Open Thread 7 March 2017



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102 Responses to Open Thread 7 March 2017

  1. BabelFish says:

    Kuznetsov: Old Smokey is heading into the yard for three years. I had posted that my friends who worked in maritime propulsion thought she was kind of a wreck, based on the way she belched black exhaust while going through the Channel. They will replace the majority of her boilers and modernize her combat systems. In past readings, commentators reported that the Russians had lost the thread of trained pilots and has contractors flying her aircraft and also training up new aircrew.
    It will be interesting to see what kind of aircraft the evolve for this ship. With no catapult, conventional aircraft can not launch with full combat loads. Could they develop an F-35ski?

  2. BabelFish says:

    The blues are running at Jax Beach. Water temp 75 F/ 24 C. Some Pompano, Speckled Trout and medium Reds. Talked with 4 guys trying to make a living using a drag net. Rubber dinghy out past the breakers with one end, a stout hombre ar the other. Did not look like it was working too well this morning. Tough way to make ends meet but bless them for giving it a go.

  3. mike says:

    From last week: Daesh in Raqqa are putting up overhead street curtains to hide their movements in the city. Not sure how effective these would be against hyperspectral imaging. But they would block visual observation.
    It appears to be a poor man’s effort to camouflage like the Douglas Aircraft factory during WW2 by camouflage pioneer Colonel John Ohmer and his Hollywood set designers.
    Also saw reports that Daesh in Raqqa is forcing all civilian males to wear the same type clothing that the Daesh fighters wear in an attempt to confuse targeting. And perhaps to induce civilian casualties by SDF and the coalition for propaganda value. Can’t find that link now.

  4. Valissa says:

    Star clusters discovery could upset the astronomical applecart
    The discovery of young stars in old star clusters could send scientists back to the drawing board for one of the Universe’s most common objects.
    … Because star clusters are assumed to contain stars of similar age and composition researchers have used them as an “astronomical laboratory” to understand how mass affects the evolution of stars. “If this assumption turns out to be incorrect, as our findings suggest, then these important models will need to be revisited and revised,” Dr For said.
    … By cross-matching the locations of several thousand young stars with the locations of stellar clusters, the researchers found 15 stellar candidates that were much younger than other stars within the same cluster.
    “The formation of these younger stars could have been fuelled by gas entering the clusters from interstellar space,” said co-author Dr Kenji Bekki, also from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.
    “But we eliminated this possibility using observations made by radio telescopes to show that there was no correlation between interstellar hydrogen gas and the location of the clusters we were studying.
    “We believe the younger stars have actually been created out of the matter ejected from older stars as they die, which would mean we have discovered multiple generations of stars belonging to the same cluster.”
    NASA seeks information on commercial Mars payload services
    Planning a mission to Mars and have some extra payload space? NASA would like to hear from you. The agency issued a request for information (RFI) Feb. 27 seeking information on private ventures planning to send spacecraft to Mars in 2020 and beyond that would be willing to accommodate NASA instruments and other payloads on their missions. Responses are due March 28.
    NASA Wants to Launch a Giant Magnetic Field to Make Mars Habitable
    Scientists think Mars lost all of this when its protective magnetic field collapsed billions of years ago, and solar wind – high-energy particles projected from the Sun – has been stripping the Red Planet’s atmosphere away ever since.
    Now, new simulations by NASA suggest there could be a way to naturally give Mars its thick atmosphere back – and it doesn’t require nuking the Red Planet into submission, as Elon Musk once proposed.
    Instead, the space agency thinks a powerful-enough magnetic shield launched into space could serve as a replacement for Mars’s own lost magnetosphere, giving the planet a chance to naturally restore its own atmosphere.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  5. ann says:

    I am reading Andrew Bacevich’s– America’s War. Before I ask this, I did a web search and did not see any thing to discredit this person or his military career.
    I would like any feedback the forum has on him. Thanks

  6. Thirdeye says:

    According to AlMasdar, the SAA is rolling on towards the Euphrates in east Aleppo. Reports that the pumping stations, which supply water to Aleppo city, have been taken are apparently premature. South of the pumping station is the inlet to the Al Jar Canal, which runs along the line of contact north of Deir Hafer and is being used by ISIS to flood lands for a terrain obstacle. Once the SAA is solidly established on the bank of the Euphrates, the ISIS position around Deir Hafer is extremely precarious.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Colonel (Ret) Dr. Andrew Bacevich is as far I can tell one of nature’s noblemen. He lost a son in Iraq and he, so far as I can tell is without fear. pl

  8. Haralambos says:

    Since there seems so much ‘madness’ about recently, I thought this piece by Robert Parry might add some gravity to the ‘discussions,’ if they are worthy of the name:
    He notes in regard to the investigations that various folks are calling for based on accusations and doubts: ‘that is not how investigations are supposed to work. You’re supposed to have evidence of wrongdoing and then examine it in the investigative phase to see if the evidence withstands scrutiny. What Friedman is suggesting is more like a “fishing expedition” or a “witch hunt.”’

