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 1 
 on: February 05, 2016, 11:35:48 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
We better be ready for this:

https://www.facebook.com/ezraklein/videos/10153962372523410/

 2 
 on: February 05, 2016, 10:44:37 PM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Is Assad's Russian-backed Offensive a Game-changer in Syria?
by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
February 5, 2016
http://www.meforum.org/5834/syria-talks
Originally published under the title "Precarious Syria Talks Leave Its Future Uncertain."
 
The failure of the peace talks was foreseen by most serious analysts on Syria.  UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura this week announced the suspension of just-convened peace talks in Geneva intended to resolve the Syrian civil war.  The failure of the talks was predictable and foreseen by most serious analysts on Syria. Diplomacy requires compromise. But the forces of President Bashar Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are advancing in both northern and southern Syria.

The dictator and his allies, as a consequence, see no reason to abandon their core aims or accept a political process leading to a transition of power.
The action of consequence with regard to Syria is taking place on the battlefields of Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa and Quneitra provinces, not in the conference rooms of Geneva and Vienna.

The aim of the regime and its Russian and Iranian allies at present appears to be to destroy the non-Islamic State Sunni Arab rebellion against Assad. This would have the consequence of leaving only three effective protagonists in the war in Syria Assad, Islamic State and the Kurds in the north.
Russia hopes to lure Syrian Kurds away from their alliance with the US.

Moscow is engaged at the moment in the energetic courting of the Kurds. Should Russia, after defeating the non-Islamic State rebels, succeed in tempting the Syrian Kurds away from their current alliance with the US, this would leave Moscow the effective master of the universally approved war against Islamic State in Syria.

Assad, who was facing possible defeat prior to the Russian intervention in September 2015, would be entirely dependent on Moscow and to a lesser extent Tehran for his survival. This would make the Russians and Iranians the decisive element in Syria's future.

The defeat of the non-Islamic State Sunni Arab rebellion is the first stage in this strategy. The main regime and Russian efforts are currently directed toward the remaining heartland of the rebellion in northwest Syria.  But Assad and his allies also appear intent on delivering a death blow to the revolt in the place it was born Deraa province in the south and its environs. This, incidentally, if achieved in its entirety, would bring Hezbollah and Iran to the area east of Quneitra crossing, facing the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights. It is not by any means certain that the regime will achieve this aim in total. But as of now, Assad and his friends are moving forward.

The first stage following the Russian intervention, and achieved in the dying months of 2015, was to end the rebel threat to the regime enclave in Latakia province. There is no further prospect of the rebels finding their way into the populated areas of this province. The regime has recaptured 35 villages in the northern Latakia countryside.

This achieved, the main fulcrum of the current effort is Aleppo province. Aleppo is the capital of Syria's north. The rebellion's arrival in this city in the late summer of 2012 signaled the point at which it first began to pose a real threat to Assad.

This week, the regime, its Iran-mustered Shi'a militia supporters and Russian air power succeeded in breaking the link between the border town of Azaz and rebel-held eastern Aleppo. This reporter traveled these rebel supply routes from the border when they were first carved out in 2012. They were vital to the maintenance of the rebellion's positions in Aleppo. There is a single link remaining between Turkey and eastern Aleppo via Idlib province.
The direction of the war is currently in the regime's favor.  But the rebel situation is rapidly deteriorating. The regime also broke a two-year siege on two Shi'ite towns, Nubul and Zahra.

The rebels rushed all available personnel and resources to defend these supply routes. Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida branch in Syria, sent a convoy of 750 fighters to the area. This proved insufficient.

Further south, a recent regime offensive in Deraa province led to the recapture of the town of Sheikh Maskin, which again cuts the rebels off from key supply lines in a province they once dominated.

So the direction of the war is currently in the regime's favor.  This is due to the Russian air intervention and to Iran's provision of ground fighters from a variety of regional populations aligned with it.  The pattern of events on the ground had a predictable effect on the diplomacy in Geneva.
Any attempt by the regime to claw back the entirety of Syria will lead to overstretch.

All this does not, however, necessarily presage imminent and comprehensive regime and Russian success on the ground. Syrian opposition sources note that the pendulum of the war has swung back and forth many times in the course of the last four years. They hope that fresh efforts from Ankara, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will help to stem regime gains in the weeks ahead.

Perhaps more fundamentally, any attempt by the regime to claw back the entirety of Sunni Arab majority areas or Kurdish majority areas of Syria would lead to the same situation the regime faced in 2012 namely, overstretch and insufficient forces to effectively hold areas conquered.  But as of now, thanks to the Russian intervention, prospects for rebel victory have been averted and the Assad regime, with its allies, is on the march once more.

Comprehensive eclipse for the non-Islamic State Sunni Arab rebel groups is no longer an impossibility somewhere down the line. This reality at present precludes progress toward a diplomatic solution.

As an old Russian proverb has it: When the guns roar, the muses are silent.

 3 
 on: February 05, 2016, 05:55:14 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/04/iowa-democratic-official-who-refuses-to-review-results-is-hillary-supporter/

 4 
 on: February 05, 2016, 04:44:39 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by G M
Thanks for the great and rational answer.  No it won't be easy when thes kids keep hearing Bernie promise them free college etc.

Some one has to wake them up and college free or not is not worth a damn if in the end you wind up working for the government controlled state that takes it all anyway.

Socialism! It will finally work this time!

 5 
 on: February 05, 2016, 04:42:34 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

Shocking!

