Thursday, June 19, 2014

A unilateral cease fire can have two purposes.

June 19, 2014 6:05 PM
Anita Powell
 — Separatists in Ukraine's (click here) restive east have rejected the government's offer of a unilateral ceasefire, and angry citizens in the streets of Kyiv have also given the idea a thumbs down. Many in the capital say they didn't stand for weeks in the bitter cold earlier this year to topple the former, Russia-friendly president - only for their new president to pander to Russian aggression.

While Petro Poroshenko's peace plan has won the approval of France and Germany, it puts him in the dangerous position of alienating his support base not even two weeks after his inauguration – and this, in a nation with a history of ousting unpopular leaders.

No one was surprised when pro-Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine, known for their brutal guerrilla tactics, immediately rejected the new president’s offer of a unilateral ceasefire in return for the rebels putting down their arms or leaving the country. Such a deal, President Poroshenko said, would bring an end to the conflict that has ravaged eastern Ukraine since the country's pro-Russian president was toppled in February following mass anti-government protests during which more than a hundred demonstrators were killed by security forces....

The unilateral cease fire can better define the enemy and the allies to the enemy. I read where Russia was moving forces back to Eastern Ukraine's border. That isn't good. By holding a unilateral cease fire those causing the violence and attacks on Ukraine can be better defined.

This will also allow President Poroshenko to recapture the focus of his administration. I realize there were profound sacrifices made by Ukrainians to remove Yanukovich from power. A great deal has been learned after he left power and the oligarchs began to move their personal militias into an active capacity. I still can't believe that was the only national security strategy by Yanukovich, but, he completely relied on Russia to provide security to any external problems. Yanukovich had already presented Russia with Ukraine during his presidency.

But, to return to what is prudent today, Ukraine has many problems and all are primarily economic. President Poroshenko is a very successful business man capable of working with Ukraine business leaders to move the country forward and begin the long walk back to a government that is solvent and no longer reliant on Russian generosity.

There is also a unique man of Ukrainian birth already engaged in moving Ukraine forward.

Mar 25, 2014 9:05 AM ET
...Andrey Popel, (click here) is paying particularly close attention to the conflict in Ukraine.
The 29-year old director at New York-based Greylock helped the hedge-fund firm invest in the sovereign debt of the country last year and is now backing company debt from his homeland. He also has family in eastern Ukraine, from where he emigrated to the U.S. 15 years ago.
“Ukraine has the unique opportunity to get rid of kleptocracy and cronyism and emerge as one of the least corrupt, pro-human rights, pro-business, pro-West countries in Eastern Europe,” Popel said in a telephone interview. “Unfortunately the Crimean situation diverts attention from this cleansing process and makes it a lot more difficult.”...

The Ukrainian President cannot squander the time in diverting all Ukraine resources to war where Russia is heavily weighted financially. Russia can back the Ukrainian insurgency for a long time and wear down the Ukraine's fiscal stability to force it to collapse. It is obvious that is Russia's intentions. Or at least that is Mr. Putin's intentions. I am sure there are other Russian party leaders that see this entire circumstance very differently, however, they hold no clout today.

Right now. Today. Ukraine cannot leverage military power in the manner necessary against Russia's persistent meddling. If the confrontation continues Ukraine my lose it's ability to sovereignty. That would be tragic. The country needs economic strength while it's military continues to reorganize and build strength itself. 

Ukraine wanted to have open markets to both Russia and former Russian states while building European markets as well. In return Ukraine can seek a balance of trade with all these trading partners. It is the economic strength of the country that needs repair while it's military continues to assess it's abilities and it's current enemy. A civil war will not help trade with either Europe or Russia and could discourage other investors from coming into Ukraine. The people need to trust their President. Peace should supersede war. Those causing deaths to innocent people will have to be contended with even if in due time. I am sure no deaths and threats are going unnoticed. 

Same 'ole, same 'ole.

Kevin McCarthy is going to face the exact same problems as Eric Cantor. He is a Blue State Republican. If he acts as Cantor nipping at the heels of the Speaker and taking an extremist position he'll lose his seat, too. Californians are not extremists. As soon as he betrays their trust it is over.