  9. jonst says:

    I do not know the man personally. But a person I trust knows him, slightly, from their days at BU…and he backs up the Col’s opinion below.
    I’ve read most of his books. Saw him lecture once. I wish to god we had more of his type. That is my judgment. And he seems to be both a noble man, and a shrewd one. Rare.

  10. jonst says:

    Well, the fat’s in the fire now..with the wikileaks dump. So much material to read. How does one wrap their arms around it?

  11. As my memory grows rusty post a correction. Criminal referrals within the federal Executive Branch are ultimately the subject of 28 U.S.C. 585 and those in federal departments and agencies are required to refer alleged criminal matters to their Inspector General. Within the Executive Offices of the President not sure who has the authority.
    But after listening to today’s press briefing it appears that the Congressional Intelligence Committees have now been selected as the organizations (not DoJ) to which the President (presumably after briefing) has now decided to refer his felony allegation of former President Obama, and wondering how those Committees will proceed. I know of no other felony allegations by any other President of A FORMER PRESIDENT. ARE THERE OTHERS?

  12. Fred says:

    Good luck with the reds. Watch the weak jaw on the trout. All good eating though the blues are best smoked.

  13. LondonBob says:
    Interview with retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely and Michael Maloof on Trump’s foreign policy, with a particular focus on US-Russian relations. The comments about the internal workings of the Trump team are interesting.

  14. fanto says:

    It was amazing to see Anderson Cooper saying “Putin is a killer” when he interviewed Ms. LePen – on CBS “60 Minutes” – he repeated verbatim what O’Reilly famously asked President Trump a few weeks ago. How is that possible that these two, Cooper and O’Reilly, would have the same idea implanted in their minds?

  15. turcopolier says:

    Vallely and Maloof are hard core neocons. Vallely is one of the originators of the doctrine of “Mind War.”

  16. mike says:

    I used to help pull a net for my 80-year-old neighbor back in the mid 70s in coastal NC. He went mainly for speckled trout, but we would get nothing but blues when they started to run. But that was not in the surf. We took the easy way in quiet bays and inlets of the ICW. That was hard work. I cannot imagine doing it in heavy breakers.
    Do you have any good recipes for blues. My neighbor would not eat them and gave them away. I tried broiling one but it caught on fire. My SWMBO has never let me near the oven ever since.

  17. MRW says:

    If you want better analysis of US-Russian relations, listen to Stephen Cohen on WABC-AM Radio every Tuesday night at 10 PM EST. It’s online. It’s the John Batchelor Show.
    Here is the home link:
    I find navigating the homepage confusing.
    But you can go to and search the archives. That page has a glitchy thing that requires you to scroll to the bottom to load the next page of archive entries.
    They are well worth the time, and the advantage of listening to the archived version is that the ads are removed.

  18. MRW says:

    I don’t think I can take Mika Brzezinski’s pearl-clutching mewling about her fear about Trump and the danger to the empire another day. Christ, she’s a hyperbolic school marm.
    Scarborough is a close second. They spend three hours with their fingers in their mouths and their eyeballs in adolescent fear engaging in palace intrigue and gossip. They don’t read. They seem incapable of discussing the long-term consequences of policy–the consequences, not the results–and show no interest in it. The other daily bumps on a log that sit there aren’t much better.

  19. trinlae says:

