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War Nerd On The Kurds And Their Enemies

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2015

Over at the revamped, paywalled (and, sadly, comment-banned) Pando, the War Nerd, shorn of the online commenter entourage that helped spread his fame, soldiers on with a good piece about the Kurds and their enemies:

… A lot of very powerful people and organizations don’t like these Kurdish commies. Turkey hates them with a slightly insane intensity. Erdogan would love YPG/J to make a mistake like that; Al Jazeera would love it; the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis would love it. And a lot of Western red-baiters and idiot Leftist splinter groups would love it as well.

In fact, these people haven’t even waited for the YPG/J to make that kind of mistake. They started accusing the YPG/J of ethnically cleansing Arabs from Tal Abyad as soon as the Kurds entered the town.

Most of this noise about cleansing is coming from Erdogan loyalists at the Daily Sabah, which makes it pretty bitterly ironic. The Turkish government is the world champion of ethnic cleansing throughout the last century. No other country even comes close. Armenians, Assyrians, Anatolian Greeks— basically all the non-Muslim minorities of early 20th-century Anatolia—were massacred and driven out by 20th century Turkey. Turkey’s history of massacring minority populations is just flat-out disgusting. They would have done it to the Kurds, except the Anatolian Kurds were too numerous, too remote, and too damn tough to kill off or drive out, so the Turkish government simply decreed that they didn’t exist as a people, that they were simply “Mountain Turks” rather than the K-word. And now the Daily Sabah reports, without the decency to blush, that Arab residents of Northern Syria might face “segregation and assimilation.” Yeah. That’s a harsh fate, assimilation, huh. I’m sure the Armenians and Assyrians preferred outright extirpation to the horrors of assimilation.

[…]

Keep in mind there has been zero evidence that the YPG/J has actually done any cleansing whatsoever. They’re intensely socialist, anti-sectarian, anti-chauvinist.

They’ve gone out of their way to work with notoriously prickly, militarily worthless Syrian-Arab militias for the sake of maintaining inter-ethnic harmony. (YPG/J communiqués always mention an Arab militia ally called “Euphrates Volcano,” which deserves points for a cool name, anyway.)

At this point, the claims of ethnic cleansing are all Turkish and Wahhabi hype. Before the YPG/J took Tal Abyad, most Sunni-Arab outlets were screaming in advance that the Kurds were going to cleanse the town.

The story was picked up, interestingly, by Tory rags like the Telegraph, who are no fonder of commies than the Qatari or Turkish Islamists.

And then, two days after putting out that scare-story, those same outlets were reporting that in fact, locals were finally coming back to Tal Abyad now that the YPG/J was in control.

So, to sum up, there’s no evidence at all that YPG/J is involved in ethnic cleansing, sectarian massacres, or any of the other atrocities that are SOP for every other military force in Syria. Their crime is being victorious, pursuing the outright monsters of Islamic State onto Sunni Arab turf. If their neighbors were sane, they’d be dancing in the streets to see YPG/J replace IS in Tal Abyad and points south. But this is a sectarian neighborhood, and you don’t cheer for the other tribe, ever. But maybe that can change.

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There goes Europe

Posted by Charles II on June 30, 2015

Joe Stiglitz, The Guardian:

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

It is startling that the troika [the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund] has refused to accept responsibility for any of this [the ill results of accepting their pdemands] or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned.

But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?

And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalised those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: many European leaders want to see the end of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government.

Next: Portugal, Spain, and Italy hit the Grexits.

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Whee! Puerto Rico edition

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2015

Michael Fletcher, WaPo:

The governor of Puerto Rico has decided that the island cannot pay back more than $70 billion in debt, setting up an unprecedented financial crisis that could rock the municipal bond market and lead to higher borrowing costs for governments across the United States.

Puerto Rico’s move could roil financial markets already dealing with the turmoil of the renewed debt crisis in Greece. It also raises questions about the once-staid municipal bond market, which states and cities count on to pay upfront costs for public improvements such as roads, parks and hospitals.

For many years, those bonds were considered safe investments — but those assumptions have been shifting in recent years as a small but steady string of U.S. municipalities, including Detroit, as well as Stockton and Vallejo in California, have tumbled into bankruptcy.

At one point in 2013, an estimated three out of four municipal bond mutual funds held Puerto Rican bonds, which were attractive because of their high yields and exemption from federal, state and local taxes.

Greeks close banks, probably on their way to the Grexit.

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Today’s doubletake: Why we need al-Qaeda

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2015

Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books:

In Washington and other Western capitals there is rampant confusion
 about the status and future of al-Qaeda.

