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April 07, 2017

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Fareed Zakaria re Syria bombs: "I think Donald Trump became President of the United States"

This is so fncking insane....

Some people just like to see stuff get blown up. It's how CNN made their bones, after all.

FWIW, the strike seemed not-uncalled-for and proportionate, IMO. I'm not sure it's a good idea for the POTUS to go blowing stuff up without Congress explicitly on board, but that horse is so far out of the barn at this point that I'm not sure it's even worth bringing up.

We'll see where things go from here.

GLTA!

the press love them some big strong daddies

Fareed Zakaria and Van Jones need to get together and decide when Donald Trump really became president.

Do these guys really get so caught up in the moment that they believe these romantic notions? Do lights and cameras affect one's emotional responses?

FWIW, the strike seemed not-uncalled-for and proportionate, IMO.

I have to say, and obviously many or even most of you may feel differently about this, I agree. But if it was going to be done, I only wish it was anybody but Trump getting the popularity benefit, from what I agree are in many cases warmongering loons.

I knew one thing Trump could do to garner bipartisan support from his oh so serious foreign policy critics in the Beltway is bomb Assad. Clinton wanted this and there is a former Obama official in the NYT applauding. Obama himself was widely criticized by the Blob ( Benjamin Rhodes's term) for not intervening, by which they meant that the massive amount of support given rebels isn't intervening-- it doesn't count unless you bomb and if that doesn't work it doesn't count if you don't invade.

I was going to out the next link in the joke link because it is funny in a Catch 22 sort of way. No idea if it is true. A non negligible chance, I'd say.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/04/donald-trump-is-an-international-law-breaker.html

Probably the least likely part is the idea that if things did happen as he claims, there would be an impeachment. It would be unprecedented for a truly serious crime committed by our government to have legal consequences.

Now a more moderate dose of skepticism

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/trump-syria-chemical-weapons-know-dont-dangers-ahead.html

Btw, what about someone launching air strikes on the Saudis? War crimes are war crimes, after all. Perhaps the Russians or the Iranians could send us a message warning us to remove our people before hitting the Saudis.

...I only wish it was anybody but Trump getting the popularity benefit

I can't wait to watch FiveThirtyEight's poll-aggregated approval/disapproval numbers for Trump improve greatly over the next week or so. (By which I mean, it's going to make me want to hurl - you know, blow chunks, spew, sell Buicks.)

at least we can count on the fact that, for everything Trump does in office, he is on record of having opposed doing that when Obama was President.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/07/trump-tweet-about-world-war-iii-comes-back-to-haunt-him-6560159/

Donald J. Trump - ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.

2:39 PM - 9 Oct 2012

I stand behind my 9:36, and I also find Donald's links to be credible.

If it's horseshit, somebody's @ss should really be nailed to the wall. I have no expectations that will ever happen. I would, however, still like to know whether it's all horseshit or not.

Also, from Donald's first link:

It should also alarm American taxpayers that we launched $100 million dollars of missiles to blow up sand and camel shit.

This puts me in mind of the recent case of a US 'ally', somewhere over there in the cradle of civilization, taking down a $200 quadcopter drone with a $3 million Patriot missile.

Median US household income is about $50K. Somebody burned up the annual income of 15,000 US households, to knock down a $200 toy that somebody ordered from Amazon.

Fifteen thousand.

And yeah, I know that $200 quadcopters can be used for nefarious ends.

But sometimes I think all the people who wish us ill need to do is keep rattling our cage and wait for us to bleed ourselves dry.

Find some dumb disaffected guy who will blow himself up in a mall somewhere. Tell him he's a jihadi, tell him he's striking a blow for Allah, and make a video of him wasting his own life and that of whoever has the bad luck to be inside the blast circle.

Then wait for us to spend a billion bucks blowing the shit out of some place, somewhere in the world, that nobody ever heard of before. Vaporize 1000 people to see if we get lucky and kill the two guys we want to kill.

Lather, rinse, and repeat, until we run out of money and get everyone else in the world to hate our f---ing guts.

It's a David and Goliath thing, I think. We're Goliath.

Even Don Rickles is speechless.

The Rapture of the Sensible continues as those in the know opt out of this bullshit country full of pigfucking know-nothings.

Fifteen thousand.

The tragedy of the innumerate.

Sixty. The annual income of 60 US households, to blow up a toy.

It'll take 'em a little longer to bleed us out at that rate. Happy days!

I too find the scenarios described in Donald's links plausible. I'm extremely skeptical that the bombings were in good faith. In other words, I smell a rat.

Some of this is a matter of trust. Trump is not trustworthy. I would not feel this way about Obama or Clinton if they had done something similar. Given the relationship between Trump and Russia, Russia and Assad, and given Trump's history of heartlessness with regard to refugees, this doesn't add up.

