JEB! On The Run

The 2016 election is quickly becoming a reality instead of a sideshow…..and all the time since the summer JEB! has been scrambling to find a foothold for his campaign.

In recent months Jeb cannot buy any love….no matter how he tries to punch out Trump….the only thing all his money and rhetoric has done is see him slide in the polls…..How can that be?  After all he is the smart one of the two brothers…..how can this be?

Since nothing so far has given him a step up in the polls he is gonna try something new…..

In 2013, after Edward Snowden dropped his NSA bombshell, President Obama called for an end to spying on certain world leaders. But Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli bigwigs remained on the “keep an eye on” list for “compelling national security” reasons, current and ex-US officials tell the Wall Street Journal. Included in the US spying sweep were conversations between Israeli officials and US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups, which, as one senior US official tells the paper, resulted in an “Oh s— moment” that the executive branch would be nailed for spying on Congress. The White House, though, felt the info necessary to rebut lobbying Netanyahu might do against a US-Iran deal; still, it was “wary of a paper trail stemming from a request.” And so “we didn’t say, ‘Do it’ [to the NSA],” a senior US official tells the Journal. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.'”

Instead, the administration more or less let the NSA share whatever info it saw fit, and the NSA did just that, reportedly following tight mandates about spying on communications “to, from, or about” Americans, the paper notes. For example, the agency took out names of individual lawmakers and any personal info in reports it submitted to the White House and also omitted any “trash talk” about the administration, officials tell the Journal. At least one presidential candidate isn’t surprised by the revelations. “This administration views Congress, Republicans, and sometimes even Democratic members of Congress as their enemy,” Ted Cruz tells CBS News. “At times, it seems like they view the American people as their enemy.” A National Security Council spokesman, however, tells CBS, “[W]e do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”

My opinion is that our boy JEB! is…….TOAST!  All his money is going to do is….be wasted!

Thoughts?

If You Want War, Then Pay For It–Part Deux

Yesterday I had a visit with the eye doctor and after a couple of drops my eyes were screwed for the rest of the day…..so I apologize for the delay of my responses to comments but I stayed well away from the ‘puter for the rest of the day……

Now onward and upward…….

Awhile back I was having a bit of a debate about the wars we are fighting these days…..my thought is that if we must fight then we must pay for it without causing hardships on needed programs…..that was a really interesting debate and I wrote a piece about it……(a refresher…if it is needed)……..

Source: If there must be war, pay for it | In Saner Thought

I bring this up again because it seems that a Congressperson has had an idea….finally……

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is proposing a temporary surtax to pay for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In an op-ed Sunday in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Coons criticized Congress for not paying for the war.

The latest Pentagon statistics show that as of Nov. 30, the U.S. has spent nearly $5.4 billion on the war since August 2014, and the average daily cost is $11 million.

“One way to offset rising costs while allowing all Americans to contribute is a temporary war surtax that includes an exemption for our troops and their families,” Coons wrote.

“As we pursue our goal of ‘degrading and destroying’ ISIS, we cannot write another blank check for war,” said Coons, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Coons said Congress has taken steps to pay for every major conflict, often through new taxes, since the War of 1812.

That practice ended with the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. The Iraq War would eventually cost $1.64 trillion and the Afghanistan War $715 billion.

Coons said those costs would include an additional $6 trillion if long-term care for injured veterans were factored in.

“Paying for the wars we fight is a matter of congressional responsibility and national security,” he said. “A large national debt weakens our ability to respond to global threats, undermines our fiscal position, and limits our diplomatic flexibility.”

What is the old saying….oh yeah….”great minds think alike”……

Coons also added……”When we pay for our wars with a credit card, and when the pain of war is felt only by our troops and their families, it is far too easy for our nation’s leaders to send soldiers into harm’s way without a national conversation about the merits of our involvement, and far too easy for those conflicts to drag on.”

Coons also argued Congress should debate the war and vote to authorize it.  (AMEN)

“A proper national debate of the anti-ISIS conflict will demand that Congress and the American people better understand the human cost of the war, too,” he added.

Let me see…..he is proposing paying for wars as needed and long term care for injured vets…..how can anyone be against this?  (a rhetorical question for there will be those that do not like this proposal)

But I bet I can find someone that will want to crap on this proposal…..how about you?

The Most Awful and Absurd Foreign Policy Quotes from 2015

It is no secret that I think there are damn few “leaders” that have half a brain when it comes to foreign policy…..the American Conservative has put together a great set of “dumbass” foreign policy quotes……

Micah Zenko presents his list of the 20 “best worst” quotes from politicians and officials over the last year. Following his example, I’ll add on a few more that are at least as bad as the ones he inc

Source: The Most Awful and Absurd Foreign Policy Quotes from 2015 | The American Conservative

It’s Kosovo Again……

Back in the 1980’s when the world focused on the Balkans and armed conflict was everywhere….one of the regions effected was an area known as Kososvo….but to this day how many Americans know what or where Kososvo is located?

