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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain seeks military defense $$ for allies on: May 29, 2015, 10:27:29 PM
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Husband and Wife no more on: May 29, 2015, 10:07:26 PM
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Would defeating ISIS makes things worse? on: May 29, 2015, 09:52:30 PM*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicksRS5%2F29
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israeli TV show hit for both Israelis and Palestinians on: May 29, 2015, 09:50:29 PM*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicksRS5%2F29
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Human directed evolution on: May 29, 2015, 09:43:48 PM
Building with Biology
Several of my newsletters in the last few weeks have reported on a recent trip to California during which I visited Google, Facebook, and Udacity--remarkable companies undertaking projects with the potential to change the world. But of all the fascinating experiences on the trip, the best might have been the visit to my friend Lynn Rothschild’s lab at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
Lynn and her students are developing projects that blend biology and technology in mind-bending ways. As a synthetic biologist and astrobiologist, Lynn studies the building blocks of life. She thinks both about where life might exist on other planets--the clouds of Venus, for instance--and about new ways to assemble those building blocks here on Earth. The latter effort holds amazing potential for practical applications, discoveries that could change our lives and the materials we encounter every day.
Lynn coaches the Stanford-Brown team in the international iGEM challenge, a competition for students to create "bio-bricks"--useful DNA sequences that can be inserted into cells to give them certain desirable properties, like water resistance or tolerance to high temperatures. The idea is that bio-bricks, like a kind of DNA LEGOs, could be assembled into basic living organisms or materials that could be useful to humans.
One example might be engineering a cell that generates cotton fibers. Assemble the right combination of DNA, and there could be a way to produce whole pieces of cloth in a factory setting (rather than growing cotton it in a field and weaving it on a loom. Another idea--the team's 2013 entry--is BioWires, which embeds individual atoms of silver into strands of DNA, resulting in nanowires that conduct electricity.
In 2012, Lynn's team took genetic features from a variety of organisms in harsh places on Earth--life surviving in extreme cold, or low oxygen, or with high radiation, or almost no water--and assembled them into one tough bacteria that potentially could survive on Mars. They dubbed it the “Hell Cell”. Those features, in theory, could be paired with still more genetic features--the thread production, for instance--and sent to Mars to replicate and grow ahead of a human mission to the planet.
Last year, Lynn challenged the team to solve a problem her NASA colleagues had experienced here on Earth--losing scientific sensing equipment in delicate environments, potentially polluting them. Lynn's suggestion to her students was to build a biodegradable drone. The team, which in 2014 included Spelman College, proved up to the challenge: they used a dried fungus for the body instead of plastic, and added proteins from wasp saliva to make it waterproof. The team believes they'll eventually be able to print the circuitry right onto the body in silver, and then find ways to power biological motors.
The team’s project this year is still a secret, but it’s even more intricate.
It was a privilege to see the pioneering work Lynn and her students are doing in the lab, with applications from medicine to materials. It was a great reminder after visiting three of Silicon Valley’s most innovative technology companies that a better future will come not just through breakthroughs in computing and communication, but through advances in biology as well.
Your Friend,
6  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Orange County, CA: 250 DAs taken off the case on: May 29, 2015, 09:26:27 PM
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / George Zimmerman loses it on: May 29, 2015, 01:23:48 PM
second post!George-Zimmerman-arrested-for-public-nudity-screaming-the-N-word-and-wielding-a-knife/cmbz/5565d3f90cf24874175fc1f2
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dennis Hastert on: May 29, 2015, 11:24:49 AM
The Most Ominous Opening to a Scandal in a Long Time

Yeesh. We don’t know what Dennis Hastert did . . .

According to the indictment, the former House Speaker agreed to pay $3.5 million in 2010 to a person identified only as “Individual ‘A,” in an effort to “compensate and conceal” Hastert’s “prior misconduct.”

The indictment doesn’t reveal details of the misconduct, but it does note the two have known each other for “most of Individual A’s life” and that the individual is from the same Illinois town where from 1965 to 1981 “Hastert was a high school teacher and ‎wrestling coach.”

To conceal the relationship, prosecutors allege that Hastert, over a four year period, withdrew a total of $1.7 million from a number of his personal bank accounts to give to Individual A.  According to the indictment, at first, he took out large amounts -- “$50,000 withdrawals of cash” on 15 occasions. But when “bank representatives questioned” him in 2012, “Hastert began withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000” because banks are required by federal law to report anything larger.
In 2014 the FBI questioned Hastert about his withdrawals, and he allegedly lied, telling agents “Yeah... I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” explaining that he did not trust the banking system.

. . . but whatever Hastert did, we can all take a guess at what kind of a secret is so bad that it’s worth paying $3.5 million for and sufficiently damaging that it would destroy the life of a 73-year-old man long removed from political office and enjoying a quiet, lucrative life as a lobbyist. The fact that the indictment pointed out the alleged blackmailer’s connection to where Hastert was a high-school teacher and coach sure seems . . . particular.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury does not rattle easily ;-) on: May 29, 2015, 11:10:20 AM
Real GDP was Revised to a -0.7% Annual Rate in Q1 To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 5/29/2015

Real GDP was revised to a -0.7% annual rate in Q1 from a prior estimate of +0.2%. The consensus expected -0.9%.

The largest downward revisions were for net exports and inventories. Business investment in equipment and home building were revised higher.

The largest positive contribution to the real GDP growth rate in Q1 was personal consumption. The weakest component, by far, was net exports.

The GDP price index was unrevised at a -0.1% annual rate. Nominal GDP growth – real GDP plus inflation – was revised down to a -0.9% annual rate from a prior estimate of 0.1%.

Implications: Look out for the Pouting Pundits of Pessimism calling for a recession. Today’s GDP report showed contraction, but the report is for Q1, the last days of which ended two months ago, so it’s a “rearview mirror” picture of the economy and very likely a distorted one. Real GDP growth was revised down to a -0.7% annual rate from an original estimate of +0.2%. But as we have always argued, there were three main temporary culprits behind the Q1 weakness: plummeting energy prices, bad weather, and West Coast port strikes – all of which have dissipated. Also, part of the downward revision was due to lower inventories, which leaves more room for growth in future quarters. There also seems to be a fourth factor that held down growth in Q1 and it has nothing to do with actual output, but how the government seasonally adjusts the data. A study from the Federal Reserve shows that the government hasn’t been adjusting the data correctly based on the time of year. In turn, the wrong adjustments have meant growth looks artificially low in the first quarter, and artificially high in other quarters. The average for the year is the same, but it should be spread out more evenly than the government data now show. Luckily, the government is aware of the problem and will release new seasonal adjustment methods for GDP in late July. This puts the Fed in an interesting place. If the data are really better than what the government now says, and if the economic data continue to show a pick-up in activity, a June rate hike does not seem like much of a stretch. Today’s report also provided the first glimpse at overall corporate profits, and just like GDP, the headline was ugly. Corporate profits fell 5.9% in Q1, but the drop in both real GDP and profits resembles what happened in the first quarter of last year, after which profits rebounded sharply. Keep in mind that despite the drop in Q1, corporate profits are still up 3.7% from a year ago. In other news yesterday, pending home sales (contracts on existing homes) increased 3.4% in April, hitting a nine-year high. This report suggests existing home sales, which are counted at closing, will show a solid gain in May. Also yesterday, initial claims increased 7,000 last week to 282,000 and continuing claims increased 11,000 to 2.22 million. Plugging these figures into our payroll models suggests a nonfarm gain of 234,000 in May. (The forecast will change as we get more data in the next week on claims, the ADP index, and consumer spending.)
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / This is worth remembering too on: May 29, 2015, 10:27:42 AM
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ny Times vs. Erdogan of Turkey on: May 28, 2015, 09:47:53 PM
Erdogan vs. the New York Times, and Democracy
by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
May 28, 2015
 For 13 years, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has worked to impose his Islamist vision on Turkey's proud secular democracy, reshaping the country into a neo-Ottoman republic. His success can be credited in no small measure to his manipulation and intimidation of the press, and the occasional censorship of social media and the Internet overall. Now, in a gesture that betrays either Islamist imperialism, sheer ignorance of Western democracy, or both, Turkey's president and former prime minister is expanding his reach, raising his fist – and, he hopes, his influence – at the West, using the New York Times as his target.

Infuriated by a "shameless" May 23 Times editorial that called him "increasingly hostile to truth-telling" and accused him of "brute manipulation of the political process" in the upcoming June 7 elections, Erdogan accused the paper of "overstepping the limits of freedom" and "meddling in Turkish politics." Speaking in Istanbul on Monday, the Turkish leader called on the Times to "know its place," and alleged that if the paper were to criticize U.S. leaders, those leaders "would immediately do what is necessary" – an ominous suggestion that spotlights his own way of dealing with journalists who say things he doesn't like: he puts them in prison, often on charges of "terrorism." In 2013, the Committee to Protect Journalists cited Turkey as the leading imprisoner of journalists for the second year in a row. The release of eight of those journalists in 2014 put the country in second place, but signs are strong that 2015 will see the country take the lead again.

