Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

Cache   

Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

Pakistani PM Khan to meet China's Xi to discuss Kashmir, CPEC   

Cache   

Pakistani PM Khan to meet China's Xi to discuss Kashmir, CPECPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss the security situation in the disputed region of Kashmir as well as economic ties, his office said on Monday. Tensions over Kashmir have risen drastically since August when New Delhi revoked the autonomy of its portion of the territory, which both India and Pakistan rule in part and claim in full. Pakistan expelled India's ambassador and suspended bilateral trade soon after and Khan launched an international diplomacy campaign in an attempt to draw global condemnation of India's treatment of Kashmiris.



          

Simon and Jackie Go Crazy   

Cache   

So, I visited Montreal Simon to read his latest post, which was a condemnation of the Scheer Conservatives and their fans who are bringing USA-Repugnican style hatred and violent rhetoric up here. It started off well with a picture of some sub-literate right-wing moron holding up this ridiculous (and frightening) hand-made sign:


I've said on numerous occasions that stupid people must have the same right to vote as non-stupid people. But there needs to be gatekeepers to prevent the rise of stupid ideas and rage-fueled political movements from having any prominence greater than the level of three city blocks. Alas, for reasons of selfish cynicism our media and corporate elites see fit to pander to these cretins and stir them up. As well (whose kidding who?) from their own behaviour and the words that flow from their mouths, pens, pencils, keyboards, many among our elites aren't all that intelligent either.

Montreal Simon goes from trashing right-wing assholes calling for Trudeau to be "hung" (or run over by a truck) for taxing them, for verbally acknowledging global warming, for admitting Syrian refugees, for marching in PRIDE parades, and etc., ... where was I? .... Oh yeah, ... Simon goes from condemning those assholes to conflating them with progressives who yell at him for buying the TMX pipeline (so as to bail-out the Bay Street parasites who invested in that bitumen project) and praises Trudeau for asking his supporters (booing the guy) for tolerance as he lets his security drag the man away.

Immediately afterwards Simon mentions a guy who threw an egg at Trudeau during a climate march in Montreal, but it's unclear from the Global News video what that guy's agenda was. Personally, I've never gotten too incensed about ordinary people throwing pies (or, now, eggs) in the faces of politicians.

"What if that pie/egg had been a gun or a bomb or a knife?!?"

Yeah. But you're missing the important point that it wasn't a gun or a bomb or a knife. It was a cream-pie/egg. You could just as well shriek that the hand of someone extended for a handshake could have been a gun. But it wasn't. The person sticking their hand out to a passing politician just wants a handshake. Just as the person with the pie wants to make a statement and not kill anybody.


Simon then starts his spiel about how Justin Trudeau is the most activist politician fighting climate change EVAH!!!! because of his carbon tax and his investments in renewable energy industries. But, if Simon were honest (or not honestly ignorant) he would know that this is mere tinkering and that it is all cancelled-out by his continuing to develop the Tar Sands. Which is par for the course for a liberal politician. They're the masters n' mistresses of using empty words to gull their deluded followers. They "feel your pain." They "want to see all people rise to their full potential." They "don't want to see anyone left behind." They say the things we want to hear in order to get elected and continue to say those things as they enact policies that contradict their flowery words.

The end result of political cowardice and deliberate deceit by politicians like Justin Trudeau is going to be the extinction of most of the earth's life-forms. It will AT LEAST mean the deaths of tens of millions of people. Given this, it was justified for that protester to yell at Trudeau for his sickening devotion to the TMX pipeline. And it is the height of stupidity to conflate environmentalists with legitimate grievances with Islamophobic, racist, right-wing homophobic shit-heads threatening all their adversaries with murder. (Notice how that protester at the Liberal rally stayed right where he was and didn't make a step towards Trudeau.)

