Chuq’s Daily Musical Interlude

Another week has begun and as usual something sucks all the energy out of a real conversation and into the realm of speculation……enough is enough……grab a cup of Joe….a smoke and relax….

What better way to relax than Derek And The Dominoes?

 

ISIS Coaltion SITREP #55

Good day…..last week was a short week….the story of the torture report release sucked all the energy out of anything happening in the Middle East….hopefully this week will be a a better week for news out of the Middle East…..but I fear that the trickle we get now will be all we get until something bad happens……

Item 1–Syrian deployment of US Troops gets a bit better….pay wise……

It’s not much of a stretch to consider flying over Syria dangerous duty.

But until a few days ago, the Pentagon didn’t consider air crews flying missions against Islamic State fighters eligible for combat pay.

Missions in Syria began Sept. 21 and continue today with jets pounding tanks, trucks and barracks. The Syrian regime, headed by Bashar al-Assad, has sophisticated air defenses, according to the Pentagon, although they have not targeted American warplanes.

Yet the military’s table of world hot spots, last updated Dec. 31, 2013, didn’t account for bombing in Syria. The memo details, down to latitude and longitude in some cases, regions in which troops qualify for “imminent danger pay.”

Item 2–An old foe of the US is hitting the news again……

Iraqi Shia cleric and head of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr yesterday ordered his Peace Brigades to prepare within 24 hours for jihad against the Islamic State (ISIS) attacks.

ISIS recently gained control of areas and villages around the city of Samarra.

Iraq’s Al-Sumaria news website reported Assistant Jihadist, Abu Doaa Al-Issawi saying: “Given the exceptional conditions and imminent danger to the sacred city of Samarra from the legions of terrorists, our leader Al-Sadr has ordered the Peace Brigades to prepare within 24 hours for jihad.”

Al-Sadr is expected to release a direct military order in another statement.

Will the order stop with ISIS or will any Sunni be in the cross-hairs…..this is a problem in the making….

Item 3–ISIS continues to consolidate its control over Iraq’s al-Anbar province…….

Islamic State (ISIS) militants seized control of more villages in the Iraqi province of Anbar, while clashes broke out between Iraqi forces and ISIS near the city of Samarra, Iraqi sources revealed.

Sheikh Naeem Al-Ku’oud, one of Anbar’s tribal leaders, said that ISIS took control of 15 villages in the Western Iraqi province.

According to a security source, dozens of Iraqi soldiers, including two senior officials, were killed during clashes near the city of Heet.

The security source has also confirmed that ISIS forces managed to take control of the Doulab area near Heet.

This will continue until someone steps up to take on ISIS on the ground…..and we wait.

Item 4–Breaking news is that airstrikes are not that effective…..but I and others have said that from the beginning….but now someone is trying to make it official…..

60-plus nations nominally in the coalition and over 1,000 airstrikes between Iraq and Syria, the US has thrown myriad data at Congress to try to prove “progress” in the war on ISIS. Yet a closer inspection reveals anything but.

Over 1,000 airstrikes sounds like a lot, but it’s not clear how many actually hit intended targets. McClatchy reported that some of the bombing locations were nearly 100 miles off of the target.

Watching what’s actually happening on the ground sure doesn’t help the case of the war, as ISIS controls virtually all of the territory it did at the start of the US war. They lost a few border villages and gained some others.

I have calling for a better plan…….

Item 5–Troops are needed on the ground to win this thing….but what Army will step forward?

Written in World Affairs…….

The 35th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Doha this week set an important milestone: the decision to create both a joint naval force and a common counter-terrorist body. This is surprising because military alliances mean little in the Arab world: in spite of several attempts to foster greater cooperation, defence remains a national affair – although 71% of Arabs, according to opinion polls, support the establishment of a joint force alongside national militaries.

Now, not one but two extensive proposals for military cooperation have been floated over the last twelve months in the Gulf: one which would see the creation of a joint command in the Gulf, and another which would form a military alliance encompassing certain Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. So far, these ideas have been met with cautious optimism, as the list of failed attempts at Arab collective security is almost as long as the list of violent conflicts in the region. But if either of these proposals succeeds, it would have arguably positive – and certainly transformational – repercussions for regional stability. Has the time for joint Arab militaries come at last?