Indeed, only days after his rant against the Times, Erdogan took revenge on former Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, revoking his promise to grant him "honorary citizenship" and instead calling him "an enemy of our government and of our country." That change of heart appears to have come when someone on the president's staff uncovered a Jan. 4 article Kinzer penned for the Boston Globe, in which he observed, "Once seen as a skilled modernizer, [Erdoğan] now sits in a 1,000-room palace denouncing the European Union, decreeing the arrest of journalists, and ranting against short skirts and birth control."

This is hardly the first time Erdogan has wrestled with the "Gray Lady." In 2014, the then-prime minister refuted the Times' report that Turkey had allowed weapons to flow into Syria to aid ISIS. Turkey, he insisted, "is against terrorism of all kinds, indiscriminately." It was an ironic statement at best, coming from a man with Muslim Brotherhood sympathies who is also the leader of a country that allegedly serves as a Hamas headquarters. It is also worth noting that while Erdogan called Kinzer an "enemy of the government," he openly welcomed members of the Brotherhood expelled from Egypt after the fall of Mohamed Morsi.

But it wasn't just the article Erdogan found problematic, he also criticized the Times' use of a photograph of him exiting a mosque, claiming it suggested that he and the mosque were responsible for recruiting jihadists for ISIS. The paper subsequently apologized for the image, saying it was "published in error." That led Erdogan to crow locally that he had triumphed over the Times – and so, he meant to suggest, over America. Similarly, in the aftermath of the latest Times conflict, he warned that the Times no longer rules Turkey: "They are used to ruling the other side of the world from 10,000-15,000 kilometers' distance," he declared. "But there is no such Turkey. There is no more old Turkey. There is a new Turkey."

It was a typical Erdogan gesture: he often seeks that kind of triumph – not only over America, but over the entire world. He has famously stated that Muslims, not Columbus, discovered America, a position he defended with the assertions that "as the president of my country, I cannot accept that our civilization is inferior to other civilizations," and that "Western sources shouldn't be believed as if they are sacred texts."

At speeches in Europe, he has exhorted Turkish-Europeans to resist assimilation. "Assimilation is a crime against humanity," he told an international audience of 20,000 who attended his 2008 speech in Cologne, Germany. And in 2013, in a highly controversial move, he demanded that the Dutch government place Turkish-Dutch foster children only in Muslim homes – despite the fact that there are few Muslim families offering to house foster children.

More recently, the Islamist party he founded in 2001, the Justice Development Party (AKP), went so far as to proclaim that "God is on our side" in the upcoming parliamentary elections – a statement that in itself defies the deepest principles of a secular, democratic republic. It is a position also in keeping with Erdogan's neo-Ottoman agenda, which to date has included the institution of mandatory religion classes and lessons in Arabic-Ottoman script in all Turkish schools. (Kemal Ataturk banned Ottoman script with the founding of the Turkish Republic, replacing it with a Latin alphabet aimed at Westernizing Turkey, turning it away from its Islamic and Arab history.)

Much about Erdogan's vision, in fact, can be read into this reinstatement of Ottoman Turkish; as the Washington Post observed, his opponents have taken the move "as a sign of the creeping Islamization of Turkey's resolutely secular society that has taken place under Erdogan's watch. Bans on headscarves and veils have been lifted by Erdogan. The number of students studying in state-run religious seminaries has grown from 63,000 in 2002, when Erdogan first came to power, to nearly 1 million today – a statistic the Turkish president celebrates." Not for nothing did Erdogan promise early in his administration to build "a new religious youth."

From all of this emerges a confused, somewhat bizarre understanding of the role of the written word, be it in journalism or religious text, and a confusion between the two. It is forbidden to criticize Mohammed, for instance, but it is equally forbidden, evidently, to criticize Turkey's president (as it is the leaders of most, if not all, Muslim countries).

Indeed, a 16-year-old schoolboy was arrested last December on charges of insulting the president over comments defending secularism and alleging government corruption. In an Islamist society – that of political Islam – there is no distinction between Islam and the state: to criticize one is tantamount to criticizing the other.

In the same way, Erdogan's aim of creating a "new Turkey" that restores the Ottoman Empire and is more powerful than America or Europe, is akin to the ideal of a world Caliphate – a world under Islam. Already it is plain that, as he gradually erodes the legacy of a secular Turkey, increasingly he paves the way for the sharia state he has reportedly advocated in the past. What he may not realize is that the harder he tries to silence these truths, the clearer he makes them.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Heh heh on: May 28, 2015, 09:44:20 PM
13  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Interview: Guro Crafty on the Machado Brothers on: May 28, 2015, 09:18:50 PM
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Standards to be lowered so women can make it? on: May 28, 2015, 09:17:45 PM
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: TPP is not about Trade, it is about surrendering US sovereignty on: May 28, 2015, 05:00:58 PM
TPP Not About Trade
Published on on May 26, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has nothing to do with trade.

While it officially embraces 11 countries plus the U.S., 76 percent of our trade with these nations is with Mexico and Canada, already covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Any export growth is likely to have been already covered by NAFTA, making the TPP irrelevant to our trade relations.

The TPP is nothing but an effort by the globalists to circumvent American sovereignty, transferring a host of issues from the control of the U.S. Congress and the various state legislatures to international trade courts.

Start with the fact that nobody knows what is in the TPP. President Obama will not let anyone see it. Indeed, many of the provisions are said to be aspirational, setting policy goals and leaving it to the trade courts to sort out. Any assurance that the treaty curbs currency manipulation is fanciful. The courts can interpret it any way they want. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund now does so, preventing any effort to restrict Chinese manipulation, despite overwhelming evidence that it is happening.

But the main impact of the TPP is to create legal obstacles in the way of American attempts to regulate access to our market.

Does American or state law restrict genetically modified food? The TPP won't permit it.

Does the U.S. Congress impose limitations on the "free flow of labor" between America and Mexico? The TPP can stop it.

Will Congress refuse to take action to restrict greenhouse gas emissions? Lawmakers can be required to under the environmental provisions of the TPP.

Obama has labored long and hard to strip Congress of its authority over immigration, emissions and the environment, food regulations and energy policy. Congress, in turn, has worked to take away state power over insurance regulation and banking. Now comes the coup de grâce: a treaty taking many of these powers away from the United States -- executive and legislative branches -- and state government.

The long-term goal of the globalists is an international rule of law unaccompanied by democracy. Because there is no global forum for the manifestation of worldwide popular will, this formula leads to rule by bureaucrats: those who know best. It is government by a new aristocracy of civil servants and technicians.

Why are they so eager to pre-empt the power of elected bodies? Steeped in the traditions of opposition to democracy, they regard the will of the people as unpredictable and subject to demagoguery. The French and the British have always used their civil service to insulate their countries from the ravages of ambitious populist politicians. Germany has a well-deserved suspicion of popular sovereignty, and Japan has always been ruled by its bureaucracy.

Multinational corporations find bureaucrats easy to control, subject as they are to the influences of the revolving door between regulators and those they regulate. Coming from industry or planning to return there, the supposedly disinterested bureaucrats are anything but impartial.

What is incomprehensible is why normally trustworthy Republican senators and congressmen are falling in line behind Obama. Hasn't this president stripped our nation of enough power? Has he not tipped the system of checks and balances all out of kilter? Are we to trust him with more power? Are the Republicans to vote him more power?

Under fast-track authority he can negotiate anything he wants, put it in a treaty, jam it through Congress and make it the law of the land, permanently. Don't Republicans see what they are doing in handing him this kind of power?

In the hands of other presidents, fast-track made sense. Before the development of the World Trade Organization, free trade deals were the only way to stop a world of tariffs and prosperity-killing regulations. But now, the era of tariffs is over, and trade deals are really about sovereignty and power.

Don't hand over more of American sovereignty, particularly under this president!
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton Foundation slush funded Sid Blumenthal on: May 28, 2015, 04:32:13 PM
Clinton Foundation Used By Hillary To Secretly Pay Political Hitman And Amateur Spy, Sid Blumenthal
Published on on May 28, 2015
What was Sidney Blumenthal hired to do for his $120,000 a year full-time salary at the Clinton Foundation during the four years that Hillary was Secretary of State? Was he hired to provide off-the-shelf intelligence to Hillary? And to trash her critics and possible opponents?

That's what it looks like.

Blumenthal has always been Hillary's expert on the vast right wing conspiracy and he is superb at stoking her paranoia and investigating and attacking anyone who threatens the Clinton orbit. He's the one that spread the groundless rumor, conceived by Hillary, that Monica Lewinsky was an unwelcome and unstable stalker of an innocent president. Anything for Hillary.