And, of course, the first "commentor" was Simon's in-all-but-name co-blogger "Jackie Blue." I haven't (and won't) read her entire densely-packed, extended comment. But she basically says that leftist "shit-disturbers" are as big a threat (to "rational centrists") as right-wingers. Now, given the evidence from Simon's own post, anyone not an idiot can see that isn't true. She then goes on to whine about the progressives who didn't vote for mass-murderess, corrupt scumbag Hillary Clinton. Because "Jackie Blue" continues with the bullshit story that she's a US-American and she continues with the bullshit belief that Hillary Clinton wasn't a murdering scumbag.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War you stupid fuck! She voted for a war based on obvious stupid lies. The war she voted for has KILLED ONE MILLION IRAQIS and maimed and traumatized millions more. And that's only one of her colossal "mistakes" that she made while servicing the oligarchy and becoming a multi-millionaire herself. And it was Hillary's own sense of entitlement that led her to rig the Democratic primary to defeat Bernie Sanders and thereby bring on the presidency of Donald Trump. Hillary gave us Trump you imbecile!

As a species, we have to do the hard work of overthrowing his rotten, inhuman, ecocidal system. And the longer that (mostly decent-minded) people like Montreal Simon pledge hysterical allegiance to hucksters like Liberals, the longer (and perhaps TOO LATE) will it take to start that job in earnest.


(I'll end by saying that I probably won't be voting. My riding is a contest between the Libs and the Cons. And, from reading this article, I'm pretty much deflated about my choices anyway.)

          

Syria's Kurds stand to lose all gains from US pullout   

Cache   

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's Kurds accused the U.S. of turning its back on its allies and risking gains made in the fight against the Islamic State group as American troops began pulling back on Monday from positions in northeastern Syria ahead of an expected Turkish assault.

U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to stand aside — announced by the White House late Sunday — infuriated Kurds, who stand to lose the autonomy they gained in the course of Syria's civil war.

The Kurdish force pledged to fight back, raising the potential for an eruption of new warfare in Syria. "We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people" against Turkish troops, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement, adding that it has lost 11,000 fighters in the war against IS in Syria.

As many as 300,000 people could immediately be driven from their homes in northeast Syria if Turkey launches its offensive, the International Rescue Committee warned Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as terrorists and a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

Ankara has been demanding a "safe zone" stretching the length of northern Syria along Turkey's southern border to be patrolled by Turkish troops and their allied Syrian forces. That would put a significant portion of Syria's Kurdish population under effective Turkish control.

Erdogan on Monday said American troops have started pulling back following his conversation with Trump the night before. He did not elaborate on the planned Turkish incursion but said Turkey was determined to halt what it perceives as threats from the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The SDF issued a sharp condemnation of the American move. "The American forces did not abide by their commitments and withdrew their forces along the border with Turkey," it said.

A U.S. official confirmed that American troops were already moving out of the security zone area, which includes the Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That official was not authorized to speak for the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

A video posted by a Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of American armored vehicles apparently heading away from the border area of Tal Abyad.

America's rivals, including Iran, Russia and the Syrian government, stand to gain from a U.S. troop withdrawal from the oil-rich region in the north. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: "US is an irrelevant occupier in Syria — futile to seek its permission or rely on it for security."

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow realizes Turkey's need to ensure its security, but noted that "it's necessary to respect Syria's territorial and political integrity." Peskov wouldn't comment on whether the U.S. withdrawal could push the Kurds to seek a dialogue with Damascus.

Russia and Iran have helped Syrian President Bashar Assad reclaim control over most of the country following a devastating eight-year civil war.

Abdulkarim Omar, a senior official in the Kurdish self-rule administration, said they had been expecting the U.S. decision to withdraw and have made preparations for it. He didn't elaborate. But he warned that securing facilities holding IS militants would be jeopardized if an offensive begins because forces would be deployed there.

"We have been flexible even in dealing with Russia, which may play a role in the political resolution. We were flexible even in regards to Damascus," he said. "But what happened today is illogical."

The Kurdish-led SDF has been the main U.S.-backed force in Syria in the fight against IS. In March, the SDF captured the last sliver of land held by the extremists, marking the end of the so-called caliphate that was declared by IS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014.

The U.S. and Turkey had been working on a compromise "security mechanism" for the border region that the Kurds had hoped would avert any Turkish offensive. Since August, joint U.S and Turkish aerial and ground patrols had started in a 125-kilometer (78-mile) zone. The SDF had cooperated, removing fortifications from the areas and withdrawing with heavy weapons.

But vital details of the mechanism were still being worked out, and Ankara had repeatedly expressed its impatience, threatening an attack.

Mustafa Bali, the SDF spokesman, tweeted that his group had not been not expecting the U.S. to protect northeastern Syria. "But people here are owed an explanation regarding the security mechanism deal and destruction of fortifications," he said.


