Saturday, June 10, 2017

Slow Saturday Special: May Be a Lame Duck

You can blame Trump. The Globe did.

"UK election to make Brexit harder" by Steven Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold New York Times   June 09, 2017

LONDON — Britain was supposed to wake up Friday with the political clarity, finally, to begin formal negotiations to leave the European Union, a process scheduled to start in 10 days.

Instead, it is staring at a hung Parliament and a deeply damaged Prime Minister Theresa May, her authority and credibility fractured by her failure to maintain her Conservative Party’s majority in Parliament.

Ignoring demands that she resign, the prime minister said Friday that she would cling to power by forming a minority government, but minority governments tend to be fragile and short-lived, and many expect that May will be a lame-duck prime minister, that she might not last as long as a year and that she will not lead her party into another election.

After an appropriate amount of time, the party will dump her. Looks bad if you do it today, tomorrow, next week. 

For EU leaders, who were expecting her to emerge with a reinforced majority, the uncertainty is unwelcome, especially as they try to prioritize issues such as climate change and their relationship with an unpredictable and unfriendly President Trump. There is also resentment that, once again, the British have complicated things out of political hubris and partisan self-interest.

May called the snap election three years early — and her decision backfired. So did the decision by her predecessor, David Cameron, to call the referendum on EU membership in the first place.

That's why Cameron was outed in the Panama Papers. He f***ed up calling for a vote, and it is what has led to rigged elections ever since Brexit, Trump, and Colombia. It's the same here if you continue reading.

“I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention,” said Guy Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium who is the European Parliament’s chief coordinator on Britain’s exit from the bloc.

Speaking of surreal:

"Attackers rammed a car through the gates of Belgium’s crime institute early Monday and set fire to a lab containing crime scene samples, apparently in an effort to destroy evidence, Brussels prosecutors said. As the blaze in the north Brussels suburb erupted, residents heard at least one explosion and Belgian media reported a bomb attack, but investigators said the noise was probably materials going up in flames. Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and subway killed 32 people on March 22, and security forces remain on standby for another attack. Prosecutors said five people were detained for questioning and released without charge following the Monday incident, which happened at about 2 a.m. in Neder-Over-Heembeek. No one was injured. ‘‘It’s probably not terrorism. It’s a criminal act,’’ said Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office. ‘‘I cannot confirm that there was any bomb.’’ The forensic facility assists Belgium’s justice authorities in carrying out their investigations and the lab contains DNA samples found at crime scenes."

Yeah, who would want to set back the terrorism investigations

Believe it or not, I'm told it was Russian agents from Bulgaria that set the fire.

C'mon, cut the.... 

(blog editor chooses to end there)

Think I'll farm these out to you while I'm nearby:

4 snowboarders die in French Alps avalanche
Michelin gives stars to 70 new restaurants in France
Peugeot maker’s deal for GM’s Opel faces political headwinds
Rhinoceros at French wildlife park is killed for its horn
Trial opens for Carlos the Jackal in 1974 Paris attack

They gave him life -- and then took it away.

For now, the scramble in London is over the shape of the government. May’s Conservative Party lost its majority but still won the most seats, doing particularly well in constituencies that backed withdrawal from the European Union. The revitalized Labor Party did better in urban seats that were opposed to leaving the bloc.

Labor, under Jeremy Corbyn, ran what political analysts regard as an excellent and optimistic campaign, promising an end to austerity, more money for health and social welfare and free tuition.

Labor gained 29 seats to reach 262,. But that still leaves it far short of a majority, even in combination with other sympathetic parties, especially since the Scottish National Party lost 21 of its 56 seats, a serious blow to its goal of Scotland’s independence.

When I say that I said A-HA! Another rig job. The fed-up British people somehow returned to the established parties.

Only a year ago, the vote on EU membership had seemingly divided the country along clear lines between “leave” and “remain.” The vote Thursday erased such clarity, delivering mixed messages, even as Britain remained deeply split — by region, class and generation....

That's the goal for all elite rulers. Divide and conquer while sowing confusion as you go about your bu$ine$$.


How did the youth vote anyway?


"Iranian authorities arrested 41 people Friday in connection with the twin terror attacks this week, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported, as evidence mounted that Iranian Kurds affiliated with the Islamic State had carried out the assault. The men who attacked the Parliament building Wednesday were probably Iranian Kurds, security sources say, though only one — an Iranian Kurd — has been identified. The two people who attacked a shrine are understood to be an Iranian-Kurd and a man whose background is unknown, the security sources said."

That's what I get for a follow-up in my Zioni$t War Pre$$, and the paucity of the three-paragraph pos tips the USraeli hand as to who was behind it. I suspect will not see much in the way of coverage regarding the ISIS attack going forward.

Did I mention we are AT WAR with IRAN?

"Syrian forces at Iraq border bypass US unit" by Philip Issa Associated Press  June 09, 2017

BEIRUT — Russia’s Ministry of Defense reported Friday that progovernment forces bypassed US military advisers in eastern Syria to reach the Iraqi border, dealing what could be a major blow to the declared US mission to defeat Islamic State militants in the desert region. 

The mission is to cut off the land route from the Mediterranean to Tehran. That's why the U.S. government and its allies are supporting the terrorists they are allegedly fighting.