We know that Sidney sent 20 dense emails chock full of cloak and dagger "intel" about Libya and Algeria to the Secretary of State. We also know that Hillary took Sid's information and advice seriously and circulated his emails to her top aides in the State Department (after scrubbing Sid's name).

There's something else we know: Sidney had absolutely no experience in foreign affairs and the source of his information was, in part, a party with a financial interest in Libya.

What we didn't know was that shortly after the Obama Administration refused to allow Hillary to hire Sidney, he landed on the Clinton Foundation payroll -- as a full-time employee with a big salary and benefits. After Hillary left the State Department, Sidney was demoted to a consultant -- he kept his salary but the benefits were cut. It was only a few months ago -- in March -- that he left the Clinton Foundation. Right about the time that his emails surfaced.

At the same time that he worked full-time at the Foundation, Sidney also worked for Media Matters -- the aggressive pro-Hillary group headed by the wacky David Brock. In addition, Sidney was a consultant to a pro-Hillary PAC. He was a busy man -- consumed with defending Hillary.

So Sidney was at Hillary's full disposal while she was Secretary of State. Sidney's claims that he sent the emails as a "private citizen" don't sound too good. He may have been a private citizen, but he was paid by the Clintons.

So maybe his "unsolicited" advice on Libya wasn't so unsolicited after all.

When Hillary was asked about Sidney's emails, she never mentioned his employment at the Clinton Foundation. Here's what she said: "We've been friends for a long time," said Clinton during an event in Iowa. "He sent me emails I passed on in some instances. That's part of the give and take...I'm going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are."

Once again, Clinton is skirting the truth. Initially, when Blumenthal's connection to the Clinton Foundation was made public, a spokesman said that he helped with "research" and "planning a commemorative event."

Now that we know that he was a full-time employee, the Clinton Foundation is now saying that Sidney worked on President Clinton's "legacy."

It's now obvious that Sidney was there to help Hillary in her political work. That's not what the Clinton Foundation is supposed to be doing.

Blumenthal has been subpoenaed by the Benghazi Committee. Here's one question it should ask: Did Sidney Blumenthal do any work -- with Media Matters, for example, -- to counter criticisms of Hillary's role in Benghazi?

ONE MORE QUESTION: What other political activities were funded by the Clinton Foundation?
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: May 28, 2015, 03:10:19 PM
Yes  grin
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Iranian power is not inevitable on: May 28, 2015, 11:50:19 AM
As always, Stratfor is quite intelligent but my mind boggles at the absence of consideration of the nuclear issue, world-wide Islamic Fascism, etc.

 Iranian Power Is Not Inevitable
Global Affairs
May 27, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
Text Size

By Ian Morris

Of all the upheavals in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran's growing regional power might turn out to be the one with the greatest geopolitical effects.

Some governments see Iranian preeminence as inevitable, leading them to react by leaning toward Tehran. Others are doing just the opposite, talking darkly of preemptive strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities or plunging into a Middle Eastern arms race. "Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too," former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal said just a few weeks ago. But in some ways the most radical move of all has been the willingness of the Great Satan to consider partially normalizing relations with a founder member of the Axis of Evil. "If it evolves into something solid," George Friedman observed of the diplomatic efforts in his Geopolitical Diary on April 2, "then we can look at this as the day the United States kicked over the table and started a new game."

Everything seems to be up in the air, but — as is so often the case — taking a long-term perspective can help us make sense of the shifting strategic landscape.

Iran's Historical Role

Those who see Iranian regional hegemony as inevitable often appeal to history. Iran, they argue, has always held such a position unless prevented by exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances prevailed in the 20th century, they suggest, but are now passing away, and so Iran is bound to regain its dominance the Middle East.

This argument, however, is not entirely correct. In the 5,500 years since cities and organized governments first appeared, Iran has been a major Middle Eastern power for less than one-third of that time. Although Susa, located in the modern Khuzestan province of southwestern Iran, arose as one of the first proper states in the region around 3500 B.C., Iran still remained peripheral for many centuries. That began to change in 2004 B.C., when Elamites, whose capital city was at Susa, raided Mesopotamia and sacked Ur, then the greatest city in the world. By the 12th century B.C., Elam had become a significant player in regional politics, but it was not until the 7th century B.C. that Iran really took center stage.

In 612 B.C., the Medes of northwestern Iran helped overthrow the Assyrian Empire; less than 70 years later, another group from the Khuzestan region, the Achaemenid Persians, overthrew the Medes in turn. The Persians went on to create an empire that stretched from India to Greece, the largest the world had yet seen. Iran remained a major power for the next 1,200 years, until the Arabs destroyed the Sassanid Persian Empire in A.D. 651. After that, a fragmented Iran was subordinate to Egyptian, Iraqi and Turkic powers for nearly a millennium, until the Shiite Safavid dynasty — which reigned from the 16th to the mid-18th century — challenged the Sunni Ottoman Turks for supremacy. By the end of the 18th century, however, Iran had once again been eclipsed. The 19th and 20th centuries were times of retreat and humiliation for Iran's rulers, with at best a partial revival under the Pahlavis in the 1960s and 70s.

There is nothing inevitable about Iranian dominance. Even if we look at Middle Eastern history in the most pro-Iranian manner, starting the story with the rise of the Achaemenid Persian Empire in 550 B.C., Iran has only been one of the Middle East's dominant powers 60 percent of the time. The other 40 percent observed hegemons based farther West, or no regional hegemon at all. This calendrical arithmetic suggests that, while it is perfectly plausible that Iran might re-emerge as a regional power in the 21st century, Iranian dominance is by no means the default setting of the Middle East.

Long-term history, then, shows that there are no timeless geostrategic forces that locked Iranian power into place thousands of years ago. But it can do more: It can also explain what conditions brought the last great era of Iranian hegemony to an end in the 18th century and whether these conditions will continue to apply in the 21st century.

In 1904, when Iran was at its weakest, the geographer and explorer Halford Mackinder argued in an address to London's Royal Geographical Society that the key to global strategy lay in the interactions between three broad regions of Eurasia. Mackinder, I think, was largely right, and thanks to another century of archaeological and historical study, we can now expand his insights into a general theory of geopolitics that says much about Iran's situation.
Inner vs. Outer Rims

In the last 10,000 years, the world's most developed societies have almost always been in the band of latitudes that Mackinder called Eurasia's "inner rim," running from the Mediterranean to China. Farming was invented in this area, with the Middle East leading the way around 9500 B.C. and the rest of the inner rim following its example over the next several thousand years. Along with farming came cities and governments, which most parts of the inner rim had developed by 500 B.C.  Two hundred and fifty years later, the world's first multiethnic empires comprising tens of millions of subjects controlled most of the inner rim.

Because ancient empires could not project their power very far, at any one time the inner rim tended to have four or five regional hegemons, jostling with each other but rarely extending their power into what Mackinder called Eurasia's "outer rim," facing toward the oceans, or its "heartland," far from the seas. However, because Eurasia's inner rim held 75 percent of the world's population and 90 percent of its wealth, its imperial rivalries became the most significant issues in global geopolitics.

The planet's balance of power began to change around 1000 B.C., when pastoral nomads on the steppes — the arid, treeless grasslands running from Manchuria to Hungary — first bred horses able to carry riders for long distances. These horsemen in the Eurasian heartland, far more mobile than the armies of the inner rim empires, were able to plunder almost at will and then gallop away before the imperial infantry could respond.

For the next 2,500 years, Eurasian history was dominated by a struggle between predators from the heartland — Scythians, Huns, Turks and Mongols, to name just a few — and the empires of the inner rim. China and Iran, which had relatively open frontiers along the steppes, were the regions most exposed to devastation, and their ruling dynasties were regularly overthrown by invaders. India and Europe, shielded by mountains and forests, generally suffered less.

The contest between the inner rim and the heartland was eventually overtaken by a new strategic struggle, which pitted the inner rim against the outer, after A.D. 1500. Mackinder labeled this new situation, which still prevailed in his own day, "the Columbian epoch." The great shift was driven by two inventions, both of them pioneered in China but quickly adopted and adapted all along the inner rim. When the new inventions reached Europe, they merged to form a world-conquering package.

The first invention was the gun, which military men gradually improved upon until muskets could be fired fast enough to counter nomadic archers on horseback. In 1500, steppe cavalry could still normally defeat volleying infantry; in 1600, they could sometimes win the same victories. But by 1700, they hardly ever could. After that, riders from the heartland no longer seriously threatened the inner rim.

The second invention was the oceangoing ship, which could fairly reliably sail for thousands of miles. These ships transformed the balance between the inner and outer rims just as decisively as the gun had altered the dynamic between the inner rim and the heartland. Armed with the new ships and guns, outer rim states could now project power farther and strike harder than any civilization before. The Columbian epoch had arrived.