          

Carrie Lam Vows to Stop ‘Limitless and Lawless’ Violence in Hong Kong   

Cache   

Carrie Lam Vows to Stop ‘Limitless and Lawless’ Violence in Hong Kong(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government could handle growing violence without intervention by Beijing, but didn’t rule out seeking China’s help or invoking further emergency measures.“I still strongly feel that we should find the solution ourselves,” Lam told reporters Tuesday before a meeting of the city’s Executive Council. “That’s also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on our own. But if the situation becomes so bad, then no option should be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance.”Lam said that her visit to Beijing for China’s National Day parade on Oct. 1 had been brief and didn’t include any business meetings with central government officials.Lam condemned protesters’ violence and attacks on businesses, after demonstrators vandalized shops and paralyzed the city’s transit system in some of the worst unrest of the past four months. She said authorities would offer support to industries affected by the movement and called for developers and store owners to provide relief measures.“This kind of violence has become limitless and lawless,” she said. The city government “will use its greatest determination to halt these violent acts,” she said.Stressing the impact to Hong Kong’s economy after four months of pro-democracy protests, she said that visitor arrivals to the Asian financial hub had dropped by more than 50% year on year during the Oct. 1-6 National Day holiday period, when the city is usually packed with tourists.The fierce clashes -- and the specter of Beijing deploying its People’s Liberation Army troops in the city -- have drawn condemnation and concern from officials from the U.S., the U.K. and others.On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Beijing that trade talks between the two sides could suffer if the country does anything “bad” to try and end protests in Hong Kong. “They have to do that in a peaceful manner,” he told reporters at the White House.The weekend’s unrest followed Lam’s decision to ban protesters from wearing masks under a colonial-era law that could also be used to detain and arrest protesters and censor publications. She didn’t rule out the possibility of further measures under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, which was last used more than a half century ago to put down leftist riots.“We are faced with such a changing situation,” Lam said. “What I can assure you is the government will take a very serious view and very careful assessment before the ERO is to be invoked again.”The city’s subway network shut down over the weekend as radical protesters clashed with police, throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers and vandalizing banks and train stations. Many businesses shut down, and video footage showed a taxi driver dragged out and beaten by demonstrators after accusations he’d driven into a crowd of protesters.The dramatic scenes -- including the shooting of a second protester -- were the latest in four months of anti-China demonstrations opposing since-scrapped extradition legislation that have morphed into the most serious challenge to Beijing’s rule since Hong Kong returned to Chinese control in 1997.Lam has previously took the blame for the “entire unrest,” after withdrawing her ill-fated proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China. Last week, she condemned radical protesters and saying mask ban was required in the face of unending violence.“It is too early to say that the anti-mask law is not effective. For any new policy or new legislation, it will take time for it to be effectively implemented,” Lam said Tuesday. “If a piece of legislation has been enacted, but people refuse to abide by the law, then of course we have a problem at hand.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Shawna Kwan in Hong Kong at wkwan35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Pat Robertson: Trump Will Lose His ‘Mandate of Heaven’ if He Pulls Out of Syria   

Cache   

Pat Robertson: Trump Will Lose His ‘Mandate of Heaven’ if He Pulls Out of SyriaThe 700 ClubWhen you’ve lost Pat Robertson…Reacting to President Donald Trump’s announcement that American forces will pull out of Syria and pave the way for Turkey to invade the country and attack Kurdish allies, the ultra-conservative televangelist on Monday joined the growing chorus of Republican critics of the president’s decision.“I am absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray those democratic forces in northern Syria,” he said during Monday’s broadcast of The 700 Club, first spotted by Right Wing Watch. “That we are possibly going to allow the Turkish to come in against the Kurds.”Calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a “thug” and “dictator,” Robertson said it was “nonsense” to call the Turkish leader an ally of America, claiming Erdogan is just “in for himself.”Robertson, who has been a loyal Trump supporter, then took full aim at the president.“The president, who allowed [Washington Post journalist Jamal] Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without any repercussions whatsoever, is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks,” he exclaimed. “The President of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.”Robertson’s forceful condemnation of the president comes as Trump takes heat from some of his staunchest defenders over the Syria pullout. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the president’s move “irresponsible” and “unnerving to its core,” while Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said the decision was “disastrous” as it would leave the Kurds to fend for themselves.Amid the criticism from his supporters and fellow Republicans, Trump defended pulling out of Syria while adding that in his “great and unmatched wisdom” he would destroy Turkey’s economy if they did anything he considered to be off limits. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



          

How the hell can we be congratulating these Commies for seven decades of massacre and depravities?    