 6 
 on: February 05, 2016, 04:05:45 PM 
Started by buzwardo - Last post by ccp
Russia is considering copying the Saudis oil war with US drillers by flooding Europe with cheap natural gas:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gazprom-braces-gas-price-war-221041925.html

 7 
 on: February 05, 2016, 03:52:29 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by ccp
OPEC Stands on the Brink
By Keith Kohl | Friday, February 5, 2016

Although the media headlines today are dominated by Russia, Saudi Arabia, speculation on China's slowing demand growth, and the tight oil drillers in the lower-48 states, it really was only a matter of time before other OPEC members reached a breaking point.

And that's precisely where Venezuela finds itself today.

What you might not know is that Venezuela actually has a very long history of oil exports.

Not many people know that the first barrel of Venezuela oil was shipped abroad about 320 years before Col. Drake's famous well struck black gold along the banks of Oil Creek, Pennsylvania.

It's true.

Just after the Spaniards conquered the area, there were rumors that oil could be used to cure gout, which led to a barrel of crude being shipped overseas to Emperor Charles V (it's a shame it didn't help with malaria).

But historical tangents aside, you have to ask yourself just how desperate Venezuela is over the potential collapse of its oil industry.

A State on the Brink

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Venezuela.

Any time you need to physically hit your president in the head with a piece of fruit to get his attention, that might be your first clue that something is wrong.

I guess he has other things on his mind, especially considering that his oil industry is on the brink of collapse.

But just how desperate is the Venezuelan oil industry? Let's just say that it's been pushed far enough to go over Saudi Arabia's head. Just this week, the country sent its new oil minister on a mission to visit both OPEC and non-OPEC producers and plead with them to cut production.

His travels included stops in Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Nigeria, and Russia.

Now, we've always known that Venezuela has been one of OPEC's biggest price hawks yet it's for good reason.

While the country reports a staggeringly massive amount of oil reserves 299 billion barrels at last count don't let it fool you.

To say Venezuela's supply is of poor quality would be a gross understatement. We're talking about some of the dirtiest, heaviest, most expensive oil to extract in the world.

Nearly 80% of those proven reserves, or 235 billion barrels, are found in the Orinoco Belt.

Few countries have a higher break-even price than Venezuela. The IMF reported last October that Venezuela's fiscal break-even price was $117.50 per barrel.

Personally, I don't know any oil bulls that believe crude prices will surge that much.

It gets worse for them, too. Things are so bad now that Venezuela is forced to import light crude oil from the United States in order to help refine its heavy oil.

Pleading its case to the world's largest producers, however, may not work out the way it's hoping, considering Venezuela's biggest enemy is Saudi Arabia itself.

Don't believe me? Just read on...



OPEC's Internal War

So you really want to know how bad things have gotten for Venezuela?

When the House of Saud declared war on oil prices more than 18 months ago, it wasn't just on the tight oil companies in the United States.

It was also on fellow OPEC members like Venezuela.

Remember, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia have consistently argued that their main priority is to preserve the nation's market share no matter who's in their way.

Over the last decades, Venezuela's oil exports to the United States have fallen by more than 46%. Of course, you should also bear in mind that almost 90% of this oil was shipped to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

And let's be clear here: the Gulf Coast is a crucial region for Venezuela's oil due to the fact that it's where most of the United States' heavy crude processing capacity is located.

The problem is that Venezuela is quickly losing ground to its OPEC brethren.

More than half of the oil that is shipped to the Gulf Coast comes from an OPEC member, and three-quarters of those OPEC exports consist of crude exports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

In fact, six out of every 10 barrels that the Saudis export to the United States end up going to the Gulf Coast.

Now, considering that tight oil plays have almost single-handedly pushed U.S. oil output to over 9 million barrels per day over the last nine years, it's clear that the Gulf Coast has become a fierce battleground for foreign exporters.

And if the situation is grim enough for Venezuela to send its oil minister around the world begging for a meager 5% output cut across the board, you can imagine how close its oil industry is standing to the brink.

Until next time,

Keith Kohl Signature

Keith Kohl

 8 
 on: February 05, 2016, 03:36:22 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by ccp
Thanks for the great and rational answer.  No it won't be easy when thes kids keep hearing Bernie promise them free college etc.

Some one has to wake them up and college free or not is not worth a damn if in the end you wind up working for the government controlled state that takes it all anyway.

 9 
 on: February 05, 2016, 03:35:22 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/

 10 
 on: February 05, 2016, 03:29:31 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Hillary Emails: Fox News Shep Smith Sucks Up To Top Clinton Aide
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published on TheHillaryDaily.com on February 4, 2016
Lost among all of Hillary's "classified" and "top secret" emails is one interesting one from Fox News Anchor Shepherd Smith. It seems Smith got into an argument with Eric Goosby about which of them liked Cheryl Mills more, (Goosby was U.N. AIDS Coordinator at the time)

Mills, of course, was Hillary's Chief of Staff.

After this third grade incident, Smith decided to suck up to Mills and bring this heavy dispute to her attention.  Smith told her that he wore an "I Love Cheryl Mills" pin!

So cute! (GAG!!!)

Here's the email text:

From: Shepherd Smith [mailto:
Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:39 PM To: Mills, Cheryl D
Subject: Very short funny story

Dear Cheryl,

After what had to be a pretty trying week I thought you might enjoy this. My two other very favorite people at State are Eric Goosby and Zeenat Rahman. Well, last week I got in kind of an argument with one of them. Eric and I were debating who thought the most of you, he or I. He threw me a curve ball when he brought up how great your husband also is and probably thinks he won the day, but he would be incorrect. In thinking about it I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say anything negative about you (of course, my wearing the "I like Cheryl Mills" pin might inhibit some people from being too negative C). I've asked Shannon Smith to look out for Zeenat when her boss comes over. Have a great weekend and get a little rest.

Best wishes,
Shepherd

***So was it a suck up to the Hillary Clinton team? We report. You decide.***

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