The reason the Tea Party challenger to McCarthy failed to win the majority leader today is because there are less Tea Party Republicans than main stream Republicans. I don't think having a Red State Republican from Louisiana as Whip will do much unless he acts as if the Majority Leader. If the Speaker continues business as usual, which it looks as though it is, the main stream Republicans will become targets of Koch money and fail to win their primaries. I would hope Boehner learned a lesson with Cantor, but, I doubt it. The reason I doubt it is because I sincerely believe Boehner is scared of losing Koch money. 

June 18, 2014
By John Dickerson

...But (click here) on the eve of the election to replace Cantor as majority leader—the second most powerful person in the House of Representatives—it doesn’t look like there’s been much of a change in how the House will function....

This might not work. Hopefully it will, but, Iraq has a Shi'ite majority.

By Alissa J. Rubin and Rod Nordland


BAGHDAD — Alarmed over the Sunni insurgent mayhem (click here) convulsing Iraq, the country’s political leaders are actively jockeying to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.
The political leaders have been encouraged by what they see as newfound U.S. support for replacing al-Maliki with someone more acceptable to Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds, as well as to the Shiite majority, the officials said....
I'll be surprised if the Shia vote for anyone other than another Shi'ite.

By RUDAW 14 hours ago

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (click here) ordered the release of 2,000 Shiite prisoners in the north to take up arms against Sunni insurgents advancing on Baghdad, as his embattled government formally asked the US for air strikes to stop the rebels.
"The order reached our prison on Thursday and then the Shiite prisoners, numbering 2,000, were separated,” said an official at the Chamchamal prison in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, speaking to Rudaw on condition of anonymity.
The jail is located in the town of Chamchamal, west of Sulaimani province, and houses some of the most dangerous prisoners across Iraq.  Thousands of inmates were recently transferred there from the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and from Kirkuk.
“The (Shiite) prisoners had been sentenced to death or life imprisonment, and it was decided to fly them back to Baghdad," said the source....

At least it isn't the post office this time. We know who done it.

The why it happened is a concern. It is unclear to me why the bacteria was being inactivated for lower level labs.
Agence France-Presse
June 19, 2014
Around 75 scientists (click here) may have been accidentally exposed to anthrax at a US government health facility in Atlanta, Georgia, authorities said Thursday.
The scientists have been given antibiotics and are being monitored for signs of illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
The potential exposure occurred at a high-security lab "after established safety practices were not followed," said the CDC.
Samples of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) were being prepared for research at lower-security labs "to yield new means of detecting dangerous pathogens in environmental samples," it said.
"However, the lab used a procedure that did not adequately inactivate the samples."...

I am not counting dead bodies anymore. I'll leave that up to the World Courts.

If Americans want to volunteer for the USA military and die, they can have at it, but, they should be required to bring their own equipment. I don't want to sponsor death by American military anymore. Defund USA involvement.

No more body counts. Cut the military budget, they are wasting our money. We have no conscription in the USA military. It is an all volunteer force. We need to defund it and allow the countries receiving any of our volunteer force to pay for it. 

General John McCain can recruit as many Americans and illegal immigrants as he wants from McDonalds and the migrant fields. They can do their shopping at Walmart and purchase their necessary equipment and hire out to Iraq. Sounds like a plan to me.
JEREMY HOBSON: Ok, it's quiz time here on the Marketplace Morning Report. (click here) And our quizmaster Stephan Richter of joins us now from Washington. Good morning, Stephan.
STEPHAN RICHTER: Good morning Jeremy. Are you ready for today's quiz?
HOBSON: I am ready.
RICHTER: This one is in the context of all the budget debates and what costs money in the United States and for U.S. taxpayers. So my question for you today is this: How much does it cost per year to support one U.S. service member deployed in Afghanistan? Is it A) $67,000 a year; B) $132,000 a year; C) a staggering $685,000 per year; or D) an unbelievable $1.2 million a year?
HOBSON: Well, I am going to guess it is on the higher end of things. But I will just go with a staggering $600,000-some a year, not the unbelievable $1.2 million.
RICHTER: Not quite. This number would be right for the war in Iraq, according to numbers from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. $685,000, that's by the way, over 10 times more than the cost of a soldier deployed in World War II. So these wars are getting more expensive all the time.
HOBSON: All right, so I'll guess the $1.2 million.
RICHTER: $1.2 million per year. Of course, the least of that is wages or salary for the soldiers themselves. Most of it is due to the sheer lack of infrastructure in Afghanistan; its geographical position as a landlock nation. And the biggest single item in this? Fuel costs.
RICHTER: Per troop deployed: $200,000 to $350,000 a year just in fuel costs. With all this heavy stuff that's coming in now, that number's probably going to go up as the oil prices are going up.
HOBSON: All right, Stephan Richter, editor-in-chief at The Globalist. You can find out more about the world at Thanks again Stefan.