A basic landmine is availbale at about $3 apiece. Cleaning (clearing?) the same costs about $2000 (numbers 1-2 decades old). Drones are just a wee bit fancier at a similar cost-exchange rate.

Clinton wanted this

Trump did this.

"I would, however, still like to know whether it's all horseshit or not."

There are no facts. The conservative movement got rid of them.

There is no truth. The conservative movement got rid of it.

There is only horseshit, a colossal cloud of it, studded with shredded self-serving homilies to the original intent of our shrugging, generalizing forefathers, visible from space and now extending over the Earth as the conservative movement spreads everywhere, diligently and purposefully kicked up over the past 50 years by the malign worst among us.

We breathe, eat and sleep horseshit in 24-hour news cycles.

Give me 500 assassins and two years.

Find some dumb disaffected guy who will blow himself up in a mall somewhere.

And it doesn't have to be exclusive to the US.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/swedish-media-truck-crashes-stockholm-department-store-132252424.html

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A truck crashed into an upscale department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing at least two people, according to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who said all indications were that it was a terror attack. One person was arrested.

People in the downtown area fled in panic, and the country's intelligence agency said a large number of people were injured. Swedish radio put the death toll at three.

"Sweden has been attacked," Lofven said. "This indicates that it is an act of terror."


As always FWIW, here is my take on the whole "clash of civilizations" thing.

We - the liberal Western democracies - have everything. All the goodies. Compared to most people in the world, we live lives of ease. Even poor people in our countries have it OK, more or less. Or at least have access to having it OK, more or less.

Lots of other places and people don't have those things. Don't have them, can't find a path to getting them.

I'm not interested in getting into why that might be, that way lies 1,000 flavors of endless arguments about 'good genes', post-colonial guilt, and general culture war pissing matches. I'm just observing the facts on the ground.

Combine the two on one planet, where communications and ease of travel put us all right in each other's faces, and you're going to have problems. Each and every day.

If we want to "keep ourselves safe" we are going to have to figure out how to help other people be safe, too. For the full range of meanings of the word "safe".

Can't keep the world out, I don't give a shit how big your wall is. It's inevitable, like osmosis, we're all going to bump into each other.

That's all I got. Good luck, everyone.

I don't actually have a strong opinion on who did the attack. I think we rushed to judgment a little fast. The first link by Pat Lang's anonymous friend doesn't state sources. Lang is a retired Colonel who was in intelligence and presumably this friend has sources too. But if he is right I would think a few would start to come forward.

I hate to disagree with sapient ( seriously) when we are on the same side, but the Obama people did use false info in condemning Assad for the Ghouta attack in 2013. There is a piece here about it.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/the-failed-pretext-for-war-seymour-hersh-eliot-higgins-mit-professors-on-sarin-gas-attack/188597/

CJ Chivers also wrote a piece in the NYT which I may find. The fact is, whatever the motives, the government and human rights groups were making claims about the rockets used which were false.

Assad might have done it anyway, but leaving aside whatever one thinks about intentions, good faith and so forth, it is probably a good idea to be reserved in accepting what someone claims about the latest atrocity in Syria. We get most of our info from activists, some with Al Qaeda links, and of course the other side lies. Western reporters rarely see anything firsthand. And then we get info from intelligence agencies with agendas.

But sometimes I think all the people who wish us ill need to do is keep rattling our cage and wait for us to bleed ourselves dry.

This was, IIRC, bin Laden's plan. And whether or not it is the current plan of the folks who wish the US ill, in effect it is the plan.

Look at Trump's budget - we will strip down everything the federal government does, except "defense," which gets a budget increase. GOP Congress - repeal the ACA and decimate medicaid. If Paul Ryan had his way, medicare and social security would be on the block too.

We will destroy ourselves, happily in many cases.

More about Ghouta in 2013. The moral here is that the cliche about the fog of war applies doubly to Syria.

https://www.rootclaim.com/claims/who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013-8394#storyline_assumptions

We're in a very strange place where the truly hard decision is NOT to bomb another country. Bombing a'int no thang!

Also, for someone who is 33, the US has been at war in the Middle East for their entire adult life. With no signs of stopping and, indeed, countries being added to the list.

This was, IIRC, bin Laden's plan.

It's working so far.

Also, for someone who is 33, the US has been at war in the Middle East for their entire adult life. With no signs of stopping and, indeed, countries being added to the list.

The alt-right is pissed. I think they thought it was going to end. Most of them are at least close to being in the "war in the Middle East for their entire adult life" club.

The traditional left-right political paradigm is breaking down in what are, at least for someone my age or thereabouts, very strange ways.

