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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Notorious RBG and Lindsey Graham on: April 11, 2017, 07:25:45 PM
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why the Russians did not shoot down the Tomahawks on: April 11, 2017, 06:58:27 PM
153  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / United Airlines drag defense on: April 11, 2017, 06:46:11 PM
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chechnya on: April 11, 2017, 04:56:49 PM
Geographically this is not quite right but I did not feel like opening a new thread.
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 11, 2017, 01:58:38 PM
Please post in War on Rule of Law as well.
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Liberal fascism, progressivism, and the Chevron decision on: April 11, 2017, 12:08:26 PM
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Trump increases pressure on China to act on: April 11, 2017, 12:05:35 PM

North Korea: U.S. Increases Pressure on China to Act
April 10, 2017 | 20:12 GMT Print
Text Size

The U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base on April 6 during the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, at which North Korea's nuclear weapons program was a topic at hand, no doubt sent a clear message to Beijing about the United States' willingness to use military force. Following the strike, the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group was rerouted toward the Korean Peninsula, making that message even more explicit. At a time when the United States is reviewing its policy in dealing with North Korea, the deployment both ramps up military pressure on Pyongyang and broadens U.S. options in the region.

However, the prospect of unilateral military action against North Korea has unnerved U.S. allies. Both Japan and South Korea have expressed concerns about a possible U.S. strike aimed at derailing North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The Japanese Defense Ministry says Tokyo has not been informed of any preparations for an attack and said it would raise objections if it gets indications of a pending attack. The government in Seoul also appeared jittery about the safety and security risks that a preemptive strike would pose.

As the United States considers ways to thwart Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs, a military response remains a credible option, but one that could invite highly costly consequences. Unlike in Syria, Washington cannot assume that North Korea would not respond to an attack in kind. A retaliatory North Korean artillery strike against the South or assaults on U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan could easily spiral into a wider regional conflict. If a U.S. strike takes place without first consulting China, Beijing's reactions could cause further complications.

And as North Korea's nuclear infrastructure becomes more sophisticated, it grows more difficult to design a military campaign that could eliminate the entire program and facilities, especially in the absence of credible intelligence. Those challenges repeatedly plagued successive U.S. administrations, long delaying any use of force by the United States to deter North Korea. In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton considered military action against the North, coming the closest any U.S. president has come, but he opted instead to engage in talks in an effort to thwart Pyongyang's nuclear program. North Korea's test of a long-range rocket in 1998 and a new U.S. tone under President George W. Bush's administration in 2001 brought an end to that approach.

With its recent moves, the Trump White House is delivering an ultimatum to the Chinese to either work with the United States in stopping North Korea's drive for a nuclear deterrent or deal with the consequences of U.S. action on secondary sanctions as it develops a credible military option and enlarges its military footprint in the region. Beijing, for its part, continues to urge diplomacy, but it also has shown some willingness to increase pressure on the North as it aims to ease Washington's challenges on trade and on other fronts and simultaneously reassesses its options against Pyongyang.

During an April 10 visit to South Korea by Wu Dawei, China's special envoy in charge of dealing with North Korea's nuclear program, both sides reportedly agreed to adopt "an even stronger U.N. resolution" in the event that the North conducts an additional test of a nuclear weapon. However, any Chinese action in dealing with North Korea will stop short of creating instability in North Korea by cutting Pyongyang's economic lifeline. But as Beijing struggles with its unpredictable and increasingly recalcitrant neighbor, even those in Chinese policy circles are beginning consider a different approach, including a possible decapitation strategy, to bring North Korea's leadership to heel.
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Neocon advice for Trump on: April 11, 2017, 12:02:36 PM
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / America First, not America Alone on: April 11, 2017, 12:00:13 PM
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama was the real stooge on: April 11, 2017, 11:34:40 AM
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Silencing of Heather MacDonald on: April 11, 2017, 09:40:53 AM
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Clapper said in 2003 on: April 11, 2017, 09:31:25 AM
Third post
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Price of Obama's Mendacity on: April 11, 2017, 09:22:00 AM
Second post
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / July 27, 2015-- The Syrian Sham and the Iran Deal on: April 11, 2017, 09:19:14 AM