The USA needs to stop killing people. The Geneva Accords are enforceable now.

It is never too soon for peace demonstrations.

There is a lot going on most Americans don't even know about and then wonder, "How did we get here?"

What was Bush's favorite expression???....Oh, yeah, "Stay the course."

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Hundreds march against Philippine government's cooperation with US bid for heavier military presence (click here)

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the Philippine capital on Tuesday to demand U.S. troops leave their country, just days after Philippine President Noynoy Aquino announced he is "close" to a deal that would open the Philippines to an expanded U.S. military presence.
“Aquino is desperately trying to outdo previous Philippine presidents when it comes to puppetry to the US," said Elmer “Bong” Labog, spokesperson for labor organization Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement), which organized the demonstration.
Riot police clashed with approximately 300 demonstrators, who carried signs and banners that read "Obama Not Welcome" and "US Troops Out Now," near the U.S. embassy in Manila. At one point police attacked the crowd with truncheons, but no one was seriously injured, the Associated Press reports....

Iraq was an illegal war. There is absolutely no moral content in continuing to fight a war that has killed at least tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. There is no basis for it. This is a civil war and it is not up to us to choose the winners. There are major nations in the region to assist.

The USA can provide humanitarian assistance to Jordan and any other nation seeking to stabilize this disaster of a post war strategy, but, armaments and war personnel are out of the question.

McCain sent arms into Syria to support the rebels. He did so without even knowing whom he was dealing with. Men with guns were the problem and now they are men with guns in Iraq looting military equipment from any town they roll into. 

If McCain wants to play war general he can go to any Walmart and purchase as many military style guns and plenty of ammunition he wants. No shame in being a mercenary. He might find it more satisfying than running for president again.

Young Arab men throughout the region have just heard President Obama escalate the presence of the USA into Iraq. As he spoke the young Arab men were gathering themselves to fight Americans. Those 300 advisers are there to spy and assess the battle field. They are not about advising at all. They have no soldiers on the battlefield to advise.

Has anyone heard from Senator Rand Paul lately? On FOX? Anywhere? I didn't think so.

2014 might be a good year for Libertarians. They have the nation's gun attitude and it's peace attitude. November might be interesting.

This is an escalation of military presence in Iraq as was it with Vietnam.

Where is the authority coming from? If the President is relying on the War Powers Act to be the stepping stone to a greater war anywhere, this is Day 90 and counting. 

This is an election year and Congress is sidestepping it's responsibilities to appear to be out of the picture. It is time to start reviewing where the authority is coming from and file suits to end this aggression.

June 18, 2014

Associated Press

...In addition, (click here) an authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, passed by Congress in 2002, is still on the books and could potentially be used as a rationale for the White House acting without additional approval. Before the outburst of violence in Iraq, Obama had called for that authorization to be repealed.
Some lawmakers were outraged when Obama launched military action in Libya in 2011 with minimal consultation with Congress and no formal authorization from Capitol Hill. More recently, some in Congress have complained that the White House did not consult on final plans for releasing five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for freeing detained American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
White House officials offered no timeline Wednesday for how soon Obama might decide on how to respond to the fast-moving militants from the group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has seized Mosul, Tikrit and other towns in Iraq as the country’s military melted away.

We have to close the gap on any potential for war escalation. The British press has been driving fear about al Qaeda all over again. By January 2015, if there are enough votes for war in the Congress, it might be Bush's Iraq all over again. Returning to war has to be a re-election issue.  Pictures of bin Laden all over again. I doubt he looks the same right now.
Last updated at 14:06 ET
19 June 2014
By Frank Gardner 
BBC security correspondent

Nearly 13 years (click here) on from the devastating 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda, the group, its affiliates and its descendants, in all their various guises, are still in business. So who are they? And how, despite such a vast multinational effort, has this happened?

There is little left of the original al-Qaeda organisation as founded in 1989 by Abdullah Azzam and Osama Bin Laden in the wake of the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Bin Laden himself was tracked down and killed in Pakistan in 2011.