    Re WL dump, in showing the details of tech methodology use gone wild (the how), isn’t there a subtle implication that it goes without saying that the contents of the tech methods (the what) are trivially exposable if not already in hand?
    In choosing the timing of the he said-she said divisions in presidential administration succession factions, each purporting to have greater dirt on opponents than the other, the new Snowden II perhaps checkmates them both, while alerting would-be secret holders to the likelihood that their imagined secrets are already compromised in principle.
    As for the tech details re PCs, i am not surprised at these revelations at all, being one to normally keep windows update set to off and firewall (Comodo) set by default to blocking all writes out. Once you set these blocks on the firewall, the log function tracks the attempted writes out, and then throwing these IP addresses into IP lookup searches, invariably one sees that they are trying to send info from one’s hard drive to Redlands, WA microsoft hq. It is a bot that runs 24/7. Ditto for the ms office post 2003-7 that monitors and tracks use. I only use MS office on pc that is installable offline from cd, and never upgraded to win10 either. I am not in any secure line of work and just take these measures as personal ethical preference. But if I did have security requirements I would go back to win xp. Most work on text or number files doesnt need much computing power – the old 386 machines are fine. Then use a modern machine for internet work, pics and video etc. On a pc, control-alt-del will load task manager, and all unnecessary or stealth updates can be turned off, and disabled permanently via windows services (right click from task mgr): Google/chrome, Adobe, flash player, printer updates, are all kept off or disabled on my pc. My machines only update when I choose. Platonic social use is via the ipad, basically open although private browsing and vpn are kept on just to make others work harder-there is no faith concept of confidentiality presumed.
    I noticed the We are Change YT channel report today which has an anti divide-and-conquer/left-right position (ostensibly), and showed various media outlet reports that drew attention to Trump’s apparent Borg capture by Cheney-esque factions (much as respected Colonel has been lamenting the prospect over the past weeks):

  20. Sam Peralta says:

    A solid interview by Marine Le Pen with Anderson Cooper.
    Transcript of the interview:
    I now understand why the the EU & French Borg are going all out to knock her out of the election.
    An excerpt from the interview:
    She calls for a radical shift in the country’s foreign policy, vowing to renegotiate its membership in the European Union, or else leave altogether. A move that could result in the breakup of the EU. And just like President Trump, she’s questioned the role of NATO, and advocates closer ties with Russia.
    Anderson Cooper: What is your admiration for Russia, for Vladimir Putin?
    Marine Le Pen (translation): Look. I’m not a fan in a rock concert, you see. I am a political leader in a great nation of the world. What interests me are France’s interests.
    Anderson Cooper: You don’t believe Russia’s a threat for Europe?
    Marine Le Pen (translation): I don’t believe that at all. I think that’s a big scam.
    Anderson Cooper: Invasion in Ukraine–
    Anderson Cooper: Invasion of Crimea?
    Marine Le Pen (translation): I’ll tell you what the danger is for Europe. It’s carrying out a cold war against Russia and pushing Russia into China’s arms. That’s the threat to Europe.
    Anderson Cooper: You don’t think Vladimir Putin, though, is a killer, is a– is a– a threat to France, to others in this region?
    Marine Le Pen (translation): No, I don’t believe it is so. Nothing Vladimir Putin has done would make me reach that conclusion.

  21. LondonBob says:

    Interesting because I must admit I have never heard of either before, Maloof I probably have seen on RT before, and reading that I would have guessed neither were. Perhaps another sign that adopting a neocon outlook has been a matter of careerist necessity than deep ideological commitment for many outside the nucleus of that peculiar sect.

  22. trinlae says:

    The below narration from the poet and national malaise chronicler Linh Dinh includes an extensively detailed narrative recollection by the subject “Rudy the Math Prof” re his long years in the middle east in what sounds like the 1980s or pre Iran-Iraq war era. Being “food for thought” it might be interesting reading for SST. It has few comments but those there are also telling.

  23. trinlae says:

    This DIY recent broadcast on Fukushima has an interesting report at 1m7s on the rarely discussed factor of the burning earth under the reactors.
    The reporter is also interesting for his fully disclosed connection to Assyrian aid work.

  24. BillWade says:

    Fred, Blues, I’d prefer it steamed, but for my cat if I had a cat, lol.

  25. turcopolier says:

    If you thought they are not neocons you are mistaken. Vallely was a leading advocate for war with Iraq on Foxnews. Maalouf was well known to me by reputation for the high opinion of him that was held by neocon co-workers of mine in DIA. pl

  26. BabelFish says:

    Smoked Blue Fish dip is as good as it gets.

  27. BabelFish says:

    Mike, when smoked they make superb fish dip. Only way I know to eat them.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, Mars can never been made fit for continuous human habitation.
    Easier to try to make the Death valley into a livable place.

  29. FkDahl says:

    You understand that through your unusual behavior you run the risk of getting flagged and setup for surveillance by other means? Same thing with taking battery out of cell phone (good luck on an iPhone) , distinct and suspicious behavior that network behavioral analysis will flag.
    I understand why the Kremlin ordered mechanical typewriters!

