Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mother of All Cluster Fucks

MOACF (the C is silent, because some screwing is better endured in silence)

Brought to you by…

The Red Herring Addicts Society: We offer a 12-step program to help those addicted to spoiling arguments by making false analogies and misleading comparisons. 

The Delirica

Trump’s Syria Conundrum, Part II. In a way, then, rather than gaining leverage, Trump might have just entrusted his political future to the whims and calculations of a mass murderer—unless, that is, he comes up with a credible plan soon. Trump risks looking ridiculous, and “a man in his position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous,” to quote a tragic character from The Godfather (which seems strangely appropriate, considering the protagonists involved on all sides).

A Deliricum of Wisdom

Trust in the Time of Flip-Flops

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Sometimes it’s good to flip-flop and Trimp-Trump even if for purely selfish self-serving reasons, so long, that is, that there’s an element of conviction involved. Otherwise, you’re just being a dick. Because, in reality, those who want/need you to flip-flop want you to do it only once. It’s like that old Frank Sinatra song “Come flip with me and never flop on me.” Or the take by Aerosmith “Flip this way, don’t flop away.”

So, if Mr. Trump now has indeed changed his views on Syria one strike is not enough to show it, and if he is serious that NATO is not obsolete he needs to show it by providing more support to the Baltic nations. Keeping all guessing runs the risk of confusing one’s friends and allies and not only one’s enemies. Confusion is not a good substitute for trust when it comes to building solid alliances.

The Delirynth

Animal Farm

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm

Syrian children, according to Assad, like playing dead, and they get so committed once they start they never break out of character.

Assad Says Videos of Dead Children in Syria Chemical Attack Were Faked. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun,” Mr. Assad told Agence France-Presse in the television interview from Damascus, which was recorded on Wednesday. “Were they dead at all?” Some beg to differ.

Why do you insult me so, Donny Boy. I bring joy
to children not poison gas.
Meanwhile, the willing concubine smiles beatifically. Assad’s wife shows how out of touch she is. The British-born wife of Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad appears to live on a different planet from other Syrians caught up in the country’s brutal civil war — posting cuddly Instagram photos of her holding children with the hashtags #love and #children. Actually, neither she nor her hubby is out of touch. They’re just psychopaths. Rather psychopathic animals.  

And the US intelligence has ample proof of their psychopathy US intelligence intercepted communications between Syrian military and chemical experts. The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack to confirm responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in an attack in northwestern Syria, which killed at least 70 people. US officials have said that there is "no doubt" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attack. The US did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen, the official emphasized…So far there are no intelligence intercepts that have been found directly confirming that Russian military or intelligence officials communicated about the attack. 

As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, the demographic engineers are hard at work. 'Two years under siege, and it ends with displacement'. Residents tell of trauma and anxiety as buses transfer civilians and rebels from four towns as part of coordinated swap.

And bombs will help rather than stop them: Syria: 100 killed as bomb hits buses with evacuees. The thing to note here, beyond the horrendous nature of this massacre, and the reported attempt to target children, is that the White Helmets, the organization described as terrorist by Assad, and pro-opposition hospitals, the ones targeted earlier by Russia and Assad, have taken the lead in rescuing and treating the wounded under rebel protection. That should give us an idea who the good guys are in this conflict.

Still, the situation does require a stronger multipronged intervention by the United States in order to bring peace. So, at one point, one hopes that Trump’s can prevail once again over Trump. Trump Said No to Troops in Syria. His Aides Aren't So Sure. McMaster's critics inside the administration say he wants to send tens of thousands of ground troops to the Euphrates River Valley. His supporters insist he is only trying to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump's new strategy to defeat the self-described caliphate that controls territory in Iraq and Syria… The White House and administration officials say Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and General Joseph Votel, who is in charge of U.S. Central Command, oppose sending more conventional forces into Syria. Meanwhile, White House senior strategist Stephen Bannon has derided McMaster to his colleagues as trying to start a new Iraq War.

Trump will do well to listen to some of his closest international allies in this regard: Punish Syrian regime harder for chemical attack, say Boris Johnson. UK foreign minister and French counterpart say international community has moral duty to hold perpetrators to account.

Barring this, there will nothing to stop this: With Assad’s Air Force Foundering, Russian Bombers Go On the Attack. If the Trump strategy is to intimidate or wear down Syrian regime airpower, that’s not going to end the war. Moscow is sending its own planes into action.