Item 6–Unlimited funds for war?

The new Omnibus spending bill, with its $1.1 trillion in myriad funded, passed the House in a 219-206 vote, and as usual buried some $64 billion in discretionary military spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

The OCO not only allows Congress to inflate the Pentagon budget annually, but gives the president a virtual blank check for any war he wants to start over the course of the year, since the spending can be shifted to wars that Congress isn’t officially funding yet

Thanx for your time and attention……..

Turn The Page!

Hey Big Spender

Last week the new spending bill was offered up….and it would fund the government through September 2015…..that means that we would not have all the theatrics over this spending for at least 10 months….or that the hint of a government shut down would be just a thought………good news, right?

The bill is huge, as all bills are, and I bet that few of us will take the time to see what is in the bill……instead we will listen to those that make a living being a liar…..the media.

In the MSM reporting they were pushing the bi-partisanship or the fact that it is a lengthy bill, something we have not had in a coon’s age……..but I ask did you spend the time to see what is in the bill?  Of course you didn’t…….the Cosby scandal is far more important or the Taylor swift has made another cover…….

I try to be helpful so here is the main issues in the bill…..as reported by the AP……….

SPENDING

?Overall spending. $1.013 trillion for core agency budgets for day-to-day operations, with $521 billion for defense and $492 billion for non-defense. That represents about one-third of the federal budget and is essentially a freeze at current levels. Another $64 billion is provided for overseas military operations.

?Defense. Provides a base budget of $490 billion to the Pentagon, a $3.3 billion increase. Maintaining 1.3 million active-duty troops and 820,800 reserves would cost $128 billion. Another $162 billion is provided for operations and maintenance; procurement of new weapons systems, including 38 new F-35 fighters, totals $92 billion.

?Overseas military operations. Provides $73.7 billion for overseas military operations and diplomatic efforts by the State Department to combat terrorism, including $3.4 billion to continue the air campaign against Islamic State militants and $1.6 billion to train the Iraqi military. Provides $4.1 billion to train and equip Afghanistan’s military.

?Homeland Security. Keeps the Department of Homeland Security funded at current levels through Feb. 27. Its budget will be revisited next year when Republicans are hoping to roll back President Barack Obama’s recent moves on immigration.

?Ebola. Provides $5.4 billion of President Barack Obama’s $6.2 billion request to fight Ebola at home and abroad; $2.5 billion of the total would help African countries fight the disease, while $2.7 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, including $1.2 billion for Center for Disease Control and Prevention efforts to stop Ebola in West Africa and strengthen public health systems in at-risk countries.

?Foreign aid. Provides $49 billion for foreign aid programs, an almost $3 billion increase. Some $6 billion would help fight HIV/AIDS overseas, while $7.2 billion would be for economic and development programs. Israel would receive $3.1 billion in military aid; Egypt would receive $1.3 billion in military aid and $150 million in economic assistance. The Millenium Challenge Corporation, which directs aid to countries demonstrating economic and social progress, would receive $900 million.

?Environmental Protection Agency. Cuts the EPA budget by $60 million to $8.1 billion, or 21 percent below peak levels in 2010.

?Internal Revenue Service. Cuts the IRS by $346 million to $10.9 billion. Blocks the agency from targeting tea party organizations and other advocacy groups seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideology.

?Transportation. Provides $71 billion for transportation programs, including $40 billion in highway funding for states. Aid to Amtrak would be maintained at $1.4 billion.

?Housing. Provides $26 billion for Section 8 and other public housing programs for the poor. Add $10 billion for other housing programs, including help for the elderly and disabled.

?Crime-fighting. Provides $8.4 billion for the FBI, a slight increase; $2.4 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration; $1.2 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and $2.3 billion for various grants to state and local law enforcement.

?NASA. The space program would receive $18 billion, a $364 million increase. Of that, $4.4 billion is provided for the new Orion space-launch system, which last week had its first test launch.

