Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just Passing Through....

See: What Today's Globe Passed Over

I went a double-checked but.... what the?

Player hurt in blasts near Borussia Dortmund bus The state prosecutor told reporters that a letter claiming responsibility had been discovered near the site of the blasts, but that it was too soon to say if it was genuine. Anxiety over terrorism continues to grip Europe after attacks in France, Belgium, Britain and, most recently, Sweden.

You guys are getting jerked around just as much as Israelis.

Stockholm attack suspect will plead guilty, his lawyer says

Another patsy?

Clash between Philippine forces and Abu Sayyaf leaves 9 dead

‘Sliding into catastrophe’: South Sudan famine could spread

It's a level five famine.

Scientists just uncovered some troubling news about Greenland’s most enormous glacier

That's when I froze up.

"With both the US and North Korea saber rattling, is conflict imminent?" by Anna Fifield Washington Post  April 12, 2017

TOKYO — Expectations are mounting that North Korea will unleash some kind of provocation this week.

You have been warned of the impending false flag.

On Tuesday, President Trump issued his latest tweet taking aim at Pyongyang. ‘‘North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.’,’ he tweeted.

Oh, MAN! That's the 21st-century Sieg heil!

Pyongyang said Tuesday that ‘‘preemptive strikes are not the exclusive right of the United States.’’

‘‘Our military is keeping an eye on the movement of enemy forces while putting them in our nuclear sights,’’ declared the Rodong Sinmun, spokesman for the ruling Workers’ Party. With trademark bravado, the newspaper warned that North Korea will use its ‘‘mighty nuclear weapons’’ to ‘‘obliterate’’ the United States if it made the slightest movement toward a preemptive strike.

But there are good reasons to think the tension won’t escalate further into an actual clash.


‘‘I don’t think we’re about to go to war against North Korea,’’ said Ralph Cossa, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’s Pacific Forum in Honolulu. ‘‘But the United States is certainly trying to send a message that they are fed up with the North Koreans and with sending strong letters of protest.’’

That worries me; I've seen what happens when my government is fed up with someone.

Saturday is the Day of the Sun in North Korea, the 105th anniversary of the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the state’s founding president and the current leader’s late grandfather. It coincides with Easter weekend in the United States, and there’s a definite North Korean pattern of disrupting American holidays. Analysts say they think North Korea may conduct a nuclear test or another missile launch — or something else — to mark the day.

I'm hoping no one ruins it.

The American aircraft carrier at the head of the strike group, the USS Carl Vinson, was the same one that a North Korea-linked website showed going up flames in a mock attack video last month, when it was participating in drills with the South Korean military.

The mere suggestion of striking North Korea has been ruled out by US administrations.

Yeah, but now we have Trump.

For one, it’s not clear where to strike. North Korea’s nuclear test site is underground and its fissile material is spread among multiple sites, while its missiles are increasingly fired from mobile launches that can be wheeled out from any hangar or tunnel....

Said Saddam had the same things, and isn't it a bad idea to bomb and send that radioactive spew up into the atmosphere?


No trade war, either! 

The guy is backpedaling quicker than defensive back playing a prevent defense.

Also not seen in web version:

After years on ice, JP hockey rink project deserves funds
Conservatives urge Virginia governor to spare inmate’s life
Dog Gone: ‘General’ opens doors, flees animal clinic
Prostate cancer tests are now OK with US panel, with caveats
San Bernardino school shooter previously threatened his wife, police say 

If it's all on the up-and-up, it is a tragedy.

Gave me these instead:

Bill O’Reilly goes on vacation amid sponsor backlash

I never watch him.

What was there and in print:

"Tillerson warns Russia on Syria, saying Assad era is ‘coming to an end’" by Gardiner Harris New York Times   April 11, 2017

LUCCA, Italy — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that President Bashar Assad’s reign in Syria was “coming to an end,” and he warned that Russia was at risk of becoming irrelevant in the Middle East by continuing to support him.

He's nuts!

His remarks illustrated the extent to which the Trump administration has, in just one week, substantially rethought its approach to Syria’s future.

Well, they couldn't wheel around immediately after Syria downed the Israeli jet; that would have been obvious. You wait 3-4 weeks, then foist a false flag or fictitious gas attack in front of everyone.

Before the April 4 chemical attack, the administration appeared resigned to letting Assad’s government, backed by Russia and Iran, continue gaining the upper hand in a six-year-long civil war that has claimed at least 400,000 lives. Even after the attack, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the administration would look “rather silly not acknowledging the political realities” of Assad’s grip on power.