  30. Booby says:

    Booby for Mike:
    Bluefish are great eating if cooked very fresh – the same day that they’re caught. You can take advantage of the oiliness when grilling them. An eastern NC technique is to leave the scales on the fish & spit the fish from the top (dorsal) toward the belly. Do not cut through the belly side: but leave the 2 halves attached. Gut & rinse. Lay the fish on the grill scales down, sprinkle with Old Bay & let the fish cook in its own oil. When done put the whole fish on a plate & eat the fish out of its skin.
    Babel Fish is spot on with smoked bluefish – delicious.

  31. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    fanto, they’re both owned by the Borg.

  32. trinlae says:

    Yes, but it just puts me in the same pen with other tech or science literate people. Also, from my end, I don’t know what particular party is hacking the pc on any particular day. It is basically downhill from Langley or Utah or wherever they are, to private non governmental far eastern triads or Balkin mafia or whatever nefarious forces are in the ether and whatever hackfest agenda they may have. The protection tools are provided for a modest subscription fee, so i feel it more foolish not to use them, and Comodo also can send my data to their overlords anytime too. I liked the idea of the Indian company in the UK vs Macaffrey or Kapersky.
    If someone in future times and spaces looks back on our era in detail, perhaps my metadata will get counted up with that tech adopter, stealth defense lot.
    But it is true, when they want to verify the identity, they can be seen going through the local Verizon ISP IP address. In our era, data is money, and whoever wants it badly can pay for it like anyone else (or make a website and demand me to make a user account).

  33. Am I correct–8-9 exact repeat of 6-7?

  34. Serge says:

    Looks like the Iraqis have learned nothing from the Salam hospital debacle back in december, and despite the massive propaganda coming from this front over the past week it seems IS is still well alive and kicking:
    Iraqi forces launched a daring nighttime raid in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the sprawling complex of municipal buildings in western Mosul along the Tigris River. Beginning just after midnight, Iraq’s emergency response division, an elite arm of the Federal Police, led the attack.
    Maj. Gen. Ali Alami said the Nineveh governorate complex burning on the horizon behind him was liberated and fully cleared.
    He traced his troops’ advances on a tablet showing a satellite map of Mosul — boasting of their quick progress — but the markers showed that the soldiers has just pushed up the two main roads leading to the complex and hadn’t cleared the dozens of tightly packed homes on either side.
    Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah, who commands army operations in Nineveh province, praised the Federal Police as heroes and Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition hailed the advance in a statement posted to Twitter.
    But by 11:00 a.m. clashes inside the compound had intensified and commanders behind the front were getting frantic radio calls for help. Three bulldozers had broken down trying to remove roadblocks, hundreds of troops were trapped and they needed reinforcements.
    “Daesh had everything planned,” said Hamza Dauoud of the Federal Police who helped rush his injured comrades out of a battered Humvee and onto stretchers in the garden of an abandoned building.
    “All of a sudden (IS fighters) began popping up everywhere,” he said, “they emerged from nowhere.”
    “As we first advanced there was no resistance (from the Islamic State group), but once we entered, they woke up,” Daoud said, explaining he was only able to get out by ramming through a makeshift roadblock.
    By afternoon, Federal Police units were being sent from the Tayran base to try and free the hundreds of troops in and around the municipality buildings and the front line clinic was receiving casualties in waves.
    “The plan was stupid,” Dauoud, the Federal Police solider who brought two casualties to the clinic Tuesday afternoon, said. “I don’t know why we did that.”

  35. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I took and finished an EdX class, “War for the Greater Middle East” he taught in 2014. IMHO you and the Colonel called it right. An honorable man!
    Ishmael Zechariah

  36. FB Ali says:

    In addition to what you say, he is, in my opinion, among the top thinkers in the US on military and strategic issues – clear-headed, far-seeing, with deep insight, and the ability to express his views clearly and succinctly.

  37. ann says:

    This gives hope to the transgender crowd.

  38. trinlae says:

    Yes i agree and that makes it all the more interesting to hear Linux come up in WL Zero Year dump. No doubt many people run multiple OS platforms for different purposes.
    The most interesting dynamic imo of the current politics-governance era is in the power fissures between economic haves v. have nots and tech/sci literacy haves v. have nots. It’s age old but still fascinating if not governed by an increasingly unstable lack of equilibrium: crash & offshore everyone’s 401k including tech sector then feign shock to watch the backlash.

  39. confusedponderer says:

    interesting story, but perhaps fake news.
    Obviously, the real first penis transplantation was made on Trump. Given his notable obsession about gold, he chose to replace his magic balls and his rod with pieces of gold, simply because he could afford it.
    Just give that whatever enough time and he will probably golden the whitehouse.