The Syria Sham and the Iran Deal
Syria cheated on its chemical commitments. Iran will cheat on its nuclear ones. Obama provides cover for both.
A young Syrian victim of a chemical weapons attack, May 22, 2014.
A young Syrian victim of a chemical weapons attack, May 22, 2014. Photo: Reuters
By Bret Stephens
July 27, 2015 7:19 p.m. ET

Once upon a time Barack Obama chose multilateral diplomacy over military action for the sake of ridding a dangerous Middle Eastern regime of its weapons of mass destruction. The critics mocked and raged and muttered, but everything worked out well and now the only thing that’s missing is someone who will give the president credit.

Or so Mr. Obama would like you to believe.

“You’ll recall that that was the previous end of my presidency,” Mr. Obama told the New Yorker’s David Remnick of his September 2013 deal to get Syria’s Bashar Assad to hand over his WMD stockpile, “until it turned out that we are actually getting all the chemical weapons. And no one reports on that anymore.”

Nor were these the only hosannas the president and his advisers sang to themselves for the Syria deal. “With 92.5% of the declared chemical weapons out of the country,” said Susan Rice in May 2014, the U.S. had achieved more than any “number of airstrikes that might have been contemplated would have done.” John Kerry also boasted of his diplomatic prowess in a March 2015 speech: “We cut a deal and were able to get all the chemical weapons out of Syria in the middle of the conflict.”

And there was Mr. Obama again, at a Camp David press conference in May: “Assad gave up his chemical weapons. That’s not speculation on our part. That, in fact, has been confirmed by the organization internationally that is charged with eliminating chemical weapons.”

Note the certitude of these pronouncements, the lordly swagger. Now note the facts. “One year after the West celebrated the removal of Syria’s arsenal as a foreign policy success, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn’t give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.”

So note the Journal’s Adam Entous and Naftali Bendavid in a deeply reported July 23 exposé that reveals as much about the sham disarmament process in Syria as it foretells about the sham we are getting with Iran.

Start with the formal terms under which inspectors were forced to operate. The deal specified that Syria would give inspectors access to its “declared” chemical-weapons sites, much as Iran is expected to give U.N. inspectors unfettered access to its own declared sites. As for any undeclared sites, inspectors could request access provided they furnish evidence of their suspicions, giving the regime plenty of time to move, hide and deceive—yet another similarity with the Iran deal.

The agreement meant that inspectors were always playing by the regime’s rules, even as Washington pretended to dictate terms. Practical considerations tilted the game even further. “Because the regime was responsible for providing security, it had an effective veto over inspectors’ movements,” the Journal reported. “The team decided it couldn’t afford to antagonize its hosts, explains one of the inspectors, or it ‘would lose all access to all sites.’ ”

In other words, the political need to get Mr. Assad to hand over his declared stockpile took precedence over keeping the regime honest. It helped Mr. Assad that he had an unwitting accomplice in the CIA, whose analysts certified that his chemical declaration “matched what they believed the regime had.” Intelligence analysts at the Pentagon were more skeptical. But their doubts were less congenial to a White House eager to claim a win, and hence not so widely advertised.

You can expect a similar pattern to emerge in the wake of the Iran deal. Western intelligence agencies will furnish policy makers with varying assessments; policy makers will choose which ones to believe according to their political preferences. Tehran will cheat in ambiguous and incremental ways; the administration will play down the violations for the sake of preserving the broader deal.

Over time, defending the deal will become a matter of rationalizing it. As in: At least we destroyed Syria’s declared chemical stockpile. Or: At least we’ve got eyes on Iran’s declared nuclear sites.