Cache   
While Trump Congratulates Communist China on Its 70th Anniversary, Senate Republicans Condemn It
President Donald Trump marked the 70th anniversary of the “People’s Republic” with the following congratulatory tweet: “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!”
But Senate Republicans have marked the anniversary with condemnation of the regime.
Missouri senator Josh Hawley: “Seventy years ago, the Chinese Community Party seized power from the Chinese people. Since then, its ruthless rule has resulted in the deaths of millions of its own citizens.”
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton: “To see the price of the PRC’s anniversary celebration, look no further than what’s happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom. From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control.”
Nebraska senator Ben Sasse: “Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range. The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.”
Rod's Comment: I understand that the government of China is not as bad as they were during the Great Leap Forward when they caused massive starvation that killed millions as they implemented a fantasy of entering the modern industrial age by requiring farmers to smelt their farm implements.

They are not as bad as they were during the Cultural Revolution in which thousands were murdered and many more were abused and sent to reeducation camps for wearing reading glasses or owning Classical records or books.

I understand that they are not now following an orthodox Communist economic model  but have adopted elements of a market economy. I understand that the Chinese people have more freedom of expression than they did when everyone wore drab Mao suits. I understand we have to work with them. I understand Trump wants a better trade policy.

While they may not be as bad as in the past, they are still evil. They are a one-party authoritarian regime, trampling liberty in Hong Kong and expanding their boundaries and turning much of Africa into client states.

It is unfortunate that Trump has a soft spot for tyrants.  I long for the age of Ronald Reagan when we had a president with the courage and convictions to call a despotic regime, "the evil empire."
          

Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article): WE’RE ABOUT TO FIND LIFE ON MARS BUT THE WORLD IS “NOT PREPARED,” NASA SCIENTIST WARNS..............   

Cache   

WE’RE ABOUT TO FIND LIFE ON MARS BUT THE WORLD IS “NOT PREPARED,” NASA SCIENTIST WARNS..............

 

October 1, 2019

Elias Marat, TMU
Waking Times

 

As we humble earthlings begin to learn more about the universe and potentially stand on the cusp of great discoveries about the planet Mars, we may not be prepared for what’s in store of us, warns the chief scientist of U.S. space agency NASA.

Dr. Jim Green believes that as two rovers from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) prepare to embark for Mars next summer, humanity could be overwhelmed by the implications of studies to come.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division compared the potential discoveries to Renaissance-era astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ theory that postulated that the Earth revolves around the Sun, rather than vice-versa.

The Copernican model, which is credited with revolutionizing science during the 16th century, earned him the condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church due to the model’s impact on the Church’s doctrines relating to astronomy.

“It will start a whole new line of thinking. I don’t think we’re prepared for the results.

I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements.”

The ESA’s ExoMars Rover and NASA’s Mars 2020 are set to drill 6.5 feet into the Red Planet’s core to take samples in hopes of finding evidence of life on. The samples will be processed and examined in a mobile laboratory that will look for any traces of organic matter.

The ESA #ExoMars #RosalindFranklin rover is assembled for testing before heading to #Mars in 2020! The bogies we designed + built are shown in a stowed configuration - meaning the legs & wheels on the bogies of the #rover are folded pretty compactly for launch/transit to Mars!

Green said that if scientists find bio-signatures of life in Mars’ crust, a new era of astrobiology could begin.

“What happens next is a whole new set of scientific questions.

Is that life like us? How are we related?

Can life move from planet-to-planet or do we have a spark and just the right environment and that spark generates life – like us or not like us – based on the chemical environment that it is in?”

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is set to launch next July before making the 140-million-mile trek to Mars and landing on its Jezero Crater in February 2021.

With two high-definition cameras and a detachable helicopter drone, the rover is set to collect an unprecedented batch of visual data and images of the cavernous and cliffy terrain of Mars.