For no matter how high the walls get, the problem will not go away: Turkey completes 556 kilometer wall on border with Syria. According to a statement by Turkish Defense Ministry, the three meters high and two meters wide concrete wall whose construction began last year was completed and will help security units to stop illegal crossings over its 900-kilometer (559 miles) border with Syria. Turkey has long been criticized for its porous border with Syria, which allegedly enabled extremists and terrorists to cross to and from Syria relatively freely. The wall will reportedly be the third largest of its kind in the world.

The excuses some proffer to avoid intervention ring too hollow: Why Every Time We Talk About Syria We End Up Talking About Libya. …you can argue, and argue legitimately, that after Gaddafi’s death the international community should have moved in to Libya. We should have done more, spent more and saved more. The flow of refugees and of bodies washing up on Libya’s shores might have been a little stemmed. And you can argue separately that Assad is going nowhere, and it’s hard for a dictator to stick around after killing half of Hama, and so that any solution for Syria will include a lifetime’s policing and a lifetime’s aid. What you can’t do is argue that any plan for Syria can be built on that used in Libya, or that conflict in Libya can be used be used to prohibit engagement with Syria.

And at some point, justice needs to be achieved: EU Should Step Up and Fund War Crimes Investigations in Syria. Russian Veto Over Chemical Attacks Shows Need for Evidence Gathering. Not that evidence and facts will make any difference for the Russians – the biggest manufacturers of false evidence and alternative facts in the world today. Indeed, Assad war crimes proof 'better' than Nuremberg, and the Russians are still backing him.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

"In his mind he was commanding troops; he had the right to interfere and this he believed to constitute command."
― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 42

A lot can actually happen even when one buries one’s head up one’s ass. This for example: While the U.S. wasn’t looking, Russia and Iran began carving out a bigger role in Afghanistan. Russia has “begun to publicly legitimize the Taliban,” and recent Russian and Iranian actions in Afghanistan “are to undermine the United States and NATO,” the top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson Jr., said in Senate testimony in February… While Russia and Shiite Iran appear to be unlikely allies of a hard-line Sunni group such as the Taliban, the two countries have for years played the different sides in the conflict. Both supported the U.S.-backed ouster of the Taliban in 2001, and Iran was the chief benefactor of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. But Iran and Russia eventually soured on the U.S. presence, which they both gradually saw as a threat.

So, what a difference can a MOAB really make here, except increase the death toll? MOAB strike: 90 IS fighters killed in Afghanistan.

Does Trump have an actual plan? Some believe so. Trump’s Middle East Stabilization Plan: Syria, the Palestinians, Cairo & Riyadh and Confronting IRGC. Trump’s project to stabilize the Middle East looks to be comprehensive indeed. It is an open secret now that Washington will invite several Arab leaders and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a conference on establishing Arab-Israeli peace and finding an acceptable solution to the Palestinian question. If successful, this should enhance Middle East security in many substantial ways. Obviously, the Arabs will not accept any solution to the Palestinian tragedy unless the Palestinians approve and support it. However, the backlash of an Arab-Israeli peace should not be underestimated. But wishful thinking hardly qualifies as analysis, though it could be cathartic, at least momentarily. And we all seem to need to engage in it every now and then.

These steps however are far more useful than wishes: Treasury Takes Action to Target Serious Human Rights Abuses in Iran. Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organization, in connection with serious human rights abuses in Iran.  This action reflects the United States’ deep concern regarding the human rights situation in Iran.

And perhaps MOAB’s purpose, just like the Syria strike had a different purpose entirely: U.S. May Launch Strike If North Korea Reaches For Nuclear Trigger. And the gambit may have worked too, for now, with North Korea opting to parade its long-range missiles while avoiding conducting a nuclear test: North Korea Shows Off Long-Range Missiles in Military Parade. The subsequent failed attempt to launch a missile seems to come as a substitute for carrying out a nuclear test, so while its level has been tempered down, the defiance itself continues by other more traditional means.

So, Trump might have bared his teeth, and that’s good, but, ultimately, it’s diplomacy that will seal any deal and prevent this kind of nightmares: Japanese PM warns of possible sarin missile strike by North Korea. “There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of delivering a warhead containing sarin,” Abe told a parliamentary committee on national security. The warning comes amid heightening tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. deployed a Navy strike group to the west Pacific near the Korean Peninsula over the weekend as concerns grow over the country's weapons program.