Thanks to their long coastlines, India and the western parts of the Ottoman Empire were the most exposed to outer rim sailors and their guns, while distance and difficulty of access made China and Iran less vulnerable. By 1600, Western Europeans had overrun much of the Americas, built dozens of fortresses around the shores of the Indian Ocean and penetrated the Pacific. This, however, was just the beginning. In the 1750s, they began conquering India, and by the 1850s, Western Europeans and their former colonists in North America directly or indirectly controlled almost all territory from Turkey to Japan. The outer rim had overwhelmed the inner rim, turning the 19th century into an age of catastrophe for these ancient lands. By 1900 British troops had even pushed right through the inner rim and were playing a "Great Game" against Russia for control of the heartland.

But during these very years, right around the time Mackinder was lecturing in London, the pendulum began swinging back. The outer rim's financial, military and technological advantages over the inner rim remained enormous, but not enormous enough to sustain 19th-century levels of inequality. As the 20th century went on, inner rim nations slowly caught up with the outer rim as they underwent their own industrial revolutions. In 1916, when he was leading Turkish troops to defend Iraq against a largely Indian army fighting for Britain, the German general Wilhelm Leopold Colmar von der Goltz (known to the Turks as Goltz Pasha) could already prophesy that "the hallmark of the 20th century must be the revolution of the colored races against the colonial imperialism of Europe."
Iran in a Post-Columbian World

By 1950, outer rim power, now wielded more by Americans than by Europeans, was already being challenged in much of the inner rim, and since the beginning of the new millennium, this trend has only become clearer. Many forecasters suspect that by 2050 the Columbian epoch will be over: China and India will be the world's greatest powers, and the global strategic balance will once again look like it did before Columbus.

This story seems to point toward two conclusions. First, the Columbian epoch will prove to have been a brief phase that is already drawing to a close. Outer rim societies already relate to China, India, and Japan as peers, and they will very probably have to cultivate a similar relationship with Iran within the next few decades.

Second, despite all the local variations, the Columbian epoch unfolded in broadly similar ways all along the inner rim. Everywhere, the core problem in the 18th and 19th centuries was the inability of the inner rim's pre-modern imperial structures to respond to the energies of the modern societies that had taken shape in Europe and America. Only after going through a painful transition to modernity, liberalizing their economies and engaging with the outer rim's markets could inner rim societies re-establish themselves as regional powers.

India represents one extreme on the spectrum of experiences. Europeans exploited India's open coasts to establish numerous beachheads in the 16th and 17th centuries, and when dynastic chaos weakened the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, Britain's East India Company established financial dominance and, later, military control. In 1951, four years after winning independence, India's literacy rate was still just 16 percent, and the average person's life expectancy at birth was just 32 years. Only in the 1990s did India begin liberalizing its economy, integrating its markets with those of the outer rim and emerging as a true regional power.

Japan falls at the other end of the spectrum. Although distance made it one of the last Asian states to crumble under the outer rim's power, in the first few years after the arrival of U.S. Naval Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 and the opening of Japan to the West, the country seemed to be following the Indian path. Tokugawa rule collapsed into civil war, and European and American financiers and military advisers began moving in. However, as early as the 1870s, a new Japanese elite had seized control of its own affairs, using indigenous rather than outer rim capital to finance industrialization, strongly resisting territorial partition and liberalizing its economy. It emerged as a regional power in the 1890s.

Iran does not fall at either of these extremes, and in fact, its experience of the Columbian epoch more closely resembles that of China. Less exposed to the outer rim than India, but more exposed than Japan, China suffered devastating defeats at British hands in the 1840s. Qing dynasty governance disintegrated amid civil wars, and corrupt rulers squandered huge Western loans. Westerners reacted by partitioning the country and taking over parts of its government's functions. Mao's victory in 1949 ushered in a revolutionary era in which China pulled sharply away from the outer rim, only to begin leaning back toward the United States in 1972. Economic liberalization took off in the 1980s, and by 2000 China was once again a regional power.

Iran's sheltered coastline meant that it, too, enjoyed more protection from the outer rim than India, but less than Japan. It had its own military disaster at British hands in 1857, and, following the Chinese path, its Qajar dynasty dissolved into weak and ineffective rule, squandering its own huge European loans and granting monopolistic concessions over much of its economy. In 1901, Mozaffar ad-Din Shah signed away most of the country's oil for 20,000 pounds in cash and one-sixth of the country's future oil revenues. Britain occupied parts of Iran from 1915 to 1921, returned again in 1941 for five more years and then helped the United States overthrow an elected government in 1953. The strongly pro-Western Pahlavi regime subsequently began limited economic liberalization, only to fall in the Islamist revolution of 1979. As in China, the revolutionary government then pulled sharply away from the outer rim; but unlike China, it has not yet reversed course to liberalize its economy.

The recipe for success in the inner rim has been to replace premodern dynastic rulers with economic liberalizers who lean toward the outer rim, not with revolutionaries who turn inward, blame the outer rim for their problems and seek solutions in extreme ideologies. Iran's revival as a regional power, we should conclude, is likely but not inevitable. It will depend on the choices its leaders and people make and on the willingness of the outer rim to trust them.

This analysis has optimistic short-term implications. The more that Iran remains a revisionist power, challenging the status quo, the less likely it is to revive as a regional power. And the more it wants to revive as a regional power, the less likely Iran is to pose a continuing threat to the stability of the region.

In the longer run, however, the picture may darken. During the 20th century, the outer rim worked out an implicit deal with the inner rim's reviving regional powers, effectively exchanging direct or indirect rule for cooperation and commitment to peaceful engagement with the outer rim's markets. However, as regional powers waxed stronger, they regularly found themselves chafing under these terms. In the 1930s, Japanese leaders decided war was the only solution; in the 2010s, many analysts worry that Chinese leaders may come to a similar conclusion. If Iran does liberalize and take its place as a regional power in the 2020s, after a decade or so it too might strain against the limits of the new dynamic between inner and outer rim. And, Iran's rivalries with Turkey or Saudi Arabia over influence in the Arab world — or with India over control of the Arabian Sea — might well be making strategic forecasters long for the simpler days of the ayatollahs.

That, however, will be a problem for a new generation of statesmen to resolve.
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on Chinese "Active Defense" paper on: May 28, 2015, 11:29:20 AM

    As outlined in China's latest defense white paper, the Chinese military will focus more on the growing internationalization of its role and "active defense."
    China's expanding economic and military activities in developing countries will make it increasingly difficult for Beijing to counter accusations of imperialism and convince other countries that it remains both politically neutral and capable of protecting its interests.
    As China becomes more involved in global defense, it will struggle to maintain its professed policies of noninterference while protecting its expanding national interests and will be forced to choose sides in political and security issues.
    Weaker states or groups within states will attempt to leverage Chinese power for their own interests. 

China's defense white papers are less revelations of new direction than partial reflections of current trends, carefully crafted for foreign and domestic consumption. No secrets are revealed, and little new ground is broken, but a comprehensive view emerges of just how China would like the world to interpret the evolution of its defense capabilities and actions. In China's latest such paper, released May 26, China is sending a message that it is a big power with international interests and will shoulder international responsibilities, but that unlike other major powers before it (alluding in particular to the United States), China has no hegemonic designs.

The centerpiece of China's strategy is "active defense," which Chinese defense officials contrast with the "proactive" defense policies of other nations (a clear nod to the emerging Japanese defense doctrine, as well as to existing U.S. strategy). In short, China wants — and needs — to take a stronger and more active role in international security. But it also wants to prevent any of its actions from being interpreted as aggressive or imperialistic to avoid the political and security consequences of being seen as an interventionist power.

Among the shifts in China's overall defense strategy, as laid out in the white paper but already clearly underway, are modifications of the primary roles of the various branches of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). In Section IV of the white paper, China elucidates these changing roles:

    The PLA Army "will continue to reorient from theater defense to trans-theater mobility."
    The PLA Navy "will gradually shift its focus from 'offshore waters defense' to the combination of 'offshore waters defense' and 'open seas protection.'"
    The PLA Air Force "will endeavor to shift its focus from territorial air defense to both defense and offense."

These evolutions match China's expanding strategic interests and reflect the ongoing refocusing of its defense strategy and capability from internal security and territorial integrity to assuring stability in its near abroad and addressing national interests far from China's borders or shores. This international component is summed up in Section I of the white paper:

    With the growth of China's national interests, its national security is more vulnerable to international and regional turmoil, terrorism, piracy, serious natural disasters and epidemics, and the security of overseas interests concerning energy and resources, strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs), as well as institutions, personnel and assets abroad, has become an imminent issue.