However, the primary mission of the rover is to find signs of life. Habitable environments and biosignatures left in rock are being sought so that samples can be studied back on earth.

The latest research has shown that many planets believed to have always been uninhabitable may have once enjoyed conditions suitable for sustaining life. Earlier this year, NASA’s InSight rover found evidence of a potentially vast global reservoir of water on Mars.

Dr. Green notes that research also suggests the existence of civilizations on other planets. He commented:

 “There is no reason to think that there isn’t civilization elsewhere, because we are finding exoplanets [planets lying beyond the solar system] all over the place.”

 

*************************************


          

Trump Justifies Betraying the Kurds: They “Fought With Us, But Were Paid Massive Amounts of Money”   

Cache   
President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed bipartisan condemnation over his announcement that the US is withdrawing from northern Syria to make way for a Turkish incursion—a move that abandons longtime Kurdish allies who have fought against ISIS in the region. Amid the outcry, the president offered his self-described “great and unmatched wisdom” as reassurance that […]
          

Trump's ill-considered Syria pullout finds limit of GOP loyalty   

Cache   
Rachel Maddow reports on the Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, leaving the fate of Kurdish former-allies in the hands of a Turkish invasion, and the scorn and condemnation Trump has drawn even from usually unfailingly loyal
          

   

Cache   


Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet

Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.

Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.

Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.

Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.

A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.

But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.

Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.

Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.

What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?

The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.

It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.

Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.

The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.

And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.

Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.

We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’

He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.

Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?

‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’

For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.

The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.

They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.

As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’

There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.

Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’

What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?

Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.

 SOURCE 






California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead

A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.

This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.

Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”

But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.

The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?

SOURCE 






Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost

Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?

For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?

In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.

The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.

NOW WATCH: 'Trump's Chinese Tariffs Means It'll Cost Americans $1,000 More a Year Just to Live'

In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”

Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.

His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.

Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:

Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.

The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.

The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.

SOURCE 






Australia: Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

******************************

Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

************************************



          

Shorties (An Excerpt from Saeed Jones' Memoir, Stream a David Berman Tribute Album, and more)   

Cache   
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Saeed Jones' memoir How We Fight for Our Lives.


Stream Approaching Perfection, a tribute album of David Berman songs, featuring contributions from Dean Wareham, Diane Cluck, and others.


October's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

A Devil in Paradise by Henry Miller
Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman


Sharon Van Etten played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Rachel Maddow talked to All Things Considered about her book, Blowout.


San Fermin covered Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away with Me."


Booker Prize-winning authors shared tips on writing a prize-winning books at the Guardian.


Stream a new Michael Stipe song.


Tim O'Brien recommended his favorite books at The Week.


Stream a new Kim Gordon song.


NerdMuch? listed the best horror books of all time.


Gorilla Vs.Bear shared a playlist of the best songs of the decade.


The Millions interviewed author John Domini.


American Songwriter counted down Bob Dylan songs.


The New Yorker profiled author Edna O'Brien.


NYCTaper shared a recently recorded Ty Segall performance.


The Observer reviewed Jesse Ball's new novel, The Dives' Game.

Ball richly imagines a society where empathy is eroded at every level – a condemnation of the by-design inequalities of wealth, justice, freedom and opportunity that underpin western societies.


Stream a new song by Girl Ray.


The New York Post recommended the week's best books.


Stream a new Anna Meredith song.


Salon recommended October's must-read books.


Wilco's Jeff Tweedy played guest DJ at All Songs Considered.


Joyce Carol Oates talked to the New Yorker about her story in this week's issue.


Pitchfork listed the top 200 songs of the 2010s.


Literary Hub interviewed author and comedian Josh Gondelman.


Book Riot recommended entry points into the books of Harvey Pekar.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Chuck Greaves.


Literary Hub listed September books you may have missed.


Literary Hub shared a conversation between authors Crystal Hana Kim and Laura van den Berg.


A JD Salinger exhibition is coming to the New York Public Library.


Literary Hub listed the best short story collections of the decade.