His successor, an uncharismatic and reclusive Egyptian surgeon called Ayman Zawahiri, is still at large, issuing occasional statements online but criticised by jihadists for being increasingly irrelevant to today's fast-moving events....

Iraq is not NATO. We have no obligation to Great Britain if they want to fight wars around the globe. Sometimes imperialism is a bad habit that is hard to break.

100 Best Animals We Have Seen in Zoos.

Remember Zoos are an important part of tourism, especially for families. If there is a spike in fuel prices the closer to home vacations become. Zoos can host a wide variety of fun activities.

Who said animals couldn't talk?

Number 100 (click here)

You can find Macaws at pretty much any zoo we have been to. We happened to snap this Macaw picture at Gatorland Zoo in Orlando, Florida, but you can see Macaws wonderfully at 95% of the zoos we have been to. These guys are at the majority of zoos in the United States. Eventhough they are common, they are still really cool

I have to blame the Speaker for Cantor's defeat.

Three weeks ago, (click here) Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) — the second-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives — repeatedly refused to call theories that President Obama was not born in America “crazy.” He told Meet the Press’s David Gregory that “I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone crazy,” and refused to rebuke the wild conspiracy theories....

Speaker Boehner never believed in his Republican majority wihout the Tea Party by setting the tone in the House.

He had his moments of resistance, but, they were far too few. If John Boehner believed in the majority of his Republicans in the House without including the smaller extremist Republicans he could have provided good votes for the House with the Dems making up the difference. There are Red State Democrats.

I really think John Boehner bowed to the Koch's money and figured there was just so much he could oppose from the extremists without losing his funding as well. He never believed in the Speakership. The way campaign financing should work for anyone running for office is that the donor 'comes to the platform' of the candidate and not the party where positions can be manipulated to satiate donors. But, a donor should find a candidate helpful to their needs within the country and within the constitution.

The Speakership carries it's own brevity. Boehner, regardless of his popularity within all members of his party within the House, should have held his ground on extremism. The Speaker never allowed his leadership to speak for itself in providing a platform for all members of the House. He allowed the extremists to dominate the House floor, too. Just as an example, Gohmert is on the House floor nearly everyday, or at least he used to be. 

If the House could not move past the Hastert Rule then THAT is where party lines should have broken down until the extremists came to terms with themselves and realized they are not the only members of the House. The very first measure Boehner should have passed in the House without moving an inch is campaign finance reform and voter rights laws. He should never have scapegoated Democrats for the sake of every Freshman House member.

John Boehner was scared of the Tea Party and never provided the right leadership. He was handing the country over to them little by little and now they have destroyed his right hand man.

As of March 21st of this year the House Republicans have voted 54 times on the Affordable Care Act. 54 times. That is abuse of power. In facilitating the House to actually conduct legislation in passing bills, there should have been 54 votes on the Hastert Rule. The 54 abuse of power votes regarding established law was politics. Politics isn't suppose to be conducted from the House floor. That is called unethical.

What occurred with Rep. Eric Cantor was predictable.

His constituents didn't approve of his perform on their behalf because they aren't extremists. He disregarded their opinions and stood instead with the right wing extremists for the Tea Party. He was always chasing the Speaker's shadow to be sure Boehner toed the line with the Tea Party.

When Mr. Cantor's re-election primary took place, there was a Tea Party extremist ready to take over. The extremist won because although Mr. Cantor representated the Tea Party as the Republican Majority Leader, he failed to make them happy, too. 

Mr. Cantor failed in his re-election bid because he was in the middle and satisfied no one. 

Moral of the story: "If you want to remain in Congress satisfy your constituency and decline representing extremists. The squeakiest wheel may have the most money but is most likely broken and needs to be replaced."

125 mph winds in South Dakota.

June 19, 2014
by Dan Haugen
Argus Leader (that is the name of a newspaper, not an insurrection group)

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. — A tornado tore through (click here) this small Jerauld County town late Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction but no fatalities or serious injuries.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 7:25 p.m. Wednesday for the county, including Wessington Springs, a small town of about 1,000 people 125 miles northwest of Sioux Falls. At 7:45 p.m., based on law enforcement reports, a tornado "went right through the heart of town," meteorologist Todd Heitkamp said.

All of the town's residents were accounted for and only one person had to be treated for injuries at the local hospital, according to Jerauld County State's Attorney Dedrich Koch, who was serving as spokesman for the disaster mitigation team.

