Monday, December 21, 2015

The Brits are deploying troops to counter an advance of the Aghan Taliban.

I question the presence of The West in Afghanistan. The Taliban are looking for a place to live. If I remember correctly Helmand has been a 'no go zone' because of the Taliban.

The map below shows Helmand Province in the red shaded area. The Taliban was considered an enemy to the USA because they provided a safe haven to al Qaeda. The Taliban aren't accepted anywhere else in the world. There is a smaller population in the Pakistan's mountains as well as Helmand. 

The thing is this, Helmand has always been a problem. It has been the strong hold of the Taliban for the entire time NATO has been in Afghanistan. The Taliban actually tried to move into Pakistan to avoid these chronic conflicts, but, they weren't accepted there except perhaps in the tribal regions, but, even there there had to be some degree of violence to remove them.

Since the Taliban was reconstituted in Pakistan, they have been looking for a place on Earth to live. They have carried out violent attacks on towns to obtain monies through bank robberies and looting food supplies while allowing prisons and jails to be emptied of their members. Their FLASH attacks work. It takes the existing government completely by surprise.

The Taliban belong at the peace table with the Afghan government to resolve their presence in Helmand. It has to be a political solution.

December 21, 2015
By Jonathan Marcus

The Ministry of Defence (click here) said a small number of personnel had been sent to Camp Shorabak in Helmand in an "advisory role".
They will not be in combat and are part of a larger Nato team, the MoD said.
UK combat operations in Afghanistan ended last year, but around 450 troops remain in mentoring and support roles....
...Helmand province is familiar to thousands of British service personnel; the town of Sangin having a special symbolic significance. More than 100 British soldiers were killed in the struggle for Sangin before responsibility for the area was handed over to the Americans in 2010.
Nato's combat operations in Afghanistan are supposed to be over. But the Afghan security forces are hard-pressed and suffer deficiencies in a variety of areas from logistics to the lack of any significant air power of their own. The Taliban's advance - and not just in Helmand - has highlighted the weakness of the Afghan authorities too.
And now there is a new factor, with elements sympathetic to the so-called Islamic state also putting down roots. Many will argue Afghanistan was forgotten too quickly. Some fear the country could go the way of Syria.
Afghan refugees are now the second largest category of asylum seekers in Europe. Both Nato and the Americans may need to rethink the scope of their mission with some urgency.

This is a report from the United States Institute of Peace from August 2009. In Syria it is oil, in Sub-Sahara Africa it is diamonds, logging, rubber, oil or any other natural resource available including poaching, in Mexico it is cocaine and marijuana and in Afghanistan it is opium. 

Small arms facilitate the conflict and the conflict is paid for by illegal trade in whatever products that can be had. 

All these areas of the world suffer from horrible crime and deaths. There is no quality of life and there is little the people can do about it. That is the problem. There is little the people can do about it. 

Afghanistan has a problem. It has resident insurgents. The Taliban aren't going anywhere and that is the reality. Either a peace process begins and continues until there actually is peace or The West has bought a forever war. A forever war is highly immoral and impractical from the point of view neither Afghanistan or NATO can sustain the cost. 

The children of Afghanistan have to be put first. I don't care if they are Afghan children or Afghan children that come from Taliban homes. The peace process has to begin with dedication to see it through to the end.

There was a time in the past when warring factions would negotiate a cease fire during holy days. That respect just doesn't seem to exist anymore. Why?


Opium (click here) has long played a supporting role in the Afghan conflict, and today the drug trade has moved to center stage. Not only have narcotics corrupted the Afghan government, they have also begun to transform—through deepening ties between insurgents and drug traffickers along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border—the nature of the insurgency from one based on ideology to one increasingly driven by profit. Insurgent commanders from the district level up to the top leadership have expanded their involvement vertically through the drug trade, and it is important to recognize how this creates both challenges for the international community as well as opportunities to weaken the insurgency....
To settle the issue of political rhetoric causing Daesh to increase war rhetoric; I suggest Donald Trump ask the NSA to run a keyword search to find out if terrorists consider him a danger to Muslims everywhere.