  40. Cee says:

    When you listen to President Vladimir Putin’s speeches, like Trump, he’s a Christian, a nationalist, a staunch anti-globalist/NWO and an outspoken critic of pedophilia.–how-it-ties-to-russia-n2294220

  41. Pundita says:

    A reading of history reveals an odd fact about the human race: no matter how much we progress in our accumulation of knowledge, no matter how improved our diet, education and forms of government, the level of stupidity amongst government officials stays pretty much constant from age to age.
    Why is this? Think it through. Say that all or a preponderance of governments are run by intelligent people. Pretty soon there is great peace on Earth. With such peace would come great prosperity. Then the need for human struggle ends. With the end of struggle our race would become progressively weaker in body and mind and, most importantly, what we call “will” — the ability to stick to a determination we make.
    One doesn’t have to look farther than the gym to understand this relationship between struggle and strength. But the principle is also evident in the human immune system, which has become weaker in an age of antibiotics and vaccines and with the incredible levels of cleanliness in highly developed countries. Thus, increasingly, the human immune system doesn’t have all that much to fight and so it has lost strength. The result is that today people in developed countries can be killed even by germs introduced into their bodies by a paper cut.
    (Reference the plot of “War of the Worlds.”)
    In short, from the perspective of the survival of our race, stuffing governments with stupid people is actually a smart thing to do. The decisions and actions of these stupids insure that we don’t get weak from complacence and that our offspring stay strong cleaning up messes created by our generation.
    Thus, while all created things must eventually come to an end, the human race represents a kind of perpetual motion machine, one fueled by stupidity.
    From a metaphysical viewpoint, if that isn’t Intelligent Design I don’t know what is.
    Those who cry out that such intelligence has created inestimable suffering are overlooking that this is the toughest realm, the very hardest. So even the basest coward among us is actually made of strong stuff by choosing to incarnate here. With that said, eventually all wrongs are righted; no tear born of suffering inflicted by others is shed in vain.
    World Without End.

  42. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It could help prevent suicide among young wounded soldiers (among others).

  43. IN A POST ON 08/29/2016 PROFESSOR Michael BRENNER stated that “Six successive administrations headed by four different Presidents have dedicated America to accomplishing the same ends. They have been: promote the extension of a globalized world economy grounded on neo-liberal principles are far as possible; foster democratic political systems headed by leaders sympathetic to Washington’s philosophy and leadership; isolate and bring down any government that actively resists this campaign; and maintain the United States’ dominant position as rule-setter in international organizations.”
    Has this premise ended for all times with President Trump or still too early to know?

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In order to exhaust the potentiality of Evil that inheres in Himself, God created Men and the Universe.
    The Souls of All Men who were ever to be born pledged themselves to help the Wise Lord accomplish this task of entrapping His Evil Nature in this Universe.
    Once that is accomplished, a New Incorruptible Universe will be created and Men will be resurrected and given New Incorruptible Bodies.
    In the meantime, there is war going one and like the proverbial foot soldiers: “ours is not to ask how and why, ours is to do and die.” until the aims of the CnC has been achieved.
    And just as a foot-soldier only knows a portion of the battle field may not understand the strategies of the High Command, one has to assume that there is a purpose behind the current struggle and it is not all in vain or an accident; i.e. an Act of Faith.
    This is what I have understood of the Zoroastrian religion.

  45. Trinlae says:

    First penis implant or first successful implant?

  46. Eric Newhill says:

    I’m not so sure intelligence – or lack thereof – explains the problem fully. Intelligent people can have character flaws too.
    This realm seems to be an incubator, as you say, where adversity presents the opportunity to grow in character (or decrease in character depending on the decisions made). Like a real for wheat to be separated from chaff.
    There are no innocents or perfects here. We all have challenges to face and lessons to learn and soul to develop, IMHO.

  47. turcopolier says:

    Trinlae and Babak
    Are a variety of sizes available? pl

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They have to take them from matching cadavers.

  49. Valissa says:

    “Why is this? Think it through.”
    You think if all government officials were intelligent that would solve problems… bwahahaha… there’s a reason that David Halberstam wrote a book called “The Best and Brightest” (a snarky title, btw).
    You sound like a liberal utopian idealist. I used to be one of those before I became a realist and accepted that human nature is what it is. Human foibles and ambitions and the problems inherent in bureaucratic structures and/or tribal belonging (corporations are a type of tribe) explain reality pretty well.
    I have observed that my most highly educated liberal friends are, in general, the most unrealistic about human nature.

