Another American Captured

Another American has made the news…but this one is not an accused spy…..this is one is a terrorist…..this one is allied with ISIS (you remember them right?)……

Warren Christopher Clark, American, 34, has made news….he will get his few fleeting moments in the spotlight….

This person has been captured with other ISIS fighters in Syria…..

At least one American—a former substitute teacher from Texas—has been captured with ISIS in Syria, say Kurdish forces. The Kurds say they captured a second American as well, but the citizenship of that man is much iffier, reports the New York Times. In a news release, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they caught Warren Christopher Clark, 34, with ISIS fighters in northeast Syria. Clark graduated from the University of Houston and worked as a substitute teacher of English as a Second Language in Fort Bend before taking similar jobs in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, reports the Houston Chronicle. Clark has been in the news before, when investigators at George Washington University turned up a resume and cover letter he once sent to ISIS looking for a job.

“Dear Director, I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State,” Clark wrote in the letter, which was found inside an Iraqi house. “I believe that a successful teacher can understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses and is able to use that understanding to help students build on their understanding of the English language.” NBC News reported last year that Clark had converted to Islam around 2004 and become radicalized online. The Kurdish military group says it also captured an American named Zaid Abed al-Hamid, but it wasn’t clear whether Hamid was actually a US citizen. The US military has not confirmed the capture of either man yet, reports Stars and Stripes. If confirmed, they would be the fifth and sixth Americans captured on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, per the Times.

Will the CIA do its “thing” to wrangle intel out of this guy?

This dude is so screwed!  As he should be!  Can you say which way to the nearest “black site”?

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Thusly, He Spake!

FLASH!

Big Yawn!

Last night, just mere hours ago, our Dear Supreme Leader went before the people of the “boob tube” from the Oval Office (a first, btw) and told us all about the “crisis” on the border.

To begin with there is NO “crisis” on the border…..As usual he made little sense and spouted his usual LIES and bullsh*t……

President Trump called the situation at the US-Mexico border a “humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul” in a national address Tuesday night—but he stopped short of declaring a formal emergency in order to get a border wall built. In his brief speech, the president again called for $5.7 billion to build a wall, which he said would actually be a “steel barrier,” reports Politico. In a quick rebuttal, Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of “manufacturing a crisis” at the border, per the AP, and she and Chuck Schumer reiterated that Democrats would not pay for any such barrier. The president, meanwhile, maintained that the wall “would quickly pay for itself,” arguing that its cost would “indirectly” be covered by savings from the new trade pact with Mexico.

Trump also said that “our Southern border is a vast pipeline for illegal drugs,” and he again asserted that criminals crossing the border were endangering American lives. The impasse over funding for the proposed wall is at the center of the partial government shutdown, now in its 18th day. The president said the government “remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security,” per the Washington Post. Countered Pelosi: “The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.” The White House has been considering the possibility of Trump declaring a national emergency, a controversial move through which he would divert military money and resources to build a barrier without congressional approval.

Like I said…the usual BS…..a “crisis” of his tiny brain….but the analysis…..at least that darn “caravan” crisis has been averted (another of those things from a tiny mind).  Nothing new in his rhetoric…..same crap he spread 2 years ago….why was an Oval Office speech necessary?

President Trump delivered an address on the “crisis” at the US-Mexico border Tuesday night—and fact-checkers started work as soon as he got to the word “crisis.” The Washington Post, which calls Trump’s description of the situation “misleading and bleak,” reports that the president said there is a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the border, but there is no new security crisis at the border and apprehensions of people trying to cross illegally have fallen from a peak of around 1.6 million in 2000 to 400,000 in fiscal 2018. The Post notes, however, that there is indeed a growing humanitarian crisis caused by the increasing number of families with children attempting to cross the border. More:

  • “The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.” The New York Times call this remark false, noting that while Democrats are refusing to give Trump $5.7 billion for a border wall, they have offered $1.3 billion for other border security measures.
  • “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.” Politico calls this statement “misleading,” noting that most fentanyl sold in the US comes from China, and while most heroin in the US does come from Mexico, the vast majority of it is smuggled through existing border crossings, so a wall would not significantly improve the situation.
  • “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” The Post awards this claim Four Pinocchios on a scale of one to four and accuses Trump of misunderstanding the economics. of trade deficits. “Congress must still appropriate the money, and the trade agreement has not been ratified,” the Post adds.
  • “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.” The AP considers this claim dubious. Researchers have found that immigration both legal and illegal ends up delivering a boost to the economy, though Americans without high school degrees don’t tend to benefit.
  • Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats.” Schumer and other Democrats did indeed vote for a fence along 700 miles of border in 2006, though it was far less substantial than the barrier proposed by Trump, who has called the 2006 version a “nothing wall,” the Post reports.
  • “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” Politico reports that congressional Democrats have not requested a steel barrier—and have said the material used in the barrier does not affect the shutdown debate.
  • The AP notes that in their rebuttal, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of shutting down the government and “holding workers hostage”—but “it takes two sides to shut down the government.”