Women.com recommended fall's best books by women.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists


          

Raleigh’s Mayoral Candidate, Zainab Baloch, Talks Community, Faith and Politics   

Cache   
At 28, Zainab Baloch is the youngest candidate running for mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. The area, known colloquially as the Triangle, has made national headlines in recent years from “Our Three Winners” to President Trump’s condemnation of Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Middle Eastern studies’ programs. Baloch has witnessed how Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic […]
          

Comment on Interview with Aella, Part I by Jacob Falkovich    

Cache   
<blockquote> It’s all fun and games until you learn how many of camgirls’ clients can’t exert a sound judgment and end up committing suicides.</blockquote> Do you actually know how many? I honestly have no idea, so it's all fun and games for me for now. On a more serious note, my tweet was triggered by your comment but it's responding to an attitude that I've seen expressed a lot. It's an attitude which I think is both factually wrong and hypocritical. Factually, and this is based mostly on people I personally know and not on extensive research, cam girls aren't evil and their clients aren't brainless junkies. Morally, the entire social landscape of resources, emotional support, romantic gestures, and polite fictions that are exchanged between people seems too complex to make easy moral statements about. So when someone carves out for condemnation the one thing that lets young women make money and lonely men feel better, I don't buy that it's driven by dispassionate utilitarianism. More importantly, all of the above has very little to do with why I'm friends with Aella and why I'm sharing our conversation. We talked about her background, about community, and about rationality and philosophy (in Part II). I didn't ask about Luna or the ethics of camming because they're not interesting for me to talk about. Posting this interview means that I endorse the interestingness of this particular conversation because I write the things I would have been interested in reading. I implicitly endorse the links I chose to include, like knowingless.com (which is absolutely a valuable intellectual contribution). I neither endorse nor condemn nor care one way or another about whatever baggage you may have with respect to the person I'm interviewing.
          

Comment on Christians who hate Trump by Joyce E Chapman    

Cache   
This reply is for JUDY, you said "I find so much judgement and condemnation coming from people who profess Christ it scares me." Well if what you are seeing scares you then you really will be scared when it is Christ himself handing down the judgement and condemnation on the day of judgement for those who disobey his laws, for those who hurt little children (including the unborn babies), for those committing acts that goes against the laws of nature.......people can't handle the judgement they get here on Earth they really need to fear the judgement that will be laid out for them on the spiritual plane when Christ returns. God has laid down laws. God is loving and God is forgiving, but, not for people who will not bend to his will and ask for forgiveness and turn away from their sin. In the end all will confess the name of Jesus Christ and that will not be enough to save them! Read the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. Look at the torment the rich man received and he begged for God to allow Lazarus to just dip the tip of his finger in water and let it drip onto his tongue and God denied him this....so will he deny all those who stand with those who do not follow his will and live in sin. I was a Democrat my whole adult life, but, I had to turn away because of what they stand for. I cannot stand for anyone who supports the killing of babies, among the many many other things they stand for. I do not believe any Christian can support that. A Christian is a follower of Christ and Christ would never support what the Democrats stand for. Read 2 Timothy to gain some understanding of what we are going through today.
          