Perhaps the most interesting details in the Journal story concerned the sophistication of the Syrian program. Chemical weapons-production facilities were hidden in the trailers of 18-wheel trucks—exactly of the kind that were rumored to have been moved to Syria from Iraq in 2003.


Inspectors were impressed by the quality of Syrian-made munitions. The regime was also able elaborately to disguise its chemical research facilities, even during site visits by inspectors.

The CIA now admits that Syria retains significant quantities of its deadliest chemical weapons. When Mr. Obama announced the Syria deal, he warned that he would use military force in the event that Mr. Assad failed to honor his promises. The threat was hollow then. It is laughable now. What ties the Syrian sham to the Iranian one is an American president bent on conjuring political illusions at home at the expense of strategic facts abroad, his weakness apparent to everyone but himself.

Write to bstephens@wsj.c

165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ/Strassel: Comey's Conflicts on: April 11, 2017, 09:15:38 AM
The Conflicts of J. Edgar Comey
The FBI chief refuses to tell Congress who requested to ‘unmask’ Mike Flynn’s name.
By Kimberley A. Strassel
April 6, 2017 7:20 p.m. ET

We interrupt the Russia-scandal program to ask two simple questions of one of the nation’s top law-enforcement officers: What exactly is FBI Director Jim Comey doing about the only crime that has so far been revealed in this Russia probe? And is he too conflicted even to be doing it?

That crime is of course the leaking that toppled Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. The media and Democrats have done their best to avoid covering this, for the simple reason that some of them were complicit. Yet in the entire speculative drama over Russian interference in American elections, so far this is the only crime that is beyond any doubt.

It’s a serious crime, too. Someone in the U.S. government obtained highly classified information about a conversation between an incoming presidential adviser and a foreign official. Someone then leaked Mr. Flynn’s name and the contents of that conversation to the press, resulting in his resignation. As even Mr. Comey recently confirmed, the leaking of such material is an “extraordinarily unusual event.” It is also a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.

Why? Because such leaks expose American intelligence sources and methods, putting national security at risk. Moreover, leaking the names of private citizens under surveillance (with the express intent to cause harm) is among the grossest violations of civil liberties. It is what police states do.

    Podcast Name

    The Path to ObamaCare Repeal

    Paul Gigot, Kim Strassel, and Joe Rago discuss the path to ObamaCare repeal and James Comey's future.

    Click to Listen
    WSJ Podcasts

    Lessons From Obama’s Failure

    Republicans must sell their replacement to ObamaCare—the way the president didn’t.

    Click to Read Story

    Obama’s Midnight Regulation Express

    The president’s final goal is to issue more regulatory rules and executive orders than the new administration could ever find time to repeal.

    Click to Read Story


    Trump’s Federalist Revival

    Donald Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, will restore balance to the federal-state relationship.

    Click to Read Story

    Steve Bannon on Politics as War

    Strassel interviews Trump adviser Steve Bannon on the winning campaign and why the media attacks against him and Breitbart News are ‘just nonsense.’

    Click to Read Story

More By Kimberley Strassel

The Washington Post story about Mr. Flynn’s conversation cited as its sources “nine current and former officials” who “had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.” That means at least nine current or former Obama administration officials or bureaucrats should be looking at criminal charges.
Opinion Journal Video
Opinion Journal: Devin Nunes Did His Job
Main Street Columnist Bill McGurn on the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Which brings us to Mr. Comey. Leaks are in the FBI’s purview, and this case ought to be a slam dunk. Unlike in some leak investigations, Mr. Comey has a trail of bread loaves to follow. Someone in the U.S. government had to take the first step of “unmasking”—requesting the identity of—Mr. Flynn. There are records of such requests, easily accessible by the FBI.

The process is then straightforward: March the unmasker to the FBI and require that official—under oath—to confess if he or she passed Mr. Flynn’s name to the media. If not, demand to know to whom that person gave the information. Track down the leakers. Ask a grand jury to indict.

