable yearly military budget for the US? Currently it’s about $600 billion a year without other stuff that could arguably be included for some more tens of billions. Does it need more, less, about the same, and why?
    Related, what are the core military capabilities the US really, really needs? I’d say strategic nuclear deterrence (maybe not including land-based ICBMs), border (MX, CA) and coast protection and high-quality global intelligence. Plus sea control, the definition of which can be discussed.

  6. dilbert dogbert says:

    As part of my continuing efforts to find out why Geo. Soros is a threat to National Security, I ran across this:
    Let me know if this is BS or not.

  7. Tpcelt says:

    ‘Darkest before the *** camera crews set up’. Hmmmm, so many choices…?

  8. Greco says:

    I get the impression that the if the president has Mueller fired (I imagine such a move would also involve firing Rosenstein and a host of other DOJ officials who would otherwise resign in protest), then the president may be forcefully removed from office via a coup. The media will sell it by painting the president as having tried to prevent the investigations into his alleged crimes because he has something to desperately hide. They will claim that the coup was necessary to restore law and order against a criminal and/or treasonous president.
    President Trump may have given such a possibility thought. It may explain the more involved roles of Kelly and Mattis in Trump’s White House and why the president has more or less left himself at their mercy; however, there’s a risk that they too could be part of the plot against him.
    Now I don’t know if the president is playing fat, dumb, and happy. It’s possible he’s feeding a narrative that he is magoo to the threat and he’s a performing a very sophisticated trick to fool those who would plot a coup against him. Perhaps the plotters can be made to believe they can coax Kelly, Mattis, and McMaster to carry it out, assuming the plotters haven’t already solicited their involvement.
    It could be a very neat ploy by the president and his closest advisors, which include all or some of these generals. That said, if there is a coup, it would most likely be lead by Kelly, Mattis and McMaster. I have little doubt about that. And I don’t think this threat of a coup is remote. If Trump has Mueller fired, there’s no recourse for his enemies other than to continue crying wolf in the media.
    Trump can fire Mueller and fire back with investigations into Clinton and others, something he has already called on Sessions to do. This in my view is why they’re desperate to remove him. They’re on the line for their criminal misdeeds. I think they have made preparations for a potential coup as a sort of ace up their sleeves and that Kelly, Mattis, and/or McMaster are either on board or are pretending to be on board with this plan.

  9. PLB says:

    After TTG’s cryptic July 08 post “A response to Publius Tacitus concerning those meddlesome Russians – TTG”, I was expecting some sort of response from TTG to the most recent VIPS letter to POTUS denying that Russia hacked the DNC servers, instead pointing towards an internal “leak”. Is TTG’s silence sort of an acceptance of the VIPS position?

  10. Sam Peralta says:

    What is the opinion of SST correspondents on this analysis by Robert Gore on the Trump presidency?
    SLL has run a series of articles (“Plot Holes,” “Trump and Vault 7,” “Calling a Bluff?” “Let’s Connect the Dots,” “Powerball, Part One,” “Powerball, Part Two”) advancing interrelated hypotheses. We’ve asserted that President Trump is far smarter and the powers that be far stupider and weaker than current consensus estimates. Trump’s primary motivation is power. The nonstop vilification campaign against him has little to do with policy differences and instead reflects establishment fears that Trump will investigate, expose, and punish its criminality.

  11. walrus says:

    A Google Engineer wrote an internal memo in which he objected to Googles “Diversity” social justice warrior mush, called it counter productive and complained that minority opinions are not welcome in politically correct google world. He also stated the obvious that men and women as a group have different personality traits and aptitudes.
    The authoritarian side of the SJW management of Google just appeared: they fired him.

  12. Confusedponderer says:

    Trivial greetings Form my Brief holiday in Mecklenburg Vorpommern. I relax here by rating fidh sbdcstudying Brock gotic architecture of the old hanse area. Nice place to visit, and great old churches.