Exactly, one could say he's winning. Or rather, since he's on the other side of the grass, his approach is.

The traditional left-right political paradigm is breaking down in what are, at least for someone my age or thereabouts, very strange ways.

the fact that some people have confused/conflated leftism with pacifism is at least partly to blame.

the left has never been strictly pacifist, and the right has never been strictly hawkish.

But sometimes I think all the people who wish us ill need to do is keep rattling our cage and wait for us to bleed ourselves dry.

There is a school of thought that this was a significant part of how we took out the USSR: we goaded them into spending money on their military beyond what they could afford. Until their economy (and thus their military in Eastern Europe) imploded.

My overwhelming feeling regarding this drone strike is relief.

Why? Russia has active military units in Syria. On his track record so far, I would have been totally unsurprised if Trump managed to direct the attack to hit someplace where it would hit Russian troops and equipment, not just Syrians. But apparently he managed not to. So: relief.

Lest we get too focused on/distracted by Syria, take a look at this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/07/bipartisan-anti-corruption-bill-is-vladimir-putins-worst-nightmare/?utm_term=.a75a4e4093a2

The bipartisan** Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017 was introduced yesterday. It would require the State Department to evaluate and report annually the level of corruption in countries world-wide, and name those officials who benefit the most from their government offices. Wonder if that report will include the US. And how Trump will rank.

** Sponsors: Ben Cardin (D-Md.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). See, bipartisan can still happen.

You've got to get your jollies where you can: Ann Coulter, Farage et al aghast at Trump is pretty satisfying. Ann Coulter on Twitter:

Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.

Who'da thunk it?

There is a school of thought that this was a significant part of how we took out the USSR: we goaded them into spending money on their military beyond what they could afford

In one of history's many ironies, thus was born Osama Bin Laden, jihadi warrior.

wj: rumor has it that Trump tipped off his buddy Putin, who pulled his stuff out of the way, and also tipped of Assad, who did the same.

Defense theater all the way down.

Soooooo... suppose Trump doesn't do this. Does the UK? Germany? Japan? Shouldn't it be someone else's turn?

"There is a school of thought that this was a significant part of how we took out the USSR: we goaded them into spending money on their military beyond what they could afford"

There should be a school of thought that taking out the USSR, despite it being a monstrosity, made the world a much more unstable place for the United States and in fact placed great swathes of the American people in the way of the increasing depredations and monstrousness of the modern Republican party and its intention to dismantle the American social safety net, including labor unions, as murderous filth like Steven Forbes chortled they would in fact accomplish once the Soviet Union fell.

It's all one fucking seamless program for ya.

I came upon this when looking for something else:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/03/the-conservative-myth-of-a-social-safety-net-built-on-charity/284552/

Throw the widows out in the snow!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/syria-strike-revive-trumps-economic-agenda-154609716.html

You could swaddle a Jew in bacon and slow roast him over a spit over a fire on the sidewalk outside the New York Stock Exchange and the fuckers on Wall Street would tell you to go long both pork belly futures, Raytheon, and Israeli graveyard settlements on the West Bank.

Pointless bombing, even tipped-off bombing, gains you political capital in bullshit pigfucking America for tax cuts.

If we bomb Ann Coulter and her mother, maybe Trump and I can deal on healthcare.

Yet another no shit sherlock moment at The American Conservative:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/this-isnt-the-foreign-policy-trump-campaigned-on/

From the Count's link:

It does give Trump the air of seriousness and decisiveness, however—and those attributes are useful in the more tedious aspects of governing. You can’t pass legislation with missiles, after all.

No you can't, har har har.

Jesus.

Hmmm. I wonder how this can be happening:

"Syrian warplanes took off from an air base which was hit by U.S. cruise missiles on Friday, and carried out air strikes on rebel-held areas in the eastern Homs countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said."

"It does give Trump the air of seriousness and decisiveness"

An air of seriousness and decisiveness can be observed in the room as well when the Queen of England farts during a state function.

You can’t pass legislation with missiles, after all.

A man with a good missile don't need no legislation.

Vercotti: ...and one evening in walks Dinsdale with a couple of big lads, one of whom was carrying a tactical nuclear missile. They said I had bought one of their fruit machines and would I pay for it

2nd Interviewer: How much did they want?

Vercotti: They wanted three quarters of a million pounds.

2nd Interviewer: Why didn't you call the police?

Vercotti: Well I had noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the chief constable for the area.

ral! the Piranha Brothers of blessed memory! Violence and sarcasm can't be far behind....

Spiny Norman calling, "Donald? Donald?" comes to mind.

"rumor has it that Trump tipped off his buddy Putin, who pulled his stuff out of the way, and also tipped of Assad, who did the same."

Well, that's not a rumor. CNN said so.