The latter half of this quote may highlight the biggest challenge to China's overall foreign policy. Just the assertion of the importance of Chinese interests abroad — shaped by natural resources, transport corridors, personnel and business operations in other countries — places China on a path of likely intervention that follows the United States and other imperial powers (whether intentionally imperial or otherwise) before it. If China is going to protect its physical interests and assets abroad, including its supplies of raw materials and its manufacturing and market bases, it will be forced to choose sides in political and security issues.
The Necessity of Choosing Sides

A shift in internal political alignment, a rising labor movement, the expansion of a militant organization or a change in international relations can all affect the stability and security of Chinese investments, access to raw materials, and the safety and security of Chinese personnel and assets abroad. In recent years, China has experienced these vulnerabilities firsthand, sometimes because of general trends (needing to pull its citizens out of Yemen, for example). At other times, it has been more directly related to Chinese activities (for instance, protests and actions against Chinese business operations in East Africa). China has already begun to face a stream of local accusations of economic imperialism in Africa, for example, and concerns are being raised about China's expanding economic activities in Latin America. Add in a more active military role, and Beijing will find it increasingly hard to convince other countries or populations that it remains both politically neutral and capable of protecting its interests.

An article written by the chief editor of the Sudanese newspaper Al-Ayyam on May 25, timed to nearly coincide with the release of the Chinese defense white paper, highlights this growing challenge for Beijing. Discussing the situation in South Sudan and China's supply of arms to the South Sudanese government, the commentary notes that the situation on the ground is forcing China to take sides and ease away from its noninterference policies, if it truly does want to ensure its own interests. The author then asserts, "China is now speaking the same language as the United States and the West on the South Sudan conflict." This is exactly the image China is trying so hard to deflect, but the reality is that protecting national interests requires choosing sides. And Beijing is finding it increasingly hard to follow its professed noninterference policy — or even its less overt tactic of funding and maintaining political ties with both sides of internal conflicts to ensure it has friends no matter which side wins.

In Africa, Southeast Asia (particularly Myanmar), Central Asia and beyond, Chinese officials face difficult decisions that test the noninterference policies every day. Adhering to noninterference could mean a loss of national interests, of access to strategic commodities, or of ease of passage for goods and services. Violating noninterference presents its own risks, as countries and populations see Chinese actions as more and more selfish and less and less about simply sharing with all in the great rise of the developing nations and the global south. China's clear shift to a more active international defense role shows just how much its thinking and recognition of this change in international relations is a reality. Why develop the ability to intervene to protect Chinese interests abroad if these interests are not threatened and if their status can be resolved through noninterfering political dialogue?

This is not to say that China is about to become the next global policeman, or that Chinese forces will begin deploying around the world on unilateral missions to protect Chinese factories. But the change in defense strategy is tied closely to evolutions in political strategy, and "active defense" to protect "the security of overseas interests" will frequently require choosing a side in internal and regional competitions and conflicts. One of the requirements of a major world power is that it must deal with these sorts of complications and contradictions; it is the cost of an expanded global reach and growing global dependencies.
The Risks of Empire

There is the additional risk that, as China's capabilities increase, countries will attempt to pull China into local or regional conflicts or confrontations to support their own positions. The United States finds itself regularly at the receiving end of requests for military assistance or intervention. And to maintain economic or diplomatic relations, the United States at times finds itself involved in conflicts that are of only tangential interest. For countries with the capability and the need to maintain certain levels of political relations to ensure their economic interests, it can be difficult to avoid being drawn in by third-party interests. Countries and interest groups may seek to exploit China's national interests to compel direct Chinese involvement in issues and cases where Beijing would prefer to remain somewhat distant. The more capability China develops and demonstrates, the more likely it is that weaker states or groups within states will attempt to leverage Chinese power for their own interests. 

The United States, which China is always alluding to when it mentions hegemonic powers, did not seek to become a global empire and did not intend to be an interventionist power. U.S. policy was frequently espoused as noninterventionist, particularly in the 1800s as the United States emerged from a backwater nation in virgin lands to a globally active economic and military power at the end of the century. Yet as U.S. business interests expanded abroad, the U.S. Navy became a default tool of forcing changes in local behavior to ensure American economic access and security. The United States' claims of anti-imperialism during the same period stemmed from both a political will to avoid following the United Kingdom's path and a recognition of the weakness of the U.S. position abroad compared with the existing imperial European powers. Anti-imperialism was a tool to allow the United States to gain economic and security benefits at minimal cost and lower risk. As China continues its emergence from a regional to a global power, it is encountering similar compulsions and constraints and the contradictions that power and expanding global interests bring to professed ideological and anti-imperial non-hegemonic regimes.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Buzz kill, I hate stories like this on: May 28, 2015, 11:19:44 AM
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington: Peace through Strength on: May 28, 2015, 10:32:08 AM
"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace ... it must be known that we are at all times ready for war." —George Washington (1793)
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / German Muslims not to be required to visit concentration camps any more on: May 28, 2015, 10:25:18 AM
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: May 28, 2015, 09:40:32 AM
I've posted this on my FB page to poke at some climate change folks I know.  evil
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coulter is Incorrect on: May 28, 2015, 09:27:33 AM
Ramos Can Stay, But Matt Lauer Has to Go
Posted By Ann Coulter On May 28, 2015
 [1]I finally found a Mexican willing to do a job no American will do! I have an explosive book on the No. 1 issue in the country coming out next week, I’ve already written 10 New York Times best-sellers — I’d be on a postage stamp if I were a liberal — but can’t get an interview on ABC, NBC or CBS.

Only Mexican-born Jorge Ramos would interview me on his Fusion network. Yay, Jorge!

After a spellbinding interview, Ramos ended by asking this excellent question — which I had suggested myself for all authors, most of whom write very boring books, harming the marketability of my own books: “Is there anything in your book that isn’t already generally known?”

My soon-to-be-released book, “Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole,” is jam-packed with facts you didn’t already know. Don’t even think of using it as a coaster, like those other books.

These are just a few:

— Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration Act was expressly designed to change the demographics of our country to be poorer and more inclined to vote Democratic.
— It worked! Post-1970 immigrants vote 8-2 for the Democrats.
— Citing this dramatic shift in the Democratic Party’s fortunes, Democratic consultant Patrick Reddy called the 1965 Immigration Act “the Kennedy family’s greatest gift to the Democratic Party.”
— Immigrants admitted before 1970 made more money, bought more houses and were more educated than Americans. The post-Kennedy immigrants are astronomically less-educated, poorer and more likely to be on welfare than the native population.
— With no welfare state to support them, about a third of pre-1965 Act immigrants returned to the places they came from. British and Jewish immigrants were the least likely to go home — less than 10 percent did.
— Although America is admitting more immigrants, they are coming from fewer countries than they did before 1970. On liberals’ own terms, the country is becoming less “diverse,” but a lot poorer and a lot more Latin.
— America has already taken in one-fourth of Mexico’s entire population.
— In 1970, there were almost no Nigerian immigrants in the United States. Our country is now home to more Nigerians than any country in the world except Nigeria.
— America takes more immigrants from Nigeria than from England.
— The government refuses to tell us how many prisoners in the United States are immigrants. That information is not available anywhere. But the ancillary facts suggest that the number is astronomical.
— There are more foreign inmates in New York state prisons from Mexico than from the entire continent of Europe.
— Hispanics are less likely to be in the military than either whites or blacks, and a majority of Hispanic troops are women. On the other hand, Hispanics are overrepresented in U.S. Prisons.
— In Denmark, actual Danes come in tenth in criminals’ nationality, after Moroccans, Lebanese, Yugoslavians, Somalis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Turks, Iraqis and Vietnamese.
— At least 15 percent of all births in Peru and Argentina are to girls between the ages of 10 and 15. In the U.S., only 2 percent of births are to girls that young, and those are mostly Hispanics, who are seven times more likely to give birth at that age than white girls are.
— Sex with girls as young as 12 years old is legal in 31 of the 32 states of Mexico.
— In all of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel combined, there have been eight reported births to girls aged 10 or younger. Seven of the eight were impregnated by immigrants.
— In some areas of America, law enforcement authorities have given up on prosecuting statutory rape cases against Mexican men in their 30s who impregnate 12- and 13-year-old girls, after repeatedly encountering parents who view their little girls’ pregnancies as a “blessing.”
— The same North Carolina newspapers that gave flood-the-zone coverage to a rape that never happened at a Duke lacrosse party completely ignore real rapes happening right under their noses, being committed against children by immigrants providing cheap labor to the state’s farming and meat-packing industries.
— Since 2004, Mexicans have beheaded at least a half-dozen people in the United States.
— Mexican drug cartels — not ISIS — pioneered the practice of posting videotaped beheadings online.
— An alleged “ISIS” beheading video making the rounds in 2014 was actually a Mexican beheading video from 2010.
— Post-1970 immigrants have re-introduced slavery to America. Indian immigrant Lakireddy Bali Reddy, for example, used the H1-B visa program, allegedly for “high-tech workers,” to bring in 12-year-old girls he had bought from their parents for sex.
— The above story was missed by the San Francisco Chronicle. It was broken by a high school journalism class.
— The ACLU took Reddy’s side.
— We’re still letting in Hmong immigrants as a reward for their help with the ill-fated Vietnam War, which ended 40 years ago.
— Between 2000 and 2005, nearly 100 Hmong men were charged with rape or forced prostitution of girls in Minneapolis-St Paul, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The vast majority of the victims were 15 years old or younger. A quarter of the victims were not Hmong.
— Proponents of the 1965 immigration bill swore up and down that it would not alter this country’s demographic mix. In fact, Kennedy’s immigration policy has brought about the greatest demographic shift of any nation in world history.
— In 1980, Reagan won the biggest electoral landslide in history against an incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. Without the last 40 years of immigration, in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won a bigger landslide than Reagan did. He got more of the “Reagan coalition” than Reagan did.
— If Romney had won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost. If he’d gotten just 4 percent more of the white vote, he would have won.