But late last week Tillerson said that Assad could no longer remain in office and that “steps are underway” for an international effort to remove him. On Tuesday, Tillerson seemed close to embracing the very policy the Obama administration had decided on: that Assad would eventually have to cede power, though the timeline remains unclear.

And the Project For the New American Century rolls along.

Only one [two] countries left on the list after Syria!!

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin showed no signs of backing away from Assad. He likened the accusations against the Assad government — made by Britain, France and other allies, along with the Trump administration — to the flawed intelligence that President George W. Bush’s administration cited in 2003 to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Pretty stiff charge!

Putin insisted that the chemical attack had stemmed from anti-Assad rebel units.

It was either a rebel stockpile or nothing at all. In either event, the video is a fake. No gloves when treating sarin?

“We have information from various sources that similar provocations — and I have no other word for that — are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including southern suburbs of Damascus, where they intend to plant certain substances again and accuse official Syrian authorities of using them,” he said, without providing evidence for his claims.

As opposed to "new details from a declassified US assessment, with the release of new intelligence findings from American signals and aerial intelligence, combined with local reporting and samples taken from victims of the incident, ‘‘very confident,’’ but had not yet reached a consensus and blamed Putin."

Like anybody believes the bags of s**t they and the NYT hurl these days. 

What's next, Russian concentration camps?

Russia’s increasingly close alliance with Assad has allowed it to expand its military presence in the Middle East and has contributed to what is widely viewed as a renewed relevance in the region. Tillerson’s suggestion that Russia’s ties with Assad would diminish the country’s standing contradicts Moscow’s recent experience.

Tillerson's disconnect is concerning.

With his comments, Tillerson tried to untangle the confusing mix of signals from the Trump administration over whether the United States conducted the missile strike for humanitarian or national security reasons and whether the Trump administration seeks an immediate change of government in Syria.

That's how I took it.

“We do not want the regime’s uncontrolled stockpile of chemical weapons to fall into the hands of ISIS or other terrorist groups who could and want to attack the United States or our allies,” he said at a brief news conference in Lucca, referring to the Islamic State. “Nor can we accept the normalization of the use of chemical weapons by other actors or countries in Syria or elsewhere.”

Rex is insane! Syria's chemical weapons were removed and destroyed, and it was verified by the OPCW. 

It's IRAQ ALL OVER AGAIN! They feel they have a new generation of fools and everyone has forgotten.

Related: Flashback: U.S. Used Willie Pete in ... 

Oh, yeah, well, used stuff in Vietnam, throughout South America, DU in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and every place bombing since. 

Rex going to go get Bush and Bliar?

Tillerson said that the US priority in Syria and Iraq “remains the defeat of ISIS,” and that Assad does not have a place in Syria’s future.

“I think it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” the secretary of state said. “But the question of how that ends, and the transition itself could be very important, in our view, to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria.” 

I'll bet they carve it up. You'll have a Kurd area to be used as an USraeli intel base, a Sunni area with Saudi and other sheikdom influence, and a Shi'ite strip dominated by Alawites. It's happening now. The last six years have been sectarian cleansing operations.

“We are not presupposing how that occurs,” he said, but he added that Assad’s continued use of chemical weapons had ended his legitimacy.

So that was the canard, 'eh?

Tillerson said he hoped to convince the Russians that their continued support of Assad has become embarrassing for them. “And now Assad has made the Russians look not so good,” Tillerson said.

Like, you know, Israel is for the U.S.


Let's Spice things up:

"Sean Spicer apologizes after clumsy and false Hitler analogy" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  April 12, 2017

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sean Spicer publicly apologized Tuesday after he awkwardly compared Adolf Hitler to Syrian leader Bashar Assad and inaccurately asserted that Hitler did not gas his own people, glossing over Nazi death camps where he murdered German Jews in gas chambers. 

I'm sure he meant well.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer falsely asserted during Tuesday’s televised press briefing from the West Wing of the White House.

Germany’s Third Reich exterminated about 6 million Jews and devised industrial means of mass slaughter, including the use of Zyklon B gas at Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Others viewed as subhuman by the Nazis, including gays and disabled people, met similar fates.

Two different things. No one used chemical weapons in WWII. The cause of deaths at the camps is subject of much consternation and debate and we will not go there today.