And diplomacy needs to get the Chinese government to control its business tycoons: North Korea’s Been Building Missiles With A Little Help From Their Chinese Neighbors. Post-recovery analysis revealed that the parts were not indigenously produced; rather, they were foreign-sourced components provided by firms in China, a recent United Nations report concluded. UN resolutions prohibit countries from exporting materials capable of being used to develop missiles and nuclear weapons to the North, which has threatened to use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. and its allies on countless occasions.

Meanwhile, the battle is waged on other fronts as well: U.S. to Send Troops to Somalia Amid Blowback. On March 30, President Donald Trump agreed to declare Somalia an “Area of Active Hostility,” which grants the military greater authority to launch strikes. The move suspends 2013 rules that require extensive interagency vetting to prevent air strikes from hitting civilians. But escalation can easily lead to blowback in hot spots like Somalia, and that appears to be what is happening there now. A spate of suicide attacks followed reports of the U.S. declaration. Al-Shabab stated the suicide attacks were a “doubled response” to the Trump administration’s announcement. On April 9, 13 died in a failed assassination attempt against Somalia’s military head. On April 10, several soldiers perished in a suicide attack in the capital Mogadishu. Let’s hope Trump is not biting more than he could chew.

As The Kremlin Turns

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

British spies were first to spot Trump team's links with Russia. GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added. Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said… One source suggested the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.” Trump’s contacts with Russia predate his hiring of people like Paul Manafort and Carter Page. Should there indeed be “specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion” then impeachment is coming, irrespective of Syria strikes and any other military steps that Trump might take anywhere.

The White House is said to be considering hiring Count Chocula
as chief adviser to replace Steve Bannon
For the questions keep piling up: Why Is Putin’s ‘Private Slush Fund’ Courting Jared Kushner? Development bank Vnesheconombank greases a lot of Russia’s foreign-policy goals. And then it went to the White House. And why? Trump campaign approved adviser's trip to Moscow. A few weeks before he traveled to Moscow to give a July 7 speech, Page asked J.D. Gordon, his supervisor on the campaign’s National Security Advisory Committee, for permission to make the trip, and Gordon strongly advised against it, Gordon, a retired naval officer, told POLITICO. Page then emailed Lewandowski and spokeswoman Hope Hicks asking for formal approval, and was told by Lewandowski that he could make the trip, but not as an official representative of the campaign, the former campaign adviser said. The adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity because he has not been authorized to discuss internal campaign matters.

And what different can such a development really make… The Kushner-Cohn Ascendancy. Some conservatives say that sidelining Mr. Bannon would betray Mr. Trump’s core outsider promises on trade, immigration and much else. But the reality is that Mr. Trump needs more political and policy victories in his young Presidency. If Mr. Bannon can’t deliver results, Mr. Trump needs people who can… in the absence of transparency The White House Will Keep Its Visitor Logs Secret. The decision, after nearly three months of speculation about the fate of the records, marks a dramatic shift from the Obama Administration’s voluntary disclosure of more than 6 million records during his presidency. The U.S. Secret Service maintains the logs, formally known as the Workers and Visitors Entry System, for the purpose of determining who can access to the 18-acre complex.

And here’s a profile of another asshole in the illiberal alliance: A Trump Tower Neighbor Is the Point Man for Europe’s Populists. With a deep suspicion of Islam, open borders and the European Union, Mr. Lombardi, 66, considers himself a bridge to Mr. Trump for his old friends and ideological allies in Europe, including Marine Le Pen of France, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Beppe Grillo, the co-founder of Italy’s insurgent Five Star Movement — “the Trump of Italy,” as Mr. Lombardi calls him.

Mother of All Backburners

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

CIA Director Pompeo denounces Wikileaks, forgets he used them to attack Hillary Clinton. “It’s time to call out Wikileaks for what it isa non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia, he said. Hypocrisy aside, this is an important point to make about Wikileaks at this stage. The role of non-state yet state-sponsored actors in cyberwarfare and the promotion of fake news is becoming increasingly important, and represent a huge challenge both in terms of security and progress. After all, when the very concept of “facts” is shattered, how can progress be made?

