The Russians inherit a wasteland and the Saudis… the whirlwind

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, just over 10,000 people in Syria were killed by Russian airstrikes between 30 September 2015 and 30 October this year, of whom 2,861 were members of the Islamic State (IS) group, 3,079 fighters from rebel and Islamic factions, 2,565 males over the age of 18,1,013 children under the age of eighteen and 584 women.

Upon the fall of Aleppo, planned by the Russians for the US interregnum, David Hearst tells us: “From these figures alone, and there are others, it is clear that Russia has waged total war on an unprotected population in rebel-held areas. War on its people, its hospitals, and its markets, just like it did in Grozny 16 years ago. Its actions differ little from those of the Syrian army. Like all colonial powers, the Russian Federation has arrogated on itself the choice of deciding which Syrians live and which die. And if they are in rebel-held areas, they all die together. But that is not what worries Lavrov. Privately, Lavrov, like Pyrrhus before him, fears what victory looks like. What does “inhabited Syria”, the phrase I used earlier, actually mean, when victory has been declared? A pile of rubble, one ruined city after another, whose citizens will be totally dependent on aid for years to come?”

For years now we have watched as the Neanderthal Assad régime battled the Syrian rebels whose jihadi elements were funded by the even more retrograde Australopithecine Saudi régime, which will reap the whirlwind from its duplicitous intervention in this destructive civil war.

In two audio recordings widely circulated across social media, Michel Kilo, a Christian opposition thinker, equated Saudi Arabia to Israel and demanded that Riyadh fulfill its promises towards the Syrian opposition. He says of Saudi Arabia that “it has committed a crime against the Syrian people. Our brothers in Saudi Arabia are neither capable of drawing up a plan, nor are they able to lead a comeback against the campaign that is being waged against Arab and Islamic societies. They live just because they have money… but eventually they will see what’s coming for them. They are below the level of politics… democracy does not suit them, nor does an Islamic governance system.”

“This havoc will eventually end up destroying them [the Saudis],” he continued. “If events in our country do not come to an end, they [terrorists] will move towards them in multiples, because they are the ones with the money.I swear on the lives of my own children we shall not leave the Gulf intact. We shall dismantle it stone by stone. You are destroying the best country in the Islamic and Arab worlds, a country whose name is Syria.”

 

Trump wants to stop US régime change policies

Trump has laid out a US military policy which will avoid foreign interventions and instead focus purely on defeating DAESH/IS.

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” he said on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“Instead our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying Isis, and we will.”

Trump’s remarks came a few hours after Barack Obama delivered his final national security address of his presidency. Obama warned Trump to avoid overheated rhetoric in favour of a nuanced approach to the war on terror, and to avoid actions that could give false legitimacy to Isis as the “vanguard of a new world order”.

This from a president who sold more arms to the world than any previous US president, whose war of choice was Afghanistan, and whose avowed policy and that of his party since 2009 was to pursue régime change in Syria by proxy, only to pull back half-way, thus landing the country in an unfinished conflict which destroyed it completely.

Good riddance to the Nobel Peace Laureate Drone King and to the liberal internationalist imperialism of the Democratic party’s Progressive Policy Institute that spawned his policies.

Corporate American CEOs wake up to the fact that they are now all part of a giant corporation

Upon going on a tour of America, unusual for president-elects, to keep the ‘movement’ going, Trump  singled out corporations Rexnord, Carrier and Ford Motor for attack over their plans to move jobs out of the United States.

On Tuesday he lashed out at Boeing over what he described as the bloated cost of the company’s contracts to build presidential planes. His comments initially affected Boeing’s stock price as well as those of defense contractors across the board and sent shock waves through boardrooms nationwide as chief executives worry they will wind up in Trump’s cross hairs.

In an earlier post, we asked whether Trump would just be a flash in the pan, or is Steve Bannon’s idea actually Trump’s idea, namely that the Trump administration is about creating a nationalist movement that will last 50 years. These early indications suggest that, despite all the potential conflict of interest arising over his own businesses, Trump seems actually committed to dramatically change the politics of America rather than feather his own nest.

It was going to be a Republican who would reform corporate America, rather than a democrat. Is Trump the man?

The Democratic Party’s Pro-Israeli smear campaign agaist Keith Ellison

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Keith Ellison came to Colorado seeking to cement his position as the front-runner for Democratic National Committee chairman. But the Minnesota congressman ended the week in worse shape than when it started.

Just hours after Ellison’s role as the favorite was thrown into question by a stinging condemnation of his past statements about Israel by the Anti-Defamation League — a move Ellison and his allies vigorously rebutted — former Chairman Howard Dean dropped his comeback bid and bowed out of the race, scrambling an already complicated contest.