  50. YT says:

    Col. sir,
    I have no doubts about the Integrity & Honesty of Dr. Bacevich.
    But what think you of this [gent]…?

  51. Eric Newhill says:

    Cooper also interned at the CIA, according to several available bios, including Wikipedia.

  52. BabelFish says:

    Fred, exclusively use circle hooks. No problems with the Specs as it usually gets them at the corner of their jaw.

  53. different clue says:

    About bluefish:
    I have visited my Aunt and Uncle on Cape Cod on very rare occasion. On a couple of those times we had bluefish.
    My very minimal exposure to bluefish makes me think it might be best suited to long slow-cooked chowders or sauces perhaps served with rice, flavor-cooked with combinations of onion, tomato, celery and/or minced celery leaves, and other herbs and spices for people to experiment with. The right kind of olive oil would go in there very well.
    In my landlocked Midwestern opinion.

  54. different clue says:

    William R. Cumming,
    That depends on whether we can help President Trump get these same ends rejected. And if we can then shape the post-Trump political battlespace so that no such President can ever be elected ever again. And so that the Senate and House members who support these “same ends” are attrited and reduced into political insignificance.
    It would also require the conceptual replacement of American Greatness Exceptionalism with American Okayness Ordinaryanism.

  55. BabelFish says:

    My dad had one last work gig before hanging up the welding equipment. He was helping put together the equipment used to make the perfidious little bricks of detritus labeled as a ‘filet-o-fish’ by certain American fast food outlet. I am not certain what percentage of fish versus food glue each contained but that is assuredly trash fish.
    When I lived in New Orleans we were just beginning to access Vietnamese food in all its varieties when I moved away. I always thought the ‘eat everything you catch’ approach was a perfect match for the Cajun ‘road kill cafe’ attitude towards not looking down on any part of nature’s bounty as a meal.

  56. turcopolier says:

    Most of the fish sandwich stuff is Alaskan Pollack caught in the Bering Sea by factory ships and packed on board frozen. pl

  57. turcopolier says:

    I do not know Bacevich. pl

  58. Fred says:

    Yeah Lin Dinh really does hate the village, now city, of Dexter. Lots of assumptions in his piece on an Ann Arbor bedroom community. One doesn’t learn much from two drive bye visits a year apart. Good thing he didn’t visit Saline.

  59. Thanks! Hopefully men and women not lemmings elected in the future. The President sounded a bugle but so far few seem to understand it.

  60. Valissa says:

    pl, interesting that they are neocons. I finally had time to read the link that LondonBob provided (thanks LB!), and was surprised that Vallely and Maloof seemed generally positive about the US working with Russia… especially in Syria. Based on their commentary it sounds like the neocons don’t all agree on Russia.
    Retired diplomat MK Bhadrakumar discusses the changes in the US position in Syria under Trump, and also recommends the interview with Vallely and Maloof on US-Russia relations.
    Three cheers for Trump as a man of his word on Syria
    A week after the Pentagon submitted its report to the White House on February 28 outlining a new strategy against terrorism, there are signs of a refreshing change of course in the US’ activities on the ground in Syria. It is extraordinary that President Donald Trump is proceeding on a novel track on Syria, according to his script, undeterred by the relentless assault on his citadel by recalcitrant groups of various persuasions in the Washington Beltway, especially the Russophobes and the Barack Obama era holdovers within the US establishment.
    Trump, for sure, is proving to be a man of his words on Syria. Three things emerged in the past week. One, the US rejects its NATO ally Turkey’s pre-condition that it should cease the support for Syrian Kurds who are its allies in northern Syria. In fact, the US intends to wade deeper into the military operations in that region by beefing up the deployment of the Special Forces and stepping up arms deliveries to the Syrian Kurds, including deploying attack helicopters and artillery.
    Two, Pentagon is concurring with the back-to-back deal reached by the Syrian Kurds with the government forces and Russia to jointly put a road block on the Turkish army’s plans to advance toward the strategic town of Manbij en route to the ISIS’ de facto capital, Raqqa.
    This is turning out to be a curious joint enterprise with the US Special Forces having moved into Manbij town as a “visible sign of deterrence” (to quote Pentagon spokesman) against Turkey, while Russia is sending food and medical supply convoys to the town with the prior knowledge and coordination with Pentagon.
    … Three, stemming from the above stunning turn of events on the ground, clearly, Trump administration seems to be edging away from the Obama administration’s overt and covert prioritization of the “regime change” agenda in Syria. Trump all along said he wanted the US military to train its sights exclusively on vanquishing the ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Now, we are, literally, witnessing this being implemented on the ground.