Let’s start with a little history/geography……

The central Balkans were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw the construction of many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. After World War II, Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.). Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo’s independence. The Serbs – many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland – instituted a new constitution in 1989 revoking Kosovo’s autonomous status. Kosovo’s Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum declaring Kosovo independent. Serbia undertook repressive measures against the Kosovar Albanians in the 1990s, provoking an Albanian insurgency.
Beginning in 1998, Serbia conducted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians (some 800,000 ethnic Albanians were forced from their homes in Kosovo). After international attempts to mediate the conflict failed, a three-month NATO military operation against Serbia beginning in March 1999 forced the Serbs to agree to withdraw their military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo’s future status. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo’s final status. The negotiations ran in stages between 2006 and 2007, but ended without agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over 100 countries have recognized Kosovo, and it has joined numerous international organizations. In October 2008, Serbia sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality under international law of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The ICJ released the advisory opinion in July 2010 affirming that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate general principles of international law, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, or the Constitutive Framework. The opinion was closely tailored to Kosovo’s unique history and circumstances. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo’s independence, but the two countries reached an agreement to normalize their relations in April 2013 through EU-facilitated talks and are currently engaged in the implementation process.
With that out of the way and my  readers have a good idea where and what Kosovo is I will move on to why this post……
It appears that violence is once again raising its head in the country…..

Riots erupted in Kosovo on Wednesday in a deepening crisis over relations with former ruler Serbia, with protesters setting fire to garbage containers and government vehicles in the capital Pristina.

A hardcore of several hundred protesters fought running battles with police, who used tear gas and armored vehicles to try to disperse them.

Almost eight years after Kosovo won its independence from Serbia, the European Union is trying to smooth relations between the Balkan neighbors, but many among Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority are opposed to concessions made to Belgrade.

An opposition bloc headed by prominent protest leader-turned politician Albin Kurti has repeatedly disrupted the work of parliament with tear gas and pepper spray, demanding that the government scrap an EU-brokered accord offering minority ethnic Serbs greater local powers and the possibility of some financing from Belgrade.

(Reuters)

Even religious leaders are talking the talk for conflict…..

The head of Serbia’s Orthodox Church Tuesday warned of using “force” if Kosovo were accepted as a member of the UN cultural agency UNESCO and holy sites there were recognised as belonging to the breakaway territory.

The predominantly ethnic Albanian territory unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — a move Serbia refused to recognise despite more than 100 countries, including the United States and a majority of EU member states recognising Kosovo as an independent state.

“If force is deployed” to deprive Serbia of its cultural and historical heritage, “we will do all we can to defend them by peaceful means or by force,” Patriarch Irinej said on state television.

(yahoo news)

Once again tensions are running high…..the area is becoming a hot bed of conflict once again….the situation in Syria is not helping already strained relationships with countries that surround Kosovo.

Will the World return to the Balkans….yet again?

These international “HOT” spots are becoming too numerous to keep track of by the normal individual…..that is why I am here.

Turn The Page!

Getting Smaller All The Time

Another one bites the dust…..yep the GOP has lost yet another candidate…..he was not misplaced and for the most part very few people even knew who he is or that he was an actually candidate……

Say good-bye to George of the “Kiddie Table” debates…….Who?  Exactly!

And then there were 12: George Pataki is dropping out of the presidential race, reports the New York Times. The reason is pretty clear: The former New York governor was averaging 0% in national polls and never once qualified for the main debate stage, reports Politico. The Washington Post also observes that his big moments—upsetting Mario Cuomo in New York in 1994 and leading his home state after the 9/11 attacks—were well in the past. Also not helping: The 70-year-old hasn’t held office since 2006, and he is pro-choice, backs gun control, and champions compromise across party lines, putting him out of step with leading rivals in the GOP. Pataki told his supporters of his decision Tuesday, and made it official in a Tuesday night announcement.

“While tonight I suspend my campaign for president, I am confident we can elect the right person,” he said.

I wish I could be magnanimous and say that he will be missed….but since few know who he is…….it would be an outright lie….

Okay…..anyone like to predict the next GOP wannabe to drop the “campaign suspension” bomb?

U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress

There is so much more happening in the world than the “one trick pony” thinking of most people…..and who better to point these out than….ME!

Okay I admit it….I was appalled to hear that the NSA was spying on just about everyone…..but then I read something that made me think about the whole spying on foreign “allies” thing.

The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders also swept up the content of private conversations with U.S. lawmakers.

Source: U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress – WSJ

Some will be up in arms about this but me….. I am not at all….you see the Congress reps the people and in as such there is no privacy when dealing with foreign “allies”……if these people are making side deals with others countries then it is a crime…..

Were some members of Congress working as agents of the Israeli government?  If so, time for some prosecutions.  Anyone that knowingly works against the interests of the country is due for some court time.  Personally, I think that all of them should be drawn and quartered for wasting taxpayer funds……but that is just me….I would be happy if someone embarrassed these twats publicly…..I have the feeling that will not occur…..oh well….wishful thinking.

Before anyone gets all testy and stuff….Israel has been spying on the US for decades….so in my opinion, fair is fair…….what’s the old saying…..”if you cannot stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen”…..Mr. BiBi.

That is it for now…..please return your head to the sand….I will wake you up later.

Turn The Page!