Spicer seemed to stumble over his words as he sought to clarify his remark later in the press briefing, but his subsequent efforts to assert that Assad’s actions were worse than Hitler’s were equally inaccurate and were similarly denounced by critics as insensitive.

“I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing, I mean, there was clearly — I understand your point, thank you,” Spicer said.

Spicer also referred to Nazi extermination camps as a “Holocaust center,’’ yet another utterance that provoked outrage.

“There was not — he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that,’’ Spicer told reporters, as he sought to explain himself. “I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent.”

It's a page one story in the Globe and what is everyone talking about? 

The great narrative of Jewish victimhood!

The rambling and inaccurate comments from President Trump’s chief spokesman came in the midst of Passover. After being widely panned for his appearance at Tuesday’s briefing, Spicer went on CNN and offered an apology.

What timing!

“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison,” Spicer said. “And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”

Spicer has been frequently mocked on “Saturday Night Live” for his aggressive approach to the press and he’s also been called out for his frequent mangling of the English language. He is a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

I'm asleep by then now.

Spicer’s fumbles in the past — such as his false assertions that Trump’s inauguration crowds were larger than President Obama’s — have been viewed by the media and Washington critics as more understandable because he has the unenviable job of trying to defend a president who makes gut decisions, often changes positions, and offers unexpected and controversial public comments.

But with Tuesday’s comments Spicer was in a different situation. He wasn’t trying to clean up after a Trump-made mess, he was creating it. Spicer’s comments put the White House back where it’s been for nearly all of its first months: on the defense.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, a New York organization that advocates for civil rights, called on Trump to “fire Sean Spicer now.’’

That's kind of harsh, isn't it?

“On Passover no less, Sean Spicer has engaged in Holocaust denial, the most offensive form of fake news imaginable, by denying Hitler gassed millions of Jews to death,” Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the center, said in a statement.

He called Spicer’s comments “the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary.”

Moments after Spicer’s remarks, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tweeted video of US troops liberating the concentration camp in Buchenwald and Democrats called for Spicer’s removal.

Jewish groups already were wary of Trump and his White House.


Make Who Great Again? 

It's a big con with Kushner's cult calling the shots.

In one case, the White House failed to include a reference to the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The White House has also come under fire for employing Steve Bannon as a top adviser. Bannon used to run the website Breitbart News, which offered a platform for anti-Semitic views. Also working in the White House as a national security advisor is Seb Gorka, who has been linked in media reports to anti-Semitic groups.

Didn't he go to Harvard?

Trump was also slow to speak out against a spate of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.

Which later proved to be self-inflicted acts by a jilted reporter (to get back at his girlfriend), a mentally deranged kid in Israel with billions in his bitcoin account, and wind.

The president has often pointed to his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism, when these issues have arisen in the past. She and her husband, Jared Kushner, are observant Jews. Both hold key positions in the Trump White House.

Something many are well aware of.

Democratic lawmakers wasted no time calling for Spicer’s removal Tuesday.

“While Jewish families across America celebrate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is downplaying the horror of the Holocaust,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi in a statement. “Sean Spicer must be fired, and the president must immediately disavow his spokesman’s statements. Either he is speaking for the president, or the president should have known better than to hire him.”

“He’ll be a topic at many Seder dinners tonight,” added David Axelrod, a former Obama strategist.

Look at the attack dogs for Israel.

Many found it head-scratching that Spicer would even bring up Nazi Germany.

That's what you do when you are flailing around and trying to arouse emotions so as to lead a populace to war.

“When it comes to professional communications, if you are in the White House or if you are the PR person for some small town, the third rail is always and always will be discussing Hitler and Nazi Germany,” said Jack Deschauer, a senior vice president with the public relations firm Levick. 

Yeah, the golden rule is first to bring him up has lost the argument.

Deschauer predicted it will be a difficult for Spicer to recover. “There is nothing you can do — apologize profusely and hope time heals wounds.”

Spicer sought to mend fences with Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, who is Jewish and active in many pro-Israeli causes.

Ah, the big pooh-bah and Trump's biggest donor and overlord. 

Sheldon Adelson donating $1 million to Mass. anti-pot campaign

Ironic, isn't it? 

Stoners don't gamble?

“Sean Spicer called and said he made a mistake and apologized,” said Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman.

He went straight to the top to grovel.


Looks like he broke the rules, huh?

Time to turn the Page. I'm passing over the rest.... 