  13. Arioch The says:

    9 years ago, in the night to 08-08-08, Saakashvili’s Georgia tried to invade Osetia and destroy international peacekeeprs at the borders.
    One can read how a certain USA-living pro-Georgian propagandist was
    “changing shoes while in jump” those days at
    Reading Russian is needed though. Or use service – but it would loose half the streets-speak and allusions.

  14. turcopolier says:

    This is not Greece. The US military will not depose a president unless he/she is literally barking mad. pl

  15. LeaNder says:

    Is TTG’s silence sort of an acceptance of the VIPS position?
    As far as I am concerned, TTG wasn’t silent. The problem with the Forensicator’s analysis used by the VIPS now, I understand, is, there are way too many unknowns in his analysis. Or do you have a solid idea who Guccifer 2.0 was/is and how his copy is related to e.g. the Wikipedia copy? And/or how close or far ‘copywise’ those two were to the original hack or inside job????
    It matters a lot what type of data you are studying. Is there a forensic image of the whole DNC servers and relevant drives, ideally close in time to the presumed hack or inside copy job? Bit by bit forensic image including alternate data streams?

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    From the BBC
    The first 10 or 15 mins or so is fun, when they quote from historic porn works. You will see that the esteemed ancestors of the Europeans had nothing to learn from their contemporary progeny, going back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
    The embarrassed, politically correct, and inane comments of several of the academics are also comical in their own way. And all this before 9.00 pm.
    Fara Dabhoiwala explores the 18th-century explosion of free speech about sex, and its implications for our modern debates about pornography. The programme includes extracts from works we might still find shocking today – from the 17th century erotic text The School of Venus, to Fanny Hill — and Ancient and Modern Pederasty, a work in favour of homosexual love that was so thoroughly suppressed that its contents can now only be reconstructed through court records.
    Explore-century explosion of free speech about sex, and its implications for modern debates about pornography. The programme includes extracts from works we might still find shocking today – from the 17th century erotic text The School of Venus, to Fanny Hill — and Ancient and Modern Pederasty, a work in favour of homosexual love that was so thoroughly suppressed that its contents can now only be reconstructed through court records.
    BBC Radio 4 – The Invention of Free Speech, Series 1, Sex
    Historian Professor Fara Dabhoiwala explores the origin of free speech about sex.

  17. jld says:

    No no, no, sex is “obsolete”, HATE is the new sex (you should be ashamed of).

  18. robt willmann says:

    Yes, in some people’s minds, the word “diversity” does not include diversity of opinion, diversity of criticism, diversity of analysis, and so forth. Here is the memo/article written by James Damore, the Google computer software programmer who has been fired for his writing–
    This article, which calls Damore’s article a “screed” and contains a transcription of it, has at the bottom a reply from Google’s vice president of “Diversity, Integrity, and Governance”–
    An important sidelight to this story is the idea of free speech in the context of a private workplace or private employment. Remember that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution speaks in terms of state action, and does not confer the right of free speech directly on the individual: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;….”
    In contrast, the Texas Constitution describes the right of free speech as belonging to the individual person–
    “Article 1, Sec. 8. Freedom of Speech and Press; Libel. Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press. In prosecutions for the publication of papers, investigating the conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.”
    Notice also that the Texas constitution makes it a constitutional right to put on evidence in court about the truth of your statements. In other words, the concept of truth as a defense and as a right to publish the truth is not only based in the constitution, but also a rule of evidence is created in the constitution that allows you to put on proof of the truth in a court hearing.
    The free speech section of the Texas Constitution is better than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Other state constitutions may also have similar important differences.

  19. Larry Kart says:

    i was wondering the same thing and posted a question about it on another thread a week or so ago. Without being at all competent myself in these arcane areas, the answer I thought we’d get from TTG was along the lines of your response, that he’d already discussed in a post or two why analysis like the Forensicator’s probably was built upon sand.

  20. Jack says:

    And…Arianna Huffington is the guiding light at Uber. They’ve been looking for a female CEO to placate the media SJWs, but apparently Sheryl Sandberg and Meg Whitman declined. Now it seems that Jeff Immelt is the top candidate. It reminds me of Sculley coming in to run Apple. We know what happened there.