  61. turcopolier says:

    If these two are talking reason in re Russia that means to me that they are convinced that Trump is intent on an improvement of relations and they want to survive the process. My sources in the US military confirm that in the air coordination with Russia in Syria is much improved lately. pl

  62. Valissa says:

    pl, I think you are right on about their career focus … they throw the CIA and the media under the bus in the excerpt below 🙂
    RBTH: Trump seems to be under significant pressure on issues related to Russia. Is it true he has been pressured by the Washington political establishment and the military to change his rhetoric on Russia?
    Michael Maloof: To a point. Trump has been more forthcoming about expressing the desire to work with Russia than the old Cold Warriors had. And that’s a part of the changes that are happening in the U.S. now. The country is being mentality oriented into a new direction by the new president. And this is pretty hard when you have old CIA types who are still in their positions and the media, which has been very anti-Russian.  But if Trump makes a decision to cooperate with Russia, they will stand up and salute.
    Paul E. Vallely: Definitely, they will stand up and salute. An important thing is that the soldiers are very happy to have Trump as president. And this is what is really important. From that stand point we get a new spirit within the armed forces now.
    Also an interesting comment about the soldiers being happy to have Trump as president.

  63. Valissa says:

    US finally has “boots on the ground” in Syria…
    Marines have arrived in Syria to fire artillery in the fight for Raqqa
    A prior article on the planning…
    Pentagon plan to seize Raqqa calls for significant increase in U.S. participation

  64. Valissa says:

    Some more good news on the Russian front…
    Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman accepts nomination of Russia ambassadorship

  65. mike says:

    General Dunford met yesterday and today with General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff. One of the agenda items was to expand that coordination to ground forces as well as air.

  66. Mark Logan says:

    Pacifica Advocate,
    I would suggest smoked salmon as a possible alternative. The small smokers are cheap and work quite well. I too have struggled with certain cod-like fish. I have settled on the only way to cook halibut, for instance, as Cajun-style blackening in an almost red-hot pan. Fifteen seconds to a side gives the fish little time to fall apart. Has to be done outside as standard kitchen stove venting systems weren’t designed for and are grossly insufficient for the task of safely clearing a sudden burst of tear gas ;).

  67. turcopolier says:

    Mark Logan
    Halibut I cook on the gas grill after oiling it a bit with a little garlic and sale and paper. I like it medium and turn it once. Alternatively I plank it on a cedar plank on the same grill. pl

  68. turcopolier says:

    Excellent! That means there will inevitably be an exchange of liaison parties. Ah to be young again. When I was DATT in Yemen I used to go to the field with the Sov advisors to the Yemeni 8th Commando Brigade. They were from the Transcaucasus Military District’s 104th Airborne Division, mostly not Russians. We had a nice little war going in the SE mountains and I spoke Arabic better than any of the Sovs. I was authorized to do this. pl

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I have mentioned this in the forum before, I will repeat it again; there can be no viable fetuses in an environment that does not approximate, to a very high degree, the gravitational and the electromagnetic conditions near the Earth’s surface.

  70. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They do not concern themselves with Manicheanism; they consider it to have been a (deviant) Cult that borrowed a lot from their religion.
    Their concerns have been largely with defending themselves, even today, against what they consider to be slander against their religion by Muslims in Iran as well as dealing with the issues of inter-marriage etc.

  71. Mark Logan, Babelfish and all the other anglers and fish mongers here,
    Do any of you catch mackerel? SWIMBO and I can’t find them anywhere locally. I caught them on a family vacation years ago off Prince Edward Island using just a shiny hook and a stout line. My father grilled them on the beachand they were heavenly. We also enjoyed them grilled on a stick at the various Fests around Augsburg. I would gladly eat them weekly if I could find them.

  72. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nah; the vast network of large malls that destroyed small shop keepers in smaller towns in the United States over the last 40 year has finally met its denouement.
    People have moved to the Internet Shopping and Warehouses, and Logistic companies have expanded (and are being robotized).
    None of these are the signs of coming collapse but rather signs of further class stratification and polarization.

  73. turcopolier says:

    I hope we get busy and bulldoze the damned malls. at the same time we should get rid of a lot of dams in the West. pl

  74. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Plasco Building collapsed onto itself this past January during a fire:
    There were flammable chemicals stored there; in fact.
    There are those who claim that it was another case of “controlled demolition” –
    Some people just love conspiracies.
    I regret that the US Television program “The X-Files” is not around for me to get to the bottom of all these vast conspiracies. Doubtless, Trump and his wife are actually Lizards – you know – from the other TV series “V”.