US MILITARY SUPPORT OF SAUDI ARABIA’S HOPELESS WAR IN YEMEN   

Cache   


US Military Support Of Saudi Arabia's Hopeless War In Yemen
07.10.2019
The US has continued supporting its efforts against the Houthis.Since the beginning of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in 2015.
Despite wide-ranging and seemingly endless support, which comes in spite of bombing of civilian targets and other questionable methods of fighting the war, such as using child soldiers from African countries, Saudi Arabia is losing the war vs the Yemeni group.
The US maintains that it assists the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, because the Houthis are an Iranian-backed group whose “malign influence” must not be allowed to spread any further. Support against the Houthis is allegedly only expressed in weapon deliveries, training assistance, logistics and intelligence support.
However, the US is actively taking part in counterterrorism actions in Yemen, allegedly targeting ISIS and al-Qaeda, but there is little clarity of what exactly is going on in that regard.
In short, the US support for the Kingdom can be summarized in the following groups, laid out in a report focused on the war in Yemen called “Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention,” published on September 17th, 2019. [pdf]
Anybody who is even an involuntary and sporadic observer of the situation in Yemen can see that there is no such thing as a Civil War there, but regardless the efforts of the Trump administration, most of which began during the Obama administration are properly presented. Some are simply exaggerated, such as support for UN resolutions on the conflict:
  • Support for U.N. efforts to advance a political process – U.S. policymakers have repeatedly expressed confidence in the role of Special Envoy Griffiths to move the various Yemeni parties toward a political settlement. Moreover, U.S. officials have emphasized Yemen’s unity, saying that “dialogue represents the only way to achieve a stable, unified, and prosperous Yemen.” In September 2019, one U.S. official also announced that the United States was conducting talks with the Houthis to further a negotiated solution to the Yemen conflict.
This would make a difference if it was a bipartisan solution coming from US Congress and supporting by the presidential administration, but currently it is just hollow rhetoric.
  • Condemnation of Iran’s destabilizing role in Yemen – U.S. policymakers have repeatedly portrayed Iran as a spoiler in Yemen, bent on sabotaging peace efforts by lending support to Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia.
This goes without saying, Iran’s role in anything at all is “destabilizing,” the Islamic Republic is “the enemy” and it must be opposed in any way possible.
  • Assistance for the coalition – According to President Trump’s most recent report to Congress on the deployment of U.S. armed forces abroad, “United States Armed Forces, in a non-combat role, have also continued to provide military advice and limited information, logistics, and other support to regional forces combatting the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. United States forces are present in Saudi Arabia for thispurpose. Such support does not involve United States Armed Forces in hostilities with the Houthis for the purposes of the War Powers Resolution.” In the summer of 2019, President Trump ordered the deployment of a Patriot air defense battery to Prince Sultan Air Base in central Saudi Arabia, as Saudi King Salman reportedly approved the deployment of U.S. forces on Saudi territory. According to the State Department, “We stand firmly with our Saudi partners in defending their borders against these continued threats by the Houthis, who rely on Iranian-made weapons and technology to carry out such attacks.”
It is simply a way to fight against Iran, through supporting the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and disregarding any atrocities that are carried out, since Saudi Arabia claims it attempts to avoid civilian casualties and tries to protect human rights, but that is still simply a claim that is backed by no concrete efforts whatsoever.
  • Sales of armaments and munitions to Gulf partners – Though the Obama Administration placed a hold on a planned sale of precision guided munitions (PGMs) to Saudi Arabiain 2016, both the Obama and Trump administrations have approved several billions of dollars in major weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. When the Trump Administration notified Congress of 22 emergency arms sales in May 2019, Secretary Pompeo cited Iran’s “malign activity” and the need “to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East” as justification for the sales.
Again, any actions that are undertaken are specifically aimed at countering Iran, regardless of whether there’s really any concrete evidence of Iran being present there. Yes, the Houthis are supported by Iran, but it apparently never gets excessive. Iran’s “malign influence” is the be-all and end-all of all justifications.
  • Humanitarian Aid for Yemen – As previously mentioned (see, The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen), the United States is one of the largest humanitarian contributors in Yemen.
How much of that humanitarian aid reaches those that require it the most, those trapped in al-Hudaydah with the Saudi-led coalition continuing its attacks on the city in spite of the UN-brokered ceasefire surely aren’t being reached by it, or not by a significant part of it.
  • Finally, here comes the other be-all end-all justification – counterterrorism efforts by the US in Yemen – the United States has continued to work with local and regional actors to counter terrorist groups operating in Yemen such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.
These counterterrorism efforts are outlined in a June 2019 letter by Trump to US Congress:
“A small number of United States military personnel are deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS-Yemen. The United States military continues to work closely with the Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) and regional partner forces to dismantle and ultimately eliminate the terrorist threat posed by those groups. Since the last periodic update report, United States forces conducted a number of airstrikes against AQAP operatives and facilities in Yemen, and supported the United Arab Emirates-and ROYG-led operations to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. United States Armed Forces are also prepared to conduct airstrikes against ISIS targets in Yemen.”
In 2019 in southern Yemen, AQAP has periodicallystruck both ROYG troops and forces allied with the Southern Transitional Council. Fighting between the ROYG and the STC has raised some concern that a divided south will provide AQAP breathing room to reemerge as a terrorist threat both to Yemen and its neighbors.
Al-Hudaydah, one of the most significant, if not the most significant “stronghold” of the Houthis against the Saudi-led coalition is in the South, thus it would make sense it needs to be overwhelmed in order to defeat the terrorists. Such a justification is not too far from any possible future scenarios.
Regardless of this support, the Saudi-led coalition is losing against the Houthis, and it is losing heavily.
Even the UAE initiated a drawdown, with groups affiliated to it even carrying out strikes on the Saudi-controlled Southern Transitional Council (the “internationally-recognized” Yemen government).
“As previously mentioned, one possible explanation for the summer 2019 phased drawdown of UAE forces from Yemen was out of concern that the reputational damage the UAE had incurred from its active participation in the war in Yemen outweighed the military results it had achieved on the ground after more than four years of warfare.”
Clearly Saudi Arabia and the US have no such worries. After all, following the international outcry against Saudi Arabia’s aerial campaign in Yemen in 2018, Saudi Arabia reportedly invested $750 million in a training program through the U.S. military in helping mitigate civilian casualties. Clearly, they’re putting effort through paying copious amounts of money to silence the most influential “defender” of human rights – the US.
Reports praising US efforts to train and prepare the Saudi army for the fight are numerous, some of the most famous ones are regarding Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, who served as Program Manager (PM) for Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG) for two years.
Muth quickly learned that the assignment needed three ingredients to be successful. “First, I had to develop a relationship with the Saudi leadership, and that took time and trust to build those relationships, and over time they trusted our recommendations,” Muth explained. “Of course, it wasn’t just me building the relationship, every Soldier and civilian that works for OPM-SANG plays a tremendous role in developing a strong relationship with their Saudi counterparts.”
He seems to have learned wrong, since his efforts led to quite little in terms of actual military success.
In the lengthy video he explains what transpired at SANG, and how it could’ve been successful back in 2017. In 2019 it is quite obvious that it wasn’t.
Most recently, the Saudi-led coalition’s “success,” in addition to the US’ massive support of its efforts there were once more reinforced.
The Houthis reported that they had carried out a successful months-long operation in southern Saudi Arabia that has resulted in the deaths of 500 Saudi-aligned troops and the capture of approximately 2,000.
Furthermore, the Houthis said that the attack on Aramco’s oil infrastructure was part of the operation, which the US and the Kingdom blamed on Iran. After all, drones and missiles went past several Patriot defense batteries and caused heavy damage, with almost all of them not being stopped. Those that were stopped, were actually aimed poorly, and weren’t really dismantled by the Patriot systems.
فیلد مارشال!@FieldMarshalPSO
Geolocation of Buqayq facilities Air defense systems.
this facilities at least defended by one Patriot PAC-2/3 , 3 Skyguard and one Shahine Batteries.