Kinda reminds me of the word ‘bullsh*t’ hidden under a fake sneeze……

I tried something different…..I took a sip of bourbon every time Trump used the word “Crisis”……and by 10 minutes into the speech (wait that was the length of the whole thing) I was already feeling tipsy….

This is a “crisis” that was generated in Trump’s tiny mind…there is NO crisis on the Southern border…

There was nothing substantive about the speech…..not even the opening was genuine……my analysis…..”Begging For Bucks”, the new Trump reality show in the making.

Down here, Gulf Coast, there is a fish that will bite on anything even an empty hook….we call them “Croakers” because of the sound they make when caught……these fish  remind me of the Trump supporters….they will bite on anything Trump feeds them….accurate info or a lie…..matters not to them.

Finally, the rebuttal delivered by Schumer/Pelsoi…..these two looked stiff and phony….they stood there making themselves appear like a famous painting, American Gothic”….I could not listen to their meanderings through the English language…..the Dems would have been better using AOC  for the rebuttal, the Left loves her and would be listening.

All in all another waste of time….but the bourbon was soothing…..

In The Land Of The Lost

Before I get into the meat of my post there is a bit of ranting I need to get off my chest…..stupid people!

People like those that go climb a mountain in Winter and get caught in a snow storm and need to be rescued…..but they were experienced….no they were stupid.

Okay more….remember those Americans in Iraq that went for a hike and winded up in Iran and we arrested as spies….stupid people…in a war zone and have no idea where they were…stupid.

Then there are those people that go to North Korea or Iran on “vacation”….seriously two rogue states and they wanted to go on a walk around…..stupid people!

And now for today’s rant…..it seems that a couple went into a war torn country like Burkina Faso for a walk around…..stupid!

Burkina Faso?

Image result for burkina faso images

Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Former President Blaise COMPAORE (1987-2014) resigned in late October 2014 following popular protests against his efforts to amend the constitution’s two-term presidential limit. An interim administration organized presidential and legislative elections – finally held in November 2015 – where Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president. The country experienced terrorist attacks in its capital in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and continues to mobilize resources to counter terrorist threats. Burkina Faso’s high population growth, recurring drought, pervasive and perennial food insecurity, and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.

Now for the two that disappeared……

It was Edith Blais’ “lifelong dream” to travel to Africa, her mother tells the CBC. But after the 34-year-old Quebec woman achieved that dream last year, she disappeared—she and her companion, 30-year-old Italian man Luca Tacchetto, have not been heard from since Dec. 15. They were in Burkina Faso at the time, and on Sunday, Canadian officials said their vanishing is being treated as a kidnapping, the CBC reports. The pair was planning to travel to the capital city, Ouagadougou, for a few days before heading to the neighboring West African nation of Togo to work on a restoration project for a month. But they never arrived. While many have reached out with tips via a Facebook page Blais’ family set up to help with the search, her mother says what’s “difficult” is that “there is nothing tangible” and it’s not clear what leads should be followed up on.

Blais’ mother says her daughter, a visual artist, led a bohemian lifestyle, traveling often since age 18; she and Tacchetto were in Europe before heading to Africa. “They weren’t worried about anything,” Blais sister tells CTV of the traveling companions. “They were having a really happy trip. She has been dreaming about traveling to Africa for all of her life.” But a former Canadian diplomat tells CTV he cautions against traveling in the troubled region, and the Canadian government has an active travel advisory for Burkina Faso advising against any non-essential travel. Of particular concern are its borders with Mali, Niger, Benin, and Togo due to threats including terrorism, banditry, and kidnapping. A state of emergency was declared in Burkina Faso last week following terrorist attacks in the north.

Did these two “rocket scientists” think about checking for travel advisories?  It is not hard…the internet has all the info they would have needed…..

