Friday, April 14, 2017

Not So Good Friday

Just want to wash my feet of the whole thing.

I thought we cleaned this up yesterday, but....

"Iraqi held in attack on soccer team is suspected of ISIS ties" by Alison Smale New York Times  April 13, 2017

BERLIN — The bombing stirred widespread anxiety about the security of the nation’s — and the world’s — most popular sport, and the Borussia Dortmund team’s coach and several players spoke harshly about the decision to play the rescheduled game less than 24 hours after the attack.

Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, said there was insufficient evidence to link the Iraqi to the Dortmund bombing, but she maintained that he should be held because of his connection to the Islamic State.

Koehler said in a statement that the Iraqi commanded a unit of about 10 fighters whose task was to prepare and carry out kidnappings, blackmail, and killings. He left for Turkey in March 2015 and arrived in Germany early last year, at the tail end of a wave of more than 1 million migrants.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office would not speculate on whether there was any lingering doubt about a link between the Iraqi man and the Dortmund bombing, and whether authorities were holding him on other grounds as a way to ensure he remained in detention while the inquiry continues.

Tuesday’s soccer match, the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal against Monaco, was postponed that evening but quickly rescheduled to Wednesday evening, less than 24 hours after the bombing. Monaco won 3-2, with a return match next week.

That's why the coach and players were complaining! 


Interesting that the terror attack on the Israeli team was prevented, 'eh?

North Korea’s nuclear test site seems ready, US group says

I would say let's hope someone prevents that, but.... on second thought.... Que Sera, Sera

Set a good example for the guy, show restraint yourself even if he shoots a missile or makes a poof.

Speaking of poofs....

"Assad says videos of dead children in Syria chemical attack were faked" by Rick Gladstone New York Times  April 13, 2017

NEW YORK — In his first interview since an April 4 attack on the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people, sickened hundreds, and outraged the world, President Bashar Assad of Syria not only doubled down on the government’s denials of responsibility but intensified his counterpropaganda campaign Thursday, suggesting that child actors had staged death scenes to malign him and contended without evidence that the episode had been fabricated as a pretext for a US retaliatory missile strike.

Babies thrown out of incubators sort of stuff, and the NYT just admitted -- in a subtle way -- that are propaganda. Assad countering it. As for the charge, he must be reading the Internet because its everywhere and the world is not fooled by U.S. spew.

The decision by the increasingly isolated Syrian president to give an interview to a Western news organization appeared to reflect a calculation that his best option, even in the face of incriminating evidence, was to repeatedly deny responsibility for the attack. 

Is he?

Medical examiners in Turkey said that autopsies showed they had been attacked with sarin, a lethal nerve agent and a banned chemical weapon that Syria had claimed to have eradicated, and the British delegation to the OPCW said samples taken from the attack had tested positive for sarin and that its technical experts had determined the allegations were credible and that it had collected samples to be tested for analysis. 

First of all, both those governments want a regime change, and secondly, the Brits say its sarin and then claim they haven't tested them yet but, you know.... just believe the liars.

The interview with Assad was broadcast as the Syrian government’s news agency asserted without evidence that US warplanes had bombed what it called a chemical weapons cache possessed by Islamic State group militants in Syria on Wednesday, leaving hundreds dead, including “a large number of civilians, due to suffocation caused by the inhalation of toxic materials.”

Only the U.S. government can do that, and he may be wrong about who bombed it. I think the U.S.-backed terrorists were either storing them there or more likely moved them there. The fallout video is fake according to the online analysis I've seen.

The news agency’s report showed no visual proof of an attack but said it had taken place in the village of Hatla in Deir el-Zour province, causing a “white cloud that soon turned into yellow as a result of the explosion of a huge depot that includes a large amount of toxic materials.”

The description appeared intended to corroborate the Syrian government’s claims that all chemical weapons attacks in the war have been carried out by militant extremists.

That claim is true. Been trying to frame Assad since 2013.

A spokesman for the US military coalition that operates bombing missions against the Islamic State in Syria denied the report. In a Twitter post, the spokesman, Colonel John L. Dorrian of the Air Force, wrote: “Not true! Intentional misinformation...again!”

The military guys are starting to act like Trump! God help us all this Easter!

Assad, who has been widely denounced for documented atrocities committed by his military during the civil war, said of the reports about the Khan Sheikhoun attack, “Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication.”

President Trump called Assad an “animal,” and Assad’s escalation of his government’s denials came as tensions between Russia and the United States have worsened over the Syria war and Russia’s support for Assad....


What did make the paper, front-page even!

"US drone mistakenly kills 18 Syrian allies" by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Missy Ryan Washington Post  April 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — A US drone struck and killed at least 18 members of an allied Syrian force this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in the worst friendly-fire incident of the war there against the Islamic State.


The strike Tuesday south of Tabquah, a strategic town in northern Syria, deepens questions about targeting methods used in the ongoing American air campaign over Iraq and Syria, which activists allege has resulted in a surge in civilian deaths this year.

The US-led coalition said this week’s incident occurred after Syrian forces erroneously identified another allied unit as a group of Islamic State fighters.

Separately, US forces in Afghanistan dropped a 21,000-pound bomb on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the Pentagon announced, using the largest non-nuclear bomb ever employed in combat.