But there’s also the obvious fact that the FBI is one of only a few agencies with the power to grant an unmasking request. Mr. Comey may well have been involved in granting the request to unmask Mr. Flynn. It’s possible he has known the name of the unmasker for months.

Yet the incredibly political Mr. Comey came to Capitol Hill and refused even to confirm the existence of a leak investigation (in contrast to his eagerness to confirm a probe into possible Trump ties to Russia). Worse, sources tell me that Mr. Comey is willfully obstructing Congress’s own investigation into the leaks. He has refused requests for documents that would show who unmasked Mr. Flynn. He has refused to provide that name in a closed meeting to the speaker of the House or the leaders of intelligence committees.

This is enormously problematic, since Mr. Comey has glaring conflicts of interest here. After all, it is possible Mr. Comey’s staff are among the leakers. He has an interest in avoiding an agency scandal.

Mr. Comey is, in fact, obstructing oversight of his own agency. It is Congress’s duty to investigate failings in the intelligence system. It is Congress that authorizes surveillance programs in the first place. And one of its main jobs is to assure itself and the public that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies aren’t abusing surveillance, violating citizens’ privacy. Can anyone say J. Edgar Hoover ? Mr. Comey should not have the power to stymie an outside investigation into his own agency’s practices.

The obvious answer here is for Mr. Comey to start being transparent to congressional oversight. You’d think his fellow heads of intelligence agencies would be pressuring him to get straight, given the grave risk he’s posing to their own organizations. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, one the government’s most vital snooping tools, expires at the end of this year. I’m told that—given the appalling leak mess, and the Obama administration’s likely abuse of its spying authority—not a single Republican is yet committed to reauthorization.

If the FBI director won’t open up, maybe it’s time for a Justice Department attorney with the appropriate jurisdiction to start an investigation. Because no matter how much Mr. Comey acts the boy scout, he is not above supervision.

Write to
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Marine Le Pen goes revisionist on: April 11, 2017, 09:13:24 AM
Behind Le Pen’s Ideological Face Lift
The National Front leader peddles Holocaust revisionism.
April 10, 2017 8:54 p.m. ET

Marine Le Pen has spent years trying to clean up the French National Front’s image as a party of cranks, anti-Semites and apologists for the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime. Then the mask slid back down on Sunday as the far-right Presidential nominee reminded the world that Holocaust revisionism still lives in the Front.

Ms. Le Pen in an interview said that “France isn’t responsible for the Vel d’Hiv,” a reference to the rounding up of more than 13,000 Jews—including some 4,000 children—in July 1942. Nazi occupiers, with the help of the Vichy regime of Marshal Pétain, crowded the victims into a cycling stadium before dispatching them to concentration camps. The majority were sent to Auschwitz.

Ms. Le Pen lamented how such historical events had been used to teach French children to be ashamed of the French past. She added: “If there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.”

This is an historical evasion. Many French fought the Nazis, but the scale of French collaboration was vast, with some 350,000 French citizens purged or punished postwar for collaboration. Current French President François Hollande and the center-right former President Jacques Chirac have accepted state responsibility for the Vel d’Hiv episode and apologized.

Ms. Le Pen’s remarks suggest backtracking and revisionism, which is why they drew condemnation from France’s Jewish leaders as well as Israel’s foreign ministry.