Trump says US relations with Russia may be at ‘all-time low’

Trump boasted about Syria strike over cake with Chinese president

I'm absolutely horrified.

Who will stand up to him?


Spicer says Hitler comment was ‘inexcusable and reprehensible’


"Trump undercuts Steve Bannon, whose job may be in danger" by Jeremy W. Peters and Maggie Haberman New York Times   April 13, 2017 

Translation: Trump now a captive of the neocons.

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s grenade-lobbing pugilist of a chief strategist, has a fitting nickname for his West Wing office: “the war room.”

But more and more, war is being waged on Bannon himself. And it is unclear how much longer he can survive in his job.

His isolation inside the White House, after weeks of bitter battle with other senior aides aligned with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, appeared to grow even starker this week after Trump undercut Bannon in an interview and downplayed his role as the Trump campaign’s chief executive.

Trump told the New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin in an interview Tuesday, “I am my own strategist,” a pointed reference to what aides described as his growing irritation that Bannon is receiving credit for being the mastermind behind Trump’s victory.

This guy is an idiot with an ego just like the snowflakes said. 

Bannon appears to now recognize the peril of his situation and has kept a low profile while Kushner has been away with his family. He has told friends and associates, using his trademark military vernacular, that he understands he cannot throw bombs every day and needs to pick his battles carefully.

He had told several associates over the weekend that he believed that things had cooled off with Kushner. But the comments from the president suggested the truce is uneasy and might not last.

Bannon was the only one in room who didn't agree with bombing Syria.

Bannon’s allies have already begun discussing a post-White House future for him.

The split between the hard-nosed Bannon and the far more reserved and soft-spoken Kushner has evolved into much more than a personality clash.

And a member of the Chabad cult.

Fairly or not, Bannon, in the eyes of the president, has become tainted with the new administration’s major losses: the controversial travel ban and the failed effort to pass an Affordable Care Act replacement. He was heavily involved in overseeing the drafting of the travel ban order. He played a limited role in the health care negotiations with congressional leaders but given Bannon’s nature, he has objected to the advice of others inside the administration.

Blamed for the health reform failure even though not heavily involved, and he must not have liked the tax plan, either. 

Those include not only Kushner and his wife Trump’s daughter Ivanka, but other advisers who share a similar, more moderate mind-set such as Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser, and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, most of whom believe the president should ease up on some of his hard-line campaign promises.

Then his presidency is over. That is what "won" him the job.

Bannon’s removal from the White House would not come without political consequences, given his stature on the right. Conservative talk radio has already been abuzz with worry that “the Democrats,” the epithet they use to describe the Kushner faction in the West Wing, were co-opting the president’s agenda.

Still, Kushner has some powerful allies inside the White House. The person with perhaps the most powerful voice — Ivanka Trump — has also soured on Bannon, according to several people familiar with her thinking.

And Tillerson is licking Kushner's shoes.


Who is the woman in the photo?

"Gap only grows amid US-Russia talks" by David E. Sanger New York Times  April 13, 2017

MOSCOW — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia for nearly two hours Wednesday, but the two men appeared unable to agree on the facts involving the deadly chemical weapons assault on Syrian civilians or Russian interference in the US election — much less move toward an improvement in basic relations.

And in a news conference Wednesday, President Trump also remarked on the souring relations.

“Right now, we’re not getting along with Russia at all — we may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia,” Trump said.

Really? Not the 1950s McCarthyism or the Cuban Missile Crisis? Not the Evil Empire of the early 1980s? 

The hyperbole from this clown is too much to take, and he's set a record with me for quickest disdain for a newly elected president -- by far.

The remarks appeared to be an attempt to isolate Putin for backing the Syrian government in the wake of the chemical weapons attack and to build international pressure on Moscow to change course. At the same time, Trump embraced NATO — a military alliance he had previously derided as obsolete — as an effective and vital force for peace and security in a region where Russia has been an aggressive actor.

What dirt did they show him to get him to do a light-speed reversal all across the board?

In Moscow, both Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a range of issues were discussed — most notably the crises in Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine — and Tillerson reiterated the US view that President Bashar Assad of Syria, Russia’s chief Middle East ally, was responsible for the chemical weapons assault in northern Syria on April 4 that left more than 80 people dead, sickened hundreds, and outraged the world.

Lavrov reiterated the Russian view that the facts about the chemical weapons attack had yet to be determined, and denounced what he described as the “media hysteria” surrounding the assault.