Suggested Question to the FBI and CIA: "Has the internet traffic increased since Donald Trump became a candidate for office?" 

Domestically, Donald Trump is scoring high in the southern strategy.

December 10, 2015 
By Ben Schreckinger

The Ku Klux Klan (click here) is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement....

The White House will become an ethnic issue once Donald Trump takes the presidency. And we thought the Voting Rights Act was something.

All in good fun, Mr. Trump.

Shelby is holding up nominations to Banking! Really?

He is even sitting on the nomination to the position that ends money available to terrorist networks?

I hope everyone is paying attention. No wonder Shelby is never speaking up and always invisible to the Capital obstructions.

December 20, 2015
By Moe Lane

So it turns out (click here) that the Senate is sllooooooooooooow walking some of Barack Obama’s final-year nominations in the banking field. Specifically, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama is pretty much sitting on thirteen nominations Obama has made, including two each for the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission, and one they-can’t-do-work-without-this-guy appointment to the Export-Import Bank… hold on, hold on! Don’t start cheering yet! Finish reading the post first! Sen. Shelby’s delay means that these spots won’t be filled before mid-January at the earliest. Assuming that they’re filled then. Hard for Sen. Shelby to say, really.  It’s not like he can foretell the future.

The WSJ – who is by the way a good deal more upset about this than I am, and probably you are,  and almost certainly the average American voter is – noted that the Fed spots were being held up as part of the usual I will sit on these nominations until you do what you said you would strategy, noted a little waspishly that “[Shelby] has been more vague about why he is delaying the rest.” I’m not entirely sure why the WSJ is being so peeved over what’s regular Dizzy City business. Possibly because Senator Shelby isn’t going to be the idiot that the WSJ wants him to be and spell it all out for the cameras?...

This is Selby's baby:

Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 (click here)
(Sec. 101) This bill amends the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (click here)

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions – companies that offer consumers financial products or services like loans, financial or investment advice, or insurance – to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

to exempt from the requirement to provide consumers with an annual written disclosure of their privacy policy certain financial institutions that provide nonpublic personal information to a nonaffiliated third party to perform services for or functions on behalf of the financial institution.

Oh, cute. Now if an American has a financial instrument where their personal information is contained, now the banks can sell it to a third party and the consumer of the financial instrument doesn't have to be notified it is a new and unregulated policy.

The Cognizant document (click here) is discussing primarily European banking. The section entitled "Entitlements" is where some of the discussion becomes evident.

There has been a troubling movement in banking that has been ongoing for a few years now. Banks don't necessarily discriminate between lawful depositors and depositors that make their living through illegal methods. That is how the monies of rebels can be laundered and then used to purchase weapons and the like. There are special classes of depositors with names like "Private Client."

So, if this the mess Selby is allowing to exist then there is a very good reason why he has obstructed the nominee by the Obama Administration to the banking administration that seeks out rebel and terrorist monies and putting an end to it.

Now, I don't know what Senator Shelby is being told, but, it seems to me he knows exactly what he is doing even if by proxy of directions of others.

From the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act:

Many companies collect personal information from their customers, including names, addresses, and phone numbers; bank and credit card account numbers; income and credit histories; and Social Security numbers. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act requires companies defined under the law as “financial institutions” to ensure the security and confidentiality of this type of information.

Here is another task for Democrats to insist on moving President Obama's nominations to a vote so the President is not working to end terrorist networks with one hand tied behind his back.

(Sec. 102) The Federal Home Loan Bank Act  (click here) is amended to set requirements for a credit union that has applied for membership in a Federal Home Loan Bank, but whose member accounts are not federally insured, to be treated nonetheless as an insured depository institution.