The comments echoed the National Front of Ms. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie. Mr. Le Pen in 1987 described the Holocaust as a “detail in the history of World War II” and more recently suggested that “Mr. Ebola” could solve the world’s “demographic” problems.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist independent who is Ms. Le Pen’s main Presidential rival, noted, “Some had forgotten that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.” With the first round of voting less than three weeks away, Ms. Le Pen is alerting voters to what has—and hasn’t—changed in her party.
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Wolfowitz: What comes after the Syria Strikes? on: April 11, 2017, 09:04:19 AM
Bush neocon Wolfowitz makes his case:

What Comes After the Syria Strikes
With American credibility restored, Trump should lead a diplomatic effort to replace Assad.
By Paul Wolfowitz
Updated April 10, 2017 7:32 p.m. ET

Strong American action can dramatically change the attitudes of other countries. It makes enemies more cautious, friends more supportive, and fence-sitters more cooperative. It provides leverage in negotiations and improves opportunities for coalition building. Last week President Trump demonstrated American resolve by retaliating against the Syrian government after Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. Now Mr. Trump must follow through with a broad diplomatic effort to end the country’s bloodshed.

Among the most interesting reactions to the American strike were two from Iraqi Shiite leaders. Last Thursday Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate, and the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand, both called for Mr. Assad to step down. Mr. Sadr predictably denounced the American strike. Mr. Abadi indirectly praised it by noting how Iraqis had suffered from Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons.

These calls for Mr. Assad to step down might seem at odds with the conventional wisdom, which puts the Sunni-Shiite conflict at the heart of everything in the Middle East. Shouldn’t Iraq’s Shiites naturally side with Iran’s Syrian proxy and approve of Mr. Assad’s brutal treatment of Sunni opponents? Yet there are issues more important than the commonly noted sectarian divisions. The people of Iraq know well that the Assad regime has supported the insurgents and suicide bombers who have killed thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of Americans, since 2003. The Bush administration largely turned a blind eye to that support, and President Obama did so even more.

In August 2009 then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demanded that Syria hand over two Iraqis in Damascus who were believed to be connected to car bombings in Baghdad. The Obama administration, rather than support the Iraqi government—or even demand an investigation—said nothing for a week. The State Department then announced that the U.S. was officially neutral. Last week’s decisive action was a different sort of American signal.

America can now lead the effort to bring some semblance of stability to Syria. Washington should recognize that peace is impossible with Mr. Assad still in power, but also that millions of Syrians—particularly the Christian and Alawite minorities—may feel endangered by the strongman’s departure. The aim should be to replace Mr. Assad’s regime with new governance arrangements that can provide assurance to these minorities while also ending the current government’s oppression of the country’s Sunni majority.

Fashioning such an outcome would require diplomacy of extraordinary creativity. But the U.S. starts with a distinct advantage. Unlike Iran and Russia, America has no interest in exercising control over or acquiring a military position in Syria. To the contrary, as long as the bleeding stops, the U.S. would be happiest to leave Syria to the Syrians. So how can Washington strengthen its diplomatic effort in Syria and at the same time weaken Iranian influence in Iraq?

First, the U.S. should use public diplomacy to highlight the responsibility of the Assad regime for the suffering of thousands of innocent Iraqis over the past 14 years. This effort should also explain, to the extent that evidence is available, Mr. Assad’s efforts to strengthen Islamic State. The dictator has tried to make his regime seem like the only alternative to domination by terrorists. He has done this by attacking Syrian moderates and freeing imprisoned extremists who went on to become ISIS leaders.

The U.S. should encourage Saudi Arabia to play a constructive role in Iraq by using its considerable economic weight to counterbalance Iranian influence. The Saudis have in the past shown a willingness to treat Iraq as an Arab partner and not a Shiite adversary. That realism, which was evident under an earlier Saudi leadership, seems to be re-emerging. Two months ago Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Baghdad, the first such trip in 27 years.

The Trump administration should also counter the mistaken belief that Saudi Arabia prevented the U.S. from supporting the Shiite uprising against Saddam Hussein after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Many Iraqis, and even some reputable historians, still believe this. Yet the truth is exactly the opposite. The U.S. should make public the record of Saudi efforts to persuade the first President Bush and President Clinton to support anti-Saddam Shiite rebels. It will be difficult for Saudi-Iraqi relations to develop without countering the belief that Saudi Arabia is partly responsible for mass graves of Iraqi Shiites.