Adios, America! In bookstores next Monday, June 1.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forked Tongue flipped houses on: May 28, 2015, 12:15:09 AM
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / You can't make this up on: May 27, 2015, 09:13:32 PM
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Autistic Boy with IQ of 170 on: May 27, 2015, 07:44:32 PM
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: May 27, 2015, 07:14:01 PM
He is saying what he has always said; you guys have misapprehended him quite a bit along the way.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / French won't sign without military site inspections on: May 27, 2015, 07:12:57 PM
It is getting so bad that we are to the soft side of the French  rolleyes angry angry
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nepotism Princess Chelsea on: May 27, 2015, 07:09:13 PM
second post

Nepotism Queen Chelsea Doesn't See Jobs As Challenge For Young
Published on on May 27, 2015

Nepotism Princess Chelsea Clinton To Write Book For Young People On Most Important Issues; No Mention Of Jobs And Student Loans Debt
Chelsea Clinton is writing a book to teach young people about the biggest challenges in the world today -- as she sees it. Those include "climate change, gender equality, and non-communicable diseases."

Hasn't even one of Chelsea's many hard-working handlers ever mentioned to her that perhaps the most important challenge for young people today is FINDING A JOB! And, right after that, PAYING BACK STUDENT LOANS! Those challenges don't seem to be on Chelsea's radar. Like the rest of her family, she lives in a bubble and has no clue about what's going on in the real world.

Does she really think that "non-communicable diseases" is what's on young people's list of the most important challenges in their life?

It's obvious that Chelsea Clinton has no understanding about what a real challenge is. How about desperately trying to find a job -- any kind of job -- to pay for basics like food and housing and student loans? Has she not even read about the millions of college graduates who cannot find work after working so hard to build an economically secure life? Is she unaware of the unemployment rate among young people that is only slightly down from a high of 15%? Or the incomprehensible amount of student debt? Anyone ever bring that issue up at any of the lavish parties of the Clinton Foundation?

Seems not. Instead, Chelsea's focus is on the issues constantly bantered about at the Clinton Global Initiative -- the buzz words that she repeats over and over -- gender equality, climate change, same-sex marriage. Oh, and then there's her big concern about elephant poaching. Those are the things that are important to Chelsea. Not jobs and economic security for those who should be the newest members of our work force.

It's not surprising. Unlike the rest of the world, Chelsea has never had to look for a job. They've all been handed to her because of her family name and not because of any special -- or even not so special -- talents. She's the Princess of Nepotism. One of her mother's biggest donors hired her at Avenue Capital, where she didn't exactly wow the financial community. She left after three years, once she realized that she just "couldn't ... care about money."

How touching and insightful. No need to care about money when it's just there for you. No need to worry about student loans when you have degrees from Stanford, Colombia, and Oxford (2) and you didn't need any student loans. No need to worry about money when your parents help your husband's career and their donors invest in his hedge fund, even though it's not too successful. No need to worry about housing when you live in a $10 million apartment in New York. No need to worry about a job when you're given one, regardless of your qualifications (or lack of them).

Really, who needs money?

Certainly not Chelsea. After she left Wall Street, she pursued an academic career, using her family contacts. In 2010, NYU President John Sexton, Friend of Bill, appointed her as Assistant Vice-Provost of the Global Network University at N.Y.U., bringing together Muslims and Jews in New York and around the globe. Not clear what her qualifications were, other than daughter of Bill and Hillary.

When asked about this role, she told Time magazine that she was passionate about: "Trying to really figure out what the right pedagogy should be in multifaith and interfaith education and leadership."

Sounds fascinating. And typical Chelsea Clinton blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

In 2013, she co-founded and chaired the NYU multifaith "Of Many Institute." She insisted that her interfaith marriage qualified her for this position, since she lives an interfaith life with her Jewish husband. That's a good one.

But when evidence of brutal treatment of workers and violations of basic human rights were lodged against NYU's construction workers at the new campus of the Global Network University in Abu Dhabi, Ms. Clinton was silent about the abuses to her new Muslim constituency.

That's not her department.

Chelsea's next job was as a Special Correspondent for NBC TV. That was a bust, but a lucrative bust. She had a contract for $600,000 a year, although in 2014, she only appeared on four very boring segments, including an interview with the Geico Gecko. So bad was she on camera that she usually does a voice over segment with very actual live time -- if any -- on camera. Even NBC relayed how bad she was and dumped her.

Apparently, Ms. Clinton received very special treatment at NBC. Agents hired by her parents basically came in and convinced the idiots at the network that she would be an asset. They were dead wrong. And she insisted on being treated like a prima donna. NBC staff were told not to approach her, but to go through her producers. The few interviews she did were painful to watch.

She's also paid $300,000 for sitting on the Board of a Barry Diller company.  No telling what that's about. Barry and his wife Diane von Furstenberg are big fans and supporters of Bill and Hillary. It's lucrative to have the Clinton last name.

So it's easy to understand why unemployment isn't Chelsea's specialty. Maybe she could get a briefing from a few of the 300 economists her mother is consulting with over an economic policy.

Now Chelsea is Vice-Chairman of the Clinton Foundation, another position she seems to be over her head. She merits one more staff person than her father. He only gets 5, while she gets 6. Bus she has so many important things to do!!! And, although not an inspiring speaker, she goes out to speak on behalf of the organization -- at least five organizations have actually paid to hear her speak. That's hard to believe because she's awkward in front of a microphone, even though she's been practicing it for years. Her speeches are littered with the same canned lines, time after time.

Apparently Chelsea's leadership and management talents are not really appreciated at the Foundation. Since she became involved, lots of folks have left, claiming she was "unpleasant" to deal with. Of course, she's had no management experience.

Chelsea has no experience as an author. But yet the Clinton-friendly publishing house reached out to her anyway. She'll figure it out -- with help from aides, ghosts, etc. And, once again, she'll trade on the Clinton name.

That's what she does. Any advice she has is certainly irrelevant.

Here's what Chelsea has to say about her new book:

"In It's Your World, I try to explain what I think are some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, particularly for young people," said Clinton. "I also explore some of the solutions to those challenges and share stories of inspiring kids and teenagers doing amazing work to help people and our planet have brighter and healthier futures. My hope is that the book will inspire readers to realize that they can start making a difference now, in their own way, for their family, their community, and our world."

Thanks, Chelsea. We can't wait to read it.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sheriff David Clarke lets rip on: May 27, 2015, 06:04:03 PM
5 minutes
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary hit with racketeering suit on: May 27, 2015, 01:25:07 PM
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / gov Brown looking to merge health care with Oregon? on: May 27, 2015, 09:43:10 AM
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donors got weapon deals; Bill's shell company on: May 26, 2015, 10:57:28 PM


35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: Inflation dormant, not dead on: May 26, 2015, 10:42:04 PM
Inflation: Dormant, Not Dead To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 5/26/2015

Last month we explained why the dreaded threat of hyperinflation hasn’t materialized, and likely wouldn’t materialize, in spite of the huge expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet the past several years, including QE1, 2, and 3.

The April inflation report, released Friday, underscored this theme. Consumer prices rose a tepid 0.1% in April and were down 0.2% from a year ago. With the exception of the Panic of 2008 and its immediate aftermath, that year-to-year decline was the lowest reading for inflation in 60 years.

However, this doesn’t mean the US is experiencing deflation, or that inflation is dead. Quite the contrary. We expect inflation to pick up over the next few years, faster and further than most investors anticipate.

To see why, just look at the details of the April report. Yes, the very same report some thought was proof that inflation would never return.

