Closing Thought–27Nov17

Look Before You Leap!

The US State Department has just issued travel warnings about Americans thinking of traveling to Saudi Arabia…….

The State Department warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Saudi Arabia due to continuing threats from terrorist groups and the threat of ballistic missile attacks on civilian targets by rebel forces in Yemen.

Terrorist threats persist throughout Saudi Arabia, including in major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran, and attacks can occur without warning anywhere in the country. Terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its affiliates have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners. On October 7, a terrorist attacked a Saudi government installation in Jeddah. Since May, sectarian issues in the Qatif region in the Eastern Province resulted in several attacks against Saudi forces conducting security operations there.

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/saudi-arabia-travel-warning.html

Seriously?  Those are the reasons not to travel to the kingdom?

What about religious police?  Or the fact that they behead a person a day damn near?  Or the repression of women?  They jail people for criticizing the government?

None of that is important…..but there might be a missile headed their way…..four missiles have been fired a Saudi Arabia in over 2 years….one might have my name on it.

I feel I need for a bath about now…..I shall return tomorrow with my usual stuff a plenty….chuq

Where Oh Where Is ISIS?

ISIS that magical group that lead to a thousand different opinions….that study in barbarity…..the reason we hate…..and as quickly as they appeared in the Middle East the quickly they are no longer news.

But they are still active and still killing in the name of God….they have

been beaten badly in Iraq and Syria but they means nothing…..for this group will, rise again in a different location…..

Where you ask?  Any number to places that have willing people to join in their feast of blood and death…..

I am here to help people understand who those butchers are and where it all began….

You cannot begin to know anything about this group or another one that is silent these days, al Qaeda…..until you understand their perverted brand of Islam…..

The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html

Yes we can trace back the “beliefs” of ISIS back to the Saudis and in doing so the US comes into the picture…..

Chatting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2016, Barack Obama mentioned Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood back in the 1960s. The country, he noted, was a changed place. Where Muslims once adopted elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism, a more austere version of Islam had taken hold once Saudi Arabia began pouring money into Wahhabist madrassas in the 1990s. Where women had formerly gone about with their heads uncovered, the hijab began to spread.

But why, Turnbull wanted to know, was this happening? “Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” To which Obama replied, “It’s complicated.”

That c-word covers a lot of territory, not only with regard to Wahhabism, the ultra-fundamentalist Saudi ideology whose impact is now felt across the globe, but also with regard to the United States, the Saudis’ chief patron, protector—and enabler—since World War II. Like any imperialist power, the United States can be a bit unscrupulous in the partners it chooses. So one might expect it to look the other way when its Saudi friends spread their militant doctrines into Indonesia, the Philippines, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, and numerous points beyond.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-u-s-saudi-marriage-gave-birth-to-jihad/

And again….you have all you need to know how and why ISIS reared its ugly head….but in case you still have a question or two….I offer up this piece…..

This article was first published by Global Research on April 18, 2006.  The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) confirms in a leaked intelligence report that the US contemplated supporting the jihadists.  

In the present context, an understanding of the historical origins of the ISIS is required.

Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was the alleged mastermind behind Al Qaeda in Iraq which was at the origin of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). 

Until 2014, the Islamic State was referred to as Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a creation of US intelligence.

As outlined in my 2006 article (also published as a chapter in my book America’s “War on Terrorism”:

 “The US military-intelligence has created it own terrorist organizations. In turn, it has developed a cohesive multibillion dollar counterterrorism program “to go after” these terrorist organizations.  To reach its foreign policy objectives, the images of terrorism in the Iraqi war theater must re

https://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-al-qaeda-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges-fabricating-a-zarqawi-legend/2275?platform=hootsuite

You have all the info you need to understand when, how and why the jihadists are a thing of terror and of hatred….the problem is….should we not hate the source and only despise the product?

Those Creeping Tax Cuts

It is that time again…the lies about taxes.

It is NOT TAX REFORM!

The pretend that it is some sort of tax reform when it is nothing more than a tax cut…..and as usual for the wealthy…..cut it any way you choose…..it benefits no one but the rich.

Not even all the Repubs are down with this insanity…..

The vague tax reform promises that Donald Trump put forward during his presidential campaign have finally been turned into concrete measures. Republican senators and their House counterparts recently released their respective proposals to simplify the cumbersome American tax system. Once both bills are passed, a conference committee will be assembled to work out a final piece of legislation.

This procedure, which might seem a mere formality due to the majority that Republicans hold in both chambers, will face some challenges along the way. First, it doesn’t seem likely that a final bill will be ready by the end of the year as promised by President Trump. After all, the House and Senate proposals differ substantially and reaching an agreement will be a complex and lengthy task. In addition, the so-called Byrd Rule prevents senators from passing legislation that increases the budget deficit by more than $1.5 trillion over a 10-year period, and the estimates undertaken so far seem to exceed this number.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/republican-tax-reform-feast-today-famine-tomorrow/

Okay but what would a “good” cut package look like?