Inside Kyrgyzstan

Inside Kyrgyzstan

Part two in my series on Central Asia published on Legationes…..I am glad to find others that are willing to learn about new places and things….if you get a chance stop by Legationes and check out the site….very informative and thoughtful…..

Hate As A Pyramid Scheme

You know hate can be pretty darn lucrative…..hate sells and when it sells it becomes really profitable….I remember the pyramid schemes from years past…you know the ones where you join and work your way up to manager, supervisor or regional director….with each step you would get money from each person you had in your plan……

The reason I bring this up is that the old stand-by for racists and bigots alike….the KKK, the Klan, you know those guys in white sheets and face covers……someone did a bit of historical perspective on the workings of the Klan back in the 1920’s……

Even during its 1920s heyday, the Ku Klux Klan wasn’t a very effective hate group, according to an analysis by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer and Steven D. Levitt, the latter of Freakonomics fame. However, the Klan was a “wildly successful” pyramid scheme, according to a Priceonomics blog post that rehashes the pair’s 2011 study of the group. In the piece, Rosie Cima writes that KKK leaders “exploited pre-existing, popular racism to make money.” For example, during a time when most in the US made less than $700 annually, the KKK leader in Indiana made some $200,000. He and other leaders managed it through clever marketing and the invention of all kinds of ways to make money off their own members—a classic trait of a pyramid scheme. For instance, the Klan charged members a $10 initiation fee, and Fryer and Levitt provide the breakdown:

  • $4 to the salesman (called a “Kleagle”) who recruited a member
  • $2.50 to the PR firm the Klan had hired to boost membership (it boomed)
  • $2 to the Klan’s self-declared “grand wizard,” William Simmons
  • $1.50 to a regional supervisor (the “Grand Goblin”).

The result, Cima notes, “looked much like a modern multi-level marketing company—with extremely stupid titles.” And it didn’t stop with initiation fees: the Klan leaned on members to buy robes (and robe cleaning), along with Klan-branded life insurance, accessories, bibles, and even candy. The Klan petered out as a genuine national force in the 1940s (the feds got them for back taxes). But small KKK groups are still out there, and, according to Vice, some are using candy as a recruiting tool rather than as a moneymaker. Residents of Cullman City, Arkansas, recently received KKK fliers packaged with Tootsie Rolls and lollipops. Authorities there are investigating the not-so-original scheme.

Like I said…..hate can be very profitable……god bless capitalism…..

While You Were Bitching About Stupid Stuff

In the days before Christmas there has been a running bitch about what Trump said (who f*cking cares) and just what to say during the season (another equally dumb fixation) there was more happening than you were aware of in your daily lives.

We hear politicos tell us about the rise of Russia and that could lead to yet another Cold War (like the old ever ended)…..or just what happens when we enact some stupid laws or well you get the picture….too much lame BS……

So while the world was slumbering awaiting the visit from the jolly fat man….there has been a major situation……

Source: China to open its first naval base in Africa – Al Jazeera English

Does anyone else see a major problem brewing in the Red Sea?

Smells Like Victory?

For over a year we have heard all the horror stories about the Iraqi military and the sneakiness of the militias…..and in all that time there has been very little that anyone could call a success…..so far violence and destruction and yet nothing that we could send a celebratory note about…..is it possible that all that is about to change?

Iraqi forces have reclaimed the central government compound in the city of Ramadi from ISIS, marking what a US commander says is the greatest achievement yet from a force that fled the city in May. The military says it’s now in complete control of the compound, which marks the defeat of ISIS in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, though there are still pockets of resistance, reports the BBC. “Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated,” says a military spokesman, per Reuters. The Iraqi flag is now flying over the compound, he adds. Fierce fighting had taken place around the city for days, though suicide bombers, snipers, and booby traps had slowed the Iraqi military’s advance, reports AP.

Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the US anti-ISIS effort, tells USA Today that it has been a great day for the Iraqi military. “What this shows is that the Iraqis have moved from an army that folded on initial contact in the summer of ’14 to an army that has been able to conduct a complex operation in a large, built-up area,” he says. “This is the biggest thing the Iraqi army has done. Period.” He says ISIS is now “getting hit in multiple places simultaneously,” having also lost control of the Tishrin Dam in Syria to US-backed fighters over the weekend, who cut off a key supply line to the group’s Raqqa stronghold when they seized the Euphrates River dam.

Yes!  Strike up the band….celebratory gunfire…..and the peasants dance…..

With all that “good” news may be a bit premature…..why?

Iraqi officials are hyping the narrative that they’ve captured central Ramadi from ISIS and that the final expulsion of the group for the Anbar provincial capital is at hand. US officials, however, say they cannot confirm the claims of Iraqi gains in the city’s center.

Even Iraqi military officials sought to leave some wiggle room in this claim of a gain, however, saying they have “full control” of the compound but that this doesn’t necessarily mean any Iraqi troops have even attempted to enter the compound.

What’s the deal?  The media ran with the “good” news of an Iraqi victory……and yet there is nothing to back it up….at least for now…..maybe this is especially for the American public….this has a ring of propaganda about it……..just a thought…..