I didn't read the links yet, but if any of them say Putin 3rd Assad to gas his people so that Trump could bomb him and Putin could act outraged, but not too outraged. I thought that first.

It takes some effort to find something worse than "getting involved in someone else's civil war", but "getting involved on BOTH SIDES of someone else's civil war" has to be right up there.

Thanks, Trump!

I could see selling weapons to both sides. I mean, business is business after all.

Come to think of it, I have this vague recollection about Iran vs. Iraq...

"but if any of them say Putin 3rd Assad to gas his people so that Trump could bomb him and Putin could act outraged, but not too outraged. I thought that first."

A Russian warship just exited the Bosporus and is steaming in the direction of the U.S. Naval ships that launched the cruise missiles.

Don't stop now, Dad. Tell us what happens next. Wait, Mom's bringing the popcorn.

Anyone seen hide nor hair of the fucking State Department?

Will there be defections as Potemkin war breaks out?

I mean, from us to them.

Most likely the State Department is waiting in the (probably vain) hope that the White House will deign to advise as to what our policy and plans are. Since, after all, they can hardly attempt to execute those before finding out what they are.

Of course, the White House can hardly advise on policies and plans which do not exist. Awkward that.

What does it mean, to "3rd" ? I am not very l33t.

Anyone seen hide nor hair of the fucking State Department?

I think I just saw Tillerson in line at KFC.

Told, that word was told and I typed it right, or not

Marty, I think you can blame it on Russian hacking. I have the same problem.

At the KFC in Moscow.

There really is KFC in Moscow.

What strange times we inhabit.

So Tillerson got the "KFC run" job, since Christie is out?

Sounds plausible.

No longer in Syria though.

For those of us on the hypocrisy patrol, there's this.

They expected lower healthcare deductibles, too:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/04/youve-got-remember-just-simple-farmers-people-land-common-clay-new-west-know-morons

The hypocrisy patrol was disbanded in 1967. The armed craven patrol is on the job and it aims to fucking kill.

there are certain preconditions for hypocrisy which are not in evidence.

It's one thing to be deluded about the individual you are voting for. Any of us can succumb to that now and again.

But for someone married to an illegal immigrant to vote for someone with Trump's loudly stated position on the subject? That is definitely exceptional.

from the count's link:

The reality is the bureaucracy has let him down

bullshit. 'the bureaucracy' is just doing what they've been told to do.

the reality is a lot of people are perfectly happy to see this guy tossed out on his @ss after 20 years of living here with a clean record, doing all the things you'd want anyone to do, and leaving his wife, kids, and business hanging out to dry.

because he's a beaner.

when ICE starts rounding up any of the illegal Irish in the great city of boston, of whom there are many thousands, instead of the Latinos in Lawrence, maybe you can persuade me that it's not about Those Brown People.

not that I wish that on any of our gaelic neighbors, i'm just saying.

she voted for trump, and he did exactly what he said he was going to do. he threw her husband and the father of her kids the hell out of the country.

hoist by her own petard. i feel badly for her, but what's happened to her is only what she was happy to bring down on the heads of millions of others.

do people really think that they are, somehow, going to be exempt when the shit hits the fan?

karma's a bitter f'ing pill to swallow.

Well viewed objectively, is it any different from all the folks who voted for a candidate (or even several candidates) who promised to slash government spending. Blithely ignoring how many of those programs that the candidates intend to slash are things that they, personally, depend on.

It's not entirely clear, at least to me, whether they are simply in denial about how much they (and not just the unworthy others) depend on government programs. Or if they somehow think that, because they voted for the candidate, they will be exempted. But they keep doing it.

Me, I just figured Trump was sending a message to President Xi during his visit this weekend: I'm crazy enough to bomb Syria while the Russians are there; believe me when I say I'm crazy enough to bomb North Korea.

Donald cited some conspiracy theories regarding the 2013 chemical attacks on Ghouta. It's one thing to be skeptical, especially of Donald Trump and his motives, since he's an unabashed serial liar whose chief strategist is a fake news entrepreneur.

It's another to assume that "Obama used false info" in 2013, when investigations were conducted that found Assad's army to be the probably perpetrators.

Human Rights Watch

I read Seymour Hersh's LRB article, where he accused the Obama administration of cherry-picking information, but I find that unlikely as reluctant as Obama was to become involved in Syria.

do people really think that they are, somehow, going to be exempt when the shit hits the fan?

that was a rhetorical question, right?

From the twitters:

My working definition of conservative is "person incapable of imagining being in the situation of the people they want to screw over."