"At this point, what we're doing is we're organizing for tomorrow. We are securing the damaged areas tonight, locking those down," Koch said. "We'll assess damages and worry about cleanup in the morning."...

There are somewhere between 600 to 700 oil refineries in the world.

June 19, 2014
By Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad al Salhy

BAGHDAD — Iraqi government officials (click here) claimed on Thursday that Sunni militants had retreated from a major refinery in Baiji after intense fighting for more than two days, but it was still unclear who was in control and the facility remained shut down....

I guess the Saudis know what they are doing, right?

..."Government troops now hold the two gates the militants had, and the militants have been driven off the refinery’s ground,” he said. The retreat of the attackers allowed about 250 Iraqi workers who had been trapped there to be evacuated at 7 a.m....

Did the refinery have more than two gates?  It looks like it had plenty of gates to me. Perhaps USA intelligence is incorrect again and we need to pan to the right and ask Curveball. 

Iraq had an "Oil for Food Program." The USA has an oil for blood program.

The USA can't get involved with every civil war in the world, we can hope to stem the citizen deaths and protect The West from adverse outcomes through Homeland Security.

This fight for an oil refinery isn't all that. It was last week or so the USA intercepted an oil tanker in the Mediterranean leaving an oil port in East Libya and escorted back to West Libya. That oil port was a subject of gun battles for a few months. East Libya finally got control and then tried to sell the oil, but, the USA was waiting for the ship. 

It goes on.

Official word from Saudi Arabia is "Americans go home." Sounds right to me.

The crisis in Iraq should be sorted out between Iraqis (click here) alone as it was a product of the sectarian divisions in the country, writes Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK

By Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf al Saud, Ambassador to the UK of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
19 Jun 2014

There are three things that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strives for above all others: peace, stability and security, for the international community, for our region, and for our country and our people, whether they are old or young, men or women, Sunni or Shia. These are the cornerstones of our government and at the foundation of our thinking.
The escalating and alarming situation in Iraq is of serious concern to us. These are our neighbours, our friends, and we watch with distress as this terrible situation escalates next to us.
As our Foreign Minister HRH Prince Saud al Faisal told the Islamic Conference of regional leaders meeting in Jeddah this week: “This grave situation carries with it signs of civil war that has implications for the region we cannot fathom.”

The numbers of dead are mounting into the hundreds, maybe thousands as multiple thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens are being displaced....
Saudi Arabia has been monitoring the activity in the region since the beginning of time. They know what goes on and why. I just don't regard the problem with Iraq a global emergency and the Saudis don't either. 

One thing is very, very true; the USA will out gun any conflict between Iraqis and the American war machines will kill more than a civil war will ever kill. Last time the USA was in Iraq it was estimated each American soldier was the equivalent of 200 opposition soldiers. In other words for every American soldier on the battle field it was the killing power of 200 opposition soldiers. The idea the USA military is the answer to every civil war in the world is hideous.

"OMG, Iraq's largest oil refinery is begin targeted in a civil war!" is not a reason for USA involvement.

And, "Can you just hold back a little when on the battle field to make it more equitable," is nonsense. Americans soldiers are compelled to protect their lives and therefore the nation. To think the USA military could be asked to scale back their own defense so the causalities of war aren't so high as to warrant arrests to the World Court is simply political dogma.

"I'll see you in New York," is being tossed around as a threat to the USA by one of the Taliban 5. It was explained by a witness at the time the Taliban 5 were released that it was a farewell greeting. I don't care if it was or wasn't, it was words stated. There were a lot of words stated by the late Saddam Hussein, too. 

Iraqi airstrikes on ISIS.

This is all being reported on blog sites unaffiliated with major news organizations. It isn't that difficult to find. It isn't as though Iraqi forces are completely unsuccessful according to these sources.

Iraq’s largest oil refinery in Baiji (click here) has been secured by Iraqi Special
Forces. An official at the oil refinery said “Beiji refinery is totally secured by
the special forces and operating normally now.”  The Iraqi government has
sent security forces to secure power stations in nearby towns.
All this information is from a week ago and I suppose the Baiji refinery could have changed hands again, but, it isn't as though the refinery hasn't been a place of war before. It has as long as Iraq has been Iraq.

Gosh, I can't think of a better reason for the USA to illegally invade Iraq again, but, to hang the USA flag on an oil refinery.

American Contractor Baiji Oil Refinery Back in State Control June 12, 2014 (click here)