Another good thing to bear in mind is this: Europe Is Still a Superpower And it's going to remain one for decades to come. …amid all the hyperbole and hysteria, a basic point gets missed. Europe today is a genuine superpower and will likely remain one for decades to come. By most objective measures, it either rivals or surpasses the United States and China in its ability to project a full spectrum of global military, economic, and soft power. Europe consistently deploys military troops within and beyond its immediate neighborhood. It manipulates economic power with a skill and success unmatched by any other country or region. And its ability to employ “soft power” to persuade other countries to change their behavior is unique. If a superpower is a political entity that can consistently project military, economic, and soft power transcontinentally with a reasonable chance of success, Europe surely qualifies. Its power, moreover, is likely to remain entrenched for at least another generation, regardless of the outcome of current European crises. In sum, Europe is the “invisible superpower” in contemporary world politics.

Also, that not all things that seem strange are that strange: Firebrand Cleric Turns on U.S. Enemies. Iraqi mullah Muqtada al-Sadr, who led murderous campaigns against Americans, is now calling for Assad to go. What’s happening here? Iran, its expeditionary forces, and proxies wield enormous power in Iraq, and are committed to supporting Assad in Syria. So Sadr’s position puts him in direct opposition to the mullahs in Tehran. Indeed, within the Iranian sphere of influence, there’s bound to emerge all different sorts of alignments at this stage. While some might choose to challenge stated Iranian policies and even its hegemony to get some attention and traction, all will remain essentially beholden to Iran’s influence and presence for their own particular roles in the game. We’ve seen similar dynamics in Lebanon under Syrian hegemony.

Finally, it’s good remembering that not all of God’s furry creatures are cute. For one think Steve Bannon, and for second: Neo-Nazis Are Tearing the Furry World Apart. The war began when a fascist party and its armband-clad leader led a putsch. Antifascists mobilized in response. Threats of violence ensued. Then the Rocky Mountain Fur Con canceled all future events. The Fur Con is an annual summit in Denver, Colorado, for “furries,” people who present themselves as animals, from donning full-body fur suits to adopting “fursonas” for their character. And just as in the rest of America, a lot of furries resemble Nazis lately.

ЯeveЯsed Polarity (ЯP)

CNN's Jeffrey Lord: "Think Of President Trump As The Martin Luther King Of Health Care". I am not really sure what brought about this epidemic of stupid comparisons within the Trump Camp, but in (dis)honor of Sean Spicer and Jeffrey Lord (may their spirits forever roam in the Valhalla of infamy and irrelevance), here are a few more:

Trump is the Martin Luther King of Cluster Fucks. Assad is the Hitler of Humanitarian Interventions. Putin is the Stalin of Gay Pride Parades. Khamenei is the Jesus Christ of Intolerance and Hate Speech.  

'Fox & Friends' cheers Afghan bomb video. "Fox & Friends" on Friday admiringly aired a government video showing a massive bomb being dropped in Afghanistan, with one host touting it as "what freedom looks like." And “ignorance is strength.”

Can NATO Weaponize Memes? It didn’t here:

The Deliricon

The Kush-Cohn Surprise: A new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream concoction made with a deep sense of cynical commitment to the same old bullshit, slightly camouflaged, and intended to celebrate the budding nepotist in you. “Grab them by their…taste buds.” So runs its commercial slogan.

The Exotic Observations & Propositions of Delirian Mundi

* They are our very attempts to give our lives meaning that often deprives them of any significance.

* Our continued survival thus far may represent more of a testament to our folly than our wisdom.

The Cauldron

Theatrum Deliria

War & Shit

Excerpts from a modern-day adaptation of a Russian Classic by Lev Belltollstoy.

Excerpts from Chapter 3
что случилось (shto sluchiloss), Sergey? I thought we cast a very strong spell on Count Donny Boy during his last visit here.
We did, my Czarsultan. But, as you know, shit can break the spell.
Yes, I know. But it has to be ingested. Orally. And not a small amount of it too.
That precisely what happened. That “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” Count Donny devoured during his meeting with our Chinese colleague was actually prepared by an illegal immigrant working in the Count’s kitchens who wanted to send him a message.
It seems something was lost in translation.
Apparently the frosting was really good. It masked the taste.
I see. Well, no reason for this to be a total loss. Get me the recipe. For the frosting I mean. I see a huge need for it here when we begin mass producing our Soylent Brown product.
© Ammar Abdulhamid , 2017

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