American diplomats should seek to engage the regional Arab players in addressing the difficult challenge of postconflict reconciliation. This will confront Syria in the aftermath of any peace settlement, and it will become important in Iraq once Mosul is liberated. Reconciliation processes that are suited to local cultures and deal with the horrific legacy of totalitarian Arab regimes cannot be overseen by outsiders. But the diplomatic effort should emphasize their importance regardless.

These political and diplomatic actions could complement and reinforce more-concrete measures to change facts on the ground in Syria, such as creating safe zones or imposing some kind of no-fly zone. These efforts will not be simple, nor will they yield immediate results. But this framework would go a long way in addressing the common danger of radical extremism and in stemming the flow of refugees that has become a humanitarian disaster and a threat to U.S. interests.

Mr. Wolfowitz, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has served as deputy defense secretary and ambassador to Indonesia.

Appeared in the Apr. 11, 2017, print edition.
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Obama's Debt Interest Bomb on: April 11, 2017, 08:58:12 AM
Obama’s Debt Interest Bomb
Rising interest payments are already showing up in the federal fisc.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Photo: yuri gripas/Reuters
April 10, 2017 7:11 p.m. ET

President Obama left his successor many time bombs—think chemical weapons in Syria and the collapsing Affordable Care Act. But a burning fuse that gets less attention showed its first signs of the explosion to come in Friday’s Congressional Budget Office budget review for March: Rising net interest payments on the national debt.

CBO reported that the federal budget deficit rose $63 billion in the first half of fiscal 2017 (October-March) to $522 billion from a year earlier. But here’s the especially bad omen: Net interest payments rose $7 billion, or 30%, in March from a year earlier.
The Fed's Budget BonusFederal Reserve remittances to theU.S. Treasury, 2007-2016, in billions ofdollarsSource: Federal ReserveNote: 2015 not including $19.3 billion payment from Fedcapital surplus mandated by the FAST Act.

If that seems small, consider that interest payments rose $28 billion for the six months of fiscal 2017 to $152 billion. That’s a 22.2% increase, among the biggest in any single spending item highlighted by CBO. The increases reflect the growing debt but in particular the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates after years of near-zero rates.

While Mr. Obama was doubling the national debt over eight years, the Fed’s monetary policies spared him from the fiscal consequences. The Fed’s near-zero policy kept interest rates at historic lows that reduced net interest payments even as the overall debt increased. The Fed’s bond-buying programs also earned money that the Fed turned over to Treasury each year, reducing the size of the federal budget deficit by tens of billions of dollars.

This not-so-free Fed lunch is starting to end. CBO estimates that $160 billion more spending will be required each year over the next decade if interest rates are merely one percentage point higher than in its current projections. As interest rates rise, the Fed will also have to pay banks more to keep excess reserves parked at the central bank. After its latest rate increase in March, the Fed now pays banks 1% on reserve balances or about $20 billion a year, and that will go up.

Fed officials are also now hinting that this year they may finally stop buying new securities when the current bonds on its balance sheet come due. This is necessary and long overdue, but it will mean smaller Fed contributions to the federal budget than the more than $90 billion the Fed has turned over in recent years. (See the nearby chart.)

All of this is set to explode on President Trump’s watch, and it will complicate the task for Republicans as they try to reform the tax code within tighter budget constraints.

Mr. Obama didn’t expect a Republican to succeed him but we doubt he regrets this result. He was able to live off the eight years of accommodative Fed policy while seeding the federal fisc with ever-higher spending from interest payments and the Affordable Care Act after he leaves office. Mr. Trump is stuck with the bar tab. It’s one more mess Mr. Obama left others to clean up.
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: April 11, 2017, 08:07:31 AM
Good post.