What you are looking at now are troop movements that would fit into some sort of WWIII series, and that sucks.

The development, if true, would mean Russian-backed progovernment forces have blocked the path of US-backed opposition forces advancing north along the Iraqi-Syrian border, in the direction of the ISIS strongholds of Boukamal and Deir el-Zour, on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria.

Isn't Syria where the battle of Armageddon is prophesied to take place?

The two forces have clashed regularly in the area, with US aircraft twice striking Russian-backed forces the Pentagon said were threatening its local allies.

The strikes are believed to have killed dozens of Syrian soldiers and Iranian-backed militia forces, in addition to destroying tanks and heavy weapons. On Thursday, the US shot down an armed drone it said had attacked its units embedded with local opposition forces in the region.

By circling around them, the Russian-backed forces have apparently avoided a direct confrontation with US-backed forces based out of al-Tanf, the border post under US and opposition control.

They have been cut off.

In a separate development Friday, the UN children’s agency warned that the fight for the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, threatens more than 40,000 children, while overnight airstrikes on the northern city killed more than a dozen people.

The violence has displaced residents in and around the city, with about 80,000 children living in temporary shelters and camps, UNICEF said.

Right, the children. When you start waving Yemeni and Palestinian children in front of me I will take notice, may even praise!

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces launched an attack on Raqqa earlier this week and airstrikes by the US-led coalition have intensified since then.

‘‘An estimated 40,000 children remain trapped in extremely dangerous conditions in Raqqa. Many are caught in the crossfire,’’ said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere. He urged all parties to give safe passage to those who want to leave.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 25 overnight airstrikes on Raqqa killed 17 people, including 12 at an Internet cafe. One of the dead was an activist with the group, it added.

That's where the print ended.

In addition to the airstrikes, Raqqa was subjected to artillery and missile attacks, according to the activist collective known as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. It said the coalition used white phosphorus in the attacks. 

Oh, so in addition to the depleted uranium, the coalition (pfft) has used chemical weapons as well. 

That's a WAR CRIME

No hollering about gassing children, huh?

In a video posted on its Aamaq news agency, ISIS also alleged the coalition used white phosphorus over Raqqa on Thursday at dusk, when Muslims would have been breaking their Ramadan fasts.

White phosphorus burns at extremely high temperatures and can be used to illuminate conflict zones or obscure them with smoke. International law prohibits its use in civilian areas because of its indiscriminate effects, from starting fires to causing excruciating burns for bystanders, according to Human Rights Watch, which said it was investigating the allegations.

The US Central Command refused to comment on specific allegations but said it uses white phosphorus rounds ‘‘in accordance with the law of armed conflict . . . in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.’’ 

That looks like a comment.

Progovernment forces at the Iraqi border are advancing in the direction of Boukamal, according to Colonel General Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian troops in Syria.

On their side of the border, Iraqi forces, along with Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Committee militias, are advancing through ISIS-held territory to meet the Russian-backed forces at the frontier, according to a Lebanese TV station close to the Syrian government.


We are losing!

The evening news broadcast on Al-Manar TV, which belongs to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, hailed the advance of the progovernment forces, and the Hezbollah fighters embedded with them.

The Observatory for Human Rights also reported the development, saying it was the first time government forces have reached the Iraqi border in over three years.

The United States Central Command said it ‘‘does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or proregime forces partnered with them,’’ but promised to take ‘‘appropriate measures’’ to protect US forces tasked with defeating the Islamic State group.

‘‘As long as proregime forces are oriented toward Coalition and partnered forces the potential for conflict is escalated,’’ Centcom said.

‘‘Coalition forces are oriented on ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley,’’ the statement added.


Related: "On June 10, 1967, war in the Mideast ended as Israel and Syria accepted a United Nations-mediated cease-fire; during the six days of conflict with Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, Israeli forces captured the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights....." 

Other than the Sinai, the situation hasn't changed for 50 years -- save for Israel stealing more land.

Bill Keating Clear the decks — we are under attack from Russia

Or soon will be given the bellicose Congre$$ and lackey administration.


Now comes word, in veiled language, that the U.S. has lost Japan.


"For Natick’s Change the World Club, a sobering lesson" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  June 09, 2017

This week, the teenagers from both countries received devastating news: the US government had denied the Gambian girls’ visas, and they would not be allowed to travel to the US.

Gambia has until recently been in the throes of a political crisis. In January, the United Nations reported that 45,000 Gambians, mostly women and children, had fled into neighboring Senegal after Gambia’s ruler refused to step down following an election. Since then, a new, democratically elected leader has taken office.

See: Jammeh’s Gambit

Even before that, relations between the US and Gambia were strained.

Now the gambit makes even more sense!!!!!

In October, the US Embassy in Gambia stopped issuing visas to Gambian government officials and their families amid frustration that Gambia was refusing to take back 2,000 of its citizens whom the US was trying to deport.

Even so, it has generally been possible for Gambian citizens who are not affiliated with the government to obtain visas from the State Department, said Hamba Manneh, chargé d’affaires at the Gambian embassy in Washington.

“Usually, students don’t have problems,” Manneh said Friday. “I’m surprised they have been denied visas.”


Notice anything missing in today's foreign coverage (hint: begins with the letter Q)?