Further punctuating the Syria dispute, Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemning the chemical attack. It was the eighth time in the six-year-old Syria conflict that Russia, one of the five permanent Security Council members, had used its veto power to shield the Syrian government. But in a possible sign of Russia’s isolation on the chemical weapons issue, China, the permanent member that usually votes with Russia on Syria resolutions, abstained.

How many times the U.S. veto for Israel, and we just saw what happens last December when they abstain. Ungrateful bastards.

Tillerson said Russian interference in the presidential election was a settled fact.

OMG! Far from it! 

Paging John Kerry!

In response, Lavrov gave what amounted to a long lecture on what he described as an extensive list of US efforts to achieve “regime change” around the world, from Serbia to Iraq to Libya. He described them all as failures — an implicit warning against any efforts to achieve the same end in Syria.

For hours after Tillerson’s arrival in Moscow, it was unclear whether Putin would even meet with him because of the tense state of relations, which have worsened just in the past few weeks. Their meeting lasted almost two hours and ended just before 8 p.m.

Putin kept him waiting?

Trump, in an interview with Fox Business that aired Wednesday morning, suggested Russia will face mounting calls to work toward a peaceful resolution in Syria.

“Putin is backing a person that’s truly an evil person, and I think it’s very bad for Russia, I think it’s very bad for mankind, it’s very bad for this world,” Trump added in the interview.

The parts in print where Trump calls Assad an animal have been edited out of the web version?

In the 24 hours before Tillerson landed in Moscow, the White House accused Putin’s government of covering up evidence that Assad had been responsible for sarin gas attacks on its own people, launched from a base where Russian troops are operating.

Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Putin shot back that the charge was fabricated and accused the administration of Trump, who US intelligence agencies believe benefited from Russian cyberattacks intended to embarrass his Democratic rival during the election campaign, of fabricating the evidence to create a fake confrontation.

It wouldn't be the first (or second, third, fourth) time.

“This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when US representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,” Putin said, referring to an intelligence failure that Trump has also cited in recent months. “The exact same thing is happening now,” he charged.

He quoted two Russian writers, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov, authors of the 1928 satire “The 12 Chairs,” and said, “ ‘It’s boring, ladies.’ We have seen this all before.” 


But the diplomatic theater playing out in Moscow on a rainy Wednesday morning was far from boring: Putin, operating on home turf, was looking for any way to shape the narrative of Tillerson’s first trip here as secretary of state.

It's NYT doing it!!!

The outcome could well decide whether Trump’s oft-stated desire to remake US relations with Moscow will now disintegrate, just as similar efforts by Barack Obama did early in his presidency.

Not just disintegrate, it was outright war at the end regarding Ukraine.

The drama appeared to be an effort by Putin to show that he was in control.

Is he not?

Tillerson had hoped, several weeks ago, to make the battle against the Islamic State a focus of this trip, working with Russia to seal off the last escape routes from Raqqa, in hopes of killing the remainder of the Islamic State force there.

Instead, the chemical attack in Syria — and the investigations into how and how significantly Putin interfered in the US presidential election — have overshadowed what Tillerson has insisted remains the No. 1 priority: defeating the Islamic State.... 

Oh, hmmmmm! Not now. 


Who were his backers again?

"Analysis: Russia’s Assad stance dims hopes for US thaw" by Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press  April 13, 2017

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria has saved President Bashar Assad’s government from imminent collapse and raised Russia’s global clout.

Putin hasn’t lost hope of making a ‘‘grand deal’’ with Trump, but the Russian leader’s unflinching support for Damascus indicates that he doesn’t see dumping Assad as part of it.

Even though the Kremlin said last week that its support for Assad isn’t unconditional and emphasized that it can’t control the Syrian leader’s every move, such statements sound more like rhetoric aimed at deflecting Western criticism than a signal of Moscow’s readiness to bargain over Assad’s fate.

If they cut him loose, no one will trust them to be there again.

The Russian president can’t accept the Syrian ruler’s demise for a variety of reasons. It would deprive Moscow of its only ally in the Middle East that hosts Russian air force and naval assets. But more crucially, it would cast Russia as a loser in the six-year Syrian conflict, dealing a blow to its aspirations to regain Soviet-era global clout and prestige.

That's the narrative being shaped.

Putin has now found himself in a trap: Abandoning Assad would amount to recognition that the Kremlin’s policy was wrong, while maintaining support for the Syrian ruler could risk destroying any chance for a detente with the Unites States and raise the threat of a military confrontation.