Minor comment: 

"Here in Mexico, per INEGI and IMSS, men suffer 90% of the workplace fatalities"

My understanding is that in the US the number is 95%.
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Commanders Cautious after Syria Strike on: April 11, 2017, 07:56:33 AM

U.S. Commanders in Cautious Mood After Syria Strike
April 9, 2017 | 15:19 GMT Print
Text Size
An F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft refuels prior to strike operations against the Islamic State in Syria. Such missions will be more cautious after the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base. (Maj. Jefferson S. Heiland/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)

Even before launching the missile strike on the Syrian government-controlled Shayrat air base, the United States knew the risks to its anti-Islamic State campaign and its wider operations in the country would grow substantially. After all, U.S. aircraft fly within range of Syrian and Russian air defense systems every day, and U.S. forces are present on the ground in Syria, in some cases such as in Manbij, within proximity of Syrian loyalist troops.

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. military and its allies are adopting a cautious stance in Syria while they assess the changed dynamics and monitor signs of any moves to retaliate over the Shayrat missile strike. The New York Times, for instance, reported April 8 that the U.S.-led coalition in Syria has sharply curtailed its air operations over Syria. Instead, it's relying on highly survivable aircraft such as the stealth F-22 for essential missions over the country. This caution has been further driven by the Russian withdrawal from the 2015 deconfliction agreement with the United States, which was designed to limit the potential for accidental encounters between U.S.-led coalition aircraft and Russian aircraft over Syria.

While coalition flight operations over Syria could quickly revert back to their normal pace as the United States assesses the operating environment, U.S.-led coalition forces will still have to remain at a heightened state of alert for the foreseeable future. Worries include not only an accidental collision with Russian forces or retaliation ordered by the Syrian high command in Damascus, but also the highly fragmented state of the Syrian military after more than six years of war. A local officer or powerful Syrian field commander, going rogue, could conceivably elect to open fire on U.S. aircraft independent of the Syrian loyalist chain of command. There have already been unconfirmed reports of loyalist-manned anti-aircraft gunfire directed at U.S. spy drones flying over the province of al-Hasaka in northeastern Syria. Before the April 7 strike, Syrian forces generally gave a wide berth to U.S. anti-Islamic State operations, in a sort of unofficial acceptance.

Situations like these can rapidly escalate in a conflict such as Syria, with the United States increasingly involved in a civil war that has already drawn in so many nations.
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California on: April 11, 2017, 07:46:35 AM
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Peggy Noonan wins Pulitzer on: April 11, 2017, 07:39:18 AM
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Strategy Bridge on: April 03, 2017, 07:35:29 PM
Have not read this yet but it looks promising.
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Eric Prince set up back channel meeting? on: April 03, 2017, 04:53:08 PM
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Turkish intel using mosques to spy? on: April 03, 2017, 04:26:27 PM
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Turkish intel using mosques to spy? on: April 03, 2017, 04:25:44 PM
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Visa overstays the bigger problem on: April 03, 2017, 04:23:50 PM
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This had to go to a federal appeals court! on: April 03, 2017, 04:20:13 PM
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mosque honors jihadi assassin on: April 03, 2017, 04:19:03 PM
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A bit more on Operation Fast & Furious (OFF) 2.0 on: April 03, 2017, 04:16:53 PM
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VA can't fire employees watching porn at work on: April 03, 2017, 04:03:46 PM
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / King Addullah of Jordon in DC for talks. on: April 03, 2017, 03:20:20 PM
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump-Russia Accusations and the possible Silent Coup on: April 03, 2017, 03:15:20 PM
Again , , ,  rolleyes
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: April 03, 2017, 02:08:45 PM
 cheesy cheesy cheesy
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sanders defends Trump voters on: April 03, 2017, 02:08:15 PM
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Humor on: April 03, 2017, 01:57:26 PM
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Susan Rice behind unmasking? on: April 03, 2017, 01:38:49 PM

The following was written prior to the above but has some interesting stuff on Flynn:
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexico readies the corn card on: April 03, 2017, 11:39:38 AM
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kushner on: April 03, 2017, 11:38:07 AM
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kushner-China on: April 03, 2017, 11:37:13 AM
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: April 03, 2017, 11:36:24 AM
1) The Electoral thread (I just use SEIU for the search command), and



For posts that may be of research value down the road, please feel free to post an item in more than one thread.