No matter our politics, most Americans have a beef with taxes. And it’s no wonder.

Working class Americans pay a much greater share of their income than the wealthiest Americans, who get away with exploiting tax loopholes and paying less than their fair share to support public projects and government programs.

Our system is rigged to favor the richest, so tax reform is key to un-rigging the economy. But the latest GOP tax plan is a slimy wet kiss for the wealthiest Americans.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/42580-what-real-tax-reform-could-look-like

I have written many times my ideas for tax reform and my ideas are truly tax reform…..(you want to know them then type in”taxation” in the search and hit enter)….

One last thing….I heard a tax accountant say that if this passes then the average working stiff would take home about 20 cents a day….in case your math sucks….that is about a dollar a week or 4 dollars a month or $48 a year…..

The House tax bill is an all-out attack on the future prosperity of America, not that any of the major news organizations are telling you that in plain English. Lost in the dense bureaucratic language of modern news reports is the simple fact that the House bill takes from striving students so that the already rich and major corporations can have more.

This bill is a long-term disaster in terms of what economists call opportunity costs. That term refers to a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action. This tax bill gives up the future wealth from investing in brainpower in favor of permanent tax cuts for the already rich and corporations.

Read more and more…….

Why this House tax scheme is for idiots

Any American, a working stiff, that falls for these lies deserves the screwing that is coming….

There is a historic perspective (you knew it was coming) to all this………

Average Americans today face political elites hellbent on a tax ‘reform’ that funnels new fortunes to the already fortunate. Back in 1932, average Americans faced the same scenario—and dealt the political elites a history-shifting defeat.

The Earth doesn’t quite shake when lawmakers in Washington, D.C. take one of their periodic votes on tax “reform.” But sometimes history does turn, and this coming week’s expected vote on the Senate version of the GOP tax plan could be one of those rare times that history actually turns for the better.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/11/25/how-stop-tax-plan-rigged-rich

WE can beat this bullsh*t but it will take work….so let’s get busy.

How The Machine Gun Changed Everything

Since my hospital stay I have neglected posting much about history….to some it it is a wonderful break and to others they were wondering what the Hell happened to the old professors lessons in history….wait NO longer the history lessons are back (I can hear some heavy sighs out there….LOL)

WE are in the middle of the 100 celebration of World War One…..I am fascinated with this page of history because everything changed in the world with this war.  I also just cannot fathom the deaths and carnage that was had during this conflict….and part of that carnage was thanx to the invention of the machine gun…..

HIRAM MAXIM WAS a prolific American inventor. During his lifetime, he devised mousetraps, curling irons, steam pumps, bronchitis inhalers, and even an amusement park ride. He also tinkered with powered flight, early radio technology and light bulbs.

It wasn’t until 1882 however that the 42-year-old inventor conceived his most famous creation.

“I was in Vienna, where I met an American whom I had known in the States,” Maxim told the Times of London. “He said: ‘Hang your chemistry and electricity! If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each other’s throats with greater facility.’ ”

http://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/10/24/machine-gun-how-hiram-maxims-rapid-fire-invention-changed-history/

Think about it…..that one invention changed everything.

Death Comes To Sinai

By now I am sure that most everyone has heard about the barbarous attack on religious practitioners at prayer….but in case you have not….

Friday the news came about the horrific attack on a mosque in Sinai…..killing people in prayer to include children……

Egypt on Saturday said an attack on a mosque by militants in the country’s troubled region of northern Sinai has killed 305 worshipers, including 27 children, a dramatic increase in the death toll previously announced, which was 235. A statement by the country’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said the attack Friday left another 128 people wounded, per the AP. It said the attackers, estimated at between 25 and 30, arrived at the mosque close to the small town of Bir al-Abd in five all-terrain vehicles and positioned themselves at the main door and the facility’s 12 windows before opening fire. They also torched seven cars parked outside the mosque, which belonged to worshipers inside. Witnesses said some of the attackers were masked. Those who were not sported heavy beards and long hair. The militants wore camouflaged pants and black T-shirts.

The chief prosecutor’s statement was the most detailed by authorities on the attack, the deadliest by Islamic extremists in Egypt’s modern history. The account it gave generally agreed with what witnesses told the AP on Saturday in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where some of the wounded are hospitalized. They spoke of horrific scenes during the approximately 20 minutes it took the militants to kill and maim worshipers, recalling how some jumped out of windows and children screamed in horror. “Everyone lay down on the floor and kept their heads down,” said one witness. “If you raised your head you get shot.” Friday’s attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.