Travel aboard information from the UK……

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the following parts of Burkina Faso: all areas of the country north of the town of Boulsa; areas within 40km of the western border with Mali and 40km within of the eastern border with Niger; the south-eastern provinces of Gourma, Kompienga, and Tapoa (including the W National Park and the Arly National Park and their contiguous reserves and hunting areas).

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burkina Faso, including the capital Ouagadougou.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burkina-faso

The US also…..

Reconsider travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The northern Sahel border region shared with Mali and Niger due to crime and terrorism.
  • The provinces of Kmoandjari, Tapoa, Kompienga, and Gourma in East Region due to crime and terrorism.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/burkina-faso-travel-advisory.html

These are the warnings from all the nations about travel in Burkina Faso…..https://www.reisewarnung.net/en/burkina-faso

All these warnings and these two went hey how dangerous could it be?  Let’s give it a go!

You Can’t Fix Stupid!

Does Anyone Remember Kobane?

Of course you do not….it is one of those stories that only matters as it is happening…..

Kobane, Syria…..a battle of 2014…….

Rojava Cantons Syrian Kurdistan

Northern Syria was the site of a major battle between the forces of “good” and ISIS….there was death, devastation and destruction…..in the end the forces for “good” won the day and ISIS was driven from the region of Northern Syria….thanks in part to the Kurds and the Turks……

If you would like to step back to those days……https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/city/kobane.html

All that is old news right?

Not really…..it seems that another old enemy of the West has stepped into the vacuum left by ISIS……our old “friend” al- Qaeda……

About a week of heavy rebel infighting in northern Syria’s Aleppo Province continues to rage, with the Turkish-backed rebel factions deploying growing numbers of reinforcements in the area to try to stave off gains by al-Qaeda’s Tahrir al-Sham faction.

Al-Qaeda reported last week that the Turkish rebels attacked them first. After that, al-Qaeda launched a major, growing counteroffensive, and has seized at least 20 towns and villages of the immediate area along the Aleppo-Idlib border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is also reporting some major losses being sustained in this fighting, saying the Noureddin al-Zinki having lost more than 100 fighters in fighting against al-Qaeda.

Russia reportedly carried out an airstrike against one of the seized towns, killing two civilians. While Turkey seems to be trying to get a handle on this situation, mounting al-Qaeda gains could force Syria and Russia to get more involved in rebel territory just to keep it from being unified under al-Qaeda forces.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that the jihadist are not through with Northern Syria just yet…..the lack of reporting about the doings of AQ would have one believe that they are no longer a problem….

An old enemy is not gone and is not forgotten….at least by IST.

Learn Stuff!

Closing Thought–07Jan19

It has been a really crappy holiday season for about 800,000 federal employees that have been without work because of this stupid shutdown……a loss of jobs for some metaphorical wall of $5 billion…..do not forget there is a pay raise for federal employees signed by Our Dear Supreme Leader…..

But not to worry our leaders are on the job and getting a pay raise to boot……

While 800,000 federal workers are currently either working without pay or furloughed and not entitled to retroactive pay, President Donald Trump’s top appointees as well as Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to get pay raises averaging about $10,000 per year on Saturday—and the shutdown is to blame for the glaring inequity.

An executive pay freeze, which caps the salaries of top government employees and has been in place since 2013, lapsed on Dec. 21 because Congress was unable to pass the spending bill in which it was included, leading to the government shutdown that’s now gone on for two weeks.

Without the salary caps in place, Pence is entitled to a $13,000 raise on Saturday, bringing his compensation to $243,500 per year. Cabinet secretaries will be given raises of about $11,000, bringing their pay to $210,000, while their deputies and other top agency administrators will be given significant raises as well.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/04/800000-public-employees-facing-pay-freeze-and-shutdown-pence-and-other-top-trump

Looks like a really shitty year for federal employees shaping up for the new year….

I wrote this as I got the news so after this draft was written the overlords made a decision about their pay raise…..

Federal agencies have been directed to hold off enacting pay raises for top administration officials during a government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay, the AP reports. The guidance was issued Friday in a memo from Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management. The raises were the result of a pay freeze for top federal officials, including the vice president and cabinet secretaries, that was on the verge of expiring because of the shutdown. In the memo, Weichert writes, “In the current absence of Congressional guidance,” OPM “believes it would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate until appropriations legislation is enacted that would clarify the status of the freeze.”

Not out of the kindness of their hearts…it is a PR stunt to make them seem they care…..it became public knowledge they had to look as if they were unaware.

New Years Day News–2019

Before I shut it down for the day…..let us look into the year, 2019…..