…events in the Middle East suggest growing contradictions in Western 
policy. In Syria, the United States has been bombing Jabhat al-Nusra,
 al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, alongside ISIS. But members of the US-led
 coalition against ISIS, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are actively 
supporting al-Nusra with arms and money. In Yemen, the US has pursued a
 years-long drone campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a campaign that has included, most recently, the reported killing on Friday of AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi. But 
much of the Arab world is now essentially siding with AQAP in a Saudi-led war
 against Houthi rebels in that country.

…two quite separate super-wars are 
now being fought.

 The first war is being fought by the US and its Western allies, who are seeking to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and AQAP 
in Yemen alongside the campaign against ISIS.

The second war, by contrast, is being fought by Turkey and the regional Arab
 states—primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Egypt—against Assad and other Iranian-backed forces in the region, as well as ISIS. In this war the Arab states openly avoid bombing or attacking 
al-Nusra and AQAP, and in fact now provide both with financial support and weapons.

The West must recognize that the ground is shifting quickly across the region 
and the Arab Spring is now on the verge of turning into an Islamic 
fundamentalist winter, whether we like it or not. The US has paid a bitter price 
for declining to back the Arab states in removing Assad four years ago when there was a viable moderate opposition. In the
 months ahead, we should not be surprised if formal talks between al-Qaeda and
 these Arab states begin. The only one not at the table could be the
 United States. 



I think Ahmed Rashid is wrong, and I think his statement that we should have removed Assad four years ago is a clear sign of just how wrong he is. And if Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey want to focus on killing Shia and supporting terrorists, the United States should make it clear that we will not “sup with the devil,” as Rashid accurately calls such a strategy.

Still, I wish everyone in Congress would read the article, just so they’d stop saying such idiotic things.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

An eye-popping statistic

Posted by Charles II on June 26, 2015

From the Department of Justice, NIJ

Hate Crime Prevalence and Victimization
….
Estimates from victim interviews reported as part of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) far exceed the numbers reported by police agencies in the URC. NCVS indicates that approximately 191,000 hate crime incidents occur annually. Results from victim interviews indicate that only 44 percent of victimizations were reported to the police.[2] Only about 20 percent of these were validated by law enforcement as bias related.

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#DylannRoof And #LostCause Backers: Bellicose Lying #Bigots

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 25, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates does an excellent job of running Confederate lies to earth.

For instance, after first demolishing the “War of Northern Aggression” lie by showing how the Southern slave camp owners had been planning to secede and/or invade Cuba, Mexico and other parts of Latin America and the Carribean before finally firing on Fort Sumter, he then takes on the infamous “the war wasn’t about slavery” lie:

… As the Late Unpleasantness [of the Civil War itself] stretched from the predicted months into years, the very reason for the Confederacy’s existence came to threaten its diplomatic efforts. Fighting for slavery presented problems abroad, and so Confederate diplomats came up with the notion of emphasizing “states rights” over “slavery”—the first manifestation of what would later become a plank in the foundation of Lost Cause mythology.

The first people to question that mythology were themselves Confederates, distraught to find their motives downplayed or treated as embarassments. A Richmond-based newspaper offered the following:

‘The people of the South,’ says a contemporary, ‘are not fighting for slavery but for independence.’ Let us look into this matter. It is an easy task, we think, to show up this new-fangled heresy — a heresy calculated to do us no good, for it cannot deceive foreign statesmen nor peoples, nor mislead any one here nor in Yankeeland. . . Our doctrine is this: WE ARE FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE THAT OUR GREAT AND NECESSARY DOMESTIC INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY SHALL BE PRESERVED, and for the preservation of other institutions of which slavery is the groundwork.

Even after the war, as the Lost Cause rose, many veterans remained clear about why they had rallied to the Confederate flag. “I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery,” wrote Confederate commander John S. Mosby. The progeny of the Confederacy repeatedly invoked slavery as the war’s cause.

The entire article is worth a read, so much so that I pray Mr. Coates has a good home security system. Confederates get violent when their cognitive dissonance is attacked, as Dylann Roof has already shown.

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Yes, the confederacy was about slavery. And so, to a degree, is modern conservatism

Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic:

It’s mostly links to here, the Civil War Trust, dedicated to preserving the battlefields.

And before anyone gives the Republicans of South Carolina and Mississippi too much credit, hear what the Rev. William Barber said on DemocracyNow:

REV. WILLIAM BARBER: …[President Obama is saying … that to talk about race…We have to recognize…what Lee Atwater explained about the Southern strategy, that Kevin Phillips designed in 1968. He said, “I know how to win the South, but we have to move away from talking about race openly. We can’t do like George Wallace or Goldwater. We have to find a way to talk about race without sounding like it.” And he listed a number of things—tax cuts, forced busing, states’ rights—as code language for talking about race. Ronald Reagan used it when he started his campaign…. by being in Philadelphia, where Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were killed, it was clear.