I heard a couple journalist (Western) that called these victims as sufis, a sect of Islam….well it is NOT a sect it is traditional sunni beliefs only more introspective…..

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam, a school of practice that emphasizes the inward search for God and shuns materialism. It has produced some of the world’s most beloved literature, like the love poems of the 13th century Iranian jurist Rumi. Its modern-day adherents cherish tolerance and pluralism, qualities that in many religions unsettle extremists.

But Sufism, often known as Islamic mysticism, has come under violent attack in recent years. On Friday, militants stormed a Sufi mosque on the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 305 people in what officials are calling the worst terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history. The attack followed several assaults on Sufi shrines in Pakistan over the past year carried out by Sunni extremists. (The vast majority of Sufis are Sunni, though some are Shiite.)

We all here at IST send our condolences to the families of the victims…may God open his arms and embrace them….

Afghan Poppy Production

I have noticed that the opium production has hit a record high in Afghanistan….but it seems like it hits a record high every year….

Opium poppy cultivation has hit a record high in Afghanistan, according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics. The milestone is just the latest in a long string of failures associated with Washington’s 16-year war in Afghanistan and its even longer ;war on drugs.

The U.S. has spent more than $100 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002, and more than $8 billion on counternarcotics efforts alone. Yet while 750 hectares of poppy fields have been eradicated there this year, another 328,000 hectares were cultivated in 2017—up from 201,000 hectares in 2016.

According to the U.N., the average yield this year has been about 27 kilograms per hectare—up from 23 kilograms last year. And three formerly poppy-free provinces are once again hosting poppy fields.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/11/15/2017-a-record-year-for-opium-poppy-culti

And then I read a story about a US airstrike that hit a Taleban opium processing plant……

In a move Pentagon officials say is directed at Taliban revenue streams, US F-22 stealth fighters and B-52 Stratofortress bombers attacked what they’re describing as “opium labs” in the northern part of the Helmand Province.

A pair of buildings were destroyed in the attack, which Gen. John Nicholson claimed caused “minimal collateral damage.” Nicholson noted there was a third building they didn’t attack, claiming it was to avoid civilian casualties.

Mich of Helmand Province is dedicated to opium farming, which is why the Taliban has long been interested in controlling the area. This talk of labs and factories is new, however, and it’s not clear what these buildings were actually for.

It’s been a recurring problem for the Pentagon that claims of destroying important militant facilities in airstrikes don’t ultimately prove to be true, and with recent reports of strikes destroying “ISIS bomb factories” actually just leveling a pair of civilian homes, this new claim of labs may be taken with a grain of salt.

(antiwar.com)

Here is a novel idea….why not destroy the crop in the field and avoid any screw ups trying to take out a factory?

Is that too complicated for the master minds that run our Afghan desk?

Stand Off In Syria?

ISIS has been defeated in Syria, at least as a serious force for evil….there will always be the d/bags in small numbers…..the question is….what will the US do?

US military intentions in Syria have never been exactly transparent, but are becoming ever less so, as Pentagon officials loudly declare ISIS to have been “defeated” in the country, but insist that they intend to remain.

This could be a bit of an international problem…..for you see the US was NEVER invited to join in the fun of a war….we decided to just show up and play…..

This is a potential major legal issue, because Syria never authorized the US invasion in the first place. US officials always presented the authorization as being UN resolutions supporting the fight against ISIS, but that would no longer apply.

Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed out that Secretary of State Tillerson has repeatedly assured him that the “only” US goal in Syria is to fight ISIS. This is adding to Russian concerns about what the US is actually planning on doing next.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is trying to present this as keeping “ISIS 2.0” from coming into existence. While this is also the pretext for staying in Iraq, there is a major difference between a permanent deployment in Iraq that the US-backed government there supports, and trying to stay in Syria forever despite explicit opposition from the Syrian government.

(antiwar.com)

Can the US just decide where we would put troops without permission of the host country?

There is another potential problem looking with our decision…..you see Syria, a sovereign nation, has asked Iran for its help with all the rebel problems it is having….that will put them in direct conflict with US forces in Syria and Iran and Syria both are not happy with the US statement…..

With ISIS on the brink of defeat, Tehran and Damascus say the next phase of the conflict in Syria is for the “resistance forces” to confront the U.S. military and its local allies, particularly the Syrian Democratic Force (S.D.F.). They have dialed up anti-American propaganda and warn that a “direct confrontation” with the U.S. will be necessary if Washington decides to keep its troops in Syria for the long haul.

http://www.mei.edu/content/article/io/irgc-outlets-next-phase-syrian-war-expel-us

This situation could turn into a neocon dream come true….an excuse to directly go after Iran.

Now would the perfect time for the special envoy that Tillerson has already said is not needed.

This situation if not tempered could be the next big fight that some in Congress are looking for….we cannot let it happen.