What I find must disturbing is that few seem to care about the UN charter or for that matter the US constitution anymore and everybody and their dog (including Merkel and Hollande) is cheering the US for 'doing something' - no matter what the law says, even though most experts condemn such actions.

https://www.justsecurity.org/39712/top-legal-experts-syria-strikes/

This is of course nothing new.

Sapient, I am neutral on Ghouta and you could well be right. The false info though, was this --

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/world/middleeast/new-study-refines-view-of-sarin-attack-in-syria.html

That is the NYT reluctantly admitting that much of what had been " proven" was in fact false. Assad could have done it anyway. You would have to google Postol and Lloyd and others to find out more. They are MIT weapons experts. I have also gotten more cynical about just about everyone. On conspiracy theories, everyone is a conspiracy theorist. If you are part of the mainstream then your crackpot theories are never labeled as conspiracy theories. All that matters is whether the limited evidence supports a given theory. So some conspiracy theories are pure crap. Others are possibly true, but get labeled as conspiracy theories to dismiss them.

As I just emailed someone, Syria reminds me of Jenin in terms of what we know. Jenin was a Palestinian town besieged in the second intifada. The Palestinians claimed there had been a massacre of hundreds and even an Israeli general said the death toll was in the hundreds. The Israelis as a whole denied it. Afterwards in that situation it really was possible for human rights groups to do a thorough investigation and the total deat toll was 52 Palestinians, about half of whom were civilian and some really had died in war crimes. So the truth was in- between. With Jenin it was possible to determine the truth but with Syria and I would argue with the US in Iraq, in most cases everything we learn comes from activists or partisans or government officials or investigators subjected to political pressures and without safe access because jihadis kidnap or kill Western reporters.

So it's like Jenin without the followup. Either Israel murdered hundreds or did nothing wrong at all. That's our state of knowledge most of the time.

"It's not entirely clear, at least to me, whether they are simply in denial about how much they (and not just the unworthy others) depend on government programs."

Oh, that's Obama's fault.

Because of his tyrannical Executive Order tyranny, demanding that the word "gullible" be removed from American dictionaries, because of of 'political correctness' and 'safe spaces'.

Don't worry, Trump reversed that order on DAY ONE!

she voted for trump, and he did exactly what he said he was going to do. he threw her husband and the father of her kids the hell out of the country.

hoist by her own petard. i feel badly for her, but what's happened to her is only what she was happy to bring down on the heads of millions of others.

I think that the fundamental difference between peopel who vote Repubican and peopel who vote eomcrat is that Repubican voters want to use government to be mean to people other than themselves while continuing to serve their interests and Democrats what government to serve everyone's interests.

I think that waht we are seeing--the degeneration of our nation into oligarchy--is at ist root the triumph of decadence. Therea re too many people who are just well enough off to be completely selfish in their view of politics.

There are areas of white poverty where peopel vote Republican out of racism pretty overtly or out of a more diffuse sense of being somehow entitled to be served by the government while other pepel are not so entitled, but the research data shows that most Trunp voters are reasonably well off. NOt on welfare. NOt suffering dire circumstances. From their little islands of security, they want to push everyone else into the shark infested waters. They have no sense of the common good except as for themsleves and people they see as like themselves which is not necessarily a racial construct. It's more a commonality based on a tendecy to be authoritarian, a consumer of righwing propaganda, and a convcition that their values are the the ony correct values to have and are unique to them. In their snobbery, they can;t see that the politicians they vote for not only screw their neighbors (which doesnt bother them) but also dont share their values at all. Republican politicians don;t give a shit about hard work, getting ahead, being responsible, being patriotic, etc. Republican politicians care only about manipulating the voters to get elected so they can seve themselves and their corporate owners.

LIberals keep waiting for the rightwing base to figure out that their elected officials dont serve their interests and we keep thinking that someday Republican politicians will screw their base enough to finally lose elections.

It will take a lot of screwing, though. becasue their base genuinely is conprised of people who not only dont give a shit about anyone but themselves but they are also in the thrall of disniformation sources so when the scfrewing finally reaches them they are perfectly capable of not knowing who did it.

Just htink about Alabama. Over and over gthey elect Repubicans who do nothing for their voters except tell them who superiour they are to everyone else. Meanwhile the whole state is falling apart and their voters keep electing them.

I would not put it past that idiot woman who voted to deprt her husband to keep on voting Repubican.

If you read nothing else:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency

A constellation of murderous monied maleficent malignancy.

When will serious American patriots rise up and kill Evil with the fully automatic Second Amendment solutions our forefathers magnified through the high resolution gun scope of our precious Constitution with such exquisite prescience.

These subhumans are fucking nuts.

We shed daylight on dark money by shooting it with dark bullets.

That Mercer hates the Republican establishment because he believes the leaders are corrupt crooks and have ruined the country only exposes the fact that the killing when it comes, and it will, must cut much deeper into America than anyone imagines.

