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Monday, December 05, 2016

You might have missed the news this past week that Rep. Xavier Becerra will leave Congress to become California's attorney general. Becerra wasn't the highest-profile member of Congress. But his departure is a piece of a broader exodus of Democratic House members once regarded as the next leaders of the party in Washington.

But for the Democratic Party in Washington, Becerra's decision is part of a troubling trend: young, ambitious lawmakers either falling by the wayside or giving up on the House entirely.

It's remarkable. An entire generation of Democratic leaders in Washington has been washed away -- and the generation younger than the Van Hollens and Israels of the country looks too young right now to step up and fill the leadership vacuum. (Names on that list include the likes of Reps. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico.) read more


Saturday, December 03, 2016

1. This is like 2000 all over again, right? Nope.

2. Are we just doing this to give delusional liberals something to read? Yes.

3. How does the recount work? Millions of Dollars disappear, a few weeks pass, and we forget all about it.

4. Who will be recounting the Wisconsin vote? Every ballot will be personally handled by experienced state poll worker Joe Schultz.

5. Is there any truth to the claim that Jill Stein is using the recount as a ploy to get donations for the Green Party? She has shown no prior indication of being that politically savvy.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Donald Trump intends to nominate Gen. James Mattis, one of the most respected military men of his generation, to run the sprawling Department of Defense, it was reported Thursday.

Citing people familiar with the decision, the Washington Post said the announcement from the president-elect is expected next week.

But since a law prevents those on active duty within the last seven years from serving in a civilian post, Congress will not only have to confirm Mattis but also pass a law making an exception.

Congress has done that just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the post in 1950.


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Wisconsin Elections Commission set a timetable Monday for a recount of the presidential election but rejected a request to require a count by hand made by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who quickly responded that she would sue.

Unless Stein wins her lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, officials in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties would decide on their own whether to do their recounts by hand. That could mean some counties perform recounts by machine and some by hand.

Citing the results of a 2011 statewide recount that changed only 300 votes, Elections Commission chairman Mark Thomsen, a Democrat, said this presidential recount is very unlikely to change Republican Donald Trump's win in the state. read more


Friday, November 18, 2016

Here is the WashPo appointment tracker for all open Cabinet Posts, click the link (I know that scares many of you Libs because it will force you to both read and comprehend) to get the latest updates. read more


Comments

#6

Glad to see you finally giving the Obama Administration credit for something...

If you know anything about SOCOM and JSOC, you would know that they are not suited for long deployments, but in its effort to maintain the illusion that the Obama Administration "brought the troops home" and were only deploying special forces in limited roles, it forgot that every force, regardless of composition, needs some REMFs to mind the store at the bases. If you read past the first few (snarky) paragraphs, you would find this:

McGraw noted that SOCOM has taken steps to alleviate the stress on its force, instituting a policy requiring service members to have a minimum of 250 nights at home over a 24-month period, and establishing the Preservation of the Force and Family initiative, which aims to identify best practices to improve the well-being of special operators and their families. Ultimately, however, "preservation of the force requires growth or relieving SOF of some of its currently assigned missions," the CNA conference report found.

Trump's desire to avoid toppling regimes will do little to mitigate SOF operational tempo in the near term, given that many current special operations deployments are to countries whose regimes have already been toppled. Thus his commitment to "stability" is unlikely to reduce the pace of SOF deployments, with one exception: any rapprochement with Russia will probably see the end of the CIA's covert campaign to train rebels to fight the Syrian regime, a program that has relied on special forces support.

Indeed, there's an excellent chance that the Trump-Flynn mindset will mean fewer restrictions on special operations forces fighting ISIS. That's one reason why his election was greeted warmly by many in the SOF community, said a retired Special Forces officer in close touch with operators in the field. "Across the board everyone's happy," he said. "‘Trump is going to remove the shackles and let us get to work' -- that's the perception. But I suspect the reality is murkier."

Most people I know who are involved with JSOC (which includes family members) are relieved that there is a new administration coming in, which will make their lives easier. The easiest way to do that is to task some regular forces to staff the bases and let the SF's do what they do best...kick ass.

Our intentions were about an oil line.

Wrong. Much as I hate to cite to (un)Truth-out.org, they had a great article that debunked this false narrative:

s has been the case with all the other wars the US has fought over the decades, opponents of the US war state have had to come up with their own explanations for the sponsorship of a sectarian bloodbath in Syria. The explanation that is rapidly gaining popularity is that the war in Syria is a "pipeline war," fought to ensure that the natural gas from Qatar would go to Europe through Syria and would weaken Europe's dependence on Russia for its energy.

It's easy to understand why that explanation would be accepted by many anti-war activists: it is in line with the widely accepted theory that all the US wars in the Middle East have been "oil wars" -- about getting control of the petroleum resources of the region and denying them to America's enemies.

But the "pipeline war" theory is based on false history and it represents a distraction from the real problem of US policy in the Middle East -- the US war state's determination to hold onto its military posture in the region.

It is true that Qatar had proposed a pipeline to carry its natural gas to Turkey. But nearly everything else about the story turns out, upon investigation, to be untrue. There is no contemporaneous report of any such rejection by the Syrian government.

That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

Even more important, the immediate problem for Qatar's proposal was not Syria but Saudi Arabia, whose territory the Qatari gas would have to cross to get to Syria. In January 2010, The National, a daily UAE [United Arab Emirates] newspaper reported that the main obstacle to the idea of a pipeline to carry Qatari natural gas to Turkey and then to Europe "was likely to be Saudi Arabia, which has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline development" and still had very bad relations with Qatar. And Middle East geopolitical analyst Felix Imonti reported at Oilprice.com in 2012 that Qatar had been forced to abandon the pipeline idea in 2010 because Saudi Arabia had not agreed to have it built across its territory.

The War Against the Assad Regime Is Not a "Pipeline War"

Nor is our geopolitical interest in Syria based on it being an oil producing state, since it produces only 0.5% of Global output.

What is often overlooked is the fact that Syria, just by virtue of its location in the heart of the Middle East, is geopolitically important to all "stakeholders" in the area: Turkey, by its sharing of the Euphrates, Russia, by virtue of having its only Mediterranean port in Tartarus, and Iran, by having a border with Isreal. As for the US, it is beholden to protect its "fortress" in the ME (Isreal) so it also has a major interest in having a stable regime in Damascus. Syria also has had a key role in balancing the competing powers of Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It also provides a backstop for Jordan and Lebanon should Isreal ever attack through the backdoor, so to speak.

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