An act passed by the Hoover administration in 1932 that was designed to encourage home ownership by providing a source of low-cost funds for member banks to extend mortgage loans. The Federal Home Loan Bank Act was the first in a series of bills that sought to make home ownership an achievable goal for more Americans.

Credit Unions are owned by it's depositors. When monies are borrowed to finance a mortgage, the credit union is lending to an owner. To insure the monies as if the FDIC is double dipping. First the organization of owners have to insure the loans and then the mortgage owner has to insure the home in case of damage that would effect the loan.

I don't know what the Credit Unions think of all this, but, it sounds as if this proposed bill will change the definition of credit union.

In the United States, (click here) credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members rather than to maximize corporate profits. Like banks, credit unions accept deposits, make loans, and provide a wide array of other financial services. But as member-owned institutions, credit unions focus on providing a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. Unlike banks, credit unions return surplus income to their members in the form of dividends.

(Sec. 103) The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shall establish a process under which a person who lives or does business in an area not CFPB-designated as rural may apply to the CFPB for a rural area designation. Evaluation criteria which the CFPB must consider are set forth.

Director Richard Cordray already has addressed this. Section 103 is unnecessary. Director Cordray was able to address the issue without further legislation through rule making. That is what Directors do. They have the power to issue rules that facilitate movement in their area of expertise.

January 25, 2015
Washington, DC – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (click here) today proposed several changes to its mortgage rules to facilitate responsible lending by small creditors, particularly in rural and underserved areas. If finalized, the proposal issued today would increase the number of financial institutions able to offer certain types of mortgages in rural and underserved areas, and help small creditors adjust their business practices to comply with the new rules....

(Sec. 104) The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act of 1978 (click here) is amended to establish in the Financial Institutions Examination Council an Office of Independent Examination Review to investigate complaints concerning examinations, examination practices, or examination reports, as well as to conduct a continuing and regular program of examination quality assurance for all types of examinations conducted, by the federal financial institutions regulatory agencies.

It is the purpose of this chapter (click here) to establish a Financial Institutions Examination Council which shall prescribe uniform principles and standards for the Federal examination of financial institutions by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and the National Credit Union Administration and make recommendations to promote uniformity in the supervision of these financial institutions. The Council’s actions shall be designed to promote consistency in such examination and to insure progressive and vigilant supervision.

Section 104 expands government. It is another tier that will examine the examinations to alter the outcome of the primary examiners. It is nothing short of corruption to circumvent the authority of the law.

The Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (click here) is amended to require the CFPB to establish an independent intra-agency appellate process to ensure that safeguards exist to protect the insured depository institution or insured credit union from retaliation by a federal banking agency for exercising its rights.

More of the same. It removes authority from the CFPB and puts in the jurisdiction of a separate authority. It is expanding government for the purpose of corruption.

There is nothing any agency of the USA does that is exempt from litigation in the court systems. The court will render an interpretation of the law and decide on it's CONSTITUTIONALITY. Even when bills like this pass, they aren't necessarily constitutional. Realizing that means there will be a window of opportunity to circumvents laws and rules only to be grandfathered in after the ruling by the courts.

The principle of retaliation is expanded to include delaying consideration of, or withholding approval of, any request, notice, or application that would have been approved but for the exercise of its rights by the insured depository institution or credit union....

This is really funny. The CFPB is being accused of retaliating when complaints are made. But, at the same time the CFPB is suppose to be retaliating the US House wants to end the use of information collected by the bureau to make decisions. It means one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. This is nonsense.

The Church of St. Porphyris is more than a church, it is a sanctuary.

This is how bad it has gotten in Gaza. Even Christians cannot tolerate the violence engaged by Israel.
December 21, 2015 Gaza City — Dim lighting and candles softly (click here) illuminate decorative tapestries as the smell of incense fills the air and the harmonic sound of hundreds singing in unison drifts onto a busy street next to an overflowing church on a wet and windy Sunday morning.
Despite the packed pews at Gaza’s Church of Saint Porphyrius just weeks before Christmas, Christianity is not booming here. Rather, the worshipers at the 1,600-year-old shrine believe they may be the last group of Christians in Gaza, where they have lived and prayed since the birth of Christ.
The ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the highest unemployment rate in the world are prompting Christians to leave the besieged area in droves, some using the holiday season to their advantage
Although Israel rarely grants permits to leave the Palestinian territory, dozens of Christians are allowed to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem during Easter and Christmas, and some take the opportunity to never return home so they can start a new life elsewhere.