We're dealing with Alien versus Predator and both must die.

Our government is fucking dead:

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/04/07/the-mcconnell-era/

Trust no one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUXHB5U-Vl4

About that Trump-voter whose husband was deported, this may be the time to re-post my favourite cartoon from the pre-election (I don't know how to post the actual image, as Doc Science does):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot/29160592045

Says it all, really.

You don't need to overcomplicate it: if there existed definitive evidence that attributed the Ghouta attack or the most recent attacks to the Syrian army, and that evidence didn't immediately put intelligence sources in danger, it would have been released. Assad sucks, a lot of people want to pick the other side in the civil war. Same went for Hussein.

The UN findings re: Ghouta directed enough blame at the Syrian military that it led to the disposal of hundreds of tons of chemical weapons/precursors, destruction of a couple dozen manufacturing facilities, and over 2.5 years of no attack attributed to the Syrian army. Diplomacy worked pretty well if your goal was reducing the risk of chemical warfare, but it was pretty bad if you wanted to jump into a civil war. So this time we don't wait until the evidence is in.

The most frightening thing is the precedent this sets. There are lots of anti-Assad factions and they're not all best friends. Some of them possess and have used chemical weapons. Trump's just set the precedent that any chemical attack alleged to come from Syria will be met with unilateral American response; presumably an escalating response to future attacks... in response to evidence chemical weapons were used but little if any evidence as to who used them. You don't have to be a false-flag conspiracy nut to see how this calculus plays out.

I think that the fundamental difference between peopel who vote Repubican and peopel who vote [D]eomcrat is that Repubican voters want to use government to be mean to people other than themselves while continuing to serve their interests and Democrats what government to serve everyone's interests.

Actually, both parties have people who want to be mean to people unlike themselves. Definitely different categories of "people unlike themselves" -- but demonization of the other side exists in both cases. And both parties include people who want to do things that they think (rightly or wrongly) will be good for everybody.

It's probably more useful to argue about the actual impact of the different policies. (Probably worth discussing foreign policy and domestic policy separately, too.) Or you can argue whether one party or the other has a greater number of mean-for-the-sake-of-being-mean people -- not particularly useful, but at least a discussion rooted in the real world.

P.S. You might also want too consider the folly of those who are rich, and support politicians who work to enrich them while impoverishing everybody else. It's like they have never heard of the poor rising up and destroying the rich, if pushed hard enough.

Who says ignorance of their own real best interest is limited to poor people voting Republican?

Respectfully, no, both parties have not been deploying the same tactics or making the same kind of appeal for the last thirty years or so. ONly the Republican party has deliberately and cynically through the use of disinformation, hatemongering and fake news built up a base of people who believe themselves to the the real Americans, possessors of real American values, entitled to government services and focused in their voting behavior on using the political process to be mean to whoever the Republican party is using as a scapegoat: gays, Democrats, the poor, Muslims etc.


Only the Republican party has substituted party-wide the tactic of hatemongering partisanship for discussion of issues. They have to do this because their policies are harmful to their base and cannot be discussed honestly with their base.

I dont say these things when talking to a Republican voter, fo course. Instead I do discuss issues, and invariably the Republican voter has no idea what legislation or policies the Repubicans are proposing or passing. Quite often they refuse to believe facts. For example, most of my Facebook friends are involved in animal rescue. many believed that TRump was going to be good on animal issues and refused to believe otherwise, even with his sons going off to Africa to shoot elephants. It was a higher priority with them to hate Muslims, blame the poor etc, than to know how the political parties line up on issues related to animals.

It's beginning to dawn on them now that Repubicans are not good on animal issues. I can tell because they don;t want to discuss it any more.

One of the most obvious examples of the extraordinary selfishness of the Republican base is the attitude toward health insurance. They favor Medicare, of course. They opposed Obamacare because rightwing media told them to oppose it and besides they didn't think it was for them. However, many did benefit from Obamacare, some without realizing it was Obamacare, some knowing it was but voting for Trump anyway because they thought he would e mean to Mexincans and and Muslims but not to them. Then when the Republicans had to shift from partisan lying about Obamacare to actually acting on Obamacare and it turned out they were going to screw with the lives of many of theer base voters...then and only then did those base voters who were beneficiaries of Obamacare suddenly start paying attention to policy instead of slogans. And their reaction was jus like the lady who voted to deort her husband: hey I dint know you were going to hurt me!

They, uh, missed the runway. Sixty times:

http://juanitajean.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Cruise-Missile-Damage.jpg

At least those target range NRA republican pigfuckers can shoot their own dicks off when they aim straight.