192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: Fed may shrink balance sheet on: April 03, 2017, 11:17:42 AM
Worth noting is the Scott Grannis has been underlining the key role of the balance sheet since 2008. 

WSJ Leak: Fed May Shrink Balance Sheet To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 4/3/2017

If you read us regularly, and we hope you do, you know that we write each week about a topic we think is both important and timely. Last week, we were either clairvoyant, or extremely persuasive.

We argued that unless and until the Federal Reserve reduced the size of its balance sheet (and unwound quantitative easing), it would not be in control of inflation. Rate hikes alone wouldn't be effective. Last week, it didn't seem like the Fed shared our concern. But, this week is a different story.

Last week, all anyone talked about was whether the Fed would hike interest rates two or three more times in 2017, after hiking them by a quarter-point in mid-March. As we argued, as long as there are excess reserves in the financial system, higher inflation will remain a threat, even if the Fed hiked rates.

This week the world has changed. Fed Chair Janet Yellen apparently allowed a leak to the Wall Street Journal, published on March 31st, suggesting the Fed understands the problem. The Fed is taking off the table the idea there might be four rate hikes this year, but is putting on the table the idea that it will eventually pause on rate hikes and start reducing the size of its balance sheet as the normalization process continues.

At this point, the Fed is being slow and cautious and only planning on doing one thing at a time – rate hikes or bond sales. Later, it might do both at the same time.

So what should investors expect? Before the leak, it looked like the Fed would raise rates two or three more times this year, once in June and another time in either September or December, with some possibility of hiking rates in both September and December.

Now we think the Fed will raise rates in June and September and then take the following six months to start the "Great Unwinding" of the balance sheet. To begin, the Fed will take baby steps. It's not outright and actively going into the financial markets selling bonds from its balance sheet. Instead, it will take a portion (but not all) of maturing principal payments on its bond portfolio (Treasury or mortgage-backed securities) and not reinvest them into new securities, instead using that portion to extinguish excess reserves.

This cautious approach will not disrupt the bond market, but it will allow inflation to become more entrenched. As we argued last week, as long as excess reserves exist, rate hikes will make it more profitable for banks to lend those excess reserves. This expands the money supply and creates inflation.

In other words, the Fed has a long way to go. But like any government entity, unwinding its actions always proceeds at a much slower pace than the speed of its interference. This is why monetary policy is almost always biased toward inflation.

What this means for the economy and financial markets is that the Fed is highly unlikely to become a drag on growth anytime in the near future. And since the number one cause of recession is an excessively tight Fed, we think investors should watch this process carefully, but not be alarmed by it.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: April 03, 2017, 10:41:01 AM
Winston Churchill story (working from memory):

Woman:  "If you were my husband I would poison your tea."

WC:  "If you were my wife I would drink it."
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Let's Forget! on: April 03, 2017, 12:36:05 AM
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Border Patrol in Action on: April 02, 2017, 11:20:07 PM
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Schiff: No evidence yet , , , on: April 02, 2017, 09:20:16 PM

197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant/Self Intro on: April 02, 2017, 06:42:33 PM
Thank you for looking--  I was "the source", working off the top of my head.
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS Koskinen still has a job?!? on: April 02, 2017, 06:40:18 PM
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant/Self Intro on: April 02, 2017, 05:14:09 PM
Leaving tomorrow for one week in Germany: DB Gathering, seminar, friends, etc.
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Freedom Caucus, Trump, and Infrastructure Fight on: April 02, 2017, 01:30:39 PM
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