?Food Aid. Provides $82 billion for food stamps as required by law; allots another $6.6 billion for a program that provides food aid to pregnant and nursing mothers and their young children. Another $21 billion goes to mandatory funding for the school lunch program and child nutrition programs.

?Capitol Dome. Provides $21 million to continue a project restoring the iconic cast-iron Capitol Dome, which is beset by crack and leaks.

POLICY ‘RIDERS’:

?Likely to be amended to include legislation aimed at shoring up underfunded multiemployer pension plans, including a controversial provision that permits them to cut the benefits of current and future retirees to shore up severely distressed plans.

?Eases regulations under the 2010 Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulations that require banks to set up separately capitalized affiliates ? ineligible for federal benefits such as deposit insurance ? to deal in more exotic and riskier forms of complex financial instruments called swaps. Regulators could still “push-out” risky swaps based on asset-backed securities.

?Blocks new Transportation Department regulations that require truckers to get two nights of sleep before re-starting the clock on their workweek. One effect of the rule was to shorten the maximum length a trucker’s workweek from 82 hours to 70 hours.

?Relaxes rules slated to go into effect in 2017 that require more whole grains in school foods. Put off rules to lower sodium in school meals that were supposed to go into effect in 2017.

? Prohibits the use of federal or local funds from implementing a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C

?Blocks the Fish and Wildlife Service from placing the Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species list, which Republicans claim will have economic benefits for Western states.

?Blocks the Justice Department from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they are permitted.

? Prohibits the use of funds for a “National Roadside Survey” by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

? Bars funding for renovation of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a new London embassy and debt relief for foreign countries.

? Withholds money from the UN population fund, dollar for dollar, if it operates a program in China.

? Prohibits the transfer or release of detainees held at the prison at Guantanamo, also bans construction of facilities to hold detainees within the U.S.

? Prohibits funding for the administration “light bulb standard,” which prevents the manufacture or sale of incandescent bulbs.

? Bars funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

? Prohibits the use of funds for painting portraits.

? Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating lead in ammunition or fishing tackle.

The AP did an excellent job in this summary………

The MSM will focus on the provision that emphasizes their ideology…….this may be the only place that will give you ALL the major provisions for you to make a rational decision on this bill……Hopefully it will be of some small degree of help………

Please read it over and let me know what parts YOU think are important and what parts are a waste of time and even which of the provisions is a typical DC waste of time……

I will give you my thoughts on the parts that I find offensive in the next post…….

Turn The Page!

How We Stopped Worrying And Learn To Love Greed

In the 1980’s, the ME Generation, brought about unbridled greed……Greed is not something new it has been a part of our society from the beginning….however the 80’s set up the climate for massive greed and avarice…..For 30 years greed has been the driving force in this country……

But what happened to make greed the driving force of society?

 

How Ayn Rand Helped Turn the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation | Alternet.

Grow, Grow, Let It Grow

Native Americans have been crapped on for over 200 years…..whites have hunted then for sport, stole their land, suppressed their culture and starved them……how could they ever rebound from the mass persecution?

First, it was cigarette sells that offered some minor cash compensation….then came gambling which offered a better compensation package….what more could they possibly do to become more self-sufficient?

It seems what began in Colorado has grown into a multimillion dollar industry and spread quickly to other states….but now Native Americans have another weapon at their disposal……MARIJUANA!

Could tribal marijuana be as big a moneymaker as tribal casinos? The federal government has cleared the way for Native American tribes across the country to grow and sell marijuana on their land, reports the AP. The Justice Department says growing and selling will be allowed on reservations—even in states where the drug remains illegal—as long as the tribes follow the same federal guidelines in place in states that have legalized marijuana, including not selling it to minors and not transporting it to areas where it’s outlawed.

“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” the US attorney for North Dakota tells the Los Angeles Times. Pot grown on reservations won’t be subject to federal or state taxes, but it’s not clear how many tribes will go into the marijuana business: Many oppose legalization, and the Yakama Nation in Washington state, where pot is legal, has banned it on the reservation. The US attorney for Oregon says that so far, only three tribes of the 566 across the country have shown any interest.

Grow, Grow, Let It Grow!