Maybe trump's sons have already platted out the new trump hotel syria next to the runway and asked Mad Dog to go easy on the demolition. I think I spotted a hardhatted Ivanka in heels in the photo cordoning off the main runway for the Navy boys.

Republican America: so full of shit that shit itself is embarrassed to be shit.

Maybe trump's sons have already platted out the new trump hotel syria next to the runway and asked Mad Dog to go easy on the demolition. I think I spotted a hardhatted Ivanka in heels in the photo cordoning off the main runway for the Navy boys.

Very sad that this is all so plausible.

They missed but let us rhapsodize over the beauty of the photo ops:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/04/guided-beauty-weapons

Leonard Cohen, if he could hear Williams gas on in the former's name regarding the anchor's nearly sexual love of the implements of fucking death, would arise from his grave and strangle Williams with piano wire right there on the bankrupt bullshit American telly.

America will get it darker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nmHymgM7Y

There's truth that lives truth that dies and yours, you pompous prat Williams, is the latter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlTTVIwpS0A

They, uh, missed the runway. Sixty times

It occurs to me to wonder. Does this represent the pervasive incompetence of the administration spreading to the military? Or the military doing less than their best work for a commander in chief that they have no respect for?

On balance, I think I'd prefer the former. Just because I have a problem with the idea of the military, in effect, sabotaging orders that they disagree with. But neither one is cause for joy.

It's not "truth that dies" that's the problem.

It's "truth that kills".

It occurs to me to wonder. Does this represent the pervasive incompetence of the administration spreading to the military? Or the military doing less than their best work for a commander in chief that they have no respect for?

It was the plan. Do something ineffectual to make the press forget about the problems. Total win, it seems.

That's interesting about the cruise missile misses. Maybe it was countermeasures, but that's something I know nothing about. My preferred theory, not saying it is true, just what I'd like, is that the Pat Lang post I linked above is correct and there are people in the military who think this was a Syrian strike on what turned out to be a jihadi chemical weapons dump. So they missed the runway deliberately. That last part is my contribution to conspiracy theorizing.

Do I believe this? Not particularly, but at the moment I don't believe anything very strongly about what happened.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA guy, also says he has anonymous sources who should know who also say what Pat Lang's poster said. If true, you would think someone would risk his or her career and step forward sooner or later.

Politically, conspiracy theorizing aside, there were some paleocons at the American Conservative who really believed that Trump's criticism of American interventionism was sincere. Larison my hero was always smart enough to see that Trump was incoherent, but not everyone over there was so perceptive. They believed what they wanted. But that said, the scales have fallen from their eyes. Mainstream Dems and Republicans may love Trump for chucking Obama's restraint, but they won't like Trump otherwise. And he has alienated part of his base with this massive contradiction of his anti interventionist campaign rhetoric.

Missing the runway was a feature, not a bug. If they'd wanted to hit the runway, they would have. If they had wanted to destroy the runway, they wouldn't have chosen cruise missiles.

Runways are durable, hard to damage, cheap to fix. Cruise missiles are expensive, but carry only the equivalent of 1000 lbs of high explosive, or thereabouts -- your million-dollar cruise missile makes maybe a ten-foot blast crater in a runway, a pothole that can be repaired within hours with a truckload of asphalt and a roller.

Far better to aim your expensive missiles at buildings and people and planes, which are easier to damage and more difficult to repair.

Besides: Trump's friends, the Russians, whom we forewarned of the strike, are using that runway, and didn't want it damaged.

This was "fire for showiness and political effect".

Me:
Me, I just figured Trump was sending a message to President Xi during his visit this weekend: I'm crazy enough to bomb Syria while the Russians are there; believe me when I say I'm crazy enough to bomb North Korea.

According to the Financial Times, Carrier Strike Group 1, including the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, is now headed for the Korean peninsula. The article states that Trump also spoke by phone with Japan's Prime Minister and South Korea's acting President this weekend.

https://www.ft.com/content/0d4a22e8-1ce3-11e7-a454-ab04428977f9

So, vis a vis runways, as Budget Director Mick Mulvaney might explain it, the Tomahawk cruise missile is equivalent in efficacy for the hard-working American taxpayer to wasting their money on a school lunch for some kid who otherwise would go hungry. Feeding that kid day by day does not have its intended effect ... that his academic performance should improve and he should go out and get a good job. True, he doesn't go hungry, but what's that to American greatness? I mean, look at Gandhi, would ya, the dude lived on little more than nutrients from the atmosphere and brought down the Raj with his ribs showing. Just so, while the children of Raytheon shareholders and employees may say they feel better after eating the profits their parents make from selling cruise missiles to bounce off the tarmac like an M-80 off the driveway, we all know that it is share prices that gain the weight, which is the highest aim of all men on Earth AND the women they would like to dine with if the damned floozies would stop endangering our marriages with the footsie canoodling under the table.