First off, inflation data has been dominated by energy prices, which are down 19.4% from a year ago. Excluding energy, consumer prices are up 1.8% in the past twelve months (the same if we exclude food and energy). But energy prices were not going to fall forever and have already bounced back somewhat. As a result, the underlying trend of consumer prices should move back toward the “ex-energy” measure in the year ahead – to roughly 2%, or more.

But there are other reasons to believe inflation outside the energy sector should pick up. Normally, lower energy prices, because they boost purchasing power outside of energy, lead to an increase in demand for non-energy goods and rising prices in these other sectors.

But the drop in energy prices has been so sharp, consumers appear to be taking their time deciding how to spend the windfall. At the same time, tax receipts have soared which has drained purchasing power from many consumers. This temporary dip in demand has a short-term effect on inflation measures.

But people don’t work for the heck of it; they work to generate purchasing power. And the gains from lower energy prices will eventually help sales in other sectors, which should also lead to higher prices in those sectors as well. We may be seeing signs of this already. In the past three months, “core” prices are up at a 2.6% annual rate and in the past two months they are up 2.9% annualized – the fastest pace in seven years.

In addition, housing costs, which make up almost one-third of overall consumer prices, continue to gradually accelerate. These prices were up 0.3% in 2009, 0.4% in 2010, then 1.9%, 2.2%, 2.5% and 2.9% from 2011 to 2014. In the past twelve months (thru April, they’re up 3%). Meanwhile, with home builders still constructing too few homes to meet population growth and scrappage rates, supply constraints should help generate even faster rent hikes in the year ahead.

The bottom line is that monetary policy is too loose. The Fed has kept short-term rates near zero for more than six years. The last time the unemployment rate was falling to 5.4% (where it is today) during an economic expansion was in August 2004 and the Fed then had short-term rates at 1.5% and heading higher. If you go by the more expansive U-6 definition of the jobless rate (also includes marginally attached and part-time workers), which is 10.8%, it was also there in May 1994, when the fed funds rate was 4.25%.

The current looseness of monetary policy will eventually generate higher inflation. It may not be hyperinflation, but it’s more than many investors are prepared for.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia's new tank better than our best? on: May 26, 2015, 10:34:21 PM
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why ISIS is better at winning than the Shia govt. of Baghdad on: May 26, 2015, 10:06:13 PM*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicksRS5%2F26
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China's Military Blueprint on: May 26, 2015, 09:01:39 PM*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicksRS5%2F26

China laid out its military strategy in its first-ever defense white paper, promising not to hit first, but vowing to strike back hard if attacked in a world full of what it sees as potential threats.

The paper, released by China’s State Council, the chief administrative body of the Chinese government, is especially noteworthy at a time of heightened tensions with the United States over China’s aggressive behavior in disputed areas of the South China Sea. On Monday, Chinese state media spoke of war with the United States as “inevitable” if the United States keep pressing Beijing on its illegal activities; in the United States, meanwhile, the consensus over accommodating China’s rise seems to have given way to a more hawkish stance on the need to contain the rising Asian giant.

China’s new white paper provides plenty of points of continuity with past strategies, especially with Mao Zedong’s doctrine of “active defense,” known in the United States as the Billy Martin school of conflict management (“I never threw the first punch; I threw the second four.”)

At the same time, though, the defense blueprint breaks new ground. It codifies the ongoing transformation of China into a true maritime power, and puts more emphasis on high-seas, offensive naval operations. More broadly, it envisions a much bigger, global role for Chinese armed forces than had previously been the case, and in some places echoes the famously hawkish Chinese views of thinkers such as Liu Mingfu, whose bestselling book “The China Dream” paints a vision of nearly inevitable conflict between the two global titans.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the white paper’s English-language version.

Times may be peaceful, but things sure look scary in Beijing

The defense strategy’s starting point is a generally benign global environment: “Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become an irresistible tide of the times,” the paper says. “In the foreseeable future, a world war is unlikely, and the international situation is expected to remain generally peaceful.”

But that doesn’t mean everything’s rosy from the vantage point of Chinese leaders. Traditional security threats have been compounded by new threats, from terrorism to cyber war, to make life potentially perilous. One rival country in particular, with a penchant for hanging on to its leading position and supporting treaty allies in the Asia-Pacific region, merits special attention: “There are, however, new threats from hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism.”

For a 5,000-year old civilization that has survived invasions from Mongols, Japanese, and Western Europeans, this is a sobering conclusion: “In the new circumstances, the national security issues facing China encompass far more subjects, extend over a greater range, and cover a longer time span than at any time in the country’s history.” Later, the paper notes: “Due to its complex geostrategic environment, China faces various threats and challenges in all its strategic directions and security domains.”

That’s especially true when it comes to the South China Sea

The white paper is mostly focused on higher-level issues of how China’s military will support the realization of China’s national “rejuvenation,” but it pays special attention to a potential area of conflict that’s in the headlines these days, China’s land reclamation efforts at a spate of reefs and rocks in the Spratly and Paracel island groups. Those activities on land features whose ownership is disputed have sparked tensions with the United States, Vietnam, the Philippines, and even Japan, which is shedding much of its post-World War II pacifism.

“On the issues concerning China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, some of its offshore neighbors take provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on China’s reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied. Some external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs; a tiny few maintain constant close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China. It is thus a long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.”

To underscore the point, and perhaps send a message to the U.S. Navy, the paper speaks at length about the need to ensure “preparations for military struggle” in China’s watery backyard: “In line with the evolving form of war and national security situation, the basic point for PMS will be placed on winning informationized local wars, highlighting maritime military struggle and maritime PMS.”

The paper makes clear that what’s at stake in the South China Sea is not the fate of a few atolls or uninhabited islands, but the very nature of Chinese sovereignty. Among the Chinese military missions in this new world will be to “safeguard national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and maintain security and stability along China’s periphery.” Such doctrinal stances make it hard to believe China will easily blink first in a showdown over navigation rights in the region.

How do you say Mahan in Chinese?

Building a stronger navy was a priority of former President Hu Jintao, and has only been accelerated under Xi Jinping. But if there were any lingering doubts about China’s aim of transforming itself into a modern, maritime power, the white paper puts them to rest.

For a country whose eyes were locked on the northern and western frontier for millennia, this is noteworthy: “The traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests. It is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security and development interests, safeguard its national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect the security of strategic [sea lanes of communication] and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation, so as to provide strategic support for building itself into a maritime power.”

Importantly, especially in the context of China’s interest in ports and possibly bases across the Indian Ocean, the white paper’s first order of business for military modernization is the ability to operate far from home: improving logistics.

That’s a very active defense you’ve got there

The white paper couches China’s posture in terms of active defense, a mainstay of Chinese defense thinking since Mao’s guerrilla campaigns in the 1930s: “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” But the paper itself details just how the Chinese navy and air force are shedding their traditional defensive roles to take up more pro-active positions, including a true blue-water navy: “In line with the strategic requirement of offshore waters defense and open seas protection, the PLA Navy (PLAN) will gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defense’ to the combination of ‘offshore waters defense’ with ‘open seas protection,’ and build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure. The PLAN will enhance its capabilities for strategic deterrence and counterattack, maritime maneuvers, joint operations at sea, comprehensive defense and comprehensive support.”

China is embracing its global role

Finally, the white paper makes explicit what had seemed to be a recent evolution in China’s approach to the world. Traditionally, China focused on economic development and took a hands-off approach to global affairs. But with Chinese interests growing by leaps and bounds in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, China is finding that its defense responsibilities are set to go as global as its economic interests.

“In response to the new requirement coming from the country’s growing strategic interests, the armed forces will actively participate in both regional and international security cooperation and effectively secure China’s overseas interests.”

That may not all be bad news: The West, after all, has been asking China to become a “responsible stakeholder” for a decade. The white paper concludes on just that note:

“With the growth of national strength, China’s armed forces will gradually intensify their participation in such operations as international peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, and do their utmost to shoulder more international responsibilities and obligations, provide more public security goods, and contribute more to world peace and common development.”
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 5th Circuit upholds injunction against BO's EO for illegals on: May 26, 2015, 05:04:50 PM
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH on NR on: May 26, 2015, 12:36:19 PM
The Home of Intellectual Populism Could Use Your Help
By Victor Davis Hanson

I have written for National Review since the third bleak day after September 11, 2001, and have not missed a column since. I live and work on the West Coast, but the editors and writers at NR in New York over the years have seemed like a family, with long traditions back to, and reverence for, William F. Buckley's original vision of a conservative voice in the wilderness of growing liberal chaos.

In the 21st century there are now all sorts of conservative media in a way undreamed of when Buckley created National Review. But few have such deep roots as NR and welcome such diverse views. In over 13 years, I have never had a column spiked, though often on issues such as war, peace, immigration, or the particular Republican nominees vying for the presidency my views were not necessarily those of either the editorial staff or fellow conservative writers. In other words, a wide conservative spectrum - paleo-conservatives, neo-conservatives, tea-party enthusiasts, the deeply religious and the agnostic, both libertarians and social conservatives, free-marketeers and the more protectionist - characterizes National Review. The common requisite is that they present their views as a critique of prevailing liberal orthodoxy but do so analytically and with decency and respect.