  75. mike says:

    You can get jack mackerel up here in WA and OR. I would put a tiny piece of red flannel on a hook and let the grandkids jig for them off the jetty. They would pull them up like gangbusters while I got skunked going for salmon. They are good eating. But many of the locals turn their nose up and just use them to bait their crabpots.

  76. Trinlae says:

    Here’s a picture (on right) of Putin’s mobile (ostensibly) c/o (9 march)

  77. Trinlae says:

    I was going by the tales i’ve heard from a Tibetans about consequences of business deals and love affairs gone wrong in Himalayan region where amputee chased down the missing member tossed in the field, for attempted re attachment.
    The scenario can be extrapolated back for millennia. So Babal ji’s report would truly be a historic breakthrough!
    (Following on this theme, a photo from a DC woman’s march placard read, “if pregnancy is God’s will (obviating govt funding for birth control), then so is limp **** (which syndrome enjoys viagra funding subsidies).”

  78. LeaNder says:

    Eric, Valissa,
    I didn’t read Pundita’s meditation that way. Besides, I liked Babak’s response.
    But: Why is this? Think it through. Say that all or a preponderance of governments are run by intelligent people. Pretty soon there is great peace on Earth
    I read it as a proposition for further discussion. A hypothetical road to Utopia. Not as a partisan statement, but much more abstract.
    No doubt worth to look into the history of Utopian thought, starting with the ideal state conceived by Plato via Thomas More’s Utopia giving the tradition its name. …
    Besides, what happens if we add the second definition of intelligence, or that all these intelligent people have the full grasp of intelligence? Nothing can go wrong?

  79. Is there a published “open source” history of CIA Directors up through Brennan?

  80. Stumpy says:

    Mall conversion should be expanding soon — Rackspace, for instance, converted Windsor Park Mall in San Antonio to office space.

  81. Stumpy says:

    Via Saker, Chinese report on USA Human Rights. Funny, China lecturing US on human rights. My read is it’s a PR campaign as much as a “get your THAAD off my lawn”
    OTOH, the content is pretty unflattering.

  82. Stumpy says:

    My impression is that everything about the CIA just became open source.

  83. Mark Logan says:

    Never caught a salmon where I caught a mackerel…at the same time. I suspect they avoid each other, but suspect more the macks are so massively less discriminating on what they will bite that any salmon in their vicinity winds up at the back of the line for my hooks, which is most unfair.

  84. Close maybe but no cigar IMO!

  85. How was Mike Flynn paid during the TRANSITION?

  86. trinlae says:

    Colonel, I wonder if you saw this news of the archeological find of the Knights Templar site in Britain?

  87. turcopolier says:

    Wonderful, just wonderful. pl

  88. Fred says:

    Internet shopping is also mostly tax free, giving an unfair advantage to firms like Amazon.

  89. BabelFish says:

    TTG, in Jax we get them in the fall (Spanish Mack), as they chase finger mullet up to the beach, right next to the bluefish. Not many people eat them in Jax. They were much more popular in Maine. Here I catch them on spoons or midwater rattle lures.
    Was out yesterday, catching a pile of whiting. Got one big blue, who came off the hook when
    I got him to ankle deep water.

  90. mike says:

    Trinlae –
    Those caves are not current news, they were discovered years ago.
    There is also some controversy as to whether they are 14th century or 18th century.

  91. different clue says:

    Dare one speak of the tech/sci literacy knows v know nots?

  92. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    Trump and his wife as the Lizards? I would have thought the Clintons made better Lizards. ( Actually, Mister Bill would be a clever little mischevious monkey-crow hybrid. Whereas the Senator SecState would make a fine hillamonster.)

  93. Apparently Senate staff of both parties adopting position that any criminal referral by anyone in the Executive Branch should be exclusive to DoJ!


  95. Cee says:

    I’ve told you that I can’t stand and don’t trust Pence.
    Assange reports:
    Clinton stated privately this month that she is quietly pushing for a Pence takeover. She stated that Pence is predictable hence defeatable.

  96. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the so-called MARSH report it might be useful to review its CIF (critical infrastructure) recommendations:
    Critical Foundations: Protecting America’s Infrastructures, Report of the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, October 1997
    The full text can be found at:
    President Obama promised a cyber-security Czar. None named.
    Now several Congressional members calling for a Cyber Security Department eliminating one of the other existing departments.

  97. Does the Trump budget break out cyber security?

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