Closing Thought–26Jun17

Paying For Miracles!

That is “paying” not “praying” for miracles.

There seems to be booming business in Africa on the selling of miracles…..religious leaders are making profits off these hopes by parishioners…selling miracles…..

The Christian nation of Zambia has a proliferation of churches led by foreign and local pastors, popularly known as prophets. They take advantage of people’s credulity to make good money.

On a recent Sunday morning in Chibolya Secondary School, in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, more than ten churches conducted services in several classrooms. The noise made it hard to concentrate on any sermon.

Hundreds of people flocked to the area to hear a so-called prophetic word. This refers to a prophecy tailored to serve one individual at a particular time. It is a foretelling of personal events and the congregants loved it.

Source: Zambia: Selling Miracles in Zambia – allAfrica.com

Kinda sounds like a practice of the Roman Catholic Church, the early years……I guess they had to pay for all that opulence in buildings and ceremonies somehow.

It is stories like this that turn people off of religion…I have a problem with this type of religious programs….

Personally, I think it is disgusting to prey on people’s beliefs and to profit from their situations.

I need to go take a shower now!

Must close it down for now…..enjoy your day….chuq

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Democrats! Time To Move On!

I waited a couple of years to see or read where a Repub said this with all the silly antics of the GOP in Congress….and as usual my wait was in vain.

This whole Russia-gate thing has been raging for months….all the while Dems are trying to use it as some sort of message to the American voter…they are failing.

Let’s be honest…the average person cares little about this Russian thing.  I spend time at a local college and there is very little discussion there as well.  The only places that this has any footing is the MSM and some blogs….after that no one is talking or even caring.

Even national polls show that it is not that important to the population…..

…….the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, which paints a complicated picture of voters’ opinions about the numerous probes that have engulfed the White House.

Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.

But other surveys have found strong support for the special counsel investigating the Russia probe. A Harvard-Harris survey released last month found 75 percent support for former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation.

There is evidence in the Harvard-Harris survey that voters are taking the investigations seriously: Fifty-eight percent say they’re concerned by allegations of obstruction of justice against Trump, with the same number worried about possible dealings between Trump and the Russian government.

But far more — 73 percent — say they’re concerned that the Russia probes have caused Congress to lose focus on the issues important to them. That figure encompasses 81 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats.

(thehill.com)

In short the public is growing ever weary of the political games and the lack of Congressional attention to the important things in the voters lives.

If the prez would stop using Twitter to try and bully any opposition then the MSM would have little to report and would move on.

I am not saying remove on from the investigations just keep any news close to the vest until there is something big to report.

As long as the fixation is on this Russian thing then important issue go under-reported or not at all.

We have a health care bill that is a piece of crap, we have a budget debate coming, etc.

Source: The Politics Behind ‘Russia-gate’ – Consortiumnews

And for God sake move on from the last election!  Clinton lost…Trump won.  Trying to find someone to blame is doing no good…it definitely is not a unifying topic for the Party.

Source: Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket – Consortiumnews

Dems need to find a message that will resonate with voters and stop chasing every Tweet that comes off Trump’s thumbs…..or 2018 will be NO different than any of the last couple of elections.

UK’s Secret Wars

As one person who studies and analyzes conflicts I like to look back on history and the different covert wars that made little news in their day.

I have been checking out the covert wars that have been fought by the US and its allies to include the UK…..and since I have readers and commenters from the UK  I thought I would post this piece and hopefully get more info from those who may know more…..

During my research on covert wars I cam across this article in the BBC website…..”Britain’s Secret Wars”…it is a long article and packed full of info and hopefully some info that is not there can be told by my readers.

Let me stress…this is a lengthy article but well worth the read for anyone interested in covert ops……

For more than 100 years, Britain has been perpetually at war. Some conflicts, such as the Falklands, have become central to our national narrative, but others, including the brutal suppression of rebels in Oman, have been deliberately hidden.

n the months after the surrender of Japan on 14 August 1945, the British people were ready to believe that war was behind them. The newspapers were full of stories about possible home rule for India, and dockers going on strike in London, Liverpool and Hull. It is questionable how many readers of the Manchester Guardian on 6 December 1945 saw, let alone read, a short item that was tucked away at the foot of page six, nestled between a reader’s letter about the Nuremberg war crimes trials and a leading article about the foundation of the United Nations.

Source: Britain’s secret wars | Ian Cobain | UK news | The Guardian

History is fascinating and covert ops even more so……so much has happened under the radar…it is interesting.

My Advice For The Saudis–“Bite Me”!

I have been writing a lot on the Saudi-Qatari mash up recently.

Does the Arab League still exist?

Where is the mediation by the League?

Questions for another post no doubt.

The Saudis have released their demands for this situation to be over…..

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter broadcaster al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran, and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. In a 13-point list—presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis—the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs. They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism and provide detailed information on opposition figures it has funded. Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down al-Jazeera. A day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.”

What are the specific terms issued by the Saudis?

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories.

3) Sever all ties to all the “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar needs to formally declare those entities as terrorist groups based on the list of groups that was announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures,” fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Qatar has to pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.

10) Submit all personal details of all the opposition members that Qatar supported and detail all support that Qatar has provided them in the past. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.

11) Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.

13) Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

Okay now we know what the Saudis want.

MY advice to the Qatari government is to issue a two word statement…..”BITE ME!”

Saudis want to control the press…..they made no mention to Saudi citizens that have supported terrorism (start at home before you demand of others)…..Qatar should counter with reparations for the blockade…..Saudis want to pick Qatar’s friends…..Saudis want open access to Qatari monetary books…..Saudis are not concerned with rights and freedom of self-determination of Qatar……they want control.