What had been Ellison’s crime? He said in a 2010 speech that while he “wanted the U.S. to be friends with Israel,” the U.S. “can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM.”

As the full speech makes clear, he was referring to the indisputable fact that while Israel continues to take billions of dollars every year from the U.S. — far more than any other country receives in aid — it continually disregards and violates U.S. requests to stop ongoing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, often in ways seemingly designed to impose the greatest humiliation on its benefactor:

“Stop, you know why are we sending a mill — $2.8 billion dollars a year over there when they won’t even honor our request to stop building in East Jerusalem? Where is the future Palestinian state going to be if it’s colonized before it even gets up off the ground? …

… Now you got Clinton, Biden, and the president who’s told them — stop. Now this has happened before. They beat back a president before. Bush 41 said — stop, and they said — we don’t want to stop, and by the way we want our money and we want it now. [Ellison laughs.] Right? You know, I mean we can’t allow, we’re Americans, right? We can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM. Right? And so we ought to stand up as Americans.”

‘Make this my dream as well’ — in historic appearance, Palestinian offers one-state vision to a NY temple

Philip Weiss writes

I can’t remember the last time I’ve cried in a synagogue, but last night was truly extraordinary: a suburban New York temple hosted a Palestinian leader making the argument for one democratic state between the river and the sea. And the Jewish audience did not contest his description of human rights atrocities.

And his Jewish hosts thanked him for opening their eyes to new ideas. If there is a glimmer of hope that the American Jewish community can be redeemed from a tragic course, and that the peoples of Israel and Palestine can be freed from a blind alleyway of history, there it was last night, at Temple Israel in New Rochelle.

Read full article here

 

The first part of Trump’s punch line: James Mattis

A retired general comes back to run Defense, if he gets the waiver from Congress to allow a military man into the post, which he probably will. Mattis believes Iran is dangerous. He also believes that Israeli policies are turning it into an apartheid state. He also said that he has never found torture to be useful, and that his preferred tools for getting answers are “a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers.”

3.8 million years ago Lucy spent half her time in trees

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While there is broad agreement that early hominins practiced some form of terrestrial bipedality, there is also evidence that arboreal behavior remained a part of the locomotor repertoire in some taxa, and that bipedal locomotion may not have been identical to that of modern humans.

It has been difficult to evaluate such evidence, however, because of the possibility that early hominins retained primitive traits (such as relatively long upper limbs) of little contemporaneous adaptive significance. Here we examine bone structural properties of the femur and humerus in the Australopithecus afarensis A.L. 288–1 (“Lucy”, 3.2 Myr) that are known to be developmentally plastic, and compare them with other early hominins, modern humans, and modern chimpanzees.

Cross-sectional images were obtained from micro-CT scans of the original specimens and used to derive section properties of the diaphyses, as well as superior and inferior cortical thicknesses of the femoral neck. A.L. 288–1 shows femoral/humeral diaphyseal strength proportions that are intermediate between those of modern humans and chimpanzees, indicating more mechanical loading of the forelimb than in modern humans, and by implication, a significant arboreal locomotor component. Several features of the proximal femur in A.L. 288–1 and other australopiths, including relative femoral head size, distribution of cortical bone in the femoral neck, and cross-sectional shape of the proximal shaft, support the inference of a bipedal gait pattern that differed slightly from that of modern humans, involving more lateral deviation of the body center of mass over the support limb, which would have entailed increased cost of terrestrial locomotion. There is also evidence consistent with increased muscular strength among australopiths in both the forelimb and hind limb, possibly reflecting metabolic trade-offs between muscle and brain development during hominin evolution. Together these findings imply significant differences in both locomotor behavior and ecology between australopiths and later Homo.

Read full article here

 

Trump is appointing a seriously pro-business cabinet; now wait for the punch line

Trump’s new picks:

Steve Mnuchin, hedge fund manager: to Treasury

Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell with Labour Dept experience, and potential ‘light hands’ on safety: to Transportation

Wilbur Ross, bankruptcy investment specialist: to Commerce

Tom Price, anti-Obamacare orthopaedic surgeon, and Georgia Congressman: to Healthcare

and, Mary Fallin, ‘drill baby drill’ Oklahoma Governor is the most likely candidate for Interior Secretary

Trump is getting the Republican Party on his side with these picks. Having assuaged the party, is he thinking he can now be more controversial on defense and state? In other words is he going to pursue his international isolationist instincts with like minded appointees in those posts?