  21. robt willmann says:

    Some background on the Google software programmer James Damore, fired for his memorandum regarding “How bias clouds our thinking about diversity”–
    Graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with degrees in Molecular Biology, Physics, and Chemistry; PhD from Harvard in Systems Biology; Research intern at Princeton University and Harvard; Research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and then to Google.
    He has studied biology, among other things, and is certainly familiar with scientific studies, statistical methods, etc.
    In my opinion, he will start receiving job offers in about 5 minutes, or already has.

  22. jonst says:

    The point (to me, anyway) is less whether or not Forensicator’s analysis is accurate, kinda accurate, a bit, or, totally off base. Or partially off base. The point to me is…studying the variables, seeing them discussed, allows us to grasp how complicated ANY analysis would be. Even if all of the variables were dumped on the cloud for us to study at our leisure. A reasonably cautious person, with a bit common sense, given how much we DON’T have in the public domain, would be wise to not reach simplistic and hasty conclusions. i.e. like the Dems have. And some of the GOP, for that matter.

  23. SmoothieX12 says:

    Surprisingly, an excellent post you referred to. It is also applicable (in terms of comparison) to pretty much most of Western “analysis” of Russia’s military. If I remember correctly Falgenhauer still continues to pass for “military expert” on ABC.

  24. ann says:

    I have spent the past 10 days as a guest of old friends who do not have internet. Our view of American foreign policy could not be more different. I believe it was Moynihan who referenced that we can have different opinions but must use the same facts.
    At this point, we do not have the same facts which makes discussions surreal. This combined with the sucking sound inside the beltway of Washington D.C. is a serious danger to a united states.

  25. PLB,
    I’ve offered plenty of comments concerning the subject. I have seen nothing that would change my mind. I found the Forensicator’s analysis to be wanting and the VIPS letter, based on that analysis, also wanting. I thought I’d see more on that bombshell telephone monologue of Sy Hersh. That disappeared rather quickly. What happened? I don’t think we’ll get a definitive readout of the whole Russia IO for months at the earliest. I have no expertise in all the other investigations of Trump, both in DC and NY. I am, however, following them with interest.
    This week, I’m back in Halfmoon, NY working on a house without TV or internet, except when I stop by the local Lowes for supplies. It’s a welcome and refreshing break.

  26. NYShooter says:

    Regarding, “….President Trump is far smarter…” In my long Corporate career I learned one very important lesson…”Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I have met CEO’s and other high ranking executives who, if I didn’t know them, and, ran across them on the street, I would be tempted to hand them a couple of quarters for a coffee. Some wore baggy clothes, and, talked as if they were escapees from some sort of asylum. Of course, once becoming acquainted, I quickly learned they were brilliant. The Lesson:…. Idiots don’t become CEO’s. You might not like them, they may not be nice people, and, lay people like to smear them with all sorts of pejoratives, but, invariably, they are very, very smart. Trump may have inherited some millions of dollars, and, he may have stumbled and fumbled through a rocky career but, at 70+ years of age, he is a very rich guy, and traded in his private 737 for Air Force 1.
    That’s fact #1.
    Fact #2: Trump, a complete political novice, beat Hillary Clinton for the highest, most powerful, elected position on earth. She had over a Billion Dollar War Chest, years and years of experience, a huge political organization with many years of experience, the rigged DNC (and, its Chairwoman,) the entire Media, and, approx. 500+ (“pledged”) ‘Super delegates before the race even began. How could Trump, possibly, overcome those odds? Well, he learned very quickly just what kind of whores ran the Media companies, especially T.V. He slurred Megan Kelly, “blood coming out of her eyes,” and the next day every station was begging for interviews. He Slurred John McCain….more T.V. interviews, and on, and on, and on. Hundreds of millions of free advertising dollars were his. As Leslie Moonves said, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” What the ”establishment” thought was suicidal Trump knew was millions and millions of free airtime.
    Fact #3. “Trump’s a crook, a cheat, a corrupt business con man.” Yes, it’s true he’s been involved in many, many lawsuits, estimated at about 3500. However, in all his 70 years of doing this “dirty” dealing, he’s never been arrested, never been charged with a crime. In other words, he knows where “the line” is, and, has never crossed it.
    Finally, Fact #4. Now that Donald Trump is the President of the United States, “Everybody KNOWS he & Russian President, Vladimir Putin committed a crime when they colluded to win the election!” Now, I explained my reasoning (above) for why I believe Trump would never be stupid enough to cross that very bright line. And, yet, we are supposed to believe that V. Putin, a man smart enough, cagey enough, careful enough, and, ruthless enough to claw his way up the treacherous labyrinth of Soviet intelligence and security to become Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor of the KGB. (Not to mention The Presidency of Russia.)
    So, that’s how I came to know this “Russian Collusion” crap was a steaming pile of horse manure, manufactured by the media, politicians of both parties, but, especially, The Deep State.
    (I’m so sorry for the length of this reply.)