I support National Review because it is a professional and humane organization that tirelessly makes the case that what is called liberalism is not liberal and that what we are told is progressivism progresses nowhere but to serfdom. And that collective and state-run empathy for the poor and dispossessed is not a Great Society, which depresses individual initiative and makes us all collectively poorer, but rather is best expressed as allowing the citizen of a free society to prosper on his own initiative, and thereby enrich the entire commonwealth.

In the 21st century, National Review has opened new pathways of reaching younger professionals and students, with an Institute, symposia, and lecture series. Its cruises are unique - natural meeting places for some of the greatest Americans one can find, from all walks of life, who share a common worry that wherever liberal engineers think they are driving America, all sorts of people simply do not wish to go - and won't! Intellectual populism is a National Review cruise and get-together.

Let us all support National Review, each according to his or her station, as the country reawakens from its six-year slumber. And as it rediscovers what has been lost, National Review will be there each day to help us rebuild.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 26, 2015, 12:34:22 PM

Thank your for running down the info which I requested.
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ISIS bombing seeks to destabilize Saudi Arabia on: May 26, 2015, 12:31:03 PM
The Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia on May 23 is significant in that it's the group's first claimed suicide bombing in the country, but it's also a strategic move to spark sectarian upheaval in the Shiite-majority province that holds 90% of royal family's oil reserves.

The Islamic State is trying to spark a cycle of sectarian violence that will destabilize Saudi Arabia and heighten the Royal Family's tension with Iran. The terror group thrives in environments where Shiites feel they need Iranian protection and where Sunnis feel threatened by real or imagined Iranian influence. The Saudi Eastern Province has the added benefit of endangering the Royal Family's most critical resource.

The bombing's objective is to spur Islamic State supporters in Saudi Arabia into action against the Shiites and the royal family. An October 2014 poll found that 5% of the Saudi population of 29 million has a positive opinion of the Islamic State (2% very positive and 3% somewhat positive).

The Saudi population includes about 8.5 million foreign residents, and it is unclear if they are included in the poll. This means that the Islamic State has a pool of somewhere between 1 million and 1.45 million supporters in Saudi Arabia that could be inspired to act.

The prospects for the Islamic State are much brighter if an atmosphere of sectarian warfare is instigated; a scenario that can be easily envisioned.

The sensitivity of the Saudi royal family to the bombing's impact on sectarianism was evident in the immediate booking of the grand mufti on state television to condemn the attack on "sons of the homeland." The language was deliberately chosen to assure the Shiite minority that the Saudi government cares about their well-being and to distance itself from any Salafists who may cheer the bombing.

The New York Times reported on how Saudis were declining to donate blood in the wake of the Islamic State bombing, deriding them as infidels and one saying that a Shiite "does not deserve even my spit." Although there are Saudi Sunnis who stand up for Shiites -- like one prominent human rights activist who is a leader in the Shammar tribe -- their rarity is apparent in the very fact that their activism makes news headlines.

The Saudi government may deploy Salafist-dominated security forces to the Eastern Province to prevent attacks and to stop the Shiites from holding large demonstrations of grief that could easily turn political and demand better treatment.

The Eastern Province is known for its protests against the Saudi government and subsequent arrests of activists and clerics demanding an end to discrimination and democratic reform. The leader of the Municipal Council in Qatif, where the bombing took place, has already blamed the Saudi government for promoting anti-Shiite sentiment.

Through the bombing, the Islamic State has created a catch-22: Any move by the Saudi government to enhance security in the province risks inflaming the passions of the Shiites, resulting in clashes and oppression that further the cycle.

The popularity of Sunni terrorist groups known for oppressing Shiites is a strong indication of how quickly sectarian fervor could sweep across Saudi Arabia, particularly if there are mass Shiite protests and Iran rallies to their side.

The aforementioned poll found that 52% of Saudis support Hamas and 33% support the Muslim Brotherhood. A November 2014 poll by Zogby showed that Saudi Arabia is the only Middle Eastern besides Turkey where a majority (53%) feel that the Muslim Brotherhood played a positive role in Egypt and Tunisia.

A frightening 15% of Saudis most favor Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, among all the forces fighting the Syrian regime. About 9% support the Islamic Front, a Saudi-backed Salafist group and 3% preferred the Islamic State.

The Iranian regime and its radical Shiite proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis are looking for an opportunity to strike back at the Saudis for their military intervention in Yemen and ongoing support for Syrian rebels. There is no better opportunity than upheaval in the Eastern Province, especially at this time when Iran's economy is suffering from low oil prices.

The objective of the bombing in Qatif is to make Saudi Arabia an extension of the Shiite-Sunni battlefield seen in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. And the Islamic State isn't crazy for thinking it could happen.


Ryan Mauro is’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.
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43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interface of world-wide debt and population decline on: May 26, 2015, 11:21:47 AM
Pasting GM's post here as well:
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nurse Practitioners on: May 26, 2015, 11:03:16 AM
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: May 26, 2015, 10:56:52 AM
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: May 26, 2015, 10:50:27 AM
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams on Happiness 1776 on: May 26, 2015, 10:38:55 AM
"[A]ll speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest numbers of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best." —John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FP; The fustercluck continues , , , on: May 26, 2015, 08:10:31 AM

By Paul McLeary with Ariel Robinson   

Here it comes. In what may be the biggest test yet of the Iraqi armed forces’ strength -- and the ability of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to wrangle the various Shiite, Kurd and Sunni factions -- Baghdad on Tuesday launched what it says is a major offensive in Anbar province.

Abadi told the BBC over the weekend that the city of Ramadi would be retaken from the Islamic State “in days,” and Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq's Shiite militias and a member of Parliament, told reporters in Baghdad that the operation will "not last for a long time." He claimed Tuesday that Iraqi forces have almost completely encircled Ramadi.

Word of the day. While the Shiite-led Iraqi Army and some Iranian-backed Shiite militias head deeper into majority Sunni Anbar, the war of words the Obama administration has been having with itself over what happened in Ramadi shows no signs of abating. Over the long weekend, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Vice President Joe Biden sang pretty different tunes over the performance of Iraqi troops.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Carter took a shot at the performance of the Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, saying that they “vastly outnumbered the opposing force. And yet they failed to fight.” The situation was much more complicated than a simple failure to fight -- the exhausted Iraqi units had held a portion of the city for months with intermittent government support. But Carter maintained "that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis."

A White House readout of a Monday call between Biden and Abadi walked Carter's statement back a bit. Biden said that he recognized “the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past eighteen months in Ramadi and elsewhere.”

Baghdad calling. The heat isn’t only coming from Washington. With anger building in Baghdad over the performance of the Iraqi Army, in particular the highly-touted “Golden Division” of American-trained special operations forces who fled, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told CNN on Monday that "it's not clear for us why such a unit, which was supposed to be trained by the Americans for years, and supposed to be one of the best units in the army, would withdraw from Ramadi in such a way." Al-Mutlaq -- a Sunni politician -- has long been a critic of Baghdad's Shiite-led governments, and most fiercely of Abadi's predecessor, former Premier Nouri al-Maliki.

War ensemble. The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq lit up dozens of armored vehicles, tanks, and artillery pieces in and around Ramadi over the weekend, destroying what we assume is millions of dollars worth of old American military equipment.

Iraqi forces left hundreds of U.S.-supplied vehicles behind when they “drove” out of Ramadi, but were not “driven out,” in the words of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey.

And now most of them are melted hunks of metal. On Friday, U.S. Central Command announced that airstrikes near Ramadi destroyed “five ISIL armored vehicles, two ISIL tanks, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL armored personnel carrier...five abandoned tanks, two abandoned armored personnel carriers and two abandoned armored vehicles.”

Quite a haul, and note the emphasis on the word “abandoned.”

Sunday was even more intense, with airstrikes hitting an artillery piece and 15 armored vehicles. We’ve seen pictures of rows of U.S. Army surplus M113 infantry carriers that the Iraqis left behind, many of which -- Defense officials assured the press last week -- were allowed to lapse into such a state of disrepair as to be unusable.

49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: May 26, 2015, 08:06:09 AM
Something to keep in mind , , ,
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: May 26, 2015, 07:50:02 AM
Few people get the point as clearly as we do here, but if we prohibit the building of mosques in the US, not only do we have serious First Amendment issues but also it certainly would persuade a lot of Muslims not at war with us that we would be at war with them.

The US's plate is alarmingly full and we are in the process of losing military superiority.   We have China and Russia, the Arab Middle East (ISIS and AQ in its various manifestations, and Iran is going nuke.   
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