View image on Twitter
126 people are talking about this

Anthony Fenton@anthonyfenton
Saudi-Canadian LAVs as far as the eye can see

Embedded video
86 people are talking about this
Saudi Arabia has bought fighter jets, warships, air and missile defense systems for billions of dollars. The US even said that it plans to deploy more hardware to Saudi Arabia to defend it, that is surely not to be free, as well.
Regardless, there is very little result in terms of military success and a very large promise that if a larger regional conflict were to start, Saudi Arabia would be very decisively on the losing side of it.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          

‘Batsh*t Crazy’: Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice Blasts Trump’s Withdrawal in Syria   

Cache   
Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice pulled no punches during her Late Show appearance, telling host Stephen Colbert that President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement that he was pulling US military forces from northern Syria was “batshit crazy.” Rice’s condemnation came at the end of a day where Trump saw his own party excoriate his decision as […]
          

California Clarifies Its Inverse Condemnation Standard    

Cache   
In City of Oroville v. Superior Court, 446 P.3d 304 (Cal. 2019), the Supreme Court of California considered whether the City of Oroville (City) was liable to a dental practice for inverse condemnation damages associated with a sewer backup. The court...
By: White and Williams LLP
          

CrowdStrike and the Impeachment Frenzy   

Cache   
No wonder the Dems are nervous: The alleged Russian hacking of the DNC’s computers is proving to be a Hillary campaign and DNC scam that went unchallenged by Messrs. Comey and Mueller. n his telephone conversation with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump requested Ukraine’s help in getting “to the bottom of” the Russian collusion narrative and the role of CrowdStrike, a private computer security company, in propagating that story. Lost in the volcanic eruption of faux outrage and condemnation aimed at the president by the Democrats and their wholly owned media subsidiary, this reference to CrowdStrike indicates that the...
Next Page: 25

© Googlier LLC, 2019