I am be wrong and the UN could answer the question better, but, when an entire people are driven from their land and worship; it is genocide.

July 22, 2014

Russia is an international partner globally. The country and it's people matter.

If President Putin were not leading Russia during the "W" years with Cheney at his side, the USA and Russia would have been trading nukes.

Anyone have any idea what kind of control that takes? It takes Communism.

If anyone accepts that FACT then when living in Russia, the assault against the government needs to be MEASURED.

There have been plenty of adverse outcomes to notable people, but, the USA cannot state it is a perfect society or country either.

Russia's great journalist (click here) was gunned down by killers who may have been contracted to snuff out her investigation of government torture.

Anyone involved in public dialogue anywhere in the world, including, documentarians in Europe have to measure their message. But, because it is Europe it is murder rather than a state sponsored death.


When a war correspondent dies in Libya, who is responsible for that?

April 20, 2011
Los Angeles Tim Hetherington, (click here) the daring war photographer and Oscar-nominated co-director of the documentary “Restrepo” about a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, died Wednesday while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. He was 40.
Hetherington was killed along with Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros in Misrata, the only rebel-held city in western Libya. Two other photojournalists were wounded in the attack.
Misrata has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops. Hetherington had tweeted Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”...

There is not a person alive today that is involved with the public dialogue in any country that does not know the danger they face by doing so. If bravery and incredible insight were sacrificed by people most able to carry the message the world would be a very different place.

No one is saying Russia is a benign country when it comes to violence against important people, but, in the case of Anna Politkovskaya; she was warned by Russia that her life was in danger if she continued on the path she had CHOSEN.

How correct was President Putin regarding her subject when Boston blew up?

Any activism has to be measured for the time and place in which we live. There is plenty of room for great people to expand opportunity for free speech, "the trade of ideas" and quality of life, but, what good is anyone if they are dead?

There was only one Anna. She was so incredible there is an entire social segment in Russia that celebrates her. She will never be gone, but, her person obviously is.

I take it Donald Trump wasn't there to supervise the pagent.

"Morning Papers"

The Rooster


December 20, 2015
By Kimberly Pierceall

Las Vegas — The Miss Universe (click here) contestant from the Philippines is this year's winner but for one brief moment Sunday evening, it appeared as if it might be a repeat win for Colombia.
Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was already wearing the crown as this year's Miss Universe winner when host Steve Harvey returned to apologize.
Harvey says it was his mistake and that he would take responsibility for not reading the card correctly that named contestant Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach this year's winner and Colombia the first runner-up.
A mystified Wurtzbach appeared stunned as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Arevalo before last year's Miss Universe from Colombia removed the crown and placed it on Wurtzbach's head instead.

"Good Night, Moon"

Waxing Gibbous

10.1 day old moon

77.5% lit

Santa won't need Rudolph this year.

December 20, 2015
By Tracy Bloom

For the first time (click here) in nearly 40 years, a full moon will light up the pre-dawn sky on Christmas Day, according to NASA.
The full moon — which hasn’t been seen on Christmas since 1977 — will peak Friday at 3:11 a.m. PT, the space agency reported on its website, calling it “an added gift for the holidays.”
Another full moon won’t be visible on Dec. 25 until 2034.

“That’s a long time to wait, so make sure to look up to the skies on Christmas Day,” NASA’s website stated.

The last full moon of the year is called the “Full Cold Moon” because it coincides with the start of the winter season, according to NASA. The winter solstice comes just a few days before, on Dec. 21....