Some hope for that!

Russia has argued that civilians in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun likely died of toxic agents released from a rebel arsenal hit by a Syrian airstrike — a theory categorically rejected by the United States and its allies.

Putin cited intelligence he said showed the Syrian opposition was preparing new ‘‘provocations’’ with toxic agents to cast blame on the Syrian government. He likened the US response of bombing a Syrian air base to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arguing that now just as then Washington relied on false data about chemical weapons.

The Russian leader also accused the West of playing the Syrian card to try to consolidate the solidarity shaken by Trump’s election victory by casting Russia as a common enemy.

Been that way my whole life.

Putin’s statements signal that he doesn’t see dropping Assad as a viable option. Just the opposite, Moscow’s decision to suspend a vital communications link with the US military in Syria has signaled its readiness to raise the stakes.

Neither Syria nor Russia used their air defense assets to try to fend off last week’s US attack on the Shayrat air base, which Washington said had served as a platform for the chemical attack. The United States issued advance notice to Russia to avoid hitting its personnel before unleashing a volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US warships in the Mediterranean.

We are told they didn't use it, but if not, why did so many Tomahawks go off course?

In a paradoxical response to the strike, Moscow froze the military hotline with the United States. The Russian move amounted to a stark warning: Don’t launch any more strikes or risk unpredictable consequences.

In another warning to Washington, the Russian military has pledged to help Syria beef up its air defenses.

This is about.... wait a second.

In some ways, Russia’s official military presence in Syria could make the situation potentially even more menacing now compared to what it was during the war in Vietnam, when the Soviet Union never officially acknowledged its military involvement.

If Russia or Syria were to use their military assets to fend off any future US strike, it may put Moscow and Washington on the brink of a head-on confrontation.

Near 1962 levels then.

The Pentagon has insisted that no such danger exists. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said US-Russian tensions over Syria ‘‘will not spiral out of control,’’ arguing that Moscow has no interest in allowing the current disagreements over Syria to lead to a broader confrontation. He said that the two countries are maintaining military and diplomatic communications.... 

I hope he is more than 100% sure.


No mention of Israel, the 800-lb gorilla in the room, and the reason regime change must be effected: the Syrian shutdown of the Israeli jet!

"Trump on NATO: ‘I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.’" by Jenna Johnson Washington Post  April 13, 2017

President Trump on Wednesday gave his full support to NATO, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the alliance and saying he no longer considers it ‘‘obsolete,’’ a sharp reversal from his rhetoric on the campaign trail on a day when Trump dramatically changed his stance on several policy positions.

This guy is worse than Nixon's no longer operative!!

Trump also thanked NATO members for condemning President Bashar al-Assad of Syria’s use of chemical weapons and ‘‘the barbaric killing of small and helpless children and babies.’’ At one point, Trump referred to the Syrian leader as a ‘‘butcher.’’


Later, Trump said he asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to look into collecting back dues from countries.


On Wednesday, Trump backed away from several other firm positions that he had held for months on the campaign trail. Early in the day, the government ended a federal government hiring freeze that Trump had promised to institute, although departments have been told to find other ways to shrink staff sizes. Then, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president announced he no longer considers China a currency manipulator, he now supports lower interest rates and the US Export-Import Bank, and he would consider renominating Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen when her tenure is up next year, despite saying on the campaign trail he would ‘‘most likely’’ not reappoint her.



"Trump has the chance to fill three of the seven seats of the Federal Reserve board. Two seats have been vacant for over a year because the Republican-led Senate had refused to take up the two nominees during Barack Obama’s presidency. The president also left open the possibility of re-nominating Janet Yellen for a second four-year term as Fed chair. That would mark another shift from his campaign position that he would likely replace Yellen when her term as chair ends in February next year. In the interview, Trump said, ‘‘I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you.’’

He doesn't know the meaning of the word. 

Time to scrap his presidency.

Last week, Trump abandoned his longtime stance that the United States should not get involved with Syria when he approved a strike on an air base there.

‘‘I felt we had to do something about it,’’ Trump said Wednesday of the Syria bombing. ‘‘I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing. And it was very, very successfully done, as you well know.’’

Only 23 of the 59 missiles hit the intended target!

His comments came hours after a senior White House official said the Trump administration had supported the admission of Montenegro into NATO in part to counter the influence of Russia in the small Balkan nation. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official cited “credible reports” that Moscow backed a plot for a violent election day attack there last fall.