"Well, Mick," donald trump chips in from his perch on the solid gold throne at Mar-a-Lago, as Kelly Ann Conway kneels nearby tearing off and neatly folding squares of premium gold leaf toilet paper for His felicitation, "first off, marriage splarriage, but in that last case, sometimes you just have to lean in and grab that cat with all ten fingers and tweet away, but never mind. But good point about those sticky little school lunch ingrates."

"Now, who built these runways in Syria that we can't made a dent in, I ask you, with our premium $1.4 billion dollar Tomahawks. That's some infrastructure. Yeah, our friends the Russians. Those people do good work, and with no unions either. Slave labor and is there any other kind? Ya know, they had one hard freeze in New Jersey bout 40 years ago and the New Jersey Turnpike turned into once big heaving pothole and they've been trying to fix it ever since. It takes six hours of one-lane stop and go to drive from Philly to the Holland Tunnel with your head hanging out the window yelling at the flagmen. If you tried to land Air Force One, now there's a boondoggle, on the damned thing, they'd wave you off fearing we'd all die."

"But, nevertheless Brian Williams shrieks like Walt Whitman singing the song of himself into an addlepated sexual conniption fit at the photogenic shock and awe of all of it, so there is that."

"So, whattaya say we get Vlad to submit a bid for the Wall down bad hombre way? We say, look just build a Syrian military runway and set it up on its side all along the border at Jose's and Guadaloupe's expense and nuttin nohow will get through the thing. You could have taco drive-up windows/gun apertures every mile or so."

"So could we use all these nuclear warheads we've been stockpiling to no avail all these years, NOT that we have nearly enough of them, and blast those runways to kingdom come? You know, I studied the nuclear arsenal for like 45 minutes back in the 1980s with great, great, amazing intensity, like a laser i zeroed in on it, there's a book around here somewhere I had my staff read to me about it .. .. how much is there to know, foureyes? ... and can we finally put it to good use and take those runways out."

"Well, Mr. President, while the nuclear blast radius would extend 20 miles in every direction and make the landscape resemble the denoument of a Cormac McCarthy novel, the ah, runways themselves would be further hardened into a substance resembling the gorilla glass on your smartphone and despite the half mile deep crater underneath them, they'd be landing Russian MIGS on it by lunchtime."

"So you're basically telling me that this runway predicament is like trying to provide "access" to healthcare for a guy with five pre-existing conditions, with no guarantee of coverage for any of them, for less than two grand a month plus twenty grand of upfront annual deductibles and copays and have him declare himself a proud member of the opportunity freedom society as the Constitution sits airless inside its glass case in Philly and the Founders corpses celebrate the suicide pact they made for us from the relative safety of their graves."

Who thought things could be so complicated? In the private sector, we never have to talk about these complications in our annual reports.

"According to the Financial Times, Carrier Strike Group 1, including the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, is now headed for the Korean peninsula. The article states that Trump also spoke by phone with Japan's Prime Minister and South Korea's acting President this weekend."

So, I guess I should alert my son to cancel that planned visit to the academic conference in Seoul in June.

"madness!"

commander shears.

Rule of recent elections: No matter whom you vote for, you always wind up with John McCain.

Carrier Strike Group 1, including the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, is now headed for the Korean peninsula

time to get the hell out of seoul.

yeah, I know the count already said it. it bears repeating.

"No matter whom you vote for, you always wind up with John McCain."

Now we know how the North Vietnamese felt.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/04/09/open-thread-never-let-it-be-forgotten/https:

John McCain knew all about the theft of our Presidential election too, way ahead of time.

Kill em all.

McCain had better figure right now if his adopted Bangladeshi daughter is a legal American citizen before the rightwing c*nts and cucks in Arizona send the nigger back where she came from:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Adopted-from-Vietnam-as-a-baby---but-told-shes-not-an-American-citizen.html

courtesy of eschaton

When billmon closed down the Whiskey Bar, a group of the afficianados appropriated the blog template and set up Moon of Alabama, where the posters and commentariat
1. Appear to be deeply involved in defense and national security matters
2. Appear to be even more cynical than I

Here's their recent bit about the cruise missile bombardment of the Syrian airstrip :

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/trumps-khan-sheikoun-production.html

Great link, joel.

The only numbers here that look juked are the gun death totals .... any self-respecting American knows we need more gun deaths per annum in this country to rescue Sturm and Ruger's flagging share price.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/4/9/1648642/-The-opioid-overdose-epidemic-hypocrisy-of-Donald-Trump

Looks to me like trump is trying to proof that throwing money AWAY FROM the opioid epidemic problem never solved anything.

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