And so, today, what the president is saying, you’ve got to look at structural, systemic racism. That’s what that young man [murderer Dylann Roof] meant when he said, “Somebody’s trying to take over and destroy my country.” He had heard politicians and others saying the president is ruining the country;… Only the willfully deaf, said one author that wrote a book called Racism Without Racists, cannot hear the racialized implications of that kind of rhetoric, in that kind of policy, which is why I agree with the president that we have to talk about race in terms of systemic racism and institutional racism. For instance, why is it that of the 24 states that are denying Medicaid expansion, six out of 10 African Americans live in those states? Why is it that we talk about entitlements in a way that suggests that it’s about them? The very programs that lifted up white Americans in the ’40s and ’50s, after the ’60s, became an anathema in certain arenas. Why is it that we don’t talk about the fact that our schools are resegregating faster now than they were in the 1970s?

We have to talk about wage disparity, both generally for all Americans, but then the disparate impact upon black people and brown people. And we’ve got to get black and brown and poor white people to understand that, in many ways, we are being played by an oligarchy that knows how to use these racialized code words to create wedge issues rather than to create the kind of moral transformative fusion of blacks, whites and browns that need to happen in this country, particularly in the South, to move us forward.

So, fine, clean up the symbols. But we will look to the policy to reach a judgment on whether your hearts have truly changed. When the policies you promote end up with people unable to vote, unable to influence what laws are made, unable to get a decent education, unable to get decent wages, then they are not free. Southern conservatives and more generally the American oligarchy is trying to reimpose slavery, not only on African Americans, but on all of us, and not only in the South, but everywhere.

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HelpKobane.com Does Just What The Name Says

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 22, 2015

Want to help the Kurds rebuild Kobane?

Go to HelpKobane.com and see what you can do there.

As the War Nerd says, this is about as clear-cut a case of good guys and bad guys as we can expect in the real world.

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The NRA Helped Reagan Ban Open Carry In California Via The Mulford Act

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2015

reagan-nra-guns

This (courtesy disinfo.com) needs to be shoved in the face of every white-supremacist ammosexual you see, especially the ones who claim that all black people have to do to keep from being shot at in church is to buy lots of guns:

The Founding Fathers instituted gun laws so intrusive that, were they running for office today, the NRA would not endorse them. While they did not care to completely disarm the citizenry, the founding generation denied gun ownership to many people: not only slaves and free blacks, but law-abiding white men who refused to swear loyalty to the Revolution.

For those men who were allowed to own guns, the Founders had their own version of the “individual mandate” that has proved so controversial in President Obama’s health-care-reform law: they required the purchase of guns. A 1792 federal law mandated every eligible man to purchase a military-style gun and ammunition for his service in the citizen militia. Such men had to report for frequent musters—where their guns would be inspected and, yes, registered on public rolls.

Opposition to gun control was what drove the black militants to visit the California capitol with loaded weapons in hand. The Black Panther Party had been formed six months earlier, in Oakland, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Like many young African Americans, Newton and Seale were frustrated with the failed promise of the civil-rights movement. Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were legal landmarks, but they had yet to deliver equal opportunity. In Newton and Seale’s view, the only tangible outcome of the civil-rights movement had been more violence and oppression, much of it committed by the very entity meant to protect and serve the public: the police.

The Panthers set up patrols designed to police the (largely white) police, and white conservative Californian politicians didn’t like it one bit:

Don Mulford, a conservative Republican state assemblyman from Alameda County, which includes Oakland, was determined to end the Panthers’ police patrols. To disarm the Panthers, he proposed a law that would prohibit the carrying of a loaded weapon in any California city. When Newton found out about this, he told Seale, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to the Capitol.” Seale was incredulous. “The Capitol?” Newton explained: “Mulford’s there, and they’re trying to pass a law against our guns, and we’re going to the Capitol steps.” Newton’s plan was to take a select group of Panthers “loaded down to the gills,” to send a message to California lawmakers about the group’s opposition to any new gun control.

The Panthers’ methods provoked an immediate backlash. The day of their statehouse protest, lawmakers said the incident would speed enactment of Mulford’s gun-control proposal. Mulford himself pledged to make his bill even tougher, and he added a provision barring anyone but law enforcement from bringing a loaded firearm into the state capitol.

Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.” The Mulford Act, he said, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.”

As went California, so went the nation. The gun murders of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy — and the fact that cops sent in to break up protests and riots were met with sniper fire — helped spur new Federal laws designed to limit just who could own a gun.

And the NRA gladly supported all of this, because it meant making sure that white people were the ones with the guns.

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Modern Cheese

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 19, 2015

Did you know that up until the early 1980s, there was really no alternative to killing calves if you wanted to make hard cheese?

Well, now you do.

Bon appetit!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 
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