First, you heard that GM was shutting down plants and laying off people, right?  Well 2019 will see the end of several models of cars that have become sort of iconic….

  • Cadillac ATS
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Cadillac XTS
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Ford C-Max
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Taurus
  • Honda CR-Z
  • Hyundai Azera
  • Nissan Juke
  • Toyota Prius V
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Volkswagen Touareg

See what other cars are leaving the production line here. (The “surprise” among GM’s discontinued vehicles.)

I own a Ford Focus and it is a great car it has been reliable for 15 years…..but I guess they are not profitable in the SUV generations….I hate fads and trends.

Since I am a international relations geek there are some conflicts that need watching so that the US will not be drawn in (some we are already ass deep)……

Instruments of collective action, such as the UN Security Council, are paralysed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged.

Nostalgia can be deceptive. Too fond a portrayal of the era of Western hegemony would be misleading. Iraq’s chemical weapons use against Iran in the 1980s; the 1990s bloodletting in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia; the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Sri Lanka’s brutal 2009 campaign against the Tamils; and the collapse of Libya and South Sudan: all these happened at a time of – in some cases because of – U.S. dominance and a reasonably coherent West. A liberal and nominally rules-based order hardly stopped those setting the rules from discarding them when they saw fit. The erosion of Western influence, in short, looks different from Moscow, Beijing, and the developing world than it does from Brussels, London, or Washington.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/global/10-conflicts-watch-2019

This will be overlooked I fear….but not to worry someone will pick up the coverage when it is too late to stop it.

Every American knows that National Security is primary to any president or Congress…..these are the 5 NatSec concerns for 2019…..

Trouble with Russia and China top the list.

Winston Churchill once wisecracked that the politician’s job is to predict what will happen—then explain why it didn’t. More to the point, George Orwell mocked “the unsinkable Military Expert” who keeps venturing strong predictions about martial affairs, keeps getting forecasts wrong, and keeps drawing “fat salaries” despite repeated failures as a soothsayer. Be humble when prophesying—lest the ghosts of wars past appear before you and terrify you!

In that spirit of humility, my Five National Security Predictions for 2019:

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/12/31/5_big_national_security_predictions_for_2019_114068.html

2019 will be an interesting year but more so on the international stage than any other…..we will be watching and reporting….

**********A parting thought……2019–the Dems take control of the House…and now DEFICITS will matter.*********

One more thing……

Have a day and a good day of rest and hangover remedies…..

A Smile To Die For!

Good Morning on this Saturday after the Christmas excitement….now we  wait for the New Years Party…..and dread the day after……

I was dragged along for a shopping spree after the holiday….no I was not going without protest but as usual my better half won that argument….

Any way we were in this major store and a young lady was standing at a mirror in the “Beauty” department hold  Kleenex next to her mouth and smiling…..holy crap!  I realize she was doing that thing where self-centered little turds are comparing their tooth color to that of a tissue (the tissue test)…..it was a source of amusement for me….I was chastised for enjoying others stupidity….and then I read something that I wish I had when this poor young lady was so concerned…..

As usual I attempt to be an FYI blog on the weekends….trying to get away from the mind numbing news of the week….on that note…..

We Americans are worshipers of youth and beauty……we have our fad diets, our addiction to exercise machines that become clothes racks after a couple of months, always looking for that magic pill to turn us into that perfect image of youth and beauty……one of the biggest markets is that of dental care…….

OMG!  The products that are now available……if you are not sure which one you need then it will take an hour or more to go through the retail offerings to find that special product.

There is a new report about something new on the horizon….

In a recent study, researchers find a new product can use proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities.

The new biogenic dental products can—in theory—rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and uncomfortable treatments.

Cavities are more than just a nuisance. Dental cavities affect nearly every age group and are accompanied by serious health concerns, according to the World Health Organization.

Additionally, direct and indirect costs of treating dental cavities and related diseases are a huge economic burden for people and health care systems.

Although tooth decay is relatively harmless in its earliest stages, once the cavity progresses through the tooth’s enamel, serious health concerns arise.

https://knowridge.com/2018/12/new-material-could-rebuild-teeth-and-cure-cavities/

I am an old fart…..so trying to look younger or more beautiful is just not that damn important anymore…..but that is me.

Now time for some more rest and some french bread, cheese and OJ….OJ?  Yep cannot decide which wine I want on this day….so go with OJ for now…..hope all have a good day and I will be back for more stuff.