  27. HawkOfMay says:

    China and Russia voted with the rest of the UN Security Council to impose more sanctions on North Korea. Estimates of a billion dollar hit on NKs exports ( out of 2 billion ) seem to be accurate. Meanwhile we are seeing reports that NK can now miniaturize their nukes to fit on the missiles they are building. NPR mentioned an estimate that NK has 60 nuclear weapons at the moment. How many of those weapons are miniaturized?
    What next? North Korea has no problem in letting their people suffer. How far can China go in locking down a 1400 kilometer border?

  28. turcopolier says:

    Thanks. I put all I know into “Strike the Tent.” Fiction? Yes, it is fiction in the same way that the Bard’s tragi-comedies are comedy. pl

  29. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I do not know if the podcast at is the one you refer to or not, that podcast is 6+ min long.

  30. HawkOfMay says:

    Typo Correction: North Korean exports are estimated at 3 billion; not 2 billion.

  31. Razor Edge says:

    In Common Law, truth is a complete defence to a suit in defamation, always providing you can demonstrate it. The logic being that no one has a right to an unjustified good name.

  32. TonyL says:

    The iUniverse link in the top post you have is now obsolete (their website has changed the URL).
    This is the new URL:

  33. FkDahl says:

    Australian ISIS member –
    Can someone from Australia ensure the police are aware of this terrorist?

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Google executives likely feared bad press, bad publicity, and – Godforbid – government scrutiny and possible litigation and fines.

  35. dilbert dogbert says:

    The NYT has been running some 50 year anniversary stories of Vietnam. My little time in country as a RAMF.
    Some good storied there. You might take a look.

  36. Fred says:

    Where does the Constitution come down on “hostile work environment” which from the chatter on the web is prevelant at Google and directed at people like the author of the Google Manifesto?

  37. YT says:

    “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.
    The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts withintheir knowledge with the lies of the day.
    I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have knownsomething of what has been passing in the world.”
    (Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Norvell, June 14, 1807
    “I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

  38. Peter AU says:

    This had to come. The US needs the oil fields of eastern Deir Ezzor to sustain its Kurdish state in Syria.
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 A.M.) – Various US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) mercenary groups based in southern Hasakah Governorate have released a statement regarding their unity under a single operations room in preparation for an assault on the mostly ISIS-held Deir Ezzor region of Syria.
    According to the statement, the new operations room is to be called the ‘Wings of the Freedom of Deir Ezzor.’ To this end, the edict clarified that all FSA signatories have agreed to carry out operations in province against ISIS and, if need be, “regime” forces also.

  39. TheUnready says:

    For those who speak Arabic, the Arab Times youtube channel by Dr. Osama Fawzi is an amusing and accurate source of middle eastern gossip.

  40. FourthAndLong says:

    Less. Much less.

  41. Nancy K says:

    Enjoy your time away from the 24/7 news.

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