Trump dumped that on Afghanistan? 

The daily outrages by the man never cease!

General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the bomb was ‘‘the right munition’’ to use against the Islamic State because of the group’s use of roadside bombs, bunkers, and tunnels.

The bomb, which is known as the GBU-43, is one of the largest airdropped munitions in the US military’s inventory and was almost used during the opening salvos of the Iraq War in 2003.

By comparison, US aircraft commonly drop bombs that weigh 250 to 2,000 pounds.

The US military has targeted similar complexes and dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan, raising the question of why a bomb of this size was used Thursday. It was unclear what the GBU-43 strike accomplished, as the bomb is not designed to penetrate hardened targets such as bunkers or cave complexes.

I can answer that: because they could. Put the fear of Trump into the Taliban.

The Pentagon said in its statement that ‘‘US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike.’’


President Trump did not say whether he had personally approved Thursday’s mission, [but] after a meeting with emergency workers at the White House. he said, “What I do is I authorize my military.” He called the bombing “another very, very successful mission.”

He just accepted the war criminal mantle.

The assault against a Syrian military facility appeared to be a momentary deviation from the campaign to defeat the Islamic State. The number of civilian casualties reported in US-led strikes has increased since Trump took office, and March was the deadliest month for civilians ever recorded there by Airwars, a group that tracks bombings. Reports of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria jumped to 3,471 from 1,782 the month before, the group said.

He was the antiwar candidate, right?

US officials argue that the incidents are a regrettable but unavoidable outcome in a war that has included about 20,000 US and coalition airstrikes, but the incidents illustrate the difficulties inherent in the US strategy in Iraq and Syria, which relies on local ground forces to do most of the fighting and, often, to provide information that is used in complex air operations.

Those challenges are made greater by the small scale of the US presence in both countries, meaning fewer American personnel on hand to verify targets firsthand. There are roughly 500 US Special Operations troops working with the SDF throughout Syria and approximately 1,000 US troops overall.

Understated force levels so you don't get too worked up over the escalating slaughter.

As part of an elaborate process for developing and approving targets for aerial attack, US officials say they use drone surveillance and other methods to cross-check information provided by ground forces, who often are requesting air power for their own defense in fast-moving situations.

But air missions are challenging in a crowded battlefield, and requests from local forces have played a role in some incidents of civilian casualties. Those include the attack last month in Mosul. Pentagon officials say the principal cause in the rise in civilian casualties is that the fight is entering a new, more intense phase. But activists have wondered whether changes to the military’s approvals process for strikes have contributed....

The planet and its population shudder, literally and figuratively.


I wonder that will do to Trump's image?

"Is this a new Trump? Abrupt reversals may reflect experience" by Jill Colvin Associated Press  April 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — As he approaches 100 days in office, several recent comments offering insight into what looks like a moderate makeover for an immoderate president.

Yesterday it was keeping Yellen on, today it's keeping the US Ex-Im Bank open.

‘‘Instinctively, you would say, ‘Isn’t that a ridiculous thing,’’’ he said of the bank he once panned as ‘‘featherbedding’’ and pledged to eliminate. He now says of the bank, which supports US exports, ‘‘Actually, it’s a very good thing. And it actually makes money.’’

Allies describe Trump as merely growing in the job, taking what he’s learning and adapting. The White House, however, is struggling to explain some of the changes.

Not even 100 days and he's been unmasked as a compromised individual or a con man.

Trump, who seemed to remain in campaign mode for months after the election, appears to be listening to different advisers now. His onetime campaign guru, Steve Bannon, has been somewhat marginalized while moderate voices grow louder.

He's next to go, and I predict after him it will be Kellyanne Conway

Too bad, too. Those two individuals were more than any others responsible for him winning, and Kellyanne doesn't get any credit from feminists for making history.

Btw, here is a look inside that room (and a heads-up on from where are the leaks coming; the son-in-law? Must be on approval) and towards the 2020 primaries.

It may also be that Trump is merely looking for a way to improve his low approval rating, acknowledging his best tactic could be switching to a less dogmatic, more pragmatic approach. In many cases, Trump’s campaign talk appeared born from instinct and little else. He was known as a candidate who rarely dug deep, and he employed few policy experts to inform his views.

Trump’s evolution also reflects changing power dynamics within the White House, including the rise of Gary Cohn, his economics chief and the former president of Goldman Sachs, and other more moderate business leaders.

Roy's boy?

That’s an attractive prospect for a president eager for the wins he promised — after a difficult first few months that saw much of his agenda, including his signature travel ban and high-profile attempt at overhauling health care, blocked by Congress and the courts.

Still working on it.

Trump has also won praise for his decision to bomb an air base in Syria, despite his campaign promise to stay out of conflicts in the Middle East. While many in his conservative base were furious about the move, the bombing after a Syrian chemical weapons attack was widely applauded on the cable networks Trump frequently watches....


I wonder which stations he is watching.

Turn them off, dammit!


The promise he kept, and it's back to the tricks again:

"There are no signs that a crime was committed in the death of the first black woman on New York state’s highest court, police said Thursday after her body was found on the bank of the Hudson River...."

You be the judge, readers. 

May God help you all in California (how enchanting!).