If by "credible" they mean these:

Pro-West ruling party wins Montenegro election
Finger pointed at Russians in alleged coup plot in Montenegro
Montenegro accuses Russia of participating in alleged coup plot
Montenegro prosecutor seeks to jail opposition leaders
Serbia set to get Russian fighter jets

The Balkans was actually the first battlefield of WWIII.

Trump on Tuesday signed the paperwork allowing Montenegro to enter NATO, two weeks after the Senate approved the move in a March 28 vote. Its admission, White House officials said in a statement, should signal to other nations aspiring to join the alliance that “the door to membership in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations remains open and that countries in the Western Balkans are free to choose their own future and select their own partners without outside interference or intimidation.”

Or else!!

Speaking of dinosaurs...


The generals have rallied around him on Syria, as have the Democrats (oh, how things might have been different). Only the Globe is offering dissent.

"NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt issued a dire warning to aspiring journalists Wednesday during a talk at Tufts University, saying that “truth is on the ropes.” 

Yeah, and your predecessor helped give it a huge shove!

Meanwhile, in the Far East:

"Xi, Trump discuss rising tensions with North Korea" by Jane Perlez New York Times  April 12, 2017

BEIJING — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and President Trump spoke by phone Wednesday about the escalating tensions with North Korea as a prominent Chinese state-run newspaper warned the North that it faced a cutoff of vital oil supplies if it dared test a nuclear weapon.

The phone call, reported by China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, came hours after Trump cautioned Beijing in a Twitter message and a television interview that it needed to help Washington rein in North Korea, a Chinese ally. During the call, which was initiated by Trump, Xi said the matter should be solved through peaceful means, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

He's going, as they say in military circles.

Tensions escalated further Wednesday as reports said the Japanese navy would join the US Navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in its mission off the Korean coast. The Carl Vinson and several other warships are heading toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force intended to deter the North from testing a sixth nuclear weapon or launching missiles.

North Korea on Saturday is celebrating the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the nation. Its current leader, Kim Jong Un, his grandson, is expected to use the occasion to either stage a nuclear weapons test or conduct a missile test, in direct defiance of the United States and its main patron, China.

Please don't ruin the party!

US television networks and some newspapers have been invited to report on a military show in the capital, Pyongyang, this weekend.

In an unusually strong editorial, Global Times, a newspaper that sometimes reflects the thinking of China’s leadership, said Beijing would support stiffer United Nations sanctions, including “strictly limiting” oil exports to North Korea, should it conduct a nuclear test.

The editorial, indicating nervousness about what the North might do Saturday, said the peninsula was the closest to “military clashes” since 2006.

WTF? Just yesterday I was told no war!

The newspaper called on Pyongyang to avoid a “head-on collision” with Trump by suspending its provocative activities. North Korea is almost entirely dependent on China for its oil, and a loss of its supplies would cripple the noticeable economic growth in the country over the last few years.


Global Times also reminded North Korea that Trump had ordered missile strikes against Syria, an attack that occurred during Xi’s visit to Florida less than a week ago. Trump has promised in interviews that he is willing to take unilateral action against North Korea if necessary.

“Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises,” Global Times wrote.

Trump gloated over the dead babies, babies(!) over the meal.

After the talks, administration officials said Xi did not offer substantially new measures to penalize North Korea’s behavior....

When to the missiles start flying?


Better get back on the bus:

"Letter Found after bus explosion demands Germany pull back in Syria" by Alison Smale New York Times   April 12, 2017

BERLIN — A letter called for the country to scale back its involvement in the Western military coalition in Syria, authorities said on Wednesday.

A letter? Not THE letter?

The letter also demanded what it termed “the closure of the Ramstein air base,” said Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office of Germany, a reference to the main airport for US and NATO military forces in Germany.

Can't do that then! 

How come the "terrorists" always assist the "enemy?"

The unusually specific set of demands came with no claim of responsibility, but it was being examined by experts, Koehler said. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has taken charge of the investigation.

She provided no detail about the two people who had been taken into custody beyond saying that they were “from the Islamist spectrum.”

Better beef up security before Easter and beyond -- and pray for your very soul.


The New York Times also tells me Turkey is in turmoil.


Why the Kansas election matters

The narrative for the next "change" election

Time to go back to the trenches to swim through the bulls**.... as soon as I can get a ride.