In essence….BITE ME!

Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani writes: Qatar’s policies are rational, moral and just, and our efforts to foster dialogue and oppose tyranny will lead to a better future not only for our people but also for the world. Qatar has the right to chart its own course, without the interference of other nations, and that is what we can and will do. The door to the negotiating table will stay open.

The UN needs to step up and act like the governing body they are suppose to be……Saudis are acting like the bully in the school yard…the world should not allow this to continue….it could have far reaching consequences.

It’s Just Sad

Anyone that visits here understands that I am NOT a supporter of Trump…I will admit that during the campaign he did make a few statements that I could agree with on principle…..but since the election any support for ideas has since disappeared.

It is all so much comedy now….more like a sad comedy…..recently there was a love fest by his cabinet members that went around a circle kissing his ring (more like his ass)…that did not need televising but in his need for admiration he made it all too pathetic…..

All the “love” is just destroying reputations of his cabinet members…..

Vice-President Mike Pence set the tone, confiding that serving a president “who’s keeping his word to the American people” is “the greatest privilege of my life”. As Mr Trump clenched his jaw, nodded and threw in an occasional “good job” of encouragement, his cabinet secretaries—who include former governors, retired four-star generals and more than one billionaire—mostly followed suit. They variously reported that his presidency has “thrilled” crime-fighters, excited the world with its “international flair” and inspired “love” in Mississippi. “My hat is off to you!” swooned the energy secretary, Rick Perry, who in 2015 called Mr Trump a “cancer on conservatism”. For as long as cameras whirred this surge of praise rolled round the room like a bureaucrats’ Mexican wave, peaking with a testimonial from Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff. Unabashed by speculation that he is to be sacked, Mr Priebus declared: “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.” The verdict of a Twitter-user from Toronto, “This is actually the start of ‘King Lear’,” went viral, pinging around the political internet.

Source: Donald Trump’s need for flattery is trashing reputations

All this silliness surrounding the “leader” of the free world is just too scary……we have international crises forming and he will have to handle them as the world leader he should be….but is he capable?

My thought is no way….but some others have also weighed in on this situation…..why?

After 5 months in office his national security team is still not complete….so how could he actually handle a crisis?

Inside the 18-acre White House compound, the National Security Council process—making key decisions and overseeing their execution—is still in transition nearly five months after President Donald Trump took office. The sooner this transition concludes, the better for our security. In the long run, getting this transition right is far more important than any of the administration’s discrete decisions that have dominated the news since January 20. Based on my firsthand experience in the White House coordinating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last such transition—the departure of the Bush administration and the arrival of the Obama team in 2009—there are two fundamental challenges.

First, the national security team must be built. This goes far beyond the early presidential memorandum specifying the members of the NSC and the supporting principals and deputies committees. With the departures of Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland, the NSC staff is now settling in, with H.R. McMaster at the helm. The 10 to 12 “senior directors” reporting directly to McMaster lead small cells of professionals drawn largely from across the government. But, this is only the nerve center of the national security team. Their counterparts in the State and Defense Departments—where the depth of experience and diversity of views reside, and where responsibility for implementation lays—are still nowhere close to being in place. Incredibly, nearly half a year in, there are still only a very few political appointees in Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon below the deputy secretary level, fewer than 10 percent of those required.

Source: Trump’s Not Ready for a Crisis – POLITICO Magazine

All we can do is hope that calmer heads will prevail and we are not thrown into a major international crisis.

All the while the conditions keep mounting up…..and few are noticing….

On Sunday, a US Navy F/A-18 shot down a Syrian Su-22, marking the first time in over a decade that the United States engaged in air-to-air combat. Syria claims that their aircraft was bombing ISIS troops. We have at attacked Syrian government forces no less than four times in the last month, causing tensions to swell in the complex conflict. Russia has responded by saying they will now possibly target aircraft from the US-led coalition. On the ground, it is estimated that anywhere from 500 to 2,500 American troops are fighting in Syria, despite the President’s claim that “we’re not going into Syria.”

Meanwhile President Trump has followed through with several arms deals that were started under President Obama, helping supply both Saudi Arabia and Qatar with billions of dollars in weapons and aircraft. This comes after Trump criticized Qatar’s alleged funding of terror organizations. Saudi Arabia faces its own allegations of relations with terrorists, all while running a salacious campaign to recruit American veterans to lobby on their behalf.

Source: Sneaking into War: Trump’s Plan to Incite Global Conflict Without Anyone Noticing – The Ring of Fire Network

Please pay attention…before it is too late!  Stop listening to slogans and one liners….there is more at stake for this country.

Please pay attention!

An Old Nightmare Returns

I recently read an article about the situation in Balkans….where there is growing concern that the rise of the military and far Right politics might be a harbinger of things to come and a repeat of history…..

Source: An Old Nightmare Returns: The Balkans Simmer Again | The National Interest Blog

After I read the article I thought if only someone had been paying attention then just would not come as a surprise……

Wait!

Someone has been watching!  Me!

Source: The Balkans: Smoldering Ashes Of Conflict – In Saner Thought

There are many differences between the Balkans and the Middle East, but they have two things in common. Both regions are former pieces of the Ottoman Empire that have not found stability since that empire receded in the late 19th century.

Source: Will the Balkan Tinderbox Ignite, Again? | The Cipher Brief

So someone has been watching and reporting…the problem is NO one is paying attention.

Since I am an analyst of international conflict then nothing about this is surprising and I will continue to be a voice of caution.